Thursday, December 15, 2011

Dru's Cozy Report: December Reading List

Welcome to Dru's Cozy Report. This month we have one new series and two recurring ones for your reading pleasure.

Double Booked for Death by Ali Brandon is the first book in the new "Black Cat Bookshop" mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime, December 2011

As the new owner of Pettistone's Fine Books, Darla Pettistone is determined to prove herself a worthy successor to her late great-aunt Dee...and equally determined to outwit Hamlet, the smarter-than-thou cat she inherited with the shop. Darla's first store event is a real coup—the hottest bestselling author of the moment is holding a signing there, which brings hordes of fans and some protestors. But when the author meets an untimely end during the event, it's hardly good for business, even though it's ruled an accident—until Hamlet digs up a clue that seems to indicate otherwise. Now, Darla fears a killer might be lurking about...Can the interfering Hamlet point the paws at the culprit without losing one of his own nine lives?

What a good start! Imagine getting the hottest author to come to your bookstore and an accident causes her demise or did it? That’s what faces Darla in this fun-filled and engaging who-dun-it when she uncovers a clue that can change the outcome of the police’s investigation. The writing was crisp and the alluring storylines kept me engrossed in this story as I tried to figure out the mysteries contained in this nicely done tale. The characters are likable and the setting made me feel at home. This is a lovely beginning to what I hope are many adventures with Darla and her friends in this charmingly entertaining new series.

Ali Brandon is the pseudonym of Diane A. S. Stuckart and you can visit her at

FTC Full Disclosure – The publisher sent me a copy of this book

Dead Bolt by Juliet Blackwell is the second book in the "Haunted Home Renovation" mystery series. Publisher: Obsidian, December 2011

General Contractor Melanie Turner's latest restoration is a historic Queen Anne Victorian in San Francisco's Cow Hollow neighborhood. Trouble is, she'll have to work around the owners, the Daley family, who refuse to leave during the construction. But when eerie things start happening around the site, the Daleys threaten to call off the renovation for fear the work is disrupting ghosts who live on the property. But the ghosts aren't the only ones getting in the way of the renovation. The Daley's neighbors aren't exactly thrilled by the muss and fuss of the construction project. When Mel's father finds a dead body, Mel must tack on one more task to her growing to-do list. She has to finish the job, bring the house back from the brink, and complete her greatest renovation project yet: restoring her reputation.

All Mel wanted to do was bring an old house back to its glory days, but no, she has to deal with owners who want to live on the premise, ghosts who wants all of them out and a dead body. Mel will have to ghost-bust some clues to find a killer among the living. Oh man, I was so wrapped up in the telling of this story that I could not put this book down. With witty and amusing conversations, a strong, lovable and down to earth protagonist, great supporting cast and a mystery to die for, this well-written tale is an enjoyable read in this delightfully captivating and fantastic series that will leave you with an urge to renovate.

Visit Juliet at

FTC Full Disclosure – The publisher sent me a copy of this book

Crops and Robbers by Paige Shelton is the third book in the "Farmers' Market" mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime, December 2011

Bailey's Farmer's Market is all abuzz with the impending visit of the Central South Carolina Restaurant Association. Becca is pleased about the visit, but with her jams and preserves already flying off her market table, it's her parents’ unexpected visit she is truly excited about. With her family watching from the sidelines, Becca happily hands out samples. But when Joan Ashworth, the president of the association vetoes the strawberry preserves, Becca finds herself reeling from the snub. After pulling herself together, Becca heads home, only to find Joan's body in her kitchen and her mother with blood on her hands. Now, Becca has to figure out what really happened to Joan and get her Mom out of a terrible jam.

With her parents in town and the restaurant association looking at her wares Becca is one happy vendor, that is, until her mother is arrested for a crime she didn’t commit and Becca will do what needs to be done to dig up the truth to find a killer. This was a good read that I practically devoured from the minute I picked up the book. The mystery was good as it had me quickly turning the pages and I was surprised when the killer was revealed. With a great cast of characters, pleasant conversations and a feel-good atmosphere, this is the best one yet in the pleasing and delectable series that is tantalizing as fresh apple pie.

Visit Paige at

FTC Full Disclosure – The publisher sent me a copy of this book


Aurian said...

I love mysteries that manage to surprise you, especially if you are an experienced mystery reader. That first book looks like a double win: a bookshop and a cat!

Lynn in Texas said...

Dru, thanks for taking the time to review all these new-to-me authors. I've now added them to my list!

Heather Blake Webber said...

I really have to find time to read more. So many good books!!!

Kristin A. said...

Oh my goodness! I really need to stop reading your reports - every time you post my TBR list grows! Your reviews are always so positive, so I have to ask - have you ever met a Cozy you didn't like? Other than our dear Cozy Chicks, who are your absolute must read Cozy authors (if you don't mind saying)? I am trying to keep my TBR list to a minimum, but that really isn't working at all!

Heather Blake Webber said...

Kristin, a minimum???? Bite your tongue. ;)