Sunday, September 15, 2013

The September 2013 Report

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Welcome to Dru's Cozy Report: September 2013. This month we have five new series.

Murder, Plain and Simple by Isabella Alan is the first book in the new "Amish Quilt Shop" mystery series. Publisher: Obsidian, September 2013
When Angela Braddock inherits her late aunt’s beautiful Amish quilt shop, she leaves behind her career and broken engagement for a fresh start in Holmes County, Ohio.

With her snazzy cowboy boots and her ornithophobic French bulldog, Angie doesn’t exactly fit in with the predominantly Amish community in Rolling Brook, but her aunt’s quilting circle tries to make her feel welcome as she prepares for the reopening of Running Stitch.

On the big day, Angie gets a taste of success as the locals and Englisch tourists browse the store’s wares while the quilters stitch away. But when Angie finds the body of ornery Amish woodworker Joseph in her storeroom the next morning, everything starts falling apart.

With evidence mounting against her, Angie is determined to find the culprit before the local sheriff can arrest her. Rolling Brook always appeared to be a simple place, but the closer Angie gets to the killer, the more she realizes that nothing in the small Amish community is as plain as it seems.
I like it. Angie's homecoming is marred when she finds a dead body in her shop and when she becomes the prime suspect, what else is Angie to do but put the pieces together and find a killer?

This very enjoyable read had everything from a well-designed plot that kept me enthralled in all facets of discovery; a strong heroine determined to make it on her own; a supporting cast that stands on their own; the smoldering of a romance that is yet to come and a good ole mystery that you can sink your teeth into. The author did a good job with presenting plenty of suspects that kept me guessing and it wasn’t until that aha moment when I knew exactly who the killer was and I couldn’t wait to see if my hunch was correct. I’m looking forward to reading the next book in this delightfully charming debut series.

Isabella Alan is the pseudonym for Amanda Flower and you can visit her at

FTC Disclosure: I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher with the request for a review.

Bran New Death by Victoria Hamilton is the first book in the new "Merry Muffin" mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime, September 2013
Expert muffin baker Merry Wynter is finally ready to turn her passion into a career. But when a dead body is found on her property, she’s more worried about cooking up an alibi.

Merry is making a fresh start in small-town Autumn Vale, New York, in the mansion she’s inherited from her late uncle, Melvin. The house is run-down and someone has been digging giant holes on the grounds, but with its restaurant-quality kitchen, the place has potential for her new baking business. She even has her first client—the local retirement home.

Unfortunately, Merry soon finds that quite a few townsfolk didn’t like Uncle Mel, and she has inherited their enmity as well as his home. Local baker Binny Turner and her crazy brother, Tom, blame Melvin for their father’s death, and Tom may be the one vandalizing her land. But when Tom turns up dead in one of the holes in her yard, Merry needs to prove she had nothing to do with his death—or her new muffin-making career may crumble before it starts.
Upon arriving in the town where she has inherited a castle from her uncle, Merry tries to get the mansion ready for sale, but all that changes when she finds a dead body on her property, this amid persistent rumors of wrong-doings. What's a woman supposed to do but try to solve the murder and the mystery surrounding her uncle's life.

This was a great read that I enjoyed immensely. I love the tone and the flow of this cleverly written storyline that had me deeply engaged in the goings on in Autumn Vale. The mystery was alluringly good as the author provided a bevy of suspects that kept me on my toes. Merry is a wonderfully created character and is surrounded by a cast of odd and eccentrically quirky people who add tremendous dimensions to this terrific whodunit. With a great setting, that being a castle in upstate New York, and great dialogue, I look forward to more exciting adventures with Merry and her friends.

Visit Victoria at

FTC Disclosure: The publisher sent me a copy of this book, in hopes I would review it.

Skeleton in the Family by Leigh Perry is the first book in the new "Family Skeleton" mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime, September 2013
Most families have skeletons in their closets…

Moving back into her parents’ house with her teenage daughter had not been Georgia Thackery’s “Plan A.” But when she got a job at the local college, it seemed the sensible thing to do. So she settled in and began reconnecting with old friends.

Including Sid. Sid is the Thackery family’s skeleton. He’s lived in the house as long as Georgia can remember, although no one, including Sid, knows exactly where he came from and how he came to be a skeleton.

Sid walks, he talks, he makes bad jokes, he tries to keep Georgia’s dog from considering him a snack. And he manages to persuade Georgia to let him leave the house. But when she takes him to an anime convention—disguised as a skeleton, of course—he sees a woman who triggers memories of his past.

Now he is determined to find out how he died—with Georgia’s help. But their investigation may uncover a killer who’s still alive and well and bad to the bone...
Georgia is on the case when Sid sees someone from his past and wants her to get some answers, but all is lost when she is murdered which sends Georgia and Sid on a search for answers.

I like it. This is uniquely creative concept that was both playful and humorous in the telling of this intriguing mystery that hooked me from the start. Who is Sid? Who’s behind the murder? How does the Thackery family fit into the scheme of things? This will be answered in this light-hearted whodunit filled with amusing banter and a great cast of characters in this wonderfully crafted debut series. There’s no bones about it, I can’t wait for the next book in this exciting series.

Leigh Perry is the pseudonym for Toni L.P. Kelner and you can visit her at

FTC Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of this book, in hopes I would review it.

Going Through the Notions by Cate Price is the first book in the new "Deadly Notions" mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime, September 2013
A retired schoolteacher—and yes, daughter of an F. Scott Fitzgerald fan—Daisy Buchanan has finally found her calling in the quaint village of Millbury, Pennsylvania. While her husband endlessly renovates their old house, Daisy happily presides over Sometimes a Great Notion, a quirky shop that sells sewing bits and bobs, antiques, and jewelry.

Daisy has her eye on an antique dollhouse and a classic Singer Featherweight at the local auction—until her friend and mentor, auctioneer Angus Backstead, is led away in handcuffs. It appears he bashed in the head of a drinking buddy who stole a set of fancy fountain pens. Daisy’s sure the sprightly old-timer couldn’t have done it. But if Daisy can’t stitch together the bidder truth—and soon—Angus will be going once, going twice...gone forever.
Knowing her jailed friend and mentor is innocent; Daisy begins her own investigation in search of a cunning murderer who is hiding in plain sight.

I like it. This was a good story that held my interest from beginning to end. The mystery was good and I liked that I felt like I was a part of the scene as Daisy went about solving the clues to the murder. I enjoyed the camaraderie that existed in their little village with each clue that Daisy uncovered helping to narrow down to the big reveal. The author did a good job in keeping me on my toes throwing me off my track with a couple of red herrings here and there, overall a good job in delivery a finely tuned piece of work. With a great supporting cast, engaging dialogue and a small town atmosphere, I can’t wait to dive into the next book in this pleasantly appealing series.

Visit Cate at

FTC Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of this book, in hopes I would review it.

Clammed Up by Barbara Ross is the first book in the new “Maine Clambake” mystery series. Publisher: Kensington, September 2013
Summer has come to Busman's Harbor, Maine, and tourists are lining up for a taste of authentic New England seafood, courtesy of the Snowden Family Clambake Company. But there's something sinister on the boil this season. A killer has crashed a wedding party, adding mystery to the menu at the worst possible moment.

Julia Snowden returned to her hometown to rescue her family's struggling clambake business--not to solve crimes. But that was before a catered wedding on picturesque Morrow Island turned into a reception for murder. When the best man's corpse is found hanging from the grand staircase in the Snowden family mansion, Julia must put the chowder pot on the back burner and join the search for the killer. And with suspicion falling on her old crush, Chris Durand, the recipe for saving her business and salvaging her love life might be one and the same.
Trying to save her family’s business, Julia opens up the island for a private wedding that is later marred when the best man is found dead. Jeopardizing what she has negotiated with the bank, Julia takes matters into her own hand by looking for a killer before her family's business boils over.

The author did a great job in developing a mystery that grabbed my attention from the beginning, as I could not put this book down. The storyline was cleverly presented and the dialogue engaging. With a wonderful cast of characters led by a determined Julia, I can see this series on the bookshelves for years to come. I have never been to a clambake before but after reading “Clammed Up”, it is definitely on my bucket list. This is a great read that will have you salivating for more in this delightfully delectable whodunit.

Visit Barbara at

FTC Disclosure: I received an advance reader copy of this book from the author.

And check out these other September releases


Nancy said...

I could never keep up to your reading pace, Dru, but you do lead me to new series. I have my eye on a few of these, now.

Susan said...

Thanks Dru...Glad Cozy Chicks is still around..You are on Top of what's New...& Always like your reviews...

Adrienne said...

Hi Dru. I also thank you for all the help with knowing what's new in books. Question: It seems that so many of the cozy mysteries I read take place either in the east or in the south. Do you know of any authors that locate their protagonist in the midwest, for example? I've read a few but you're the expert so perhaps you can share some with us. Given I'm a Chicago girl who now lives in Minnesota, you can see where my interests might lie :-) Thanks for all your good work! Adrienne

Shirley said...

Jess Lourey writes books with a Minnesota setting. I really enjoy her series.

Dru said...

Adrienne, Jess Lourey's series is set in the midwest.

Dru said...

oh I see that Shirley has responded.

Adrienne said...

Thank you, Dru and Shirley. I took a look at the reviews of Ms. Laurey's books on Amazon and they seem to be all over the place.
I'll see if I can get one from the library to see if I like her works. Any others you can think of? I read William Kent Krueger's books but they certainly are not cozies, although excellent. Thanks!