COZY MYSTERY REVIEW – Survival of the Fritters by Ginger Bolton

The Deputy Donut mysteries are quickly becoming one of my favorite cozy series! I read the third book in the series last summer and loved it. Our main character Emily runs a donut shop with her father-in-law. Their relationship is adorable and I am so sad that Deputy Donut isn’t a real place!

The mystery in this book is interesting and fun to solve – one of Emily’s regulars is found dead in her home, surrounded by donuts. Emily works with the victim’s friend to track down the murderer before anyone else can be harmed.

If you’re looking for a perfectly balanced cozy, I would recommend this series – the books are just funny enough and just mysterious enough to strike that balance between too dark and too light.

COZY MYSTERY REVIEW – Death by Auction by Alexis Morgan

This was a really enjoyable cozy that focuses almost primarily on the murder mystery at hand (the town takes a backseat in this one). When a dead body is found in the parking lot at a military fundraiser, Abby finds herself in the middle of yet another murder investigation.

The worst part? She ends up playing host to the prime suspect (who also happens to be her tenant’s ex-wife). This is a classic whodunit style story – with a fun cast of suspects and a “you’re the investigator!” feel.

Thank you Kensington Books for the NetGalley copy of this book!

COZY MYSTERY REVIEW – Hot Fudge Murder by Cynthia Baxter

Looking for a quick, mindless read? This fits the bill. Hot Fudge Murder is frothy fun – focusing a bit more on the ice cream shop than the actual murder mystery, these books don’t offer a lot of substance but they will leave you craving a scoop or two of your favorite flavor.

Other than the delectable descriptions of a wide variety of ice cream flavors, the real star in this series is the relationships between the characters. Kate’s relationship with her grandmother and niece is heartwarming and fun. There are definitely cozier mysteries out there and more mysterious cozies, but this is a great option for something to read while spending a lazy day at the pool or beach.

Thank you Kensington Books for sending me a copy of Hot Fudge Murder!

COZY MYSTERY REVIEW – Botched Butterscotch and Marshmallow Malice by Amanda Flower

I recently read two cozies from the same series – Botched Butterscotch (a novella) is Amish Candy Shop Mystery #4.5, and Marshmallow Malice is #5.

Botched Butterscotch is a novella tucked in the middle of a cozy mystery series – Bailey runs a candy shop with her grandmother. She donates some treats to a local fundraiser, but things quickly turn sour when the box of donated cash and checks is emptied.

This was such a sweet (I couldn’t help myself…) little story! My first experience with the Amish Candy Shop Mysteries certainly won’t be my last. This is pretty short – I read it in one sitting. It was nice to have a short glimpse into a series I haven’t read, and a lot of ground was covered in a short amount of time! I highly recommend this either for fans of the series, or for anyone interested in checking the series out (it’s a nice way to get a feel for the writing and the characters without dedicating time to an entire book).

Marshmallow Malice picks up right where Botched Butterscotch leaves off. Bailey is the maid of honor (and cake expert!) for her boyfriend’s mom’s wedding. There’s some drama at the ceremony when an uninvited guest crashes the wedding and tries to put a stop to things. When the wedding crasher ends up dead the next morning, Bailey works to solve the murder. This has just the right balance of fun and seriousness – I love learning about the Amish community and the writing feels purposeful throughout the entire story.

Thank you Kensington Books for the NetGalley ARCs!

COZY MYSTERY REVIEW – Proof of Murder by Lauren Elliott

Bookshop owner Addie finds herself helping appraise rare and old books for a local estate sale, in a rumored-to-be-haunted house. When a dead body turns up in a seemingly locked room, Addie has to clear her name and try to track down the killer.

This was such a fun read! Addie’s a great character and I loved how well the murder mystery was tied in with books and literature. There’s a little bit of a ghost element here too, which made it extra fun (and chilling at times!)

Feeling a little like Sherlock Holmes himself, I figured out who the culprit was a bit before the reveal – which, to me, can be the mark of a good mystery. The author gives enough clues that you might be able to solve the mystery along with the main character, but nothing was so obvious that I felt like it was a “no duh.” I had my suspicions, but I wasn’t totally sure until the end.

Thank you Kensington Books for the NetGalley ARC!

COZY MYSTERY REVIEW – Murder in the Storybook Cottage by Ellery Adams

Murder in the Storybook Cottage begins as Storyton Hall resort owner Jane is preparing to host a children’s book conference. When a dead body turns up in the new storybook village on her property, Jane has to work to keep her guests safe (and unaware) and help solve a murder.

This was the first book I’ve read in the Book Retreat series – it was a cute, cozy read. I’m considering going back to the beginning to read the first five books.

EVERYTHING in this town is book-themed. EVERYTHING. It’s a book for book lovers – there are so many cute little literary references and it feels like a bookish Stars Hollow. There’s somewhat of a fantasy-ish element to this book – it’s revealed early on that Jane is the Guardian of a secret library. It seems like many people (both good and bad) have shown interest in what the secret library holds, with some dangerous consequences. Many of Jane’s staff at Storyton Hall serve dual purposes – they might run something at the resort, but they also might be one of her team of security to help protect and defend the secret library.

The murder in this book is pretty dark (for a cozy) and there is an underlying feeling of unease throughout the book – the danger that Jane and her friends and family could be in seems very real.

Thank you Kensington Books for the NetGalley ARC!

COZY MYSTERY REVIEW – Murder Can Confuse Your Chihuahua by Rose Pressey

{Available April 28, 2020} I found myself in need of a quick, light cozy and this fit the bill! Murder Can Confuse Your Chihuahua had me laughing from the opening of chapter one.

As Celeste is prepping for a weeklong craft fair, she comes across a dead body by the river. What unfolds throughout the next few days is a twisty whodunnit, filled with suspicious characters. There’s also a slight supernatural element in this story.

There were a few repetitive parts – one plot point in particular was revealed twice, but I assume that will be fixed in the final copy.

Thank you Kensington Books for the ARC!

COZY MYSTERY REVIEW – Here Comes the Body by Maria DiRico

Mia has just moved back to Queens to work for her mobster father’s new catering hall. After a woman is found dead in a giant cardboard birthday cake the police turn their focus to Mia’s dad (and his “associates.”)

What a fun book! I loved the cast of characters. Mia’s Family (yes, with a capital “F”) is hilarious and delightful. Her nonna (and nonna’s Army of Italian and Greek grandmothers) is an absolute joy.

This book is set in the spring, which made my decision to pick it up perfect timing! Although it’s set in New York, this didn’t lose the main feeling of a typical cozy mystery.

Here Comes the Body is the first in a series, and I look forward to what comes next for Mia and her Family!

Thank you Kensington Books for sending me an ARC!

COZY MYSTERY REVIEW – Pulp Friction by Julie Anne Lindsey

{Available April 28, 2020} Pulp Friction is the second book in the new Cider Shop Mystery series (which I am loving, by the way). Winnie’s newly opened cider shop is doing well, and the book opens with a wedding in the orchard’s barn. The wedding atmosphere is super cozy and dreamy and makes me miss summer…until the groom ends up dead and foul play is suspected.

This book solidifies my desire to live in Blossom Valley with Winnie, Granny, Dot and Colton (yes, of course, Colton. So handsome!) This series hits all of the points that make a cozy series great – an adorable small town, a sweet little shop (I want apple cider and delicious pastries all of the time now), a wonderful cast of characters and murder mysteries that are just chilling enough to feel serious without ruining the overall lighthearted vibe of the book.

I had my theories about who the murdered could be in this book and I was spot on in some aspects and WAY OFF in others – which just made the entire experience more fun! This book ends on somewhat of a cliffhanger and sets the series up for a larger story – which I’m guessing will be explored more in-depth in the next book.

Thank you Kensington Books for providing me with the NetGalley ARC!

COZY MYSTERY REVIEW – Murder Makes Scents by Christin Brecher

Murder Makes Scents kicks off in Paris (how fun!) Candlemaker and scent enthusiast Stella is attending a conference with her globe-trotting perfumer mother, Millie. Their trip ends on a sour note when a man is murdered on the last day of the conference (right before Millie is due to give her talk).

When they return to Nantucket, they quickly realize that someone involved in the murder in Paris has followed them, and their lives could be in danger. Has Millie stolen a top-secret perfume vial? Will Stella be able to figure out the mystery before it’s too late?

This was surprisingly elaborate for a cozy – and so fun to read! I loved Stella’s shop, the Wick & Flame, and Nantucket is the perfect setting for a book in this genre. It’s a relatively new series (I have book one on my tbr shelf!) and offers up exactly what you love and expect from a cozy.

Thank you Kensington Books for the ARC!