Tag Archives: Cozy Mysteries

Death Distilled

Review: Death Distilled by Melinda Mullet

Several months ago, I read and reviewed Melinda Mullet’s debut, Single Malt MurderI enjoyed it, not least of all because it was set in the Scottish Highlands, and knew I’d be reading the second one as soon as I could get my hands on it. Death Distilled came out in September, and though I’ve had a review copy for a while, only managed to get to it a couple of weeks ago. Don’t let my delay sway you though – the series just keeps getting better.

In Death Distilled, we get to learn more about Abi’s day job as a photographer, and that was pretty neat. I think this is the only cozy series I’ve read where the main character isn’t heavily involved in the business that’s the heart of the story. It’s an interesting perspective – to me, it gives the Whisky Business series a little more seriousness than other cozies. This isn’t a bad thing at all; in fact, it’s refreshing.

I’ll be up front and say that I didn’t care one whit about the mystery in Death Distilled; or, at least, not the murder. There’s a fair amount of mystery surrounding the town’s history, and that part was really neat to read. Those of you who spent your childhoods searching for hidden passages and longing for revolving bookshelves definitely want to pick this one up. The main story, though…eh. I didn’t like Rory’s character, so I didn’t really care.

My favorite part though, was BY FAR, the flock of sheep Abi rescues. I’m fairly certain I would continue this series just for the sheep alone.

The third book in the series hasn’t been announced yet, so you’ve got some time to catch up if you like whisky, adorable animals, and anything Scottish!

Series: Whisky Business Mystery #2    Kindle Edition: 240 pages

Published: September 2017 by Alibi    Source: Publisher via Netgalley

Buy it on Amazon for $5

Death Distilled on Goodreads

Award-winning photojournalist turned whisky distillery proprietress and amateur sleuth Abigail Logan returns in the charming follow-up to Single Malt Murder.

It’s been three months since Abi Logan last checked in on Abbey Glen, the celebrated whisky distillery she inherited. With her oversize wheaten terrier, Liam, by her side, Abi returns to the quaint Scottish village of Balfour. But her relaxing Highland homecoming takes a stressful turn when she unearths an unseemly bit of village history, welcomes a group of Japanese whisky enthusiasts, and becomes shepherdess to an unexpected flock of sheep—all within the first twenty-four hours. Still, nothing’s more stressful than murder. . . .

Local celebrity Rory Hendricks is the hotheaded, hard-rocking former frontman of the Rebels—and Abi’s girlhood crush. After meeting him in person, Abi can’t say no to anything he asks, like photographing his upcoming show . . . or figuring out who’s trying to kill him. Turns out someone’s been bumping off his old bandmates, with the drummer dead under mysterious circumstances and the keyboardist in a coma following a hit-and-run. Now a series of threatening messages leads Rory to think he’s next on the chopping block. And the band has a devil’s share of broken hearts and bitter disputes in their past, leaving Abi a huge batch of suspects to sift through—all before the killer takes another shot.

This post contains affiliate links. 

twelve slays of christmas

Review: Twelve Slays of Christmas by Jacqueline Frost

First of all, Jacqueline Frost is such an awesome name for someone who wrote a Christmas-themed cozy mystery that I had to look her up to see if that was actually her name. Best I can tell, it is, and Twelve Slays of Christmas is her first book.

And man, was it fun.

First of all, I want to live in Mistletoe. It sounds absolutely glorious, with all the Christmas spirit. The town really gets into the festivities, with all sorts of “12 Days of Christmas” activities. Holly’s family Christmas tree farm, Reindeer Games, sounds like a merry little utopia, complete with a gingerbread house restaurant and a trio of real live reindeer. Well, a utopia that happened to witness a murder. Regardless.

The characters are a ton of fun, and easy to imagine; Holly’s dad was 100% John Goodman. I liked the mystery, and it’s definitely a cozy – easy to predict (if you read a lot of them), but fun enough that you don’t care. I thought Frost did a great job with Holly; she’s a little naive, but not helpless, and throughout the story you can tell she’s starting to get her feet under her. I’m excited to see what she does in the next book; I have my suspicions!

Lighthearted and full of Christmas spirit – just what I wanted.

Series: A Christmas Tree Farm Mystery #1    Hardcover: 311 pages

Published: October 2017 by Crooked Lane Books    Source: Publisher via Netgalley

Buy it on Amazon for $10

Twelve Slays of Christmas on Goodreads

When Holly White’s fiance cancels their Christmas Eve wedding with less than two weeks to go, Holly heads home with a broken heart. Lucky for her, home in historic Mistletoe, Maine is magical during Christmastime–exactly what the doctor prescribed. Except her plan to drown her troubles in peppermints and snickerdoodles is upended when local grouch and president of the Mistletoe Historical Society Margaret Fenwick is bludgeoned and left in the sleigh display at Reindeer Games, Holly’s family tree farm.

When the murder weapon is revealed as one of the wooden stakes used to identify trees on the farm, Sheriff Evan Grey turns to Holly’s father, Bud, and the Reindeer Games staff. And it doesn’t help that Bud and the reindeer keeper were each seen arguing with Margaret just before her death. But Holly knows her father, and is determined to exonerate him.The jingle bells are ringing, the clock is ticking, and if Holly doesn’t watch out, she’ll end up on Santa’s naughty list in Twelve Slays of Christmas, Jacqueline Frost’s jolly series debut.

This post contains affiliate links. 

dial meow for murder

Review: Dial Meow for Murder by Bethany Blake

Daphne and Socrates are back for another fun mystery in Bethany Blake’s second Lucky Paws Petsitting Mystery series, Dial Meow for Murder. Some of you may remember how much I loved the first book, Death by Chocolate LabNeedless to say, I was not-so-patiently waiting for the next one. I needed to know what happened to the Rotties!

Speaking of, while I did find out what happened to them, it was a two-sentence-in-passing mention. Please write another book about the Rotties, Ms. Blake.

I wasn’t quite as enamored with Dial Meow for Murder as I was with Chocolate Lab. Oh, I still enjoyed it, and I still plan on continuing the series. But a lot of what was so great about the first book was all the animals, and that just felt like it was missing here. Even Socrates didn’t have much of a role. Plus, I wanted Artie back.

I do think Blake improved on the mystery, keeping it front and center for the majority of the story. Daphne was also a little more subdued, but truthfully, I missed her passion from the first book. We did get more information about Detective Black’s past, and some more about Sylvan Creek, both of which I wanted in the first book. So, happy there!

Dial Meow for Murder is still a great cozy, and I can’t wait to see what happens in book 3!

Series: Lucky Paws Petsitting Mystery #2    Paperback: 328 pages

Published: September 2017 by Kensington    Source: Netgalley

Buy it on Amazon

Dial Meow for Murder on Goodreads

Even an experienced pet sitter like Daphne Templeton can be fooled by animal behavior: how can an adorably tiny fuzz ball named Tinkleston be capable of sudden flying leaps with cat claws bared? But human behavior remains even more mysterious, especially when Tinkleston s owner is murdered on the night of a gala fundraiser for Fur-ever Friends Pet Rescue.

Accompanied by her unflappable basset hound, Socrates, Daphne plans to take charge of Tinks the Terror and leave the crime-solving to handsome detective Jonathan Black. But while luring the prickly Persian out of hiding, she uncovers clues that might take suspicion off her own mother. Maeve Templeton already has a reputation as a killer in real estate. How far would she go to bag Sylvan Creek s most coveted property, the Flynt Mansion?

To expose the truth, Daphne finds herself donning a deranged clown costume on an autumnal adventure that might just be crazy enough to work if it doesn t get her killed. Includes recipes for homemade pet treats!

This post contains affiliate links. 


Review: Dog Dish of Doom by E.J. Copperman

I know none of you are surprised to see that I read a book with a dog on the cover. If there’s one thing that gets me every.single.time, it’s dogs. I don’t care what the book is about, if there’s a dog in the description or on the cover, I’m going to read it. (Might just take me a while!)

Dog Dish of Doom is the first in a new cozy series from E.J. Copperman (pen name for the writer Jeff Cohen). Copperman/Cohen is no stranger to cozies – from what I can gather, Agent to the Paws is his 4th cozy series. The main character, Kay, is a showbiz agent for animals. Sounds like a fun gig, if we’re honest.

I kinda hated, Kay, truthfully. She annoyed the crap out of me, and I thought she was a bad sleuth. Part of it might have been the fact that she seemed utterly uninterested in solving the murder. Part of it might have been that she was so BAD at what she was trying to figure out. Honestly, I liked her parents more than I liked Kay. I also wanted more Bruno, but that’s kinda beside the point.

Dog Dish of Doom was a relatively short read, but also kind of a boring one. Not much happened, and as I said, there was very little sleuthing. I also got tired of reading the same phrases over and over again.

The more I think about it, the more I want to downgrade my rating to a 2. It’s probably more like 2.5, because I didn’t hate it, but I also have no desire to continue the series.

Series: Agent to the Paws #1    Hardcover: 304 pages

Published: August 2017 by Minotaur Books    Source: Netgalley

Dog Dish of Doom on Goodreads

Cozy fans and animal lovers alike won’t be able to keep their paws off Dog Dish of DoomLaugh-out-loud funny, E.J. Copperman’s series debut is “lots of fun” (Library Journal, starred). 

Kay Powell wants to find that break-out client who will become a star. And she thinks she’s found him: His name is Bruno, and he has to be walked three times a day.

Kay is the Agent to the Paws, representing showbiz clients who aren’t exactly people. In fact: they’re dogs. Bruno’s humans, Trent and Louise, are pains in the you-know-what, and Les McMaster, the famous director mounting a revival of Annie, might not hire Bruno just because he can’t stand them.

This becomes less of an issue when Trent is discovered face down in Bruno’s water dish, with a kitchen knife in his back. Kay’s perfectly fine to let the NYPD handle the murder, but when the whole plot seems to center on Bruno, her protective instincts come into play. You can kill any people you want, but you’d better leave Kay’s clients alone.


Review: Death Overdue by Allison Brook

Amidst all that heavy, spooky, emotional stuff I was reading for Haunting October, there was Death Overdue. A light cozy mystery (is that redundant?) about a haunted library, a cold case, and a poisonous cookie.

I mean, what more does a girl need?

Truthfully, a bit more than I got.

Carrie’s about to up and leave town when she’s offered – begrudgingly – a position as the new Director of Programs and Events at the local library. She – also begrudgingly – accepts, and of course, her first day on the job, someone gets murdered. At one of her events. The victim happens to be the detective who, after 15 years, has decided to reopen a long-cold murder case. He’s about to share his new evidence with half the town, when he keels over. If only he hadn’t eaten that cookie.

I’m sorry, but really? I don’t think I’ve ever read a cozy that deals with a cold case, and there’s probably a reason for that. (The poisoned cookie is par for the course, no issue there.) The first murder was pretty much a waste of time and energy, and didn’t do much except introduce a level of complexity that wasn’t really needed, never mind explored. Brook kept hammering home the idea that the two murders were related. Which, of course they were, but it added nothing and frankly, got a bit annoying.

And can we please talk about Jared for a second? The love interest slash murder victim #1’s son? Ugh. Just ugh ugh ugh. It wasn’t just that he was an awful character – cozies are full of awful characters. No, it was more that he wasn’t even a believable character. I simply couldn’t imagine an actual person saying the things he did, because he was so…stiff.

I did like the ghost though. She was fun.

Series: A Haunted Library Mystery #1    Hardcover: 329 pages

Published: October 2017 by Crooked Lane Books    Source: Netgalley

Buy it on Amazon

Death Overdue on Goodreads

Carrie Singleton is just about done with Clover Ridge, Connecticut until she’s offered a job as the head of programs and events at the spooky local library, complete with its own librarian ghost. Her first major event is a program presented by a retired homicide detective, Al Buckley, who claims he knows who murdered Laura Foster, a much-loved part-time library aide who was bludgeoned to death fifteen years earlier. As he invites members of the audience to share stories about Laura, he suddenly keels over and dies.

The medical examiner reveals that poison is what did him in and Carrie feels responsible for having surged forward with the program despite pushback from her director. Driven by guilt, Carrie’s determined to discover who murdered the detective, convinced it’s the same man who killed Laura all those years ago. Luckily for Carrie, she has a friendly, knowledgeable ghost by her side. But as she questions the shadows surrounding Laura’s case, disturbing secrets come to light and with each step Carrie takes, she gets closer to ending up like Al.

Now it’s due or die for Carrie in Death Overdue, the delightful first in a new cozy series by Allison Brook.

This post contains affiliate links. 

Review: Potions and Pastries (Magical Bakery Mystery #7) by Bailey Cates

About Potions and Pastriespotionsandpastries

Series: Magical Bakery Mystery(#7)
Paperback: 320 pages
Published: November 2017 by Berkley
Source: Publisher via Netgalley

Preorder it on Amazon

Goodreads DescriptionIn this New York Times bestselling mystery series, witch Katie Lightfoot bakes enchanted treats–and faces more than her fair share of toil and trouble…. 

It’s been exactly two years since Katie and her aunt and uncle opened the Honeybee Bakery, where they serve delicious–and bespelled–treats to the good people of Savannah. After a dinner celebrating the bakery’s anniversary, they all take a stroll along the waterfront and meet Aunt Lucy’s friend Orla, a colorful character who has been telling the fortunes of locals and tourists alike for years.

The next day, Orla meets with what seems like a terrible accident, but Katie’s witchy intuition tells her it was something more sinister. Together with her trustworthy coven and her firefighter boyfriend, she’ll race to find out what happened to the unfortunate fortune-teller before the piping hot trail goes cold….

My Review


Guys, I was so excited for this book. There’s a small handful of cozy series that I keep up with, and this is one of them. I’ve had it on my watch list for months, and actually squealed when I saw it on Netgalley.

The Magical Bakery Mystery series is one of my favorites because it’s got a bakery, witchy-powers, and an adorable familiar named Mungo. I love the characters, and I love the setting. I’ve come to expect a good, solid mystery with a fair amount of character drama, and Potions and Pastries didn’t disappoint.

Katie is still one of my favorite sleuths, because she’s pretty even keel. She doesn’t wildly jump to conclusions, she doesn’t really accuse people, and she follows every lead. Her relationship with Declan continues to grow and mature, and I’m really excited to see what happens in the next book. As for the rest of the cast of characters, I love the spellbook club, and was a little saddened they weren’t bigger players in this one!

As always, the book came with several scrumptious recipes – maybe one of these days I’ll give one a try!


Big thanks to Berkley and Netgalley for the ARC!

This post contains affiliate links. 

Review: A Potion to Die For by Heather Blake

About A Potion to Die Forapotiontodiefor

Series: Magic Potion Mysteries (#1)
 313 pages
Published: November 2013 by NAL
Source: Purchased

Buy it on Amazon

Goodreads DescriptionTROUBLE IS BREWING…

As the owner of Little Shop of Potions, a magic potion shop specializing in love potions, Carly Bell Hartwell finds her product more in demand than ever. A local soothsayer has predicted that a couple in town will soon divorce—and now it seems every married person in Hitching Post, Alabama, wants a little extra matrimonial magic to make sure they stay hitched.

But when Carly finds a dead man in her shop, clutching one of her potion bottles, she goes from most popular potion person to public enemy number one. In no time the murder investigation becomes a witch hunt—literally! Now Carly is going to need to brew up some serious sleuthing skills to clear her name and find the real killer—before the whole town becomes convinced her potions really are to die for!

My Review

I’m a huge fan of Heather Blake’s Wishcraft Mysteries, and I’ve had a copy of A Potion to Die For on my shelves for well over two years. For some reason I just never got around to reading it! I’d always see the cover, swoon, and think, “I really need to read that.” FINALLY, I just grabbed it and started. Took me long enough.

A Potion to Die For is the first book in the Magic Potion Mysteries. Carly owns a potion shop, but very few people know the truth – she’s actually a witch, and the potions contain a secret ingredient that makes them real. Despite the secret, Carly’s shop has a strong customer base. At least, that is, until someone is found murdered in her shop, holding one of her potion bottles. Time for Carly to save her reputation and her shop!

Like I said, huge fan of the Wishcraft Mysteries, so I had high hopes. Plus, that cover. Unfortunately, I felt a little let down. I didn’t connect with Carly much as a character. In fact, I was more interested in her cousin Delia. I also thought the town was a little silly, though that could be because it reminded me of Pigeon Forge, the heart-shaped-hot tub capital of the world.

As with most cozies, I guessed the killer pretty early – but don’t let that sway you. I read a lot of cozies.

I’m sure I’ll continue the series at some point, but for now, I have more than enough cozies to keep me going. My two cents? If you’re looking for a supernatural cozy, check out the Wishcraft Mysteries instead.



This post contains affiliate links.