Ho ho ho! Merry July, everyone! It’s that special time of year to crank up that A/C and snuggle under the blankies with a good read and a spiked hot toddy. So in the spirit of the season, Lil Bootz and CeeCee picked out a few heartwarming cozy mysteries filled with good tidings, playful kittens and dead bodies galore! A big thanks to all the publishers that granted us free advance reader copies via Netgalley.
Mistletoe Moussaka and Murder by Tina Kashian
One look at this cover and I couldn’t ask the author for an ARC fast enough! What can I say? I’m a sucker for adorable kitties and sandy beaches! This is my first foray into the Kebob Kitchen mystery series, and it won’t be my last. Admittedly, I’m not a big hummus girl, but I did love the family-run restaurant setting nestled in the quaint little Ocean Crest village. There’s a hodgepodge of gossipy townsfolk, a mischievous little cat, touristy storefronts and lots of Christmassy activities. It’s anyone’s guess who drowned the mean-spirited caterer during the Polar Bear Plunge (BRRRRR!), and it’s up to Lucy and BFF to put the right person behind bars! Solving the murder was fun, butt I most enjoyed the festivities –from the holiday homes trolley tour to the town Christmas tree lighting. Living in Texas, I’m unfamiliar with the sights and sounds of the Jersey Shore, but it sure sounds like a fun place to visit during the holiday season
A Merry Murder by Kate Kingsbury
Oh how I love spending Christmas at the Pennyfoot Hotel! Every book is the same, but yet it’s still such a delight to spend the holidays at the stately, snow-covered mansion with a murderer afoot! That’s right, this grand hotel is a popular destination for holiday revelers, Christmas carolers and fiendish killers! As per usual, the upstairs/downstairs cast of characters are preparing for the all the annual things, including the dreaded Christmas concert that inevitably results in disaster and tears. As expected the “Christmas Curse” rears its ugly head when the head housemaid finds a random dead guy in the basement with a scarf wrapped around his neck. It’s up to Cecily the woman-of-the house to do all the detective work to put the right person behind bars….again. Seriously, the investigators in theses books are just as worthless as Cecily’s husband. If you’re new to this series, you’re in for a treat, especially if you’re a fan of Downton Abbey. For me, this was more of the same, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Overall, a quality Chrsitmassy read for cozy mystery fans!
Six Cats a Slayin’ by Miranda James
I really wanted to like this book, especially since the main character is a big-time cat lover/rescuer, but sadly I could not connect with Charlie or any other character in this story. Even Diesel the cat seemed strange and serious to me. Charlie is nice enough and he’s clearly a very devoted family man, but he needs to lighten up and crack a few jokes. On the bright side, the mystery proved to be a real puzzler, and i did not see that big reveal coming! Also, Charlie nurses a whole box of kittens back to good health, so that’s a plus. He had quite the busy holiday season with a litter of hungry kittens, a family mental health crisis, and never-ending holiday chores. On top of all that, he has to single-handedly solve the murder of his overly flirtatious next-door neighbor. Boy, the holidays sure can be rough. Overall, this might be worth a read for the older folks who enjoy slow-moving mysteries with senior citizen sleuths. This series just isn’t for me.
Apple Cider Slaying by Julie Ann Lindsey
Nothing says Christmas-in-July like a steaming cuppa spiced (in my case, spiked) apple cider! On second thought, let’s just make that a cold hard cider longneck since the heat index is pushing triple digits in this blast furnace we call Texas. That’s why I chose this time of year to transport myself to Blossom Valley, a snowy little hamlet of West Virginia filled with rolling hills of apple orchards, moo cows and rustic ol’ barns. Amidst this tranquil Christmassy backdrop, a murderer lurks—and he (or she?) seems to be targeting Winnie’s struggling apple orchard business. It all begins with a dead body in her apple press, which proved to be most embarrassing while she was giving the local banker a tour of the place in hopes of getting a loan to save the family farm! The plot thickens when her brain-dead granny (sorry, but it’s true), becomes the number one suspect. OK, I have to pause for a moment and admit that her granny needed that jailtime to reflect on her own stupidity for railroading herself with her own naivety. Just because she’s a geriatric, that doesn’t mean she has to have the IQ of an insubordinate toddler. Just sayin! Aside from that minor snafu, the mystery proved to be an entertaining, Christmassy read. If you love formulaic cozies with hunky, mysterious sheriff’s and hapless sleuths, this is for you. Plus there’s two adorable, mischievous kitties involved!