Canceled plans, social distancing, and masks are a regular part of our lives nowadays. Can we all just give a huge round of applause to the authors, editors, and publishers out there who have kept the books coming even as the world has seemingly shut down? In fact, I’m supposed to be just returning from an Alaskan cruise right now, sharing pictures and memories of what was to be a trip to rival my outstanding trip several years back to Ireland. Thankfully, there are a plethora of phenomenal books out there to keep me entertained (and keep my mind off that missed Alaskan cruise LOL!).
Daryl Wood Gerber adds a dash of the paranormal to the cozy mystery, A SPRINKLING OF MURDER, where readers enter a world where fairies exist and they have to complete certain goals to earn their wings. Courtney Kelly loves sharing her belief in the world of fairies with others through her store, Open Your Imagination, where she teaches and sells various items to help with landscaping, including how to design fairy gardens. Her own personal fairy, Fiona, is visible to those who are willing to believe. Can Courtney and Fiona uncover a murderer? Readers will delight in the whimsical fairy gardens and peaceful setting of Open Your Imagination, wanting to visit again and again.
MARSHMALLOW MALICE by Amanda Flower doesn’t have any paranormal elements, but it does feature Jethro, an emotional support pig serving as a ring bearer. Reverend Simon Brook and Juliet Brody are finally getting married when disaster strikes their wedding. First, Juliet has a hairdo fiasco but then now a young woman crashes the wedding to rant at Reverend Brook, calling him a traitor. Things couldn’t possibly get worse. . . until a dead body threatens Juliet’s happiness. Detective Aiden Brody is determined to solve the murder and make his mom happy, while his girlfriend and amateur sleuth/full-time chocolatier Bailey King assists. Jethro is hysterical and his antics might even top those of Puff, the rabbit from the last book, but oh the marshmallow scene, in particular, is classic! You do not want to miss MARSHMALLOW MALICE if you want a phenomenal story with a ton of laughs.
And speaking of laughs, MURDER WITH HONEY HAM BISCUITS by A.L. Herbert features one of my favorite snarky characters, Wavonne. Halia Watkins, owner of Mahalia’s Sweet Tea, is invited to help judge for the Elite Chef competition. Of course, her cousin and employee, Wavonne, is determined to tag along. The stakes are high, but who wanted it badly enough for murder? The wisecracking and downright outrageous antics of Wavonne kept me in stitches from laughing so hard! Wavonne says exactly what is on her mind and I love her confidence in who she is. She’s the perfect complement to the far more down-to-earth Halia. I can’t rave enough about MURDER WITH HONEY HAM BISCUITS!
KILLER CHARDONNAY is not what Parker Valentine dreamed to be pouring at the opening of her winery. Kate Lansing introduces us to Parker and her Vino Valentine on her opening day. . . and the day that an infamous wine critic drops dead in her store. Kate Lansing has created a delightful cast of characters coupled with some scrumptious sounding wines and foods. Parker is a great heroine and I absolutely adore her brother, Liam. KILLER CHARDONNAY is a spectacular first book in Lansing’s new Colorado Wine Mystery series, and, begging your pardon for the pun, a killer start!
Harper Kincaid’s TO KILL A MOCKING GIRL introduces us to a socially-conscious bookbinder, Quinn Caine, and her dog, RBG (Ruff Barker Ginsburg). Quinn is dropping off dog food donations for the Guinefort House when she runs into high school mean girl, Tricia Pemberley. Tricia is quick to show off her engagement ring, particularly since she’s engaged to Quinn’s ex-boyfriend, Scott. Quinn could care less as she regretted dating Scott almost as soon as they became a couple all those years ago, but not everyone believes she’s over Scott. Worse yet, Quinn later finds Tricia’s dead body in the middle of the night and now she’s a suspect in Tricia’s murder. Can Quinn convince Detective Aiden Harrington that she’s innocent? Quinn is just a flat out fun and very open and caring character. However, it is the dogs who steal the show in TO KILL A MOCKING GIRL. Who didn’t love RBG right from the very beginning when she didn’t like Tricia? And no spoilers, but plenty of good dog scenes ahead as Harper Kincaid showcases how wonderful dogs can be at protecting and helping others.
What are some great cozy mysteries you’re reading right now?
For more of Debbie’s reviews and book recommendations, please visit her Reviewer page on FreshFiction.com!