Over the last few weeks, I have done several read/listen sessions. These three cozy mysteries were all enjoyable stories and I encourage you to read or listen to any of them. The audiobooks were all provided to me by the publisher upon request. The ebooks were also provided through either Netgalley or Edelweiss. All rating and opinions shared are my own.
Chilled to the Cone by Ellie Alexander, Emily Durante (Narrator)
Published March 16th 2021 by Tantor Audio, December 29, 2020 by St. Martin’s
5 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Chilled to the Cone is the twelfth book in Ellie Alexander’s Bakeshop Mystery series, and it continues to be a great series. In this story, Jules and her mom have an opportunity to launch a pop-up ice cream shop in the Railroad District. They decide it is the perfect time to showcase their cold drinks and ice-cream desserts. Just before opening, Jules and a friend stumble upon a dead body on the railroad tracks. It is the man known as “The Wizard” a homeless street performer who wouldn’t harm anyone. She is also dealing with Carlos being back in town and trying to decide once and for all where their marriage is going. With things happening to and around Torte 2.0, this case comes close to home for Jules.
This is one of my favorite cozy mystery series, and I always look forward to spending some time with Jules and the gang. I always enjoy seeing what Jules gets up to, but I really liked how this book gave us some great experiences in the lives of some of the secondary characters. The mystery is well-written and I enjoyed watching Jules try to juggle everything. There were several suspects, but the culprit was on my list. I was not sure of the motive, but once all was revealed, it made sense to me. This story has an additional plot involving homelessness and mental health issues. Ellie Alexander handled this with sensitivity and understanding, bringing awareness to some serious issues. Definitely a book and series that I continue to recommend. The audiobook was narrated by Emily Durante who once again delivered a great performance. She is the voice of this series and always adds to my enjoyment of the book.
Murder with Clotted Cream (Daisy’s Tea Garden Mystery, #5) by Karen Rose Smith
Published March 30th 2021 by Tantor Audio
Murder with Clotted Cream follows the story of Daisy Swanson and her family as well as adding a mystery to their lives. Daisy and her aunt own Daisy’s Tea Garden in Willow Creek, Pennsylvania. Daisy’s oldest daughter Violet (Vi) is expecting her first child, Jazzy, her other child is still dealing with getting to know her birth mother and family, while Daisy is growing more comfortable in her relationship with Jonas. All seems to be going well, until Daisy finds the body of former actress, Margaret Vaughn on the floor of her pantry while the Tea Room is catering an afternoon tea. When Margaret’s husband asks Daisy to find the murderer, she steps in and begins her own investigation.
I enjoy this series with its well-developed characters, great small-town setting and interesting mysteries. Daisy is a great protagonist. She is hardworking, a wonderful mother, a loyal and caring friend, and a smart sleuth. I like that she doesn’t rush into situations that could put her in danger. Her life situations are real and relatable. The secondary characters in the stories are also developed and realistic. The mystery was interesting and well paced. The investigation was parallel to the normal goings on in the lives of the characters and was well-balanced. There were some red herrings and few twists that kept me from guessing the culprit until just before the reveal. In this installment, Karen Rose Smith touched upon some important issues such as PTSD, postpartum depression and grief, that she handled in a positive and gentle way. This series continues to be one that I look forward to and recommend to other cozy mystery lovers. The audiobook was narrated by C.S.E. Cooney. She has narrated previous books in this series, so I am familiar with her work and I enjoy her performances. Her expression and intonation are well done, adding to the story. She has become the voice of Daisy to me.
Poppy Harmon and the Pillow Talk Killer (A Desert Flowers Mystery #3) by Lee Hollis, Kim Niemi (Narrator)
Published March 30th 2021 by Tantor Audio
5 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Dessert Flowers Mystery series is a lot of fun. Poppy Harmon and her two friends, Iris and Violet are the Desert Flowers Detective Agency. Because no one will hire three, female, seniors to investigate for them, they bring on Matt Flowers, their Remington Steele. (If you don’t get that reference, you will need to google it). They are a hoot and I always enjoy seeing what they get up to while working on a case. In this story, Poppy and Matt find themselves on a film set trying to find a stalker who is infatuated with Danika Delgado, a rising starlet and social media influencer with a large following. To remain undercover, they are both given parts in the production. Unfortunately, Danika ends up dead, smothered in her trailer. This has Poppy very worried that The Pillow Talk Killer from years ago, is back and killing again.
This book and series is packed with great characters. They are all so different, but have such great personalities, quirks and are a great team. I love Matt. He started out as a bit of a heel in book 1, but I like him as much as Poppy now. There are so many suspects in this story that I had no idea who had killed Danika. The twists and the humour kept coming, so not only was I reading quickly to see whodunnit, but to enjoy the story and have some good laughs as well. The showdown was great and gave me the conclusion I was hoping for. If you haven’t read any of the books in this series, you can read this one as a standalone, but I recommend you start at the beginning of this series, because you won’t want to miss any of the Desert Flowers Mysteries. The audiobook was narrated by Kim Niemi. Once again, I enjoyed her performance. I love the voices she gives the characters, especially Iris and her over-the-top acerbic, German accent. Her expression and emotion when performing this story are well done. She is able to voice indignation, anger, sadness and soothing all in a short period. I thoroughly enjoyed this audiobook which I received from the publisher upon request. The rating and opinions shared are my own.