Book Review: A Deadly Inside Scoop

Happy Monday! I’m delighted today to share my review of the recently-released cozy mystery A Deadly Inside Scoop by Abby Collette!

ABOUT THE BOOK

A DEADLY INSIDE SCOOPSERIES: An Ice Cream Parlor Mystery #1
GENRE: Cozy Mystery
PUBLISHER: Berkley Books
RELEASE DATE: May 12, 2020
PAGES: 384

This book kicks off a charming cozy mystery series set in an ice cream shop–with a fabulous cast of quirky characters.

Recent MBA grad Bronwyn Crewse has just taken over her family’s ice cream shop in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, and she’s going back to basics. Win is renovating Crewse Creamery to restore its former glory, and filling the menu with delicious, homemade ice cream flavors—many from her grandmother’s original recipes. But unexpected construction delays mean she misses the summer season, and the shop has a literal cold opening: the day she opens her doors an early first snow descends on the village and keeps the customers away.

To make matters worse, that evening, Win finds a body in the snow, and it turns out the dead man was a grifter with an old feud with the Crewse family. Soon, Win’s father is implicated in his death. It’s not easy to juggle a new-to-her business while solving a crime, but Win is determined to do it. With the help of her quirky best friends and her tight-knit family, she’ll catch the ice cold killer before she has a meltdown…


MY THOUGHTS

I always love starting a new cozy mystery series, particularly if it’s by an author I haven’t read yet. A Deadly Inside Scoop is one of the better series debuts I’ve read recently, and I’m so delighted to have discovered a new-to-me author that I’ll definitely keep following!

Bronwyn “Win” Crewse has a lot at stake as the book begins. She’s putting the final touches on restoring her family’s ice cream parlor (re-opening in the middle of a blizzard) and preparing to follow her beloved late grandmother’s footsteps, under the loving watchful eye of her Pop-Pop and with the help of her friends & family. Win is instantly likable, if a bit scattered (which is excusable, given how much she’s trying to juggle at the moment. Restart a community favorite business, carry on a family legacy, solve a murder… you know, the usual lol). Her ice cream flavors sound really yummy & I’m looking forward to seeing what she comes up – and how she uses her grandmother’s cherished recipes – as the seasons & series progress.

Win comes from a tight-knit family who make up the majority of the 0.4 % African American population of their tiny town just outside Cleveland, and I loved the diverse characters that make up the supporting cast as well. (Her Pop-Pop has my heart!) Including Win’s two best friends – Riya (half-Sicilian & half-Indian) & Maisie (whose Jewish grandmother owns & operates the town’s Chinese restaurant). Riya is the hotheaded protector; Maisie is the impetuous free spirit. And while we don’t spend much time with Riya in this book, the trio of friends is a formidable force to be sure.

The mystery is nicely layered and moves at a steady pace throughout the story. Poor Win and Maisie aren’t the most seasoned of investigators, opting for a rather madcap hodgepodge of ideas and stakeouts and interrogations, but it’s highly entertaining. A host of suspects cross their paths, along with some motives that range from fairly weak to pretty strong. You sorta get the feeling that, if Win and her crew had just been patient, Detective Beverley would have figured it out before too much longer but goodness it would have been a lot less fun!

Bottom Line: A Deadly Inside Scoop is a fun start to a new series with diverse characters, a strong sense of family & community, and – of course – yummy ice cream! Win is a heroine readers will quickly embrace, and her relatable struggles make her a sympathetic character. Best friend Maisie is the Lucy to Win’s Ethel – if that infamous comedic duo had also solved crimes – and, while you’re tempted to groan at her ideas, her infectious personality & loyalty to Win keeps her likable too. I loved the ethnic & age diversity of this small community & the unique perspective each brought to the book. A well-plotted mystery rounds out the mix, and I’m ready for another visit with the Crewse family & their ice cream parlor!

Reviewer’s note: Readers may want to be aware that there is some casual usage of “God” in this book. It is otherwise a clean book & free from curse words.

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher.
All views expressed are only my honest opinion.
This review originally appeared on Reading Is My SuperPower

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

ABBY VANDIVERWall Street Journal Bestselling Author Abby Collette loves a good mystery. Born and raised in Cleveland, it’s even a mystery to her why she has yet to move to a warmer place. Author of the two Southern cozy mystery series Logan Dickerson Mysteries featuring a second-generation archaeologist and a nonagenarian who is always digging up trouble, and the Romaine Wilder Mysteries, set in East Texas, it pairs a medical examiner and her feisty auntie who owns a funeral home and is always ready to solve a whodunnit. Abby spends her time writing, facilitating writing workshops at local libraries and spending time with her grandchildren, each of which are her favorite.

website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


What about you?
What makes you want to read A Deadly Inside Scoop?
What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream?

Book Review: Bookmarked for Murder

Happy Friday, friends!

Today I’m delighted to bring you my review of a cozy mystery by author V.M. Burns! Bookmarked for Murder is book #5 in her Mystery Bookshop series, which is considered a ‘clean read’ in the trusty cozy mystery formula of no excessive profanity and nothing explicit. Plus, I mean, it’s set in a BOOKSTORE so how can you go wrong? 😉

Bonus points: it can easily be read as a standalone

ABOUT THE BOOK

bookmarked for murderAmateur sleuth Samantha Washington’s shopping trip to Chicago takes a deadly detour when a man is murdered on her bus . . .

After some post-Christmas retail therapy in the Windy City, mystery bookshop owner and historical whodunit novelist Sam Washington is returning home to North Harbor, Michigan, on a chartered bus. With Nana Jo and her gal pals Irma, Dorothy, and Ruby Mae from Shady Acres Retirement Village along for the ride, it’s a lively trip. But one passenger is not so lively—a gentleman Irma befriended is found dead in his seat after an unscheduled stop. The ladies immediately shift gears to find out who punched his ticket, while Sam slips into the driver’s seat to make sure Nana Jo and her crew steer clear of fatal conclusions . . .

PURCHASE: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N


MY THOUGHTS

The Mystery Bookshop series is quickly becoming one of my fave cozy series, and the latest installment – Bookmarked for Murder – reminds me why. Witty, sweet, clean, and smartly written, it’s also lots of fun!

The delightful cast of characters is back and just as quirky as ever (Irma, I’m looking at you…), and they are definitely a big part of what makes the book so entertaining and endearing. I love Nana Jo & her Shady Acres gang of senior sleuths (picture a sort of Golden Girls ensemble cast), and Samantha is a strong protagonist that readers can easily relate to. These characters just make me smile as I get to know them, and add in the mystery bookstore setting & I’m a happy reader.

The mystery in Bookmarked for Murder is full of twists and turns and red herrings, as any good cozy should be. How it comes about is rather unique right from the beginning & that makes investigating it a little trickier than normal for Sam. There’s also an adorable little girl with a compelling story who will capture your emotion, adding an extra layer of heart to the plot.

As always, I love the mystery within a mystery that shows up when Sam works on her historical cozy mystery that I enjoy just as much as the current timeline’s story. It’s clear Burns has versatile talent, and this element to the story elevates this series a notch above other cozies. Readers get two-in-one, after all!

Bottom Line: Bookmarked for Murder thoroughly entertains and holds readers’ interest from beginning to end. The mystery itself is well-crafted and layered, and the characters are as well. Sam & Nana Jo & the Shady Acres sleuths are lots of fun, and I love the close community of family and friends that Sam has established around her mystery bookshop. You can’t go wrong with this series, and Bookmarked for Murder is even better than the last!

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.
All views expressed are only my honest opinion.
This review first appeared on Reading Is My SuperPower

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

VM Burns picV.M. Burns was born in Northwestern Indiana and spent many years in Southwestern Michigan on the Lake Michigan shoreline. She is a lover of dogs, British historic cozies, and scones with clotted cream. After many years in the Midwest, she went in search of milder winters and currently lives in Eastern Tennessee with her poodles. Her debut novel, The Plot is Murder was nominated for a 2017 Agatha Award for Best First Novel. Valerie is a member of Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and a lifetime member of  Sisters in Crime. Readers can learn more by visiting her website at vmburns.com

CONNECT: website | Facebook | Twitter


Do you like cozy mysteries?
If you could run a bookstore, what genre would you focus on?

Book Spotlight: Some Of My Favorite Diverse Reads (Part 1)

Happy Wednesday, friends!

Today, I want to look at more than one book – in fact, several of my favorite diverse reads, specifically with ethnically diverse characters & blended cultures. But there’s …. uh… a lot… so I’m breaking this into more than one post 😀

First up – visit the Maple Run series by Toni Shiloh for mouthwatering food, compelling characters and touching romance!

buyinglove

Still hungry after visiting Maple Run? Hungry for a good cozy mystery? Definitely check out the Noodle Shop Mysteries by Vivien Chien.

death by dumpling

And if you’re still hungry… Plan a trip to the Kebab Kitchen Mysteries by Tina Kashian

Hummus and Homicide - Final Cover

I love Sixty Acres and a Bride by Regina Jennings, a retelling of the biblical story of Ruth & Naomi, with a young Mexican widow learning to navigate the ways of the American West.

sixtyacresandabride

And prepare to fall in love with Red Shirt in Courting Morrow Little by Laura Frantz!

courting morrow little

Speaking of falling in love… Karim. The Esther Paradigm (and swoony Karim) by Sarah Monzon is bravely unique to Christian fiction but it is here ‘for such a time as this’.

theestherparadigm

Millie may only have a supporting role in The Memoir of Johnny Devine by Camille Eide, but I adore her character. Not to mention the unforgettable side plot involving racial oppression and how it directly affects her.

the memoir of johnny devine new

What about you? Have you read any of these diverse reads yet? (Stay tuned for the rest of my list next week!