Hey hey my Cozy Companions! I hope that you are having an AMAZING day! I am super glad that April is over. I don’t know about you guys, but April was an extremely hard month for me. I couldn’t focus, I couldn’t get motivated, I just needed May to start so that I felt like the slate was clean! I read a whopping four books this month! Three of which were WONDERFUL! Let me know what you read this month down below or if you’ve read these books and what you thought of them!
A Piece of Cake Mystery Series
The first book that I read this month was a buddy read with Kayla from @literatureads! She is one of the sweetest people I have met from Booktube and Twitter. It was her idea to start this series together!
This book follows Rita Lucero. She is trying to start her life over, but there is one little thing holding her back. Her soon-to-be ex-husband refuses to sign the divorce papers even though he is the one that left her.
Rita hops on a plan from Arizona and flies to New Orleans willing to camp out in his reception area of his bakery until he signs the papers. This quick trip leaves Rita with the dead body of her ex-husband, a black lined bakery, and maybe becoming the next murder victim.
This was a really fun book to read. I loved the characters, the plot ran smoothly, and the whodunit was very well done. Overall this book has made me want to continue the series!
A Spice Shop Mystery Series
This book was April’s Cozy Mystery Bookclub Pick! This was such a fun series to start! If you want the complete book talk with the bookclub click here!
Pepper Reece is finally happy with her life. She left her cheating husband, left a well-paying job, and bought up the local Spice Shop in the heart of Seattle’s Pike Place Market!
The only thing Pepper has to worry about is getting her newest designs done for the shop. Should she stick with the old design that is true and loved? Or should she strike out on her own and put more of herself into the design of her new shop?
These thoughts are being put on hold however when a presumed homeless man is found dead in the front of Pepper’s shop with a paper cup with her logo on it near the body. The police show up, including her bike riding cop ex-husband.
Chaos ensues when one of Pepper’s employees is arrested for the murder of the unknown man. Will Pepper be able to keep her store afloat, find out who the mysterious man is, and save her coworker from prison? You’ll just have to read to find out!
The next book that I read in April was “Then She War Gone” by Lisa Jewell. I really thought that this book was going to be like The Broken Girls, by Simone St. James.
Boy was I wrong. This book was not to my taste at all. I rated it a 2/5 stars on Goodreads. I actually can’t wait until I unhaul this book.
I really thought that this was going to have a better mystery, a better plot, and more character development.
Ellie Mack is the perfect child. Perfect grades. Gorgeous. Everything was coming her way. Until she goes missing. The police believe that she has runaway.
This story is broken up into multiple points of view, which is very confusing as you are reading. You follow Laurel, Ellie’s mother, Ellie, and others. I don’t want to give away too much information or it will spoil the book for you.
There are many parts in this book that were triggers for me and made me feel really uncomfortable. I got this book through my Book of The Month Club pick. This is something that I will not be re-reading again.
The final book that I read in April was You Are A Badass! How to Stop Doubting You Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life, by Jen Sincero.
As I stated at the beginning of this blog, I had a pretty rough month in April. I live in Oklahoma and am a teacher. There was a walkout for two weeks due to the fight for more funding in our classrooms and into education. I won’t get into politics with anyone, just know that children are my heart and I want the best for them!
You would think that with two weeks off that I would have devoured as many books as possible. I would have thought so too. That however wasn’t the case. I was broken-hearted, I believe. I couldn’t find the energy to read or to do much of anything.
I went and protested quite a few times during the walkout, twice in Oklahoma City. But I couldn’t bring myself to do much of anything. I needed to get out of this funk. I wanted to read a book that would help bounce me back!
This is when I saw this bright yellow cover that made me smile. Especially with its quirky and out of the norm title! I laughed and couldn’t stop smiling, so I put the book in the Amazon cart with The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**K, which I am currently reading.
This book really helped me see everything going on in the world in a different way. I needed to let myself become better. I needed to stop holding myself back. If you really want to see my reaction on this mind-blowing book watch this video!
So, that was my reading month for April. It wasn’t as extensive as the first three months of 2018, but I am still proud of everything that I read. All of them, good or bad, helped shape me into my thoughts of today.
I hope that you have an amazing reading month in May! What are you planning on reading in May? I’m horrible at TBRs! Haha!
Does anyone else sign up for book boxes?! Page Habit. Owl Crate. Fairy Loot. There are so many different types of book boxes out there! SO MANY! How do you know which one to pick!?! Are you going to LOVE everything that comes in the box!?!
I have been so overwhelmed when it comes to trying to pick the perfect book box. I get frustrated when I get a box and I am not going to read the book. This got me thinking. What book box would I create?! What goodies would I put in the box!?! What would be MY box’s theme?
The idea of creating a book box is super exciting! It’s creating a whole reading experience for the customers. So, I thought, why not make a tag based on Creating Your Own Book Box!?! So, without further ado, let’s get into this!
Question 1: What would your genre be?
I know that a lot of boxes surround themselves in YA, new releases, and may even have different box genres available. So, what would make your stand out among the rest? I personally would chose the sub-genre Cozy Mysteries! But not just new releases, because who likes to start in the middle of a series!? Not me! I would make sure that every month had a different 1st Cozy of the Series!
Question 2: What would your theme be?
A lot of book boxes have themes for every month. A fantasy theme. A Harry Pottery theme. You name it! What would your theme be every month? Would it be the same or different every month?
I personally would change my theme every month to go with the theme of the cozy mystery! There are so many different types of themes in Cozy Mysteries that one could NEVER get bored. If you ask me! There are desert mysteries, spice mysteries, sewing mysteries, magic mysteries. You name it, there is probably a mystery for it!
Questions 3: What items would your put in your box?
With so many boxes out there and so many bookish goodies the sky is the limit when it comes to filling your box up with amazing goodies! Some companies put book marks, stickers, buttons, and even socks!
I would personally put 3-5 items in the box that revolve around the book its self! If it is a baking book I might put a homemade recipe card in there! I might put a sweet candle that is based off of a scent in the book! Maybe in coffee or tea to enhance the experience!
Question 4: What would set your box out in front of the rest?
You need to have something that would make your box shine brighter then the others! For example, Page Habit has their author’s annotate their books! Which is super cool! Once Upon a Book Box has the customer open up presents at certain pages in the book! I love this idea!
For me, I would want to make my box a retreat. I would want my readers to feel immersed in the story. In the town. Reading is about escaping the world around you sometimes. This box would do that.
The items in the box would be hand picked for the series. It would elevate the senses and make the readers feel as though they are really in the world. Their might be some beautiful hand made yarn for a knitting series with instructions on how to make a scarf. It would be a whole experience!
Question 5: Where would you get the goodies for your box?
There are so many creative people in the world that there is an endless supply of artists, crafters, and the like to pull from. I know that I would personally reach out to Etsy creators, creative people in my life, and even makes things at home that would go into the box.
This would be a group project! Something that would be fun and inspiring to others! I think that this would be a lot of fun to create!
Question 6: What would be the cost and how often?
We all know that book boxes run the gambit of prices. I’ve seen some as low as $10 a month (plus shipping) to $60 for quarterly boxes. What would you want to do for your box?
For me, personally, I would want my box to be between $25-35 a month plus shipping and handling. I want their to be quality products in the boxes. I wouldn’t just pick random things that fall apart when you get them. Or teas that you could buy from Target or Walmart. This would be an Escapism box. A box that should take you out of your world.
Now, I personally have done research, but still not enough to understand how making a box in the real world would cost or how hard it would be for wholesale. I think that I would give my subscribers a choice. They could get a box monthly or quarterly. For the quarterly box I might put two or three cozies in the box with the same theme. It would be more expensive since it would have more goodies!
BONUS Question: Make an example of a book box you would create!
Take one of your absolute favorite books that you would want to create a box for and do it! Show it off! Take pictures and tag me in them! Make this video and tag me! I want to see all of your imaginations soar!
And that is the end of the Create Your Own Book Box tag! I hope that you enjoyed this! I had a lot of fun creating it! It has really got me thinking about creating my own Cozy Mystery Box! Wooooo!
I have recently revamped my Cozy Mystery Rating System. There are just some things that are required when there is a Cozy being read. I have created this Rating System, if you will. It consists of five main categories: Characters, The Whodunit, Relationships, Series, and Punniness. Each of these are rated with 1-4 Cleo The Cat’s, as shown below, and then the total is averaged!
Why did I choose Cleo The Cat, you ask? Well, for one, I do have a cat named Cleo. She is extremely feisty, curious, and highly photogenic. It helps that A LOT of Cozies have fur children in the series. I thought that it would be fun to use Cleo as the mascot.
I mean look at how cute that kitty cat is!!! How can you not want to rate with her?! The only thing that would make her cuter is if she had a bow!
Characters is the first category that I rate. If the main protagonist isn’t likable I don’t care how much potential the story has, I can’t get into it. I have to feel close to the characters, like they can be my friends.
The Whodunit is the next category. Was the author actually able to fool me to a reasonable degree on who the antagonist/killer was? If they were they would get 4 Cleo’s. For how many mysteries have read it is sometimes hard for an author to trick me or lead me astray. I love it when they can!
Relationships is the third category that I rate. This is the relationship or romance that is within the story line. I love the secondary characters just as much or sometimes more than the main character. If there are not well written and drawn out relationships within the series then it is not worth reading to me.
Series is the fourth category. There are two different ways that I rate with this. If it is the first book in the series than I would rate this as whether or not I am going to want to continue with the series. If I am in the middle of the series I will rate it to the degree in which the series is progressing. Is it getting better? Are the characters growing?
Punniness is the last category. I know, I know, Punniness technically isn’t a word. BUT it is a word to me. One of the reasons why I picked up Cozies in the first place are the amazing titles. Curiosity Thrilled the Cat?! Meet Your Baker?! A Killer Read?!? Yes, this is amazing. I am buying a book by its cover and title. You do too. Don’t tell me you don’t. I want to see how fun and funny a series is.
Look below at a visual for the Cozy Mystery Rating System!
Oh my goodness guys! I have no idea how I did this! reading 11 books in one month. I feel like I am not the same person! I don’t know if I even read that many last year in one month! Whew! I just couldn’t help it! When I find a series I devour it. I read through them all. I am super excited to see what next month brings!!
If you have not picked up the Port Dandy series by London Lovett you are missing out! I read books 1-4 in about 4 or 5 days. I just ate them up! We are following Pink and her new flower shop in Port Danby. She has moved from the big city to the small town of Port Danby to start life anew after finding out that her fiance was cheating on her. She finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation and finds that her inane sense of smell helps break the case right open!
In the second book, Carnation & Chaos, Pink is super excited that she is going to be helping set up the Third Annual Food Fair! This is going to be bringing big business to the town. Everyone on main street is getting their shops ready when a very famous and not well liked blogger is found killed in her hotel. Pink helps Detective James Briggs (YUM!) by using her keen sense of smell to help figure out the whodunit! This was such a fun read. Lovett has me rolling when it comes to the relationship between Pink and her crow. I love it! I am also loving the relationship building between Pink and James. I am totally Team James. I also NEED to know what happened at the mansion so many years ago!
In the third book, Roses & Revenge, Pink is excited for the annual Harbor Holiday Lights Flotilla. She is excited to see how the harbor is lit up for the holidays! Hot cocoa, a good book, and cuddling with her pet crow are somethings that are on her to-do list. However, when the captain of a boat is found strangled to death on the pier, Pink sticks her nose into Detective James’ business in trying to figure out who killed the man!
This is such a fun book! I love how Pink tells her best friend whats-what. That she needs to stop being so selfish and that she needs to get over herself. She isn’t going to just sit there and not say what needs to be said!
I also love how there is a mystery inside a mystery with this series. While you’re trying to figure out the main murder, Pink is still trying to figure out what happened at the mansion!
There is love in the air in Port Danby! Pink has a new assistant who is taking care of the shop while she is trying to figure out what happened at the Mansion and Pink’s past is also rearing its ugly head when Georgio’s Perfume Company comes to Port Danby for a photoshoot for their newest perfume line.
This of course was the company that Pink used to work for and she is faced with running into her ex-fiance.
Who is going to be Pinks Valentine? James? Dash? Her ex? She doesn’t have time to contemplate this when a someone with the company is found killed in their trailer and Pink’s ex is the primary suspect.
Torn with helping Detective James figure out what happened and who did it and helping her friends, Pink is trying to come to the terms that someone she knows is a killer.
Stroke of Death is the third book in the Scarlet Cove series by Agatha Frost and Evelyn Amber. It follows retiree Liz Jones. She has moved to Scarlet Cove to live out the rest of her life painting and running her craft store.
Not only is she running her business but she is running an Art Group after hours where people from around the town can come and be taught painting, gossip, and relax after a long day.
The local gallery’s tyrannical manager Katelyn Monroe is on vacation so Liz’s best friend Nancy suggests taking their paintings to the gallery for a one night show. It is extremely popular until Katelyn shows up early unannounced, throws a hissy-fit, rips Liz’s painting, and is found murdered in her office.
Liz did not expect to find herself wrapped up in another murder. It gets a little too personal when she has to suspect her best friend and everyone in the art club. This was a fun, short, and easy cozy mystery to read. It isn’t as in depth as I would have wanted but it was a great series to read on Kindle Unlimited.
Lending A Paw was the Cozy Mystery Bookclub book pick for the month of February! It was a super super cute book. It is about the grand sailing of the Bookmobile for the local library in Chilson, Michigan. Librarian Minnie is super nervous and excited to start out on this amazing trip of spreading literacy to hard to reach places.
The first day went pretty well, even though Eddie, Minnie’s cat tagged along, books were checked out, people left happy, and Minnie was ready to call it a day. When Eddie decides, on the last stop, to run out of the van and into a run down house. Minnie follows and finds a man that she knows killed.
She wants to leave this crime in the hands of the professionals but when she realizes that they are not following the right clues she has to direct them to the correct suspect. This was a very cute series. I enjoyed it very much and I will be trying out the others in the series. Hopefully the series gets even better as they go on.
This was such a wonderful and refreshing read! This is the first in the Rose City Mystery series by Kate Dyer-Seeley (aka Ellie Alexander). One of my absolutely FAVORITE Cozy Mystery authors!
Britta has finally had it with her husband. She is tired of being the only one with a job. The only one that pays bills or goes grocery shopping. She realizes that she is done with this life when she comes home to find flowers on her kitchen counter. Sweet! You think. How thoughtful. Except these weren’t for her. They were from her husband. However they were for another woman.
Britta has decided to move back home to help her Aunt Elin run her amazing flower shop, Blooma. The store is expanding and Elin needs all of Britta’s help with her amazing artistic eye and way with flowers.
Britta realizes she has been away from home too long when she finds that even though she and her aunt had weekly phone calls that Elin was hiding things from her. Like a rivalry with another florist. Someone trying to buy out the shop. And finally when a body is found inside Blooma Britta realizes that she needs to find out what happened.
I truly loved this book. I love how well Kate/Elli writes her characters. They truly do feel like family. They have me laughing, cry, and getting angry with them. I adore how much the author puts herself into everyone of her series.
*This was sent to me as an Advanced Reader Copy for a free review.
I’m not going to talk too much about these, other than the fact that they were adorable. I loved seeing the different points of view to my favorite Disney story. It was so amazing to see what the Beast thought while watching them fall in love. Or how Belle was really starting to see inside of the Beast’s heart. I just loved it. It was extremely nostalgic for me. The art is absolutely breathtaking and I even loved the little comics in between the chapters. It was wonderful. I most definitely recommend them! I rated them both 5 stars.
This is the first in the Pacific Northwest Mystery series by Kate Dyer-Seeley/Ellie Alexander. Again, like I said before she is one of my favorite authors. Aaron actually bought me the first four in the series for Christmas and I am so excited that I finally got around to reading it. It was so worth it!
In this series we are following Meg, a new graduated Journalism major. She has had an extremely rough year. Before she graduated her father was found killed in a hit and run.
She was couch ridden for months on her best friend’s couch.
She was having trouble finding a job since newspapers are shutting down left and right. She had no idea what she was going to do with her life. Until she ran into Greg, the owner of Northwest Extreme an outdoors magazine.
Lying her butt off about being athletic Meg gets a job at the magazine. She is given her very first assignment following around the reality show that revolves around climbing the most death defying places for the chance to win a million dollars. She has no clue what she has gotten herself into. She is petrified of heights. It doesn’t help that when she fakes a fall she witnesses one of the competitors in the show falling to their death.
Journalism runs in Meg’s bones. Her dad was considered one of the best. When Meg smells that this death wasn’t an accident, she is like a dog with a bone hide. She can’t let go. She has to figure out who did it, even if she finds herself hanging on for her life.
I truly love this series. Meg is in her early twenties and has a lot to learn. Sometimes I want to smack her in the head and tell her what she should be doing but she has been growing during the series. (I am currently on the third novel).
This book was AMAZING! This is the second book in the Pacific Northwest Mystery series. I actually did my first Cozy Vlogs while reading this book. Here is Part One and Part Two.
Meg still isn’t very athletic, but she is an amazing writer. Greg has decided that he is going to keep her. It helps that she is amazing with social media and had tripled the following for the magazine. It has been a crazy ride. Something that I truly love about this series is the fact that there is a mystery inside of a mystery. We find out that Meg’s Dad’s death might not have been an accident. So while Meg is trying to figure what’s going on there she has volunteered herself to follow some mountain men, the Ridge Rangers, who are starting a new business helping people reach the summit in Oregon.
There seems to be some fighting amongst the Ridge Rangers and the man who is funding the business. That happens sometimes, but what doesn’t happen is someone getting shot and killed outside in a winter storm. Meg knows that she needs to back away from this because of the last murder she was caught in the middle of. But when one of her friends is considered a suspect she finds herself diving into the mystery, once again.
This one had me on the edge of my seat and I have NO IDEA who the killer was. This is rare for me because I usually know. I loved this book very much!
Those are the books that I read in February of 2018! Let me know if you are planning on getting any of these!!
Hey hey everyone! I hope you all are curled up where you love to read, a glass of wine or cup of tea/coffee next to you, and maybe a furchild curled up at your feet while you are reading this blog. Here in Oklahoma it is currently 26˚F or -3˚C. In some places that isn’t too cold, but here it is freezing. This is the perfect time to wrap myself in my coziest blanket into a burrito and read. As I was sitting here on my couch I started thinking about cozies, as I do, and I wanted to start some Top 5 content for you. Without further ado…
The most popular topic was the best cozy mysteries for beginners. There are so many Cozy Mysteries out in the subgenre that it can be overwhelming on what book to choose, what theme, what type of protagonist, and so much more. I am going to give you my top five from different themes.
As most of you know this is actually the Cozy Mystery Club’s January pick for the Bookclub this month. This is for a very good reason!
The Bakeshop Mystery series is a wonderful series to start on if you haven’t read a Cozy before. The characters are complex, have their own backgrounds, and are extremely relatable.
Reading this series you don’t feel as though you are missing anything. Everyone has eaten a baked good, made cupcakes, or have seen them in movies. It is something that is common and most of the time brings happy thoughts to a person.
The first book has Juliet Capshaw coming home from her life as a head pastry chef with a broken heart. You feel for Jules and how she is licking her wounds and starting back home.
She has moved home to one of the most breathtaking small towns I have ever seen, Ashland, Oregon. The Oregon Shakespeare Festival is starting to bring in lots of visitors and that means more customers for Torte, Jules’ family bakery ran by her mom, Helen.
One of Torte’s customers and newest board member for the festival is found dead. Jules’ ex-flame Thomas is the investigator on the murder. It seems that even though the customer is dead, the love between Thomas and Jules might not be.
*self promo plug* If you want to join us for the Live Stream on “Why We Love Cozies” on January 17th @ 7pm CST that would be amazing! We are also having a wrap up on Meet Your Baker on January 31st @ 7pm CST -link coming-
Theme: Magical Cats/Librarian
This is probably one of my absolute favorite cat series. One thing you will probably notice if you go looking into the Cozy Mystery section of a bookstore is that there are a lot of furchildren that follow our protagonists.
I love kitties, if you couldn’t tell by my lovely Tom here. He looks JUST LIKE Hercules on the cover!
Hercules, the stocky tuxedo cat, and Owen, the tabby with a cat-nip addiction are feral cats that Kathleen Paulson found when she moved to the small town Mayville Heights, Minnesota to help remodel and build onto the local library.
Kathleen has left her life and broken heart in Boston. During the Wild Rose Summer Music Festival a murder occurs and Kathleen finds herself as the Prime Suspect. She also finds that her kitty cats are more special then she thought. I mean, I’m pretty sure that walking through walls and becoming invisible aren’t normal traits for felines. Am I riiight?
However off putting it may be to watch her one of her cats walk through a wall, she finds herself depending on their special abilities to help solve the crime and save her new reputation. Isn’t this just purr-fact?
Harlow Cassidy is a special woman. When I mean special, I mean SPECIAL. All of the Cassidy women are special, they possess gifts. Gifts to help others. Harlow Jane Cassidy’s gift you ask? Creating beautifully stunning dresses. Not just aesthetically, but ones that help the owners grant their deepest desires.
When Harlow’s Great-Grandmother passes away and leaves her house to her, Harlow moves home from Manhattan to Bliss,Texas.
She was an extremely popular fashion designer and decides that she is going to turn her Grandmother’s old farmhouse into a custom dressmaking boutique! She feels as though she can feel her Great-Grandmother’s presence in the house with her, the memories are so strong.
One of Harlow’s very first customers is a childhood friend, Josie. She is needed a wedding dress and bride’s maid dresses, and quickly. However, things aren’t starting out like a Happy Ever After.
The bride, Josie’s, boss and maid of honor is found dead outside of the farm house and it looks like the bride-to-be is the prime suspect. It looks like Josie is going to need a lot more from Harlow then the perfect wedding dress, she needs this to be solved.
I love that this series has little elements of magic, ghosts, and a little bit of history mixed into it. If you love reading about powerful strong women, this is the Cozy for you!
This series surrounds the members of the Ashton Corners Mystery Readers and Cheese Straws Society Book Club. Haha! I know, that is a mouth full! That’s what I thought when I read that. But it intrigued me.
Another thing that made me want to read this was the fact that the main character, Lizzie Turner, is a Reading Specialist and LOVES mystery books!
Does that sounds like anyone else?! I am a Digital Learning Specialist and I love Cozies. Erika Chase was pretty much writing this book for me. Am I right? Am I right?!? Whew. Okay, lets get back to it.
Lizzie is part of the ACMRaCSS (yup…) and they are having their very first meeting. A stranger knocks on the door to ask to use the phone of Molly Mathew’s whose southern mansion is the meeting place for the book club.
After making a ruckus and not being a very good guest the stranger leaves. Only to be found killed later with an antique gun that belonged to Molly’s late husband. Of course this makes Molly, the elderly woman, the lead suspect. Lizzie’s high school crush appears to be the police chief in charge of the investigation.
Not only does that make Lizzie even more determined to find out what happened to the strange but a chapters from a mysterious manuscript start showing up in her mailbox. Detailing things about the stranger that was murdered, Molly’s name surfaces in the chapters.
Is Lizzie prepared to find herself in the midst of a REAL mystery or would she rather be reading fiction?
One of my biggest dreams is to own my very own bookstore/cafe. I know, that is most avid readers dream.
Raise your hand if you would love to be paid to read and drink coffee? Yup. Me too. I know it’s more than that, I ran my Nonnie’s shop for ten years, but I still think it would be cool.
Darla Pettistone left Texas and moved to Brooklyn to do just want I want to do. However, she didn’t have to build the bookstore from the ground up. It was left to her by her Great-Aunt Dee. The bookstore came with its very own ornery and stubborn mascot, Hamlet. *He is the most entertaining and deep character of the series…seriously…I love him so much.*
Darla is setting to prove to herself and her family back in Texas that she can run Pettistone’s Fine Books and keep a tight leash on Hamlet all while hosting the stores very first event since her Aunt Dee’s passing.
The hottest bestselling Young Adult author of the moment is coming to Pettistone’s Fine Books for a signing of her new book. Lines for this signing are wrapping around the corners and down the streets even the night before the signing. Fan and protesters alike. This even could bring big business to the new owner. I mean there is no such thing as bad publicity right? Right?!
Unfortunately, the author meets an unsavory end. This is not good for business. Even though it is ruled an accident loyal fans are blaming the bookstore and writing nasty reviews as well as picketing the store. Hamlet, on the other paw, finds a clue that points Darla to the conclusion that the death of the author wasn’t an accident.
Darla fears that the killer is out there watching her every move. “Can the interfering Hamlet point the paw at the culprit without losing one of his own nine lives?”
Well my Cozy Friends, those are the Top 5 Cozies for Beginners! I hope that you enjoyed them. Let me know in the comments if you have read any of these series, you have other suggestions, or if you are going to order them! I would love to talk with you about these amazing series.