The 12 Days of Cozmas | TBR

A Cozy, “Christmassy” Read-a-Thon

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

The 12 Days of Cozmas is a cozy-centric read-a-thon created by Booktubers, Robyn (The Driftless Reader) and Courtny (@Courtagonist). This year Angela (@writerahart) is joining in on the fun as a host. The 12 Days of Cozmas will run from Saturday, December 1 to Wednesday, December 12, 2018.

The 12 Days of Cozmas is centered around all things cozy, comforting, sweet, and more! The read-a-thon hosts have arranged a whole host of activities including photo challenges, reading sprints, shared reading, and others to get you in the holiday spirit.

While the 12 Days of Cozmas originated with the cozy mystery genre, readers who enjoy more wholesome, gentle reads may also be interested in joining in. That isn’t to say however, that readers are limited in their selection. It’s a read-a-thon–choose what you want to read and have fun!

Details regarding the 12 Days of Cozmas and all corresponding activities can be found across social media:

Twitter: @12daysofcozmas

Instagram: @12daysofcozmas

YouTube: Courtagonist, The Driftless Reader, and Books Are My Hart

What I Plan on Reading

The 12 Days of Cozmas includes twelve unique challenges to help guide readers in their selections. After a considerable amount of planning (there are just so many cozies waiting to be read!), I settled on the following 5 books to read over the course of the twelve-day event.

 

Candy Cane Murder

Joanne Fluke, Laura Levine, and Leslie Meier

Candy Cane Murder is the group book selection featuring three novella-length mysteries by best-selling authors–Fluke, Levine, and Meier. 

This collection of stories meets challenges:

Sweets for Santa: Read a book with baking or recipes in it. Recreate a recipe (or purchase one) from the story.

I believe that each of the stories in this collection feature some sort of baked good, and there are several recipes throughout the text.

Feliz Navidad: Read a book featuring diverse characters and/or situations.

Admittedly, I may be stretching this challenge but I’m considering this title to feature diverse situations, as there are three distinct stories, characters, and authors.

Dashing Through the Snow

Debbie Macomber

Dashing Through the Snow is a holiday romance promising to deliver warmth, humour, love, and a dash of adventure. Two strangers–Ashley and Dashiell–decide to share a rental car to travel from California to Seattle in time for Christmas and unexpectedly discover a romantic spark lingering between them.

Dashing Through the Snow meets:

Mistletoe & Holly: Read a book that features a romantic relationship.

Done! Macomber’s holiday novel is a “trapped in the same space” romance novel.

Jingle Bells: Read a book that features a lot of travelling.

Considering that this challenge and the title of Macomber’s novel stem from the same carol, this challenge is covered! Also, the premise of the story is the pair travelling together. #Win.

Frosty the Snowman: Read a book with an amazing sidekick/ pet/ friend

The blurb tells me that Ashley and Dash will rescue an abandoned puppy…awwww!

Joy to the World: Recommend a book that would brighten someone’s day.

While I have yet to read the story, Macomber is a big-name author in the gentle reads category. I have a feeling that this one will be a “sure bet” for readers who enjoy wholesome and heart-warming stories.

Mistletoe Murder

Leslie Meier

First in the Lucy Stone series, Mistletoe Murder (1991) kicks off one of the longest-running cozy mystery series published to date. Meier’s amateur sleuth has been baking and uncovering small-town secrets for over 27 years (IRL). This is a series with serious staying power that I cannot wait to curl up with.

Challenges:

The First Noel: Beginning of a new adventure (i.e. read the first book in a series)

Check!

The Little Match Girl

Hans Christian Andersen

Challenges:

White Christmas: Read a winter-y, Christmas classic

Although I am familiar with Andersen’s sobering holiday tale, I have never read the original (translated) text. This may be a quick read, though I expect to be lost in hours of reflection afterward.

Rudolph: Read a book with a character that is considered an outcast.

Will no one stop to buy a match? Poor, poor little match girl.

In Peppermint Peril

Joy Avon

First in the A Tea and a Read Mystery series, In Peppermint Peril a book-themed tea party organizer faces threefold trouble leading up to Christmas Eve in small-town, Heart’s Harbour, Maine.

Challenges:

Deck the Halls: Read a book that features some amazing holiday themes and/or settings.

The title and cover say it all! I’m anticipating that this title will be ultra-cozy, as it involves holidays, cuddly cozy companions, tea, and reading!

Snowed In: Read a book that takes place during the winter time or with snow.

If a holiday-themed cozy set in Maine during the lead-up to Christmas Eve doesn’t check off this challenge, I don’t know what will!

Here Comes Santa Claus: Read a book that you have been waiting to read for a long time.

I received this title as an advanced e-galley from NetGalley, but it has been in my queue for longer than I care to admit. In Peppermint Peril was recently published on November 13, 2018.

 

Are you participating in the 12 Days of Cozmas? Let me know what you’ll be reading, or leave a link to your own TBR posts, videos, etc.

Happy Holidays, Happy Reading!

Review: The Pint of No Return (Sloan Krause Mysteries #2)

In the town of Leavenworth, WA, there is a lot more brewing than just award-winning beer…

 

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Macmillan Publishers. Accessed October, 2018.
Title: The Pint of No Return
Author: Ellie Alexander
Series: Sloan Krause Mysteries, #2
Publisher: New York: Minotaur Books, 2018
Pages: 320 pp

 

Book Review

Prost! Oktoberfest is in full-swing in the Bavarian-style town of Leavenworth, and local craft brewer Sloan Krause must contend with her fair share of challenges that have been brewing lately.

A Hollywood film crew is on location to produce a documentary, Wish You Were Beer, about the behind-scenes of the craft-beer industry. Soon after their arrival however, Sloan discovers the outspoken, egocentric host and former child-star, Mitchell Morgan, dead in the streets of Leavenworth.

Once again, Sloan takes on the role of amateur sleuth (Death on Tap, 2017) to aid the local police department in revealing Mitchell Morgan’s killer.

In addition to an ongoing investigation, Sloan grapples with burgeoning feelings for her new boss, the ever-deepening mystery surrounding her birth parents, and keeping her ex-husband’s fingers off the company cheque book.

Second in the Sloan Krause Mysteries series, The Pint of No Return leisurely guides readers through the charming town of Leavenworth while weaving richly detailed information about the craft beer industry into the story. It is fitting that the author successfully creates a strong sense of place, as feelings of belonging and the importance of family pervade the story.

 

Recommendations

I would recommend Ellie Alexander’s The Pint of No Return to readers looking for an autumn-themed story this season. While I highly recommend reading the series in succession, this is not mandatory to understand and enjoy the quirky, fully-realized world portrayed throughout the story.

While trying to create a new start for herself an teenage son, Alex, Sloan is a likable character who demonstrates boundless creativity and ingenuity regarding brewing. Sloan has a true nose for the business and readers who enjoy strong female protagonists will enjoy spending time with such a strong, yet vulnerable, woman.

Note: I received an electronic copy from Netgalley in exchange for feedback to the publisher.

Review: Murder on Memory Lake (Ferrara Family #1)

griffo_momlMurder on Memory Lake

Author: Griffo, J.D.

Series: Ferrara Family #1

Genre: Cozy mystery

Publication: Kensington Publishing Corporation (New York), 304 pp.

Release date: July 31, 2018

 


Tranquility, New Jersey is one lakeside community proving to be anything but peaceful for new resident, Alberta Scaglione…


Having recently inherited a lakeside home from an unexpectedly wealthy relative, Alberta Scaglione is welcomed by chaos and confusion–not to mention the body of her lifelong fenemy, Lucy Agostino, practically floating before her doorstep. Begrudgingly, Alberta pairs up with her ambitious and spirited journalist granddaughter, Jynx, to get an exclusive scoop regarding the ongoing investigation. The Scaglione duo are quirky and spirited women who are determined to peel back the layers of Lucy’s curious death. Murder on Memory Lake is the first installment in a series boasting familial relationships, humour, an age-diverse band of characters and classic Italian recipes throughout.

I would recommend Griffo’s Murder on Memory Lake to readers who are looking for a series that successfully marries humour and intrigue. Also, readers must be willing to suspend disbelief to fully appreciate this story, as the plot and characterization is riddled with outlandish, outrageous qualities that may not resonate with readers looking for crime fiction grounded in realism. 


 

I received a copy of J.D. Griffo’s, Murder on Memory Lake, from the Kensington Publishing Corporation via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

Review: Mayhem at the Orient Express

“At a local Chinese restaurant, it’s the owner who gets taken out…”

 

15810915Title: Mayhem at the Orient Express

Series: A League of Literary Ladies Mystery #1

Author: Kylie Logan

Publication: Berkley, 2013

Pages:  304 (Mass Market Paperback)

 

 

 

In the first installment of the League of Literary Ladies mysteries, ex-Manhattanite Bea Cartwright moves to a small town on South Bass Island, Ohio with the hopes of running a successful bed and breakfast in a “monstrosity” of a Victorian mansion. Unfortunately, not all locals are as excited about the venture as Bea, and the band of squabbling ladies are judge-ordered to form a book club to secure funding for the struggling library.

 

Soon after, the ladies discover a local restaurateur murdered in his shop. An unexpected snow storm isolates island residents from the mainland, and Bea begins to suspect that one of her guests may very well be the killer! Using their combined little grey cells, the ladies are determined to unveil the killer–before anyone else checks out…


An intriguing, locked-room mystery that will keep even the most avid Agatha Christie fans guessing. The multi-layered mystery and cast of quirky characters make Mayhem at the Orient Express a stand-out cozy mystery.

Cozies for Cat Lovers | Booklist

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Alright, I may very well (unintentionally) perpetuate librarian stereotypes. A self-proclaimed cat lady who loves to read and just happens to wear glasses…I promise these aren’t prerequisites for librarianship.

Regardless, these ten cozy mystery series are the puurrrrrrrrfect companion for any fan of our feline friends.


 

Series: Bookmobile Cat Mysteries

Author: Laurie Cass

First Installment: Lending a Paw

Latest Installment: A Bookmobile Cat Mystery #6 (2017)

Librarian Minnie Hamilton is in for a bumpy ride when her rescue cat, Eddie, leads her to the body of a murdered local resident of Chilson, MI during the maiden voyage of the public library’s new bookmobile. An amusing and engaging story featuring small-town gossip with a strong, plucky female lead.

 

Series: A Magical Cats Mystery

Author: Sofie Kelly

First Installment: Curiosity Thrilled the Cat

Latest Installment: A Magical Cats Mystery #9 (2017)

Small-town librarian Kathleen Paulson discovers that the two stray cats she has taken in–Owen and Hercules–are truly special when she, the prime suspect in a murder, gets some unexpected feline help in solving the crime and clearing her name.–Novelist

 

*NEW SERIES*

Series: Deputy Donut Mysteries

Author: Ginger Bolton

Emily Westhill runs the best donut shop in Fallingbrook, Wisconsin, alongside her retired police chief father-in-law and her tabby Deputy Donut. But after murder claims a favorite customer, Emily can’t rely on a sidekick to solve the crime—or stay alive.–Novelist

 

 

Series: Bad Luck Cat Mysteries

Author: Kay Finch

First Installment: Black Cat Crossing  (2015)

Latest Installment: Bad Luck Cat Mysteries #3 (2017)

Moving to Lavender, Texas, to write her first novel and help her Aunt Rowe manage her vacation-rental business, aspiring mystery author Sabrina Tate finds herself faced with a real-life mystery when her aunt’s awful cousin is found dead with a local black cat, believed to be a jinx, by her side.–Novelist

 

Series: Cat in the Stacks Mysteries

Author: Miranda James

First Installment: Murder Past Due (2010)

Latest Installment: Cat in the Stacks Mystery #9 (Feb. 2018, forthcoming)

Librarian Charlie Harris and his cat, Diesel, investigate to find the killer of a celebrity author who made more enemies than friends upon arrival–before wrong person is arrested for the crime!

 

Series: The Haunted Library Mysteries

Author: Allison Brook

First Installment: Death Overdue (2017)

Latest Installment: Dead and Gone (Haunted Library Mystery #9) (forthcoming)

Carrie Singleton is the new head of programming and events at the local spooky library (a.k.a. my dream job…minus the ghosts!) when retired homicide detective Al Buckley is poisoned right before he is about to reveal a murderer from a cold case. With the help of a friendly ghost-librarian, Carrie is determined to solve the case.

 

Series: Cat Groomer Mysteries

Author: Miranda James

First Installment: The Persian Always Meows Twice (2017)

Latest Installment: The Bengal Identity (March 2018, forthcoming)

Cat lovers are thrilled to welcome an expert groomer to the picturesque town of Chadwick. But scratch below the surface, and unmasking a killer becomes a game of cat and mouse . . .–Novelist

 

Series: A Magical Bookshop Mystery

Author: Amanda Flower

First Installment: Crime and Poetry (2016)

Latest Installment: Prose and Cons (2016)

Returning home to Cascade Springs, NY to help her Grandmother Daisy run her magical shop, Charming Books, Violet Waverly must clear Daisy’s name when the body of a local carriage driver is found clutching a book from Charming Books. The books literally fly off the shelves and seem to have a way of knowing exactly for which reader they are intended.

 

Series: A Cat Rescue Mystery

Author: T.C. LoTempio

First Installment: Purr M for Murder (2017)

Latest Installment: Death by a Whisker (2018)

After the landlord of the building where they house their Friendly Paws animal shelter winds up dead, Sydney and Kat McCall are under suspicion, prompting Sydney, with the help of her orange tabby, Toby, to hunt for the real killer.–Novelist

 

Series: A Second Chance Cat Mystery

Author: Sofie Ryan

First Installment: The Whole Cat and Caboodle (2014)

Latest Installment: The Fast and the Furriest (2018)

When shop owner Sarah Grayson’s elderly friend Maddie becomes the prime suspect in a murder, it’s up to Sarah and her cat Elvis to clear the woman’s name.–Novelist