Assaulted Caramel (Amish Candy Shop Mystery 1) By Amanda Flower [Book Review]

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Sometimes you need a sweet tooth to take a bite out of crime…

Bailey King is living the sweet life as assistant chocolatier at world-famous JP Chocolates in New York City. But just when Bailey’s up for a life-changing promotion, her grandmother calls with news that her grandfather’s heart condition has worsened. Bailey rushes to Harvest, Ohio, where her grandparents still run Swissmen Sweets, the Amish candy shop where she was first introduced to delicious fudge, truffles, and other assorted delights.

She finds her grandfather is doing better than she feared. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for a local Englisch developer, whom Bailey finds dead in the candy shop kitchen—with Jebediah King’s chocolate knife buried in his chest. Now the police are sweet on her grandfather as the prime suspect. Despite the sincere efforts of a yummy deputy with chocolate-brown eyes, Bailey takes it on herself to clear Jebediah. But as a cunning killer tries to fudge the truth, Bailey may be headed straight into a whole batch of trouble…

Author: Amanda Flower
Genre: Cozy Mystery, Fiction
Series: Amish Candy Shop
Publisher: Kensington
Published Date: August 29, 2017
How I got the book: I bought a paperback copy of this book at Barnes & Noble.

Book Cover | RachelPoli.comThe book cover is nice. It shows the shop where the setting takes place, as well as the murder. However, looking at the cover, it doesn’t tell us too much about the book. It looks nice, though.

First Thoughts | RachelPoli.comI searched the entire wall of cozy mysteries at my local Barnes & Noble. This was the first in a series I haven’t read before, so I decided to give it a try.

Plot | RachelPoli.comThis plot follows Bailey King, a chocolatier who is just about to get a promotion at work when her grandfather becomes ill. She visits her grandparents, possibly messing up her promotion, and ends up staying longer than intended – her grandfather is fine, but a murder occurs in their candy shop.

Thus, begins Bailey attempting to figure out the murder. This book is like more cozies where the protagonist, who is not a detective, plays as one and sticks their nose in other people’s business. Needless to say, the plot is similar to what I’ve seen before. But it was well done nonetheless.

Characters | RachelPoli.comBailey and her grandparents were great. I enjoyed going through the motions of the murder with them. Bailey’s boss wasn’t too bad of a character, though I didn’t care too much for her friend. These characters, overall, weren’t too bad to read from.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

This is an easy book to follow along with. The chapters are on the shorter side and the evidence, setting, and characters are all laid out for the reader. It was a tough case to crack, but it was enjoyable all the same.

Overall | RachelPoli.comThis was a nice introduction to a new series. I think I’ll be getting the next book.

Assaulted Caramel (Amish Candy Shop Mystery 1) by Amanda Flower gets…
Book Review Rating System | 4 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com4 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

I didn’t see anything wrong with hoping for kindness in the world.Amanda Flower, Assaulted Caramel (Amish Candy Shop Mystery 1)

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Death By Pumpkin Spice (Bookstore Cafe Mystery 3) By Alex Erickson [Book Review]

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Book Review: Death By Pumpkin Spice by Alex Erickson | Cozy Mystery | Fiction | Book Blogger | Reading | RachelPoli.com

I bought it at Barnes & Noble.

Summary:

Bookstore café owner Krissy Hancock would rather spend Halloween serving pumpkin goodies than wearing costumes with Pine Hills’ wealthiest at Yarborough mansion, especially when the soiree shapes up to be more trick than treat . . .

As if a run-in with an old flame and a failed marriage proposal weren’t enough to horrify Krissy for one night, a woman is found strangled to death in a room filled with ominous jack-o’-lanterns. All signs suggest a crime of passion—but when the hostess’s jewelry disappears, malevolent intentions seem way more likely . . .

With the estate on lockdown and a killer roaming the halls, Krissy must help Officer Paul Dalton investigate each nook, cranny, and guest for answers—while also confronting a few demons of her own. Someone has lots of skeletons in the closet, and Krissy better tread lightly to expose them . . .

My Review:

Plot | RachelPoli.comKrissy finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation. However, this time, it’s not due to her cafe or the coffee she makes. This book has a Clue feel to it and I enjoyed it. A murder happens at a part and the entire mansion goes into lock-down as they discover who it is. I thought it was a good choice for a setting, even though it’s a bit over-done for a cozy mystery. I enjoyed it nonetheless.

Characters | RachelPoli.comAll the characters are still the same. Krissy is sticking her nose into everyone’s business, though she tries not to. She’s also torn in her love life between Detective Paul and her rich date. I’m still not a fan of Krissy as a character, but I enjoy everyone else in the book, especially her friend and co-owner of the cafe.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

This book, like the rest of the series, is an easy read. It’s not long at about 300 pages and the mystery is easy enough to follow along and try to figure it out yourself.

Overall | RachelPoli.comDeath by Pumpkin Spice was a good read. I would have enjoyed it more if I could get along with Krissy, but she did get a little better in this one. Still, I plan on reading the rest of the series.

Death by Pumpkin Spice (Bookstore Cafe Mystery 3) by Alex Erickson gets…
Book Review Rating System | 4 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com4 out of 5 cups

Buy the book:

Amazon

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around!

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Death By Tea (Bookstore Cafe Mystery 2) By Alex Erickson [Book Review]

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Book Review: Death By Tea (Bookstore Cafe Mystery 2) by Alex Erickson | Creative Writing | Cozy Mystery | Fiction | Book Blogger | RachelPoli.com

A bought a paperback copy at Barnes & Noble.

Summary:

Mystery lovers have descended on Pine Hills for this year’s book club competition, to be held at Krissy Hancock’s bookstore cafe. But the killer in their midst seems determined to outwit all the armchair sleuths and send Krissy to the remainder bin forever. Just before two dueling book clubs are set to square off at Death by Coffee, one of the competitors turns up dead bludgeoned with the silver teapot that was to serve as the prize. Suspicion immediately falls on Krissy, who was seen skulking around town in dark clothes on the night of the murder. To clear her name and find the real killer, Krissy turns to an old flame, Officer Paul Dalton. But even Paul can’t ignore the trail of evidence that seems to point in her direction. And with Krissy’s personal nemesis, Officer John Buchannan, working overtime to pin the murder on her, it will take an amazing feat of detective work to close the book for good on an elusive killer. . .

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.comThe cover is similar to the rest of the series. Trouble, the cat, is present as is the silver teapot, which connects closely to the plot as well as the title.

First Thoughts | RachelPoli.comI enjoyed the first book of the series, so I went out and bought this one.

Plot | RachelPoli.comKrissy’s bookstore cafe, Death By Coffee, has picked up quite a bit to the point where she and her friend/co-owner can hire two new people to work at the store with them. That doesn’t mean their work hours are any shorter though… still, they don’t have to been there all day long.

I enjoyed the plot of this book a lot better than I did the first book. A man is killed with a silver teapot in Death By Coffee. Krissy is the main suspect. The plot itself held a lot of stakes and tensions were high, which made it great.

Characters | RachelPoli.comKrissy, on the other hand, did not make it great. I always enjoy cozy mysteries to have the main character be a suspect in the murder mystery at some point. It’s cliche, but fun to read about nonetheless. Krissy just kind of ruined it though. She was annoying in the first book, but I was able to tolerate her. Despite her being a murder suspect, she was ten times more annoying. She was trying to clear her name, of course, but she stole evidence, lied and told people she worked with the police, made a fool of herself and everyone around her… it just didn’t end with her. She got arrested a couple of times, but I don’t know why they let her out in the first place… she should still be in jail for tampering with a police murder investigation.

Another person who should be in jail is one of the officers, John. He harassed Krissy to no end. He either should have been locked up himself or at least taken off the case. I understand it’s a cozy mystery, it’s fiction. But there were too many unrealistic things going on in this one.

The supporting characters were great, especially the two new hires for Death By Coffee. I only wish we got to know them a little more.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

Death By Tea is an easy and quick read at about 300 pages. Despite the annoyances, it is a page-turner. The mystery was a twister. I was able to guess who the culprit was before it was revealed, but it did take a while to get there.

Overall | RachelPoli.comDeath By Tea was just an okay read to me. If the characters were a little more developed and had more common sense, it would have been more enjoyable.

Death By Tea (Bookstore Cafe Mystery 2) by Alex Erickson gets…
Book Review Rating System | 3 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com3 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“My vocabulary suddenly took a break and left me sitting there like a dope, mouth opening and closing while I thought of something to say.” – Alex Erickson, Death By Tea (Bookstore Cafe Mystery 2)

Buy the book:

AMAZON

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around!

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Death By Coffee (Bookstore Cafe Mystery 1) By Alex Erickson [Book Review]

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Book Review: Death By Coffee (Bookstore Cafe Mystery 1) by Alex Erickson | Cozy Mystery | Book Blog | Fiction | Reading | RachelPoli.com

I bought a paperback copy at Barnes & Noble.

Summary:

When Krissy Hancock and her best friend Vicki decide to open a bookstore café in their new town of Pine Hills, they decide to call it “Death by Coffee,” after Krissy’s father’s most famous mystery novel. Little do they know how well the name fits…

On their very first day of business, Brendon Lawyer huffily takes his coffee…to the grave. It seems he had a severe allergy to peanuts…but how could there have been nuts in his coffee? And who stole his emergency allergy medication?

Fortunately, Krissy’s love of puzzles and mysteries leads her not only to Officer Paul Dalton, but also to many of her new neighbors, who aren’t terribly upset that the book is closed on Brendon. But one of them is a killer, and Krissy needs to read between the lies if she wants to save her new store—and live to see how this story ends…

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.comI like the book cover. It’s simple and showcases the bookstore, coffee, and the cat, Trouble. It’s nothing too special, but it’s nice to look at anyway.

First Thoughts | RachelPoli.comI love cozy mysteries and I enjoy the ones with food, books, and cats. This has all three so I wanted to give it a try.

Plot | RachelPoli.comKrissy and her friend open their own cafe bookstore called Death By Coffee. Krissy isn’t a fan of the name, but her friend insisted. Unfortunately, on their first open day, a customer comes in, orders a coffee, and then shortly dies. Krissy, for a while, believes she accidentally killed him, and is determined to figure out what happened to him.

This one isn’t too much different from your average cozy. A non-detective sticks her nose into everyone’s business and tries to solve the supposed murder. While the plot isn’t particularly different from what I’ve read before, it still wasn’t bad.

Characters | RachelPoli.comKrissy makes a fun protagonist. I enjoy her voice and tone as she tells the story. Her friend Vicki, Officer Paul, and her father are all great supporting characters as well. Even the witnesses and suspects were great. Each one had a unique voice and personality. The characters, overall, were well done.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

Death By Coffee is an easy read and flows well. The pacing was great and the mystery itself was easy to follow along. The mystery was told in a way that I was able to try to figure it out myself. I was right and then changed my mind and was wrong, and then ended up being right away. So it made me second guess myself and really think to figure it out. There were a lot of characters to keep track of, but it wasn’t difficult to do so.

Overall | RachelPoli.comDeath By Coffee was a fun read. It wasn’t much different than any other cozy mystery I’d read, but I still enjoyed it all the same. The characters and setting was fun and I’m looking forward to reading the next book.

Death By Coffee (Bookstore Cafe Mystery 1) by Alex Erickson gets…
Book Review Rating System | 4 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com4 out of 5 cups

Buy the book:

Amazon

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Wagging Through The Snow (Melanie Travis 21) By Laurien Berenson [Book Review]

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Book Review: Wagging Through The Snow (Melanie Travis 21) by Laurien Berenson | Cozy Mystery | Fiction | Holiday Reading | Book Blogger | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

I got it as a Christmas gift.

Summary:

Melanie Travis needs a little peace from her busy life this Christmas. But the usual holiday hubbub is a joy compared to the killer surprise she finds tucked underneath the tree . . .

With a demanding teaching job at Connecticut’s elite Howard Academy and five poodles scampering around the house, Melanie barely has energy for the upcoming Christmas rush. But she unwraps an unexpected challenge when her brother and ex-husband, elated by the recent success of their country cafe, make a spontaneous bid on a dilapidated pine tree farm. Although the ten-acre lot had been a popular seasonal destination while the original owner was still alive, it’ll take some sprucing up–and a small miracle or two–before the neglected place is in shape for December.

Unfortunately, the impromptu business venture goes cold when the group discovers a purebred Maltese whimpering in the snow-covered grove–right beside a dead body. Pete, a squatter who camped out on the land, apparently met his end after a fallen fir tree branch knocked him on the head. But as Melanie and Aunt Peg investigate Pete’s history and the terrible habit that cost him everything, it’s clear his death was no accident. Now, Melanie must run through a flurry of likely suspects and muzzle a dogged murderer in time–or she’ll be next on someone’s deadly list.

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.comThe cover is adorable with a Maltese dog stealing the show wearing a Santa hat. While the dog isn’t a huge part of the story, it’s still a piece of it and it matches the title pretty well.

First Thoughts | RachelPoli.comI got this book as a Christmas gift. This is book number 21 in the Melanie Travis series, but it’s book number one for me. Thankfully, the books don’t have to be read in order, but I’m sure the characters are well established by now.

Plot | RachelPoli.comMelanie’s brother and ex-husband own and run a country cafe together and, when her simple-minded brother decides to go to an auction, he ends up with a Christmas tree farm. With Christmas around the corner, they decided to put the new business to the test – only to find a dead body in the woods behind the house.

Overall, this plot was one typical of a cozy mystery. Something good happens to the protagonist, they stumble upon a dead body, and then they investigate. The majority of this book was Melanie running around and talking to people to figure out who this man was, why he was out there, and how/why he died. Once it was revealed, there was a quick, tense scene at the end. That was all. So, this book was “cozy” at its finest.

Characters | RachelPoli.comI enjoyed all the characters. I felt they meshed well together and there was a good amount of personality. I certainly loved Melanie’s Aunt – she stole the scenes for me while reading. She had a fun, boisterous personality. I also loved Melanie’s brother – I love a good risk-taker.

Melanie’s ex-husband and husband were just kind of okay to me. Her husband especially didn’t seem to be in the book as much. I loved the pack of Poodles they own though. That was definitely a nice touch.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

This book is just shy of 200 pages. It’s a quick read and the words flow from one page to another. The pace was even throughout and while I would have liked to see more action, it was a relaxing read. The investigation was easy to follow, though I didn’t know who it was until the ending when it was revealed.

Overall | RachelPoli.comWagging Through the Snow was a pretty good read. I don’t think I know the characters as well enough as I should, but I think I’ll look into getting the first book sometime.

Wagging Through the Snow (Melanie Travis 21) by Laurien Berenson gets…
Book Review Rating System | 3 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com3 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“Life changes everyone. Some people learn to roll with the punches. Others fall down.” -Laurien Berenson, Wagging Through The Snow

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Abe Books

Be sure to take a look at the other Book Reviews I’ve done!

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around!

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