Thursday, October 17, 2013

Cozy Mystery Series

 I obviously love reading to Charlotte, but I have been a bookworm every since I was her age. I read a little bit of everything, but my favorite genre would have to be a good cozy mystery. A cozy mystery is exactly just that. It is a story full of fun characters who try to solve a good mystery. A mystery that is light and entertaining instead of dark and gory. I love them because they are a quick read that keeps the focus on spotting the clues to solve the crime and highly revolve around character development. I look forward to "visiting" my favorite characters and catching up with them in new books. Each series revolves around a theme such as: cooking, gardening, sewing, or running some sort of business. Many of these books will often include recipes or extra facts about their theme. The story takes place in a small town so you really get to know the layout and all of the local characters if you keep up with a series. There is usually a love interest that often ends up being a member of the local law enforcement. The chapters are typically just a few pages long so they are perfect if you have limited reading time. If you go to the bookstore and check out the cozy mystery section, you can easily become overwhelmed because there are so many selections to choose from.  I have been reading cozy mysteries for almost fifteen years now and wanted to share my  top ten favorite series with you in case you are interested in trying the genre out.

(Pictured are the first book in each series. Clicking the picture will take you to my affiliate link on Amazon in case you wish to learn more about a certain title or series)

China Bayles Herbal Mysteries by Susan Wittig Albert:
This is the series that got me hooked on cozy mysteries in the first place. I love gardening and I'm from Texas so it was an easy match for me. Once I started reading it however, I quickly realized that the areas the author was describing in each book sounded really familiar. I ended up chatting with Susan a few years back and she confirmed the fact that she loosely based the locations off of the town where I attended college and some of the surrounding areas that I live in now. Kinda neat. I adore this fictional town and its inhabitants. They feel like close friends. It reminds me of all of those small country towns where everyone knows everyone and of course all of their business too. You will definitely want to start an herb garden after reading this series. It inspired me to and I'm glad it did.
Main character:
China Bayles the owner of Thyme and Seasons Herb Shop in Pecan Springs, Texas.
Regular cast: 
Ruby Wilcox - China's best friend and owner of a New Age Shop (trust me she is a hoot)
Mike McQuaid - private investigator and China's main squeeze.
Includes: Recipes (made the mint nut bread numerous times) and numerous facts about herbs.
There are currently 21 books in this series.
Author's website

A Tea Shop Mystery by Laura Childs:
If you follow me on Instragram, you will know that I'm a huge fan of drinking tea. The Indigo Tea Shop is one place that I would love to hang out at. It's the perfect place for friends to meet for brunch or to host a party for your favorite organization. I love the main character. She's seems very intelligent and strong. You will love touring Charleston with her too.
Main Character:
Theodosia Browning the owner of the Indigo Tea Shop in Charleston, South Carolina.
Regular Cast:
Drayton - master tea blender
Haley -  pastry chef (her menus will have you drooling)
Burt Tidwell - local detective
Dalanie Dish - the nosy friend that you can't help but put up with and love.
Includes: Recipes and facts about every tea imaginable.
There are currently 15 books in this series.
Author's website

Coffeehouse Mystery by Cleo Coyle:
Don't worry coffee drinkers, there is one for you too. This is what I picture a favorite coffeehouse to be like. A place where you have amazing baristas that truly love what they do and go the extra mile to help you find your favorite brew. It's a place where people regularly meet to relax and catch up with friends or snuggle up on a couch to get some work done. This series is so well written. The crimes are always believable and will have you chasing all over the Big Apple in search of the culprit.
Main Character:
Clare Cosi who manages the Village Blend Coffeehouse in New York City.
Regular Cast:
Matteo - coffee buyer and Clare's ex
Madame Dreyfus Allegro Dubois - owner of the Village Blend and Matteo's mom
Mike Quinn NYPD detective.
Includes: Recipes
There are currently 13 books in this series.
Author's website

A Flower Shop Mystery by Kate  Collins:
I love this series. The mysteries are always good, but the cast of quirky regulars are highly entertaining. When the crew is not solving mysteries, they are busy filling numerous flower orders. Let's face it, we all wish and think that we are masters when it comes to arranging flowers. It's fun to do and it always brightens your room and day to have a fresh bouquet around.
Main Character:
Abbey Knight who owns Bloomers, a local flower shop in New Chapel, Indiana.
Regular Cast: 
Grace - one of Abbey's assistants who offers advice in the form of a good quote.
Marco - owner of the local bar and grill, PI and definite love interest.
Maureen - Abbey's mom who drops off her bizarre artwork in hopes it can be sold in the flower shop.
Jillian - Abbey's cousin who doesn't think before she speaks. We all know someone like Jillian.
There are currently 14 books in this series.
Author's website

A Domestic Diva Mystery by Krista Davis:
This is such a fun series. The characters feel like family and best friends. Sophie's house is always so warm and inviting. She is the neighbor that you wish you had because her front door is always open, she helps out at a moments notice and fixes you amazing meals the moment you come over. I really love the events that Sophie is working on in each book too. Each chapter begins with a "dear abbey" type advice column. They either provide some good tips or some great laughter!
Main Character:
Sophie Winston an event planner in Alexandria, Virginia.
Regular Cast: 
Natasha - the other local event planner who is always in competition with Sophie.
Mars - Sophie's ex husband, neighbor and Natasha's boyfriend!
Nina - Sophie's best friend and a huge animal lover.
Daisy and Moiche - Sophie's beloved pets.
There are currently 7 books in the series.
Includes: recipes.
Author's website

A Cupcake Bakery Mystery by Jenn McKinnlay:
Cupcakes are such a likeable treat these days. Trust me when I say that this series will have you craving those little cups of sweetness immediately!! After you are done licking your lips, you will instantly fall in love with the cast. The three main characters share a bond that has developed from being best friends since childhood. They are experts at quoting favorite movies and there just might be some hidden feelings amongst two of them. The rest of the crew is just as loveable and definitely entertaining!
Main Character:
Melanie Cooper the co-owner of Fairy Tale Cupcakes Bakery in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Regular Cast:
Angie DeLaura - Co-owner of the bakery, best friend and the only girl in a family full of very protective brothers. 
Tate -  Mel and Angie's longtime best friend. 
Joe DeLaura - A District Attorney, one of Angie's many brothers, and a highly likeable love interest.
There are currently 6 books in the series.
Includes: tasty cupcake recipes.
Author's website

A White House Chef Mystery by Julie Hyzy:
I look forward to reading every new book in this series as soon as it comes out! Not only are the mysteries highly intriguing, but the location is the White House! I know it's fiction, but it's kind of interesting to imagine what it must be like to work behind the scenes there. Hyzy does such a great job of making everything seems so incredibly real that each book instantly draws you in and has you eagerly flipping the pages until the very end.
Main Character:
Olivia "Ollie" Paras an executive chef at the White House in Washington D.C.
Regular Cast: 
Bucky and Cyan - two more White House chefs
Peter Everett Sargeant - do you love him or hate him, it's hard to tell. He's the sensitivity director at the White House and easily gets on everyone's last nerve.
Thomas MacKenzie - secret service agent
Mrs. Wentworth - Ollie's neighbor who knows everything that goes on in the her apartment building.
Gavin - a mysterious special agent who shares some intense chemistry with Ollie.
There are currently 7 books in the series.
Includes: recipes for a complete presidential menu.
Author's website.

A Charmed Pie Shoppe by Ellery Adams:
If you have never read a book by Adams, then I highly suggest you resolve that soon. She has such a talent for creating characters that you love to watch develop. This is a new series with only a few books, but I am already hooked and eager for many, many more. I love the main character, her loveable family and of course all of the ways the cast use their magical abilities to help others. If you look beyond the mystery, you will also notice a twist on a classic story.
Main Character:
Ella Mae LaFaye owner of the enchanted Charmed Pie Shoppe in Havenwood, Georgia.

Regular Cast:
Hugh Dylan - hunky firefighter and Ella's old crush. 
Dee, Verena, Sissy - the most magical and lovable aunts you will ever meet.
Reba - licorice loving waitress and family caretaker.
Loralyn - the annoying arch nemesis 
Chewy - Ella's Jack Russell terrier and constant companion. 
Includes - recipes 
There are currently 3 books in the series.
Author's website.

A Cheeseshop Mystery by Avery Aaemes:
From the moment I read the first book in this series, I was hooked! The main setting takes place in a quaint little specialty cheese shop. They offer samplings, deli sandwiches and even great suggestions on wine pairings. It should come as no surprise that the owner's family is French. The characters are warm and seem so real. You get a sense that you've already known them for years. The mystery is always intriguing and keeps you guessing from a handful of suspects until the very end.
Main Character:
Charlotte Bessette owner of Fromagerie Bessette in Providence, Ohio.
Regular Cast:
Bernadette - Charlotte's fiesty Grandmere, local mayor and theater director. 
Etienne - Charlotte's  Grandpere who's incredibly loveable and an expert cheese snacker.
Matthew - Charlotte's cousin and proud father of adorable twin girls. In charge of the wine annex.
Rebecca Zook - the recently shunned Amish assistant who is hooked on crime shows. 
Jordan Pace - mysterious new resident and easy love interest.
Urso - "U-ey", chief of police and an old high school friend. 
There are currently 5 books in the series.
Includes: recipes
Author's website.

A Magical Bakery Mystery by Bailey Cates:
I know, another magical cozy, but it's so good! I happen to like paranormal books too so when you mix the two together I get very excited. Throw in a good love triangle and I'm hooked. This book follows a young woman as she discovers she is a witch and just needs to learn to tap into her special abilities. The relationship amongst all the characters really makes this one an easy favorite.
Main Character:
Katie Lightfoot - head baker at the family run Honeybee Bakery in Savannah, Georgia
Regular Cast:
Lucy and Ben - Katie's Aunt and Uncle who run the bakery.
Mimsey, Bianca, Jaida,  and Cookie - coven of witches and members of the enchanted book club. 
Declan - macho firefighter and possible love connection.
Steve - reporter, warlock and equally possible love connection!
There are currently 3 books in the series.
Author's website.

I honestly could go on and on and recommend so many other books in this genre. Have you read any of these or do you have another favorite cozy series that you follow? I have two shelves full of cozy mysteries just waiting to be read. You can check out my Goodreads page to view any of the mysteries that I have read. If you have a question about any of them, don't hesitate to ask!  Now go relax and curl up with a good book!!!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am going to take your recommendation and try Ellery adams book