Tag Archives: Cozy Mystery

A Review of Oliver Twisted by Cindy Brown

Oliver Twisted (An Ivy Meadows Mystery)

by Cindy Brown

Ivy Meadows is such a fun character. I love the person that she is. She is an actress and hopes to make it big some day, but she really likes helping out her Uncle Bob solve mysteries. In this book she and her Uncle are hired to find the thieves that are working the cruise line. They go undercover. Since Ivy is an actress, she uses her acting ability to sell the undercover role, of an actress. Her Uncle doesn’t do quite as well. He has difficulty staying in character, and out of trouble. They aren’t the only people on board that aren’t really who they say they are. And the bodies start to pile up.

Ms. Brown does a good job of portraying life on a cruise ship from the perspective of a member of the crew. She gives you a glimpse of the crew living quarters and their dining. Ivy is a working actress, so she has to be in character and mingling with the passengers. She gets to eat in the themed restaurants. She eats a lot of Dickens inspired food, including black pudding and other English delights. Since this is a Dickens cruise, the passengers also dress in costumes for some of the fancy balls. Ms. Brown makes sure that you will see many of your beloved characters. She also sprinkles in many fun little Dickens references.

I received a Digital Review Copy from the publisher.

oliver twistedWhen Ivy Meadows lands a gig with the book-themed cruise line Get Lit!, she thinks she’s died and gone to Broadway. Not only has she snagged a starring role in a musical production of Oliver Twist, she’s making bank helping her PI uncle investigate a string of onboard thefts, all while sailing to Hawaii on the S.S. David Copperfield. But Ivy is cruising for disaster. Her acting contract somehow skipped the part about aerial dancing forty feet above the stage, her uncle Bob is seriously sidetracked by a suspicious blonde, and—oh yeah—there’s a corpse in her closet. Forget catching crooks. Ivy’s going to have a Dickens of a time just surviving.

Book Details

Series: An Ivy Meadows Mystery
Paperback: 280 pages
Publisher: Henery Press (June 21, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1635110416
ISBN-13: 978-1635110418
Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
Shipping Weight: 15.4 ounces

About the Author

Cindy-BrownCindy Brown has been a theater geek (musician, actor, director, producer, and playwright) since her first professional gig at age 14. Now a full-time writer, she’s lucky enough to have garnered several awards (including 3rd place in the 2013 international Words With Jam First Page Competition, judged by Sue Grafton!) and is an alumnus of the Squaw Valley Writers Workshop.

Though Cindy and her husband now live in Portland, Oregon, she made her home in Phoenix, Arizona, for more than 25 years and knows all the good places to hide dead bodies in both cities.

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A Review of Death Before Decaf by Caroline Fardig

Death Before Decaf (A Java Jive Mystery)

by Caroline Fardig

4.5

I had a good time reading this first book in a new series by Ms. Fardig. She knows how to tell a good story. She got me interested in what was going on right from the start. I immediately liked her main character, Juliet Langley. She is fun and fierce. She says that she has to break out the Redheaded She-Devil when she needs to get tough.

Pete Bennet is her longtime best friend and owner of the Java Jive, the coffeehouse in Nashville. She met Pete 10 years ago when she was a freshman in college. She needed a job, so she applied at Java Jive. Pete was behind the counter. His dad was the owner. They connected right away, as friends, never anything more, even though the urges may have been there. They kept it on a safe level all these years. Pete gave her the moniker of “The Redheaded She-Devil” when she found out that her college boyfriend, Danny Wright, had cheated on her with her roommate. She taught him a lesson!

I liked everything about Death Before Decaf. The characters are fun but believable. The mystery kept me guessing right up until the final chapter. And who doesn’t love a book based in a coffeehouse. I’m a nut for anything coffee related, and that is what drew me to the Java Jive seriesbut the quality of the writing kept me interested. I’m going to keep my eye out for the next book in this series, Mug Shot, scheduled for April 2016.

I give Death Before Decaf 4 1/2 Stars out of 5, and a Big Thumbs Up! If you like fun, light, somewhat sexy mysteries that feel very today, then you will love this new series by Caroline Fardig.

I received a Digital Review Copy from the Publisher.

Book Description

Death Before Decaf by Caroline FardigPerfect for fans of Janet Evanovich and Diane Mott Davidson, Caroline Fardig’s captivating new mystery novel takes readers behind the counter of a seemingly run-of-the-mill coffeehouse . . . where murder is brewing.

After her music career crashes and burns spectacularly, Juliet Langley is forced to turn to the only other business she knows: food service. Unfortunately, bad luck strikes yet again when her two-timing fiancé robs her blind and runs off with her best waitress. Flushing what’s left of her beloved café down the toilet with her failed engagement, Juliet packs up and moves back to her college stomping grounds in Nashville to manage an old friend’s coffeehouse. At first glance, it seems as though nothing’s changed at Java Jive. What could possibly go wrong? Only that the place is hemorrhaging money, the staff is in open revolt, and Juliet finds one unlucky employee dead in the dumpster out back before her first day is even over.

The corpse just so happens to belong to the cook who’d locked horns with Juliet over the finer points of the health code. Unimpressed with her management style, the other disgruntled employees are only too eager to spill the beans about her fiery temper to the detective on the case. Add to the mix a hunky stranger who’s asking way too many questions, and suddenly Juliet finds herself in some very hot water. If she can’t simmer down and sleuth her way to the real killer, she’s going to get burned.

Book Details

File Size: 2866 KB
Print Length: 289 pages
Publisher: Alibi (November 17, 2015)
Publication Date: November 17, 2015
Sold by: Random House LLC
Language: English
ASIN: B00VOYNDKK
Text-to-Speech: Enabled
X-Ray: Not Enabled
Word Wise: Enabled
Lending: Not Enabled
Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled

About the Author

Caroline FardigCaroline Fardig is the author of Death Before Decaf and the Lizzie Hart series. She worked as a schoolteacher, church organist, insurance agent, funeral parlor associate, and stay-at-home mom before she realized that she wanted to be a writer when she grew up. Born and raised in a small town in Indiana, Fardig still lives in that same town with an understanding husband, two sweet kids, two energetic dogs, and one malevolent cat.

A Review of The Sound of Murder by Cindy Brown

The Sound of Murder

(An Ivy Meadows Mystery #2)
by Cindy Brown

4,0It was really nice to leave the darkness, and read a fun, light mystery. This is the second Ivy Meadows mystery that I’ve read. Both of them are a lot of fun. Ivy is an aspiring actress, but she really wants to be a Private Investigator too. She works for her uncle at his PI agency, and also is in various local theater productions. She believes that she can do both, in fact she thinks that her acting ability will make her a better PI. I think that she’s right.

Ivy has plenty of amusing things happen to her. Fire plays a big part in this book. Her VW bug catches on fire regularly. Small fires usually. She carries a fire extinguisher and a roll of duck tape. A hot fireman comes into play too. So there is a lot of heat in this book!

The mysteries in this book work well with the slapstick humor. I was always chuckling at the antics and trying to figure out who the bad guy was at the same time. Ms. Brown walks that fine line. She keeps you smiling, but never goes to the extreme of ridiculousness.

I give The Sound of Murder 4 Stars out of 5, and a Big Thumbs Up! If you like the early Stephanie Plum books, you will like this light, easy and extremely fun book.

I received a Digital Review Copy from the publisher.

Book Description

sound of murderAll Ivy Meadows wants is to be an actor. And a private investigator. Plus she’d really like a pair of clean underwear, a place to stay since her apartment caught fire, and to overcome her fear of singing in public. Minor inconveniences aside, Ivy might be on a roll. She’s just landed her first real PI case, a seeming suicide in a retirement community. Not only that, but a big New York producer is coming to Arizona to see Ivy in the world premiere of The Sound of Cabaret (singing nuns AND Berlin burlesque).

But all is not raindrops on roses. A creep in a convertible is tailing Ivy, a local posse member is way too interested in her investigation, and something is seriously wrong with one of her castmates. And that suicide—could it be murder? As the curtain rises, Ivy finds herself smack in the sights of a serial killer.

Book Details

Series: An Ivy Meadows Mystery
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Henery Press (October 6, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1943390010
ISBN-13: 978-1943390014
Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces

About the Author

Cindy-BrownCindy Brown has been a theater geek (musician, actor, director, producer, and playwright) since her first professional gig at age 14. Now a full-time writer, she’s lucky enough to have garnered several awards (including 3rd place in the 2013 international Words With Jam First Page Competition, judged by Sue Grafton!) and is an alumnus of the Squaw Valley Writers Workshop.

Though Cindy and her husband now live in Portland, Oregon, she made her home in Phoenix, Arizona, for more than 25 years and knows all the good places to hide dead bodies in both cities.

A Review of MACDEATH: An Ivy Meadows Mystery by Cindy Brown

MACDEATH: An Ivy Meadows Mystery

by Cindy Brown

This fun, fast paced, theatre based book is a good start to a new year and a new series. I enjoyed the antics and the lively characters in Cindy Brown’s new book. She uses great dialog to create her story. The characters are quirky but believable at the same time. The humor is part of the story and doesn’t feel forced or artificial. Sometimes it heads toward slapstick, but that’s ok, because who doesn’t like to laugh.

Cindy Brown’s main character, Ivy Meadows, has to try to figure out why the male lead in Macbeth was found dead of suspected alcohol poisoning. The police are calling it an accidental death, but Ivy is sure that it was murder. Simon had quit drinking and had asked Ivy to help him out, to keep an eye on him. She feels like she let him down, and can’t let everyone think that he drank himself to death. But then other suspicious things happen. Is it the Macbeth curse, or something much worse.

This book would be classified as a cozy mystery, I guess. I only found out that cozy was a real genre last year, and I’m still not sure exactly what constitutes a cozy, but the publisher has Cozy showing up on the MACDEATH page.

This is what Wikipedia has to say, “Cozy mysteries, also referred to simply as “cozies”, are a subgenre of crime fiction in which sex and violence are downplayed or treated humorously, and the crime and detection take place in a small, socially intimate community. The term was first coined in the late 20th century when various writers produced work in an attempt to re-create the Golden Age of Detective Fiction.

Well, that certainly seems to fit MACDEATH. I like to read well-written cozies once in a while, and so I have to say that MACDEATH really fit the bill. I give it a solid 4 1/2 Stars out of 5 and a Big Thumbs Up! I look forward to reading the next book in the series (THE SOUND OF MURDER (#2) September 2015).

I received a Digital Review Copy from the publisher.

Book Description

FIRST IN A NEW SERIES

MACDEATHLike every actor, Ivy Meadows knows that Macbeth is cursed. But she’s finally scored her big break, cast as an acrobatic witch in a circus-themed production of Macbeth in Phoenix, Arizona. And though it may not be Broadway, nothing can dampen her enthusiasm—not her flying caldron, too-tight leotard, or carrot-wielding dictator of a director.

But when one of the cast dies on opening night, Ivy is sure the seeming accident is “murder most foul” and that she’s the perfect person to solve the crime (after all, she does work part-time in her uncle’s detective agency). Undeterred by a poisoned Big Gulp, the threat of being blackballed, and the suddenly too-real curse, Ivy pursues the truth at the risk of her hard-won career—and her life.

Books in the Ivy Meadows Mystery Series:

MACDEATH (#1)
THE SOUND OF MURDER (#2) September 2015

Part of the Henery Press Mystery Series Collection, if you like one, you’ll probably like them all…

Book Details

Series: An Ivy Meadows Mystery
Paperback: 275 pages
Publisher: Henery Press (January 20, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1940976693
ISBN-13: 978-1940976693
Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
Shipping Weight: 13.9 ounces

About the Author

Cindy Brown has been a theater geek (musician, actor, director, producer, and playwright) since her first professional gig at age 14. Now a full-time writer, she’s lucky enough to have garnered several awards (including 3rd place in the 2013 international Words With Jam First Page Competition, judged by Sue Grafton!) and is an alumnus of the Squaw Valley Writers Workshop. Though Cindy and her husband now live in Portland, Oregon, she made her home in Phoenix, Arizona, for more than 25 years and knows all the good places to hide dead bodies in both cities.