Four Penguin Cozies For Your Winter Reading Fun: Reviews/Giveaways

Jan 26, 2013 | 2013 Articles, Cynthia Chow, Mysteryrat's Maze, Sandra Murphy

by Cynthia Chow
& Sandra Murphy


For your winter reading fun we have reviews of four fun cozy mystery novels–Book, Line and Sinker by Jenn McKinlay, Beeline to Trouble by Hannah Reed, Thread on Arrival by Amanda Lee and Recipe for Treason: A Lady Arianna Regency Mystery by Andrea Penrose. You can order these books from Amazon using the included links & a portion will go to help support KRL. There’s also info at the end of this post on how to enter to win copies of all four books!

Book, Line and Sinker by Jenn McKinlay
Review by Sandra Murphy

Trudi Hargrave is the woman you love to hate. She’s pushy, totally out for herself only, and, unfortunately, the tourism director for Briar Creek. She’s got the idea that Captain Kidd’s treasure is buried on one of the hundred islands -most uninhabited- and thinks a treasure hunt would bring fame and fortune to town. Residents complicate things—plus treasure hunters, tourists and logjams of traffic compound her problems.

It’s no surprise when Trudi’s body is found at the treasure dig site. The problem is, was it an accident or murder? There are plenty of suspects—I mean, who really liked her? Her death doesn’t make the problem of the treasure hunters go away though, in spite of the missing treasure map. Lindsey Norris, town librarian, gets involved because Trudi had at least two shouting matches with the local yogi while in the library. And Lindsey’s downstairs neighbor was on the island when the accident/murder occurred.

The underlying story is the romance of Lindsey and Sully. Enter the ex-fiancé; the one who broke Lindsey’s heart before she moved to Briar Creek. Are there feelings left or has she completely moved on? Sully’s not so sure.

The crafternoon group (crafts in the afternoon at the library) is great fun. There are snacks! At the rear of the book find the pattern for Lindsey’s cross stitch, “Books Are My Homeboys”, and recipes for Charlene’s Cucumber Cups Stuffed with Feta Cheese and Beth’s Lemon Almond Cookie Truffles. I look forward to more tales of Briar Creek and can’t wait for the next installment, Read It and Weep, so I can find out how the Lindsey/Sully romance works out. It’s gotta work out, right?

Other books in this series include: Books Can Be Deceiving, and Due or Die.

In the cupcake bakery series: Sprinkle with Murder, Buttercream Bump Off, Death by the Dozen, Red Velvet Revenge .

Beeline to Trouble by Hannah Reed
Review by Sandra Murphy

Story Fischer is back with her semi-dysfunctional family, her beehives and her hot boyfriend. She’s decided her hot boyfriend moving in is a good idea—but telling her mom about it, isn’t. The problem is, it’s a small town—you can’t keep a secret like this one.

In the meantime, Mom has a secret of her own and Holly, Story’s younger sister, is in a panic. Corporate executives from Holly’s husband Max’s company are showing up for a long weekend. Story is coerced into supplying the food and finding someone to cook it. Holly is culinary-impaired.

None of the execs seem to get along—although it’s discovered that two of them are getting along too well—ewww. When one of them turns up dead, it first looks like an accident or natural causes. When poison is discovered, Story has to get involved. She supplied the food; the poison was in the food. The question is, who put it there and when? Holly is a suspect. It’s her house and the victim was known to openly sneer at Holly while making a play for Max.

The usual characters are believable and fun to know. There are a lot of facts about bees and maintaining the hives without being intrusive to the storyline. The side characters are just as funny/aggravating/like someone you know. I hope in future books, they each get a chance to shine.

In the back of the book, bee trivia, instructions for making rose honey or a moisturizing facial mask, recipes for Popovers with Pumpkin Pie Honey Butter, Millie’s Potato Salad, and Arugula and Garden Tomato Salad.

Previous books by Hannah Reed include:
Buzz Off
Mind Your Own Beeswax
Plan Bee

Thread on Arrival by Amanda Lee
Review by Sandra Murphy

You’d think owning a stitchery store would be a calming kind of job but not for Marcy Singer. Somehow, she manages to find herself in all kinds of messes—all with the best intentions, of course. When Marcy’s friend Reggie asks if they can teach an embroidery class for abused women, Marcy says yes and immediately is drawn into the lives of Mary and her daughter. Mary’s husband is abusive but Mary won’t leave until she convinces her father-in-law, Chester to go too. Chester’s got a plan for a better life for all of them and is reluctant to leave and live in a men’s shelter. First, he wants to authenticate a tapestry passed down through his family. He swears it’s a real treasure map. Before Marcy can find out much, a murder occurs and the chase is on—was the murder premeditated, was it related to the treasure map? Or did domestic violence go too far?

In the meantime, Marcy’s love life is complicated. It’s time to make a decision. Before she can make her choice known, she’s caught red-lipped, kissing the chosen guy and the losing boyfriend is quick to get the message.

Angus the Wolfhound is still around to help in the store or to supervise meals. When Marcy is attacked behind the shop, Angus acts as nursemaid.

Marcy’s Mom is a costume designer in Hollywood. When Marcy tells her about the treasure hunt, they decide to pitch the idea to a documentary film company. After researching the Oregon coast, the documentary quickly becomes a reality show.

Through it all, Marcy manages to design and stitch a Faberge egg pattern for her mother, sell lots of stitchery kits and still solve the murder. The cast of characters is likeable and Tallulah Falls is a place you’d like to visit so you could meet them.

Other books by Amanda Lee include: The Long Stitch Good Night, Thread Reckoning, Stitch Me Deadly and The Quick and the Thread.

Sandra Murphy lives in the shadow of the arch, in the land of blues, booze and shoes—St Louis, Missouri. While writing magazine articles to support her mystery book habit, she secretly polishes two mystery books of her own, hoping, someday, they will see the light of Barnes and Noble. You can also find several of Sandra’s short stories on UnTreed Reads including her new one Bananas Foster.

Recipe for Treason: A Lady Arianna Regency Mystery by Andrea Penrose
Review by Cynthia Chow

England 1814 is a time of treason, espionage, and chocolate in Andrea Penrose’s third mystery featuring Lady Arianna and her husband Alessandro De Quincy, Earl of Saybrook.

Utilizing a carrot and stick approach, the Minister of State Security, Lord Percival Grentham, extorts, threatens, and blackmails Lady Arianna and her husband, the Earl of Saybrook, into ferreting out the traitor to England who may be delivering secrets of a dangerous chemical weapon to an enemy agent. While they do not know the details of the new weapon, the trail of dead scientists and chemists leads them to believe that it could change the way wars are fought and cause incomprehensible devastation.

When Alessandro’s best friend, a Scottish doctor whose knowledge has been instrumental in their previous adventures, is wounded in an ambush after they’ve barely begun their investigation, he is replaced in their team by the reclusive, eccentric, and brilliant Sophie Kirtland, a woman of many secrets whose past tragedies has links to the current cast of players in this very deadly game. Lady Arianna’s gift for disguise and deception makes her the perfect candidate to go undercover within the Royal Institution, a scientific social organization of aristocrats where it is believed that one of its members is Renard, the “fox” who is betraying England. Disguised as Americans, Arianna and Sophie must maneuver through the upper echelons of the scientific society while Saybrook works his own investigation to stop the murders of a growing string of chemists.

While Arianna and Saybrook married out of convenience to protect Arianna, there is a growing affection between the two where the word “love” is rarely mentioned but increasingly felt. Her unconventional upbringing as a con artist blends with Alessandro’s own alienation as a half-Spanish English aristocrat who feels the racism from his own class despite his money and power. Just as fascinating as the complex relationship of the couple is the emergence of aeronautical weaponry that is so completely foreign to the times yet a harbinger of an entirely new method of warfare. Added treats are Arianna’s chef skills that has her writing a cookbook of Saybrook’s grandmother’s recipes while he creates a scholarly treatise on the history and use of chocolate. Each chapter begins with a delectable chocolate recipe that seems very modern and very enticing. This is the ultimate mystery that skillfully blends historical facts and intrigue with unique and forward-minded characters.

To enter to win a copy of all 4 of these mystery novels, simply email KRL at life@kingsriverlife[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Winter”, or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen February 2, 2013. U.S. residents only.

Cynthia Chow is the branch manager of Kaneohe Public Library on the island of Oahu. She balances a librarian lifestyle of cardigans and hair buns with a passion for motorcycle riding and regrettable tattoos (sorry, Mom).

36 Comments

  1. Even though I don’t live in California, actually I live on the opposite coast…I’d still like to be entered to win your book giveaway!! Thanks!

    Reply
    • We have readers all over the world so feel free to enter any time!
      Lorie Ham, KRL Publisher

      Reply
  2. They all sound like really great reads — so good that if I win, I won’t know which one to read first! Thanks for wonderful opportunity you provide for us!
    Lynn/MI

    Reply
  3. This is truly one of the best sites online for finding new authors, getting reviews of books and reading interviews with authors who become very interesting people.

    Reply
  4. love the selections in this giveaway!!

    thank you!!!

    Reply
  5. I love these authors and their series. And I’m very glad to find Kings River Life Magazine. What a great site.

    Reply
  6. This selection includes some of my favorite authors and some I’ve never read. I love this site!

    Reply
  7. They all seem like great books. Love cozy mysteries.

    Reply
  8. Thanks for the reviews. Love me a cozy mystery!

    Reply
  9. What a great contest! Cozy mysteries are great this time of the year.

    Reply
  10. I adore cozy mysteries. Thank you for the fantastic giveaway!

    Reply
  11. The books seem delightful.

    Reply
  12. I can’t resist jumping in to win four books, especially when they all sound delightful.

    Reply
  13. Looks like an awesome collection of books! thanks for the giveaway!

    Reply
  14. I love cozies!! And all four of these sound great!!
    Thanks for the opportunity to win and read them.
    Pen

    Reply
  15. Fabulous group of authors..love my cozies!

    Reply
  16. That is a really lovely collection!

    Reply
  17. Would love to win also. I’m on the east coast too. I am having fun finding new books and series to read through FB.

    Reply
  18. I would love to win this collection. Everyone sounds great.

    Reply
  19. When I finish one of the Cozy Chicks books I feel like a helium balloon set free for blue skies!
    Thank you for the sense that “goodness does always win”!

    Reply
  20. I LOOOVE Jenn McKinlay! Met her a few times at The Poisoned Pen in Scottsdale, AZ….she’s a hoot! I would love the opportunity to win her current book and be introduced to new authors.

    Reply
  21. I have been reading Jenn McKinlay’s books from my local library, but I certainly need to check out these other authors – the books sound like fun.

    Reply
  22. Read all four of these series. Love them. Would love to win the next in each. Thanks.

    Reply
  23. I love these Authors! I typically do Culinary Mysteries but these would be great to read. I have read the other books of some of the ones listed, Hannah Reed and Jenn McKinlay. I hope I win! Good Luck Everyone!!!!

    Reply
  24. i have 3 of these books on my nook. these are some of my favorite authors. i would love to have these in book form. i read all 4 of these series and they are so good.

    Reply
  25. These books would make some great reading! I love mysteries!

    Reply
  26. Thank you for these reviews. I was already a fan of Jenn McKinlay but hadn’t heard of the other authors. These all sound like wonderful books.

    Reply
  27. I’d love to own these books!

    Reply
  28. I just got a brand new book shelf for my bedroom and these would be a wonderful addition!

    Reply
  29. Fun titles

    Reply
  30. Would love to win!

    Reply
  31. If this giveaway is open for the entire world, then count me in. Love these cozy mysteries!

    Reply
  32. We have a winner
    Lorie Ham, KRL Publisher

    Reply

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