Thursday, December 30, 2010

Good Cozy Reads

Have you read all the books you wanted to this year? Has your TBR stack lost some of its height yet?

For me, the answer would be no and no way. I never seem to have enough time to read everything I want to. And I continue to add more books to the pile, planning on getting to each and everyone of them in time.

As December and 2010 draws to a close, new January releases will soon be out. Before that happens I want to feature four great cozy mystery books that were released this month by Berkley Prime Crime.

The first one is from a series that I thoroughly enjoy. The protagonist is one you can’t help but like and wish you lived down the street from. Even though this book has a Christmas theme, it’s a great read anytime.


It promises to be a jolly holiday for Sophie Winston until a Scrooge steals the Christmas gifts from her family and neighbors. The evil elf even pinches their Christmas dinners! Sophie quickly ends the neighbors’ finger-pointing by organizing a toy swap for the kids, restoring the spirit of Christmas. But not for long...

When her sister-in-law’s father shows up to the Christmas celebration with a diva girlfriend just a month after his separation, more than one person is thinking of murder. With relatives and friends under suspicion for the deadly deed, and Sophie’s detective boyfriend Wolf out of town, it’s up to Sophie to chase this goose and cook it. Nobody ruins her Christmas!

This is the four installment in the Domestic Diva Mystery series, but it’s a stand alone book. It includes entertaining tips throughout the book, as well as delicious recipes.

Author Krista Davis blogs at Mystery Lovers' Kitchen and her website is

The Diva Cooks A Goose by Krista Davis, A Domestic Diva Mystery, Berkley Prime Crime, @ 2010, ISBN: 9780425238257, Paperback, 304 pages

Next up is a new Orchard mystery set in the fall.

A KILLER CROP by Sheila Connolly

When Meg Corey’s mother arrives unannounced in Granford, Massachusetts, Meg’s sure it’s not just to pay a surprise visit to the apple of her eye. The timing is terrible—it’s harvest season and Meg is understaffed in the orchard. Plus Elizabeth Corey is clearly hiding the real purpose of her trip from her daughter.

After an English professor from Amherst—and an old friend of her mother—is found dead on the floor of a cider house, Elizabeth is interrogated by the police, and then grilled by her daughter. She is indeed keeping a secret—but could Meg’s own mother really have committed murder? One thing is clear: someone decided to teach the prof a lesson. And the key to unlocking the mystery may lie with a poet who could not stop for Death...

This is a stand alone book even though it is the fourth installment in the Orchard Mystery series. The book offers several yummy recipes.

Author Shelia Connolly’s website is

A Killer Crop by Sheila Connolly, An Orchard Mystery, Berkley Prime Crime, @ 2010, ISBN: 9780425238264, Paperback, 304 pages

The third book will not only challenge you to find a killer, but you can also sharpen your pencils to try and solve number puzzles.


Maiden’s Bay is a small, scenic town on the Oregon Coast where citizens get their number fix thanks to Liza Kelly—Sudoku Maven with the Oregon Daily. Her challenging puzzles sharpen the mind, and her deductive skills unravel even the most enigmatic clues...

Liza finds herself in the spotlight as she’s hired for celebrity week on a hit show, D-Kodas. She’s their celebrity Sudoku expert creating puzzles for the celebrities to decode. But jetting to L.A. for more televised exposure is not her idea of fun...

When the B-listers’ supersized egos gather on set, Liza has more problems than any Sudoku puzzle. Then an earthquake rocks the studio—and the cattiest of the celebs goes missing. But when she’s found dead—and not because of the quake—they realize there’s a killer among them. Now it’s up to Liza to catch the killer before he strikes again...

This is the sixth installment in the Sudoku Mystery series, but it is a stand alone book. There are also a number of Sudoku puzzles to solve (with the answers in the back), along with fun solving techniques.

Celebrity Sudoku by Kaye Morgan, A Sudoku Mystery, Berkley Prime Crime, @ 2010, ISBN: 9780425238271, Paperback, 224 pages

The last book is the first in a new series.

IF WALLS COULD TALK by Juliet Blackwell

Melanie Turner’s plan to move to Paris to get over a painful divorce was derailed when her mother passed away and Mel stepped in to take over Turner Construction from her distraught father “for a few weeks.” Weeks turned into two years, and Mel is still running the business in San Francisco, specializing in remodeling historic homes.

But after Mel finds a man fatally injured on a worksite, her business is threatened, a friend is a suspect in the death...and Mel is being followed around the Bay Area by none other than the ghost of the dead man himself.

Was the deceased trying to pull off a scam that led to his death? Could an old box Mel found in the walls hold deadly secrets? Mel had better find out before she’s the next to experience a construction site “accident.”

This is the first installment in the Haunted Home Renovation Mystery series. The book also includes a sneak peak at the next Haunted Home Renovation Mystery coming next year.

Author Juliet Blackwell’s website is

If Walls Could Talk by Juliet Blackwell, A Haunted Home Renovation Mystery, Obsidian, @ 2010, ISBN: 9780451231819, Paperback, 336 pages

FTC Full Disclosure - These books were sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review them. However, receiving these complimentary copies did not influence my reviews.


  1. Ha Ha Ha-have I read all my TBR books-no way the list just grows and grow and grows.

  2. These all sound like so much found I want to rush out, buy the batch of them, and curl up by the fire. No one bother me 'till spring, please.

    I just published 2010's booklist--111 and I haven't recorded them all yet. Not too bad.

  3. But, of course I haven't read all the TRbs!!!

  4. I love when I have a lot of books to read, but I especially love when my list of books is small. I get to start the new year with a clean bookshelf (okay, I have 4 books on my shelf) and I can't wait.

    I've read three of the four books and they were all enjoyable.

    Tonight I'll tally up the books I've read in 2001.

  5. So, I have a couple days to catch up before the January releases! Just started the Orchard series this year and really enjoy it, same with Diva!

  6. I wish a goose would cook a diva, I don't like when people eat animals :)

  7. Esme, I'm TBR stack keeps growing too. But that's part of the fun.

    Mary, curling up by the fire and reading until spring sounds perfect.

    Dru, I'm always in awe of the number of books you read. Can't wait to see how many you read this year.

    Julia, I started the Diva series right before the second book came out so I had two back to back to read and have love them ever since. This is my first Orchard and Sudoku read so I'm glad they're stand alone books and then I can go back and catch up. With Juliet's renovation series I get to start at the beginning.

  8. Dez, with these cozies you just never know if it means animal or 'human'. :)

  9. "If walls could talk" sounds interesting. Thanks mason for the reviews. I didn't get all my reading done either. But I did get all my school reading done. :) have a great day!

  10. My TBR book list gets longer and longer. I'll never get them all read, but it is fun to have so many to choose from.

  11. Mason - Thanks for these reviews! Cosy mysteries can be a real remedy for life's stresses, and your reviews of these are great.

    And please don't ask me about my TBR list. If I even move to type my answer, the pile is going to fall on top of.......AAHHH!!!!! ;-)

  12. No! I have just won two more books, from a husband and wife team in Canada. So they have boosted the pile again. :)

    Happy New Year, Mason. Thanks for your support during 2010.

  13. I just keep reading. I now have a "pile" of book samples on my NOOKcolor. And books on reserve at the library, and books on my shelves.

    Terry's Place
    Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

  14. Hi Mason .. they all sound like good reads .. why can't our brain deal with a book a day .. and all the other things we have to/want to do?! Love the thought of the recipes too .. and the Sudoku murder ..

    One day .. cheers Hilary

  15. A great list of books. Thanks! And, no, my pile of TBR books is not smaller, especially after Christmas. I don't know if I'll ever catch up. I'll just have to keep trying.

  16. I grew up in Oregon and can't say I recall a town called Maiden's Bay...

  17. These look fun, Mason. I went on a thriller kick recently and haven't read a cozy in months. I have made a tiny dent in my TBR stacks, but have resolved not to buy any more hardcovers or paperbacks until I actually have space for them in a bookcase. It's hard, very hard.

    I compensate by visiting the library more often, requesting our library system order new books that I want to read, and going for my blogger friends' books on my new Kindle. Where there's a will, there's a way.

    I wish you a very happy and healthy new year. Here's hoping all your dreams come true.

  18. I enjoy cozies - and some of the titles are so clever! Thanks for the tips - although my wishlist is already far too long!

  19. Well, the great thing is that there are always new books out there to read. :D

  20. Weird. I have read the c 100 books I wanted, but is my TBR any smaller? No. It is probably twice as large as last year.

  21. Summer, hope you get a chance to do some enjoyable reading now. Good that you got all the school reading done though. Have a great weekend.

    Susanne, I agree. Having a lot to select from helps when you need to read some different.

    Margot, your TBR pile sounds like mine. I actually have about 3 or 4 piles just so they won't fall over. LOL

    Glynis, hope you enjoy your new wins. Thank you for your support during this year. I've enjoyed getting to know you. Happy New Year.

    Terry, so far I've not started reserving books at the library (except every once in awhile). I downloaded the Calibre program so I could keep up with the e-books I have on my computer.

    Hilary, if only we could read a book a day and do everything else. Sometimes it seems it's all I can do to read a book a week.

    Helen, now bwhere would be the fun if we had read everything in our TBR pile?

    Diane, so now you'll have to read to find out more about it. :)

    Patricia, cozy are great to come back to after reading thrillers. I go through phases like that too. You have more will power than I do when it comes to getting new books. Wishing you a joyous, safe and Happy New Year too.

    Jemi, there's always room for at least one (maybe two) more books on a wish list. LOL

    Golden Eagle, I agree with you. It is a wonderful thing that there are always new books to read opening new doors for our imagination to explore.

    Dorte, sometimes I think our TBR list grows on its own. :)

    Alex, these are some very colorful and eye catching covers.

  22. Aw, Mason, how am I ever going to reduce the size of my TBR pile when you keep laying all these great temptations in front of us? And to make it worse, I now have a Nook. E-book temptations!


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.