Meri Allen: Fatal Fudge Swirl

Ice Cream Shop #3

As summer heats up this year, cozy fans should really consider staying cool by enjoying Fatal Fudge Swirl by Meri Allen. The Udderly Delicious ice-cream shop owned by Riley Roades is the place to be in Penniman, Connecticut, even as it celebrates Halloween. Perhaps the surge at the store is because when winter comes in, ice-cream shops go out, and no one wants to miss out on their last cone of the season. Riley isn’t upset about it, though, as she already has several plans to fill the time off. There is also a major event in town as formal child star Cooper Collins is filming a romantic comedy in town and his socialite mother Diantha is having an extravagant Halloween themed wedding at the local Inn on the Green. read more

Olivia Matthews: Hard Dough Homicide

Spice Isle Bakery #2

Hard Dough Homicide is the second book by Olivia Matthews, and it follows Lindsay Murray and family at their Caribbean themed restaurant, Spice Island Bakery. When Lindsay’s mother quit her old job at the local school to focus on the bakery she thought, and hoped, her interactions with her old boss were behind her. Principal Emily Smith was a nasty piece of work who was demeaning and abusive to her employees and extremely self-centered. Yet when she decides to retire, she wants her celebration dinner held at the Spice Island Bakery. At first the Murray family wants nothing to do with it, but the money is literally too good to refuse, and they decide to take a chance. Turns out the guests are just as uncomfortable with things as the Murray family, and things go from tense to downright disastrous when Emily dies shortly after the meal begins. read more

Korina Moss: Curds of Prey

Korina Moss provides a savory take on food-themed cozies with the third addition to her Cheese Shop series. Curds of Prey follows cheese monger and owner of Yarrow Glen’s cheese shop Cruds & Whey, Willa Bauer. Willa is trying to navigate a potential new relationship with Roman, as well as catering to the wedding of two of the more powerful families in the town. The wedding involves the nephew of the Mayor, Nelson Trumbull, and Summer Harrington, daughter to one of the richest families around. While this may seem straight forward enough, there is violent chaos from the get go. Roman stops by to surprise Willa during a cheese testing for the wedding party, and gets into a fight with Nelson. While this does not ruin Willa’s chance at getting her cheese to the wedding shower, it does put Willa on guard – and not just about her cheese. Things only get more chaotic when the wedding shower is about to begin with yet another fight disrupting the set up. It isn’t until the wedding shower is called off that Willa dares to hope things might calm down, only to discover the body of the would-be-groom Nelson in the stables. Given the condition of his body, there is no question he is a victim of murder. Thus, she finds herself plunged into another murder mystery. read more

Chevy Stevens: Dark Roads

If you know Chevy Stevens you know Dark Roads will be a great read because, well, all her books are great reads. No one does the kind of contemporary suspense, rooted in the fabric of the way we live now (pre-covid anyway) like Chevy. She’s kind of a female Harlan Coben, but to me she writes with more compassion and greater depth.

The titular dark road is Cold Creek Highway, a lonely, desolate stretch where many women have disappeared over the years and not quite as many bodies have been found. Hailey McBride moves into the town of Cold Creek to live with her aunt after her father dies, only to find that this refuge has a decided drawback in the form of her aunt’s new husband, the menacing cop Vaughn. read more

Elizabeth Penney: Thread and Dead

There are all kinds of cozies involving small businesses, but this is the first series I’ve read where the small business in question sells vintage aprons and other types of vintage linens – sheets, dishtowels, etc.  As described by Penney, the shop sounds not only mouthwatering but fairly realistic.  Iris and her Grammie, who brought her up, run the apron store in Blueberry Cove, Maine (maybe it’s near the more famous Cabot Cove?) and she’s surrounded with a great mix of friends and a great setting. read more