Saturday, December 16, 2017

ROCCO's December Cozy Roundup

Merow!  here are my December Penguin cozy mystery reviews!
Let's start off with a top pick:

NOVEMBER 28, 2017

Synopsis:  The town of Rudolph, New York, has the Christmas spirit all year long—but when homicide heats up a summer holiday, it’s up to shop owner Merry Wilkinson to wrap up the case.

In Rudolph, Christmas in July heralds Santa’s arrival by boat to begin his summer vacation at the lake, and Merry Wilkinson, owner of Mrs. Claus’s Treasures, is looking forward to a busy weekend. But she’s caught off guard when her ex-fiancé, Max Folger, unexpectedly arrives with a team from a lifestyle magazine wanting to do a feature on the July festivities.

It’s clear that Max’s visit has less to do with business and more to do with winning back Merry’s heart. Merry has too much on her plate to deal with an old flame, but when Max is found strangled to death in Mrs. Claus’s Treasures, she must find out who wanted him dead—and stop a killer from ruining the summer holiday cheer.

ROCCO Sez:  I lurvvvve this series!  Maybe  because Christmas is my favorite holiday (after Halloween, of course!)  I have always enjoyed Vicki Delany's series, and I think this might be my favorite.  I love Merry and her band of friends, and who can resist a Christmas story in July??????  I have to confess, I didnt' trust Max and wasn't especially sorry when he died, but his death certainly put poor Merry in a pickle.  Want to find out how she gets out of it? You'll have to read the book to find out! Definite five paws!

DECEMBER 5, 2017

It’s early October, time for the Fall Folk Art Festival and Bake Sale in Lilyvale, Arkansas. Every business along the town square will benefit from the event, including the craft store run by Leslee Stanton Nix—aka Nixy—and the Silver Six, a group of retirees. In charge of making the festival go smoothly, Nixy is confident that it will be a success.

But things become knotty when local troublemaker Cornell Lewis is found dead with a plate of Snickerdoodles from the bake sale. Two members of the Silver Six are accused of cooking up a murder plot, but Nixy knows that the cookies weren’t literally to die for. With time running out, Nixy and company must catch the actual killer...before the Silver Six find their number permanently reduced to four.

ROCCO sez:   the Silver Six are back in another mystery, that is well thought out and plotted.  Readers new to the series will find the band of Sherlock Holmes retirees charming, and returning fans wont' hesitate to cheer them on!  four and a half paws!!!!!!

DECEMBER 5, 2017

Synopsis:  The visit of quirky world-famous horror author Nathan Grimes to Star City is especially thrilling for Clare Henry and her grandfather Chester. As the owners of The Rescued Word, a charming boutique shop in town, Clare and Chester specialize in restoring old typewriters and repairing beloved books. They’ve invited Nathan to their shop to use their equipment for his next book.

But all plans to work on the book take a step in the wrong direction when a tourist discovers an abandoned ski boot on the slopes—and the only sign of the owner is the dismembered foot he left inside! Nathan’s writer’s curiosity for all things horror is further piqued after the body of Clare’s high school friend Lloyd Gavin is discovered sans one foot. When all toes point to a class reunion gone wrong, Nathan can’t help but join Clare and her best friend, police officer Jodie Wentworth, as they hurry to track down the killer before more former classmates become Most Likely to Be Killed.

ROCCO sez:  Horror writers, dismemberd body parts, and a clever sleuth!  All right up my alley!   This is another good series and the third instalment definitely delivers!  Fans of Clare and Chester will not be disppointed as our amateur sleuths pull out all the stops to stop a killer at a class reunion!  It kind of reminded me of a Bones episode!  four and a half paws!

DECEMBER 5, 2017

Synopsis: Maintaining good personal relationships with their suppliers is one of the secrets of the Cackleberry Club café’s success, so Suzanne doesn’t mind going out to Mike Mullen’s dairy farm to pick up some wheels of cheese. She’s looking forward to a nice visit with the mild-mannered farmer before heading back to their hectic kitchen.

But when she arrives, Mike’s nowhere to be found. The moaning of his cows leads her to look in the barn, where she discovers a bloodcurdling sight—the farmer’s dead body. Apparently not everyone was as fond of Mike Mullen as the Cackleberry Club.

Churning with grief and outrage, Suzanne, Petra, and Toni vow to find the farmer’s murderer—but as they get closer to the truth, the desperate killer gets whipped into a frenzy and plans to put the squeeze on them...

ROCCO sez:  My tail starts flicking every time I read a Laura Childs book, and this time was no exception!  I always enjoy reading about the adventures of Suzanne, Petra and Toni, and trying to figure out whodunit before they do!  Laura Childs delivers another masterful edition in her Cackleberry Club series that will delight new and old fans alike!  Five paws, of course.

DECEMBER 5, 2017

Synopsis: It’s fall in Winter Garden, Virginia, and business at Amy Flowers’ Down South Café has never been better. So when struggling beekeeper Stuart Landon asks Amy to sell some of his honey, she’s happy to help. The jars of honey are a sweet success, but their partnership is cut short when Amy discovers Landon’s body outside the café early one morning.

As Amy tries to figure out who could possibly have wanted to harm the unassuming beekeeper, she discovers an ever-expanding list of suspects—and they’re all buzzing mad. She’ll have to use all of her skills—and her Southern charm—to find her way out of this sticky situation...

ROCCO sez:  I've been a fan of Gayle's other series and this one is a winner too!  Watching Amy buzz around (heh heh) trying to figure out who killed the beekeeper makes for an entertaining read!  four paws!

DECEMBER 5, 2017

Synopsis: With summer drawing to a close in Rock Point, Oregon, Emmy Adler hopes to beat the seasonal drop in business by winning the annual kite festival. What better way to garner publicity for the handmade kites sold in her shop, Strings Attached? In the days leading up to the festival, Emmy’s ambitions are soaring. Even an argument with reality TV star and contest judge Jasmine Normand can't bring her down. But when Jasmine is found dead the morning after their altercation, Emmy’s no longer flying high.

When the police open an investigation into Jasmine’s death and deem it a murder, Emmy falls under suspicion. With a national tabloid reporter convinced that she is guilty and business at her shop at a standstill, Emmy has to trade kite making for crime solving—or find all of her ambitions blown off course.

ROCCO sez:  I enjoy the kite shop premise of this series.  This instalment is the best yet.  Poor Emmy has a run in with the murder victim and then finds herself on the police radar.  Watching her try to solve the murder to exoneerate herself makes for some good reading!  The only problem I have with this book is the cover.  I think they could have done it more justice.  But then again, I'm no PIcasso, meow!   Four paws!

Win ROCCO's review copy of LIVE AND LET FLY!

To enter, leave your name and email address in the comments section. ROCCO will use to select the winner!  Contest closes midnight, December 21!


  1. Fantastic thank you. A great way to find new books.

    Mary Preston

  2. Thank you for this awesome roundup, ROCCO! There are some great books out this holiday season. Marla Bradeen:

  3. Thank you for the reviews & giveaway!
    Jana Leah B. turtle6422(at)gmail(dot)com

  4. It looks like some good books this month! Thanks for giving away your copy of one Rocco!

  5. Thanks for the info on the new releases, Rocco. I'm adding them to my TBR list. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  6. I have all of these titles on my tbr list! Thank you for the chance to win a copy of Live and Let Fly.


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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. Thanks for the chance. Maceoindo (at)yahoo(dot)com

  9. More books to add to the TBR list. Thanks for the chance to win a copy of Live and Let Fly.

    Becca Cook

  10. Ack! I'm so sorry to be running SO far behind! Thanks for the roundup, Rocco! Lots of books to add to my TBR pile!

    I appreciate the Four and a Half Paws for A CRIME OF POISON, too! So happy it met your high standards! (Then again, what feline doesn't have high standards?!)

    Happy 2018!


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