#BookReview Vanilla Bean Vengeance (Claire’s Candles 1) by Agatha Frost #Cozymystery

Title: Vanilla Bean Vengeance (Claire’s Candles 1) by Agatha Frost

Date Published: 28th February 2020

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Description:

 Claire Harris loves nothing more than crafting homemade candles. She has always dreamed of one day opening a quaint candle shop in her home village of Northash, but at thirty-five, she still can’t afford to take the risk. Stuck in a dead-end job at the local candle factory, and back living with her parents, Claire knows her life needs a shakeup.

The last place she expected change to come from was the factory itself, but when the owner is shockingly pushed to her death, Claire’s life is flipped upside down. She isn’t the only person in the village depending on the factory, so when the murder plunges the business’s future into uncertainty, Claire feels compelled to solve the crime.

With the help of her retired-detective father and closest friends, Claire uncovers a tangled web of conspiracies, cover-ups, secrets, and lies, but can she uncover the truth before her candle shop dream slips through her fingers forever?

Review:

Before I get into my review, I want to show the cover of Vanilla Bean Vengeance some love. I don’t usually go on about the covers, because you know you should judge a book by its cover and all that, but it’s so cute and fits the book perfectly.

So I read the first in Agatha Frost’s Peridale Cafe series a few months ago, so when I saw Vanilla Bean Vengeance, the first in the Claire’s candle series, I want to see what that’s all about. I’m always on the lookout for a new twist on the whole cozy mystery tropes, .i.e. Bakeries, witches, bookshops etc and I thought, I haven’t come across candles before, so I’ll admit I was intrigued on how the two would mesh. 

Vanilla Bean Vengeance has all the typical cozy ingredients, a village setting, a determined amateur sleuth with a hint of potential romance. 

My issue with Agatha Frost’s other series is I felt the characters were a little flat but I really liked Claire, she’s a character I really found myself rooting for. Plus a fab array of quirky back up characters, although Claire’s pushy mother who’s obsessed with her daughter getting married and having kids kind of got on my nerves.

The story kept me guessing to the end and I’ve already put the second in the series, Black Cherry Betrayal on my tbr list.

If you love a cozy mystery, I’d highly recommend this book!

About The Author:

Agatha Frost is a lover of all things cozy. She is a crime fiction fanatic and enjoys nothing more than sinking her teeth into a good murder mystery with a cup of peppermint and liquorice tea, and a cat curled up in her knee.

She lives in a quaint village in a sleepy corner of England, which provides more than ample inspiration for her bestselling Peridale Cafe Cozy Mystery series!

Sign up to Agatha’s newsletter to get ★FREE★ copies of new releases!

www.agathafrost.com

#BookReview #MiniReviews Pancakes and Corpses/Mango Cake and Murder #cozymysteries

I don’t know about you but I need some light hearted reading right now, so I turned to my old favourite cosy mysteries. Both of these books were free at the time I brought them but Pancakes and Corpses has gone back up to 99p.

Title: Pancakes and Corpses (Peridale Cosy Cafe Mystery book 1) by Agatha Frost

Date Published: 22nd January 2017

Genre: Cosy Mystery

Description:

Soon to be divorced Julia South never expected to be caught up in solving a murder, untilpancakes and corpses she discovered the body of her cafe’s most awkward customer. With a new smug Detective Inspector in town who underestimates her every move, Julia makes it her mission to discover the real murderer, before her village friends are dragged into the frame, and more bodies are discovered.

Book 1 in the Peridale Cafe Mystery series! A light, cozy mystery read with a cat loving and cafe owning female amateur sleuth, in a small village setting with quirky characters. No cliffhanger, swearing, gore or graphic scenes!

Review:

I’ve seen Agatha Frost’s books around Amazon for a while now with their cute food themed titles and fabulous covers but never quite got round to actually reading any but I needed a bit of light relief and thought why not? (Plus at the time it was free and I love me a bargain).

Our sleuth Julia moved back home to Peridale after the breakdown of her marriage and set up her life’s dream of owning her own bakery. Disaster strikes when an awkward customer is murdered and the lead suspect is one of her oldest friends. She can’t help investigating and puts herself in danger in the process.

Pancakes and Corpses is a light hearted cosy mystery which was a nice break from reality for a few hours.

It’s got everything you want in a cosy mystery. Delicious sounding food, gossipy village setting and a likeable but nosy amateur sleuth.

My only complaint was some of the more minor characters felt a little bit flat/generic but there is the potential to develop these as the series goes along. 

Overall a fun start to the series and one I may carry on with in the future.

*******

Title: Mango Cake and Murder (Mom and Christy’s Cozy Mysteries Book 1) by Christy Murphy

Date Published: 30th September 2016

Genre: Cosy Mystery

Description:

mango cake and murderWhat do you get when you combine mango cake, murder, and Mom?

An unlikely recipe for a better life!

When Mom convinces Christy to ditch her “lousy” job and help with the catering business, their fledgling partnership suffers a few setbacks. One of them can’t cook, they’re short a catering van, and the guest of honor at their first party is murdered.That would be bad enough, but then, Christy’s cousin, Celia, becomes the prime suspect.

Solving a murder is no easy task, but when drunken death threats, a dashing detective, and terrifying taxidermy are added into the mix, the case becomes almost impossible to crack. Who knew a small town like Fletcher Canyon could be filled with so much craziness?

Will the disaster-prone duo find the real killer before Celia’s reputation is destroyed, or will Celia end up in prison for murder? Find out in this quick comedy cozy!

This novella is the first book in the Mom and Christy’s Cozy Mysteries series, and is a complete mystery that you can read in an hour or two. It does NOT contain strong language or graphic violence. But it does contain a cute cat!

Review:

Christy is newly divorced and living with her mother again. Her mother decides she wants to start a catering business and asks Christy to help. Their first job is catering a party for a crotchety old man who ends up getting murdered. Christy’s cousin falls under suspicion and Christy and her mom decide to investigate.

Until I read this story, I didn’t realise just how many amateur sleuths are a) in their mid to late thirties and b) newly divorced.

Mango cake and murder is a quick and fun read if you’ve got a spare couple of hours.

I have to say I’m still a little wary of when an author fictionalises themselves but it worked okay for this story. There is a bit of a Sherlock/Watson dynamic between Christy and her mother, her mother being the Sherlock in this situation.

I also like the fact that there was some more diversity than usual in this genre with Christy and her family being Filipino.

I think overall the story could have done with a little bit more editing,  it suffered from that thing where there was a little too much emphasis on the more trivial things and not quite enough description. 

Will I carry on with this series? I don’t know. I don’t think this story was quite strong enough to entice me to get the next in the series but if I see the next on offer I may be tempted into buying it.

What about you? What’s your go to read when you’re stressed?