Chocolate Centered Cozy Mysteries Books 1 – 4



Ally comes home to relax after a messy divorce. She quickly starts working in her grandmother’s chocolate shop again. Soon after her arrival, however, the delivery driver is found dead. Ally is suddenly determined to find justice for the man while trying to get the new detective off her back as a potential killer.

This book was very interesting and it incorporated a lot of elements. Though it is a very standard start to a small town murder mystery, they did play with the fact that Ally did live in the city for a few years. It also got to play the history of the characters to further the Plot of the book. I know this complaint is common for me, however, I found that the murder was a little obvious.

There was a lot of character building in this book. They drop the reading into a book, where all the character has a lot of history together. I did enjoy finding out more about the backgrounds of all of there character, but I am in love with character building. All is an interesting character, however, she does fit into the standard archetype for a lead female lead. Typically, Luke is the typical standoffish cop, however, he wasn’t outright mean so it’s all forgiven.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. This isn’t a surprise because I like Cindy Bell.


Ally is settling back into Blue River and starts spending with her grandmother again. However, when someone uses her grandmother’s chocolates to kill a woman in the apartment complex her grandmother wants to move into, suddenly it becomes all hands on deck. Ally must try and find out who would want to frame her grandmother and herself for murder.

I do like Cindy Bell, however, I found that this book dragged on quite a bit. It was filled with unnecessary details that didn’t progress the plot. Though there were 2 main suspects it was easy to figure at who did it, and though they try to confuse the reader, it didn’t really help. Ally took far too many risks in this book and could have really jeopardized the case. I know that Ally wants to be independent, however, she really should listen to Luke more.

Speaking of Luke, he is much more lovable this book. Again due to his investigation the last book, it’s understandable for his demeanour, however, I like him much more. Also understandable is the fact that Ally is still really uptight and naive about love due to her divorce. Ally and Luke make a very cute couple. Charlotte was really fun especially with her impending move which makes a good portion of this book focused on Ally’s separation anxiety.

This was not my favourite book in this series.



Ally goes to the next town over to try and win the contract with a local hotel. Everything seems fine until she starts to bring some of her grandmother’s things to the car, she finds her trunk isn’t so empty. She calls Luke and he calls the police. However, the new detective in town is more determined to figure out why Ally killed the man than find the actual killer.

I hate to say this is a trend, however, this book also dragged a little too much for me. After destroying a crime scene in the last book you would think that she would be more careful, but alas Ally is still not listening to Luke. Luke’s hands were pretty much tied throughout the book which left ally doing some pretty dangerous things, however, it was cute seeing him go out to bat to try and clear Ally’s name.

Ally really needs to learn to talk to people close to her and open up more. So many of the personal aspects of this book were because of Ally’s lack of communication. Luke was preoccupied most of the book and Ally never once asked him about it like an adult and just started assuming negative things. We do get to find out more things about Ally’s past which makes the reader understand the thought process behind Ally’s actions. Charlotte helps Ally a lot during the investigation in this book, and I just enjoy how feisty she still is even in her older age.

I enjoyed this book more than the last, but there still needs to be some work with the pacing.


The local farmer’s market is a time-honoured tradition and makes everyone in Blue River come out and show their support. However, when the youngest son of one of the big farms is murder, everyone starts looking for the murderer. Ally starts looking into it because she’s can’t believe that the victim’s own brother had anything to do with it.

This book is very interesting and builds the town’s surrounding as well as a little history between Ally and the family. Ally and Charlotte look into the case as it’s in a different town that means Luke has no access to the case files or any finding. As per usual, Ally makes too many risky decisions, and I feel like Luke should have a tracker on her.

Ally actually grows this book, shocker I know. She’s actually starting to feel like a well-rounded character, and less flat. Luke and Ally are still in a really weird limbo when faced with the future of their relationship. Charlotte is having fun playing matchmaker this book. 

There are no time markers really in this book series so we don’t really know how long the between periods are. I find it a little irritating.


An Imitation of Murder (Sky High Pies Mysteries #9)



Kate just finds out that her client and friend Pia is going to marry the local artist who just moved into town. However, when she receives a few odd phone calls and Pia, along with her fiance go missing, Katie is on the trail. However, this time Trent and Dina encourage her as the race time to find them alive.

the mystery was interesting but got confusing the closer we got to the end of the book. There were a lot of different potential theories floating around crescent creek which are incorporated into the story that makes things very mucky. Normally, Kate and the police work at about the same speed, but this time Kate was finding a lot more information probably because everyone knows that Kate is Pia’s friend. I do find the imbalance off-putting, especially in this kind of case.

We got to learn more about the relationship between certain people in town. As Kate is looking into Pia’s jobs, we get to meet more people from around town than we normally do. We also find more out about Pia in this book, her background, her family and even why she would want to marry someone that she only just met recently. Trent becomes a little more fleshed out in this book. We find out how he feels about his past with Katie, and how it’s affecting his current life.

This was not my favourite book in this series, but it was an interesting journey.

Skeletons & Scones (Sky High Pies Mysteries #8)

Oceanside Cozy Mystery 6 – 10



The Shepard clan decides to take a bike tour, on Detective Peter’s suggestion. However, when things go wrong and Heather’s notices a body right off the trail. When Detective Smith mentions that there may be a link between this murder and a murder from 2 years previous. Now, Heather and Ryan and pulled into another murder mystery.

Ok, I know that I read a lot of books, however, after the first time we meet the murderer I knew exactly who it was and why they did it. It was a very straightforward mystery and utilized very common tropes that are found in the mystery genre. It really felt laking for me, however, that might be because I figured it out right away.

We get to learn more about Peter in this book, or rather more about the potential relationship between him and Jeana. He is a very cute character, and he seems still really young. He does fit with Jaena, who also seems really new to the world. We learnt more about Detective Smith, even though he should be out of the book series relatively soon.

This was an ok book, however, it could have been much better.


After a horrible review that was left online about their doughnuts leads Heather and Amy to Salem. The day after arriving, their customer is found dead and they find themselves on the top of the suspect list. They must now look into the mystery to clear their names before they get put in jail for something they didn’t do.

I always love when the team are travelling and not in their hometown and are wrapped in the middle of another murder mystery. As it is situated in Salem, we get to see the team work with Psychics, I kinda wanted there to be witches but there isn’t any in this book. I will say that the story wasn’t that straightforward so it was interesting, however, I did have the guess really early on, and it was correct. However, if you don’t pay attention, then until Heather’s explanation it would be difficult to figure out.

I really enjoyed seeing Maricela again in this book, it has been too long. It was also fun to see Maricela as the logical mind next to Amy who believes in psychics and all that jazz. Similarly to in previous books, Heather and Maricela work really well together, almost better than with Amy. It was also interesting to see Heather giving Maricela adv about her relationship with Jung. It made them more relatable as characters, as this book series seems to have the monopoly on happy couples.

All in all this was a fun little book to read.


This is Ryan’s first case on the force and he’s out to prove himself. So Heather tries to step back, however, when he gets too stuck he brings Heather in for her ‘baking’ knowledge. Heather puts her sleuthing to work to try and figure out who would want to kill a cupcake baker. The only other creepy thing is how similar the kitchen of the two bakeries are.

The murder itself was really obvious about who the murder was, however, the reasoning behind it took a little longer to find out why. It was interesting getting into the motive for the murder. Though the reasoning is very convoluted reason for the murder, however, it was interesting. I enjoyed seeing Ryan and Heather working together on this case again.

Ryan is a much more interesting character while his working in comparison to when he’s moping around about not being all to work. I expected Peters’ character to become a little more active in this book, however, he is still in the back and this saddens me. He seems to be a very nice character that Gillard could play with but he’s still in the background of the story. So we finally get to meet Edna’s admirer and he’s really cute. I hope we see more of him in the future books as he seems to be an interesting character to add. Chief Chet is a little awkward when it comes to trying to tell Ryan what he wants him to do, I’m sure he will even out in the future.

This was a fun book and a good continuation of the series.


Heather and Lilly are getting ready for Nick’s first visit to Key West, however, this Thanksgiving isn’t going to be as calm as they want it to be. After a horrible accident happened, killing a man, everyone thought it was just that. However, It takes a lot to make a deep-fried chicken explode. Heather and Ryan work together to find out if it was just an accident or if someone what trying to go after the poor man.

This story was a little confusing, I don’t know if it was supposed to be or if it was accidental. Regardless, it wasn’t very well structured if it was intentional, there wasn’t enough information that was given to the reader to make an educated guess about how the murderer was. It even felt like Heather was grasping at straws in the book. If you think about it enough out could guess the murderer but it’s all based on circumstantial evidence rather than concrete evidence, which I didn’t enjoy.

I was enjoyable to see Nick again, even though he wasn’t really in the book very much. What little he was in the book, it was nice to see his relationship with Lilly again after the last few books. We did get a little bit of the background to the victim’s family, however, since they were under investigation it wasn’t much of a surprise.Peters was still in the background and acted very much like a lost puppy where Jaena is concerned. I really want to know more about Peters, so hopefully, he won’t be another Jamie but we have yet to see.

Overall, it was an ok book.


Jamie’s mobile pet grooming business is up and running. However, after his first day, he is left with a dog whose owner has gone missing. Ryan and Heather go looking for the owner and quickly find her dead. They now have to figure out who would want to kill the victim, and Jamie and Amy have to figure out what to do with the dog that is now in their possession.

Though I do like that Jamie is a larger part of this mystery than before, it was a little bit of an awkward start. The fact that Jamie was the one who initiated the search and no one taking it seriously made it a slow start. However, once it did start it fell right into the tropes that come with someone changing their identity. It was ok, however, a little predictable sadly. I did, however, like the use of DNA in this book. For once they use actual science and not just conjecture. It made it wrap up nicely in the end.

Like I said before, I enjoyed seeing Jamie in the book again. It was an integral part at the beginning. He is normally in the background, so it was nice to see him brought forward and used in a book for once. Amy seems to have calmed down in the book, however, it’s obvious that she still doesn’t like them. It’s just nice that her reactions are not as annoying as in the first few books where she was around bodies.

It was an ok book, however, it’s still not one of my favourites.

Oceanside Cozy Mysteries #1 – 5

Chocolate with a Side of Murder (Daley Buzz Mysteries #1)



There is something weird happening in town, and it only just got worse when the owner of the local chocolate shop is found dead. Sabrina discovers the body, and due to her past trauma, she is determined to find out who did it. With her boyfriend, David, on the case, she has her finger on the pulse of the investigation.  

Sabrina is a little too bold and far too aggressive when questioning the murder suspects. She would never get any of the information needed if she spoke to anyone that way. It is a natural human reaction to clam up. Much over, David should not be sharing so much information with Sabrina while the case is still open. That goes so far against protocol that he could have gotten into a lot of trouble if any of the suspects had reported Sabrina’s visit to the police. Even when David finds out, he doesn’t have the appropriate reaction to her snooping.

The mystery is pretty cut and dry, and there wasn’t much to the mystery. I wish it would have had a little more dimension to it. Once a certain clue was given, relatively early on in the book, it was easy to figure out. 

I did however like David, his protocol-breaking and all. He is very caring and supportive… just maybe in the wrong way. Sabrina does have an interesting back story, so that was interesting. It made it understandable why she couldn’t walk away from the murder. 

It was an ok book but I’m not sure that I’m going to continue the series.

Murder for Millions (Sky High Pies Mysteries #7)



Life seems to have gotten back to normal for Kate, however, when her father’s old friend comes into Sky High Pies drunk things get a little weird. When a threatening poem is delivered to several of the businessmen around town. Kate is now looking into who is would want to blackmail the men in question, however, she is being blocked by a PI from Utah.

This was pretty much the standard for this book series. Someone knows about Kate’s past and comes to get her help in a mystery that normally caused by a threat to their family member. This book series is becoming a little formulaic, however, this is the downfall of too many cozy mystery books. The mystery isn’t that complicated and you can easily figure it out within a short time at the beginning of the book. Sadly this wasn’t the best book in this series when it comes to its plot.

We get to see more growth in the relationship between Kate and Diana. There have quickly become best friends again in this series. I’m surprised that Kate’s and Trent’s relationship hasn’t grown at all, and I feel like it’s almost stale. I get that they’re not getting back together, but I feel like there should be at least some advancement.

I did enjoy seeing the expansion of the city in this book. We got to learn some more about some of the citizens and their backgrounds. We also get to learn more about Blanche and Kate’s parents this book.

It was an ok book but not my favourite in the series.

Deadly Desserts (Sky High Pies Mysteries #6)
Skeletons & Scones (Sky High Pies #8)

Bekki the Beautician Mysteries 12 – 14



Bekki and Nick have finally scheduled time off and Bekki plans on lounging around and simply enjoying being with Nick. However, Nick has other plans. He goes behind her back and planned a camping trip. While it’s not Bekki’s favourite activity, she is determined to enjoy it. When Bekki finds a fellow camper murdered in the woods, suddenly they are alone in the woods, with a murderer on the loose.

This was an interesting little book. I enjoyed how the main characters were dropped into an environment completely different from the norm. It’s a thought process I think that a lot of people who have gone camping have thought about, at least I know I have. What would you do if there was a murder in the middle of the woods and you were stuck there? Now mind you, most of us are not cops like Nick and Morris, but it was interesting to see them go through the scenario.

I enjoyed seeing Sammy grow in this book. She is always in the back, however, in this book we get to see her be an integral part of the story. She pushes through her insecurities and works with everyone to find the murderer. Seeing Bekki and Nick work close together is nice, since in most of the book Bekki is trying to hide the fact that she’s investigating from Nick.

It was a nice read and an interesting thought experiment for anyone who camps.


Everything looks like it’s going to be a normal day at the salon for Bekki, however, when one of her clients dies in her chair, the day just went south. Though the death was quickly classified as a heart attack, something just doesn’t feel right for Bekki. So while trying to move on, she also starts looking into Stella’s passing.

There was a little more expansion in the town this book. Mainly, we got to learn a little more about Angela from the bakery. We also get to meet Stella Black in this book. I feel like we might have briefly met her in another book, as she does seem a little familiar. Always love books where we get to learn more about the murder victim as well as the murder. Sadly, we only really find out the interesting things about the murder near the end.

The mystery was relatively straightforward and I had my suspicions early on. However, there was a little twist near the end that was really interesting. I feel like for most people, the book would lead them to draw a certain conclusion, however, I found it quite noticeable.

We also ot to meet Nick’s new partner, however, I don’t find them quite as irritating as Bekki and Sammy did. I found that it was a little over exaggerated their reaction to them.  He makes a silly joke, as suddenly they don’t like him. I did enjoy his character though.

Overall, it’s a really strong book in the series.


While Nick and Bekki are away at a conference in London, something odd happens. At a demonstration for fillers, the volunteer dies. At first, everyone assumes that there was a possibility that there was an allergic reaction, however, looking further into the case there appears to be some foul play. Quickly, Bekki is stuck into another murder investigation.

The mystery itself was very straightforward, and once we get a little information it is very easy to figure out who the killer is. They tried to insert a little plot twist part way through the book, however, it didn’t really work. It was such a different avenue to investigate that it didn’t really work. I did enjoy how Bekki was out of her element and in a different country, it added to the mystery.

I enjoyed how Nick relaxed a little near the beginning and end of the book, we got to see them not in the middle of an investigation which was nice. I still think that Bekki should listen to Nick more when it comes to investigations, as he is the seasoned investigator. We do get to see her spend all her time investigating as she doesn’t have her salon to run, and I enjoyed that she didn’t have to hide the investigation from Nick. It was nice to see that we got some character development with the murderer and the victim. As you all know, I love me some background to understand the motivations.

This was a good book to continue or end the series with. At this time, this is the last book in the series.

Bekki The Beautician Mystery 9 – 11

A Zest for Murder (Sky High Pies Mysteries #5)



One of Kate’s friends suddenly disappears one day, and Kate discovers her house ransacked and an unknown woman bleeding out from a bullet wound. Suddenly, Kate and Crescent Creek PD are on high alert and are working overtime to find her. Kate is now worried sick about the possibility that she’s already dead.

It was nice getting back into this book series again. We get to find out more about the town in this book, and like in all small towns, there are feuds and harmless competitions between people. The victim in this book was one of Kate’s friends so she has a vested interest in the case. Though Kate only really does some legwork and speaks with Tipper’s boyfriend. It was still interesting to see how this case advanced.

Trent and Kate’s relationship was put on display in this book, though they really just act like siblings with their banter. Kate and Zack’s relationship is still so cute, it’s just sad that Zack wasn’t present through a good chunk of the book. There were some minor inconsistencies through the book, nothing that really changes much, just things like Zack was supposed to help out at the store and that never happened.

I still really liked this book and it was an interesting read.

When Magic is Murder (Sky High Pies Mysteries #4)
Deadly Desserts (Sky High Pies Mysteries #6)