Cozy Mystery Road Trip

Hi everyone!

For the last several months, I have wanted to create something that would combine two things I love–road tripping and reading cozy mysteries! As much as I would love to actually go on a road trip, it is nearly impossible because of work and COVID so instead I thought about a virtual road trip that would take me through all 50 states!

What exactly does this mean?

Each week I plan to highlight one state and will give a list of popular restaurants/destinations/hidden gems, but most importantly a list of Cozy Mysteries/series that take place in each of the states! My hope is to encourage you to travel (when you feel it safe for you to do so) and to dive into the genre of Cozies! If you did not know, the cozy mystery genre is what reignited my love for reading and I hope that it will do the same for someone else!

Next week we will be diving in to California!

If you currently live there or have lived there, comment with your favorite restaurants and things to do within the state!

xoxo

Nicole ❤

Author Interview: Melissa Grace

Hello friend! I hope this post finds you well 😃
Last year author Melissa Grace reached out to me about reading and reviewing her first novel titled Home is Where You Are and I DEVOURED that book in just a couple of days. (only because work got in the way of me finishing in one day 🙄) I do not know about you, but those are my favorite kind of books—the ones you cannot put down because the author has created a world/story that makes you feel that you are right in the middle of it!
Now fast forward to this year and her second book in the Midnight in Dallas series was released and it is titled Home Again and I am pretty sure I loved it just as much as the first if that is even possible. Needless to say, I hope that if you are into the genre of contemporary romance that you will pick up her books. I think it is so important to pass along authors who not only are great writers, but also an all around good person. I think you will find why I have grown to love Melissa Grace both as a writer and overall friend once you read this mini interview I was able to have with her!

Enjoy!

1. What made you decide to become a writer?

This is a tough question to answer because I knew from when I was in second grade that I wanted to be a writer. I wrote my first ‘book’ in Mrs. Brenda’s second-grade class, and it just spiraled from there. When I was probably thirteen or so, I read my first Lurlene McDaniel book, and I think that lit a fire in me. That was the first time I realized the kind of storyteller I wanted to be. Lurlene retired recently, but for her whole career, she wrote stories that really captured the difficult parts of the human experience–grief, illness, you name it, she wrote about it. Her stories were for young adults, but from an early age, it helped me realize that I wanted to be able to do for other people what Lurlene did for me. Her books helped me navigate tough emotions within the safety of a book, but the thing I loved most about her stories was that they were always filled with hope. 

2. Where did you get the inspiration to begin writing the Midnight in Dallas series?

Weirdly, the initial inspiration came from the last story in the series, and then I kind of worked my way backward. I knew I wanted all of my heroines to be over the age of thirty. I’d been reading a lot of books and I noticed that most of the heroines were in their twenties. I love those stories, but I wanted to see more women that were representative of me, my friends, and where we are in life. I don’t know if people think that women over thirty and forty magically have their shit figured out or what, but I know I sure don’t. I think the only difference between me in my twenties and me now is I’m no longer faking having my shit together. I’m very open about the fact that I am now and probably always will be a work in progress. It was also important to me to show that women don’t shrivel up after thirty. We still crave romance and magic, and it’s never too late for us to go after our dreams. I wrote my first book at thirty-six. It is never too late. 

3.What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters?

They have minds of their own sometimes. I tell them to go left, but if they want to go right, that’s what they’re going to do. I don’t feel like I’m really creating them so much as they are creating themselves. They’re calling the shots–I’m just the pen.

 4.Prior to writing, were you an avid reader? What are some of your favorite genres?

Always. One of my fondest memories growing up was going with my grandmother to the big library in Nashville instead of the teeny tiny one out where I lived every week over the summer. I would check out seven to ten books a week and then go back and do it all over again the next week. I love romance, but I also love women’s fiction, psychological thrillers, and some non-fiction too.

 5.Outside of writing, what are some of your hobbies?

My hobbies include reading, procrastinating, and going to Target. Oh, and collecting random cats that show up at my house. I didn’t choose the cat lady life. The cat lady life chose me. 

6. I have to know, what is your favorite food?

Is coffee a food? Because I love coffee. Honestly, I just love food. Liv was a baker in Home Is Where You Are because I am an amateur baker. My favorite food changes constantly. Right now it’s barramundi tacos. Oh and that Everything But The Bagel dip from Trader Joe’s. And blueberries. I am obsessed with blueberries. 

Here is where you can find Melissa Grace on the web!

Instagram | Blog | Newsletter | Facebook | Goodreads | Twitter

xoxo

Nicole

Hello, Hola, How Are You?

Hi friend!

Photo by Irina Iriser on Pexels.com

It has been some time since my last post on here or really any of my social media accounts. The shortest and easier answer to give you as to why I have been away is because life became a little more overwhelming than I had liked and I had to cut some things out of life for a little while in order to make it through. This little book world I created for myself was the only thing I had control over and it was easier to walk away than be creative. That may seem silly to some or maybe it makes a lot of sense. I just hope each of you are doing well and have been able to find joy in each day because it really has been something to help get through my days the last nine weeks. ❤

With that being said, I am back and I am so excited! It feels very refreshing and I am ready to dive back into reading and cannot wait to hear what you have loved reading over the last couple of months!

Let me know in the comments what you have been reading the last week and what has brought you the most joy!

xoxo

Nicole

Cozy Corner Book Club: April 2021 Pick

It is hard to believe we are already heading into our third month of the Cozy Corner Book Club! It has been such a fun experience to share my love of cozies with other readers and to hear about their experiences as they read through each book. I am excited for April because not only do we have a new book, but my good friend Aimee from @readwithaimee on instagram (you can also find her at www.readwithaimee.com ) will be hosting the book club with me! Aimee is a die hard sports fan–Detroit Tigers and the Pittsburgh Steelers are the two teams she roots for, she is an amateur baker who really should make it a full time gig, she has the cutest cat named Zeus, and is an avid reader. She influences a lot of my book choices and has turned from a bookstagram acquintance into a great friend! I am thrilled to be on this journey with Aimee!

Now for our April 2021 book club pick!

The Plot is Murder is the first book in A Mystery Bookshop Mystery series by V.M. Burns and will be our April read! You can find this book on Amazon Kindle right now for only $2.99 or you can find the physical copy for only $7.69. Click here to get yourself a copy and join us for our discussion at the end of the month!

What is the book about?
Samantha Washington lives in small town by Lake Michigan and her dream has always been to open up her own book store. When she gets the opportunity to do so, she finds a dead body in her own backyard! With the help of her grandmother she will clear her name and solve the murder in time for the grand opening—unless the murderer has a different idea…

I hope you will join us next month as we dive into this cozy mystery!

Author Interview: London Lovett

Hi friends!
Several years ago, I was on the market for a book series to start reading after taking a pretty long hiatus from it. The moment I saw the cover for Marigolds and Murder by London Lovett, I knew I needed to read it. Little did I know, my love for reading would be reignited! Since that day, it is rare for you to see me without a book. If you were to look in my purse you would find a physical copy of a book, my kindle, and earbuds for audiobooks. I have a problem—a GOOD PROBLEM 🙂

For a while now I have wanted to interview London and thankfully I had the opportunity to do so a little over a week ago! London Lovett is the Author of several cozy mystery series which include: Port Danby, Firefly Junction, and Starfire. Each series is so unique and different, but one thing that is constant is the love you will have for each of the characters. It is extremely hard not to feel as though you are best friends with each sleuth and you will find yourself cheering them on through every obstacle that they face. Also did I mention all the cute animals and yummy food throughout each book? Seriously, they are the best! Now on to the interview!

Interview:

  1. What made you decide to become a writer?
    About twenty years ago, my sister and I decided to write a historical romance together. We loved to read Regency romances and thought ‘how hard could it be to write one?’ It turned out to be harder than we thought. It was especially frustrating having two minds in the mix. We didn’t always think alike. But we persisted, and, eventually, we got a few books published as e-books. My sister lost her enthusiasm for writing, but I continued creating content. My first indie published young adult book (different penname) did surprisingly well. I’ve never looked back, and I’m still loving every second of being an author.
  2. Where did you get the inspiration for each of your book series?
    With the Port Danby series, I knew I wanted a smart, fun-loving main character. (Not entirely sure when or how the hyperosmia idea popped into my head.) I’ve always loved coastal settings in books, so I dreamt up the town of Port Danby, a totally fictional place where I would love to live. For Firefly, I knew I wanted to do something with a paranormal edge. As a kid (long ago, trust me) I watched a TV show called The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. A handsome, arrogant sea captain haunts his old house, and when Mrs. Muir, a widow, moves into the place, she soon discovers that she has a live-in ghost. That show was definitely my inspiration for Edward Beckett. He was also inspired by my love for Regency era romances. After writing two contemporary series, I had an urge to get back to writing something historical. I decided to stick to a setting I knew, Los Angeles,where I grew up. Since the movie industry was just starting to take off during the 1920’s, I
    decided it would be the perfect era for the series.
  3. Out of the three sleuths you have created, who do you resonate with the most? Why?
    Good question. Hard question. I’d have to say Lacey. I think her personality is closest to my own, although, I don’t have an extraordinary sense of smell and I don’t have a pet
    crow…unfortunately. I do have goats though and while they’re not as smart as crows, they are alot of fun.
  4. Prior to writing cozy mysteries, were you an avid reader of them? What are some of your
    favorite genres?

    The mysteries I prefer are always wrapped up in a romance. I love Barbara Michaels and her alter ego Elizabeth Peters because the romance is as central as the mystery.When I started writing my cozy mysteries, there was never any question that each of them would have a romantic edge. I’m also a huge fan of Masterpiece Mystery. I never miss a series.
  5. What is your favorite part of being an author?
    Hands down, my favorite part is being able to create fun, and, with any luck, interesting characters. And, even though you didn’t ask–plotting is by far my least favorite part.
  6. Outside of writing, what are some of your hobbies?
    I retired from teaching several years agoso I find that I do have some nice spare time between writing. I’m an outdoorsy type. A long hikeor bike ride is my go-to activity, especially during this past crazy year. I also love to cook andbake for my family.

This was such a fun interview and hope that you also enjoyed diving a little deeper with author London Lovett!

Thank you to London Lovett for your time!

Nicole

February 2021 Reading Wrap-Up

Do you feel refreshed when you have a good reading month?

This is exactly the feeling that I have about February because it has been one of my best reading months in a very long time! I was able to dive into so many great cozy mysteries and even stepped out of my comfort zone and read my first historical/western fiction! One of my goals for this year is to read books from genres outside my norm and what I am finding, is that there are a lot of other genres that I really like and hope to continue to explore each of them.

Now for what you all are actually here for, my February wrap-up! This month I read a total of 9 books!

  1. Things You Save in the Fire by Katherine Center: This was a re-read for me, but Center has a way with her writing to make you feel every single emotion and I am here for it!
  2. Vanilla Bean Vengeance by Agatha Frost: This is the first book in Frost’s Claire’s Candles mystery series and it was such a fun read. It came as a complete shock as to who the murder suspect was! Seriously, Frost did a wonderful job keeping you on your toes throughout the investigation.
  3. Pies and Prejudice by Ellery Adams: This is the first book in A Charmed Pie Shoppe Mystery series and I will be honest, this one did not do it for me. I did listen to the audiobook so if I read the physical copy, maybe I could appreciate it more.
  4. The Duke and I by Julia Quinn: Yes, yes I caved and read the first Bridgertons book and I am not mad about it. I loved everything from the relationships, the overall family, the world…it was great and I look forward to book 2.
  5. Crime and Poetry by Amanda Flower: Okay I really enjoyed this one! The characters were so fun and feisty which made for some comedic relief. Throw in a little magic, a quaint little book shop, of course a murder, and then BAM you have the perfect cozy!
  6. A Crafty Killing by London Lovett: This is the newest book in the Firefly Junction series and I freaking loved it, but that’s no surprise. London Lovett’s books are the ones that reignited my love for reading so I may be a little bit biased. I just love the world she is able to create in each of her books and how easily it is to love each of the characters.
  7. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas: All I can say is WOW and how I am mad at myself for waiting so long to read this series. This was far better than the first book in the series—it literally wrecked me–the end!
  8. One by One by Ruth Ware: I did not love this one like I was hoping I would. I hear so many great things about Ruth Ware, but I think I may need to pick up another.
  9. Whiskey When We’re Dry by John Larison: This was the first Historical Western Fiction that I have read or at least remember reading and I thoroughly enjoyed this one. The best way to describe this book is that it is all: gunfights, revenge, desperation, self discovery, and whiskey. I thought the writing in this book was fantastic and makes me want to pick up another by this author.

Well there you have it, my February wrap-up! It was a great reading month for me and hope that March will be kind to me as well. What was your favorite book you read this month?

Nicole

March 2021 Anticipated Book Releases

Hi friends! There are so many great books coming up during the month of March and I wanted to take the time and share with you some of my most anticipated releases!

Namesake by Adrienne Young (Fable #2): With the Marigold ship free of her father, Fable and its crew were set to start over. That freedom is short-lived when she becomes a pawn in a notorious thug’s scheme. In order to get to her intended destination she must help him to secure a partnership with Holland, a powerful gem trader who is more than she seems.
Goodreads rating: 4.41/5
Publication date: March 16, 2021

The Dating Plan by Sara Desai: Daisy Patel is a software engineer who understands lists and logic better than bosses and boyfriends. With her life all planned out, and no interest in love, the one thing she can’t give her family is the marriage they expect. Left with few options, she asks her childhood crush to be her decoy fiance.
Goodreads rating: 3.79/5
Publication date: March 16, 2021

The Babysitter: My Summers With a Serial Killer by Liza Rodman and Jennifer Jordan: Named Most Anticipated Crime Book of the Year by CrimeRead. A chilling true story—part memoir, part crime investigation—reminiscent of Ann Rule’s classic The Stranger Beside Me, about a little girl longing for love and how she found friendship with her charismatic babysitter—who was also a vicious serial killer.
Goodreads rating: 3.95/5
Publication Date: March 2, 2021

Sunflower Series: A Novel (Lilac Girls #3) by Martha Hall Kelly: Georgeanne “Georgey” Woolsey isn’t meant for the world of lavish parties and demure attitudes of women of her stature. So when the war ignites the nation, Georgey follows her passion for nursing during a time when doctors considered women a bother on the battlefront. In proving them wrong, she and her sister Eliza venture from New York to Washington, D.C., to Gettysburg and witness the unparalleled horrors of slavery as they become involved in the war effort.
Goodreads rating: 4.2/5
Publication Date: March 30, 2021

Are any of these are on your list to pick up in March? What are some of your most anticipated reads? Let me know in the comments!

Nicole

The Cozy Corner Book Club Announcement

Hi everyone!
If you have been following me on instagram for awhile now, then you know the cozy mystery genre is the genre that reignited my love for reading. Now I know cozies are not everyone’s cup of tea, but I find them to be so fun! You add a little bit of romance, a little bit of murder, good character relationships, cute animals, and some delicious food and together they make up the perfect cozy! One thing that I love most, is how cozy authors are able to keep both the murder aspect and the romance to a tasteful level–does that make sense? These books never go into too much detail, but they give enough to keep on going. So with my love for cozies growing more and more, I wanted to start a cozy mystery book club as way to highlight the genre more because it truly is something special and there are cozy series for everyone!

With all this being said, I am happy to announce The Cozy Corner Book Club! Here you will find all things cozy and the first discussion will take place at the end of February! The book that we will be reading is Vanilla Bean Vengeance by Agatha Frost. Here is the synopsis from goodreads:
“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.”

If you would like to join the discussion for the book club click here to join the Facebook group or reach out to me so I can add you to the instagram group message!

Book Review: A Wicked Yarn by Emmie Caldwell

Title: A Wicked Yarn
Author:Emmie Caldwell
Release Date: December 29, 2020
Pages: 300
Genre: Cozy Mystery, Murder Mystery
My Rating: ★★★★★
Goodreads rating: 4.02/5

It is no surprise that I love cozy mysteries so when I see that there is a new series coming out I have to jump on it! A Wicked Yarn is the first book in the A Craft Fair Knitters mystery series. After Lia Geigers husband dies she moves to a new town in Pennsylvania and joins a knitting club that her best friend Belinda is in charge of. However, during a craft fair on Mothers Day weekend, Lia finds Belinda standing over a dead body….her husbands dead body. When this happens there is only one thing Lia can do and that is to jump in as an amateur sleuth to help clear her best friends name!
This was such great debut novel! The mystery aspect is great and definitely keeps you on your toes as you try and figure out who committed the murder. I highly recommend to check this new cozy mystery series out!

Do you like to read whole book series or do you prefer stand alone novels? Let me know!

Nicole

Book Review: The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez

Title: The Friend Zone
Author: Abby Jimenez
Release Date: June 11, 2019
Pages: 385
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Romance
My Rating: ★★★★★
Goodreads rating: 3.89/5

Hi friends! I recently finished listening to The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez via my local library and let me just say, it was definitely a top favorite for me! I have seen this book floating around bookstagram for quite sometime, but A L W A Y S put it off because of how hyped it was. (do you ever push back reading a book because of how many people are talking about it?) I guess I do this because I do not want to be disappointed in a book that so many people have loved, but it definitely was one that was memorable and will be in my top five favorite reads of 2020!

One thing that I am big on is how well an author develops each character and Abby Jimenez did a fantastic job. I was able to feel as if I were right there in the story and the characters were all my good friends. Seriously, I am a sucker for books that can do that! I think what I loved most about the book is how Jimenez was able to show the main characters worth and how she would come to realize that she should not settle for mediocre and go for something that would be far more extraordinary. Overall, the story was swoon worthy, the friendships were the best, it made you laugh, it made you cry, it made you angry, but best of all it was the perfect love story. I would highly recommend that you pick this up if you haven’t already and believe me, you are going to pick up book two as soon as you are done!

What has been your favorite read of 2020? Let me know in the comments!