Breaking News: KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP. ANNOUNCES NEW IMPRINT FOR COZY MYSTERY GENRE

Here’s the very cool announcement I just got in email: (You can go to the KensingtonCozies.com portion of their site and download a 2021 catalog):

NEW YORK, NY – August 2nd, 2021

Kensington Publishing Corp. announces the creation of Kensington Cozies, a new imprint dedicated to the cozy mystery genre.

“Kensington has long been a leader in the genre, and it’s time the roughly 60 contemporary cozy mysteries we publish each year had their own imprint,” said President and CEO Steven Zacharius. 

Beginning with titles going on sale December 28, 2021, contemporary mysteries fitting the cozy criteria across all print formats will be published under the Kensington Cozies imprint, and backlist titles with the same criteria will also be folded into the imprint over time so that series titles are all within the same imprint. Features of the genre include having little-to-no violence, profanity, or sex; likeable amateur sleuths; tight-knit communities; and series arcs that allow the protagonists to grow in their professions and relationships.

All Kensington editors will acquire for the imprint, which includes hardcover, trade paperback, and mass market max releases from established authors like Joanne Fluke, Carlene O’Connor, Ellery Adams, Leslie Meier, and Lee Hollis, as well as new voices such as Emmeline Duncan, Frank Anthony Polito, Gabby Allan, and Christin Brecher. Digital first cozies will remain in Kensington’s e-original imprint, Lyrical Underground.

The Kensington Cozies brand will be overseen by Communications Manager Larissa Ackerman, who has spearheaded many of the company’s major initiatives to expand the visibility of the genre as a whole in recent years. “We’re excited to continue building awareness of everything cozy mysteries have to offer, growing their presence on readers’ and retailers’ bookshelves, and bringing more diversity to the genre – both in the authors whose stories we publish and the readers who love them,” she commented. Ackerman is responsible for conceiving and developing the Cozy Club Card, a loyalty card program available through participating libraries and bookstores that allows readers to earn free cozy mystery ARCs. She oversees partnerships such as “The Cozy Corner” with Tea Time Magazine, and she will continue to build programs such as Kensington’s Cozy Cons, a series of annual, multi-author reader parties taking place across the United States since 2018 in rotating bookstores and cities within the Northeast, South, West and Midwest.

Kensington Publishing has had a strong presence in the genre since publishing its first cozy mystery in 1993, and fully committing to the genre in 1995 with Laurien Berenson’s first Melanie Travis Mystery, A Pedigree to Die For. In 2000, the house launched New York Times bestselling author Joanne Fluke’s long-running and popular Hannah Swensen Mystery Series, which has gone on to land twenty of its twenty-seven (and counting!) installments on the New York Times hardcover bestseller list and six Hallmark Movies & Mysteries® original television movies starring Alison Sweeney as Hannah. Now home to many of the genre’s most beloved authors and rising stars alike, Kensington Publishing sells an average of approximately 2.5 million cozy mysteries per year.

For upcoming cozy mystery releases, authors, events, and more, visit www.KensingtonCozies.com.

ABOUT KENSINGTON PUBLISHING:

Founded in 1974, Kensington Publishing Corp. is an independent, family-owned book publisher known for the diversity of the authors and books it publishes. The company releases over 500 fiction and non-fiction titles each year, providing readers with a range of popular genres such as thrillers, romance, historical fiction, cozy mysteries and non-fiction, as well as true crime, western, and commercial fiction titles. The house of New York Times bestselling authors including Fern Michaels, Lisa Jackson, William W. Johnstone, Joanne Fluke, Mary Monroe, John Gilstrap, and many others, Kensington is based in New York City and its imprints include Kensington Books, Dafina, Zebra, Pinnacle, Kensington Cozies, Citadel Press and Lyrical Press.

Visit KensingtonBooks.com.”

#Kensington Publishing #Kensington Cozies

A Scone of Contention review

This is the eleventh book in the long-running Key West Food Critic series by Lucy Burdette. You can always count on lots and lots of food and great recipes in these books, and Hayley was like a kid in a candy store with being able to go and eat Scottish food in this book.

I found myself really fascinated reading about the Falkirk Wheel in the book. Even though a death in the book occurred here, the author graciously pointed out in her Acknowledgments that this was just something from her own imagination. But I got curious about the Wheel and watched a couple of videos because my brain needed a demo of it, lol. Nothing like armchair travel and learning something new this way! Thanks to the author, I found something cool to research and was able to picture it even better as I read.

My Goodreads review:

A Scone of Contention: A Key West Food Critic MysteryA Scone of Contention: A Key West Food Critic Mystery by Lucy Burdette
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Scotland was the perfect chance for a foodie and food writer like Hayley to eat her way through a few towns and still do her job while on her supposed-honeymoon. That part was sort of a laugh, and they all joked about it since Miss Gloria was along, and Nathan’s mom informed that she was coming. I did actually start to like Nathan’s mom Helen a little better from reading the last book when she and Hayley had their grand adventure.

From a poisoning to a guy falling from the Falkirk Wheel, this mystery unfolded and seemed like it didn’t make a lot of sense at first. Eventually, Hayley and Miss G put the clues together. Miss G always loved armchair sleuthing with Hayley and had her chance to do this firsthand now as well as see some of the places her ancestors would have fought at or been buried in, some of which were pretty troubling to her.

At first, I wasn’t sure if I’d like Vera and William, but they grew on me especially toward the end when William was so kind to Miss Gloria. I had to giggle at Nathan’s last line in the book, but it’s so true!

I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book provided by the publisher via NetGalley, and my opinions are my own.

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Murder, She Edited review

This is the fourth book in the Deadly Edits series by Kaitlyn Dunnett who also writes the Liss MacCrimmon series. I haven’t read any of that series, but I’ve been following this one from the beginning reading the ARCs. I really like Mikki Lincoln’s character. She can be a tough softie, lol. At one point in this book she said she didn’t know if she should be flattered or insulted by the Jessica Fletcher comment Luke made. But I always tend to think of her in the persona of Jess who was a real fave with how tough but sweet she could be, kinda like Mikki! 😉 I’m always eager for the next book to see what Mikki gets herself into.

My Goodreads review:

Murder, She Edited (Deadly Edits, #4)Murder, She Edited by Kaitlyn Dunnett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Mikki’s always getting into the most interesting predicaments or jobs. When she was told she’d have to find and publish some diaries as specified, it did look like she wasn’t going to have any luck finding them. Fortunately, Mikki has never been anyone’s victim or patsy if she has anything to say about it. I love how her relationship with her cousin Luke has grown, and Luke’s own relationship with Officer Ellen has really been coming along.

The murder in the book was an old one that was unsolved, but leave it to Mikki to dig around until she found out the truth. I was a little surprised to even get that killer fingered after all this time. There was also the problem with her new property being used to store stolen goods and recently burned down. She sniffed out the arsonist as well then celebrated with Luke and Ellen. There’d been a side story of a very annoying woman who kept bugging Mikki after she admitted she was friends with the woman’s favorite author who in reality was Mikki’s friend Lenora. Her crazy stalker problem was taken care of at the end as well. Life with Mikki Lincoln is, well definitely never dull!

I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book provided by the publisher via NetGalley, and my opinions are my own.

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A Time to Swill review

This is the second book in the Chloe Jackson, Sea Glass Saloon series by Sherry Harris who also writes the well-established series Sarah Winston Garage Sale Mysteries. I enjoyed getting to know the characters even a little better this time around and watching as Rhett and Chloe started what I hope will be the proverbial beautiful friendship 😉 There are a lot of quirky and fun locals, but you never know where a killer might be lurking. Are they a local everyone knows and thought they loved? Or is it some stranger to the island? These people have families that go way back, and some have tons of secrets. I’m really looking forward now to reading the next book!

My Goodreads review:

A Time to Swill (A Chloe Jackson, Sea Glass Saloon Myster Book 2)A Time to Swill by Sherry Harris
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a great follow up to the first book in the series! Chloe was officially back and adjusting to life on the Panhandle when things turned kind of upside down. From escaping a boat fire to smugglers and possibly someone having a claim on Sea Glass, it was a real rollercoaster adventure mystery. I think Joaquin remains my favorite character. He’s just awesome and always really upbeat. I think Chloe and Rhett (you’ve gotta read how he gets a new nickname, it’s pretty hilarious but I’m not gonna spill!) make a great couple although they’re smart for taking it slow. I think she’s still beating herself up that she never realized her late bestie Boone had loved her romantically as she’d found he did.

Vivi was well, Vivi. But she seemed to be coming around and being kinder to Chloe along with even dare I say, having a little fun doing a drink contest with Joaquin? The disappearance of an old boat that reappeared was really mysterious to read about. And speaking of mysterious, Ann Wilson (I also really like her character) was right in the center of this doing her investigating/fixing type of thing. The adventure Chloe went on with her was pretty nail biting!

In the end, all baddies were taken care of though, and I absolutely loved the very end! That Ann is such a stinker! I’m super eager for the next book to come out now!

I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book provided by the publisher Kensington via NetGalley, and my opinions are my own.

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The Chocolate Raccoon Rigmarole review

This is the eighteenth book in the Chocoholic Mysteries series by JoAnna Carl, and I was honored to be asked by a rep from Berkley Publishing to read and hopefully review. I’d recently read the first book, so even though I haven’t read the others, I was still able to follow along, and everything made sense, so it’s possible to read it as a standalone. I didn’t mind learning that a couple marriages had happened in the span between the first book and this, in fact, I’m pretty sure I knew (and had hoped) they would from when I peeked at all the blurbs for the books, lol.

I love that reading the first book and now reading this didn’t seem much different. I know some series change voice over the years or read differently, but to me this one still has the awesome running theme of family and good friends. I’m definitely planning to start catching up with this series though!

My Goodreads review:

The Chocolate Raccoon Rigmarole (Chocoholic Mystery Book 18)The Chocolate Raccoon Rigmarole by JoAnna Carl
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The whole theme in this book was centered around an elusive mama raccoon and her six babies that Lee and Nettie wanted removed from in back of the chocolate shop. It spiraled into a lot more after that including seemingly meaningless burglaries that led to attacks and eventually a murder as well as an attempted murder.

I just love Aunt Nettie’s character! She’s one lady you really want on your side and can be sweet as a granny or well, vicious as a raccoon. Let’s just say if you’re having a showdown with a killer, it’d be a really good idea to invite Aunt Nettie along! The showdown was pretty epic, and I never really guessed the killer. I did have a basic idea of what the burglaries were all about though.

Another character I liked in the very first book, and I’m glad he’s not changed is Hogan Jones. (Admittedly, I’d only read the first book of the series so far when I was asked to read this, but with a little working knowledge of the characters from book 1, I had no trouble keeping up.) I love that Hogan’s not like the typical cozy mystery cop who’s always warning the sleuths off the case. His main interest is always catching the bad guy which means he listens to Lee (or now Nettie seeing how he’s married to her lol), and what could come off as a hair-brained scheme to other officers is at least given some thought by Hogan. He’s one of my favorite fictional lawmen.

I voluntarily read and reviewed this book provided by Berkley Publishing via NetGalley, and my opinions are my own. Look for it at your favorite book seller on August 3!

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The Cider Shop Rules review

This is the third book in the Cider Shop Mysteries by Julie Anne Lindsey who’s also known as Bree Baker,and Jacqueline Frost when she writes another couple of my favorite series, The Seaside Cafe and the Christmas Tree Farm. As Julie Chase, she wrote the Kitty Couture series. I only read one of those and have been wanting to get back to it.

I just love Granny an her friends who always have the scoop on the neighborhood gossip and Winnie’s best interests at heart. I really liked meeting Blake’s character, Colton’s brother who’s also a sheriff. I hope he pops in for visits now and then, he’s so fun and crazy but has a great way of getting people comfortable enough to question them without their suspecting anything. I’m really looking forward now to the next book!

Oh before I go, I was going nuts over a crossover in this book with some characters! I thought it was just the coolest thing, but I’m not gonna give it away or say which series, hehe. Just wanted to say thank you, Julie for that fun little tidbit!

My Goodreads review:

The Cider Shop Rules (A Cider Shop Mystery Book 3)The Cider Shop Rules by Julie Anne Lindsey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As with the previous two, I really loved this book and getting caught up again with Winnie, Granny and Granny’s friends. Winnie’s come a long way with her cider shop, and people were enjoying coming in for cider and lunch items. I keep seeing just a little more hope each time for Colton and Winnie finally getting together. I love progress! We met Colton’s whole family in this book which was fun. His parents were super nice, and his brother Blake (also a sheriff) was an absolute hoot! He sure had a way with people that his brother didn’t. But being an introvert and not the best communicator myself, I can definitely see why Colton’s the way he is sometimes.

I’d almost forgotten about that creepy fugitive Keller! What an awesome hunt to the finish with just the right amount of suspense. Although at one or two points if someone would have come up to me while I was reading, I might have jumped out of my chair, lol.

I can always trust this author to do her readers right in all ways including the budding romance department! You don’t want to miss this exciting installment, but for the most enjoyment, I’d recommend reading the series from the beginning.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book provided by the publisher via NetGalley, and my opinions are my own.

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Much Ado About Nauticaling review

This is the first book in the new Whit and Whiskers series by Gabby Allan who also writes as Misty Simon, if you’re familiar with the Tallie Graver cozy mysteries. I haven’t personally read them yet, but I do own some. While I’m waiting on the next Whit and Whiskers, I hope to get to the Tallie Graver series.

I really like the dynamics of the characters in this book, especially when Whit decided to sleuth, and her pals Felix and Maribel helped. I’m a sucker for a new series, especially one with a cute animal like Whiskers on the cover!

My Goodreads review:

Much Ado about NauticalingMuch Ado about Nauticaling by Gabby Allan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed the first of this new series featuring Whit who runs glass bottom boat tours, her brother Nick who does the same and their very cool grandparents Pops and Goldy. I just love Pops and Goldy! She’s just a hoot how she’s always out in the sun doing her tanning, but she’s totally sweet and helpful to Whit when she needs her. Pops is the voice of reason and steadiness when Whit needs that. And Whiskers is a great comfort cat who got a chance to dig her claws into someone bad!

I just had a little tickly suspicion all along that wouldn’t go away, and I was actually right for once about whodunit. I read one thing farther along that cinched it for me, and that was my guess. The showdown was a good one too.

Maybe Whit’ll figure out that Felix isn’t so bad after all. I actually felt sorry for him, because unlike most stories where the girl is wronged/left at the altar/cheated on, this poor guy to me was the one who got the short end of the deal with Whit leaving and no explanation. Hopefully there’ll be plenty more of this series books for them to get reacquainted! I loved the sleuthing dynamics of Whit, Felix and Whit’s bestie and roommate, Maribel who came in really handy since she worked at the police station

I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book provided by the publisher via NetGalley, and my opinions are my own.

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Two Wicked Desserts review

This is the second full novel in the Kitchen Witch series by Lynn Cahoon who also writes two of my other fave series, Farm-to-Fork and Cat Latimer. I’m enjoying the Kitchen Witch series a lot. I love how Mia ended up being good friends and now employer to her ex-almost-sister-in-law Christina who doesn’t like her brother a whole lot better than Mia did after some of the stunts he pulled. Grams is a great character and another kind of tough-love grandma who loves her granddaughter like crazy but wants her to learn the ways of her  magic. I love seeing Mia and Trent together. They have a great dynamic, and he’s learned when to help but not come off as a hero, lol.

The little pre-novella and 1.5 were good fillers and while not necessarily crucial to the plot, I really enjoyed reading them while waiting on the full novels and highly recommend those books too. I’m curious as to whether the next will be a Christmas or Halloween novella or what. Always eager for the next in this series!

My Goodreads review:

Two Wicked Desserts (Kitchen Witch Mysteries, #2)Two Wicked Desserts by Lynn Cahoon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The last thing Mia needed was a dead body on her property, but unfortunately that’s what happened, and while Det. Baldwin wasn’t trying to finger her for the crime, he did seem to think Dorian’s daughter had something to do with it. Meanwhile, Grams was still trying to separate Dorian’s ghost from Mr. Darcy cat’s body, Christina and Levi were going through a bit of a rough patch in their little romance, and the elusive John Louis was at it again. The question was whether he’d finally be caught doing something illegal enough to get put away for good. The author sure did a great job creating a character so loathable that he’s another one I wouldn’t mind seeing as the victim, and a lot of Magic Springs residents would probably agree, lol.

It’s always interesting that while the main murder always gets solved in this series, there’s something else out there like a mystery with the school building or someone from Grams’s magical past. Will poor Ghost Dorian ever get separated from the cat? It’s never dull in Magic Springs!

I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book provided by the publisher via NetGalley, and my opinions are my own.

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The Rocky Road to Ruin review

This is the first book in a brand new series, Ice Cream Shop Mysteries by Meri Allen who I thought was a newcomer, but I was super happy to find out on Facebook that she’s none other than Shari Randall, another one of my favorite authors who wrote the Lobster Shack series which I absolutely loved. I’ve found I can always rely on her for some awesome and interesting characters no matter which persona she writes under. I felt so at home reading Rocky Road, and now I can’t wait for the next book!

My Goodreads review:

The Rocky Road to Ruin (Ice Cream Shop Mysteries #1)The Rocky Road to Ruin by Meri Allen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed reading about Riley’s backstory but moreso liked that she was a good friend who needed a change in her own life, so she came through when her bestie Caroline needed someone the most. I was never quite sure throughout the book whodunit and wavered among a few of the characters. Maybe this dog wasn’t all that likable, but I sure loved that little MacGillicuddy was a dachshund! Hilarious to give a German dog a Scottish name too. I really liked little Rocky the black kitty who sort of adopted Riley as his favorite human. He was awfully intuitive in other things too.

It was a good twist for once to have the bestie attracted to the detective. I’m pretty sure I haven’t seen that yet. Sometimes the bestie is already attached/married or going with the main detective, but this was a fun switch. There wasn’t quite the typical showdown. It was more of a discovery of a series of events and some crucial evidence. Everything was well-explained at the end and what a sweet surprise Caroline found hidden in an unlikely place. You’ll have to read the book and find out. Now I’m really looking forward to the next book and wondering if some new friends in this book will show up there too.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book provided by the publisher, and my opinions are my own.

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Murder in a Teacup review

This is the second in the Tea by the Sea series, the newest by Vicki Delany who’s also known as Eva Gates, author of the Lighthouse Library series. Under Vicki Delany, she also has Year-Round Christmas and The Sherlock Holmes Bookshop cozy mystery series. I’ve found in any of these series I’ve read (I’m up to date in Tea, Sherlock and Lighthouse) that you get lots of great characters, most being very endearing that you’d like to meet in real life. Then some are like Rose, not a huggy person but still a pretty awesome lady.

My Goodreads review:

Murder in a Teacup (Tea by the Sea Mysteries Book 2)Murder in a Teacup by Vicki Delany
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Never underestimate the power of an eighty-year old, lol! At least Rose Campbell proved it over and over so far in this series, and this book was definitely not a disappointment. I just love Rose’s character and how she’s always getting out of working the breakfast at the tearoom. She loves Lily fiercely, but she just not the soft and cuddly granny we sometimes see in these books. Rose and Bernie always make for a great sleuthing team, but sometimes I feel bad for Lily who usually gets left out due to having to work the tearoom.

The families staying at the B&B this time for a so-called reunion would give the Ewings of Dallas and the Channings of Napa Valley a real run for their money in the drama department, lol. I guess I basically pictured the Ewing clan only upgraded with phones and tablets. I’m glad that Det. Redmond got to play an important part eventually. That Williams, well let’s just say the author’s done a great job creating a character no one likes! On the other hand, Simon’s such a sweetheart that I really hope Lily lets him closer into her life sometime in the future. Matt turned out to be a good person for Bernie to hang with-maybe being a writer, he’ll help her overcome some of her writing issues she always has.

That was some awesome showdown! At least part of Lily’s plan worked out. And they finally got peace from this crazy bickering family when they left. I can’t wait to see what Lily, Rose and Bernie get into in the next book!

I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book provided by the publisher via NetGalley, and my opinions are my own.



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