Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Book Review and Giveaway - In Cold Chocolate: A Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery by Dorothy St. James

Book Synopsis
In Dorothy St. James’s third delectable Southern Chocolate Shop mystery, a new batch of chocolate and troubles of the heart cause a string of disasters for the Chocolate Box’s new owner, Charity Penn.

The vintage seaside town of Camellia Beach, South Carolina seems like the perfect place for romance with its quiet beach and its decadent chocolate shop that serves the world’s richest dark chocolates. The Chocolate Box’s owner, Charity Penn, falls even further under the island’s moonlit spell as she joins Althea Bays and the rest of the turtle watch team to witness a new generation of baby sea turtles hatch and make their way into the wide ocean.

Before the babies arrive, gunshots ring out in the night. Cassidy Jones, the local Casanova, is found dead in the sand with his lover Jody Dalton—the same woman who has vowed to destroy the Chocolate Box—holding the gun. It’s an obvious crime of passion, or so everyone believes. But when Jody’s young son pleads with Penn to bring his mother back to him, she can’t say no. She dives headfirst into a chocolate swirl of truth and lies, and must pick through an assortment of likely (and sometimes unsavory) suspects before it’s too late for Penn and for those she loves in Dorothy St. James’s third rich installment of the Southern Chocolate Shop mysteries, In Cold Chocolate.

My Review
Penn (Charity Penn) is managing her shop, The Chocolate Box on Camellia Island, SC when she becomes involved in a mystery.  A man is shot on the beach, turtle eggs go missing, and her new turtle shape chocolates also disappear.  Penn determines to solve all three mysteries.

In Cold Chocolate is my first read in the Chocolate Shop Mystery series.  It took me a few chapters to sort out the characters, but by that time I was thoroughly engrossed in the mystery and enjoying the book as a standalone read.  (Note:  I did purchase and download the first two books for Kindle tonight.  I have to read them!)

There is so much I loved about this book.  First, I loved the setting.  I spent my early years in Savannah and loved the Lowcountry South Carolina beach setting.

I found the sea turtle storyline in this novel fascinating!  The author provided a wealth of interesting details about how sea turtles lay eggs and hatch, and I really enjoyed learning as I read.

The chocolate making details in this book were also interesting.  There were even recipes included in the back of the book!  I love benne wafers and want to try that recipe.

I also am a dog lover and enjoyed all the scenes with Stella.  She is a dog with a very quirky but lovable personality!

Penn is a likable, relatable character.  I enjoyed the way she balanced her work at the Chocolate Box, her amateur detective search, her friendships, and her budding romance with Harley.  

I liked the layers of the mystery -- the murder, the sea turtle eggs, and the missing chocolates storyline.  I figured the murderer's identity out early on, but enjoyed reading the way that Penn solved the mystery in the book.

I thoroughly enjoyed In Cold Chocolate and recommend it to fans of cozy mysteries, especially anyone who loves Southern beach settings, animals and nature, or food and cooking.  You are in for a treat with this novel!
Author Bio
Mystery author Dorothy St. James was raised in South Carolina. She makes her home on the outskirts of Charleston, South Carolina with her husband, a neurotic dog, and a fluffy cat. Though writing has always been a passion for her, she pursued an undergraduate degree in Wildlife Biology and a graduate degree in Public Administration and Urban Planning. She put her educational experience to use, having worked in all branches and all levels of government including local, regional, state, and federal. She even spent time during college working for a non-profit environmental watchdog organization.

Switching from government service and community planning to fiction writing wasn’t as big of a change as some might think. Her government work was all about the stories of the people and the places where they live. As an urban planner, Dorothy loved telling the stories of the people she met. And from that, her desire to tell the tales that were so alive in her heart grew until she could not ignore it any longer. In 2001, she took a leap of faith and pursued her dream of writing fiction full-time.

* Dorothy St. James is the alter-ego of award-winning multi-published author, Dorothy McFalls. She enjoys writing in several different genres. Her works have been nominated for many awards including Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, Reviewers International Organization Award, National Reader’s Choice Award, CataRomance Reviewers’ Choice Award, and The Romance Reviews Today Perfect 10! Award. Reviewers have called her work: “amazing”, “perfect”, “filled with emotion”, and “lined with danger.”

Author Links
Website: www.dorothystjames.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/dorothystjames
Twitter: www.twitter.com/dorothymcfalls
Purchase Links

Indie Bound    Amazon      Kobo      Google Play      Barnes & Noble      BookBub

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I received a copy of this book from Netgalley and Great Escapes Book Tours.