Friday, November 10, 2023

Book Review and Giveaway - Under the Cocoon Moon: An Olivia Penn Mystery by Kathleen Bailey

My Review

Olivia Penn is enjoying her return to the small town of Apple Station, Virginia.  Olivia is working as a writer, living with her father, and she has a new romantic interest.  When a stranger accuses her new boyfriend's parents of a crime, she becomes involved in solving the mystery. Things escalate when there is a murder as well.

I wanted to read Under the Cocoon Moon because the description sounded appealing.  I love small town mysteries and liked the holiday setting.  I have not read the two earlier books in this series, but found this mystery worked fine as a standalone.

I enjoyed this cozy mystery and want to read the earlier books now as well!  Olivia Penn is a likable protagonist.  Her writing work is interesting and I also liked liked her father and friend Sam, who help her detecting.  There is even a cute beagle named Buddy!  (I am a great fan of mysteries that include pets.)

The mystery aspect of the book was interesting and briskly paced.  There were enough little twists to keep me up late reading!

I recommend Under the Cocoon Moon for other fans of cozy mysteries, and especially for anyone who enjoys small town settings and holiday themes.

Book Synopsis

A dead body in the woods … A rare sapphire is missing … The connection changes her life forever.

Olivia Penn is looking forward to spending time with her friends and family over the holidays in her hometown of Apple Station, Virginia. The Christmas season’s spirit has sparked a new romance, and all is looking merry and bright, until she is mistaken for a dead woman.

When a stranger makes a wild accusation involving the parents of the man she’s falling for, Olivia faces a no-win situation. As evidence mounts supporting the claim, a mysterious murder occurs near his father’s cabin that attracts the attention of the FBI. Wedged between mother and son, Olivia investigates to clear his family’s name while matching wits with a legendary thief.

With the clock ticking, Olivia must set a trap using herself as the bait or the killer may disappear without a trace. Her new love hangs in the balance, and her life is on the line. Justice will hinge on sixty minutes and a phone call.

Will the call be answered? Or will the thief recover the sapphire and silence her forever?

If you like Clue, Nancy Drew, and small town, cozy mysteries with heart and humor, a charming cast of characters, and a twisty plot, you’ll love Under the Cocoon Moon, the third book in The Olivia Penn Mystery Series.

Author Bio

Kathleen Bailey is the award-winning author of The Olivia Penn Mystery Series. She writes mysteries with heart and humor that keep to the traditional and cozy sides of crime. Kathleen has degrees in English, psychology, and physical therapy. She previously worked as a pediatric physical therapist for over twenty years with children who have special needs. She now spends her days plotting and sleuthing in Virginia where she lives with her husband and adorable feline fur baby. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and the James River Writers. Visit online at

Author Links


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Friday, November 3, 2023

Book Review and Giveaway - Bulletproof Barista (A Coffeehouse Mystery) by Cleo Coyle

My Review
Clare Cosi, who runs the Village Blend coffeehouse in New York City, is excited when Only Murders in Gotham, a popular streaming series, is going to be filming some locations in her coffeehouse.  That is - until there are some scary things that happen on the set, and she decides to investigate.

I wanted to read Bulletproof Barista because I always enjoy Cleo Coyle's mysteries. I have read some, but not all, of the Coffeehouse Mystery series, and had no problem enjoying this book as a standalone read.

I think this is my favorite Cleo Coyle book yet!  I am a big fan of Only Murders in the Building, and enjoyed the similarities between that show and Only Murders in Gotham - and the characters who reminded me a lot of Steve Martin and Selena Gomez too.

I loved the coffee and foodie descriptions and the day-to-day working of the coffeehouse.  I also enjoyed the details of the TV set.

The mystery is fast paced with lots of surprises. Clare is a smart detective, whether working on her own or consulting with her fiancé, who is a detective.

I recommend Bulletproof Barista - and this series - for anyone who enjoys cozy mysteries, NYC settings, foodie books, or fiction about TV production.  It was a really fun read!

Book Synopsis

When a film crew’s location shoot delivers an actual shooting, Clare Cosi finds herself at the scene of a true crime in this showstopping entry in the beloved Coffeehouse Mysteries from New York Times bestselling author Cleo Coyle.

Only Murders in Gotham, the smash-hit streaming program, is famous for filming in authentic New York locations and using real New Yorkers as extras. For its second season, they’ve chosen to spotlight the century-old Village Blend and its quirky crew of baristas. Shop manager and master roaster Clare Cosi is beyond thrilled, especially when her superb bulletproof coffee lands her a craft services contract for the production.

Madame, the eccentric octogenarian owner of the landmark shop, reveals an old kinship with the star of the show, comedian Jerry Sullivan. Now a Hollywood legend, Jerry frequented the Blend during his early years performing in Greenwich Village comedy clubs. But the past may hold more than nostalgia for Jerry. Suspicious accidents begin plaguing his shoot. Then a real bullet is fired from a stage gun, and Clare becomes convinced something sinister is afoot.

While Jerry’s production moves to exciting new locations, Clare keeps the coffee flowing—and her investigation going—even as a murderer lurks in the wings. But can she root out the rotten player in this Big Apple production before the lights go out on her?

Includes a stellar menu of surefire recipes!

Author Bio

CLEO COYLE is a pseudonym for Alice Alfonsi, writing in collaboration with her husband, Marc Cerasini. Both are New York Times-bestselling authors of the long-running Coffeehouse Mysteries and Haunted Bookshop Mysteries, both celebrating 20 years in print. With more than one million books sold, their work has been honored with starred reviews and multiple best-of-year list selections by reviewers. Alice and Marc are also bestselling media tie-in writers who have penned properties for Lucasfilm, NBC, Fox, Disney, Imagine, Toho, and MGM. They live and work in New York City, where they write independently and together. Connect with Cleo at