Review: Roast Mortem, by Cleo Coyle

Roast Mortem
Roast Mortem
Cleo Coyle
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I cannot begin to tell you what the best colon cleansing pill might be because as a woman who was literally weaned on espresso, I’ve never needed one. Speaking of espresso, I’ve just finished reading Cleo Coyle’s latest coffee house mystery, Roast Mortem, which was also the first Kindle book I actually paid for.

As with all of Coyle’s coffee house novels, Roast Mortem is the perfect blend of coffeehouse coziness, romance, and mystery. This far into the series, we’ve met all the main characters – Claire Cosi, manager of the Village Blend, her ex-husband and business partner Matt Allegro, and his incredibly wealthy mother, the various baristas and their friends, and of course NYPD detective Mike Quinn, whose relationship with Claire has a new sense of stability, even (dare I hope?) permanence.

But it’s another Quinn, Michael Quinn, a NYFD chief, who is one of the stars of this novel. We first met him a couple of books ago, when he fished Ms. Cosi out of some frigid water, and his animosity-laden relationship with Detective Quinn, is first cousin, came to light, but in this book, which involves a serious of explosive-started fires at various coffee houses, we learn more about him, and we also – finally – find out why the cousins don’t get along.

Of course Claire is in jeopardy more than once, and ends up leading the NYPD to the murderer (and the NYFD to the arsonist), and of course there are all sorts of coffeehouse recipes scattered through the book (and listed at the end for those of us who love to cook at home), but even though these novels are fairly formulaic, they’re also so well written that the predictability doesn’t matter, and the stories remain compelling because Coyle is so good at setting scene and creating characters.

While the coffee house mysteries can be read as stand-alone novels, they’re much richer if you read the series in order, so you can watch relationships develop from book to book. Either way, however, I recommend Roast Mortem to anyone who loves a good mystery, and a great cup of coffee.

Goes well with a doppio espresso and any kind of chocolate baked good.

Buzz: Author Interview with M.J. Rose

Author M. J. Rose

M.J. Rose | Click to embiggen

A couple of weeks ago, I posted my review of M. J. Rose’s latest novel, The Hypnotist. I was also privileged enough to do an emailed interview with her, which was posted over at All Things Girl. It’s posted in the blog, as part of our ongoing Author Insight series. We mainly do women authors, but we also have a Men on Monday series, which includes male authors.

If I’ve reviewed your work, and you’d like to be part of our interview series over at ATG, please let me know. (Actually, let me know, even if I haven’t reviewed your work. If interviews aren’t your thing, we also welcome guest posts.

Also? Go read The Hypnotist if you haven’t already, because it’s really good.

Review: Cybill Disobedience, by Cybill Shepherd

Cybill Disobedience
Cybill Disobedience
Cybill Shepherd
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I have to confess: I really only read Cybill Shepherd’s autobiography, Cybill Disobedience, because I saw it listed as a free digital download on, and while I do have standards, I’ll read anything from the backs of cereal boxes to eye wrinkle cream reviews if I’m doing it to test out a new toy. Or at least, the fact that it was a free download was why I began reading Shepherd’s book. She’s so honest and engaging, and funny, however, that very soon I was reading it for its own sake.

The thing about celebrity memoirs is that they’re more interesting if you have a decent working knowledge of the author’s body of work. In the case of Ms. Shepherd, I knew her from Moonlighting and the later sitcom that bore her name – Cybill, and liked both. I also remember her Loreal commercials (for hair color, not for eye wrinkle cream), and sometime in the last year she was in a Hallmark movie (or maybe it was a Lifetime movie?) about a divorced empty-nester who resumes her college education, which movie I quite liked. I knew nothing about her career in film from the decades before Moonlighting, nor had I any clue of her politics or her relationship history.

After reading the book, I was left awed by how very cool Cybill Shepherd is, politically and personally. She’s the kind of person I’d love to have as an ‘affectionate’ auntie, or stand next to in a protest march, and her book was entertaining, interesting, as candid as possible without jeopardizing the semblance of privacy her family needs, and really sort of compelling.

Goes well with sweet tea and barbecue.