Lola’s Ramblings: Reading Books in a New to Me Genre – (Cozy) Mystery

December 17, 2015 Lola's Ramblings, Mystery 22

LolaRamblings

Lola’s Ramblings is a feature on my blog Lola’s Reviews where I ramble on about a book related or a non-book related topic. These are discussion type of posts where I talk about a topic and readers can weigh in on the topic in the comments. Usually these posts are everything that doesn’t fall under any standard header, like tours, cover reveals, memes, challenges, recaps or reviews. Lola’s Ramblings posts are discussions of a certain topic and my point of view on them. The banner for this feature is designed by Michelle from Limabean Designs.

This year I participated in the Bookish resolution Challenge and I challenged myself to read more historical romances and (cozy) mysteries. Both are genres where up till this year I read very little books in. It’s always a bit daunting to start a new genre, so I wanted to talk about my experiences with trying out two new genres. Always when starting a new genre it takes quite some books before you get a good feel for what you like in the genre. I think that I am not there yet with both these genres, but I did learn a bit already and I do know that I will continue reading books in these genres. Last week I talked about my experience with Historical Romances so far. Today I’ll focus on my experience with (cozy) mysteries.

New to me genre: (cozy) mysteries and what I learned so far

a spark of justiceAt first I thought I pretty much would fail my challenge of reading more (cozy) mysteries as I was halfway through the year and hadn’t read a book yet. But in the last few months I really started getting into this genre. I requested quite some cozy mysteries from netgalley, basically every first book in a cozy mystery series I requested. And I started reading them.
My first mystery book of the year was Visions by Kelley Armstrong, which almost feels like cheating as I will read everything she writes. I love how your favourite authors can introduce you to new genres and they are probably the best way to get introduced to a new genre. The whole reason I wanted to read more mysteries is because I read her Nadia Stafford series last year and loved it. I realized that I liked reading about the mysteries. In Kelley Armstrong her other books the mystery element is present as well. I wouldn’t classify Visions and Deceptions as a complete mystery book, but I felt like it had enough of the genre to categorize it as such for the purpose of this.
Then I read my first cozy mystery with a fun circus setting. While I enjoyed it I also had some issues, but I did knew by then already that I did like the mystery aspect of mystery books, I just had a harder time connecting to the main character and having the story wrap up well is also something I find important. After that I read three cozy mysteries I got from netgalley, Pane and Suffering, Flipped for Murder, Death Crashes the party and Murder at Redwood Cove. I am getting a good feel for this genre and I am enjoying these books. I have read two 4 star cozy mysteries: Flipped for Murder and Murder at Redwood Cove. Then after that I won Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy in a giveaway and it’s one of the best mystery books I read and earned a 5 star rating as well. And I am reading another cozy mystery book at the moment.

What I learned about mysteries so far

Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar ConspiracyI learned so far that I like the mystery aspect. I like wondering and trying to figure out what happened along with the main character. I do want to wonder about who’s the cuplrit, but it’s okay if I have my suspicions early on. I also want to see the mystery get tied up nicely, so far most the cozy mysteries I read feel a bit rushed at the end. I also like feeling the suspense a bit and I like how cozy mysteries aren’t as gory about the murders and focus more on the mystery of who is the murdered. I like to see more likeable characters, as that’s what I struggled with in A Spark of Justice and also a bit in Pane and Suffering and Death Crashes the Party, I couldn’t relate to the characters as much. I also want the story to progress natural and the plot point to all get wrapped up nicely. I feel like many cozy mysteries focus heavily on the story and while I like that, I also like seeing some other plot lines and being able to connect with the main character. That’s where Flipped for Murder and Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy were outstanding, I connected with the main character. In the case of Flipped for Murder I really liked the subplot of the restaurant as well and Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy did a great job of making the school come alive and having subplots beside the main mystery as well. I also like the settings in these books, often in a cozy mystery we see more of the job and hobbies of the main characetrs and both these are things most of the cozy mystries I read did pretty well in. So far I’ve read about a circus, small towns, a glass shop, a restaurant owner, a party organizer, a bed and breakfast owner and a student at a detective boarding school. I love getting glimpses in these settings and professions and I believe this is something I will enjoy and look for in cozy mysteries as well.

(Cozy) mysteries I read this year

The two Cainsville books and the Amanda Lester book were mysteries and the others all cozy mysteries. I will probably finish at leats one more cozy mystery this year.

Have your tried to read books in a new to you genre this year? If yes which genre and how did it go? What do you think of cozy mysteries? Any recommendations?

22 Responses to “Lola’s Ramblings: Reading Books in a New to Me Genre – (Cozy) Mystery”

    • Lola

      I hope you’ll give Flipped for Murder a try, it was one of the best cozies I’ve read. Even though I read a lot of 3 stars I do enjoy the genre, the mystery and figuring out who did it. So I know this is a genre I will enjoy. It’s just a bit hard to find the really good ones.

  1. Silvara

    I love cozy mysteries, and have been getting introduced to a lot of new-to-me authors since I got put on Berkley-NAL’s cozy mystery list. Like you, I’ve noticed a lot of them seem to be hit or miss. Some are really good and others I just can’t connect with.

    As far as recommendations go, I loved (in no particular order):

    Kingdom Come by Jane Jensen (first in a new series)
    Murder at Whitehall by Amanda Carmack (it’s book 4)
    The Coffeehouse Mysteries series by Cleo Coyle
    The Skeleton Haunts A House by Leigh Perry (book #3)
    The Fresh-Baked Mystery series by Livia J. Washburn

    I wish you didn’t live so far away. I have 32 cozy mysteries that I was sent for review that need a new home. *laughs* And I have 23 others on my TBR shelf, most of which may need a new home once read. I only keep the ones I fall in love with since I get so many each month.
    Silvara recently posted…Valiant by Sarah McGuire (review)My Profile

    • Lola

      Oh that must be awesome to be on Berkley’s cozy mystery list! They definitely seem to be hit or miss.

      I’ll check out your recommendations, thanks! And how I wished I lived closer, I would love to read some of the books you got. When you get a lot of new books, only keeping the ones you love sounds like a good strategy. I mostly get e-copies for review, so I don’t have that problem ;).
      Lola recently posted…Lola’s Kitchen: Tomato Pasta Sauce RecipeMy Profile

    • Lola

      It can be a lot of fun it discover a new genre you like. I can’t believe I waited so long to start reading cozy mysteries as i really enjoy them. I hope you’ll enjoy diving into those new to you genres 🙂

  2. Laura

    I’m so glad you’re enjoying trying out new genres!
    I haven’t read much in the way of mysteries myself either until recently. I’m now in the middle of reading a huge collection of Sherlock Holmes stories (not sure that counts as a cosy mystery though…maybe it could be better described as detective fiction?).
    Laura recently posted…A Letter To My Sixteen Year Old SelfMy Profile

    • Lola

      It’s fun to try out new genre :). I haven’t read any Sherlock Holmes stories yet, but I have read an MG detective book that I loved, so maybe I will enjoy Sherlock Holmes too. I hope you’re enjoying the Sherlock Holmes stories!

    • Lola

      Yes that’s exactly what I like about them, they are still light, but do have an interesting mystery. I hope you check out Kelley Armstrong, she’s one of my favourite authors and I love her books. Most of her series have some sort of mystery, but the cainsville and Nadia Stafford series focus more on the mystery.
      Lola recently posted…Review: Saven Deception by Siobhan DavisMy Profile

  3. Sophia Rose

    I have ventured into more contemporaries and steampunk as a couple, but another one that was a fairly recent stretch for me was Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic stories. I won Dan Wells’ Partials and so I read it not expecting too much and ended up engrossed. Who would have thought that I like to read about what comes after the disaster stuff? LOL I ended up reading several more and I think its my favorite Young Adult genre now. And I like adult level dystopian, too.

    Glad you enjoyed the cozy mysteries. I’ve loved mysteries since I was a kid. I mostly read the older stuff and then I fell in love with contemporary authors who write historical mystery series. I love the blend of the historical setting and having the mystery plus I feel like the characters get more development (not sure if that is really the case).
    Sophia Rose recently posted…How I Met Your Father by LB Gregg, Narrator Nick J Russo #Review #HolidayDelightMy Profile

    • Lola

      I read a lot of dystopian’s a few years ago, but now only read then rarely. Oh I really enjoyed Partials, I haven’t read the last book in the series yet.

      I really should try a historical mystery as well once. I like the mystery aspect, so I think I also would enjoy it in other settings beside cozy ones.
      Lola recently posted…Review: Saven Deception by Siobhan DavisMy Profile

  4. Kristen Burns

    *crawls out from the ground* DID SOMEONE SAY CIRCUS?! Lol. I looked at your review for that book, but unfortunately it sounds like it wouldn’t be for me.

    I feel every book benefits from some mystery, and I’ve read a few books this year that qualify as mystery (though some were in the paranormal genre too), but no *cozy* mysteries. I don’t think any genre with the word cozy in it is really for me. I want the dark stuff.

    But I’m glad you’re finding things about the genre that you enjoy! I love how you mention getting glimpses into all the different professions. That does sound like a fun aspect of the genre. And I also enjoy trying to figure things out alongside characters, especially when I guess correctly and feel proud of myself 😛
    Kristen Burns recently posted…Book Review: The Three Sisters (The Krampus Chronicles Book 1) by Sonia HalbachMy Profile

    • Lola

      The circus setting was done well and I liked how it felt like the authro knew what he was talking aout, but yeah it also had some issues.

      And I agree I think a lot of books can benefit from some mystery, it doens’t have to be the focus, but it can add a bit. I prefer the light stuff, I don’t want gory details, although I also can enjoy the darker stuff now and then. From this list the Cainsville series would probably be the only one you like if you prefer the darker stuff.

      I love getting glimpses into different lives and professions, it’s one of my favourite things about reading. And it seems cozy mysteries have a lot of unique professions. And it’s great when you guess correctly ;). Although I also love it when the twist takes me by surprise, it shouldn’t be too predictable.
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  5. Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

    Cozy mysteries are awesome when they are well done, Lola! I’m glad you’ve found some you have enjoyed this year, and that you’ve found a new genre to add to your books in the future as well.
    I don’t think I’ve tried any new to me genres this year, I read pretty much anything that’s fiction, and so, I’m always game for a new book 🙂
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    • Lola

      Yes it’s definitely a genre I will keep reading. There are some great ones out there and I am really enjoying the genre so far.

      There were a few genres I never rea,d but I am pretty close to reading anything fiction nowadys. I believe that every genre has something that I will enjoy.
      Lola recently posted…Review: Saven Deception by Siobhan DavisMy Profile

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