My Rating: 3 stars
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Age Category: Adult
Type of romance: MF
FIRST BOOK IN A NEW BEACHSIDE COZY MYSTERY SERIES!
When a body turns up on the boardwalk outside Everly Swan’s iced tea shop and café, she becomes the number one suspect in a murder case. Can she bag the culprit, prove her innocence, and dish up the real killer before it’s too late?
Hitting All the sweet-tea spots, this series is:
A delightful Tea Shop and Café Culinary Mystery
The ideal cozy beach read
Perfect for fans of Laura Childs and Kate Carlisle
Life hasn’t been so sweet for Everly Swan over the past couple of years, but now she’s back in her seaside hometown of Charm, North Carolina. The proud new owner of Sun, Sand, and Tea—a café right on the beach—Everly thinks that things are finally starting to look up. Until a grouchy customer turns up dead on the boardwalk with a jar of one of her specialty teas lying right next to him! When an autopsy reports poison in his system, things don’t look good for Everly or her tea shop.
As the townspeople of Charm, formerly so welcoming and homey, turn their back on Everly, she fights to dig up clues about who could have had it in for the former town councilman. With the maddeningly handsome Detective Grady Hays discouraging her from uncovering leads and a series of anonymous attacks on Everly and her tea shop, it will take everything she’s got to keep this murder mystery from boiling over.
I picked up Live and Let Chai when I found out it was another pen name from the author who writes the Christmas Tree Farm Mysteries series. I picked it up in audio and I liked listening to it, the narrator worked well for this book. It took me some time to get into this book, but it got better the further I got.
Live and Let Chai is set on an island where Everly runs her iced tea shop near the beach. While I liked the sound of this book, I somehow struggled to get into it and even after finishing it there was just something missing to fully hook me into this series. The beach setting is well done and the town of Charm is described well, but it just didn’t have the same feel to me as the Christmas tree farm town.
The mystery had a clear set up with Everly becoming the suspect in a murder investigation after someone got poisoned with her iced tea. She had a clear reason to get involved in figuring out the mystery and the detective on the case was capable as well. Although I didn’t like their frequent arguments. I also felt that Everly was a bit too obvious when starting her investigation, she almost outright asked whether people had a motive for the murder and then explained she was looking into things to clear her name. She got a bit smarter about things later on. I managed to guess who the murderer was, although some parts weren’t clear till the reveal. There weren’t as many suspects and not as many twists and turns, although there was one nice twist later on.
I slowly warmed up toward Everly and I thought her impulsiveness made her feel real and interesting, but it bothered me how she sometimes jumped to conclusions and got annoyed with someone before knowing all the details. Or how she would change her mind about something and sneaked around and almost got into more trouble. Her passion for the beach and this town was clear and I liked reading about her iced tea shop.
The first half of the book felt less enjoyable to me as most of the town suspected Everly of murder and avoided her shop. Everyone seemed suspicious and it didn’t really mesh with the vibe of this cozy town she loved and there weren’t as many fun shop scenes either. Once things get cleared up later on and townsfolk started to warm up to Everly the cozy vibe got better and there were more scenes at her store. It just bothered me how suspicious everyone was at first.
To summarize: Live and Let Chai is the first book in the Seaside Café Mystery series and it took me some time to get into this book. The set-up is well done and Everly’s involvement in the mystery made sense. It bothered me a bit how suspicious all the towns folk are of Everly right away and there aren’t many iced tea shop scenes, but luckily that gets better later in the book. Everly also is a bit too straightforward when asking people about the murder, but she gets smarter about things later in the book. It was clear how much Everly loved the beach and I liked reading about her iced tea shop, especially later in the book when she actually gets customers. I liked the narrator for this book and enjoyed listening to it. It was a decent read, but something was missing to fully hook me on this series and I am not yet sure whether I’ll continue it.