Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Review and Giveaway: Murder by Mocha

Murder by Mocha (Coffeehouse Mystery - Book 10) by Cleo Coyle

Publication Date: August 2011
Publisher: Penguin Group USA
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Pages: Hardcover, 384pp
ISBN-13: 9780425241431

(Received for an honest review from Berkley Prime Crime)

Purchase: Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound

Cleo Coyle on the WEB: website, facebook, twitter

Excerpt from
Murder by Mocha
Book Trailer:


Clare Cosi, manager and head barista of the landmark Village Blend coffeehouse can brew a beverage to die for. But can she stir up some evidence against a bitter killer who has gone loco for mocha?

Clare's Village Blend beans are being used to create a new java love potion: a "Mocha Magic Coffee" billed as an aphrodisiac. Clare may even try some on her boyfriend, NYPD detective Mike Quinn - when he's off duty, of course...

The product, expected to rake in millions, will be sold exclusively on Aphrodite's Village, one of the Web's most popular online communities for women. But the launch party ends on a sour note when one of the Web site's editors is found dead.

When more of the Web site's Sister's of Aphrodite start to die, Clare is convinced someone wants the coffee's secret formula - and is willing to kill to get it. Clare isn't about to spill the beans, but will she be next on the hit list?


The husband and wife writing team known in the cozy world as Cleo Coyle once again thrill readers with the tenth installment in The Coffeehouse Mystery series,
Murder by Mocha. With an intricate plot, eclectic characters, and a modern style, this book, as well as, the series, will have readers clamoring for more. Aphrodisiacs, Voss chocolates, murder and mayhem combine to give readers a great whodunit!

Clare Cosi is up to her eye-balls in coffee beans! Greenwich Village just wouldn't be the same without, "The Village Blend," a landmark coffeehouse that keeps turning out great coffee, delectable chocolates and muffins to die for. But when murder comes a little too close for comfort it's up to Clare to find the killer before she's next on the menu. When Clare's business partner and former mother-in-law, Madame Dubois makes a deal with an old friend to use "the Blend's" coffee beans to create, Mocha Magic, a coffee billed as an aphrodisiac, Clare is skeptical and has a foreboding feeling. If the coffee tanks, so will the reputation of her coffeehouse. Selling the new coffee on an exclusive women's website, called Aphrodite's Village seems like a good plan until the exec's and Aphrodite "Sisters" start to show up dead.

I don't generally like to start a series in the middle, but sometimes it just works out that way.
Murder by Mocha is the tenth book in The Coffeehouse Mystery series by Cleo Coyle and I haven't read the first nine. But after reading this one, I am definitely going to make a point to go back and pick up the others. Each book in the series, can be read as a stand alone, because the author uses a good balance of back story in each one, to get new readers up to speed and remind older fans of what's happened in the past. I did not feel lost at all with this book, the characters were so engaging that I'm looking forward to reading the other books series, just to find out more about them.

I don't usually mention cover art in my reviews unless there is really something to talk about. The cover for
Murder by Mocha is just gorgeous, the colors, and the type of styling all really worked. After reading the book, I liked the cover even more because it sort of symbolized the urban edge that this series has. It's not set in a small town, like most cozies. It is set in New York and has that modern urban appeal and I think the cover illustrates that really well, and when I went back and looked at the other covers in the series, I loved them as well. There is a definite continuity in the cover art that starts with book one and continues all the way to book ten. They are just beautiful.

The writing team of Cleo Coyle has obviously had great success with this series and I think readers will agree after reading this one, that it's easy to understand why. The setting puts me in mind of classic TV shows, like Friends and Cheers. The Village Blend is a place where friends come together to share the joys and frustrations of life. I thought Coyle did a fantastic job of making the coffeehouse appealing to the reader and full of interesting characters. From heroine Clare, all the way to the least of the secondary characters, Coyle makes these people feel real to the reader, like the girl down the hall in your apartment building, or the guy who sweeps your street. New York is an interesting setting for a cozy anyway. Most are set in small towns outside the scope of big cities, but it really works for this series and this book.

The mystery aspect of the story in
Murder by Mocha, might sound a little far-fetched at first, but when you begin to get into the story, it becomes more and more believable. Murders have been committed for way less than a possible multi-million dollar coffee blend. I liked the fact that Coyle is sort of going with a girl-power kind of theme in this book. Using and all women exclusive website to sell the Mocha Magic blend was kind of empowering in my opinion. It wasn't a feminist kind of vibe, but more of a celebration of strong, intelligent women. I liked that and I think readers will too.

The plot for this one was very complex. Not only does Clare have the mystery of who is killing off Aphrodite's execs, but she also has a lot of personal issues to deal with. She is worried about her daughter who has just returned from France, and the fact that her NYPD detective boyfriend might be in the middle of a police corruption scandal and the possibility that her business partner Madame Dubois might have a darker side. She doesn't answer of the questions in this book, but that's what makes it so tantalizing, waiting for the next installment in the series to come out.

This is probably one of my favorite cozies of the year so far and I definitely recommend it to all my cozy readers. The plot is riveting and full of red herrings, you can't quite figure out who the killer is until the author is ready for you to, which is great. The characters are engaging and fun to read about and they make you want to know more about them. There's some humor that kind of lightens the mood when it needs to a little bit of romance for the romance fans out there. It is the total package when it comes to a good cozy. Great setting, intricate plot, quirky characters, murder and mayhem, what more could you ask for?

Murder by Mocha is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

Cleo Coyle is the pen name for a multi-published author who collaborates with her husband to write the nationally bestselling Coffeehouse Mysteries. Although they did not meet until adulthood, Cleo and her husband had very similar upbringings. Both were children of food-loving Italian immigrants and both grew up in working-class neighborhoods outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, before moving to the Big Apple to begin their postcollege careers: Cleo as a journalist and children's book and media tie-in author; and her husband as a magazine editor and writer. After finally meeting and falling in love, they married at the Little Church of the West in Las Vegas. Now they live and work in New York City where they each write books independently and together, cook like crazy, haunt local coffeehouses, and drink a lot of joe. Among their many coauthored projects are the Haunted Bookshop Mysteries, written under the pen name Alice Kimberly.


The publisher is offering one copy of Murder by Mocha by Cleo Coyle for giveaway to one lucky winner from Debbie's Book Bag!

~ You must be Google Friend Connect follower to participate.
~ US Addresses only! (Publisher Request)
~ The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight EST September 6th.

1. Please leave a comment in appreciation of the author on THIS post.
2. Please fill out the FORM.


Anonymous said...

I have been curious about this series for a while! I tend to read series out of order, unfortunately.

Roof Beam Reader said...

My partner is in love with this series (he's a mystery lover and has been a barista for years) - I've bought him every book in the series, but he hasn't read this one yet because he always worries there might not be a next one. lol

I actually gave away the first three books in the series during one of my bigger giveaways a few months ago.. along with some coffee and other goodies. It went over fairly well, I think.

Linda Kish said...

This sounds like such fun.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

justpeachy36 said...

Adam, He'll love this one, I can't wait to read the others in the series now! This was my first one and I really enjoyed it. In the acknowledgments in the front of the book, the author says she will keep writing them as long as fans seem to want to read more, hopefully that will be a long time.

cyn209 said...

i'm new to the world of cozy mysteries & i keep seeing your books listed on blogs, etc.......i have most of the books in your series!! can't wait to read them!!

thank you for the giveaway!!!!

Martha Lawson said...

Sounds awesome! Can't wait to read this one.

lag123 said...

I have heard many good reviews on this series. I have it on my TBR list.

Lag110 at mchsi dot com

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the awesome giveaway. I can't wait to read your book. Tore923@aol.com

Karen B said...

Roast Mortem hooked me on this series earlier this year. I have lots of catching up to do and your latest sounds terrific!

In Julie's Opinion said...

I love cozy mysteries and this series is one of the best!! I can't wait to read this book :)
jwitt33 at live dot com

Carol M said...

I haven't read any books in this series. I would like to though. It sounds good!

mittens0831 at aol dot com

Carol N Wong said...

I think it would be a dream to create cozies with your husband. I am looking forward to this book so much.


mamabunny13 said...

I'm excited about this new series!
mamabunny13 @gmail dot com

Tracy Smith said...

Really want to read this series. The cozy mysteries are calling to me!!

countrysunset40 (at) aol dot com

Anita Yancey said...

Sounds like a fun and interesting mystery.


Sue Farrell said...

I love cozy mysteries and I would like to try this author.

My Recent Favorite Books said...

I enjoy this cozy mystery series!
and would love to win a copy of this book! =)

Cleo Coyle said...

Thank you to Debbie's Book Bag for this amazing review -- and the giveaway! I would like to offer a signed bookplate to the winner, as well.

To Adam - No worries! The Coffeehouse Mysteries are not ending anytime soon. In fact, there will be two new titles out next year. My regular August release followed by a Holiday special. Check my website for regular updates and...

Read with joy!
~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
Cleo Coyle on Twitter

Jean Johnson said...

I love Cleo Coyles books. I'm on book 6 now, I'm addicted to the characters and the plot of every one.

Pinkim said...

I have read them all and i have never been disappointed! I just love this series...In fact I started a library tab on my own blog and this is the first series I featured. It is just a page where i list books that I like...and I do like these...I love the characters and the interactions between them...I am a follower through gppgle friend connect and I am about to fill out the form...Kim

Meg said...

Agree with Pinkim above - this is one of THE BEST contemp mystery series out there. :-D Love the setting, the plots, the characters, the interplay over the series arc... Meg

Melissa said...

I read this series earlier in the year and loved every book! I haven't read this book yet and can't wait to do so!

judyalter said...

I'm hooked on the coffeehouse series, have read all the books and eagerly await each new ones. This is at the top of my TBR list.