Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Book Review: The Chocolate Bear Burglary by JoAnna Carl (Chocoholic Mysteries #2)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Characters and cozy atmosphere
Cons: Plot could have been stronger
The Bottom Line:
Even with weak plot
This is a fast read that you
Won't want to put down

Murder Sure Can Heat Up the Winter

The Chocolate Bear Burglary, the second book in the Chocoholic Mystery series finds the town of Warner Pier, Michigan, in the dead of winter. And Lee McKinney is proud of how well she's handling her first true winter. A Texas native, she has determined that the cold won't slow her down.

This is a good thing since things are hopping at TenHuis Chocolade, the gourmet chocolate shop her aunt owns. Not only does the shop have its normal orders, but the town is running a teddy bear promotion to attract winter tourists. Aunt Nettie has borrowed some antique bear chocolate molds to display as part of the event.

Into the madness comes Jeff, Lee's ex-stepson. He's his normal sullen self and refuses to tell anyone why he is there.

Things take a turn for the worse when the shop is broken into and the antique molds are stolen. Then a murder takes place on the steps of the chocolate shop. Are the two related? Why did Jeff sneak out of the house both nights? And, most importantly, can Lee clear him of murder?

Since this is the second book in the series, we already know some of the characters. Still, the author does give us a quick background on them, so you don't have to read them in order, although that is still recommended. For those who have, the main characters are developed further this time around, giving us more history and personality. And the new characters introduced are equally interesting.

Unfortunately, the mystery here isn't as good as the first in the series. While there were several things that kept me confused until the end, I felt the story was a little too straight forward. I did still love reading the story, so this isn't a huge issue.

The book is a fast read, and I read it in a couple days. The book is narrated by Lee, which obviously helps us get to know her the best.

One caveat I should mention does involve Lee. She has the unfortunate habit of mixing up her words when she's nervous or upset. Personally, I find it fun and endearing since it usually averages out to once every chapter or two. Some people do find it more annoying then cute, however.

Every book in the series contains "Chocolate Chats." Every few chapters, the author stops the story for a page or two of chocolate trivia. While normally this is something I complain about, I actually found them interesting in this book since they focus on chocolate in mysteries through the ages.

This series is aimed at the cozy market, so cute comes with the territory. But if that is how you like your mysteries, you'll love The Chocolate Bear Burglary.

Enjoy more delightful chocolate crime with the rest of the Chocoholic Mysteries in order.

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