Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Book Review: The Chocolate Shark Shenanigans by JoAnna Carl (Chocoholic Mysteries #17)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Strong, fast moving mystery you can’t put down
Cons: The usual minor cons for the series, but I truly don’t mind
The Bottom Line:
Lee and co. are back!
In another fast-paced book
Over all too soon

Lee Must Solve a Flipping Murder

It’s been a couple of years since we last got a chance to visit Lee Woodyard in the Chocoholic Mysteries, so I was quite glad when I saw The Chocolate Shark Shenanigans pop up for pre-order.  As a long time series fan, I wasn’t disappointed at all.

Much to Lee’s dismay, her husband, Joe, and her uncle, Hogan, have bought the house next to Lee and Joe.  They intended to flip it, but Lee doesn’t like the idea of having to borrow money until the house is renovated and sold.  Still, she’s going along with it, even meeting with Digger, the local plumber, for an estimate on the work that will need to be done.  While looking down in the basement, Digger makes a shocking discovery, a gun wrapped in rags

But it’s not as shocking as the one that Lee and Hogan make the next day.  You see, Hogan is the local sheriff, and he’s asked Lee to walk him through what happened when Digger found the gun.  Only the duo make an even more shocking discovery while doing that – a dead body in a cabinet.  The victim was known as Spuds, a nickname he got as a teenager 20 years ago when he was part of a gang that called themselves the Sharks.  Spuds had also wanted to buy the house, but Lee can’t help but wonder what got him killed.  Will she uncover the truth?

Since we are seventeen books into the series, fans will already know what to expect, and they won’t be disappointed here.  These books are focused on the plot, and it is always moving forward.  Occasionally, we get some needless teases, but it is hard to complain when we have a new clue or red herring to distract us from the information we almost got but didn’t yet.  The ending does rush a bit to tie everything up, but it isn’t too bad.  I was hooked and along for the ride the entire way, not wanting to put the book down once I’d picked it up.

These books are a tad shorter than the majority of cozies published, and the result is a book focused on the twists and turns of the plot.  It doesn’t add any sub-plots, and this leaner storytelling approach really works for the series.  In fact, I find myself extremely impatient early on to figure out what is really happening, which drives me to keep reading.

The other things that suffers are the supporting characters.  There is a core cast, and we get to see them in action again, but Lee’s friends are usually reduced to cameos in favor of the new characters and story.  Again, this is nothing new.  Would I love to see more of the supporting players?  Yes.  But I am used to it by now.

And this isn’t a slight on the characters.  I love Lee and Joe.  The new characters are strong as well, helping keep us engaged as we work our way through the book.

We get the usual chocolate trivia as we work our way through the book, and the book ends with a delicious sounding recipe, something we don’t always get in this series.

Something we do always get are delicious descriptions of chocolate.  Lee eats many pieces of chocolate along the way, and my mouth waters each time she goes to describe it.

I’ve been a fan of the Chocoholic Mysteries since the first book game out, so getting to revisit the characters was a treat almost as tasty as the chocolate Lee eats along the way.  The Chocolate Shark Shenanigans will satisfy series fans and leave new fans anxious to track down the rest of Lee’s adventures.

Looking for more tasty adventures?  Here are the rest of the Chocoholic Mysteries.

NOTE: I received a copy of this book.


Thanks to the publisher, I have one copy of this book to give away.  Because it is a physical book, the contest is limited to residence of the US.

Just leave me a comment with your e-mail address so I can get in touch with you if you win.  I will pick the winner Tuesday, November 12th, so please leave your comment before midnight Pacific Time on 11/12.  You will have until midnight on 11/17 to get back to me, or I will choose a new winner on 11/18.


  1. Chocolate and mysteries are the best! Thank you for the contest. ckmbeg (at) gmail (dot) com

  2. This is a new series for me, but it sounds like a fun one. Thank you for the chance! mbradeen [at] yahoo [dot] com

  3. Chilcotejo@comcast.net. I love this series. Can’t wait to read this one

  4. I really enjoy this series! Thanks for the chance to win a copy of Chocolate Shark Shenanigans. acate9(at)utk(dot)edu

  5. New series to me. Thanks for your review.. nani_geplcs@yahoo.com

  6. I have been on board with this series since day one. So glad to see a new addition!!!

  7. I really enjoy this series and I’m so excited to read the newest one!

  8. This has always been one of my favorite series and I was really sad when it ended. I’m so happy to see it continue and can’t wait to visit Lee and Joe again. cking78503(at)aol(dot)com

  9. It sounds good to me!


  10. I am such a fan of this series and am so glad to see this new book! Thanks so much for your review and your giveaway! bobandcelia@sbcglobal.net

  11. We have a chocolate business in the next county over that has a real variety of chocolate. It is a chocolate lovers heaven. I enjoy a dark chocolate and if it has caramel in it all the better. robeader53(at)yahoo(dot)com

  12. I love this series and can't wait to read this one. arlemmert@gmail.com

  13. This will be a new author and series to me. It sounds interesting and it has been add to my read list. Thank you for the review and chance to win a copy.

  14. I have read a few of this series and really enjoyed it. This seems to be a great installment. Thank you for the review and an opportunity to win a copy of the book. Joyce (NRNMG@aolcom)