Today, I'm reviewing a new cozy mystery called Peppermint Cream Die as part of a blog tour.
(Book 1 in The HSP Mysteries)
Author: Carol E. Ayer
Genres: Cozy mystery
Number of pages: 190
Publisher: Camel Press
Publication Date: 13 October 2020
Digital ASIN: B08LK1KLRV
Kayla Jeffries, home bakery owner and HSP (Highly Sensitive Person), has arranged her life just so to avoid stressful overstimulation. The California oceanside community in which she lives proves the perfect venue for the quiet and peaceful existence she desires. She happily spends her time baking, walking along the beach, and spending time with her close friends.
But when Kayla discovers her elderly friend Trudy Dillingham has been strangled, she vows to do anything she must to help bring the killer to justice, including overcoming the stress and sensory overload involved in playing amateur detective.
Using her HSP talents of attention to detail and ability to read other people's emotions, Kayla eventually cracks the case, all the while juggling two cats and a dog, non-stop orders for the Christmas holidays, and a budding relationship with handsome restaurateur Jason Banks.
Book Review of Peppermint Cream Die
"I'm also the one who found her and I'm trying to figure out who would have wanted to hurt her. Any ideas?"
"Me, for one."
Peppermint Cream Die by Carol E. Ayer is the first book in The HSP Mysteries and my first read for Ayer.
The main character Kyla is an HSP, a highly sensitive person. In other words, she struggles in certain situations like extreme stress or even extreme lighting and sounds.
I never knew that there was something as being an HSP and that was an interesting discovery for me. It also contributes to Kyla's character, making her sensitive to certain things while also helping her read others' body language.
Peppermint Cream Die opens with Kayla having a chat with her friend Trudy only to leave her to finish some stuff and discover a couple of hours later that Trudy died, or worse that she'd been strangled.
During the conversation prior to Trudy's death, Trudy tells Kayla: "I like your sensitivity and compassion, but sometimes you need to break through your fears and do things you don't want to. You might end up having the best adventure of your life, or, at least, an excellent learning experience."
Reading this on the first page, I felt it was like a kind of foreshadowing of what's about to happen to Kayla and how she'll need to work around her HSP to solve a murder.
Despite their being a
police investigation, Kayla takes it upon herself to uncover what happened to
her friend Trudy only discover that Trudy had a secret "wild" past
life that may or may not have caught up with her.
"The lack of eye contact and way she was fiddling with her necklace made me think she was lying and that she knew exactly what the fight was about."
With Trudy gone, Trudy's cat Sugar lands in Kayla's lap and Kayla is worried about the new house guest. But a second death lands another cat in Kayla's one-person household and it's Sugar's sister. You'll love what she names the second kitty.
Despite being an HSP, Kayla is a baker, well cake-maker. And she loses herself in her baking and designs and just reading about what she's doing I fell in love with the cakes too.
Every time I sit down to Peppermint Cream Die, my mouth watered and I craved chocolate – and I used it as another reason to nibble on something :D
In the book, Kayla isn't struggling with a lack of suspects but more of an abundance of suspects as it seems Trudy had wronged many people in the past.
"Kayla, what has gotten into you? I thought you lived for staying at home, baking, reading, and walking on the beach. Now suddenly you're investigating crimes and you're the victim of break-ins."
One of the reasons I picked up Peppermint Cream Die was because of its title and the cover. I know I shouldn't judge a book by its cover but I can't resist anything with peppermint.
There was a time in the book when I struggled a bit with Kayla and felt that there was additional focus on her baking and business, which I felt wasn't needed.
Plus there is lots of description especially with how the days are moving forward – with no progress in the book or solving the murder. That said, the ending of Peppermint Cream Die was super-fast-paced and action-filled.
The book comes with a touch of romance as Kayla meets Jason but I felt their interactions and relationship was quite childish especially since both are over 30.
Although Kayla struggles with HSP, she goes to lengths – greater than the police – to uncover the reason behind her friend's murder.
There were a few flaws with Kayla's character like being childish with the romance. I also disliked the repetition of events Kayla had to go through when relating events to her friend Isabella.
On the other hand, I loved the ending. It was amazing with a grand finale and confrontation. It had me rooting for Kayla and her friends.
Peppermint Cream Die is a great holiday read.
Overall I enjoyed reading Peppermint Cream Die and would like to see more of this series in the future.
Overall rating: 3.5 stars
Note: I got a free copy of Peppermint Cream Die as part of a blog tour by Lori's Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours. This did not, in any way, affect my review.
Carol Ayer, a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP), lives halfway
between San Francisco and Sacramento with her cat, Rainn.
When she’s not writing, she’s reading mysteries and thrillers or watching movies and cooking shows. As a native Californian, she visits the ocean as often as possible.