Friday, August 18, 2023

Virtual Book Tour & Giveaway: Murder A La Mode (Coffee & Cream Mysteries, #1) by Lena Gregory


Murder A La Mode
Coffee & Cream Cafe Mysteries
Lena Gregory

Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting - New York
Publisher: Gemma Halliday Publishing
Publication Date: August 8, 2023
Page count: 230 pages

From author Lena Gregory comes a delicious new series that will warm your heart and leave you guessing until the very end...

When twenty-five-year-old Danika Delaney, black sheep of the Delaney clan, returns home to Long Island to take over Jimmie's, her eccentric uncle’s old fashioned malt shop on eastern Long Island, she’s not exactly thrilled. But things start to look up when her uncle tells her she can do whatever she’d like with the shop, and it seems she might realize her dream of a small trendy café. That is, until she discovers the body of her ex-boyfriend’s estranged wife in a melted puddle of rocky road in the malt shop basement. With her two sidekicks, her sister and a good childhood friend, in tow, Dani searches for–or stumbles upon—one clue after another. But as she narrows down the suspect list, she realizes if she’s not careful she may end up in a puddle of her own...


5 stars!

Wow! What a great start to this new cozy mystery series!

Murder A La Mode is the first book in veteran author Lena Gregory's new cozy series, the Coffee & Cream Café Mysteries, and I couldn't ask for a more delightful debut. With an appealingly likable main character, two hunky potential love interests, and a "ride or die" best friend-sidekick, I was quickly immersed in this intriguing tale of jealousy, murder, and deadly long-hidden secrets.

The main character, Danika Delaney, had followed her dreams of college and a career in advertising to the City, but a tough job market had relegated her to waiting tables to make ends meet. So, when she lost her apartment sublet and a cheating boyfriend one after the other, she returned to her hometown of Watchogue on Long Island to take over her Uncle Jimmie's ice cream shop. But while her family is overjoyed she's come home, not everyone in the small town is glad she's back. Her first day working at Jimmie's is marred by a confrontation with her high school sweetheart's soon-to-be ex-wife, who accuses Dani of coming home to steal Luca back. Rumors spread like wildfire about what Heather said, and when she's found murdered in the ice cream shop's basement the very next day, all eyes turn to Dani, including the cops.

Danika Delaney is extremely likable and sympathetic, and I was behind her from the start. She's a worthy underdog and grows over the course of the story, discovering the truth of what happened between Luca and Heather on that long-ago prom night and finally realizing her own contribution to her heartbreak. She's a wonderful amateur sleuth, and her old friend, Gwen, is the perfect companion in her investigation. Dani even makes the transition from child to adult in the eyes of her strong-willed and intimidating mother.

There are two tantalizing love interests to complicate matters: Luca, Dani's high school sweetheart, and Detective Jake Barlow, the lead investigator on the murder case. While I liked both of these potential romantic partners for Danika, I leaned toward Team Jake early on. I look forward to future adventures, not only for more mystery but to see how these relationships pan out.

The Long Island town of Watchogue is Danika's charming hometown, and I got a good feel for its personality and townspeople. It's a perfect setting for a cozy mystery series. Close enough for the residents to head to the City for major things, there's still a little of everything in town: a busy Main Street business district, rural spaces, beaches, and a super-efficient small-town pipeline for gossip. There's even the old clique for high school with its mean girls and guys still holding sway over their peers.

The mystery is well-plotted, and the action and investigation move quickly. I liked that the police investigation was kept separate and pretty much out of sight for most of the book. Detective Barlow holds his card close to the vest with not too much unrealistic "quid pro quo," as Dani called it, or sharing of confidential information. As Dani seeks answers from the central members of the victim's old friends group, she uncovers several good suspects and plausible motives for the murder. I wasn't sure of "who done it" until the obvious reveal occurred, and I was highly satisfied with that.

I recommend MURDER A LA MODE to cozy mystery readers looking for a charming new series, especially those who enjoy a culinary theme in their reading.


Lena grew up in a small town on the south shore of eastern Long Island, but she recently traded in cold, damp, gray winters for the warmth and sunshine of Central Florida, where she now lives with her husband, three kids, son-in-law, and four dogs. Her hobbies include spending time with family, reading, and walking. Her love for writing developed when her youngest son was born and didn’t sleep through the night. She works full time as a writer and a freelance editor and is a member of Sisters in Crime. 


August 8 – Read Your Writes Book Reviews – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
August 8 – Sapphyria's Book Reviews – REVIEW
August 9 – Literary Gold – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
August 9 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee – SPOTLIGHT
August 10 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT
August 10 – Baroness Book Trove – REVIEW
August 11 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR GUEST POST
August 11 – Christa Reads and Writes – SPOTLIGHT
August 12 – Elizabeth McKenna - Author – SPOTLIGHT
August 12 – Socrates Book Reviews – REVIEW
August 13 – Cozy Up With Kathy - REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
August 14 – Celticlady's Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
August 15 – The Mystery Section – SPOTLIGHT
August 15 – Christy's Cozy Corners – REVIEW
August 16 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
August 16 – Jane Reads – CHARACTER GUEST POST
August 17 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR GUEST POST
August 17 – Mochas, Mysteries and Meows – CHARACTER GUEST POST
August 18 – Guatemala Paula Loves to Read – REVIEW
August 18 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW, INDIVIDUAL GIVEAWAY
August 19 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW
August 20 – Maureen's Musings – SPOTLIGHT
August 21 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW
August 21 – My Reading Journeys – SPOTLIGHT


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Boysmom said...

Looking forward to the next book in this new series!

Lena Gregory said...

Thank you so much for such a wonderful review! I'm so happy you enjoyed Murder a la Mode! And thank you for sharing my release.