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Lusty Lady

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Saturday, December 07, 2013

Mystery, coffee and tech fans, your new fun read is Billionaire Blend by Cleo Coyle

Cleo Coyle's coffeehouse mystery series just might be my favorite series, and I read a lot of them! It's set in a New York coffeehouse and manages to stay relevant, timely, fun and fascinating. This latest one, Billionaire Blend, is special in that it's partly set in New York, and partly set all over the world. It's a great read and makes a great gift. My review is below. And the blue roses on the cover do play a role in the mystery! Find out more at get recipes (I'm making skillet lasagna from the book tomorrow!) at And I link to Amazon, where you can also get the Kindle ebook edition, because I get a small kickback, but I encourage you to buy books from your favorite bookseller, and use your local library. Want to help your favorite authors? Request their books from your local bookstore. It shows them that there's demand.

Cleo Coyle has done it again with an intricate, page-turning mystery, romantic drama between Village Blend owner Clare Cosi and her now-living-in-DC cop boyfriend Mike Quinn as well as that between Clare's daughter Joy and her cop boyfriend, Emmanuel Franco, and techie drama galore. While billionaires seem to be a dime a dozen ever since Christian Grey rolled onto the scene (don't miss the great Fifty Shades joke embedded in Billionaire Blend), this one is different.

Eric Thorner is a tech whiz billionaire who wants the best, including the best coffee. He's used to getting his way, and he wants Clare's coffee expertise--as well as her body. When he almost dies in an explosion outside her coffee shop, he tries to sweep her off her feet and makes her an offer that neither she nor her ex-husband and current business partner Matteo (Matt) Allegro can refuse. Together the three travel the globe, which is a new twist for this series; usually we only hear about Matt's coffee sourcing exploits when he's returned. While one of the things I love best about this series is its New York-centered view and tidbits of history about the city, it was fascinating to see Clare get out of her familiar settings and to learn about how coffee affects people in various locations.

There's always been a nod to the old-fashioned way of doing things in this series, even though it's firmly set in modern times. From Matt's mother's elegance to the Village Blend's sense of artistic and Big Apple history, Clare's family and business have never been about doing things faster and speedier. So the fun technological prowess of Thorner and his company, from bathroom holograms to very smart phones to the seemingly omniscient Miss House, who gives Clare directions and seems to have eyes everywhere, is a treat.

This is one of the most tightly plotted series I've read. I do recommend reading them in order, though technically you don't have to. There are so many little clues and red herrings and references here that make this book both a page-turning mystery and simply a fun read. Even after you're done with the whodunnit, there are recipes galore, including skillet lasagna, which also give a bit of backstory to the characters and when/why they've made each recipe. Coyle adds depth to all the ongoing relationships in the series, romantic and familial--the sideline about Joy's restaurant job in France and the unexpected opportunity to cook for fancy billionaires is a delight--and lets Clare's smarts shine through while never making anything easy to guess. Enjoy this with your favorite cup of coffee, and be prepared to keep refilling it as you stay glued to the story.

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