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Grounds for Murder

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Barista Lana Lewis's sleuthing may land her in a latte trouble as Tara Lush launches her new Coffee Shop mysteries. When Lana Lewis' best -- and most difficult -- employee abruptly quits and goes to work for the competition just days before the Sunshine State Barista Championship, her café's chances of winning the contest are creamed. In front of a gossipy crowd in the smal Barista Lana Lewis's sleuthing may land her in a latte trouble as Tara Lush launches her new Coffee Shop mysteries. When Lana Lewis' best -- and most difficult -- employee abruptly quits and goes to work for the competition just days before the Sunshine State Barista Championship, her café's chances of winning the contest are creamed. In front of a gossipy crowd in the small Florida town of Devil's Beach, Lana's normally calm demeanor heats to a boil when she runs into the arrogant java slinger. Of course, Fabrizio "Fab" Bellucci has a slick explanation for jumping ship. But when he's found dead the next morning under a palm tree in the alley behind Lana's café, she becomes the prime suspect. Even the island's handsome police chief isn't quite certain of her innocence. But Lana isn't the only one in town who was angry with Fabrizio. Jilted lovers, a shrimp boat captain, and a surfer with ties to the mob are all suspects as trouble brews on the beach. With her stoned, hippie dad, a Shih Tzu named Stanley, and a new, curious barista sporting a punk rock aesthetic at her side, Lana's prepared to turn up the heat to catch the real killer. After all, she is a former award-winning reporter. As scandal hangs over her beachside café, can Lana clear her name and win the championship -- or will she come to a bitter end?


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Barista Lana Lewis's sleuthing may land her in a latte trouble as Tara Lush launches her new Coffee Shop mysteries. When Lana Lewis' best -- and most difficult -- employee abruptly quits and goes to work for the competition just days before the Sunshine State Barista Championship, her café's chances of winning the contest are creamed. In front of a gossipy crowd in the smal Barista Lana Lewis's sleuthing may land her in a latte trouble as Tara Lush launches her new Coffee Shop mysteries. When Lana Lewis' best -- and most difficult -- employee abruptly quits and goes to work for the competition just days before the Sunshine State Barista Championship, her café's chances of winning the contest are creamed. In front of a gossipy crowd in the small Florida town of Devil's Beach, Lana's normally calm demeanor heats to a boil when she runs into the arrogant java slinger. Of course, Fabrizio "Fab" Bellucci has a slick explanation for jumping ship. But when he's found dead the next morning under a palm tree in the alley behind Lana's café, she becomes the prime suspect. Even the island's handsome police chief isn't quite certain of her innocence. But Lana isn't the only one in town who was angry with Fabrizio. Jilted lovers, a shrimp boat captain, and a surfer with ties to the mob are all suspects as trouble brews on the beach. With her stoned, hippie dad, a Shih Tzu named Stanley, and a new, curious barista sporting a punk rock aesthetic at her side, Lana's prepared to turn up the heat to catch the real killer. After all, she is a former award-winning reporter. As scandal hangs over her beachside café, can Lana clear her name and win the championship -- or will she come to a bitter end?

30 review for Grounds for Murder

  1. 4 out of 5

    Phrynne

    This is the first book in a new series about a failed journalist called Lana who returns home to manage her family coffee shop. Lana is a sad case really - failed career, failed marriage, mother not long dead and father on medical marijuana and not really acting like a father at all. Against all this she learns how to make good coffee, adopts a cute dog, makes some good friends, and falls in love with the local chief of police. Of course she also solves a murder. This was a quick and entertaining This is the first book in a new series about a failed journalist called Lana who returns home to manage her family coffee shop. Lana is a sad case really - failed career, failed marriage, mother not long dead and father on medical marijuana and not really acting like a father at all. Against all this she learns how to make good coffee, adopts a cute dog, makes some good friends, and falls in love with the local chief of police. Of course she also solves a murder. This was a quick and entertaining read. I will probably read the next book in the series. Thanks to Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this book

  2. 4 out of 5

    Brenda

    Lana Lewis had moved back to her hometown of Devil’s Beach after she was put off at the Miami newspaper where she was a reporter. Reporting was in her blood, so she was dejected but when her dad asked Lana to join him in their café – Perkatory – as a second barista along side Fabrizio Bellucci, she was keen. Fab and Lana worked well together – until, with the Sunshine State Barista Championship only days away, Fab left Perkatory without a word and went to the opposition. Lana was angry – and tol Lana Lewis had moved back to her hometown of Devil’s Beach after she was put off at the Miami newspaper where she was a reporter. Reporting was in her blood, so she was dejected but when her dad asked Lana to join him in their café – Perkatory – as a second barista along side Fabrizio Bellucci, she was keen. Fab and Lana worked well together – until, with the Sunshine State Barista Championship only days away, Fab left Perkatory without a word and went to the opposition. Lana was angry – and told Fab so, as she was on her way to Miami. When Lana arrived back at Perkatory just before 6am the following morning, she was shocked and distressed to discover Fab’s body not far from the café. When the Chief of Police, her friend Noah, arrived with more police, Lana found her café was to be closed all day. It wasn’t long before Lana’s journalist instincts kicked in and, against Noah admonishments, decided to discover who had killed her friend and fellow barista. With Stanley, Fab’s Shih Tzu, by her side, and new barista Erica keeping a close eye on the café, Lana followed her gut. But it wouldn’t be long, and danger would be following her as she came too close to answers. And what would happen with the championships? Would she have to pull out the Perkatory team at the last minute? Grounds for Murder is the 1st in A Coffee Lovers Mystery by Tara Lush and I really enjoyed it. With plenty of action, lots of suspects and a Police Chief who wouldn’t listen to Lana’s theories, I didn’t work out the perpetrator until almost the reveal. An excellent cozy mystery, Grounds for Murder is one I recommend. With thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my digital ARC to read in exchange for an honest review.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Tahera

    After being laid off from her job and finding herself divorced, Lana Lewis, a former investigative reporter, finds herself back in her home town of Devil's Beach running her late mother's coffee shop called Perkatory. She is helped by Fabrizio 'Fab' Bellucci a hot looking popular barista with a talent for whipping up delicious coffee drinks and cappuccino art and being a womaniser. Things are going great and both Lana and Fab have entered the Sunshine State Barista Championship with the aim to w After being laid off from her job and finding herself divorced, Lana Lewis, a former investigative reporter, finds herself back in her home town of Devil's Beach running her late mother's coffee shop called Perkatory. She is helped by Fabrizio 'Fab' Bellucci a hot looking popular barista with a talent for whipping up delicious coffee drinks and cappuccino art and being a womaniser. Things are going great and both Lana and Fab have entered the Sunshine State Barista Championship with the aim to win. Then, out of the blue Fabrizio quits, he and Lana have a huge fight and the next day Fabrizio is found dead by Lana. Fabrizio's death is termed a suicide by the local police but Lana is not too sure and decides to use her investigative reporting skills to get to the bottom of the matter. Grounds for Murder is the start of a new cozy mystery series by the author Tara Lush. I really liked the description of Devil's Beach and the constant mention of cappuccino, mocha, lattes and yummy pastries did not help my hunger pangs. It's a good start to the series with interesting and quirky characters and one adorable and quirky dog, Stanley. My thanks to NetGalley, the publisher Crooked Lane Books and the author for the e-Arc of the book. The book was published on 8th December 2020. Rating:⭐⭐⭐💫

  4. 5 out of 5

    Carrie

    Review coming soon.

  5. 5 out of 5

    LORI (Dollycas) CASWELL

    Dollycas’s Thoughts Fabrizio “Fab” Bellucci, the beach’s hottest barista is dead and former investigative journalist turned coffee shop manager Lana Lewis is at the top of the suspect list if the cause of death is indeed murder. You see Fab was her star employee until he quit without notice to work for her competitor. On top of that, they were registered as a team for the Sunshine State Barista Championship. So when she couldn’t hold in her fury any longer she confronts him in front of a crowd of Dollycas’s Thoughts Fabrizio “Fab” Bellucci, the beach’s hottest barista is dead and former investigative journalist turned coffee shop manager Lana Lewis is at the top of the suspect list if the cause of death is indeed murder. You see Fab was her star employee until he quit without notice to work for her competitor. On top of that, they were registered as a team for the Sunshine State Barista Championship. So when she couldn’t hold in her fury any longer she confronts him in front of a crowd of people at Island Brewnette, the competing coffee shop. The trouble is, the chief of police, who seems to have a bit of a crush on Lana, is leaning toward calling Fab’s death a suicide until the evidence proves otherwise. Lana knows Fab was a great casanova/gigolo with some shady connections so she finds plenty of other suspects and theories. She just needs to convince Chief Noah Garcia to follow her clues with her. If not, she and her new barista Erica Penmark will steam out the killer on their own. I liked Lana Lewis right away. Divorced and unemployed she comes home to Devil’s Beach to manage Perkatory. The cafe was her mother’s dream so after her death her dad kept the business going but his heart wasn’t really into it full time. Lana takes over admitting she has a lot to learn about being a great barista but she has great employees and her dad to help her out. She is intelligent and kind and her investigative skills come in handy as she tries to catch a killer. Erika and Lana get along right away and they make a wonderful team whether it comes to sleuthing or coffee brewing. Lana’s dad is a laid back hippie kind of dude that does seem fazed my much but supports his daughter 100%. Police Chief Noah Garica also escaped the big city to come to Devil’s Beach never expecting to have a murder case on his plate but he sure does like dropping in at Perkatory to see Lana. All of these characters developed nicely over the course of the story but there is so much more to learn. The author has done an excellent job of giving readers characters we can care about. The mystery she has brewed up is darn good too. Personally, I wish the suicide theory would have been put to rest much earlier with more focus on the variety of people who could have been suspects in Fab’s death. He left quite a path of ladies in his wake and at least one was married. The pushy reporter in Lana came out and she just wasn’t going to give up. Her actions lead to a really exciting big reveal. I do love the beachy small-town setting. While jumping with tourists and busy residents it still had a relaxing vibe and a place I would love to visit. Grounds for Murder was a delightful whodunit and has set this series off to a grand start. It’s entertaining with just the right amount of humor. I am looking forward to visiting these characters again soon.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Gloria

    Grounds for Murder is a fun debut novel with the setting of a small beach town in South Florida and some colorful characters. What fun to have the story revolve around a coffee shop with the Gulf of Mexico close by. Lana Lewis moved home to Devil's Beach from Miami after her husband cheated on her. She needed to leave to lick her wounds and her dad wants her to run her family's coffee shop, Perkatory. It was her mom's dream and her dad has been running it since her mom died. He wants to slow dow Grounds for Murder is a fun debut novel with the setting of a small beach town in South Florida and some colorful characters. What fun to have the story revolve around a coffee shop with the Gulf of Mexico close by. Lana Lewis moved home to Devil's Beach from Miami after her husband cheated on her. She needed to leave to lick her wounds and her dad wants her to run her family's coffee shop, Perkatory. It was her mom's dream and her dad has been running it since her mom died. He wants to slow down now. She is working hard to make the shop a success and one way is by entering a state wide barista contest held in Devil's Beach. She is betting on her barista, flirty Italian Fab Bellucci to help her in the contest but he leaves without notice to work with a competitor. Thankfully, Erica, a customer with experience as a barista had shown up a couple days prior. But then Lana finds Fab's body behind the shop. He had fallen from the roof of the shop where he lived in the apartment. He loved to entertain his lady friends on the roof. Could he have fallen accidentally, committed suicide, or been pushed? Handsome police chief Noah Garcia thinks it could be suicide but Lana thinks that with all Fab's huge group of adoring women fans and girlfriends, he wouldn't kill himself. Since she worked the crime beat for a newspaper in Miami and the love of journalism is still in her blood, she uses her skills to investigate and write an article for the local newspaper. She finds some interesting things about Fab that she wasn't aware of and meets some interesting characters. This is a great debut book with a mystery that kept me guessing about happened to Fab and who was involved. The storytelling made the setting easy to picture and this an entertaining read. I hope to see more of Lana, her new best friend Erica, her wacky hippie father, her swoony new friend Noah and her new puppy Stanley, formerly owned by Fab. I received a complimentary ARC from Crooked Lane Books through NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are mine only.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Micky Cox

    An entertaining new series to read with a spunky and intelligent main character and an interesting cast of supporting characters that help to enhance a well thought out plot. The main character has come home to run the family coffeehouse after being laid off as a journalist so her inquisitive nature is definitely a well honed personality characteristic that is to be expected. Her pot smoking dad is a hilarious side kick, her new bff is also a fun side kick and the hunky Chief of Police gives a b An entertaining new series to read with a spunky and intelligent main character and an interesting cast of supporting characters that help to enhance a well thought out plot. The main character has come home to run the family coffeehouse after being laid off as a journalist so her inquisitive nature is definitely a well honed personality characteristic that is to be expected. Her pot smoking dad is a hilarious side kick, her new bff is also a fun side kick and the hunky Chief of Police gives a bit of flirt to mix in and give the plot a bit more depth. I really enjoyed the plot especially the murder (or is it a murder???) which is the meat of the story. I am quite looking forward to reading more about these characters and seeing where the next book takes them!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Peggy R

    Grounds for Murder is the debut cozy mystery book by author Tara Lush. I thought this book was well done, providing the reader with a very enjoyable combination of characters and mystery. Lana Lewis is a strong likable protagonist who returns home to pick herself up after losing her job and going through a divorce. Just when she thinks her life is starting to turn around, her former barista is found dead. The question is whether he committed suicide or was this murder. This is where Lana's journ Grounds for Murder is the debut cozy mystery book by author Tara Lush. I thought this book was well done, providing the reader with a very enjoyable combination of characters and mystery. Lana Lewis is a strong likable protagonist who returns home to pick herself up after losing her job and going through a divorce. Just when she thinks her life is starting to turn around, her former barista is found dead. The question is whether he committed suicide or was this murder. This is where Lana's journalistic instincts start to kick in. What follows is her attempt to prove that the victim was murder. The author does a nice job of surrounding Lana with a good cast of secondary characters. I love her dad - he has a nice hippie vibe going on, and her new employee Erica is just the new friendship that Lana needs to push her outside of her funk. Throw in a hot local police chief who could provide a love interest and an adorable puppy named Stanley and the core secondary cast of character is complete. The mystery kept my attention throughout the book. There are not a lot of clues that point to murder, so Lana has her work cut out if she wants to prove her gut instinct is correct. There are plenty of suspects as the victim was a womanizer, but most have a plausible alibi for the murder. As Lana asks questions she eventually uncovers the killer's identity but in a rather climactic conclusion. I enjoyed this book and will be looking to see what the author has in store for these characters in future books. I think cozy mystery readers are going to be entertained by this story and will want to see what happens next. I voluntarily read a digital advanced reader copy that was provided to me by the publisher, Crooked Lane Books, through Netgalley. The thoughts expressed are my own.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kristina

    Grounds for Murder by Tara Lush has Lana Lewis back home in Devil’s Beach, Florida after a series of setbacks. She is now the manager of the family coffee shop, Perkatory. Lana has entered herself and employee Fabrizio “Fab” Bellucci in the Sunshine State Barista Championship. With Fab at the helm, Lana is sure Perkatory will take home the prize. Then Fab quits and goes to work for the competition leaving Lana high and dry. Lana takes out her anger out on Fab at Island Brewnette in front of a cr Grounds for Murder by Tara Lush has Lana Lewis back home in Devil’s Beach, Florida after a series of setbacks. She is now the manager of the family coffee shop, Perkatory. Lana has entered herself and employee Fabrizio “Fab” Bellucci in the Sunshine State Barista Championship. With Fab at the helm, Lana is sure Perkatory will take home the prize. Then Fab quits and goes to work for the competition leaving Lana high and dry. Lana takes out her anger out on Fab at Island Brewnette in front of a crowd. The next day, Lana finds Fab dead behind Perkatory. The forensics point to suicide. Lana knows that Fab would not harm himself and wants to prove he was murdered. Lana puts her investigative journalist skills to work tracking down Fab’s killer. Can Lana find the guilty party, or will she end up the next victim? Grounds for Murder is the debut of A Coffee Lover’s Mystery series. I like that the author took the time to establish the town and our main character. I enjoyed the vivid descriptions of Devil’s Beach (I want to visit). The words describing the coffee will have you heading to your local coffee shop for a caffeine fix. The mystery was interesting with multiple suspects and few clues (best type of mystery to solve). We follow Lana as sets out to prove Fab was murdered and find out who killed him. I could have done with less of Lana’s thoughts regarding Noah Garcia (how handsome he is, his big muscles, how good he smells). I prefer a more subtle romance that plays out over the course of the series. I do like the chemistry between Noah and Lana. I am curious to see how their relationship will progress. Grounds for Murder is an entertaining start to A Coffee Lover’s Mystery series. Grounds for Murder is a fun lighthearted cozy mystery with creative coffee art, a precious puppy, a laid-back dad, an eye-catching police chief, a curious crime, and jaded journalist.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Craig Pittman

    Usually when we think about "cozy mysteries," we think of a stodgy English village and a detective like Miss Marple snooping around for clues to who offed the vicar with a vase full of posies. Never in my dreams would I have conceived of a cozy like the one that Tara Lush has come up with. It's sent in a quirky Florida beach town, where the mysterious death of a horndog barrista sends an ex-journalist coffee-shop owner searching for the killer amid reports of monkeys attacking tourists and an od Usually when we think about "cozy mysteries," we think of a stodgy English village and a detective like Miss Marple snooping around for clues to who offed the vicar with a vase full of posies. Never in my dreams would I have conceived of a cozy like the one that Tara Lush has come up with. It's sent in a quirky Florida beach town, where the mysterious death of a horndog barrista sends an ex-journalist coffee-shop owner searching for the killer amid reports of monkeys attacking tourists and an odd giant eyeball washing up on the beach. (Tara, by the way, is a longtime friend & fellow reporter, but I'm being honest when I tell you that I was quite taken with this book and zoomed through the whole thing in about four days.) After being laid off from her dream job at a Miami newspaper and divorcing her two-timing TV reporter hubby, a disappointed Lana Lewis, age 30, returns to her home town of Devil's Beach and takes over her mom's coffee shop, Perkatory. Lana is our narrator, with a bright line of chatter and a serious problem with her self-esteem after what she's been through. She is prone to occasionally blurting out, "Blergh!" to express her disgust with herself. Her star barista is Fabrizio, a guy so sold on himself he's thinking of starting a pro wrestling career under the name "the Italian Stallion." Fab's got women lining up to get coffee from him because he's Instagram-famous and not at all shy about flirting with anyone with 2 X chromosomes. But one day he shows up working at Lana's competitor, and she yells at him for quitting without giving notice. Even worse, it's right before the big statewide barista competition. The next day, as she pulls her car into the alley behind Perkatory, she finds him dead, an apparent suicide. He must have jumped from the roof four stories up. At least, that's the judgment of Noah, the hunky police chief who may or may not have eyes for Lana. But Lana's got a nose for news and a suspicious mind. She wangles an OK from the local newspaper editor to write a feature story about Fab, thus giving her a reason to question all the potential suspects. Also, she winds up adopting Fab's little Shih-Tzu, Stanley, who becomes crucial to catching the killer. As Lana conducts her investigation, she uncovers all kinds of secrets in a town she thought she knew -- swinging couples, S&M play, gator poaching and possible Mafia involvement in the local drug trade. We're a looooong way from Miss Marple when Lana goes to interview a woman who makes a living sewing tails for wannabe mermaids, but hey, that's Florida! All in all, a fun book, even for a non-coffee drinker like me. You'll be rooting for Lana to solve the crime AND win the contest, and then you'll start looking for the second book in this series.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sarah (sarahlostbutfound )

    I absolute loved this cosy mystery!!! Especially the florida setting, the coffee shop, and the main heroine!! Am desperate for a second book!!!!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jerri Cachero

    When Lana Lewis, former journalist and now manager of her family's coffee shop - Perkatory - finds her "casanova" barista Fabrizio (Fab) dead of an apparent suicide, she's on the trail of a killer who has her in their sights. With the help of her eccentric father, punk/goth new barista, Stanley the Shih Tzu puppy and the quirky townsfolk of Devil's Beach Florida - Lana decides to find out why Fab was murdered. I love Lana! She's complicated, smart, kind and curious. The mystery was fast-paced and When Lana Lewis, former journalist and now manager of her family's coffee shop - Perkatory - finds her "casanova" barista Fabrizio (Fab) dead of an apparent suicide, she's on the trail of a killer who has her in their sights. With the help of her eccentric father, punk/goth new barista, Stanley the Shih Tzu puppy and the quirky townsfolk of Devil's Beach Florida - Lana decides to find out why Fab was murdered. I love Lana! She's complicated, smart, kind and curious. The mystery was fast-paced and well-written and had some of the best "red herrings" I've seen. Lana is not the perfect sleuth but that's part of her charm and makes the book believable and fun to read. The characters of her father, Erica (the new barista) and police Chief Noah Garcia all are strong characters and enhance the book. The descriptions of the town of Devil's Beach were lovely and made me feel as if I was there! I can't wait for Lana and company's next mystery! I received an ARC from NetGalley. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Dee Arr

    I usually steer clear of cozy mysteries. They are too “soft” for me, too often fronted by a snarky female whose main job seems to be entertaining me enough so I don’t set the book down. In many cases the murderer is a long shot, pulled out of a back pocket at the last minute as a “gotcha.” I was glad to see that “Grounds for Murder” did its best to stay away from some of those pitfalls. The lead character, Lana, has a bit of snarkiness about her, but only for a moment here or there. Mostly she is I usually steer clear of cozy mysteries. They are too “soft” for me, too often fronted by a snarky female whose main job seems to be entertaining me enough so I don’t set the book down. In many cases the murderer is a long shot, pulled out of a back pocket at the last minute as a “gotcha.” I was glad to see that “Grounds for Murder” did its best to stay away from some of those pitfalls. The lead character, Lana, has a bit of snarkiness about her, but only for a moment here or there. Mostly she is down to earth and someone who exhibits realistic qualities, such as excitement, disappointment, frustration with the situation and where her life has led her, etc. The setup for the discovery of the murder victim is perfect. In fact, I was so caught up in some of the back stories that I forgot that there would be a character who wouldn’t make it through the entire book. While I wouldn’t call the book extraordinarily exciting, it did manage to keep my interest all the way through. Lana is a complicated lead and the supporting characters all have varying degrees of depth. I was extremely glad that the story didn’t turn into a soppy romance. Yes, there is a little bit of sexual tension but the end result is G-rated and the romance bits were not enough to cause me to skim ahead to another chapter. Author Tara Lush’s handling of the plot was a breezy style of writing that carried me along from beginning to end. Recommended for cozy mystery lovers and anyone who wants to lose themselves in a fun read for a few hours. Four stars. My thanks to Meryl Moss Media for a complimentary electronic copy of this book.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Nancy Baker

    Struggling to reclaim happiness after losing her job and a divorce Lana returns home to manage the family's coffee shop. Things were beginning to turn around but then a suspicious death changes that and her crime reporter past kicks in to find the truth. This story has all the components that make my favorite kind of cozy - likeable protagonist, humor and a tease of romance. Thanks to Crooked Lane Books and NetGalley for an ARC. The opinions expressed are my own. Struggling to reclaim happiness after losing her job and a divorce Lana returns home to manage the family's coffee shop. Things were beginning to turn around but then a suspicious death changes that and her crime reporter past kicks in to find the truth. This story has all the components that make my favorite kind of cozy - likeable protagonist, humor and a tease of romance. Thanks to Crooked Lane Books and NetGalley for an ARC. The opinions expressed are my own.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Rachael

    What an enjoyable read! My first thought after finishing was that I can't wait for the next one. This cozy mystery was full of funny lines. The author has a great sense of humor. With lines like "creep up on me while breathing like a monster and dressed like a ghost" and quirky names of businesses like Island Brewnette, Whim So Doodle, and main character Lana's coffee shop, Perkatory there is a lot of fun with words. Throw in fun characters like her yoga loving Dad and Noah the police Chief\pote What an enjoyable read! My first thought after finishing was that I can't wait for the next one. This cozy mystery was full of funny lines. The author has a great sense of humor. With lines like "creep up on me while breathing like a monster and dressed like a ghost" and quirky names of businesses like Island Brewnette, Whim So Doodle, and main character Lana's coffee shop, Perkatory there is a lot of fun with words. Throw in fun characters like her yoga loving Dad and Noah the police Chief\potential love interest, plus a giant eyeball and there is a lot to love. And then there's the mystery. Lana had a plausible reason for investigating the death of her barista, Fab, due to being a former journalist. I was pleasantly surprised by the different things she did in her hunt for the truth. It felt like a real investigation. I also loved who the first character on the scene was during the pivotal moment with the killer and how they helped. The setting in Devil's Beach was nice and I was able to imagine a lot of it. I was surprised to find this is the author's first book. I want to thank Netgalley and the publisher for the chance to read!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Cole

    Sand, snark, and a Shih Tzu...what's not to love? I read an ARC of Grounds for Murder, the first book in this new mystery series, and I'm so glad I did. Lush excels at painting the perfect backdrop for quirky, funny characters. The setting is a Florida beach town, and you can practically smell the coffee and sunscreen. The heroine Lana is a down-on-her-luck lady just trying to keep her coffee business afloat, when a body shows up in her alley. Like any good cozy, there are a ton of oddball charac Sand, snark, and a Shih Tzu...what's not to love? I read an ARC of Grounds for Murder, the first book in this new mystery series, and I'm so glad I did. Lush excels at painting the perfect backdrop for quirky, funny characters. The setting is a Florida beach town, and you can practically smell the coffee and sunscreen. The heroine Lana is a down-on-her-luck lady just trying to keep her coffee business afloat, when a body shows up in her alley. Like any good cozy, there are a ton of oddball characters, from Lana's hippie dad to a shifty shrimp boat captain to a dog named Stanley (who is SO cute). Will Stanley help Lana solve the crime? Will Sheriff Hunk kiss her or put her behind bars? Will Lana's coffee shop win the barista competition? All these questions and more will only be answered on the very last page of Lush's fun, flirty, foamy Floridian caper. I'm definitely adding this whole series to my TBR list.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Gina

    Such a fun cozy mystery! I especially enjoyed the Florida setting and humor, Lana using her journalism skills to solve the case, her quirky dad, and the love interest :) Looking forward to what happens next in Devil's Beach! Such a fun cozy mystery! I especially enjoyed the Florida setting and humor, Lana using her journalism skills to solve the case, her quirky dad, and the love interest :) Looking forward to what happens next in Devil's Beach!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Rosemary Rey

    This is my kind of cozy. Bawdy. Smart. Emotional. Funny. Sexy. I loved every aspect of the heroine and the chief. The mystery kept me guessing throughout. I loved the reveal at the end. This is my first cozy by Tara Lush, but it won't be my last. I can't wait until her next book. Thank you to NetGalley, the publisher, and the author for a chance to read this awesome cozy mystery. I look forward to reading more from this talented author. This is my kind of cozy. Bawdy. Smart. Emotional. Funny. Sexy. I loved every aspect of the heroine and the chief. The mystery kept me guessing throughout. I loved the reveal at the end. This is my first cozy by Tara Lush, but it won't be my last. I can't wait until her next book. Thank you to NetGalley, the publisher, and the author for a chance to read this awesome cozy mystery. I look forward to reading more from this talented author.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    **I listened to this as an audiobook after the release and the narrator was great as Lana. I read an ARC of Grounds for Murder and Tara Lush is definitely on my auto-buy list for future cozy mysteries. A coffee shop murder, a quirky Florida town, a savvy former-reporter sleuth, and the cutest little rescue shih-tzu: so much to love here. Lana's hometown of Devil's Beach, Florida is filled with an eccentric cast of characters and suspects. I found myself wanting to hang out with Lana, Erika, and **I listened to this as an audiobook after the release and the narrator was great as Lana. I read an ARC of Grounds for Murder and Tara Lush is definitely on my auto-buy list for future cozy mysteries. A coffee shop murder, a quirky Florida town, a savvy former-reporter sleuth, and the cutest little rescue shih-tzu: so much to love here. Lana's hometown of Devil's Beach, Florida is filled with an eccentric cast of characters and suspects. I found myself wanting to hang out with Lana, Erika, and Lana's hippy dad while they baked and prepped for the barista contest and solved Fab's murder. The writing was sharp and witty. The mystery provided a fun puzzle to unravel. Basically everything I love in a cozy. I'm eagerly awaiting the next installment in this series.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kat Faitour

    I was an early reader of this book and will definitely be continuing the series! I loved the amusing and interesting cast of characters and the setting--a beach town in Florida--is so well done, it's almost like it becomes another character itself. Overall, it's a page-turner that left me charmed, satisfied by the mystery, and wanting more from this author. I was an early reader of this book and will definitely be continuing the series! I loved the amusing and interesting cast of characters and the setting--a beach town in Florida--is so well done, it's almost like it becomes another character itself. Overall, it's a page-turner that left me charmed, satisfied by the mystery, and wanting more from this author.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Bri Stone

    First of all I read this book in ONE DAY! The chemistry and dialogue was so intriguing and a relaxing read. Lana is one of my favorite heroines and I was rooting for her the whole time. I can’t wait to read more from Tara! This book definitely defines cozy mystery, you won’t regret picking it up!

  22. 5 out of 5

    K.A. Davis

    GROUNDS FOR MURDER, the debut cozy mystery in the Coffee Lover’s Mystery series, by Tara Lush, pulled me in from the very beginning and kept me glued to the pages throughout this fast-paced story until the very end. The protagonist, Lana Lewis, has not only lost her investigative reporter job but her marriage disintegrated at the same time. Distraught, she’s moved back to her childhood home on Devil’s Island, Florida. Situated on the Gulf of Mexico, the setting has location, location, location, GROUNDS FOR MURDER, the debut cozy mystery in the Coffee Lover’s Mystery series, by Tara Lush, pulled me in from the very beginning and kept me glued to the pages throughout this fast-paced story until the very end. The protagonist, Lana Lewis, has not only lost her investigative reporter job but her marriage disintegrated at the same time. Distraught, she’s moved back to her childhood home on Devil’s Island, Florida. Situated on the Gulf of Mexico, the setting has location, location, location, which Ms. Lush describes in alluring detail. A vacation destination it is! Despite being bereft over the loss of a job she loved, she puts her feelings aside and takes over managing her family’s coffee café, Perkatory. Ms. Lush has created a string of quirky characters with zippy, and often, snarky dialog. I felt like she accurately captures the essence and lifestyles of single, twenty-something-year-olds (along with Lana’s bohemian dad, whose an absolute hoot!) living in a location that embraces free spirts and partying. While at times it may push the boundaries of traditional cozies, I found it made the scenarios and characters more realistic without crossing the line. The mystery revolved around the lothario barista who worked for Lana, until he quit the day before his death. Although she wasn’t a fan of his lifestyle, Fabrizio brought in a steady stream of women who’d buy her coffee for a chance to partake of the Casanova’s latte art. While hunky Noah, the investigating officer, would rather label the barista’s death as accidental or self-inflicted, Lana can’t quite believe it. She uses her skills honed as a journalist to investigate and ask questions. Ms. Lush writes a well-plotted whodunit with some twists to keep the story moving. As Lana delves into Fabrizio’s life, she finds almost too many suspects. It kept me guessing and turning pages to see what Lana uncovers next. With the adorable Shih Tzu puppy, Stanley, who adds cuteness galore, along with her new misfit best friend, I can’t wait to find out what’s next in store for Lana. I was provided with an advance copy. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Robbins

    *I received a free copy of this book which I voluntarily chose to write an honest review for. What a great start to a new series! We meet Lana as she is running the family coffee shop on an island off the coast of Florida. An adorable small town feel comes with this location as everyone knows everyone else. She has one main employee who is quite the character posting online all the time while flirting with everyone. Things are great until he doesn't show up for work one day. Her dad, who is all *I received a free copy of this book which I voluntarily chose to write an honest review for. What a great start to a new series! We meet Lana as she is running the family coffee shop on an island off the coast of Florida. An adorable small town feel comes with this location as everyone knows everyone else. She has one main employee who is quite the character posting online all the time while flirting with everyone. Things are great until he doesn't show up for work one day. Her dad, who is all into the local gossip, finds he is working at the other coffee place having given absolutely no notice. Lana goes off on him in a very public way before she leaves on an over night trip to Miami. Upon her return she finds him dead in the alley behind the shop. She quickly becomes a suspect making it necessary for her to look into things. This makes for quite the investigation as her hippie dad helps in a cooky way and a puppy adds his own two cents. The laid back island vibe makes for a relaxing adventure as the clues start popping up as the secrets reveal themselves. Makes for a well written cozy that readers are sure to love. I totally loved it so I give it 5/5 stars.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Chaitra

    Every time I read a cozy mystery book with a main character who runs creameries, bakeries and coffee shops, I wonder why am I not in the places these ladies are? Because they’re always giving out free stuff! I know it might mean I’m going to be the next to get murdered in the alley behind the store right next to the dumpster, but I can avoid that if I don’t skulk around at night right? Right? After all I’ve read these books! So anyway in this book, the barista is murdered in the alley behind the Every time I read a cozy mystery book with a main character who runs creameries, bakeries and coffee shops, I wonder why am I not in the places these ladies are? Because they’re always giving out free stuff! I know it might mean I’m going to be the next to get murdered in the alley behind the store right next to the dumpster, but I can avoid that if I don’t skulk around at night right? Right? After all I’ve read these books! So anyway in this book, the barista is murdered in the alley behind the store he no longer works for, right next to the dumpster. And surprise, sexy cop here isn’t trying to pin the murder on the leading lady for once. Nor is he trying to pin it on her dad, her one friend, her dog or her sleazy ex. He thinks it was a suicide or an accident, and she’s the one who’s like a dog with a bone and won’t let go of it. They’re okay. I’m not well disposed towards cops who don’t do their jobs, however sexy, but Noah at least puts in some work. I liked Lana, too, and her father, the dog and I liked Erica. It did take Lana a while to figure out who done it, but it’s Florida and there are a fair share of crazies. I hope the writer avoids incriminating the sleazy ex in the next one and make Lana work at solving her friend’s disappearance.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    This book was not my cup of coffee. Although I liked the main character and her passion for journalism as a means to investigate and solve crimes, there was too much sexual innuendo for my cozy genre taste such as multiple mentions of bondage and sex voyeurism and her constant mention of the police chief's physical physique. Thanks to NetGalley for an ARC of this book. My review is voluntary. This book was not my cup of coffee. Although I liked the main character and her passion for journalism as a means to investigate and solve crimes, there was too much sexual innuendo for my cozy genre taste such as multiple mentions of bondage and sex voyeurism and her constant mention of the police chief's physical physique. Thanks to NetGalley for an ARC of this book. My review is voluntary.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Puppies and coffee! Who wouldn’t love this book. It embodies everything I love in a cozy mystery. I found myself a little bogged down in the ebook at first. But the author gave me the information I needed to move forward and, after that, I was in reading heaven! Thank you to NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for the opportunity to read and provide an honest review this book.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sue

    Lana Lewis's life hasn't been going too well but after losing her job as a reporter and her husband to a younger woman, she's making the best of life at her family's coffee shop. She still has the instincts of a reporter but now her goal is to win the Sunshine State Barista Championship. Her coffee shop is mainly run by her and Fab, her flirting Italian employee. He seems to chase every available female, no matter what her age. When he is found dead in an alley, the local police don't have any c Lana Lewis's life hasn't been going too well but after losing her job as a reporter and her husband to a younger woman, she's making the best of life at her family's coffee shop. She still has the instincts of a reporter but now her goal is to win the Sunshine State Barista Championship. Her coffee shop is mainly run by her and Fab, her flirting Italian employee. He seems to chase every available female, no matter what her age. When he is found dead in an alley, the local police don't have any clues but Lana begins to look at the mystery through her reporter's eyes and starts investigating. The local police chief, who is also very handsome and seems kind of interested in her, asks her not to get involved but she just has to keep pursuing it. There are lots of potential murderers in town - from a spurned pregnant girl friend to a local fisherman with ties to the mob and even though the police seem to think that it was suicide, Lana knows better and puts her life in danger to find out the truth. Along with Lana as a likeable main character there are several fun secondary characters - her stoned, hippie dad, a Shih Tzu named Stanley, and a new, curious barista who looks like a punk rocker and becomes an important friend. Plus there is the handsome and interesting chief of police who may become more than a friend. I know that a lot of people enjoy cozy mysteries but I haven't read any until Grounds for Murder. I admit that I thoroughly enjoyed it and can't wait to read book 2 in the series.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Tari

    When Lana's barista was killed right after he quit and she was questionably looked at all over the island, the reporter in her couldn't stand leaving it alone. She even managed to get her newspaper friend to let her do an article on the dead barista who was a hit with all the ladies and an Insta sensation. With the help of a new friend and the handsome police chief (who actually didn't want her help, but he liked her), Lana made it to a showdown with the killer that was pretty nail-biting. I'd s When Lana's barista was killed right after he quit and she was questionably looked at all over the island, the reporter in her couldn't stand leaving it alone. She even managed to get her newspaper friend to let her do an article on the dead barista who was a hit with all the ladies and an Insta sensation. With the help of a new friend and the handsome police chief (who actually didn't want her help, but he liked her), Lana made it to a showdown with the killer that was pretty nail-biting. I'd suspected this person after picking up on some clues and was wondering how it'd play out. Even thought Erica is light years from anyone I would probably want to hang out with, I absolutely loved her character! She was hilarious and sometimes really good for Lana's confidence. Lana's dad was a hoot too without actually meaning to be one. It'll be interesting to see what these three get into in the next book which I'm definitely anxious to read. This was a nice strong start for a new beach mystery series, and I'm definitely a sucker for mysteries set at the beach! I liked Lana and Noah being together and hope they stay that way without fighting or bickering. He was a pretty patient guy to have to deal with her, but he could see the frustration she had with her need to be on a case like she'd been as a journalist in her previous life. I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book provided by the publisher via NetGalley, and my opinions are my own.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Vintagebooklvr

    I'm not a coffee drinker myself but that doesn't take away from my enjoyment of this book. The mystery is decent with plenty of suspects and a couple of twists to keep things interesting. I didn't instantly connect with Lana but she grew on me and Stanley, her new puppy, is adorable. It has nice setting and sexual chemistry between people who aren't in their 20s and at the same time not overdone. A light read that can be done easily in a sitting or two and engaging enough to keep you in your sea I'm not a coffee drinker myself but that doesn't take away from my enjoyment of this book. The mystery is decent with plenty of suspects and a couple of twists to keep things interesting. I didn't instantly connect with Lana but she grew on me and Stanley, her new puppy, is adorable. It has nice setting and sexual chemistry between people who aren't in their 20s and at the same time not overdone. A light read that can be done easily in a sitting or two and engaging enough to keep you in your seat. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC in return for a fair review.

  30. 5 out of 5

    BookTrib.com

    GROUNDS FOR MURDER, a sunny and upbeat murder caper by the gifted Tara Lush, is just what you need for these icy post-holiday months. Sure to brighten anyone’s day, the novel combines a slew of the most highly entertaining elements of a fun read and packs them all together for a book that’s cozy yet cool. This book has it all: peril and poignancy, romance and ridiculously, rollicking good fun. Read our full review here: https://booktrib.com/2021/01/06/groun... GROUNDS FOR MURDER, a sunny and upbeat murder caper by the gifted Tara Lush, is just what you need for these icy post-holiday months. Sure to brighten anyone’s day, the novel combines a slew of the most highly entertaining elements of a fun read and packs them all together for a book that’s cozy yet cool. This book has it all: peril and poignancy, romance and ridiculously, rollicking good fun. Read our full review here: https://booktrib.com/2021/01/06/groun...

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