4 #OwnVoices Cozy Authors To Read Now
Looking for a fun, light read to curl up with over these cold winter months? Look no farther than a cozy. Not only do cozies have murder, mystery, and a dash of humor, they oftentimes offer recipes, craft instruction and more. But as of late, we’re getting a little bit more in our cozies—a little cultural insight. If you take the time to look, you’ll find a few book series that are own voice stories, and readers are loving them. In them, we’ll find ourselves anywhere from a law firm in India to an Ohio Chinese restaurant all the way to a small beach town on the Jersey Shore.
In my An Ice Cream Parlor Mystery series, readers find themselves in a black-owned ice cream parlor. In the first book, A Deadly Inside Scoop, you meet Bronwyn “Win” Crewse, and her family and friends. Maisie Solomon, one of Win’s best friends is Jewish and her family owns the local Chinese restaurant where the amateur sleuths often gather to map out their plan of action. And Win’s other best friend, Riya Amacarelli, is half Italian, half Indian, but she is all firecracker (her martial arts skills often saves the day, but has been known to get the three of them in trouble as well). Look for more sleuthing from this diverse crew in A Game of Cones, the second book in the series publishes in March 2021.
But even with all the fun that comes with sprinkles, the delectable ice cream concoctions served (some recipes are in the back of the books), and solving the whodunit, in my ice cream series the reader also gets to spend time with families that may be a lot different than their own. (Or maybe it is like yours and isn’t that what you’ve been waiting on?)
Below are a few of my favorite #ownvoice authors and their series (including a new one set to debut this fall). Start each series at the beginning then sit back and enjoy!
Sujata Massey – A Perveen Mistry series, set in India in the 1920s, the series is the winner of numerous awards and lives up to its accolades. The series is named after the main character who is all set to start in her father’s law firm and become one of India’s first female lawyers. Massey crafts a beautiful depiction of the country still under British rule, its practices and peoples, and women’s struggles for equality in this book. The third book, The Bombay Prince, is set to be released in June 2021. But don’t wait to get started with this one, The Widows of Malabar Hill is first up.
Vivien Chien – Who doesn’t love Chinese Food? Starting with book one, Death by Dumpling, you’ll get plenty of mouth-watering descriptions of it in this eight-book series (even the covers are yummy!). Chien’s protagonist, Lana Lee, half Chinese, half English (who per her doesn’t know karate or math and can’t translate your name into Chinese) is a reluctant employee at her parents’ Chinese restaurant in Cleveland, Ohio (the hometown of both me and this author). Quite familiar with the ins and outs of the family business she teaches us a thing or two about the Asian community in her neck of the woods as the savvy millennial amateur sleuth solves the murders that keep happening around her. The eighth book in the series, Hot and Sour Suspects, already out on pre-order, is out in August 2021.
Tina Kashian – The boardwalk and Jersey Shore is the setting for this cozy series, which immediately draws you in. (Who wouldn’t want to visit the taffy and funnel cake shops or ride roller coaster down by the seashore?) In this five-book (s0 far) series starting with Hummus and Homicide, Lucy Berberian, a Lebanese-Armenian former lawyer, returns home in her parents’ Mediterranean restaurant, the Kebob Kitchen. She knows how to dish up fabulous hummus (there’s even a hummus bar), lamb kabobs and so much more all while solving murder. This cozy series, with a diverse cast of characters, mixes family, friends, and good food with some good ole sleuthing.
Raquel V. Reyes – Not due out until October 2021, Mango, Mambo and Murder I’m looking forward to this first of its kind cozy about Cuban culture, and of course there is food. Miriam Quiñones-Smith, the main character, is a cooking show star, and of course, in this new series, there will be more than food cooking up—there’ll be a murder too. In fact, more than one. It’s on pre-order and it’ll be worth the wait.
About A Game of Cones by Abby Collette:
Bronwyn Crewse is delighted that Crewse Creamery, the ice cream shop her family has owned for decades, is restored to its former glory and serving sweet frozen treats to happy customers in the picturesque small town of Chagrin Falls, Ohio. But when a big city developer comes to town intent on building a mall, a killer with a frozen heart takes him out.
After literally stumbling across the body, one of Win’s closest friends becomes the prime suspect, and to make things worse, Win’s aunt has come to town with the intention of taking command of Crewse Creamery. Even though Win has a rocky road ahead to help her friend and keep her ice cream shop, it’ll take more than a sprinkle of murder to stop her from solving the crime and saving the day.