Cover Image: Sweet Tea and Secrets

Sweet Tea and Secrets

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Member Reviews

At first. I didn't realise that this was the second book in a series. It worked fine on its own but I would have preferred to read In Peppermint Peril first to get to know the main characters better. 

We begin with Callie moving into Heart's Harbor to help out at her great aunt's tea room. She is soon thrown into organising the community Fourth of July celebration which involves researching the town's history. She learns that a TV star called Monica Walker was last seen in the town before she suspiciously vanished. With conflicting recollections from the villagers and suspicious people popping out of the woodwork Callie is soon caught up in a tangled web of secrets and lies.

I loved the location with Callie's cottage situated next to a lighthouse on the ocean and I adored her Boston Terrier companion Daisy. The story builds slowly, is nicely paced, and there are a few twists that I was not expecting. This cosy mystery kept me entertained and I will be looking out for other books in the series.
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In this visit to Heart's Harbor, Maine, we find Callie Aspen moving home to work with Aunt Iphy in her business, the book themed tea shop. Iphy had found a cottage for Callie to rent, but it needed some fixing up. When Callie and Iphy went to check it out, there was a repairman already there offering his services with the repairs. Even though his estimate for repairs seems too good to be true, Callie can't help but hire him. She likes Quinn and in conversation, she shares that she is trying to find something from the past to showcase in an upcoming event. He suggests a trip to the library and off they go together to check out the archives. They come across the disappearance of an actress many years ago and Quinn convinces Callie that this might be just what she is looking for. The investigation starts, but the first person they talk to ends up dead and the investigation into a murder begins.

I like that we learn more about Callie in this book. She is a strong and smart protagonist. The way she supports Quinn and Peggy in their fledgling relationship as well as trying to help Quinn prove his innocence shows her loyalty for her friends, even new ones. The mystery is interesting as it is both in the past and the present. There were some twists that made me sit up in my seat and I enjoyed this story a bit more than the first one. Once again, Deputy Falk doesn't want Callie's interference and he is worried she is putting herself in danger. As she finds out more and more about what is going on in Heart's Harbor, she paints more of a target on her back. I always love the addition of pets in a cozy and this one had two. I am looking forward to seeing what is next for Callie in the next book in this series.
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Second book in this series.  The mysteries and crimes in this book and how they were all intertwined was really well done.  I still don't know that I like the lead her one more book.  Better than it was in IN PEPPERMINT PERIL, the book still feels like Avon has a list of things that are in all cozy mysteries that she is checking off...and in some cases those details don't quite work with the storyline, at least in the ways that she has worked them in. 

It really does say something if I'm thinking about walking from a series that has books, tea, dogs, and an entertaining elderly sidekick.  Basically my favorite of all the things in one so that they are being lost within the stuff that doesn't quite flow well says something.
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Sweet Tea and Secrets by Joy Avon is the second A Tea and Read Mystery.  It can be read as a standalone if you did not read In Peppermint Peril.  Callie Aspen has quit her job as a tour guide with Travel the Past and is moving to Heart’s Harbor, Maine.  Callie will be helping her Great Aunt Iphy with Book Tea as well as with the renovations to Haywood House.  There is be a Fourth of July tea party at Haywood House with a sweet tea competition.  Aunt Iphy asks that Callie find a past historical event that will have a big impact to present before the fireworks.  Living history is the theme of the tea.  Quinn Darrow is new to town and responded to Aunt Iphy’s ad for a handyman.  Quinn will be fixing up Callie’s new cottage and has been roped into helping Callie find a historic event.  Monica Walker, a television star, was taking a vacation in Heart’s Harbor when she vanished in 1989.  She was never seen or heard from again.  There is plenty of speculation, but no solid facts.  Local editor-in-chief, Joe Jamison, reported on the incident years ago and Callie can tell he is hiding something.  After an appeal for information on a local news station, the calls start rolling in.  It seems Callie struck a nerve because Joe is found dead in his office and the evidence points to Quinn.  Callie works to find answers before the killer strikes again.  Two mysteries to solve in one book.  One can be solved early in the book while the other takes a little longer.  I was dissatisfied with the way the reveal was handled (I want the sleuth to solve).   I wish the characters had more depth since they feel flat.  There is supposed to be an attraction between Callie and Deputy Ace Falk, but I do not feel it.  He comes across as overprotective especially of his sister and uses his position to dig up information on people he does not like or trust.  I would like to see improvement to the dialogue which was awkward and more action.  The pacing lagged throughout the book as Callie speculates on the crimes.  The potential is there with a little tweaking.  Sweet Tea and Secrets is a light cozy mystery with creative culinary confections, a missing movie maven, a tea tournament, a cutthroat killer, and fantastic fireworks.
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I'm usually a fan of cozy mysteries as palate cleansers, but this one took a little bit too long to get going for my taste, so I was unable to finish the book.
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This was a great read - full of brilliant writing, excellent characters and a great and somewhat unique storyline.
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Sweet Tea and Secrets is the second book in the A Tea and Read Mystery series by Joy Avon, though it easily read as a stand-alone book.  Callie Aspen, who left who former job as a tour guide to come live in Heart's Harbor, Maine and work with her great aunt in her tearoom there, is in charge of helping out with the town's big Fourth of July celebration.  As she starts to research the history of the town for historic events, she comes across the story of a famous actress, Monica Walker, who years ago disappeared while vacationing there.  As she starts to research more what could have happened to Monica, and puts out a call for anyone with information to step up to help solve the mystery, as one of the town's historic events, she begins to uncover that maybe there was more going on with Monica's disappearance instead of a simple elopement, especially the town's newspaper editor, who appears to be hiding information about the case, winds up dead.

I didn't love Sweet Tea and Secrets (who picks a celebrity disappearance from the town's history to reopen up for a Fourth of July celebration??), but it was an okay mystery, and I would give the other books in this series a shot.  Would definitely like to see more development in the relationship between Callie and Deputy Falk- I think it was as frustrating for me as it was for Callie!  LOL

Thanks to NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for providing me with an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Last Christmas, Callie Aspen left her tour guide job and settled in Heart's Harbor, Maine. Now, she helps out at Book Tea, her great aunt’s vintage tearoom, where each treat has a bookish clue. Though she’s excited to start her new life, Callie worries she may regret having burned her bridges behind her. Fortunately, she finds immediate distraction in the preparations for a spectacular Fourth of July tea party, which will recreate key moments from the town's rich history.

Intrigued to learn that 1980s TV star Monica Walker was last seen in Heart's Harbor before she vanished allegedly to elope. Callie probes the townsfolk for information. She’s stunned when several locals share contradictory stories about the last day before Monica's disappearance. Did she intend to leave her hit TV series? Was she being stalked by her ex? And why is the newspaper editor who investigated the story at the time so anxious about the cold case heating up?

When one of the talkative townspeople turns up dead, Callie aims to catch the killer. But it’s no picnic: Deputy Falk doesn’t want her meddling, and the locals suddenly know more about the past than they’d been at liberty to admit. If Callie and the Book Tea crew can’t crack the case, they’ll pay a very steep price.

The mystery is well written and has a lot of subplots that the author wraps up in the surprising conclusion so there are no loose ends. While the main characters all seemed to be well written and well developed, there were some secondary characters that fell flat and could have used some improvement and almost seemed like they were added to the story as an afterthought. 

I liked that the relationship between Callie and Deputy Falk is showing some forward progress. I also liked that Falks sister was also getting to know someone that she could have a relationship with. One thing that I didn't like was that some of the dialogue between the characters was a bit stiff and almost seemed unnatural. I will read the next book In Cold Chamomile to see what happens to the budding romantic relationships and to see is the author improves on how some of the characters were written.

I received and arc of this book from Netgalley and Crooked Lane Books for my review.
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Our ameteur sleuth Callie Aspen is at it again!

Callie has decided to permanently move to Heart's Harbor Maine.  When she discovers a mysterious disappeance from several years ago, her natural curiosity prompts her to try and figure out what happened to the missing person.  She discovers several murder suspects and scenarios.  Now she just has to find the right answer.

l am really enjoying this series.  I know it is only book #2, but I am already connected to the main character Callie and the folks of Heart's Harbor.  Each clue that Callie uncovers causes her to go down a different path = almost like a connect a dot picture.  Eventually it all comes to a very exciting ending!

My thanks to Crooked Lane Books and Netgalley for this ARC.
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Callie Aspen has given up her job as tour guide and moved to Heart's Harbor, Maine, to work with her great aunt at Book Tea. Instead of European travel, she finds herself investigating a cold case of a missing actress and a surplus of suspicious characters. A quick read and write enjoyable. Looking forward to the next book in the series.
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I really enjoyed this book. I found myself getting the know the characters very quickly. I can't wait to read the next book in the series.
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Sweet Tea and Secrets is the second book in the Tea and Read Mystery series! We meet up again with Callie as she’s finally settling into Heart’s Harbor. While preparing for the fourth of July tea party, she learns that a 1980’s TV star was last seen in town before vanishing. When the newspaper editor who covered the TV star’s disappearance winds up getting murdered, Callie wants to find the killer.

I really enjoyed reading this book. It was WAY better than the first book. I feel like this time around we really got to know who Callie is as a person, along with the other characters. Everyone had more depth to them, which made them feel more realistic to me.

The mystery itself was really fast-paced and entertaining. It definitely kept me interested and intrigued, and the plot twists were well-placed.

Overall, it was a great read, and I can’t wait to read the next book in the series!
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Sweet Tea and Secrets by Joy Avon is the latest book in the Tea and Read Mystery series.  Callie has retired from her job as a tour guide and is now working in her great aunt's tearoom, Book Tea.  She wants to contribute to the town's big 4th of July party by tracking down a tv star who disappeared from the town many years ago.  Callie actually stirs up more secrets than she intends to and wonders if she caused the recent murder in town.  In this particular book the tearoom plays a much smaller role.  The mystery had several twists and turns.  Overall it was a fun cozy mystery.
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This was a fun, cute cozy mystery! I love the theme throughout, and I will definitely be continuing with the series.
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I had a great time reading this book and now I am looking forward to reading more books by the same author. Many many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for granting me access to this eARC.
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I just LOVE a cosy mystery and this is a great one, a fantastic example of this genre, fantastically written, one to re-read!
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Sweet Tea and Secrets

by Joy Avon

Like the main character, Callie Aspen, the plot of Sweet Tea and Secrets seems to exist in limbo in Joy Avon’s latest cozy mystery. Callie has quit a job she loves as an international tour guide and moved back to Heart’s Harbor to help her Aunt Iphy run Book Tea, the local tea shop. She is waiting for a local rental to be restored to livable condition. She doesn’t actually contribute much help to the tea room in this book. To top it off, Deputy Falk, an additional enticement when she decided to move, seems less than enthusiastic about Callie’s return to town.

The plot follows the same erratic pacing and intensity as we see in Callie’s personal life. Callie gets pulled into the investigation of a cold murder case that revolves around a web of lies. It is hard for Callie and the reader to know which characters are reliable. My interest would ramp up, and then I would find myself wondering when the book would end. The ending was a surprise in regards to the mystery, and the author didn’t leave any loose ends. There were a number of subplots that were interesting but sometimes too distracting when acting as red herrings.  I was glad Callie’s personal relationship with Falk showed forward progress. I would read another book in the series, but I hope it will have more of a focus on the tea room like the first books in the series do.

I would like to extend my thanks to and to Crooked Lane Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating:  4/5

Category: Mystery

Notes: #2 in the Book Tea Shop Mystery Series
Publication:   June 11, 2019—Crooked Lane Books

Memorable Lines:

But nothing happened. Just those lights teasing her from the darkness. Telling her she wasn’t alone.

“So far everybody seems to have been lying about everything.”
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In this second book in the “Tea and Read” mystery series, Callie has just moved back to Heart’s Harbor to help her great aunt run a vintage tearoom, and to help the town showcase and restore Haywood Hall. But then she gets caught up in an old town mystery. The stakes get even higher when a prominent local is found dead  

This was a nice addition to the series. The mystery is an interesting one, I was hoping for a bit more character development, especially from Callie and Deputy Falk. And sadly, Great Aunt Iphy didn’t play a very big role in this story... I hope she returns more prominently in future installments. 

Thanks to Net Galley and the publisher for a complimentary digital review copy of this title!
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Author Joy Avon follows up her first "Tea and Read Mystery," In Peppermint Peril, with another well-written cozy mystery, Sweet Tea and Secrets. This go-round, Callie Aspen has left her old job as a tour guide and is beginning to settle in to her new life in Heart’s Harbor, Maine. She moves into a fixer-upper and continues to assist her great-aunt, Iphy, with the operation of Iphy's tearoom, Book Tea, where the teatime treats are book-themed. This time, that includes Hound of the Brownivilles (brownie bites) and Grimm Tales, cookies in fairy tale shapes. 

Callie is helping her great-aunt plan a Fourth of July tea, where the fun will include a sweet tea competition, and one of Callie's ideas is to feature some important event in town history. While researching the history of Heart’s Harbor, Callie is intrigued to learn that a famous across, Monica Walker, disappeared from town in the late 1980s and was never heard from again. Callie starts making a few inquiries about the missing actress, and one of her sources turns up dead. Is someone worried about this missing-person case getting another look?

Meanwhile, Callie is getting mixed signals from Ace Falk, the local deputy she met last Christmas. She thought he was interested in her—one of several reasons she decided to move to Heart’s Harbor—but now she’s wondering whether she read him wrong. One thing’s for sure, though: Falk means for her to stay out of his investigations. And as Callie comes closer to find out what really happened to Monica Walker and who wants the story kept quiet, readers will feel increasingly edgy and find themselves looking for the killer at every turn. An excellent second novel in a fun new series!
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Last Christmas, Callie Aspen moved back to Heart’s Harbor and started helping at her great aunt’s Book Tea shop. When she finds a cabin to buy, a visiting gentleman named Quinn offers to help her fix up her place. For July 4th, she’s been asked by the town to share a story of the town’s history during the festival. While doing some research at the library with Quinn, the two discover a 30-year-old unsolved mystery. A 1980s tv star, Monica Walker, disappeared from Heart’s Harbor and was never seen again. The only possible evidence is a boat that went missing at the same time. When the duo questions the local journalist who was working the case at the time, Jamison, the man expresses concern that Quinn had already been asking about the case prior to Callie’s visit to the library. Soon, Jamison shows up dead. What really happened to Monica? How is Quinn connected? What did Jamison know that got him killed? The plot is engaging, mysterious, and full of surprises. The characters are intriguing and draw the reader into the story. The combination of tea and books is fun and adds a cozy, enchanting feel to the book. Fans of cozy mysteries, small town fiction, tea, and books will enjoy reading this book.
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