Clare Cosi used to manage the historic Village Blend coffeehouse...until she opted for quieter pastures and a more suburban life. But after ten years and a little friendly cajoling from the owner (a fresh pot of Jamaican Blue Mountain was all it took), she's back to the grind. With a sprawling rent-free apartment directly above the Village Blend, her cat Java by her side, and plenty of coffeehouse redecorating ideas, Clare is thrilled to return to work. Until she discovers the assistant manager unconscious in the back of the store, coffee grounds strewn everywhere. Police arrive on the scene to investigate. But when they find no sign of forced entry or foul play, they deem it an accident. Case closed. But Clare is not convinced. And after the police leave, there are a few things she just can't get out of her mind... Why was the trash bin in the wrong place? If this wasn't an accident, is Clare in danger? And... are all detectives this handsome?
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I kind of liked this, but kind of didn't. The characters are okay, but not great and I didn't really get drawn into their story. I also found the whole book a little too 'Go USA, USA #1' for my liking. If you don't mind that kind of thing you'll probably enjoy the book more than I did. The narrator does a good job, so that was a plus. Really not sure I'll get any of the other books in the series based on this one.
I started listening to "On What Grounds" with very low expectations. I was interested in exploring fiction in the mystery sub-genre where activities such as crafts or cooking propel the plot. I've read books where knitting is the focus, and jewelry making, and baking, and now this. Sadly, I have found the writing in some of the others to be lacking. In this one, however, the cafe was central to the plot and the descriptions and dialog were rich and authentic. It stands out from the others in this genre, and I plan to read more of the series.
"I can smell the coffee now!!"
I did not read the book.
The ex- mother-in law is a really charming character. A little meddlesome , a little pushy but always a distinguished older woman with a lot of hutzpah. The characters personality traits are well thought out and follow through all the way to the end. The story flows nicely with just enough information on the qualities and characteristics of coffee and the many different ways in which to process, roast, grind and brew it tossed in for some interest. I found myself craving a nice , warm cup on several occasions.
The author does a good job of tying all the characters together with giving you enough information for you to form their personalities without droning on and on. she ties each character together in a nice, cohesive flow. The story is light and makes the read very easy to listen to.
The narration was very nicely done.
"You're going to love this series!"
I have listened to almost all of the books available in this series available on Audible. And, let me say, you're really going to love it! First of all, it has the perfect cast of characters: the sweet mother-in-law, the annoying ex-husband, the super loved adult daughter, a hot detective, and a hilarious group of baristas. This mystery contains just the right amount of drama and humor. It's one of those books you can't put down. If there is anything wrong with the book, I would say it's what you always see in this genre. There's definitely point when you want to scream at the main character, Clare Cosi, "Don't go! Don't do it!" But again, I think that's an innate part of the mystery genre. Other than that, I love the main character. She's witty, smart and strong, yet loving and genuine.
The narrator is perfect for this novel and the rest of the series. She does an excellent job with the various voices. She speaks clearly and is able to keep your attention.
Bonus: This is a great book for coffee lovers and foodies. If you like to try out new recipes, Clare Cosi normally describes one or two recipes in enough detail for you to try it out in your kitchen. Also visit Cleo Coyle's webpage for additional recipes.
"Protagonist a bit naive, loves describing coffee!"
It was easy to listen to; it reminded me of a Lifetime movie. The writing was good, but at times the protagonist asks a lot of questions that don't need to be asked, and is a little verbose. The actions and words of the main character are a little unrealistic, a little too innocent, a little too nice. For example, if someone is going to try to ruin your life, you wouldn't exclaim "You bastard!" - that's probably the most foul language used in the book.
The descriptions of coffee preparation are nice, but they make it sound like a book written in a coffee house by a coffee house worker looking to move on from working in a coffee house. The least interesting aspect was the list of characters who seem stock.
I didn't really have any favorite scenes; the book doesn't seem to have too many highs or lows - it's just a nice smooth story, like a nice cup of coffee.
If you're looking for something relaxing to occupy your time, this is a good book; it won't take you to many places that will startle you or make you uncomfortable.
This book was a fun and interesting listen, it also added some good tidbits about the history of coffee. All in all it was an easy listen fireside book. I will continue with the series.
"LOTS of coffee."
I know this book was set in a coffee house, but couldn't believe the amount of time dedicated to coffee. How to brew it correctly, this way or that way - turkish, espresso, etc. How normal people store their coffee incorrectly, the HORROR. It was very repetitive to me. The story wasn't horrible, but I won't be buying any more books in this series. The book seemed more about coffee to me than the murder/mystery.
"Good clean murder mystery"
I enjoyed the story. I learned a lot about coffe and craved it all the time while I listened to this book. I did not like the introduction of the ex husband into the plot. That just felt awkward. But I loved all the rest. Rebecca Gibel did a nice job narrating. She wasn't the greatest at male voices, but I guess that's hard to pull off when you're a woman. I do think it's a mistake narrators typically make. Women try to over-narrate men (by making them sound kind of dumb) and men try to use high pitched voices that make female characters sound like cartoons. It wasn't the worst male-voice impression I've ever heard. In fact, Gibell is one of the better narrators.
"Fun, Clean, Murder Mystery . . . Caffeinated!!!"
First of all, I'm a coffee lover . . . and unlike many of the other reviewers, I LIKE series with a theme . . . quilting, knitting, cooking . . . I'm very family oriented. The ex-husband's involvement didn't bother me at all, as he was a part owner in the coffee house, and father to their sweet grown daughter, Joy. True, it's a light listen, but interesting and it kept me engaged until the very end.
A little detective work by a woman who owns a coffee house in lower Manhattan, has a sexy ex-husband and lots of friends and acquaintances. Light for a murder mystery, fun and easy. I've read four books of the series and although they get fluffier and a bit sillier, they are still worth reading.
Absolutely LOVE the narrator! She really gets in to the many voices of the characters. I can almost see their faces from the voices she uses.
Good clean story. Fun listening to.
When Claire first met Quinn - the subtly of the sparks.
Not really, just loved the whole thing.
Can't wait to listen to the rest of the series!
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