Thursday, June 9, 2016

Book Tour, #Review, and #Giveaway ~ The Calamity Café (A Down South Café Mystery, Book 1) by Gayle Leeson #CozyMystery

Blog Tour & Review:

The Calamity Cafe by Gayle Leeson

The Calamity Café: A Down South Café Mystery 
Cozy Mystery
Series: A Down South Café Mystery (Book 1)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: NAL (June 7, 2016)
ISBN-13: 978-1101990780

About the Book:

First in a new cozy mystery series featuring Southern cooking that is to die for.

Aspiring chef and small-town Virginia native Amy Flowers is ready to open her own café offering old-fashioned Southern food. But her dream may go up in smoke when someone kills the competition…

Tired of waiting tables at Lou’s Joint, Amy Flowers doesn’t just quit—she offers to buy the place from her bully of a boss, so she can finally open the café of her dreams. Amy can’t wait to serve the kind of Southern, down-home treats and dishes that her grandmother always loved to the kooky cast of regulars at the restaurant. She knows her comfort food will be the talk of the sweet, small town of Winter Garden, Virginia.

At first Lou Lou refuses to sell, but when she seems ready to make a deal, she tells Amy to come see her. Showing up at the eatery ready to negotiate, Amy is shocked to find her former employer murdered. As the prime suspect, Amy will have to clear her name by serving up the real killer—and with Lou Lou’s stack of enemies, that’s a tall order.

Includes delicious Southern recipes

My Review:

The Calamity Café is the first book in a new cozy mystery series by Gayle Leeson and it is amazing!

Amy Flowers has a dream to one day open her own cafe that serves southern food.  Currently employed at a local diner, Amy Flowers asks her boss, Lou Lou, if she would consider selling the diner to her.  After a very emphatic "NO", Amy decides that building a cafe from scratch is her only other option.  When Lou Lou has a sudden change of heart and, along with her son Pete, wants to go ahead and entertain the notion of selling to Amy, a meeting is set up that also includes a lawyer.

Except, when Amy arrives for the meeting, Lou Lou is face down on her desk - deader than a doornail.  Knowing that Lou Lou hasn't made the best impression on a good many of the townsfolk, it's going to be a challenge to solve the murder.  Plus, as the finder of the dead body and with her history with Lou Lou regarding the attempted purchasing of the diner, Amy is now a suspect.  As Amy tries to clear her name , small town secrets start revealing themselves and put Amy in danger.

The Calamity Café has the perfect ingredients for a cozy mystery hit!  No, the mob doesn't make an appearance.  The murder takes place in a small town with family roots and stories that span several generations.  The death occurs near the beginning of the book, giving the author a lengthy time frame to build up the Winter Garden, VA world, introduce us to and develop several key characters and several secondary ones, along with brilliantly building up the mystery.  I thought the ending was a bit rushed, however, and, although I pretty much figured out who the murder was, a little bit longer showdown would have smoothed it out a bit.

The plot is engaging and fast paced, pulling the reader along on a wild tale of murder and suspense.  The author did a great job describing everything and I felt like I was right there in the middle of the investigation and the renovations.  The contact between Amy and her friends Roger and Jackie (also a relative) were believable and well done.  I enjoyed the interactions between Amy and Ryan, as well, and look forward to what may come.  

Paperback review copy courtesy of the publisher at no cost in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

My Rating:


I am part of the Craving for Cozies Challenge 2016.

See my list of Cozies here:


I absolutely loved The Calamity Cafe!!! This book was a well-written mystery, with charming characters and down home recipes that will make your mouth water.

We are treated to a murder mystery and some romantic overtones… If you’re looking for a fun summer read, this would be a wonderful choice.

A cleverly constructed plot, well-written characters, and a setting that feels like the town next door all blend together to form the perfect recipe for a new series!

Meet the Author:

Gayle Leeson is a pseudonym for Gayle Trent. I also write as Amanda Lee. As Gayle Trent, I write the Daphne Martin Cake Mystery series and the Myrtle Crumb Mystery series. As Amanda Lee, I write the Embroidery Mystery series. I live in Virginia with my family, which includes her own “Angus” who is not an Irish wolfhound but a Great Pyrenees who provides plenty of inspiration for the character of Mr. O’Ruff. I’m having a blast writing this new series!

Authors Links:

Gayle Trent Webpage –

Purchase Links:

Enter the Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Anonymous said...

First time visitor to your blog. Good job! Thank for the intro & review of this new cozy mystery. Sounds like a fun one!

Sapphyria said...

You're welcome. Thank you for stopping by! :)

Nikolina said...

I really enjoyed reading the entire post, thank you!

Sapphyria said...

You're welcome. Good luck in the giveaway :)

clojo9372 said...

Thank you for your honest and open review! I love book's cover design and the title too! :)

Ally Swanson said...

Excellent review! This book sounds incredible! Totally can't wait to read it!