If you follow me over at Goodreads, then you know I’m a chronic binge reader of cozy mystery series… well, any series really. I think the problem started when I read my first Nancy Drew book… and Costco began selling them in large packs…
Now, I’ve moved on from Nancy Drew to many other cozy series — most recently, the Domestic Diva series by Krista Davis. This series has been on my to-read list for over a year, but since the kindle editions were just as expensive as the paperbacks… it kept getting put off.
Then, on a recent trip to Southern California, I found myself in my all-time favorite used bookstore, Bart’s Books of Ojai… and lo & behold, they had the third & forth Diva books! (tangent – seriously — you *need* a “Don’t Own” bookshelf at Goodreads, a total LIFESAVER at used bookstores!)
Now the name of the series had me thinking that the main character, Sophie, was an over the top homemaker whose life revolves around having the most perfect social events (think: Hyacinth of Keeping Up Appearances.) Fortunately, that was not at all the case — she is a “Domestic Diva” by her talent, but by her personality — she’s a very laid back person who rolls with the punches. Sophie’s day job is running her event planning business, but she keeps finding herself caught up in murder investigations! There is an over the top diva though — Natascha, Sophie’s life-long rival and local TV celebrity. Natascha has competed to have everything that Sophie has — from her domestic talents to her husband. Always present is Natascha and Sophie’s ex, Mars… also Natascha’s boyfriend. Sophie’s love life also plays a major role, as different men lock horns to earn her affection. Of course, there’s always a dead body or two with a strong mystery plot!
So far, the series includes six books, with the seventh arriving this coming summer.
- The Diva Runs Out of Thyme – 3/5 stars
Sophie stumbles on two different murder scenes and becomes the prime suspect in both cases! The plot was enjoyable and fun, but there were a few new series hold-ups, like the author constantly saying Sophie was making/buying/etc organic this or that. See my full review on Goodreads.
- The Diva Takes the Cake – 4/5 stars
Sophie’s sister is about the walk down the aisle for the third time — but is her fiancé, Craig, worth the trip? When his ex-wife turns up murdered, Sophie and her family dive into the murder investigation to hopefully prove Craig guilty and put a stop to the wedding. Definitely an improvement on the first novel, the plot flowed wonderfully — great framing by all the wedding events! My biggest plot complaint was everything was a bit too coincidental, and character-wise… Natascha was WAY too over the top this time. See my full review on Goodreads.
- The Diva Paints the Town – 5/5 stars
Sophie’s schedule is completely booked for running the local Home & Gardens show — but then her rival, Natascha, gets the idea to make a show house out of their recently deceased neighbor’s home. When Sophie is cleaning up her assigned room, she happens upon a dead body… or did she? The plot and characters were definitely well-developed and huge improvements on the previous two novels. Honestly, you could start with this book and not be lost in the series. See my full review on Goodreads.
- The Diva Cooks a Goose – 4/5 stars
It’s Christmas in Alexandria, and there seems to be one crisis after another in Sophie’s family. First all the gifts and food were stolen from her brother’s home, then there’s major drama with George’s in-laws. When his father in law’s new girlfriend ends up killed, Sophie investigates to help clear the names of her family members. Instead, she uncovers more than just a murderer. The murder plot was great and complex… but the subplots were “textbook” plots which was disappointing and somewhat annoying. See my full review on Goodreads.
- The Diva Haunts the House – 4/5 stars
Sophie is turning an empty boarding house into a haunted house for the community. A local legend says that a vampire once resided at the boarding house — and which a vampire “victim” turns up dead, Sophie’s haunted house is threatened with closure. Can Sophie solve the crime without encouraging the local teenagers’ excitement over vampires? I loved the way the author included teens in this novel to help amp up the vampire mania, but I was disappointed with the development of the murder suspects… their connections were too loose. See my full review on Goodreads.
- The Diva Digs Up the Dirt – 5/5 stars
It’s Sophie’s brief two-week vacation, but she has two mysteries to solve. While gardening, she found the purse of her boyfriend’s missing wife — and Wolf is suspected of her murder. Sophie also gets wrapped up in the drama surrounding a rich client’s family, all of whom seem to be wanting each other dead. At first, the two mystery plots were a bit too much to follow — but once they became intertwined, it was an easier read. The character development was a little lacking — but not enough to lose a star. Krista Davis did an amazing job managing two complex plots! See my full review on Goodreads.
The Domestic Diva series has definitely been one of my favorites this year, I can’t wait until The Diva Frosts a Cupcake comes out this summer! Overall — I would say the series is a solid 4/5 stars — I love the series, but it doesn’t blow me away. Natascha’s character gets on my nerves too much — she’s too over the top, and sometimes the new (plot specific) characters are just too stereotypical.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my first series review on the blog — I’m hoping to post several others on the series I read in 2012! Feel free to add me on Goodreads — I would love to connect with some fellow cozy addicts and series binge readers 😉