ARC Review: Brewing up Murder by Neila Young

Brewing up Murder Neila Young

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Genres: Cozy Mystery, Crime

Goodreads / Amazon

I received this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I was starting a reading slump when I picked this book up – and then it was gone!

Goodreads Synopsis:

As the owner of Mystery Cup Café in Wilton, Missouri, a town made famous by a string of long-ago murders, Blake Harper is used to the mysterious. When her barista is found strangled in a mound of coffee beans, Blake vows to find the killer, even though her sister, the town’s lead police detective, tells her to stay out of it.

Blake finds plenty of suspects, like the owners of a rival coffee shop and the handsome new bookstore owner. But when new threats are made, she soon realizes the danger is centered around Mystery Cup and someone is targeting her personally.

Will Blake be able to solve the murder, find a new barista, and perfect her recipe for espresso brownies before she becomes the next victim?


Brewing up Murder is a perfect cozy mystery for reading in one sitting on a lazy day or during a long commute. I was travelling when I read this and didn’t even feel the hours pass! It’s the story of Blake, the owner of the Mystery Cup Café, a city known for a series of murders many years ago. One day, she finds her barista strangled in a mess of coffee beans inside her Café, and Blake starts receiving threats when she starts asking questions.

I loved the setting in Wilton, MO, a sleepy town famous for a series of murders whose perpetrator was never caught. The close-knit community was very interesting and full of personality, and I particularly liked the Book Club ladies. They were so much fun! I totally would have joined the club!

I was not a fan of the Harper sisters’ names, from time to time I had to remind myself they were actually women. As much as I find neutral names wonderful, outright giving a masculine name to a daughter sounds weird to me – personally I’d have hated it very much. It also helps normalize the masculinization of women to make them acceptable in the work place and be taken seriously. So I was not a fan of that.

Blake was not very easy to relate to, although having a coffee shop and working right next to a bookstore did sound like a dream. I thought her a bit too emotional and not giving too much thought to the consequences of her actions, neither too cautious with her own safety. Kyle, on the other hand, was a really nice character! She was tough but also empathetic. I thought it problematic, though, how much she shared with Blake the details of the case – shouldn’t Blake have been sort of a suspect, too?

The love triangle annoyed me a little, but oh well. I totally cheered for the cute doctor all along – Book Hottie was too grumpy for my taste.

The pacing of the book felt just right – although at some points I wanted to yell at Blake for wasting precious time, the story never really got slow or boring. It was fun and I wanted to eat the book up. I didn’t guess the murderer at all – that was quite a surprise, as I thought the clues were pretty clear.

Oh, and the recipes of the spiced mocha and the chocolate bean brownie were such a nice surprise! I need to try them!

I look forward to reading the sequence to this book and see what other mysteries will happen in the Mystery Cup Café!

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