Customer Reviews: The Chocolate Jewel Case (Chocoholic Mysteries, No. 7)
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on August 19, 2007
I was really looking forward to this installment of the Chocoholic Mystery series. The town of Warner Pier has been experiencing a rash of break-in thefts. Lee McKinney-Woodward, newly married, doesn't have a lot of time to spend worrying about the burglaries. She has a house full of guests, and her new husband, Joe Woodward, is busy with his boat making business. Joe's father has been dead over twenty years, but a man claiming he is Joe's father shows up on lee's doorstep. Before she can break this news to her new husband, she has another scary experience. Lee and Joe are tied up at a dinner party while their host is relieved of some very expensive jewelry, Lee decides to investigate. I knew who the culprit in this mystery was from very early in the book, and the twists and turns added by the author were interesting but did not add to the mystery. Many of the characters who are usually so much fun in the series (Lee's Aunt, Lee's best friend, etc.) were absent from this book. Not my favorite in this series. You could probably pick this up at a discount(used) or at the library for free if you really must read it.
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on October 4, 2007
I have been a fan of these Chocolate mysteries since Chocolate Cat Caper, and have usually enjoyed the mysteries, even when the chocolate trivia and Lee's tongue twisters were slowing the story progress down. This book was a real challenge to finish for me. It took me almost a week, when I can generally finish a book of this caliber in a day or two. Lee was unbearable to read and her tongue twisters were beyond belief. If the author dropped this annoying habit, it would not be missed by many readers. Also, the constant complaints about the heat actually distracted me from the story quite often. Lee seemed to be in an awful mood for the entire book, stomping around everywhere, as it was described. Also, the author had a habit of ending all of Lee's sentences with exclaimation points, giving the impression that everything she was saying was by yelling or shouting. Combined with the stomping, this just enforced the impression of anger. Lee also took lots of time away from the shop, and if the heat wave was so terrible and the a/c was broken, I think that as acting manager in her aunt's absence, she should have been at work a heck of a lot more. The book just pushed the bounds of believability, even for this type of book.

I will maybe try the next in the series, but if there are no real improvements, and the return of some of the core characters, I may have to rethink. I would recommned this book only to true fans of the series.
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Lee and Joe Woodyard have a house full of guests. Just what every newlywed dreams of, right? There are the two teens working at TenHuis Chocolade, Joe's two mysterious friends, and Joe's aunt. All this in an old house that only has one bathroom.

But housing issues aren't the only thing on Lee's mind. There has been a string of robberies in town recently. Since it's the start of the summer season, many of the summer people are returning to find their cabins have been robbed. Jewels and antiques are the prime targets.

Lee's been pretty busy making sure her guests are provided for and running TenHuis Chocolade since Aunt Nettie is in Europe on her own honeymoon. But then fate takes over and Lee is forced to care about the robberies. And there's the strange man who shows up claiming to be Joe's dad, who died 30 years ago. And the body found floating in the lake. What is going on?

The books in this series have always been light and fun, but this book turns out to be too light. The plot seems to be meandering all over the place. While it does come together in the final third, the lack of focus early on hurt the book.

The story doesn't suffer from a lack of characters. Even so, I spotted the villain earlier then I should have. And the number of characters means that series regulars like Aunt Nettie and Lee's best friend are noticeably absent. The characters that are here are fun, however.

The chocolate chats this go around spotlight a few non-fiction books on chocolate. They sound tempting. Still, this is one "feature" that I wouldn't miss if they took them out.

This is one of the weaker entries in the series, yet it is still fun enough to please fans.
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on September 9, 2007
I've enjoyed this series up until now, but this one was so bad I'm not sure I'll continue.

First, the author has got to get rid of the stupid tongue-tangling gimmick. It's been annoying since the beginning of the series, but it now seems so forced that it's ridiculous.

Lee has never been my favorite main character in a cozy series, but in this book, she was downright unbearable. It seemed like he was angry, annoyed and ticked off through the entire book. Every little thing that anyone did, there she was, stomping around, nosing into their business and determining how she would question them about something or other. She was downright unlikeable, and I couldn't help wondering why on earth Joe would've wanted to marry someone like her.

And speaking of marriage -- we get it, Lee married Joe. We got it in the first chapter. We didn't need to be beat over the head with that, or the fact that they're living in Lee's house, at least once a page.

Besides all this, the plot was very thin, with too many things going on that were too easy to figure out. And there were far too many characters that were brought in for this one story, forcing out the characters that we usually see who really do add something to the story.

All in all, a very big disappointment.
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on June 28, 2015
Lee and Joe who are newly married and living in the home Aunt Nettie gave them have been a little busy with so many house guest. This has been the hottest stretch they have had in Michigan in a long time and that makes for uncomfortable living especially with so many people living in one house not to mention Joe and Lee have hardly any time to be alone. It is not until a man shows up stating he is Joe's father that things get even more hectic. The thing is Joe's father is dead so who is t his man and what does he want? Not only is that a mystery but there are also robberies and a dead man. Yike, Joe and Lee along with Lee's Uncle (who married Aunt Nettie recently) they all set out to figure everything out but not with incidents.
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on April 21, 2014
I'm a pretty big fan of this series, but this particular book was not all that enjoyable, and I would give it 2&1/2 stars if I could. While Lee is generally an upbeat and fun character, she was extremely negative and grumpy in this case. The premise is that she has a house full of guests, and while this would be annoying to any newlywed, the reasons for them all being there at the same time seemed rather implausible. Lee seemed to dislike characters for extremely petty reasons, such as their taste in clothes or books, or because they were somewhat inquisitive (hypocritical much). This may have been done to make more characters seem like viable suspects, but it just made Lee come across as shallow. She also spent the entire book complaining about the heat and the lack of air conditioning in her house, which also got old pretty quickly. Lastly, a lot of the supporting characters such as Aunt Nettie, Hogan, Lindy and Mike were largely absent, which took away a lot of the charm these books usually have. The mystery was alright, the identity of the main criminal was clear to me early on, but that's often the case, and I read cozies more for the atmospheres than the mystery. While the atmosphere was sorely lacking in this particular book, the next few books are a lot more enjoyable. I would recommend skipping this book and reading on to the next one.
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on February 5, 2013
Did I like the book? Yes
Would I read it again? Yes
Would I recommend it? Absolutely

What do I like most about Joanna Carl's Chocolate Mysteries?'s easy to get into the stories
...the character development and description is always outstanding
...she makes it easy to identify with her protagonist on one level or another
...the chocolate trivia is fun
...she definitely makes use of cliff-hangers :) so...every book is a page-turner and a very easy read
...she keeps the adrenaline rush for the last couple of chapters
...I enjoy relaxing and getting into the story knowing that the big finale comes at the end and then I have a tendency of really dragging out the last chapters 'cause I don't want the story to end :)

When I first found her books, I read a couple of books out of order and then realized that some new characters in each book overlap into the next book and so on, so I ordered all of her books and started from the beginning. I was very glad I did because the overlaps (and flashbacks) are clever and really add to the story.

I love Joanna's credentials and bio... I just think she's an outstanding author and highly recommend all of her books as an easy, fun, relaxing read.
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on February 28, 2015
Good series, makes good sense and the characters are really interesting. People don't really understand how great the Midwest can be and that real people have interesting lives. I've read the series in paper when it was originally written and enjoy rereading it on Kindle.
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VINE VOICEon October 24, 2007
This series has gone downhill. Too bad, really, because it had a lot of promise.

This particular entry hits the reader over the head constantly with the fact that it's hot in Warner Pier. And there doesn't seem to be any reason for the long descriptions of the weather other than to take up room on the page. We are supposed to believe that Lee has to suffer with the heat and may lose her business because her central air goes out and they only have casement windows so they can't put in window units. Well, you know what? We don't have central air and we don't have window units. For YEARS they've been making rolling AC units you just take from room to room with you. Is everyone in Warner Pier too backward to know about such a thing? What kind of business owner doesn't know exactly where to lay her hands on something so vital to her business?

Plus, Lee's verbal tick is really, really annoying.
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on July 10, 2013
I have now read all of the Chocoholic Mysteries series and some of them I have already read twice. I am trying to collect the entire series. It is well written and an easy read, and I enjoy seeing the characters "progress" in each new book. I hope the series will continue.
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