Bite Sized Reviews of the Miso Cozy Series by S.J. Pajonas (& Pajonas’s Top Ten Addictions)

March 14, 2017 Author Top Ten Lists, Reviews 4

The Miso Cozy Series is a mystery series set in Japan. We were introduced to our intrepid daydreamer detective Mei in the first book in the series, which I’ve already reviewed (click the link to see it), so I was eager to read the next few books to see how poor Mei fared after all the tragedy that struck at the end of book 1. I read books 2, 2.5, and 3 and wanted to give my readers a chance to discover this series if they haven’t already. I hope these bite-sized reviews will give you enough of a taste to feed your fiction addiction!

Make sure you also check out Pajonas’s Top Ten Addictions list at the bottom of this post!


Bite Sized Reviews of the Miso Cozy Series by S.J. Pajonas (& Pajonas’s Top Ten Addictions)The Daydreamer Detective Braves the Winter by S.J. Pajonas
Series: Miso Cozy Mysteries #2
Also in this series: The Daydreamer Detective
Published by Self Published on July 7th 2016
Genres: New Adult, Mysteries
Source: Purchased
My rating:
4 Stars

December has set in and just when the rural town of Chikata is recovering from one murder, Mei and her new boyfriend, Yasahiro, find their friend, Etsuko, dead in her apartment. Etsuko was sweet and talented, and now everyone suspects her longtime boyfriend killed her. Mei doesn’t believe it, though, and she vows to help solve the crime.

But Mei has more to think about than murder. With the barn gone and their vegetable stores destroyed, she and her mother are down to their last canned goods and no money for heat. Mei’s mom is fortunate to find work, but Mei must fend for herself, get a job, and keep their financial situation a secret from Yasahiro. In pursuit of paying work, she stumbles onto a new witness to the crime, and before long, the dead woman's secret life unravels before everyone’s eyes. Half-starving and out of her element, Mei is on thin ice, and it’s going to take a whole lot of ingenuity and quick thinking to solve the crime before the killer gets to her as well.

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This book starts out with Mei and her mother suffering the consequences of everything that happened at the end of book one (which I won’t spoil here—I’ll just say that it didn’t go well for poor Mei and some of her worst fears were dragged to the surface). They’re trying to get their lives back together, but the loss of their barn and farming equipment has put them in a very tight spot. Mei’s mother does not want to bring dishonor to her family, so she refuses to ask for help, and Mei does not want to disrespect her mother by bringing attention to their problems against her mother’s wishes. These concepts of honor and respect are more important in Japan than they are in the US, so they play into the story relatively heavily—Mei and her mother deal with having little food and no heat for far longer than the reader might think they should!

When Mei’s friend Etsuko ends up dead, Mei feels compelled to try and find the killer without dragging Etsuko’s name through the mud. But the more she learns about Etsuko’s tangled relationships, the more complicated that becomes. It seems that Etsuko had some unsavory ties and got herself involved with dangerous people. Mei just needs to figure out which people might have gone so far as to murder Etsuko—there are quite a few possibilities.

If I have one criticism, it’s that Mei held on to her insecurities about her relatively new relationship with Yasahiro a little too tightly for mu liking. I understood why she didn’t quite feel like she could measure up, but it seemed like too much of a focus (and why everyone else seemed so surprised that she was dating him was beyond me). I just got tired of Mei’s insecurities before she did. 🙂

The mystery in this book was compelling and kept me guessing, and I liked seeing Mei at her sleuthing best! This was a highly enjoyable addition to the series and I give it 4/5 Stars.


Bite Sized Reviews of the Miso Cozy Series by S.J. Pajonas (& Pajonas’s Top Ten Addictions)Ozoni and Onsens: A Daydreamer Detective Novella by S.J. Pajonas
Series: Miso Cozy Mysteries #2.5
Also in this series: The Daydreamer Detective
Published by Self Published on December 29th 2016
Genres: New Adult, Romance
Source: The Author
My rating:
4 Stars

Perfect to read after The Daydreamer Detective Braves The Winter! Mei and Yasahiro attempt to spend New Year's Eve on vacation, but the universe has other plans for them. Follow them to Hakone where they learn there's nothing more important than family. This novella is for newsletter subscribers only.

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This little novella is available to Pajonas’s newsletter subscribers. It has Mei and Yasahiro go on a much-needed vacation, but unfortunately things don’t go the way they hoped. Instead of relaxing, the couple end up feeling insulted, being put to work, and tending to cranky old ladies. Plus, Mei feels guilty that she’s abandoning her family for the holidays! This cute little adventure helps Mei and Yasahiro focus on what truly matters in the New Year!

***Disclosure: I received this book from the author as a gift for being a newsletter subscriber. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***


Bite Sized Reviews of the Miso Cozy Series by S.J. Pajonas (& Pajonas’s Top Ten Addictions)The Daydreamer Detective Opens A Tea Shop by S.J. Pajonas
Series: Miso Cozy Mysteries #3
Also in this series: The Daydreamer Detective
Published by Self Published on January 1st 1970
Genres: New Adult, Mysteries
Source: The Author
My rating:
4.5 Stars

Mei Yamagawa’s bad luck is almost at an end. Her tea shop is a week away from opening, she and Yasahiro have planned a trip away, and the future is looking bright and hopeful. But when Yasahiro’s ex-fiancée, Amanda, shows up unexpectedly, demanding his time and presence, all of their plans dissolve. Amanda is tough and drives Mei up the wall, so it’s no surprise when Mei tells her to get lost, only for Amanda to be murdered a few hours later. Yasahiro becomes the prime suspect, and Mei must put everything on hold to help free him.

Following Amanda’s past through her digital footprint, Mei uncovers secret lovers, shady business deals, and the biggest secret of all, why Amanda and Yasahiro broke up in the first place. With everyone turning against her and the case under media scrutiny, tracking down the killer becomes an obsession Mei can’t give up. There’s no turning back, though, because solving the murder means getting her life back. Not solving it means losing everything forever.

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I read this book without ever having read the blurb, and I actually preferred it that way because even the victim ended up being a surprise to me! This installment really puts Mei’s investigative skills to the test, and the stakes are way higher because her relationship with Yasahiro is on the line—he’s the prime suspect! I loved the fact that, even though Mei was faced with her worst relationship nightmare—Amanda coming back into town and trying to lay claim to her man—she didn’t give up or give in. (Sure, she was tempted to give into those old insecurities, but she never let them get the best of her and she didn’t let anyone tell her what to do!) The mystery in this book had plenty of twists and turns, so I was never sure who the killer was, and I was still guessing right up until the very end. There were a few other reveals that affected Mei and Yasahiro too (one of which I guessed pretty early on). It will be interesting to see where the series goes from here. I give this installment 4.5/5 Stars.

***Disclosure: I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***

Take a look at Pajonas’s top ten addictions. I can relate to LOTS of these … especially sugar, summer and bed!

S.J. Pajonas’s Top Ten Addictions

1) Tea – I can’t live without tea. I used to be a coffee drinker but my body didn’t like it, so I switched to tea. It’s the only reason I get stuff done! I love many different varieties of tea too. Black, green, white, chai, herbal. You name it. I drink it.
2) Walking – Over the last two years, I’ve become addicted to walking. Walking outside, especially, if I can. But I also have a treadmill desk that I love. I need to walk every day or I get antsy.
3) Summer – I am legitimately addicted to summer. I love the heat, being outside, at the pool, the sun on my face. Love it. I go through awful withdrawals during the winter. I miss summer a lot.
4) My phone – I really love my iPhone. I call it The Oracle. I remember when I got my first one and how it changed my life. It’s one of the better things to happen to me because I’m much less likely to miss an event or forget something because I have it.
5) Facebook – I won’t deny it, I love Facebook. Facebook is my social media channel of choice, and I’m on there most of the day. I do use it for work, though, too, so it’s not all play!
6) My bed – I love my bed so much. I love getting into it at night. I hate getting out of it in the morning. (This answer may be influenced by the fact that I just went camping and slept on a bed that felt like it had been carved from stone.)
7) Japan – Pretty much everyone who knows me knows that I’m addicted to Japan and anything Japanese. Anything. I have learned so much about Japan the last 15 years and yet I am addicted to learning more every day!
8) Writing – Thank goodness I’m addicted to writing! Really. If I have too much down time between writing projects, then I get shaky and cranky. I’m no good unless I’m creating!
9) Sugar – I know I share this addiction with Nicole of Feed Your Fiction Addiction. I always think I’m going to give up sugar, but no. I’m in love with sugar and sweet things. Instead, I’ll go for a walk and burn off that sugar!
10) Rice – I can only go a day or two before I need rice in one of my meals. I crave it, either on its own, in a dish, in sushi, whatever! Rice is a serious addiction for me. My rice cooker is one of my most favorite appliances.

About the Author

Stephanie (S. J.) is a writer, knitter, amateur astrologer, Capricorn, and Japanophile. She loves foxes, owls, sushi, yoga pants, Evernote, and black tea. When she’s not writing, she’s thinking about writing or spending time outside, unless it’s winter. She hates winter. Someday she’ll own a house in both hemispheres so she can avoid the season entirely. She’s a mom to two great kids and lives with her husband and family outside NYC. They have no pets. Yet. When it comes to her work, expect the unexpected. She doesn’t write anything typical.

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