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The Cocoa Conspiracy (A Lady Arianna Regency Mystery, #2)
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The Cocoa Conspiracy

(A Lady Arianna Regency Mystery #2)

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  861 ratings  ·  103 reviews
Chocolate mixed with conspiracy is a recipe for death…

Lady Arianna Hadley, now the Countess of Saybrook, is slowly settling into married life with her new husband, the Earl of Saybrook. To celebrate his birthday, she finds the perfect gift—a rare volume of botanical engravings on theobroma cacao, or chocolate . . . but she is forced to fight off a mysterious stranger who t
Paperback, 324 pages
Published December 6th 2011 by NAL
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Average rating 3.74  · 
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 ·  861 ratings  ·  103 reviews

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Barb in Maryland
3.5 stars for this clever mystery. I liked our continuing hero and heroine; the setting was intriguing, the immediate mystery was nice and twisty. Alas, we shall have to read the third book to find out the identity of the Big Baddie..

One big peeve--the recipes at the beginning of each chapter: Just. No. Totally interrupts the flow of the story and the food item has zippo to do with action in the chapter. Once again: Just. No.

I will eventually get around to reading the next book, but I'm in no ru
Sep 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
I had just finished the Lenora Bell and her book and this book were about the same event in history. It was weird and cool at the same time, because I wasn't lost about the event and even knew where the dastardly deed was going to take place. The Spanish Riding School, I would have liked to have saw that. ...more
CJ - It's only a Paper Moon
The puns ruined this book for me. I really liked the first one because I thought it was interesting that there was a strong female character who was kind of a cold hearted bitch but still warm enough to fall for the hero.

So naturally I was excited to read another story with the Ice Princess Arianna (my own term) and the Sexy Spanish Prince Sandro (also my term) coming together to solve a mystery that in the process allows them to get closer together.

Welp, it didn't happen in this book.

In this bo
Mar 24, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kobo
Interesting, the slang and heroes may not be in tone with the setting... there is useful info dumps in between the action pieces.
Aug 30, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Even worse on audio than the first was in print. Mary Sarah reads this breathlessly, as though she is reading erotica. The characters have truly odd accents, including our hero who has what must be intended as a Spanish accent, somewhat nonsensically (did the narrator read the first book?), as does the heroine, also mostly nonsensically. Hennings, the Scot, ventures into pirate territory frequently. The French Comte is frequently Polish, the Czar is some kind of Walter-Slezak-in-The-Inspector-Ge ...more
Jul 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
I've been in a massive reading slump for months, but these books, I continue to love. You know what I particularly love, that Lady Arianna and Saybrook are married at the start of this. That's right, they got married off page. And it's clearly a marriage of convenience, and mutual minds, but it's also something else. And watching them start to navigate that is fun. Plus, I enjoyed all the political intrigued, and I usually don't. Somehow the balance was right in this one. The absolute hatred the ...more
Kiesha ~ 1Cheekylass
This book was just as action packed with an easier plot to follow. Unfortunately, cliches, puns and chocolate was still in abundance. Even still, I really enjoyed it. I would like to see the relationship develop more. This book would easily be a 4-4.5 if not for the excessive cliches, puns and chocolate tbh.

3.5 for story and narration
SOS Aloha
Dec 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Forrest Gump is famous for telling others at the bus stop, "My momma always said, ‘Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get.’” In the case of an Andrea Penrose book, you know exactly what you will get - a Regency mystery laced with charming characters and witty dialogue.

We first meet Lady Arianna and Alessandro de Quincy, Earl of Saybrook, in Andrea Penrose's SWEET REVENGE. They return as newlyweds in THE COCOA CONSPIRACY. Arianna is still a quirky "fish out of wat
Mary Gramlich
Dec 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
THE COCOA CONSPIRACY written by Andrea Penrose
A Lady Arianna Hadley Regency Mystery
12/11 - Penguin Group (USA) - Mass Market Paperback, 336 pages

What truly is sweeter the smell of money or the taste of chocolate?

Arianna Hadley is now The Countess of Saybrook but that has not slowed down her love of creating a chocolate convection or solving a great mystery. Her husband Alessandro Henry George De Quincy, the fifth Earl of Saybrook is very fond of the chocolate delights she masterfully executes,
Mar 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2019
Still vastly enjoying this (and fwiw i'm listening to the audiobooks, which i find riveting and not distracting, cloying, or unskillfully done at all, so i've missed whatever editing mistakes others may have caught). The history lessons were a bit more heavy-handed and exposition-y in this one, which made most of the clues in this light mystery a bit obvious. Like everyone else I wanted more romance and more chemistry between hero/heroine but WHATEVER, THEY'LL GET THERE, i'm content, give me cho ...more
Sara G
Sep 12, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: on-my-kindle
DNF @ 7%. I know that's faster than I usually give up on a book, but a lot of bad things happened in these few pages. The word "quixotic" is definitely misused amidst some awkward dialogue, and a Regency era countess has a physical fight with a foreigner in a bookshop and everyone seems okay with this. I remember liking the first book in this series well enough, but I can't do this one. ...more
Oct 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I liked this one even more than the first one. I am really enjoying how their relationship is slowly unfolding and the mystery was quite good. Can't wait for the next one! ...more
Jan 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars/B-
Lia Marcoux
May 16, 2017 rated it did not like it
What? No. This dumb. I mean, I don't mind dumb things, but this is real dumb. ...more
Sep 08, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Don't care for Lady Arianna and I don't enjoy the kind of hatred and animosity that goes on with Grentham, it's tedious. ...more
Apr 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really like the series

though I was wondering how Penrose was going to keep the chocolate focus going... It turns out to be much more peripheral to the plot line here, and that makes sense. Hostilities between the Saybrooks and Grentham do continue to be central in the series, however, as does the friendship between Hennings and the Earl of Saybrook. Lots of political maneuvering which felt authentic, as does Penrose’s melding of her plot with the actual events of the historical Congress of Vie
Diane Rapport
Oct 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Second in the delightful mystery series featuring Lady Arianna Hadley - now the Countess of Saybrook, and her husband Alessandro de Quincy, the Earl of Saybrook. This adventure begins with the attempted theft of a rare book of engravings about chocolate, and weaves its way through an English country house party and on to the famous Peace Congress in Vienna. Once again, Ms Penrose skillfully blends historical fact with fiction, creating an interesting tale with eminently likable heroes. The story ...more
Sep 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Avid Reader

Two Regency mysteries down and two more to go. I can't really say that O am on a roll here because school is back in session. However, in between setting up the classroom and grading assessments, I managed to finish this nail bitter set in 1814. Russia, France, and England were trying to return to normalcy after the capture of Napoleon. However, the Scots were being used to play one side against the other along with a set of double agents who serves no one's interest except their own.
Lady Arianna in her quest to find a suitable birthday gift comes across a rare volume of botanical engravings for her new husband, the Earl of Saybrook. But unbeknownst to her the book has something even more rare hidden inside-sensitive government documents which would mark one they hold dear as a traitor of King and country. In order to unmask the villain, they must root out a cunning conspiracy-armed only with their wits and expertise in chocolate..... Again the pair are forced to place thems ...more
I. M. S
Jul 16, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I reallly hated this book, plot and conspiracies were thrilling, but too many puns, too many bad decisions, too many unwitty behaviour from heroine .

Though i hated the previous book but this one is worse, really untill now i can't find an author who has the same talent as comparison really.

Book full of distracting details, a husband who throw his wife to seduce suspects, an uncontrolled wife with either her disrespectful behaviour or foul tongue, lacking any sign of smartness or
Feb 26, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The second book turns this series more into a spies, coats and daggers story. Yes, there is still murder and mystery but a bigger part of the story has to do with networks of spies and involves many different disguises.

The romance is a little better but not really the way I thought it would be handled. It most definitely reminds me of a modern, fake relationship turn real, romance.

Even though it took longer to read and it's not exactly my style of romance, I still feel like I must continue. In
Jan 05, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This had a gripping final act, but a rather slow start -- especially compared to the first book in the series. It also felt like the characters repeated a lot of things from the first book, though I liked watching them try to figure out a marriage that wasn't formed in the basis of love.

I'm not sure what I think about all the espionage-type plots, vs. more straightforward mysteries. I'll be interested to see where Penrose takes the series. Regardless of her choices, this is overall a very strong
Wendy Tavenner
Aug 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another great book!! I love the continued story of Arianna and Saybrooke. While at a forced house party by Grantham they discover that something is going to happen at the Peace Conference in Vienna. They go there to stop the plan but find out its worse than they thought. As Saybrooke, Arianna and Baz race against time to find out what disaster is intended, Saybrooke tells Arianna he loves her. She struggles with the word Love since she had to fend for herself at a young age. A great mystery that ...more
Jan 29, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am no baker, or a chocolatier, but the recipes at the beginning of each chapter make me want to try my hand.
As for the book, it is enjoyable, although the romance is moving a little too slowly for my taste. I usually like it when the author takes his or her time building up a relationship but this time, a little less time and a little more movement would be nice. I'm hoping book three resolves that issue.
Jane Irish Nelson
May 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, historical
Second book in a series that really needs to be read in order, as part of the plot flows from one to the next. On track of the French spy Renard, Saybrook and Arianna travel first to a country house party, and then to Vienna, site of the Peace Conference. Twist upon twist follows, placing not only Saybrook and Arianna in danger, but also Talleyrand and Wellington! Fast-paced and hard to put down. Highly recommended.
I think I'm probably done with this series.

1. I know every cozy mystery has its hook but the constant references to chocolate/cacao is annoying. 2. The verbal battles between Saybrook and Grantham are too drawn out, too ridiculous. It's juvenile.
3. The chemistry between Saybrook and Ariana is meh at best and I'm not feeling invested.
4. The mystery is nothing to write home about.
5. There's something annoying about the narration but I can't put my finger on it.
Cynthia Pratt
Jul 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The only thing that stops me from giving this book a 5 in that I hate the character of Grentham and I find it hard to accept the hold he has over the stories. I think that is why I like Penrose's other series with A.J. Quill slightly more. (THat and its hard to diet with all these chocolate recipes!) ...more
Susan Springer
Book 1 was better

I just reread books 1 & 2. What really bugged me is how Book 1 ended then book 2 jumps forward and skips a whole lot of story. I can’t say what it is because it would be a spoiler. I can only fume silently. I wish there was a tiny bit more romance. I love the hero, Saybrook, and the heroine Arianna, still Book 2 turned out to be a little more boring.
Jun 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
not as exciting a mystery

i appreciated the minor “relationship” advancement, i wish the threat at the time were more clear. perhaps i need to brush up on the politics during Napoleon’s reign. Will definitely be reading the next book.
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Play Book Tag: The Cocoa Conspiracy - Andrea Penrose - 4 stars 1 8 Jun 20, 2016 02:29PM  

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Andrea Penrose is the bestselling author of Regency-era historical fiction, including the acclaimed Wrexford & Sloane mystery series, as well as Regency romances written under the names Cara Elliott and Andrea Pickens. Published internationally in ten languages, she is a three-time RITA Award finalist and the recipient of numerous writing awards, including two Daphne Du Maurier Awards for Historic ...more

Other books in the series

A Lady Arianna Regency Mystery (7 books)
  • Sweet Revenge (A Lady Arianna Regency Mystery #1)
  • Recipe For Treason (A Lady Arianna Regency Mystery #3)
  • The Stolen Letters  (A Lady Arianna Regency Mystery #3.5)
  • Smoke & Lies (A Lady Arianna Regency Mystery #4)
  • A Question of Numbers (Lady Arianna Hadley Mystery #5)
  • A Tangle of Serpents (Lady Arianna Regency Mystery, #6)

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