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The Daydreamer Detective

(Miso Cozy Mysteries #1)

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  291 ratings  ·  73 reviews
She’s got her head in the clouds and a taste for solving crime…

Mei Yamagawa is out of luck and out of money. After five years in Tokyo, she has little to show for it besides a laundry list of unrealized dreams. Left without a choice, she returns to her rural Japanese hometown, ready to be branded a failure by her relatives and rivals. At the least, she looks forward to see
Paperback, 228 pages
Published March 31st 2016 by Onigiri Press
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really liked it Average rating 4.00  · 
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 ·  291 ratings  ·  73 reviews

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Trish at Between My Lines
This review was originally posted on [Between My Lines]I became absolutely fascinated with Japan in S J Pajonas contemporary romance Summer Haikus and when I knew she was writing a cozy mystery also set in Japan, it was a no brainer that I would sign up to participate in the blog tour!  This blog tour is organized by Lola's Blog Tours, it runs from 4 till 8 April and you can view the complete tour schedule on the website of Lola’s Blog Tours:

Quick note this is a long post but I didn't want to le
Feb 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020-ebooks
This was a nicely-written mystery with characters that I immediately warmed up to, with the exception of the killer, of course. ;) It was interesting that in Japan, the police actually welcomed civilian input on murder and other investigations. It did seem to move a little slower at first than I'm used to as far as talking about the murder itself, but it was probably setting the scene for background stories of the characters. There weren't a lot of suspects, and I did guess who did it, but the f ...more
Patricia Hamill
The Daydreamer Detective is a sweet and wonderful story. As a cozy mystery, the story features a young, amateur sleuth, Mei, who has found herself back in her hometown trying to resolve herself against her failed attempt at life in the big city. But she isn’t there long at all until her best friend’s father is found dead and her friend is implicated as a possible suspect. Add to the mix a handsome chef and a matchmaking mom, and there you have it.

What I love most about this story is the attentio
Aug 07, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: canreadin2017
I only finished this book because I wanted to see if the ending was as bad as I expected. It was. The writing was poor quality, but what I really hated were the characters. The trope of a protagonist with poor self esteem that is entirely unfounded is boring. It felt like not a single character had any self-awareness and none of it was believable.
Stephanie Jane (Literary Flits)
See more of my book reviews on my blog, Literary Flits

I enjoyed reading one of S J Pajonas' Japanese-set shorter stories, Mamachari Matchmaker, a while ago so snapped up this first book in her Miso Cozy Mysteries series, The Daydreamer Detective, as well. To be honest, the story is a bit too undecided on what it wants to be for my tastes. It's a coming of age tale, a chaste romance, and a cozy murder mystery, but the main focus is on Mei's woe-is-me ponderings about the disastrous path her life
I received a copy in exchange for an honest review

I was so excited when I first heard SJ Pajonas was writing a cozy mystery and this book definitely didn't disappoint. The Daydreamer Detective is about main character Mei, she has just been fired from her job and can't afford to pay the rent on her Tokyo apartment so she return to her small hometown. This book is a cozy mystery, but it's about so much more. the characters take a strong focus and Mei her search for what she wants to do next and fi
Mar 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I had described this book to some friends. I decided that it was as good of a review as anything else I could come up with.

I've had Steph Pajonas' The Daydreamer Detective in my TBR for a while. I truly regret having waited this long to read a really excellent story. When the murder is revealed, you immediately have 4 suspects. The angry son who wants nothing to do with his father or his property, except to sell it. The doting daughter who hoped to get her father's property, she's a nurse by the
DNF at 15%. Would have been a quick read, but I couldn’t get into the writing style. While I can appreciate that the author is very into Japan, the book very much feels like “look at how much I know about Japan” in a way that’s inauthentic and annoying.
Apr 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to the author, S.J. Pajonas, as well as Lola's Blog Tours for gifting me with a copy of The Daydreamer Detective in exchange for an honest review!

I really loved this book, honestly. It was such a... nice mystery. Yes, it was about a murder, but somehow the whole book wasn't sinister. There are just a few tiny things that would have made it even more perfect. Let's jump in!

1. The mystery itself. So this book is centered around a murder mystery. Mei (our MC) comes back to her home town t
Apr 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
*I would like to thank the author for providing me an ARC in exchange for my honest review.*

Right off the bat, let me just say that I will follow S. J. Pajonas anywhere her writing wants to go. I’ve read her sci-fi, contemporary romance, and even her short stories. And now, we come to cozy mysteries. This book is the first I’ve read in that genre, and if it’s anything to go by, I will certainly have to investigate it further.

The titular daydreaming Detective was Mei. She was someone I found t
Stephanie - Books Less Travelled
*I received a free copy of from Lola's Blog Tours and the author in exchange for honest reviews*

This book is a great start to what looks to be a great adventure! The characters are well written, each having secrets of their own, some much darker than anyone ever guessed! When Mei returns home, the last thing she expected was to find her best friend grieving the sudden loss of her father! Mei is far from perfect, but having a kind heart, she sets out to help, and along the way finds that things i
Laz the Sailor
This is a cute and sweet story about a young woman who fumbles her way through life. She's living at home again after being fired from her past 3 jobs. Home carries old memories, both comfortable and not, plus new situations.

There is not much plot here; this is more of an exploration of how life is evolving in Japan, and how it affects people from each generation differently. There is a budding romance, a murder mystery, and some internal angst, but nothing dynamic.

Still, this was well written,
Feb 17, 2016 rated it liked it
Cute premise and ultimately a nice story. I was put off a little by the ' I am such a screw up' litany from Mei, although I understand how it sets up what follows. I enjoy SJ Pajonas' other books enough that I look forward to seeing her develop these characters. Mei's mother is lovely.
I didn't like this as much as some of her other books (Face Time, Nogiku series) but I liked it well enough to want to read the next one.
K. Lincoln
Aug 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In as fictional small town near Tokyo, Mei returns home to her farmer mother's house after losing another in a long string of dead-end jobs, getting kicked out of her Tokyo apartment, and basically feeling disappointed and sorry for herself.

But Chikata isn't the small town she left behind anymore. There's a big grocery chain developer, a hipster farm-to-table restaurant run by a France-trained hottie chef, and her best friend's father suddenly dead under mysterious circumstances.

This is an enter
Mar 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was going to give this book 3 stars, for reasons I will explain, without spoilers (I hope) but went with 4 since several other reviews gave it 4 as well, while complaining of my complaints. I like mysteries, hence the reason I jumped on this book, luckily, I also like travelogues, but this is a travelogue of a fake place in a real country.
There was a mystery, a murder most foul, but all that seemed to take a backseat to Mei walking around and filling us in on why she is so miserable, while be
Katie Carroll
Aug 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Once over-achieving Mei hasn't had much luck with her jobs in the city, most recently being let go of her third sales job. Not that she liked it much anyway. Now forced to move back to the countryside and farm with her mother, Mei is forced to face all her old insecurities. Her small hometown, though, has changed a lot since she last lived there. Embroiled in the search for the murderer of her best friend's father, confronting an old boyfriend, and challenging the new, hot chef in town proves th ...more
Iza Brekilien
I expected to love that book but didn't enjoy it as much as I thought.
Not because of the story, or the Japanese setting, no, rather because of Mei. I found her rude and wallowing in self-pity. Looking back on it, well, she's young, she studied really hard and because of the economical context, she's back with nothing living on her mother's farm. It's tough, I can understand that, but I sometimes wanted to kick her for doubting herself so much as if she was 17 and not 27, and for almost (almost)
Jun 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fun Cozy mystery

This book was free on Amazon and I almost didn't get it. I love both cozy mysteries and Japan, so I'm not sure why I hesitated. The fact that the series is called Miso Cozy made me laugh though so I took the chance and I'm so glad I did. I found myself completely immersed in the main character, Mei's life. The fact that I'm a daydreamer probably had something to do with how easily I could relate to her, despite my life being nothing like hers. I couldn't put this down and read it
Jul 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
I won a copy thanks to the author and the LitRing VIP Readers group.

Have you ever read a book that made you long for a place you've never been? After reading The Daydreamer Detective I'm jonseing for rural Japan.

The story itself was cute and fluffy and mostly a little romance. The big villain reveal at the end was forced and bizarre, but whatever. The hook, for me, was the setting and the depiction of Japanese culture and recipes. It got to the point where I've started doing research just to f
Denize Chung
Flimsy story, I was expecting a light detective story but instead, the love element dominated the storyline, serving the main purpose in the story, the development is barely sensible, and I figured that if you knew nothing on Japanese Culture, you find it difficult to understand the vocab the writer used to illustrate the story, like kotatsu, they are literally Japanese romanisation.

I don't think I would like to read the sequel, only if I read most of the books on my reading list.
Aug 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks, own-it
Cute cosy crime. I loved the Japanese setting. It was different and interesting and lifted this a cut above the average cosy crime. However the killer was obvious and Mei's constant self doubt got annoying after awhile. Would have liked more explanation of the killer’s motivation. Not why he killed Kano I get that. But why (view spoiler) ...more
Karen Beverly
Apr 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Japan in transition with a mystery blending traditional and new

A great mystery with elements of Japan both traditional and new. Having lived in Japan for five years, it was wonderful to be introduced again to the scenes of rural Japan and just the right amount of Japanese vocabulary. The mystery had the elements of the current, modern world and the blend made reading captivating!
Carysa Locke
Jan 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loooooove this series. I'm a fan of cozies going back to the Mrs. Pollifax books by Dorothy Gilman, and this series hits all of the things I love best about the genre, with the added bonus of being set in Japan, which was fascinating! I loved all of the cultural pieces that added world building and fleshed out the story.
Carol Lee
A cute mystery that happens to take place in Japan

If you like the quilting mystery series or one of the series about living in the gothic South with kooky neighbors, then this is a good series for you. It has those same elements but also takes place in Japan. If you want a dark, cultural jaunt through Japan, this is not for you.
Jun 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating read. Don't see enough cozies with Asian characters. Only "complaint" is using Japanese terms for various parts of a house or various traditions, without telling those of us not familiar with these terms what they mean or describe. Especially since the author confessed to "Anglicizing" some other Japanese terms. Still, definitely worth the time and commitment.
Judy  Lujan
Jun 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was not intellectual or high brow literary, but it was wonderful brain candy for a bummed-out day. Likable, relatable heroine, handsome "OMG why is he interested in me?" boyfriend, interesting side characters and a thoroughly despicable villain. Plus, interesting bits of info about life in Japan. Looking forward to reading the next one.
Jul 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
I loved this story so much! It's fun, entertaining, has great relationships, and is definitely worthy of the title cozy mystery. It's so refreshing to read about someone who doesn't have it all together and faces the challenges of adulting all while dealing with insecurities about failure. I can't wait to read the rest of the series!
Apr 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Intriguing look into the life of a 26 year old and how she solves a mystery and starts to rebuild her life

An exciting mystery that left me wanting to read more! I’ll will be returning to Chikata for the next books in the series. I also loved learning more about Japanese culture and the descriptions of the food.
Ellen White
May 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have read other books by the author and have enjoyed. This sounded different, yet, still have the Japanese background. She is young and inexperience, and she develops and becomes more sure of herself as the story went along. A good beginning to the series.
Jun 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Daydreamer Detective

I am becoming a big fan of cozy mysteries, and women authors writing about women main characters. I am so happy I stumbled on to this book. Thoroughly enjoyed it, and had a hard time putting it down.
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Steph Gennaro is a long-time Japanophile, and she’s been studying Japanese culture and language for over 20 years. She loves dreaming of far-off places, going for walks with her dog, Lulu Ninja Assassin, hanging out with her family, and reading outside in the summertime. There is no better season than summer. She’s a Capricorn, mother, knitter, and web developer, and pasta is her favorite meal. St ...more

Other books in the series

Miso Cozy Mysteries (5 books)
  • The Daydreamer Detective Braves The Winter (Miso Cozy Mystery #2)
  • The Daydreamer Detective Opens a Tea Shop (Miso Cozy Mystery #3)
  • The Daydreamer Detective Returns a Favor (Miso Mysteries #4)
  • The Daydreamer Detective Finds Her Calling (Miso Cozy Mysteries #5)

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