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Lucky Paws Petsitting Mystery #1

Death by Chocolate Lab

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Pet sitter Daphne Templeton has a soft spot for every stray and misfit who wanders into the quaint, lakeside village of Sylvan Creek. But even Daphne doesn’t like arrogant, womanizing Steve Beamus, the controversial owner of Blue Ribbon K-9 Academy. When Steve turns up dead during a dog agility trial, Daphne can think of a long list of people with motives for homicide, and so can the police. Unfortunately, at the top of the list is Daphne’s sister, Piper—Steve’s latest wronged girlfriend.

Certain that Piper is innocent, in spite of mounting evidence to the contrary, Daphne sets out to clear her sister’s name—and find Axis, Steve’s prize-winning chocolate Labrador, who went missing the night of Steve’s death. Aided by Socrates, her taciturn basset hound, and a hyperactive one-eared Chihuahua named Artie, Daphne quickly runs afoul of Detective Jonathan Black, a handsome and enigmatic newcomer to town, who has no appreciation for Daphne’s unorthodox sleuthing.

Can a free-spirited pet sitter, armed only with a Ph.D. in Philosophy and her two incompatible dogs, find the real killer before she becomes the next victim?

343 pages, Paperback

First published February 28, 2017

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About the author

Bethany Blake

7 books597 followers
Bethany Blake lives in a small, quaint town in Pennsylvania with her husband and three daughters. When she's not writing or riding horses, she's wrangling a menagerie of furry family members that includes a nervous pit bull, a fearsome feline, a blind goldfish, and an attack cardinal named Robert. Like Daphne Templeton, the heroine of her Lucky Paws Mysteries, Bethany holds a Ph.D. and operates a pet sitting business called Barkley's Premium Pet Care.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 278 reviews
Profile Image for Chatting About Cozies.
1,165 reviews48 followers
February 7, 2017
A doggone good start to a new cozy series! Sisters, Daphne (a free-spirited pet sitter), and Piper (a veterinarian), live in the quaint, lakeside village of Sylvan Creek, PA, in a cozy farmhouse belonging to Piper. Daphne has a wise, meditative basset hound, aptly named Socrates, plus is fostering Artie, a feisty, teeny one-eared Chihuahua. After the suspicious death of a K9 trainer at the farm property; a handsome detective, one Jon Black, who's caught Daphne's interest, singles out Piper as his likeliest suspect. There are plenty of other notable frenemies, however, and Daphne and pals just have to narrow down motive, means, and opportunity. Great plot--To say the least, the killer reveal caught me by surprise.

A treat for animal lovers--a slow, easy, and entertaining way to wile away some downtime hours and relax. The characters are flawed and likeable, and I'll be looking forward to seeing them polished up and what's in store for them in future stories. There are also numerous laugh-out-loud moments throughout the book. Little Artie, the Chihuahua, has the larger dogs charmed and in the palms of his teeny tiny paws! LOL! Pet and people recipes included.

I voluntarily reviewed an advanced copy of this book.
Profile Image for LORI CASWELL.
2,417 reviews273 followers
March 17, 2017
Dollycas’s Thoughts

A Chocolate Lab names Axis, a Chihuahua named Artie, 3 huge rottweilers named Macduff, Iago and Hamlet and a Basset Hound named Socrates are all on a walk with pet sitter, Daphne Templeton and her sister Piper as the book starts out. Piper is a veterinarian and with the exception of her love life things are going well for her. Daphne lives with her rent free as she tries to get her new pet sitting business started. Piper’s ex Steve Beamus, is also part of this animal world in Sylvan Creek. He runs the Blue Ribbon K-9 Academy. They are all going to be together for a dog agility event at Piper’s farm. But when Steve is found dead in a unlikely place on Piper’s property, the event come to a barking halt and Piper is the first name on the list of prime suspects. Plus Steve’s dog Axis is missing. Daphne has no choice. She needs to find that dog and prove to Detective Jonathan Black that her sister had nothing to do with Steve’s murder. But she may be biting off a little more than she can chew.

As a dog lover I was in love with the canine characters well before the end of chapter one. Socrates belongs to Daphne and she is fostering little Artie in hope of finding this unusual little dog a forever home. The rottweilers belong to a very well to do client. Axis, the victims dog is missing throughout most of the story and I was as anxious as Daphne to know that he was safe.

In addition to the 4 legged characters the story is filled with an great and unique cast of human characters. In addition to the sisters and the deceased, we meet Detective Jonathan Black. He is new in town, easy on the eyes and really doesn’t think Piper is guilty. Daphne, if she is honest with herself, would like to get to know the man better. Virginia Lockhart, owns the rottweilers with her politician husband but I think she loves those dogs more than she loves him. Mr. Peachy lives in a cottage on the farm and is sort of like a grandfather figure to the girls and helps out around the farm. We also meet some Sylvan Creek merchants. All the characters are well fleshed out and believable.

The story starts out at a good clip. The murder happens in the early chapters. Then the pace slows down almost too much but does pick up again. I usually read a book in two evenings. The slower pace gave me a good stopping point the first night and then I quickly finished it up on night two.

The mystery itself had plenty of suspects and when we reached the big reveal it just knocked my socks off. I was absolutely, and totally surprised. The story also reached a happy place at the end for two of the doggies and that made the reader very happy.

These characters were very engaging so I am excited for their next story. The Lucky Paws Petsitting Mysteries are off to an excellent start!
February 21, 2017
I knew I had to request this book when I saw it on Netgalley because my Canine ADHD kicked in after seeing the basset hound on the cover. I'm glad I did because I found "Death by Chocolate Lab" to be a quick-paced cozy mystery and a strong start to a new series. Daphne is a pet sitter and since she has a Ph.D in philosophy, she doesn't quite see things as many around her would. She lives with her sister and kind of strikes me as a jack of all trades because although she pet sits, I don't think her life has a whole lot of focus. When her sister's ex Steve turns up dead and her sister Piper is the prime suspect, Daphne takes it upon herself to solve the mystery because she doesn't have faith that the new hot police detective in town, Detective Black, is looking in the right places.

I liked a lot of the characters in this book as well as the setting, and I believe both are crucial for a good cozy mystery. I found Daphne to be somewhat annoying at times because she is super presumptuous and makes a lot of hasty decisions and has to be bailed out tons. However, she grew on me at the book progressed and she didn't interfere with my overall reading enjoyment. I wasn't able to solve the mystery right away and there is a bunch of zany characters which I'm sure will make the future installments that much more fun to read.

Now a word about the dogs. Daphne basically ends up collecting strays and fostering homeless pets throughout the book. Her basset Socrates is a permanent fixture, and she spends the whole book trying to find someone to adopt Archie, a misshapened Chihuahua. At one point, she is also caring for 3 Rottweilers as well as the Chocolate Lab mentioned in the title. Socrates is quite an aloof animal and his name definitely fits him. He doesn't get shaken up or excited about too many things and he is a nice juxtaposition for Daphne.

I really enjoyed reading this and look forward to future installments. If you like animals in your cozy mystery series, than don't pass this one up.

I received this book from the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest opinion.

Profile Image for Janet.
2,166 reviews25 followers
April 8, 2017
I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Ok, this was cute, but honestly, the best thing about it were the dogs, especially Artie, who has the biggest personality. The first book in the Lucky Paws Petsitting series is a quick read, and Daphne Templeton is a pet lover who ends up investigating a murder. Since this didn't grab my attention, I may pass on the next book. Overall, I liked it though. Readers of cozies may like this if they're looking for something on the light side.
Profile Image for Lisa Ks Book Reviews.
843 reviews107 followers
February 28, 2017
A good start to a new series.

I very much enjoyed DEATH BY CHOCOLATE LAB during the first several chapters. It was a very quick read, (I love short chapters in a book), and I found myself flying through the pages, learning about protagonist Daphne Templeton, and her sister Piper, Daphne’s petsitting business Lucky Paws (thus the name of the series), and meeting canine characters, Socrates and Artie, as well as a few townsfolk.

As I mentioned above, during the first eight or so chapters, things moved rather swiftly, making it hard for me to put the book down. However, there were slow scenes further into the story that, honestly, if the chapters had been long ones, I would have found it hard to get through them. I know most authors have a word count that must be observed, (depending on the publisher), but there were parts of the book that would have been better if they had been trimmed back.

All that being said, I think author Bethany Blake can make the Lucky Paws Mysteries into a great series. She has created some likeable characters that I look forward to seeing grow as she continues to flesh them out, and her cast of pups already have a place in my heart. Blake is a good writer, and I very much want to read the next in the series when it releases.

If you are a lover of adorable dogs, I suggest you give DEATH BY CHOCOLATE LAB a try. If you do, be sure to check out the back of the book for recipes for dogs and humans (though some of the dog recipes sounded like something I’d eat), and read an excerpt for book two the Lucky Paws Petsitting Mysteries, DIAL MEOW FOR MURDER.
Profile Image for Megan W. (pnwbookworm).
737 reviews19 followers
February 24, 2017
I wanted to like this book. I really did. The problem was that hardly anything, from the plot points to the main character, was believable. When I read the majority of the time I am able to suspend disbelief and sink into the story. That was not the case here. I was constantly jerked out of the story by the thought “that doesn’t make any sense” which means I wasn’t able to enjoy this read at all.
The story is about a pet sitter named Daphne, who sets out to solve the murder of a local dog trainer when her sister is implicated in the murder. She has two adorable sidekicks, a basset hound and a Chihuahua whose antics make for some adorable moments. And of course there is the essential tall, dark and handsome detective with a past that hides some secrets. Sound a bit cliché to you? It did to me too.

*Mild spoilers ahead*

What I didn’t like about this book was that I just didn’t believe in Daphne as a character. For one thing I own a pet sitting business and she is a horrible example of the profession. She doesn’t keep a calendar, doesn’t advertise at all, doesn’t seem to have a website, and her cell phone doesn’t work, so how would clients even contact her? This drove me nuts throughout the entire book. She has a PhD in philosophy so she must have had the drive and intelligence to get that accomplished and yet she can’t manage to figure out the basics of running a business? Unlikely.

One of the key plot points that the author uses to move the plot along was that Daphne was extremely worried about a missing chocolate lab named Axis. So much so that she is willing to break into the dead mans house to look for him. The only problem is that Daphne only seems to care when its convenient to move the plot along. She doesn’t put up flyers or ask anyone who may have seen the dog. She doesn’t even search the property for him. Which make no sense for someone who is supposedly concerned.

The other main thing I took issue with was the detective himself. He is an ex-navy seal, good looking and intelligent. Yet he misses several clues which allow our leading lady to find them. He is observant when the plot calls for it but completely misses things when it doesn’t. He also allows Daphne to remove a piece of evidence from the victims house without stopping her. Again – unlikely.

While there were quite a few plot issues the writing itself wasn’t bad and the author shows promise. I think that in future books Daphne would make a much better fresh pet food maker than a pet sitter, especially since the author included recipes. I might consider checking out book two to see if the story gets any better.

Profile Image for Lisa Currier.
1,717 reviews49 followers
February 28, 2017
As a first in a new series, Death by Chocolate Lab was fantastic.
Daphne Templeton is a fun, down to earth character who will be loved by all readers.
Getting her business off the ground as a pet sitter is a bit of a struggle, but her companions make it worth it.
Artie is a Chihuahua who only has one ear, drools and wants to be the center of attention. Socrates is a basset hound who enjoys keeping a stiff upper lip.
These lovable canines live with Daphne and her sister Piper, a veterinarian who believes in doing the appropriate thing all the time.
When murder disrupts their lives, Daphne can't help but attempt to sniff out the bad guy.

I really enjoyed the book. It kept my attention from beginning until the end I was shocked when all was revealed.
This has the potential to become a favorite series with many cozy mystery fans.
I voluntarily read an ARC of this book provided by the publisher and NetGalley.
Profile Image for Terri Wino.
674 reviews60 followers
April 24, 2019
I had won the fourth book in this series in a giveaway and enjoyed it, so I decided to go back and read the series from the beginning. This was a fun "cozy" mystery with just enough red herrings to keep you wondering if you had the right character pegged as the culprit. The characters are likeable for the most part, and I love that the four-legged characters are included throughout the book.

My one complaint is how bumbling Daphne is portrayed a lot of the time. I get that she's a "free spirit," but I found it hard to swallow when she did some truly stupid things that could greatly affect a real police investigation. Hopefully, the remainder of the books portray her as a more responsible person who has a few Oh I shouldn't have done that moments instead of a bumbling fool.
Profile Image for Juli.
1,879 reviews474 followers
February 26, 2017
I am a sucker for both lab dogs and cozy mystery novels. When I saw the title to this book -- Death by Chocolate Lab -- I knew it was one I had to read. The cover is cute as well...featuring the aforesaid chocolate lab and a sad-faced basset hound.

For the most part I enjoyed this book. Let me talk about what I enjoyed first....then I will mention a couple things that bothered me.

Daphne Templeton is a professional pet sitter and dog walker. She lives with her sister Piper, a veterinarian. Also living with them is Daphne's basset hound, Socrates, and a foster dog, Artie the Chihuahua. Preparations are underway for a Dog Trial event at Piper's farm. But just minutes before the event is to start, the dead body of Piper's former boyfriend, Steve, is found bludgeoned to death and stuffed into one of the obstacles on the trial course. A newcomer to town, Detective Jonathan Black, questions Piper, who was seen arguing with the dead man the night before. Daphne begins doing a bit of investigation on her own both to protect her sister and to discover what happened to Steve's lab dog, Axis, who has disappeared. Daphne finds herself perplexed by all the questions raised by the murder. Who killed Steve? Where is his dog? And, why does the new detective in town have to be so sexy?

Artie the Chihuahua is by far my favorite character in this book. He's missing an ear and has a very pronounced overbite, making him look ridiculous. I own a very very old chihuahua named Grandma. She is a rescue as well....3.5 pounds, no teeth and very little fur. Because she has no teeth, her tongue hangs out much of the time. She's so ugly that she's cute. Just like Artie. One character in the book had to keep telling Artie not to lick him.....I busted out laughing each time, as everyone has to tell Grandma that as well. She loves everyone and thinks she needs to bounce from person to person licking them. I also loved how Daphne is doing her best to find Artie a wonderful furever home.

The characters are all basically likable and eccentric enough to be interesting. The mystery portion of the plot is engaging, and for the most part realistic and well-paced enough to keep me interested. At times, I felt that the story could have moved along a bit faster in the beginning, but I didn't mind the background details and build-up.

However, I do have to add that the pace seemed choppy. Not because of the writing style, but due to the overuse of chapter breaks. Each time something happened -- even just a interesting moment in a conversation -- there would be a new chapter. It broke up the action, rather than being useful for creating or heightening tension. Several times, chapters were only one page long. It made me feel annoyed....sort of like commercial breaks cutting into a thriller movie every time anything exciting is about to happen. Many, many times the chapter break was not necessary. A 350 page book does not need 76 chapters. I think the pace of the story would have felt faster and more exciting had the chapters been combined into a maximum of 25 or so. It is not necessary to start a new chapter every time a character says or does something interesting or relevant to the plot. Let the story flow....don't choke it off to change chapters every time it starts to get interesting.

I also had a difficult time liking the main character. Daphne has a Ph.D but works as a dog walker, living with her sister for free. At times she mooched money off of people for gas and even ate food off other people's plates at restaurants because she was broke. She constantly expressed annoyance at her mother who often lectured her about having an advanced degree but not using it and having no focus in her life. Ummmm.....a 30+ year old woman who has a doctorate but can't afford to put gas in her car?? I think she NEEDS a lecture or two! I just found her complete lack of drive and tendency to be a mooch on everyone around her to be annoying rather than endearing. If she had enough brains and drive to achieve a Ph.D, I think she would have enough intelligence and self-motivation to be able to have her own place to live and enough money to put gas in her van. A van that also continually broke down (or she ran out of gas because she was too scatter brained to remember to fill up the tank) causing her to constantly turn to friends and family for help with her vehicle. Really? What doctorate-holding, well-educated woman would act like that?? She also has no filter and just comes off as immature and absent-minded. Point blank -- I didn't like her. In real life, I would find her annoying and difficult to be around for more than five minutes. However, I found her love for her dogs to be a redeeming quality, and she did truly seem to care about her friends and family. But OMG there were several times I wanted to hop into the book and shake her! Not just about her ditsy behavior and lifestyle, but poor decisions she made while trying to "help'' the investigation. So annoying!

But....it takes a lot of different types of people (and book characters) to make the world go 'round. Daphne is annoying.....but in the end, she started to grow on me a little. And the dogs were wonderful! Plus, there are recipes included for both people and dogs! :) I liked the supporting characters.....Jonathan, Piper, Moxie and Dylan (who reminded me of Shaggy from Scooby Doo). The ending had a few surprises that rounded out the plot nicely. All in all, despite a few rough aspects, this is an enjoyable cozy mystery and a promising beginning to a new series. I will be reading book 2 to see if there is improvement and to find out what happens to all the lovely citizens of Sylvan Creek, PA.

Death by Chocolate Lab is Bethany Blake's first novel. The second book in the Lucky Paws Petsitting Mystery series, Dial Meow for Murder, will be published this fall. For more information on the author and her books, check out her website at http://www.bethanyblakeauthor.com/

**I voluntarily read an Advance Readers Copy of this book from Kensington via NetGalley. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.**

Profile Image for Dawn Frazier.
434 reviews29 followers
February 25, 2017
This is the first book in the new Petsitting series, Daphne and her sister Piper live in Sylvan Creek, PA. Daphne is starting her business as a petsitter, and Piper is a veterinarian, so any animal lover is bound to like this book. Daphne turns to investigating when she finds the body of Pipers ex boyfriend on their property, because Piper is the number one suspect.
Although the characters are very likable, I was little disappointed that the story seemed to revolve more around Piper than it did Daphne, I had hoped to hear more about the petsitting business, and more about Daphnes background, there were some interesting hints dropped throughout the story. Hopefully in book two! I received an advance copy of this book from the author, all opinions are mine.

Profile Image for Kirsti.
2,456 reviews82 followers
December 29, 2017
Isn't it odd? I read book two in this series earlier in the year, and while I liked it, I did have some issues. Going back and reading book one (it was a Christmas present!) and I really liked this one! The issues I had in book two haven't appeared yet, and I felt like this was a really strong start!

The chemistry between Daphne and Jonathan was strong here too, and I'm definitely team Jonathan. Dylan's nice and all...but eh. Plus this one had way more Petsitting and dogs, so that was definitely a plus.

A fun series, I'll have to read the third one. Five stars!
Profile Image for Carla.
5,945 reviews128 followers
July 3, 2018
Daphne and Piper Templeton are sisters who live together, but are opposites in nature. Piper is an organized veterinarian who owns a farm, Daphne has a doctorate in Philosophy and can't even keep gas in her vehicle. She lives rent free with her sister while trying to start up her Pet Sitting business. When the book opens we meet Socrates, the philosopher basset hound, Artie, the chihuahua that is so ugly he is cute and three huge rottweilers named Macduff, Iago and Hamlet all on a walk with Daphne. I was hooked right there. Then along comes Piper’s ex Steve Beamus, who runs the Blue Ribbon K-9 Academy, with his Chocolate Lab, Axis. Daphne does not like Steve and has no idea what Piper ever saw in him. They are all trying to prepare the animals and the farm for a dog agility event. When Steve is found dead inside a tunnel on the course, Piper is the main suspect in the eyes of the new Police Detective, Jonathan Black. Daphne tries to convince him that her sister had nothing to do with Steve’s murder, but when he does not instantly believe her, she sets off to investigate to prove she is innocent.

As a dog lover I picked up this book based on the title and cover. The dogs were the stars of this story. Socrates belongs to Daphne and she is fostering little Artie in hope of finding this unusual little dog a forever home. The rottweilers belong to a wealthy client. Axis, the victim's dog is missing throughout most of the story and Daphne was not only trying to find the murderer, but Axis as well. The human characters are a bit quirky. Of course there is Daphne, who seems to never have any money, constantly has issues with her vehicle, seems to not have any other clients and has a bit of a crush on Detective Jonathan Black. I was not sure if I liked her at first, but she grows on you. Jonathan is new in town, easy on the eyes and really doesn’t think Piper is guilty. He gets extremely frustrated with Daphne throughout the story. Mr. Peachy lives in a cottage on the farm and helps Piper with whatever she needs. He is like a grandfather figure to the girls. We also meet some of the other townspeople to round out the cast. All the characters are well developed, even though this is the first book in the series.

The story starts out quickly and with some humour. The murder happens in the early chapters and sets the stage. The middle begins to drag a bit, then picks up again. I did find the story a bit choppy, with short chapters. Some of the breaks could have been left out to help the flow. The murder had plenty of suspects as Steve was not all that well liked, and when the culprit was revealed, I was surprised. It made sense when the story wound up. Bethany Blake wrote a fun story with some interesting twists and characters. I enjoyed this book and am looking forward to the next one. The Lucky Paws Petsitting Mysteries are off to a good start.
Profile Image for Becky.
422 reviews1 follower
August 24, 2017
Really enjoyed this new cozy! Loved the characters and all the pets. Can't wait to read what happens next.
Profile Image for Shawna Shaheen.
324 reviews3 followers
August 11, 2021
In book 1 Dapnea is a permitted her sister Piper is a veterinarian and their mother is a house seller. Piper ex Steve got killed and his dog Axis is missing. Steve always had him with him.Steve was demanding of his dogs and Daphane could not stand him because of that. Jonathan the sheriff was trying to find the killer but Dapnea was getting in the way because she wanted to find the killer cause she knew her sister Piper did not kill him
Profile Image for Betty.
2,006 reviews52 followers
February 6, 2017
A delightful and funny cozy mystery featuring Daphne Templeton and her two dogs, Artie, a Chihuahua and Socrates, a basset hound. Daphne's temperament is laid back and is forever getting her trouble. Her sister, Piper's boyfriend Steve Beamus has been murdered and his chocolate lab, Axis is missing. Daphne decides to look for Axis and this allows her to look into the murder as Piper is the leading suspect. I like the interaction between Daphne and Homicide detective. Jonathan Black. Will Inspector Black arrive in time to save Daphne from certain death? You will enjoy the end. Included are recipes for dog treats. I highly recommend this book.

Disclosure: I received a free copy from Kensington Books through NetGalley for an honest review. I would like to thank them for this opportunity to read and review the book. The opinions expressed are my own.
Profile Image for Karen.
503 reviews54 followers
February 7, 2017
I read Death by Chocolate Lab, A Lucky Paws Pet-sitting Mystery by Bethany Blake yesterday. This is a first in series about an unlikely armature sleuth and over qualified pet sitter that dog lovers are sure to enjoy. I will be absolutely honest it took me a really long time to get into this book, though the first half is very slow moving I did enjoy the second half. I did not find the mystery in the book plausible but I did appreciate the back story for the detective.
Profile Image for QNPoohBear.
3,003 reviews1,481 followers
May 20, 2017
Pet Sitter Daphne Templeton enjoys living a vegetarian lifestyle with her dog Socrates, living rent free on her sister's farm and earning occasional money dog walking and pet sitting. She's currently hanging on to an awkward Chihuahua, Artie, who is need of a good home. When her sister's ex-boyfriend suddenly pops up in Piper and Daphne's lives again, Daphne thinks no good can come of it. Though Steve Beamus is a noted animal trainer, Daphne doesn't like his style. That doesn't mean she wants the man dead, of course, but that is exactly what happens during an agility meet at the farm. The police peg Piper as the #1 suspect and Daphne knows her sister is innocent. She sets out to investigate and clear her sister's name while trying to fight her interest in the handsome new police detective, Jonathan Black.

This is a really cute new series. I'm a sucker for any book that has cute dogs on the cover and this one proved to be a good one. I loved all the dogs in the story and the literary names of some of them. The setting isn't super important yet but the small town setting means Daphne knows all the locals or thinks she does. Some of them hide dark secrets. The murder mystery was great. I guessed some of the dark secrets but never figured out who the killer was until Daphne stumbled into danger. I especially liked that Daphne cooks for her dogs and included the recipes in the back.

I liked Daphne though she is rather ditzy and stupid at times. Like most cozy mystery heroines, she sticks her nose in where it doesn't belong to save a loved one. As is common in this genre, the heroine being a member of a tight knit community means she knows or discovers things the police don't know. I liked the references to famous literary sleuths Nancy Drew and Miss Marple. I also liked Daphne's chemistry with Jonathan. Why shouldn't she Google him? It's the 21st century, it's difficult to remain private when you have a job that gets you in the news. Yet Jonathan prefers to remain aloof and mysterious, to keep his private life private. He has secrets he doesn't want to share with Daphne yet and I understand why and they only just met so I get why he's so mysterious. I think Daphne gets under his skin and it will be a case of opposites attract. Her other sometimes boyfriend, Dylan, a hippie vegan, is a nice guy but a little too chill and unconcerned with reality. He has a slight possessive streak I don't really like. I can't stand Daphne's best friend Moxie. I hate nosy gossips. Moxie means well I suppose.

The murder victim Steve was an absolute rotten bastard but he didn't deserve to die. I don't really feel bad that he did but it's hard to know what he was really like without being inside his head. Did he feel remorse? Who killed him and why? Piper, Daphne's sister, is the opposite of Daphne except in her passion for animal welfare. Piper is more intense and driven than her sister but made a bad choice in boyfriend. I don't believe she is capable of murder, no matter how much Steve may have hurt her. Bryce is Daphne's choice for murderer. I agree with Jonathan's pronouncement about him. While I didn't like the young man, I did kind of feel sorry for him.

Virginia, owner of three Rottweilers, is high on my suspect list. She's a high powered attorney married to a politician with all the money and snobbery to go with it. I got the impression she doesn't like Daphne much. She's hard to know, really, and may not be that bad but I didn't like her or her politician husband. Giulia, a bakery owner, is also on my suspect list. She seems to act mysterious but her baked goods sound delicious. Some information comes to light that made me like her better. Christian is also high on my suspect list because he seems abusive. He could easily murder someone. A dark horse candidate for murderer is Tom, a philosophy bookstore owner, who has reason to hate Steve. While I felt awful for Tom, I agree with his wife. He needs professional help.

I can't wait for the next book in this series to be released! I will for sure be reading it.
Profile Image for Moondance.
1,023 reviews49 followers
May 5, 2019
Daphne Templeton owns a pet sitting/pet walking business in small town Sylvan Creek, Pennsylvania. Her sister Piper is the town veterinarian. Piper's ex-boyfriend, Steve, is found dead on the agility course which Piper was hosting. Piper becomes the prime suspect when the lead detective learns that she argued with Steve in the early hours of the morning of the event.

This is an excellent start to a series. I love the characters, the dogs and the town. All the characters come to life in the writing. You feel like you are among friends. The animals are perfect! Poor little chihuahua, Artie, breaks my heart. His description-serious overbite with crooked teeth, a weak chin and missing one ear-makes me want to adopt him. I love his immediate attachment to Detective Jonathan Black.

I love the intense feelings Daphne has for Piper and her need to clear her name. Her basset, Socrates, is a great foil for her. I like that she reads his facial expressions so well. I look forward to see where her relationship with Jonathan leads. Her love for animals is apparent in her quest to find Steve's dog, Axis, who has been missing since his death.

So many people hated Steve that it is difficult to pinpoint the killer. Each time I thought I had a lead it would be explained away. I had a few suspicions of the actual killer but could not find a motive. I was sad when the killer was revealed.

This book moved along quickly with lots of quirky characters and sweet dogs. I look forward to reading the next book.

Great recipes at the end. I plan to try them for the pups.

Profile Image for Yvonne Taylor.
387 reviews6 followers
August 3, 2017
Sylvan Creek, Pennsylvania is becoming one of my favorite towns to visit. The characters in this book are so much fun. I really love the banter between Daphne Templeton (owner of Lucky Paws Pet Sitting) and the new Detective in town Jonathan Black.
Daphne's sisters EX-boyfriend Steve Beamus ends up dead on her sister Piper's property it doesn't look good. Daphne must try and find the killer before her sister is charged with the murder. When she starts asking around it seems there no shortage of people who wish the worst for Steve....
Then, there is a second murder.
This book was a lot of fun, and it was extremely hard to put down!! I am very much looking forward to the next book in the Lucky Paws Petsitting Mystery Series!! I am hoping to catch up with all the folks in Sylvan Creek.
Profile Image for Jessica Wilhoite.
342 reviews16 followers
August 20, 2017
I really enjoyed this book, it was well written and I loved the fact that the chapters were so short. I actually was able to guess the who, but not the why - usually I get neither lol. Great book, Bethany Blake, can't wait to read the next one.
Profile Image for Stormi (StormReads).
1,791 reviews159 followers
February 17, 2017
Daphne is a pet sitter while her sister Piper is a vet, two extremes but they both have a love of animals. Daphne's mother would prefer her to have a more stable income like her sister, but she likes what she is doing.

Piper is hosting a dog competition but it comes to a halt when her ex-boyfriend is found dead in one of the tunnels. Steve was supposed to be setting up all the equipment and Piper was upset that he didn't have it done, but he had a good reason for not finishing.

The new detective has Piper as the main suspect when they find evidence on her property and she has argued with him. So Daphne has decided to try and help clear her sister's name and gets in the way of the new detective a few times. I don't blame him for wanting to thump her but he seemed to have more patience than me.

I thought this was a good start to a new series and I can't wait for the next one. Though Daphne's antics made me roll my eyes at times, I liked her. I have to admit that it was the little chihuahua with a bit of character that stole my heart and was my favorite character. I loved Detective Jonathan Black, I really thought he might thump Daphne towards the end and I wouldn't have blamed him cause she really did do a stupid thing...lol. I wasn't a fan of Daphne's on again off again laid back surfer boyfriend of sorts Dylan, she needs to dump him for Detective Black. :)

The mystery was pretty good, I had three potential suspects that I thought it might be though there were others it could have been and it ended up being one of my guesses.

Overall, I really enjoyed it.
Profile Image for Tari.
2,240 reviews71 followers
August 12, 2017
Daphne Templeton has a nice little business in Sylvan Creek, PA walking and sitting for dogs. Her own basset hound, Socrates, usually looks a little like he's being a philosopher. Daph is also keeping Artie, a one-eared Chihuahua rescue dog. Her favorite clients are McDuff, Hamlet and Iago, three Rottweilers who definitely show her more appreciation than their moody owner, Virginia Lockhart, wife of Senator Mitch Lockhart.

Daph has a nice life with her business and being able to stay at her sister's Winding Hill Farm. Her sister, Piper, is the town veterinarian, whose assistant, Dylan Taggart, would like to be more than just friends with Daphne. With all the commotion of setting up for dog agility trials at the farm, who knew that all this normalcy could be interrupted by the murder of egotistical dog trainer, Steve Beamus, who used to date Piper. Piper was seen arguing with Steve prior to his death so of course she is the prime suspect. Daphne feels she must do some quick investigating to keep her sister from being charged with the murder even though as she investigates, she turns up a decent amount of possible other suspects. Even though it's Piper that Daph wants to clear, Piper herself along with uber-handsome police detective Jonathan Black are highly discouraging Daph's interference with the case. We all know those warnings never work ;)

This was a well-written and fun, intriguing mystery that had just the right amount of twists and turns. Moxie, Daph's best friend and town hair stylist/gossip was one of my faves. She was just such a...character! I got a kick out of Daph and Piper's mom being such a real estate barracuda as she constantly tried to sell Detective Black a place to live.

I'm not a huge fan of having two possible future love interests for the protagonist, but I have a feeling something will eventually be resolved and I plan to keep reading the series to find out how things shake out between Daph and Dylan or Daph and Jonathan. I liked how Jonathan's background came out (even though it was an awkward moment for Daph) that he was definitely fond of dogs even though sometimes he was guarded about showing it. I do like Dylan but he seems more the laid-back sidekick type than boyfriend material, sort of like Shaggy on Scooby Doo. Needless to say I guess I am Team Daph+Jonathan but only the author knows for sure! ;)

There are some yummy looking recipes at the end of the book that you can make for your dogs. They're all the things that Daph made for the dogs in the book. Also, be sure and read the excerpt for the next book. I'm already excited for it to be published!
Profile Image for Patrizia.
1,480 reviews31 followers
March 10, 2017
Bel libro, che si legge con facilità, anche se ogni tanto avrei voluto dare uno scossone alla protagonista per metterle un po' di sale in zucca...
Mi piace molto la figura di Jonathan, il detective appena arrivato in città. E poi c'è la proprietaria del locale café che è italiana, di La Spezia, la città più vicina al paese natale di mia madre, per cui mi sono sentita a casa con lei.
La soluzione del giallo è stata un fulmine a ciel sereno, io avevo puntato in un'altra direzione, anche se devo ammettere che non aveva una spiegazione logica, solo la mia antipatia istintiva per il personaggio...
363 reviews2 followers
February 7, 2017
**I voluntarily reviewed this ARC**

Oh I loved this one! So much going on, and so many twists! Socrates and Artie were awesome sidekicks for Daphne, and the contrast between Daphne and Piper was interesting. The mystery was great, and I was seriously shocked by the murderer.
Profile Image for Emmalynn.
1,308 reviews14 followers
February 20, 2023
2.5-3 stars. Daphne is that relative who if she tells you she’s coming for a visit, you want to pack up and move because if she arrives she may never leave 😒😒. She’s in her late twenties/early thirties with a Ph.D in Philosophy,has a dog walking/sitting business that’s she’s pretty cavalier about, and pretty much lives of the charity of her older sister, a Vet.
When her sister’s ex boyfriend is murdered, Daphne believes it’s her responsibility to solve the crime and locate the victims missing chocolate lab who may be ill. Daphne has no real focus/purpose in her life, except we know she loves animals and her family. She’s been sorta/kinda dating the vet tech at her sister’s clinic but they don’t like to “label” things since they both don’t like commitment, except now the new detective in town is attracting her attention.

Daphne is annoying but has good intentions, the book is slow to medium paced and overall there are certain plot lines that were never closed so you’re left hanging at the conclusion of the mystery. The killer was a surprise, so I’m that I will say, the author did a very good job.
Profile Image for FangirlNation.
684 reviews133 followers
May 10, 2018
Daphne Templeton has a Ph.D. in philosophy and works as a pet sitter, living without rent with her veterinarian sister Piper in Death by Chocolate Lab by Bethany Blake. Piper once dated the arrogant Steve Beamus, who works as a dog trainer and has very few fans in their small town of Sylvan Creek. Piper has arranged for the local dog agility group to hold a competition at Winding Hill, the farm she owns, and the only one who owns the equipment is Steve, so late the night before the competition, Daphne observes Steve arrive with the materials and Piper greet him. Things start off cordially, but it doesn’t take long for Daphne to observe Piper storm off. Early the next morning, Piper is furious that Steve has disappeared without finishing setting up the equipment. As they get things organized at the last minute, Artie, the one-eared chihuahua Daphne rescued, goes into the tunnel and discovers the body of Steve.

Read the rest of this review and other fun, geeky articles at Fangirl Nation
554 reviews14 followers
August 25, 2017
I enjoyed this first in a series, it's off to a good start. Daphne is a pet sitter who lives with her sister. When she finds the dead body of her sister's ex boyfriend dead on her sister's property when setting up for an agility trial, the police look at her sister as suspect.
Daphne is described as a free spirit however I did find her immaturity a like not putting enough gas in her van (twice) a little annoying. Other than that she is likable enough, I did love her interaction with Detective Black he is a perfect accompaniment to her flightiness. The mystery was good and kept me guessing. I hope to see Daphne doing a little more of her job of pet sitting in upcoming books, I don't think that there was enough in this one. I will continue on with this series, it was a fun read, especially with a one eared Chihuahua with an overbite.
There is the added bonus of recipes for pet treats in the back.
Profile Image for Christine.
499 reviews32 followers
April 16, 2017
This is the first in a new series. Daphne is a pet sitter and lives with her sister Piper, who is a veterinarian. Piper's ex runs the K9 academy in town. All three are set to attend a dog agility event on Pipers farm. Piper's ex is found dead on the farm and the police immediately suspect Piper because of an argument they had the night before. Daphne investigates the murder to help Piper, butting heads with the lead detective.
This was a fun start to a new series. I am excited to see more of these characters. Will definitely read more in the series.
Profile Image for Kara.
717 reviews1,242 followers
December 11, 2019
“Death by Chocolate Lab (Lucky Paws Petsitting Mystery #1)” is another book that was played during a road trip adventure, so don’t expect this to be lesfic.

The narration was pretty good, but the heroine is dimwitted, there are lots of plot holes to the story and general stumbling around. 3* - meh
801 reviews9 followers
May 26, 2021
An interesting start to a Pet Sitter Series where Daphne lives with her sister and at this time is a pet sitter. The beginning was good, some interesting twists. The plot started off ok however I believe we are missing some pieces especially with the husband who's wife was murdered and the only thing he wanted was his wife's phone back that Daphne had taken to call the police when she found Veronica. There is an interesting interaction between her and Detective Black.
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