Posted in Book Reviews

Meltdown in Christmas River: A Christmas Cozy Mystery: Meg Muldoon

(Christmas River #10)
SYNOPSIS:How do you find a killer when everyone in town has a motive?
That’s the question pie-baker extraordinaire Cinnamon Peters and the rest of the cozy little mountain town of Christmas River are asking this December.
After Moira Stewart — the town’s worst gossip — is found dead of unnatural causes one snowy morning, rumors begin swirling like snowflakes in a blizzard about her unexpected demise.
But not everything is as it seems in Christmas River this holiday season. And in a town where everyone stands to gain from Moira’s death, Cinnamon and her husband Sheriff Brightman find themselves stumbling into dangerous and deadly territory.
Because this December, the weather outside is frightful…
And so is the murder.
MY THOUGHTS: I started this series quite some time ago. I read them all (1-9) and anxiously awaited #10. Initially, the book started off slow. Honestly, I almost walked away from it. I’m glad I stuck it out.
It definitely improved! This mystery surrounds a little known character in the town and, in addition, we get to learn a bit more about Cinnamon’s past. I was pleased with this as her past has been a mystery itself.

All the favorite supporting characters are back as is a healthy dose of Christmas cheer. Unlike some of the previous installments, the whodunit part of the story wasn’t obvious right away. It will take the reader a bit to piece it together. That’s always fun in a mystery. All in all, it was worth the wait and is a 4 star book.

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Posted in Book Reviews

Maple Frosted Murder: Susan Gillard

‘A Donut Hole Cozy Mystery Book 2’

Heather Janke, owner of Donut Delights, tries to be a positive member of her community. Regardless, every town has that one person who is just miserable all the time. Stan Dombrowski is that type of person. Envious of Heather’s success and perfect donuts, Stan, who owns a donut franchise, tries to make her life miserable at every turn.

Evidently, he had that effect on a lot of people. While sad, it isn’t a shock when Stan’s corpse is found in his freezer. Of course, Heather was the last person he’d had public contact with so she’s back on the suspect list. Detective Shepherd knows how determined Heather is so the 2 of them join forces to find out who put Stan on ice- literally.

‘Maple Frosted’ is an absolute redemption for this series. While Susan Gillard had all the makings of a hit series, editing woes & minimal character development held it back in the first book. Those items have been remedied. The plot flowed nicely and Heather’s lenient take on the legal system is better explained.

We get to see her in more of a heroine’s role and the supporting characters play a more substantial role as well. While it isn’t billed as a Christmas mystery, the holiday is mentioned in the form of her White Christmas Donut. My only question was to the title. Being that her Ice Cream Sundae Donut was mentioned more than any other, I don’t understand the ‘Maple Frosted’ title. Regardless of its name, Susan Gillard has written a 4 star sequel.

Posted in Book Reviews

Strawberry Cream Murder: Susan Gillard

‘A Donut Hole Cozy Mystery’ Book 1

Heather Janke is the owner/operator of ‘Donut Delights’, a gourmet donut shop. She’s had some ups & downs recently. The biggest downer was having her assistant steal her family donut recipes and then open her own shop. As mad as this made Heather, she wasn’t mad enough to kill her ex-employee. However, someone else was.

An unexpected visit from hunky Detective Shepherd reveals that Christa Fordyce was found, dead in her own shop. The only clue seems to be a partial eaten cream donut next to her body. Christa wasn’t well liked, but Heather still feels compelled to find out the truth. Being that they were now competitors and enemies, she’s at the top of the police suspect pool. Heather won’t take it lying down and jumps headfirst into solving the crime herself.

I’m enjoying the ‘Donut Hole’ series. This first outing, though it is a great cozy mystery, is wrought with errors. Editors were definitely not on their A-game for Susan Gillard. However, these errors have no baring on the quality of the material.

The plot is in keeping with the culinary theme most cozies use. However, the murder & characters are a fresh take on this tradition. Heather works well as a main character and is more believable as a flawed, late-sleeping bakery owner. I will definitely be continuing on & am pleased to see it is a multi-installment series. It’s 3 stars from me.

Posted in Book Reviews

The Mud Pie Muderess: Stacey Alabaster

Rachel has been running herself ragged trying to make her bakery a success. Usually, her best friend, Pippa, is by her side. But, Pippa is sidelined with an illness. Having to hire and train a new employee to cover her sick friend is stressful for Rachel. However, things are about to get a bit worse.
Olive Styles is embroiled in a close mayoral race. She & some companions pop into Rachel’s bakery for a snack. Wanting to impress the candidate, Chloe, the new girl, serves Olivia a Mud Pie. Soon after, Olive collapses, dead. The mudpie couldn’t be to blame, could it?
Once again, our baker extraordinaire is caught up in a who-dunnit. Politics is often a nasty business and Rachel learns how many enemies Olive appeared to have. From her competitor in the mayoral race to her own daughter, Olive had some issues. With a death happening in her own store, it becomes a personal mission for Rachel. This is one murder she has to solve.
‘Mudpie’ is another super addition to the series. Even though she’s not well, our dynamic duo of Rachel & Pippa, work together to crack the case. This book has a few twists & turns that readers may not see coming which is always a huge plus in a mystery.
Stacey Alabaster does a fantastic job continuing to develop her main characters while still supplying readers with a quality, cozy mystery. As usual, she delivers a 4 star book.
Posted in Book Reviews

Rest, Relaxation, & Murder: Stacey Alabaster

Hardworking bakery duo Rachel & Pippa have decided to take some time off. Leaving Pippa’s new husband, Marcello, behind, they head off for a week of R & R. ‘Paradise Retreat’ promises sand, trees, and fun. With these two involved, though, the vacation is bound to be quiet.

Soon after their arrival, they become aware that the retreat’s chef is missing. Things don’t improve when she’s found- dead. Now the retreat’s residents are a resort full of suspects. Far from home and with only each other to depend on, Pippa & Rachel need to stay safe. Never one to stay out of the fray, Rachel takes it upon herself to solve the crime.

‘Rest’ is a fun story with Rachel & Pippa doing what they do best. Their antics never get old & trouble finds them wherever they roam. In this installment, they are reminiscent of Laverne & Shirley as they scope the scene. It has a lot of humor & a pretty decent mystery, too.

I remain a solid fan of the series and this installment reminds me of why I keep reading. It’s a four star cozy mystery.