Pastry chef Tess Crawford thought moving from Chicago to quiet Silver Springs, Arizona would simplify her life. That was before she found the body of a woman with whom she had traded heated words the previous night, left her fingerprints on the murder weapon, and came under attack for trying to clear her name. When her cheating ex-fiance shows up, intent on convincing her to come back to work for him, Tess - armed with an extra batch of eclairs - decides to take control and solve the mystery herself, with the help of friends and frenemies alike. But will that be enough to save her when she gets too close and the killer decides it's safer to get her out of the way?
©2012 Heather Justesen (P)2013 Heather Justesen
It was her cheating Fiancé, Bronson, who drove her from her job as a fashionable and sought after high flying pastry chef. Her talents, which had so recently earned her the big city prices, were now employed in attempting to start her own small town business.
Tess was busy turning her Grandmas old restaurant into an upmarket cake shop. Meanwhile, she was catering a wedding rehearsal meal. This is where it all begins.....
At the wedding venue Tess is lovingly arranging her award winning rocky road brownies, these she had baked at the special request of the bride to be. Along comes the brides' Matron of Honour, the glamorous Valerie who wastes no time in telling Tess that she had advised the bride to employ another fashionable pastry chef, Roscoe Marks. Valerie disparages the brownies saying Roscoe could bake rings around Tess. Not feeling too well disposed towards the vile Valerie, Tess keeps her remarks in check.
The next day, the day of the wedding, Tess is assembling the wedding cake when she discovers Valeries' body underneath the table.
For some reason, Tess feels she is the main suspect and fears imminent arrest, this drives her to decide that she, like all the best cozy mystery heroines, must solve this murder herself.
This first part of the story is quite slow, a little dull and a little predictable, however, the story soon gathers some momentum and interest is garnered.
Pompous Bronson arrives in town, he'd hoped to persuade Tess to return with him, he tells her she is obligated to complete the cakes that were ordered prior to her departure. He also wants her back swearing the other woman meant nothing. Meanwhile, Tess seems to be stirring up the interest of other eligible males, but she is just so busy!
There's a little romance, there's jealousy, suspicion, treachery and violence, and yes, there's mystery. All this and throw in a little violence, it makes for a story that does hold ones interest, and, for me at least, holds a couple of surprises.
Of course, this review would be incomplete without mentioning the recipes. I don't much care for recipes in an audiobook, I find they interrupt the smooth flow of the story and would be better if left to a section at the end of the recording. Also, the way a recipe is written, sans prepositions, makes them a cumbersome read. I admire the narrator who can read what sounds like pidgin English, aloud, and with all due seriousness: "two teaspoon cinnamon; one cup sugar", I'm afraid I would be able to resist chucking in an "of"!
This book is whispersync ready, so, if you really like the recipes, get the book for reference.
To summarise, I found this a slow starter, but it did rev up the interest levels enough to keep me listening to an enjoyable story.
Pamela Almand is a very good narrator, in no time at all I was recognising all the characters, all of whom were portrayed well. She has a pleasant voice which is easy on the ear, both tempo and rythymn of speech were perfect. I liked the way that in the early part of the story, she perfectly captured the slight condescension in Tess', speaking manner, portraying Tess as one who had yet to come to terms with the loss of the social status she had once enjoyed as a super star chef.
This book was gifted to me in return for this, my honest opinion
I am open to reviewing quality products.
I really enjoy cozy mysteries, the cooking genre is a touch different than my norm. There were things I really liked and things I was not so keen on.
I generally liked the lead character Tess, she is spunky and upbeat and way to curious for her own good! Perfect for a cozy mystery. She is mostly joined by her BFF Honey, another sassy gal! I loved this pairing because it really helped give a sounding board for the progress of the case.
The overall mystery was intriguing, some parts were super obvious but it did surprise me in the end. I really thought I knew who the murderer was, turns out I was way off base! I really enjoyed the end, unfortunately it took a stretch to get past the beginning. The whole premise of why Tess thought she would be a suspect was beyond unreal. She met the chick for like five minutes and exchanged a handful of sentences. Whatever, it was silly but not so far as to turn me off the book.
Terrific supporting cast. I count at least three romantic prospects in the mix. Definitely things to watch in the future of the series. Loved her friends Honey and Lenny, always great to have a hacker on hand! Sean is a delicious player and Jack has hunky Alpha written all over him! I also enjoyed the interactions with the detective.
I listened to the audiobooks narrated by Pamela Almand, who is terrific. She has a great pace in the read that really keeps the story moving. There is the perfect touch of sass in her voice to really compliments the lead character and feel of the story. The other voices were consistent throughout the read. The men could have been a touch deeper, but were distinct and easy to discern who was speaking. I adore the energy she adds to the read!
The other thing that was a touch disconcerting were the recipes throughout the book. I would have liked it better if they all lined up with chapter/section breaks. I do not cook and was not so into them, it would have been nice to skip that option. I also thought the addition of the recipes meant the story need not have to contain as many cooking details when the character was having conversations. I distracted from the important details in my opinion.
Overall, I enjoyed this book. It took time to get past the issues in the beginning of the book. Thankfully things even out and the story becomes more real. I am eager to see where the series is headed and what is in store next for plucky Tess!
Disclosure - I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts, opinions and ratings are my own.
I would recommend this book to a friend. It is a "fun listen."
I wouldn't change anything so far. Can't wait to see where it leads.
Terrific narration. Perfect voice for the subject.
I like the blond from Drop Dead Diva for Tess,
I am looking forward to listening to more in the series. I have already downloaded the second book.
I almost gave up on this book. It began slow and did not catch my interest. However, I like books that include recipes so I persevered. I'm glad I did. The recipes sounded good and the book was enjoyable.
What a great story! It had action, adventure, mystery, humor, danger & even recipes! This book is fully loaded! I especially liked the recipes. The recipes made me imagine the cake, brownies & other goodies like I could taste them!
A wonderful adventure thru a wedding, a murder and even more danger. I loved the plot. This story had so many twists and turns in it, always had me guessing who could be the murderer. The narrator was fantastic! What an awesome voice!!!
The ending & whodunit? Well, I didn't see that coming! I love how the author wrote this story with so much heart & humor too! Poor Delilah, she sure got tossed around. Honey & Tess were great! Tess is my favorite character of all. Tess is witty & adventurous and can cook too! Well done & Kudos to both the author & the narrator.
I really enjoyed when Tess put her ex fiance in his place ... he deserved it! I also liked the relationship that she has with Honey. I would love a friend like her.
Ms. Almand's smooth, rich voice brings out the nuances in both male and female characters. I really enjoy listening to her read me a story.
I liked this book. I felt the relationships between the characters were real and that they mystery was solid. I figured out some things but others were a surprise. I can't wait to listen to the next book in this series. I would recommend this to my friends looking for a cozy little mystery.
I received this story in exchange for an honest review.
As with any mystery I spent the entire story figuring out "who dun it" just to have the character I was sure did it cleared. I didnt figure it out until the reveal. The narrators voice was a little annoying, it sounded like she was smiling through the whole book.
Cute, enjoyable and a good book.
Honey because she has a cute daughter and is a good support to the main character!
No, I have listened over a week or so--walking, driving, etc.
Please save the recipes until the end of the book. I don't like the story broken up.
Fun summer read
Lots of fun characters and an unexpected twist at the end that I didn't expect!
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