Samantha Sweet breaks into houses for a living - all perfectly legal as a caretaker for the USDA. But her real dream is to open her own pastry shop, 'Sweet's Sweets.' Life is a little crazy for Sam right now.
At one of her break-in properties, a dying woman insists that she take a small wooden box. Sam doesn't realize that the old woman was known locally as a 'bruja,' a witch, until she begins to feel some strange effects from the box. Meanwhile, at another property, she finds an unmarked grave and the authorities come to investigate. The property owner disappeared a few months earlier and Sam wonders - who is the body in the grave? A small mural in the house leads to a connection with a famous artist; a bogus will points to possible fraud; and the handsome deputy investigating the case seems completely enchanted with Sam. While Sam scrambles to fill bakery orders and keep her properties in order, she's equally intrigued with the idea of a new romance. It all makes for a delightful romantic mystery with elements of the paranormal.
©2010 Connie Shelton (P)2013 Books in Motion
I like Fantasy & Science Fiction but not into Zombie. Due to Health issues, listen to Audiobooks/read ebooks where I can enlarge the print
Connie Shelton's Samantha Sweet Series features a forgetful, part-time caretaker of foreclosed properties for the USDA and single parent with dreams of owning her own bakery shop, who currently runs her dream bakery business part time from home.
Whilst entering a property the USD thought to be vacated in order to clean it and make it ready for resale, Sam found a dying woman who insists that she take a small wooden box, that changes her life . . . in somewhat weird ways.
Sam is different from the normal fantasy heroine in that she is in her 50's, but she appears to have the energy and outlook of a much younger woman, for example most people in their 50's are not still dreaming of opening their own business where they will be working long hours at least 6 days a week on top of every thing else . . .
Sam still fits the fantasy heroine mold however, in as much as she refuses to believe in the magic of the Box and its . . . . ( well you have to read the book to find out - sorry but I try to keep spoilers to a minimum)
In the first book Sam finds two bodies in two new properties she is given to care take in one day and meets Deputy Beau Cardwell who she slowly becomes close to.
Sam appears to be unable to stop herself from being caught up in the investigations. Some parts of the mysteries uncovered in the investigations and who the possible real villains are, where not that hard to figure out, but then again the whole series seems to be overall a light, relaxing read (if one ignores the murders).
Admittedly I have only listened to two books to date and have just downloaded the third.
The characters are well rounded & developed, bad language, violence and sexual content references, are few or hinted at rather than reveled in.
The baking descriptions seem to get more than it's fair share of space as does chocolate, which the author admits to loving. But it does not take too much away from the flow of the book.
The plots however seem to rely heavily on Sam's forgetting things until prompted or suddenly remembering later . . . a plot device overused I feel in both books so far. But this is not a book or story killer for me and some may not even agree or see it as an issue.
Sam treads where angles fear to tread in her "investigations". Often confronting suspects and prominent people, and at times it becomes unreal and once even jarred me from the story. Again this is me and my impressions and i have not read any other review that makes an issue of this. I have after all purchased Book 3 so it did not kill this series for me
In one instance Sam gets upset when she is herself is threatened with eviction by someone close to one of the suspects because of her "investigations". Sam is saved by her neighbours who rally to her side. Whilst its was a nice touch with the neighbours. In real life if they went ahead with their "retaliation", they would find that contracts etc would be the least of their worries in the real world and relocation would not be cheap or easy . . . but that's why this fiction I guess.
The Narration is good and I would recommend this series (at least to date) to any who like a touch of paranormal in their reads.
Connie Shelton has created a very well developed, likable, characters in Sam Sweet, and her friends. I look forward to reading more of this series.
Retired CFO, Army wife, Mom of five, Grandma of six, two sons who served in combat, love to read books that reflect my values and faith, love mysteries, historical, military stories, and books that don't waste my time . . . if it doesn't have an ending that was worth the wait, I'm not a happy camper.
I didn't expect to enjoy this one quite so much! But I connected with Samantha right away . . . down to earth, no frills, no pretense . . . and gutsy! And not as skinny as a toothpick to boot! Cleaning repossessed houses and baking, she runs onto a dead artist in one of the homes she has come to reclaim . . . and the authorities want to tie it up with a bow as "natural causes" . . . but Sam is pretty sure that something diabolical happened here . . . This is a clean, entertaining listen . . .
Shelton, no. Bates, yes. This book attempts to cross genres, and, in my opinion, fails. I might recommend it to a friend who enjoys, say, Harlequin romances. (Even there, I'm not sure -- the elements of romance and the paranormal were implausible, and superficially rendered.) I'd never recommend it to friends who enjoy mysteries or mainstream novels.
This mystery was pretty good and the characters were fun. The narrator was good with the exception of her Spanish. She needs to take a basic course on pronunciation. If you are not a Spanish speaker it will probably not bother you.
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