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Thursday, October 20, 2011

What Could Be Better Than Delicious Fall Recipes From an Improving Culinary Mystery Series? How 'bout an iPad2?

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

(Note: While this review will not contain spoilers for Pumpkin Roll, it may inadvertently reveal plot surprises from earlier novels in the Sadie Hoffmiller series. As always, I recommend reading books in a series in order.)

Life in her small Colorado town has gotten a little uncomfortable for amateur sleuth, Sadie Hoffmiller. Her involvement in five different murder cases over the last year has earned her a reputation as a "murder magnet." She's proud of her detective skills, has even opened Hoffmiller Investigations to make it all legal, but still, she can't help but notice the suspicious looks she's been getting from longtime friends and neighbors.

Getting out of town seems like a good idea, especially when handsome Pete Cunningham needs her help to watch his three young grandsons while their parents house hunt in Texas. Being in the Boston area during Halloween time is lovely, albeit a little spooky. Maybe it's the nearness of Salem that's giving her the creeps or maybe it's the boys' colorful neighbors or maybe it's something more ... sinister. Sadie does not believe in ghosts, but when strange things start happening at the family's house in suburban Jamaica Plain, there are few logical ways to explain them. With lightbulbs exploding, doors slamming shut, lights flickering on and off, and obvious signs that someone's sneaking into the house while Pete and Sadie aren't home, all of them are on edge. Ghosts or not, Sadie's determined to solve the mystery. But the more she involves herself in the strange goings-on in the neighborhood, the more dangerous it's becoming. When a woman ends up dead, Sadie knows the weird things that have been happening are no joke and that the killer's becoming increasingly violent. If she doesn't solve the mystery - and fast - she could be the next victim.

You may not have noticed, but I broke one of my cardinal reading rules with Pumpkin Roll by Josi S. Kilpack. Normally, I'm too anal to read books in a series out of order; due to time constraints, though, I had to finish this one (number 6), before reading numbers 3 - 5. So, I did. Shocking, I know. The books actually stand alone quite well, though, so I only ruined a few plot surprises for myself. Regardless, I found that I liked this new installment much better than I liked the first two books in the series. Why? Because it's a little different, a little more complex. I still don't love Sadie's character and I definitely think the books in this series could be trimmed down by at least 100 pages each, but Pumpkin Roll engaged me more than others in the series have. I'm not saying the book's not predictable - it is - or that the characters couldn't use some major development - they can - I'm just liking the improvements I'm seeing as this series goes on. Oh, and did I mention the Fall recipes included in this one? Um, yum. Even if the book isn't quite perfection, the recipes just may be.

P.S. I really should mention that you can find all the recipes included in Kilpack's books on her website. While you're over there, be sure to check out her giveaway for an iPad2. There are multiple ways to enter, including commenting on this review. Good luck!

(Readalikes: Lemon Tart, English Trifle, and other books in the Sadie Hoffmiller series by Josi S. Kilpack; also Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder, Strawberry Shortcake Murder, Blueberry Muffin Murder, Lemon Meringue Pie Murder, and other books in the Hannah Swensen series by Joanne Fluke)

Grade: C

If this were a movie, it would be rated: PG for some violence

To the FTC, with love: I received a finished copy of Pumpkin Roll from the generous folks at Pump Up Your Book Promotion (for whom this review was written) and Shadow Mountain (a division of Deseret Book).


  1. You know I've read all the books in the Hannah swensen series, and while I can't say I love them... I keep reading just to see if Hannah will ever come to her senses romantically. Plus there are some good recipes.

    What do you think of this Josi Kilpatrick series versus Fluke's? Have you tried any of the recipes?

  2. I just finished her first Lemon Tart and found my review to be quite similar to the one you wrote. I'm happy to hear that the series is improving, mainly because I really want to be supportive of the kind of writing that this Kilpack does--clean and cozy.


  3. Tara - You know I'm not hugely impressed with the Hannah Swensen series either, but I actually like it more than this one. Kilpack's books are way longer than they need to be, so I get bored with them, whereas Fluke's are much quicker reads. I don't read cozies very often and when I do I want them to move quickly.

    So far, I've liked Fluke's recipes better, too, although I haven't tried many from either series. I'm going to try the Whoopie Pies from PUMPKIN ROLL later today, so we'll see how that goes :)

    Oh, and by the way, did you see that the Lake Eden cookbook just came out? I should get my copy today. So excited!

    Jenny - My thoughts exactly!

  4. I have to admit that the most appealing things about these books are the covers. Drool inducing, for certain. (Mainly that's cause I don't usually read cozy mysteries, though :)

  5. This is my favorite book of the series! Love love Josi's books.

  6. Looking forward to trying some new recipes. I love this series.

  7. Love the recipes, books and contest. Thanks so much

  8. I've enjoyed many of Josi's books. Haven't read all her Sadie ones yet, but I look forward to reading this one.

  9. Such a fun series, and a great contest.

  10. I've read all the books in this series and think Pumpkin Roll is my favorite so far. I am totally with you on reading a series in order - my family makes fun of me for it, but I just can't do it any other way.

  11. I have loved all of these books. I love Sadie and she has some awesome recipes!

  12. I love the New Englad setting and fall recipes in this one!

  13. I haven't read this one yet, but can't wait, because I love all of Josi's books. And I am excited about this contest!!

  14. I haven't read any cuisine/mystery books so not sure about Fluke or Kilpatrick but the cover on Pumpkin Roll sure looks delish!!!

    Thank you for participating in this blog hop.

    books4me67 at

  15. They say you aren't supposed to judge a book by its cover...but the covers look so good!

  16. I love Josi's books and know this one will be fantastic too! Thanks for doing the giveaway:)

    bchild5 at aol dot com

  17. I love, love, love Josi Kilpack. Can't wait to read pumpkin roll. LG

  18. Can't wait to read it. I'm reading all of the other Sadie books in anticipation.

  19. I became hooked on Sadie's quirky character from book one. She reminds me of a couple busybody's I know and it makes me laugh to read her thought processes and antics. (probably because they are so opposite of mine, that it's indulging to dive into such a different person's head)

  20. This book rocks and the recipes are so easy and delicious!!!

  21. I have never read any of these books, so I think that I will have to start reading them in order. But I hope I win anyway!

  22. i love these books and cant wait for the next one to come out!

  23. Sounds like such a good read.

  24. I love the Sadie books. I've tried most of the recipes. We love the chicken marsala, but I don't remember which book it came from. The books are quick, easy reads which are great after a long day of work.

  25. Looking forward to Banana Split. Thanks for the contest

  26. Such an appetizing read!I highly recommended the whole series! Let the cover draw you in, stay for a great story!

  27. Love Josi's series. Pumpkin Roll was great!!! Can't wait for the next one. :)

  28. love this series and pumpkin roll was my favorite- it did not disappoint! thanks josi!


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