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Thursday, April 05, 2018

Atmospheric Cozy Entertains Without Making You Blush or Giving You Nightmares

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

With a decade of professional pastry-making experience and a shattered heart under her belt (apron?), Juliet "Jules" Capshaw is coming home to regroup.  Not sure where to go from here, she returns to the one place that has always nurtured her soul—her family's bakery.  Run by her mother, Torte is a warm, cozy shop where folks in Ashland, Oregon, can always find a welcoming smile, a listening ear, and delectable, homemade treats that fill more than just their empty stomachs.  Being inside its walls, baking alongside her mother, is already helping to heal Jules' hurts.

Although Jules is trying to keep her personal drama on the down low, Ashland's filled to the brim with theater types preparing for the annual Oregon Shakespeare Festival.  Needless to say, smoke from a nearby wildfire isn't the only thing tainting the air.  When Nancy Hudson—a wealthy snob who's made enemies all over town—is killed after a late-night meeting at Torte, the Capshaws are shocked and concerned, especially when it appears her murderer might be lurking a little too close to home.  While police interview suspects, Jules launches her own clandestine investigation.  In the midst of trying to catch a killer, she's also attempting to sort out the tangled feelings clogging up her heart and to convince her mother to spill the troubling secret she's obviously hiding.  If she was hoping to chillax, Jules has another think coming ...

After enjoying Death on Tap, the first installment in Ellie Alexander's newest cozy mystery series, I wanted to read more by the author.  Her Bakeshop Mysteries looked fun, so I grabbed Meet Your Baker from the library.  As with Death on Tap, my favorite part of this novel is its atmospheric setting.  Although I grew up in the PNW, I've never been to Ashland, which Alexander skillfully brings to life in Meet Your Baker.  I also loved Torte—I could feel the warmth of the place as well as that between Jules and her mother.  As far as the characters and the mystery at the book's center ... they're engaging enough, but nothing super special.  Still, I liked this cozy more than most, so I definitely plan to continue with the series (in fact, I have the next two books on hold at the library).  If you're looking for a light, entertaining mystery that won't make you blush or give you nightmares, be sure to give this one a go.   

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of Death on Tap by Ellie Alexander as well as other books in her Bakeshop Mystery series, including A Batter of Life and Death; On Thin Icing; Caught Bread Handed; Fudge and Jury; A Crime of Passion Fruit; Another One Bites the Crust; and Till Death Do Us Tart)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for brief, mild language (no F-bombs), violence, and mild innuendo

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find


  1. These have never been quite my cup of tea but books about food always tempt me.

    1. Mine neither, but I've been reading too many dark, depressing, gory mystery/thrillers lately -- I'm trying to read more uplifting books. As far as cozies go, there aren't many I actually like. Ellie Alexander's are good, though, and I like the PNW settings since I'm a PNW native.

  2. I've never read a cozy mystery. I wonder if I'd like them. I guess there's only one way to find out.

    1. Never? Well, some are definitely better than others. You might want to start with this author -- I feel like she's better than a lot of the others.

  3. I keep meaning to try this series. I've read one in her other series that she writes as Kate Dyer-Seeley - the adventure writer books. Thought the first was a lot of fun. She is really engaging in person. I asked her if she actually participated in those extreme sports and she said she tried all of them. Well, except for the last year when she had some injury and her teenage son took her place. Ha! I think you'd like that series too. Lots of info about the Portland/Columbia River setting.

    1. Thanks for the reminder! I scrolled through my Kindle books and realized I actually bought a copy of the first book in the series after you reviewed it on your blog. I'll get to it soon.


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