3 star, adult

Review: Triple Chocolate Cheesecake Murder by Joanne Fluke

Hannah Swensen #27

Spring has sprung in Lake Eden, Minnesota, but Hannah Swensen doesn’t have time to stop and smell the roses–not with hot cross buns to make, treats to bake, and a sister to exonerate!

Hannah’s up to her ears with Easter orders rushing in at The Cookie Jar, plus a festive meal to prepare for a dinner party at her mother’s penthouse. But everything comes crashing to a halt when Hannah receives a panicked call from her sister Andrea–Mayor Richard Bascomb has been murdered…and Andrea is the prime suspect.

Even with his reputation for being a bully, Mayor Bascomb–or “Ricky Ticky,” as Hannah’s mother likes to call him–had been unusually testy in the days leading up to his death, leaving Hannah to wonder if he knew he was in danger. Meanwhile, folks with a motive for mayoral murder are popping up in Lake Eden. Was it a beleaguered colleague? A political rival? A jealous wife? Or a scorned mistress?

As orders pile up at The Cookie Jar–and children line up for Easter egg hunts–Hannah must spring into investigation mode and identify the real killer…before another murder happens!

This is a pretty generous 3 Drink Me Potions rating from me. I would say realistically it’s closer to a 2.5 for sure. That being said, these books are kind of a guilty pleasure for me. Not always the most quality, but definitely an easy and lighthearted read, full of recipes for distractions. So no matter the quality of the writing, I find myself picking up one of these novels once in a while just to satisfy (perhaps that younger) part of me.

I do have my qualms about this one. I recently read one of the author’s first books in the series, and I thought it was so much more well written. Now, I haven’t really read them in order nor have I done an in depth analysis to say whether this is a pattern or not, but I definitely enjoyed that other book (Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder) way more as a lighthearted murder mystery with the amateur detective trope.

This particular book had way too much filler (and seemingly way more recipes, though those I don’t mind), but that reduced the plot to have little essence. Comparing to what I was expecting coming off reading the other book, this one left a lot to be desired.

Triple Chocolate Cheesecake Murder follows the amateur detective but expert baker, Hannah Swensen, as she investigates yet another murder in her small town called Lake Eden. When the widely unpopular mayor is suddenly put out of commission, the list of suspects stretches on and on. How will Hannah be able to eliminate all the suspects in order to figure out the killer’s identity?

Continue reading “Review: Triple Chocolate Cheesecake Murder by Joanne Fluke”
top ten tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Books with Nature Covers

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Good morning everyone on this hopefully bright and lovely Tuesday! TTT is back and ready to show some love on gorgeous covers with nature themes on it. Maybe I just don’t read enough books with actual picturesque covers instead of designs, but I struggled more than I thought I would on this topic.

Hope you enjoy the selection I’ve picked out! If you have some wonderful covers you want to suggest that is fitting for the theme, let me know in the comments below! While I like to think I don’t judge a book by its cover, let’s be honest, it does help a little if it’s something absolutely gorgeous!

  1. The Great Pursuit by Wendy Higgins
  2. Dream On by Kerstin Gier
  3. You Have a Match by Emma Lord
  4. Ice Kissed by Amanda Hocking
  5. The Perfect Escape by Suzanne Park
  6. Maybe This Time by Kasie West
  7. Distant Echoes by Colleen Coble
  8. A Treason of Thorns by Laura E. Weymouth
  9. Lavender Morning by Jude Devereaux
  10. Darklight by Lesley Livingston

Clearly YA does not have as many simple scenic covers like I find for thrillers/mysteries or adult contemporaries. But I tried my best! Which cover of these do you like the most?

5 star, adult

Review: The Guest List by Lucy Foley


The bride ‧ The plus one ‧ The best man ‧ The wedding planner ‧ The bridesmaid ‧ The body

On an island off the coast of Ireland, guests gather to celebrate two people joining their lives together as one. The groom: handsome and charming, a rising television star. The bride: smart and ambitious, a magazine publisher. It’s a wedding for a magazine, or for a celebrity: the designer dress, the remote location, the luxe party favors, the boutique whiskey. The cell phone service may be spotty and the waves may be rough, but every detail has been expertly planned and will be expertly executed.

But perfection is for plans, and people are all too human. As the champagne is popped and the festivities begin, resentments and petty jealousies begin to mingle with the reminiscences and well wishes. The groomsmen begin the drinking game from their school days. The bridesmaid not-so-accidentally ruins her dress. The bride’s oldest (male) friend gives an uncomfortably caring toast.

And then someone turns up dead. Who didn’t wish the happy couple well? And perhaps more important, why? 

Truth be told, I think I would give this 4.75 Drink Me Potions if we had such a rating. There were just a couple of things that aren’t explained, and feel a little bit off. That being said though, why give it a 5 star instead of a 4.5 star rating? Because I think there really is something special about this book. Thrillers and mysteries tend to follow more similar formatting, or at least you generally know how they will play out. In this sense, they tend to be a bit predictable (even if the final twist(s) are unpredictable). It becomes hard for me to then give super high ratings, because would I ever read a thriller/mystery twice? What book would be that good? So the caveat on this rating: it’s kind of my own special rating for thrillers in particular.

The Guest List is a mystery thriller set on a private island in Ireland. The bride and groom are our typical “perfect” couples – Jules is an online magazine editor, and Will is a rising TV star. All too soon we realize that (of course) there is more than meets the eye, as all their special esteemed guests arrive onto the island for their wedding. Seems like everyone might have a reason for not wishing the happy new couple well – what will transpire when all these guests are gathered and effectively stuck on this island?

This book stars the classic multiple POVs – something I know many are not too fond of. I would say that it wasn’t too confusing, although of course, as it is with these kinds of perspectives, it is often slower starting as you get used to the characters. That being said though, the author does a great job of immediately pulling us in. We start right at the scene of the crime, and we slowly get flashbacks from the day before leading up to the climax. Normally this would be fairly confusing too, with all the time skipping – but all the events take place the day before the wedding and the day of the wedding, so it isn’t too hard to orient yourself.

The characters are all well developed and hashed out. Each of them has their good points and character strengths, and are all human by nature of their vices. Each character has enough suspicion and possibly motive for committing murder, so it becomes difficult to tell who might be responsible for the body found, and who might have the most motive for murdering someone. The author gracefully develops each character with just the right amount of suspicion, so that we as readers can believe any of the characters to be a murderer.

Continue reading “Review: The Guest List by Lucy Foley”