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?

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3 star, YA

Review: Namesake by Adrienne Young

Series: Fable #2

Welcome to a world made dangerous by the sea and by those who wish to profit from it. Where a young girl must find her place and her family while trying to survive in a world built for men.

With the Marigold ship free of her father, Fable and the rest of the crew were set to start over. That freedom is short-lived when Fable becomes a pawn in a notorious thug’s scheme. In order to get to her intended destination, she must help him to secure a partnership with Holland, a powerful gem trader who is more than she seems.

As Fable descends deeper into a world of betrayal and deception, she learns that the secrets her mother took to her grave are now putting the people Fable cares about in danger. If Fable is going to save them, then she must risk everything—including the boy she loves and the home she has finally found.



Another seafaring journey for Fable in this sequel to her titular book, Namesake starts off where the first one ended, carrying Fable farther away from her friends and newfound family into the unknown across the sea.

I didn’t have any particularly strong feelings for book 1 so I wasn’t sure what to expect for book 2. And what I found I enjoyed immensely more here was Fable’s individual journey away from the crew she had just joined. Alone and seeing a familiar face on the ship taking her captive, she didn’t know who to turn to for help or guidance except herself. Her strength came in her decisive actions, whether that be to observe and bide her time or to act with the risk of everything falling apart.

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3 star, adult

Review: The Language of the Flowers by K. Pigeon

After plunging into a lake, Lan wakes up in the body of a girl thousands of years in the future. Yet, she never forgot her promise to him.

Across space-time, “he” has the same appearance as “him”, but “he” is no longer human, and “he”… is no longer “him”.

They say love in this lifetime is a repaying of debt from the previous one.

When the rain falls and the meadows burgeon with blossoms blue as the sky, who still remembers the language of the flower, and who cannot let go?



Thanks to Asian bookish creators, I received a copy (with some special additional epilogues!) from the author in exchange for a honest review.

My overall impression is that I liked it. It was nothing mind-blowing, and there were a couple of things that I think I personally would have changed or made different. But overall it was a pretty good story, and I think I would commend the author on the world building, as I felt that was its greatest strength.

The romance itself was also acceptable. Perhaps the male lead was a tad too controlling and possessive for my liking, but nothing too egregious. As the story went on, I definitely cheered more and more for their relationship. That being said though, the timing and progression of their relationship felt weird. One moment they were at odds, and the next they couldn’t resist each other. It just felt a little bit sudden for my tastes.

The beginning was also a relatively slow start for me. Yes, building fantasy worlds take time, but the introduction of characters in this novel happens in a weird(?) way. The main character, Elizabeth (Lan), will meet a character, and then half-way as they talk, instead of using pronouns, the character will suddenly be replaced by a name (even though they never introduced themselves). This happens several times, so I imagine it is intentional, but it is a little bit strange, and I always wonder if suddenly a new character popped in or if I missed their introduction. Or maybe this is normal in some novels? It was strange for me.

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