Rosie’s Travelling Tea Shop

Rosie’s Travelling Tea Shop by Rebecca Raisin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Rosie’s Travelling Tea Shop” by Rebecca Raisin is a lovely, light read. When you have just discovered that you have a husband who is a cheat, what a wonderful way to start life over by going travelling in a camper-van. I thought it was great that Rosie made herself some new friends along the way, as well as earning some money at music and food festivals.

I delighted in this quirky, fun story. There were many laugh-out-loud moments and it was wonderful getting to meet all of the characters, although I did not particularly have a favourite.

I especially loved the idea of owning a pink camper-van like Rosie’s, and a fuchsia pink one at that – so unique and off-the-wall. Also worth a mention are some of the references to delicious culinary delights such as the spotted dick, and the Turkish delight butter-cream cupcakes or some of the more suspect ones like the wheat-grass smoothie or the Dijon tofu.

This fantastic book has left me keen to go touring and travelling and I strongly recommend giving this wonderfully uplifting romantic story a whirl!

{Thank you to #NetGalley and HQ Digital for the free copy of #RosiesTravellingTeaShop and for giving me the opportunity to provide an honest review.}

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Restaurant Weeks Are Murder (A Poppy McAllister Mystery #3)

Restaurant Weeks Are Murder by Libby Klein

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Restaurant Weeks Are Murder” is Libby Klein’s very enjoyable third novel, chock full of madness and mayhem in the ‘Poppy McAllister Mystery’ series. The first book is ‘Class Reunions Are Murder,’ followed by book two which is ‘Midnight Snacks Are Murder.’

I haven’t read these other books in this series yet, however, I don’t think that this spoilt my enjoyment of this novel. That said, there is nothing more exciting than picking up a book which is the first in a new series.

Poppy McAllister is opening a new Bed & Breakfast in Cape May, New Jersey, but working in a professional kitchen has always been her passion. Now she’s realising her dream, at least briefly, as she is teaming up with her former fiancée, Tim and his partner, Gigi, during a high-profile Restaurant Week challenge. Poppy’s speciality is pastries and if anyone can make glorious gluten-free goodies, it’s Poppy.

As it might be expected, things start to go badly wrong very quickly, especially when some ingredients get switched and Tim is accused of sabotage. Relatively harmless pranks soon escalate into real hazards, including an exploding deep fat fryer. Then one of the judges dies after taking a bite of Poppy’s limoncello cannoli, making her one of the prime suspects . . .

Forty-odd-year-old, pastry chef, Poppy, the protagonist, lives with her elderly Aunt Ginny and Figaro, her mischievous cat. I found Poppy and many of the other characters very funny and likeable, so much so that I felt as though I would like to spend some time in their company myself! As someone who has read several cozies, Poppy’s Aunt Ginny has become one of my favourite cozy characters. She provided plenty of humour in this book from her choice of outlandish outfits to her zaniness and zest for life. I couldn’t help but adore her and look forward to her mischievous antics.

I liked that the opening chapters drew me into the story and captured my attention immediately. Although I had to wait a while before an actual murder took place, there was never a dull moment with such a lot going on. The mystery itself was well thought out with plenty of twists and turns as I puzzled over the clues to discover the perpetrator.

The book had a natural, steady pace, and even though the murder occurred towards the end of the first half of the book I was kept guessing until the surprising reveal. Delightful and entertaining “Restaurant Weeks Are Murder” is a highly recommended, quick, light read for all cozy mystery fans.

{Thank you to #NetGalley and Kensington Books for the free copy of this novel and for giving me the opportunity to provide an honest review.}

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Pie Hard (Pie Town Mystery #3)

Pie Hard by Kirsten Weiss

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have come to adore cozy novels in recent months, so I jumped at the chance to read this delightful little mystery. What could be a better setting than a beautiful, picturesque little town in coastal California with a gorgeous pie shop! This is the third book in the Pie Town Mystery series by Kirsten Weiss, the first book being ‘The Quiche and the Dead’ followed by ‘Bleeding Tarts.’

Valentine (Val) Harris’ pie shop, ‘Pie Town’ is struggling, however, when Val’s quirky business partner and pie crust expert, Charlene, allows a reality television crew from the show ‘Pie Hard’ to film the shop, it seems that things might be about to change. If Val can tolerate criticism from an abrasive pastry chef during filming, the free publicity might turn the unusual opportunity into the sweetest deal she didn’t know she needed.

When the show’s bossy producer, Regina Katz, gets pushed to her death, Val and Charlene, once again, turn crime-solvers in the hope of finding the killer. Val needs to stay cool long enough to solve the crime and keep ‘Pie Town’ from falling apart, or else she just might go up in smoke before she ever graces the small screen.

For anyone, like me, who hasn’t read the first two books of the series, Kirsten Weiss, without being too overt, provides plenty of back-stories. Written in the first person, the characters in this novel were a scream and I particularly liked Val and Charlene’s interaction. I really enjoyed the easy-to-read writing style, the plot and the pace of the book.

All in all, “Pie Hard” is a light-hearted, lovely read, that combines mystery, thrills and murder and mayhem.

I’m looking forward to reading the first two books of the series with, hopefully, more to come!

[Thanks to #NetGalley and Kensington Publishing for the ARC of #PieHard in exchange for an honest review]

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The Winter Mystery (Jenny Starling #2)

The Winter Mystery by Faith Martin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Over recent months I’ve become a great fan of cozy mysteries so, when I saw this second book in the series featuring Jenny Starling being launched, I knew I had to read “The Winter Mystery.” Also, it has a culinary theme which I love and a little light humour. The first book ‘The Birthday Mystery’ was so good, I knew it was likely that Faith Martin had written a winner with this book, too, and I was right!

Best-seller author Faith Martin has also written the ‘Detective Hillary Greene’ mysteries.

First, we are introduced to Jenny Starling who is spending Christmas in a snowed-in country house cooking all the traditional food she loves, however, the family she’s working for are not full of the seasonal spirit. On Christmas Eve, someone is found dead on the kitchen table and the head of the family is blaming Jenny! But with an incompetent detective called in, and seemingly no motive for the murder, Jenny will have to turn amateur sleuth again. She will stop at nothing to clear her name and find the perpetrator.

Faith Martin’s writing skills set the scene beautifully for this novel. The house is a large, charming, Cotswold-stone, Georgian farmhouse in rural Oxford, complete with stables, outhouses, a cobbled courtyard and a resident sheepdog.

Faith Martin’s character development is wonderful, particularly that of Jenny who is an impressive woman and in her late twenties. Curvaceous and sexy, she’s a modern single woman, living and loving life as a travelling cook. She is happy travelling the country catering for different events and cooking great food. She doesn’t like having to divert her attention from baking delicious cakes or creating a new sauce recipe by having to solve murders. She is great at reading people and unmasking killers, always with a good dose of humour.

There are many suspects in this mystery, with clues and lots of red herrings to keep the reader guessing. It was a thoroughly satisfying read and I often found myself asking the same questions as Jenny and I was kept in suspense to the end. The pacing in “The Winter Mystery” was very good and I never lost interest, as it wasn’t long before something intriguing would happen. Things came together for a fulfilling finish and wrapped everything up very neatly.

I’m definitely looking forward to the next novel featuring Jenny Starling and other books by the author, Faith Martin. “The Winter Mystery” whets your appetite for more to come.

My thanks to #NetGalley, Joffe Books and the author for providing me with a free advanced copy of #TheWinterMystery.

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