Gluten-Free Murder, Cream Puff Murder, Frozen, Interference, Grounds for Murder, and Cake Popped Off

Cake Popped Off is the second in a series, I will admit I have not read the first and perhaps that left me at somewhat of a disadvantage. This involved a young woman, Emory, who is working as a live in caretaker of a wealthy lady, Tillie. At the same time, she is starting up a cupcake catering business. There is an assortment of Tillie’s family members, who seem all after her money. I felt that some of the characters where just too much like stereotypes of the obnoxious entitled wealthy women and men, without enough nuance to make them stand out. The culinary cozy field is a tough field and this was an okay book.

Grounds for Murder is not the first cozy that I’ve read with this title. I’ve actually read a few coffee house themed cozies. I love the Cleo Coyle series so I do seek them out, but many pale in comparison to that one, but this is really good! It feels modern and I wasn’t disappointed by it all. The character of Lana as the coffee shop manager/owner’s daughter/used to be reporter made a believable sleuth. The other characters were fleshed out and added to the story and the setting was well done. I figured out the culprit with the clues provided, but I still enjoyed the story right up to the end and would read another in this series. Great new Coffee House series.

Gluten-Free Murder was a Kindle book I found as I scrolled through unread titles on my Kindle. I really have no idea why I picked it up, whether it was a freebie or not. In this first in a new series, Erin comes to town to claim her inheritance. Her aunt has died and left her a tea shop and house. Erin has grown up in foster care and has really latched on to this as the opportunity of a lifetime. She is re-imagining the tea shop as a gluten free bakery. At her launch party, the town’s only other baker dies in her shop, which of course makes her the prime suspect. There are some fun characters, her assistant Vic, Officer Piper and K9, and William Andrews adding to the local color. I didn’t go into this with a lot of expectations, but it was a well done mystery and the tension really ratcheted up in the latter half of the book. Overall, a very good cozy mystery!

Frozen is a short story by Ann Cleeves, one of my favorite authors, set in the Vera story line. It is a brief case that Vera gets involved in when she actually has a day off. I normally do not read too many short stories, however this one is free on Amazon (at least when I purchased it). Vera is visiting an old church when a body is discovered. Artifacts on the body trigger her memory of missing child and Vera immediately knows who the body is and starts an investigation. Great short interlude into Vera and her team’s work.

Interference is a scientific thriller. Very much involved in the world of physics and working on transference of sub atomic particles and then larger and larger particles and attempting to manipulate them. The scientist, Mark, involved is kidnapped and then held for ransom. There are several red herrings to keep the reader dancing round in circles. There is government agency involvement as well. This was a good read for anyone interested in science heavy thrillers.

Cream Puff Murder is book 11 in the Hannah Swenson series. In this outing, Hannah is put in a desperate situation. Her mother is having a regency themed book release party and has ordered dresses for all her daughters. Hannah’s doesn’t fit, working in a cookie bakery will do that for you. She only has a few weeks to rectify the situation. She joins her sister in attending a workout studio at the mall where a trainer works who is rather thoroughly disliked by most of the women she comes in contact with. Hannah finds her body and launches her own investigation as many of the people she knows are implicated in some kind of relationship with the trainer. As always there are lots of recipes and side plots involving Hannah and Norman and Mike and Hannah’s sisters. Fun cozy read with familiar characters who feel like friends.