Publisher: Berkley Books
Publication date: April 5th 2011
My rating: 3 out of 5 stars
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This book is the October pick from the Cozy Escape Book Club. This choice was a bit different for me since I prefer cozy mysteries with either a paranormal element or with cats... bonus points if it has both. This book does have a cute, little dog though!
It was a fun read, though it took some time to really get into it. Sometimes the dialogue between the two main characters was a struggle to figure who was saying what line. This did become a bit easier as you got to know the two characters better. As with many first-in-a-series, the world-building was a bit clunky at times and trying to do too much all at once. In particular, I felt like the main character Olivia could have been better developed. There were hints at her personality, but I never felt like there was a full picture of her created. Her business partner and best friend, Maddie, and her quirky mother, Ellie, were well-developed and delightful characters.
While the way the crime was solved was clever, I'm not sure how an entire series can be built on cookie cutters. Some of the choices the characters made in pursuit of answers seemed even more sketchy than usual for cozy mystery heroines. As is my usual practice, I will read the second book in the series at some point to see how it continues to build. I always like to read at least the first two books before I make a final decision on continuing a series. However, I didn't like it well enough to pick up the second book immediately. I'm pretty hit or miss on culinary cozies so I can't say if my "meh" status on this book is the genre or this particular book. I'll let you know later once I get back around to the second book.