Toxic Toffee
July 2nd, 2019 by diane92345

Bailey, Aiden, and the rest of the village of Harvest Ohio return in Toxic Toffee, the fourth in the Amish Candy Shop cozy mystery series.

It’s a week before Easter when the village’s self-appointed marketer, Margot, convinces chocolatier Bailey to make a six foot toffee bunny for the town square. Margot had also arranged for Stephen Raber to bring several rabbits to form a petting zoo. Stephen has a pet bunny named Puff that he treats like a child. When Stephen drops dead on the square, most assume it was his weak heart. However, the coroner determines he was poisoned by a piece of toffee that contained Lily of the Valley. When Stephen’s son Eli asks for Bailey to investigate, he also drops off Puff. How can she refuse either request?

It always seems like I’m catching up with old friends when I’m reading a book in this series. In Toxic Toffee, Bailey reaches even deeper into Amish culture by attending a quilting circle, talking to a matchmaker, and discovering how people who leave the faith survive in the modern world.

The mystery was great. The murderer’s identity was a complete surprise to me. Overall, another great book in an excellent series. 4.5 stars!

Thanks to Kensington Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Posted in Mystery & Thrillers, New Books Tagged with: , , ,

Criminally Cocoa
February 26th, 2019 by diane92345

Criminally Cocoa is a chocolate amuse bouche for fans of the Amish Candy Shop series while awaiting the next full-length series entry in June 2019.

Bailey takes her Amish cousin, Charlotte, to New York City to tape the pilot for Bailey’s new cable TV show, Bailey’s Amish Sweets. Luckily, Charlotte is in rumspringa and has more freedom before joining the Amish church. During the first day, a suspicious accident occurs on set. Charlotte, with the help of production assistant Todd, investigates.

Criminally Cocoa is a novella that moves Bailey’s story forward so is a must-read for series fans. While it can be read as a standalone, it is better to start with one of the full-length books in the series. This book is written from Charlotte’s first-person view and is clearly meant more as a fish-out-of-water tale than a true mystery. For series fans, it is a 3.5 star read!

Thanks to Kensington Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Posted in Mystery & Thrillers Tagged with: ,

Lethal Licorice
February 27th, 2018 by diane92345

Characters that feel like family and a deliciously different setting make Lethal Licorice a wonderful way to spend an afternoon.

The small, mostly Amish, town of Harvest, Ohio is finally hosting the annual Amish Confectionery Competition (ACC). Bailey is competing for her grandparent’s Amish Candy Shop, Swissmen Sweets, along with her sous chef Emily. The fact that Bailey is not Amish brings some discord to the competition. Josephine, another competitor and owner of Berlin Candies, angrily denounces Bailey’s inclusion in the contest. One of the judges seems determined that Bailey cannot win the competition. When one of them is found dead and stuffed in the back of the church’s grand organ, Bailey must defend her cousin from murder charges by solving the crime herself. Besides competing in the ACC and solving a murder, Bailey is helping locate a prized pet pig who disappeared shortly before the ACC began. She is also trying to limit the expectations of family and friends about her pairing up with handsome Deputy Sheriff, Aiden.

This is the second entry in the Amish Candy Shop series. I’ve read both. While you don’t have to read them in order, I would recommend it. This book contains major spoilers for the first.

I love the characters within this book series. All seem genuine. There are also some charming Amish lifestyle details subtly included. The author cleverly modernizes the setting by including an unwed pregnancy in one of the Amish’s backstory. However, this entire novel is definitely G-rated and appropriate for Christian readers. In addition, old-fashioned candy-making is described and a recipe for black licorice is included.

Lethal Licorice is highly recommended for cozy lover’s looking for something different with a small town feel. The mystery is good but it’s the characters that will make me impatiently await the next book in the series. 4 stars!

Thanks to the publisher, Kensington Books, and NetGalley for an advanced copy.

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