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Death Is Like A Box Of Chocolates by Kathy…

Death Is Like A Box Of Chocolates

by Kathy Aarons

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Good mystery with good characters and chemistry. I would like to read more in the series. And who doesn't like chocolate. ( )
  elizatanner | Jul 5, 2017 |
Well, this one was a surprise. I admit I went into this one–based on it's title–with the idea I'd read a chapter or two and mark it DNF and move on.

Michelle and Erica share a double shop space: Michelle runs a chocolate shop on one side, and Erica has a bookstore on the other. Michelle comes into her shop early one morning to find a fellow business owner dead in the seating area, a victim of poisoned chocolates - Michelle's chocolates.

I'm going to start with what I liked and what I found pleasantly surprising. I loved the characters: Erica is Fulbright Scholar smart, without being socially inept or awkward and Michelle is a very smart, capable business owner who dropped out of community college. Best of all, Michelle doesn't love kids.

Now, I know anyone reading this who has kids just gasped a little bit. Michelle doesn't hate kids, and neither do I: she just doesn't think all of them are automatically cute and adorable. As someone who made an informed choice not to have kids of her own, it's refreshing to finally read a strong, independent MC who isn't sighing or cooing over every child, or talking about their biological clock. Michelle has a wry wit about kids that I identified with, and when push came to shove (and she couldn't get out of it), she babysat Erica's hellion nephews and enjoyed it.

Erica's brother Benjamin (Bean) is, I think, the intended romantic interest for Michelle and I love him - he's shockingly smart too; a journalist and an author and not once does he try to tell his sister and Michelle to stop doing their thing. He treats Michelle like an intellectual equal and the chemistry between the two of them is the best I've seen in a cozy in awhile. Michelle's brother is a recurring character too and he's a veteran who left part of his leg back in Afghanistan. These are not cookie-cutter characters.

The murder mystery was really well-plotted too - lots of suspects, and some ugly secrets come out. The resolution was surprising and a little bit heart wrenching. Another really nice change of pace.

What I didn't like is a much shorter list and nothing shocking: TSTL moments once or twice and Michelle is a bit over-the-top about the quality of her chocolates: confidence is one thing, arrogance another. Lastly, no one ever explains why Denise (the victim) was in Michelle's shop in the first place.

Overall, I identified with this cozy on a level I haven't with many others in a very long time and I had a great time reading it. I am genuinely looking forward to the second book and I hope it's as good as this one. ( )
  murderbydeath | Oct 18, 2016 |
Like many small town cozy stories, the town is preparing for a local event. In this case it is the Memorial Day Great Fudge Cook-off. The main character, Michelle, is in charge of this event during the Memorial Day weekend festivities. The news that Hillary Punkin, a celebrity pastry chef from a cable cooking network has Michelle nervous, since Hillary can make or break her business with a one word.

In the midst of the preparations, a local photographer, Denise, on the brink of her career taking off with a Washington D.C. gallery showing is found dead in Michelle's chocolate shop, apparently poisoned from a box of Michelle's chocolates. Michelle is fighting to keep her business afloat, so she and her business partner Erica begin their own investigation. Yet, the Mayor and town businesses are rabid to have a successful Memorial Day celebration since they need the tourist business they anticipate.

Side stories are Erica's old high school flame and why they are still angry with each other after all these years, and Michelle getting warm and fuzzy feelings around Erica's brother, a world renowned reporter home visiting.

Michelle, curious but skittish, she feels most comfortable when she is making chocolate and is mortified when having to do a cousin's x-rated chocolates for her bachelorette party. Erica, the level headed and driven business partner and room mate. She is an integral part of the story and in some ways she is as much a main character as Michelle. Officer Bobby, Erica's high-school sweetheart who may/may not be pining for Erica is an interesting character. Leo, Michelle's brother and an Afghanistan war vet missing a leg. So much potential with this character and I really hope Leo gets more page time! Benjamin "Bean" Russel, Michelle's childhood crush and Erica's brother who is the well known reporter and newly a published author. At least he isn't the cliche cop boyfriend. Of course, there is a question as to how long he will stick around and if he is an adrenaline junkie reporter. Finally there is Reese, a local blog reporter who has had a grudge against Michelle since high school and keeps implicating Michelle as the killer on her blog.

The setting of West Riverdale seems like most any other small town, except it is somewhat close to D.C. So it doesn't do much more than be the backdrop. The plot is on par for a cozy...what could a local photographer have done to get killed? The pacing was steady with multiple suspects and the investigation, Michelle in danger, and the subplots sprinkled throughout. The climax had a twist regarding the killer, which I only partially got right. The wrap up was short but endearing.

This debut novel for a new cozy mystery series combines chocolate, books, murder, and sweet romance in a small town. What's not to love?

Ratings: Excellent - A fun read, I enjoyed it!

Obtained Through: Publisher for honest review

Please join me at my blog: Mysteries and My Musings
http://mysterysuspence.blogspot.com ( )
  AFHeart | Dec 26, 2014 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0425267237, Mass Market Paperback)

Whether it’s to satisfy a craving for chocolate or pick up the hottest new bestseller, the locals in charming West Riverdale, Maryland, are heading to Chocolates and Chapters, where everything sold is to die for…
Best friends Michelle Serrano and Erica Russell are celebrating the sweet rewards of their combined bookstore and chocolate shop by hosting the Great Fudge Cook-off during the town’s Memorial Day weekend Arts Festival. But success turns bittersweet when Main Street’s portrait photographer is found dead in their store, poisoned by Michelle’s signature truffles.
As suspicion mounts against Michelle, her sales begin to crumble and her career seems whipped. With Erica by her side, Michelle must pick through an assortment of suspects before the future of their dream store melts away…


Includes Scrumptious Chocolate-Making Recipes!

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:13 -0400)

The locals in charming West Riverdale, Maryland, are heading to Chocolates and Chapters, where everything sold is to die for... Best friends Michelle Serrano and Erica Russell are celebrating the sweet rewards of their combined bookstore and chocolate shop by hosting the Great Fudge Cook-off during the town's Memorial Day weekend Arts Festival. But success turns bittersweet when Main Street's portrait photographer is found dead in their store, poisoned by Michelle's signature truffles.… (more)

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