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A Batter Of Life And Death by Ellie…
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A Batter Of Life And Death

by Ellie Alexander

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I just read a really good book, y'all! Let me tell you a little about it.

A Batter of Life and Death, a cozy culinary mystery, is the second book in the Bakeshop Mystery series by Ellie Alexander. [FYI — Book 3, On Thin Icing, will be released on December 29, 2015, and is now available for pre-order on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.] I reviewed the first book in the series, Meet Your Baker, here.

A Batter of Life and Death by Ellie Alexander is a really good, really fun read! I couldn't put it down, and finished A Batter of Life and Death in one day!

Jules, her mother Helen, and the other employees — Andy, Sterling, and Stephanie — are all returning in this novel, for more baking and pastry adventures in Torte. Ashland townsfolk also returning from Meet Your Baker include Lance, Thomas, Police Chief Doug (aka The Professor), and Richard Lord.

In addition to the mystery of who killed Chef Marco, Jules is trying to figure out two other things.

1- How can Torte get the extra money needed to repair one of their two industrial ovens? (It's been broken since July.)
2- And what to do about Carlos, her currently estranged husband? (Read more about him in Meet Your Baker.)

RE: Chef Marco's murder — I was surprised by whodunit. I hadn't suspected him/her until Jules realized that he/she was the perp. Did you figure it out before we did?

Oh, and after solving the case, Jules utters these words: "My crime-solving days are behind me, Mom. Now it's going to be back to baking." Tune in to On Thin Icing to see if she keeps this promise. [I'm hoping she doesn't, or else that Icing won't have much flavor!]

Jules' other problems are left unresolved [and to be continued in the next book(s) in the series, I'm sure!]:
1- Torte's brand-new catering business is successful — Lance is their first customer, and he loved everything Torte did for his end-of-theatre-season party — but it will still take a while to get the funds to upgrade the oven.
2- Jules and Carlos had agreed to separate until the next year. It's only October, so she has over two months to wait. And while she's waiting, she's thinking about Thomas, her high-school flame.... The only thing I could compare the two men to was pastry. Thomas was like a soft oatmeal cookie, served warm from the oven with a chewy center. Carlos was like cherries jubilee, flaming hot on the outside. Once the flame burned out, what was left?

Since A Batter of Life and Death is a Culinary Mystery, it contains seven recipes from Torte and the Take the Cake contestants. The recipes include Torte Chili, Amaretto Dream Cookies, and Pumpkin Cream Latte. (Hungry yet?)

I really enjoyed A Batter of Life and Death and highly recommend it to all Cozy Mystery fans, especially to fans of the Culinary sub-genre. If you're new to Cozies, this would be a great introduction to the genre.


Note: I received a complimentary copy of A Batter of Life and Death in exchange for my honest review. All opinions shared are 100% my own.

Originally published on my blog Jane Reads here. ( )
  Jane.Reads | Jun 29, 2017 |
Disappointed in this one. I thought the first book was a strong contender, but this felt like a weak follow up.

Alexander writes a beautiful Oregon setting, and creates a strong, likeable MC (Jules), but follows up with some stilted, awkward dialogue between characters. A scene where Jules' mother and her old high school sweetheart treat her like she's 8 just made me cringe. Most of the dialogue between Jules and her mother actually read like a middle-school after school special. A brewing love triangle on the horizon also contributes to my growing unease with this series.

The plotting was... not strong. I didn't guess the murderer, but I'm not sure anyone really could by using clues because there weren't any. Jules berates herself at the end for not figuring it out but I don't see how she could have, information was never given to make this character a suspicious one.

I suspect bad editing needs to be blamed for some of the books weaknesses; it felt like there were chunks missing from the plot and at least once Jules mentioned a character telling her something relevant that she was never actually told.

I think I already own the third book, so I'll read it but unless the quality changes dramatically, this one's going in the box. ( )
  murderbydeath | Nov 12, 2016 |
The second installment of the Bakeshop Mystery series is every bit as good as the first. Once again, Alexander has woven her magical descriptions of food throughout the story – so real that you can taste and smell what’s being produced in Torte’s kitchen. The mystery is intriguing, particularly since I’m a fan of food TV shows. I can just imagine the egos involved in creating one of these productions and what better way to start than to have an egotistic drunken chef end up dead in a big bowl of frosting. If that doesn’t get your attention, I don’t know what will. A Batter of Life and Death leaves us wondering if Jules and Thomas will ever get together, or if somewhere in the future Carlos will reappear. I’m eagerly awaiting the release of On Thin Icing.
~ Linda Thompson, Host of TheAuthorsShow.com ( )
  lst0222 | Dec 26, 2015 |
Juliet Montague Capshaw is back home in Ashland, Oregon, home of the Southwest Oregon Shakespeare Theater. She's taking a break from her rocky marriage and putting her skills as a chef to work in her family's bakery. Needing extra money, she becomes a contestant on a baking show. Soon, a fellow contestant is murdered and Jules is caught up in the mystery. A fun cozy mystery with likable characters and an enjoyable plot. I look forward to reading more featuring Jules. ( )
  aztwinmom | Apr 1, 2015 |
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