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Monday, October 24, 2011

Review: Pumpkin Roll

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Title: Pumpkin Roll
Author: Josi S. Kilpack
Page Count: 368 pages
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Genre: mystery
Copy for review provided by the publisher in anticipation of an honest review

Synopsis:
Sadie Hoffmiller is looking forward to spending her favorite baking season of the year making delicious New England recipes in Boston, Massachusetts, with her favorite leading man, Pete Cunningham, as they babysit his three young grandsons. But when the boys insist that Mrs. Wapple, the woman who lives across the street, is a witch, Sadie and Pete are anxious to distract the boys from such Halloween-induced ideas. However, it gets harder and harder to explain the strange things that keep happening, particularly after Sadie learns the eccentric Mrs. Wapple has been attacked in her home. As the unexplained occurrences escalate, Sadie finds herself embroiled in yet another mystery with life-or-death consequences. Can Sadie discover whoever or whatever is behind the mystery before anyone else gets hurt? Or will this be Sadie s last case?

What a cute book!  I don't read a whole lot of cozy mysteries, but I do enjoy finding a good one that's not only part of a series, but has elements that make the story fun and engaging but unique at the same time.  In this case, there are a lot of unique factors to recommend this story- the engaging main character, Sadie, the beautiful setting (New England in autumn) and the inclusion of lots of descriptions of tasty sounding food- and recipes too!

This is not the first book in the series, and events that occurred in previous books are mentioned here, but they didn't interfere with my understanding or enjoyment of the story.  The characters, too, have some history (Sadie and Pete are contemplating taking their romantic relationship to a more serious place, as Sadie is helping to babysit Pete's grandkids- yikes!) but there isn't that sense that I as the reader missed something by picking up the series here instead of at the beginning.  If anything, it made me want to go back and hunt down the other books in the series!

If I may say so, too, a nice thing about this mystery was that some people that give us a funny feeling do that for a reason.  I feel like there are lots of times where the story is made more complicated than it needs to be to try to disguise the identity of the bad guy.  I figured out pretty quickly who the bad guy was in this case, but I was happy for that- sometimes it's nice to know that your intuition is reliable.

Have I mentioned the recipes in this book?! They all sound delicious, and all tie into the story nicely.  There's even one for the pumpkin roll that serves as the title of the book, which I will be definitely be trying as soon as possible.

This book would be a great change of pace from darker, more intense books, or a good way to jump start yourself if you're feeling the burn from a reading slump.  It's a little bit longer than other books in the cozy mystery genre, but that lent itself to more details and character development, which is a good thing in my opinion.

Overall Grade:
 
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