Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Book Review: Fudging the Books by Daryl Wood Gerber (Cookbook Nook Mysteries #4)



Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Great characters and setting, complex mystery
Cons: All the chocolate talk will make you hungry!
The Bottom Line:
Chocolate, pirates
In mystery full of twists
Kept pages flying




Book This Mystery

It seems that this is the year of chocolate.  I’ve noticed several of the culinary cozy series I read have had chocolate at the theme for this year’s releases (not counting the chocolate themed series I read, of course).  The latest of these is Fudging the Books, the fourth in the Cookbook Nook mysteries by Daryl Wood Gerber.  And it’s a delicious read.

It’s February, and Jenna Hart plans to celebrate chocolate all month long at the Cookbook Nook, the cookbook store she runs with her aunt in Crystal Cove, California.  She’s loaded up on Chocolate cookbooks and is planning some fun events.  Meanwhile, the town of Crystal Cove celebrates pirates the first week of the month, bring in lots of tourists.

One of the special events that the Cookbook Nook has planned is a book signing with Coco Chastain, Jenna’s friend and the owner of the candy shop in town.  Coco has a series of successful cookbooks published by the small publishing company of Foodie Press.  The owner, Alison Foodie, also grew up in Crystal Cove, and many of the locals have books they are hoping she will publish.

The signing is interrupted when the mayor discovers the gold doubloons she was going to give as a prize at the end of pirate week are missing.  Then, that night, Alison is murdered.  Based on a fake fight she and Coco were having, Coco quickly becomes the chief suspect.  However, Jenna is sure she is innocent.  What secret is Coco hiding?  Who stole the gold doubloons?  And, most importantly, who murdered Alison?

Combining chocolate and pirates – what could go wrong?  Absolutely nothing.  I had a blast with this book from start to finish.

Granted, I love the setting.  This small tourist town along the coast of California has always seemed like a great place to vacation.  If only it were real, I’d head out there myself.  It’s still just as appealing in this book, and I relished my time there.

It helps that the town is filled with charming characters.  We’ve seen some great growth in them over the course of the series, and I like seeing how that continues in this book.  The characters have some great layers, and we get some new sides to series regulars as the book progresses.  The new characters are just as sharp and intriguing, and I liked getting to know them.

Layers also describes the plot.  The suspects fill the book with so many lies and red herrings that we are always learning something new or getting some fact that leads us in a new direction.  Yet everything came together perfectly for a page turning climax.

And what would a culinary cozy mystery set at a cookbook store be without recipes.  We get seven at the end of the book.  And yes, all of them do have chocolate in them, which is a great thing since my mouth was watering through the entire book.

So don’t hesitate to pick up Fudging the Books.  You are in for a fun trip with great characters and a great setting.  I can hardly wait to visit again.

Want another visit to Crystal Cove?  Here are the rest of the Cookbook Nook Mysteries in order.

NOTE: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Giveaway:

Thanks to the publisher, I have one copy of this book to give away.  Because it is a physical book, the contest is limited to residence of the US.

I'm curious.  Have you ever been inside a cookbook store?  We used to have one in the town where I live, but I never walked inside.  Leave me a comment with the answer to the question and your e-mail address so I can get in touch with you if you win.  I will pick the winner next Tuesday, August 11th, so please leave your comment before 12:01AM Pacific Time on 8/11.

41 comments:

  1. Hi.Great blog post, To answer your question, no. I did not even know they had a Cookbook Store. If they did I know I would visit.

    Thanks for this opportunity :) Have a great day.

    Shawn
    busymother@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. No, I didn't even know there were stores that sold just cookbooks. Interesting.
    quackers502000@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There aren't a lot nowadays, but boy, if you can find one, treasure it! ~Daryl

      Delete
  3. A whole store full of cookbooks?! I didn't even know such a thing existed. If there were one here, I would totally go!

    Thanks for the review and the giveaway!

    Lisa
    bunkielisa@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lisa, I'm with you. I truly delve into a cookbook store!

      ~Daryl

      Delete
  4. This one is one my list. I don't think that I ever thought about a book store just selling cookbooks. But if there are just 'mystery' stores than cookbook certainly makes sense!
    afarage (at) earthlink. net

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Alicia, right. And a cookbook store with foodie mysteries? Divine, right!


      ~Daryl

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  5. I've not been to a store that exclusively sells cookbooks, but I would be in heaven. Thanks for the giveaway! dmskrug3 at hotmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Daniele, you and so many other, it appears! :)

      ~Daryl

      Delete
  6. I have never heard of a cookbook store, but I would love to visit one ! kathambre@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kathy, there aren't a lot around. When you find one near you, let me know. ~Daryl

      Delete
  7. Great blog post. I didn't even know there was a cookbook only store.

    Thanks for this opportunity :)

    peggyhyndman(at)att(dot)net

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Peggy, like I've said, there aren't a lot. Most stores need more to sell. This store that I found was so special!

      ~Daryl

      Delete
  8. I wish! I never seen any around here in California. I do go to book stores and visit the cooking isle. This sounds so good thanks for the review.
    Penney penneyw AT sbcglobal DOT net

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep, the cooking aisle is great, isn't it! So many books to choose from.

      Delete
  9. I would love to visit an all cookbook store, but have never seen one! I read cookbooks for pleasure/torture (it's torture if I'm too hungry and the store is closed when I'm missing key ingredients) as much as for inspiration.
    Keeping my fingers crossed for a win!!
    mtrver at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are some great stories in cookbooks!

      ~Daryl

      Delete
  10. I wish! I have never heard of a cookbook store before, but it sounds like a place I could peruse for happy hours! :) Thanks for the giveaway opportunity! :)
    vgeslak@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  11. Other than somewhere like Williams Sonoma that carries cookbooks, I have never seen a Cookbook Store. I think a place like the Cookbook Nook would be instantly popular wherever it opened.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And WS only carries their own cookbooks, no others. Sigh. Tried to get my books into there once.

      ~Daryl

      Delete
  12. I would love to have a cookbook store here! As if I didn't spend enough time in bookstores as it is. Still, the Cookbook Nook sounds like a great place to be! book__wyrm@sbcglobal.net

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  13. Wow a cookbook store would be awesome but have never come across one -- jody.714@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  14. I have never seen just a cookbook store, but I have seen a store that sells kitchen things. They had some cookbooks. The cookbook store would be interesting to visit. crossxjo@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, a kitchen store seems the ideal spot for a ton of cookbooks!

      ~Daryl

      Delete
  15. I have never been in a cookbook only store but would love to wander through, especially if they had samples - lol! :-)
    nicolev.girldetective@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's so much fun to browse cookbooks. The pictures are amazing!

      Delete
  16. I wasn't aware they have those! I am originally from the Napa Valley so I am used to seeing a lot of specialty shops, however not a cookbook shop. Or at least not 10 years ago.
    Thank You for this opportunity for a Great Giveaway!!
    b.alexander9212@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, wouldn't it be great to have a cookbook shop in Napa? Perfect location!

      Delete
  17. I have never heard of cookbook store before. I would love to go in one. I most likely buy ever cookbook they have. Next to cozy mystery cookbooks are my weakness. Lol
    xzjh04@ Gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  18. Have never come across a Cookbook store but would LOVE to!
    Bski92@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  19. I've never seen a cookbook store, but I could spend a day and a fortune in one! :)

    ReplyDelete
  20. I have not been physically in a cookbook store but I have two bookseller friends that had Cookbook stores. I also purchased a large lot of southern cookbooks from a shop in California for our shop. We have a large cookbook section in our used book shop. My favorites are old fund raising cookbooks. I love reading this series.

    gibsonbk at hiwaay dot com

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  21. No, I haven't

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  22. Great review Mark! I've never been in a cookbook store, unless you count B&N. I like to browse the reduced cookbooks, there. I, also, check for them at thrift and consignment stores. Thanks for the giveaway opportunity. patucker54 (at aol dot com)

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  23. I have never been in a bookstore that just has cookbooks, didn't even know they had stores like that. stoeser1@pie.midco.net

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  24. YES I FOUND A COOKBOOK BOOKSHOP IN NEW ORLEANS. NOT SURE IF IT IS STILL OPEN BECAUSE NOLA IS NOT MY HOMETOWN. IT WAS A NEAT BOOKSHOP. THANKS FOR THE GIVEAWAY! SHELLEY S. calicolady60@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  25. No! I have been in kitchen/cooking stores with a fairly large section of cookbooks, but so far, I've not found an entire store of cookbooks!
    Thanks for the chance to win!
    JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete