Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Book Review: Cake Popped Off by Kim Davis (Cupcake Catering Mysteries #2)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Strong plot and characters
Cons: A niggle or two, but minor
The Bottom Line:
Halloween party
Ends with real corpse in bathtub
Strong second entry



I’m Glad This Book Popped into My Hands

When I read the first Cupcake Caterer Mystery earlier this year, it reminded me a bit of the first episode of a TV show.  While the book was enjoyable, I felt some of the changes in main character Emory’s life were more set up for the rest of the series.  I was thrilled to see how those changes paid off in Cake Popped Off, the second in the series.

Emory Martinez is helping her employer, Tillie Skyler, throw a Halloween party.  Tillie’s backyard is the perfect location, and Emory is preparing several delightful cupcakes perfect for the season.  Emory’s sister is even doing the main catering for the event.  Everything is going smoothly until Emory finds Mandy, the cocktail server, dead in her bathtub.

Mandy had been making several people upset at the party, but Emory had witnessed her brother-in-law arguing with the woman before she died.  Emory begins to look into what happened, and she quickly finds a web of blackmail.  Did any of those secrets contribute to Mandy’s death?

There’s also a strong storyline involving Tillie’s family that drew me into the book.  Between the two, there was so much conflict and action I never wanted to put the book down.  Things built until we reached the wonderful climax which expertly wrapped everything up.  I had a couple of niggles with the climax, but they were minor.

One of my struggles with the first book was Emory’s relationship with some of the supporting characters.  Those issues weren’t a factor here.  I found the character growth and the relationship growth to be fantastic, and I hope to see that continue in future books in the series.

Tillie wasn’t in much of the first book, and I really enjoyed getting to know her here.  She’s an octogenarian and a complete hoot.  Her relationship with Emory is easily a highlight of the story.  Some other supporting characters I had enjoyed from the first book were back, and I only again loved seeing them.

And the suspects?  They were strong and kept me guessing what exactly was going on until I reached the final page.

Meanwhile, this book plants some seeds I’m sure will be played out in future books, and I can’t wait to see what comes of those developments.

Being a culinary cozy, this book provides plenty of recipes at the end of the book.  Yes, there are a couple of delicious sounding cupcake recipes, but we also get recipes for party dip, calzones, and cocktails among others.  Many of the recipes are themed around Halloween, so perfectly timed for this month, and they sound delicious.

Cake Popped Off is a strong second mystery that left me anxious for more.  I will definitely be back to find out what happens to Emory next.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.

I’m reviewing this book as part of a blog tour.  Stop by here to see the other stops along the way.  And before sure to enter the giveaway Rafflecopter below.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

4 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for hosting me today, Mark, and for your fantastic review! I truly appreciate the opportunity to introduce Cake Popped Off to your readers!

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  2. I'm looking forward to discovering the character of Tillie. I was hoping she'd be a hoot. With everything going on in this book it has to be a page turner!Love the adorable cover and the story so I'm not surprised at the wonderful reviews this book has recieved!! Halloween themed books always draw me in and this murder is not only mixed with family but happens at a Halloween bash. The Barmaid dead in the bathtub with the "poisoned" apple pop shoved in her mouth creates an awesome murder scene in this readers mind! Then we are served up with blackmail and more! Can't wait to read this wonderful treat for Halloween!!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Sharon! The cake pop murder scene definitely took some creative brainstorming :) Good luck in the contest!

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  3. Yay I'm glad this was even better than the first, and that it had better character growth. I love cozies, and one that focuses on a Halloween party sounds fab.

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

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