Monday, September 8, 2014

Book Review: Maple Mayhem by Jessie Crockett (Sugar Grove Mysteries #2)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Fun characters, fast paced second half
Cons: Mystery is over shadowed at the beginning of the book
The Bottom Line:
Sabotage galore
Who would want to stop co-op?
Gains speed as it goes

Slowly Spreading Mayhem

Two months ago, I finally got around to meeting Dani Greene and her family of maple syrup harvesters.  And at that point, Maple Mayhem, the second in the series, had come out.  I couldn’t wait to visit them again, so I bumped the book up the To Be Read Pile and made a point of reading it as soon as I could.

Dani Greene has come up with a great idea to help all the maple growers in her small town of Sugar Grove, New Hampshire.  She is going to start a cooperative so that all the growers can benefit from the bulk rate discounts.  Almost everyone is on board with the idea, the lone holdout being Frank.  In fact, he is so against it, he uses his dog to drive Dani off his property when she visits him a second time.

So naturally when someone starts sabotaging those who plan to join the co-op, Frank is the prime suspect.  When a dead body ups the stakes, Dani jumps in to figure out what is happening.  Is the murder connected to the sabotage?

In the first book, I fell in love with Dani and her family and friends, and I really enjoyed visiting them again.  While everyone’s interest in her love life drove me crazy when it was supposed to be funny, I think that may have been just because it hit a little too close to home.  I am almost 40 and still single, after all.  Other than that, I really did enjoy spending time with the characters again and look forward to meeting them again soon.  Dani continues to deal with some of what she learned in the first book, and I liked her continued growth as a character here.

Unfortunately, the plotting was very uneven.  While the sabotage starts early, Dani’s love life seemed to be the focus of much of the first half with occasional new bits of sabotage added.  However, once the murder takes place, Dani’s focus really shifts to finding out what has been happening in the book.  From that point on, I couldn’t put it down and raced to the surprising and satisfying ending.  I just wish the romantic sub-plot were better mixed in with the mystery.

Being the maple syrup lover I am, my mouth was watering as I got to the recipes at the end.  There are several great sounding ones including Grandmadama Bread, a twist on anadama bread, and an apricot maple-glazed ham.  However, the one calling my name the loudest is the Caramelized Peach Oven-Puffed Pancakes.  Yum!

While not as strong as the series debut, I did still enjoy Maple Mayhem.  I’m looking forward to my next visit to see what sticky situation Dani finds herself in then.


I actually managed to win two copies of this book during July, so I am going to pass my good fortune on to one of you.  To enter, all you have to do is tell me your favorite maple syrup holder (you know, pancakes, waffles, french toast, etc) in the comments.  Be sure I have a way to contact you if you win (e-mail if we aren't connected via social media).

The giveaway will be open until Midnight California time Sunday night September 14th.

Good luck.


  1. My favorite maple syrup holder is a nice thick biscuit with a hole punched in the side. You pour the syrup in the hole and enjoy! I would love to win a copy of the book
    Prentiss Garner
    3047 Winston Dr #170
    Burlington NC 27215

  2. Hummm, don't know what happened to the comment-I have been eyeing this series since the first book came out but haven't picked either of them up yet. My sister and her husband have a "sugar bush" and tap their trees, cook down the sap to make syrup and other maple delights so the subject interests me. I would love to win.

  3. I love maple syrup on french toast and bacon.
    I was amused to see you using California time!!!
    I had not noticed this series, thanks for offering your extra copy.
    karen94066 at gmail dot com

  4. I love maple syrup on cinnamon and raisin French toast. This sounds like a great series! Thank you for the giveaway!
    mittens0831 at aol dot com

  5. French Toast! This series has been on my TBR list. Thanks for the opportunity to win.
    dmskrug3 at hotmail dot com

  6. Belgium Waffle! I'll even dip my bacon it the maple syrup!! Thanks for the chance to win! chatcozy1 at gmail dot com

  7. waffles are my fav