Thursday, July 22, 2021

Book Review: The Rocky Road to Ruin by Meri Allen (Ice Cream Shop Mysteries #1)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Strong characters, interesting mystery, ice cream
Cons: Pacing in the middle, doesn’t come with free ice cream
The Bottom Line:
Ice cream and murder
Make a delicious combo
In this fun debut

Murder Served Ice Cold

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, this is National Ice Cream Month.  What better time for the debut in the Ice Cream Shop Mysteries to come out?  The Rocky Road to Ruin introduces us to a brand new set of characters and ice cream so delicious it will make you drool.

Riley Rhodes has returned home to Penniman, Connecticut, for the funeral of her best friend’s mother.  After the service, she sees that Caroline and her brother, Mike, are fighting over what to do with the property that the two of them were left, including Udderly Delicious, the ice cream shop where Riley worked as a teen.  The next morning, Riley finds Mike dead.  Knowing that Caroline will be a prime suspect, Riley tries to figure out what happened.  Can she do it?

What I’ve left off so far is Riley’s background.  She’s a CIA librarian who has gone on a few covert missions.  How cool and unusual is that?  I enjoyed that, and seeing how her mind worked as a result.

Don’t worry, this is still definitely a cozy.  Despite the sad beginning, I felt right at home as soon as I started the book.  The setting, tone, and characters keep things from being too somber, and the bittersweet feeling makes for a richer book.

The murder takes place pretty quickly, and the book sets up some interesting suspects and complications for Riley to unravel.  Unfortunately, I did feel the pacing was uneven in the middle, but things picked up again as we got near the climax, and I had a hard time putting the book down at that point until Riley solved it all.  The climax definitely impacted me.

And that’s because these characters are wonderful.  This may be the first book in the series, but they come to life.  I can’t wait to learn more about them as the series progresses.

Then there’s the ice cream.  Have I mentioned I love ice cream?  There is so much talk of ice cream that my mouth watered as I was reading.  Fortunately, we have a couple of recipes at the back of the book for some of the unusual flavors featured in the book.

Summer is the perfect time to read this fun debut.  Grab a bowl of ice cream and curl up with The Rocky Road to Ruin.  Personally, I’ll have a second scoop while I wait for the sequel.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.


I'm giving away a copy of this book.  The winner will have a choice of a physical copy (US addresses only) or a digital copy (open to everyone).

Since I asked about your favorite ice cream flavor a couple weeks ago, this time tell me about a favorite toping or sundae.  And please be sure to give me your email address so I can contact you if you win.

I'll pull the winner next Thursday, July 29th, so please enter before then.


  1. I enjoyed this book. Don't enter me. I love chocolate syrup on my vanilla ice cream. If eating a cone, rainbow sprinkles.

  2. Hot fudge topping definitely is my favorite. I’d love to win this and since I work in a library I’m definitely going to read any in this series.

  3. This sounds intriguing. Thanks for the great review.

  4. Hot fudge and lots of whipped cream! Thanks so much and I agree with the review. I already have a copy of the book.

  5. Hot caramel...YUM! Sounds like a fun new series.

  6. Hot caramel, sprinkles and whipped cream! I read a synopsis of the book earlier this week and thought it sounded good.

  7. With so many different toppings it is sometimes hard to choose. When I get ice cream from Dairy Queen, I love their Peanut Buster Parfait that has hot fudge and peanuts layered with vanilla ice cream. At home I throw on whatever is available.

  8. Definitely butterscotch. A lot of it. Thanks for the giveaway! aut1063(at)gmail(dot)com

  9. Hot fudge or caramel, nice and thick. Looking forward to this book!

  10. I like hot fudge and nuts! lindaherold999(at)gmail(dot)com

  11. With my favorite flavor being Homemade Vanilla, I like fruit, hot fudge, or plain.

  12. My absolute favorite topping is sprinkles.. because I'm a 7 year old child in a 36 year olds body! mlzearing(at)gmail(dot)com

  13. My favorite is a Turtle sundae. So ooey and gooey! And I like the toppings that harden after you pour them on. I think they are called turtle shells... at least that's what we call them. :)
    kimheniadis at gmail dot com

  14. Thanks for the review. I like vanilla ice cream with Hershey's chocolate syrup. ckmbeg (at) gmail (dot) com

  15. As far as sundaes go, I like to have plain vanilla ice cream, with fudge, and almonds.

    1. I forgot my email ~ kvmatlock (at) gmail (dot) com


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