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  • Christmas Is Coming!

    Jules Capshaw is the head baker and co-owner of her family’s bakery, Torte in Ashland, Oregon. With Christmas coming, Jules and her Torte family are busy baking and making the season bright. To celebrate as a family, Jules makes reservations for the Torte team to celebrate at Winchester Inn’s Dickens Feast, a long standing Ashland Christmas tradition. During the Feast, the new owner of the Inn manages to annoy every staff member, whom she quickly fires, even though no one knows the Inn has been sold. But when the new owner is murdered during a power outage, the festivities take a Bah Humbug turn. Having found the Inn owner drugged in the basement before finding the dead woman, Jules has time to come up with some theories of her own before the police arrive. Can the police solve the murder before Jules gets too close to the truth and becomes the next victim to be wearing a knife with a splash of red for Christmas? This is a fantastic series, as are all things Ellie Alexander writes. Ellie has a way of bringing the characters, emotions, weather and aromas to life on the pages of her books. This is a series you can binge on with 10 books already in the series. If you haven’t read anything by Ellie Alexander yet, what are you waiting for? You’ll thank me later!

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  • The tenth A Bakeshop Mystery

    A Cup of Holiday Fear by Ellie Alexander is the tenth A Bakeshop Mystery. The author provides the necessary background information for those new to the series. We get a chance to enjoy the holidays with Jules, Helen, Professor, Lance, Thomas and the rest of the gang. Ashland is beautifully decorated for the holidays and there are festive activities, carolers, and the smell of Torte’s tempting treats wafting through the air. Lance is not feeling the spirit of the season which Jules intends to rectify. She gets Lance to join the Torte staff at the Winchester Inn for the Dickens Feast where a nasty woman ends up dead after the house is plunged into darkness. It turns out that a homicide is just what Lance needed to get him to enjoy the holiday season. There are several suspects including the owners of the Winchester Inn, an employee, and their son. Jules asks questions with Lance’s assistance and does a little snooping. Readers will have no problem solving the case before the solution is revealed. I enjoyed the descriptions of the holiday descriptions. I could envision Ashland all decked out with snow falling, carolers singing and shoppers going from shop to shop. Torte creates scrumptious goodies for the holidays which is described in detail. I like that we get to catch up with the Torte staff (Andy, Marty, Bethany, Stephanie, Sterling) and enjoy the Dickens Feast (what a unique event—when there is not a murder). I liked the focus on friends and family. Jules and Helen made sure that no one would be alone during this special time of year. I found Jules comment about Richard Lord’s ugly Christmas sweater to be amusing (all of his attire left something to be desired). It was nice to learn more about Lance in this book. We find out why the holidays are not his favorite time of year. I also enjoyed learning the history of the Winchester Inn and Jules parents. A Cup of Holiday Fear will put you in the mood for Christmas with an ending will leave you smiling. A Cup of Holiday Fear is a cheering cozy mystery with Christmas carolers, scrumptious sweets, original ornaments, horrific homicide, tree trimming and surprising secrets.

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  • A solid cozy

    This is a good solid cozy series and one of my top five. I highly suggest you read them in order. The characters are first rate and the whodunit was well written. I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy of this book.

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  • Murder Afoot in Ashland, OR

    I had not read a book by this author before, but after reading this 10th installment of her Bakeshop mystery series, I'm going to have to check out her other books as well. I love that this book is set in Ashland, Oregon, an actual town I live just 15 miles north of. Usually, cozy mysteries are set in fictitious small towns, so it was nice to see a real setting employed. She got so much of the detail right. The Dickens Feast at the Winchester Inn, so prominently featured in the story, is a real event that actually happens at that place in the real Ashland! Very cool. I recognized many other local places and traditions. Fun stuff for someone like me who knows the area well. The author excelled with her descriptions of both places and food. The food sounded absolutely to die for—pun intended, perhaps, as this is a mystery!--and the author also includes recipes in the book. I love it when authors do that. But she describes things so well, without it feeling like too much, that I felt like I was right there with the characters. Not an easy trick, but a much enjoyable one when an author pulls it off successfully. Yes, there is a mystery here revolving around the murder of the new owner-to-be of the Winchester Inn, but this story felt more about the town, Christmas, and the bakeshop. Normally, I don't like it when the mystery aspect takes a backseat to the cozy aspect of a cozy mystery, but in this case, I simply enjoyed it. This book can certainly be read and enjoyed as a standalone, as this is the first book I’ve read by this author, but I think that full appreciation of all the characters and the fictionalized backdrop of the real Ashland, Oregon, could be improved if you’ve read the other stories in the series. In any event, however, I found this to be a delightful holiday cozy. Highly recommended. I received a free copy of this book, but that did not affect my review.

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