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Ratings and Book Reviews (4 7 star ratings
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4.7 out of 5
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    Amazing cozy-murder, romance, well written

    As The Christmas Cookie Crumbles by Leslie Budewitz is the Book #5 in the A Food Lovers Village Mystery Series. It’s Christmas time in Jewel Bay. Erin Murphy, the Merc (Murphy’s Mercantile) manager is busy along with all the other “elves” to get the town ready for Christmas while working on the finishing details to her upcoming marriage to Adam on Christmas Eve. Everyone is surprised to see Merrily Thornton return to town. However, Erin finds a kinship of sorts and hopes to become friends with this once gone astray girl. Gossip flows after the scene between Merrily her Mother. Then her sudden disappearance along with money found in her desk drawer at work and discrepancies with the company bookkeeping makes it look like she had went back to her old ways. Erin just “feels” that people are jumping to the wrong conclusion. When Merrily is found dead, she is determined to find out not only who killed her but to prove that she is innocent of stealing and book tampering. This story is full of twists and turns that keep you interested and turning the pages. There are plenty of suspects and you will change your mind throughout the book as to whodunit which I love in a cozy mystery. I love the way the author mixes just the right mixture of holiday spirit and the upcoming wedding with the event towards solving the murder. She made it the perfect Christmas cozy mystery that everyone will enjoy. She shows how happy and loving a family can be but also that some families are highly dysfunctional as it is in real life. I really enjoyed the spunk of Erin and how she shows her loyalty to family, friends and the town she loves and how you must swim upstream sometimes to defend a friend – even a new one. Her marriage to Adam is the icing on the Christmas cookie with all the ups and downs of preparing for a wedding but the undying devotion of her husband to be including his little remodel surprise. There are several great recipes in the back of the book that were talked about in the story. If you are anything like me, you be trying them. I know they made my mouth water when I read about them while reading the book. I highly recommend AS THE CHRISTMAS COOKIE CRUMBLES to anyone that loves a great cozy, enjoys a good Christmas story or just appreciates the work of a wonderful author.
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    Delightful Holiday Read

    A relatable heroine, an intriguing mystery, and a small-town sense of community combine to make AS THE CHRISTMAS COOKIE CRUMBLES a delightful holiday read. This story felt a bit more tragic than the average cozy mystery, but there's no denying that Budewitz's smooth writing style draws you in from the start. My only struggle was with keeping all the characters straight, something I expect would be a non-issue for those already familiar with the series. Overall, I found this to be a charming read, one easily enjoyed at any time of the year. Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book.
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    Sweet and delicious!

    Erin Murphy and her fiancé Adam are getting married during one of the busiest seasons for a retailer, Christmas. But the season is about friends, family, and neighbors and when another resident of Jewely Bay, Montana returns home things begin to get even more interesting when she turns up dead. Being a rather successful amateur sleuth, Erin finds herself trying to figure out what happened to the woman she felt was going to be one of her new friends. Things are never what they appear to be at face value and Erin soon figures out there is more than meets the eye here as well. But will she find the killer and make it to her wedding in one piece? While this is the fifth book in the Food Lovers Series, this is the first one I have read and there was no disconnect at all. This is a great standalone, though I WILL be reading the first four books soon! 

The author’s writing style is fantastic and she has been added to my list of authors I follow. The plot is well written, the characters multidimensional and the pace moves at a good clip. I wasn’t quite sure who did it close to the very end…fantastic! I highly recommend this book!
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    Christmas in Jewel Bay

    As the Christmas Cookie Crumbles by Leslie Budewitz is the fifth novel in A Food Lover’s Village Mystery series. Erin Murphy is the manager of Murphy’s Glacier Mercantile (aka The Merc) in Jewel Bay, Montana. The town is getting ready for Christmas with Decorating Day. While switching out a tub of lights, Erin witnesses (along with the rest of the town) an unpleasant scene between Taya Thornton and her daughter, Merrily. Erin is shocked at the bitterness expressed by Taya towards Merrily after eighteen years. Erin invites Merrily over to The Merc and to the cookie swap at her house on Sunday. Merrily does not show up for the cookie exchange, and she is AWOL from Building Supply where she works on Monday. Not only is Merrily missing, but cash from the business is as well. Many say that Merrily failed to change her ways. Then Merrily is found dead with a string of Christmas lights around her neck. With Greg Taylor as a prime suspect, Erin starts snooping (not that she needed a reason). Who would risk going on Santa’s naughty list by killing Merrily? Can Erin wrap up the case before her wedding? As the Christmas Cookie Crumbles is well-written and has a steady pace. I found Ms. Budewitz’s conversational writing style to be pleasing. I was drawn into the story and my attention was held throughout. Jewel Bay is a charming, small town that goes all out for Christmas. I loved the descriptions of the shops and the decorations (I wanted to visit and do some shopping). I like how everyone pitches in to help with various activities. The characters are nicely developed and, for the most part, are friendly and relatable. Detective Bello is the grinch of the story (I could imagine him saying Bah Humbug). I enjoy Erin’s approach to sleuthing with her Spreadsheet of Suspicion. The mystery was well-crafted and multi-faceted. There are many gratifying cozy moments in As the Christmas Cookie Crumbles. Erin is preparing for her wedding, buying Christmas presents, cooking, cookie exchange, Erin and Adam with their new home, baking, Adam worrying about his brothers coming to town, and spending time with family and friends. While there is a lot going on in the story, it is not overwhelming. I agreed with Erin about the cuteness of the Property Brothers. I recommend reading the books in A Food Lover’s Village Mystery in order. I am grateful for the list of characters at the front of the book (helpful). It was a pleasure to visit Jewel Bay in As the Christmas Cookie Crumbles and I look forward to returning in the next A Food Lover’s Village Mystery.
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