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  • Sugar and Spice

    Sugar and Spice and everything nice? Not so much when Sugar and her best friend Dixie (aka Spice) take on their brand new business' first community cookbook publication. First, you have two of the most competitive women in the entire community fighting over who has the better recipe to enter for the same dish. Then, you have one of them turn up rather dead and the other seems to be the murderer. Only she's disappeared too and nobody has the slightest idea where she could have gone to. Since the murder victim isn't exactly the most popular of community members, there's plenty of candidates who could have done the dirty deed. If Sugar and Dixie want this publication to be a success (and not called off), they're going to have to get busy trying to figure out whodunit. It's so great to join in on the first book of a series and if you have checked out other reviews, you'll notice I don't get that chance often. Let's start with what you can expect from this book. I always like strong characters with good development and we definitely have that here. There's clearly some past history between Dixie and the investigative officer. Max is a mystery in himself and he's got some great chemistry cooking between himself and Sugar. These seemed like very interesting relationships I would love to see develop. I always find it interesting to learn new things, so I definitely enjoyed seeing how Sugar and Dixie were building their business and the various steps involved in publishing this style of cookbook. The dialogue was fun and scenery was well-written. There were a few other questionable activities going on that you weren't sure if they pertained to the main mystery or not. All in all, I felt this was a fantastic book and I look forward to reading more in this series. Thank you to Kensington Books, Mary Lee Ashford, and NetGalley for giving me the chance to read this book and share my honest thoughts and opinions with others.

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  • Humorous cozy mystery!

    Game of Scones by Mary Lee Ashford takes us to St. Ignatius, Iowa. After the publishing company Rosetta Sugarbaker Calloway aka Sugar worked for downsized, she moved to St. Ignatius, Iowa. Sugar joined her friend, Dixie Spicer to open Sugar and Spice Publishing to produce community cookbooks. Their first project is the St. Ignatius Founders’ Day Commemorative Cookbook which is due to the printer in six weeks. Unfortunately, a scone war has broken out between Elsie Farmer and Bertie Sparks. Only one scone recipe is needed for the book, but neither women is about to back down. The next day Sugar heads over to Elsie’s house to talk to her about the scone situation. When no one answers her knock, Sugar heads around to the back yard. She notices someone disappearing through the bushes and finds Elsie dead on the ground with a scone in her hand. Elsie was poisoned, and the evidence leads straight to Dixie’s Aunt Bertie who has disappeared. Someone is setting up Bertie to take the fall which angers Dixie. Sugar and Dixie start sifting through the clues and suspects. Can they serve up the killer before he strikes again? While investigating the murder, the pair need to continue working on the cookbook. Dixie cooks up the recipes from the upcoming cookbook for handsome photographer, Max Windsor to snap. Sugar is also dealing with a cranky neighbor and her elderly landlady who seems to need something she stowed in her attic daily (lonely for company at the senior living facility). Will Sugar and Dixie get the cookbook completed in time while trying to crack the whodunit? Game of Scones is a lighthearted cozy mystery with a charming small town and a variety of quirky characters. I did feel like the book could have used a little reworking. Sometimes the story moved along and other times it dragged from the amount of detail especially on how a cookbook is published (you have to wonder how Dixie and Sugar stay in business with only one client). There were a couple of subplots in addition to the main mystery. There is the cantankerous neighbor who seems to nitpick (I had a grandmother like that). Greer, Sugar’s landlady, who has moved into the local senior living facility. She left a number of her possessions in the attic of her home that she has rented to Sugar and calls Sugar frequently for a miscellaneous knickknack. Then Greer’s son gets it in his head that Sugar is taking advantage of his mother. There is a hint of romance between Max and Sugar plus Dixie and Sheriff Griffin. Numerous townspeople are introduced in Game of Scones. All the characters felt superficial and flat. I wanted more character development to bring our main characters to life. I did like the description of St. Ignatius. The mystery is straightforward with the guilty party easily identified. There are a limited number of suspects and little investigating. The story follows Sugar on her day-to-day activities and her interactions with the people she encounters. Though Game of Scones is not set in the South, it reminds me of a certain authors Southern cozy mysteries. I am giving Game of Scones 3 out of 5 stars. There are two scone recipes at the end of the book. Game of Scones contains a great deal of cooking and eating along with a cat, a dog, nosy townspeople, plenty of gossip, a mysterious aunt, a make-up maven, flirting, and thorny whodunit.

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