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Ratings and Book Reviews (7 7 star ratings
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    This cozy mystery series keeps getting better!

    I really enjoyed the first book by Catherine Bruns in the Italian Chef Mystery series, Penne Dreadful, and It Cannoli be Murder was another winner… which is not always the case with the second book in a cozy mystery series, so I was very happy! As with the first book Bruns does a fantastic job with the scene descriptions, character development, and the mouth watering scenes with food. We got to know the characters very well in the first book, so in It Cannoli be Murder not only do we get some new insights into the main characters, but the new characters receive just as much detail. Tessa and her cousin, Gabby, have a fantastic relationship. Although they are cousins, it’s more like they are sisters and both of them are people I would love to have as friends. There’s a new detective in town that is a jerk so I’m interested to see if there will be a heartwarming story in future books that sheds a light on why he’s so mean, or to find out if that’s just the way he acts all the time. Tessa’s landlord, Vince, is looking awful good to me and I hope something starts to happen with them in the romance department. I would jump on… ummm… I meant, at, a chance to be with him. Tall, dark, handsome, romantic, and owns a winery, Yes, Please. Then there’s her long time friend, Justin… while he’s attractive too and has been very sweet to Tessa, I’m still rooting for Vince. There were lots of suspects as to who the killer could be and plenty of red herrings to keep one guessing. I thought I had figured out whodunnit, but I was wrong, which I always enjoy in a cozy mystery. Some of the suspects were vile people so it goes to show that Bruns can write a variety of characters very well. Another great addition to the Italian Chef Mysteries and I am excited to see where book three leads. If you enjoy cozy mysteries, you should definitely give this series a try!
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    IT CANNOLI BE MURDER by Catherine Bruns

    IT CANNOLI BE MURDER by Catherine Bruns is the second book in the Italian Chef Mysteries series. It’s a wonderful cozy mystery centered around Tessa Esposito as she prepares to open up her new restaurant ANYTHING’S PASTABLE and the adventures that ensue after agreeing to help her cousin, Gabby, with a book signing at her struggling book store. Tessa is still trying to pick up the pieces after the sudden murder of her husband, but determined to fulfill their dream in opening a small Italian restaurant and to move forward. Nothing makes Tessa happier than cooking and making putting smiles on people’s faces with the food she has prepared. What better way to enjoy life than to have a job that you love doing! Although busy with all the details to making opening night a success, Tessa is more than happy to help her cousin, Gabby, try to breathe new life into her struggling book store with the appearance of the world renowned Preston Rigotta for a book signing. Little did they both know that such an event would bring a hurtful part of Gabby’s past front and center with the appearance of Daphne Daniels as Prestone’s publicist at the book signing. Things go from bad to worse when Tessa finds Daphne dead in the empty bookstore when she went back after closing to fetch her phone. When the police find out of the past between the three women and the lab result confirm that Daphne died from being poisoned while eating a cannoli – the same treat Tessa had made for the big event, both Tessa and Gabby become prime suspects in the murder. The fact that Gabby’s brother and boyfriend were pulled off the case because of conflict of interest and that the detective assigned to the case only seems to have his sights sit on the two, they feel that they must find out who the murderer is to save them being railroaded for murder and before the demise of their two businesses. Is Tessa’s restaurant doomed to fail – even before it’s opened its doors? Will the book signing put the Gabby’s bookstore in the black or will it be the final nail to the store’s coffin? Can they prove whodunit and save both establishments? When they get too close and rattle the murderer, will they strike out again at one or both of the cousins? Along the way can Tessa settle some of past issues and possible be open to romance again? Could the murderer be Sylvia, the outraged jealous wife of Preston? Of his resentful daughter Willow? Or maybe Preston himself? Since she was a mostly unlikable person, exactly how many people could have really wanted Daphne dead? Catherine Bruns did an excellent job of weaving a story that had many suspects taking you down many paths only to find out yourself at a dead end. I love the way the reveal at the end is both surprising and also makes total sense once you see the whole puzzle. Her descriptions are so vivid you will feel like you can smell the pots simmering on Tessa’s stove, hear the anger in Preston’s face when he threatens Tessa and feel her fear when he does, and see the happiness on opening night of ANYTHING’S PASTABLE. I was happy to see a recipe section in the back of the book showing how to make some of the dishes mentioned in the book. IT CANNOLI BE MURDER can definitely be read as a standalone. I would highly recommend it to anyone that loves a well-crafted cozy that keeps you guessing from beginning to end. I, for one, loved it and can’t wait for the next adventure of Tessa Esposito. It’s gets a 5 star rating from me!
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    A Delicious Cozy

    Tessa Esposito is finally opening her restaurant, a dream come true. Right in her home down and just down the road from her cousin Gabby’s bookstore. Knowing just how hard it is to run your own business, Tessa is working hard to make Gabby’s first author book signing a success. But when the author’s publisher turns out to be Gabby’s mean girl nemesis from her youth, the event becomes challenging and Gabby has an altercation with Daphne and the author threatens to blackball her store. When Daphne is found dead in gabby’s store the next morning, Gabby becomes a prime suspect along with Tessa. If being blackballed wasn’t enough to close her shop up, this murder surely will be. Tess and Gabby will do their best to find the murderer, hoping they won’t lose their businesses or their lives. This is the first book in this series that I have read, and it reads fine as a stand-alone, though I have already purchased the first book to read next. I have read other books by this author and enjoy her writing. So glad to have another series from Catherine Bruns to add to my must follow and read list.
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    Good Mystery, great characters, fun adventures

    Intense moments, emotional moments, warm moments all intertwined with an excellent plot make Cannoli Be Murder an outstanding second entry in Catherine Bruns newest series, Italian Chef Mysteries. Ms. Bruns create wonderful characters and presents believable interactions that draw me into the lives of Tess, Gabby and a few of their friends. The mystery is well plotted with both red-herrings and solid clues scattered throughout the novel. Tess is almost ready to open her Italian restaurant, Nothing’s Impastable, when her cousin Gabby comes under suspicion of murder and Tess is eyed as an accessory, so off they go into another murder investigation, one Gabby’s brother Gino is especially angry about. Not only does it endanger his job, he fears for their lives after the last almost disaster. The closest to a negative I found was that most of the edge-of-your-seat scenes came from typical cringe-worthy investigative choices that we find in so many cozy mysteries, but Catherine Bruns mostly manages to make them works. Quite a few well-laid red-herrings send the women and the reader in several directions but stick-to-it-ivness and intelligent reasoning lead them to the truth. My thanks to Poisoned Pen Press and Edelweiss for allowing me to read and review the ARC of It Cannoli Be Murder. So fun!
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    I liked it.

    Through NetGalley, I received a free copy of IT CANNOLI BE MURDER (Book 2 of the Italian Chef Mysteries) by Catherine Bruns in exchange for an honest review. Tessa Esposito is on the cusp of realizing the dream she and her six-months deceased husband shared. Tessa’s about to open her very own Italian restaurant! Tessa’s under pressure because her not-yet-open business is plagued with unexpected expenses, vendor problems, and a lack of reservations. Tessa’s cousin Gabby has her own difficulties; her bookstore is on the verge of going bust. However, Gabby’s got a Hail Mary plan to save her book boutique; she’s engaged the local bestselling author, Preston Rigotta, to host a book signing for his newest release. Tessa supports Gabby and hopes to stir interest in her own business by donating cannoli and biscotti to the event. The event starts out hopefully but ends dreadfully. Preston Rigotta thought it would be a fine idea to bring both his wife and his mistress/publicist, Daphne Daniels, to the party. Daphne, also a local, has a nasty personality that has left a lasting impression on many, including Gabby. After hours of Daphne bullying, belittling, and insulting her host, Gabby retaliates, which causes a scene and ill will with the author. The next morning, Tessa follows a trail of cannoli from the front door of the bookstore and discovers Daphne dead at the end of the trail. Tessa and Gabby become the prime suspects in the case. In order to save herself and her cousin, Tessa must, once again, search out a killer. I liked this book and the previous one. I recommend this book and this series to fans of Catherine Bruns and to fans of cozy mysteries featuring murder, cooking, small business, small towns, extended families, and Italian cooking.
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