Monday, July 18, 2016

Toasting Up Trouble

Welcome!  I hope everyone is having a good Monday.  I had something tragic happen (what I consider tragic).  The last thing I do (well next to last) before I go to bed is plug in my Kindle so it can charge while I am asleep.  It makes a little bing when I plug it in.  This time no bing!  I open up the cover and check.  No lightening bolt to indicate it is charging.  I tried different cords and adaptors.  No luck! Thankfully, I took out a warranty on it (you should take out a warranty on all electronics and appliances).  So I called the SquareTrade (warranty company) number and was greeted by the nicest lady.  I found out that it is still covered under the manufacturer's warranty.  Amazon is sending me a new Kindle 10, and I will have it tomorrow!  It is times like this that I am very grateful that I have a back-up Kindle!

Toasting Up Trouble by Linda Wiken is the first book in A Dinner Club Mystery series.  Jennifer “J.J.” Tanner is an event planner and works for her friend, Skye Drake at Make It Happen.  J.J. is also a member of Culinary Capers Dinner Club in Half Moon Bay, Vermont (near Burlington).  They do monthly dinners.  Each month a different member picks a cookbook.  Everyone then makes a dish from the book for a delightful dinner.  J.J.’s latest job is to create an Italian themed birthday party for Angelica Portovino.  Angelica is turning twenty-one and the party will be held on the Portovino estate.  The caterer she hired backed out and J.J. needs to find another chef.  Antonio Marcotti, of Bella Luna, was recommended to her.  He is rumored to be difficult to work with, but he is an excellent chef.  Antonio wishes to use a special appetizer (a signature dish) but it is too expensive (does not work with the budget J.J. was given).  Antonio does not take no for an answer and manages to include it at the party (behind J.J.’s back and instructions).  J.J. has words with him after the party.  The next morning J.J. arrives at the Portovino estate to finish the clean-up and is greeted by the police.  Antonio was found stabbed to death (he was not a pleasant man).  J.J. was the last person seen with him (of course), and they did argue (just a wee disagreement).  J.J. needs to clear her name (pronto).  The gang from Culinary Capers is ready to assist her in the investigation.  Can J.J. find the real culprit before she ends in jail or the next victim?

I found Toasting Up Trouble to be a little slow (it is just the first book), and I am not sure if I like J.J. (need to get to know her more).  I found her a little pushy at times (she is a murder suspect so I will cut her a little slack).  In this book there was too much time devoted to her thinking and contemplating (pages and pages).  Overall, Toasting Up Trouble is a good novel and has some interesting characters (like Rocco Gates).  I did find some information repeated a few times which was not necessary.  The main thing I enjoyed was the mystery (which is good since it is a cozy mystery).  It was complex (just like I like them) with a couple of twists (the reader can solve it if you pay close attention).  I give Toasting Up Trouble 3.5 out of 5 stars.  The series has potential and there are some delicious sounding recipes included.  I enjoyed the reference to Victoria Abbott’s latest mystery in the novel (cute touch).  I will be reading the next book in A Dinner Club Mystery series.  I believe as the main character develops, I will find her more likeable and relatable.

The next book in A Dinner Club Mystery series Roux the Day.  You can follow Linda Wiken on Amazon. A fun fact is Linda Wiken is also Erika Chase who writes Ashton Corner Book Club Mystery series (which I enjoy).  I received a complimentary copy of Toasting Up Trouble from NetGalley (and the publisher) in exchange for an honest evaluation of the novel.  The comments and opinions expressed are strictly my own.

Thank you for checking in and reading my latest review.   I am off to enjoy dinner and finish Read to Death by Terrie Farley Moran (I did not have a chance to read it before now) and then Live and Let Growl by Laurien Berenson.  I hope all of you have a delightful evening. I will be back tomorrow to tell you about another book!  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

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