In Cold Chocolate–review

This is the third book in the newer series, Southern Chocolate Shop by Dorothy St. James. Real life is happening in the form of craft shows for me, but I had a little break in the action to read all three in this series. I had requested this as an ARC from NetGalley and wanted to be sure I got my review done for it.

It’s not totally necessary to read this series in order, but I’m glad that I did. It helped me to understand the character relationships and see them develop. The author does a great job of catching up without being too repetitive. I can’t wait for book 4!

My Goodreads review:

In Cold Chocolate (A Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery, #3)In Cold Chocolate by Dorothy St. James

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This installment definitely didn’t disappoint! It was a real page turner at times and even though Penn got some weird news at one point, the book still had a good ending.

Penn’s new relatives have been making it really hard for her by continuing to contest the will and spreading rumors that she’ll lose the shop. As if she didn’t have enough on her plate, the most disliked woman in town, Jody (Harley’s ex) was found standing over her dead lover on the beach. Harley’s son begged Penn to find the killer so his mom could come home. Not wanting to disappoint a little boy, Penn ignored the danger that could be and was involved in investigating. The real perp was flushed out, a little boy was happy again…and so was Penn.

I really love the character of Frank Gibbons, the detective that has been on all three of the books’ cases. He’s so much more understanding than Chief Byrd. While Byrd thinks Penn is just a menace who brought mainland killers to the island with her, Gibbons honestly cares about her well-being. She has a feeling that if her own dad had been a normal father, this is what it would be like to have someone care what happens to you. I was happy that she and Harley came to a good understanding, making a little more progress in their relationship. Penn and Althea had a falling-out, but I’m sure by the next book, Penn will be ready to forgive her and move on.

I also thought it was cool that even though Penn has issues following Mabel’s recipes, she’s becoming really creative in the candy kitchen and developing some flavors and products herself. I think she’ll always be grateful for Bertie since Penn’s attempts at Mabel’s recipes usually result in the waste of good chocolate lol. Little Stella the Papillon got some more story this time since a local woman named Lidia is helping Penn to train the little ankle biter. She told Penn that Stella is picking up on her fear of love. As Penn progresses with her own life, hopefully Stella will too! The cover pics of Stella are so stinking cute that I really hope she turns into a nice, behaved dog.

I did guess the killer correctly and eventually figured out the why before it was revealed. But it was still fun watching Penn and her friends track them down. The showdown was really good!

I’m so anxious now for the next book but I’m sure it might be awhile. That’s the only drawback when you binge-read everything so far in a series. 😉 There are more recipes in the back of this book. I like how there’s a little comment before each one–it’s supposed to look like they’ve been published in the local newspaper.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book provided by the publisher via NetGalley.

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Playing with Bonbon Fire–review

The second book in the Southern Chocolate Shop series by Dorothy St. James was another awesome read. Five months has passed since the first book, and we are in June at Camellia Beach, a typical and steamy summer with a not-so-typical murder of a singer at the beach music festival that Penn has helped plan.

My Goodreads review:

Playing With Bonbon Fire: A Southern Chocolate Shop MysteryPlaying With Bonbon Fire: A Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery by Dorothy St. James

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’m really enjoying this series! This book takes place in June during a beach music festival that Penn helped organize. When one of the singers that was going to perform was killed, Penn was worried that it was meant for another singer. This led to events that happened back in the summer of 1975 and what may have happened to Penn’s birth mother. There was a tangled web of lies, deception, blackmail over the years and it was fun to watch it all play out. I had suspected the person who ended up as the killer, but as usual, didn’t know all the details.

I loved it that Penn’s half-sister, Tina, came to visit. She was such a fun character and a really good helper when it came to sleuthing or running the chocolate shop. I hope she visits again! We found out a little more about Bertie’s background, which just ended up making her even more lovable. Penn got the answers she was looking for regarding her birth mother. Chief Byrd wasn’t as rough on Penn this time around since Detective Gibbons was doing most of the sleuthing, but he still held to his belief that Penn brought murder and troublemakers to their peaceful little island town.

I’m glad that Penn feels like she’s finally got a real family. She’s much closer to Tina now than ever even though Tina has always defended her. I hope Penn’s friendship with Harley becomes a little more than just friendship. I’ll be starting the next book today.

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Asking for Truffle–review

I started this series from the beginning since I have the ARC for the third book. I wanted to read them in order, since I feel that’s really helpful sometimes. This was such a fun beginning for this series! I really love the characters, especially Bertie! Mabel was awesome too.

My Goodreads review: (I had started this book over a month before I finished it, but that was only because of real life things I needed to do instead of read, yeah it’s rough not to have time to read!)

Asking for TruffleAsking for Truffle by Dorothy St. James

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow I can’t believe it’s been that long since I started this book! I really wanted to have finished it, the second and third books by now, but we all know how real life is! Anyway, I absolutely loved this book!

Charity Penn, aka Penn, was called to Camellia Beach, SC by her friend Skinny McGee. He had some amazing news to share with her, but by the time she got down there, he’d been murdered. Now Penn felt like she needed to stay to figure out what happened to him–and she was curious about the partial DNA report that was found in Skinny’s pocket–could she be related to someone in Camellia Beach? In the meantime, the local chocolate shop owner, Mabel, took Penn under her wing and began teaching her the chocolate making trade. Her untimely death caused Penn to inherit the shop, much to her surprise and the surprise of Mabel’s kids. There were suspects everywhere as Penn soon found out as she investigated on her own. Hopefully she would live till the fifth day after the will reading!

The action just never stopped during the last 65% of the book. I started having suspicions about the person who ended up being the killer, but I wasn’t really sure about the reasoning. Penn met some wonderful new friends in Camellia Beach, and even though she has trust issues about getting close to people, by the end of the book I could tell she had found some genuine friends that she cared about. I am planning to start the next book right away and head into the third.

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