The Enemy You Gnocchi review

This is the third book in the Italian Chef series by Catherine Bruns who also wrote the Cindy York Mysteries. Catherine also writes the Cookies & Chance series and some of the Aloha Lagoon Mysteries, both of which are published by Gemma Halliday Publishing.

The Italian Chef series is published by @Poisoned Pen, and I have to send kudos to the artist of this latest book cover. It’s my favorite cover so far, and I really hope this style continues. It just embraces the cozy mystery theme so much better! And Christmas cozy mystery book covers with cute pets on them are my weakness, lol. Looking very forward to the next book!

I found the picture of the cat in a Google search and couldn’t help thinking this is probably what Luigi would love to do with Tessa’s presents!

My Goodreads review:

The Enemy You Gnocchi (Italian Chef Mysteries Book 3)The Enemy You Gnocchi by Catherine Bruns
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It was Christmastime in Harvest Park with a lights festival going on along with all the festive trimmings, but Tessa had a murder to contend with when the creepiest guy in town was offed at the lights festival. Did he have mob ties…or was it one of his string of exes?

I was happy I’d recently read the second book, so I was totally ready for this one and super pleased with the ending. Sometimes I was ready to headslap Tessa for not wanting to let herself fall for Justin in a more-than-friendship way, but I figured she’d finally come around because I know she’s got an awesome author 😉 There were quite a few suspects, and the whodunit was definitely a surprise for me. It was an exciting showdown that led to a quick brawl in the snow before Tessa got the upper hand.

Tessa did have an epiphany along the way which led to an even better story ending. I’m so eager now to read the next book, but I’m thinking we’ll probably have to wait at least a year since this series hasn’t been releasing more than that. These are some good characters who’ve become friends, and they’re definitely worth the wait.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book provided by the publisher via NetGalley, and my opinions are my own.

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Death al Fresco–review

This is the very enjoyable and well-written third book in the Sally Solari series by Leslie Karst. In lots of ways, Sally mirrors Ms. Karst’s own life. I saw on the book flap that she worked previously as a lawyer, she enjoys cooking, cycling and singing so I thought that was pretty cool since Sally is always riding her bike somewhere and in the second book she was enjoying being part of the community choir.

My Goodreads review:

Death al Fresco (A Sally Solari Mystery #3)Death al Fresco by Leslie Karst

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’ve read the first two books in this series and really enjoyed reading about the Italian culture and way of life in Santa Cruz where Sally Solari helped her father, Mario, with his restaurant Solari’s and also owned Gaugin that was willed to her by Aunt Letta. I always enjoy that these books have just the right amount of description in them–the food, the scenery and the people, not overdone or underdone, just right. Kind of like the perfect meal! The book was well-written and kept my interest all through it.

This installment has Sally’s dog digging up the body of a dead local fisherman on the beach during one of the art classes she and her ex-now-best-friend, Eric were taking. Sally’s investigations are getting a little too close to the truth so she needs to be careful she’s not the next victim.

One of the side stories had Sally helping her dad with a big dinner that he was throwing for visitors from Santa Cruz’s sister city in Italy. Sally could never turn him down and always felt a little guilty that she had more or less turned away from working at Solari’s to devote time to her own restaurant.

I did love how Sally and her dad’s relationship has gotten a lot better since she first took over Aunt Letta’s restaurant, Gaugin. He realized his little girl had a business of her own to tend to and could respect her for that. They didn’t always share the same opinion on certain things but when the day was over, they always knew they had each other.

The other side story involved Javier looking into running a new restaurant with his girlfriend, Natalie. I won’t spoil how that turns out 😉

I’m enjoying Sally and Eric’s new relationship. They’re simply best friends who take an art class together, confide in each other and are pretty much always there for each other. I like that they are on better terms and she’s not annoyed by him now. I’m not sure if I’d want to see this turn into a romance or not since it obviously didn’t work the first time–they do get along really nice and play well off each other during an investigation.

For those who like to venture into authentic Italian cooking, there are several recipes in the back of the book.

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A Measure of Murder-review

This is the second book in the Sally Solari series by Leslie Karst. Another murder mystery with twists that I definitely didn’t figure out.

My Goodreads review:

A Measure of Murder: A Sally Solari MysteryA Measure of Murder: A Sally Solari Mystery by Leslie Karst

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Sally’s joined a choral group that will be performing the Mozart piece she always dreamed of singing but somehow in the process, one of the members ends up dead, having fallen out a window in the building they use for rehearsal. Since Sally was formerly a lawyer and got some publicity when she helped solve her Aunt Letta’s murder, she gets talked into helping find the killer. Hopefully she won’t be the next victim as she gets closer to the truth! Especially after a second body is found.

It was fun visiting with the characters I remembered from the first book. I think Javier and Sally’s dad are my favorites even though her dad wasn’t in this story a whole lot. A lot of the book dealt with technical language regarding music, singing and composers, which to me wasn’t quite so interesting but I was still interested in finding out who the killer was, and it was not the person I was thinking. There were some good twists in the plot as well as a side mystery which was solved and the person responsible decided to do the right thing about it.

I liked that Sally and her dad were coming to a better understanding of what she wants to do. She is still helping at Solari but she really is hoping to ease another woman into her position so she can take on cooking at the restaurant her aunt left her, Gaugin. Her dad seemed much more calm and understanding.

As always, the food mentioned in the book sounds scrumptious and for anyone inclined to try some of the recipes, there are four of them after the book ends.

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