Thursday, May 31, 2012

Book Review: Rest in Pizza by Chris Cavender

✰✰✰½ Amateur sleuths Eleanor Swift and her sister Maddy Spencer are back in another Pizza Lovers Mystery. This installment finds the town of Timber Ridge in a frenzy over the upcoming visit of celebrity chef Antonio Benet. Chef Benet's scheduled appearance at the grand opening of Cindy Rankin's new bookstore seems too good to be true, and it's bound to be memorable. Unfortunately, when the famous chef is found dead inside A Slice of Delight just minutes before his appearance, there is no shortage of suspects including Eleanor. Eleanor suddenly finds that she and her sister must juggle pizza making and sleuthing in order to solve the mystery before the publicity hurts business or someone else winds up dead.

The Bottom Line: This installment of the Pizza Lovers Mystery serves up just the right combination of fun, mystery, and pizza. Rest in Pizza was the first book in the series that I read, and I found it to be very enjoyable. You can pick up the series and start reading at any point or you can read the books in order if you wish. This is a real treat for summer beach reading. Fans of cozy mysteries and culinary mysteries will want to give this one a try. Also, readers who enjoy mysteries by Joanne Fluke and Laura Childs will want to check it out.

Details: Rest in Pizza by Chris Cavender. Hardcover published in 2012 by Kensington Books. 304 p. ISBN: 978-0-7582-7150-1 Note: I received a complimentary copy from Kensington Books in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Book Review: Round Mountain by Castle Freeman, Jr.

✰✰✰✰ Author Castle Freeman, Jr. presents a collection of short stories centered around the townspeople of small, rural community called Round Mountain. The collection weaves together a tale of country life that many readers will identify with.

The stories are tied together through the central character, Homer Patch. Homer's friends come and go as we follow them from their youthful antics through middle age and into old age. As the characters age, their true colors start to show. Each story builds upon the reader's understanding of the individual characters and their interactions.

The Bottom Line: This collection of previously published short stories is beautifully written. I enjoyed the antics of the townsfolk; many reminded me of people I grew with in a small town. My favorite stories in this collection were "Charity Suffers Long" and "The Women at Holiday's." Enthusiastically recommended for anyone who enjoys stories about country life. It's the perfect reading for a lazy weekend.

I received a free copy of this book from Concord Free Press in exchange for a donation. This book is part of a special project by Concord Free Press, Kodak, and Castle Freeman, Jr. to aid relief efforts for towns that fell victim to Hurricane Irene. While the book is free, they ask that the reader donate to a charity and then pass the book along so that the giving can continue. For my part, I enjoyed the book and made a donation of $20 to the Vermont Irene Flood Relief Fund.

Details: Round Mountain by Castle Freeman Jr. Paperback published by Concord Free Press in 2012. 156 p. ISBN: 978-0-9847078-2-9