Double review for you today. Score! But you know what else makes me happy? I achieved my half-nano goal of 25,000 words. It took me until close to ten p.m. on Friday, but I did it and I'm proud of myself. November was a crazy month!
Brownies and Betrayal by Heather Justesen is a combination of delicious romantic options, baked goods, and a suspenseful mystery. We're introduced to Tess Crawford, a pastry chef who's moved from Chicago to small town Silver Springs after she's caught her fiance cheating on her. She's opening her own bakery and doing refreshments for a wedding when one of the wedding guests gets into a petty argument with her over her brownies. Tess later finds that guest murdered and she becomes a suspect when the police find out about the argument and her fingerprints are found on the murder weapon. In trying to clear her name, Tess finds herself in several dangerous situations as she zeroes in on the killer.
The thing I like about Heather Justesen's books is that she writes romance really well. Family by Design had some really great romantic moments that made me sigh, and I was hoping for that with Brownies and Betrayal. Heather does a good job of balancing the mystery with a "love triangle" of sorts, but there's not a lot of romantic resolution, instead there's more of a romantic set-up for the next book (this is the start of a new series from what I gather). The mystery was good, although I called the killer early on, but I liked the twists and turns the story took. The recipes sounded yummy and I'd definitely like to try a few of them. This is a great curl-up-on-your-couch afternoon read.
Here's the back copy:
Pastry chef Tess Crawford thought moving from Chicago to quiet Silver
Springs, Arizona would simplify her life. That was before she found the
body of a woman with whom she had traded heated words the previous
night, left her fingerprints on the murder weapon, and came under
attack for trying to clear her name. When her cheating ex-fiance shows
up, intent on convincing her to come back to work for him, Tess—armed
with an extra batch of éclairs—decides to take control and solve the
mystery herself, with the help of friends and frenemies alike.
But will that be enough to save her when she gets too close and the killer decides it’s safer to get her out of the way?
Miss Braithwaite's Secret
You all know I've been on a historical kick this year and Miss Braithwaite's Secret really satisfied me. GG Vandagriff has found her true calling as a writer in her regencies. She has a flair in this genre that is hard to match.
In this book we see Caroline Braithwaite, who leaves her London season early to nurse a broken heart. While she's picking up the pieces, the very man who broke it is invited to the house where she's staying for a house party, since he's recovering from a broken engagement. The misunderstandings between the two are really well done and I particularly enjoyed the twists and turns the story took. Ned is a worthy hero and Caro is her own woman trying to work within the restraints of society. I loved her spunk and I liked that she wasn't perfect, just as the hero wasn't perfect. It was believable and fun, romantic and page-turning. For any regency lovers, this is a must-read.
Here's the back copy:
In this novel, when Caroline Braithwaite, the Incomparable, leaves her
first London Season early, the ton is left wondering why. Home in
Wiltshire, she does not confide in her parents or her best friend.
However, when the duke of Beverley appears at a house party to which
they have both been invited, she is seriously discomposed. So is he.
Fresh from a broken engagement, the last thing he wants is to partner a
woman he had briefly courted in London – a woman he would have offered
for before the fiancée came along. Caro fights her own attraction to the
compelling duke. After all, he's already broken her heart once. She is
not about to give him a second chance.
As the two slowly learn
more about one another, they are surprised to find that first
impressions have led them astray. While their feelings are growing
progressively more intimate, they are plagued by harrowing circumstances
which keep them apart and lead to new misunderstandings. How many times
will Caro have to forgive Ned, the Duke of Beverley? And will he, at
last, be able to prove his love?