Mastering the Art of French Murder by Colleen Cambridge

Mastering the Art of French Murder is a deliciously good, Agatha Christie like who-done-it with the added and I must say most enjoyable addition of Julia Child as the sidekick! It mixes a wonderful murder mystery with a few good food mysteries as well as delicacies from Child’s own book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

Tabitha Knight has come to Paris via Detroit to take care of her grandfather and adopted “uncle”. There she accidently meets Julia Child who lives across the street and the two become very close friends. Julia in fact is trying to get the skittish cook, Tabitha, to start preparing more difficult foods.

So, when Tabitha is invited to Julia’s to a dinner party with a group of Theater people who work with Julia’s sister Dort whom Paul and Julia live with, she jumps at the chance. As the party begins to wind down, Tabitha decides to leave and takes the elevator to the ground floor with another female guest. They said their goodbyes and Tabitha went home while the woman waited for a cab.

The next day as she’s going to see Julia, she discovers there had been a murder right outside Julia’s building and to her shock, the dead woman is the same one she left the building with! They soon find out the murder weapon was one of Julia’s own kitchen knives. No one can believe this has happened, but Tabitha and Julia seem to be sure it must have been one of the guests who attended the party.

Tabitha soon decides she must try and figure out what happened. As she develops clues, much to the angst of the Inspector in charge of the investigation, she becomes a suspect! There was a piece of paper in the dead woman’s pocket with Tabitha’s name and phone number. And it was in Tabitha’s own handwriting.

Most of her suspects seem to be the workers from the Theater. Dort asks her and she accepts the position of coat checker, the same job the woman held. Unfortunately for Tabitha the agreement could possibly be a deadly mistake. Her own!

Then as Tabitha is biking, she is suddenly almost hit and killed by a car who seemed intent on hitting her. She must be getting close!

At the same time, Julia herself has quite the culinary mystery on her hands. Her mayonnaise has gone bad. To say, she can’t seem to make the recipe anymore without it failing. As you can imagine, Julia is beside herself.

As Tabitha begins to put the pieces of the puzzle together, she truly could be the next dead body. The ending is quite the surprise.

Mastering the Art of French Murder is a brilliant idea! It’s filled with suspense, wit and Julia Child’s famous voice in your head. As you read this enchanting story, you will continuously smile and eat up the mystery! Hopefully Tabitha and Julia will be back for more. Bon appetite!

Thank you #NetGalley #KensingtonBooks #ColleenCambridge #MasteringtheArtofFrench Murder for the advanced copy.

Paper Cuts by Ellery Adams

In the sixth installment of Adams’ Secret, Book, and Scone Society series, we get a glimpse into our main character, Nora Pennington’s life prior to her relocating to Miracle Springs, North Carolina and opening up a bookshop/coffee shop. And it truly is eye opening!

Presently, some of the group has each gone through personal changes in their lives. Nora is now dating the sheriff, Grant McCabe, Estrella’s father, Gus is getting out of prison and looking for a job and Hester is trying to figure out her personal life.

So, when Nora meets a woman, Kelly and her son Tucker who has Aspergers Syndrome at the newly opened shop, Tea Flowers, she feels quite uncomfortable. The slight woman cannot take her eyes of her. What she soon discovers is Kelly is dying and she was the mistress who broke up Nora’s marriage. Even more shocking, it looks as if Tucker is her ex’s son! Kelly wants to make amends with Nora. Nora does not and pushes her away.

Then there is a knock at Nora’s door. She is the prime suspect for the MURDER of Kelly! She is taken in and the sheriff must stay out of the interviewing process due to their relationship. Unfortunately, there is a new officer in town who has made it known to Nora that she does not particularly like her and is making her life miserable. She has no idea why.

It becomes Nora’s job to try and get herself out of this mess with very little help from those she has always trusted. But unfortunately, someone is trying to frame her. She begins to relive her twisted past and her not so healthy relationship with her ex-husband, who seems to still be the jerk he was all those years ago.

But there is more than just one mystery in this riveting story. Nora’s ex-mother-in-law seems to have left a set of books to her grandson, Tucker. Why would she do that? Are the two mysteries tied together in some way?

And with all this going on there is discussion going on to open a casino. One hopefully to be open by the Cherokee and the other privately. There is never a dull moment in this small town!

Paper Cuts is another wonderful Ellery Adams cozy, with characters who we seem to know so well, and the reader is quite vested in. And as usual, Nora is always giving her clients of the bookstore recommendations of what books to read next, which means we get a wonderful list of books to read! Note: Always have a pencil and paper handy for those gems!

Thank you #NetGalley #KensingtonCozies #ElleryAdams #PaperCuts for the advanced copy.

The Audrey Hepburn Estate by Brenda Janowitz

The Audrey Hepburn Estate is a wonderful homage to the talented movie star who herself. Janowitz effortlessly incorporates snippets of Hepburn’s movies into the story making this not only a wonderful read, but also a wink to Hepburn’s brilliance as an actor and philanthropist.

When Emma, owner and chef of a catering company returns to the estate in which she grew up and fell in love with as well as where she fell in love with the owner’s son, Henry because she recently found out it had been sold and was being torn down by none other than her best friend, Leo who had lived there as well, she takes it upon herself to try and save the only home she ever really loved.

As Emma relives scenes from her history at the infamous named Audrey Hepburn Estate, she begins to remember the good times and also the bad. Her mother was a maid at the mansion and worked her way up to house manager, while her father whom Emma adored, tragically died when she was a young. She remembers the chef who cooked and taught her everything she knows, she and her best friend Leo running all around the land and sneaking into unknown hideaways, and lastly, Henry, whose family owned the infamous house who was her first and only love.

Emma tries to plead with Leo to stop the destruction of the mansion. But Leo, now a business owner refuses. Emma’s heart is broken. She inevitably calls on her once love, Henry to help her convince Leo to stop the demolition. But Henry is on Leo’s side. As the three friends are reunited, memories of them as children surface and are seen quite differently by each.

She discovers secrets which had been kept from her when she was a child, about her own family and is not only devastated by the information, but that it had been kept from her by someone she implicitly trusted. How does she recover?

Blindsided, she tries to come to grips with what happened all those years ago. But in the end, what she discovers is that sometimes a house, is just a house where you live and have memories, but a home is really who your heart truly belongs to and who you love, no matter where you live. That is the real joy of being home.

The Audrey Hepburn Estate is not only a mysterious page turner filled with historical references as well as Hepburn easter eggs, but also a coming-of-age love story and a beautiful love letter to the great actress herself. My only advice would be watching the movie Sabrina first, if not you will excitedly feel the need to do so after you finish the incredible book!

Thank you #NetGalley #GraydonHouse #TheAudreyHepburnEstate #BrendaJanowitz for the advanced copy.

Three Nights in Italy by Olivia Beirne

Three Nights in Italy is a wonderful, humorously, comical, uplifting story about a group of women, different ages and at very different stages in their lives. When the matriarch of the family dies, mother and daughter deal with the death in very different ways. But, with the help of old and new friends, they begin the healing process, and each begin a new chapter.

When Angie’s mother, Zoe’s grandmother, an artist who lived in Italy passes away, the two women are devastated. Although she was in her 90’s the thought of her not being in their lives never seemed possible. But both are devastated.

Angie’s solution is to continue on as if nothing has happened. She continues to run her life as always, doing errands, baking and cooking. Zoe’s solution is to mourn the loss. A wedding planner, she dives into work, but can’t help but feel she needs something from her grandmother to remember her by. She had always been promised her grandmother’s engagement ring which she never took off.

So, when Angie’s brother, Zoe’s uncle, Reggie makes the decision to go over to Italy to sell everything, Zoe doesn’t trust him to take the ring back with him. She decides she needs to go to her grandmother’s house in Italy and find the ring before Uncle Reggie sells it. But her mother refuses to go.

Enter Zoe’s best friend Harriet who is having her own life crisis. She hates her job. Her mother, an older woman remarried and has a new infant. She hardly pays any attention to Harriet anymore, barely remembering she even has an older daughter. Harriet feels as if her mother has a new family, and she is not included.

So, when Zoe asks Harriet to go to Italy with her, she knows she’s half-way there. And finally, they convince Angie to come, with the help of an old friend. Off they go! But nothing goes right to say the least! It’s a scene out of planes, trains and automobiles!

As their journey progresses, the women begin to learn quite a bit about themselves and each other and although they all can’t seem to get out of each other’s way, they become a united front in getting to the house and finding the ring for Zoe.

With so many hilarious plot twists, all you can do is root for these women as they begin to grow stronger with the help, it seems, from the strongest woman they all ever knew.

Three Nights in Italy is a romantic, funny, and empowering story with characters you will fall in love with and begin to miss even before the ending!

Thank you #NetGalley #Headline/HatchettPublishing #OliviaBeirne # ThreeNightsinItaly for the advanced copy. Please note that the Kindle version will be released on April 13 and the Paperback will be released on July 4.

Live Wire by Kelly Ripa

I have been a fan of Kelly Ripa since her days on All My Children, and also when she was on Live with Regis and Kelly. But then life took over and I lost touch with the morning show and with the goings on of Ripa. After reading her very funny memoir, Live Wire, I must tell you I am once again smitten with her.

In this book which she proudly admits to having no ghostwriter assist, she has done an incredible job writing witty, heartwarming and relatable essays. Throughout the book, she wonderfully addresses the reader continuously which makes the read even more personal. Her honesty is admirable, from problems on the set of Regis and Kelly, difficulties in her marriage, raising three children and even plastic surgery stories.

There are many themes throughout the book, but the most important are her love of her family and husband, trying desperately to maintain the family/work balance and her failures and clumsiness which she regards as badges of honor. As she and her husband, Mark Consuelos were married at a very young age and had a child early on while still working together, the toll it took not only on her but on their marriage is written with true honesty.

One essay she writes of her and her husband Mark dropping their daughter off at college and then driving to their summer home only to find hours later their Ring going off at their New York apartment where their daughter Lola, knowing they were not going to be there decided to have a rooftop party. What was more insulting was as they watched her from their phone and tried to call her, they see her look at her phone and ignore the call!

She tells the story of when she first met Regis Philbin, who always seemed to speak of himself in the third person seemed not to be able to remember her name. How when she got the coveted job, she was not even given a dressing room as if perhaps this was not going to work out. She was not even allowed to take her makeup crew from All My Children where she was still working so she would have to take her makeup off, only to put it all back on when she got to her other job.

She spends a great deal of time explaining how she has social anxiety disorder and the many ways it sometimes affects what she says and does. She also gives tips on how to overcome some of the anxiety.

A very funny story is about her openness to plastic surgery. She admits to her love of Botox for a few reasons but tells of how excited she got when she found out there was a surgery to enlarge your breast where fat is taken from a part of your body and injected in the chest. Ripa, an A cup on a good day could not wait to have it done only to find out she did not have enough fat on her body for the surgery!

Live Wire is a generous look at someone who seems to have it all, and really does, but appreciates everything she has and loves her friends, family, job and life voraciously!

The Soulmate by Sally Hepworth

Do you believe in soulmates? When two people meet, fall in love and marry, is it supposed to last until death do us part, or infinity and beyond? How do you know you have a soulmate? Is it a feeling? Is it the way they treat you? Does everyone get a soulmate?

Gabe and Pippa are married. They have certainly been through their share of tough times, but in the end, they are in love, together, raising a family. Nothing is able to break the bond they’ve had since they met. Gabe is a stay-at-home Dad. He used to work outside the of the home, but they had a recent role reversal. He dotes on their two young children. He is patient with them and clearly adores them. Pippa is a Wills and Trusts attorney. She is now the breadwinner. She loves her family and their life.

About a year ago they bought a small house on a cliff. They had been told numerous times the area was a known for suicide jumpers. But they have taken precautions to protect their children by building a fence. But some still come beyond the fence. Gabe is known as a whisperer of sorts to those who come to kill themselves. He has a way of talking them out of jumping. There was even an article written about him in their local paper about his talent.

Then one day as the family is inside their house, they see a woman on the cliff. Gabe springs into action to go help her. But something goes very wrong. Pippa sees the horrific scene from inside the house. She jumps just as Gabe is reaching out for her. Right? That’s what she saw. But when the police arrive to take his statement, Gabe seems to give a bit of a story Pippa knows is not right. Why would he lie? Of course, Gabe was reaching out to grab the woman!

Amanda is the woman who went over the cliff. In separate chapters we learn about her life with her husband Max who is a multimillionaire. Their relationship has had its ups and downs. Max never wanted children because two of his family members had mental illness and killed themselves.
But Amanda loves Max so much that she just knows they will be happy together alone for the rest of their lives.

But there is much more to the story, but I would be a bad book blogger if I took the plot any further. What I will say is The Soulmate is a twisty, white-knuckle thriller with an explosive plot and tremendously shocking ending. The revelations continue until the last page. Is there such a thing as a soulmate? Well, Hepworth gives us one scenario in which it hopefully exists!

Thank you #NetGalley #St.Martin’sPress #TheSoulmate #SallyHepworth for the advanced copy.