Restaurant Weeks Are Murder by Libby Klein – a #BookReview

Restaurant Weeks Are Murder by Libby KleinTitle: Restaurant Weeks Are Murder by Libby Klein

Genre: Cozy Culinary Mystery, Amateur Sleuths, Cozy Animal Mysteries

Publisher: Kensington

  • ISBN-10:1496713079
  • ISBN-13:978-1496713070
  • ASIN: B07DBQBVYJ

 Print Length: 304 pages

Publication Date: February 26, 2019

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link: Restaurant Weeks Are Murder (A Poppy McAllister Mystery Book 3)

Book Blurb:

Cape May, New Jersey, is the site of a big culinary competition—and the knives are out . . .

Poppy McAllister is happy about opening a Jersey Shore B&B—but working in a professional kitchen has always been her real dream. Now it’s coming true, at least briefly, as she teams up with her former fiancée, Tim—and his condescending partner, Gigi—during the high-profile Restaurant Week challenge. Poppy’s specialty is pastries, despite her devotion to a Paleo diet. But if anyone can make glorious gluten-free goodies, it’s Poppy.

Things get heated quickly—especially when some ingredients get switched and Tim’s accused of sabotage. Relatively harmless pranks soon escalate into real hazards, including an exploding deep fryer. And now one of the judges has died after taking a bite of Poppy’s cannoli—making her the chef suspect . . .

Includes Seven Recipes from Poppy’s Kitchen!

My Review:

Restaurant Weeks Are Murder by Libby KleinMs. Klein has ramped up her cooking expertise in Book 3 of her Poppy McAllister series. Poppy and her Aunt Ginny are finishing up the touches on their Butterfly Wings Bed and Breakfast. Tim, Poppy’s one-time fiancé, has asked her to team with him and Gigi in the Restaurant Week Challenge where she will create her specialty desserts and pastries. The competition of seven days comprises three stages that include a “mystery basket” of ingredients and is judged by well-known celebrities, if possibly questionable, local judges and is to be recorded to show on Jersey area daytime TV.

One of the six teams is comprised of Gia, a steamy, mcDreamy Italian for whom Poppy has been supplying some of her pastries for him and his mother’s Italian restaurant. Teams include a head chef, a sous chef, and a pastry chef per each restaurant team. It’s obvious from the beginning that this is a serious competition, each vying for the prize of $10,000 as well as the notoriety, air time, and press. Unfortunately, few of the team members get along with each other and the judges are brutal. So, this being a cozy is not too difficult to guess who will be the victim.

Before the mics are on and the cameras are rolling, there is sabotage (changing labels of food ingredients), bickering, materials are disappearing, and a fight breaking out between two of the competing chefs. You can almost visualize Chef Ramsey delivering a scathing review to one of the dishes as the 10-year-old looks on teary-eyed.

The author’s wicked sense of humor sparks off the characters, including her Aunt Ginny who is up to her usual antics and her naughty kitty Figaro who figures out which judge housed in their B&B is allergic to felines and does his best to make sure she is sneezing and miserable. The dialogue ranges between snarky, hilarious, and believable in an honest conversational tone. The secondary characters work well with the main characters and protagonist providing that tension in a real kitchen competition atmosphere, scrambling to the pantry for their ingredients only to have another chef snatch it out from under them.

The characters have been developed in previous series entries and there is little further fleshing here, although with the plot focus on food could still work as a stand alone. It is a very well paced plot, albeit slow to deliver a victim as the focus is the restaurant challenge and all the outrageous events happening while trying to film each day’s segment concluding with judging scores. Red herrings, twists, and new discoveries every chapter lead to a conclusion you may have guessed, but it’s been fun.

I had two problems, and yes, it is acknowledged that her aunt is an active, saucy octogenarian, but she and her friends were referred to constantly as the “biddies and cronies.” (Ouch) And, the dreaded romantic triangle. (I’m so over it–can we move on now?). Also the judge, “Stormin’ Norman,” weatherman. (Perhaps Ms. Klein is unaware of the scandal that took place in the 80s out west and it did give me icky pause.)

I received this ebook download from the publisher and NetGalley and appreciated the opportunity to read and review. The author has a writing style I enjoy, characters that engage, and I’m looking forward to Book 4.

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Four point Five of Five Stars Four point Five of Five Stars

Libby Klein - authorThe Author: Libby Klein graduated Lower Cape May Regional High School sometime in the ’80s. Her classes revolved mostly around the culinary sciences and theater, with the occasional nap in Chemistry. She loves to drink coffee, bake gluten free goodies, and befriend random fluffy cats. She writes from her Northern Virginia office while trying to keep her cat Figaro off her keyboard. Most of her hobbies revolve around eating, and travel, and eating while traveling.

©2019 V Williams Blog author

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Midnight Snacks are Murder by Libby Klein (A Poppy McAllister Mystery) #BookTour #BookReview #Giveaway

Midnight Snacks are Murder by Libby Klein

I am so delighted today to provide a review for you at my blog stop for Midnight Snacks are Murder by Libby Klein on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour. Scroll down to enter for your chance to win the Giveaway!

Book Details

Midnight Snacks are Murder (A Poppy McAllister Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Kensington (July 31, 2018)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1496713056
Digital ASIN: B0776HFC8V

Book Blurb

When her sleepwalking aunt is accused of committing murder, Poppy McAllister finds out there’s no rest for the weary . . .

Between trying to get her gluten-free baking business off the ground and helping her aunt remodel her old Victorian into the Butterfly House Bed and Breakfast in Cape May, New Jersey, Poppy is ready to call, “Mayday!” And now Aunt Ginny—who’s a handful wide-awake—is sleepwalking on her new sleeping pill prescription and helping herself to neighbors’ snacks and knickknacks.

Even more alarming, a local humanitarian who worked with troubled teens is found murdered, and the police suspect the “Snack Bandit.” Other than a bad case of midnight munchies and some mild knickknack kleptomania, Aunt Ginny is harmless. Someone’s trying to frame her. Poppy will need to work tirelessly to uncover the killer and put the case to rest—before Aunt Ginny has to trade in her B & B for a bunk bed behind bars . . .

Includes Seven Recipes from Poppy’s Kitchen!

My Review

Midnight Snacks are MurderI love that this cozy mystery includes a plus-sized widow of middle age trying valiantly to get on with life! She has discovered a Paleo niché for herself with the local gorgeous Italian barista. Her gluten-free desserts are finding a market along with a new possible love interest, but is that just one more complication she doesn’t need?

Poppy McAllister is a 40ish protagonist who has moved into her Aunt Ginny’s old Victorian they are trying to convert into the Butterfly House B&B in Cape May, NJ. But as anyone with a cantankerous but healthy octogenarian in tow will tell you, that isn’t easy, even less so when former mother-in-law Georgina comes to help with the renovation with investment money and more than a little opinion about how the rooms should be finished.

Unfortunately, about this time, Aunt Ginny begins sleepwalking and helping herself to her neighbors’ cupboards in their kitchens and knick-knacks in general. By the time they’ve gotten to the bottom of her sleep-aid medications, there has been a homicide down the block and it doesn’t look good for feisty Aunt Ginny, the “Snack Bandit.”

Unfortunately, the victim was a recent recipient of the local Humanitarian Award for working tirelessly with at-risk teens. His fervor and every dime went into the Teen Center and he had made great strides with many of his wards. It doesn’t seem possible he could have an enemy at that level of passion.

As Poppy discovers, since Amber apparently had history with Poppy before, she is determined this time she has her (wo)man and won’t be working hard to find another suspect. This one appears just too easy.

In the meantime, this well-plotted cozy mystery starts uncovering all the twists and turns you’ve come to expect in a cozy mystery. The protagonist has been well developed in the first of the series and continues to flesh in #2. She has a BFF in Sawyer and old schoolmate Tim, who is trying for a second chance now that she is looking at the end of her mourning period. Red herrings are thrown in when Poppy feels she has a strong person of interest, but in going about gathering evidence appears to open more of Pandora’s boxes.

Sassy, snappy dialogue borders at times on being a bit juvenile or trying too hard (possibly) for a younger age group and Aunt Ginny’s antics push the patience button. Still, there are a number of humorous passages, scenes that include the resident cat Figaro, and confrontations with the independent contractor/handyman and Georgina to lighten the plot and keep a steady pace throughout the narrative. It’s easy to tear through to the end and in the end included a culprit that could not have been guessed earlier. A satisfying conclusion that ties all loose ends and proceeds to Epilogue.

I was given this ebook download by the publisher and NetGalley for the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour and greatly appreciated the opportunity to read and review. This is definitely a fun book, looking to be a great series and an author to keep an eye on. Recommended to all cozy mystery fans. (And yes, gluten-free recipes to try at the back of the book. Even I found one of interest!)

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Giveaway

Don’t forget to sign up for your chance to win one of two print copies of Midnight Snacks Are Murder in this Rafflecopter giveaway

Rosepoint Publishing:  Four point Five of Five Stars 4.5 of five stars

About the Author

Libby Klein - authorLibby Klein dabbles in the position of Vice President of a technology company which mostly involves bossing other people around, making spreadsheets, and taking out the trash. She writes culinary cozy mysteries from her Northern Virginia office while trying to keep her cat Figaro off her keyboard.

(From Amazon Author page) Libby Klein graduated Lower Cape May Regional High School sometime in the ’80s. Her classes revolved mostly around the culinary sciences and theater, with the occasional nap in Chemistry. A few years ago, she was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that forced her to remove gluten from her kitchen and adopt a Paleo Diet. Now her life revolves around coffee and bacon. When she’s not feeling sorry for herself that she can’t eat bread, she writes from her Northern Virginia office…  Most of her hobbies revolve around eating, and travel, and eating while traveling.

Author Links

Website – https://libbykleinbooks.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/libbykleinbooks/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/LibbyKleinBooks

Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/libbykleinbooks/

Purchase Links

Amazon    B&N    Kobo   Google Play  BookBub

Thank you for visiting my stop on the tour and please visit the other stops listed below!

Tour Participants:

July 31 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

July 31 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

August 1 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – GUEST POST

August 1 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

August 2 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

August 2 – The Power of Words – REVIEW

August 3 – A Blue Million Books – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

August 3 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

August 4 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW

August 5 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

August 5 – Cozy Up With Kathy – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

August 6 – The Montana Bookaholic – REVIEW  

August 6 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT

August 7 – Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews – REVIEW

August 7 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

August 8 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW

August 8 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW, GUEST POST

August 9 – Maureen’s Musings – REVIEW

August 9 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

August 10 – The Cozy Pages – REVIEW

August 10 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW

August 11 – Bookworm Cafe – REVIEW

August 11 – Book Club Librarian – REVIEW

August 12 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

August 12 – Readeropolis – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

August 13 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

August 13 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW Great Escapes Book Tours

Thanks to Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours for the opportunity to read and review this cozy mystery!

©2018 V Williams V Williams