My Rating: 4 stars
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Age Category: Adult
Type of romance: MF
Everyone swears by Yeast of Eden, the Mexican bread shop in town. But tonight, the only thing on the menu is la muerte . . .
Struggling photographer Ivy Culpepper has lots of soul-searching to do since returning to seaside Santa Linda, California. That is, until the thirty-one-year-old enters a bread making class at Yeast of Eden. Whether it’s the aroma of fresh conchas in the oven, or her instant connection with owner Olaya Dias and her sisters, Ivy just knows the missing ingredients in her life are hidden among the secrets of Olaya’s bakery . . .
But Ivy’s spirits crumble when a missing classmate is suddenly discovered dead in her car, riddled with stab wounds. Even more devastating, the prime suspects are the Dias sisters themselves. Doubting the women could commit such a crime, Ivy embarks on a murder investigation of her own to prove their innocence and seize the real killer. As she follows a deadly trail of crumbs around town, Ivy must trust her gut like never before—or someone else could be toast!
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through Netgalley and voluntarily reviewed it.
I liked the concept of Kneaded to Death and when a cozy mystery mood hit me I decided to finally read this one. Kneaded to Death was such a fun cozy mystery read and I definitely will be reading more by this author. It has everything I look for in a cozy mystery book, from a likeable main character, side characters, fun setting, a nice theme and a good mystery.
Kneaded to Death follows the story of Ivy, her mom died 6 months ago and she returned from Texas to her hometown in California to be there with her dad and brother. She’s still dealing with her grief and decided to take a bread making class, there she meets Olaya the owner of the store. And during that same class they stumble upon a dead body. I liked the mystery in this book. I thought it felt realistic how Ivy got involved with her curiosity and with how two of her new friends where connected to what was going on. I also liked the pace of the mystery. Ivy wasn’t running around questioning everyone, but over the course of the book spoke to some people and unearthed some clues. I liked how slowly the picture becomes clearer about what happened.
I was thinking in the right direction for the murderer, but didn’t pierce together the motive and my reasoning for thinking that person was the murderer wasn’t correct. So that was a bit weird how I was thinking in the right direction for the wrong reason. I think there aren’t enough clues to really figure part of this one out, which was a shame. I liked how the mystery progresses throughout the book, but wasn’t a fan of the ending. It all felt rushed, not enough time for the truth to sink in or elaboration about how and why. Ivy also didn’t figure it out at all, it was just a coincidence how they found out the truth, which was a little unsatisfying. And looking back there are a few things they didn’t even look into, like a big clue about the murder weapon they never delve into. There also is a side plot line regarding a possible suspects that never got resolved, not sure if that’s intentional or not.
I liked how the police officer on the case, Emmaline, is actually Ivy’s best friend and how Ivy did bring any evidence she unearthed to the police. Although at the same time I really wonder what the police did. As it’s all from the point of view of Ivy and Ivy sharing information with the police, we never get a good feel for what the police know. Although there are a few tidbits of information the Emmaline shares with Ivy.
I thought Ivy was a likable main character. She still griefs her mom and there are multiple scenes where it’s obvious how much she still struggles. I liked how she went to the baking shop and seeing her make new friends. I liked her passion for photography and how her photography skills are mentioned a few times throughout the book. She also has a dog called Agatha, whom I liked to read about, although I wouldn’t have minded seeing a bit more of the dog.
I liked reading about the new friends Ivy made and seeing her interact with them. There also is a hint of a possible romance with her first crush who broke her heart when he left town and now there’s the possibility of a second chance romance. I liked them so far and am curious to see how things play out.
The bread theme was a fun addition to this book, although thee isn’t as much focus on it as I had expected with the cover featuring it so prominently, but it was an important setting for the book. With the baking classes and one of Ivy’s friends running the shop. I hope to see more of it in future books.
To summarize: This was a great start to this series. Ivy was a likable main character, there was a compelling mystery, fun side characters and I liked the bread theme. I liked how the mystery progressed with the truth about certain events coming slowly to light. There are some interesting reveals along the way. Unfortunately the big reveal at the end felt rushed and incomplete with no additional info about how and why. I liked following Ivy’s character around and seeing how she handled things. There is a hint of possible romance, we’ll see how that develops. I liked the bread theme and reading about the bread baking. And I hope to see more of that in book 2. All in all this was a solid read and I plan to read more books by this author.