Coconut Layer Cake Murder (Hannah Swenson #25) by Joanne Fluke

coconut

Pages: 352

Publisher: Kensington

Published: February 25, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: Oh my, I do need to get caught up on this series. The last book I read was #8 and I knew she got married but have no idea how things got so crazy. I am so impressed with how mature Hannah’s sister, Michelle, has become.

I enjoyed this book as I liked it was a simple murder but took a bit to figure out. We saw the murder and investigation through Hannah’s eyes as well as others. About the same time it dawned on Hannah who the killer was, it did to me as well. That made for great reading for me.

The love triangle still appears to be there but was no way distracting. You just understand that there are two men who really care and love Hannah. I’m not much on love triangles in my stories but I come to expect it in the Hannah Swenson series. My favorite pick is still Norman. Unfortunate name but a great guy. He seems genuine and that is what Hannah needs.

You can read this as a standalone but it will get you thinking about what you have missed. You will find yourself running out and buying the series.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Kensington, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

NetGalley: Bakery owner Hannah Swensen is leaving Lake Eden to help a friend in sunny California. But an unexpected phone call swiftly brings her back to a cold Minnesota winter . . . and murder . . .

When Hannah learns that her sister Michelle’s boyfriend, Detective Lonnie Murphy, is the prime suspect in a murder case, she goes straight from a movie studio sound stage to the Los Angeles airport.

Back in frigid Minnesota, she discovers that proving Lonnie’s innocence will be harder than figuring out what went wrong with a recipe. Lonnie remembers only parts of the night he went out to a local bar and ended up driving a very impaired woman home. He knows he helped her to her bedroom, but he doesn’t recall anything else until he woke up on her couch the following morning. When he went to the bedroom to check on her, he was shocked to discover she was dead.

Hannah doesn’t know what to believe—only that exonerating a suspect who can’t remember is almost impossible, especially since Lonnie’s brother, Detective Rick Murphy, and Lonnie’s partner, Chief Detective Mike Kingston, have been taken off the case. Before everything comes crashing down on Lonnie like a heaping slice of coconut layer cake, it’ll be up to Hannah to rack up enough clues to toast a flaky killer . . .

Christmas Sweets by Joanne Fluke, Laura Levine, and Leslie Meier

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Pages: 320

Publisher: Kensington

Published: October 29, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: I am a huge fan of the Hannah Swensen series and had not read The Twelve Desserts of Christmas. A cute novella that makes you love Hannah even more. Of course, it is filled with plenty of yummy recipes!

I fell in love with Jaine and Prozac (yes that really is her cat’s name). I have added this series to the TBR list that is already full but I laughed my way through Nightmare on Elf Street. Just imagine a cat running through the mall with a corn dog in her mouth all the whole wearing antlers.

The Christmas Thief was my first Leslie Meier book and I wasn’t sure I was going to like it but by the end I did. Very interested in this series now.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Kensington, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

NetGalley: Gathered in one volume for the very first time, here are three yuletide tales of mystery, murder, and romance, featuring your favorite sleuths . . .

THE TWELVE DESSERTS OF CHRISTMAS by JOANNE FLUKE
It’s the perfect mix of naughty and nice when two lovestruck boarding school teachers watch six kids over Christmas break. But when someone wants the cozy couple’s romance to burn out faster than a scorched fruitcake, it’s Hannah Swensen to the rescue, armed with her sleuthing skills—and twelve deliciously festive recipes . . .

NIGHTMARE ON ELF STREET by LAURA LEVINE
Aside from the mortifying costume, how bad can a gig as a mall Santa’s elf be? Jaine Austen finds out when she’s teamed up with the Santa from Hell. But things go from bad to worse when he’s found murdered on the job—and Jaine is a suspect. Now all she wants for Christmas is to find the real killer . . .

THE CHRISTMAS THIEF by LESLIE MEIER
Elizabeth Stone is ready for a white Christmas in Tinker’s Cove, Maine—until a fancy Yule ball at the Florida hotel where she works dumps snow on her plans. The sponsor’s jewels have gone missing and the police are asking about her ties to a cute mystery guest. Good thing Elizabeth’s mother, Lucy Stone, flew down to surprise her. ʼTis the season for a little investigating . . .

Includes Luscious Holiday Recipes!

Christmas Cake Murder (Hannah Swenson #23) by Joanne Fluke

cake

Pages: 270 (eBook & Hardback)

Publisher: Kensington

Published: September 25, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Hannah has come home from college after the death of her father and has no intentions to go back after a disastrous ending to her love affair with a professor. As Hannah tries to keep the house running for her youngest sister, she sees her mother declining more and more into depression. No projects the daughters think of can pull their mom back into the land of the living that is until two church ladies tell Hannah and her family about Essie. Essie is the elderly owner of the Albion Hotel who lives above it with no water or electricity. Essie is to proud to accept help even though all the townsfolk love Essie. Unfortunately Essie has fallen and broken her hip. Essie wants to revisit the Christmas Ball with its Christmas Cake parade one more time before dying. Hannah and her family are determined to make that happen for Essie. While gathering info for the Christmas Ball, Hannah and her mom run across several notebooks that Essie said are the beginnings of a novel she has written. Can Hannah make Essie’s dreams come true of the Christmas Ball or will a story of fiction become all to real?

This book can be read out of sync from the rest of the series since it takes place before Hannah opened The Cookie Jar. I found this book delightful. Yes, it does read differently from the other books in to series as Hannah is not solving a murder mystery but she does have a mystery to solve. I liked seeing Hannah’s mother on a more real, down to earth basis than her usual snooty self at times.

If you are looking for a quick Christmas themed read during a cold, dreary day then this is the book for you. I read it in one day. My only complaint is I didn’t leave any for today. If I could I would be a regular customer at The Cookie Jar. Lots of yummy recipes included.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Kensington through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

Carrot Cake Murder (Hannah Swenson #10) by Joanne Fluke

carrot

Pages: 343 (Paperback)

Publisher: Kensington Mystery

Published: March 2008 (original publish date)

Rating: 3.5/4 stars out of 5

First, I want to start off that if you read some previous reviews before starting the book you will probably be turned off from this series. Second, even if I do not like a book I am not going to bash the author and other reviewers for liking a book I did not. Reading is to be fun and everyone likes different styles and wants to get something different from what they read. Let’s be nice to the author’s who work hard at what they craft and the readers who enjoy the results. Now, onto my review.

I enjoy this series as my “fun” reads. Does Hannah Swenson try to solve world peace? No. Does Hannah have issues in choosing the perfect man in her life? Yes, but didn’t (doesn’t) most of us. Consider yourself lucky if you found Mr. Perfect on your first try.

In the tenth Hannah Swenson mystery, Hannah is helping her business partner Lisa with her large week long family reunion out at Lake Eden. Lisa’s long lost Uncle Gus makes an appearance at the family reunion but it is not all hugs and love. It appears Uncle Gus was quite the ladies man and moocher. Hannah is sent on a mission to find Uncle Gus for the family photo and instead finds him belly up next to her infamous carrot cake. Who wanted Uncle Gus dead and why?

Carrot Cake Murder did not have the sense of danger around every corner as some of the other books in the series did and it did not keep me on the edge of my seat. But, I still had a hard time figuring out the killer until close to the end.

I admit I have not read the two books before I read this one so I am curious about a couple of items mentioned as to what occurred previously. It might make more sense as to what I have read about what happens in a later book regarding Hannah and her choosing a particular man as her husband.

Of course there are plenty of yummy recipes scattered throughout the book. A few I want to try salmon cakes, cocoa fudge cake, Mexican hotdish and funeral hotdish..