About Kneaded to Death
• Series: A Bread Shop Mystery (#1)
• Paperback: 352 pages
• Published: February 2017 by Kensington
• Source: Netgalley
Goodreads Description: 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!
Kneaded to Death is the first book of the new series, A Bread Shop Mystery, by Winnie Archer. It’s set in a little town in California called Santa Sofia. Ivy, our hero, has just moved back home to be with her father after her mother’s death from a hit-and-run accident. After spending weeks sampling the bakery’s treats, she signs up for a breadmaking class at Yeast of Eden. There she meets the bakery owner, Olaya, as well as a handful of other women. Sadly, that first night, one of the women is murdered – and Ivy is determined to find out why.
I had a hard time with this one. I loved the setting, and the descriptions of Olaya’s breads had me drooling. But, I had a hard time connecting with Ivy. While it was sad that she’d just lost her mother, it felt like every other chapter had the same repetitive phrasing about how much Ivy missed her and how it was unfair. She wasn’t wallowing, exactly, or at least not by her actions – but her inner monologue was pretty redundant.
I also thought the mystery was a little ridiculous, even by cozy standards – it just felt a little too soap-operaish for my tastes.
That said, though, I did really enjoy some of the secondary characters. Mrs. Bradford, the elderly neighbor/troublemaker was a hoot. Olaya was the wise mentor all of us hope to have. Miguel was the sexy former fling who showed up just often enough to be intriguing. And I really enjoyed Emmaline, and the fact that in this cozy at least, the police force isn’t totally worthless. That was a nice change!
While I may not make this series a priority to keep up with, I can see myself coming back to it at some point down the line. Definitely pick this one up if you’re a fan of culinary mysteries!
Kneaded to Death comes out tomorrow, February 28th.
Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the ARC. All opinions are my own.