Book Review

A Batter of Life and Death

A Batter of Life and DeathA Batter of Life and Death by Ellie Alexander
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks on June 30th 2015
Genres: Cozy Mystery, Mystery
Pages: 304
Format: Paperback
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Welcome to Torte-a small-town family bakeshop where the coffee is hot, the muffins are fresh, and the cakes are definitely to die for...It's autumn in Ashland, Oregon-'tis the season for a spiced hot apple cider with a serving (or two) of Torte's famous peach cobbler. It's also the perfect time for Jules Capshaw to promote her family's beloved bake shop by competing in The Pastry Channel's reality show, Take the Cake. The prize is $25,000. But as Jules quickly learns, some people would kill for that kind of dough. Literally.

Then, just as Jules dusts off her Bavarian Chocolate Cake recipe and cinches up her apron, the corpse of a fellow contestant is discovered-death by buttercream. What began as a fun, tasteful televised adventure has morphed into something of a true-crime detective show for Jules and everybody else on set. Who could have killed Chef Marco, and why? Can Jules sift out the killer before someone else gets burned?

What I Expected [Prior to the Summary Read]

  • An adorable, cozy, foodie-based mystery
  • A quick, light read – but still suspenseful
  • A fun follow-up to the start of the Bakeshop Mystery series

What I Got

  • All of the above!
  • I never guessed who the killer is
  • Anticipation for the series’ third installment

I adore Ellie Alexander’s A Bakeshop Mystery series – it introduced me to the cozy mystery genre – which I have discovered that I love! I really enjoyed the first book in the series,ย Meet Your Baker, which was a surprise gift from a blog swap partner. I read Alexander’s intro to the awesome series on a whim and – like I said – I fell in love and could not wait to get to this, the second installment.

A Batter of Life and Deathย certainly did not disappoint and I blew through it in a matter of a few days. I could have read it in a single sitting, but, you know – life! I was instantly sucked into the continuation of Jules Capshaw’s inadvertent involvements in murder mysteries. Jules is not an amateur detective, she co-owns Torte, a bakery featuring deliciously described delicacies, with her mother.

However, Jules is a magnet for murder, as she is pulled into crime drama due to her intense curiosity and connections with a local detective, who also happens to be Jules’ high school sweetheart. I like that the Bakeshop Mysteries feature only a hint of romance – I can only handle so much lovey dovey stuff.

Jules is chosen to be a contestant on a baking competition show, Take the Cake, one of the crowning jewels of The Pastry Channel. The characters competing against Jules are colorful and well-developed, even the one who gets killed, Chef Marco. Character development and a flowy writing style are very important to me when it comes to books, and this tale features both – lucky me!

Another major selling point for me regarding A Batter of Life and Deathย is that it was utterly impossible for me to guess the culprit before the big reveal. I did jump from character to character, examining their possible motives and dissecting their sometimes odd behaviors, but never figured out the ending, making me one happy reader!

Alexander’s writing style could be described as poetic – but it’s so not poetry! Her writing simply flows and her dialogue between characters is both entertaining and interesting. As an end-of-story bonus, Alexander includes recipes for the desserts and coffees featured at Torte, which I totally want to create myself!

Love, Maggie

23 Comments

  1. Taiwo

    Great review!! I don’t read a lot of mystery or crime novels but this looks interesting. And it has food!!๐Ÿ˜

    23 . 10 . 2017
    • Maggie

      Thank you so very much! The Bakeshop Mysteries are amazing! I really need to make some of the recipes! ๐Ÿ˜€

      06 . 11 . 2017
  2. Cassie Winters

    Cozy mysteries are definitely my jam! I have known since I was a young’un though that I loved cozy mysteries. The reason I knew is because I am shamefully addicted to “Murder, She Wrote” which is basically a television version of the cozy mystery genre. I have a plethora of the books for the show as well. I just enjoy that down to earth approach the genre has even if they are always telling a murdery whodunnit. They are so interesting to me to see the author dissect what they believe about SMALL TOWN life. Great review! I am adding the first book to my TBR list on GR now!

    21 . 09 . 2017
    • Maggie

      Yay, Cassie! I hope you love The Bakeshop Mysteries as much as I do – which is a lot! ๐Ÿ˜€ I’m ashamed to admit I’ve never watched Murder, She Wrote – I need to find it and get on with it! I had no clue there were books too – where have I been?! I agree – the small town aspect of cozies is so much fun; they’re such a nice departure from all the serious books out there!

      24 . 09 . 2017
  3. Diana @ The Bookish Sisters

    Ah!! This one sounds so good!!

    21 . 09 . 2017
    • Maggie

      Oh, it’s great! I never dreamed I’d love cozies, but I’m SO glad I gave them a shot! I got the first in the series as a gift and read it on a whim – I’m so glad I did! ๐Ÿ˜€

      24 . 09 . 2017
  4. Shawn

    I’ve also never read a cozy mystery. I’m not a huge fan of mysteries, but this seems so super cute (with the baking theme not the murder part).

    21 . 09 . 2017
    • Maggie

      The baking aspect is super fun; I’ve learned a lot of baking lingo and tips through reading these books! LOL! ๐Ÿ˜€

      24 . 09 . 2017
  5. Fernanda

    This isn’t my type of book but amazing review!

    21 . 09 . 2017
    • Maggie

      Thanks so much, Fernanda! I’m still in shock that I love cozies – I never dreamed I would until I read the first in this series, which was a surprise gift! The person who gave it to me must know me better than I know myself! LOL! ๐Ÿ˜€

      24 . 09 . 2017
  6. Sarah Campbell

    This sounds like a good read! Great review.

    21 . 09 . 2017
    • Maggie

      Thanks so much, Sarah! I love this series and this was a great follow up to a great series starter! ๐Ÿ˜€

      24 . 09 . 2017
  7. Jessica | ReadingwithJessica

    I love the baking mysteries! I can’t wait to check out this series!! Thanks for the recs!! Great review!

    21 . 09 . 2017
    • Maggie

      Oh, me too! I’ve gotten obsessed with collecting bookish cozies – I have yet to read one, but I’d be in shock if I didn’t love them! There are so many cozies out there involving bookstores and books in general – this makes me super happy! ๐Ÿ˜€

      24 . 09 . 2017
  8. paige

    Dont know if this would be my type of book, but great review!

    21 . 09 . 2017
    • Maggie

      Thank you so much, Paige!

      24 . 09 . 2017
    • Maggie

      Thanks so much, Paige! I never dreamed I’d fall in love with the cozy mystery genre, but, obviously, I totally did! LOL! ๐Ÿ˜€

      24 . 09 . 2017
  9. Nicole @ Boundless Bookaholic

    GreAt reVieW. Not sure this one is for me, since I love romance, and I’m not a huge mystery fan.

    21 . 09 . 2017
    • Maggie

      Thanks a bunch, Nicole! I never dreamed I’d love cozy mysteries, but you just never know what you’re going to like until you give it a shot!

      24 . 09 . 2017
  10. Danielle

    Iโ€™ve never read a cozy mystery but it does sound like something I would enjoy. I love that thEre isnโ€™t too much romance and that it wasnโ€™t predictable. Those are always Bonuses! Great review! Also that it so cooL that the authOr provided recipes!

    21 . 09 . 2017
    • Maggie

      I just discovered the cozy mystery and I’m so glad I did! I love that they’re such light and quick reads! The recipes sound divine – my mouth watered throughout the book! Thanks so much, Danielle!

      24 . 09 . 2017
  11. Kris

    GReat Review!!

    21 . 09 . 2017
    • Maggie

      Thanks, Kris! ๐Ÿ˜€

      24 . 09 . 2017

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