I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my opinion of the book or my review itself.
What I Liked:
- The food competition! I love cooking competition shows, so I loved all the included (fictional) reality show moments.
- The mystery! Once it got started, it had a lot of suspects, and a lot of twists and turns.
- The dessert descriptions! I was craving cookies, cakes, and pies the whole book.
- The characters! They are generally very likable, and those that aren't get their just desserts (pun very much intended).
What I Didn't Like So Much:
- The bad jokes. Imagine my bad pun from above, but over and over, and given multiple lines of dialogue.
- The delayed mystery. The murder didn't actually occur until almost halfway through the book, not ideal when the book has murder in the title and is billed as a mystery.
- The dropped story lines/wrapped up too quickly story lines. Yes, this book has both. Hints are dropped that something is off about the main character's fiance, but that is never followed up on. Two other characters are in love with the main character, but seem to become her true friends almost instantaneously after she explains to them how much she loves her fiance, and they even agree to be in her wedding party.
I had expected to love this book, given how much I've heard about Joanne Fluke and her many Hannah Swensen cozy mysteries. But while I did enjoy the book (particularly once the mystery got going), I found myself disappointed. This book was fine, but nothing special. There are a lot of other cozy mystery series I will be picking up instead.