Sunday, September 22, 2013

Book Review: Bran New Death

Bran New DeathAuthor: Victoria Hamilton
Publication Date: September 3, 2013
Publisher: Berkley
Series: Merry Muffin Mystery # 1

Expert muffin baker Merry Wynter is finally ready to turn her passion into a career. But when a dead body is found on her property, she’s more worried about cooking up an alibi…

Merry is making a fresh start in small-town Autumn Vale, New York, in the mansion she’s inherited from her late uncle, Melvin. The house is run-down and someone has been digging giant holes on the grounds, but with its restaurant-quality kitchen, the place has potential for her new baking business. She even has her first client—the local retirement home.

Unfortunately, Merry soon finds that quite a few townsfolk didn’t like Uncle Mel, and she has inherited their enmity as well as his home. Local baker Binny Turner and her crazy brother, Tom, blame Melvin for their father’s death, and Tom may be the one vandalizing her land. But when Tom turns up dead in one of the holes in her yard, Merry needs to prove she had nothing to do with his death—or her new muffin-making career may crumble before it starts...

As a metaphor for my life, the crossroads rocked.

“Well, Binny claims that your great-uncle Melvyn killed her daddy. Rusty Turner, and buried him somewhere on the grounds of Wynter Castle. We think the holes have something to do with her, or with her brother, but we can’t prove it.”

“I wish I had my Granny’s cookbooks here,” I said, standing at the counter and looking at the pile of ingredients uneasily. “The bacon and cheddar muffins yesterday were easy; just a basic, savory muffin recipe. I vaguely remember the proportions necessary for bran muffins, but I wish I was sure.”

Every month I have to get my cozy mystery fix. This month I chose to do that with a brand new series! This series follows Merry Wynter as she moves to a small town called Autumn Vale, which is located in New York. Merry inherits a castle from her last uncle, Melvyn. Merry sees the potential remaining in the rundown castle, and decides to use it for her new baking business. However, Merry soon learns that quite a few people didn’t care for her Uncle Melvyn, and she soon realizes that her enemies outweigh her friends!

First of all, the setting in this book is to die for! I loved being in upstate New York, in a castle none the less that was filled with amazing scents and concoctions coming from Merry’s bakery. I knew immediately that Merry’s new inherited castle would need some tender loving care, and when she got there and noticed just how much work it did need, I knew that we were in for an incredible journey. Everything about this new series was cozy and really put me in the mood for fall.

I wanted to be friends with almost all the characters in this book. Not only does Hamilton build this fascinating mystery and backstory for Merry and her Uncle Melvyn, but she creates these characters that allow readers to take a real interest in the story. Everything is so pleasant and welcoming about this book, except for the dead body! Merry is a wonderful protagonist, and I cannot wait to read this next book in this series!

***A copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at Berkley in exchange for my honest review***

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