Coconut Layer Cake Murder

Coconut Layer Cake MurderWARNING long and rambling review below Why do I keep on with a series I m obviously not enjoying The answer to this very good question is that, like a few other long runners, this one started out pretty good, only to drop off the quality cliff at the four to ten book mark I keep reading with the faint hope that things will improve because, as is the case with said long runners, the author has proven that he or she can tell a good story In Fluke s case, there were half a handful of later installments that were surprising in how good they were Add to that the fact that the blurb for book 25 sounded compelling enough that I decided to pre order months in advance I usually wait to see what friends and reviewers think before plunking down money on an installment of a flagging series I made an exception because I really, truly expected that this was going to Signal a return to the Lake Eden I once loved Unsurprisingly, I gotof the same Sigh Coconut Layer cake Murder, the 25th installment of Joanne Fluke s Hannah Swenson series, can best be summarized as eight plus hours of continuity errors, victim blaming, rants on the evils of unsalted butter, stiff and unrealistic dialogue, weird dream sequences, and awkwardly placed recipes many of which I intend to copy and try because yummy all baked into a pocket of endless boring that had me dozing off at various points throughout the audible book The story opens with a huge shocker Hanna Swenson, principle owner of The Cookie Jar, is actually at work and awake She gets a call from Doc and, spoiler alert , surprise, the earth shattering cliffy that had completists sighing and making what the hell purchases and or trips to the library is revealed to be a cheap ploy to get us to do just that At any rate, Doc informs Hannah that she is far too stressed to function normally and that, for the millionth time, her family has gone behind her back and arranged her life She will, whether she likes it or not, be leaving the running of her bakery to her sisters, her business partner, and her business partner s relatives But no worries, they re used to unpaid labor so it s all good After all, they have all the free baked goods they can eat Of course, Hannah, people pleaser that she is, caves and jets home to consult with her mommy on what to pack Hanna is allowed a whole five days to recover from stress before she is summoned back to the field That s right the concern that compelled the family to make major decisions for her evaporates the second that Lonny Murphy, Michelle s boyfriend, finds himself in the kind of hot water that only Hannah can get him out of Hannah s come back quick so you can risk your life making our problem your problem conversation with Michelle is, hands down, one of the longest, most ridiculous dialogue exchanges I ve ever read heard in this series And there s this weird phenomenon that has me wondering, Oh where, oh where has Fluke s editor gone Lines like So I went to the bar, followed by You went to the bar get repeated again and again, prompting me to wonder about someone s short term memory And, as is her wont, Fluke takes care to reassure us that the murder wasn t one of those bad things that happen to good people Darcy joins the ranks of nearly every female murder victim of the series Simply put, she lives life on her own terms and makes choices with which certain circles disagree and becomes oneexample of what happens to naughty little girls The killer s identity was a surprise I really didn t see it coming This in no way means that the path to this revelation was anything worth raving about I found myself skimming huge sections because they were everything I d heard 20 times before Now, will I, like a good little completist, order the next installment of the series Probably Will I flog and pan it to bits if it turns out to beof the same dreck Absolutely Right now, book 25 gets two stars. 2 starsThis series just isn t what it used to be view spoiler Lonnie the suspect Hannah is trying to clear of murder, talks almost as much about food as the circumstances that led to him to be the sheriff s chief suspect hide spoiler Phew lawd help me So many highlights to mention here in my review So many WTF things Hannah is back with her special brand of airhead logic This time around Lonnie is accused of murder and since all the detectives in Lake Eden are either busy on other cases or related to the accused WTF Lake Eden Hannah is called back from a vacation to do the detective work on a suspected homicide Yes, the police have asked Hannah to do her detective work on this case alone Reminder Hannah is not a cop and cannot even seem to remember how to take care of herself let alone run a business But let s get down to the bits at hand that made me scratch my head 1 Hannah is called to the hospital by her new stepfather Doc about her test results No spoilers here but when Hannah arrives at the hospital the volunteer greets her by name and says Doc s waiting for you in his office The Lake Eden hospital must be very tiny.2 Hannah is told she is being sent on a vacation Upon learning this Hannah exclaims I m going to drive over to Mother s and ask her advice on what I should pack Hannah, girl you are an adult You do not need Mother s advice on your clothing 3 During the plane ride Hannah has to be told by her Mother to wait until the sign goes off in order to get up during a plane landing taxiing At least Hannah chided herself here realizing that hey she just went on a fancy plane ride during her honeymoon with the now dead RIP Ross4 Hannah is bemoaning the fact that she doesn t have the coloring of her mother or sisters, and then says that Michele the youngest of the sisters had been nicknamed Jeanie Um ok Pretty sure Shelly is the nickname for Michele But let s go with Jeanie 5 This one s my favorite Hannah offers someone a piece of coffee cake on a movie studio lot and reaches into her handbag and pulls out a tub of softened, salted butter and a plastic knife asking Would you like butter on your coffee cake I nearly gagged Hannah, don t carry butter in your bag Just don t.6 Butter again On the plane ride back to Lake Eden we find Hannah having a very unsatisfactory cinnamon roll She ponders a career in airplane food but then changes her mind All is saved, however ,when the stewardess appears again bearing a small plate of gold foil wrapped butter asking Butter Hannah gratefully accepts Then later Hannah whines about the four letter word D I E T Honey just give up the butter a bit 7 Did I mention every recipe in this book once again uses like a pound of butter Hannah also insists it be salted butter No one likes unsalted butter but losers 8 Norman picks up Hannah from the airport Poor wet noodle doormat Norman At this time having left her mother in California in order to fly home immediately and detect with the police, you d think Hannah would know where her mother is But nope Normal Norman declares people will be at the condo so she may opt to go elsewhere instead of you know home to her condo, Hannah asks Will everyone be there upon with Normal Norman let s special Hannah know Not everyone, Doc s at the hospital and your mother s still in California phew Glad we cleared that one up Hannah may have forgotten where poor Mother Delores is having not seen her for a few hours after leaving California herself.9 Hannah opts to go to the condo anyway, despite her bad feelings about her place post Ross Upon entering Hannah slips off her parka and hands it to Michele Is Michele the maid now Does Michele own the condo This remains to be seen Maybe it is the job of younger sisters to collect coats even in houses they do not own.10 Hannah is surprised to learn Andrea s new cookie recipe includes funfetti cake mix Hannah exclaims There s a funfetti cake mix Hannah realizes she s never seen it at the Lake Eden Red Owl store Should have checked CostMart Hannah, I hear they have everything 11 Lonnie tells everyone what a roast end sandwich is, truthfully we may all know this as a burnt end sandwich but whatever He gives a blissful description of a lovely sandwich Normal Norman is enthralled Lonnie asserts his dominance by letting Norman know that when Rose has the ends leftover she calls Lonnie directly to let him know it s sandwich time Presumably no one else in Lake Eden has had a roast end sandwich because Lonnie has the direct hotline on the roast end alert No word on whether he shares with Michele Jeanie12 Moishe and Cuddles are back and faster than ever During a dinner at the Doc and Delores condo where by the way Hannah made dinner in two brand new crockpots she bought from CostMart just for the occasion, you d think by now she has 80 crockpots of her own Should have checked CostMart for that funfetti cake Hannah, chance missed the cats zoom around and land on Delores and Norman s laps It s Doc s time to shine here He asks Do either of you need medical attention No word on whether the fat cats are offended by this suggestion.13 Hannah laments that Detroit has bad winters just like Lake Eden but at least there were trees and birds here in Lake Eden Because Detroit is devoid of all trees and birds Not sure if you all knew that but there you go 14 Oh one last dig at poor Ross Hannah laments about how Ross loved to change into his design sweat suits when he came home from work and how they were made of velour with his initials embroidered on them in gold thread Stay classy Ross I m not convinced he wasn t a pensioner in disguise.15 Mike is the only man in the world to be disappointed to find bags full of cash Oh no Not again spread it over here Mike, make it rain You can t make that much as a detective in Lake Eden.16 Speaking of Mike, he s inferring he wants to marry Hannah still on one page and then on another saying how he s still not over the death of his wife Hannah and Norman agree, but hey why let a dead wife stop you from moving on Story at 11.17 Hannah s friend Lynne smartly exclaims how a light tan car is much easier to find than a pinkish orange color car What Surely it s the other way around Lynne I ve seen Fargo I know how many light tan cars there are in the midwest Tan sierra Tan sierra Marge Just check with the DMV to see, Hannah must have access now seeing as she s a lead detective 18 Finally, Hannah has a nightmare while staying at poor Norman s house and he comes in to soothe her Hannah Thank you Norman You re wonderful in the middle of the night whooo boy is it getting hot in here or is it just me Long time readers will enjoy this throwback to the old school style of Hannah mysteries But once again the plot is mostly a flaming pat of butter My copy was provided by NetGalley for review, all opinions are my own PS When does Norman ever have time to see patients He s always with Hannah, helping Hannah, at the Cookie Jar, doing things for Hannah, running errands for Hannah Poor Norman And the poor people of Lake Eden and their teeth I have been reading the Hannah Swensen series ever since the first book, Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder, came out in 2000 I love the setting, the characters, the recipes, and the light mysteries Each time a new book comes out, I nab it as quickly as possible and binge read it to find out what s going on in good ol Lake Eden, MN Coconut Layer Cake Murder is the 25th book in the series I happily curled up with this newest book, a cup of tea and my chihuahua for a long night of happy reading The last book ended on a bit of a cliff hanger of sorts and I just HAD to find out what was going on. I waited an entire year to find out I enjoyed this newest book About 3 books ago, there were some major writing problems with this series, but it s HANNAH.I can t do without my Hannah fix each year The writing seems to have smoothed itself out for the most part, as have some plot developments that left long time Hannah fans upset the evil Rboooo hisssss But, I still see differences in these later books when compared to earlier books in the series The mystery portion of the plot is much lighter, and the recipes are much longer instead of just recipes and cooking instructions, they include cute comments from story characters and other things And each one can be 3 pages long orAfter reading a series this long, I m ok with the books being shorter, but it does make me think that the series might be winding down Maybe when Hannah finally makes The Decision, the series will have a final book I read through this entire book in less than 2 hours.I m a fast reader, but a lot of this book is recipes I m ok with that some of them really sound YUMMY this time I m going to do a bit of experimenting and see if I can t change over some of the cookie recipes to a diabetic version my hubby can enjoy There are several savory recipes as well a mushroom rice dish as well as other non dessert goodies.All in all, a fun entertaining read as usual I m definitely in line for my next visit with my book friends from Lake Eden And maybeThe Decision It s been 20 years.we need The Decision.ha ha Full stars from me. cause it s Hannah I voluntarily read a review copy of this book from Kensington via NetGalley All opinions expressed are entirely my own. Can t believe it s the 25th book in the series A comfortable return to Lake Eden, Minnesota with characters so comfortable that they feel like my cozy family after so many years While it was interesting to see the storyline focus on Lonnie, the mystery was lacking The romantic triangle continues but one character doesn t seem as focused on Hannah as he did in previous books The pages were mainly recipes and for me, way too many of Hannah s hints and suggestions They seem like page fillers to me On the plus side, I have tried many of the cookie recipes over the years and almost all have turned just as delicious as they sound I ll take full credit for any shortcomings For new readers to the series, I don t recommend reading this as a standalone suggest reading the prior three to five books I always prefer to start at the beginning of a series, beginning at book one may bethan what you want from this book Thanks to NetGalley and Kensington for a copy of this book My review is voluntary. I was so happy when I learned I was returning to Lake Eden It is one of my favorite places to visit No sooner then I got there Doc is prescribing a trip for Hannah get itprescribingbecause he is a doctor Per Doc s orders we were off to California with Hannah s mom Delores Hannah s college roommate and friend Lynne is moving to Lake Eden after her divorce, and we are going to help her with the transition However Hannah s trip and mine is cut short when her sister Michelle calls her frantic Michelle s boyfriend and Lake Eden police officer Lonnie is the prime suspect in a murder Upon the request from the Lake Eden police force Hannah is asked to investigate the murder The other officers all have a conflict of interest in being involved in the case investigating one of their own So of course Hannah and I immediately return to figure out what happened to Darcy and keep officer Lonnie out of the clinker My thoughts I rated this book 3 large cups of coffee like 3.5if I can carry without burning myself I am one of those people who have been very disappointed in the last few books The writing and dialogue had some major issues, and the Ross issue.INFURIATING Hannah marrying.Rosswho are you kidding me.we have been reading the NEVER ENDING love triangle with Mike and Norman team Mike for how many yearsand now she chooses neither and so out of the blue To make matters eveninfuriating and UNBELIEVABLE Mike and Norman stick around with no hard feelings I was really glad the Ross situation was taken care of, but I REALLY wish this book didn t jump right back into the love triangle fiasco It was already drug out waaaaay too long, and as mentioned above at this point is really unrealistic These two men are both still pining and trying to win Hannah after she picked someone else.and are the best of friends to bootNO WAYWOULD NOT HAPPEN I also thought the police force even in a small town like Lake Eden asking a citizen to investigate a crime a murder no less was silly I get the conflict of interest.but come on.they would call in officers from another district to investigate That all being said for lovers of this series who have been disgruntled.This book felt muchlike the older books that made this series amazing HOORRAAY The writing issues and dialogue for the most part seem to have straightened themselves out The characters and setting now and have always been my favorite of any cozy series I am a sucker for a small town with lots of quirky lovable charactersand well with Delores, Michelle, Lisa, Doc, Andrea, The cookie jar, just to name a fewthis series is packed with greatness I enjoy the recipes and the notes that come along with them They always sound delicious The mystery was light and fun just like a cozy should be I would recommend anybody andwell everybody visit the cookie jar and get to know the residents of Lake Eden While you re there.grab a cup of coffeeand try one of Hannah s amazing cookies.there are so many to choose from Although this book can be read by itselfstart at the beginningyou re in for a great time I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review I would like to thank Netgalley, the author Joanne Fluke, and the publisher for this opportunity. 3.5 5 starsThis 25th installment in author Joanne Fluke s, Hannah Swensen Mystery series is a sweet addition to the mix Although, one might think of itas a baking cookbook Roughly a third of the book is mystery, a third a return to Eden, Minnesota to reminisce and a third for the myriad of baking recipes, replete with characters comments within each recipe Don t get me wrong, the recipes appear to be creative and instructive In fact, I ll be testing out the Minestrone soup recipe after I complete this writing However, having anticipated the reading of a cozy mystery, I was a bit disappointed that this installment was rather light in that department The premise, albeit charming, is a bit thin It turns out that the main suspect, a police detective, Lonnie, was the last known person to be with deceased Darcy a local Jezebel Nobody believes him to be the culprit Well Eden, MN has a rather small police force Lonnie cannot be involved, for obvious reasons Detective Mike can t be involved because he s Lonnie s partner Officer Rick can t be on the case because he s related to Lonnie That leaves Bill and a deputy, whom they just made detective Instead of asking the state for assistance which might be the logical choice , they decide to bring in Hannah, the owner of a local bakery Well, it at least secures free baked goods for the force and admittedly, as an amateur sleuth, she s been helpful in the past You may well ask, Can this be read as a stand alone Not recommended Most of the characters appeared in previous installments and it s assumed that the reader is already familiar with these folks Although I ve not read the entire series, having read at least 3 of the last 5 installments has helped to understand the interplay among characters For the loving fans of this series, no doubt you ll be happy to be back on familiar ground in Eden, MN even if the love triangle continues to play on There are hints that this too may soon be tied up with a pretty bow Now wouldn t that be lovely I am grateful to author Joanne Fluke and Kensington Books for having provided a free advance uncorrected edition of this book Their generosity, however, has not influenced this review the words of which are mine alone. 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 Hannah accompanies her mother to California to visit a relative Doc prescribed the vacation for her when he diagnosed her with stress It isn t long until she receives a message the police need her help in an investigation in which Lonnie s presence makes him a suspect Mike can t investigate because Lonnie is his partner Only a newly minted detective and the chief himself can investigate, so even the chief wants Hannah to meddle this time The victim s personality made her unpopular so several persons held motives A remains of a coconut layer cake plays into the investigation, thus giving the installment its title The book contains lots of recipes The premise of this one does not really hold up that well as the police would have called in the state to conduct the investigation However, it was fun The love triangle between Hannah, Norman, and Mike continues I received an electronic advance copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review 3.5 stars Coconut Layer Cake Murder is the 25th entry in Joanne Fluke s long running series featuring baker and amateur detective Hannah Swensen I have read all the books and, while I always enjoy revisiting Lake Eden and its inhabitants, I felt this was one of the weaker entries I honestly feel like if all the references to food and recipes were removed, this book would beof a novella Hannah is recalled from a trip to California to aid her sister Michelle s boyfriend, Lonnie, who is the number one suspect in a murder Because he with the Lake Eden Sheriff s department, the other detectives are unable to investigate I didn t think this made a lot of sense because Bill, Hannah s other sister Andrea s husband, was allowed to I also felt that the most pertinent witnesses were the last Hannah interviewed and surely Bill would have long before Hannah did All those complaints aside, it was fun to revisit Lake Eden and I enjoyed the resurgence of the relationship between Hannah and Norman, a truly nice man I am hoping the Ms Fluke will finally put an end to the Norman Mike Hannah triangle and give Hannah a happily ever after with Norman in the near future Throughout the series, Ms Fluke has done a wonderful job building a community of characters that always make the books comforting and enjoyable reads I would like to stress that this is not a standalone novel I believe that any reader would be best served by reading not only previous entries in the series, but especially the last two or three I was given a copy of this book by NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review I was not compensated nor was I required to write a positive review The opinions stated are solely my own.

Hannah Swensen

[Epub] ❧ Coconut Layer Cake Murder Author Joanne Fluke –
  • Kindle Edition
  • Coconut Layer Cake Murder
  • Joanne Fluke
  • 01 October 2017

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