Kale to the Queen – REVIEW

5 out of 5 stars.

Kale to the Queen is the first book in the Kensington Palace Chef Mystery series by Nell Hampton and it is absolutely delightful!

Book Cover - Kale to the Queen: A Kensington Palace Chef Mystery by Nell Hampton - a largish kitchen with windows over looking the grounds and an island full of produce, meats and a butcher's knife.

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graphic line of vegetables - lettuce, carrots, parsnips, radishes, potatoes, leafy greens
© Graphic Garden


Chef Carrie Ann Cole is about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime–an assignment as the new Personal Chef to the Royal Family at Kensington Palace. But no sooner has Carrie Ann touched down across the pond and donned her apron than a dead body crops up beneath the royal kale beds.

With one assistant dead and the other soon under suspicion for his murder, Carrie Ann is scrambling to keep her kitchen up and running. Not to mention she gets off to an immediate bad start with the tempestuous Royal Chef Butterbottom, who has a bitter taste in his mouth since the prestigious position in the Royal Family’s kitchen was given to an “over-privileged, under-educated American chef.”

But the Royal Family’s appetites wait for no one, and Carrie Ann must solve the murder and still get supper on the table on time–even with the annoyingly handsome Head of Security Ian Gordon tracking her every move like an MI6 agent. Suspects abound as an American chef adds a bit of spice to the traditional royal household in the first in Nell Hampton’s charming and tasty Kensington Palace Chef Mystery series, Kale to the Queen.

jumbled chocolate muffin and frosted heart cookies line
© Cute Colors


When I first saw this title offered on NetGalley, I thought it sounded interesting. Then, the other night I was going through my backlist of books for review, looking for one to start reading. I kept simply dismissing things thinking, “No, that doesn’t sound good right now” and things of that nature. When I came across this one in my list, I thought, “Eh, this did sound interesting, let’s give it a try.” I’m really glad that I did! It was absolutely delightful and fun to read! In fact, I stayed up and read half of it that night!

The cast of characters in this series is rather fascinating. We have the combination of “proper protocol” followers and those who don’t care about that rubbish (that’s their attitude, not my feelings on protocol!). We have well-rounded, complex characters that you can tell we’re just starting to get to know. We have some background on some of the characters, but you can tell we’ll be learning more about them in future books.

The descriptions of the settings are adequate. I probably could have used just a little bit more detail, but I was still able to imagine most of the rooms/places where the scenes took place.

Our plot line moves along at a steady pace. I did figure out who the villain was before he/she was exposed, but it wasn’t too long before the exposition, so I wasn’t too disappointed.

I highly recommend this book to cozy mystery lovers, especially foodie cozy mystery lovers! It’s terrific and I can’t wait for the next book in the series to come out!!

*** Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC. I was not compensated for my review and all opinions and conclusions are my own. ***

Graphic of misc kitchen supplies - canisters of spices, jars of preserves, a candle, muffins, a pie, and a wooden spoon
©Graphic Garden

Angelina’s Bachelors – REVIEW

4 out of 5 stars

Angelina's Bachelors by Brian O'Reilly book cover - photo of a woman from the neck down dressed in a black dress with an apron and high heeled shoes getting ready to set a table with plates

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Far too young to be a widow, Angelina D’Angelo suddenly finds herself facing a life without her beloved husband, Frank. Late one night shortly after the funeral, she makes her way down to the kitchen and pours all of her grief and anger into the only outlet she has left, her passion for cooking. In a frenzy of concentration and swift precision, she builds layer upon layer of thick, rich lasagna, braids loaves of yeasty bread, roasts, plump herb-rubbed chicken; she makes so much food that she winds up delivering the spoils to the neighbors in her tight-knit Italian community in South Philadelphia.

Retiree Basil Cupertino, who has just moved in with his kindly sister across the street, is positively smitten with Angelina’s food. In a stroke of good fortune, Basil offers Angelina (not only husbandless but unemployed) a job cooking for him, two meals a day, six days a week, in exchange for a handsome salary. Soon, word of her irresistible culinary prowess spreads and she finds herself cooking for seven bachelors, and in the process discovers the magical power of food to heal, to bring people together . . . and maybe even to provide a second chance at love.

Filled to the brim with homemade warmth, Angelina’s Bachelors is a sweet tale of overcoming grief, redefining family, and following your heart, through food.



Angelina’s Bachelors by Brian O’Reilly is a wonderful debut novel. It’s well-written; the characters are lovable and interesting; and the story line is well-thought and well-executed.

The bachelors that Angelina ends up cooking for are all fascinating and it’s fun to gradually get their back stories as the novel progresses. The level of emotions throughout the book also seemed to fit the circumstances of where they fell in the plot. This book struck the right balance between heavy, emotional reading and light-hearted, carefree reading.

The one thing I did find annoying was that, at least in the copy I read, the recipes for Angelina’s dinners were right in the middle of the story line. It was very annoying to have to keep skipping over three to five pages with the recipes on them just to get back to the story line. It would’ve been much better if the author had put those at the end of the chapter.

All in all, a wonderful debut novel and I would love to read more from this author should he publish more.

line of strawberries spilling out of a basket on the left