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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Purchase Links: AmazonB&NKobo

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

Synopsis

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

Review

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!!

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

Blog Tour – Elementary, She Read – REVIEW

Banner: Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours Presents

Today I’m very excited to be the host of a stop on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour for Elementary, She Read by Vicki Delany. This is a wonderful book in a brand-new series!

Elementary, She Read: A Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery by Vicki Delany book cover - bookstore setting, red easy chair with a black cat on the back of it and a copy of Adventure of Sherlock Holmes on the seat.

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                                         Clip art of Sherlock Holmes hat, pipe & magnifying glass  Clip art of Sherlock Holmes hat, pipe & magnifying glass  Clip art of Sherlock Holmes hat, pipe & magnifying glass

Brief Synopsis

Gemma Doyle, a transplanted Englishwoman, has returned to the quaint town of West London on Cape Cod to manage her Great Uncle Arthur’s Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium. The shop–located at 222 Baker Street–specializes in the Holmes canon and pastiche, and is also the home of Moriarty the cat. When Gemma finds a rare and potentially valuable magazine containing the first Sherlock Homes story hidden in the bookshop, she and her friend Jayne (who runs the adjoining Mrs. Hudson’s Tea Room) set off to find the owner, only to stumble upon a dead body.

The highly perceptive Gemma is the police’s first suspect, so she puts her consummate powers of deduction to work to clear her name, investigating a handsome rare books expert, the dead woman’s suspiciously unmoved son, and a whole family of greedy characters desperate to cash in on their inheritance. But when Gemma and Jayne accidentally place themselves at a second murder scene, it’s a race to uncover the truth before the detectives lock them up for good.

     Clip art of Sherlock Holmes hat, pipe & magnifying glass  Clip art of Sherlock Holmes hat, pipe & magnifying glass  Clip art of Sherlock Holmes hat, pipe & magnifying glass

Review

5 out of 5 stars.

I loved this book and am thrilled that I had the opportunity to read it and host a spot for this blog tour!

I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read by Vicki Delany (including the Lighthouse Library series she wrote under the pen name, Eva Gates), so I was excited when I heard there was a new series coming out. This book did not disappoint in the least!

I’ve already fallen in love with the town of West London and its inhabitants. Gemma, Jayne, Ryan, Louise, and the rest are all well-developed, complex characters and while we don’t know everything about them, they come across as realistic and still leave a little mystery to be discovered in other books in this series. I love the way Gemma’s mind works. I’m not quite as good at my powers of observation as Gemma is, but a lot of her logic I totally understood. It’s always great when I can identify with a heroine in the story.

The plot line moved along at a decent pace. It wasn’t slow, but yet not so fast that you didn’t understand what was going on. I had absolutely NO idea who the villain was until it was revealed. I can see now in hindsight how someone with astute powers of observation of details could put the clues together, but I didn’t do that, so it was a complete surprise to me.

Some of the interpersonal relationships in the story were strained and it’ll be interesting to see how those relationships develop and play out throughout the series. I don’t want to give away any details of the story though, so if you want to know more, read the book!

The setting sounds absolutely beautiful and I could easily imagine myself there in West London. I love when I can imagine the scene and yet the author hasn’t provided too many details. If there’s too many details, I feel over saturated and it becomes harder to imagine the setting. Ms. Delany is a master at balancing that mixture of detail and imagination.

A wonderful start to a new series and if you like cozy mysteries or even mysteries in general, I highly recommend it!

** Many thanks to Netgalley for providing me with an ARC of this title. I was not compensated for this review. All opinions and conclusions expressed are my own. **

                                      Clip art of Sherlock Holmes hat, pipe & magnifying glass  Clip art of Sherlock Holmes hat, pipe & magnifying glass  Clip art of Sherlock Holmes hat, pipe & magnifying glass

About the Author

vicki-delany

Vicki Delany is one of Canada’s most prolific and varied crime writers. She is the author of twenty-three published crime novels, including standalone Gothic thrillers, the Constable Molly Smith series, and the Year Round Christmas Mysteries.  Under the pen name of Eva Gates she is the national bestselling author of the Lighthouse Library cozy series.

The first in Vicki’s Sherlock Holmes bookshop series, Elementary She Read, will be released in March 2017 from Crooked Lane Books.

Vicki lives and writes in Prince Edward County, Ontario. She is the past president of the Crime Writers of Canada.

Vicki Delany’s Links

Website: www.vickidelany.com  

Facebook:  Vicki Delany & Eva Gates 

Twitter: @vickidelany and @evagatesauthor

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Tour Participants

March 13 – The Bookwyrm’s Hoard – REVIEW

March 13 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT

March 13 – Melissa’s Eclectic Bookshelf – SPOTLIGHT

March 14 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

March 14 – Reviews by Martha’s Bookshelf – REVIEW

March 15 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW

March 15 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW

March 16 – Rainy Day Reviews – REVIEW

March 16 – A Holland Reads – GUEST POST

March 17 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

March 17 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT

March 18 – Shelley’s Book Case – REVIEW

March 18 – Girl with Book Lungs – GUEST POST  

March 19 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW

March 20 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW  

March 20 – Mochas, Mysteries and Meows – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

March 21 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW

March 21 – View from the Birdhouse – SPOTLIGHT

March 22 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – REVIEW

March 22 – Carole’s Book Corner – REVIEW

March 22 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – INTERVIEW

March 23 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

March 23 – fundinmental – SPOTLIGHT

March 23 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

March 24 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

March 24 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

March 25 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW

March 25 – Island Confidential – spotlight

March 26 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW

March 26 – Girl Lost In a Book – REVIEW