“Self-Serve Murder (Death by Cupcake #3)” by D.E. Haggerty #Review

Death by Cupcake #3

“Self-Serve Murder (Death by Cupcake #3)”

by D.E. Haggerty

Genre: Cozy/Mystery/Humor

Release Date: December 5, 2016

Amazon          Goodreads

4/5 Stars!

#TeamKristie

Though little more than a supporting character in the first two Death by Cupcake books, Kristie Larson is a standout in Self-Serve Murder, the third book in the series.

The youngest of the daring trio (which includes Callie and Anna) from Callie’s Cakes, Kristie is, IMHO, the most mature…or at least she doesn’t act on impulse…much. And while she seems timid, you already know there’s more to Kristie than meets the eye considering her ‘job’ and commitment to an inner-city youth center.

These ladies seem to have a knack for finding dead bodies, and in Kristie’s case, she wakes up next to one!

(Totally appropriate to freak out at this point.)

A frazzled Kristie is soon ruled out of any involvement in the murder when test results show she was drugged. However, she did know the deceased, and wonders if his death is related to something sinister Kristie was looking into – the drugging and sexual assaults of young women who all happen to be in the Social Work program…like Kristie. So, who’s responsible?

Enter Callie and Anna to help solve the case! *Overly dramatic eye roll* I like these two, honestly, but they’re just a bit too over-the-top for me some of the time.

But, Kristie…she’s not (quite) from the same ilk. She’s more focused, and keeps things closer to the breast – the proof being the major secret she’s kept from everyone, including her best buds/workmates.

While Kristie needs to know what happened to her and Dick (the dead guy) and find out if it’s all related to the sexual assaults, she’d rather keep Lucy and Ethel, er, Callie and Anna…and everyone else away from the case…lest her secret comes out.

Of course, Kristie doesn’t get what she wants.

At the risk of angering their police detective significant others, Callie and Anna commence with the investigation plans. Kristie is more thoughtful…and tactful. Finding and gaining access to a private online forum for sexual assault victims, Kristie attempts to build a friendship with another member. She doesn’t necessarily get the information she’s after, but this connection will bring a big reveal Kristie never saw coming.

A couple of suspicious characters keep popping up at the unlikeliest of times, but when the villain is revealed, it’s #TeamKristie all the way. She’s shocked…and caught off guard, but when she realizes who’s standing before her…I wanted to stand up and cheer. I may have screamed, “YOU GO, GIRL!” It was awesome, and I subconsciously apologized to Kristie over and over again for underestimating her in previous reads.

Self-Serve Murder is a good read. Kudos and much respect to the author for tackling such a sensitive, yet timely issue.

Two things kept this from being a five-star for me – 1) the passive/aggressive relationships of Callie/Ben and Anna/Logan. One minute they’re all “We do what we want”, and the next they’re being chastised and plopped on their men’s laps with threats of spankings, and 2) Tyler’s aggressive behavior with Kristie. For me, it was too much too soon considering what happened to his sister, and for not only what Kristie went through, but the fact she was still an ‘innocent.’ It’s okay to be concerned, protective, and interested, but being so ‘hands-on’ right from the start isn’t.

It’s still Kristie’s show, though. Her internal thoughts were quite telling as to who she is. While she may have been falling victim to a case of insta-love, and hesitant to speak, she did eventually say the words, “I belong to no one.”

And that brings the story full circle and cements the vileness of the villain because he took away women’s right to choose. Good stuff!

You could read this as a standalone, but I don’t recommend you do. Reading books one and two will help you to understand more of the conversations, how the other two couples got together…and see just how awesome Kristie Larson truly is!

Enjoy!

“Broken Pieces (The Patchwork Series)” by Toni Aleo #BlogTour

 

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Can be found in the Once upon midnight anthology

From the moment Oceanus von Stein, second-in-command to the Patchwork family, caught sight of Taegan Conner, daughter of the leader of the Wolves, he knew he would never love another. Only now, she has been promised in marriage to another, an arrangement to strengthen her family’s alliances–and she gets no say in the matter. Can they find a way to be together, or will they both always be two Broken Pieces?

Take place during Pieces.

 

 

As I watch my father sit, he doesn’t do so smoothly. His movements are jerky before he folds his old, leathery hands together and his eyes scan the room. The scars are very prominent on his face and hands. All the experiments he did on himself are visible, along with the scar tissue that is ancient and freakish on him. While his eyes are bright, from the new pair he just obtained, he looks like death. And tired. Very tired.
Clearing his throat, he lets his gaze fall on me, and I meet it head on.
“I had a meeting with Kurt Conner.”
Kurt Conner.
The pack leader of the wolves.
My love’s father.
Clearing my throat, I sit up straighter as my forearms lay against the cool top of the old oak table. Before I can comment, though, he is going on. “He needed a loan for the wedding of Taegan.”
What?
My world stops.
I feel all eyes on me. My father is staring at me, waiting for a response, but I don’t have one.
Because what the actual fuck is going on?
Did I hear him wrong?
“A wedding?”
“Yeah, she is marrying some other pack leader’s son—you know how those wolves are. Wanting to unite families with arranged marriage and all that wolfish nonsense, I don’t know. But I didn’t give him the money until—”
“Until?” I gasp, my heart in my throat, my stomach on the ground, and every piece of me feeling as if I am falling into the fiery depths of hell because surely I am hearing my father wrong.
Taegan is to marry me.
“He offered up some information on Frank Kelley—”
“He hasn’t died yet?” Jonas asks, and I know it’s to give me time. To let me think, to let me process, but I can’t. Taegan is to marry someone else? She didn’t even tell me. We were together last night! Had she known? Was she playing me? Damn it, what the hell? How could she allow me to find out this way? I mean, I knew my time was running out, but hell, did she keep this from me? I’ve never experienced heartache or true heartbreak, but I’m pretty sure this feeling of my chest caving in and blowing up is just that.
She’s marrying someone else?
She isn’t waiting for me?
Gasping for breath as I try to push the bile back down my throat, I watch as my father shakes his head. “Not yet. And apparently, they are wanting to attack us in one more attempt to get the formula for him. They think they can kidnap Rebekah and use her as leverage.”
I feel Rebekah move as she squeaks. “Me?”
“You. So we are on high alert. Keep your eyes open, and, Rebekah, I don’t want you working at the bar until this is taken care of. I have a meeting with Frank Kelley on Friday.”
“Father, I’m fine at the bar. It’s owned by our family, most of our family is there, along with JJ. The Kelleys don’t even come that much.”
“Yes, but other families come to the bar, and that makes me uncomfortable.”
“I’m fine, I can take care of myself.”
He leans on his desk, and I don’t care about their melodrama. I can’t. Even though I know I should intervene, calm both sides—because my father is right, we need to keep Rebekah underground while this goes on—I can’t help but think of the fact that my love is marrying another. Someone other than me. How in the world is this fair? Why didn’t she fight them? She told me she was mine, and I was hers. Why didn’t she wait for me?
And then it’s like I’m being slapped back into reality.
She didn’t wait for me because we can’t.
We can’t be selfish and love each other because we have commitments to our families. Yes, we love each other. Yes, she is my world, and I’ll love only her. But just like I have to, she has to protect her family. I’m sure there is something more to this, and while I wish she had told me, I know I can’t be upset. I have to respect the process of our families.
Being the eldest, we have no choice.
We don’t get to be greedy.
Wow, I don’t even believe I’m trying to convince myself.
How could she?

 

 

My name is Toni Aleo and I’m a total dork.
I am a wife, mother of two and a bulldog, and also a hopeless romantic.
I am the biggest Shea Weber fan ever, and can be found during hockey season with my nose pressed against the Bridgestone Arena’s glass, watching my Nashville Predators play!
When my nose isn’t pressed against the glass, I enjoy going to my husband and son’s hockey games, my daughter’s dance competition, hanging with my best friends, taking pictures, scrapbooking, and reading the latest romance novel.
I have a slight Disney and Harry Potter obsession, I love things that sparkle, I love the color pink, I might have been a Disney Princess in a past life… probably Belle.
… and did I mention I love hockey?
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