Rating: Very Good
Description: Jules Capshaw is working long hours keeping the family bakery, Torte, going, trying to figure out just what kind of relationship she wants from estranged but very present husband Carlos, and keeping her friendship with Thomas who may or may not want to be more than friends. The last thing she needs is to stumble across a dead body. But that's exactly what happens early one morning when she discovers the body of the controversial developer Mindy in her neon green and very un-Shakespearean new restaurant. Suspects and motives abound and Jules can't help but stick her nose in a little to figure out just who wanted Mindy dead.
My Impression: I so enjoy this mystery series! When I start on page one I feel just like I'm walking into Torte and catching up with old friends. I love watching Jules and her mom work together, seeing how Sterling and Stephanie are getting along, and finding out what new coffee creation Andy has come up with (can he have more page time next book please?). The food itself is absolutely mouthwatering from pastries to savories it all sounds amazing. Watching Jules' process as she comes up with a booze soaked cake was such fun and had me wanting to go play with marzipan and Grand Marnier. I was also wanting to go whip up a red velvet cake at midnight but I resisted the temptation! I did end up buying a piece from a local bakery the next day though!
It was interesting seeing Jules and Carlos together as the first 3 books have focused so much on their estrangement. I was predisposed to not like Carlos as I have been fully Team Thomas (though I knew he didn't have much of a chance) but I warmed up to him as the book went along. He and Jules do not have an easy road of it and I'm very curious to see how it plays out as the series goes along.
With all the character development the mystery did feel a bit like it was in the background. However, that didn't mean that it wasn't fully fleshed out. We got bits and pieces of clues as the story went along as well as red herrings galore. The final wrap up was definitely a page turner and made perfect sense when it was all explained.
Once again Ellie Alexander kept me turning pages and thoroughly entertained. I love the characters and always enjoy the mystery. This has me wanting to head to Ashland, Oregon with a cinnamon roll in one hand and a bowl of soup in the other!
And speaking of soup, Jules makes 2 different delicious sounding soups for lunch at Torte but the one that really caught my attention was her Tomato Orange Soup. Now it's July here in Alabama and soup is not something I normally crave but I'm up to my elbows in fresh tomatoes and the splash of citrus with the tomato just sounds amazing. I have this coming up on my menu next week with some cheesy bread!
Tomato Orange Soupfrom Caught Bread Handed by Ellie Alexander
1/2 cup butter
1 medium onion
10 fresh tomatoes or 2 (14.5 oz) cans of diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 cup fresh orange juice
3/4 cup half and half
Melt butter in a saucepan. Add chopped onion and saute until translucent. If using fresh tomatoes, was and cut slits in the tomato skins. Boil for 5 minutes. Remove from water. The skin should easily peel away. Dice tomatoes and add to the onions, or add cans of diced tomatoes. Then add salt, pepper, baking soda, and chopped rosemary and thyme. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. (I loved that in the book Jules explains the use of the baking soda as she's making the soup. Apparently it balances out the acidity of the tomatoes and citrus.)
Use an immersion blender or food processor to puree. Once the mixture has been pureed, return to saucepan and whisk in orange juice and half and half. Bring to a simmer and serve hot.
Today I'm linking up with Weekend Cooking hosted by Beth Fish Reads