A Taste of Fame

Atasteoffame

A Taste of Fame (Potluck Catering Club #2) by Linda Evans Shepherd and Eva Marie Everson

So some of you might be wondering where is the review for book one? Well there is no review for book one.

What?

The first book isn’t a mystery but a Christian novel that chronicles the lives of six women who change from a potluck prayer group to a catering group. Each member has different issues in their lives, as they grow in friendship and through trials. I wanted to skip it, but as I can’t completely do that without confusing you, I’ll give you a bite.

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The potluck group was started by Evangeline and grew to have five other members; Vonnie, Goldie, Lizzie, Donna, and Lisa Leann. The women go through trials, tribulations, prayer, and delicious food.

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Synopsis:

So since the hiccups of the first novel, the women have had a successful time with their catering business in their hometown. But things are about to change.

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Lisa Leann’s son came to visit, and decided to film them for his media class. It turns out that he also used the footage to enter them in the reality show, The Great Party Showdown.

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Even though most don’t want to participate, they signed a contract and have to, besides that the church could really use the money they win.

We are so happy for you

We are so happy for you

They win their first challenge of catering a special event in the community, creating a 1930s Animal Crackers themed party.

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And now the ladies are off to New York.

Yay!

Yay!

Evangeline has adapted to married life with her long time crush, Sheriff Vernon Vesey. She has even developed a better relationship with her stepdaughter, Donna, who has previously hated her. Her biggest issue, she and Lisa Leann are going into the city to do preliminary research, will she survive spending time with the Texan she can’t stand?

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Lisa Leann’s old affair came back to bite her in the last book. She admitted everything to her husband, but while he agreed to work on their marriage; he has been cold and silent. When Lisa Leann has to leave, Henry gives her an ultimatum: stay with him and they will stay together or leave and that will be the end.

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Vonnie is a little unsure about being in the city, but happy that her son David will be joining her. Vonnie was married when she moved to California to a Latina man. He died in Vietnam and Vonnie went into labor. Knocked out by grief and drugs; her mother told her that her son died and Vonnie signed the release papers, unknowingly signing her son’s adoption papers. When David surprised her by knocking on her door and revealing everything, Vonnie felt blessed to have her child back and loves every moment she has with him.

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As they prepare for their next challenges, continuing the movie theme they find a few things they did not expect. They are doing very well, but a few things seem to be going wrong. Almost as if someone is sabotaging them.

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But which team?

HMMM

Lizzie is enjoying the break and opportunity to visit New York as she has had a lot on her plate. In the last book she had her mother’s Alzheimer growing worse, her youngest daughter’s wedding to plan, her son and his family moving in with her when he lost his job, and her husband being injured. But when she helps a deaf couple find their lost handbag, she discovers one of the production assistants for the show on a date with a contestant. She reads their lips and sees that the assistant has “everything arranged.” Is the contest rigged from on high? And if so, what can Lizzie do to stop it?

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Donna is feeling pressure from all sides. In high school Donna and Wade dated, and she became pregnant. She lost the baby and Wade began drinking. Now 12 years later, Donna is a deputy and Wade is sober and taking care of his nephew Peter, the boy being the same age as their boy would have been. Donna is considering getting back with him, but then there is David who is crazy about her and wants to start a new relationship.

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But now there are the paparazzo hounding her, a Cajun cook trying to start a relationship; all the while Donna being on two cases. First looking to see if her tip about Pete’s mom fleeing her abusive husband for New York to be true, and second who the saboteur is.

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Goldie and her husband Jack have had a rocky relationship. Jack had been cheating on Goldie since they first got together, due to his compulsion for sex. They’ve been in counseling, and with the help, Jack has been able to master his compulsion. However, Jack’s health has been bothering him, and when he has to have surgery Goldie leaves the competition to fly out to be by his side. Will she make it in time? Will Jack survive?

Aw...

Aw…

How will the potluckers be able to win this whole thing down a player and with a saboteur on the loose? Time to pray.

dearlordhelpme

 

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Thoughts After Reading:

I thought this was pretty good. The story was fun and interesting and I thought the development of the characters was great.

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I loved the idea of the movie themed parties from An Affair to Remember, King Kong, and Guys and Dolls; defintely the theme direction I would have gone in.

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The only thing I thought was dumb was that Deputy Sheriff Donna was kind of dim about a few things. She starts investigating Bubba, the Cajun chef, as the potential saboteur and when he tells her she probably mistook his cousin Bordeaux who looks just like him.

really?

What a joke. Come on how could you not see through that.

seriously

There were a few other times when it would have been easy to see through things but she didn’t.

Idon'tthinkso Idontseeit

But otherwise, I thought it was a good read and think it is worth a read. 🙂

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For more caterer mysteries, go to Catering to Nobody

For more Christian novels, go to A Change of Fortune

For more sabotage mysteries, go to The Silence of the Llamas

For more mystery reviews, go to The October Game

Carrot Cake Murder

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Carrot Cake Murder (Hannah Swenson Mystery #10) by Joanne Fluke

I did not like this book.

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I thought the story wasn’t that good and very under developed. And that the author went for an easy ending, instead of creating something that made sense and was actually mysterious.

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This was extremely lackluster and boring.

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But review I must.

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Plot Synopsis:

So it is summertime and Lisa and Herb are having a big family reunion, inviting every single relation. It is a huge affair and Hannah, her family, and two boyfriends are also joining the crew.

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One person that Herb’s mom Marge’s long-lost brother Gus who took off years ago never to be found, ends up showing up to the party.

coincidencegi

He  said he was just in the area and happened among some flyers and thought he would join the group. He has a a lot of money and fancy suits.

wow

However, at the reunion a lot of old hurts come up. Gus was a master manipulator, a borrower and not returner, and a blackmailer. He has a lot of people that he has upset over the years.

Not-Good

He asks Hannah for her special carrot cake as he just loves it, and Hannah gives him a whole one.

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The next day no one can find Gus for the group picture, so they of course send Hannah and she finds the dead body.

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So let’s start with what was wrong in this book.

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A) If It Is Such a Big Party With So Many to Feed, Why Are Hannah & Family & Boyfriends Included?

suspicious Hmm

I know that Hannah and such are great friends of Lisa and Herb, but it seems weird to invite so many non-family members to a family event. I mean it is not just a few people but Hannah, her sister Andrea, her husband Bill, their two children, Bill’s mother, Hannah’s mother Dolores, Hannah’s sister Michelle, Michelle’s boyfriend Lonnie, Hannah’s boyfriend Mike, Hannah’s boyfriend Norman, and Norman’s mom.

What?

Do they really need a dozen more people, at a family only event? No. And Hannah is helping to cook means she should come, yeah her but why are there 11 extra with her? It is just another plot by the author to have Hannah a part of everything that goes on in her town.

seriously

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B) Gus Just Happened To See the Reunion On A Flyer

Come on, Mack

Why do they have flyers to a family only event that they sent marked mailers to? You are not expecting the whole town to come, why paper the streets?

doesn'tmakesense

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C) Hannah Goes On A Huge Derail On the Size And Weight Of Hockey Pucks

What?

Sometimes I feel as if Fluke is paid by the word or something. She is constantly derail on the weirdest subjects, weird as in THEY HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THE PLOT! I’m tired of it, please STOP!!!!

Stop this stupid love triangle!

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D) Don’t Eat Hannah’s Food, You Will Die

StarTrekTheOriginalSeriesHesDeadJim

I’m pretty sure in every, single book the person dies eating Hannah’s food. All I can think is why hasn’t anyone made the correlation and Hannah have gone out of business already. Eat her signature dish and you might be signing your death warrant.

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E) Hannah Finds Another Dead Body

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In almost every book Hannah finds the dead body. It is boring! Come on Fluke, change it up.

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F) Mike & Hannah Drama Continues

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In every book Hannah complains about Mike not being a great boyfriend because he won’t let her investigate with him. What do you think Hannah, that any cop would love to have an amateur bungling things and getting evidence illegally. Listen up Hannah, why don’t you become a real cop or private investigator, and then Mike will leave you alone.

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G) Rocky Road S’Mores?

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Lisa makes a bar cookie she calls Rocky Road Bar Cookies, after the Rocky Road Ice-Cream.  She puts nuts, marshmallows, chocolate, etc.; the same ingredients in the ice-cream. Hannah tries it and says that it tastes like S’mores

What?

What kinda S’mores are you making Hannah? They don’t have nuts. And they have graham crackers in it instead.

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H) I Have Never Had A S’More Before

What'sHappening?BigBangTheory

Lisa tells Hannah she has never had a S’more before which makes no sense. Every store that sells food sells the fixing for s’mores. Hershey’s advertises it on TV as soon as we hit May, so does Honey Maid, etc. I cannot believe she has never tried a S’more “because she didn’t learn in girl scouts”. Get real.

seriously

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I) Red Velvet Cookies Cure Alzheimer’s

Come on, Mack

As someone who has multiple family members who suffer from the disease, words cannot describe how deeply hurt and offended I am at you even suggesting that, whether it is in jest or not.

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J) Randomness That DOES NOT ADD TO THE STORY!

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We spend too much time on random acronyms to remember Native American tribes, the Great Lakes, colors of the rainbow. Just stop!

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K) Mexican Hotdish Mexican Not Dish

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Your Mexican Hotdish isn’t even Mexican. Jack cheese? White rice? Fritos corn chips? Offensive to the Max! If anything it is Tex-Mex. Get it right.

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L) Don’t These People Have Jobs?

idon'tknowwhatI'mdoing

Man Hannah and Norman spend so much time NOT working I wonder how they can provide for themselves.  I mean Norman just decides to fly to Atlantic City, doesn’t he need to work? Doesn’t Hannah? I mean it is one thing to work investigating around work, but these guys just totally disregard it.

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M) Exposition, Exposition, Exposition to Make the End Work

In the last 42 pages we get this big exposition rush about one of Lisa’s relations who is bad at the stock market and wasted away the money, mean to his wife, mad that Gus won’t give the money he borrowed from his wife back, blah, blah, blah. Listen Fluke, you do this a lot and it is horrible. I don’t know if you can’t decide on a killer or feel you need a “twist” for the reader but it is really bad, really bad.

Not-Good

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N) If He is So Horrible Why Are You Still Married?

What?

So Peggy is the wife of the murderer and the deliverer of the exposition about how Mac is totally the murderer. You go on about how horrible and threatening he is, why are you still married? Why don;t you leave.

And if you love him as much as you say and act, why are you so willing to give him up to the police. It just didn’t make any sense and felt like Fluke was rushed and just did the ending the night before it was due to print.

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O) Ross is Back

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This bland saltine of a man is back? Seriously? Come on, just stop. Isn’t it enough you have two guys fighting over Hannah, do we have to include another guy who is blander than a heart patient’s diet?

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Thoughts After Reading:

Hated it. Two out of Five stars.

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For more Hannah Swenson Mysteries, go to Candy Cane Murder

For more reviews, go to Grave Peril