Thursday, April 7, 2011

Review: To Have and To Kill

Summary: Piper Donovan never imagined that decorating wedding cakes could be so dangerous! A struggling actress with no immediate prospects and a recently broken engagement, Piper moves back in with her parents to take stock of her life. She steps tentatively into the family bakery business and finds herself agreeing to create a wedding cake for the acclaimed star of a daytime television drama. But soon someone close to the bride-to-be is horribly murdered and it seems that that someone is ruthlessly determined to stop the wedding.

With the help of her former neighbor, Jack, a handsome FBI agent with a soft spot for the gorgeous cake-maker, Piper moves closer to the truth. And as she narrows in on a suspect, she realizes that it's hotter in the kitchen than she may be able to handle. . . . -- Wm Morrow

When Jen's Book Thoughts announced her idea for Moonlighting for Murder 2011, I immediately knew what I wanted to read -- TO HAVE AND TO KILL: A WEDDING CAKE MYSTERY by Mary Jane Clark. I had just received the book unexpectedly a few days earlier, and I thought it looked adorable. TO HAVE AND TO KILL just appealed to me from the wedding cake cover, to the title, to the basic premise.

And I am so glad that I did pick up TO HAVE AND TO KILL because I really liked it. It was a light, fun read and I really liked the main character, Piper. (Isn't that the cutest name for a cake decorator?) Piper is an out of work actress who used to have a role in a day-time soap, and she's auditioning for her next big break. However, when she learns that her mom can't keep up with their family-owned bakery anymore because of health problems, she decides to move back to New Jersey to help her out. As far as amateur sleuths go, I almost feel as if I got a two-for-one with Piper's character. She was a soap actress and a cake decorator -- two very different careers that both sounded like a lot of fun!

As much as I adored Piper, the murder mystery part of this book was interesting too. Piper agrees to make the wedding cake for one of her best friends (and major soap star), but she soon learns that someone is trying to stop this marriage before the happy couple even walks down the aisle. When a person close to the bride is brutally murdered, Piper find herself involved in a murder investigation. There are a few twists and turns along the way, and I did find myself questioning some of the characters' motives as well as their innocence. Overall, I'd have to say that I found the mystery and its conclusion to be satisfying.

And since TO HAVE AND TO KILL was such a cute mystery, I was happy to see that Piper had a love interest, well kind of... Piper is close friends with Jack, a pretty hot and sexy (and sweet) FBI agent who managed to help her a bit along the way with her detecting work. I could definitely sense the sexual tension between the characters, and it seems to me that Piper could use a man like Jack in her life!

TO HAVE AND TO KILL is the first book in the Wedding Cake Mystery series, and I'm so excited that I "discovered" this fun series from the get-go. I am already looking forward to the second book and seeing more of Piper's amateur sleuthing skills. Plus, I admit that I'm curious to see where her relationship with Jack is going to go!

If you enjoy light cozy mysteries, then I definitely recommend TO HAVE AND TO KILL. I thought it was a great deal of fun and the perfect way to escape for an afternoon!

Thanks to the publisher for sending a copy of this book.

Make sure you stop by tomorrow because I will have another post for Moonlighting for Murder week. We were asked to do a fun post about our amateur sleuth's career. Since Piper is a part-time wedding cake decorator, I'll be featuring a brief post on the history of wedding cakes!

13 comments:

iwriteinbooks said...

How fun! My sister-in-law is a pastry chef and an avid reader. This is one for her, for sure!

Sandy Nawrot said...

I have heard of this series. Combine murder with cats, bookstores, baking or a group of women and that means fun. And that sounds bad doesn't it? But it is cozy. (FYI, ALL your books sold last night at the auction. Cancer is a Bitch caused quite a bidding war.)

Karlie said...

Sounds cute! I think the cover is adorable!

Kay said...

I have this one checked out from the library right now. Looking forward to it even more now!

Swapna said...

I thought this book was cute as well. Light and fun!

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I love the way this sounds! I've always wanted be a cake icer, so it kind of resonates with me that way. And you're right - the name Piper is just perfect! And a hot FBI guy doesn't hurt either!

Beth Hoffman said...

Sometimes I'm in the mood for something cute and light in the mystery department. This book sounds like it would be fun. Terrific review, Julie!

bermudaonion said...

This sounds like a great, fun book! I used to read a lot of cozies, but have gotten away from them lately. You've made me want to get back into them.

wordlily.com said...

Sounds like a fun one, for sure!

heyiwanttoreadthat.com said...

What fun, I have to add this to my reading list. I know what you mean about finding new series-it's always so exciting.

Beth F said...

Oh I need to review this one. I really liked it too.

Jen Forbus said...

Oh your post has left me all in smiles. I'm so glad you enjoyed your book!! I have a few cozy mysteries that I enjoy, too, when I just need something light and fun. They are great to fit that need, aren't they?

Julie, thanks so much for being a part of the theme week! Your enthusiasm has made the whole week worthwhile for me!

ruthhill74 said...

Thanks for reminding me about why I want to read this book. I added it, but I like to be reminded why I want to read the hundreds of books on my list!