THE SECRET, BOOK, AND SCONE SOCIETY by Ellery Adams


Series: Miracle Springs, North Carolina, #1
Publisher: Kensington
Release Date: October 31, 2017
Source: Review copy from the author
Rating: ★★★★


From New York Times bestselling author Ellery Adams comes the first in an intriguing new series set within a quirky small-town club where the key to happiness, friendship—or solving a murder—can all be found within the pages of the right book…

Miracle Springs, North Carolina, is a place of healing. Strangers flock here hoping the natural hot springs, five-star cuisine, and renowned spa can cure their ills. If none of that works, they often find their way to Miracle Books, where, over a fresh-baked “comfort” scone from the Gingerbread House bakery, they exchange their stories with owner Nora Pennington in return for a carefully chosen book. That’s Nora’s special talent—prescribing the perfect novel to ease a person’s deepest pain and lighten their heaviest burden.

When a visiting businessman reaches out to Nora for guidance, she knows exactly which novels will help. But before he can keep their appointment at Miracle Books, he’s found dead on the train tracks.

Stunned, Nora forms the Secret, Book, and Scone Society, a group of damaged souls yearning to gain trust and earn redemption by helping others. To join the society, members must divulge their darkest secret—the terrible truth that brought each of them to Miracle Springs in the first place.

Determined to uncover the truth behind the businessman’s demise, the women meet in Nora’s cramped and cozy bookstore to share stories and trade support. And as they untangle a web of corruption, they also discover their own courage, purpose, and a sisterhood that will carry them through every challenge—proving it’s never too late to turn the page and start over…


THE SECRET, BOOK, AND SCONE SOCIETY is the first in a new series by Ellery Adams that beautifully combines my favorite elements of mystery, magical realism, and women’s fiction. The book is set in the enchanting town of Miracle Springs, North Carolina – a place that draws people in need of healing – including main character Nora Pennington and the other members of the Secret, Book, and Scone Society. The group forms initially to investigate the death of an out-of-town businessman, but a strong bond of friendship forms as each woman’s most painful secret is revealed.

Nora’s character is a bibliotherapist, and she always knows the right books to recommend to someone in need of guidance. Readers who love stories about books will appreciate the many titles mentioned and literary quotes throughout, as well as Nora’s amazing bookstore.

This book was a bit darker than a typical cozy mystery in that the secrets revealed were weightier than I expected. Still, this character-driven mystery was strong and kept me engaged. Enjoyed!

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

LEMON PIES AND LITTLE WHITE LIES by Ellery Adams

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Series: A Charmed Pie Shoppe Mystery, #4
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: April 7, 2015
Source: Paperback purchase
Rating: ★★★¾


Ella Mae LeFaye’s Charmed Pie Shoppe has become a phenomenon beyond her wildest dreams, providing the enchanted town of Havenwood, Georgia, with spellbinding desserts and magical pies. Her personal life is also heating up as she takes on the responsibilities of leadership within her magical community. In fact, the only thing weighing her down is the fact that handsome Hugh Dylan won’t return her calls…

Still, when Havenwood is rocked by a series of mysterious deaths, Ella Mae must put romantic longings aside—especially when she realizes that the mystical symbols left at each crime scene are dangerously personal. Now she will have to whip up all her supernatural skills to uncover a killer out to settle an ancient score—before the murderer devastates everything Ella Mae is determined to protect…


Book five in the Charmed Pie Shoppe Mystery series comes out in just a couple of weeks, so I needed to get caught up by reading book four. This sweet series is part culinary cozy mystery and part Urban Fantasy light. LEMON PIES AND LITTLE WHITE LIES was an enjoyable continuation of the series, with Ella Mae balancing her duties as leader of the magical community and owner of a popular pie shop.

The world-building in this series is impressive, with all the magic practitioners and an ancient curse going back to the time of Merlin. The baddie in this book was particularly evil, putting Ella Mae’s powers to the test. I don’t think the murder mystery in this book was as strong as the earlier ones, as it seemed to get lost in everything else that was going on, though the conclusion was very exciting. Also, I still haven’t decided how I feel about her romance with Hugh. He wasn’t my favorite in this book.

This is a fun series, especially if you love magical themes like I do. Now, onto book five!

We’re on “Spring Break” next week, so I won’t be around the blogosphere much. No big plans, mainly doing things around town with my kids. I do have one post scheduled for St. Patrick’s Day to celebrate my 6th blogoversary. 🙂 Have a wonderful weekend!

Book Review: MURDER IN THE MYSTERY SUITE by Ellery Adams

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Series: A Book Retreat Mystery, #1
Publisher: Berkley
Released: August 5, 2014
Source: Review copy from the publisher
Rating: ★★★★½


WHO WOULD RESORT TO MURDER?

Tucked away in the rolling hills of rural western Virginia is the storybook resort of Storyton Hall, catering to book lovers who want to get away from it all. To increase her number of bookings, resort manager Jane Steward has decided to host a Murder and Mayhem week so that fans of the mystery genre can gather together for some role-playing and fantasy crime solving.

But when the winner of the scavenger hunt, Felix Hampden, is found dead in the Mystery Suite, and the valuable book he won as his prize is missing, Jane realizes one of her guests is an actual murderer. Amid a resort full of fake detectives, Jane is bound and determined to find a real-life killer. There’s no room for error as Jane tries to unlock this mystery before another vacancy opens up…


I’m always in for a treat when I read a mystery by Ellery Adams. In MURDER IN THE MYSTERY SUITE, the first book in the Book Retreat Mystery series, Ms. Adams has skillfully crafted a fantastical world for bibliophiles, as well as a puzzling cozy mystery.

Storyton Hall is a secluded retreat for literary lovers in the hills of Virginia. To stir up interest in the resort, manager Jane Steward is hosting a “Murder and Mayhem” event dedicated to mystery fans. The fabulous week she has planned for her guests is interrupted when the winner of the scavenger hunt is murdered, and the priceless book he won from Storyton Hall’s collection goes missing.

There was so much I enjoyed about this book. Storyton Hall was amazing. I’d love to spend a week (or more) at a place that catered to readers, with access to a magnificent library, gorgeous views, delicious food, and a quaint village to explore. The fun thing about this book was that there was so much more than meets the eye with Storyton. Even the protagonist Jane is shocked to learn its secrets and how she fits in. The murder mystery and the revelations about Storyton are seamlessly woven together. I enjoyed meeting the intriguing and quirky cast of characters, including Jane’s devoted staff and the members of The Cover Girls book club.

MURDER IN THE MYSTERY SUITE was a fabulous start to a new series, and I’d definitely recommend it to readers who love book-themed mysteries.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: PEACH PIES AND ALIBIS by Ellery Adams

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Series: A Charmed Pie Shoppe Mystery, #2
Publisher: Berkley
Released: March 5, 2013
Source: Review copy from the publisher

Ella Mae LeFaye’s Charmed Pie Shoppe is wildly popular in Havenwood, Georgia – which is not surprising since Ella Mae can lace her baked goods with enchantments. The shop’s extraordinary success seems destined to continue when Ella Mae meets an engaged couple who hire her to handle the dessert buffet at their wedding.

But Ella Mae has a lot on her plate. She is also searching for the origin of her magical powers – and hoping to determine if the spark of attraction she feels for the handsome Hugh Dylan is authentic or just her new abilities gone awry.

Then Ella Mae discovers a high-standing member of the community dead, and a wedding guest becomes seriously ill at the event she’s catering. Now she’ll have to use all her sleuthing skills and culinary talents to prove her pies don’t contain a killer ingredient…

———

I’ve been eagerly anticipating the next book in the Charmed Pie Shoppe Mystery series, and, wow, PEACH PIES AND ALIBIS was even better than the first. I devoured it!

Ella Mae LeFaye is settling into her new life in Havenwood, Georgia. The townspeople love the scrumptious pies she makes in her shop. Little do they know, Ella Mae has the ability to “charm” her pies to influence the emotions of others, a gift she just recently discovered.

I love how this book delved deeper into Ella Mae’s magical background, and how her magic connects her to other characters. Some surprising secrets were revealed, and no one was more shocked than Ella Mae herself. She had a few “Ah, so that’s why…” moments.

Along with Ella Mae’s journey of self-discovery and her first big job catering a wedding, there’s a tricky mystery weaved into the story – the death of one person and the suspicious illness of another. Ella Mae must find out if the two incidents are related, and if so, why? She doesn’t realize just how much they will impact her own life. The ending was an emotional one. *sniffle*

PEACH PIES AND ALIBIS is an imaginative cozy mystery that I greatly enjoyed. Once again, Ella Mae’s quirky aunts and family caretaker Reba stand out as strong secondary characters. Chewy the dog was a charmer, too! Definitely looking forward to the next book.

Rating: 5 Stars

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: PIES AND PREJUDICE by Ellery Adams

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Series: A Charmed Pie Shoppe Mystery, #1
Publisher: Berkley
Released: July 3, 2012
Source: Review copy from publisher

When the going gets tough, Ella Mae LaFaye bakes pies. So when she catches her husband cheating in New York, she heads back home to Havenwood, Georgia, where she can drown her sorrows in fresh fruit filling and flakey crust. But her pies aren’t just delicious. They’re having magical effects on the people who eat them–and the public is hungry for more.

Discovering her hidden talent for enchantment, Ella Mae makes her own wish come true by opening the Charmed Pie Shoppe. But with her old nemesis Loralyn Gaynor making trouble, and her old crush Hugh Dylan making nice, she has more than pie on her plate. and when Loralyn’s fiancé is found dead–killed with Ella Mae’s rolling pin–it’ll take all her sweet magic to clear her name.

———

PIES AND PREJUDICE was the kind of story that I wanted to jump inside of. The charming setting, engaging characters and well-crafted mystery made this one of my favorite cozies to date. The book begins with Ella Mae LaFaye returning to her hometown of Havenwood, Georgia, right after leaving her cheating husband back in New York. Instead of letting anger and sadness take over, Ella Mae decides to live her dream by opening a pie shop in downtown Havenwood, with a little financial and a lot of emotional support from her mother and three aunts.

There’s something very unique about Ella Mae and her delectable desserts. She not 100% sure, but it appears that somehow she’s able to influence the behavior of others by baking emotions into her pies. This strange ability comes in handy when police find her fingerprints on the murder weapon that killed a local racehorse veterinarian, who happened to be engaged to Ella Mae’s lifelong nemesis, Loralyn Gaynor. Afraid that the bad press of being a person of interest in a murder investigation will ruin her business before it can get off the ground, Ella Mae sets out to find other suspects so investigators will point their fingers elsewhere.

This is the first book by Ellery Adams that I’ve read, and I have to say that I’m an instant fan! I adored the setting – a small mountain town in northwestern Georgia, but the well-drawn characters were what pulled me into the story. Even the secondary characters popped off the page. The aunts were a hoot, Loralyn was so wicked, and even Ella Mae’s dog “Chewy” was a huge presence. I also enjoyed the paranormal elements in this book. I’m intrigued by Ella Mae’s transference ability, and it looks like she comes from a long line of women blessed with magic. This is a fabulous start to Ms. Adams’ new cozy mystery series, and I’m looking forward to the next one.

Rating: 5 Stars

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.