I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.
This was one of the books in my "meh" series pile. One I wasn't sure I'd continue on with because, to be frank, the last one sucked. (My review of that first one.)
Summary per the back of the book:
Inspiration Valley, North Carolina, is bubbling with excitement for the Taste of the Town festival, and Lila is right in the middle of it all. Along with her coworkers at the Novel Idea Literary Agency, Lila is organizing a grand celebrity chef event, featuring food television's biggest stars, complete with cooking demonstrations, cookbook giveaways, and even a culinary writing contest.
But just as the celebration is about to start, the demo kitchen blows up, taking one of the star cooks with it.
Was this one better? Yes. Enough to get me invested in the characters? No. The writing still leans towards the melodramatic and almost hyperbolic and one of the authors has a serious romantic streak running through her. (I'll give extra points for the scene were Makayla finds out who her secret admirer is. I'd hate experiencing it myself, but it was incredibly creative and well done.) But Lila is a much more stable MC and doesn't run around in a "As God As My Witness!" fashion like she did in her last book; events are allowed to unfold on a more natural course. The story and it's pacing felt more grounded and realistic.
The plot and sub-plot, unfortunately were transparent. I had the sub-plot twist figured out by chapter 3 and the murderer pegged about 2/3 of the way through. I thought the story line was a good one, I just found the clues too obvious.
I discovered at the end of this book that it's co-authored by Ellery Adams and someone named Sylvia May. I'm not familiar with Ms. May's work, but I am up to date with two of Ellery Adams' series and I enjoy both of them. Her Books by the Bay series and her Charmed Pie Shoppe series couldn't be more different from each other, and this series is certainly different again. I love the premise, but ultimately, the characters might just end up not being my cup of tea. Dammit.
I'm not going to give this series away yet - I'll set it aside and wait for the next one to come out and see how I feel about it. But it definitely won't be a pre-order.