Christmas Cake Murder

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 28 Sep 2018

Member Reviews

A quick, easy read - pre-Cookie Jar and pre-love triangle. No Moishe either! This book takes place soon after Hannah's dad passes away.

Delores is still bossy and the characters still say dumb things and the writing is still clunky. Still, I like these books because they're quick and I love all the descriptions of food.

Thank you, Netgalley, for this arc.
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Goodreads review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2524222335

I haven't read any previous book of this series before, and I didn't know what I would encounter, but this was not it. I thought the premise was really interesting and that's a great step to get my attention but when I started reading it took a while for me to start liking the book (a long while).

At 50% I was thinking of giving up, but I really wanted to stick to it and try and finish so I continued, and the ending was much better, I felt like the first half was boring and there was no murder what so ever, but the second half was more intriguing and interesting.

Let's just say that I won't read the previous 22 books and I don't think I'll be reading the next ones that come out, but this was ok and I'm actually glad I decided to try and finish.

And one more thing, if I received 1 euro every time the word "dear" or "mother" showed up then I would be almost rich.
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Thank you NetGalley for the advanced copy to read and review.  I have read several books in this series and this book continued to be as enjoyable as the rest.  These books, while considered mysteries, are very light reading and just an all around pleasant to read.  It was nice to see how Hannah came to begin her bakery and it is always a nice touch having the recipes in the book.
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If you like Joanne Fluke's Minnesota mysteries, this will be no exception! Really enjoyed this one, and it is good to be able to recommend a title that is holiday themed. Grief and the healing power of community are well explored here, along with the tried and true mystery formula that keeps Ms. Fluke's readers coming back for more!
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This is a prequel to the other books in the Hannah Swensen series. The story provides the background to the rest of the novels, telling how Hannah opened her bakery. This needed to be made clearer to the reader at the outset, as it seemed a little confusing to me at first. There was no introduction to let the reader know the date or timing of the story. This would be key for those who have read all the other novels in the series, since this one is out of sequence and almost seemed like an afterthought.

I like her sisters and her mom Delores, but I do not always like Hannah. I also enjoyed the "story within a story" which is a key feature of this novel. As a Christmas cozy, it was a fun read, but the murder happened too late in the story for me to classify it as a murder mystery.

Having read all the other books in the series, I was getting really tired of the love triangle thing. This story does not include that aspect of the novels, thankfully. I do enjoy the recipes, although the "impeccably clean hands" remark got old after awhile. I also skimmed and scanned over the many minute descriptions of how to bake things--I am perfectly capable of reading the recipes myself.  I felt like this was filler and the story needed to move forward without the details. 

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed here are entirely my own.
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This is my favorite cozy series and this installment doesn’t disappoint! We leave behind the Norman/Mike/Ross drama and are transported back to a Christmas season before Hannah ever opened The Cookie Jar. We learn how her business came to be, how she came to own her condo and more. There’s a mystery involving a very suspenseful manuscript and Hannah is baking up a storm for a Christmas party.  It was interesting to go back in time and The story within a story was so riveting I couldn’t put this book down!

Thank you Kensington for the advance copy!
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I loved it I really like how she put the recipe in the end of each chapter of the main ones they talked about in each.  I couldn't put it down  Hannah was my favorite character she really wanted to open up the cookie Jar taken shape!  Oh the twist in the story will really have you glued to your seats wanting to know more.. enjoyed....
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I cannot say enough how much I loved this book! This was a flashback and I got to see a glimpse of Hannah before the series began. We got to see life with her family when she first came home after the loss of her father and the dream she had of opening the bakery. Like others, I enjoyed the pre-love triangle. I also loved all the yummy recipes, and know I will be making several of these for the holidays this year. I honestly thing this is one of my favorites so far. I always look forward to the holiday books like Christmas, and this was no exception. Now, I cannot wait to read the next in the series coming out in February. 

Thank you to the author, publisher, and Netgalley for the honor, and pleasure of reading this ARC. Great job Ms. Fluke, and keep up the good work!
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Christmas Cake Murder by Joanne Fluke, thank you Netgalley and the Publishers for allowing me to read this ARC book and give my honest opinion. This is a nice little cozy mystery, what I like is how the recipes are added so you can make them yourself.  Interesting and quick read, but did not grip me as much as I had hoped.
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As with all the books in the Hannah Swensen Mystery series this story is an easy to read cozy with amazing recipes. This story is a prequel so it dates back before the first 22 books to Hannah's college days. For all the Hannah fans waiting to see what happens after the cliffhanger at the end of book 22 this will be a disappointment since you will not get any answers on the Ross situation. So now we will all need to wait anxiously for book 24.
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Joanne Fluke has all but lost me in her last few books. I requested a copy in exchange for my review from NetGalley because it is a Christmas theme cozy which I love. The fact that we see Hannah and her mother and sister without the convoluted love triangle of present is nice. This book goes back many years to the early years of the cookie jar.  It’s not as good as her earliest books, but the recipes make the book worth it.
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There are plenty of things readers can complain about with this series (the formal dialogue, the fact that Lake Eden is actually in the Land that Time Forgot instead of semi-rural Minnesota, the everlasting love triangle, the list goes on), but if you're still reading the series at this point, it's probably time to accept these things for what they are and move on. Christmas Cake Murder is actually a really fun "prequel" of sorts to the Hannah Swenson series- it takes readers back to the time shortly after her father's death when Hannah has returned to Lake Eden, struggling to help her mother and deciding what to do with her life. We see the seeds of how the Cookie Jar was started, how Hannah's relationships with her mother, sisters, Lisa, and others in the town developed. The story within a story in this book is entertaining. It's really just kind of a feel good, sweet holiday story for longtime fans of Hannah and her community, and it's a lot of fun.
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This series is my favorite cozy mystery series, and I was so excited to receive an advance copy from Netgalley! I have read several of the other novels, though not all of them. This one was a little different. It goes way back to when Hannah opened her bakery, so it is a prequel of sorts. I did really enjoy reading about the very beginning of Hannah’s journey. And, as always, the book has several amazing looking recipes. Loved that. I do think this would be a good book to start with if you have never read this series, and fans may enjoy this book, as I did. 

I was, however, disappointed in the murder mystery aspect of this book. I read this book on a Kindle and the “murder part” occurred 10 minutes from the end of the book. So if you are looking to read an actual mystery, this falls very short in my opinion.
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This is a series that I've read since book 1 and felt that was beginning to fall into a rut.  However, this book is probably my favorite.  

I loved reading this 'prequel' because it not only laid the foundation for the series but also the mystery of Miss Essie's writings.  We also learned a lot about Hannah's mom in this one and how close Lisa is to the family.   I admit that I thought that it was also nice to have a new "Hannah' book without Norman or Mike or the drama of her missing husband.  The mystery, although somewhat predictable at the end, was interesting and it kept me reading until the end.

The recipes are abundant for those that like to bake.  For those like me, it's easy enough to flip to the next chapter.
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It’s another cozy mystery from this author. It’s a good read and mystery with Hannah Swenson and her zany family.
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There are a lot of ups and downs in this story. It also has a story within a story. 2-4-1! I couldn't wait to hear more as the characters read the notebook story every evening. This book took a long time until you knew what the mystery was. It didn't take away from enjoying it. I enjoyed this book a lot. And after the mess there was a truly happy ending. I would recommend this to others.
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Hannah Swensen is at it again! Baking cookies and solving mysteries!
This book takes you back the humble beginnings of The Cookie Jar and gives you a taste of what came before Hannah starts catching killers. Mike and Norman do not make an appearance so the Swensen women really pick up the slack. Lots of recipes (except I think Hannah can do a little better than cool whip frosting in multiple desserts), a story within the story, and secrets from decades ago, you will be entertained until the end. 
Not the typical murder mystery that we've become accustomed to by Joanne Fluke but it was definitely a page turner. I look forward to Hannah coming back to the present day in the next book in this series.
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Christmas Cake Murder is a terrific mystery.  I enjoyed the plot and the well developed characters.  The author is new to me and I look forward to reading more of her books.  Fans of mysteries will love this one.
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Are you freaking kidding me? You need to have a dead body to call it the Christmas Cake Murder. Instead this book was I don't even know how many pages of Essie needing to be hospice not because she was dying but that she lived in two rooms with no electricity or no running water (Where the heck was the building inspector for this?) and basically the origins of The Cookie Jar. I'm glad Delores basically picked out everything for Hannah.

I think the most disappointing part of novella was the writing style - I think a middle schooler would have a better chance of writing this with more advanced sentence structure , useless adjectives (stop referring it to as the industrial oven. We all know what it is), and the mentioning of characters that are never to be heard of again (aka Cliff). The worst part was the entire description of Hannah making her first batch of cookies at the Cookie Jar - it was basically the following recipe with some adjectives and adverbs thrown in for good measure...

Please just move to the annual February book and make a decision about the whole Ross debacle please...
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This Christmas edition story (Hannah Swensen #23) begins with a look back at Hannah Swensen as she finishes college and returns home right after the death of her father. Her mother helps a friend, Essie, while she is spending time convalescing from a broken hip. They plan to recreate a Christmas party from years gone by at a local ballroom. Hannah decides to open her own bakery and to be the chief baker for the party. As usual, delicious sweet and savory recipes are included at the end of each chapter. Good holiday addition to the series. 

Christmas Cake Murder by Joanne Fluke will be available September 25, 2018 by Kensington Books. An egalley of this book was made available by the publisher in exchange for a honest review.
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