Death by Chocolate Malted Milkshake

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 01 Feb 2019

Member Reviews

“Death by Chocolate Malted Milkshake” by Sarah Graves is the second book in the ‘A Death by Chocolate Mystery’ series and it was an excellent read. The first one in the series was ‘Death by Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake’, although I have yet to read it. I don’t think this hindered my enjoyment of this one in any way.

What a highly entertaining mix of mystery, mayhem and tension! This was a wonderful cozy mystery which was both enjoyable and suspenseful. It made perfect reading for me between other more intense novels. It was gratifying and amusing with a fantastic plot. 

I loved the author’s great talent for describing the charming coastal setting that brought every aspect of the town of Eastport in Maine to life. The setting of a chocolate shop called ‘Chocolate Moose’ was also a stroke of genius for me. The characters were very well drawn by Sarah Graves and I especially liked the protagonist, Jake. She made a wonderful and determined amateur sleuth and I liked that she was a generous and gregarious character who was a fixture and loved by the locals in the town. The many and varied supporting characters all added great depth to the story.

This book was a great package of fun and excitement and it was a perfect book to enjoy whilst relaxing on the sofa with a large mug of hot chocolate and a slice of cake.

I really appreciated the clever writing from Sarah Graves in this novel which kept me intrigued right to the end. There was plenty of substance to this mystery along with some red herrings to mislead the reader. There was great comedic value, too.

With its fabulous story and wonderful characters, I would recommend “Death by Chocolate Malted Milkshake” to all lovers of cozy mysteries. If you prefer more suspense and mystery than humour to your cozy reading, then this would be a good choice. 

I will be looking out for the next book in the series which is due to be released next year.

I received a complimentary copy of this novel, at my own request, from Kensington Books via NetGalley. This review is my own unbiased opinion.
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Jake and Ellie are partners in the Chocolate Moose. The store is in trouble and if they don't get more business, they are in danger of going under. They get a job for a wedding cake that will help them out, but when there is a murder in town, the groom and then the bride are arrested for the murder. If the girls can not free them, all the money they spent on ingredients will be lost. As well, it appears that the murder weapon was a poison laced milkshake from the Chocolate Moose. The girls need to clear their friends as well as their business.

One of the things I enjoy about this series is that the characters are quite real to me. Running a business is tough and they need to pinch pennies and work hard for every cent. They are both happily married, so there is no romance of love triangles. Ellie's husband has had to travel for a job and left her and their daughter home. This is a difficult situation, and they are considering having to move. Bob Arnold, the local police chief is always incredibly patient with their snooping. He never threatened to toss them in jail, but he seemed genuinely concerned for their well-being. Set in a small town, this is somewhat believable, but we all know police want to solve their own crimes. Finally, there is Jake's dad. He is a feisty, aging hippie who is recovering from a recent heart attack. He wants to be independent and does not want to be babied. He bought himself a new truck and zips around town sticking his nose into other's business. He is a hoot and I hope I am like him when I get to that age. The pace of this story varies. There are some slow spots, but overall it is a good story, with some tense and exciting times. I did not figure out the killer until the reveal, so that always makes a good mystery for me.
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A wedding in a beach town, an ice cream shop as the setting.  Ok I was drawn in immediately.  I  liked this book, the characters are well developed, the plot is full of twists, and the setting made me feel like I could almost hear the ocean roar.  I am a Sarah Graves fan and this book satisfied  me.  I will read more books in this series.
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I am a long time reader of the Home Repair is Homicide series also by Sara Graves and thoroughly enjoyed the series.  I am not quite as fond of the Death by Chocolate series. Jake’s family and friends from Home Repair remain in place and are welcome as old friends. The downhome Maine atmosphere is still enjoyably in place. I found the struggling Chocolate Moose too similar to many other cozy mystery series themes. The book is still a good fast read.
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Rockport, Maine, is a pretty little town dependent on the summer tourists to keep the community going. In fact, Jake (Jacobia) and Ellie are in such dire financial straights that closing The Chocolate Moose, their dream  bakery,  seems inevitable. And that was even before the death of someone after drinking one of their signature milkshakes. The only thing that might be able to save them is getting paid for the specialty cakes for Andy and Sharon's upcoming wedding. A wedding that may not happen as Andy is the prime suspect in the milkshake murder. Although this is only the. second book in this series, the earlier home repair is homicide series was peopled by the same characters in the same locale. So we already know and care about these characters. Visiting Rockport and Jake is always a pleasure.
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When Jacobia and Ellie opened the Chocolate Moose Ice Cream parlor in Eastport, Maine they didn't anticipate failing but they are very close to that.  Money is tight and when the wedding reception they cater isn't paid on time they are looking at closing the doors for good.  Sharon and Andy's wedding reception has a murder and the groom is in jail until Jake and her friends can prove he's innocent.  This is book 2 in the Death by Chocolate Mystery series and can be read as a stand alone.
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Death by Chocolate Malted Milkshake by Sarah Graves is about a murder which disrupts the wedding of Sharon Sweetwater and Coast Guard Captain Andy Devine. Sharon’s bitter ex-boyfriend Toby is poisoned and Andy is jailed as the prime suspect. The wedding is cancelled and the couple is behind bars. Jake and Ellie own the waterfront bake shop, The Chocolate Moose. They decide they need to catch the killer behind someone else has trouble. Ellie and Jake always manage to get in trouble while trying to solve murders, but it’s good to be back in Eastport, Maine. This book has a good plot, great characters, many twists and turns, and lots of drama. I felt like I was right there in the beach town.
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It is just plain wrong to use a chocolate malted shake to commit a crime! Using chocolate in such a way is a crime in and of itself. Not to mention the havoc is creates for Jake and Ellie. Their shop is facing financial challenges and the Whoopie Pie wedding cake that will save the day might be a never was if the above board Coast Guard groom and the super sweet school teacher bride aren't exonerated for a murder they are individually being held on for circumstantial evidence! No one is really sorry that the deceased is gone any many people had reasons for doing it, except for Jake and Ellie who's beloved Chocolate Moose hangs in the balance. The ladies do what they can and what they must to save the bridal couple, save their shop, and save themselves. Who knew a small town in Michigan could have so much drama!
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Death by Chocolate Malted Milkshake by Sarah Graves is the second Death by Chocolate Mystery.  Jacobia “Jake” Tiptree co-owns The Chocolate Moose with her best friend, Ellie White in Eastport, Maine.  They have been commissioned by Sharon Sweetwater and Andy Devine to make a whoopie pie cake for their upcoming nuptials.  Jake and Ellie need the influx of cash or they will be forced to close their doors.  Then Jake hears that Sharon’s ex-boyfriend turned stalker, Toby Moran was found dead near the Rubber Ducky Bar & Grille with a poisoned milkshake from their shop nearby.  Andy, a captain in the Coast Guard, is arrested for Toby’s murder since he was seen arguing with the victim at the bar.  People are shocked when Sharon confesses to the murder.  With the bride and groom behind bars, the wedding is canceled.  Ellie then confides in Jake that if The Chocolate Moose closes, she will be forced to move away.  Jake has no intention of losing her best friend and commences asking probing questions around town.  Toby was not well-liked and managed to anger numerous townspeople.  Jake and Ellie need to stir together the clues and see which of their likely suspects rises to the top.  

Death by Chocolate Malted Milkshake may be the second book in Death by Chocolate Mystery series, but I discovered it is a continuation of A Home Repair is Homicide Mystery series.  It can, though, be read as a standalone.  The characters are established.  There is Jake’s large family, Ellie’s family and the offbeat residents of Eastport.   I did find it hard to keep track of Jake’s extended family who all seem to live with her.  Jake’s father, Jake (I am not kidding) is feeling spry after his recent health scare and ready to zip about town upsetting his wife and daughter. He really stands out with his various antics and rebellious spirit. Jakes loves her family and cares about her friends.  I like the setting of Eastport, Maine and the description of the Jake’s large home.  It sounds like a charming small town with quaint shops that rely on tourists.  The winter months are tough times for the citizens of this small town as Jake and Ellie have learned.  The wedding of Sharon and Andy will keep the doors of The Chocolate Moose open until the tourist trade picks up (I am not sure why they do not advertise or sell products online).  When the happy couple find themselves in the slammer, Jake one again dons her sleuthing cap to save their chocolate bake shop.  Jake has no qualms about putting herself in harms way.  The murder of Toby Moran has a couple of suspects, pointed clues and a red herring.  I did not feel it was right for Jake to tamper with evidence (even in fiction) no matter her justification.  Unfortunately, I solved the whodunit very early in the book (the author served up the solution on a silver platter).  I appreciated that the mystery had a solid wrap up with facts from the police.   I could have done without the repetition of case details.  When one person learns a key detail or clue, they share it with Jake or Jake share it with a family member (and so on).  This happens frequently throughout the book and not just with the mystery. I liked the descriptions of the items served up at The Chocolate Moose and the little chocolate moose sprinkles are a cute touch to their milkshakes.  There is plenty of baking and eating taking place in Death by Chocolate Malted Milkshake.  I am giving Death by Chocolate Malted Milkshake 3 out of 5 stars.  I thought the pace was too slow and I did not enjoy the endless dialogue.  Death by Chocolate Malted Milkshake is for those readers who enjoy light, humorous cozy mysteries.
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Absolutely loved this book.  Sarah Graves is a fantastic author and I am so happy that she began another series with all of my favorite characters.
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This book has a fun cozy premise and, if you like all things chocolate, this book will not disappoint! I found the beginning to have a bit of a "woe is me" vibe with the main characters incessantly talking about how they might lose their shop but once they got past  that I enjoyed the well planned  mystery and the twists and turns that kept me guessing until the very end. I definitely would love to read more books in this series.
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It seems like it's been a year or the better part of a year since I read the first book in the series, so I was glad to be able to get an ARC of this one from NetGalley. It was just as good a mystery and roller-coaster ride as I remember describing the first book. 

This book doesn't need a romantic interest for main character Jake, she's already married to a great guy named Wade, and the same for her business partner at the Chocolate Moose, Ellie. Ellie is married to George, a construction worker who is gone a lot--but he and Ellie were very happy and had a daughter. It was sad that the girls were thinking of closing their shop, which had always been their dream, but if they couldn't get more business, it seemed inevitable. Of course, just as they were getting a nice-paying wedding cake job, there was a murder to investigate--and the bride and grooms were both in jail now. Bob Arnold, the local police chief was always incredibly patient with their snooping. He never threatened to toss them in jail, but he seemed genuinely concerned for their well-being. 

I loved that some of the action was true edge-of-your seat type action! The showdown with the killer was great. I had never suspected this person at all! Jake's dad cracks me up. He's an aging hippie who has just bought a brand new truck and has recovered from a heart attack. He isn't happy about being babied, so he drives around town, but always stays within the law. Dad came in handy during the showdown, that's for sure. 

I really appreciate the in-depth explanation the author gives for her mysteries. In this book, it took place a week later in the form of Bob and Jake talking, then Jake's dad had some pretty awesome news for her. I'll be anxiously waiting for the next book in the series!

I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book provided by the publisher via NetGalley, and my opinions are my own.
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I enjoyed this cozy entry very much and will continue to follow this series!

*Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing an e-galley in exchange for an honest review!
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Princess Fuzzypants here:  Jake and Ellie have a great business.  Everyone loves their fare from the aforementioned milkshakes to the whoopie pie wedding cake they are contracted to concoct.  Anything other than tourist season in rural Maine can be tough and finances tight and having a great product doesn’t change reality.  In fact, they are so close to the edge they may have to close.  The only thread that keeps them hanging on is the big wedding job.
But when the local sleaze bucket is murdered and both the bride and groom are suspects, there is a good chance the wedding may be off. To increase the pain, it looks like someone doctored one of their chocolate shakes and made it the murder weapon.  The ladies are. doubly determined when a nice old lady is killed because of what she might know of the crime.  Even with the approval of the local sheriff, these two manage to get themselves into some very big pickles.
But when they finally figure out who did it, the killer realizes they know too much. Once in a while you want to throw a show at Jake’s head but for the most part, she is not one of these heroines who should be nominated for a Darwin Award.  Still, there are plenty of thrills and chills and a group of characters who are colourful and funny.  Jake in particular has a wicked sense of humour.
I give it four purrs and two paws up.
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Death by Chocolate Malted Milkshake

by Sarah Graves

Jake (Jacobia) relates this tale from the first person point of view as she and her friend Ellie struggle to survive the low tourist season in Maine. In this delightful cozy mystery, Jake and Ellie own their dream shop, The Chocolate Moose. Having recently purchased a vintage, mint green milkshake maker, they have added chocolate milkshakes to the treats featured in their chocolate themed bakery. Unfortunately, an abusive local drunk is found dead with one of their milkshake cups beside him.

In Death by Chocolate Malted Milkshake by Sarah Graves, questions swirl like a milkshake in a blender. Was the victim poisoned by the milkshake? Will the tampered milkshake rumors prove deadly to their struggling business? The ladies are counting on a whoopie-pie wedding cake to keep their business afloat; but with the groom suspected of murder, will the wedding even take place?

There are other suspects, interesting extended family members, a competent, sympathetic sheriff, lots of action, and more than a little danger as Jake and Ellie try to save their shop, keep Ellie and her family from having to move, discover the murderer and stay alive. I was surprised by the ending and the revelation of the murderer.

I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Kensington Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Mystery

Notes: #2 in the Death by Chocolate Mystery Series, but will work as a standalone. It features a recipe for Ginger Chocolate Biscotti.

Publication:   January 29, 2019—Kensington Books

Memorable Lines:

The landlady’s glare was so cold, you could’ve used it to freeze fish.

An old railroad trestle crossed the gap between two high bluffs over a grassy salt marsh. In the moonlight, the cattails in the marsh stood motionless as if at attention.

Basically, I thought, frogs lived in a puddle, ate flies, and never got warm; still they yelled out their happiness in doing it and I found that encouraging.
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Death by Chocolate Malted Milkshake by Sarah Graves is a  fun  read that will have you longing for good chocolate with friends by the coast. This is the second addition to the "Death by Chocolate Mystery" series .  I have read and enjoyed the first in series and highly recommend the series. The seaside town of Eastport, Maine is the setting of the fabulous chocolate shop " The Chocolate Moose" and the home of our protagonist  Jake and her family.  The author has a talent for describing the coastal setting to the reader that brings every aspect of this charming town to life and the shop. 

Jake is a generous likable character who is a fixture in her small coastal town and loved by the locals.  When her  shop is in danger of closing, she is worried that it may not be viable to  keep it going during off season in coastal Maine.  She and her husband will have to leave their beloved town if the shop closes.  They hope to avoid moving away by making the shop a year around success. 
When a murder occurs and the weapon is one of their milkshakes she is more worried and vows to take on the sleuth to save her business and her reputation..  Their one hope is catering a large wedding between a  teacher, and Andy Devine, who is a Coast Guard officer.  She knows this will save her business but its possible the police believe the groom may be a suspect .  If so she will lose the business so she jumps into the sleuth and soon suspects abound with clues that have her on the right track with the support of the local police. 

This was a fun read with a great sleuth that kept me guessing. The supporting charcters all add to the story and are likable. I like the premises of a seaside chocolate shop and the small town coastal village life in Maine. 
I look forward to returning to the story in the next release.  Well done to the author. A very enjoyable read. 

Thank you to Net Galley and Kensington Books for an advance digital copy. The opinions are my own.
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“Death by Chocolate Malted Milkshake” earns 4/5 Chocolatey Conundrums…Clever!

Marriage, Milkshakes, and Murder! Well, the marriage may be on hold when the bride and groom are both suspects, and the poisoned-milkshake murder weapon may put Jake and Elle’s bakery The Chocolate Moose out of business…so Jake and Elle again bake up ways to ask questions, seek evidence, and find a killer! For the second book in Sarah Graves’s Death by Chocolate series she uses the traditional cozy formula, but her writing style, clever mystery, developing characters, and an “I didn't see that coming” ending kept me turning the pages. Women scorned? She uses the “I” perspective to share Jake’s inner thoughts, vivid descriptions, and engaging character banter, but it's the various possibilities along with a couple of dead ends that kept my inner Sherlock guessing. And my favorite words! Not, “It's murder!” My favorite words are “Recipes Included!” Readers are treated to an easy-to-follow recipe for  Ginger Chocolate Biscotti. 
Side note: Jake and Elle are originally from Sarah Graves’s Home Repair is Homicide, and if this series is any indication of it being another entertaining read, I'm putting those sixteen books on my TBR list.
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This is the second book in Sarah Graves second series featuring Jake and her Eastport, Maine community.  I find her books a bit of a traditional female lead murder mystery/new cozy style hybrid, meaning they are a bit darker and less obvious than the modern cozy, yet the characters and setting are not are as charming.  I do enjoy this reboot surrounding Jake and her friend Ellie's bakery better than the original series featuring the characters and you do not have to read the original series to follow this one. 
This book follows the women as they try and save their bakery from closing due to the issues of running a business during the slow months in a tourist town.  They only thing keeping them afloat is an upcoming wedding reception they're catering, but when the groom becomes the main suspect in a murder it's up to them to solve the crime in time to save him, the wedding and their shop. As usual, the woman make a lot of dangerous and unnecessary choices to try and figure out the crime that drives the reader crazy, yet if they didn't the book would have any drama now would it? I found the ending did have a few surprises and I found it and enjoyable read. I would continue on with the series.
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The second book in this series finds Jake and Ellie, owners of the Chocolate Moose bakery making a wedding cake for locals Sharon and Andy's wedding.  When Sharon's bitter ex shows up first to cause trouble, then poisoned by the cake, Jake and Ellie set out to not only prove neither Andy nor Sharon had anything to do with the murder, but that neither did their cake!  This was a good story, but I still find myself wondering if I need to read the previous series that the main characters were part of.  I really like them and the little town, along with all the characters, it really is worth reading.
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I missed the first/previous book in this series so this is the first book I’ve read by Sarah Graves. I could follow the plot well enough anyway. I’d thought this book would be right up my alley but it actually turned out to be something of a slow burn for me. It seemed to be quite narration-heavy and evidence mostly was happened upon rather than being sought out or investigated and certain plot points were brought up/talked about ad nauseum, making it repetitive. All the characters (but especially the mains, Jake and Ellie) had this habit of explaining what they’d just said and I found that to be quite irritating. But the book picked up about halfway through in the humor department and I found myself laughing more and that made the minor irritations more tolerable. Another thing that struck me as odd was the use of off-colour language in the book. It was not gratuitous but it was there and I found it very out of place for the cozy genre. If I ever came across the opportunity to read another book in this series, or by this author, I would do so but I probably wouldn’t especially seek one out.
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