Cover Image: Southern Sass and a Battered Bride

Southern Sass and a Battered Bride

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Member Reviews

This is the third book in the Marygene Brown mystery series.  Marygene is catering a mystery themed wedding for her ex and his new bride.  It's not a shock when Marygene comes across the bride, Lucy, lying faced down in the kitchen, she assumes it is part of the mystery game.  She quickly realizes she was wrong and that someone  killed the bridezilla.  Then the body disappears before the the crime scene techs get there.  The blame is cast on Marygene and her best friend, Betsy.  Naturally they set out to clear their name and find out who killed Lucy even though they didn't particularly care for her.  

This was such a nice addition to the series.  I have loved Marygene and Betsy's friendship from the beginning.  They will do absolutely anything for each other and I feel that everyone needs a Betsy in their lives.  She is hilarious.  Marygene's mama's ghost provides subtle clues along the way.  I do have to say though that I didn't particularly care for Alex in this book.  I know he was grieving for his new wife but my word he treated Marygene just awful for the majority of the book.  I liked the mystery.  There were a few points where I was shocked at some of the things that were taking place.  The reveal was really well done.  I had my suspicions on who the killer was and I am proud so say that I was half right.  I will definitely be looking for more in this series.
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OH. MY. GOSH. This is the best book in the series yet, and one of the best books I've read in a while. I've loved this series from the beginning, but this one is truly something special. Everything was amped up!-- the drama, the romance, the friendships and family ties-- and I couldn't put it down once I started. I read the entire thing on my phone (which I never do) because my kindle was dead and I absolutely couldn't wait.

I have never liked Marygene more than I did while reading this novel-- she is one tough cookie (baking pun intended 😄) and yet manages to listen to her heart and give 110% to the people she loves. And some of those people are crazy, y'all. (Not criminally-insane kind of crazy, but the kind of crazy I am VERY familiar with here in the South 😂) It makes for unforgettable reading with a cast of quirky, often hilarious characters, with real depth and emotion tying them all together.

And....*drum roll, please*....I totally guessed whodunnit!!! Well.... kind of. There were definitely some twists I did NOT see coming, but I'm so psyched that my hunch was right that I'm ignoring all that. I never, EVER figure it out before the sleuth does, so I'm especially full of myself for (kind of) nailing this one. Being right did not take one iota of excitement from the conclusion, however, and I'm only boasting on here because I'm pretty sure I'll never get so lucky again.

Oh and FYI... even though this is the third book in the series, you could still enjoy it as a standalone. You might not be as emotionally attached to the characters at the beginning, but I promise you will be by the last chapter!
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This was an exciting cozy! It starts with a very unique murder mystery wedding that doesn't go quite as planned - or does it? Add in a few disgruntled ex-boyfriends, a crazy person, and a ghost that wont leave the island and you have the makings of a great story. 

I loved this one from start to finish. This one will hook you from the very beginning and will hold your attention right to the end. 

Thank you to the author and NetGalley for providing this book. This is my unbiased review.
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Southern Sass and a Battered Bride by Kate Young
What an awesome book!!  I was hooked after the first page! 
Everyone loves a good murder mystery dinner theatre.  This one is set up at a wedding reception.  The bride, Lucy, is in on it.  She is found dead next to the cake.  Then her body disappears.  This wasn’t part of the script.  She was there one minute and gone the next.  Everyone is a suspect.  Strange things are happening in Peach Cove.  Marygene can hear her Mama’s ghost who predicted that there was something bad going to happen.
Someone is trying to frame Marygene for Lucy’s murder.  Even her ex-boyfirend, Alex, Lucy’s widow, seems to have his suspicions.  Family members are turning against family members.  Accusations are flying.  Who can be trusted?    Car bombs?  Bank robbery?  Dead bodies?  Break-ins? Drugs?  - what is going on in Peach Cove? Who can Marygene trust to help her solve this mystery?  
Don’t be afraid to delve right into this book.  It is a great read and will keep you guessing who is at the bottom of all of this chaos!
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Marygene Brown always figured she'd marry her childhood sweetheart, Alex Myers, not cater his wedding. But the Peach Diner could use the exposure. Most of the island is showing up--although more for the role-playing murder game at the reception than for the widely loathed bridezilla, Lucy Carmichael. Marygene may have to smile through the festivities, but Mama doesn't have to hold her peace--especially since only Marygene can hear her mother's ghost. Mama says she sees an aura of darkness around the wedding.

So when Marygene finds Lucy lying beside the wedding cake, buried in batter, with no pulse, it looks like Mama called it. This is no game. And when the bride's body simply vanishes, it's up to Marygene and her best friend Betsy (cousin to the groom and no fan of the bride) to solve a real-life mystery--with a little help from Mama's sassy spirit.

Third in the Southern Sass mystery series, this one is even crazier than the first two. As much as I like the setting and Marygene, there is too much going on in this book. Marygene's family, including her mom's ghost, are good strong characters who act like rational human beings would. Her best friend, Betsy, however, needs to be toned down a bit. She is just too much.
If you liked the first two books, read this entry, but don't start here.
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Southern Sass and a Battered Bride is delightful!

It was the kind of book that grabs you and does not let go until the very end. Enjoyed reading this book. Looking forward to more books by this author.

Definitely a winner!
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Another favorite by a great author. The plot of the story was very well written. The author really draws the reader in as you read. The plot made me laugh.
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A mystery, on an island off the coast of Georgia, complete with all things peach and an island ghost. What's not to like? This is the third book in the series by Kate Young featuring Marygene Brown, diner owner, baker extraordinaire and amateur detective. She gets help along the way by a cast of fun characters including her best friend who frequently speaks with an overwhelming amount of southern idioms, Javier, the sheriff who shows signs of romantic interest in Marygene, and the ghost of her mother who pops in on occasion to provide information and offer limited protection.
The plot is entertaining and unique, featuring a wedding reception that is a murder mystery event. It gets more entertaining when Marygene walks around inside the reception tent and almost stumbles on the bride's body. No problem, the bride wanted to be the "victim" in the event. Something has gone wrong, though, because it appears the bride is actually dead. Before that can be confirmed, the body disappears and the mystery starts in earnest. Is she dead? If so, how did the killer move the body? If not, where is she?
To make things more confusing, the bride was marrying Marygene's ex boyfriend, who seems to go off the deep end. He leaves the island, only to return with a detective who seems to be out to prove both the island's sheriff's department, run by Marygene's father and Marygene herself are complicit in the murder; perhaps with help from Marygene's best friend.
All in all this is a lively romp through a cozy mystery that will entertain, bring smiles, and, perhaps, provide a few recipes to readers who are interested in trying them. It's the third in a series, so there are some relationship issues that have been growing since the first book. If you are a reader who likes to follow relationship developments, you are probably going to want begin with the first book in the series although the mystery itself is complete within this novel.
My thanks to Kensington Books and NetGalley for providing me with an advanced copy of this novel for review. The opinions expressed here are entirely my own.
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I hadn't read the previous books in this series and wish that I had. Young did a good job of filling in some back stories but I was really struggling with why Marygene Brown would have ever been involved with Alex Myers. 
In this book, he's marrying another woman, Lucy. And Lucy is... well, let's go with she's a jerk. And a bridezilla. When Lucy ends up dead after the wedding, Marygene becomes an obvious suspect but Alex also wildly accuses his own cousin, Betsy, who is Marygene's best friend. 
The book is a wild romp with some pretty outrageous exploits on the part of our heroine who is pulled into the mystery, not by her own curiosity, but because she seems to be part of some collateral damage.
I hope that future books don't fall into the love triangle that could result as a part of the end of this book but I think Young is sidestepping that possibility (thank goodness.) I did enjoy the fact that Marygene's ghostly mother was used lightly.

Three stars
Follows Southern Sass and a Crispy Corpse
This book comes out April 27th
ARC kindly provided by Kensington Books and NetGalley
Opinions are my own
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Kate Young has a knack for the cozy mystery genre. 
I’ll happily read her books anytime 


Witty, enjoyable read like a cozy mystery book should read. Characters who make you laugh, you find relatable and enjoy their story make it that much more enjoyable.
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Marygene is such a good friend and better person than I. Alex is marring a she devil but Marygene does her best that is until he accuses her of killing his bride. Betsy is her ride or die friend and they are on the case. I enjoyed the mystery and characters. It’s time she moves on from Alex and finds someone deserving of her. The turns and twist this book takes keeps you on your toes never knowing where it will lead.
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I really enjoyed this cozy mystery.  Had some nice twists and turns that kept me guessing. 
Marygene is trying to be a good person and cater the wedding of Alex (her ex) and Lucy.  Lucy seems to be difficult to like, as most people in town agree.  The problems begin to arise when the bride is thought to have died at the wedding, except the body has disappeared.  
There is a lot of finger pointing, family turning on family, and lies and truths that are being revealed at every turn.  Great story, loved the characters especially Aunt Vi.   So glad Marygene ended up with who she did! (Sorry no spoiler).  
I received an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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A promising read by this great author, as usual.... I enjoyed the premise & the story clipped along at a great pace. Thanks for the ARC!
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I am becoming a huge fan of the cozy mystery genre due to books like this. You can read this as an escape from the everyday in a weekend. A  really good mystery.
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An easy afternoon's read that will transport the reader to warmer climes with fun characters and a decently crafted mystery.
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I have read a lot of cozy mysteries and this one ended up being only okay for me. There was definitely some original thinking (the murder mystery themed wedding!) but in the end I could see the killer from miles away and I was bored for much of the book. It did have a great setting and the characters were well done. I liked the food mentions and enjoyed the writing. Overall the plot and mystery left me wanting a lot more.
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This is my first five-star cozy mystery review of 2021, which for me is rare.  As a reviewer, my five-star reviews are not all that frequent because for me it takes something really special to warrant that review.  For me, Southern Sass and a Battered Bride is that something special.  This is a fun series and I've enjoyed the first two books but this third book just exceeded all of my expectations.  Ms. Young has created this fun, quirky, warm, loving, outspoken, outlandish, tight-knit group of characters that just speaks to me.  They are full of wit and humor but are flawed and complex, with more layers for the reader to uncover.  I love that Marygene is getting stronger as she heals from the abuse in her past.  Her family and friends are her rock, so when she and Betsy are being framed for the murder of Alex's wife, Marygene goes into action to try and help solve the mystery.  

The mystery and the plot are complex with a lot of different layers.  This was a fast read that kept me turning the pages because I wanted to know who killed the bride.  Ms. Young weaves plenty of clues throughout the story, laying down plenty of bread crumbs that will lead her readers in the wrong direction if they follow them.  At one point I had my suspicions about the killer's identity, but I hadn't really appreciated all of the nuances to the clues to give me confidence that my theory was correct.  In the end, the author wraps up the mystery with an exciting conclusion that will leave the readers satisfied but wanting more.

This is a terrific series and I can't wait to read more.  It hits all the right notes in what I look for in a cozy mystery - strong, interesting, and likable characters, strong mysteries that keep me guessing, a plot the flows and keeps me turning pages, and witty dialogue with added humor.  I will definitely be back for more in this series.

I voluntarily read a digital advanced reader copy provided to me by the publisher, Kensington, through NetGalley.  All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.
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Georgia’s peach cove island is getting ready for a wedding but a murder has occurred that will change the course of actions for the day. Marygene always thought that she was going to marry her childhood sweetheart. However, that was not how her life played out. Yet she does get to do the next best thing, cater his wedding to Lucy Carmichael. Lucy is not your typical happy bride to be. During the wedding, where most of the island will be in attendance, the plan is to have a murder mystery also. Marygene has a secret. Her mothers ghost speaks to her. That is how she knew something was going to go awry. A young bride found dead and then her body goes missing brings a sleuth out of Marygene. Most do not like Lucy so the possibility’s are endless of those on the suspect list. However the ending was not what I expected nor even thought about. This is a very cute mystery that takes your breath away as you begin the end.

Thanks to netgalley as well as the author for allowing me to read this book in exchange for my honest review.
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SOUTHERN SASS AND A BATTERED BRIDE, the third book in the Marygene Brown Mystery series by Kate Young, grabbed my attention from the very first and captivated me until the last page was read. The quirky, loveable characters pulled me in and the twisty-turvey plot made this book a “just one more chapter” read through the night story. Protagonist Marygene, is as southern as they come. Despite her longtime sweetheart marrying her detested nemesis, Marygene and her sister agree to cater the wedding after being asked and do so with more grace than what seemed possible. When the bridezilla is found murdered, just after the ceremony, Marygene and her best friend/cousin, Betsy, become prime suspects. To make the scenario even more intriguing is Marygene’s ghostly mama, who shows up to lend support and an occasional clue in solving the crime. I’ve enjoyed watching the growth of the characters over the course of this series, and that includes Marygene’s Mama’s ghost. The creative and quirky twists on the characters adds to the overall entertainment.

The plot flowed at a quick pace which kept me turning pages. With action galore and snippets of humor to lighten the scenes, Ms. Young weaves in clues to keep the reader guessing. While I had my suspicions about the culprit, I wasn’t quite sure and I waffled back and forth as I was sucked in by misdirection. The heart pounding reveal contained another unexpected twist and has me waiting impatiently for the next book in this Southern Sass cozy series!      

Marygene and her sister own the Peach Diner and whip up multitudes of mouthwatering dishes and desserts. With Marygene’s father experiencing some health issues, she’s determined to bake up healthier treats so he doesn’t feel deprived. I couldn’t help but be intrigued by the author’s recipes at the back of the book, which incorporate some of her healthier desserts.
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MaryGene Brown owns the Peach Diner, along with her sister and brother.  Today they're catering the wedding of MaryGene's high-school sweetheart, Alex Myers, and his bride Lucy Carmichael.  MaryGene isn't happy about the wedding, even though she doesn't love Alex anymore, not to mention she has a new beau of her own, Paul.  

The strangest thing is the bride wanted to be part of a murder mystery at her reception, and while they're setting everything up, Marygene sees that Lucy, who's disliked by everyone except Alex and his mother, Regina, is playing the victim.  When it's quickly discovered that she's not playing but has been killed, everyone is kept from the scene.  But when her body disappears quickly after that, it's now a crime that needs to be solved quickly.

Alex is distraught and blaming everyone for hating Lucy; his mother is blaming family members; the town doesn't care; and Marygene's father, Eddie, the chief of police, is determined to figure everything out.  But then there's a near-fatal accident, and Alex brings in help from outside, which only upsets the locals.  With Marygene's mama's help, she plans on finding the truth...even if it puts her in danger once again...

This is the third book in the series, and I truly enjoyed it as much as the first two.  I do love the interactions between Marygene and her family members, and I especially love the fact that her mama, who is an island spirit tied to Marygene, is keeping watch over her and helping her whenever she can.  I l think that this aspect is much of the magic of the series, and it makes it more entertaining to read.

We also see that Marygene is going through changes in her life, and determined to overcome her past and learn from it.  She's gaining inner strength, and is more confident in this book than the previous two.  Her best friend, Betsy, is a real character -- she professes to be one type of person, but when she's caught up in the middle of a murder investigation, her true personality emerges,  It's a trip to watch her go through the emotions.  Soon Marygene also realizes that she might be a suspect in the murder, so she knows that she needs to clear herself by getting involved, but soon discovers that might not be so easy to do.

The action is practically non-stop, from Alex lashing out at everyone, the disappearance of a deceased bride, people who might not be who they claim to be, the addition of an Atlanta homicide detective that Marygene's locked horns with once before, and other events I will not list here in order not to ruin this book for others; I will say that this is probably the best book in the series so far and it kept me reading in one sitting (much to my dismay, as I realized I should have been doing a few house chores instead).  

When the murderer was discovered, there were clues leading up to it, but you have to put them together much as Marygene did.  Finding the murderer isn't enough; it's the reasons behind it that count, and they were motives as old as time.  All in all, this is quite an engaging mystery drenched in southern charm and I hope to see the next in the series soon.  Highly recommended.
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