Cover Image: Pleading the Fish

Pleading the Fish

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Member Reviews

This mystery was just not for me.  I found myself struggling to read this one, I think because I wasn't 'interested' in the characters.  However, I am sure that others will enjoy it.
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I do not like goodbyes, so it was with some trepidation that I began reading what I knew was the last of the Seaside Café mysteries by Bree Baker, "Pleading the Fish." The heroine, Everly Swan, runs Sun, Sand, and Tea, a café and tea shop in Charm, North Carolina. This book kicks off with Everly planning her long-awaited wedding to local detective Grady Hays, and of course she's still battling the old family superstition that says Swan women are cursed in love. Grady is determined to help rid Everly of that notion once and for all, but before the two of them can delve too deeply into her family history, Everly gets a local historian, Susan Thames, to help her—but Susan soon turns up dead in a well. Despite Grady's pleas for Everly to leave the murder investigation to him, she (naturally) marches right on into the sleuthing, and threats are soon coming her way.

In between trying on old family wedding gowns and planning her beachside nuptials, Everly manages to make a few enemies, including several who clearly had reasons to want Susan out of the picture.

In this cozy wrap-up, Everly makes her peace with an old nemesis, and a surprise find in the attic helps her finally put the Swan curse to rest. A delightful-sounding lemon cake has a starring role in the book, and the recipe is, blessedly, included. There are lots of loose ends to wrap up here, and Baker does so beautifully. If only there were more of these sweet books to come!
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Baker's ability to write an engrossing story continues with Pleading the Fish--I especially appreciated the conclusion of this 7-book series. Although I'm sad I'll never get to travel back to Charm for new mysteries.
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This series ended in the best way possible. While I am so sad to see Everly and Grady's story come to a beautiful end, I am going to miss her two aunts even more. 

Bee Baker, BRAVO!

I loved this story so much. The plot of Susan's death, hidden journals, family recipes, underground tunnels, wedding planning, and curse breaking gave the reader everything and more. UGHHHH - I am going to miss these characters so much. Does this mean I should plan a series reread and keep the momentum alive?

Thank you, NETGALLY for offering the opportunity to read and cherish this story ending novel.
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I can only think of one series finale that was as impressive as this one. Most of the time I'm left with the feeling the writers tried too hard but that was not the case here. I would have tissues ready as I blubbered at the beauty of love and life. 

If you haven’t read this series binge it now. If you are on the last one what are you waiting for? Go read!!!

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher. All opinions expressed above are entirely my own.
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Upon finishing, I immediately started thinking about where it all began for Everly and will definitely be reading this series again soon.

What an excellent ending to a marvelous series. Bittersweet to say the least, but Julie did a wonderful job wrapping everything up nicely and bringing it full circle. I mean, that epilogue!!! Aaah! It’s everything and more.
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Everly Swan owns an ice tea café on the beach. She’s lucky enough to live upstairs so she can sit out on the deck and enjoy early morning visits with Lou the seagull and Maggie the white cat. Add in that she’s in love with Grady, a police detective, and all’s right with the world—or is it?

The Swan women have been cursed in love. The subject of their affection suffers an early death. Rather than kill the man who means so much to her, Everly is willing to stay single forever. It’s up to him to convince her the curse is just folklore, built up to epic proportions over the years.

Susan, a local researcher is poring over Swan family records to disprove the curse. She tells Everly she’s found information proving they’re on the right track.

During a community fish fry, Everly hears a scream and rushes to an old wishing well, only to find Susan’s body. Is it because of the curse or related to Susan’s job or personal life?

Everly’s curiosity runs wild, and despite anonymous threats and warnings from the killer, she investigates. Grady hates that she does, but hasn’t been able to stop her. After all, she’s just asking a few innocent questions. If that’s so, why are the threats ramping up?

This is the seventh and last book in the series. Readers will find out if Everly and Grady marry, if the curse is real or not, what happens with friends and family, will have a glimpse into the future, and will be sad to see the stories end. Check the KRL archives for reviews of the previous six books. At the back of the book are recipes for pina colada pie, blueberry lemonade cake, and the famous protect-against-the-curse lemon cake Grady loves so much.
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Pleading the Fish was the perfect conclusion to the Seaside Café series. The Seaside Café series is comprised of seven charming mysteries set in Charm, NC. Everly's family believes that the women (more so the men they fall in love with) are cursed. Everly's newest adventure is proving the family curse wrong so she can safely get married. 

I'm sad to see the series come to an end but at the same time it is refreshing for it to come to a close before it became played out. I believe I mentioned in an earlier review that I wasn't sure how many plots the small town of Charm could realistically support. I can see myself re-reading The Seaside Café series in the future. I highly recommend this series for anyone who enjoys the cozy mystery genre. (Do yourself a favor and start with #1 though)
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I love visiting Everly and her friends and was so sad to see this is the 7th and final book in the Seaside Cafe Cozy series.  Everly is planning her wedding to Detective Grady Hayes with the help of the tea shop staff.  She has even hired a researcher to debunk the curse on her family.  When the researcher is found dead they need to find the killer who is now threatening everyone connected to the family.  A satisfying ending but I'll miss this series.  You can read this as a stand alone but you'll want to find them all.  I received a copy of this ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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While I adored this book, I was sad to see the series come to an end. I loved the adventures of Everly, Grady, Clara, Fran, and the rest of the crew in Charm; and this adventure was no different. The mystery itself was interesting and kept me guessing and I really liked how we got to see a lot of the characters we had come to love in the series.

But... the reason this book didn't get a higher rating was because of the extra epilogues. The first epilogue was fine and I liked it... however the ones from Denver and then Grady's perspective I felt were cheesy and not needed. Especially Grady's as it takes place 22 years after the end of this book. At that time, the aunts Clara and Fran had long since passed away and that left me feeling sad, whereas when I finished the book before that epilogue I could imagine them all still happy and alive in Charm.
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Pleading the Fish by Bree Baker is the seventh and final book in the Seaside Cafe Mysteries series. I will miss this series. 
Ms. Baker has written a perfect ending to this great series. There are plot twists and suspects that will have you guessing to the very end. There is romance, family, friendship and a couple of loveable critters.  Of course, there is plenty of humor thanks to Everly. 
I laughed and I cried throughout this well written Cozy. There are recipes included.
I was given an ARC by Poisoned Pen Press via NetGalley.
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Title:  Pleading the Fish
Author:  Bree Baker

Ch: 22 Plus 3 epilogues

Pg:  336

Series: Seaside Café Mystery series book 7

Genre:  Cozy Mystery

Rating: 5 Stars

Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press


Pleading the fish is the seventh and final book in the Seaside Cafe Mystery series by Bree Baker, and while I'm sad to see the series end it ended on a great note. And the series wrapped up nicely. I couldn't have asked for a better ending to a great series. And while I will miss Everly butting in on Grady's cases because she can't help herself and Aunt Clara and Aunt Fran's meddling and Denver's sweet child antics. The series ended at the right time. However I have to say that it would make an awesome tv series. 


I have to say having three epilogues from three different point of views from three different times was genius.  And I look forward to see what else Bree Baker comes up with. 



I received a copy of this book from the publisher through netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.
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Dollycas’s Thoughts

I have loved every book in this series so knowing this is my last visit to Charm is bittersweet. Sad to let these truly wonderful characters go but thrilled with the way Bree Baker ended their story.

I anxiously awaited each book in this series to check in on Everly, Clara, Fran, Grady, Denver, Denise, Matt, Wyatt, Amelia, Ryan, and all the other residents of Charm even Lou and Maggie. Each visit has been absolutely delightful, and chasing down clues with Everly was always fun.

For that reason, this is probably one of the shortest reviews I will ever write because I don’t want to give anything away and spoil this amazing story for anyone.

As always Ms. Baker has given her readers a marvelous mystery but more than that she takes them on an emotional ride with all the characters. I feel blessed that the author knew that this was going to be the last book of the series. That gave her the chance to write the story in a way for her characters to receive the farewell they deserved. It also gave us readers the joy of some really happy endings and peeks at the future.

Thank you Bree Baker for creating such an amazing series! I will never forget the pleasure of totally escaping into each and every book and my time spent at the beach and all the virtual ice tea I drank while following Everly everywhere she went! This entire series is Must Read! I recommend them all highly.

Note: Bree Baker is a pseudonym of Julie Anne Lindsey, Julie Chase, and Jacqueline Frost. This series may have wrapped but she has several others to check out. In fact, the first book of her new Thelma & Louisa Mystery Series was released yesterday!
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I’m only sorry that I’m coming into this series just as it’s ending! This seventh book in the Seaside Cafe mystery series neatly wraps up all the overarching storylines in such a way that even I, a newcomer to the books, felt completely satisfied and heartwarmed, even as it made me want to go back and read every book from the start. And just as importantly – if not more so – I was really impressed with the construction of the mystery here: I only realized whodunnit a page or two before our heroine Everly Swan did, and was just as surprised by the revelation.

Surprise, of course, isn’t the only emotion Everly feels over the course of the events chronicled in Pleading The Fish. After she finally agrees to marry her police detective sweetheart Grady Hays, the two of them unite to disprove the family curse that allegedly dooms all men loved by a Swan woman to a swift, untimely death. To this end, Everly consults with her town’s historical society researcher Susan Thames, who promises to look into the matter and, hopefully, eliminate her fears.

Alas, before Susan can present Everly with her findings, the researcher is brutally shoved into the wishing well on the historic Northrop property grounds. Everly rashly promises Susan’s grieving widower that she’ll figure out who killed Susan. She’s barely started investigating, though, when festoons of duckweed and coins – just like the ones that surrounded Susan after she was found floating in the water – make their way to first her property and then to herself. These are all clearly threats from the murderer, but Everly has never let anything like that stop her before. Grady, having reconciled himself to her inveterate nosiness, has to learn to trust in her and in the self-defense lessons he’s been teaching her, as they come to a showdown with a desperate killer that neither of them really saw coming.

Aside from the well-written mystery and the culmination of the interpersonal relationships between Everly and various important members of her North Carolina beach town – the revelation of the identity of the Town Charmer, a gossip columnist who’s been both help and hindrance throughout Everly’s sleuthing career, was a particular highlight – I really enjoyed the slight supernatural flavor of the book. From the curse to the intervention of various animals who’ve seemingly adopted Everly, this was a paranormal delight that didn’t stray too far outside of the realm of possibility. I very much enjoyed my time in the town of Charm with Everly and her crew, human or otherwise.

There were three recipes included here, and while I was definitely curious about the two desserts that had a prominent place in the narrative, my kids love blueberries, leading me to bake the other dish:

Blueberry Lemonade Cake

Streusel Topping: 
½ cup flour
⅓ cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter

¾ cup sugar
1 large egg
4 teaspoons butter, softened
Juice from 1 fresh-squeezed lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons lemon zest
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups blueberries

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Prep a 9-inch square baking dish.

Prepare the Streusel Topping:
In a small bowl, mix the flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt.

Cut in the butter until the mixture reaches a crumbly state.

Set aside.

Prepare the cake:
In a large bowl, beat the sugar, egg, butter, lemon juice, and vanilla.

Add the milk.

In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, lemon zest, and salt.

Add to the first bowl and mix.

Add the blueberries and stir gently until blended.

Transfer the batter to the prepared pan.

Sprinkle the streusel topping on top.

Bake for 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Slice and serve.

Firstly, I’d like to congratulate myself on finally getting a streusel topping right! It probably helps that I invested in a pastry cutter for the first time: I highly recommend that kitchen tool to any serious baker.

Secondly, I discovered that the eggs had somehow gone missing from my refrigerator, so was forced to substitute the egg in this recipe with a quarter cup of buttermilk instead. I think that worked out pretty well, though, as this is a lemony cake, so there was no odd clash of flavors. Which flavors, frankly, were really great here, with the blueberries and cinnamon streusel both providing a nice counterpoint for the lemon. This was a really tasty cake that’s just fancy enough for company, but not too difficult to prepare in a pinch.

Next week, we travel up the coast to bake a deliciously simple treat while tracking down a murderer hiding behind the supernatural. Do join me!
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In the seventh and final book of Bree Baker's critically acclaimed Seaside Café Mystery series, Pleading the Fish, Everly Swan's wedding plans are upended by a dead body. She'll have to run her teashop, find a dress, and catch a murderer all before she can walk down the aisle!

I was saddened to hear this series is ending I wanted to read this but did not want Everly's story to end. It did not disappoint at all! In this one Everly seems to still be hesitant about her marriage to Grady. Grady makes a deal with her to debunk the curse which in the end they do. Turns out it was never anything they had to worry about. But the mystery is what gets us right? Everly can't help herself she has to investigate she has such a heart and when it's a friend or family she's all about it. But she makes a huge mistake and trusts the wrong person and ends up in danger. But Grady is there to save her and of course Everly gets the murderer. I feel like the killer came out of left field I was totally zeroed in on someone else and never expected this person. Bree did not disappoint. While I will miss Everly and Grady and the whole Seaside clan I can't wait to see what the next chapter brings her.
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Another excellent edition to a wonderful series! Full of twists and turns that leaves you wanting more and enjoying each moment until the end when the killer is caught!
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I strongly dislike it when one of my favorite series ends, but unfortunately, my dislike doesn’t change things. Pleading the Fish is the seventh and final book in the beloved “Seaside Café Mysteries” series. It is filled with wedding plans, a family curse, murder in a wishing well, friends, family, and love. In other words, everything a cozy mystery lover could want!

Everly is reluctantly planning her wedding. Even though she believes that her family has a curse that makes male loved ones die young, she has a ray of hope that the curse is fake and her marriage will not end prematurely. Grandy, her fiancee, doesn’t believe in curses, and he sets out to prove it to Everly. Then a body shows up just when they need it least, and Everly and Grady set out to find a killer. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take long for them to become distracted by the investigation giving Everly something else to worry about. But most importantly, she fears her family curse may be the motive for the murder.

The characters in this series are always welcome guests. They have distinctive personalities and quarks that make them loveable and make readers want to call them family. The victim in this story is liked, and readers will feel awful when the character is found dead at the bottom of a wishing well just weeks before Everly’s wedding. Readers will wonder if the family curse has played a part in the death of what appears to be an innocent victim. But suspects soon come out of the woodwork, and readers are treated to plot twists, red herrings, and evidence that will set their teeth on edge. When the killer starts targeting Everly, family and friends will do whatever they can to keep her out of the line of fire and walk down the aisle on time. Curses don’t stand a chance when everyone gets involved in finding a murderer and helping Everly solve the case. 

Pleading the Fish is the best book in this series, not just because it is the last one. Everything about the setting, characters, and premise keeps readers on the edge of their seats while smiling with delight. It's a wedding no one thought would ever happen, and a family curse that makes all of us who have those weird events in our family history something to laugh about. I hope one day we will get a follow-up book or story to let us know how Everly and Grady spend their lives, update us on their (hopefully) children, and show us how happy a couple can be once they find the right one to trust and spend their lives with. Warning: The ending of this book may make readers cry. I did!
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I have enjoyed all the books in this series and am sad to see it end.  The author did an excellent job of tying up all the loose ends and giving our favorite characters a happy ending.  this was a fun cozy mystery.
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A wonderful final book in a top-notch cozy series. Everly Swan may not be sure whether the rumored Swan curse is true but she doesn't want to endanger her loved one, Grady, by marrying him and having him die an early death. But he absolutly refuses to believe in it. While she agrees to marry him, they  set out to disprove the legend by researching the true family history. Of course as this happens, a death, possibly murder, happens to one of her researchers. The plot unfolds handily with good pacing and plenty of red herrings. I  wouldn't recommend starting the seried with this book. Save it to savor after discovering Charm and it's varied and interesting inhabitants through the books earlier in the series first.
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OMGOSH, the prologue had me in tears…All good things must come to an end (yes this is a VERY good thing/series) and what a way to finish it off! Where to begin, there’s the Swan family curse, a murder (because there is always a murder), Everly’s insistence on sleuthing (alone on far too many occasions), Grady shaking his head (on far too many occasions), the Charm Town Cryer, lemon cake (yes, I will be making that recipe), and so many suspects, plus a dash-bucket of fish and seaweed (yuck). Take your time reading this, it will be hard because it is a page turner and a tear jerker. Written in such a way that you feel like you are right there with Everly cheering her on, warning her to NOT ask those kinds of questions when on her own, and wanting to cover your eyes but you can’t put the book down. This series has been wrapped with a pretty cover and all the loose strings, tied up to make a most wonderful knot, intricate, beautiful, and strong. Kudos to Julie Anne Lindsay for another series that was extremely well done. And a HUGE thanks for including an epilogue with more than one voice. Now which tea should I make to go with some lemon cake to bolster a hero’s heart?
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