Cover Image: Magic, Lies, and Deadly Pies

Magic, Lies, and Deadly Pies

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Member Reviews

My thoughts



Narrative and Plot







Magic, Lies and Deadly Pies got my attention on NetGalley because of the appealing cover and a fun synopsis. I was looking forward to reading a cozy mystery. However, from the beginning of the plot, that expectation was thwarted as we find out that the protagonist is the killer. This is not a spoiler as the reveal comes right at the beginning of the plot and almost the entire plot was given away in that synopsis. That could be one of the reasons why the pacing felt off.



The narrative didn't exactly connect with me, and the pacing was painfully slow. There wasn't a mystery element, and the few twists revealed were somewhat predictable. However, towards the end, the story picked up the pace if one could ignore the fundamental disagreement with the plot.






Characters and Conflicts



Before we dive deep into the protagonist, Daisy, let me make this clear. I enjoyed every other character in the book except for the main character. And that is basically the problem. 
No matter how the story glorifies it, Daisy is basically a serial killer. In this era of mob mentality, instant justice and internet abuse, it is hard to get behind a character who is a self-proclaimed vigilante. 


No matter what her rulebooks are, it didn't justify the ends. It kind of emphasises the criticism by the antifeminists that women can get away with anything. All you have to do is reverse the roles and think of the MC as a male character. 




The ending has a plot hole which was conveniently forgotten for the story's sake, but it neatly wrapped things up. 














Conclusion






Magic, Lies and Deadly Pies is a half-baked thriller at best that aspires to be empowering but has to go a long way to get there. This is the first book in a mystery thriller series. Hopefully, the next installments are much better than this. Unfortunately, I won't be following this one anytime soon.
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ALL the COZY, PIE, MURDER, doggo and empowerment vibes steaming off this delicious debut from Misha Popp! 

First things first- THE COVER, YA'LL- CUTE AS HECKKKO! Great color scheme, peppy and bright- pleasing to the eyeballs! I do generally gravitate to books if the cover screams to me- BUT I don't dismiss reading one if I dislike the cover (that would be SILLY SILLY)- I like to see ALL the ingredients of a book, maybe taste a slice and buy the pie if I'm loving it! (See what I did there!?)

THANKFULLY, these slices of books weren't crafted by our MC Daisy- AND she only goes after the bad dudes (watch out, fellas!)
_______________________________________________

This book was a breath of fresh air, and the beginning had me HOOKED. Justice is served- it's THAT easy...or Daisy made it seem to be. There are a LOT of cozy mysteries out there with so many plots and tropes but I honestly have to say this is such a fascinating and creative one- baking deadly pies and serving them ONLY to men who seek out to hurt others....like, WHAT? WHY? HOW?! YESSS!!! 

We need more Daisy-esque people in this world- who don't turn the other cheek on injustice, abuse and just give up when things get tough.
Even as Daisy becomes the target of threatening letters, stalking and blackmail- stopping isn't an option. #respect! 

This definitely is a cute cozy (in my opinion)-but LOTS of heavy themes of abuse (sexual/physical). The atmosphere was actually really light- hard to describe while saying there are heavy themes of abuse...but the pink van, the market, the dialogue..it wasn't all DARK. Plus, I was salivating each time Daisy was baking new and yummy treats! 

I will be keeping an eye out for more Misha Popp because I still can't wrap my mind around how fresh and imaginative this premise was. 

Thank you to Crooked Lane Books, the author and Netgalley for the DRC!
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A cozy mystery unlike most that I've encountered, this novel sets up an intriguing series about a character whose hereditary magical abilities become a source of aid for abused women. While this is a premise that could easily become either overwrought or underdeveloped, I believe the author found the sweet spot necessary to make the Pies Over Guys series worth returning to.
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This book has all the characteristics of your typical cozy: heroine with a cozy job: pie maker. An adorable home: pink converted mobile home/food truck. Lovely setting: New England, apple orchard. Foodie cozy with recipes at the back: Check. Bonus magical element: she bakes feelings of warmth, energy, positive feelings into her pies. But the story also has bite: our heroine makes killer pies. She uses her magic in her pies to help abuse victims end their abusers. 

For someone looking for a typical cozy experience, this book may be too edgy. On top of the fact that the main character metes out vigilante justice, there are additional hot-button topics discussed (possibly a few too many), and many characters are victims of physical and/or sexual abuse. But for readers who are fed-up with bad guys going free in real life (I've watched too many true crime docs where the perpetrator goes free or only gets a slap on the wrist, so this is me), this book could be cathartic. And as for the ending, <spoiler>truthfully, I was expecting a bloodbath or some major climatic face-off scene that you'd expect from a thriller, but it was more uplifting than I was expecting after the earlier content</spoiler>. 

I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to mystery readers and cozy readers who don't mind a little non-cozy content, but I would also recommend a trigger warning for discussion of physical and sexual abuse (prevalent throughout), miscarriage (briefly mentioned), and consequences of no abortion rights (briefly mentioned).
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⭐⭐⭐⭐

This book was like a cozy, and a serial killer had a baby. 😂 It was definitely darker and more morally ambiguous than your regular "cozy mystery" but I loved it. It was well written and well paced. The plot was engaging and had me hooked from page one. The characters were likable, and we get yummy sounding pie recipes at the end. I mean, really, what more can you ask for? The only small niggle I had with it was that I wish we had gotten more (in depth) background about Daisy's "gift." Perhaps this author will explore that more as the series goes on. 🤞🏻

**ARC Via NetGalley**
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I'm not sure how to describe this book. Is it a cozy mystery? Kind of, but there are darker elements included. Our main character Daisy uses her magical baking skills to create pies that kill the men that eat them. Women seek her out to serve justice and all is well until someone blackmails Daisy and she begins her investigation. This reminded me of The Lost Apothecary, but Daisy is more of a mercenary in my opinion. There's more bad language than one would expect from a cozy mystery; if that isn't off-putting, give this one a try!!
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Magic, Lies, and Deadly Pies is the first book in the series by Misha Popp featuring Daisy Ellery, master pie baker.  A bit of magical realism and a cozy mystery, this book was a fun read.  I enjoyed reading about Daisy's magical pies that give a bit of comfort, confidence, and joy to her famer's market customers.  But a special batch is reserved for women to serve to the men at who's hands they have suffered abuse.  I really enjoyed this book and look forward to more Daisy and all the other characters.  

I received a complimentary copy of this book by Misha Popp from Crooked Lane Book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you for the opportunity.
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Go to IG: @entre.mi.libro.y.yo to read the complete review

First of all, thanks to the publisher, the author, and NetGalley for gifting me an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I liked this book very much, I think it has a very original plot and it was pretty addictive.
I have only two minor problems:
1.- The romance subplot was not enough for me, I was expecting so much more.
2.- I liked the magic factor but it was missing a little bit of further explanation, we don't know anything but that she inherited it from her mother.

Nevertheless, I really liked this book, and I know I will think about it in the future.
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I really wanted to enjoy this story, but couldn't get into it like I expected.

I'll give it another try later.

Two stars for the amazing cover and idea behind the story.
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First, I will say that I enjoyed this book and recommend it to those not offended by swearing. The characters are interesting and for the most part, realistic. The story is engaging and moves at a nice pace. The setting is interesting, a small town in Massachusetts. It is easy to envision as you read. The problem I have with this book is that it is labeled a cozy mystery. I don’t feel it fits the genre due to the swearing. Also, having a serial killer for the main character is a stretch. Then again, it doesn’t fit the general mystery category either. I would consider reading the second book in  the series when it is released.
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I was pretty excited to read this one because I love the idea of baking magic into foods. This one sounded like it was going to be a great cozy mystery. Only it wasn't really a cozy read at all. I was hoping it might be funny, or even light hearted, but instead it got pretty dark. Which is fine, but not what the book presents. I thought that the writing was good but I didn't connect with the main character at all. This one just wasn't a good fit for me.
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Magic, Lies, and Deadly Pies is the début instalment in Misha Popp's mystery series featuring pie baker Daisy Ellery. However, like her hairdresser mother and seamstress gran, Daisy has another special talent - she has the ability to include a special magical ingredient in her creations. When she realised she could kill people with them after accidentally killing a man, she decided to make avenging women who suffered at the hands of evil men her calling and starts a word-of-mouth free service she calls Pies Before Guys, delivered using a bakery van. One day, she finds an anonymous letter threatening to expose her killer side business, so she sets out to discover the letter writer's identity.

A fun, paranormal and immensely compelling read that ensures I'll be looking out for book two. The characters are interesting and well constructed. Fresh and unconventional.

I received a complimentary copy of this novel at my request from Crooked Lane Books via NetGalley. This review is my own unbiased opinion.
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This is a Magic Realism Cozy Mystery, and this is the first book in the A Pies Before Guys Mystery series. I loved getting to know the characters in this series. I loved the magic realism that is in this book. I think the magic was explained very well in this book. Daisy's character was a very unique character, and I loved her character. I do not think she is the normal cozy mystery series main character. I loved the old dresses that this book talks about her wearing, and those dress sounded so fun and cute. Daisy truly bakes little extra in her pies which I loved the idea behind this. There was also a small romance which I enjoyed to. I cannot wait for the second book in this series. I think this series is going to be so much fun. I loved that this book was much more then just solving a murder in a small town. I think if you want a different take on a cozy mystery then this will be the book for you. I was kindly provided an e-copy of this book by the publisher (Crooked Lane) or author (Misha Popp) via NetGalley, so I can give an honest review about how I feel about this book. I want to send a big Thank you to them for that.
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This was adorable!!! Well, as adorable as a book about murder pies could be, which is to say a lot and no, I do not accept any criticism!!!

Daisy, our heroine, bakes pies to make people happy. The way she does this is with talent and a little bit of generational magic woven in.

Her grandmother was a seamstress, her mother a hairdresser and Daisy's magical talent ended up manifesting as pie baking.

Occasionally, Daisy does special orders for her secret branch called Pies Before Guys, where she, you guessed it, makes murder pies, but only for those men who deserve it.

A problem arises when someone starts snooping around her home (a lovely van called Penny) and blackmailing her into doing things she has no intention of doing. How will dear Daisy handle this? Read to find out.

I love everything about this. It has a cozy mystery vibe, but not too cozy, a few scenes were a bit scary like a thriller and the background romance was cute.

My favourite part was obviously all the pies. I never got tired of Daisy describing them and I love that there are a couple of recipes at the end of the book.

As far as the mystery goes, I have to say that I didn't guess who the blackmailer was, but I did guess a part of it. And I wasn't expecting it to be revealed so early in the story (somewhere around 56%). Maybe it's better we found out early though, I don't mind either way.

And to come back to the romance for a second, there are two possible love interests, but I felt the one Daisy chose at the end was more obvious? Like we were given more clues that she would end up with that person vs the other person.

I'm content with that choice, because we didn't get to see a lot of the other one aside from the events they attended with Daisy, so I didn't make a connection to that character like I did to the other one.

Bonus points for LGBT rep, both the main character (I'm assuming based on the choice of love interests) and the side characters.

*Thank you to the publishers and NetGalley for providing me with an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review*
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I enjoyed this story.  It was very well paced and kept me interested throughout.  I was expecting more of a cozy mystery but while this didn’t deliver in that aspect, I still found so much I loved about it.  Daisy is an interesting character and I liked the premise of sticking up for the abused by taking care of the abuser, although it will definitely make me think twice about accepting pie from anyone.  The ending was what I would have hoped for and I did laugh a lot throughout.  If this is a series, I’m not sure where else it can go but I am willing to find out.
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Magic, Lies, and Deadly Pies (A Pies Before Guys Mystery)
By Misha Popp
Crooked Lane Books
May 2022

Review by Cynthia Chow

Most days, Pie Girl Daisy Ellery parks her Pies Before Guys bakery van in front of Frank’s Roadside Diner selling her flaky, handmade creations.  Through word-of-mouth referrals though, Daisy also bakes customized pies for those needing her help to eliminate abusive problems.  While her witchy family lineage gives Daisy the ability to bake emotional strength and hope into her pies for those who need it, it also bestows upon her the capability to add in far more lethal results.  Daisy has sworn to never use her powers against women, for profit, or personal gain, which means that she has a selective process for determining those who may receive a final tasty sendoff.  Her vetting process isn’t flawless though, as proven when she begins receiving blackmail threats that would force her to act against her morals and all of the rules that keep her from going out of control.

The countdown is on as Daisy tracks down the stalker who vows to reveal her secrets to the world unless a long list of women are delivered their own lethally-laced pies.  It was by accident that Daisy first discovered her ability to magically enhance her pies, but since then she has forged an underground network to discreetly wield justice on behalf of women too defeated by their abusers and the official systems to achieve it on their own.  An alluring biker in black leather tantalizes as a woman Daisy would both love to be and perhaps be with, while neighboring orchard owner Noel stands out as a good guy but who might never accept her extracurricular activities.  

This debut series is a fascinating mix of vengeful justice and the traditional cozy mystery.  A baking competition has Daisy vying to become Miss American Pie Massachusetts with her twist of a traditional apple pie, and recipes for both it and hand pies are included.  These scenes of Daisy’s bonding with fellow bakers are contrasted with the much darker themes of #MeToo, abusive relationships, and trauma.  Daisy emerges as a fascinating character, one whose dark humor is still embodied with hope and support for other women.  Daisy is indeed torn between her heritage as a powerful witch and all of the risk it incurs, and a dream life as the “normal” pie-baking girl next door.   More exploration of the source of her abilities will hopefully occur in future installments, especially as her powers grow and she pushes them further.  The characters within the diner and church groups are both fun and sympathetic, especially as more is revealed about them and their backstories.  This first in the series delicately interweaves romance, retribution, and baking, making it a unique entry in the mystery genre.
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What would you get if you made Dexter feminist and threw in lots of pie and a sprinkle of magic? The answer is this book. A darker read than I had anticipated when I saw the cutesy cover, but very fun, fast novel tackling lots of social issues.
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There is much to love about this unique series debut-lots of cozy tropes with a refreshing twist.

🥧A sleuth with a heart for justice and the underdog
🥧A van outfitted as a tiny house/mobile bakery/food truck
🥧A family of women with threads of practical magic that manifest in different ways
🥧A sweet cozy dog named Zoe
🥧A whole cast of lovable side characters
🥧Romantic subplots
🥧So many references to food-apples, cider, honey, and pies upon pies (recipes included)

So what makes this unique?

🥧Daisy is a vigilante of sorts, while she has a strict moral code for how she operates, her actions are outside the justice system
🥧Other characters are fighting for various causes
🥧Lots of critical reflection on topics and issues
🥧Hints that Daisy is open to non-heteronormative relationships
🥧Style and voice for days, I need more books from them NOW

*I don't usually include caveats in my reviews but the publisher suggests that fans of Mary Maxwell (kudos for recognizing an independent author) and Ellery Adams. I've read a lot of Adams and I can see this comparison but wanted to suggest this is like The Secret, Book, and Scone Society cranked up several degrees. It also gives me vibes similar to the women in Laura Child's Cackleberry Club.if you like your cozies traditional you may want to skip this one.

🥧As for me, I'll be over here making (and eating) my very own murder pie.
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Daisy lives in her food truck that she calls Penny. Daisy has a strange ability of putting powers into the pies that she makes and then the eater will get the benefit of her pie. She also has the ability to put powers into the pies that will kill a man if he is abusive to his partner. 
A cute summer read.
This is an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher is Crooked Lane.
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A debut cozy mystery series with an interesting twist. There are other magical mystery series which combine magic and food but the twist for this series is that Daisy Ellery, a very talented pie maker, uses her magic infused pies to right the wrongs men do to the women in their lives.Her life becomes very complicated when a blackmailer threatens to reveal her secret. I won't say more for fear of spoilers. One warning though - the language is not always cozy and the well crafted plot is a bit dark but I didn't find it to be gratuitous. I'm looking forward to the next book.
My thanks to the publisher Crooked Lane and to NetGalley for giving me an advance copy in exchange for my honest review.
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