Cover Image: Death by Chocolate Chip Cupcake

Death by Chocolate Chip Cupcake

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Death by Chocolate Chip Cupcake

This one had a distinct Agatha Christie feel to it but instead of Miss Marple you get Jacoba (just call her Jake) and Ellie partners in the Chocolate Moose, chocolate themed bakery. Picture this, a dark and stormy night, a strange cast of Hollywood types, a mysterious murder, and catering by Jake and Ellie with assistance from members of Jake’s family. Yep sounds like an Agatha Christie whodunit to me. Strange sounds and an even stranger hostess; Ingrid Merryfield, but she is from Hollywood after all.   Sometime what sounds like a great opportunity, a great way to get the money you need to do an upgrade or two and make it through the offseason is not all it is cracked up to be. Spooky does not begin to cover it and you cannot help but to continue to read. Jake and Ellie are the perfect tag team/dynamic duo, always having each other’s back. Jake is generally trying to look out for everyone and is usually pretty successful at it, she has past experience of being able to walk away from the Mob and not have to worry about looking back. I was in the dark when it came to figuring out the guilty party, even when they were able to move the giant tree and get the power restored; I was still in the dark. Obviously with a book title invoking a delicious baked good, there has to be recipes, right? Ellie goes out of her way in each book to come up with something new and tasty and while I REALLY appreciate the inclusion of a recipe and a chocolate one at that, I REALLY wish that the book title baked good recipe would also be included. 
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for the advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest, personal  opinion. Jake and Ellie, who are business partners in a bakeshop called "The Chocolate Moose Bakery", are hired to cater an event at a home in the town that is falling apart and supposedly haunted. It is helmed by a Hollywood actress and as expected, there is a murder to solve. I absolutely adored the Irish wolfhound Igor, but the story just seemed like a lot going on and hard to keep pace with. I enjoy a good cozy mystery, which this was, but it just doesn't feel like the character of Jake is using her common sense which is not usually the case for her. Enjoyable read all the same.
Was this review helpful?
In Death by Chocolate Chip Cupcake we once again find Jake Tiptree and Ellie White struggling to keep their business afloat during the off season. They take on a catering job that is paying a generous amount for their services. The even is hosted by movie icon Ingrid Merryfield, at her new home, Cliff House, which has a reputation for being haunted. The upstairs rooms where Jake and Ellie are supposed to stay are full of cobwebs and spooky vibrations. That is not the worst though, an unexpected storm takes down a huge tree and traps them all in the mansion until the tree can be cleared. As the story progresses, there is more than one murder and some harrowing events that keep everyone on their toes.

I am used to seeing Jake and Ellie in more sedate situations, but this one was full of action. The setting of Cliff House gave it a creepy vibe from the start and it ratcheted up as the story progressed. Jake and Ellie need to get out before they end up joining the victim list, but that is easier said than done with a cliffside home. With Jake's dad and his housekeeper/partner also on the property, she needs to make sure they are also safe. This book has a lot of twists and turns that kept me guessing. I didn't figure out the murderer or the motive, but Sarah Graves does a great job of wrapping up all the loose ends with a satisfying conclusion. I'm not sure what is next for this group, but it will take something exciting to top this latest Death by Chocolate Mystery. If you are a cozy mystery lover, I definitely recommend this book and series.
Was this review helpful?
Princess Fuzzypants here:  As hard as Jake and Ellie are finding the secret to keep the creams from liquifying in the cupcakes, they have no idea the challenges they will face when they accept a job catering for a big movie star who has just bought a derelict old house and is throwing a big party.  The house in question has a rather dark history and of course is considered haunted.  The “ghosts” are not the danger to those in the house.  It is the other guests who are very scary.

There is lots of atmosphere with climbs up and down a cliff face multiple times, some very wild boat experiences and a tree that falls over in a storm blocking off an escape or help arriving.  It is a merry chase, if you do not do a body count.  Corpses are turning up with frightening regularity and except for Jake, Ellie, Bella and Mika, they would be wise to trust no one.  The history of the house and the connections of some of the characters to it are interesting and the tension is non stop.  When the killer(s) are revealed and the motive is discovered, it is rather tawdry. 

But our heroines and their family members do make an escape in the nick of time and all ends well for them.  And for the reader once she gets through all the twists, turns and tunnels.  Four purrs and two paws up.
Was this review helpful?
Death by Chocolate Chip Cupcake is the fifth in a series that those who like sweets and mysteries are sure to enjoy. It features Jacobia “Jake” Tiptree who was the protagonist in the author’s earlier “Home Repair” series. I read several of those.

This time, Jake and her friend (and conspirator in chocolate) are invited to cater desserts for a party given by a glamorous (is there any other kind?) actress. Taking a page from Agatha Christie, there is a storm and guests are stranded in what might be a haunted house.

Of course, there is a murder. Someone is thrown over a cliff. There are suspects and a case to solve. No spoiler, it may not be easy, but Jake will do just that.

Those who like Maine and enjoy traditional mysteries may want to give this title a look. They may then want to read the entire series.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Kensington Books for this title. All opinions are my own.
Was this review helpful?
A home run from Sarah Graves! This book kept me guessing until the end and even then, I was wrong. I really enjoyed this book. I could not put it down. I like the characters, who are weird and fun. I feel connected to them. This mystery was bizarre, in a good way, and unique. I really recommend this book!
Was this review helpful?
This book bordered on the not so cozy genre, which isn't bad, just not what I was expecting. There were a LOT of bodies, killed in various ways, but it was not graphic. That said, it was overall an enjoyable book, I really liked the main characters and the setting. The main character, Jake, had very real life problems - a house full of family, including her son's family; older parents; a struggling business. While this book was a little dark for me, I would like to go back and read the books that came before.
Was this review helpful?
And Then There Were None, anyone?  Jacobia (Jake) and Ellie run a bakery in their small town.  Winter is coming and since they rely on tourists, business is slow.  So when they get an opportunity to  provide desserts and snacks for a famous movie star, who wouldn't jump at the chance.  The only problem is the creepy mansion.  They are required to stay overnight.  Bumps and mysterious scratching noise are nothing compared to the guests who start dying.  A storm moves in and cuts off communication and their way of escape as a big tree comes down across the only road out.  Such a fun a scary book.  Jake doesn't believe in ghosts, but who is the killer and could they be next?

I really enjoyed this book.  So many suspects and frustrating because they can't call for help.  A few wild adventures involving cliffs and collapsing tunnels and you have a great escape.  The style of writing is easy-to-read and the characters are enjoyable.  The plot had me guessing and turning the page.
Was this review helpful?
I love pretty much anything chocolate, so I was thrilled to be able to read this book. It was definitely a yummy delicious treat. I loved the chocolate that was  mentioned, the intriguing mystery, and the interesting characters. The storyline read ok as a stand-alone, but I think I would have benefited from reading the previous books first.

Many thanks to Kensington Publishing and NetGalley for an advance copy of this book. My thoughts and opinions are my own and without bias or favor or expectation.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to NetGalley and Kensington Books for the free Advanced Reader’s Copy in exchange for my honest opinion. 

I read several of Sarah Graves’ books featuring Jacobia, “Jake”, Tiptree years ago.  I remember enjoying them very much.  When I saw this new series on NetGalley, I thought it would be fun to return to the character. 

I am sad to say that I found this book very disappointing.  There is a huge recurring cast of characters plus a large number of new characters. There is a “haunted” house, a thunderstorm, earthquakes, falling objects– so many things going on. There is an attempt at a locked room mystery. Also considering the reason Jake and Ellie go to the house is for a catering job, there is a lack of food descriptions. 

I would only recommend this book to the most diehard fans of this series and the previous one. I gave this two stars.
Was this review helpful?
Sarah Graves has done it again. Death by Chocolate Chip Cupcake is the 5th in her Death By Chocolate series. Set in a small town in Maine, this cozy mystery is full of fun ingredients. The owners of the Chocolate Moose, Jake and Ellie, are hired to cater a party in a house recently purchased by a Hollywood star. The house is said to be haunted.
Unafraid, Ellie and Jake prepare for a fabulous party that soon becomes quite spooky. Storm begins to rage..tree falls and blocks any exit/entrance and a body appears at the bottom of a cliff. What more do you want in a thriller?
It is up to our caterers to follow the clue and solve the mystery.
What a fast and satisfying read!
Was this review helpful?
I am always happy to revisit historic Eastport, Maine, where a lot happens in such a small town. When things happen (usually homicide), best friends and partners Jake Tiptree and Ellie White are always mixed up in it. We first met Jake and Ellie in Sarah Graves' first long-running series, Home Repair is Homicide. Jake is a transplant from NY who arrived in Eastport running away from an abusive ex-husband. Her young son, Sam, has drug problems and a penchant for getting into trouble, sometimes life-threatening. Jake also has a somewhat shady past as a money advisor for the NY mob. Ellie is a life-long Eastporter, down to earth with the Maine knowledge that Jake lacks. The first series is set against the background of Jake's endless rehabbing of her early 1800s house. In the second series, Jake and Ellie have opened a bakery called The Chocolate Moose.

When Death by Chocolate Chip Cupcake opens, Jake and Ellie are wondering how to keep the bakery open during the off-season for the locals. When a limo arrives carrying a somewhat faded Hollywood icon, Ingrid Merryfield, they think their prayers are answered. Ingrid claims that she was born in Eastport and has purchased Cliff House, a mansion that has been uninhabited for years. Cliff House has quite the reputation since multiple murders happened there, and the locals think it is haunted. Ingrid wants to hire The Chocolate Moose to cater a party she is throwing for a small group of friends. Jake and Ellie have plenty of questions, but the money is too good to turn down, enough to keep the bakery open through the winter. They can't find any evidence of Ingrid's Eastport birth, and why is she having a party before any renovations to Cliff House? And why does Ingrid need a very imposing bodyguard? There are plenty of spooky events at Cliff House, but neither Jake nor Ellie believe in ghosts. What worries them is the motley crew of guests Ingrid has gathered there. Some of them appear to be enemies rather than friends. A devastating storm sweeps in, stranding them all at Cliff House. Murders begin, and they have to get out somehow. The storm was so violent that no help was coming from Eastport or the Coast Guard.

All the Eastport characters have come to feel like friends over the years I have been reading both series. There are no lengths they will not go to for each other. This book is another action-packed entry for Jake, Ellie, Sam, and especially Jake's aging and ailing father. Thanks to Kensington Books and NetGalley for an advance digital copy. The opinions are my own.
Was this review helpful?
Wow was this ever an adventure! I think it's probably been Jake and Ellie's most exciting one so far from the creepy old house where they were doing a dessert catering gig to the narrow and spooky escapes they managed to execute. Someone in that house was leaving a pile of bodies as they went, so I didn't blame Jake and Ellie one bit for trying to figure it out by leaving first. That is, if they didn't die trying! Loved every minute of it and I couldn't put it down!

There were so many great twists and turns it was a little hard at times to keep up, but it was the good kind of trying to keep up. Very nail biting in a good way too and as always, they wrapped everything up at the end explaining any hanging threads. I loved how Jake's dad even got in on the action up at Cliff House to try and help.

At times I felt like the characters might be getting some closure, but I haven't heard anything about the series ending, so I do hope it continues, although I have to admit it'd be hard to write another adventure that's more hair-raising than this one was!

I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book provided by Kensington Cozies via NetGalley, and my opinions are my own.
Was this review helpful?
This is such a fun series, and I had a great time with this cozy mystery. I loved the plot, the twists and turns, and the characters!
Was this review helpful?
NetGalley ARC Educator 550974
This is my first time reading a book of this series. I was hooked. It can be read as a standalone but you may want to read the previous books as they do provide insight into the main characters and their families. The decadent description of the chocolate goodies will tease you and the story will satisfy you. Great job, hope to read more about this duo.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you NetGalley and Kensington Books for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Death by Chocolate Chip Cupcake was my introduction to the series. I found it to be a pleasant cozy mystery, with many unexpected twists. The main characters, Jake and Ellie, are pleasant enough and keep the story going forward. This book can be read as a standalone, but I think it does help to read the books of the series in order. My interest for the series was sparked by Death by Chocolate Chip Cupcake and it will be pleasant to read the previous books. If you like mysteries with surprises and twists, this book is definitely for you.
Was this review helpful?
Retired movie icon Ingrid Merryfield drops into the store on late autumn evening, claiming to be an Eastport native, funny that no one has every mentioned it, well she bought Cliff House (haunted as per local lore) and hires Jake and Ellie to cater the dessert table for a party. One hitch, they have to stay overnight, and the pay will certainly help keeping Chocolate Moose Bakery open and help offset the cost for creating a Chocolate Pizza. What could go wrong?
Perfect cozy to curl up with, hot cup of tea or cocoa and of course a chocolate treat. 
Thank you NetGalley and Kensington Books for a chance to review this book
Was this review helpful?
Death by Chocolate Chip Cupcake is the 5th book in the Death by Chocolate Mystery series by Sarah Graves. I picked up this series with Death by Chocolate Malted Milkshake (book 2) and I also thoroughly enjoyed books 3 and 4.

In Death by Chocolate Chip Cupcake, Jacobia (Jake) Tiptree and Ellie White, the owners of 'The Chocolate Moose' are the caterers for Miss Ingrid Merryfield, a retired glamorous Hollywood film star who is throwing a housewarming party at her new home - Cliff House. The property looks towards Passamaquoddy Bay in the east and Cobscook Bay to the west and is rumoured to be haunted but Jake and Ellie aren't phased as they need the money to tide them over until the Spring and to develop their modern pizza ideas. However, on the night of the party, there's a terrible storm and a body is found at the bottom of the cliff.

I really adore the way Sarah Graves brings to life this fictional, yet seemingly real, small-town of Eastport. The story is highly entertaining, with plenty of action and an ample choice of suspects. I was delighted with the dynamic in the locked-room style tale and even though I suspected the killer fairly early on I made a perilous reconsideration!

With its fabulous story and wonderful characters, I would recommend Death by Chocolate Chip Cupcake to all lovers of cozy mysteries. If you prefer more suspense and mystery than humour to your cozy reading, then this would be a superb choice. I hope this series continues and I can keep following Jake and Ellie's madcap adventures. My rating is five out of five chocolate hearts! 🤎🤎🤎🤎🤎

I received a complimentary copy of this novel at my request from Kensington Books via NetGalley. This review is my own unbiased opinion.
Was this review helpful?
I received this book from Sarah's publisher's through Netgalley I couldn't put it down her books never seem to disappoint me witch is why she is now one of my favorites.
I love her covers they are so pretty. This series is always so good, I look forward to the next hope you pre order your copy.
I always love the plots and characters. she's a amazing author.
Was this review helpful?
Jake and Ellie have a lovely chocolate themed bakery, The Chocolate Moose, in a small town in Maine. When they are asked to cater the desserts for a weekend party at a home that is reputed to be haunted they agree. Things are slow at the bakery and the job sounds like fun. That fun soon turns into the classic locked room mystery when the weather turns horrible and they are trapped in the house with a killer. A killer who isn't stopping with just one victim. If Jake and Ellie aren't very careful, they might just be next.
This is a spin-off series of the Home Repair is Homicide series and I hope it runs at least as long. The mystery is well constructed and the characters have depth. Family and friendships play a strong part in each book and I enjoy spending time with Jake and her blended family.
My thanks to the publisher Kensington and to NetGalley for giving me an advance copy in exchange for my honest review.
Was this review helpful?