Cover Image: Against the Currant

Against the Currant

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I think this was my first cozy mystery. It was fine, the audio was entertaining and I was interested in finding out how the story ended but I'm not sure cozies are for me.

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Lyndsay has just opened Spice Isle Bakery with her family in her neighborhood of Little Caribbean in Brooklyn. She wants this bakery to showcase their talent as cooks and bakers and to bring some Grenadian culture to the area. Claudio, who also has a bakery in the neighborhood, is livid because he thinks that Spice Isle is going to be competition for his bakery. He starts instigating continually when they first open. He comes into the bakery and makes threats. Lyndsay defends herself but also retaliates with a threat that comes back to bite her when Claudio turns up dead the very next day. She becomes the main suspect even though she has plausible factors that remove the guilt from her. Eventually after seeing the business suffer from her mistake, she takes matters into her own hands and tries to find out who the killer is. Eventually she is led to the murderer and is free from guilt, charges and any additional threats. it was a very entertaining read and I hope to get some more stories based in Spice Isle Bakery soon.

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Lyndsay Murray has just opened up her Caribbean family bakery in New York. But when a fellow bakery owner Claudio threatens her and later ends up dead, Lyndsay gets caught up in a murder scandal.

Y’all. This book was not great. I probably would have DNF’d this one, but I pushed through with the hope that the ending might redeem it a bit. While I appreciated the diversity and learning about another culture, the book was repetitive, poorly written, and the plot was weak. It feels like every other line was about how this bakery was Lyndsay’s dream, which we already understood from the start. I thought this was going to be a great cozy mystery, but I was very disappointed.

Thanks to Minotaur Books and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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This is the first installment in the Spice Isle Bakery Mystery. Our main character Lyndsay is opening up a bakery with her family in Little Caribbean, Brooklyn, New York. But not everyone in the area is super stocked about the new business. Lyndsay gets in a verbal altercation with another business owner, and everyone in the bakery witnesses it. When the business is found dead a day later things don’t look so good for Lyndsay after she was seen arguing with him.

This follows Lyndsay and her family and friends as they try to prove her innocence. This was a good start to a new series.

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Thank you to St. Martin's Press for this eARC in exchange for an honest review.

YOOOOOOOOOOO I really enjoyed this first in series! The beginning 30% was all background. At first I found this a bit slow, but keep in mind it is the first in a mystery series and I found it to be very helpful moving forward.

Despite being set in NY, the mystery gave cozy small town vibes. My only critique for this book was that I would have loved more ambiance included. We get great description for the bakery and everything her family is cooking. I would have enjoyed that level of description for settings outside the bakery (and not just at the police station).

I had my first suspect around half way through the book, however I continuously doubted myself as EVERYONE IS A SUSPECT. This book reads like a tv show, each chapter furthering the investigation but also making the reader ask a bunch more questions. Overall, this was an exciting and hilarious read! I can't wait to read the next book!

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Against the Currant is a fun start to a new cozy series. I love culinary themed books, thrown in some baked goods and a murder and I'm hooked. The bakery setting in a neighborhood that's part of a large city was a fresh twist versus the typical small town setting. The deep bonds of family were weaved throughout the story. I'm looking forward to the next book in the series.

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This book was so much more fun than I expected. I ended up getting an arc of the audio but truly I would now follow Lyndsay to any mystery.

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Thank you NetGalley and St. Martin's Press, St. Martin's Paperbacks for accepting my request to read and review Against the Currant.

Published: 01/24/23

I really, really wanted to like this. Unfortunately, it was a miss for me. I wasn't entertained by the Caribbean family traditions. . The murder was too convenient and seriously cheesy. The familial bantering didn't translate well.

There is a market for this series. It's not with me.

I do recommend if you like cozy mysteries give this a try.

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More and more I'm enjoying these cozy, culinary mysteries! Against the Currant is a good start for a new series I'm excited to continue.

Lyndsay was a very compelling character. I related to her in many ways, especially in terms of how she handles conflict/confrontation (avoids it!). I enjoyed her journey finding her voice, standing up for herself and gaining confidence by doing so. Her granny had many nuggets of wisdom to share, and her support of Lyndsay's endeavors was like a warm hug. Brought so much comfort!

Lyndsay's amateur sleuthing nearly got her killed on multiple occasions, but her determination to clear her name understandably drove her. Her passion for her business was felt. And more than that, representing and staying true to her West Indian culture was so important to her. I enjoyed her stories from home, the glimpses into her extended family history, and of course, the descriptions of food.

Loved that she had a supporting family who stuck by her—and each other—no matter what. I'm excited to see more of that in this series.

One line that really struck me, as a Black woman, was when one of the detectives asked Lyndsay why she thinks someone is trying to frame her for murder. And she said because they don't expect the NYPD to put much effort into the investigation of a Black woman suspected of murder. I mean. My breath hitched when I read it. LOL, I'm being dramatic. But seriously, I'd been thinking that while reading, so it was reassuring to have it acknowledged by Lyndsay in the text.

The reveal of the killer and motive was unsatisfying and a bit of a let down. Once revealed I thought, "that's it?" I wasn't all that shocked by the reveal, and I actually predicted it, which was surprising to me because I'm usually not good at guessing. The motive wasn't all that interesting, and the planning that went into it was so week and just not well thought out at all. Also, it seems that incompetent detectives are the norm for these mysteries (I've only read a few others, but I'm sensing a pattern!). I guess that's where the amateur sleuth comes in to save the day. I couldn't help from rolling my eyes every time the detectives appeared in the story.

This was entertaining and fun. I enjoyed reading the second half in bed each night at the end of a week-long work event. Definitely added to the cozy atmosphere.

Also now I want to try a currant roll!

[CW: bullying, murder, suicide]

Thank you to the publisher and Net Galley for the eArc in exchange for my honest review.

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This was such a cute cozy amateur sleuth read! I absolutely loved learning the culture and how the family rallied around Lyndsay. I’d love to read more of the spice isle bakery!

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A cute mystery story of a family coming together to solve a murder. Lyndsay just opened spice isle bakery with her family to pay homage to her heritage. A rival bakery owner winds up dead and Lyndsay is in the middle of the investigation as the main suspect. She starts digging into the investigation to figure out other suspects but is she getting too close to the real killer? Cute story and easy read.

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Against the Currant Earns 5/5 Island Treats…Engagingly Delicious Cozy!

Claudio Fabrizi, owner of Claudio’s Baked Goods, has been the sour in the milk for the Murray family, but Lindsay knows as the majority partner in the bakery, Spice Isle Bakery, she needs to accept the complaints as well as the successes. Claudio’s Bake Goods is an established business in the neighborhood, but Mr. Fabrizi isn’t really a member of the neighborhood; he lives elsewhere and rarely joins in community affairs or the lives of his neighbors. Today his complaint is both public and threatening waving in Lyndsay’s face a handful of notices she’d posted announcing her bakery’s opening. He is angry about the impending competition, despite their menu’s being vastly different, and demands she open up somewhere else, a tactic he’s tried on other bakeries and succeeded. Of course, Lyndsay’s response is “…you move,” and her grandmother is proud of how she stood up to the man’s threats. Buuuut, it doesn’t end there. Fabrizi shows up at the opening, spewing more threats, and vowing to shut them down. Lyndsay defends the family vehemently, but who will defend her when the homicide detectives arrive wanting to question her about Claudio’s death?

Olivia Matthews has baked up a spicy cozy mystery as her first book in a new series, Spice Isle Bakery Mystery. She introduces a young woman who, although struggles with her confidence, finds her voice. She is supported by a close-knit family, proud of a fascinating culture, and not bad at investigating a clever murder mystery. The crime actually occurs later in the book than I like, but being the first book in the series, the introductions, conflict set up, foodie talk, and extraneous events were quite enjoyable. The investigation turned out to be engaging and complex with several avenues to follow from greedy schemes to broken relationships, illegal intentions to plain ol’ revenge … all fascinating motives entangling a diverse group of suspects. Even an additional victim and a bit of personal peril adds some “nail-biting” excitement. Lyndsay’s methods of investigating are realistic for an amateur seeing beyond official inquires with her insights into the community, loads of gossip, and connections her family has with the locals, yet her involvement causes a riff with childhood friend and, now, detective in charge.

Olivia’s writing is descriptive and entertaining illustrating the environment and the multi-generational characters, and providing a delightful backstory tale of an immigrant family making a success of their second home. The family dynamic was realistic, something with which every reader can identify: Lyndsay’s parents are supportive, of course, but protective and overly cautious; her brother is supportive, literally lending a helping hand; her grandmother is supportive as well as encouraging and definitely has her granddaughter’s back with her own insights as well as baking lessons. But, what about romance? Lyndsay has been quite the introvert and bonding over murder is not the best relationship starter, but there might be an opportunity to consider.

Recipes, Please! It’s not complete until the recipes show up, and straight from Spice Isle Bakery, you can enjoy a taste of the Caribbean with “melt in your mouth” Currant Rolls and Coconut Bread! Yum!

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This is a fun start to a new cozy series! I love the bakery setting, especially since I haven’t heard of a lot of the baked goods. Something I haven’t seen a lot of in cozies is a neighborhood setting in a large city and I really loved it. I wish more folks would do it! The deep bonds of family were clearly written and spread throughout the story. The mystery itself was really fun, with plenty of red herrings and potential suspects. I’m very much looking forward to the next book in the series!

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What a wonderful new series from Olivia Matthews. I am already looking forward to the next in the series.

Lyndsey Murray immediately won me over as a reader. How many of us could or would take a leap of faith to open a bakery without being a good baker? Lyndsey followed her life-long dream and had the support of her family in improving her skills. The family aspect of this story is outstanding.

In fact, the family even becomes involved, as Lyndsey allows them to help, in clearing her name as the killer. Their love and support of each other is my favorite part of what is sure to become a new favorite series for me.

I can’t forget to mention the food and culture in this book. I learned so much about the West Indian Culture. Now I want to try all of the food mentioned!

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for the copy of this book. All views are my honest opinion.

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Against the Currant by Olivia Matthews is a really cute cozy mystery that takes place around a West Indian style bakery. I love to bake myself so the setting for this book was perfect to me. Lyndsay and her family have recently opened a bakery and while Lyndsay herself isn’t the best baker, she is the one that really made this achievement possible for her family. I thought the blend of Lyndsay’s family dynamic and culture made this story seem very comfy and homey as we also try alongside Lyndsay to figure out who has framed her for murder, and while the incompetent cops continue to point their finger at her. I thought the story flowed nicely and I loved how Lyndsay starts off in the the story not super confident in herself, but as it becomes more pressing that she solve this crime that has been put on her shoulders, her confidence slowly builds until not only does she solve the mystery, but she learns to be confident in her baking. My only complaint about this book is that I found there were times when we are given details that I felt were unnecessary to the story such as every single outfit Lyndsay’s cousin and grandmother wear but other than that I really enjoyed this read and look forward to reading the next one! Thank You Netgalley and stmartinspress for the EARC of this book.

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Against the Currant is the first in a new series from Olivia Matthews. While Lyndsay and her family are engaging characters, and the mystery worked well, the book fell a little flat for me. What didn't work was that Lyndsay has a crush on the police officer that is busy finding staged ways she is guilty of murder. I'm hoping that changes in future books because why would I believe a strong, capable woman would be totally into a guy who doesn't demonstrate any smarts or ability to do his job? She's doing it for him while opening a brand new business!
There was no shortage of suspects yet Lyndsay and her grandmother did all the work of finding out about them. I know that with cozies the sleuth often does a better job of solving crime than the police but the attraction just soured it.

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Lyndsay Murray is about to open her long-dreamed of Caribbean bakery with her close-knit family. The only hitch is another bakery owner who comes to the store to make a fuss. Lyndsay confronts the man only to have him turn up dead the day murdered. Lyndsay is, of course, one of the main suspects and watching her beloved dream and the investment of her family being damaged by the the suspicions against her makes her all the more determined to find the real killer. If the killer doesn't get to her first...

I really enjoyed Lyndsay, her family and the strong community she lives in. The only drawback of being an adult in the community you grew up in is that it isn't easy to get away from and overcome the insecurities you had growing up. That comes through very clearly in this book.

Lyndsay's investigation into the mystery starts slow but it plays well because she doesn't were to start and she believes this is something the police do. It is only when it seems that the police are taking too long and focused on her being the prime suspect that she feels she has to do something. Also, this is the first book in the series and there always has to be a build up of the characters, the community and the business involved in a cozy.

It is a solid mystery and provides some needed diversity in the cozy writer universe. The food descriptions will definitely make you hungry. Enjoy.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an ARC in return for an honest opinion.

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Such a fun, entertaining cozy mystery! This book was fast paced and kept my interest throughout. I was so thrilled to see some much needed diversity in this genre. I definitely recommend the audiobo0k. Excited for future installments in this series!

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Against the Currant is the first book in the Spice Isle Bakery Mysteries by Olivia Matthews. This book is set in the Little Caribbean area of New York as Lindsay Murray is in the process of opening her dream bakery along with the rest of her family. The book opens with a couple of conflicts between her and Claudio Fabrizi, the owner of another bakery in the area. When Claudio is discovered murdered the morning after the bakeries soft opening, Lyndsay becomes a suspect based on the confrontations that had happened previously.

Within the twists that the author provides in the story, the reader is treated to a unique glimpse into the rich cultural heritage that this family brought with them when they came to the mainland from their home in Grenada. As the story continues, Lyndsay is drawn deeper into the mystery as evidence continues to mount up pointing to her involvement but soon becomes clear that there is a definite effort to frame her for the murder which leads to a revelation of motive and culprit that will seemingly stop at nothing to have things go their way. This is an excellent first book in series and I hope to see many more installments that continue to build on the foundation put in place here for Lyndsay and her entire family and circle of friends.

I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley and St. Martin's Press and am leaving this review voluntarily.

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A mouthwatering new cozy mystery series starts with Against the Currant, featuring Lyndsay Murray and her family-run Grenadian bakery in Brooklyn's Little Caribbean. When Lyndsay is framed for the murder out of a rival local baker, she takes the investigation on herself in order to clear her name and the cloud hanging over her new business.

It's a pretty weak mystery, as plots go, but I liked the cast and premise, with plenty of quirky characters to fill in the ensemble and give a sense of community, one of the book's stronger elements. It feels like good setup for a series centered around Spice Isle Bakery and the Murray family, and in fact I was unsurprised to learn the sequel is already scheduled to come out this spring. Have some snacks on hand when you read this one...

Thanks to St. Martin's for the advance review copy.

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