Cover Image: Deadly to the Core

Deadly to the Core

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Member Reviews

My thoughts on…

THE STORY:  After reading Tremel’s “Brewing Trouble” series and enjoying it, I knew (1) I wanted to read this and (2) that I would enjoy the story.

I was right.

I was invested in the story - and the characters - from the moment the story opens.

Readers will meet Kate first. She is both mentally and physically healing after surviving a car accident that claimed the life of her husband. Kate has inherited an orchard, and she views this inheritance as an opportunity for a new beginning. She is looking to rebuild her life and live a dream she had with her husband - to open a cidery on the property.

She arrives and learns that there is a buyer for the property. Kate is not interested in selling, but the insistence of selling the property makes Kate curious. Afterall, there must be a reason someone really wants it - and the properties surrounding hers. 

This is where our mystery - and Kate’s sleuthing - begins. But drew me in as a reader was how invested I was in Kate as a character, and in Kate's healing.

THE CHARACTERS:  Tremel delivers with the cast of characters - our amateur sleuth, our murder victim, a potential love interest, a rekindled friendship, and more.

Kate Mulligan is our amateur sleuth and star of the novel, and she delivers. Think a younger Jessica Fletcher. In Murder She Wrote, Jessica writes a murder mystery to help her cope with the loss of her dear husband, Frank. In this cozy, Kate puts her heart and soul into this inheritance opportunity, using the opening of the cidery as her way of coping with the loss of her dear husband. I think this is why I enjoyed Kate’s character so much. 

I will leave the other characters for readers to discover, but they serve their purpose well in this cozy.

OVERALL IMPRESSION:  A solid start to this cozy mystery series, and I look forward to continuing the journey with Kate and the others in Orchardville. 

WHO WILL WANT TO READ THIS:  This book is going to appeal to those who enjoy cozy mysteries with a food theme - in this case a cider house. Those who enjoy reading Amanda Flower’s mysteries will enjoy this one, too.

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Book Review: Deadly to the Core
Stars: 4 x 5
Author: Joyce Tremel
Publisher: @crookedlanebooks
Thank to @netgalley for this ARC.

Kate inherits a fruit orchard. Kate’s husband had passed several years ago and now her uncle Stan has passed. Uncle Stan left her an orchard. Kate thought what a good time it would be to change things up. Kate moves to the orchard and opens a cider. She also decides to start renovations on the property. Kate soon comes to find out that there is someone who wants to buy the orchard and she doesn’t want to sell. She also decides she needs to go through Uncle Stan’s personal papers and finances. After doing this she finds many irregularities. As time goes by she finds the orchard manager Carl dead in his cottage. Will Kate be able to find out why Carl was killed and what was going on with her uncle with out getting herself into trouble?

I absolutely love a cozy mystery and this first book in A Cider House Mystery is wonderful. I am looking forward to more books for this series.

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4.5 stars

I have long been a fan of Joyce Tremel’s Brewing Trouble cozy mysteries so when I learned she was writing a new series about a cider house, I could not get to a copy fast enough. Deadly to the Core was everything I hoped it would be – and then some.

What a perfect way to kick off a new series! Tremel organically introduces us to the town of Orchardville and its affable characters (or suspects, depending on how you look at them lol), setting the stage for future books and quickly establishing Kate’s supportive inner circle. I especially appreciated the fact that, even though we are meeting a lot of people all at once, it never feels like an info dump. Instead, the author immerses us in the ongoing stories of the people of Orchardville as though we are seated at the next table in Margie’s Morsels watching it all play out.

Kate’s own story will have readers solidly in her corner, both as she sets up her new cidery and as she helps investigate Carl’s murder. I also enjoyed her friendship with childhood friend Marguerite and her new friendship with helpful neighbor Daniel (who has a few interesting secrets of his own). I loved the hint of romance potential for the future but also appreciated the author taking it slowly after Kate’s still-fresh loss. The mystery is really well-plotted and kept me glued to the page as the layers are revealed one by one. I was impressed with the quality of the red herrings mixed with the legitimate clues – and how difficult it was for even this seasoned mystery reader to tell the difference.

Bottom Line: Deadly to the Core reminded me at once of everything I love about Joyce Tremel’s writing voice and the engaging characters she creates. Kate is a compelling heroine in more ways than one and her personality is winsome and relatable. I enjoyed getting to know all the fantastic characters of Orchardville – even the victim. The story flows seamlessly from start to finish, and all the different layers to the mystery feel fresh and crisp. (Yes, now I’m hungry for apples after reading this book haha!) I cannot wait to see where this series goes from here, and I had a delightful time with this first visit!

(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book)

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This was a great start to a new series. I loved how the first book was about her setting up and starting her new business. There's something about orchards that are an automatic want to read for me. I can't wait to see where the next book takes us.

Thank you NetGalley for providing a review copy.

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Deadly To The Core
Cider House Mysteries, Book #1
Joyce Tremel
5 Stars

Synopsis:

Perfect for fans of Amanda Flower and Julie Anne Lindsey, when Kate Mulligan inherits her great uncle’s fruit orchard, she quickly realizes that apples aren’t the only thing that can have rotten cores.

After losing her husband in a terrible car crash, thirty-five-year-old Kate is left to pick up the pieces of her life alone. Although she has physically recovered, she worries her spirit never will. But when she learns that she has inherited a fruit orchard in a small town just outside Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, from her great uncle Stan, she takes this as an opportunity ripe for the picking. Kate knew immediately what to do with it: open a cider house. Her hopeful plans fall far from the tree when she finds the body of the orchard manager, Carl Randolph, leaving her to figure out who is at the core of this murder.

She had been in correspondence with Carl, who had agreed with her brilliant idea of opening a cider house. But not everyone is so quick to buy what she was selling—Uncle Stan’s lawyer, Robert Larabee, paints a less rosy financial outlook of the orchard’s past, present, and future.

Kate discovers that Carl had large, unexplained deposits to his bank account and it becomes clear that either he was blackmailing someone, or someone was paying him to keep quiet. Meanwhile, Kate and her neighbors receive offers to buy their property from a mysterious buyer. And there’s more than meets the eye with the neighboring orchard owner, Daniel Martinez, although Kate can’t quite put her finger on if it’s sweet or sour.

Will she be able to pick out the bad apple among the bunch before it’s too late? (Amazon)

Review:

The characters are well developed and well rounded. Kate is trying to recover from a traumatic life experience and she is going to try her hand managing a fruit orchard she inherited from her great uncle. But before she can really get started, her orchard manager is murdered. Now she has to figure out who killed him and why. She will need help from her friends if she is going to find the killer.

The author is very talented in her descriptive writing and these descriptions pulled me into the story from the very beginning. Whether I was reading about cider making or Carl’s murder, I was highly engaged. The writing style flows smoothly and the book is a quick easy read. The mystery was well plotted and there were enough clues to sift through and suspects to consider.

I would recommend this book to anyone wh0 enjoys a well crafted cozy mystery. This book was a really good start to a new series and I cannot wait for the next one.

I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of this book provided by the publisher, Crooked Lane Books, and NetGalley, which I greatly appreciate.

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Pro:
* Pennsylvania setting
* Town of interesting places could develop into a good group of standard characters
* Cherry Perry adds great comic relief
* Good pacing most of the way through.
Con:
* Pretty close to Tremel’s previous series
* I like the Pittsburgh connections, but it’s not necessary to say it so often
* I had the murderer figured out pretty early.

Thank you to Joyce Tremel, Crooked Lane Books, and NetGalley for an advanced review copy in exchange for an honest review

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Book Review: Deadly to the Core by Joyce Tremel

⭐⭐⭐/5 Stars

First off, let's talk about that cover. It's eye-catching and sets the stage for what promises to be a thrilling cozy mystery. Now, onto my review.

Deadly to the Core is the first book in a new cozy mystery series by Joyce Tremel. This book introduces us to Kate Mulligan, a woman who inherits her great uncle's fruit orchard. However, Kate soon realizes that apples aren't the only things that can have rotten cores.

At thirty-five years old, Kate is still recovering from the tragic loss of her husband in a car crash. Physically, she has healed, but her spirit remains fragile. When she inherits the orchard in a small town near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, she sees it as an opportunity for a fresh start. With hopes of opening a cider house, Kate's plans take a dark turn when she discovers the body of the orchard manager, Carl Randolph. Now, she must uncover the truth behind his murder.

The story takes an interesting twist when Kate learns of Carl's mysterious large deposits into his bank account. Was he blackmailing someone? Or was someone paying him to keep quiet? As she tries to untangle the web of secrets surrounding the orchard, Kate also faces offers from a mysterious buyer who wants to purchase her property. And then there's Daniel Martinez, the neighboring orchard owner, who seems to have secrets of his own.

Tremel does a fantastic job of creating a vivid setting. The small town atmosphere near Gettysburg adds depth to the story and immerses readers in the community. It's easy to feel like you're right there with Kate as she navigates through the twists and turns of the investigation.

Kate herself is a likable protagonist. She's relatable and sympathetic, making it easy to root for her as she tries to uncover the truth. The secondary characters are also well-developed and add depth to the story. Tremel has created a cast of characters who feel like real people and not just plot devices.

However, one area where the book could use some improvement is in the writing style. There were moments where the descriptions felt excessive and unnecessary, detracting from the pace of the mystery. While vivid descriptions can enhance a story, in this case, they occasionally slowed down the momentum. Tightening up the prose would help maintain a stronger focus on the mystery aspect.

Overall, Deadly to the Core is a solid start to a new cozy mystery series. Despite some areas for improvement in the writing style, the engaging setting and likable characters make it an enjoyable read. Fans of cozy mysteries will find themselves drawn into Kate Mulligan's world and eagerly anticipating the next installment in the series.

I, for one, will definitely be checking out the next book in this series. Joyce Tremel has laid a strong foundation for an intriguing series that has great potential.

⚠️This review was written based on personal opinions and experiences with the book. Individual preferences may vary⚠️

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A solid start to a new cozy series. I enjoyed this mystery and the cast of characters introduced in the book and the fun setting. The mystery kept me intrigued throughout and the ending was good. I look forward to more in this series!

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Dollycas's Thoughts

Kate Mulligan has returned to Orchardville, Pennsylvania with a plan following the loss of her husband to an awful car accident and her inheritance of her uncle Stan's orchard. She has mostly recovered from the physical injuries she sustained in the crash and feels she is ready to open a cider house at the orchard. She feels her uncle's orchard manager, Carl Randolph, will help her with the orchard and get the cider house off to a great start. Their first meeting goes well and he has done everything she asked so they are ready to hit the ground running. She is stunned when she later finds him dead in his cottage.

Who would kill Carl and why? The information she received from her uncle's lawyer conflicted with the information she received from Carl. In fact, the attorney had found her a buyer to take the orchard off her hands.

After Carl's death, she finds irregularities in his bank account that confuses her even more. Could these issues be the reason he was killed? And why does someone want her property so badly? Can her new neighbor Daniel Martinez help her answer all her questions or is he part of the problem?

Kate may have a bushel full of trouble. Can she solve all the mysteries and open her cider house? Or will she be forced to leave her dream behind? Worse, will the killer decide she is another threat that needs to be eliminated?

_____

I enjoyed meeting Kate Mulligan and her fire to follow her dream of having her own cider house. She is missing her husband and dealing with her own recovery but she does her best to tackle everything thrown at her including trying to find the killer of her orchard manager. I liked Carl and was sad he was the victim. We meet a variety of residents of the small town of Orchardville from Uncle Stan's attorney to Rudy Miller of Miller's Grocery Emporium to her old friend Marguerite Yost to her neighbor, Daniel Martinez, and more. Orchardville is a typical small town where everybody knows everybody and usually all their business. All the characters were well-crafted with room to get to know most of them better as the series continues.

The mystery held my attention. I knew early on that one character was up to something fishy but was unsure about all the elements going on behind the scenes. Those elements were all twisted and tangled together and much more involved than I had imagined. Secrets, lies, revenge, and greed played into a very intriguing mystery and set up an interesting showdown with help from an unexpected character.

I enjoyed the author's descriptive writing style. Her words brought to life all the places our protagonist visited. I especially like the details of setting up the cider house in the barn on Kate's property and that the history of the area plays in a major way throughout the story. It is nice to get the "lay of the land" in the first book of a series so readers can build a picture of the locations in their mind's eye.

Deadly to the Core has set the Cider House Mysteries off to a terrific start. I enjoyed this stirring mystery with a strong protagonist surrounded by a great supporting cast. I am eager to get to know these characters better and see what Ms. Tremel has planned for them next.

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Deadly to the Core is the first book in the Cider House Mystery series.

Kate Mulligan is back in Orchardville, PA after inheriting an orchard from her late great uncle Stan. Having lost her husband previously, this change comes at a time when Kate is ready to get out of Dodge and start a new chapter in her life. The pain of loss is still at the surface but a new venture running an orchard and cider house will keep her busy, both mind and body. Things really heat up in the orchard when Kate finds the body of her orchard manager, Carl, dead in his cottage.

I really enjoyed Deadly to the Core. I was able to sympathize and empathize with Kate as she navigated the start of this new life with the pain of past events. She's a strong character and the author created and developed her well. I enjoyed the descriptive content and world building. The book begins a little slowly as the author builds up the story, at first books in a series tend to do, but really takes off after the death of Carl.

I'm excited to see where the author takes Kate next.

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First in the new Cider House Mysteries, Deadly to the Core is a classic cozy mystery whodunit. After losing her husband of 10 years in a tragic car accident, Kate is starting a new chapter in her life. She’s moving to Orchardville, PA and taking over her uncle’s orchard, set on opening a cidery and making her uncle’s apples into yummy hard cider. Unfortunately, soon after she arrives in town there is a murder.

The beginning of this cozy mystery was very sweet but slow, it took at least 5 chapters to get to the murder. For me, an impatient ADHD person, the beginning chapters were boring. But as soon as we got to the murder, the plot got going, and I was interested again. The pacing for the rest of the novel was perfect. Kate is sleuthing to find out why someone would kill Carl, the orchard manager who never spoke about his personal life. And also why is someone offering to buy up all the local orchards?

This town is very adorable, there’s a woman named Cherry who owns CertainTEA the local tea shop, there’s a cat named Blossom, a comfort food diner that Kate’s friend owns, and Kate names her new cidery the Red Barn Cider Works. Once the plot gets going, it’s plenty fun and I enjoyed the ride. There’s some small parts about making cider, which I knew nothing about but actually found very interesting. Renee ‘s dad, Mr Freeman was probably my favorite characters, aside from Blossom the cat, and Carl who seemed really nice.
If you like cozy mysteries with beautiful scenery and close knit small towns, this one is for you. I think fans of the Ellie Alexander Bakeshop mystery series would like this one a lot. If there is a sequel to this one, I would definitely read it.

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The story, first in the Cider House series, is narrated in first person, past tense, by Kate Mulligan, née Driscoll, a recent widow in her early thirties, who moves back to the small town where her late mother grew up, after her maternal uncle dies and leaves her an orchard. This gives her the opportunity open a cidery, as she had once dreamed to do with Brian, her late husband.

Before the novel starts, Kate had survived an accident that killed Brian, and then spent about half a year in recovery from her injuries, between hospitalization and physical therapy, and so all of her communication with her late uncle’s lawyer and with the manager of the orchard, has been via email.

Over the her first few days in Orchardville (yes, really), it seems that Kate’s new life will go on smoothly; despite not having visited the area for the past two decades, Kate is welcomed back with open arms by both the longtime residents she knew from her childhood summer stays at the farm, and by the newer residents of the area.

Then she finds a body.

Beware: copaganda, slut shaming

The book suffers from “first in a series” syndrome, as the author establishes the cast of secondary characters and the setting, as well as dangling plot threads for future installments, which takes some space from the current mystery, though not so much as to clutter the narrative unduly.

The writing is very readable, if not memorable; the only character with depth is Kate herself, with the secondary characters divided into those who are marked as part of Kate’s inner circle, those who show up only to advance the plot, and a handful of others who are likely to play more important roles in later books.

For example, the first local people Kate encounters are the owner of the local Emporium and his wife, who not only stock her up on groceries for free and invite her to dinner, but also fill in blanks on Kate’s family history that she wasn’t aware of herself, such as the reason for her mother’s estrangement with her family. After that, they only show up again to provide yet more background information to help Kate figure out the mystery behind Carl’s murder.

Then there’s Margaret, who had been Kate’s boon companion during those childhood summers, and who immediately becomes Kate’s closest friend again. To be clear, we have been told that Kate had not come back to town for over twenty years, and had no contact whatsoever with her uncle or grandmother during that time. And yet, Kate knows all there is to know about Margaret’s marriage, divorce, and current situation, and vice versa.

This is never explained, but serves the purpose of providing Kate with someone she can trust, who will introduce her to other people she can trust, or reassure her as to the trustworthiness of the people around her–such as Daniel Martinez, helpful neighbor, fellow small orchard owner, former state cop, and clearly Kate’s future love interest.

Then we have characters such as chatterbox Cherry Perry, who only appears in two scenes, mostly as one of the local eccentrics, or the twin brothers Daniel recommends Kate hire to help her manage the orchard now that Carl is dead (more on them later).

I found Kate’s mourning of her husband of a dozen years, and generally her thought processes and reactions to what happens around her, quite believable for most of the book. She’s not only starting over in a new place, and starting a business there no less, but she’s also still recovering from extensive physical injuries; at one point, she reflects that she’s “been put back together with titanium”.

However, she’s soon tackling the finishing touches in the renovation of the orchard’s old barn into her new cidery, with few mentions of any physical limitations, other than occasional mentions of difficulty sleeping, or tiring easily.

Speaking of the cidery, while I cannot vouch for any of the cider production stuff, I’m glad that Kate actually spends time both working on, and thinking about, her business, with updates on the barn remodel, equipment installation, etc., and later the fermentation, and so on; all of this establishes Kate’s competency, without crowding the narrative with excessive detail.

Mind you, there is some repetition, but in a way that makes sense, such as when Kate is sharing things she’s learned from one person with someone else, or when she’s trying to make sense of the timeline of events leading to the first and second murders; here the repetitions work because we can see how our amateur sleuth’s thinking about events changes as she learns more.

In fact, I found the small town stuff fairly realistic; other than the cutesy name (Orchardville), the author considers both the economic and cultural realities of rural life. The small businesses in town depend fairly heavily on tourism to nearby Gettysburg, and many lean on it, such as the antiques store where the owner dresses like Ulysses Grant, and so on.

Many of the landowners in the surrounding area come from families who’ve owned the same land for a hundred years or more, and who are generally leery for newcomers seeking to change the culture of the town. And, as in any self-respecting small town, most of the local residents have known each other, or at least of each other, for most of their lives, which serves Kate well as she puzzles together the history behind current events.

Now, one of the nods to reality in the setting comes from the fact that while the farmers own the land, they hire seasonal workers, specifically Mexican migrants, during harvest to do the heavy lifting; in fact, one of Carl’s original qualifications for the job as Kate’s uncle manager was that he spoke Spanish, and thus could hire and handle the seasonal work force. When Daniel recommends the Díaz twins to Kate, he emphasizes that they are fluent in Spanish, being the sons of Mexican immigrants, and how this is an essential asset for an orchard owner.

For his part, despite his last name and his own fluency in Spanish, Daniel is written very much as a white man, from his physical description to his position in the community. He has owned land near town for a good decade and, as a former cop, he’s afforded a level of respect and trust by most of the long time residents in a way that Carl, who had lived there longer, wasn’t.

I read the book in a couple of sittings; despite a few issues with the rhythm of the narrative, I was intrigued by the mystery, and engaged by the narrative voice.

However, I found the climax, well, anticlimactic. When the villain is revealed, both his motivations and persona suddenly become utterly cartoonish, which contrast unfavorably with the mostly-realistic setup up to that point; even worse, a few previous events which had, up to then, confused both Kate and the cops, are either handwaved or dropped entirely in the aftermath.

On balance, it was a decent enough read, but not the kind of novel that will have me marking down the calendar for the next in the series.

Deadly to the Core gets a 7.50 out of 10

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This was a fantastic cozy mystery I liked the plot and the characters were a lot of fun. Very much recommend this book.

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It’s always fun to join a cozy mystery series at book one. Joyce Tremel’s Deadly to the Core is the first in the Cider House Mysteries, and it was particularly interesting to me (a cider lover) because it centers around a woman who inherits her great uncle’s fruit orchard and decides to open a cidery in the renovated barn. A great start to a fun new mystery series!

Review | Deadly to the Core

Crisp, refreshing, and sweetly tart as a bite of a fresh apple, Deadly to the Core is a great start to a new cozy mystery series. The book centers around Kate Mulligan, a woman in her mid-thirties who recently became widowed after losing her husband in a car crash. Kate’s tragic loss doesn’t bring the book down (she has gone through a lot of healing before the book starts), but it added depth to Kate that made her instantly relatable as a character. Many readers will find empathy for Kate and she tries to piece together her life without the person she thought she’d spend it with.

Another tragedy (but perhaps a blessing in disguise for Kate comes when she learns that her great uncle Stan left her his fruit orchard located just outside Gettysburg, Pennsylvania in his will. Kate sees this as a chance for a fresh start. She hasn’t been back to the orchard owned by Stan and her grandmother since she was thirteen, but as soon as she returns all of the sweet memories come rushing back.

Despite encouragement from her uncle’s attorney, Robert Larabee, to sell the orchard, Kate wants to turn the barn into a cidery. She’s lucky when her uncle’s right-hand man, Carl Randolph, loves the idea and already began to renovations to the barn before she even arrived. But Kate’s progress comes to a halt when she discovers Carl’s body in the orchard, murdered. Kate may know how to make cider and do home renovations (largely learned from her late husband, Brian), but she has no idea how to solve a murder.

There are plenty of characters around to help Kate, including the handsome owner of the next door orchard, Daniel Martinez, and Kate’s childhood friend and owner of local café Margie’s Morsels, Marguerite Yost. A local woman named Ruth Miller fills Kate in on why her mother and grandmother were estranged. It seems that most of the locals are welcoming Kate with open arms—but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of secrets to uncover on the search for Carl’s murderer.

It isn’t just the attorney, Robert, encouraging Kate to sell. Kate soon learns that many of the neighboring orchards have received large offers to sell their property. Something seems rotten about that scenario, and Kate’s suspicions are raised. Even more troubling, Kate’s own cane that she kept from her physical therapy was the murder weapon.

There was a lot going on in this mystery, which really made it fun to read. The murder victim Carl was such a sad loss—I really liked him from the early chapters and it was clear he was a great help to Kate’s late uncle Stan. No one seemed to know much about Carl before he arrived in Gettysburg. Theories about his backstory range from the negative (he’s an escaped convict) to the mysterious (he’s in witness protection). But regardless, he’s a loss to Kate and others.

In addition to the murder, Kate uncovers some other things going on. I mentioned how many of the orchards and property in the area have received large offers to sell. Kate and Daniel discover some documents and a map in Carl’s freezer that lead to a trail of deception, from property rights disputes, blackmail, forgery, local gossip, and a shady corporation with nefarious motives. There are a lot of lies and secrets to uncover in this town!

We are kept guessing through most of the book how much Kate (and us) can trust Daniel. He often seems like he may know more than he is sharing, and despite how much he his helping Kate, I often wondered why he was so keen to offer his help. Doesn’t he have an entire orchard to run? You’ll have to read to find out!

The small town setting, a root-able main character with a tragic backstory, the beautiful orchards, quaint local stores, and a town full of secrets and gossip made this a stellar start to a cozy mystery series. There are some twists and turns and I liked that Kate was still feeling out what information and sources she could trust as she investigates. Charming and engaging, I’m looking forward to the next book!

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Widow of a year, Kate inherits an orchard from her uncle in Orchardville, PA and sees it as her fresh start. Despite pressure to sell with the Carl, the orchard manager telling her the orchard won't be profitable she wants to open as soon as possible. When Carl is murdered Kate is even more reluctant to keep the orchard and find his killer.

I wanted to love Deadly to the Core because I loved a previous series of Joyce Tremel's that was set in Pittsburgh and featured a brewpub owner. But this book just didn't work for me and if I wasn't listening to the audiobook I wouldn't have finished.

It suffered from too many details. I really didn't need to read every time the mc picked up a cup or threw something into a pot or the many times she poured herself some milk for coffee. I also didn't care for any of the characters. They were very much your run of the mill cozy mystery characters with nothing to make them standout. The mystery aspect was also very obvious and not much thought has to be put in to figuring out what happened.

I received an arc from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Deadly to the Core has a promising plot outline, but the execution and pacing could use some polishing. I wish the town name would have been different. Having the inherited orchard located in “Orchardville” was too much. If there is a series planned, I would be interested to read a second book to see how things go with the cider production/sales and to see if the writing improves.

Thanks go to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

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I really enjoyed this author's other series so I was excited to see a new series by her. This was a good start to a new series. Following a personal tragedy Kate has inherited an apple orchard from her uncle and has moved there to open a cider house. When the caretaker helping her uncle is murdered she sets out to solve the crime. I really enjoyed the small town setting and the cast of characters. The mystery was good and the solution made sense. I am looking for word to the next book. Enjoy

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I enjoyed this beginning to what promises to be a fun new series. I liked that Kate has some history behind her with the town itself and is dealing with a personal tragedy. I also liked that she had experience in running a cider house and this isn't just an unresearched whim. As well, she also has some money of her own to make things happen.

The first quarter of the book is setup as Kate adjusts to being back on the family farm and gets reacquainted with old friends. I do love a small town setting and this was really fun. When she stumbles upon a dead body Kate is pulled into the investigation but her reasoning for wanting to know what is going on with her property I found fairly valid. I liked that she was having to figure out the who and the why but also was the victim who she thought he was in the first place. There is a decent amount of telling over showing which did keep this from being a home run for me but I'm hoping that this is due to the series needing setup.

I enjoyed this mystery and my first introduction to Tremel's writing style. This is a series I'm interested to see develop and Kate is a character I'm looking forward to getting to know more about.

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Just like everything I’ve read by this author, I absolutely loved this and devoured it in just a day. I couldn’t stop reading since it was really compelling and moved along just right. I really enjoyed Kate’s character and all the key players. I was worried about a triangle for a bit there for Kate but not anymore, lol. She and her new friends definitely worked great together and she single-handedly faced off with a killer who apparently didn’t know the old thing about a woman scorned, lol. What a great ending and a new celebration for all the friends! I just can’t wait to read the next in this series, it’s already a winner in my book.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book, and my opinions are my own.

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Deadly to the Core is book #1 in the Cider House Mystery series by Joyce Tremel.

This series is off to a great start. I found the main characters to be really likable. I’d love to spend time with Kate, her new friends, and the old ones she reconnected with. The cider house is an interesting business that I haven’t seen in a cozy mystery before. I enjoyed Kate and Daniel working together to investigate. I was sure I’d guessed who the murderer was but I was wrong. The twists kept me guessing. There are recipes at the end of some of the food in the book. I can’t wait for the next book in this series.

Thank you to the author, Crooked Lane Books, and NetGalley for the Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) copy of this book and I am voluntarily leaving an honest review.

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