Member Reviews

I read the first in this series because a friend (a NON cozy reader) recommended it - and it was fun/cute/different. See that review.
I saw "A High Tide Murder" on NetGalley and thought I'd try again.
The series is not for me, I think.
There's a lot of positive feedback, so if you're a cozy lover, go to those reviews. I did like that it (tried to) deal with suicide/drugging/other hard topics that are not very cozy. But it was decidedly not deep (cozy-genre? maybe). Baby steps.
We start with Chloe, who has just successfully opened a cannabis cafe in her small coastal California hometown. Azalea Bay is hosting an annual surfing competition - one of the competitors is found dead. The police say suicide but Chloe, brought in by a local friend and his surfer brother, thinks suicide.
She feels compelled to investigate, her investigative practices are quite dangerous - I think that bothered me - and finds oodles of suspects due to the deceased's nefarious activities with partners and money.
I appreciate the recipes at the end - c'mon Tennessee, lighten up! I would like to visit the cafe, so bravo for the concept. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC.

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Baker Chloe Barnes is thrilled to finally open her cannabis cafe, serving food and drinks infused with the medicinal properties of legally grown and sold marijuana. She’s even more thrilled that, despite some mostly emailed resistance from anonymous protesters, her cafe is proving to be a resounding success.

Success gets a bit overwhelming though, when the annual Azalea Bay Pro Challenger Surf Competition gets underway only a week after her opening day. Her beachside California town is ordinarily pretty sleepy, but the surfing competition brings in participants from all over the world, making for their busiest tourist season of the year. Chloe is soon run off her feet by all the extra business, and quickly hires more help in the front of the cafe even as she worries about hiring another baker to help in the back of the house.

So the last thing she needs is to be involved in another murder mystery. An innocuous evening spent with her friends leads to discovering the dead body of one of the competing surfers, Aaron Gill. His death looks like a deliberate drug overdose, but his roommate and best friend Ethan Wilson is vehemently opposed to the idea. Chloe is sympathetic, but has no interest in getting involved until her friend Matt – who also happens to be Ethan’s older brother – asks her to look into things.

The last time Chloe “looked into” something like this, she was violently attacked. Sure, she caught the killer who’d been trying to let Chloe’s Aunt Dawn take the fall for murder, but that doesn’t mean that she wants to risk bodily harm again. Her innate sense of justice and desire to stand up for those who need it, though, find her deeply involved in investigating a murder once more, regardless of the danger. Will she be able to figure out whodunnit before anyone else, herself included, gets hurt?

This second installment of the Cannabis Cafe mystery series builds wonderfully from the debut, as Chloe, her family and friends get realistically drawn into yet another investigation while juggling their interesting, off-the-beaten-path lives. Emily George is a big advocate of legal uses of cannabis, and makes sure that her writing is as informative as it is entertaining. This extends to talking about another niche interest that’s slowly becoming mainstream: as a card-carrying Dungeon Master myself, I personally appreciated her excellent descriptions of Dungeons & Dragons, what it is and how to play.

There were three recipes included here, of cannabutter, cann-gria and this cookie recipe, lightly edited for format and space:

Everything But the Kitchen Sink Cookies

Make with cannabutter to give your cookies a higher purpose, or substitute with regular butter in a 1:1 ratio for cookies the whole family can enjoy.

A note on mix-ins: this is where you can let your creativity go wild! Chloe loves to use chocolate chips, pretzels, walnuts and toffee chips. But try anything you like. Crushed up potato chips for a salty crunch, your favorite breakfast cereal, different types of chocolate chips (like white or dark or semisweet), dried fruit, other types of nuts, sprinkles, M&Ms, chopped up brittle or candy bar, marshmallows… or anything else your heart desires.

Yield: 12-24 depending[.]

2 cups of all-purpose flour
¾ cup softened cannabutter
½ cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon of high-quality vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups of mix-ins (see note above)

Add cannabutter and both types of sugar to a medium-sized bowl and use an electric mixer to beat at medium speed until creamy. Alternatively, you can mix in a stand mixer, if you prefer.

Beat egg and vanilla into butter mixture.

Add dry ingredients (minus mix-ins) to a smaller bowl and stir to combine.

Gradually add dry ingredients into wet ingredients until just combined.

Add mix-ins and stir to combine.

Cover bowl and chill in refrigerator, ideally overnight but at least for a minimum of 3-4 hours.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F/180 degrees C.

Use a cookie scoop or tablespoon to place dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper.

Bake for nine minutes and then begin checking for golden exterior. Total bake time will depend on the size of the cookies, but could be up to fourteen minutes.

Remove from oven and cool completely (minimum of twenty minutes.)

I chose to use regular butter for this recipe, and ransacked my pantry to see what I could use for the mix-ins, eventually settling on crystallized ginger, flaked coconut and two different types of chocolate. I actually wound up making smaller cookies than intended – for a change! – and had thirty-three delectable cookies by the end of the cooling process. It probably helped that my chilled dough was surprisingly hard to shape. I had to use a metal spoon to pull out a chunk that I thought looked about the size of a rounded tablespoon, then roll it in my hands to shape before placing on the cookie sheet. Even at a smaller size, these took eleven minutes to bake and not nine. All ovens vary, of course, so keep an eye out on them as they cook.

The results were delicious, though I do recommend eating these warm out of the oven, especially if chocolate is involved. I’m definitely keeping this recipe in mind the next time I have a lot of baking odds and ends left over to use up.

Next week, we travel north and just a smidge east to whip up a delicious sandwich while investigating a strange death in a ski lodge. Do join me!

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Chloe is a back and the bakery is open and going strong when the yearly big surf competition blows into town bringing tons of customers, but also something sinister seems to have come in with the surfers. Chloe is not only busy baking goodies to make the masses happy and relaxed, but also on the hunt to see if a friend was murdered or really did commit suicide. The characters are so well written that you feel like you are hanging with new friends rather than reading a story. The plot is compelling, engaging and entertaining not to mention the bakery being a cannabis bakery allows for the main character to impart education of CBD and THC and their uses in food. This is definitely a new twist on the typical cozy mystery bakery and one that I am fully enjoying reading about and learning about. As an older reader, it is great to learn more about the quality uses of cannabis and how it can help everyday people, patients of diseases and disorders, the economy, farmers and more. Not to mention, the treats sound delicious. I am thoroughly enjoying this series and can't wait to see what Chloe and her friends get up to next!

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Really enjoy this series and am so glad I got to read it. Quirky characters and a great mystery with a unique setting.

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A tantalizing blend of suspense ,humor, and culinary delights. I loved the unique combination of cannabis infused recipes and amateur sleuthing.
Many thanks to Kensington and to NetGalley for providing me with a galley in exchange for my honest opinion.

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Book two in the Cannabis Cade Mystery series… A HIGH TIDE MURDER puts the reader back into beautiful Azalea Bay where Chloe has opened her cannabis cafe Baked by Chloe. With the acceptance of the community and a surf competition in town, the business is thriving! All seems to be well until Chloe comes across a dead body and gets back to her amateur sleuth shenanigans.

This is such a fun series and I’m so happy Book 2 was a winner because I absolutely loved book 1. Loved the descriptions of treats found in the cafe and the knowledge about Cannabis given to the reader and an awesome community of characters I look forward to seeing again and again.

Thank you Kensington

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This book has all the elements of a cozy mystery. A cafe, a baker who snoops around, family, cannabis, a surfing contest, murder a maybe boyfriend, the snoop almost getting killed in the process of finding the killer. It’s pretty standard. Is this the season of mermaids? I keep getting books with mermaids. The characters are likable enough and it moves along well. I just didn’t feel anything special about it.

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This is a great addition to this series. It's so fun and different! I love that it takes the bakery trope and adds cannabis. A cozy mystery has to have a great amateur sleuth, but it also has to have good side characters and this series has them in droves. I'm excited to continue reading this series and seeing what else Emily comes up!

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This was such a cozy fun read. I loved it! It kept me entertained and felt like a warm hug. I love the “gardening” representation in this book. It’s unique in its own way.

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I love trying new cozy novels set on the west coast and the description of a murder at a weed cafe, Baked By Chloe, sounded so fun! A high Tide Murder is the second in the series, yet my first Emily George read.
When a death hits the local surf competition, Chloe goes all "detective mode" to solve the murder.
I thought this was a fun cozy location, I enjoyed the characters and George's writing!
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for this advanced reader copy in exchange for my honest review. My opinions are my own.

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This new series is perfect for cozy mystery fans who are looking for a refreshing new angle. The main character is Chloe, a young pastry chef who returns to the US from Paris after breaking up with her cheating fiancé. She heads to her home town of Azalea Bay, California, to help take care of her grandmother, who is dealing with breast cancer. So she’s at a crossroads in her life and has to figure out how to move forward. In the first book, she decides, with the help of her aunt, to open a café, but not just an ordinary café! She opens a cannabis-based café. Her macarons and brownies are just two of the popular offerings. I thought this was such a fun concept!

A High Tide Murder is the second book in the series and can be read as a standalone (although you’ll have more backstory if you pick up book one first, A Half-Baked Murder). Azalea Bay is popular with the surfing community and hosts a competition every year. One of the surfers is found dead in his hotel room and is initially considered a suicide, but his best friend is convinced it has to be murder. There are some serious topics covered/discovered during the investigation, but I can’t talk about them without this review becoming a spoiler.

There is some interesting information on CBD and THC sprinkled throughout the book and the food and drinks from the café sound delicious. There are even a few recipes at the end of the book, for those brave enough to try them.

Thank you to NetGalley and Kensington Cozies for the opportunity to read an advance readers copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

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A High Tide Murder: A Cannabis Café Mystery
By Emily George
February 2024

Review by Cynthia Chow

It was an avalanche of unfortunate events that led professional pastry chef Chloe Barnes to return home to Azalea Bay, but she has never been happier. Helping her grandmother recover from chemo treatments introduced Chloe to the study of cannabis production and use, which in turn has her now opening her very own Baked by Chloe café. While initially the coastal California town was not entirely welcoming of her cannabis-infused treats due to their fears of having a “drug” business in their neighborhood, she has since won most of them over with her delicious, relaxing, and often very medicinal creations. Chloe has also bonded with local Dungeons & Dragons adventurers, who also help to introduce her to the athletes competing in the Azalea Bay Pro Challenger Surf Competition. While normally one would think that the surfers would have a laid-back, weed-friendly attitude towards the competition, tempers are high and an early death is written off by the police as a suicide.

Chloe’s friend Matt Wilson doesn’t accept that Aaron Gill would ever have taken his own life, and he convinces Chloe to once again dive into the investigation to find the truth. So when not creating delicious black sesame desserts and apricot and cardamom macarons, Chloe leaves the café in the hands of her trusted employees and begins looking into the young surfer’s death. Her spotting a burglar fleeing Aaron’s hotel room in the middle of the night has her more than convinced that something shady is afoot, and the more she learns about the surfers’ tempestuous romances and relationships the more she suspects that Aaron was indeed murdered.

This second in the series is sure to open readers’ minds to the use and attributes of cannabis and THC-infused treats. It’s not just brownies that are baked with cannabis butter (recipes included), but cookies, drinks, and even bath products have the soothing ingredient. Chloe’s aunt and her competitive freestyle dancing canine make an appearance, but it’s the world of competitive surfing that takes center stage. Chloe is very serious about her Michelin-starred pastry chef baking skills, and she focuses all of her talent into creating the best tasting and best quality delights. Not everyone is as thrilled with her “drug-dealing” influence though, and social media threats indicate some bumpy roads in her future. But for now, Chloe continues to revel in her new home and new friend as she helps and heals her family. This charming, smart, and very engaging lead character is sure to make fans of this series that takes readers into the unexpectedly cozy world of cannabis use and baking.

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Dollycas's Thoughts

It is time for the annual summer Azalea Bay Pro Challenger Surf Competition and Chloe's Cannabis Café, Baked by Chloe is ready for the masses of surfers and their followers. This is huge for her new business.

Then fan favorite Aaron Gill is found dead of an apparent suicide. People believe the pressure of the sport and his performance in the competition pushed him to take his own life but his best friend Ethan Wilson doesn't believe it for a minute and begs Chloe to do some sleuthing and she can't refuse. She soon agrees with Ethan when she finds plenty of people who had the motive to be sure Aaron Gill had ridden his last wave.


I loved the first book in this series, A Half-Baked Murder, and couldn't wait to read this one.

Ms. George has created strong characters. Chloe is smart and fun. I love that she and her Aunt Dawn run the cafe together. Dawn's current hobby is dog dancing. The lady always cracks me up. Chloe's Grandma Rose is a breast cancer survivor like me so I identify with her easily and was happy to see her life moving in a positive direction. Chloe's newfound friends, Cal, Ben, Archie, Erica, and Matt, often get together to play Dungeons and Dragons and have welcomed Chloe into their group. Jake is still around but the relationship he has with Chloe is complicated. I enjoy the way these characters continue to develop throughout this story.

Matt's brother Ethan is a surfer and his best friend was the deceased Aaron Gill. He along with Matt and Chloe found him dead in his hotel room with a note in his hand. I will admit I read the synopsis and knew suicide would be mentioned in the story but had hoped it would be a fleeting moment and the death would be classified as a homicide much sooner. The police did not even look at any other evidence so it was up to Chloe and the others to prove it wasn't which carried it much further into the story. As a mother who lost an adult son to suicide many observances about Aaron and his behaviors and stressors hit my heart like a sledgehammer forcing me to put the book down to strengthen my heart and to skim certain sections. That being said I knew he was murdered and I had to know whodunit so I focused on the clues, I had a culprit in my sights, and was happy that in the end, I was right. The reveal was tense but the takedown was great.

I find the theme of a cannabis café fresh and new. Ms. George takes the opportunity for Chloe to explain the way cannabis is used clearly for its medicinal benefits and the relief it can provide. Chloe also explains how she prepares the cannabis to be used in her recipes. Three recipes are included after the mystery. I wish I had a Sparkling Canna Gria to get me through the tough times while reading this story.

A High Tide Murder is a well-plotted and well-written mystery with great characters that are engaging and entertaining. I am excited for this series to continue to see if the ending foreshadows what Chloe is going to face next.

*Note - Suicide references could trigger survivors or their family members.

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“A High Tide Murder” is the second instalment of the Cannabis Café Mysteries, a cute new cozy murder mystery series that began last year. I read the first book last year and am happy with how this one built on it. You can read this as a stand alone but I think it’s better to read the series in order.

Chloe is a 28-year-old owner of her new “Baked by Chloe” cannabis café. Only open for a few weeks, the café has been benefiting from the high tourism and traffic because of the Surfing competition happening in the small town of Azalea Bay.

Chloe is friends with the brother of one of the athletes, Ethan, in the Pro Challenger Surf competition, and they quickly become friends as well. Ethan and his best friend Aaron have been surfing together for most of their lives and are sharing a crappy motel room while in town for the competition.

When Aaron shows up dead in their room of an apparent suicide, Ethan can’t believe it. He knows his friend would never end his own life. The police however are busy due to the competition and aren’t suspicious of foul play. Chloe, the amateur sleuth, solved a murder last month and so she gets involved and works on uncovering what happened to Aaron.

This was a lovely book and fun to read. The unique setting of a Cannabis Café is fun and educational. The author takes great care to teach about THC, CBD, and their recreational and medicinal properties.

This book featured a budding romance as well which added an extra layer for Chloe, since she swore off men and moved home in the last book after finding out her fiancé had been cheating on her and got someone else pregnant.

The ending of the book also sets up what may happen in the next book so I am excited to keep up with this series.

Thank you to Net Galley and RB Media for an ARC ebook in exchange for an honest review.

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3.5, rounded. It is nice to see that the second book in this series is as high quality as the first one, and the "novelty" factor isn't going to be what carries this series. Lots is happening in this book, and it really highlights the community that will be at the center of it.

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This is the second book in the Cannabis Café Mystery series. While it can be read as a stand alone, you will have a deeper insight into the characters if you read book one. This is your standard cozy mystery - small town, shocking murder, super nosy lead character, and non-involved police force. The insertion of the cannabis café does make this a tad bit different in that it touches on a topic that could be construed as sensitive. The café does play a definite part, and you do learn about cooking with cannabis.

This book does follow the typical plot of cozies with Chloe (the main lead), doing really questionable actions in the pursuit of finding the truth. There is a surfing competition and a man is dead - is it suicide or murder? While suicide and mental health issues are mentioned, this topic is not delved into. There are many characters introduced, and many were not really actualized. It might have helped to have less characters, and to have got to know a little bit about them, to help connect with them.

Thank you to Netgalley and Kensington for this ARC.

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Tourists are plentiful in Azalea Bay due to a surf competition, and it has brought many people into Chloe’s café. Aaron Gill is initially thought to be a contender, but then his friend Ethan finds him dead in their hotel room. Ethan doesn’t believe that Aaron would have taken his own life, but it they don’t find evidence to prove otherwise quickly it may not matter.

Chloe is run off her feet with the long lines of customers, but that doesn’t mean she won’t jump at the chance to bring guilty parties to justice.

This book was the second installment in this series—I read the first book as well. I’ve really enjoyed both books and look forward to others in the series.

Thank you to NetGalley and Kensington Books for allowing me to read an ARC of this novel. #NetGalley #AHighTideMurder

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Welcome back to Azalea Bay, where the only thing higher than the waves are the 🍃 baked goods served at the Baked by Chloe Cannabis Café! After a rocky start in book 1 (A Half-Baked Murder) things have really started looking up for entrepreneur Chloe Barnes - that is until the Azalea Bay Pro Challenger Surf Competition rolls into town and smokes up some trouble.

🍃 Cannabis Café
🏄 Surf Competition
📚 #2 in the Series
🔍 Mystery
🫶 Family
♥️ Budding Romance
🕵️‍♀️ Amateur Sleuth
🍪 Recipes Included

This series is buzzing with humor, mystery, sleuthing and educational information about the medicinal benefits of cannabis. Super excited to see what Emily George will bake up next!

Thank you Kensington Books for the gifted copy!

*Please check TW before reading.

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Emily George is back with book two in her uniquely set cozy mystery series.

Chloe thinks things are settling down after she solved a mystery in her small town. She's opened her cannabis cafe and everything is going well. It doesn't take long, though, before there's a new mystery for her to solve.

The characters and mystery were interesting and well done. There was also a nice cast of secondary characters and they, and the cafe, added a lot to the story. I am looking forward to seeing what's next in this series.

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I have long been a cozy mystery fan and have always wanted a little more, mysteries that push the envelope beyond the idyllic setting and cutesy characters. This series does the trick! It has all the cozy mystery vibes but takes it up a notch by adding in the cannabis-laced treats available at the café. Chloe is fun, smart, and savvy, and although I’m not sure exactly why she felt compelled to investigate this particular murder (it’s usually because a friend is wrongfully accused), I enjoyed following along with her as she tried to find the murderer.

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