Friday, January 9, 2015

Meet Your Baker by Ellie Alexander | Blog Tour with Review, Guest Post, and Giveaway

The Blurb

Welcome to Torte — a friendly, small-town family bake shop where the treats are so good that, sometimes, it’s criminal…

After graduating from culinary school, Juliet Capshaw returns to her quaint hometown of Ashland, Oregon, to heal a broken heart and help her mom at the family bakery. The Oregon Shakespeare Festival is bringing in lots of tourists looking for some crumpets to go with their heroic couplets. But when one of Torte’s customers turns up dead, there’s much ado about murder…

The victim is Nancy Hudson, the festival’s newest board member. A modern-day Lady Macbeth, Nancy has given more than a few actors and artists enough reasons to kill her…but still. The silver lining? Jules’s high school sweetheart, Thomas, is the investigator on the case. His flirtations are as delicious as ever, and Jules can’t help but want to have her cake and eat it too. But will she have her just desserts? Murder might be bad for business, but love is the sweetest treat of all…

"Sure to satisfy both dedicated foodies and ardent mystery lovers alike."
― Jessie Crockett, author of Drizzled with Death

"Alexander weaves a tasty tale of deceit, family ties, delicious pastries, and murder.” 
― Edith Maxwell, author of A Tine to Live, A Tine to Die

Meet Your Baker by Ellie Alexander
Series: A Bakeshop Mystery, #1
Genre: Cozy Mystery  
Publication Date: December 30, 2014
Amazon | B&N | IndieBound | Book Depository | KoboGoodreads

The Review

I read an amazing book recently, y'all! Let me tell you a little about it. 

Meet Your Baker, a cozy culinary mystery, is the first book in the Bakeshop Mystery series. [FYI, Book 2, A Batter of Life and Death, will be released on June 30, and is now available for pre-order on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo.] 

Meet Your Baker is also the debut novel by author Ellie Alexander, and what a fabulous debut it is! From the opening sentences
     They say it takes a while to recover your land legs after years spent at sea. I sure hoped mine would come back soon.
      It had been twenty-seven hours and forty-two minutes (not that I was counting) since I left the ship, my husband, and everything I’d known for the last ten years.
to the very satisfying conclusion, I was caught up in the world of Torte in Ashland, Oregon that Ellie has created. I was so eager to find out how it ended that I didn't want to put it down.

Ellie used two techniques that added to my enjoyment of Meet Your Baker. She reveals details, such as reasons for a character's actions, little by little as teasers, instead of all at once. For example, the reader knows from the blurb that Jules has come home "to heal a broken heart." The cause of the broken heart is not disclosed until later in the book, when Jules finally tells Helen that spoiler

Another technique is ending some chapters with teaser sentences, such as

  • I couldn't have been more wrong.
  • Wow, was I ever wrong.
  • Seriously, could things get any worse?
  • spoiler wasn't crazy. And I was out of options.
These teasers piqued my interest, and made it very difficult, if not impossible, for me to put down Meet Your Baker.  

Jules, her mom and co-workers at Torte, and the other residents of Ashland are depicted in a realistic manner, in realistic situations. Jules, Helen, and the others at Torte are quite likable, as are most of the Ashland citizens. Even the murderer is likable, until his/her villainy is revealed. The book is told from Jules' point of view, in first person. I really like her sense of humor and her personality.

Ashland is an actual town in Oregon, and is indeed the site of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Ellie has included just the right amount of details about the place, so that I can picture it all in my head. One of my favorite scenes in Meet Your Baker has to do with tourists in Ashland for the Shakespeare festival.
     As I crossed the triangular plaza to the other side of Main Street, a group of tourists, who had likely just finished lunch and were headed for the matinée, walked four across. 
     There was no way to pass them, so I followed behind as they sauntered, completely oblivious they were blocking the entire sidewalk. 
     One of them, a woman with expertly coiffed hair and an expensive handbag, stopped and screeched, "Oh my God! Gum. I've stepped in gum. I didn't think they allowed it here." 
     As her friends assisted in the removal of gum from the bottom of her Jimmy Choo pumps, I scooted around them and chuckled internally. Do they think we're some kind of theme park? 
     That sums up the Ashland  experience. Tourists become so captivated with the Shakespearean atmosphere that they forget this is a real town where people live. 
     We're Disneyland for grown-up theater lovers. Only our little city can't control who litters where.
Since Meet Your Baker is a Culinary Mystery, it contains eight recipes from Torte and Jules at the end of the book. I haven't tried any yet, but they all sound scrumptious.

Meet Your Baker by Ellie Alexander is a really good, really fun read! I highly recommend it to all Cozy Mystery fans, especially to fans of the Culinary sub-genre, and give it my highest rating of Five Kitties. If you're new to Cozies, this would be a great introduction to the genre. 

Note:  I  received a complimentary copy of Meet Your Baker from the author and CBB Book Promotions, in exchange for an honest opinion of the book.

The Guest Post

Thanks so much for having me on the blog today! I’m thrilled to have an opportunity to introduce readers to the quaint Shakespearean town of Ashland, Oregon the setting for my new Bakeshop Mystery series. 

In the first book Meet Your Baker, we meet Juliet Montague Capshaw. She prefers to be called Jules, and is returning home to Ashland after working as a pastry chef on a cruise ship for the last ten years. Traveling the world has been a wonderful experience, but Jules is longing for some solid ground and hoping that her idyllic hometown will help heal her broken heart. She’s looking forward to putting some of the culinary skills she learned at sea to use at the family bakeshop Torte. 

There’s no place like home to heal a broken heart and no one better than Helen, Jules’ mom, who serves up sage advice along with her rustic tarts and savory scones, to help Jules through it. Torte is always buzzing with chocolate-coated confections, rich espresso drinks and a side of town gossip. 

Just as Jules is starting to find her land legs a batch of trouble arrives in the form of newcomer Nancy Hudson who manages to make the usually merry town boil over with anger. When Nancy ends up dead at Torte, in a sea of raspberry puree, Jules begins to peel back the layers of her charming little town and realizes there are some unsavory players in the mix. Jules sets to work on finding a killer while crafting world-class pastries, and settling into a delicious new life she never knew she was missing. 

Writing this series combines two things that I love: mysteries and baking! I’ve been reading mysteries since early childhood. Culinary mysteries are a particular favorite of mine. I mean how much better can it get? I’ve spent many lazy Sunday afternoons curled up with a cozy mystery and a delicious pastry accompaniment. 

All of the recipes in Meet Your Baker have either been passed down in my family or are handcrafted originals. I spend a big chunk of my week testing recipes in my home kitchen. It’s a rough life — I know! 

I grew up in household that centered on food. My mom was a prolific baker. She always had cookies warm from the oven waiting when I got home from school. There was never anything boxed or packaged. Some of my favorite memories are of her with an apron wrapped around her waist and her hands lightly dusted with flour. The kitchen was the gathering place for friends and neighbors who would stop by for a slice of her chocolate cake or boysenberry pie. My dad taught English and has always been a Shakespeare aficionado. He would quote sonnets while crafting a layered hazelnut torte or whipping up a light-as-air soufflé. 

I hope that readers will enjoy getting a taste of our family recipes and fall in the love with Jules and her entire staff at Torte when they read Meet Your Baker

Happy reading and baking!

The Author

About Ellie Alexander

Ellie Alexander is a Pacific Northwest native who spends ample time testing pastry recipes in her home kitchen or at one of the many famed coffeehouses nearby. When she’s not coated in flour, you’ll find her outside exploring hiking trails and trying to burn off calories consumed in the name of research. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter to learn more.

Find her on the web at

The Giveaway

Ellie will award a paperback copy of Meet Your Baker, 
Chai Tea, designer baking liners and a Starbucks gift card
to TWO (2) randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour.
 photo MeetYourBakerGiveaway_zpsc79dad78.jpg
Open to US addresses only.
Ends Jan. 21, 2015 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This event was organized by CBB Book Promotions.

Be sure to check out the schedule for the list of reviews, interviews and guest posts by the author! The tour started January 5th and runs through the 16th.

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