Monday, October 28, 2013

Review and Giveaway: Murder and Marinara

Murder and Marinara (Italian Kitchen Mystery - Book 1) by Rosie Genova

Publication Date: 10/01/2013
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Obsidian Mystery
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 336
ISBN-10: 0451415140
ISBN-13: 978-0451415141

(Received for an honest review from Obsidian Mystery)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound

Rosie Genova on the WEB: Website, BlogFacebook, Goodreads

Excerpt from Murder and Marinara, courtesy of the author's website.


Hit whodunit writer Victoria Rienzi is getting back to her roots by working at her family’s Italian restaurant. But now in between plating pasta and pouring vino, she’ll have to find the secret ingredient in a murder.... 
When Victoria takes a break from penning her popular mystery series and moves back to the Jersey shore, she imagines sun, sand, and scents of fresh basil and simmering marinara sauce at the family restaurant, the Casa Lido. But her nonna’s recipes aren’t the only things getting stirred up in this Italian kitchen.  
Their small town is up in arms over plans to film a new reality TV show, and when Victoria serves the show’s pushy producer his last meal, the Casa Lido staff finds itself embroiled in a murder investigation. Victoria wants to find the real killer, but there are as many suspects as tomatoes in her nonna’s garden. Now she’ll have to heat up her sleuthing skills quickly…before someone else gets a plateful of murder. 


Rosie Genova brings readers the first book in her new Italian Kitchen Mystery series, Murder and Marinara. This book is full of big Italian family charm and the sites and smells of the Jersey Shore. Genova, a Jersey girl herself, gives readers insight into how a family restaurant works, as well as, an amateur sleuths perception of murder. Readers will love the eccentric characters and the Italian flavor of this mystery. Genova's knack for setting and place is exceptional. With everything from old boyfriends to reality TV, this book entertains from the first page to the last!

Who doesn't love a big Italian family with it all it's quirks and eccentricities? Rosie Genova's idea of the perfect Italian restaurant incorporates all of the stories and nuances that readers have come to know about Italian families. They are very passionate people, with big appetites and even bigger hearts. Casa Lido is an Italian family owned restaurant that is the epitome of home style cooking and love for food. Genova charms readers from the first glimpse of this restaurant and it's owners. She gives the reader a feeling of camaraderie and love as she describes Victoria's nonna and the rest of her family. All characters that the readers won't be able to get enough of. Genova's characterizations were spot on and gave a authentic feeling to her writing.

Vicki is what one might consider a black sheep in her big, bustling Italian family. She didn't stay and help run the restaurant. She moved off to New York to follow her dream of becoming an author. She made good on those dreams but now she wants to write a story based on her families struggle as immigrants in a new country. Victoria had her reasons for leaving and she has her reasons for returning. I liked the fact that though she may have run away from some things in her past, she was following her dreams. Genova writes her as a young woman, who knows what she's returning to, and is determined to make it work. I think readers will connect with Victoria's struggles and with her loving family. She is a great character, made all the better, by a great supporting cast.

Victoria's relationship with her sister in law Sophie was a highlight in this book. The two of them make a fantastic team. I also liked the fact that Genova did not make the relationship dependent on how things were going with Sophie and Danny, Victoria's brother. They're relationship was independent of the story, but still gave a lot of insight into how things got to be the way they were. Nonna is also a very formidable secondary character. The strict Italian grandmother whose expectations were high, but her praise even higher. I liked Danny, as well. He was the police presence in the novel. Victoria manages to get him in trouble here and there, but isn't that typical of siblings? I loved this big, happy family, as well as other supporting cast members like, Tim, the ex-boyfriend and the new carpenter. 

The mystery itself had an interesting theme. Many of us have had the fortune or misfortune of watching reality tv. There are even some reality television shows with a similar setting to our novel. So it was not a hard sell for Genova to have this kind of show moving into the Oceanside area. I liked the fact that the residents were protesting the filming and that the authors choice of victim for this mystery. Everything seemed very fitting and very believable. I liked how the author was able to make the reader care about how the area was going to be portrayed and what it would mean to the community. There were plenty of suspects and most of them have good motive and opportunity. I was stumped until about the last five chapters and then had a pretty good idea of what was going to happen. That was certainly not too early on and felt satisfying. Genova pulled off the theme very well and the mystery was well written and planned out.

But the star of the show in this book was easily the time and place. The setting was perfect. Genova's descriptions of the Jersey Shore, pre-super storm Sandy were enchanting and enjoyable to read. The sun and the sea and scrumptious Italian food were so well represented here, it is not beyond the scope to think that this book will entice readers to visit the area. Things are certainly different now, and it is to the author's credit that she chose to make this a Jersey Shore that readers remember as opposed to the stark reality of the aftermath of the storm. Readers will be able to feel the breeze off the ocean and smell the marinara bubbling on the stove. This is a descriptive gem! A great first book in a new series that fans will return to again and again.

Murder and Marinara is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

About the Author:

A Jersey girl born and bred, Rosie Genova left her heart at the shore, which serves as the setting for the Italian Kitchen Mysteries. An English teacher by day and novelist by night, Rosie also writes women’s fiction as Rosemary DiBattista. She lives in central New Jersey with her husband, her two younger sons, and an ill-behaved fox terrier.

Giveaway Details:

The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of Murder and Marinara by Rosie Genova.

~ You must be an email subscriber to participate.
~ US Addresses only.
~ The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight EST, November 11th.

1. Please leave a comment describing a favorite Italian dish. Recipes appreciated!
2. Please fill out the FORM.


Linda Kish said...

I like spaghetti with meat sauce with some yummy garlic bread.

cyn209 said...

i LOVE pasta, so pretty much every dish i enjoy!!!

Nancy said...

I love a great lasagna.

Dotty Kelley said...

I love a big cheesy lasagna

Karen B said...

Lasagna - but not spicy!

Brooke said...

Fettuccine Alfredo is probably one of my favorites...or mushroom ravioli...or lasagna. Oh, I could go on forever, Italian food is my favorite cuisine!!

Rita said...

I love my homemade lasagna.

justpeachy36 said...

When it comes to Italian food, it's gotta be a good old fashioned pizza, piled high with delicious toppings, pepperoni, Italian sausage, and tons of cheese... good stuff!

traveler said...

My favorite dish is eggplant parmesan. eggplant baked with basil and tomatoes. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

Sue Farrell said...

I enjoy so many Italian foods that it's hard to choose a favorite---but who can't love a good spaghetti with meatballs.

Rachelle21 said...

I am going to tell you that I love Tortoni which you can get for desert in some Italian Restaurants. I also like Eggplant dishes.

Michelle Willms said...

I love mushroom ravioli with a delicate cheese sauce. Yum. Thanks for the giveaway.

Barbara T. said...

Chocolate chip cookies using ricotta cheese. Found recipe online to use leftover ricotta farm making stuffed shells.

ann said...

I love Italian food - mostly alfredo fettuccini and lasagna

lag123 said...

Chicken Scampi is my fave.

lag110 at

Linda Rima said...

If I'm eating out definitely Spaghetti Warehouse's Spaghetti & meatballs or their 15 layer lasagne! If I'm cooking at home spaghetti. My own style- in error I added chili powder & made it more of a tex-mex. My son loved it! So from then on most of the time that's the way I cooked it. Talk about multicultural!

Elizabeth Schroedle said...

I like to make bowtie pasta with chicken basil sausage. So good!

bn100 said...

spaghetti and meatballs

Carol M said...

I enjoy vegetable lasagna.

Susie R said...

I am not much for tomato sauce but I love a goo scampi

Wendy Newcomb said...

I'm not crazy about Italian food, unless lasagna counts, lol, but the rest of my family all love spaghetti. I won't even go to an Italian restaurant with them, I've tried, just can't take it.


Renee G said...

My husband is Italian -- so one of my adopted favorite recipes is making pizzelle cookies for Christmas. (Very similar to waffle cones with a touch of anise.)