Publication Date: May 7, 2013
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Berkley Prime Crime
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 304 Pages
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound
Nancy J. Parra on the WEB: Webpage, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads
(Received for an honest review from Berkley Prime Crime)
Excerpt from Gluten for Punishment courtesy of Barnes & Noble
With her mother’s death, Toni Ryder returns home to OilTop, Kansas bringing her gluten-free bakery business with her. But Toni has never felt at home in her hometown and cooking wheat-free in the middle of wheat country isn’t making her any less a fish out of water. When Toni becomes a suspect in OilTop’s first homicide investigation in twenty years, she must count on her crazy family and follow the clues to solve the mystery and clear her name.
Nancy J. Parra brings readers a new cozy mystery series. Gluten for Punishment is the first book in the Baker's Treat series, with heroine Toni Holmes a gluten-free baker opening a new store front in the middle of wheat country. With a great premise and a unique view point, Parra's first attempt at a cozy is a resounding success. She uses key characters and plays on the readers sense of small town, America to advance the plot. Readers will be enthralled with all of the information about Gluten free cooking and how it affects them. This is a real-winner for first time author Nancy J. Parra!
Most of us have at least vaguely heard about Gluten and it's affects on the body. Nancy J. Parra takes that little bit of knowledge the reader has and expands it in so many different directions with this book. I loved how informative I felt this book was. It not only entertained me, but educated me as well. It also gave the book a very unique premise. A Gluten free bakery right smack in the middle of wheat country. No wonder the natives were restless and not very trusting. Readers see a lot of cozies dealing with food related themes, but I really felt like this one was not so one dimensional. It was culinary with a twist and I think readers will like that.
Parra also excelled at making her characters the kind of friends and neighbors you would expect in a small town. Each character not only had a part in the story, but also a part in the community. I liked the whole hometown kind of atmosphere that Parra created. Toni, the main heroine felt very real to me. Like she was my neighbor down the street or had a shop next to mine or something like that. She was also smart and a bit cunning. She was observant and was way to curious. All the great qualities of a good armature sleuth.
I think Parra has written a great first book in a series. She set up the background well and introduced her characters without taking away from the story itself. She was able to draw the reader in and hold on them all the way to the end. I didn't have this one figured out until about the last couple of chapters and considering how many cozies I read, that's saying a lot.
This one is definitely worth your time if you enjoy culinary cozies or those with hometown themes. Parra is expected to be coming out with another series this year as well and we'll be looking forward to that one as well.
Gluten for Punishment is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.
I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!
About the Author:
Nancy J. Parra's discovered she had a severe gluten allergy and had to give up her second favorite passed-time, baking. Six months into her forced new diet, she was back in the kitchen figuring out how to make her own gluten-free baked goods and soon posted delicious pictures on the web. When a good friend suggested she mix her two loves-baking and writing, she wrote her first cozy mystery, "Gluten for Punishment, Berkley Prime Crime May 7, 2013.
On a happy roll, she soon sold a Mackinac Island Fudge Shop mystery series. "All Fudged Up" will be out in 2013.
With an MA in Writing Popular Fiction, Ms. Parra has written articles on writing, and has given workshops on writing techniques to various library and writers groups. She has a blog on the art and craft of writing, www.nancyjparra.blogspot.com.
Visit her website at www.nancyjparra.com for more information, a list of her books and full reviews. She can also be found at www.facebook.com/nancyjparraauthor and would love to add you as her friend.
The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of Gluten for Punishment by Nancy J. Parra.
You must be a GFC or e-mail subscriber.
US addresses only. (Publisher Request)
The deadline to enter this giveaway is: Midnight EST May 27th.
1. Please leave a comment on this post in appreciation to the author.
2. Please fill out the FORM.