Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Review and Giveaway: Bran New Death

Bran New Death (Merry Muffin Mystery - Book 1) by Victoria Hamilton

Publication Date: 09/03/2013
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Berkley Prime Crime
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 304
ISBN-10: 0425258831
ISBN-13: 978-0425258835

(Received for an honest review from Berkley Prime Crime)

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

Victoria Hamilton on the WEB: Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads

Excerpt from Bran New Death, courtesy of Amazon's Look Inside feature.


Expert muffin baker Merry Wynter is finally ready to turn her passion into a career.  But when a dead body is found on her property, she’s more worried about cooking up an alibi…
Merry is making a fresh start in small-town Autumn Vale, New York, in the mansion she’s inherited from her late uncle, Melvin. The house is run-down and someone has been digging giant holes on the grounds, but with its restaurant-quality kitchen, the place has potential for her new baking business. She even has her first client—the local retirement home.
Unfortunately, Merry soon finds that quite a few townsfolk didn’t like Uncle Mel, and she has inherited their enmity as well as his home. Local baker Binny Turner and her crazy brother, Tom, blame Melvin for their father’s death, and Tom may be the one vandalizing her land. But when Tom turns up dead in one of the holes in her yard, Merry needs to prove she had nothing to do with his death—or her new muffin-making career may crumble before it starts...


Who wouldn't want to inherit an honest to goodness castle in the middle of upstate New York? Bran New Death is the first book in Victoria Hamilton's Merry Muffin Mystery series. Heroine, Merry Wynter has her hands full as she recovers from the death of her husband, the loss of her job and inheriting a rundown castle from a dead uncle. Mysteries abound in this first in a series book. The village of Autumn Vale isn't your typical small town and Merry receives a less than happy reception from the eccentric townspeople. Hamilton branches out from her vintage kitchen cozy series to create an intriguing new mystery that will keep readers on the edge of their seats from start to finish!

Victoria Hamilton is no stranger to the cozy market with the success of her Vintage Kitchen series. But she takes a different tact with her new Merry Muffin series. Her characters a bit on the odd side. The small town is a lot more eccentric in nature and the heroine is not your average next door baker. I loved the fact that this series appears to be so much different from Hamilton's first one. It really shows her versatility and writing skills. I was immediately drawn in by the theme of the book and found the castle setting amazing. Hamilton's descriptive prowess is certainly on display as she describes the castle and the town on Autumn Vale in detail. 

Hamilton has a lot going on this book. Being the first in the series there is a lot of set up but it doesn't detract from the mystery of the first book either. She is sets the story up with one mystery after another which I thought was genius. It gives the reader the idea that though the initial mystery will be solved, there is a lot more to this little town than meets the eye. Did Uncle Mel have a car accident or was he run off the road? Could he possibly have killed Binny and Tom's father? That's just two of the subplots that explode in this book and keep the reader guessing until the very end. 

What's with all the big holes? Someone had been digging big holes all over the castle property. It turns out that the digger was Tom, who ends up dead in one of his holes. My first question was... What was he looking for? The mystery aspect of this one was very well written and Hamilton does an amazing job of dropping hints without outing the culprit til the very end. I had my opinions on who it was, but alas I was wrong. This is a tricky one... my favorite kind!

A great first novel in a series that will leave the reader wanting more. Though it doesn't end with a cliffhanger, it certainly leaves you with a ton of questions. Looking forward to the second one!

Bran New Death is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

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

About the Author:

As Victoria Hamilton, Donna Lea Simpson is the national bestselling author of the Vintage Kitchen Mysteries including A Deadly GrindBowled Over, and Freezer I'll Shoot. She is also a collector of vintage cookware and recipes.

Giveaway Details:

The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of Bran New Death by Victoria Hamilton.

~ You must be an email subscriber to participate.
~ US Addresses only.
~ The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight EST, September 25th.

1. Please leave a comment describing your favorite kind of muffin. Share a recipe if you'd like.
2. Please fill out the FORM.


traveler said...

My ultimate favorite muffin is a honey bran muffin filled with raisins, honey and is chewy, tasty and nutritious. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

holdenj said...

My favorite muffin is a blueberry sour cream kind that my old roommate used to make when we lived together. She gave me the recipe after we both were married and had kids!

Linda Kish said...

I like blueberry muffins with a cinnamon and brown sugar crumble on top.

Karen B said...

Apple cinnamon amd blueberry. I think the best ones to buy come from Perkins - delicious and HUGH!

Charlotte said...

Blueberry or Morning Glory.

NoraA said...

Yes I love muffins...

I'll have one chocolate chip, one blueberry, and one corn muffin please...

Running off with my treasures and hiding them in the freezer for special occasions.

Carol N Wong said...

This is difficult. I love cranberry nut (walnuts) and cream cheese muffins but my favorite has to be blueberry with giant blueberries. Would to have them all!


Elizabeth Schroedle said...

I only like two flavors of muffins, blueberry and banana nut.

justpeachy36 said...

Ya'll are making my mouth water! LOL

Rita Wray said...

I love blueberry muffins. Taste great with my coffee in the morning.


bn100 said...

blueberry muffin

penney said...

I like the strawberry muffins. You can't hardly find them any more.

Barbara T. said...

Double chocolate that I buy from Sam's Club.

dotkel50 said...

I love blueberry muffins. My grandmother used to make them from fresh blueberries on her brother's land.

lag123 said...

Cranberry orange muffins are my favorite!

lag110 at mchsi dot com

ann said...

My favorite is blueberry muffins - tho I like corn bread muffins too.

Nancy said...

It would have to be banana nut but I usually make that as bread now.

Wendy Newcomb said...

Banana Nut Muffin is my favorite with Lemon Poppyseed as a second choice, YUMMY!


Karin said...

I am partial to banana muffins, but I love blueberry and orange/ cranberry as well.

Carol M said...

I love almost any kind of muffin. Cinnamon are good and so are banana and blueberry.

Sue Farrell said...

I enjoy just about any kind of muffing--but cranberry, nut, orange are my favorite.

Linda said...

Grandma used to make sand plum muffins. More like cupcakes than muffins batter. The sand plums grew wild on the Canadian river banks in Oklahoma. I spent a lot of time picking (and eating them). We were on my uncle's ranch land. And, we put up a lot of jars of sand plum jelly. Still love when I can find it usually at Oklahoma festivals.

Michelle F. said...

Blueberry muffin or chocolate muffin with chocolate chips. I really do love muffins. I have a cat named Muffin, too.