ARC Review: Dying for Strawberries by Sharon Farrow (A Berry Basket Mystery #1)

dyingforstrawberriescoverOfficial Synopsis: With seasonal crowds flocking to its sandy beaches, lively downtown shops, and the Berry Basket, a berry emporium with something for everyone, the lakeshore village of Oriole Point is ripe for summer fun—and murder.
 
Much has changed for Marlee Jacob since she returned to Oriole Point, Michigan, three years ago. Between running the Berry Basket, dodging local gossip, and whipping up strawberry muffins, smoothies, and margaritas to celebrate the town’s first annual Strawberry Moon Bash, the twenty-nine-year-old hardly has time for her fiancé, let alone grim memories of her old life in New York . . .

But unfortunately for Marlee, Oriole Point is muddled with secrets of its own. First her friend Natasha disappears after an ominous dream. Next the seediest man in town threatens to crush her business. Then an unknown person nearly kills her on the night of the Bash. When she discovers a dead body while searching for Natasha, Marlee realizes she’ll have to foil a killer’s plot herself—before the past permanently stains her future.

 ***I received an eARC copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.***

 Review: A fun, mouth-watering cozy mystery set on the shore of Lake Michigan.

Dying for Strawberries by Sharon Farrow is the first entry in a new cozy mystery series that follows Marlee Jacob (think about that name for a minute….), and her store, The Berry Basket.

Marlee lives in Oriole Point, on the shore of Lake Michigan, and murder seems to follow her wherever she goes! (As happens in every cozy mystery). A former television producer of a cooking show that ended in murder, Marlee moves back home to Oriole Point and opens up a shop specializing in berry goods, called The Berry Basket.

I really enjoyed Marlee’s character. She’s smart and opinionated, and she already has a fiancé, so in this entry, there was no love interest in law enforcement, and there was no official love triangle, as is so common in cozy mysteries. So this was really refreshing.

Other than that, Dying for Strawberries follows the cozy mystery formula pretty closely, and this was fine. There are the typical red herrings and kooky characters, and the cutesy setting of Oriole Point. Oriole Point is a town geared towards tourism, and so there are many independent stores with various themes (a holiday store, candy store, children’s bookstore, coffee shop, blown glass shop, New Age bookstore, etc). So there is a huge potential here for future books, and I really enjoyed the cutesy setting.

Since Marlee owns The Berry Basket, there is a lot of information here about strawberries, and there are a lot of mentions of excellent sounding berry-themed food. Dying for Strawberries made me hungry, and there are several recipes in the back for those inclined to try some of the food mentioned in the book.

In terms of characters, besides Marlee, there is Marlee’s friend who goes missing, Natasha, former Miss Russia, and Marlee’s best friend Tess Nakamura, who is an artist specializing in blown glass. Marlee’s fiancé Ryan, who works at a local family-run orchard, was kind of a dud in my opinion, and there were a couple spots when I really liked what Marlee was saying to him. Marlee also ends up getting a wonderful African grey parrot named Minnie, and Minnie was hilarious.

The mystery was good, but the ending was a bit of a letdown with whodunit. I would’ve preferred a different murderer, but it made sense. There are some unsavory characters in this book, one man is a wife beater and the abuse is constantly referred to, and that was a bit much in parts. Those were really the only downsides to this fun and smart cozy mystery!

Bottom Line: Perfect for fans of cozy mysteries involving food.

I rated this book 3 stars on Goodreads.

***I received an eARC copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.***

Links to Dying for Strawberries on  Amazon  and   Goodreads

Doesn’t this sound like a fun new series? Did you figure out why Marlee Jacob’s name has a familiar ring? Do you enjoy reading cozy mysteries with a food theme?

 


11 thoughts on “ARC Review: Dying for Strawberries by Sharon Farrow (A Berry Basket Mystery #1)

    1. Thanks 🙂
      OOhhh … let’s see! So many benefits! I hope I understood your question correctly! Here goes (sorry for the long-winded answer):
      – I actually read more now that I’ve started blogging than before.
      – It’s fun and I find that I enjoy writing. And since I’m not an “author” (I could never write a book, or poem, or short story), this works for me.
      – It’s nice to talk to different people and hear their viewpoints. We are all coming from different backgrounds and have different experiences, and so what one person loves might not work for someone else, and it’s interesting to hear the why/why not.
      – I’m getting more into photography.
      – I find that I enjoy working with webpages and layouts. So much that I started taking a web developer class, and now I’m going to go towards a certificate in web design & graphic design. I’m really enjoying my web class (HTML & CSS), and find that I’m good at it. Without starting this blog I doubt that I would’ve ever considered taking any sort of web class.
      – And a benefit would be now getting ARCs. I signed up for NetGalley, and have been getting advanced reader copies of books and that is definitely a benefit!
      But… there are downsides too. And the downsides are: I’m literally on the computer all the time. I’m either writing blog posts, or reading other posts & commenting, or spending time on social media, designing my new blog logo & header (still a work in progress), and other design work that I haven’t finished yet. I honestly don’t know what I did with my free time before I started blogging.
      And because I’m on the computer so much, my TV watching & movie watching has drastically reduced (I’m not sure this is a bad thing though, but I do miss it).

      How about you? What benefits have you found since starting your blog? Are you working on a blog post discussing these types of things? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think I didn’t make myself clear enough. Apologies for that. I meant to ask you what benefits you’ve had since transferring from luvtoread.wordpress.com to luvtoread.com?

        If I remember correctly, you had a free blog earlier, didn’t you?

        I do concur with most of your points regarding the benefits of blogging, save for the ARC or the web designing ones. Haven’t joined NetGalley! But I get a place where I can share my views with the world on just about anything under the sun. I guess I spared my friends some unsolicited ranting. 😁😁😁

        Liked by 1 person

        1. oh! Ha ha! No worries – I totally misunderstood your question 🙂
          No, I never had the free version – I just started out with luvtoread.com, and I think I did my site name incorrectly when I first signed up as I think my free version is luvtoreaddotcom.wordpress.com
          I had zero idea what I was doing when I first signed up and I saw that name with horror and thought oh no! the world will know that i had no idea what I was doing!! 🙂 I’ve seen “dotcom” spelled out on a few other sites though so I’m not alone there (there really needs to be a bit more instruction on the setup portion!). Once I realized that I had to map the free site to the paid domain name I was so relieved !! I cringe whenever I see the “luvtoreaddotcom” anywhere, which unfortunately shows up a lot of places I think… oh well, live and learn!
          So, I don’t know what benefits I receive. Since I’m not self-hosted I can’t do any advertising on my site, and I am not Amazon Affiliated, so no money there.
          I honestly don’t know if there is any benefit to me having a .com other than my site title is clean and doesn’t have wordpress.com in it. (ie, I have a custom domain name).
          I’m actually contemplating switching to self-hosting at some point as I’d like to do more customization than is allowed for me right now. But I don’t know that I’d do ads – it would be nice to make some money off of blogging, but I’ve heard it’s more trouble than it’s worth, and I don’t know that I want to put a bunch of effort into it. I wouldn’t ever be able to earn enough to quit my job, or go down to 4 days a week even, so it might not be worth it for me to do any advertising. I just really don’t have that many people that go to my site!

          And hmm …. now I’m looking into my site – i have the “premium” plan, and I actually CAN have some advertising on here – through something called “WordAds” but….. looks like I need thousands of views a month. That I most definitely do not have!! 🙂 maybe some day – ha ha !!! 🙂 https://wordads.co/faq/

          Are you thinking of getting the paid version?
          Everything I read online says that serious bloggers go for self-hosting, which totally intimidates me, and I’ve heard horror stories about doing that. Maybe one day when I have several days/weeks to devote to the changeover I will do it. I’m a bit too intimidated right now.
          But I’m not sure that the version I have (the premium version of wordpress.com) is really worth the $99 a year I pay for it. But I’ve never used the free version to really compare.

          Sorry for the long answer – wow, I’m really word-y tonight!

          Here’s a link that might help: https://wordpress.com/pricing/

          Liked by 1 person

          1. That’s what I wanted to know. I’ve seen many people shifting from WordPress domain name to their custom domain name. I would like to think that we both are serious bloggers. That is to say, we aren’t lacking in effort so there’s no reason why we can’t monetise the blog. A thousand view per month does sound intimidating. And yes, whatever I’ve read also says that serious bloggers go for custom domain names. However, I have no idea how to go about earning from the blog after I pay the $ 99 you said the fee is. And that’s probably what’s keeping me from trying that.

            I think the free version (like mine) is pretty good too. Lots of customisation options and the UI is terrific too. Let’s see what happens next.

            Thanks for the links. And your long answer is just the kind of answer I needed, so thank you for that too. God bless. 😊

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Yeah, if you aren’t trying to monetize the blog, I honestly don’t know that paying money is really worth it.
              But if you self-host vs using wordpress.com hosting, then there are more advertising options out there (or so I’ve heard). I think Google has some options for advertising, although I also think that you have to have a lot of views to earn any money. It seems that bloggers are pretty tight-lipped when discussing what, if anything, they earn. I haven’t seen any #s from the few bloggers I follow that have ads.
              I think self-hosting may also be a bit cheaper than using wordpress.com also. There are many self-hosting options out there!
              Good luck on whatever you decide to do!

              Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s