This one is the first Culinary Mystery book that I have read. A huge plus for this series is that you don't have to read the series in a particular order. You will understand the entire story and enjoy a fun and clean mystery. Plus, there is the whole recipe situation. In each of Kilpack's books she includes several recipes that deal with the story. My sister loves a chocolate cake recipe from one of Kilpack's books. I haven't made any of the recipes yet, but I am actually intrigued with the Baked Alaska and Baked Alaska Cupcakes. I love baking, but I have never made a Baked Alaska. Therefore, I am pretty sure I'll be attempting these soon. As far as the recipes are concerned, usually Kilpack integrating the mentioning of the food and hence the need for the recipe at the end of the chapter quite well. However, there were times that I thought the mention of food seemed forced just so Kilpack could get a recipe integrated. However, I will give Kilpack creative props for a mystery series that includes recipes. The main character, Sadie, and the fact that recipes are included in the book really leads itself to being unique and something most women will love.
As far as my ratings are concerned I would give Baked Alaska 4 stars out of 5. I felt the story was fun, not completely predictable, and it was paced pretty well. I had a desire to keep reading more and more of the story even after I was tired. The main reason that I have taken a star away was because there were several coincidences and things just working out for Sadie in the story. Now, not everything worked out perfectly for Sadie as she investigated things, but there were too many to make the story and mystery seem completely realistic or unpredictable.
There were several parts of the story that I thoroughly enjoyed. Sadie and her family are interesting and likable characters. The setting, a cruise up in a Alaska, was fun and made me want to do an Alaskan cruise even more. Plus, the writing was humorous and witty at times. For example, check out this fun quote I came across in the book, "If you can't have love, you should at least end up with money." (page 188)
Just so you can get an idea of the storyline, Amazon had the following book description:
"An Alaskan cruise is the setting for amateur detective Sadie Hoffmillers latest adventure. Sadie plans to spend time relaxing with her two grown children, Breanna and Shawn, and her boyfriend, Pete, while enjoying the luxury and cuisine of an elegant cruise ship and helping to plan her daughters upcoming wedding. But even as the crew prepares to leave port, Sadie has suspicions about the voyage ahead and the relationship between her normally easygoing son and a mysterious female passenger he obviously knows but refuses to discuss. When the woman is discovered unconscious during the second night at sea, Sadies apprehension escalates. Over the last few years, Sadie has developed an extreme dislike for secrets and it would seem her son is keeping one from her. *Includes eight new mouthwatering recipes, tested and approved by the official bakers of Sadies Virtual Test Kitchen.".
All in all, Baked Alaska was a fun mystery and a quick one at that. If you come across one pick it up. I mean, I would probably read another one if my mom loaned it to me. However, I am probably not going to buy one or seek one out. There are way to many other books I want to read.
Next up on my list, Everything Borrowed by Emily Giffin for my bookclub.
Happy reading! Keep reading for fun... research shows that it has a bigger impact on your kids than you think. Check out this article.