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Spice Shop Mystery #3

Cinnamon Toasted

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Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks? Case in point: Piper Prescott's former mother-in-law Melly. Beneath her twin sets and pearls beats the heart of a geek—a geek whose programming changes for the point-of-sale software in Piper's shop have the owners of the program ready to make her an offer she can't refuse. "Trusty" Rusty Tulley and Chip Balboa swing by Brandywine Creek—just in time for the town's annual Oktoberfest, which has cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom flying off Piper's shelves in record numbers. News spreads faster than a text message, and Melly is the toast of the town.

But it isn't long before Melly's status changes to public enemy number one when Chip's body is found at the foot of her basement stairs. Questions start to pile up when handsome police chief Wyatt McBride arrives on the scene and the coroner sets the time of death for the previous evening. McBride wants to know why it took Melly so long to report the incident—especially after she admits to arguing with Chip about the contract he wanted her to sign. Piper knows Melly would never hurt a fly, so she enlists the help of her BFF Reba Mae to clear her name—but can they find the real killer before Melly gets sent away for good? A mouth-watering entry in Gail Oust's delicious Spice Shop series, Cinnamon Toasted is sure to delight cozy fans of all stripes.

320 pages, Hardcover

First published December 15, 2015

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Gail Oust

10 books239 followers

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5 stars
105 (20%)
4 stars
234 (45%)
3 stars
138 (26%)
2 stars
27 (5%)
1 star
9 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 89 reviews
Profile Image for Patrizia.
1,477 reviews31 followers
July 15, 2018
Ho aspettato tanto a leggere questa serie, ma mi sto velocemente mettendo in pari. Spero solo che non finisca col quinto libro...
Un buon cast di personaggi, ben assortito, e belle storie; stavolta non avevo proprio capito chi fosse il colpevole. In più, i libri sono ben scritti e le pagine si svoltano velocemente tanto una è presa nella lettura.
Profile Image for LORI CASWELL.
2,413 reviews271 followers
January 16, 2016
Dollycas’s Thoughts

In this third Spice Shop Mystery Piper’s ex mother-in-law gets to spend a lot more time with Piper. You see a dead man has been found at the bottom of Melly’s basement stairs and her home is a crime scene so she is forced to move in with Piper in her apartment above her shop. Of course she could go stay with her son in his McMansion but he his fiancee is doing a bit of redecorating. Then there is the fact that Melly is the prime suspect. The dead man was in town with his partner to buy an upgrade she had designed for their point-of-sale software. It seems Melly is a computer whiz. The fact that the man had died the night before and Melly called Piper first before the police has Chief McBride pretty suspicious. It doesn’t take long for Piper to enlist Reba Mae’s help in trying to find out what really happened.

Fall is a busy time in Brandywine Creek with Oktoberfest, high school football and a production of Steel Magnolias at the opera house. Piper is stocking up on spices for all the upcoming festivities, including a huge party featuring German cuisine, her daughter is a cheerleader who is sweet on the quarterback and Reba Mae has been cast to Truvy in the play. Now the have to add a murder investigation.

Gail Oust has created a mystery that is spiced up with quite a bit of humor too. Piper and Reba Mae’s hi-jinks will have you laughing out loud.

All the characters have grown since the start of the series. It was a joy to get to know Melly better. She really is quite a lady. Piper is so self assured. She has a great relationship with her former mother-in-law and her ex husband too, even though he left her for Amber, a much younger woman. She does struggle with her daughter wanting to spend so much time with Amber but they are pretty close in age. :) Her relationship with Doug, the veterinarian is starting to warm up although she and McBride have a little vibe too. Everyone needs a best friend like Rebe Mae. She follows Piper lead and they get in some crazy situations.

With a great plot and subplots that work Oust has given us an upbeat story cozy readers will truly enjoy. We learn more about spices too. There is also a gingersnap recipe in the back of the book I can’t wait to try.
Profile Image for Moondance.
1,023 reviews49 followers
August 5, 2020
Cinnamon from Ceylon.

Piper is back in the third Spice Shop Mystery. Her former mother in law, Melly, has reworked a computer program that could bring her lots of money. The company representatives show up in Brandywine Creek to discuss the deal and one of them ends up dead at the bottom of Melly's cellar stairs. Of course Piper can't keep her nose out of the investigation.

This is a good solid series that I enjoy reading. I love all the information about the different spices and the yummy recipes in the back of the book..

It was interesting to get to know more about Melly in this book. She didn't seem quite as stuffy as she has previously. CJ, the ex, is still a jerk. I'm glad that Piper has a relationship with Melly despite CJ.

The mystery was well done with lots of twists and turns. I did start to clue in on the suspect before the reveal. It in no way distracted from the story.

The addition of the big Oktoberfest party was nice. I enjoyed learning more about traditional German cooking. Who knew that you put gingersnaps in sauerbraten?

The triangle between Piper, Doug and Wyatt is heating up. I don;t know who I would choose. I do love an man in uniform but a veterinarian would steal my heart as well.

I really enjoyed this visit in the Spice Shop and look forward to returning soon.
Profile Image for Dawn Michelle.
2,331 reviews
October 3, 2017
This has quickly become a new favorite series. I really enjoy the characters and the interaction between everyone and I love how sassy the main character is.

With this one, I had no clue who the murderer was and was shocked when they were revealed.
I do wish that they would get Doug and Reba Mae together as they are better suited than he and Piper, but apparently that is not how it is going to go right now. We will shall see now that someone from Doug's past is going to make an appearance in the next book.

Very good read and a fun series.
July 23, 2018
Another great outing with Piper and Reba Mae, this is a series that just keeps getting better and better! In this one Melly (Piper's ex Mother in Law) has a couple of people from a software company coming to talk to her about the amendments she made to Piper's point of sale software, this should have meant Melly being on Cloud 9 but things didn't work out quite that way, firstly the money guy reduces the payment they are prepared to make Melly (which she isn't happy about), but that is nothing compared to Melly finding him dead as a doornail in her basement! Now with Melly being suspect number one is Chief McBride's eyes, CJ ignoring his mother in order to cozy up to the NOT grieving widow, Melly staying with Piper (and Lyndsey) whilst her house is out of bounds things are a little frenetic.

Oh and add in Melly becoming scatter brained with stress, Lyndsey "forgetting" to pass messages on, and the Oktoberfest then Piper could really do with some relaxation!
Profile Image for Barbara Nutting.
2,722 reviews92 followers
May 8, 2021
This book was just like the first one - same descriptions, same plot and same dialogue! Just change the victim and the murderer and fill in the blanks. And now eye drops are the poison du jour. For that the book only gets 2 tiny stars.

I’m weary of the triangle romance that isn’t going anywhere and how can a small town have all these murders within a few months? Piper just lets her daughter walk all over her, she picks up a wet towel Lindsay has thrown on the floor and carefully folds it and puts it on the towel rack? C’mon!

I will finish up the series, even being as stupid as it is, it is addicting. I just need to read something in between! Something a little less “cozy”.

Profile Image for Lisa Ks Book Reviews.
843 reviews108 followers
January 10, 2016
Author Gail Oust really spices up mystery in this new installment of the Spice Shop Mysteries!

Blending just the right combination of the ingredients mystery, action, and humor, author Oust has created a cozy that is to be savored. CINNAMON TOASTED had me at page one.

This was another title that found me reading much later into the night than I had planned. The excellent story moved at a fast pace with each new chapter being better than the one before. There were twists and turns in the first-rate plot that lead all the way to the spectacular ending!

If you’re looking to add some flavor to your reading, you’re going to want to read CINNAMON TOASTED!

If you haven’t read the other books in this series, no worries, you won’t feel lost. But I do suggest reading the first two because they are really good.

Don’t miss the yummy recipes at the back of the book!
Profile Image for Mary Ann.
1,751 reviews
March 7, 2018
Cinnamon Toasted Piper's mother-in-law is super excited that the owners of Trustychipdesign.com are coming and want to buy her fix of their program. She starts prepping for their arrival and takes them all over the town. They offer her less that they said in their letter and she refuses to accept their offer. That night Chip of Trustychipdesign shows up at her house to try and talk her into accepting their offer, but he ends up dead at the bottom of Melly's basement stairs. Melly in a panic calls Piper to come and help her, not her son CJ or his fiance, but her ex-daughter-in-law. Melly then moves into the small apartment with Piper and her daughter. Piper fears that Melly is going to be accused and arrested for the murder of Chip and begins her own investigation. She suspects Chip's ex-wife, Cheryl, Cheryl's boyfriend, Troy, and Rusty. She begins to look for who had the motive, means and opportunity. There were some errors in the writing (spelling and grammatical) and there were times where I felt that she was not certain of who she wanted to be with leading to her daughter not dealing with her mother and father moving on in their lives. 
Profile Image for AngryGreyCat.
1,503 reviews36 followers
May 4, 2019
Cinnamon Toasted is book 3 in Gail Oust’s A Spice Shop Mystery series. In this installment, Piper Prescott, the sleuth, owner of the spice shop, ex-wife and a mother, is busy as ever. Not only with her business to run, an Oktoberfest in town, her ex-MIL getting involved in a business opportunity, she now also has a dead man in Melly’s basement and it is not looking good for Melly. Piper investigates, sticking her nose in where it doesn’t belong trying to clear Melly’s name and find the real killer. Lots of red herrings and misdirection here, I am not sure that the reader could have determined the killer ahead, but maybe someone who pays better attention than me could have. 🙂

Overall, a solid installment in a cozy series with a theme I enjoy. Certainly, helps to hold me over while I wait for Leslie Budewitz’s Chai Another Day, due out in June, from her Spice Shop Series.

Profile Image for Jenny.
815 reviews13 followers
January 12, 2018
I really love this series, the main character Piper Prescott owns a spice shop in a small town in Georgia. There are a lot of fun eccentric characters. My favorite part is the relationship between Ruby Mae and Piper, it reminds me of the relationship between Lucy Ricardo and Ethel Mertz, so much fun!
522 reviews8 followers
August 6, 2019
Great mystery, lots of suspects and lots of close calls for Piper. Enjoyed the book and all the
plots to find out who killed Chip. Such a surprise in the end.
Profile Image for Brenda.
1,235 reviews
March 30, 2016
Brandywine Creek, Georgia shopkeeper Piper Prescott is flourishing like her spice shop, Spice It Up!

When ex-mother-in-law Melly finds a dead man at the bottom of her basement stairs one morning the first person she calls is Piper.

Piper knows Police Chief Wyatt McBride suspects Melly of murder and in spite of ex-husband CJ’s lawyering skills, Piper is determined to figure out who the real killer is before the other strangers leave town.

Piper’s relationship with veterinarian Dr. Doug Winters plods on but sparks between McBride and Piper seem to be progressing beyond pesky nuisance ones.

A lesson on cinnamon, and 3 recipes, round out a book that has great supporting characters, including Reba Mae and Amber.

(HPL download)
Profile Image for Shelley Giusti.
287 reviews103 followers
January 11, 2016
Cinnamon Toasted is the third book in the Spice Shop mystery and I found this one to be my favorite so far.Piper is the owner of Spice it up and has more than enough on her plate with Ocktoberfest and the play about to be under way, she is really busy. So when Melly finds the body of their friend Chip in the basement she has to add that to the mix as well as clear Melly's name who has become suspect in the murder.
Piper's is at it again as she tries to find out why chip was killed and who did it before all the excitement of the season begins.
Things get heated as you start this book and you will be hooked until the end.
1,510 reviews8 followers
February 13, 2017
Follows the standard formula: busy store owner has obnoxious ex husband; spends too much time dealing with outside matters because she can not stop being nosey; has a friend/enemy relationship with local law; has made enemies in town due to her snooping and false conclusions about people. Not a bad read but will probably stop after next book as the main character just does not keep me interested enough to stay with this cozy series.
Profile Image for Grey853.
1,394 reviews45 followers
January 30, 2016
When Piper's former mother-in-law comes under suspicion of murder, it's up to her to help find the truth.

I found this incredibly slow-moving. It's not a bad story, just very slow and repetitious. It just seemed to take forever to get to the point.
Profile Image for Tintri.
153 reviews
June 20, 2019
Good goddman this was painful to get through

Rusting awful.
Bleeding terrible.
I did not like it, at all, not even a little bit. Nope, nuh huh, nope.
Profile Image for Imjussayin.
450 reviews8 followers
September 3, 2017
Cinnamon Toasted: Spice Shop Mystery 3

In A Nutshell: A savoury cosy mystery with interesting twists. You will not guess the culprit. It's a fun read packed with southern charm. So it's worth the stretch of your imagination that is technically required. But only for those of us in the know. Read and enjoy.

The Plot: Piper's former mother in law Melly is prime suspect when Chip Balboa tech entrepreneur turns up dead. His body is at the foot of her basement stairs. It also looks bad for Melly because Chip was trying to negotiate down an offer he had made for her software.

The Protagonist: Pint-size Piper is a bungling investigator. But she is finding success as a business owner. Her pleasant disposition and ability to deal with her wealthy ex-husband's arrogance will make you root for her.

Of the three Piper Prescott stories, this might be my favourite. I was interested in the how and why of the murder. It will capture you. But I am also invested in the characters. I like them. Even the irritating ones. Reba Mae, Piper's BFF is kooky and game. CJ who is Piper's ex-husband shows a more humane side to his character. And Piper's love triangle tickles the curiosity. The story also manages adult themes with amusing innuendo.

I enjoyed the story so recommend it.

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Book Rating

Sexual Content: U
Language: U
Violent: U
Would I read the next one or reread ?: Yes

My rating system (* = star)
0* Could not finish this book (waste of time)
1* Finished the book but didn't like it.
2* Finished the book it was okay.
3* A good read worth your time.
4* An excellent read often with a novel concept or unusual plot.
5* A great read. A prominent example of the genre
Profile Image for Heather.
168 reviews8 followers
January 16, 2018
Well . . . what can I say about this one? This third installment of Oust’s Spice Shop mystery series was just ok for me. I don’t know whether it was because I just took too long to get through it or if it was just in the writing and the pacing. I can’t decide but it was a bit blah for me.

I enjoyed the first two quite a bit more – because as odd as it sounds – those seemed to take place more in the actual Spice Shop and provide some interesting facts and tidbits about spices while this one did not at all.

Dear cozy mystery writers – I know you all like to shake things up a bit with your books, but don’t take your cozies and our favorite characters out of the wonderful locations/shops/coffee houses/bakeries, etc that are the very reason why I love cozies so much. I want to experience, feel, see, and smell that wonderful cozy location – I want to imagine myself in that location. It’s why I LOVE cozy mysteries – because I can escape into those places.

Overall, just an ok read for me. Overall, a nice fun series for cozy lovers!!
Profile Image for Kenneth Funk.
131 reviews3 followers
June 27, 2017
As a computer programmer, I really hate when authors don't do their research before writing about my field. First, there is no way Melly sat in the shop and modified the point of sale software. Melly would have needed access to the source code which was highly unlikely since the package was owned by a company and not open source. Second, if you follow the timeline of the three books in this series, Melly would not have had time to learn to be that good of a programmer. People seem to get the impression that anyone can learn to program. Having taught beginning programmers at a local community college, this is not the case. Those who do succeed only do so by long hours of practice. This is time Melly did not have.

Don't get me started on the inept writing about 'hackers'.
Profile Image for Marilyn.
1,287 reviews
February 16, 2019
Piper Prescott's, former mother-in-law, Melly, has developed some computer software that has aroused the interest of Chip Balboa and Rusty Talley. They are visiting Brandywine Creek to offer to buy her product. Apparently, the offer they have now made to her is far lower than the initial one discussed and she has said no thank you. Unfortunately, Chip is found dead at the bottom of her cellar stairs and Melly is the prime suspect. Piper and he best friend, Reba Mae, are out to clear Melly's name.
Profile Image for April.
606 reviews
September 23, 2019
Piper has trouble with poking her nose in other people's business. At first (earlier in the series) it was okay but her habit of continually getting into trouble and always going after the wrong person is getting slightly old. I will finish the series since I bought the 5th book but if any more come after it, I might have to give them a pass. This trope is well trod and getting a bit boring, to be honest. I'm also not liking her quasi flirting with a certain officer of the law when she's pretty much in a relationship. Another overly used trope.
97 reviews2 followers
May 19, 2017
I have read a couple of books in this series by Gail Oust. I love the characters and the trouble they get in to. I would like to read more about Piper and the two possible love interests in her life - Doug the vet and police chief Wyatt, as well as her ex husband. Piper has a good relationship with her ex mother in law and her best friend Reba Mae. They are full of adventures!
195 reviews
December 4, 2017
Not too bad. The lead female character isn't annoying as other cozies, which is nice.
Plot twist at the end - although it seemed a little random and very left field.

Will probably read again! It's so refreshing to read cozies where the lead character doesn't give off the impression of being a total...nimwit? :D
Profile Image for Suzie.
1,552 reviews8 followers
July 19, 2022
Cinnamon Toasted by Gail Oust is the 3rd book in her Spice Shop Mystery series. It is the first I have read and I was able to keep up well enough--- though I will go back and read the first two. The characters are good, the plot was well written, and it moved at a good pace. I enjoyed it.
The audiobook has a great narrator and good pace.
Profile Image for Barb.
999 reviews
July 11, 2021
A little to contrived for me though I did get the whole family (including grandkids) involved in guessing the killer - of course we were all wrong. I actually read parts of it aloud to the grandkids! Still! I’m not interested in more of this series.
Profile Image for Carol.
48 reviews
March 8, 2022
A simple read. The one thing that stands out is how the author didn't describe a character but chose to compare him to George Clooney or Taylor Hicks. It's sad because that will limit the audience to who knew these guys. This alone left me feeling like it was lazy writing.
192 reviews2 followers
April 26, 2022
I was enjoying this cozy as the clues added up to the murderer’s identity.
Then, 12 pages before the end of the book, a minor character is dragged in to become the bad guy! Most unexpected and most disappointing.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Jolene gregel.
23 reviews1 follower
September 25, 2017
I'm usually pretty good at figuring out "who done it" before the end but this time it came as a complete surprise to me. Love that. I can't wait to read the next one.
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