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Ainsley McGregor #5

A Case for the Cookie Baker

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It’s all fun and games until the last cookie crumbles…

Ainsley McGregor and the entire town of Sweet River, Texas, are preparing for the annual summer celebration. And thanks to the extra tourist traffic, Ainsley’s shop, Bless Your Art, has never been busier. Good thing her new friend, Lizzie, has opened a bakery nearby and provides Ainsley and her staff with tasty treats and daily sugar rushes. It’s all cookies and fun, until someone ends up dead in the bakery and her new pal is the prime suspect.

Ainsley is convinced Lizzie is innocent. Unfortunately, her brother, the town sheriff, and her boyfriend, Jake, have some not-so-secret suspicions. With a town full of strangers who just might be suspects, Ainsley finds herself targeted by a killer. Even as her world crumbles faster than a cookie, she’s determined to prove her friend’s innocence—if she can stay alive long enough.

Kindle Edition

Published June 15, 2021

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About the author

Candace Havens

78 books973 followers
Bestselling author Candace Havens has published more than 25 books. Her novels have received nominations for the RITA's, Holt Medallion, Write Touch Reader Awards and National Readers Choice Awards. She is a Barbara Wilson Award winner. She is the author of the biography “Joss Whedon: The Genius Behind Buffy” and a contributor to several anthologies. She is also one of the nation's leading entertainment journalists and has interviewed countless celebrities from George Clooney to Chris Pratt. Candace also runs a free online writing workshop for more than 2000 writers, and teaches comprehensive writing classes. She does film reviews with Hawkeye in the Morning on 96.3 KSCS, and is a former President of the Television Critics Association.

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Displaying 1 - 26 of 26 reviews
Profile Image for Elizabeth Thomas.
127 reviews26 followers
June 1, 2021
First I want to say thank you to booktasters and the Author of the chance to read this amazing book!!!

I loved this book!!! For the first page to the last!!! Yes I know it's the 5th book in the series and I haven't read the others yet but I am going to be.
The friendships, the love, the passion of telling a murder mystery in a small town I loved it. Something about a small town with a murder mystery has always interested me. I have found a new series that I'm going to binge read as soon as I buy them all.
I fully recommend this book if you love a small town, a murder mystery, great friendships and animals
Profile Image for Janine.
929 reviews23 followers
June 1, 2021
An entertaining cozy mystery.

Ainsley McGregor, owner of Bless Your Art, in the charming town of Sweet River, Texas, is known for more than just her shop. She is also known for solving crimes even before the police can do it. In this book, someone is killed in the bakery and Ainsley teams up with her friends and dog, George Clooney, to find the killer before he/she strikes again.

I always enjoy reading the books in this series to see what Ainsley and her friends are up to. George Clooney is such a fun part of every story and always brings a few laughs. This writer really knows how to keep you guessing until the very end. I am always surprised to find out how the killer is. Even though this is a series, each book can be read on its own.
Profile Image for Susan (susayq ~).
2,113 reviews121 followers
May 29, 2021
This was a fun little mystery. My first in this series, and first by this author. The mystery part was fun and kept me guessing. There was just a touch of romance and that made me smile. I'll read more of these.
Profile Image for Louise Bird.
517 reviews4 followers
May 27, 2021
Awesome mystery intertwined with some romance and drama. I am looking forward to the next book in the series.
1,297 reviews7 followers
June 15, 2021
A Case for the Cookie Baker by Candace Havens
It’s all fun and games until the last cookie crumbles…
Ainsley McGregor and the entire town of Sweet River, Texas, are preparing for the annual summer celebration. And thanks to the extra tourist traffic, Ainsley’s shop, Bless Your Art, has never been busier. Good thing her new friend, Lizzie, has opened a bakery nearby and provides Ainsley and her staff with tasty treats and daily sugar rushes. It’s all cookies and fun, until someone ends up dead in the bakery and her new pal is the prime suspect.
Ainsley is convinced Lizzie is innocent. Unfortunately, her brother, the town sheriff, and her boyfriend, Jake, have some not-so-secret suspicions. With a town full of strangers who just might be suspects, Ainsley finds herself targeted by a killer. Even as her world crumbles faster than a cookie, she’s determined to prove her friend’s innocence—if she can stay alive long enough.
This is Ainsley McGregor's story.
George Clooney coughed in the corner, and I swear he shook his head. I couldn’t blame him. We’d been in Classroom C, upstairs in my shop, Bless Your Art, for more than an hour.
My fellow crafters and I had been discussing what kind of float we should have for the Sweet River Fourth of July parade. Thanks to the mayor, who decided this was a great way for the chamber of commerce to celebrate local businesses, everyone in town was scrambling to figure out what to do. I’d never built a float before, so I thought it might be helpful to get input from all of my vendors.
I was wrong.
“We could do a jungle theme,” Mrs. Whedon, my favorite octogenarian, said. “I can knit some cute little monkeys and Don and Peggy can cut some palm trees out of wood.”
Don, who looks like Santa and is usually just as happy, frowned. “I don’t see what the jungle has to do with a shop that sells arts and crafts.”
“And wine,” Mike chimed in. He and my best friend Shannon had a winery at the edge of town.
Mrs. Whedon huffed. “It would at least be more memorable than your suggestion of all of us sitting on hay bales knitting and doing crafts. Besides, I’m old and my bones don’t like hay bales.”
I had to bite my lip to keep from smiling. I glanced down at my phone. It was edging toward six, and it was girls’ night. My friend Jasmine had invited a few of us to come out to her new house to see the work that had been done there.
Carrie, who was sixteen going on forty-five, raised her hand like she was in school. I pointed the cookie I’d been munching on toward her. “What is it?”
She blushed. “I think we can all agree that the biggest celebrity at Bless Your Art is George Clooney. People will come in just to say hi to him.
A Case for the Cookie Baker by Candace Havens is a 4 star book.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book.

Profile Image for Sue.
1,125 reviews13 followers
June 18, 2021
I received an ARC of A Case for the Cookie Baker by Candace Havens from Tule Publishing Company in exchange for an honest review. This is the fifth book in the Ainsley McGregor mystery series. As with the prior books, Candace gives the reader a mystery that keeps us guessing who killed the victim. In this book, Ainsley and her dog George Clooney stumble upon a murder committed in her friend Lizzie’s bakery. She is passing by on her way to drop off George for his evening with her boyfriend and notices the bakery door is open. She knows her friend had closed up in preparation for them attending the girls night. She is on the phone with her friend Shannon who is calling to see why she’s late. She has her ask whether the baker’s assistant is still working and she learns that no one should be in the shop.

Ainsley and George go into the bakery and see a dead man on the floor and lots of blood. She screams and her friend said she’s going to text Ainsley’s brother Greg, the police chief, to go there immediately. She heard a moaning sound and opened the walk in freezer. She finds the assistant and an elderly woman who sells her wares at Ainsley’s shop. Both are unconscious and she fears the worst. She goes into shock and when her boyfriend arrives they get her to the hospital. She learns that the dead man was the ex husband of her friend Lizzie, the owner of the bakery. Both the assistant, Becky, and the older woman, Gran, were taken to the hospital too. Becky is able to go home the next day but Gran remains in a coma.

Ainsley starts trying to figure out who killed the victim, Mort, Lizzie’s ex husband. Her friend Lizzie is the police’s initial suspect. However Ainsley knows she was with the other women at the girls night gathering and so tries to get information as to time of death. Lizzie shares her story with her friends. Mort was her childhood sweetheart and they married and divorced. He later came out and his mother blamed Lizzie for that. He was from a wealthy family with a large company. Lizzie had Ainsley go with her to the funeral. Ainsley meets the mother, the brother and Mort’s assistant. She also goes to talk to Becky about what happened and learns she has temporary amnesia. All are waiting for Gran to wake up. As she investigates further, the suspects keep changing.

This was an enjoyable mystery. It kept me guessing as to who the killer was. And I must admit that Candace stumped me again. I enjoy meeting up with the recurring characters from the previous books and adding new ones as well. The interactions with Ainsley and her brother and the other police and emergency staff is very entertaining. George Clooney is wonderful and I like the new addition to the book of Julia Roberts. The romance with Jake and Ainsley has been sweet too. All said, another 5 star book for Ms. Havens.
Profile Image for MochaLatte's Book Hut.
68 reviews14 followers
June 22, 2021
Sweet, sometimes suspense and enjoyable.

A Case for the Cookie Baker is the 5th book in The Ainsley McGregor series. Written by Candace Havens, a bestselling and award-winning author, this time Sweet River town will celebrate the Fourth of July and Ainsley McGregor had been busier from managing her shop, Bless Your Art. Moreover, with her new pal, Lizzie Hernandez had opened a new bakery shop nearby, her life seems mundane until one day, someone ends up dead in Lizzie's shop and she is the prime suspect. Will Ainsley managed to prove that Lizzie is innocent? What will happen after that?

I like the story plot. It has a nice story flow from the start until the end. It also fulls of mystery elements and it will make the reader curious about what will happen to Lizzie and Ainsley. The story becomes more thrilling when the real culprits seem to target Ainsley since she tends to intervene in the killer's plans. The readers want to know who is the real killer and how Ainsley escapes from the evil circle when Ainsley's life gets in danger.

From this book, I learn about forgiveness. This can be shown through Lizzie Hernandez, Ainsley's pal when she decides to forgives everyone who wrongly accused her of the killer even though she is innocent. How she decides to forget it and move forward for a better tomorrow. Second, the good friendship between Ainsley and Lizzie. Ainsley tries her best and doing whatever she can do to prove that Lizzie is innocent. Even when she needs to gamble her own life to it. She was also very helpful not only to Lizzie but also to people around her. I can say that Ainsley McGregor is a true friend indeed. Gina Barreca had said that "It's not that diamonds are a girl's best friends, but it's your best friends who are your diamonds". In this context, Ainsley is a diamond to Lizzie and her beloved ones.

Finally, I love the beautiful cover of this book. Enjoyable detective-themed story with a touch of sweet and romance stuff in it. I really recommended this book for mystery and romance fiction lovers. Because of that, I am happy to rate it 5-star. I wonder what is the continuation of Ainsley's story.
Profile Image for Eileen.
1,823 reviews
June 14, 2021
I enjoyed reading A Case for the Cookie Baker by Candace Havens book five in her Ainsley McGregor mystery series. Ainsley McGregor and the town of Sweet River, Texas are busy preparing for their annual summer celebration. All of these celebrations have brought lots of tourists to the town and Ainsley’s shop, Bless Your Art an artist cooperative, has never been busier. Lizzie is new to the town and has opened a bakery nearby Ainsley’s shop and provides her and her staff with delicious treats and daily sugar rushes. While walking to meet her girlfriends, Shannon, Jasmine, and Lizzie, Ainsley discovers a dead body in the back of Lizzie’s bakery, along with two women locked in the freezer. It’s doesn’t take much to know that her new friend is the prime suspect. Ainsley is convinced that Lizzie is innocent but her brother, the town sheriff and her boyfriend Jake have some suspicions. This time, Ainsley’s brother asks for her help, talking to people and finding clues that just might lead them to the killer. Ainsly isn’t so sure she is in trouble and being targeted again by a killer, but something happened and she’s determined to prove her friend is innocent and discover what really happened that night.

I genuinely enjoyed reading this sweet and intriguing book and had trouble putting this book down. Ms Havens kept me on my toes guessing who the killer was, throwing in some challenging red herrings, until I turned the last page. Her writing had me feeling as if I was there, watching the events unfold. I loved seeing how far Ainsley’s relationship with Jake had again progressed. I highly recommend A Case for the Cookie Baker to other readers.

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.

Profile Image for Marsha Keeper Bookshelf.
4,285 reviews70 followers
June 16, 2021
Reviewed at Keeper Bookshelf

I always enjoy falling into an Ainsley McGregor mystery, and A Case for the Cookie Baker only continued that enjoyment. This time around there’s a new bakery in town and a new owner who has become friends with Ainsley and her crew of friends. Lizzy is a fun addition to the small town of Sweet River, Texas, and seems to be blending in with ease. Right up until Ainsley discovers a dead body and more in the back of Lizzy’s bakery. Now, Lizzy is the prime suspect in a murder but Ainsley isn’t convinced that her friend is, in fact, guilty and sets out to find the real villain. She’ll find herself in danger as well as the hunt for the murderer heats up.

Since A Case for the Cookie Baker is a mystery with a touch of romance, you won’t find any hints or spoilers here. Only the fact that I had fun back in this world again, the characters are engaging, the writing always excellent, and this world keeps on growing by adding new arrivals. Oh, and I had not solved everything before the reveal so as always I enjoyed the journey and kept it light throughout (no pressure to figure out the villain before the reveal). If you love a mystery with a bit of romance, characters who light up the page, and some puzzles to solve then you’d enjoy all of the stories in The Ainsley McGregor Series.

*I received an e-ARC of this novel from Tule Publishing. That does not change what I think of this story. It is my choice to leave a review giving my personal opinion about this book.*
Profile Image for Rhys.
19 reviews1 follower
June 9, 2021
A huge thank you to the author and BookTasters for letting me read this book in exchange for an honest review!

I've always loved mysteries so I had high expectations for this book. Unfortunately, I just don't think its for me. The story is very soft and fluffy and I'm guessing the other books in the series are too. So those of you who want a cozy read, here's your pick. But if you prefer darker stories like me, I wouldn't recommend this to you.

There are a few scenes where the book opposed itself. But it was fun reading how Ainsley tries to solve the case.

I think Ainsley is a good character and the dog, George Clooney, is just plain lovable. It was also fun reading about the character relationships. I've always liked reading about small towns where everyone was close to each other.

All in all, a good read if you're looking for a casual mystery book (or series)!
Profile Image for Katy.
748 reviews56 followers
June 17, 2021
(I received an ARC for this book)
(I want to technically give this book 4.5 stars)
This is not a cute mystery of the stolen gold encrusted cookie platter! The cute Hallmark cover is wonderfully deceiving! The first (most important) character is introduced right away. The best friend group was perfection. I don't want to spoil anything about them, But Ainsley, Shannon, Jasmine, and Lizzie are the perfect bundle! Plus the other characters were just as fun! Every new detail is new and exciting. And the plot twists truly take you for a spin! I loved solving the mystery with the characters. Not that I was ever close. I don't want to give any details away, it's too much fun to spoil! There's a secret relationship, a demanding mother, lots of money, lots of love, and lots of drama! Our brave sweet George and Julia are the most important parts of this story though. (Teeny tiny spoiler: I never would have forgiven the author for killing a dog. Kill any character you want, but never the dog!) The tied neatly with a bow ending was wonderful. And normally I'd be against the cliffhanger ending, but this was could not have been more perfect!
3,191 reviews11 followers
June 16, 2021
I just love George Clooney, the dog that is. A Case for the Cookie Baker (Ainsley McGregor #5) by Candace Havens has George Clooney on the case even before the attacks and murder are known. Then there is a Julia Roberts and the group admits that they are behaving like Scooby’s gang. So it is quite the story.

The Fourth of July float parade that begins the story does finish the story but it is not part of the mystery at all. The murder mystery comes out of nowhere with no suspects, then too many suspects, plus it has several rabbit trails along the way. Perception is the key with paper tigers being fought that leads to a deadly ending for one. However, this book is brought to a happy conclusion after an unexpected scare with George, a courageous dog followed by an unexpected loving question. It is a sad cozy mystery that ends on a positive note.

An ARC of the book was given to me by Tule Publishing which I voluntarily chose to read and reviewed. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
2 reviews
June 14, 2021

Very beautiful story and I enjoyed reading it. Once I started on it, I couldn’t put it down and on the occasions I did, I was eager to return to the story. And the turns in the novel kept me wondering who the murderer was, I could never guess. Except you are a big fan of detective stories (I’m not) you would find them boring, but this one is not boring at all. Humour is abundant and I found myself laughing out loud often. The characters are lively and fun and I didn’t have a hard time imagining their everyday lives; I really like the fact that the healthy girl-friendship is emphasized here, I want every woman to have that.

There’s a lot of reference to Ainsley’s past detecting work which seem to say “if you enjoy this one, I bet you’ll enjoy the others.”

I was very sad about the ending, I did not like that Mort died because of a bad joke he made; he seemed like a nice guy and he didn’t have to die like that. I had so desperately hoped that he would get justice.
Profile Image for Shelagh.
1,392 reviews12 followers
June 23, 2021
A Case For The Cookie Baker, the latest instalment in Candace Haver’s Ainsley McGregor cosy mystery series was a fun read that kept me wondering until the end. If you’ve read other books in this series, you’ll be familiar with many of the characters that appear on the page, Ainsley’s dog George Clooney being one of my favourites. One of the things I love about this series—and it was certainly evident in this book—is the great sense of community. Everybody in the town of Sweet River Texas seems tohave a genuine concern for their neighbours’ wellbeing. Ainsley sums it up nicely when she says “I’d never been much of a hugger—that is until I moved to Sweet River. People in Texas were fond of hugging.” While the mystery kept me hooked throughout the book I think some of the other stories in this series were better. That aside, this book offered me plenty of light entertainment.
Profile Image for Another Thyme,.
117 reviews
September 24, 2021
I really enjoy a good cozy mystery so I expected a good read from this book. However, if this book is supposed to be a stand alone work it needs to define the characters to the readers as if the reader didn't know who they were. It took me quite some pages to figure out that her 'George Clooney' was a dog and although she talks about the human characters as if we know them we really didn't know a thing about them until much further in the story, and even then there seems to be some blanks about many of the characters. I might have liked this story more if I had read the previous books about this main character but at this point let's just say that while I found this to be an interesting book I don't think I'll read more of this series.
Profile Image for Prachi.
7 reviews1 follower
June 23, 2021
Thank you Booktasters for recommending and sending this book to me. When I started reading this book, I was expecting it to be either too predictable and sweet ot too gory. But the beautiful writing style of this author just kept the balance between a sweet small town vibe and the mystery required for a good suspense novel.
Though it is one of the books in a series (fifth to be precise), it didn't have too many references to the previous ones. I have so loved this one that I am going to find all the others and read them too..
Anytime you want to read some good murder mystery, this is the book you should read..
Profile Image for Faiszah.
87 reviews5 followers
June 9, 2021
Did you grow up with Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys and Scooby Do? Then you will love this new grownup detective. Meet Ainsley MacGregor and her dog George and settle in for a twist and turn ride.
When a man is found murdered and the baker and her assistant are found in the coldroom, it will take all Ainsley's skills to solve this mystery. Thoroughly enjoyed this book. And can't wait to read more adventures.
6,157 reviews20 followers
June 16, 2021
Once again we have Ainsley McGregor having to solve a case in the small town she lives in This time she has to prove that her friend Lizzie who has recently opened a bakery in Sweet River Texas. This town has more mysteries and murders than you can poke a stick at. Once again a fun read that flowed well and was the perfect escape from everyday life I highly recommend
Profile Image for Ann.
5,202 reviews60 followers
June 18, 2021
This is book 5 in the Ainsley McGregor series and it's a fun enjoyable read. Ainsley, George Clooney and all their friends are back to investigating when Lizzie becomes the prime suspect in a murder at the bakery. Helping out the police catch the killer before she becomes the next victim has Ainsley motivated. I received a copy of this ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.
111 reviews
June 21, 2021
First I would like to thank BookTasters and the author for giving me a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

I liked it alot! It was fun, light and had the mystery to the whole story. From the beginning to the end, it kept you wondering what was happening! A cozy mystery! Looking forward to reading the rest of the books. Nice touch with the dog and the cat! Quite nice!
Profile Image for Kimberly K.
963 reviews5 followers
February 25, 2022
My least fave in the series so far. The ending didn’t really work for me. There wasn’t a lot of suspense this time around. No mention of the Detective classes Ainsley was given at the end of the last one. And seriously, why hasn’t she officially been hired as a police consultant yet?

Idk. It was still Ainsley. It was still sweet River. It was still cute. Just my least fave in the series so far.
14 reviews
June 17, 2021
One of the best mystery, and drama books i read.
I would admit I wasn’t engaged at first, but the relationship between the characters, the mystery pulled me back and I couldn’t be happier by reading this book.
Easy read, A spice of mystery, and drama. Eager to read the rest of the series.
2 reviews
June 20, 2021
A charming, well written, romantic murder mystery. I warmed to the characters and was rooting for the heroine. There is a twist in the tale and needless to say I never guessed who was the killer. A good lighthearted read 4 stars from me.
Profile Image for Astro.
3 reviews1 follower
July 15, 2021
It's a good book in all, but it put me in a reading slump. Usually I like a good mystery—and I really liked this one because, well, Ainsley.
Profile Image for Arije.
13 reviews1 follower
July 9, 2021
First of all, I would really like to thank Booktasters and the author for providing me the opportunity to read that novel. 💜

As a first time mystery reader, I had to use a bit more of my concentration sometimes to fully comprehend the process.

A coherent, clever and delicious story, I really meant that,  with all the cookies 🍪😋

It is an easy read. Simple and clear words, and most of all the story is so interesting. You can finish the papers with ease.

I would recommend it to anyone who is into mystery stories and a little sweet romance, and definitely to beginner readers, also to those who would like to try a different genre; the whole series of novels would be a good choice.
Displaying 1 - 26 of 26 reviews

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