Kneading to Die (Pawsitively Organic Series #1)

( 37 )

Overview

Maybe the best thing that ever happened to Kristan "Stan" Connor was losing her high-stress public relations job. Now there's plenty of time to spend in her sleepy new Connecticut town working on her dream: baking healthy, organic pet treats!

Before long the neighborhood dogs are escaping their yards to show up at Stan's doorstep, begging for the kinds of special homemade treats her Maine coon cat Nutty loves so much. And Stan's pet-loving neighbors are thrilled with the new ...

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Kneading to Die (Pawsitively Organic Series #1)

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Overview

Maybe the best thing that ever happened to Kristan "Stan" Connor was losing her high-stress public relations job. Now there's plenty of time to spend in her sleepy new Connecticut town working on her dream: baking healthy, organic pet treats!

Before long the neighborhood dogs are escaping their yards to show up at Stan's doorstep, begging for the kinds of special homemade treats her Maine coon cat Nutty loves so much. And Stan's pet-loving neighbors are thrilled with the new organic options available to their furry family members. But not everyone loves Stan and her newfangled organic ways...

It seems Carole Morganwick, the town vet, is from the old school of pet care. But when Stan swallows her pride and brings a very unwilling Nutty in for a checkup, she not only finds Carole dead under a pile of kibble. . .but also that she's in the dog house as the prime suspect! Finding the real killer and clearing her name will require some seriously surreptitious sniffing around. . .and hopefully, curiosity won't kill this innocent cat!

Includes Gourmet Pet Food Recipes!

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Recently downsized, Stan (short for Kristan) leaves the corporate world behind and impulsively buys a home in rural Connecticut. But small towns don't always embrace newcomers, and Stan becomes a suspect when she's first on the scene of the local veterinarian's murder. Then someone tries to run her down when she's pedaling around the cemetery, but she shrugs it off. Since trooper Jessie Pasquale suspects her, Stan figures she'll solve the case by herself. Not the sharpest amateur sleuth around, Stan manages to irritate several locals. Thank goodness she bakes enticing organic pet treats, for the new friends (the four-legged variety and their owners) who help Stan find her way and ensure she'll not be the next murder victim. VERDICT Good dialog and quirky characters save a series debut that threatens to succumb to Had-I-But-Known territory. Partner with Sue Owens Wright (for pets) or Staci McLaughlin's similar heroine ("Blossom Valley Mystery" series).
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781410460592
  • Publisher: Gale Group
  • Publication date: 10/9/2013
  • Series: Pawsitively Organic Series , #1
  • Edition description: Large Print Edition
  • Pages: 404
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Kneading To Die


By Liz Mugavero

KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.

Copyright © 2013Liz Mugavero
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-7582-8478-5


Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

"You, missy, are a two-bit hack."

The harsh words, shouted from next door, broke the stillness of the small-town Saturday and startled Stan Connor enough that she dropped her last moving box. The one full of things she didn't trust the movers or Richard to handle. Miraculously, Richard leaped over and saved it, right before it almost hit the pavement in her new driveway.

"And I'll make sure everyone in town knows it." The shouting continued, creeping closer.

Stan and Richard turned to see a woman with long white hair storm down the driveway to their left, jabbing a finger at someone they couldn't see.

"Oh, try it," another voice yelled back. "Everyone will see who's really the hack. You're not the star you think you are around here!"

The white-haired woman said something else Stan couldn't hear and stormed over to a green SUV. She got in, revved the engine and roared down the road. A thirtyish woman, with a golden retriever by her side, appeared. She watched the truck disappear. When she realized she had onlookers she turned abruptly, called the dog and vanished into the house.

Stan glanced over at Richard, who watched the scene with interest.

"So much for peace, love and harmony in a small town," Richard said with a smirk. "You sure you don't want to rethink the condo in the city?"

Stan shook her head. "Not a chance. See? You thought I'd be bored, but now I have front-row seats for the neighborhood brawls. They were too proper for that in West Hartford." Stan closed the car door. "I wonder what that was about."

Richard precariously balanced his last two boxes, hefting them higher into his arms. "Who knows? Maybe she didn't milk the cow right."

"I don't see cows in the yard. But there's a dairy farm two houses down."

"Yeah, I can smell it."

"Oh, hush." Stan held the heavy oak front door, with the beveled glass sidelights, open for him, forgetting all about the argument as she stepped into her new home. Victorian. Bright. Happy. And all hers.

"Can you put those on the kitchen table? Carefully? My Vitamix is in that box."

He grunted at her as he moved inside, trying not to trip with his cargo. Stan stood on her new porch and surveyed her surroundings. Her yard. Her driveway. Her town green—didn't it belong to everyone, after all?—directly across from her house, its grass lush and inviting in the summer sun. Her neighbors. Cows, arguments and all.

She loved Frog Ledge already.

She followed Richard into her new tangerine-colored kitchen, wincing as he dropped the box on the table. She heard a clatter from within the heavy cardboard and sighed.

"Have you seen Nutty?" Her Maine coon cat didn't like upheaval and hadn't been thrilled with the move. He'd been hiding since she'd let him out of his carrier.

Richard opened the box and began pulling out kitchen paraphernalia. "The Vitamix looks fine," he said, pulling out the beloved machine she used for everything from soup to smoothies to frozen drinks. "And no, I haven't seen the cat."

"I hope he didn't sneak out in the last-box frenzy." Stan hip-checked Richard out of the way and finished unpacking the box herself. "You can unpack dishes. Or better yet, how about basement stuff?" She turned, waiting for his response, and caught him glancing at his watch.

"What? Oh. Sure. I have a little more time. I told Carl I'd meet him for drinks tonight. You're welcome to join us."

"For drinks. With Carl. Gee, that sounds great, but I'll have to pass. Got a little bit of work to do." Work that my boyfriend should volunteer to help with.

"Oh. Well, next time," Richard said, completely missing her sarcasm. "Unless you find really cool things to do around here. In Frog Ledge." His tone suggested she would be more likely to find a rainbow with a pot of gold at the end of it during her morning run.

"Is it necessary to be so derogatory? This town is beautiful. This house is beautiful." Stan swept an arm around her colorful, empty kitchen, already imagining what treasures she could find to make it her own. "Just because it isn't the city doesn't mean you have to shoot it down."

He was raining on her parade, and she didn't have many parades these days. But today she'd woken up excited about the move—so excited, in fact, that she'd chosen a theme song for the day. Something she hadn't done since "The Elimination." And even though it was the cheesy eighties song "I'm So Excited," heck, it was still a theme song. She was getting back on track.

"Come on, Stan. You're angry about your position being eliminated. I get it." Richard took the empty box out of her hand, collapsed it for recycling. "I wish you'd thought more about it before up and moving out here. I mean, who even comes to this side of Connecticut? Except to go to the casinos. And who lives in a town called Frog Ledge? We could've figured something else out."

Nutty chose that moment to slink around the corner. Stan ran her hand down his back to the tip of his tail as he proceeded cautiously by her to investigate the unpacking. And probably look for his homemade treats, which she was running low on.

"Who's 'we'? Like you pointed out, I'm the one who lost my job." She yanked open a drawer and threw utensils in it. "You're still Richard Ruse, vice president, fancy-pants sales guy. Your life didn't change much, aside from having to drive a half hour to my house instead of ten minutes."

Richard still worked at Warner Insurance, the financial giant where Stan had ruled the media spotlight. Until two months ago. Losing her beloved public relations job—and corresponding expense account—gave her the right to be a little cranky, didn't it? She was trying to make the best of having her professional life and most of her social life yanked away. Not dwell on the past, and all that. And moving had seemed the most appropriate way to do that.

"Of course this changes things for me," Richard said patiently. "We were a great power couple in the company."

Her face must have said it all. He had the decency to flush. "You know what I mean. Look, all I'm saying, Stan, is you didn't have to move to the other side of nowhere. And financially, staying in the condo would've been better. Smarter."

She turned, eyes narrowed. "Don't play that card with me. We both know I'm in better financial shape unemployed than most people are working. I paid for this house in cash. I'm good with investments, to put it mildly. And I'm getting severance for almost two years. Money is not the driver here. Changing my scenery was. Now, can we not argue? I'd like to unpack and enjoy my new house. And I wish you would enjoy it with me." She hefted the next box onto the counter and began pulling out dishes, piling them in cabinets.

"I am enjoying it with you," he said, his voice soothing. "Want me to hang some of your pictures in here? I brought my tools." He picked one up from the pile the movers had leaned against the wall. It was a depiction of a Paris café, only the backs of the patrons visible as they faced the city street.

"Sure. I think there." She pointed above her two-seater bistro table.

Richard picked up his tool bag and pulled out a level, hammer and nails. He held the picture against the wall. "Tell me where."

"A little higher. Over to the left." Stan stood back, cocked her head to determine if the picture was straight. "That's good."

She watched as he marked the wall and banged in the nails. Handsome, no doubt about it, with wavy brown hair and big blue eyes. Tall too. She could always wear whatever size heels she wanted when they went out.
(Continues...)


Excerpted from Kneading To Die by Liz Mugavero. Copyright © 2013 by Liz Mugavero. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 37 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(19)

4 Star

(11)

3 Star

(4)

2 Star

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(3)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 37 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2013

    I thought this was a great story and I am looking forward to the

    I thought this was a great story and I am looking forward to the next in the series. As a lover of cozy mysteries, cats, and homemade pet foods, there was a great deal to enjoy here. I have to admit I had an inkling of the murderer but I'm not sure why.
    As much as I enjoyed the mystery, I love that the author highlighted the issue of vaccination site sarcoma and lymphoma in cats. After watching my one of my treasured cats die from it, my vet and I agreed no more shots for my exclusively indoor cats. If this enjoyable mystery informs a few more cat lovers of the danger of vaccinations for indoor cats, I will be thrilled.

    Great first read and looking forward to Stan's new business in the next book.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 6, 2013

    KNEADING TO DIE by Liz Mugavero #1 in A Pawsitively Organic Myst

    KNEADING TO DIE by Liz Mugavero #1 in A Pawsitively Organic Mystery

    Kristan "Stan" Connor lost her high stress public relations job. It turned out to be a good thing. Now she can spend her time baking healthy, organic pet treats in her new Victorian home in Frog Ledge, Connecticut, the quiet little town she just moved to with her Maine Coon cat, Nutty.

    Stan's new neighbors, there's a lot of pet lovers in Frog Ledge, are excited with the organic treat option that Stan bakes. Though not as thrilled as their pets are. But not everyone is into Stan and her organic ways.

    Town vet Carole Morganwick is from the old fashioned school of pet care. She insist Stan brings Nutty in for a checkup. Not wanting to rattle any cages, Stan does. But she didn't expect to find Carol's dead kibble covered body in one of the exam rooms. As the prime suspect in the murder, Stan wants to find the real killer and clear her name.

    From the entertaining animals, to some of Frog Ledge's more colorful residents, this was a good story. Stan is a enjoyable protagonist. I liked her from page one. We also get to meet Char and Ray Mackey who own the B&B and Alpaca farm "down the way", Isabella "Izzy" Sweet owner of the local coffee and sweet shop, and Jake, the owner of McSwiggs Irish Pub. I fell in love with Jake's big, energetic dog Duncan. And for cat lovers, Stan's Maine Coon Nutty rings true to the kitty world in his I'll-love-you-when-I-choose-to ways.

    I was kept guessing as to who the murderer was as suspicions grew from on person to the next. It seems a lot of people had a reason to want Carol dead. I guessed wrong, never seeing the ending that was coming.

    As is popular with so many cozies, Ms. Mugavero includes some of her organic pet food recipes, which I was very happy about.

    A good introduction to a promising new series. I look forward to the next.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 14, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    This is a good mystery that keeps you turning pages. The protago

    This is a good mystery that keeps you turning pages. The protagonist is determined, and she also makes a number of mistakes while she adjusts to people in her new town, which is endearing.
    One thing that is a bit of a turn-off is that while promoting good dog and cat foods, and healthy pet care, etc., the protagonist disses animal vaccinations several times, without any evidence except for that of a particularly lazy, greedy veterinarian who is a character written into the book. I ignored that part of it and just enjoyed the breezy read.
    For those of you that like to guess the criminal as people often do with Agatha Christie novels, I don't believe that enough information is given to make it possible--evidence tends to show very late in the book. But, perhaps you're better at conjectures than I am!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 7, 2013

    "Canines, Felines and Murder Abound¿ Stan (short for Kris


    "Canines, Felines and Murder Abound”

    Stan (short for Kristan) Connor is the new girl in town. After her PR position with Warner Insurance has been eliminated, she decides to leave city life behind and move to the more laid-back, sleepy community of Frog Ledge, Connecticut. She gets a surprising impression
    of her new neighbors before her car engine is cold and the boxes had been carried in from her car. “Boyfriend” Richard is little to no help with the unpacking and settling in. He is still a hot shot with Stan’s former company and can’t understand why she wants to get away from the city he calls home. Stan tries to
    explain that she and adopted rescue Maine Coon cat, “Nutty” need a fresh start and knew they had found it when Stan saw, fell in love with, and hastily purchased the quaint green Victorian. Stan becomes acquainted with her community and its numerous quirky but likeable residents. She’s pleased to have Amara Leonard, an animal Homeopath living right next door. Stan makes many friends, human and animal with her homemade treats and meals, originally concocted because of Nutty’s stomach problems. She also learns early that there is tension and discord concerning the town Vet, snarky Carole Morganwick. The uncomfortable feelings escalate when Dr. Morganwick makes an impromptu visit and barges into Stan’s house, insisting she bring Nutty to the clinic as a new patient, for an examination, prior to office hours. Stan’s inner voice keeps casting doubt in keeping the appointment but, because of her love for her feline buddy and trying not to stir up troubles in the new town—she goes. When Stan and Nutty arrive, the door is unlocked, but the office is dark. Stan calls out.
    She hears a door close and figures it’s Dr. Morganwick and follows the sound to the examination room to let her know they had arrived—only to find Carole’s lifeless body with a needle stuck in her neck and covered in kibble. Stan calls 911 and, after answering a deluge of questions from the State Trooper, she is treated like the prime suspect. But she barely knew her! With small town gossip running rampant, quiet whispers ask the same question over and over. “Who could have done this dastardly deed?” “Who hated her that much?” Amara, due to jealousy? Stan’s friend and head of “Pet’s Last Chance” rescue mission Nikki Manning? Many unexpected twists and turns take place as she tries to clear her name and get on with her new life. And will that life include Richard? Will Stan and Nutty find room for a new canine friend? Or will it end in a battle of wills and flying fur in the cozy green Victorian? Kudos to Ms. Mugavero for a very enjoyable read and characters I’m looking forward to becoming better acquainted with in her next “Pawsitively Organic Mystery” of which she has graciously included a snippet to whet our appetite. There was only one thing missing in this book—some dog and cat treat recipes.
    Cozy lovers, be sure to add this one to your TBR list. You won’t be disappointed!
    Nancy Narma

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 22, 2014

    Good Read

    Good start for a new series. Keeps you on your toes, and hard to figure out the mystery.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2014

    Absolutely loved this book! Just the kind of thing for someone

    Absolutely loved this book! Just the kind of thing for someone who enjoys cozy mysteries featuring cats. Also going to try the recipes included!
    The only criticism - "y'all" is plural, never singular, and one of the characters drove me crazy when she addressed the main character as "y'all".

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2014

    Icekit

    A small white she with ice blue eyes trots in. She needs to be apprenticed and she needs a mentor.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2014

    Rainkit

    Tackels her. He was very strong. Says" you are pretty! Do you want to join?"

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 25, 2014

    recommend

    recommend

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2014

    Lilywolf to Comet

    Comet I already know all about Isabella. We talked about it long ago. But this is something completely different. I have talked to her and I need people to trust me. She needs cheering up by everyone, not just a conversation. She needs to know the clan loves her though not quite as much as I do. ;) We've been bffs forever. ~ Lilywolf &hearts

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2014

    This is a very light read.  The recipes for pet treats are a bon

    This is a very light read.  The recipes for pet treats are a bonus.  

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2014

    Goldenstripe to Horseclan

    To one side of the bank a mudslide brought a hill of mud and rocks sliding into the sandy waterbed and hardened over time. Inside, it was warm, quiet, safe, and covered in a thick blanket of moss. Sunlight dappled the ground and group of large nests from openings in the top. ~Nursery

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 25, 2014

    SpottedLeaf

    Comes down. "Ignore," she meowed nicely. "Always ignore them. This is the new law of StarClan." <p> {FlameFury}

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2014

    To Luke Skywalker's Cousin

    I wrote a poem about you!!! Do you want to hear it? Anyway, here it is!!: <p>
    <p> You are a weirdo. A big, fat jerk. An idiot. A fa<_>gittyfa<_>g. A stupid dumbo. An obscene monster. A cruel, inhumane being. An indifferent organism. An unethical Hitler Jr. A motherfu<_>cker. A sh<_>itty bi<_>tch. Like your cousin.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2014

    Skykit

    *landed on fluffy pillows because she could.*

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2014

    Hazelfur to Puke

    Ya whatever you sicko phsyco nutcase

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 25, 2014

    Ruke

    "You will all DIE......Die............die............"he echos and fades into the shadows.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2013

    R

    3.5 Stars. A good mystery.

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  • Posted August 30, 2013

    Good book. You must check it out

    I enjoyed this story. I was surprised about who culprit was. I would like to read more books by this author.

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  • Posted August 22, 2013

    Fun and easy read.

    This book is light-hearted and fun. Love the food recipes and references.

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