Murder Made to Order

Murder Made to Order

by Lena Gregory

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781516104635
Publisher: Kensington
Publication date: 06/19/2018
Series: All-Day Breakfast Cafe Mystery , #2
Sold by: Penguin Random House Publisher Services
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 230
Sales rank: 33,717
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Lena Gregory lives in a small town on the south shore of eastern Long Island with her husband and three children. When she was growing up, she spent many lazy afternoons on the beach, in the yard, anywhere she could find to curl up with a good book. She loves reading as much now as she did then, but she now enjoys the added pleasure of creating her own stories. She is also the author of the Bay Island Psychic Mystery series, published by Berkley. Please visit her website at www.lenagregory.com.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

"Fools!" Savannah Mills swiveled back and forth on a stool at the All-Day Breakfast Café counter and tapped a steady rhythm against the butcher-block countertop with her long, powder blue nails. "Every last one of them."

Gia Morelli scrubbed the already spotless counter one more time for good measure, then flung the dishcloth into a bin beneath the counter, the steady rat-a-tat-tat of Savannah's rhythmic drumming making it almost impossible to think straight. "What I don't get is how they think they can get away with this?"

Earl snorted. The elderly man, who'd been the All-Day Breakfast Café's first customer, and had since become a friend, had made a habit of arriving at the café before they opened and lingering over coffee until Gia officially unlocked the door and started cooking. "The council members are so used to doing whatever they want with no opposition they're like a pack of spoiled brats."

"Yeah, well, not this time." Gia checked the clock — just about time to open. She rounded the counter and headed for the door. "No way I'm giving up everything I've worked for because that bunch found some antiquated zoning mistake."

"How are you going to get around it, though?" Earl asked.

"I have no idea. Yet." Gia unlocked the door, then dragged the chalkboard with the day's specials out onto the sidewalk and set it up. She looked up and down Main Street. Winter in Boggy Creek was certainly milder than the harsh bite of winter in New York, and yet there was something inside her, a small niggle of homesickness, that missed the change of seasons. Still ... If she was going to give everything up and go back to New York, it would be on her terms, not because she was forced out. She strode back into the café more determined than ever to fight the council's rulings. "Did your brother get back to you yet, Savannah?"

She shook her head. "He still hasn't heard back from his lawyer friend. Of course, you did only get the letter last night."

Gia resisted the urge to argue. Savannah was right. She hadn't gotten the mail until after closing yesterday, and it was barely six o'clock in the morning now. Savannah's brother, Tommy, who also sat on the town council, would call as soon as he heard something. Until then ...

Willow, the young woman who served as hostess, waitress, and cashier, breezed through the door, her usual smile firmly in place. "Good morning."

"Morning." Earl nodded.

Willow slowed, taking in the three of them. "Is something wrong?"

Gia sighed. Not like she wasn't going to find out anyway. Heck, half of Boggy Creek had probably already heard, and the remainder of the residents would know everything within an hour of the shops on Main Street opening. "I received a letter from the town council. They're closing the café."

Willow's mouth fell open.

Savannah spun her stool toward Gia. "Oh, stop being dramatic, Gia. They're not closing the café, exactly, they're just ..."

Gia lifted a brow and waited.

"Oh, all right. So they're trying to close the café, but they aren't going to get away with it."

"No, they're not. But I need to know why they're trying before I can figure out how to fight them." And that was the problem. The letter only asked her to willingly close the café, said it had been brought to their attention that the historic building that housed the café and the small apartment above it had never been zoned commercial. Instead, it was the only building on Main Street that was still zoned residential.

"Could be it's a mistake," Savannah offered.

"I guess." Gia shrugged.

Earl sipped his coffee, then lowered his mug to the counter. "Of course, yours is the last shop on the block, and the area of town past it is zoned residential."

Gia just looked at him.

"What?" he said innocently. "I know how to use Google."

Earl had quickly become a close friend. He'd believed in her when a lot of other people hadn't, and she cherished his friendship. "When did you find out about the letter?"

"Last night." His cheeks reddened. "One of my sons might have called."

Well, at least the Boggy Creek rumor mill was still up and running. Truth be told, he'd probably known before she had. Since she was always stuck in the kitchen, it had been late before she'd gotten the mail. Then she'd had to feed and walk Thor before she finally found time to open the letter. "But why did the letter ask me to close? They could have said they wanted to discuss the matter or offered advice on how to change the zoning, anything. Something."

Savannah and Earl glanced at each other, a quick, passing look, but something definitely simmered just beneath the surface.

"Okay, spill it. What don't I know?"

"Weeell ..." Savannah looked at Earl once more, then returned her attention to Gia. "Do you know who any of the council members are?"

"No. Well, other than your brother, which I only found out last night. Oh, and the president, Marcia something, is it? Whoever signed the letter." Between running the café, unpacking and putting everything away at the house, and taking care of Thor, she didn't have time to worry about who sat on the town council. "I get a newsletter from them every month, but honestly, I usually just chuck it in the trash."

"Yeah, well, you probably should have paid closer attention," Savannah said.

"Why's that?"

"Maybelle sits on the council."

"Are you kidding me?" Great. Just what she needed, an enemy on the council. "How could someone that lazy —"

The front door opened, and an older couple walked in.

Gia plastered on a smile and went to greet them. She'd have to try to sort everything out later. "Good morning."

"Hello," the man answered and glanced at Earl. "Hey there, Earl."

Earl stood and extended a hand. "Harry. How are you?"

"Good, good." He shook Earl's hand, then stepped back and gestured toward the woman Gia assumed was his wife. "Theresa and I figured we'd check out the breakfast you're always raving about."

"Well, you won't be disappointed." Earl winked at Gia. "This here's Gia, and she makes a mean breakfast."

"Nice to meet you, Gia."

"It's a pleasure to meet both of you." She grabbed two menus. "Can I show you to a table?"

After settling them with coffee and their menus, Gia retreated to the kitchen. She grabbed tongs and moved a few slices of bacon and sausage from the warming trays to the grill, then started scrambling three eggs.

Maybelle Sanford. It figured. That woman was destined to be a thorn in her side. She'd only worked — to use the term loosely — at the café for a day, and yet she kept coming back to haunt her. Since Maybelle had accused Gia of murder last time she'd seen her, it was hard not to jump to the conclusion she had something to do with the zoning fiasco. And yet ...

Gia had been ready to fire Maybelle for being so lazy. Useless as a steering wheel on a mule according to Savannah. That being the case, it was hard to believe Maybelle had found the ambition to search for a way to close the café.

Gia dismissed any thought of Maybelle. Nothing she could do about it right now anyway, and all it was doing was aggravating her. She'd have to wait until Tommy called Savannah back. If not for his wife having their first baby last month, he'd have been at the latest council meeting, and she might have had a heads-up. As it was, she'd have to wait for him to get caught up.

She drizzled a small amount of oil onto the grill, let it heat until it sizzled, then poured the eggs onto the hot oil. While they cooked, she spooned out a serving of grits and one of home fries, which Earl had added to his usual breakfast after the first time he'd tried hers. She filled a bowl with gravy, dropped two biscuits onto a small plate, and set the dish on the cutout counter between the kitchen and dining room.

Earl ate an unbelievable amount of food for breakfast every day while still managing to stay rail thin. The man was in remarkably good shape for almost eighty years old, despite consuming a week's work of fat each morning.

She'd miss this if she had to give up the café. She enjoyed cooking, and she'd enjoyed making friends in Boggy Creek. In addition to Earl, there was Trevor, who owned the ice cream parlor down the street, Savannah, who'd been a good friend for years, and Hunt, who she held out hope would become more than just a friend. She dismissed the thought. Detective Tall, Dark, and Gorgeous was the last thing she needed to concern herself with at the moment.

She'd even gotten used to the solitude of living in her small house at the edge of the Ocala National Forest. Sort of. Thor helped. It was hard to believe Savannah had to talk her into getting the big Bernese Mountain Dog puppy. Now, she had no clue what she'd do without him. He made her life complete.

"Here you go." Willow rushed in, ripped the top page off her order pad, and stuck it above the grill, then frowned. "Are you all right?"

"I'll be okay." She smiled. "As soon as I get past being blindsided and figure out what my options are."

"If I can do anything to help, just let me know."

"Thanks."

She grabbed Earl's breakfast order and headed back to the dining room. Willow was a good kid and a hard worker. She'd also become a friend.

Another plus in the stay-and-fight-for-her-café column.

She started the next order. Unfortunately, she hadn't had much luck finding a cook after Maybelle and her replacement both hadn't worked out — or in Maybelle's case, just hadn't worked — which left Gia stuck in the kitchen all day. As much as she loved cooking, she really wanted to get out from in front of the grill and get to know her customers a little better. If she was going to make this work, she might have to give in and hire a cook. Third time's the charm? She certainly hoped so.

Truth be told, Boggy Creek was growing on her. At least, the people were. The critters, not so much.

The sound of raised voices right outside the kitchen pulled her attention.

Gia set the finished order on the cutout for Willow, pulled off her apron, and draped it over a stool. She strode through the doorway but stopped short when she ran into Savannah and a woman she didn't know in the hallway outside her office door. "Everything okay?"

Savannah peeked into Gia's office, then glanced at the other woman and pulled the door shut. She tucked her hair behind her ear, a nervous habit Gia had become familiar with when they'd lived together in New York. "Gia, this is Marcia Steers."

She only recognized the name because she'd recently received the letter from the council with Marcia Steers's name scrawled across the bottom and her title, Council President, typed in bold print beneath it. Gia eyed the woman standing in front of her, then swallowed her anger and extended a hand. "It's nice to meet you, Ms. Steers."

A hot pink sundress clung to Marcia's ample curves, and bleach blond hair framed her round face in a mane of over-teased frizz. High-heeled, leopard print sandals laced up her calves. She sneered and folded her arms across her chest. "Ms. Morelli."

Okay. Gia lowered her hand. "What can I help you with?"

"I want to discuss something with you." She raked her gaze over Savannah. "In private."

Savannah offered her sweetest smile. "As I already told you, Ms. Morelli is working. She will be happy to meet with you after the café closes."

Marcia ignored her, instead homing in on Gia. "And as I already told Ms. Mills, I need to speak with you."

"Actually, I'd like to speak with you as well." She forced a smile. "I'm hoping we can clear up the zoning mistake so I can keep the café open."

"There's no mistake, Ms. Morelli." Though Marcia's expression remained hard, her gaze darted repeatedly between the closed back door to the parking lot and the swinging door to the dining room. She stood stiff, like a cornered animal. "The café will close. The matter I must discuss with you is of a more personal nature."

Savannah eyed Gia and gave a discreet head shake behind Marcia's back.

Great. Now she had to either irritate Marcia, the woman who quite possibly held Gia's fate in her hands, or go against Savannah, which she couldn't do. She cracked the swinging door to the dining room open and peeked in. Willow had already seated several more tables and was taking an order. "I'm so sorry, Ms. Steers, but I'm the only cook, and I can't leave the kitchen just now. Can we meet later on?"

Marcia eyed her for a moment, then relented. "Fine. I want to look into something anyway. The café is closed on Mondays, right?"

"Yes."

"I'll meet you here tomorrow around noon."

"Sounds good. I —"

Before Gia could finish speaking, Marcia shot Savannah a dirty look, whirled away from Gia, then shoved through the swinging doors into the dining room.

Gia stared after her. "Maybe I should have just talked to her."

Savannah blew out a breath. "And what about your customers? Are you going to make them sit and wait while you two have it out in the middle of the café?"

The fact that she was right did nothing to lessen Gia's apprehension.

"She's clearly agitated about something. A public confrontation is the last thing you need right now." Savannah shook her head, then opened the door and walked into Gia's office. "Besides, I was helping Willow out, pouring coffee while people waited to order their breakfast. When I looked up, I caught sight of someone heading through the doors toward the kitchen. I couldn't tell who it was, so I came back to see what was going on, and I found Marcia coming out of your office."

Savannah shuffled through a small stack of papers on the desk. "You should really go through these and see if anything's missing before you meet with her."

"I guess —"

"Gia?" Willow stuck her head in the doorway. "Is everything all right?" she asked for the third time since arriving.

Gia needed to get her act together. "Umm ... yeah."

Willow frowned but let it drop. "I just put three orders up, and one of them is a group of seven."

"Got it." She quickly scanned the papers on the desk. There was nothing of importance that she could see, but she'd have to look more carefully later. "Thanks, Savannah."

"No problem. But I think I'll give my brother another call." She looked up and caught Gia's gaze. "And maybe you'd better think about calling a lawyer."

CHAPTER 2

Gia stepped over a large branch blocking the path through the woods, then patted her pocket — for the millionth time — to make sure her canister of bear spray was still there. Though she enjoyed their walks, which allowed her to spend time with Thor and provided both of them some much needed exercise, her nerves sometimes got the better of her. This morning was no exception.

Thor trotted happily alongside her, sometimes darting ahead, but always staying on the trail and within sight.

She didn't have the heart to call him back, even though she wasn't in the best mood this morning and her mind was a million miles away. Unfortunately, her hectic schedule at the café didn't allow much time for hiking, or anything else for that matter. So she trudged on, despite wanting to go home and spend her morning curled up with a good book.

Savannah and Trevor had both insisted early morning hikes would clear her head and help her get used to living at the edge of the forest. Though they did help her focus better, they did nothing to help her embrace her new surroundings. If anything, they terrified her even more. Looking into the woods surrounding her property and not knowing what lurked just behind the tree line gave her the creeps, but hiking the local trails and actually seeing snakes, alligators, and other critters, some of which she couldn't even identify, brought nightmares.

And yet, here she was. ... She'd been looking forward to hiking the new trail, but her mind was too cluttered with everything else to focus on enjoying the peaceful morning. She sucked in a shaky breath, the humidity making her chest heavy. "Don't get too far ahead, Thor."

The big, furry dog, who still hadn't quite grown into his chunky paws, stopped at the sound of her voice, turned back to her, and tilted his head, then waited for her to catch up.

"Good boy." She petted his head. "At least, you're having a good time. You sure do love these early morning walks, don't you?"

He dropped his tongue out and panted.

"Come on. There's supposed to be a lake up ahead. I'll get some water out when we get there, and we can rest for a few minutes and have a drink." She hefted her small backpack farther onto her shoulders and started forward.

(Continues…)


Excerpted from "Murder Made To Order"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Lena Gregory.
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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Murder Made to Order 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
the people are fun and interesting. the mystery is great. the background a very interesting part of the story. gia's reaction to her new environment funny and interesting. two funs, and 3 interestings. I love both this one and the bay island one.
lynnsreadingcorner 9 months ago
Welcome back to Boggy Creek! The great characters in this story take us on another fun-filled roller coaster ride to discover who wants Gia out of the neighborhood, while figuring out who done it when another body shows up in the neighborhood. Alongside Savannah, Hunt and Leo, Gia fights to keep her restaurant in the neighborhood when the council wants to rezone the area of town in which her business is located. Unexpectedly, the leader of the council winds up dead and the rollicking ride begins to find out what happened. I enjoy the fast paced sequence of events and enjoy the characters in this series so much! You'll find yourself clinching your teeth through a tornado and looking over your shoulder for unexpected strangers watching during the course of this story. I'm so excited to catch up on book 3 very soon!
SewWrite 10 months ago
Gia Morelli is finally settling in to her new life as the owner of the All Day Breakfast Cafe when she finds out they want to close her diner because of a zoning regulation. The council president is found dead soon after speaking with Gia and it's beginning to look like Gia once again needs to clear her name. While looking for the real killer Gia finds some interesting secrets buried in the old town files. This second book in the series is very well written and full of surprises. The story moves quickly and kept me turning pages until I finished the book. Another great read by this very talented cozy author. I can't wait to see what is going on in Gia's life in the next book in this series!
Jane-Reads More than 1 year ago
MURDER MADE TO ORDER is so good, y'all! I think you'll really enjoy it. I like how native New Yorker Gia has begun to feel at home in Boggy Creek, Florida. She's met a lot of people there, mostly friends — and some even feel like family. Gia is surprised, even shocked, to discover (during the events of MURDER MADE TO ORDER) that someone she believed to be an enemy was possibly an ally, and someone else who was surely an ally turns out to be an enemy. These are just two of the twists and turns that make MURDER MADE TO ORDER so hard to put down. It's amazing, and I can't wait to read the next All-Day Breakfast Café Mystery, A COLD BREW KILLING. I highly recommend MURDER MADE TO ORDER — five stars!
arkieclown More than 1 year ago
“MURDER MADE TO ORDER” by Lena Gregory is the second book in the All-Day Breakfast Café Mystery series. It’s the story of former New Yorker Gia Morelli who now resides in the very small town of Boggy Creek, Florida and the proud owner of All-Day Breakfast Café. It’s a story of a set fire, trying to solve the mystery of not one but two murders (one that just happened and one that happened over twenty years ago with both seeming to be connected), and of community pulling together in times of disaster like the tornado and to help a friend out when a zoning issue that may close down the café. It’s also about love, honesty and the bond of true friendship. MURDER MADE TO ORDER shows you how a dyed in the wool city gal finds happiness in a small town, how she deals with her fears of anything that crawls, wiggles or walks from snakes and ticks to bears and how if your patient and honest you just may find happiness and true love. You will fall in love with Gia’s Bernese mountain dog named Thor who is there to defend Gia and isn’t scared of anything. If like me, you will adore the folks in Boggy Creek like Savannah, (Gia’s best friend who Gia is trying to help find out who murdered her Mom, Sarah Mills, years ago), Willow, (Gia’s young waitress who has fast became an invaluable employee and dear friend), Earl (Gia’s friend who is always the first to show up at the café every morning and isn’t scared to lend a helping hand), Detective Quinn Hunter aka Hunt (Savannah’s cousin who is sweet on Gia and works for the police department), Leo (Hunt’s co-worker and Savannah’s boyfriend), and Cole (who always seems to be at the right spot at the right time to help save the day), and Harley (a local street person that Gia has taken under her wing and worries about). You will also meet others you aren’t as happy to meet but they sure make the story very interesting like Marcia Steers the Council President who turns up dead, Maybelle and Hank who really desire one another and Sean McNeil who proves that things aren’t always as they seem. The book was one you want to keep reading with great interest trying to figure it out who the murderer is. I was close to the end of the book knowing that the murderer had to be revealed soon and still was surprised at the reveal. That to me is a great sign of an amazing book when it keeps you guessing and flipping pages to the very end. I absolutely loved this book and highly recommend it to those that love cozy mysteries. I can’t wait for book #3 to come out.
CozyUpWithKathy More than 1 year ago
Food and friendship... MURDER MADE TO ORDER by Lena Gregory The Second All-Day Breakfast Café Mystery Gia Morelli left New York for Florida and a new start in life. Now she's debating that decision. While she's made some good friends, Gia is still uncomfortable, OK down right scared, of the critters that also live in her world. But worse than the critters are some of the people. The town council is demanding that Gia close her All-Day Breakfast Café saying that the property was never zoned commercial. Wondering if that's a sign she should just return to New York, Gia stumbles upon the body of the council's president. Now she's embroiled in another murder. Did the councilwoman's murder have something to do with the zoning laws? Could the Captain be involved? What's really going on between him and Hunt? Are Maybelle's threats serious, or is she just blowing smoke? Gia will have to dig deep to save her café and perhaps her own life. Characters and setting are the most important part of a cozy mystery, as much as if not even more important than the mystery itself. Authors need to make their readers want to spend time in their world and hang out with the people that inhabit it. I do want to hang out in Boggy Creek and I do like the characters, for the most part. Savannah is a best friend in a million and Detective Hunter Quinn is a delectable romantic interest. I appreciate Gia's willingness to try new things and her loyalty, but her fearfulness, especially of critters, is overboard and annoying. I'm grateful that Savannah calls her out on it at one point. Gia is still able to remain likeable, despite this quality, although I find the secondary characters more amiable and interesting. The mystery in this second All-Day Breakfast Café Mystery is engaging with lots of possible suspects and motives along with an interesting history. Once again, friendship and community play a big role in the story along with some life altering decisions. MURDER MADE TO ORDER shows what friends and neighbors can achieve when they pull together despite outside, and at times internal, forces working against them. Food and friendship, along with laughter and some chills, combine to create an enjoyable mystery. FTC Disclosure – The publisher sent me a digital ARC provided through NetGalley, in the hopes I would review it.
MeezCarrie More than 1 year ago
Be prepared to read this book from the comfort of your favorite local breakfast eatery – because you will definitely find yourself craving breakfast pies and home fries and maybe even grits, if that’s your thing (Not mine). The community is full of the usual cozy mystery suspects, but the goodhearted characters outnumber the sour ones and leave you believing in the power of coming together with a common purpose. Gregory constructs an riveting mystery that is much more layered than it first appears and keeps you fully engaged. And, while it slows down a bit for the required ‘recipe as narrative’ moments, all in all the pace remains steady and well-plotted. (I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book)
Dollycas More than 1 year ago
Dollycas’s Thoughts Murder, a fire, tornadoes, zoning issues, bears, snakes, ticks, and alligators. Gia didn’t have any of these problems in New York. Maybe Florida isn’t the place for her. Especially now that she found another body. The city council president Marcia Steers was right there, dead in the water. She said she wanted to meet with Gia…why? She was trying to shut down the All-Day Breakfast Café. Why would she want to help Gia now? Is that why she was killed? Gia is going to fight to keep her cafe and just may catch a murderer too. I was so excited to visit these characters again. They are realistic and engaging, people that would be great to meet in real life. Gia is a great protagonist that makes me laugh out loud. She is a city girl that has moved to Florida, opened a restaurant, and purchased a home surrounded by a woods and all the creatures that live there. She also has a big wonderful Bernese Mountain Dog named Thor. Thor is not afraid of much, but Gia is afraid of almost everything. Her friend, Savannah, is there to guide her through all the most of the treacherous things she encounters. Detective Quinn Hunter has a few things that take him away from Gia, but he seems to be there when it really counts. She also has another friend on the force, Savannah’s boyfriend, Leo tries to keep the girls in the loop on the investigation and safe when he needs to. Gia is still looking for another cook and she finds not 1 but 2 people that may be able to help. A part near the end when the community came together really warmed my heart. The story sets a nice pace with the murder investigation mixed flawlessly with Gia’s life in Boggy Creek. Gia never really manages to “investigate”. She learns the most by keeping her ears open and following up with the right questions. She truly feels the current murder is tied to the unsolved murder of Savannah’s mother, and that makes it personal for her and really captivated my interest too. This was a great story. Fun characters with a fantastic whodunit made this cozy mystery top-notch. It checked all my cozy boxes! I can hardly wait for the next book. A Cold Brew Killing comes out November 6!
mymissdaisy More than 1 year ago
This was a fun cozy read. This is my first chance to meet Gia and her friends and 'family' in her small town in Florida. Although Murder Made To Order is book 2 in the series it is written as a stand alone. Gia's cafe in this installment is being threatened. She along with her friends and patrons want to save the cafe. But before they get before the city council the President of the Council is murdered and guess who stumbles upon the body? None other than Gia. In a refreshing note Gia is not considered a suspect. And actually none of her friends are either. Which tends to be a typical scenario in so many Cozy's. Thank you Lena Gregory for giving us something a little different. I enjoyed Gia and her close friends and the diner patrons. There is a great cast of folks that end up making Gia feel like part of the community. Savannah who is a friend from college and is the one that got Gia to move to Florida after her divorce. Savannah is a good southern girl. But she has some issues of her own. One being her fear of commitment. She is in a relationship with Leo one of the town police officers who is another character who plays a big part in the story. And then there is the handsome detective Quinn that Amy is seeing. Except lately he's acting a little more aloof than usual so she begins to question if there is a relationship. There were a lot of interesting characters including Willow the waitress at the cafe. Harley the homeless man, Cole and Earl older gentlemen patrons that watch Gia's back and end up helping out at the cafe. And then of course there was Thor Amy's puppy. He's a big 'ole sweet dog that saves the day a few times. Murder Made To Order was a great cozy read. I am looking forward to more in the series. I might have enjoyed even more if recipes were included! If you like a good 'clean' read with a little mystery, some great characters you'll enjoy the All-Day Cafe Mystery series. I received a complimentary copy.
mymissdaisy More than 1 year ago
This was a fun cozy read. This is my first chance to meet Gia and her friends and 'family' in her small town in Florida. Although Murder Made To Order is book 2 in the series it is written as a stand alone. Gia's cafe in this installment is being threatened. She along with her friends and patrons want to save the cafe. But before they get before the city council the President of the Council is murdered and guess who stumbles upon the body? None other than Gia. In a refreshing note Gia is not considered a suspect. And actually none of her friends are either. Which tends to be a typical scenario in so many Cozy's. Thank you Lena Gregory for giving us something a little different. I enjoyed Gia and her close friends and the diner patrons. There is a great cast of folks that end up making Gia feel like part of the community. Savannah who is a friend from college and is the one that got Gia to move to Florida after her divorce. Savannah is a good southern girl. But she has some issues of her own. One being her fear of commitment. She is in a relationship with Leo one of the town police officers who is another character who plays a big part in the story. And then there is the handsome detective Quinn that Amy is seeing. Except lately he's acting a little more aloof than usual so she begins to question if there is a relationship. There were a lot of interesting characters including Willow the waitress at the cafe. Harley the homeless man, Cole and Earl older gentlemen patrons that watch Gia's back and end up helping out at the cafe. And then of course there was Thor Amy's puppy. He's a big 'ole sweet dog that saves the day a few times. Murder Made To Order was a great cozy read. I am looking forward to more in the series. I might have enjoyed even more if recipes were included! If you like a good 'clean' read with a little mystery, some great characters you'll enjoy the All-Day Cafe Mystery series. I received a complimentary copy.
ReadYourWrites More than 1 year ago
Lena Gregory takes readers back to Boggy Creek, Florida with Murder Made to Order, the second book in her All-Day Breakfast Café series. This is a standalone read and Lena does a good job of filling in blanks for those who haven’t read the first book, Scone Cold Killer. In Murder Made to Order Gia Morelli finds herself still longing for New York City and wondering if Florida is where she belongs. She also finds that what she thought was a possible budding relationship with Detective Hunter Quinn, her best friend Savannah’s cousin, seems to be flaming out before it truly gets lit. But things get worse when she receives a letter notifying her that she could lose her cafe due to a zoning issue dating back years. On a walk with her dog Thor, Gia stumbles upon the submerged body of Marcia Steers, the town council president. The same woman she’s supposed to meet with later in the day. Upon returning to office, Gia discovers a letter left by Marcia informing her that she has information which could help with her zoning issue. Gia starts to wonder if Marcia’s death has anything to do with her and decides to do a little investigating with Savannah. Murder Made to Order was a really good read. The story was successful but there were some things that I didn't like at first. I can’t say what those things were because it would spoil the story. But I will say that Lena is very good at misdirecting. She’s managed to bring the past and present together. And you as a reader have to question everything you see and read. I can say that the lives of Gia, Hunter, Savannah, and other characters in the story will be changed forever. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next for Gia and her friends. **I received a copy of this book from the publisher and voluntarily reviewed.**
Deana0326 More than 1 year ago
This is the second book in the series which has really caught my attention. I like the author's writing style that is a mix of snarky comments to intense drama from the characters. Gia is a wonderful character and adds a lot of excitement to the story. As you will find out, she has a big phobia of insects, snakes well most anything not human. I would love to visit her cafe and sit and chat with her. The aroma of bacon sizzling on the grill and the smell of fresh coffee would invite anyone into her charming cafe. When Gia gets a visit from Marcia who happens to be the president of the city council, her world turns upside down. Why is there a threat to shut down the cafe? Marcia certainly isn't a nice person and seems to enjoy watching Gia squirm with the shattering news. The mystery really begins when Marcia is discovered dead by Gia. It's a shame that Gia and her dog Thor can't take a nice stroll or run in the woods without a dead body in their pathway. There is a funny scene in the book I must mention. If you are going to try to hide under a bed, be sure no part of your body can be seen. Gia and her friend learn the hard way that they need to be more aware of where they try to hide. The story is well written and I loved the twists the author puts in to keep readers on their toes. Who killed Marcia and why? Can Gia find the killer before it is too late? There is a lot happening in the story which definitely kept my attention. With fires, storms, mysterious deaths from the past and Gia's cafe trying to be shut down, the author really has a hit on her hands. I have to say I loved the mysterious woman Gia runs into and hope we find out more about her in the next book. I would also like to see Gia and Hunt's relationship develop more. Overall great story and I loved the ending and how the mystery was solved. I received a copy of this book from The Great Escape Virtual Book Tour. The review is my own opinion.
KrisAnderson_TAR More than 1 year ago
Murder Made to Order by Lena Gregory is the second book in An All-Day Breakfast Café Mystery series. Gia Morelli has been settling into her new life in Boggy Creek, Florida when she receives a startling letter from Marcia Steers, the president of the city council. It seems that the building for the café is zoned residential and Gia will have to close the café. Before Gia can act, a nervous Marcia stops by and schedules a meeting with Gia for Monday. Before their meeting can take place, Gia and Thor stumble over a dead Marcia half submerged in muck in the woods. Captain Hayes and Detective Quinn Hunter quickly arrive, but after a disagreement, Captain Hayes tosses Quinn off the case. Following the clues, Gia finds that the issue regarding her café started twenty years ago and can be related to the death of Savannah Mill’s mother. But someone is not happy with Gia’s snooping and attempts to shut her down permanently. Murder Made to Order can be read alone. Everything a reader needs to know is included in this installment in the series. Murder Made to Order is easy to read and has a steady pace throughout. I thought Murder Made to Order was an improvement over Scone Cold Killer. Gia is settling into life in Boggy Creek, but she has doubts when the future of her café is in jeopardy. One of my favorite characters is Earl. He was the café’s first customer and has been a loyal customer as well as friend ever since. There are many cozy moments in Murder Made to Order. Cooking, visiting with Savannah, spending time with Quinn, taking care of Thor (her large and adorable dog), kayaking, eating, hiking and chatting. I am still having trouble warming up to Gia. Her terror of things related to nature continues in this book. Gia should have moved into the apartment over the café instead of finding a home surrounded by woods (which she walks in regularly). She is afraid of bears, spiders, ticks, snakes (I can relate to this one), and tornadoes in Murder Made to Order. Gia overreacts (panic attacks, hyperventilates) when confronted with things that scare her. The author intends it to be humorous, but it loses its humor the more times it happens. The mystery had some good aspects (multiple suspects, misdirection, good clues), but it was a cinch to pick out the guilty party. It is nice how the townspeople rally around to help each other out in troubling times. I like the small-town atmosphere of Boggy Creek. My rating for Murder Made to Order is 3.5 out of 5 stars. I am curious to see what happens to Gia next in An All-Day Breakfast Café Mystery series (let’s hope she does not encounter a panther).
Rockport_rocker More than 1 year ago
The Awesomeness Keeps Coming! I loved Murder Made to Order, the second book in the All-Day Breakfast Café series, as much as I loved Stone Cold Murder. Lena Gregory is spot-on with Gia’s reactions and concerns about living on the edge of a nature area in Florida, and Savannah’s response is absolutely perfect. It is the warmth and character of the other towns people as well as Gia’s that drew me back to the second book in the All-Day Breakfast Café series. I will be following this series as long as there are new books. I see this as a reread-series since the mystery, while intriguing, is only part of what makes me want to read the book. I think I could live happily in that town in spite of the recent murders. The site of the All-Day Breakfast Café has a secret that has come back to haunt Gia just as it haunted the previous owner and that secret may bring danger into Gia’s life. Speaking of danger, nature is throwing its best at the new Florida resident who isn’t sure that the move was such a good idea when she faces some of the not so new residents of the area. On the other hand, her friendships are growing and it sure is hard to walk away from people who care. After having read Stone Cold Murder, I was thrilled to receive an ARC of Murder Made to Order by Lena Gregory via NetGalley. I review all the books that I enjoy and I loved Murder Made to Order from beginning to end.
Shelly9677 More than 1 year ago
I am a big fan of Lena Gregory. If you haven’t read any books by Lena and you like cozy mysteries, you owe it to yourself to pick up one of her books! In this second installment of An All Day Breakfast Café Mystery series Gia has finally become comfortable with her new life in Florida, running a restaurant specializing in breakfast foods, but an uncovered zoning regulation threatens to overturn the life she has created after fleeing NY and a boatload of bad memories. When the council president shows up lifeless in a swamp, Gia discovers secrets and lies. Can she save her café and uncover the killer before it is too late? This is such a fun and engaging series. I highly recommend it.