Murder Made to Order (All-Day Breakfast Cafe Mystery) by Lena Gregory

Cozy Mystery 2nd in Series 
Lyrical Underground (June 19, 2018)
Paperback: 196 pages 
ISBN-13: 978-1516104666 
Digital ASIN: B075WBZH6L 

To save her cozy Florida diner, Gia Morelli must choke down a heaping helping of murder . . .

New York native Gia Morelli is just getting used to life in Florida when she gets word that the town government wants to shut down her pride and joy: the charming little diner known as the All-Day Breakfast Café. 
A forgotten zoning regulation means that the café was opened illegally, and hardboiled council president Marcia Steers refuses to budge. Gia is considering hanging up her apron and going back to New York, but before she gives up on her dream, she discovers something shocking in the local swamp: Marcia Steers, dead in the water.
There’s a secret buried in the books at town hall, and someone killed to keep it hidden.
 To save her café and bring a killer to justice, Gia and her friends will have to figure out a killer’s recipe for murder . . .


Easy Centerpieces
By Gia Morelli

When I fled New York City and escaped to the outskirts of Central Florida’s Ocala National Forest, I used the last of my savings to buy a small house and open the All-Day Breakfast Café. My best friend, Savannah Mills, helped me set up and decorate the café. Before I arrived, Savannah made blue and white gingham curtains, dark blue tablecloths, and cushions with zipper covers for the light-colored wood chairs. She also added a few strategically placed paintings of local scenery and hung a hand painted, wooden open/closed sign in the front window. Savannah did an amazing job creating the comfortable feeling of home I was striving for.
Unfortunately, I don’t share Savannah’s creative talents. I’m also out of money, so when it came time to make centerpieces, I had to come up with something cozy but inexpensive. With very little time left, I decided on an easy, inexpensive idea that anyone can make, even me.
I love the beach. Although I haven’t had much free time since arriving in Florida, I do manage to sneak away for a little while, and when I do, I head straight for the ocean. I walk along the beach with a bucket in hand, collecting anything I find that catches my interest; beach glass, seashells, small rocks, twigs, beach grass, driftwood, even a length of old fishing net. After that, I stroll through town and hit up the antique shops, and even the dollar stores, and pick out a variety of glass containers, mason jars, and small candles.
When I get back to the café, I sift through all of the interesting things I found on the beach and sort them into jars. Some jars get candles in the center—of course, I’m careful not to put anything flammable in those. Others get beach grass or twigs sticking out the top. If the jars have no fun decorations on them, I tie a ribbon, a length of rope, or a leather cord around them.
When I’m done, I set a jar or two in the center of each table, then I create a setting on the counter behind the register. I spread a small bit of fishing net on the counter and arrange the jars among pieces of driftwood. With the lights dimmed and the candles lit, my customers can enjoy an intimate setting with their meals.

I am enjoying getting to know the residents of Bogey Creek with Gia Morelli as she considers making her home in Florida permanent. Not having a cook for her cafe means doing all the kitchen work herself, which cuts down on her face to face time with her customers. Being alert for bears and snakes and gators when she ventures out to walk her dog, Thor, is not getting any more comfortable. Then there are weather issues!

So when a member of the town council begins threatening Gia with a zoning violation that would cause her cafe to be closed, Gia has a lot of thinking and considering to do.
Her romance with Detective Tall, Dark and Yummy seems to have stepped back a bit and cooled.
She really doesn't know why. There are rumors he has been seeing another woman, and when THAT woman turns up dead, well you can guess things get complicated and heat up in a different way, resulting in Hunt's suspension from the police force.

As if that is not enough, an actual fire at Gia's home comes into play both in her decision process and her physical safety. All of which ties back to the murder of her best friend's mother and the status of the building in which the cafe operates. Can you say entangled?

I enjoy the setting but especially the characters in this series. We see layers revealed slowly.
There is a woman in the woods I am curious to learn more about. I am sure she will be seen again.
Ice Cream shop owner Trevor makes an appearance and proves to be a good, however bumbling, friend. The questions about another person's disappearance are not answered but we are assured he is alive and well. So at the end, I was satisfied and wanting to read the next book soon.

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.
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  1. Thank you so much for sharing the release of Murder Made to Order! And thank you for such a lovely review! I'm so happy you enjoyed the story. :)


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