Posted in 2021 Reviews Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday – featuring The Enemy You Gnocchi: A Christmas Cozy Mystery (Italian Chef Mysteries) by Catherine Bruns #Review / #Giveaway

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am so happy to share my thoughts today
about The Enemy You Gnocchi by Catherine Bruns!


The Enemy You Gnocchi: A Christmas Cozy Mystery
(Italian Chef Mysteries)

Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – New York
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Poisoned Pen Press (October 26, 2021)
Mass Market Paperback ‏ : ‎ 336 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1492684317
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1492684312
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08VYFC2VJ

A delicious new holiday mystery from USA Today bestselling author Catherine Bruns! It’s Christmas time in Harvest Park, so grab your cocoa and sleuthing snow boots for a Christmas cozy mystery sure to sleigh!

It’s the deadliest thyme of the year…

With snow dusting the ground and sauce sizzling on the stove, local chef Tessa Esposito is ready to serve up some holiday cheer. And with the annual Festival of Lights underway, it seems nothing can dim her spirits. Not even Mario Russo, the newest scrooge in town whose espresso bar has been quickly disrupting businesses and stealing customers from Harvest Park’s favorite coffeehouse.

But when Mario is discovered at the festival’s opening, face down in a Santa suit, Tessa realizes the bah humbug runs deeper than she could have imagined. And when one of her dearest friends is implicated in the crime, she must make a list of Mario’s enemies, check them twice, and discover the cold-blooded killer. Especially before they can sleigh again.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Anything’s Pastable (I love that name) is open and owner and chef Tessa Esposito is ready for the holidays. She is baking tons of cookies to be served at Harvest Park’s annual Festival of Lights and getting ready for her Breakfast with Santa on Christmas Eve morning. She is also serving delectable meals at the restaurant on a daily basis. Working long 12 hour days are tiring her out but she wouldn’t have it any other way.

Harvest Park newcomer Mario Russo has become a daily customer who appears to have a crush on Tessa and most of the other women in Harvest Park. He opened The Expresso Lane, a coffee bar, about 3 months ago directly across the street from the beloved Archie Fenton’s Java Time. He is a pushy deplorable man that turns off Tessa in every way possible, plus his business is putting a huge dent in Archie’s business and several other Harvest Park businesses. Tessa tries to keep the Christmas Spirit but the man sure does not make that easy.

The first night of the Festival of Lights appears to be a grand success until Marco Russo’s dead body is found outside The Lake House where refreshments were being served and where kids could visit with Santa, the aforementioned Mario Russo. Sadly, the police have pegged Archie Fenton as their prime suspect but Tessa knows the list of Mario’s enemies in long and while most may be nice, someone was naughty and decided Mario would not be brewing another cup of coffee or listening to any more children’s wishes. Tessa with the assistance of her cousin Gabby hopes to identify the killer who will be getting the coal in their stocking behind bars.


This story contains a fabulous mystery set during the holiday season but it is so much more. Catherine Bruns has created characters that I have genuinely grown to enjoy following through their daily joys and trials. Tessa is an excellent protagonist. She has a curious nature and a huge heart. Her best friend Gabby makes an excellent sidekick and will support Tessa in any way she can. Gabby’s brother Gino is a cop who begs them both to stay in their lanes and let the police handle the investigation. Tessa’s landlord Vince is much more than he originally seemed and that made me happy. Firefighter Justin was Tessa’s husband’s best friend. Since her husband’s death, he has helped her in any way he can and has admitted that he does have feelings for her. She also has feelings for him but never wants to lose the friendship they have built so she is afraid to take their relationship to the next level. These characters are very likable and true to life. They face some very dramatic/dangerous situations but they all have each other’s back and will always be there for each other.

The author also includes a wonderful supporting cast that are believably connected and have purpose that adds to the story. Both the core and supporting characters are developing at a reasonable pace. She also created the swarmy Mario and gave this reader plenty to hold against him which led predictably to his death.

This mystery was a lot of fun because there were a lot of suspects. The plethora of suspects added several exciting moments. I just couldn’t zero in on the actual killer so the reveal was a thrilling surprise.

The Enemy You Gnocchi was a fantastic read. I love the way this author blends mystery with just the right amount of romance. The story is also written to draw the reader in and hold on tight. The main mystery is joined by delightful subplots and flows flawlessly. It truly was a Perfect Escape. I can’t wait to return to Harvest Park to see what these characters get into next.

Note – Ms. Bruns has included some marvelous recipes. You will want to try all of them before, during, and after reading this story, so plan ahead.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

USA Today bestselling author Catherine Bruns lives in Upstate New York with an all-male household that consists of her very patient husband, three sons, and several spoiled pets. Catherine has a B.A. in both English and Performing Arts and is a former newspaper reporter and press release writer. In her spare time, she loves to bake, read, and attend live theater performances. Over the past five years, she’s written fifteen mystery novels plus several novellas and has many more stories waiting to be told.

Coming October 26, 2021

Also by Catherine Bruns




I am giving away my ARC Paperback Copy!
The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old.
Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

Follow Catherine Bruns on Twitter for 2 Bonus Entries!

Follow Catherine Bruns on Facebook for 2 Bonus Entries!

Add this book to your
WANT TO READ shelf on GoodReads for 3 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

If you share the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End November 3, 2021, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
The Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Posted in 2021 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – It Cannoli Be Murder: A Culinary Cozy Mystery (Italian Chef Mysteries) by Catherine Bruns #Review / #Giveaway

On Flashback Fridays I will share with you
the books I was not able to review
when they were first released that have been screaming at me
from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.


It Cannoli Be Murder: A Culinary Cozy Mystery (Italian Chef Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – New York
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Poisoned Pen Press (July 28, 2020)
Mass Market Paperback ‏ : ‎ 384 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1492684287
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1492684282
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B085F4F4XB

A delicious new title in a new series from USA Today bestselling author Catherine Bruns! Tessa’s biscotti have always been killer, but never as deadly as in this addition to the Italian Chef mystery books!

It’s time to serve some just desserts…

Six months after her husband’s death, Tessa Esposito is hoping to drum up reservations for her restaurant’s grand opening. And since a signing with bestselling author, Preston Rigotta, is sure to draw a crowd, Tessa agrees to cater her cousin’s bookstore event—whipping up some of her famous Italian desserts. But the event soon takes a sour turn when Preston’s publicist, an old high school rival, arrives and begins to whisk up their old grudges.

That night, a fight breaks out in front of the crowd, and it becomes clear there’s bad blood in Harvest Park. And when the publicist is found dead on the bookstore floor the next morning, a stray cannolo at her side, Tessa knows who will be framed as the prime suspect.

To clear both her cousin’s and her own name, Tessa must investigate the murder. But Preston’s publicist has many secrets to hide, and in the end, the truth is bittersweet…

The second book in the Italian Chef Cozy Mystery series! As Italian Chef Tessa plays the role of a female detective in this murder mystery, she’ll have to follow a string of clues before the case boils over.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

It has been a long time coming but Tessa Esposito’s new restaurant, Anything’s Pastable, is almost ready to open.  She just needs to hire a few more staff, the correct menus to arrive, and a few little touchups in the dining room, and she will thrust open the doors for her grand opening. Hoping to drive up the reservations she agrees to whip up some cannoli and biscotti to serve at a book signing at her cousin Gabby’s bookstore Once Upon A Book. Sadly, there is a disturbance when the author’s publicist arrives and it is an old high school rival who does her best to push Gabby’s buttons. The event escalates to a full-blown fight which has the author chewing Gabby out and her worried about the future of Once Upon A Book.

The next morning Tessa discovers the publicist dead on the floor of the bookshop with a cannolo nearby setting up Tessa and Gabby as the prime suspects. Knowing that could put their lives and businesses at risk they are not waiting for the police to complete their investigation, Tessa jumps right in with her own investigation and discovers one secret that could have easily set the murder in motion. She just needs to prove it.


Tessa has been through a lot.  After the death of her husband she finds out he was actually murdered and she goes undercover to try to catch his killer. Now in this story, she is about to open her dream Italian Restaurant when another murder puts not only her dream in jeopardy but her cousin’s bookstore as well. Because they are both involved in the case, Gabby’s brother, Detective Gino Mancusi cannot be the detective in charge of the investigation. These are three strong characters that are really developing nicely. They have each other’s back and while Gino would like Gabby and Tessa to leave the death to the police he understands their frustrations.

We meet author Preston Rigotta, his wife, his daughter, their maid, and his publicist. These characters are also nicely developed even with the publicist dying. We learn a lot about her and the Rigotta family as the mystery unfolds.

The mystery was very well-plotted with some corkscrew twists. The victim was a real piece of work and definitely has not changed from high school, which meant she had made a few enemies. I was a little nervous about the risks Tessa and Gabby took. So much so, I wanted to jump into the book and save them from themselves. I thought I had nailed down whodunit and then Ms. Bruns added another twist that changed everything, I love it when that happens.

It Cannoli Be Murder contains an excellent mystery and characters I have grown to care about. My cancer treatments kept this book on my T-B-R shelf too long. But that means I have less time to wait for book number 3, The Enemy You Gnocchi, is being released on October 26 and it is already on my reading calendar. I am excited because it is a Christmas holiday mystery and I am looking forward to visiting Harvest Park when the snow is flying. 



Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

USA Today bestselling author Catherine Bruns lives in Upstate New York with an all-male household that consists of her very patient husband, three sons, and several spoiled pets. Catherine has a B.A. in both English and Performing Arts and is a former newspaper reporter and press release writer. In her spare time, she loves to bake, read, and attend live theater performances. Over the past five years, she’s written fifteen mystery novels plus several novellas and has many more stories waiting to be told.

Coming October 26, 2021

Also by Catherine Bruns



I am giving away my 1 Kindle Copy!
The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old.
Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

Follow Catherine Bruns on Twitter for 2 Bonus Entries!

Follow Catherine Bruns on Facebook for 2 Bonus Entries!

Add this book to your WANT TO READ shelf on GoodReads for 3 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

If you share the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End October 15, 2021, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
The Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Posted in Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways Read The Printed Word Challenge Reviews 2019 You Read How Many Books Challenge

Penne Dreadful (Italian Chef Mysteries) by Catherine Bruns #EarlyReview / ARC #Giveaway @PPPress @WritesMystery

This book will be released on July 30!! 


Penne Dreadful (Italian Chef Mysteries)
1st in Series
Setting – New York
Poisoned Pen Press (July 30, 2019)
Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
ISBN-10: 1492684252
ISBN-13: 978-1492684251
Kindle ASIN: B07NVT2Z56

Tomato sauce isn’t the only thing that runs red…

Local chef Tessa Esposito is struggling to get back on her feet following her husband’s fatal accident. And when the police knock on Tessa’s door, things just get worse. They’ve discovered Dylan’s death wasn’t an accident after all, and they need Tessa to start filling in the blanks. Who would want her beloved husband dead, and why?

With the investigation running cold, Tessa decides it’s time to save her sanity by reconnecting with her first love-cooking. And maybe the best way back into the kitchen is to infiltrate Dylan’s favorite local pizza parlor, which also happens to be the last place he was seen before he died. But the anchovies aren’t the only thing that stink inside the small family business, and with suspects around every corner, Tessa finds that her husband’s many secrets might land her in hot water.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Was local chef Tessa Esposito’s husband not the man she thought he was? A few weeks have passed since he was killed in a fatal accident and now police have decided he may have been murdered. Her cousin, Detective Gino Mancusi brings her the news and has an idea for her to help solve the case. He wants her to apply for a job at her husband’s favorite pizza place, a place he spent quite a bit of time,  and work undercover keeping her eyes and ears open. Tessa agrees but she does more than that. She starts asking questions and nosing around on her own. Her husband was a successful accountant, why would anyone what him dead?  She better be careful or she could be next.

I am shocked to see this is the first book I have read by this author. It sure won’t be the last.

Catherine Bruns has created wonderful three-dimensional characters. Tessa is a protagonist I get really get on board with. A chef with a dream of having her own Italian restaurant for families. She loves to cook for others. Her dream was shared by her husband Dylan and his death rocked her to her core. When she learns his death was not an accident she turns into a woman with such strength and courage to bring his killer down. She does make some poor decisions but she is hellbent on getting justice for her husband even as she learns the man had more secrets than she ever could ever imagine.

Her cousins Gino and Gabby play a major part in her life. Gino’s quest is to keep her safe and best friend Gabby is a great partner and sounding board. They stick together through thick and thin and scary.

The story the author has created has more of an edge than your typical cozy mystery. Right after one scene occurred I had to check to see if the story was actually classified as cozy. After that scene though we mostly get back to that cozier feel. I would rather have a scene like that in my cozy than the curse words that are seeming to pop up more and more these days in this genre.

Ms. Bruns does set a lively pace with plenty of action and twists. The closer we get to the end the pace accelerates more making it impossible to put this book down until the last page is reached. Tense moments prevail that truly did keep me right on the edge of my seat.

Oh my goodness, the food described throughout this mystery was absolutely mouthwatering. From pizzas to Tessa’s Tantalizing Tomato Sauce I was craving Italian food for days. Thankfully my husband has some great recipes up his sleeve. The author does include some recipes at the end of the story too.

I love the theme and these characters. I am beyond excited for the next book in this series.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent
About Catherine Bruns

Catherine is the USA Today bestselling author of the Cookies & Chance mysteries. She lives in New York with her very patient husband, three sons, and several spoiled pets. Catherine has a B.A. in English and is a former newspaper reporter and press release writer. She also writes the Cindy York real estate and the Carrie Jorgenson (Aloha Lagoon) culinary mysteries. Penne Dreadful, the first book in her Italian Chef Mysteries, debuts in July 2019.

Follow Catherine on Facebook and Twitter and check out her Website too!

Also by Catherine Bruns



I am giving away my Advance Review Copy!
The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

Follow Catherine Bruns on Twitter for 2 Bonus Entries!

Follow Catherine Bruns on Facebook for 2 Bonus Entries!

Add this book to your WANT TO READ shelf on GoodReads for 3 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

If you share the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End July 23, 2019, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”