Monday, May 11, 2015

Guest Blog by Nancy J. Parra and Review and Giveaway of Flourless to Stop Him - May 11, 2015

Please welcome Nancy J. Parra to The Qwillery. Flourless to Stop Him, the third Baker's Treat Mystery, was published on May 5th by Berkley.

We asked Nancy J. Parra

1)  What new thing would you try?  Parasailing
     What would make you say no?  Skydiving

2)  What do you get too much of?  Hurry up and wait
     And not enough? Sleep

3)  What fear have you conquered?  Flying
     Not quite yet?  Failure

4)  What are you getting better at?  Using new technology
     What are you getting worse at?  Handwriting

5)  What would pay good money for?  Biweekly deep tissue massages
     What wouldn’t you take even if it were free?  A house on Guam

6)  Writing highlight?  Selling the Baker’s Treat Mystery series to Berkley Prime Crime
     And low point?  650th rejection letter

7)  What are you endlessly curious about?  People
     And zero interest in?  Watching professional sports

8)  What do you empathize with?  Animals waiting to be adopted
     What do you have no sympathy for?  Mean girls

9)  What is worth the wait?  Love
     What do you have no patience for?  Self-aggrandizers

10) What’s always cool?  Getting together with writers and readers
      What’s never cool?  Hurtful reviews

Flourless to Stop Him
Series:  A Baker's Treat Mystery 3
Publisher:  Berkley, May 5, 2015
Format:  Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 304 pages
List Price:  $7.99 (print)
ISBN:  9780425252604 (print)
Review Copy:  Provided by the Publisher

The author of Murder Gone A-Rye and Gluten for Punishment returns to Oiltop, Kansas, where gluten-free baker Toni Holmes has to separate the wheat from the chaff to clear her brother of murder…

It’s never a good time for a crisis. Toni’s busy whipping up gluten-free holiday treats when a murder forces her to put baking on the back burner. A dead man has been found in the bathtub of a local inn—in a room registered to her brother, Tim.

With her sibling now a prime suspect in a mysterious homicide, Toni is determined to find out who set him up. But she’s about to get some unwanted assistance from former investigative journalist Grandma Ruth, who won’t let anything slow her progress in running down a killer…

Jennifer's Review

Flourless to Stop Him is the third installment Nancy J. Parra’s A Baker’s Treat Mystery series. This time we see main character Toni struggling to complete the all important holiday orders for her gluten-free bakery, Baker’s Treat. If she doesn’t succeed in filling the orders, she may have to close her shop for good in January. While her business is becoming all consuming, her family pressures her to help investigate the murder of an old family friend that her brother Tim is accused of committing.

Toni is a determined divorcée who moved back to her hometown in Kansas after the death of her mother and the end of her marriage. She inherited the sprawling Victorian family homestead with the caveat that she must keep rooms open to anyone in her massive family who wants to make a short or long term visit. Toni, who suffers from Celiac Disease, has been struggling to keep her gluten-free bakery afloat in the heart of Kansas wheat country, but has begun to build a solid customer base who enjoy her tasty sweets. She is now trying to fill as many holiday orders as she can to help her through the lean months after Christmas, when people are trying to stick to their newly made resolutions to eat healthier. Apparently gluten free does not mean low fat, something I did not know.

Toni is no stranger to murder investigations, she was a suspect in the first book in the series, and her eccentric Grandma Ruth was the suspect in the second. Both were exonerated due to Toni’s own investigative skills. Now that Tim is under the microscope, Grandma Ruth is pushing Toni to clear his name. Tim, who was a bit of a wild child, has recently started to build a good life for himself, with a new apartment and a steady job when his friend Harold is murdered and Tim becomes to only suspect, due to what Toni believes is an expert frame job. Tim is a strong man whose strength is tested by being a murder suspect. Grandma Ruth is a delightfully feisty old bird, who spent her life as a crime reporter for the county before she moved to a local retirement community. She is charming and funny, with her eclectic taste in clothing, her ever present scooter, her quiet boyfriend Bill, and her biting wit. The family, which literally consists of dozens upon dozens of members, is rounded out in this story by Mindy, Toni and Tim’s arrogant cousin, who has unexpectedly come to the homestead from New York City, ostensibly to spend the holidays with her family, but who is clearly harboring an important secret.

The supporting characters, of which there are many, are headed by Tasha, Toni’s best friend, a sweet and homey single mom to her autistic son, Kip, and her boyfriend, police officer Calvin, who just happens to be investigating Tim for the murder. Meghan is Toni’s 19 year old apprentice, whose rockabilly/gothic appearance and cheerful attitude bring sunshine to the long winter hours of the bakery. Sam and Brad are both still actively pursuing Toni, who has sworn not to date for an entire year after her painful divorce, a vow that is being put to the test by the charms of both men. Brad is the hunky blonde former jock, who has been a constant in Toni’s life, being a childhood friend and her current attorney. Sam is the robustly handsome and slightly older rancher and all around handyman, who has made his interest in Toni abundantly clear. Both are good, strong characters, and either one would be a wonderful companion for Toni. There are a multitude of family members, townspeople and police officers that play prominent roles in the story, far too many to touch upon in a short review, but all are well defined characters and bring something to the plot on their own.

The story revolves heavily around Toni’s personal life and relationships, and her struggles with owning a new specialty shop in a small town. The mystery unfolds slowly and often on the periphery until the last few chapters, when the mystery takes prominence and the action becomes fast paced. This is not to say that the story drags along, it does not. It just focuses a great deal on the intricate relationships of those involved. This is very much a character driven story, exploring the nuances of small town friendships and the dynamics of a large, but close family. For this reason, I would recommend reading the first two books in the series prior to starting Flourless to Stop Him. The book’s plot can stand alone, but the subtleties of the characters’ histories and interactions can be lost by skipping right to the third installment. The mystery is tidied up nicely, with plenty of action in the final chapters, and the story ends on a wonderfully sweet note.

There are gluten-free recipes featured at the end of the book that all look delicious and fairly easy to make. Never having suffered from gluten sensitivity, I have not really looked into gluten-free recipes, but I am looking forward to making the Cherry Chocolate Shortbread cookies for myself in the near future.

About Nancy

Nancy J. Parra is the author of Engaged in Murder and the upcoming Bodice of Evidence in the Perfect Proposals Mystery series and Flourless to Stop Him, Murder Gone A-Rye, and Gluten for Punishment in the Baker’s Treat Mystery series. She lives in the Midwest with her trusty Bichon-Poo, whom she refers to warmly as “Little Dog.” Parra’s 2010 novel, The Counterfeit Bride, was named “one of the top ten romances of 2010” by Booklist.

Website  ~  Blog  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @nancyjparra

The Giveaway

What:  One entrant will win a Mass Market Paperback copy of Flourless to Stop Him by Nancy J. Parra from the publisher. US ONLY

How:  Log into and follow the directions in the Rafflecopter below.

Who and When:  The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a US mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59 PM US Eastern Time on May 19, 2015. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

*Giveaway rules and duration are subject to change.*

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Gluten for Punishment
A Baker's Treat Mystery 1
Berkley, May 7, 2013
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 304 pages

Gluten-free baker Toni Holmes may not cook with wheat, but when there’s a criminal on the loose, she’ll do what it takes to figure out who has their finger in the pie…

Even though Toni is used to going against the grain by preparing allergy-safe, gluten-free products for her online bakery, Baker’s Treat, opening a storefront in the middle of wheat country Kansas might be biting off more than she can chew. The town is already skeptical of her flour-free ways, but when a local wheat farmer is murdered outside her patisserie, skepticism turns into outright suspicion.

With the help of her eccentric grandmother, her handsome lawyer, and the sexy new widower in town, Toni is determined to find the real criminal before bad publicity and increasingly personal acts of vandalism shut her down. But when another suspect winds up dead, Toni realizes that this half-baked killer isn’t just trying to get her to close shop—he’s trying to make sure that she’s made her last gluten-free cookie…forever.


Murder Gone A-Rye
A Baker's Treat Mystery 2
Berkley, May 6, 2014
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 304 pages

Toni Holmes is the best gluten-free baker in Oiltop, Kansas—okay, she’s the only one—but when her grandmother becomes a murder suspect, she’s more concerned with keeping Grandma free…

When Toni’s beloved—and eccentric—grandma Ruth is arrested for the murder of her archenemy, Lois Striker, it’s time for a senior moment of truth. Telltale tracks from a scooter like the one Grandma Ruth rides lead the police to suspect the outspoken oldster, but Toni knows her grandmother wouldn’t burn a cookie, let alone extinguish a life.

In fact, the case has Grandma more revved up than her infamous scooter. A former investigative journalist, she decides to solve the murder herself—with help from Toni—by digging up long-buried town secrets. But as Grandma scoots in where others fear to tread, Toni needs to make sure she not only stays out of jail but out of harm’s way…



  1. looks great, thanks for the chance to win :)

  2. What a great feature and giveaway. Delightful. Thanks.saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  3. Love finding new cozy mysteries I haven't read before :)

  4. I love cozy mysteries. The covers and titles are always so very clever.

  5. Sounds like a great addition to an interesting series that I'm going to have to check out and catch up on. Thanks for the chance to win.

  6. Sounds like a very good baking book of mystery.
    Theresa N

  7. a series I need to binge-read....
    thank you for the giveaway!!
    cyn209 at juno dot com

  8. Pick me! I love these kind of books! :)
    Digicats {at} Sbcglobal {dot} Net