Book Review (and a Giveaway!): Dough or Die by Winnie Archer

Posted September 11, 2020 by meezcarrie in contemporary, cozy mystery, giveaway, mystery/suspense, Winnie Archer / 3 Comments

A Bread Shop Mystery #5

GENRE: Cozy Mystery
PUBLISHER: Kensington
RELEASE DATE: August 25, 2020
PAGES: 352

Known for its mouthwatering traditional breads, the Yeast of Eden bakery has gained fame across Northern California’s coast. Now the shop is bound for Reality TV–but a murder may kill its reputation . . .

People come to the beach town of Santa Sofia as much for the healing properties of Yeast of Eden’s breads as for a vacation getaway. And now a cable food channel has selected the bakery as a featured culinary delight for a new show. Baking apprentice Ivy Culpepper is excited as the crew arrives, ready to capture all the ins and outs of the renowned bread shop. But instead they capture something much harder to stomach: the attempted murdered of the show’s cameraman just outside Yeast of Eden . . .

With no motive and no clues, and the town craving answers, it will be up to Ivy to sift through the evidence to find the truth. But she’ll have to move quickly before someone else is targeted or the wrong person gets the heat–and the business collapses like a deflated soufflé, right before her eyes.

Other Books In This Series


Dough or Die is an intriguing mystery with delightful main characters (Olaya!) to keep you entertained and delicious, mouthwatering bread to keep you hungry haha.

I really really like Olaya – she is just a little mysterious and a lot goodhearted, and her heart to empower women who have had a rough time is definitely something I can embrace. Her work ethic and compassion are inspiring, and she’s the kind of character you can easily picture as you read. Ivy is also engaging, and their respect & affection for each other easily adds warmth to the story. The supporting characters are equally likable (except for the ones we aren’t supposed to like, of course) and keep the story moving along.

The plot was intriguing, with multiple suspects, nods to popular culture, and a reveal I didn’t quite see coming as clearly as perhaps I should have. I did have a serious problem with the way Ivy conducted part of her amateur investigation in this book – it threw out all the understood rules of interacting with a typically-protected group of people, and her choices unnecessarily endangered them. I was disappointed with the precedent this set – as well as with the strong (though fortunately infrequent) language. On a personal note, I read cozy mysteries in part because it’s generally accepted that cursing and profanity will be mild, if any are used at all, and reading several profane uses of Jesus’ names was more than a bit jarring to say the least.

Bottom Line: Dough or Die is a bread lover’s delight, and you’ll find yourself drooling over the delicious recipes that are whipped up at Yeast of Eden & by Ivy’s chef boyfriend. The way the continuing characters interact with each other – their genuine friendships, etc – is definitely a highlight of the series, and Olaya in particular is the rock of the stories even though Ivy may be the protagonist. To be honest, I was disappointed in the direction this book went and in the strong profanity that usually is absent in this genre. Take those two issues away, though, and you’ve got an entertaining read that will keep you guessing!

(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received via the publisher. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)

My Rating: 3.5 stars / liked it

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Winnie Archer is a middle school teacher by day and by night she’s the author of the Bread Shop Mystery series. Born in a beach town in California, she now lives in Colorado. She fantasizes about spending summers writing in quaint, cozy locales, has a love/hate relationship with both yoga and chocolate, adores pumpkin spice lattes, is devoted to her five kids and husband, and can’t believe she’s lucky enough to be living the life of her dreams. Visit her online at Website .

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