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Cat About Town by Cate Conte and Amy Melissa Bentley (Narrator)
Chocolat by Joanne Harris
Common Bonds edited by Claudie Arseneault
A Deadly Edition by Victoria Gilbert
Death Al Dente by Leslie Budewitz
The Ghost and the Dead Deb by Alice Kimberly
Gideon Falls, Volume 5: Wicked Worlds by Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino (Illustrator)
How to Lie with Maps by Mark Monmonier
I Am Not Starfire by Mariko Tamaki and Yoshi Yoshitani (Illustrator)
Lips Unsealed by Belinda Carlisle
Mighty Jack and Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke
Murder 101 by Lynn Cahoon
A Pairing to Die for by Kate Lansing
Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi
Robogenesis by Daniel H. Wilson
A Separate Peace by John Knowles
Signspotting III: Lost and Loster in Translation by Doug Lansky
Sleight of Paw by Sofie Kelly
Smash It! by Francina Simone
State of the Onion by Julie Hyzy
Swordheart by T. Kingfisher
Tea & Treachery by Vicki Delany
The Tea Dragon Society by Kay O'Neill
This Coven Won't Break by Isabel Sterling
Toured to Death by Hy Conrad
Turtle in Paradise: The Graphic Novel by Jennifer L. Holm and Savanna Ganucheau
Two Wicked Desserts by Lynn Cahoon
The Walled Flower by Lorraine Bartlett
Well Met by Jen DeLuca
Well Played by Jen DeLuca
The Wild Ones by Nafiza Azad

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5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

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Canadian Book Challenge: 2021-2022

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State of the Onion: 08/11/21

State of the Onion by Julie Hyzy

State of the Onion by Julie Hyzy is the start of the White House Chef mystery series. Olivia Paras is in the running to be the next head chef at the White House. She's going head to head with a reality TV chef. That should be enough to keep her busy, but there's also an assassin after the president.

The series has an exciting opening. A man is being chased by Secret Service across the White House grounds. Meanwhile Olivia is returning from an errand to pick up a gift for the retiring head chef. When the intruder spots her she has to go on the defensive.

The White House, though, is a known place. It has a history. It is constantly in the news — constantly in the public eye. Sure, presidents cycle through regularly which gives the temptation to make up a fictional one. But the building itself is still too much of a known quantity.

It's a difficult setting to stage a mystery, especially a series of them. Sure, here the theme is food and the setting is the kitchen and places where food is served in the building. But the temptation is still there to involve the First Family and international affairs.

At about a third of the way into this novel the mystery struck me as essentially being "Honey for the Prince," an Avengers episode from the 1966 series. The rivalry between Olivia and the reality TV chef brings to mind The Book Supremacy by Kate Carlisle (2019) and Sprinkle with Murder by Jenn McKinlay (2010).

The second book in the series is Hail to the Chef (2008).

Two stars

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