"Laid Out in Lavender" By Gin Jones: Review/Giveaway

Review by Kathleen Costa

Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win an ebook copy of the book and a link to purchase it.

Garlic Makes Good Friends

Mabel Skinner knows coding and designing apps, but growing, harvesting, and marketing acres of prized garlic? No way! From her Aunt Peggy, she inherited Stinkin’ Stuff Farm in West Slocum, Massachusetts, but it isn’t her dream or even in her area of expertise to live a rural life and become a garlic farmer. She hoped to make a quick sale and return to her life in Maine, but without a real offer, she’s decided it’s best to find a farm manager who will keep the farm going with a focus on sustainability allowing her to spend more time on her tech projects. Still, it’s income that is the most important to her bottom line. She rechristened the property Skinner Farm, added squash and rhubarb, and opened up the lavender fields for wedding events. Her close friend and neighbor, Emily Coulter, is herself in a serious quandary. She may lose her own farm and goats if she can’t find a way to cover her farm’s expenses sans the husband who has served her divorce papers. The catering business is one way to accomplish that and keep her goats and her cheese-making business intake. So partnering together is a win-win for both women!

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Laid Out in Lavender earns 5/5 Ahh Choos...Engaging, Clever, Fun!

A wedding with a bride allergic to lavender, a farm manager whose interview reveals a serious conflict in philosophy, a reporter who wants tabloid sensation over a small farm exposé, and a party planner-zilla who makes a “too late to change” demand to redo the wedding cake are just a few hitches with which Mabel and Emily are confronted. Emily is desperate for a good review from the wedding party and the planner, and of course, she can’t help think her soon-to-be ex has orchestrated all these problems. But, when the best man, who seems less interested in the festivities and more interested in Emily’s buffet, collapses, the food is thought to be the culprit; when he dies, Emily is worried she might be the number one suspect and the farm doesn’t need the bad press. Unfortunately, the detective in charge is the same one who believed Mable killed the rhubarb farmer. “So, what did she do this time?”

“I do...” Love it! Gin Jones has penned another exciting mystery in the third book in her Garlic Farm Mystery series with lavender, murder, and Detective O’Connor! The mystery is cleverly engaging with several possible suspects from the wedding party to an ill-equipped wedding planner from an antagonist reporter to...could it be someone close to home? However, motives are revealed slowly making it a delightful challenge to weed through all the possible scenarios; it isn’t obvious, but in the end, totally satisfying! I did have other victims for Karma’s justice, but comeuppances are dealt well. Along with a murder mystery that kept me guessing, I enjoy how Mable used realistic, yet covert and informal, methods to uncover relationships, truths and lies, and alibis or lack of, and locate the killer before the insufferable O’Conner. Mabel has also been coming into her own over the three-book series, embracing farm life, and becoming, whether she wants to or not, an important member of the small community. There’s even a hint of a romance! Will she stay or will she go?

Bonus Treat! A favorite element of many cozy mystery is the addition of recipes connected to the theme, like garlic. Gin gives readers three marvelous treats: Emily’s Cheesecake Bars, and for garlic lovers...Garlic Scape Pesto and Apple Garlic Jelly.

Garlic Farm Mystery

Six Cloves Under (2020) KRL review HERE

Rhubarb Pie Before You Die (2020) KRL review HERE

Laid Out in Lavender (2021) 

Be a Big Gin Jones!

USA Today bestselling author of traditional mysteries Gin Jones writes several cozy mystery series. She is part of two multi-author series: the three-book Danger Cove Farmer’s Market Mystery series following manager of the Lighthouse Farmers’ Market Maria Dolores, the four-book Danger Cove Quilting Mysteries featuring quilt-appraiser-turned-amateur sleuth Keely Fairchild, and one crossover partnering Maria and Keely together. She also penned the six-book Helen Binney Mysteries about the former governor’s wife whose physical challenges do not prevent her investigating trouble. All are well worth spending one’s time! 

Website – Gin Jones


It’s All About the Lavender!

Although it’s a garlic farm, Mabel has a beautiful field of lavender that Emily didn’t waste any time using in some of her wedding treats. So, are you game? For many, it is an acquired taste while others swear by its medicinal value. Although I enjoy its aromatherapy benefits, Gin revealed “my deep dark secret is that I really don't like the smell.” She does, however, say, “it's really easy to grow,” and recommends “Get plants, and make sure they're a variety that grows well in your climate: extreme cold [like cold New England] requires a particularly hardy variety.”

Many suggest using dried flowers, so Gin says, “Drying lavender is also easy. Just collect the stems with flowers on them and gather them into bunches about an inch or so in diameter, not too many or the moisture can't escape. Wrap a rubber band around the lower end of the stems to hold them together tightly, and hang upside down in a dry spot out of direct sun. The rubber band will contract as the stems dry and get thinner, so they don't fall out of the bunch.”

Although not something Gin would experiment with, “Lavender is edible, both flowers and stems, although for obvious reasons, I've never baked with it. In the book, there's a discussion about adding lavender to the wedding cake, and generally it can be added to any baked good that doesn't have a competing flavor, so you generally see it in white baked goods, like sprinkled on sugar cookies or mixed into scones. There's a recipe for cheesecake bars in the book, and a discussion of adding lavender to that too, but I've never tried it. Lavender can also be made into a tea, technically an infusion, by using the dried flowers in lieu of tea leaves.”

So, are you adventurous? Check out these Evermine—Lavender Projects. My favorite DIY site offers several ideas for lavender fans: Handmade Lavender Soaps, Saturday Sips: London Fog with Lavender, Lavender Bath Melts, Lavender Fire Starter Bundles, Lavender Bath Salts, English Lavender Linen Sachets, DIY Home: Lavender Linen Water, Lavender Oatmeal Tub Tea, and Lavender Sachets.

At allrecipes Angela Davis states “I’m totally addicted to using lavender as flavoring. If you think it sounds weird, may I suggest not knocking it, like I did, until you try it.”

Lavender Lemon Bars

Servings: 24 bars 


2 cups white sugar

2 teaspoons dried lavender buds

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/4 cup virgin coconut oil, softened

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 dash salt

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

4 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon lemon extract (Optional)

1/2 teaspoon dried lavender buds

1/4 cup confectioners' sugar, for dusting 


1–Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease an 8x12 inch baking dish.

2–Make lavender sugar by blending the sugar and 2 teaspoons lavender buds in a blender; blend until the lavender is powdered.

3–Blend together with an electric mixer 1/4 cup of the lavender sugar, butter, coconut oil, 2 cups flour, and salt in a bowl until a dough forms; press into the bottom of the prepared dish.

4–Bake in the preheated oven until the top begins to turn golden brown; about 15 minutes.

5–While the dough bakes, mix together the remaining lavender sugar, 1/4 cup flour, eggs, lemon juice, lemon extract, and 1/2 teaspoon lavender buds; pour over the baked crust and return to the oven to bake until the center is set, about 20 minutes. Allow to cool completely and dust with confectioners' sugar before serving.

To enter to win an ebook copy of Laid Out in Lavender, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line "lavender,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen April 17, 2021. US residents only and you must be 18 or older to enter. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section in Kings River Life and in our mystery category here on KRL News & Reviews. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. And check out our new mystery podcast which features mystery short stories and first chapters read by local actors! A new episode goes up next week.

You can use this link to purchase the book. If you have adblocker on you may not be able to see the Amazon link:

Kathleen Costa is a long-time resident of the Central Valley, and although born in Idaho, she considers herself a “California Girl.” Graduating from CSU-Sacramento, she is a 35+ year veteran teacher having taught in grades 1-8 in schools from Sacramento to Los Angeles to Stockton to Lodi. Currently Kathleen is enjoying her retirement revitalizing hobbies along with exploring writing, reading for pleasure, and spending 24/7 with her husband.


  1. I've been to the Garlic Festival in Gilroy, CA! Count me in!

  2. I read book two a few months ago and loved it! I'd love to win this one! Thanks for the chance! JL_Minter(at)hotmail(dot)com

  3. My cousin has a lavender farm so this sounds really good. Thanks for the contest.

  4. New author to me. Would really like to read the book.

  5. I love anything with lavender in it! Would love to read this book; another new author to me. By the way will try the great recipe.


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