"Dessert is the Bomb" By Catherine Bruns: Review/Giveaway/Recipe

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.

Cookies with the Chance of Murder

Sally Muccio has had quite the life over her thirty-two years, sprinkled with a bit a karma’s blessing, from a high school prom misunderstanding leading to an “rebound” marriage, divorce, and returning home to open up Sally’s Samples cookie shop with her long-time BFF Josie Sullivan instigating a reunion, an explanation, forgiveness, dating, marriage, and motherhood. Whew! Although Sally Muccio Donovan is now enjoying many perks in her life with a successful business celebrating its fourth year known for its “unusual and a bit eerie” fortune cookies, a delightful daughter aptly nicknamed “Cookie,” and a loving husband, loyal friends, and quirky family as loving support, she has had the occasional run in with the law. She can’t seem to stay away from discovering dead bodies, some of which have entangled her and her friends in disturbing accusations and personal peril, but her nosy nature and self-preservation, especially when it is to avoid any resulting consequences, has proven to be helpful interference.

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Image Source Gemma Halliday Publishing
Dessert is the Bomb
Earns 5/5 Exploding Chocolate Bombs…Clever Fun!

For four years, Sally’s Samples has experienced some profitable ups and deadly downs, and except for the occasional customer taking exception to the quirky fortunes in the fortune cookies they give away, the business is currently enjoying an “up” in popularity. But, what goes up, unfortunately, is destined to come down. Case in point: a competing bakery is opening up across the street. The new bakery, It’s the Bomb, specializes in cake “bombs,” and owner Celeste Delgado makes sure to note with a snarky introduction and veiled threat, she includes cookies on her menu. Sally cringes, but it’s Josie dropping a “bomb to blow the place sky high” threat that will haunt them both. Trying to focus just on their own business is difficult when Delgado shows up at their Halloween catering gig for Muccio’s Mortuary, Sally’s father’s business. She arrives to pick up the mortuary’s hearse she rented for her Halloween marketing stunt. All falls apart with Delgado’s dessert pun, Josie’s threatening response, and an ominous retort when Sally questioned why Celeste is bent on destroying her and the Muccio clan. Karma intervenes and makes sure Celeste misses the treat and gets the trick with a big Ka-Boom!

Entertainment Explosion! Catherine Bruns has “exploded” with creativity, still fresh, in the eleventh book of her Cookies & Chance Mystery series again with karma as the head baker of just desserts! The intricately developed mystery reveals business competitor turned vengeful adversary with the victim insinuating a serious grudge against the Muccio family. Josie has a hard time defending her threats and explaining her suspicions about Delgado’s bakery products, and although Sally’s amateur, but experienced, investigative style has been effective, she and Josie are now dealing with an antagonistic and uncooperative detective in charge quick to close the case on them! There are other suspects closer to the victim needing scrutiny—an ex-husband, a sister, culinary schoolmate, and former fiancé—and with family offering entertaining assistance, insights, and advice, the drama is turns into a family event. Engaging! The diverse characters, of course, make the series, and even though the family dynamic is quirky, frustrating, and humorous, they are an endearing “got your back” clan. However, when is karma going to bake up some just desserts for Nicoletta Gavelli who throws more than her share of distasteful snark into the situation rivaling any literary curmudgeon with her negativity and complaints? Excellent story…must not miss!

Bonus! Catherine Bruns always includes a few recipes to enrich the reading experience, and often the ones she chooses have a direct link to the story. Anyone want a Chocolate Smash Bomb? Delicious! Also, undoubtedly from the Sally’s Samples’ kitchen is Pumpkin Spice Cookies and Butterscotch Cookies, and Cannoli Pancakes from Grandma Rose. Mangia!

Be a Big Catherine Bruns Fan!

USA Today bestselling author Catherine Bruns pens many of my favorite cozy series that true cozy fans should not miss. From Gemma Halliday Publishing there are her eleven-book Cookies & Chance Mystery series with the cryptic messages found in her fortune cookies, the three book Cindy York Mystery illustrating the murderous side of real estate, and the two-book Carrie Jorgenson series in the Aloha Lagoon Mystery multi-author collection giving us a delightful Hawaiian setting. She also has her new soon-to-be three-book Italian Chef Mysteries series with Poisoned Pen Press. Something for every cozy interest and many with easy-to-follow recipes!

Facebook—Catherine Bruns Books

Website—Catherine Bruns

Newsletter Sign Up—CatherineBruns Receive a bonus short story from the Cookie & Chance series: Prequel Formals, Fortune Cookies & Fraud

Trick or Treat…or Fortune!

Fortune cookies need not be relegated to only at the end of your Chinese take-out meal or for Chinese New Year. Add some fun to your Halloween party with delightful “spooky” fortunes [“Frankenstein says, “Give your heart, and you’ll get something good in return.”] inside varying shades of orange-colored treats dipped in chocolate or sprinkled with candy confetti. How festive!

Fortune Cookies

With permission from Catherine Bruns

Excerpt from: Tastes Like Murder, Gemma Halliday Publishing


2 large egg whites

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup flour

Typed or handwritten fortunes – Make at least two inches long so that you can see where they are when the cookie is folded.

Orange food coloring

Approximately 4 ounces chocolate chips for dipping – Toll House, Reese’s, or Heath-flavored, whichever you prefer.

Halloween-themed Sprinkles (optional)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and grease a metal cookie sheet. In a medium sized bowl, stir together egg whites, vanilla, cinnamon, flour, and sugar. The batter should be very loose. If not, feel free to add a few drops of water.

Scoop about a tablespoon of batter and pour onto the cookie sheet in a circle. Use the back of a spoon to smooth the circle out and make a thin layer to form a medium sized cookie. Only bake a couple of cookies at a time since they harden quickly upon removal from the oven. Bake cookies for about 6-8 minutes, only until the edges begin to brown.

Remove the cookies from the oven. Then use a thin spatula to remove them from the tray. Immediately place the fortunes in the center and fold the cookie in half. Pinch the open edges inward and together to create the fortune cookie shape. Cookies harden instantly after they are formed, so you want to try to get this right the first time.

After all cookies have been baked and shaped, melt the entire amount of chips in the microwave for about 30 seconds on medium heat. Afterward, dunk the rounded edge of the cooled cookies into the chocolate. Immediately roll in sprinkles, and let harden. Place on parchment paper. Makes about one dozen cookies.

To enter to win an ebook copy of Dessert is the Bomb, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line "bomb,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen October 23, 2021. US residents only and you must be 18 or older to enter. If entering via comment please include your email address so we can contact you. . 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.
Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. Catherine Bruns is a good author! Count me in!

  2. New series to me. Would like to read.

  3. New series to me. Would like to read.

  4. Thank you for the insight into Catherine's book, Dessert Is The Bomb. It has been loaded onto
    my need to read list. If this book is as good as previous books she has written, I am sure it will
    be entertaining.


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