Thoughts from Jenna Hart by Daryl Wood Gerber

Grilling The SubjectI’m so excited. The Wild West Extravaganza has come to town. The extravaganza will be family-friendly as well as animal-friendly. Yes, there will be rodeo events but no steer wrestling and no bulldogging. There will be horse races, rope jumping, stunt fighting, and more.

As for me, I’m up to my elbows decorating at The Cookbook Nook with the most darling things: gingham aprons, western-themed cookie jars, salt- and peppershakers that look like boots. And you won’t believe the cookbooks I’ve found! For example, one is My Prairie Cookbook written by Melissa Gilbert of Little House on the Prairie fame. Fun, right? I know a bunch of moms in town who were fans of that show, way back when. They’ll love it. I’ve brought in lots of specialty books, too, like a cowboy hat tabletop book and Every Cowgirl Loves a Rodeo.

Did I mention I’m up to my elbows in barbecue sauce and zesty spices, too? Well, actually, Katie, our chef, is, but ribsI’m an official taste tester. You should taste her dry-rub ribs. They’ll be available on the menu all week long. Plus, get this, there’s going to be a food truck event and the café is participating. Katie is making mini sliders. Yum! And an old friend of mine, Shane Maverick, who I worked with at Taylor & Squibb Advertising is now in charge of the event! I hear he makes a dynamite barbecue sauce.

However. . .and yes, there’s a however . . .in addition to all the excitement, I’ve been feeling some heebie-Tiggerjeebies. There’s no other word for it. I feel like I’m being watched. Or the shop is. My sweet ginger cat Tigger doesn’t seem concerned, so I should probably take my cue from him, but I can’t. I think I’m seeing little things, like maybe the glint of binoculars? I know, call me crazy. Who would want to watch me? I live a normal life in a small town on the coast of California. It’s not like I’m spy material. I have no secrets.

On that note, I’m a little worried about my father, too. Not because I feel someone is watching him. It’s because he has an ongoing feud with his neighbor, Sylvia. She owns a jewelry shop called Sterling Sylvia. People from all over the globe come to the shop for special pieces. Usually Sylvia has good taste, but as it turns out, she has none in the house department. She has junked up her house, which sits directly below my dad’s, and now she’s commandeering a piece of land that my father and other neighbors mutually own. Needless to say, tempers are flaring!

Dad’s better half, Lola (she was my mom’s best friend and is like a second mother to me) – anyway, Lola is a voice of reason, and I’m sure she’ll keep Dad and the others in check. They shouldn’t need me to intercede.

At least I hope they won’t. But if they do, you know me, family comes first. Always.

Grilling the Subject is the fifth book in the Cookbook Nook mystery series, published by Penguin Random House, August 2016.

Things heat up for bookstore owner Jenna Hart in the latest Cookbook Nook mystery from the Agatha Award-winning author of Fudging the Books.

As the Wild West Extravaganza rides into Crystal Cove, California, Cookbook Nook store owner Jenna Hart is ready to indulge her appetite for grilled and barbecued treats and maybe even try the Texas skip. But when the body of one of her father’s neighbors is found the next morning smoldering in a bonfire, the rodeo revelry is extinguished.

Sylvia Gump had acquired plenty of enemies with her practice of illegally encroaching on her neighbors’ properties—including Jenna’s dad, who was off fishing by himself and has no alibi for the murder. Now it’s up to Cary Hart’s dutiful daughter to clear his name before the real killer turns up the heat and rakes someone else over the coals. . .

# # # # # # # # # # #

About the author
Agatha Award-winning and nationally bestselling author Daryl Wood Gerber also writes the bestselling Cheese Shop Mysteries as Avery Aames and recently penned her first suspense novel, Girl On The Run.

Fun tidbit: as an actress, Daryl appeared in “Murder, She Wrote“. In addition, she has jumped out of a perfectly good airplane and hitchhiked around Ireland by herself. She absolutely adores Lake Tahoe, where Girl On The Run is set, and she has a frisky Goldendoodle named Sparky.

Visit Daryl at

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of Grilling the Subject plus swags. US and Canadian entries only, please. The giveaway will end August 4, 2016 at 12 AM (midnight) EST. Good luck everyone!

All comments are welcomed.

92 responses to “Thoughts from Jenna Hart by Daryl Wood Gerber

  1. Doward Wilson

    As always, an interesting & informative post. I have just started reading this series, so thanks for the chance to win.

  2. Lynne Moody

    Awesome sounding book ! Would love to have a chance to win 🙂 Great cover , very colorful 🙂 Would be first time reader for this Author . Thank you for a chance to win 🙂

  3. I really enjoy this series. I really like all the characters.

  4. Your review makes me want to read this book! Thanks for a chance to win it!

  5. I wonder who is watching Jenna? Sounds like another great book!. I love BBQ and grilling recipes. Not eligible to win a book, but wanted to comment since I enjoy reading this series.

    • Grace, if you’re from Canada, check out the giveaways from me on my FB author page and on Mystery Lovers Kitchen. Glad you like the series! ~ Daryl

      • Hi Daryl. Yes, I already follow you on FB and I do enter the contests on MLK that are open to Canadians.

  6. Marilyn Watson

    Boy this series sounds really good..and the Cookbook Nook sounds like the kind of place we’d all like to hang out at but if someone is watching then its my kind of cozy…

  7. Linda Herold

    Love cozy mysteries and would love to win a book by Daryl Wood Gerber!!

  8. Jill Broussard

    Sounds like alot of interesting things going on in this book. I’d love to read it! Thankyou for the opportunity!

  9. Beverly Guy

    Oh how adorable the sweet kitty on the cover of this new book in the picnic basket is!!!!! I absolutely love, love, love all of the previous books by Daryl Wood Gerber, and can’t wait to read this one!!! Sounds like a really exciting page-turner mystery!!!! Thank you so much dear Dru and Daryl for the chance to win!!!! God bless you both!!!!

    • Beverly, that’s so sweet of you. I’m glad you’ve enjoyed my previous books. The artist is terrific, isn’t she? She really puts her heart into darling Tigger. ~ Daryl

  10. I always enjoy this series.

  11. Donna Gantt

    I like this series. Thanks for a chance to enter the contest.

  12. Gail Arnold

    I haven’t started this series yet – too many books, too little time – but would love to win and get to reading it!

  13. I really enjoy this series.

  14. Patty Allen

    Who doesn’t love grilling and this author, book sounds great. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.

  15. Lois Rotella

    Love this series. Thanks for a chance to win.

  16. Love, love, love the cover!

  17. A delightful series and wonderful giveaway. Thanks.

  18. Looking forward to reading Daryl’s latest book.

  19. elainehroberson

    A great series. Thanks for a chance to win a copy.

  20. Hi Dru, I’d love to win this book to keep my collection of the series complete. So toss my name into the magic hat please.

  21. Barbara Hackel

    Hard to believe this is the 5th book in the series! It is a fun series but I think I gain weight reading every book! I especially love the covers-and this one is no exception! 🙂 Thanks Dru Ann for today’s blog. I can’t wait to read this! Thanks to Daryl for the chance to win a copy of this new book. 🙂

    • Barbara, I know. 5 already. Time flies when you’re having fun reading. I, too, love the covers. I’ve been blessed with Teresa Fasolino, the artist. ~ Daryl (PS She does Krista Davis’s covers, too.)

  22. Mary Jane H.

    This is a fun series! Can’t wait to read this new one.

  23. Great post. Does look like a great read. So am hoping it will be sooner. Rather than later. Thanks for a chance to do so

  24. I can’t wait! I love this series and wait patiently for the next book every time I finish a book! Thanks for the chance to win Daryl!

  25. One of my fave authors….love her work. Thanks for the chance!

  26. I love this series! The western theme is great.

    • CJ, I do try to put in fun themes to each book. I think someone mentioned it above, but Fudging the Books featured pirate week, Stirring the Plot was Halloween. It keeps my mind active and the research for cookbooks and food recipes is delicious. ~ Daryl


  28. What a fun theme: western. Can’t wait to read this new addition!

  29. Would love a chance to win. How fun that she was on Murder, She Wrote!


    I love to grill. What a fun topic to include in a story. I had not heard of this series saw the give away on Twitter and came over to check it out. I hope to win and I can catch up on the series.

    • Kimberly, welcome from Twitter. I love how that site can capture new readers. I hope you enjoy the series. This is the 5th in the Cookbook Nook Mysteries. ~ Daryl

  31. Looking forward to reading this book. Love the author!

  32. Dianne Mossor

    I love this series. Have not read the new one yet, looking forward to it.

  33. I love this series, between the Cookbook Nook and all the interesting events that come to town, what’s not to love…the only drawback is that I get extremely hungry reading them. LOL

    • Debbie, I’m so SORRY (not) that I make you hungry. I’m glad to hear that the recipes and mention of food (or cookbooks) whets your appetite. I get the same way writing it, and then I have to reread it, edit it, and well, needless to say, I’m always hungry! LOL ~ Daryl

  34. Christi King

    The Cookbook Nook series is one of my favorites…I can’t wait to read this book! cking78503(at)aol(dot)com.

  35. A great series. This will undoubtedly be a fine addition.

  36. This is a great series and I can’t wait to read the new book. Also looking forward to see what kind of recipes are in the book.

  37. Vicki Highley

    One of my favorite authors. Would love a signed copy.

  38. Looks like a great book! Adding this book to my TBR list.

  39. Haven’t started the series yet. I’m so behind. Your books sound wonderful. Thanks for the chance.

    • Mari, you can read each book as a standalone, but I happen to like reading series from the beginning, so I know all the character’s life stories. 🙂 ~ Daryl

  40. wendynewcomb

    Sounds delicious! Thank you for the chance to win a copy.

    wfnren at aol dot com

  41. I love that Tigger! Thanks for writing another book that I’m sure I’ll enjoy.

  42. southernracer

    Seems I just cannot get my comments to stick. Tigger should come over for a play day.

  43. Susan Slovinsky

    One of my favorite series. Looking forward to reading this one.

  44. Love, love this series. So glad to have another book to read in the series. Thanks for the chance to win.

  45. Lois Rotella

    Wonderful series to get totally engrossed in. Also love the recipes.

  46. I have two books in the series.