My name is Ardis and I am an avid reader and budding writer. I want to share my love of books with others. I work with kids and am interested in finding and creating books that will ignite the reader in everyone. Contact me at: ardis.atkins@gmail.com

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Thursday, January 5, 2017

ARC Review: The Elusive Elixir by Gigi Pandian

Please Note:  I received an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  This did not influence the opinions of my review in any way.

Synopsis (From GoodReads):
Dorian Robert-Houdin, the three-and-a-half-foot gargoyle chef who fancies himself a modern-day Poirot, is slowly turning into stone, and it’s up to Zoe Faust to unravel the alchemical secrets that can save him. When they discover that a long-lost stone gargoyle with a connection to Dorian has reappeared in Europe, the stakes are even higher. From Portland to Paris, Zoe searches for the hidden knowledge she needs, but a cold case that harkens back to 1942 throws her off course. With an ailing friend desperately trying to discover his own elixir of life and a new romantic interest offering the first chance at love she’s had in nearly a century, Zoe is torn between a dangerous form of alchemy and her desire for a safer life.

 When I saw the description for this book (mystery, cooking, gargoyles!) I immediately got excited.  I am really starting to enjoy mysteries, lately, and this book satisfied that craving.  This is the third book in this series.  Even without reading the other two books, I was able to dive right in and enjoy this book.

What I Liked:
I really liked the character of the gargoyle, Dorian.  He realizes his life may be short, but he uses it to cook and care for others.  He is searching for his own Elixir of Life, and finding meaning in providing beautiful, healthy meals for several characters in the book.  This is a wonderful reminder that a life well-lived can take many forms.

Other memorable characters are teenager Brixton, Blue Sky (who runs the tea shop and has a shady past), and Max (Zoe's policeman boyfriend).  These characters created a community atmosphere that I found charming.

The book is set in Portland, Oregon and it makes me want to visit this beautiful oasis (I also happen to have relatives who live there now, so yes, I'm partial).  The author describes a city with abundant farmers markets filled with fresh produce, and other places to buy exotic spices and salts to flavor Zoe and Dorian's scrumptious cuisine.

Vegan Food:
My daughter is a vegetarian, not a vegan.  I have always considered vegan food to be too restrictive (how could I possibly live without eggs and cheese?), but as Zoe describes the food Dorian prepares for her, I can see that she is not depriving herself of anything.  I appreciated that while the character was a vegan, she didn't get preachy about it.  An added bonus was the recipes in the back of this book that looked amazing!!!

What I Was Mixed About:
It was strange to me that I was apathetic towards the main character in the story.  I think it is because, as the story is told in the first person, it is hard to see if Zoe has any faults.  She seemed a little too perfect.  Yes, she made mistakes and assumptions that came back to bite her at the end of the story.  But she didn't seem to have any traits that needed improving.  Usually the main character changes over the story, but I didn't see any transformation in Zoe other than needing to be more careful in the future about trusting others.

Despite this, it is a fun book that has a lot of yummy recipes and a mystery that brings the characters from Paris to Portland, and back.  It satisfied my appetite for mystery, and romance, and left me wanting to read more of this series in the future.





Release Date:  January 8th, 2017

Genre:  Contemporary Mystery

Source:  NetGalley

Format:  ARC E-Book

Recommendation:  If you enjoy mysteries, this will be a fun series to follow.
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