Series Book Review: Promises to Keep by Delia Brendan

Title: Undercover    undercover
Author: Delia Brendan

Pearl Waterman, co-owner of the My My Cupcake bakery, believes that if she knows anything, it’s love and cupcakes. So when her matchmaking ability is challenged, she agrees to an outlandishly risky bet. Equipped with overconfidence and a healthy dose of delusion, she sets out to prove her matchmaking abilities by finding Becky Adams the love of her life.

Using twenty-first century technology with her nineteenth century romantic sensibilities, Pearl lands in the middle of a very real FBI investigation. Special Agent Michael Hanson is so desperate to resurrect his career that he accepts a no-win case complete with two wayward young agents. As the crime spree gains momentum, his chance of succeeding hinges on enlisting the help of a beautiful and smart police sergeant with an agenda of her own.

As their paths mix together, will this become a recipe for disaster or will Hanson and Pearl solve it before they both get burned?
Title: Promises To Keep                                      .                                                                  Amazon                                                                      .                                                                .    
Dandelion Police Sergeant Nina Markov has never been happier since meeting FBI Special Agent Michael Hanson. However, a fairy tale ending for the pair doesn’t seem to be in the cards, as time is running out in her quest to find Russian mobster, Pavel Ivanovich—the man who has stolen a priceless family heirloom.


When Nina’s carefully lain trap for him catches his underling instead, she realizes that her only chance is to make him fall in love with her and then use him to reach Pavel.


For a recipe this convoluted, Nina is going to need the assistance of cupcake baker and misguided matchmaker, Pearl Waterman.


In the second book of the Dandelion Romantic Mystery series, Nina has to decide how far she’ll go to keep her promises, retrieve the last connection to her family, and try not to lose the only man she’s ever loved in the process.


My Rating:

4.5 hearts


Favorite Quotes:

Book 1 Undercover:

“Matchmaking is my special gift, although I use it sparingly.  There are only so many hours in the day.  However, some situations are so dire that one has literally no choice but to make the time.”

“Over the years, he’d found many effective tips for dealing with his mother in various FBI manuals regarding hostage negotiations.”

“I tried to send an SOS message telepathically to Shirley, who stood at the register counting change in the till as if the coins were rare artifacts.”

“If someone went into her house, I was positive they’d find Hansel and Gretel, and possibly Jimmy Hoffa.”

Book 2 Promises To Keep:

“Pearl’s cheeks were flushed and her eyes were glittering.  Nina knew these signs.  Peal was in ‘matchmaker mode.’  Experience – as well as a filing cabinet dedicated to her at the police station – could attest that this was a dangerous thing.”

“She’d scoured the county for the best craftsmen, hired them, and then, much to their chagrin, expected timely, exemplary results.”


My Review:

They was not at all what I was expecting but I enjoyed these cleverly written books.  I frequently smiled and even chuckled aloud a few times at the word play and crafty humor.  Ms. Brendan adroitly captures the nuances of small town living – including the snoopiness and gossiping nature of not just women but men, petty jealousies, and arrogance – and does so in a humorous and highly entertaining manner.  The heroine of  Book 1, Pearl, optimistically fancies herself as an infallible matchmaker and visionary, who can instinctively envision the tragic pasts holding back those she sees in need of her “special attention” and expert guidance in love.  Guidance, that of course, only she is capable of providing.  Pearl has such an active imagination and becomes so deeply invested in her scenarios that she has caused more than a few mishaps and subsequent arrests with her antics and meddling, which she shrugs off as harmless misunderstandings.  This book is tame and could be read by my elderly mother and her Sunday School book club set, yet is entertaining enough to hold the attention of a more worldly and jaded character such as myself.  I personally would categorize this as a cozy mystery and would not call this a romance by any stretch, despite the fact that Pearl’s best intentions of matchmaking would hope to lead us in that direction.

Book 2 holds more adventure and drama than Book 1, but has the same clever and smart humor.  Ms. Brendan maintained her level of writing excellence and brought back her interesting cast of oddball, idiosyncratic, lovable small town characters, and has also added in some romantic elements, odd and unexplainable occurrences, and actual criminals this time.  The main characters in this installment are the younger set from the previous book, which allows more romance and adventure, although my favorite matchmaker, the beloved Pearl, is still a feature, and effortlessly causing trouble, as only she can.  I do believe I am addicted.

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Author Bio:

 Delia Brendan was born and raised in Washington state. She graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi. She has been writing about the adventures of the people in Dandelion, Washington, since 2013.


She is married to writer Sean Brendan Brown and they live in Olympia with a very gray, fat little beagle named Katie



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