Posted in 2020 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – Better Off Read: A Bookmobile Mystery by Nora Page #Review / #Giveaway @crookedlanebks

On Flashback Fridays I will share with you
the books I was not able to review
when they were first released that have been screaming at me
from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.


Better Off Read: A Bookmobile Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Georgia
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books (May 8, 2018)
Hardcover: 336 pages
ISBN-10: 1683316436
ISBN-13: 978-1683316435
Kindle ASIN: B075QJRD2J

When her best hope of saving her storm-damaged library is found murdered, senior librarian Cleo Watkins hits the road in her bookmobile in search of justice.

Septuagenarian librarian Cleo Watkins won’t be shushed when an upstart young mayor threatens to permanently shelve her tiny town’s storm-damaged library. She takes to her bookmobile, Words on Wheels, to collect allies and rally library support throughout Catalpa Springs, Georgia.

However, Cleo soon rolls into trouble. A major benefactor known for his eccentric DIY projects requests all available books on getting away with murder. He’s no Georgia peach, and Cleo wonders if she should worry about his plans. She knows she should when she discovers him bludgeoned and evidence points to her best friend, Mary-Rose Garland.

Sure of Mary-Rose’s innocence, Cleo applies her librarian’s sleuthing skills to the case, assisted by friends, family, and the dapper antiquarian bookseller everyone keeps calling her boyfriend. Evidence stacks up, but a killer is overdue to strike again. With lives and her library on the line, Cleo must shift into high gear to close the book on murder in Better Off Read, the charming Bookmobile series debut by Nora Page.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

In Better Off Read we meet Cleo Watkins. She is a Septuagenarian librarian trying to save her library after recent storm damage. While waiting on repairs she and her Persian cat Rhett Butler have pressed the library’s old bookmobile, Words on Wheels, into greater service to reach all her patrons. While delivering some questionable books to one of the library’s major benefactors, Buford Krandall, she finds him dead on the floor surrounded by books Cleo had delivered to him recently. She was really hoping he would help her convince the town’s mayor, Jebson Day, that the library was an important piece of the community. He has plans to shudder the library and invest the money to build an enormous fishing pier to draw professional fishermen to the area and she just can’t fathom her town without a library.

Cleo sees all the evidence and knows her grandson Ollie, and best friend, Mary-Rose Garland could be in trouble.  She enlists the help of antiquarian bookseller Henry Lafayette and his pug, Mr. Chaucer to help her check out other suspects and find the real killer and get them booked and behind bars. And oh, she is also going to do everything she can to save her library too.

____

I was a fan of Cleo Watkins before I had read the first quarter of the book. She is a smart spunky senior citizen with plenty of energy to do whatever she sets her mind to whether it be delivering books in the bookmobile, finding support to help her save her library, or tracking down a killer. Even when it looks like the murderer has set their sights on taking her down she doesn’t give up. It pushes her even more. She is driven to clear her grandson and her BFF. We meet several residents of Catalpa Springs as she travels around trying to hone in on who could have killed Buford. I enjoyed meeting her “gentleman friend” Henry. He is very supportive of her endeavors and a great help to her. His pug and Cleo’s cat also stole my heart quickly. All the characters were interesting but I think we just scratched the surface on their stories.

Ms. Page really twists things up in the plot of this mystery. My personal list of suspects was way off the mark. Following Cleo and her friends as they snoop out clues was fun and entertaining. At times it was laugh out loud funny. In the end, I was surprised by the conclusion of the story and that was absolutely great. The author had me fall for every little misdirection she had plotted.

Cleo Watkins is a treasure. Her passion for books just shines within these pages. She made this book a pure delight to read. Better Off Read is an excellent start for this series.  I will be reading book two in this series, Read On Arrival soon.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Nora Page enjoys rainy weather, the perfect biscuit, and quiet evenings in with her husband and cat. You can often find her in the company of books.

I am giving away 1 Kindle copy!
The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

Add this book to your WANT TO READ shelf on GoodReads
for 3 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

If you share the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will
receive 5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End January 22, 2021, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

 
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Posted in 2020 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Finish The Series Challenge New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Chilled to the Cone: A Bakeshop Mystery by Ellie Alexander #Review @StMartinsPress @BakeshopMystery


Chilled to the Cone: A Bakeshop Mystery
Cozy Mystery
12th in Series
Setting – Oregon
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks (December 29, 2020)
Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-10: 1250214386
ISBN-13: 978-1250214386
Kindle ASIN: B089RZS1NJ

Pastry chef and amateur sleuth Juliet Capshaw finds herself on thin ice as she attempts to solve her latest case of small-town murder in Ellie Alexander’s Chilled to the Cone: A Bakeshop Mystery.

The deep freeze has thawed in Ashland, Oregon and Torte is gearing up for a busy spring. When a surprise opportunity to launch a pop-up ice cream shop comes her way, Jules jumps at the chance to showcase Torte’s signature iced drinks and cold custards. But selling the desserts of her dreams comes at a price. . .and, before she knows it, Jules’s life swirls into a nightmare. One of the town’s most colorful characters, a street performer known for wearing capes and a cone-shaped hat, turns up dead just as Torte 2.0 is set to open its doors. Can Jules get the scoop on what happened to “The Wizard” of Ashland before her new business venture reaches a chilling conclusion?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Torte is growing again. This time across town in a pop-up space. Scoops will feature Torte’s signature iced drinks and frozen concrete custards as Andy and Sterling take their delicious creations to the new venue. The place needs some updating but the Torte crew is up to the task. That is until The Wizard, one of Ashland’s colorful characters known for his cape and cone-shaped hat, usually seen riding his bike is killed near the new pop-up shop.  The murder gives Jules the chills but with a little help, she is confident she can take the killer down.


I am so excited that I finally got all caught up on this series and was able to read this book the day it was released.

Chilled to the Cone takes us back to Ashland as the busy season is about to take off. All the characters I have come to love are back and Spring seems to be a time of romance for several. I was pleased to see Carlos in town and that he and Jules are working on their relationship. It has reached the time for them to make some hard decisions. I also enjoyed how Andy and Sterling are growing in their jobs at Torte. The way Jules and her mom encourage their employees is really satisfying. The staff truly is an extended family and each person is valued for their unique talents and personalities. Lance and Jules continue to lean on each other and join in a little sleuthing. They are a fun team. All the characters have really grown over the course of the series in realistic ways but there’s still room for future growth.

Ms. Alexander gives readers a nice mystery with plenty of suspects and twists and turns. Several characters were involved in trying to solve the murder. The killer was at the top of my personal suspect list but the motive didn’t completely lock in until the very end. They shared the spotlight with a couple of other viable individuals but this person never fell from my top spot. The way the mystery played out was very exciting and I was totally engaged from beginning to end.

The story was very well-plotted. The author takes on a theme of homelessness and mental illness in a way to bring awareness without detracting from the mystery.

As usual, the author tempts our taste buds with several food and drink descriptions. Thankfully we have a Culver’s here in town so I could satisfy my custard cravings with one of their concrete mixers. They have a wide variety of flavors but none as creative as Sterling’s.

Chilled to the Cone is a delightful addition to the Bakeshop Mystery Series. Ellie Alexander never disappoints. Her characters draw you in and the mysteries hold on tight.

The bad thing about being all caught up on this series is that I now have to wait for the next story to be released. Mocha, She Wrote will be released on June 29, 2021. But the author does have another series for me to investigate. The Sloan Krause Mysteries will be headed to my Kindle soon. 

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Ellie Alexander (aka Kate Dyer-Seeley), author of the Bakeshop Mystery Series (St. Martin’s Press), is a Pacific Northwest native who spends ample time testing pastry recipes in her home kitchen or at one of the many famed coffeehouses nearby. When she’s not coated in flour, you’ll find her outside exploring hiking trails and trying to burn off calories consumed in the name of research.

Author Links –  Facebook     Twitter      Instagram    GoodReads


Coming June 29, 2021
Also by Ellie Alexander

Written as Kate Dyer-Seeley

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Posted in 2020 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Finish The Series Challenge New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Nothing Bundt Trouble: A Bakeshop Mystery by Ellie Alexander #Review @StMartinsPress @BakeshopMystery


Nothing Bundt Trouble: A Bakeshop Mystery
Cozy Mystery
11th in Series
Setting – Oregon
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks (June 30, 2020)
Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-10: 125021436X
ISBN-13: 978-1250214362
Kindle ASIN: B082RT7Z6S

This time, Torte’s pastry chef and amateur sleuth finds herself coming out of the oven and straight into the fire in Ellie Alexander’s Nothing Bundt Trouble: A Bakeshop Mystery.

Spring has sprung in Ashland, Oregon, and everything at Torte seems to be coming up buttercream roses. But just when Juliet Capshaw seems to have found her sweet spot—with her staff set to handle the influx of tourists for this year’s Shakespeare festival while she moves back into her childhood home—things take a dramatic turn. Jules discovers a long-forgotten dossier in her deceased father’s belongings that details one of the most controversial cases in Ashland’s history: a hit-and-run accident from the 1980s. Or was it?

Now it’s up to Jules to parse through a whole new world of details from another era, from unraveling cassette tapes to recipes for Bundt cakes, before an old enemy brings the Capshaw “pastry case” to a modern-day dead end.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Spring in Ashland means Juliet Capshaw is getting settled in her childhood home that was given to her by her mother and the Professor after they moved into their new home. While going through boxes in the basement she finds her father’s journal detailing a time in the ’80s when he assisted the Professor on his first case. A hit and run death of a young actor. Juliet’s parents had recently opened Torte and they had taken on a side job provided desserts for a new dinner theatre. This brings her dad into contact with all the players, one of which could be a killer.

Juliet is excited to read the journal after losing her dad all those years ago but is surprised the case had not been solved. After going over the case with her step-dad she decides to ask Lance to help her revisit the suspects and the evidence to try to solve the cold case.


After reading the first ten books in this series we have gotten to know Juliet and her mom quite well. Now we get to travel back in time to get to know Will Capshaw. We also see how much the city of Ashland has changed and the things that have stayed the same. With the journal, the author takes an interesting approach entwining the past and present with a focus on the same mystery.  I really liked the time Doug, aka The Professor, and Jules took reading the journal together. Her father’s words were not only focused on the murder case but expressed the love he had for his wife and their daughter. We learn that Jules is so much like her dad. She has always been inquisitive and curious about what happens around her. The apple did not fall far from the tree. For her to pick up the unsolved case made perfect sense.

In the present times, the staff at Torte are also planning a 1980’s themed dinner complete with costumes, a disco mirror ball, music, and recipes including the pineapple inside down cake that was served in many households including mine back in the day. All the ’80’s references brought back a ton of memories, like the mirror ball my graduating class purchased for our school prom, along with the crazy clothes and hairstyles. What a delightful trip back in time.

Nothing Bundt Trouble is a unique story that tugged on my heartstrings. This series features some of my favorite cozy characters. It was a real treat to get to know Helen, Jules, Doug, and finally Will’s stories from the past. It makes them more complete. The love story between Helen and Will just shines. Thank you, Ms. Alexander for writing this book. I loved it.



Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Ellie Alexander (aka Kate Dyer-Seeley), author of the Bakeshop Mystery Series (St. Martin’s Press), is a Pacific Northwest native who spends ample time testing pastry recipes in her home kitchen or at one of the many famed coffeehouses nearby. When she’s not coated in flour, you’ll find her outside exploring hiking trails and trying to burn off calories consumed in the name of research.

Author Links –  Facebook     Twitter      Instagram    GoodReads


Chilled to the Cone
was released yesterday!

Coming June 29, 2021
Also by Ellie Alexander

Written as Kate Dyer-Seeley
*This book was from my private collection. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
Posted in 2020 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Absence of Alice (A Sarah W. Garage Sale Mystery) by Sherry Harris #Review @KensingtonBooks @SHarrisAuthor

Absence of Alice is Available Today!!!


Absence of Alice (A Sarah W. Garage Sale Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
9th in Series
Setting – Massachusetts
Publisher: Kensington (December 29, 2020)
Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN-10: 1496722531
ISBN-13: 978-1496722539
Kindle ASIN: B086R9N5JR

For bargain hunter extraordinaire Sarah Winston, starting life over in Ellington, Massachusetts, has been a true trash-to-treasure success story, except when there’s a run on dead bodies . . .

Sarah’s latest client, Alice Krandle, is sure she has a fortune in antiques on her hands. She’s already gotten a generous offer for the whole lot before her garage sale has even begun, but she thinks she can earn more with Sarah’s expert help. The problem is that while Sarah’s sorting through items from decades past, her landlady, Stella, faces a clear and present danger.

Stella’s kidnapper has contacted Sarah with a set of instructions, and “Don’t call the police” is at the top of the list.  But they didn’t say anything about Sarah’s friend Harriet—who happens to be a former FBI hostage negotiator . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Sarah Winston is busy with a huge sale, but that takes a backseat when she receives a very important phone call. A call where she learns her landlady and friend Stella Wild has been kidnapped. The caller informs her that she must follow their rules if she ever wants to see Stella again alive and well.

Rule #1 – You can’t go to the police, your friend Seth, or Mike “The Big Cheese” Titone for help.

Rule #2 – You have to go about your daily routine like nothing’s happened. And act natural.

Rule #3 – You’ll complete all the daily tasks I send you while following rules number one and two.

Thankful that the creepy kidnapper had not mentioned her friend Harriet because she just may need her help as a former FBI hostage negotiator to save Stella. The person seems to know all about her life, so now she just needs to figure out how. Keeping secrets from her friends could cost her in the end but she has to do everything she can to find Stella even if it means following the rules to the letter.


Sarah is a strong independent protagonist and she is going to need to be more alert than normal to catch every clue because the people she usually leans on are all off-limits if she wants to save her friend. All the characters were have come to love over the course of this story return but with the exception of Harriet, no one even knows Stella is missing. We do meet a new character too. His presence was questionable at times but I hope he sticks around. All these characters are well-crafted and while the depths of the friendships are tested all their interactions are realistic and believable.

Ms. Harris has written a very complicated mystery with a lot of moving parts. Twists and turns make this a challenging mystery to solve. It had an extra eerie feel as the kidnapper always knew everything. It was a true game of cat and mouse that leads up to an incredibly surprising and exciting reveal.

What I really like is the way the author infuses humor in all the right places to keep the story within the cozy realm. Without it, this could have been a dark heavy mystery.

Absence of Alice kept me totally entertained. I was amazed by how quickly the pages flipped. My visit with Sarah and her friends ended much too soon, I am anxiously awaiting book ten!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Sherry Harris

Sherry Harris is the Agatha Award-nominated author of the Sarah Winston Garage Sale Mystery series and the upcoming Chloe Jackson Sea Glass Saloon mysteries. She is a past president of Sisters in Crime, and a member of the Chesapeake Chapter of Sisters in Crime, the New England Chapter of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and International Thriller Writers.

In her spare time, Sherry loves reading and is a patent-holding inventor. Sherry, her husband, and guard dog Lily are living in northern Virginia until they figure out where they want to move to next.

Author Links – Kensington –  Website  – Facebook 


Also by Sherry Harris

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Posted in 2020 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Literary Escapes New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Undone in Uluru: A Traveler Cozy Mystery by A R Kennedy #Review


Undone in Uluru: A Traveler Cozy Mystery
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Australia
Independently Published (August 25, 2020)
Paperback: 188 pages
ISBN-13: 979-8670382144

Kindle ASIN: B08D7S722B

A missing person + a do-gooder father + a new friend = An adventure in which Naomi finds more than a murderer.

Naomi is off to Australia with her father in her latest vacation. She expects a drama-free trip to Oz with her dependable father. That all ends at check-in when they encounter a young woman searching for her boyfriend. Fellow traveler Daniel drags them into a search for the missing man in the Red Centre. In between sunset tours, daytime hikes, and Vegemite tastings, Naomi wanders ever closer to danger.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Again we are traveling with Naomi. This time she has traveled along with her father who is on a combination business/pleasure trip in Australia. Soon after they arrive they learn a woman’s boyfriend has gone missing. Another traveler encourages Naomi and her dad to join the search. So in addition to checking out the sights, sounds, and foods of Australia, they are on a quest to find the missing man, putting Naomi in danger as she tries to get answers.


This series is unique because Naomi is the only constant character as she travels with a different family member to a different place in each book. The exception to this is phone calls to and from her sister who we met in the first book Sleuth on Safari and her mother who we met in the second book R.I.P. in Reykjavík. This time her father is her traveling companion and they are visiting “the land down under”. The author gives herself a difficult task by introducing readers to a vast new cast in every story. With a book under 200 pages, the characters are more developed than you would expect for a book of this length.

I will never visit Australia so I appreciate the virtual vacay Ms. Kennedy took me on. Interesting facts like there are many ways to die in Uluru without a weapon and Naomi finds that out vividly in her own adventures. I do love the way the author describes all the places Naomi and her dad visit. It was very easy to envision each stop, the hotel, and every spot in between.

I enjoyed the mystery. Naomi and her dad meet Daniel. Daniel appears to be a seasoned traveler, but like everyone else, they come in contact with there is no history. Who can they trust?  They could all be suspects. Many traveled with the missing man. There are not a lot of clear clues but Naomi just can’t let it go especially because Daniel is so determined to get answers. I was kept guessing until the end.

A.R. Kennedy has a great writing style. Her characters are realistic and the story has an excellent flow. She packs a lot into 188 pages.

Undone in Uluru is an excellent addition to this series. I am excited to see where Naomi travels next and who she travels with as I believe she is now out of family members. According to the author’s website Ended in Ein Bokek is “coming soon” so I hope I don’t have to wait too long. 

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

A. R. Kennedy lives in Long Beach, New York, with her two pups. She works hard to put food on the floor for them. As her favorite T-shirt says, ‘I work so my dog can have a better life’. She’s an avid traveler. But don’t worry. While she’s away, her parents dote on their grand-puppies even more than she does. Her writing is a combination of her love of travel, animals, and the journey we all take to find ourselves.

Author Links

Website – Amazon – Facebook –  Twitter –  Goodreads – BookBub 

Coming Soon!

ended in ein bokek.jpg
Ended in Ein Bokek

Also by this Author

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Posted in 2020 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge Read The Printed Word Challenge TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Banana Cream Pie Murder (A Hannah Swensen Mystery) by Joanne Fluke #Review | #Giveaway @KensingtonBooks @JoanneFluke

Banana Cream Pie Murder (A Hannah Swensen Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
21st in Series
Setting – Minnesota
Publisher: Kensington (February 28, 2017)
Hardcover: 368 pages
ISBN-10: 1617732206
ISBN-13: 978-1617732201
Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages
ISBN-10: 1617732222
ISBN-13: 978-1617732225
Kindle ASIN: B01GBAIXD8

New York Times Bestseller: After a glorious honeymoon, baker Hannah Swensen must deal with a ghastly homicide…

A romantic seven-day cruise is the perfect start to bakery owner Hannah Swensen’s marriage. However, with a murder mystery heating up back in Minnesota, it seems the newlywed’s homecoming won’t be as sweet as anticipated.

Hannah’s eager to settle down in Lake Eden and turn domestic daydreams into reality. But then her mother’s neighbor is discovered murdered in the condo downstairs. Victoria Bascomb, once a renowned stage actress, was active in the theater community during her brief appearance in town and made throngs of enemies along the way. Did a random intruder murder the woman as police claim, or was a deadlier scheme at play? As Hannah peels through countless suspects and some new troubles of her own, solving this crime—and living to tell about it—might prove trickier than mixing up the ultimate banana cream pie . . .

Features over a dozen cookie and dessert recipes from The Cookie Jar!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Hannah and Ross are back from their honeymoon cruise just in the nick of time. Her mother is caught up in a murder investigation when she finds her downstairs neighbor dead after hearing a ruckus below. Victoria Bascomb had been very active in the local theater community after her own acting career fizzled. The problem was that she really wasn’t well-liked in Lake Eden and may have had some other enemies before arriving in town. The police believe her death was a random act but Hannah nor her mother believe that is not the case. With a little help from her friends and family, Hannah starts to peel away at the clues and suspects but she may slip up and this could be the last we hear from Hannah Swenson.


I am still adjusting to Hannah choosing Ross over Mike or Norman. The decision has really changed the Hannah I have come to love over the course of this series. The relationship just doesn’t feel comfortable and seems to have zapped a lot of her confidence. At times, she just doesn’t seem happy. She also appears to have become technologically inept. Please, Hannah is a smart woman and would know how to use a smart phone. There are a few other instances where Hannah just comes off as a shell of the woman I have come to love. I hope we get the old Hannah back in future books.

I did like that Hannah’s sister Michelle is back in town. In fact, she is the one that does most of the baking in this book. Dishing up new ideas for breakfast for Hannah and Ross. She is their houseguest while she is visiting. Mike and Norman are also thankfully still around, dropping by to eat mostly but Norman does spend a little sleuthing time with the sisters. Dolores and Doc redecorated most of Ross and Hannah’s home while they were away on their honeymoon cruise. Another thing I don’t think the old Hannah would have been on board with. Dolores finding the body this time allowed her to be in the limelight for a lot of the book.

The mystery itself didn’t take shape until way past the halfway point and for me, it was an easy solve even with the variety of suspects. Hannah did find herself in some dicey situations, and the reveal was very entertaining. The ending of the book was the biggest surprise. A surprise that sets up a cliffhanger. A surprise that may be an answer to my prayers. The next book, Raspberry Danish Murder, is on my To-Be-Read Shelf and I hope to be reading it soon.

Banana Cream Pie is one of my favorites. I can wait to try Hannah’s recipe. There are also about 20 more recipes to try. The recipes are interspersed throughout the book, so my taste buds were tempted the entire way.

Banana Cream Pie Murder was a fun, lighthearted read with plenty of humor. I do enjoy catching up with these characters and am looking forward to another trip to Lake Eden.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

JOANNE FLUKE is the New York Times bestselling author of the Hannah Swensen mysteries, which include Double Fudge Brownie Murder, Blackberry Pie MurderCinnamon Roll Murder, and the book that started it all, Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder. That first installment in the series premiered as Murder, She Baked:  A Chocolate Chip Cookie Mystery on the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Channel. Like Hannah Swensen, Joanne Fluke was born and raised in a small town in rural Minnesota but now lives in Southern California. Please visit her online at www.JoanneFluke.com.



I am giving away 1 Kindle Copy!

The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

Follow Kensington Books on Twitter for 2 Bonus Entries!

LIKE Kensington Publishing on Facebook for 2 Bonus Entries!

Add this book to your WANT TO READ shelf
on GoodReads for 3 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

If you share the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End January 9, 2021, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

Posted in 2020 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Literary Escapes New Release Challenge Purrfect Reading Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

The Malt in Our Stars (A Literary Pub Mystery) by Sarah Fox #Review @KensingtonBooks @TheWriteFox

The Malt in Our Stars (A Literary Pub Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Vermont
Publisher: Kensington (November 24, 2020)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1496718704
ISBN-13: 978-1496718709
Kindle ASIN: B085LTJ164

There’s some shady business in Shady Creek, Vermont, this spring—in the third mystery by USA Today bestselling author Sarah Fox featuring pub owner and amateur sleuth Sadie Coleman . . .

Sadie is delighted to have booked famous romantic suspense novelist Linnea Bliss for an event at The Inkwell, her literary-themed pub, housed in a renovated grist mill. The author and her personal assistant Marcie are staying at Shady Creek Manor, a grand historical hotel that was once a private mansion and is rumored to still hold hidden treasure somewhere within its walls.

But the hotel’s storied past is nothing compared to its tragic present when Marcie plummets to her death from an open window on the third floor. After Sadie discovers signs of a struggle in the room, it’s clear that someone assisted the assistant out the window. But Marcie is new in town—who would have a motive to kill her?

In between pulling pints and naming literary-themed cocktails, Sadie takes it on herself to solve the case, wondering if the crime is connected to the vandalized vehicles of a film crew in town to do a feature on local brewer Grayson Blake, with whom Sadie shares a strong flirtation. Or could the poor woman’s defenestration have anything to do with the legendary treasure? As Shady Creek Manor prepares for a May Day masquerade ball, Sadie is determined to unmask the killer—but when she uncorks a whole lot of trouble, will she meet a bitter end?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Welcome to the Inkwell, a literary-themed pub owned by Sadie Coleman. Sadie is excited to host her first truly literary event, a book signing by famous romantic suspense novelist Linnea Bliss. The author and her assistant are staying nearby at Shady Creek Manor. The former private mansion has quite a history and some people believe there is a treasure hidden somewhere on the premises.

The book signing went great but the next day the author’s assistant falls to her death from a third-floor window at Shady Creek Manor. Sadie had been having lunch with Linnea Bliss and was leaving when she heard the young woman’s screams. Arriving at the scene just after she hits the pavement. Sadie puts on her sleuthing hat and decides to check out the room on the third floor before the police arrive. She knows immediately that fall was no accident. Linnea’s assistant was murdered. They were just visiting Shady Creek, why would anyone want to murder an author’s personal assistant? Sadie is determined to find out. Maybe it has something to do with the film crew from Craft Nation, a reality TV show, in town filming at Grayson Blake’s brewery. Maybe a fan of the author took things to the extreme. Or could it have been someone looking for the hidden treasure?


I love the setting of this series. A pub full of books, a menu full of literary-themed foods and drink, all reached by going over a little footbridge over Shady Creek. It would definitely be my happy place. Growing up my parents owned a tavern so I know the ins and outs. None of us kids wanted to take it over so it was sold but had I thought I could turn it into a place like the Inkwell, I may have changed my mind. Sadie has really taken her theme and ran with it. The food and drink all have names derived from popular books, like the Malt in My Stars.

Sadie is making herself right at home in Shady Creek and her pub appears to be a hit. She has found herself wrapped up in a few murder investigations. Her curious nature is well suited to her amateur sleuthing. The author has surrounded her protagonist with a strong supporting cast. Her Aunt Gilda owns a beauty shop and she keeps her ears open for any gossip that could help Sadie in her endeavors. Sadie leans heavily on her two employees, Damien and Melanie. They know the business and their presence lets Sadie run off to chase down any clues that pop up. Grayson Blake, owner of the Spirit Hill Brewery has really started to grow on Sadie. She gets all flustered around him because she can feel their relationship moving in what could be a romantic direction.

Ms. Fox has entwined two mysteries in this book. They may or may not be related but Sadie finds herself trying to solve both. They both had some nice twists and I enjoyed how they played out. I especially liked that the murder reveal happened at the annual Masquerade Party at the manor. It was the perfect place to unmask a killer. There were plenty of clues sparsed out throughout the book but I must have missed something because I was totally surprised when the killer was identified. Or more likely, Sarah Fox wrote a heck of a story that I escaped right into and let Sadie do the hard work. The story was very well-written and plotted and so interesting.

The Malt in Our Stars is a wonderful whodunit. Complex characters, an intriguing mystery, and a fun setting had me totally entertained from beginning to end. I am really looking forward to the next book in this series.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

You can read my review of Wine and Punishment here
and An Ale of Two Cities here

About the Author

Sarah Fox is the author of the Music Lover’s Mystery series and the USA Today bestselling Pancake House Mystery series. When not writing novels or working as a legal writer, she can often be found reading her way through a stack of books or spending time outdoors with her English Springer Spaniel. Sarah lives in British Columbia and is a member of Crime Writers of Canada. Visit her online at AuthorSarahFox.com.


Also by Sarah Fox

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Posted in 2020 Reviews Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways New Release Challenge Read The Printed Word Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday featuring Closely Harbored Secrets (Seaside Café Mysteries) by Bree Baker #Review / #Giveaway @PPPress @BreeBakerBooks

Welcome to Coxy Wednesday!

This book will be released next Tuesday, January 29!


Closely Harbored Secrets (Seaside Café Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Setting – North Carolina
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press (December 29, 2020)
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
ISBN-10: 1728205751
ISBN-13: 978-1728205755
Kindle ASIN: B088P765Z1

In the fifth book of the popular Seaside Café Mysteries, Closely Harbored Secrets, Everly Swan just wants to make Halloween-themed treats and specialty teas for her customers. But when it seems that she’s being haunted by the phantom of a sailor straight out of a ghost story, her plans are capsized. Could this be the bitter end for Everly?

Hitting all the sweet-tea spots, this series is:

    • A delightful Tea Shop and Café Culinary Mystery
    • The ideal cozy beach read
    • Perfect for fans of Laura Childs and Kate Carlisle

It’s almost Halloween, and the small island of Charm, North Carolina is decked out for the festivities. When Everly Swan agrees to close her iced tea shop early to help her aunts host their annual haunted historic walking tour, she expects some good-natured spooks. But the night turns grave when one of the ghostly actors is found dead. To complicate matters, the victim scratched Everly’s name into the ground before she died, making her a key suspect.

The murder mystery heats up when Everly’s potential boo, Detective Grady, takes the case—and he definitely doesn’t want her getting involved. Will their seaside romance be threatened by all the ghostly drama? But when a phantom sailor straight out of local legend starts leaving Everly threatening messages, she has to get involved… With a local election underway, ghosts on the loose, and a search for long-lost buried treasure, Everly can’t help but stir the pot!

INCLUDES DELICIOUS FOOD AND DRINK RECIPES

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Halloween means a big celebration in Charm, North Carolina that includes a haunted walking tour. Clara and Fran Swan have key roles in the event and Everly is providing tea and treats for those attending. The night of the walk Everly joins her aunt’s group to hear ghost stories she has heard repeated several times but her aunt always adds something new. This year the something new is a dead body. Dixie Wetherill was to be playing the part of a local legend but when she misses her cue, a quick search finds Dixie dead with Everly’s name spelled out in the ground beside her.

Detective Grady Hays has to follow the evidence even if that means investigating his girlfriend. But then Everly receives several threatening messages. The messages appear to be from the legendary ghost pirate, The Sandman. Threats that are meant to scare Everly only make her mad and set her off on her own investigation to catch the real killer. Although finding that person just may get her killed . . .


What a wonderfully written spooky mystery!

Charm, North Carolina has a rich history and the stories that have come from that history can be downright chilling, especially on a Halloween Haunted Walking Tour. Ms. Baker paints some eerie pictures with her words. I felt like I was right there to enjoy the event and as the body was found. It was so easy to visualize. Her descriptions throughout the story kept me right there at every scene.

The author also breathes great life into each of her characters and she keeps them busy too. In addition to the Halloween festivities, the mayor’s race is right around the corner and Everly is pulling out all the stops to help her Aunt Fran win. Grady is dealing with some family issues that could create havoc in his already complicated relationship with Everly. Everly is busy concocting new tea drinks and running her shop along with a little home renovation. And then, there is that murder and the threats against Everly that has everyone worried. Bree Baker’s development of all her characters is top-notch.

The mystery is very well-plotted and sets a nice pace that really ratchets up as we get to the big reveal. It was so exciting. Again, the descriptive writing style had me feel like I was watching a movie. I could see all the action so clearly.  I truly was on the edge of my seat and may have even been holding my breath.

This Halloween story was a terrific treat! Closely Harbored Secrets blends a fascinating mystery with fabulous characters. There is a light paranormal element or two and that just adds to the fun. Charm, Blessed Bee, and the Sun, Sand, and Tea are places I can’t wait to visit again.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

You can read my review of No Good Tea Goes Unpunished here, Live and Let Chai here, Tide and Punishment here,
and A Call For Kelp here.

Bree Baker is a Midwestern writer, obsessed with small-town high jinks, sweet tea, and the sea. She’s been telling stories to her family, friends, and strangers for as long as she can remember, and more often than not, those stories feature a warm ocean breeze and a recipe she’s sure to ruin. Now, she’s working on those fancy cooking skills and dreaming up adventures for the Seaside Cafe mysteries. Bree is a member of Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers and the Romance Writers of America. She is represented by Jill Marsal of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency.



I am giving away my Advanced Review Copy!

The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

Add this book to your WANT TO READ shelf on
GoodReads for 3 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

If you publicize the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End January 6, 2021, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Posted in 2020 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Candy Cane Crime (An Amish Candy Shop Mystery) by Amanda Flower #Review / #Giveaway @KensingtonBooks @aflowerwriter

CANDY CANE CRIME
Candy Cane Crime (An Amish Candy Shop Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
Short Story (Novella)
Setting – Ohio
Publisher: Kensington Books (October 27, 2020)
Print length: 84 pages
ASIN: B08C9DQJVV

A candy-striped caper . . .

Christmas is coming all too quickly for Harvest, Ohio’s famous chocolatier, Bailey King. Thanks to her new cable TV show, her shop has more candy orders than she can handle this holiday season. Fortunately, her beloved Cousin Charlotte is happy to take the Candy Cane Exchange off Bailey’s to-do list. After all, Charlotte has come to Harvest from her conservative home district to find her future outside of her family’s influence. What better way than by taking on the Englisch task of pairing the sweet notes everyone is exchanging with a peppermint treat, just in time for Christmas Eve delivery? But when Charlotte discovers some of those delicious missives are for her, suddenly she’s staking out the festive postbox, hoping to catch her secret admirer in his intriguing tracks . . .

When Charlotte sees something underhanded going on beneath the merrymaking, she enlists the help of Sheriff Deputy Luke Little to find out if her unknown correspondent is none other than the town’s biggest suspect. And the surprising truth about her suitor’s identity has her contemplating leaving her Amish roots behind forever . . .

Recipe Included!

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

Christmas at Swissmen Sweets is a busy time. Online orders are flooding in along with all the people stopping by to pick up goodies for the family celebrations. Chocolatier Bailey King is worried they won’t get all the orders filled especially because she needs to make a quick trip to New York to promote her new cable television show Bailey’s Amish Sweets. Then Margot Rawlings comes into the shop and wants Bailey to handle the Candy Cane Exchange fundraiser she has organized to raise money for new costumes for the Christmas pageant. For one dollar residents can arrange to have a candy cane with a personal note attached for the person of their choice. Swissmen Sweets had already donated a supply of candy canes and Bailey tells Margot she just can’t take on anything more. Margot is a pushy woman and doesn’t understand why Bailey can’t handle getting the notes from the dropbox and attach the notes to the candy canes. Seeing her cousin Bailey stressed out, Charlotte steps up to take on the tasks required.

Charlotte is excited about her new Christmas assignment and visits the dropbox several times a day to collect the notes and the money. She gets flustered when she sees someone, a secret admirer, wants to send her some candy canes. She goes a little crazy wondering who her secret admirer could be. So much so, with a little help, she sets up a stakeout to try to find out who it is. But what she sees is a crime being committed. She talks Sheriff Deputy Luke Little into helping her catch the candy cane criminal in the act. She also learns the identity of her secret admirer.


Another quick trip to Harvest and just in time for the holidays.

I love that Charlotte was featured again in this story. The shy conservative young lady who is still on her extended rumspringa is getting a little more independent each day. She has a huge decision to make and the events that take place in this book are not going to make her decision any easier. I enjoy reading a story from her point of view because she has a unique voice when it comes to the world around her. She has immerged as a very strong character in this series, and I like where the author has taken her. I am excited to see what Charlotte’s future holds for her too.

No murder in Harvest this time though. A crime is uncovered and the mystery of Charlotte’s secret admirer and that was more than enough to keep me totally entertained.

The short novellas that take place between the full-length books are a real treat. There is always something happening in Harvest and this holiday story is a great way to help get people in the Christmas spirit.

Candy Cane Crime is a delightfully lighthearted story fans of this series are sure to love. It also gives new readers of the series a taste of what they have been missing. I recommend the entire Amish Candy Shop Mystery Series highly.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About This Author

Amanda Flower, a two-time Agatha Award-nominated mystery author, started her writing career in elementary school when she read a story she wrote to her sixth-grade class and had the class in stitches with her description of being stuck on the top of a Ferris wheel. She knew at that moment she’d found her calling of making people laugh with her words. She also writes mysteries as national bestselling author Isabella Alan. In addition to being an author, Amanda is an academic librarian for a small college near Cleveland.

Author Links:

Website  Pen Name Website     Facebook    Twitter    Goodreads    Pinterest


Coming April 27, 2021

Also by Amanda Flower
Coming February 23, 2021




Amish Quilt Shop Mystery Series (writing as Isabella Alan)

I am giving away 1 Kindle Copy!
Book will be sent directly from Amazon.

The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

Follow Kensington Books on Twitter for 2 Bonus Entries!

LIKE Kensington Publishing on Facebook for 2 Bonus Entries!

Subscribe to Amanda’s Newsletter for 5 Bonus Entries.

Add this book to your WANT TO READ shelf on GoodReads
for 3 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

If you publicize the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive 5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End January 5, 2021, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Posted in 2020 Reviews You Read How Many Books Challenge

Getting Things Off My Chest Third Edition: A Survivor’s Guide to Staying Fearless and Fabulous in the Face of Breast Cancer by Melanie Young #Review

Getting Things Off My Chest Third Edition:
A Survivor’s Guide to Staying Fearless and Fabulous in the Face of Breast Cancer

General Women’s Health
Publisher: Plain Sight; 3rd edition (August 11, 2020)
Paperback: 264 pages
ISBN-10: 1462138578
ISBN-13: 978-1462138579
Kindle ASIN: B08JZ6PDC7

Charge head-on into the battle with breast cancer, armed with these outstanding survivors’ tips on how to stay sane, focused, and in charge. Written by a breast cancer survivor with expert insights, handy checklists, and helpful questions to ask your doctors, all geared toward streamlining your new life. This detailed, upbeat book helps you make informed decisions, eat and exercise to stay strong, look, and feel your best, eliminate stress and boost your spirits with positive thinking and a dose of humor. Don’t let your cancer control you; empower yourself and ease the transition with this all-inclusive guide. This book is WINNER of the 2014 International Book Award for Cancer Health topics.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Everyone’s breast cancer journey is unique but most of us go numb or are stopped in our tracks when we hear the words, “yes, it’s cancer” When you finally start to wrap your head around your diagnosis you have questions that need to be answered. For many of us, that means getting a book or books on the subject. A survivor’s perspective is always appreciated. It’s funny, I am a book person but that isn’t the route I took at first. Instead, I was Googling everything. Then in September, I was given the opportunity to review this book that was being released to coincide with Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I was recovering from my surgery and set to start my radiation treatments in October and still suffering from “chemo brain” making it hard for me to write coherent reviews. So while late, I still wanted to share with you my thoughts about this book.

Melanie Young is a breast cancer survivor after being diagnosed in August 2009. This is the third edition of her book. She covers everything from “Digesting Your Diagnosis” to “Your Options on Reconstruction” to “Positive Side Effects” and “Making Cancer A Positive Life Sentence”. She shares her story while including insights from many experts.

I found the book to be very well-written and set up in a way that easy to follow even though the author’s path was in a different order than mine. She also did not go through her treatments during a pandemic as I did, but I hope she will address that in her fourth edition. So her account told me how things would have been if 2020 had been a normal year. I found myself getting emotional over the number of times she encouraged leaning on family members and having someone go with you to doctor’s appointments and chemo treatments. After my very first appointment where care was explained, I was on my own. I was so glad to have my daughter with me at that appointment because it was information overload and she knew I was overwhelmed she wrote everything down and asked a ton of questions. Questions the author of this book recommends. Lord, only knows how many important things I missed along the way without back up by my side although the doctors, nurses, and everyone involved in my care was superb and took great care of me.

I really wish I would have had this book at the start of my journey. It is packed full of information. Questions I had were answered in a clear and easy to understand way. I read and reread several chapters over the past couple of months. Ms. Young focuses on the positive way to look at everything in an upbeat way. A way I needed to read when cancer was getting the best of me. Some of the side effects were brutal but I found comfort in her words.

I am so appreciative that this book was presented to me for review. If you or a loved one receive a breast cancer diagnosis get them this book as soon as you can. The positive messages are uplifting and the information is useful and clear. It is an excellent resource that you can read and then refer back to certain sections as needed.

 

About the Author
Hearing the words, “You have breast cancer” is devastating. There is do much to learn and digest…decisions to make!

 

Having an experienced cancer coach help you navigate the journey makes a world of difference and can help alleviate your fears and make you feel confident about the choices you are faced to make.

 

Melanie Young is an 11-year breast cancer survivor, published author, radio host, and certified health coach. She wrote “Getting Things Off My Chest: A Survivor’s Guide To Staying Fearless & Fabulous in the Face of Breast Cancer” from a survivor’s standpoint- with lists of questions and tips on what you need to know and ask every step of the journey. Each chapter also features tips from experts in their fields. This book has been carefully vetted to make sure you have the best and more informed information possible.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”