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

#FlashbackFriday – The Worst Noel (The Juniper Junction Holiday Mystery Series) by Amy M. Reade #Review / #Giveaway

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.

The Worst Noel
(The Juniper Junction Holiday Mystery Series)

Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Colorado
Publisher: Pau Hana Publishing (August 31, 2018)
Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 1732690707
ISBN-13: 978-1732690707
Kindle ASIN: B07GZ67Q99

Christmas is supposed to be a time of peace, love, and joy, but for Lilly Carlsen, this Christmas is murder.

As a single mom, small business owner, and president of the local Chamber of Commerce, the last thing she needs is to find a dead body on the floor of her jewelry shop on the busiest shopping day of the year. And as if that isn’t enough, Lilly has to deal with a deadbeat ex-husband, a mother with declining mental health, and two teenagers.

But when a second body turns up, Lilly finds herself squarely in the crosshairs of suspicion. Can she figure out who killed the victims before she becomes one herself? And will her family’s Christmas be merry…or scary?

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

Lily Carlsen has made a good life for herself and her teenagers, Laurel and Tighe after her ex decided years ago that family life wasn’t for him. Her brother Bill is a police officer in town and they both watch over their mother who lives down the street from Lily. The kids are a big help too as the tentacles of dementia start to take control of their grandmother. The family also has a lovable pup named Barney.

Lilly owns the local jewelry store and is president of the Chamber of Commerce. She works long hours but has raised some really good kids.  She has been getting ready for the holiday rush and is excited about the Black Friday shoppers But when she arrives at her store she finds the back door unlocked and as she ventures inside notices the vault is open and a dead body on the showroom floor. The body belongs to a woman Lilly has a history with through the chamber. So even with a brother on the force, she finds herself a suspect in the woman’s murder.

A few days later another body is found, again someone Lilly was seen arguing with. Add to that, her ex shows up and wants to meet his kids. Kids he hasn’t seen since they were babies. Lilly has her hands full but when the killer gets too close for comfort she knows she has to step things up before she becomes the next dead body found.


I was familiar with Amy M. Reade but only knew about her gothic novels which really aren’t my cup of tea, but then I found this series and grabbed The Worst Noel to read this holiday season and I am so happy that I did. I was drawn to Lilly and her family immediately. They felt real, true to life dealing with issues many families deal with. Of course, then you throw in a dead body or two, and Lilly’s story gets very interesting. For the first book in the series, the characters are very well developed.  I truly enjoyed getting to know them.

The mystery was a little different because Lilly really tried to stay out of the investigation and get on with her life. Her brother told her what he could and gave her a little heads up with the police had more questions for her. When the police finally realize that Lily’s life may actually be in danger they finally start to look elsewhere. The story had an excellent flow and the pages were literally flying. Several people were introduced along the way and at one point in time, they were all on my suspect list.

I was totally entertained by The Worst Noel. With strong characters and plenty of twists, it was a joy to read. The author does add perfect amounts of humor and romance too. Don’t let the title scare you away. It is a great holiday read.  I look forward to spending more holidays with Lily and her family.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Amy M. Reade is the USA Today bestselling author of Secrets of Hallstead House, The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor, and House of the Hanging Jade, all standalone Gothic mysteries. She has also written the Malice series, consisting of three contemporary mysteries set in the United Kingdom (The House on Candlewick Lane, Highland Peril, and Murder in Thistlecross). Ms. Reade is a former attorney living in New Jersey. She loves to read, cook, and travel. ~From Amazon

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.

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

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

Contest Will End January 1, 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

This was from my private collection.

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

Killer Kung Pao: A Noodle Shop Mystery by Vivien Chien #Review


Killer Kung Pao: A Noodle Shop Mystery
Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Setting – Ohio
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks (August 25, 2020)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1250228301
ISBN-13: 978-1250228307
Kindle ASIN: B084F9217G

Is life at the Ho-Lee Noodle House becoming too hot to handle?

Lana Lee’s plate is already plenty full. Running her family’s Chinese restaurant in Cleveland’s Asia Village is challenging on the best of days. But just when Lana thinks she might be able to catch her breath before the weekend—which she’s eager to spend with her equally overworked boyfriend, Detective Adam Trudeau—Lana witnesses a car accident in the parking lot. And now she has no choice but to get involved.

June Yi, of Yi’s Tea and Bakery, is a serious businesswoman well-known for her heartlessness. But June meets her match when she rear-ends the Cadillac belonging to Mah Jong lover Mildred “Millie” Mao. As each woman curses—and threatens—the other, it becomes clear to Lana that trouble lies ahead. Still, who could have imagined that Millie would end up dead at the beauty salon? The evidence suggests that she was electrocuted while having a foot bath, and all eyes are on June. Can Lana find a way to solve this case before another fatality occurs in Asia Village?

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

What starts with a crash ends with a sizzle and Lana Lee finds herself involved in another murder mystery.

Headed home for a quiet weekend with her handsome detective Lana witnesses an accident in the parking lot of Cleveland’s Asia Village. There is no love lost between June Yi, of Yi’s Tea and Bakery, and Lana, in fact, she tries to avoid June at all costs so when she sees June back straight into Mildred “Millie” Mao Cadillac she tries to make herself invisible. When their argument escalates and the police arrive Lama is going to have at least give a statement about what she saw. She just hopes that the end of her involvement.

But then both women show up at the hair salon at the same time as Lana. Praying the women stay separated and oblivious to each other’s presence isn’t too much to ask, is it? But it is not meant to be. Shortly after they see each other, the lights go out and when they come back on, Millie is dead and June is the prime suspect. When June’s sister asks Lana to help clear her sister of the crime Lana is forced to say yes, even though she thinks June really could be the killer.


This series continues to be a favorite. I really enjoy the characters. This time we get to know the Majong Matrons that come to the Ho-Lee Noodle House every morning for breakfast. They always seem to know the latest gossip but this time two of the matrons were at the salon right before the murder occurred. Again Lana teams up with her roommate Megan to do a little sleuthing. I really enjoy their relationship and how well they know each other. I also love the way Lana’s relationship with boyfriend Detective Adam Trudeau continues to grow. Ms. Chien has created a strong cast of core characters that continue to develop more in each story plus she gives us truly interesting new characters in each book for us to like and dislike too.

The mystery this time was quite puzzling, especially because anyone present in the salon could have done the deed. The investigation takes Lana from one end of town to the other and she ruffles a few feathers along the way. I was totally twisted up in my thinking by the time everything was revealed.

Killer Kung Pao was a fun read. The current mystery wrapped up but there are lingering threads yet to be addressed. You know Lana is going to stumble into another mystery so I am very excited about Fatal Fried Rice hitting my Kindle in March. I  recommend the entire series to all cozy mystery lovers.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

You can read my review of Death by Dumpling here, 
Dim Sum of All Fears here,
Murder Lo Mein here, Wonton Terror here, and Egg Drop Dead here

About the Author

VIVIEN CHIEN was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio where she grew up in a mixed-race home, making for some very interesting cultural experiences. She found her love of books and the written word at an early age while writing short stories about her classmates in elementary school. Currently, she writes side-by-side with her toy fox terrier who refuses to sit anywhere else. When she’s not writing, Vivien enjoys frequenting local Asian restaurants, frolicking in the bookstore, and searching for her next donut. (From Amazon)


Coming March 9, 2021

*This was from my private collection. 

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

Cozy Wednesday featuring Mums and Mayhem: A Magic Garden Mystery by Amanda Flower #Review / #Giveaway @crookedlanebks @aflowerwriter

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am so happy to feature Mums and Mayhem today! 


Mums and Mayhem: A Magic Garden Mystery
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Scotland
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books (August 11, 2020)
Hardcover: 336 pages
ISBN-10: 1643852981
ISBN-13: 978-1643852980
Kindle ASIN: B07TW1XV6D

A famous fiddler has been kilt. A magic garden’s left to wilt. Does Fiona Knox’s father hold the guilt? Will florist Fiona’s blood be spilt?

World-famous fiddle player Barley McFee arrives in blustery Bellewick, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, for a grand homecoming concert organized by jeweler Bernice Brennan. Fiona Knox, the owner of the Climbing Rose Flower Shop, is starting to regret volunteering to help with the concert. Bernice is an exacting taskmaster, and Fiona has enough tension dealing with her parents, who have traveled from Tennessee to visit Fi and her younger sister, Isla, and to reveal a secret about Fi’s birth. But when Barley is found dead in his trailer during the concert’s intermission, and his death is shockingly tied to Fiona’s father, Fiona discovers there are more secrets surrounding her family than she realized.

Much to the chagrin of handsome Neil Craig, Chief Inspector of the County Aberdeen Police, Fiona delves into the case to clear her father’s name. To make matters worse, Fiona learns that Duncreigan, the magical garden that she inherited from her godfather, is dying. At some point during the concert, someone broke into the garden and cut the centuries-old climbing rose–the source of the garden’s magic–from the standing stone.

The stakes are higher than ever and Fiona could lose all that she’s grown unless she’s able to dispel this terrible curse and dig up the truth–fast.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Secrets on top of secrets are revealed within the pages of Mums and Mayhem.

Fiona’s parents arrive from the States for a visit while she has her hands full with her flower shop, her magic garden, and helping with a concert to welcome back Barley McFee. Barley is a fiddle player known around the world but calls Bellewick, Aberdeenshire, Scotland home. Sadly his concert comes to an abrupt halt when he is found dead. Fiona’s world is rocked when she learns her father is the prime suspect in his death.

To add to her troubles someone broke into her beloved Duncreigan, the magic garden she inherited along with her cottage from her godfather while she was at the concert. She has been entrusted with the garden’s care and some thief has taken the source of the magic and everything is dying.

Will Fiona be able to save her father and her garden? or will the killer come after her next?


I really enjoy these escapes to Scotland and while under dire straights I was happy the garden took more of a leading role in this story than the last. The author’s descriptive writing style clearly paints pictures of the whole area but especially Duncreigan. The turmoil of the dying garden brought tears to my eyes. Something so beautiful and magical struck down was truly heartbreaking. I felt so bad for Fiona.

Speaking of Fiona, she is an incredible protagonist. She continues to find her way in Scotland and learning about the precious gift she has been given. In this book, she has many things thrown at her at once but in the end, she perseveres. The relationship with her sister continues to immerge. They are as different as night and day. Fiona is the responsible one, Isla is more by the seats of her pants. I love the way they banter. Having their parents in town brings a new twist especially because they have a history in this town. Also, Fiona’s relationship with Chief Inspector Neil Craig continues to evolve but with her dad in the hot seat, romance could be pretty difficult.

To bring together all the many facets of this story the author has to be steadfast with a clear plan. Her plotting twists all the plotlines together in a way that grabs the reader right away and holds them in her grasp until the final word. She provides plenty of suspects and plants clues precisely making it so much fun to follow each seed right along with Fiona. I was kept guessing until the very end when all the clues come together to bloom.

Well-crafted characters and an exciting mystery make Mums and Mayhem a compelling cozy. One I thoroughly enjoyed. Mums, mystery, mayhem, and magic make for a marvelous read. A Perfect Escape!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

Read my review of Flowers and Foul Play here.

Read my review of Death and Daisies here. 

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


Also by Amanda Flower








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.

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Subscribe to Amanda’s Newsletter for 5 Bonus Entries.

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If you publicize the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or
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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

Varnished without a Trace (A Tallie Graver Mystery) by Misty Simon #Review @KensingtonBooks


Varnished without a Trace (A Tallie Graver Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Setting – Pennsylvania
Publisher: Kensington (September 29, 2020)
Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN-10: 1496723767
ISBN-13: 978-1496723765
Kindle ASIN: B082WR62G8

This Christmas, Tallie Graver would like to take a break from running her cleaning business to be with her boyfriend, Max, and enjoy their first holiday together–alone. Instead, she’s stuck keeping her mother and grandmother from duking it out during the town’s annual Christmas Eve bingo game. As for the festive spirit, she’ll have to settle for her mean-spirited Aunt Ronda, whose mouth could use some soap.

The night only gets worse after Tallie discovers Ronda’s body. It seems someone cleaned her clock with a can of varnish. While all the evidence points to Ronda’s husband, Tallie doesn’t believe her beloved Uncle Hoagie could do such a dirty deed. Of course, his sudden disappearance doesn’t help his case. If Tallie hopes to clear his name, she’ll need to dig up some dirt to locate the real killer. Otherwise, someone else could get rubbed out . . .

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

Christmas, Bingo, and Bodies! Yes, it is another fun book from Misty Simon!

Tallie and Max are turning her little apartment above the funeral home into their own little penthouse just in time for the holidays. Max is trying to get his accountant practice up and running but he could be making a career change. Tallie is trying to take a little break from her cleaning business to run interference between her mother and grandmother who has come to town for the holidays. Her plans go a little awry when she is separated from her elders at the annual Christmas Eve bingo event at the fire station. She ends up sitting next to her Aunt Ronda, a bingo regular who is upset by all the holiday interlopers winning the prizes.

When Tallie wins the final game Ronda leaves in a huff. Tallie notices Ronda has left her bag behind tries to catch up with her outside. She does find her but Ronda won’t be playing bingo ever again as she is very dead with a can of varnish by her side. Boy, that happened quick.

Seeing that her Uncle Hoagie owns the local hardware store where the varnish came from the police want to talk to him immediately. One problem, Uncle Hoagie is nowhere to be found. Add to that, someone is setting fires around town. No one has been hurt yet but it appears the firebug is escalating.

Tallie isn’t sure if it’s the holiday spirit or if Police Chief Burton facing the inevitable but he asks for Tallie’s help in solving the murder case. Equally surprising, her Uncle Sherman, the fire chief, asks for Tallie’s assistance in solving the firebug case too. If Tallie wants to ring in a bright and shining new year she needs to wrap up both mysteries as soon as possible.


Wow, Ms. Simon packs a lot into these pages along with a generous supply of giggles.

I am so happy Max has moved in with Tallie. They compliment each other nicely and he has a way of handling her family in a way she never could. Tallie is getting stronger but hasn’t left behind all her insecurities.

We are introduced to two new characters in this story. Tallie’s grandmother and Burton’s father. Both strong characters and meeting them shines a light on the other characters they have touched over a lifetime. The author continues to allow her characters to grow in a realistic way.

The story has a nice twist in that not one but two people ask Tallie for her help realizing she has a talent for solving mysteries. She proves it when her observations turn the story in a different direction. Due to the murder, we meet Ronda and Hoagie’s children and again it prompts Tallie to ask key questions. Ms. Simon’s writing style takes her readers right into the ebbs and flows are Tallie’s life, like we are looking right over her shoulder as she follows the clues wherever they lead. This new partnership between Tallie and Burton gives a different dimension. I wonder if it will last.

I have enjoyed every book in this series but I feel Varnished without a Trace is the best one yet. I just can’t get enough of these characters. I strived this year to get caught up on this series and I am a little sad that I now have to wait for the next installment. Until next year, Tallie! I am not tapping my foot or anything. Okay, I am, but I know writing and publishing great stories take time. 🙂

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Misty Simon is the author of the Tallie Graver Mystery series. She loves a good story and decided one day that she would try her hand at it. Eventually, she got it right. There’s nothing better in the world than making someone laugh, and she hopes everyone at least snickers in the right places when reading her books. She lives with her husband, daughter, and three insane dogs in Central Pennsylvania where she is hard at work on her next novel or three. She loves to hear from readers so drop her a line at misty@mistysimon.com You can find Misty Simon on Facebook here. and on her blog here.

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 Cloak and Dagger Challenge E-Book Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – Much Ado in Maggody (The Arly Hanks Mysteries) by Joan Hess #Review / #Giveaway

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.


Much Ado in Maggody (The Arly Hanks Mysteries)
Humorous Mystery (Explicit Language)
2nd in Series
Setting – Arkansas
Publisher: MysteriousPress.com/Open Road;
Reprint edition (June 7, 2016)
Originally Published January 1, 1989
Paperback: 208 pages
ISBN-10: 0312029527
ISBN-13: 978-0312029524
Kindle ASIN: B01ENRHKVC

A hilarious police procedural set in the strangest town in the Ozarks, where whip-smart sheriff Arly Hanks does everything she can to keep the peace.

 

Nothing ever happens in Maggody, Arkansas, population 755. Aside from handling the occasional barroom brawl or exploding still, Chief of Police Arly Hanks spends her days sipping coffee and squashing flies. She returned to Maggody two years ago, licking her wounds after a bad Manhattan divorce, and she fell backward into the role of sheriff. From Hizzoner the Moron—also know as Jim Bob Buchanon, the pettily corrupt mayor—to Ruby Bee Hanks—Arly’s mother and the town’s foremost gossip—the people of Maggody are all crazy in their own ways, and that craziness is about to turn deadly.

 

When Joanna Mae Nookim returns to work after giving birth, the bank manager bumps her down to minimum wage as punishment for taking time off. It’s outrageous, but there’s nothing Arly can do. But when the bank burns to the ground and the head teller is found dead, Maggody threatens to burst into an all-out revolution for the sake of women’s rights.

 

Fans of comic mysteries have known for years that no small town is quite like Maggody. With its wild cast of characters and its no-nonsense female detective, Much Ado in Maggody is evidence of master of cozy mysteries Joan Hess at her best.

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Back in Maggody where mayhem is in rare form. Joanna Mae Nookim returns to her job at the bank after having a baby to find she has been demoted and been replaced by a wet behind the ears Brandon Bernswallow. Well, she is not going to take it sitting down. Arly can’t help her but tells her she may be able to get a lawyer to take her case, which she does. Soon there is a protest march and a crowd of women set up for the long haul in the parking lot across the street. But then someone sets fire to the bank and Brandon Bernswallow is found dead inside creating Much Ado in Maggody! Can Arly get to the bottom of it or will mayhem reign?


I have continued to read this series for the pure comic delight. The explicit language still gives me a cringe or two, but I can set that aside when a few sentences later I am laughing my head off. I have to remind myself this book was originally released back in 1989, but equal rights for women is still a current topic although we have come a long way.

Maggody is full of quirky characters and Arly has her hands full as the men and women of the town face-off over the way Joanna Mae Nookim was treated at the bank. It opens up a whole can of worms as the wives in town decide their husbands could be treating them better too. All the characters are colorful but stereotypical in many ways. That said, they are funny.

Again, the murder mystery part of the story is pretty simplistic but entertaining. Some will classify this story as a cozy mystery, and the mystery is set up the way, the f-bombs and other explicit language take it out of that genre for me. If you love funny stories and are not offended by the language you will enjoy this book and series. I will be grabbing the next book in the series when I need to get carried away by the humor and craziness only found in Maggody.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

About the Author

I was sad to learn while researching this series that the author passed away in November 2017. Joan Hess was an American mystery writer, a member of Sisters in Crime, and a former president of the American Crime Writers League. She wrote two popular mystery series: The Claire Malloy Mysteries and The Maggody Mysteries (also called The Arly Hanks Mysteries), and has contributed to multiple anthologies and book series, including Crosswinds, Deadly Allies, Malice Domestic, Sisters in Crime, and The Year’s 25 Finest Crime and Mystery Stories. She also wrote the Theo Bloomer mystery series, under the pseudonym Joan Hadley.


I am giving away 1 Kindle Copy!
It 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.

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

Contest Will End December 25, 2020, 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

*This book was from my private collection.

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

A Deadly Edition: A Blue Ridge Library Mystery by Victoria Gilbert #Review / #Giveaway – @VGilbertauthor @crookedlanebks Great Escapes Book Tour


A Deadly Edition: A Blue Ridge Library Mystery
by Victoria Gilbert

About A Deadly Edition


A Deadly Edition: A Blue Ridge Library Mystery
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Setting – Virginia
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books (December 8, 2020)
Hardcover: 368 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1643854762
Kindle ASIN: B085N3KN7L

‘Til death do us part” could be closer than the bride realizes in Victoria Gilbert’s tantalizing fifth Blue Ridge Library mystery.”

 

The pursuit to acquire a rare illustrated book turns deadly, and on the eve of her upcoming wedding, library director Amy Webber is drawn into a web of treachery and betrayal that could derail her happy day–and maybe just claim her life.

 

Planning a wedding can be murder–sometimes literally. At a party celebrating their upcoming nuptials, Taylorsford, Virginia library director Amy Webber and her fiancé Richard Muir discover the body of art dealer Oscar Selvaggio–a bitter rival of their host, Kurt Kendrick.

 

Both had been in a heated battle to purchase a rare illustrated volume created by William Morris’s Kelmscott Press, so suspicion immediately falls upon Kurt. Amy knows that Kurt has a closet-full of skeletons from his past–but she can’t believe he’s guilty of murder.

 

Amidst an avalanche of wedding preparations, Amy begins an investigation with the help of her aunt Lydia Talbot and the new mayor of Taylorsford, Sunshine “Sunny” Fields. Much to Lydia’s dismay, her boyfriend, art expert Hugh Chen, becomes convinced of Kurt’s guilt and launches an investigation of his own. As the case hits painfully close to home, the stakes become impossibly high–and the danger all too real.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

In just a month library director Amy Webber and her fiancé, Richard Muir will be walking down the garden aisle. Their friend,  Kurt Kendrick has brought family and friends together to celebrate the upcoming event. But the party is crashed by one of Kurt’s business associates. Oscar Selvaggio, an art dealer, and Kurt are both trying to purchase a rare edition of a book from William Morris’s Kelmscott Press. He allows the man to stay for the party and plans to discuss the book with him later. But before the gentlemen can meet Mr. Selvaggio is found dead and Kurt is the prime suspect in his murder. Amy wants the killer caught and Kurt’s name cleared before her wedding so she enlists the help of her BFF and new Taylorsford mayor, Sunshine “Sunny” Fields, along with her Aunt Lydia to find who killed the art dealer and why.


The wedding brings Amy’s parents to Taylorford along with her brother. Amy is surprised because her brother is usually wrapped up in his job and rarely visits but she is thrilled he is going to stay in town until the wedding. He does become a significant player in the story and it was great to get to know him. Amy and Richard keep working right up to their big day and Amy uses some of her time to research the deceased and his connections along with Sunny. Sunny and Amy’s friendship is so realistic and true to life. In fact, all of Ms. Gilbert’s characters are realistic as are their relationships.

The mystery this time was very complex with a lot of players and interactions and history. At times I was a little confused and had no idea how the author was going to bring everything she set up together. I was trusting and patient and was rewarded by several aha moments and an exciting climax. I will admit I was a little bit more excited by all the wedding plans and the dress shopping and actual wedding that solving the mystery at times. Ms. Gilbert did a great job entwining both plotlines. Her descriptions of the garden, the ceremony, and the fun reception made me feel like an invited guest.

Fun characters, a mystery that makes you think, and a beautiful wedding make A Deadly Edition a very solid addition to the series. I do recommend reading the series from the start because they do build on each other. A very enjoyable escape!


Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About Victoria Gilbert

Raised in a historic small town near the Blue Ridge Mountains, Victoria Gilbert turned her early obsession with books into a dual career as an author and librarian.

Victoria writes the Blue Ridge Library Mystery series, the Booklover’s B&B series, and the upcoming Hunter and Clewe traditional mystery series for Crooked Lane Books. She has also published fantasy with Snowy Wings Publishing.

A member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime, Victoria is represented by Frances Black at Literary Counsel. She lives near Winston-Salem, NC with her husband, son, and some very spoiled cats.

Author Links – Website (includes blog) – Facebook Author Page  – Twitter  – Amazon Author Page  – Instagram – Goodreads

Purchase Links – AmazonB&NKoboIndieBound

The Rest of the Series

Also by Victoria Gilbert

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Great Escapes Praise for A Deadly Edition: A Blue Ridge Library Mystery
by Victoria Gilbert

A Deadly Edition has mystery, romance, intrigue, and humor . . . The mystery was complex which I just loved and I enjoyed the dramatic reveal.
~The Avid Reader

Ms. Gilbert maintains a good balance between the mystery (or mysteries) and the details of Amy’s life, from her everyday work at the library to wedding prep, and the book concludes on a very happy note indeed. I read it when I was feeling a little blue about the upcoming holidays, and it was just the treat I needed.
~The Bookwyrm’s Hoard

TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please visit all the stops. 
December 6 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT
December 6 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW
December 6 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – SPOTLIGHT
December 7 – The Book Diva’s Reads – SPOTLIGHT
December 7 – CelticLady Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
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Posted in 2020 Reviews Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday – Grounds for Murder (A Coffee Lover’s Mystery) by Tara Lush #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @crookedlanebks

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am delighted to be part of this tour! 

About Grounds for Murder 

Grounds for Murder (A Coffee Lover’s Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Florida
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books (December 8, 2020)
Hardcover: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 1643856189
ISBN-13: 978-1643856186
Digital ASIN: B0871KTTMC

When Lana Lewis’ best — and most difficult — employee abruptly quits and goes to work for the competition just days before the Sunshine State Barista Championship, her café’s chances of winning the contest are creamed. In front of a gossipy crowd in the small Florida town of Devil’s Beach, Lana’s normally calm demeanor heats to a boil when she runs into the arrogant java slinger. Of course, Fabrizio “Fab” Bellucci has a slick explanation for jumping ship. But when he’s found dead the next morning under a palm tree in the alley behind Lana’s café, she becomes the prime suspect.

 

Even the island’s handsome police chief isn’t quite certain of her innocence. But Lana isn’t the only one in town who was angry with Fabrizio. Jilted lovers, a shrimp boat captain, and a surfer with ties to the mob are all suspects as trouble brews on the beach.

 

With her stoned, hippie dad, a Shih Tzu named Stanley, and a new, curious barista sporting a punk rock aesthetic at her side, Lana’s prepared to turn up the heat to catch the real killer.

 

After all, she is a former award-winning reporter. As scandal hangs over her beachside café, can Lana clear her name and win the championship — or will she come to a bitter end?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Fabrizio “Fab” Bellucci, the beach’s hottest barista is dead and former investigative journalist turned coffee shop manager Lana Lewis is at the top of the suspect list if the cause of death is indeed murder. You see Fab was her star employee until he quit without notice to work for her competitor. On top of that, they were registered as a team for the Sunshine State Barista Championship. So when she couldn’t hold in her fury any longer she confronts him in front of a crowd of people at Island Brewnette, the competing coffee shop.

The trouble is, the chief of police, who seems to have a bit of a crush on Lana, is leaning toward calling Fab’s death a suicide until the evidence proves otherwise. Lana knows Fab was a great casanova/gigolo with some shady connections so she finds plenty of other suspects and theories. She just needs to convince Chief Noah Garcia to follow her clues with her. If not, she and her new barista Erica Penmark will steam out the killer on their own.


I liked Lana Lewis right away. Divorced and unemployed she comes home to Devil’s Beach to manage Perkatory. The cafe was her mother’s dream so after her death her dad kept the business going but his heart wasn’t really into it full time. Lana takes over admitting she has a lot to learn about being a great barista but she has great employees and her dad to help her out. She is intelligent and kind and her investigative skills come in handy as she tries to catch a killer. Erika and Lana get along right away and they make a wonderful team whether it comes to sleuthing or coffee brewing. Lana’s dad is a laid back hippie kind of dude that does seem fazed my much but supports his daughter 100%. Police Chief Noah Garica also escaped the big city to come to Devil’s Beach never expecting to have a murder case on his plate but he sure does like dropping in at Perkatory to see Lana. All of these characters developed nicely over the course of the story but there is so much more to learn. The author has done an excellent job of giving readers characters we can care about.

The mystery she has brewed up is darn good too. Personally, I wish the suicide theory would have been put to rest much earlier with more focus on the variety of people who could have been suspects in Fab’s death. He left quite a path of ladies in his wake and at least one was married. The pushy reporter in Lana came out and she just wasn’t going to give up. Her actions lead to a really exciting big reveal.

I do love the beachy small-town setting. While jumping with tourists and busy residents it still had a relaxing vibe and a place I would love to visit.

Grounds for Murder was a delightful whodunit and has set this series off to a grand start. It’s entertaining with just the right amount of humor. I am looking forward to visiting these characters again soon.

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About Tara Lush

Tara Lush is a Rita Award finalist, an Amtrak writing fellow, and a George C. Polk Award-winning journalist. For the past decade, she’s been a reporter with the Associated Press, covering crime, alligators, natural disasters, and politics. She also writes contemporary romance set in tropical locations. A fan of vintage pulp-fiction book covers, Sinatra-era jazz, and 1980s fashion, she lives with her husband and two dogs on the Gulf coast.

Author Links

WEB – FACEBOOK – GOODREADS – INSTAGRAM

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AMAZON – KOBO – BARNES AND NOBLE –  ITUNES –  INDIEBOUND

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December 8 – I’m Into Books – SPOTLIGHT
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December 9 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW
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December 10 – Ruff Drafts – GUEST POST
December 10 – Mysteries with Character – REVIEW
December 10 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
December 11 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author Blog – SPOTLIGHT 
December 11 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
December 12 – Diane Reviews Books – REVIEW
December 12 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
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December 13 – Cozy Up With Kathy – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
December 13 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – GUEST POST
December 14 – Author Elena Taylor’s Blog – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
December 14 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – REVIEW
December 14 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
December 15 – Cinnamon, Sugar, and a Little Bit of Murder – REVIEW, RECIPE POST
December 15 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT
December 16 – Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic – SPOTLIGHT
December 16 – eBook Addicts – RECIPE POST
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December 17 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW
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Posted in 2020 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge New Release Challenge Purrfect Reading Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Wine Tastings Are Murder (A Poppy McAllister Mystery) by Libby Klein #Review @KensingtonBooks @LibbyKleinBooks


Wine Tastings Are Murder (A Poppy McAllister Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Setting – New Jersey
Publisher: Kensington (December 1, 2020)
Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
ISBN-10: 1496723392
ISBN-13: 978-1496723390
Kindle ASIN: B085LTRQ3P

It’s vintage Poppy McAllister when the gluten-free baker and B&B owner tries to solve a murder at a Cape May winery . . .

 

When Poppy and Aunt Ginny agreed to host a Wine and Cheese Happy Hour for a tour group at their Butterfly House Bed and Breakfast on the Jersey Shore, they never anticipated such a sour bunch. Grumpy guest Vince Baker should be in a better mood—he’s filthy rich and on his honeymoon with his much younger wife Sunny, who seems to dote on him almost as much as her high-spirited teacup Pomeranian, Tammy Faye Baker.

 

But the honeymoon is over when Vince drops dead the next day touring the Laughing Gull Winery. Turns out he’s been poisoned, and it seems like everybody on the tour is hiding something. Now Poppy has to put her gluten-free baking on the back burner and bottle up her feelings for the two men in her life while she charges after a bitter killer with a lethal case of sour grapes . . .

 

Includes Seven Recipes from Poppy’s Kitchen!

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Poppy McAllister is back along with her Aunt Ginny. Their B&B is open and they are hosting a Wine and Cheese Happy Hour for a tour group. The members of the group are staying at various B&B’s, one couple is even staying at a campground in their RV. Vince and Sunny Baker along with her Pomeranian, Tammy Faye are staying at Poppy’s Butterfly House Bed and Breakfast. They are later joined by Vince’s daughter and her husband when they unexpectedly crash the party and join the tour. They are not happy with Vince’s new wife and make their displeasure clearly known.

The next day the tour group travels to the Laughing Gull Winery. In the middle of the tasting, Vince keels over dead. At first, everyone thinks he had a heart attack but the man was definitely poisoned and everyone in the room becomes a suspect. With one of her guests dead, Poppy adds catch a killer to her long to-do list. Wait! Could the killer be under her roof as well?


OMG! I laughed so hard several times while reading this book, One time I laughed so hard I had tears in my eyes. My funny bone was thoroughly tickled time and again.

Victory emerged from Aunt Ginny’s bedroom at the back of the kitchen wearing a low-cut French maid costume with thigh-high stockings. 

Sawyer came in just in time to see me choke on my coffee. “Whoa!” Sawyer giggled and had to cover her mouth. “Oh, Poppy. That is so much better than I imagined.”

Aunt Ginny emerged behind Victory with a genuine feather duster in her hand. “Look it fits her. What? Why are you making that face?”

and

“The Bible says: “With great power comes great responsibility.” Aunt Ginny folded her arms across her chest and tried to stare me down. 

“That’s not the Bible. That’s Spider-Man.”

Aunt Ginny narrowed her eyes. “Are you sure? I think it’s in the Bible.”

“Not unless there’s a chapter written by Stan Lee.” 

Those are just two of my favorite scenes. There are many more.

Beyond the humor, Ms. Klein serves us such wonderful characters. Libby and her Aunt Ginny are two of my favorite cozy personalities. You never know what is going to come out of Ginny’s mouth or the antics she and her friends are going to get into. Think Golden Girls on steroids!

Poppy is still trying to decide between Gia and Tim while baking for each of their restaurants, running the B&B, trying to keep Ginny in line, and now investigating another murder. She gets stronger in each story. Her sleuthing is improving too.

All the supporting characters are developing nicely. The new characters that are introduced are quite a crew. All seem to be hiding something. They were all very well-crafted. The pet characters are great too! Figuro may have met his match!

The mystery to solve was so much fun with a plethora of twists and turns. To avoid spoilers I won’t say more but the big reveal was epic and a total surprise. I loved it!!

This entire series is fantastic. I anxiously await each new book. Wine Tastings Are Murder is stellar, captivating, hilarious, and a must-read. The ending also sets up a huge cliffhanger! So now I am counting down the days until June 29, 2021. The day Beauty Expos Are Murder hits store shelves! 203 days! 

Wine Tastings Are Murder is definitely one of the best books I have read this year and receives my Paradise Rating!

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

You can read my review of Midnight Snacks Are Murder here. 

You can read my review of Restaurant Weeks Are Murder here

You can read my review of Theater Nights Are Murder here.

Libby Klein dabbles in the position of Vice President of a technology company which mostly involves bossing other people around, making spreadsheets, and taking out the trash. She writes culinary cozy mysteries from her Northern Virginia office while trying to keep her cat Figaro off her keyboard.
Author Links – Webpage – Facebook – Twitter – Pinterest  – Cozy Mystery Crew  – GoodReads –  BookBub – Instagram –  Amazon 

 


Coming June 29, 2021

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 Flashback Friday Giveaways Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge Wisconsin Author Wisconsin Setting You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – Stiff Penalty (Mattie Winston Mysteries) by Annelise Ryan #Review / #Giveaway @ryan_annelise

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.


Stiff Penalty (Mattie Winston Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Setting – Wisconsin
Publisher: Kensington Books (March 1, 2015)
Print Length: 417 pages
Kindle ASIN: B00M4ASUL0

Danger multiplies for a pregnant coroner investigating a math teacher’s murder in this hard-boiled mystery by a USA Today–bestselling author.

 

Deputy coroner Mattie Winston knows a thing or two about dead bodies. That’s why she’s on the case of Derrick Ames, a high school math teacher stabbed to death with a barbecue fork straight to the heart. Sure, she’s turned up some motives and a few suspects, but nothing adds up. Especially when the evidence points to Ames’s teenage son. Newly pregnant Mattie can’t believe it, even as her own long-estranged father may be following her. But one thing’s certain, she’d better start figuring things out fast, or a deadly perpetrator could be subtracting two more victims from the population of Sorenson, Wisconsin . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

Stiff Penalty is the sixth book in this series and I want to state upfront that these books should be read in order to fully understand the characters and the relationships but also for the hilarity that ensues within the pages of each book.

Mattie Winston has had a hard life, her father left when she was young, she caught her husband in the act of cheating on her at the hospital where they both work, and now she is dealing with a stalker, an unexpected pregnancy, and of course, another murder or two.


It took me a few minutes to get into this story because most of it is told in flashbacks but after I got the rhythm down the pages flew.

Ms. Ryan really brings the drama this time. Maddie is seeing a therapist and all her insecurities come out. It was great to see the other side of Maddie. She tries to keep a brave face on for the world but her life is changing in ways that can be downright scary.

There is drama at work too. High School math teacher Derrick Ames was stabbed straight into his heart with a barbeque fork. There are suspects but Maddie can’t piece the clues together to pin down the killer. But again, there is that stalker and the baby on the way. And being shot at doesn’t help matters. The drama doesn’t stop there either.

I really enjoyed Stiff Penalty. I started reading this series because it is set in my home state of Wisconsin. I keep coming back and reading more because I have become invested in these characters and the craziness that comes along with them. A great mystery or two just adds to the fun.

I am bound and determined to get all caught up on this series in 2021.

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About the Author

Annelise Ryan is the USA Today bestselling author of the popular Mattie Winston mystery series and a pseudonym for Beth Amos, who also writes the Mack’s Bar Mystery series under the pseudonym Allyson K. Abbott. Beth is a real-life emergency room RN living in Wisconsin. She believes laughter is the best medicine, and with the Mattie Winston series, she is hoping to “medicate” the masses.

For more Mattie Winston fun and to keep up with the latest news, visit www.mattiewinston.com

Also by this Author

Written as Allyson K. Abbott

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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 Giveaways Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

A Cup of Holiday Fear: A Bakeshop Mystery by Ellie Alexander #Review / #Giveaway


A Cup of Holiday Fear: A Bakeshop Mystery
Cozy Mystery
10th in Series
Setting – Oregon
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks (September 24, 2019)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1250214343
ISBN-13: 978-1250214348
Kindle ASIN: B07PCL3XS8

It’s Christmastime and everyone is heading to Torte, the most cheerful bakery in town. There’s no place like home for the homicide…

 

Ashland, Oregon, looks as pretty as a postcard this holiday season. The halls are decked, stockings hung, and eyes are all aglow—mostly thanks to the buttered rum. Jules Capshaw and her staff at Torte are busier than ever. . . still, even the town’s most in-demand bakers need to take a break. So Jules invites everyone to celebrate at the local Winchester Inn’s Dickens Feast, a six-course extravaganza with Yorkshire Pudding, Christmas goose, and all the trimmings. But as the weather outside becomes frightful, things inside turn less delightful when one of the guests ends up as dead as Scrooge’s doornail. Now it’s up to Jules and her helpers to make a list of suspects—and check it twice—to try to find out who’s naughty, who’s nice, and who’s guilty of murder…

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Things are merry and bright in Ashland, Oregon and people are keeping the elves at Torte busy baking all kinds of holiday treats. They are all looking forward to a little respite by attending the annual Dickens Feast at the Winchester Inn and having others wait on them. The popular six-course feast has been taking place forever and Jules and Helen are excited to share the event with their staff. Lance also joins the party as Jules plus one.

The evening starts with a little snow, great food, and fun entertainment and ends with an unconscious innkeeper and a dead body. Jules and Lance are quickly following the trail of breadcrumbs to help the Professor and Thomas catch the Scrooge that ruined their party with MURDER.


I love this series! Spending the holidays with Jules and everyone in Ashland is a real treat. The author paints the scenes so vividly you can almost feel the snowflakes landing on your face and taste all the cookies, cakes, breads, and lattes served at Torte.

After ten books the characters have become old friends but that doesn’t mean we know everything about them. Lance is having a hard time with the holidays and opens up to Jules. Their friendship just warms my heart. Helen and Doug are blissfully happy and have hearts as big as all outdoors. They open their home for the holidays to be sure no one spends the holidays alone. Doing so lets us get to know Marty a little bit better. We meet Jon and Emma Winchester who own the inn. They have been friends with Helen and her now-deceased husband for years, opening their businesses at the same time. All the characters are interesting, have purpose, and are wonderfully written. They make wish I could meet them all in person.

The mystery was very well-plotted with plenty of suspects and twists. The victim was a real shrew and had ticked plenty of people off. Lance and Jules’s investigation was not only fun to follow but funny at times too. They do make a great team.

What I love most about this series is the way I get as wrapped up in the daily life of the characters as I do in the mystery. I want to know about the Torte staff crushes, Helen and Doug’s plans, that Jules is missing Carlos, all of Lance’s drama, and what baking at Torte. This time after the case was wrapped we go to Helen and Doug’s for Christmas Eve dinner. They have invited several guests. Doug rises to give a little speech that was poignant and brought tears to my eyes. I found great meaning in his message, words I needed to hear personally this time of year. Moving forward a few pages, the tears were still present but a big smile appeared on my face. The ending was absolutely perfect.

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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

 

Written as Kate Dyer-Seeley

I am giving away a paperback copy of the book!

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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.”