Posted in 2021 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Alphabet Soup A -Z Author Edition Challenge Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Literary Escapes New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

A Tourist’s Guide to Murder (Mystery Bookshop) by V.M. Burns #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @KensingtonBooks @vmburns


A Tourist’s Guide to Murder (Mystery Bookshop)
by V.M. Burns

About A Tourist’s Guide to Murder


A Tourist’s Guide to Murder (Mystery Bookshop)
Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Setting – Michigan – London, England
Publisher: Kensington (January 26, 2021)
Paperback: 256 pages
ISBN-10: 1496728955
ISBN-13: 978-1496728951]
Digital ASIN: B087YRY1S4

While visiting the land of Miss Marple and Sherlock Holmes, bookstore owner and amateur sleuth Samantha Washington finds herself on a tragical mystery tour . . .

 

Sam joins Nana Jo and her Shady Acres Retirement Village friends Irma, Dorothy, and Ruby Mae on a weeklong trip to London, England, to experience the Peabody Mystery Lovers Tour. The chance to see the sights and walk the streets that inspired Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle is a dream come true for Sam—and a perfect way to celebrate her new publishing contract as a mystery author.

 

But between visits to Jack the Ripper’s Whitechapel district and 221B Baker Street, Major Horace Peabody is found dead, supposedly of natural causes. Despite his employer’s unfortunate demise, the tour guide insists on keeping calm and carrying on—until another tourist on their trip also dies under mysterious circumstances. Now it’s up to Sam and the Shady Acres ladies to mix and mingle among their fellow mystery lovers, find a motive, and turn up a murderer . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Sam, Nana Jo, Irma, Dorothy, and Ruby Mae are off to England for a Mystery Lovers Tour, what could go wrong? Well before they even leave the country, Sam oversleeps and they miss their shuttle and have to drive all the way to the airport in Chicago. When they arrive Sam realizes she forgot the pack something very important but Ruby Mae, who reminds me a lot of my dad because no matter where they go they know someone, finds a member of her extended family at the airport to help. But then Irma’s flirtations get them unwanted special attention. They finally make it onto the plane where Sam has a major breakdown but it pays off in the end. They fly across the pond where soon after landing Dorothy creates a little chaos of her own.

Happy to arrive at the hotel it soon becomes apparent that the drama will continue when the namesake of the Mystery Tours, Major Horace Peabody is found dead. The death is ruled to be from natural causes and the tour continues, but when another member of their tour group dies of suspicious means, the ladies from Michigan believe there is a murderer afoot. Channeling the great characters of Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle they are going to do what they do best and uncover a killer.

___________

I love these characters! This time they all seem to get equal time as they tour some fabulous places and meet some interesting people. They had me snickering and laughing out loud several times. I am happy to say London survived their visit even though a couple of the new characters did not. I did miss Oreo and Snickers but I am sure they had plenty of love and care while the ladies traveled hither and yon.

I really enjoy that there are two separate mysteries in each book. The main one set in the present time and the historical one aspiring author Sam is writing that features the occupants of Wickfield Lodge, the English country home of Lord William March. Lady Elizabeth and her niece Lady Penelope are worthy amateur sleuths themselves. Both mysteries are very well-plotted. While Sam’s creative juices flow in her writing it helps settle and order her thoughts regarding the current mystery she is trying to solve. Both mysteries have substantial twists and turns that really kept me on my toes. At first, it was a little hard to read the mystery within the mystery but now I crave it and can’t wait to have the parallel mystery start. It is a clever way to write a book and I find it very entertaining.

The setting this time brought me so much joy. I will never be able to travel the streets of London or the English countryside to walk in the footsteps of the classic mystery authors I have come to love. It was a pleasure to tag along with Sam and the Shady Acres ladies on their journey. Solving a mystery or two and the trip to Scotland Yard were just added delights.

A Tourist’s Guide to Murder was just that. I escaped right into this book and was captivated from beginning to end. Each book in this series can be read as a stand-alone but for maximum enjoyment and to get to really know these wonderful characters you should read them all.

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About V.M. Burns

V.M. (Valerie) Burns was born and raised in the Midwestern United States. She currently resides in the warmer region of the country in East Tennessee with her two poodles. Valerie is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Dog Writers of America, Crime Writers of Color, International Thriller Writers, and Sisters in Crime. Valerie is the author of the RJ Franklin Mysteries, the Dog Club Mysteries, and the Agatha Award-nominated Mystery Bookshop Mystery series.

Author Links:     Website  Facebook   Twitter:  @vmburns    Goodreads     BookBub    Instagram

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January 21 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
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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 2021 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Alphabet Soup A -Z Author Edition Challenge Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Literary Escapes New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday featuring The Broken Spine (A Beloved Bookroom Mystery) by Dorothy St. James #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @BerkleyMystery @dorothywrites

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am super excited to share my thoughts about The Broken Spine today!


The Broken Spine (A Beloved Bookroom Mystery)
by Dorothy St. James

About The Broken Spine


The Broken Spine (A Beloved Bookroom Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – South Carolina
Publisher: Berkley (January 19, 2021)
Hardcover: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 0593098579
ISBN-13: 978-0593098578
Kindle ASIN: B086SCQ639

The first in an exciting new series featuring Trudell Becket, a spunky librarian who will stop at nothing to save her beloved books and catch a killer!

 

Trudell Becket, book-loving librarian, finds herself in a bind when the library where she works is turned into a state-of-the-art bookless library. In a rare move of rebellion, Trudell rescues hundreds of her library’s beloved books slated for the recycle center. She sets up a secret book room in the library’s basement and opens it to anyone who shares her love of the printed book.

 

When the town councilman, who was the vocal proponent of the library’s transformation into a “futuristic technological center,” is crushed under an overturned shelf of DVDs, Trudell becomes the police’s prime suspect for his murder. She was the only person in the library at the time of his death, or so the police believe. But that’s not true. For the past month, Trudell had been letting a few dozen residents into the building through the basement entrance so they could read and check out the printed books.

 

But if she tells the police about the backdoor patrons who were in the library at the time of the murder, she’d have to explain about the secret book room and risk losing the books. In order to protect herself from being arrested for a murder she didn’t commit, Trudell–with the help of a group of dedicated readers–decides to investigate. She quickly discovers you can’t always judge a book by its cover.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Like me, Trudell Becket loves books. Being a librarian brings her so much joy. But the Cypress city manager is on a mission to bring tech companies to town so he has decided the way to do that is to make everything computerized and digital. His first major project is to make the library completely digital and send all the print books to the landfill. Trudell just can’t accept that so she comes up with a plan to rescue as many books as she can. She pitches her idea to her friends and they agree to help her. While executing her plan she hears a loud crash. Rushing to the noise she finds the city manager crushed beneath a media shelf that was filled with DVDs. A shelf that had been tampered with. Because she is the one that found him Trudell becomes the prime suspect in the murder. Now with a little more help from her friends, she decides to find the real culprit before she is booked for the crime.


Stop, full stop! A library with no physical books! Yes, technology is great but libraries hold our history. They are a gathering place. A place where dreams are born and goals are set. There is nothing like that new book smell, except maybe that old book smell. The joy that is felt as you open a book and set off on a new adventure. Yes, stories can be read or listened to on devices and loved but there of many types of books that just need to be in print format. All formats can coexist together, there is no need to just trash books especially first editions of some classics. Okay, I will get off my soapbox and tell you more about this book but I must say the premise of the story just broke my heart. That does not mean I did enjoy the book. If the job of a book is to evoke emotions this story truly does that.

I found Trudell to be a very interesting protagonist, a girl after my own heart. She has a diverse group of friends and co-workers, one of who I identified with completely. One has me on the fence. I feel we have just scratched the surface on these key characters. I want to get to know them all better. Dewey, the cat, was a favorite of mine. I found him to be quite captivating.

The mystery had a nice pace with twists and turns. I did hone in on someone very early in the story, I just needed to suss out all the reasons why. Trudell worked her way through all the suspects and did come around eventually to my way of thinking as all the clues finally fell into place for her. It was fun to see her process everything. I think the theme of the story, a bookless library, grabbed all of my attention at first and I was thrilled that the city manager was the victim. Had I been a character in the story I may have topped the suspect list myself. The motive ended up being a bit of a surprise but my thinking was definitely on the right track.

The Broken Spine is a very pleasing start to the Beloved Bookroom Series. I am curious to see where the author takes these characters and how they will develop. I am still trying to wrap my head around the bookless library idea. Ms. St. James has sure piqued my interest. A Perfect Bind will be released on September 7, 2021.

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About Dorothy St. James

Mystery author Dorothy St. James was born in New York but raised in South Carolina. She makes her home on an artsy island community in South Carolina with her husband, a crazy dog, and fluffy cat. Though writing has always been a passion for her, she pursued an undergraduate degree in Wildlife Biology and a graduate degree in Public Administration and Urban Planning. She put her educational experience to use, having worked in all branches and all levels of government including local, regional, state, and federal. She even spent time during college working for a non-profit environmental watchdog organization.

Switching from government service and community planning to fiction writing wasn’t as big of a change as some might think. Her government work was all about the stories of the people and the places where they live. As an urban planner, Dorothy loved telling the stories of the people she met. And from that, her desire to tell the tales that were so alive in her heart grew until she could not ignore it any longer. In 2001, she took a leap of faith and pursued her dream of writing fiction full-time.

* Dorothy St. James is the alter-ego of award-winning multi-published author, Dorothy McFalls. She enjoys writing in several different genres. Her works have been nominated for many awards including: Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, Reviewers International Organization Award, National Reader’s Choice Award, CataRomance Reviewers’ Choice Award, and The Romance Reviews Today Perfect 10! Award. Reviewers have called her work: “amazing”, “perfect”, “filled with emotion”, and “lined with danger.”

Author Links – Website      Twitter     Facebook    Bookbub

Purchase Links

AmazonIndieBoundBookshopB&N – 

Also by Dorothy St. James


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January 19 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW
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January 19 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
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January 20 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
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January 21 – Here’s How It Happened – SPOTLIGHT
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January 22 – Books to the Ceiling – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
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January 22 – Cozy Up WIth Kathy – REVIEW
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January 25 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
January 25 – Literary Gold – CHARACTER GUEST POST
January 25 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – SPOTLIGHT
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January 25 – Thoughts in Progress – SPOTLIGHT

 

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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 2021 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Alphabet Soup A -Z Author Edition Challenge Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways Literary Escapes TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – A Zen For Murder (Moosamuck Island Cozy Mystery Series) by Leighann Dobbs #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.


A Zen For Murder (Moosamuck Island Cozy Mystery Series)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Maine
Independently Published (November 11, 2014)
Paperback: 224 pages
ISBN-10: 1503235416
ISBN-13: 978-1503235410
Kindle ASIN: B00PHMW27U

A humorous old-fashioned whodunit with a male and female senior sleuth team and enough twists to keep you reading all night.

Tourist season is about to start, and murder is the last thing on the minds of the locals in Mooseamuck Island, Maine … but that’s about to change.

When local psychic Zoila Rivers is found dead at the zen garden, retired police consultants Dominic Benedetti and Claire Watkins are forced to team up to catch the killer. Too bad Claire and Dom don’t always see eye to eye.

But with an island full of locals who all have secrets, Claire and Dom have to put aside their differences in order to solve the case before the police arrest the wrong person and a killer goes free.

Will Claire and Dom figure out whose secret was worth killing for in time to stop the killer from claiming another victim?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Mooseamuck Island, Maine is a popular place with retirees like Dominic Benedetti and Claire Watkins. They both worked as police consultants before their retirements. Dominic is a “just the facts” consultant, while Claire was more of a people profiler.  When Zoila Rivers, a local psychic is murdered in the local zen garden both decide to team up to try to find the killer. The local police are not happy with their interference explaining they could be putting themselves in danger but that doesn’t scare them off the case. Do they still have the skills to catch a murderer or will one or both of them be the killer’s next victim/s?

______

I found this book while searching for books for my Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge and happy that I did.

I enjoyed the characters in this story, maybe because most of them are pretty close to my own age, but they are cleverly written as well. The entire community was very realistically written.

Mooseamuck Island, Maine sounds like a beautiful place. I recently watched an HGTV show set in a similar community. Between what I saw on that program and the author’s descriptions it was easy to picture the community homes and places.

The mystery itself was very straight forward with a group of suspects I pared down quickly. One clue really stood out for me so I deduced the killer early on but that didn’t limit my enjoyment of the story. I loved the part animals played in solving the mystery too. A Maine Coon cat will always find its way into my heart.

A Zen for Murder was a quick entertaining read. I would like to visit these characters again soon so I have added the final two books in the series to my wish list.

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About Leighann Dobbs

USA Today Best Selling Author, Leighann Dobbs, has had a passion for reading since she was old enough to hold a book, but she didn’t put pen to paper until much later in life. After a twenty-year career as a software engineer with a few side trips into selling antiques and making jewelry, she realized you can’t make a living reading books, so she tried her hand at writing them and discovered she had a passion for that too! She lives in New Hampshire with her husband Bruce, their trusty Chihuahua mix Mojo and a beautiful rescue cat, Kitty. From Amazon


Find more books by Leighann Dobbs here.

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Posted in 2021 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Alphabet Soup A -Z Author Edition Challenge Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Literary Escapes New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Bait and Witch – A Witch Way Librarian Mystery by Angela M. Sanders #Review /#Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @AngelaMSanders


Bait and Witch – A Witch Way Librarian Mystery
by Angela M. Sanders

About Bait and Witch

Bait and Witch – A Witch Way Librarian Mystery
Paranormal Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Oregon
Publisher: Kensington (December 29, 2020)
Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-10: 1496728742
ISBN-13: 978-1496728746
Digital ASIN: B086R8VF2T

Librarian Josie Way moved to small-town Oregon to lay low. Instead, thanks to newfound magic abilities—and a killer on the loose—she’s leapt out of the frying pan and into a cauldron of trouble . . .

 

Josie Way loved working among the Library of Congress’s leather-scented stacks—until she uncovered corruption and made herself a target. As Wilfred, Oregon’s new librarian, Josie can stay undercover until the case goes to court. But life in this little town isn’t as subdued as she expected. The library, housed in a a Victorian mansion, is slated to be bulldozed. Still digesting the news that her safe haven is about to become scrap lumber, Josie discovers a body in the woods . . .

 

Almost as shocking, Josie learns that she’s descended from a long line of witches—and her powers have suddenly sprung to life. With help from a spoiled alley cat who just may be her familiar, Josie’s thumbing through a catalog of suspects, hoping she can conjure a way to save her library—and her life . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Working at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. was a dream come true for Josie Way until she overheard something that turned her into a whistleblower and put a target on her back. In fear for her life, she escaped to Wilfred, Oregon for a job as the small town’s lead librarian. She had hoped for a sleepy little town with no conflicts only to learn that the beautiful library’s fate may be dire. Someone is trying to buy it and tear it down to put up a retreat center. Worried about how long she will be able to stay in Wilfred without a job she comes up with a plan to try to thwart the sale. Then she finds a dead body in the woods behind the library and worries her fate may be dire as well.

As if that isn’t enough to scare the daylights over her, Josie finds she has a strange power regarding the books she has been entrusted to take care of. Unable to explain what is happening she calls her mother and learns she comes from a long line of witches. Her mother tells how she can curtail her witchy ways but soon after she does she realizes she may need those powers to save her life.

_____

I was a little nervous about reading this book because paranormal-themed stories are not always my cup of tea but the synopsis really made me want to know more about Josie Way and this Victorian mansion that had become a library. It was that unique library that drew me in. The author’s detailed description of the place brought the amazing building to life. Each room filled with books, the apartment Josie would inhabit, the paintings on the walls, and the amazing central atrium with its stained glass window set in the roof all felt magical to me before Josie realized she had powers.

I did enjoy the way Josie’s powers were introduced, a true gift for a librarian. The library also comes with a cat named Rodney who bonds with Josie right away. A witch and her familiar, a perfect pair. Josie is an intelligent and talented woman, comfortable in her knowledge, stepping into this new position in a new place. She is very likable and makes friends quickly with her coworker and library trustee/diner owner/pseudo mayor. We also meet several other residents of Wilfred, some thrilled by the demise of the library and others hoping the sale goes awry. We also meet a man whose family has a long history with the town and the local sheriff. The author does an excellent job introducing the characters and allowing them to evolve throughout the story while leaving them room to grow as the series continues.

I was totally entertained by the way the story played out with several secrets revealed and some nice twists and moments of suspense. I probably would have read the entire book in one sitting. I had to force myself to put the book down when the clock struck one and I needed to get to sleep.

Bait and Witch has gotten this series off to an extraordinary start. I wish the Wilfred Library was a real place. I would book my ticket for Oregon today. This paranormal story was a hit for me and I recommend it to everyone that loves a fun cozy mystery.  I am really looking forward to Seven Year Witch coming out on August 24.

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About Angela M. Sanders

Angela M. Sanders writes the Amazon bestselling Joanna Hayworth Vintage Clothing Mysteries and The Booster Club Capers. Under the pen name Clover Tate, she’s the author of the Kite Shop Mysteries (Berkley), which Romantic Times praised for their “well written wit and intrigue.” Angela’s articles on food, personalities, and perfume have appeared in a variety of magazines, and her monthly newsletters have nearly 2,000 subscribers. She interacts with readers on Facebook and Instagram and is a prominent blogger for Now Smell This, which garners 1.5 million monthly page views. Angela has two cats—one of whom is black of course—a witch’s freckle in her left eye and learned to read tarot cards from a pagan priestess.

Author Links

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Coming August 24, 2021

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January 11 – Mochas, Mysteries and Meows – EXCERPT 
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January 12 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
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January 13 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
January 14 – Angel’s Guilty Pleasures – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
January 14 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
January 14 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
January 15 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT
January 15 – Cozy Up WIth Kathy – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
January 15 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW  
January 16 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
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January 17 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW
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January 18 – Thoughts in Progress – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
January 18 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
January 18 – Eskimo Princess Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
January 19 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
January 19 – Sneaky the Library Cat’s Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
January 20 – I Read What You Write – GUEST POST
January 20 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – REVIEW

 

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Posted in 2021 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Alphabet Soup A -Z Author Edition Challenge Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Literary Escapes New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday – Wedding Bear Blues (A Teddy Bear Mystery) by Meg Macy #Review / # Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @megmims

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am so happy to share my thoughts about Wedding Bear Blues today! 

 


Wedding Bear Blues (A Teddy Bear Mystery)
by Meg Macy

About Wedding Bear Blues


Wedding Bear Blues (A Teddy Bear Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Setting – Michigan
Publisher: Kensington (December 29, 2020)
Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-10: 1496729153
ISBN-13: 978-1496729156
Digital ASIN: B086R75PC1

When a heartless killer ruins a Valentine’s Day wedding, teddy bear shop manager Sasha Silverman vows to solve the crime . . .

At the Silver Bear Shop and Factory, Sasha will be selling plenty of bride and groom teddy bears come springtime. But this Valentine’s Day weekend, she’d take any of those silent, stuffed couples over the real thing. Sasha and her sister Maddie are bridesmaids at Cissy Davidson’s upcoming wedding in Silver Hollow. Cissy is fuming over the worst choice of best man—the jerk who broke her sister Debbie’s heart—and the groom-to-be won’t budge in his decision. At the rehearsal dinner, you could cut the tension with a wedding cake knife.

That is, until best man Dylan is found dead, impaled with an ice pick. Although jilted Debbie is the most likely suspect—the blood on her dress doesn’t help her case—the bride begs Sasha to prove her sister’s innocence. If anyone’s going to walk down the aisle, Sasha will first need to find the cold-hearted killer who iced Dylan . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

It’s a beary interesting time in Silver Hollow. Bears are popular Valentine’s Day gifts but the Silver Bear Shop and Factory is planning ahead for Spring. With both Sasha and Maddie standing up in their friend’s Cissy Davidson’s Valentine’s wedding, marriage and anniversaries are on the girl’s minds. Bride and groom bears would be fantastic for spring. The could even be personalized. The girls are also excited about the Chocolate Bear Bar they are hosting for Chocolair, the new chocolate shop in town.

As Cissy’s wedding draws near, there are many plans coming up – a shower, complete with Botox treatments, the bachelor party poker game, the wedding rehearsal, and the following dinner, all before the big event. Bridezilla Cissy has a big problem with her groom’s choice for the best man. Dylan Campbell is a womanizer who broke her sister Debbie’s heart. By the time the rehearsal dinner rolls around more than just Debbie and Cissy have issues with Dylan. When he is found dead in the middle of the dinner in the women’s bathroom no less, Debbie may be at the top of the suspect list but there are several other names following hers. Cissy begs Sasha to prove Debbie didn’t do it but she also wants the case wrapped up quickly so she can get hitched as soon as possible.


It is always fun to catch up with the Silverman family. This time the author introduces a plethora of new characters. Family visiting from out of town, the wedding party and their families, along with one big dog, and some strange men coming into the shop looking for a certain type of teddy bear. The author does an excellent job at keeping each character unique which I really appreciated because it was so easy to keep everyone straight and how they connected to other characters. Sasha and Maddie put up with a lot from Cissy and they definitely had much more patience than I ever would have had with the woman.  I did enjoy that Jay and Sasha’s relationship was more present in the story and getting stronger. It was also nice to see Maddie with a man and that the four of them did things together and it felt very comfortable. Their aunt and uncle came to town with heavy hearts as a family member has a huge medical crisis. Without missing a beat, the girl’s come up with a great idea, and the family and the entire community gets on board.  I found that part of the story especially heartwarming.

The murder mystery was a twisted one. I knew there was some underlying secret that would blow the mystery wide open but until everything was revealed I just couldn’t piece the clues together in a sensical way. I eliminated suspects only to bring them back on to my personal list a chapter or two later. A few characters really pushed my buttons and I wanted them to be guilty. The bride’s dog plays an amusing role throughout the story. There are also a couple of subplots woven into the story that added a bit of intrigue. I thought they were kinda unnecessary but one was there to set up the start for the next book in the series.

Ms. Macy always gives her readers a fun and entertaining story with captivating characters. Well-written with an emphasis on family Wedding Bear Blues is a true testament to that. While the book reads well on its own, I recommend reading the series in order to get to know this beary lovable family from the start.

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You can read my review of Bearly Departed
and a guest post from Meg here.

You can read my review of Bear Witness to Murder
and a character guest post by Sasha Silverman here.

You can read my review of Have A Beary Little Murder here.

About Meg Macy

Award-winning mystery author Meg Macy lives in Southeast Michigan, close enough to Ann Arbor, Chelsea, and Dexter — the setting of her “Shamelessly Adorable Teddy Bear” cozy mysteries for Kensington. She is also one-half of the writing team of D.E. Ireland for the Eliza Doolittle & Henry Higgins mysteries; two books, Wouldn’t It Be Deadly and Get Me to the Grave On Time were Agatha Award finalists for Best Historical. Meg’s first published book, Double Crossing, won the 2012 Best First Novel Spur Award from Western Writers of America. Meg loves reading historical and cozy mysteries, gardening, crafts, and watercolor painting.

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Great Escapes Praise for Wedding Bear Blues (A Teddy Bear Mystery)
by Meg Macy

Wedding Bear Blues by Meg Macy is a fun-filled mystery with a lot of teddy bear humor.
~Baroness’ Book Trove

The author has a captivating writing style and has offered an array of colorful characters along with a genuinely interesting and suspenseful plot.
~I Read What You Write

I like Sasha and her whole family, especially as they pull together through good times and bad . . . With its shamelessly adorable teddy bears and a matrimonial murder WEDDING BEAR BLUES is a Valentine’s Day treat.
~Cozy Up With Kathy

I thought this charming cozy was well-written with developed characters and adorable teddy bears. I enjoyed all the cozy elements that make up this entertaining tale . . .
~The Avid Reader

 

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Hope, Faith, and a Corpse: A Faith Chapel Mystery by Laura Jensen Walker #Review @LauraJensenWal1


Hope, Faith, and a Corpse: A Faith Chapel Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – California
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books (January 12, 2021)
Hardcover: 298 pages
ISBN-10: 1643855042
ISBN-13: 978-1643855042
Kindle ASIN: B0871KRPKG

In the tradition of M. C. Beaton, Hope Taylor, pastor of a small-town California church, tries to find out who sent a church elder to Heaven.

Hope Taylor arrives in Apple Springs to start her new life as the first female pastor of Faith Chapel Episcopal Church. The northern California town’s quaint cottages, bungalows, and shops promise a fresh start for the 42-year-old widow and Bogie, her scruffy black Labrador. But where is Father Christopher? The kindly old rector who hired Pastor Hope was supposed to meet her upon her arrival, but he’s nowhere to be seen. Hope’s faith springs eternal, so she explores the little white church hoping to find Father Christopher. But when she enters the columbarium, she instead finds church elder Stanley King–his skull crushed by a fallen burial urn.

Hope had made Stanley’s acquaintance before and had struggled to take a charitable view of his character. Stanley was as wicked as he was wealthy, as petty as he was pious. His soul may have been holy, but his behavior was wholly rotten. The last time Hope had seen him, he had shouted drunkenly that she would preach at Faith Chapel over his dead body.

Many of the townsfolk witnessed the altercation, so Hope finds herself as the prime suspect in Stanley’s murder. With Bogie’s four-footed assistance, Hope is determined to find the real killer and clear her name…even if it will require a bit of divine intervention.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Oh my, Hope Taylor is a woman I would surely be friends with. We share our Wisconsin roots, we hear our mother’s voice in our heads – “a place for everything and everything in its place” all the time, our inner thoughts sometimes roll off our tongues and escape out our mouths, we both love old black and white movies and can quote lines perfectly if necessary. She even has a labrador named Bogie.

Hope in the new associate pastor at Faith Chapel Episcopal Church and her first day doesn’t get off to a good start. While trying to locate the lead pastor, Father Christopher, she finds church elder Stanley Kind instead. He just happens to be dead in the columbarium with a crushed skull and a bloody urn by his side. She had only met the man once and he was drunk and not very supportive. When two parishioners find her and the deceased that quickly jump to the conclusion that she killed the man. Being a murder suspect was not the fresh start she was hoping to have. Now she is going to have to prove herself to her new congregation and clear her name.


Laura Jensen Walker introduces some fantastic characters in this first Faith Chapel Mysteries. Not only do I love Hope but her sister-in-law Virginia too. She drops everything to come to Hope’s aid and she is a whole lot of fun. I also liked the technology-challenged Father Christopher. He reminded me of one of my former pastors.  There are several other characters that remind me of people in my life. Bogie also stole my heart immediately. All the characters are believable and some are very quirky. They were all very fleshed out for the first book in the series.

The life of a small-town church is accurately portrayed. While not a pastor, I worked for our small town church for several years in different capacities and everything from the fundraisers to the services rang true, as did the dealing with the variety of members’ attitudes and feelings.

The victim was truly a despicable man so there was no shortage of suspects. The more I learned about him I was surprised he lived as long as he did. Another mystery involves a skeleton found buried in Hope’s backyard. Both mysteries are well-plotted and interesting. I really enjoyed doing some armchair sleuthing of my own as Hope was trying to uncover all the facts she could. Several twists and a little legwork brought the real culprit to light. The author’s descriptive writing style made everything clear in my mind’s eye each and every step of the way. The final twist was quite a surprise.

Hope, Faith, and a Corpse was a heavenly read. I loved the way humor was woven liberally throughout the entire story. I truly didn’t want to reach the end. I am very excited about this series. I can’t wait for book two! I have hope and faith that this series is going to be a must-read for cozy lovers everywhere. A Perfect Escape!!

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About the Author

Laura Jensen Walker has loved mysteries ever since she read Trixie Belden in the fourth grade in her Danish-founded hometown of Racine, Wisconsin–America’s kringle capital. A former journalist and the author of several novels and humorous non-fiction books, including Murder Most Sweet and Thanks for the Mammogram! Laura is grateful to be a longtime breast cancer survivor. She lives in California with her Renaissance-man husband and their canine-daughter Mellie. (from Amazon)
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Also by Laura Jensen Walker

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.”

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Murder with Oolong Tea (A Daisy’s Tea Garden Mystery) by Karen Rose Smith #Review @karenrosemith @KensingtonBooks


Murder with Oolong Tea (A Daisy’s Tea Garden Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Setting – Pennsylvania
Publisher: Kensington (December 29, 2020)
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 1496723961
ISBN-13: 978-1496723963
Kindle ASIN: B086R9HPGJ

In Pennsylvania’s Amish country, Daisy Swanson finds herself going back to school expecting to serve tea–only to get a crash course in criminal justice . . .

The faculty of Willow Creek High School are having a get-together after the spring concert with refreshments provided, courtesy of Daisy’s Tea Garden. Oolong tea and chocolate biscuits are just what the staff needs to help them unwind from Althea Higgins’ demanding curriculum. Her lessons on such controversial subjects as school uniforms and underqualified substitute teachers are earning her an F from her colleagues.

But a failing grade was preferable to Althea falling victim to foul play. Daisy was there when her body was discovered in the school swimming pool, murdered by strangulation. Althea was certainly a strict, opinionated taskmaster, unliked by both teachers and students, but would any of them actually want to kill her? As Daisy starts asking questions, she gets a real education in Althea’s history, discovering more than enough enemies with more than enough motives to cancel her classes permanently . . .

Includes delicious recipes!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

It’s time for Daisy Swanson to go back to school. Willow Creek High School is having their spring concert and that will be followed get-together for the faculty that is being catered by Daisy’s Tea Garden. Daisy is surprised when one of her former teachers stops by the tea garden to discuss the menu because it had already been finalized, but then Althea Higgins has always been a force to be reckoned with. Students fear her and other teachers steer clear of her but when her dead body is found in the pool in the middle of the get-together no one is more shocked than Daisy. She vows not to get wrapped up in another murder case but several people ask her to get involved so she feels she has no choice. So she takes a dip into the pool of suspects in her attempt to uncover who strangled the life out of Althea Higgins.


Again this author impresses me with her ability to take on issues within her books that inform and pull you deeper into the story for more than just an excellent mystery. Relationships play a huge role in Murder with Oolong Tea. Daisy and Jonas, Jonas and Zeke,  Daisy and Zeke, Vi and Foster, Tessa and Trevor, Jazzie and her new friend Brielle, Brielle and her parents, Brielle and her grandmother, Althea, and her grandson, and more. All these characters are well-crafted and strong and their interactions are never dull. There is always something happening at the tea shop, Willow Creek, and the Amish countryside to keep people on their toes.

This story was so well-plotted. Tying all the subplots to the main mystery was not an easy task but Ms. Smith does an incredible job. Equipped with her curious nature and her ability to get people to open up to her Daisy sets up several twists and uncovers some unlikely suspects. The author brings suspense in all the right places. I really enjoyed the way the whole story unfolded. The pace was brisk and I was captivated completely following along with all the clues.

The food described within these pages made my mouth water. Daisy dished up a lot of Blueberry Coffee Cake both at work and at home. Thankfully the recipe is in the back of the book and would work with a variety of fruits.

Murder with Oolong Tea is filled with great characters and a first-rate mystery. It is a wonderful addition to the must-read cozy series. The next installment, Murder with Orange Pekoe Tea will be released on August 24, 2021. I can hardly wait. 

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

Karen Rose Smith About the Author

Karen Rose Smith is the author of the Daisy’s Tea Garden Mysteries and the Caprice De Luca home-staging mysteries. Married to her college sweetheart, Karen has convinced her husband that felines can make purr-fect housemates. They share their home in the Susquehanna Valley of Pennsylvania with their three rescued cats. You can find her on Facebook at KarenRoseSmithBooks and on Twitter @karenrosemith.  Find out more about her mysteries at https://www.karenrosesmithmysteries.com.


Also by this Author


Due to the COVID 19 Pandemic, the publisher can’t offer a giveaway at this time. 

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.”

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Cozy Wednesday – Deep Dark Secrets (Deep Lakes Cozy Mystery Series) by Joy Ann Ribar #Review / #Giveaway

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am pleased to share my thoughts about Deep Dark Secrets today by Wisconsin Author Joy Ann Ribar today!

Deep Dark Secrets (Deep Lakes Cozy Mystery Series)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Wisconsin
Publisher: Orange Hat Publishing (June 15, 2019)
Paperback: 328 pages
ISBN-10: 1645380343
ISBN-13: 978-1645380344
Kindle ASIN: B07YQ4CJM5

You’re invited to visit Deep Lakes, Wisconsin, and meet a new friend, Francine “Frankie” Champagne. The 40-something owner of Bubble and Bake — bakery by day, wine lounge by night — Frankie is a spitfire pastry maker, vintner, and budding journalist.

Frankie finds herself on the perimeter of a suspicious death that upends the peaceful winter slumber in Deep Lakes when the local pastor is found dead inside his fishing shanty on Lake Loki. Frankie sticks her curious nose into the investigation, despite warnings from the local sheriff to leave it alone. But she has something to prove, maybe to the newspaper editor who wouldn’t hire her as a reporter, maybe to herself as she searches for fulfillment. Regardless, her fierce independence won’t allow her to back down. Follow Frankie as she stumbles upon one discovery after another, trails potential suspects, and solves the case!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Welcome to the frozen tundra of Wisconsin where the lakes like Lake Loki are filled with ice fishing shanties and fundraisers, where cars are set on the ice and people guess when the lake will thaw enough to send the car to a watery grave. Unfortunately, a local pastor is the one being buried when he is found dead in his ice shanty covered in blood. Francine “Frankie” Champagne the owner of Bubble and Bake — bakery by day, wine lounge by night, inserts herself right in the middle of the investigation to get the scoop for a newspaper article she hopes to write. Short on clues, she just keeps digging until she breaks through the ice and uncovers some deep, dark, secrets and all the clues fall into place.


Frankie Champagne has a lot on her plate. Baking, wine-making, and bottling that wine, managing the Bubble and Bake, divorced with two daughters in college, a new romance or two on the horizon, all while trying to follow her dream of becoming a newspaper journalist.  Thankfully she has her best friend Carmen as a partner at the Bubble and Bake and a lot of good help, including her mother, because she is bound and determined to find out who killed the pastor and why. I liked Frankie but the woman is in non-stop motion. For me, it was almost too much as she traveled across a lot of Wisconsin and even to Iowa in her quest to solve the murder.  All the characters we meet, and there are a lot, are very fleshed out for the first book in a series.

The mystery itself was not quite as forthcoming. Yes, there are secrets and while the innuendo about the pastor was there, I wished the suspects had been more clearly spelled out. Frankie talks to several people but I never was able to form a real list or eliminate people as I usually do with a cozy mystery. It was a journey from having the method of death explained clearly to Frankie taking some risks until the final reveal. I did like that we did get to read Frankie’s article at the end, it wrapped the mystery up nicely.

Deep Dark Secrets has some good bones and is a nice start for this series. There are a few things I feel could have been omitted or pared down to help the story flow better. It had first in a series -itis, where the author has to introduce the characters and the setting along with a good mystery to hold our interest. The author does this satisfactorily but sometimes less detail is more conducive to a successful introduction.  As a Wisconite like the author, I can say she described the state very well and made Deep Lakes a place I would love to visit. The characters are engaging and I am looking forward to seeing where the author takes them next. Deep Bitter Roots us already downloaded to my Kindle. I hope to be reading and reviewing it soon.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author (from Amazon)

Joy Ann Ribar is a Wisconsin native who embraces her Scandinavian roots – wine-tasting and food-munching from every culture. A semi-retired English educator, Joy teaches writing classes at Madison College. She earned a Journalism degree from UW-Madison and a Master’s in Education from UW-Oshkosh. She and her husband, John, run a backyard buffet for winged creatures, plus the occasional furry critter. Someday, they plan to sell everything, buy an RV, and escape Wisconsin winters.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author. 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.”