Posted in 2021 Reviews Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours New Release Challenge Purrfect Reading Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday featuring Burden of Poof (Bonnie & Clyde Mysteries) by Julie Anne Lindsey #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour

Burden of Poof (Bonnie & Clyde Mysteries)
by Julie Anne Lindsey

About Burden of Poof

Burden of Poof (Bonnie & Clyde Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Cozy Queen Publishing LLC (September 15, 2021)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 254 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 195487801X
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1954878013
Digital – ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08ZL91YMW

An amateur sleuth named Bonnie and her kitty companion Clyde, with names like those, what could possibly go wrong?

Life hasn’t sparkled too brightly for Bonnie Balfour over the past few years, but a heart-breaking divorce has brought her back to her small rural hometown of Bliss, Georgia, and things are starting to shape up.

The proud new owner of Bless Her Heart—a second chance dress shop and boutique on the town square—Bonnie thinks thirty-eight might not be too late for a fresh start in life after all.

Until a grouchy old widow turns up dead in a pile of donations meant for Bonnie’s shop, and the town’s new detective pins her to the top of his suspect list!

To save her shop, dream, and reputation, Bonnie must coordinate clues and stitch together the truth about her innocence, but the unreasonably handsome detective and prying eyes of the local gossip mill are fast fraying her nerves.

When a series of anonymous attacks begin to hem her in, Bonnie fears the real killer is fixing to make her his next victim. Can this amateur sleuth measure up?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Still stinging from her pending divorce Bonnie Balfour has returned home to Bliss Georgia and has opened up Bless Her Heart, a second-hand dress shop and boutique. She is giving items a second chance while she works on giving herself the same with her kitty Clyde by her side. Viola Abbott-Harrington has given Bonnie’s shop a second thought and has dropped by with a big donation of old ball gowns, perfect for the girls attending the upcoming homecoming dance. She even asks Bonnie to stop by her home to pick up even more gowns and accessories. But when she arrives she finds Viola dead at the bottom of the stairs on top of the gowns she was there to pick up.

Detective Mason Wright arrives on the scene, takes a brief look around, and decides Bonnie is his number one suspect. She is not about to give the man one second of a chance to pin anything on her. She decides to stitch all the clues together and prove without a shadow of a doubt that she is innocent and who the real killer is before all her dreams go up in a poof of smoke.


I absolutely love Bonnie and Clyde, the stars of this new cozy mystery series from Julie Anne Lindsey. The author pulled me into this story filled with Southern charm and fabulous characters. Clyde stole my heart immediately and I was thrilled by Bonnie’s sewing talents and her creativity. She certainly doesn’t need a man in her life except for Clyde but it is hard to deny the sparks that fly between her and the good detective from the get-go. Their banter was so much fun to observe. The snarky one-liners were great and funny.  I also enjoyed meeting Bonnie’s best friend Cami, that woman has an iron in every fire in the town of Bliss and she is so good for Bonnie. Bonnie needs a push and a shove to get out of her store and enjoy life. We are also introduced to a few of the quirky residents of Bliss and the hint of magic that touches their lives. All of the characters were intriguing in their own way and played necessary roles in the overall story.

Ms. Lindsey has crafted an intelligent mystery with plenty of twists and suspects. Bonnie takes to sleuthing like a kitten to milk. She asks great questions that move the investigation forward although they add more comedic tension between her and Detective Wright. There were some really nice twists and I loved the reveal. I was kept guessing right up to the very end.

The setting of Bliss Georgia was brought to life by the author’s wonderful descriptions. As Bonnie was updating the exterior of her shop I felt like I was right there on the scene. The bookstore was especially interesting for me and I am very excited by the hope of visiting it again. Viola’s home and the square with its wide variety of shops were all places fully described to give readers a real feel for everything Bliss has to offer.  It is a great Southern town and I really was drawn to the genuine way people cared for each other.

After finishing most cozy mysteries you have to wait months or even a year for the next installment. That is not true in this case. The next book in the series Seven Deadly Sequins is being released October 15, Beating the Wrap will be released November 15, and Eyelet Witness will be out December 15. I am really excited about the continuation of this series and more adventures with Bonnie and Clyde. 

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Julie Anne Lindsey

Julie Anne Lindsey is an award-winning and bestselling author of mystery and romantic suspense. She’s published more than forty novels since her debut in 2013 and currently writes series as herself, as well as under multiple pen names, for Harlequin, Kensington, Sourcebooks and Crooked Lane Books.

When Julie’s not creating new worlds or fostering the epic love of fictional characters, she can be found in Kent, Ohio, enjoying her blessed Midwestern life. And probably plotting murder with her shamelessly enabling friends. Today she hopes to make someone smile. One day she plans to change the world. Learn more about Julie at julieannelindsey.com

Author Links

Website     Facebook    Cozy Queens Reader Group     Twitter    Goodreads

Purchase Links – AmazonB&N

Also by Julie Anne Lindsey


Find more by Julie Anne Lindsey here.

Julie also writes as Bree Baker, Jacqueline Frost, and Julie Chase.
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Great Escapes Praise for Burden of Poof (Bonnie & Clyde Mysteries)
by Julie Anne Lindsey

Burden of Poof is a charming Southern cozy mystery with a comforting cat, refashioned frocks, a determined detective, a rapid rumor mill, a caring community, and busybody Bonnie.
~The Avid Reader

I adore this new setting that Lindsey has created. Through her writing, you’ll feel like you’re right in the center of Bliss.
~Christy’s Cozy Corners

From the downhome Southern charm of protagonist, Bonnie Balfour, to her adorable rescue cat, Clyde, to the witty and humorous dialog, Ms. Lindsey pens an entertaining tale.
~Cinnamon, Sugar, and a Little Bit of Murder

Everything about Burden of Proof was charming. The town of ‘Bliss’ is welcoming and charming. The townsfolk and other shop owners that are introduced make you feel at home and want to visit. Bonnie and her sweet shop were just charming.
~My Reading Journeys

I loved Burden of Poof. The characters, setting, and plot are engaging. The murder isn’t the only theme in the book, giving the book a lot of realism. The book is also full of excellent imagery, character development, and a great story.
~Saph’s Cozy Corner

This series has so much promise and having read other books by this fantastic author I am excited! . . . While I am far from being a fashionista, I have a fondness for vintage clothing, so this setting captured my imagination from the start. I am also a sucker for second chances and fresh starts.
~Laura Interests

An idyllic town, charming characters, the spark of romance, and a fun mystery make BURDEN OF POOF a great start to a new cozy mystery series.
~Cozy Up With Kathy

. . . a fabulous start to a new cozy mystery series from author Julie Anne Lindsey. . . The mystery is deftly written and kept me on my toes. If you are looking for a cozy with heart, I highly recommend Burden of Poof. You won’t be disappointed!
~Brooke Blogs

A page-turner of a mystery, and just when you think you have everything figured out, well, I was surprised by the unexpected.
I loved how the author wrapped this story up, perfect!
~Maureen’s Musings

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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 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 – Ukulele Murder: A Nani Johnson Aloha Lagoon Mystery by Leslie Langtry #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.


Ukulele Murder: A Nani Johnson Aloha Lagoon Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Hawaii
Gemma Halliday Publishing (June 30, 2016)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 224 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1533594740
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1533594747
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B01HU7401A

Nani Johnson thought she had it made when she moved from Kansas to the resort town of Aloha Lagoon, Kauai. In spite of her certifiably crazy mom, Nani is determined that nothing will stop her from becoming a ukulele virtuoso! Unfortunately, her Julliard training doesn’t help her break into the local music scene due to some heavy competition from the Terrible Trio—three hostile, local musicians. The only work she finds is a few bar mitzvahs and gigs at the kitschy Blue Hawaii Wedding Chapel.

But when one of Nani’s competitors drops dead right after a public feud, Nani becomes the police’s main suspect. A missing murder weapon, mysterious threats, and a heck of a frame-up job all have Nani worrying she’ll be trading in her flowery muumuus for prison orange. Enter hunky local botanist Nick Woodfield, who just might be able to help her clear her name…that is if he doesn’t have secrets of his own. With the bodies stacking up, the danger closing in, and the authorities circling, Nani must track down a killer…before she ends up the latest victim of the Ukulele Murderer!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Welcome to Aloha Lagoon, Kauai. Nani Johnson and her “crazy” mother have recently moved here from Kansas and Nani’s dream is to be a ukulele virtuoso. Being a graduate of Julliard means nothing here and she has some stiff competition in the Terrible Trio, 3 local ukelele masters. Needing a job she plays her ukelele at the Blue Hawaii Wedding Chapel and picks up any other gigs she can like birthday parties and bar mitzvahs.

When one of the Terrible Trio is killed Nani becomes the main suspect under the theory that killing them would enable her to get more high-profile jobs. When she learns one of her ukeleles is missing and it could very well be the murder weapon she realizes someone is setting her up just when her personal life seemed to be looking up. One of her mother’s fix-ups actually brought a great guy into her life. She is surprised when he actually wants to help her clear her name. Is this local botanist too good to be true? He seems to have some secrets of his own.

When another virtuoso is killed Nani starts to fear she may be next or sent to prison for crimes she didn’t commit. She has no choice but to hunt down the killer herself and hope she lives long enough to play her beloved ukelele again.


I needed to read a light fun cozy mystery and this book delivered that nicely.

I really enjoyed meeting Nani and her mother with her silly decorating themes. She does drink to excess and does depend heavily on Nani. In fact, she planned a dinner party with a new friend and her son and failed to tell Nani until the last minute which meant Nani getting dinner from a nearby restaurant and plating it up as if she had prepared it herself. She did forgive her mother this time because she and Nick really hit it off.

Nick is a botanist working at a local resort in charge of their grounds and gardens. His family is very well-known on the island and Nani is surprised his mother is so down to earth and befriended her mother.

Nani does have a lot of stacked against her, first, she is not Hawaiian and she didn’t even grow up on the islands. Then she has the competition of Alohalani, Kua, and Leilani, the Terrible Trio who tolerate her presence but would be happy if she just went away. Thankfully, other natives and locals have welcomed her with open arms, In fact, her best friend Binny comes from generations of Hawaiians and has her back whenever needed. Like clearing her of a murder charge. All the characters feel true to life and genuine. The supporting cast all had meaningful parts in the story and were very well crafted.

The author’s descriptive writing style taken readers to the island with ease. Everywhere the characters traveled was easy to see in my mind’s eye from Nani’s home to the palatial Woodfield estate and the Blue Hawaiian Wedding Chapel.  It was a nice virtual vacay to a place I would love to visit. It is high up on my bucket list.

The mystery was well plotted but I pinned the guilty party pretty early in the story and my selection was reinforced in several places as the book continued. It was fun watching Nani, Nick, and Binny follow the clues. The inept police detective was frustrating as he tried to make the case fit his assumption instead of doing any real investigating but that is part of what makes cozy mystery stories so entertaining to read.

Ukulele Murder is part of a long-running series written by several authors. Leslie Langtry has started this series out wonderfully and I look forward to reading more books in the series. I see we can revisit Nani, her mom, and Nick again in Ukelele Deadly, the 7th book in the series.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Leslie Langtry is the USA Today bestselling author of the Greatest Hits Mysteries, the Merry Wrath Mysteries, Sex, Lies, & Family Vacations, and several books she hasn’t finished yet, because she’s very lazy. Leslie loves puppies and cake (but she will not share her cake with puppies) and lives with her family and assorted animals in the Midwest.
The Aloha Lagoon Mysteries:

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

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Contest Will End October 1, 2021, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
The 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 2021 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cat’s Meow (The 2 Sisters Pet Valet Mysteries) by Dane McCaslin #Review / #Giveaway


Cat’s Meow (The 2 Sisters Pet Valet Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Oregon
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Lyrical Underground (March 23, 2021)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 187 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1516110188
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1516110186
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08BXB523Z

Retired schoolteacher Gwen Franklin has a new pet project—and a sideline in sleuthing. But this new case has a dangerous sting in the tail . . .

Gwen’s calendar has been filling up ever since she was hounded by her best friend, Nora, into starting 2 Sisters Pet Valet Services. Now they’ve been invited to attend the annual Clear the Shelter event, hosted by Portland’s very own blonde bombshell newscaster, Babs Prescott. Babs is convinced she’s top dog among local celebrities, but it’s clear that someone disagrees when Babs’ body is found following a downtown press conference.

A story this juicy would be headline news at any time, but especially once local crime reporter Shelby Tucker is arrested for the murder. Gwen was Shelby’s high school teacher, and she’s sure her former pupil is innocent. But in that case, who was itching to take Babs out of the spotlight for good? As Nora and Gwen investigate, they find personal mysteries at odds with Babs’ public persona, all leading to a killer who’s not pussyfooting around . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

2 Sisters Pet Valet Services is surprisingly still up and running and gaining clients. So much so that Gwen and Nora have been invited to the annual Clear the Shelter event which will be hosted by Babs Prescott, a local newscaster with overwhelming assets. Sadly someone decided to cut Babs’ broadcasting career short. Her body is found in a parking garage following a press conference and local crime reporter and Nora and Gwen’s friend Shelby Tucker has been arrested for the crime. Shelby was one of Gwen’s best students and she knows the woman wouldn’t kill anyone. So again, the 2 Sisters insert themselves in another investigation this time to determine who took down the blonde bombshell.


Oh, my stars! The Friendly Bean is Nora and Gwen’s home away from home but Gwen likes her coffee “dark and black and hot”. She may be convinced to try a cappuccino or a mocha but the woman has her limits.

When Nora tried to press her into a healthier drink she had this response . . . “Not if it means drinking milk made from nuts. If God meant us to drink almond milk, he’d have given them little almond boobs”.

In the first book in this series, Doggone Dead, I really didn’t like Nora because of the way she ran roughshod over Gwen but this time Gwen gave as good she got a lot more often. Don’t get me wrong Nora is still as overbearing as ever and she did insert herself into one event that really made me want to tug on her leash and pull her right out of the book to allow Gwen to enjoy herself without Nora’s interference. I feel Gwen has grown quite a bit from the first book and still has plenty of room to grow. Nora has shown her true colors and I am not sure she has any desire to change or grow.

I did enjoy Shelby taking on a larger role but hated that she was the main suspect in Babs murder. Brent is a flawed character and could eat 24/7 if there was food in front of him. I do feel both Gwen and Nora have taken advantage of his child-like nature. I am glad he has found Rachel and that she cares for him just the way he is.

I loved that we met more canine characters. Sometimes the pets can steal the scene and that is just fine with me.

The mystery this time was interesting as the suspect list continued to grow. Several meetings were held to discuss the case and plenty of food was eaten and coffee drank. I was excited by the new additions to the group. The ladies get a big assist from a surprising source that seemed to fit seamlessly with the group too. There were a few nice twists and I was surprised when the whodunit was revealed.

The Pet Valet Service goes on hiatus during the investigation and I was sad to see this as a lot of humorous scenes stem from their canine, feline, and aviary clients. They did agree to take on one special case but that experience ended up being pretty short.

Cat’s Meow . . that title puzzles me a bit  . . . was a very entertaining read with amusing characters and a lighthearted mystery investigation. I am looking forward to the next book in the series, Playing Possum with be out on October 5.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Dana McCaslin

McCaslin began a life-long love of mysteries at a very young age. She bypassed Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden and went straight for Agatha Christie, thanks to her mother’s library books. Dane is retired from a twenty-plus-year career in teaching high school and college English, and she uses her newfound freedom to read for pleasure, write mysteries, and smell the roses.

Author Links

Website  Facebook – Twitter Instagram GoodReads BookBub


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

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

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

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End September 30, 2021, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
The 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 2021 Reviews Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday featuring Swimming with the Fishes: An Ozarks Lake Mystery by Marc Jedel #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

It is my pleasure to feature
Swimming with the Fishes today.

Swimming with the Fishes: An Ozarks Lake Mystery
by Marc Jedel

About Swimming with the Fishes


Swimming with the Fishes: An Ozarks Lake Mystery
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Arkansas
Publisher: BGM Press
Number of Pages: 220

She’s settling into a new life. But when a fishing trip totally capsizes, can she get a friend off the hook for murder?

 

Elizabeth Trout still feels awkward being back home. Discovering a BFF from her raucous high-school days has become the perfect mom is as weird as staying with her mother while awaiting construction of her new home. But she’s shaken to her core when her newlywed husband and beloved dog are nearly blown out of the water in a dockside explosion which leaves another woman dead … and her bestie is arrested for the crime.

 

To clear her friend, Elizabeth and her spouse set out to reel in a killer by sifting through the murky depths of small town drama. But between missing money, ominous strangers, and a shady ex-husband, these amateur sleuths net more motives than they can handle.

 

Can this dynamic detective duo dig up an answer before the big one gets away?

 

Swimming with the Fishes is the sensational second book in the Ozarks Lake Mystery series. If you like clever couples, delightful lakeside settings, and a rollicking good time, then you’ll love Marc Jedel’s hilarious whodunit.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Elizabeth and Jonas Trout have decided to stay in Jenkins, Arkansas. Jonas is finishing up the school year as a substitute teacher and Elizabeth is still trying to adjust to being back home. They are still living with her mom but a house of their own is under construction on the property Elizabeth inherited.

Jonas finds himself out on the lake in the early morning with the mayor of Jenkins and the high school principal trying to enjoy the peace and quiet but that is impossible with his present company. His dog Daisy was supposed to be along too but was not a fan of being in the boat so she is lying on the dock waiting for Jonas to return. As the men head back into the dock he notices Daisy is up, alert, and growling. He can’t see anyone, except maybe a “shadowy figure” nearby but something has upset the pup. Soon Daisy is diving into the water and Jonas dives in after her. Then a “fiery blast” with “a burst of blinding light, noise, and heat” occurs just as Jonas raises his head out of the water. The principal was hit by debris as the mayor brought the boat in. Looking down the dock they see what is left of another boat and a body near the captain’s seat.

The police quickly arrest one of Elizabeth’s friends and she doesn’t hesitate in pulling out the stops to clear her name. Can she and Jonas reel in the real killer or will they be caught by the killer themselves?


So much happens within these pages, an explosion, a dead body, missing money, a reunion, some sketchy gentlemen, a Bean Festival complete with Outhouse Races, and Elizabeth coming home with a child. My head was spinning with all the drama and I enjoyed the wild ride.

Jenkins is filled with the requisite quirky characters you usually find in a cozy mystery in abundance. Elizabeth is trying to reconnect with friends and Jonas is getting to know many of the residents. All the characters are cleverly written and we find them in several humorous situations. Elizabeth is truly tested as she tries to help her friend in any way she can even if it means traveling into some truly uncharted waters.

There are two mysteries to solve and Elizabeth is sure they are connected. There were several twists and turns and I was sometimes confused as to the significance of some of the clues but I really loved the way everything played out and the takedown that occurred.

It may have just been me but I didn’t find this story to be as funny as other books by this author but he sure did write a story that kept me on my toes and totally entertained.

Swimming with the Fishes has some great amateur sleuths in Jonas and Elizabeth. They may get sidetracked and stumble into some answers to their questions but they don’t give up. Daisy holds a special place in my heart too. I am excited to see what the author has in store for this wonderful threesome next.



Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Marc Jedel

Marc Jedel writes humorous murder mysteries. He credits his years of marketing leadership positions in Silicon Valley for honing his writing skills and sense of humor. While his high-tech marketing roles involved crafting plenty of fiction, these were just called emails, ads, and marketing collateral.

For most of Marc’s life, he’s been inventing stories. As he’s gotten older, he’s encountered more funny and odd people and situations. This has made it even easier for him to write what he knows and make up the rest. It’s a skill that’s served him well, both as an author and marketer.

The publication of Marc’s first novel, UNCLE AND ANTS, gave him permission to claim “author” as his job. This leads to much more interesting conversations with people than answering, “marketing.” Becoming an Amazon best-selling author has only made him more insufferable.

Like his characters Jonas and Elizabeth from the Ozarks Lake Mystery series, Marc grew up in the South and spent plenty of time in and around Arkansas. Like his character, Marty from the Silicon Valley Mystery series, Marc now lives in Silicon Valley, works in high-tech, and enjoys bad puns. Along with all his protagonists, Marc too has a dog, although his is neurotic, sweet, and small, with little appreciation for Marc’s humor.

Visit his website, marcjedel.com, for free chapters of novels, special offers, and more.

Author Links

Website: www.marcjedel.com

Facebook: http://facebook.com/MarcJedel.Author

BookBub: http://www.bookbub.com/profile/marc-jedel

Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18403497.Marc_Jedel

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/mjedel/

Blog: www.marcjedel.com/blog

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Marc-Jedel/e/B07H7MVKJL

• Purchase Links: Amazon

Great Escapes Praise for Swimming with the Fishes: An Ozarks Lake Mystery
by Marc Jedel

Swimming with the Fishes is another hilarious, well-plotted cozy mystery from Marc Jedel.
~Christy’s Cozy Corners

I enjoyed the reveal, as it was not dangerous to anyone and the police arrived just at the right time. This feels like a fun series that brings us good mysteries, great secondary characters and two wonderful sleuths in Elizabeth and Jason.
~Carla Loves To Read

TOUR PARTICIPANTS
September 8 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
September 8 – Novels Alive – GUEST POST
September 9 – Mysteries with Character – GUEST POST
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September 10 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
September 11 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
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September 12 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
September 12 – Carla Loves To Read – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
September 13 – I Read What You Write – GUEST POST
September 13 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
September 14 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
September 15 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
September 15 – StoreyBook Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST
September 16 – Novels Alive – REVIEW
September 16 – Literary Gold – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
September 17 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT
September 18 – My Journey Back the Journey Back – CHARACTER GUEST POST
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September 19 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, GUEST POST
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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 Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

No Grater Crime (A Country Store Mystery) by Maddie Day #Review @maddiedayauthor @KensingtonBooks


No Grater Crime (A Country Store Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
9th in Series
Setting – Indiana
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Kensington (August 24, 2021)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 320 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1496723198
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1496723192
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08P81Z7MF

Robbie Jordan’s Pans ‘N Pancakes boasts delicious eats and the best vintage cookware finds in South Lick, Indiana. And now, for a limited time, there’s a new special featured on the menu–murder!

Ever since meeting the wary owners of an antique shop opening across the street, Robbie has been scrambling to manage weird incidences plaguing her café and country store. Pricey items vanish from shelves without explanation, a fully equipped breakfast food truck starts lingering around the area each morning, and loyal diners mysteriously fall ill. When an elderly man dies after devouring an omelet packed with poisonous mushrooms, Robbie must temporarily close down Pans ‘N Pancakes and search for the killer with a real zest for running her out of business–or else.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

There is a new business in South Lick, an antique store right across the street from Robbie Jordan’s Pans ‘N Pancakes. She hopes it won’t cut into her vintage cookware sales. But sales aren’t her problem right now, shoplifting is. While she and her employees were busy serving food someone walked off with a batch of graters she just picked up at the Scottsburg Antique Fair. Robbie knows who the thief is but hesitates to make a scene.

Robbie strives to serve her customers the highest quality of food possible so she is shocked to learn a group of them took ill after eating at her establishment. Worse, one man whose health is already compromised dies. The health department closes Pans ‘N Pancakes down while they investigate. Robbie does her own investigation and figures out the mushrooms were the problem. Her wholesaler delivered poisonous ones and Robbie and her staff had no clue there weren’t the usual variety they typically use. Strange that as soon as Robbie’s business is shut down a food truck pulls up next to the new antique store and starts serving her customers. That is just one too many coincidences for Robbie. She knows who is responsible she just has to prove it.


My mother ran a restaurant similar to Robbie’s so this story really hit home for me. Competition is one thing, sabotage with foodstuffs is completely another. Many businesses wouldn’t be able to come back from such a serious matter. Robbie is blessed to have such a loyal group of customers and friends. As you can see Maddie Day has written a story that hit me at an emotional level which she continues to do time and time again.

The mystery is more complicated than complex. The suspects are a small pool and it is just a matter of pinning the right person down. They all had the opportunity but true motives were unclear. Robbie withheld the theft of the graters from Lieutenant Buck Bird who eats most of her menu every time he sets foot in the place. That may have ruffled some feathers earlier in the book and changed the outcome. I was just surprised she didn’t tell him right away. I did enjoy following all the clues though. I was on the right track but a left turn changed everything near the conclusion of the mystery.

I love that this series is set in the Midwest and the characters ring true to almost everyone right out my front door. I have sincerely enjoyed Robbie and the rest of the characters from the start of the series. They continue to grow and new members of the supporting cast are added in each book along the way. In fact, Robbie is engaged to be married to a man with a teenage son. Robbie has nurtured a relationship with the young man and that becomes very important in this story. I really admire the way the author has treated these characters and the way these relationships grew over several stories. It feels natural and is really heartwarming. It also sets up a fantastic ending.

No Grater Crime is filled with wonderful characters and delicious food. I am not a mushroom eater so now kitchen sink omelet for me though. Each visit to South Lick seems to end too soon. I can hardly wait for Batter Off Dead to be released in February 2022.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

Maddie Day is a talented amateur chef and holds a PhD in linguistics from Indiana University. An Agatha Award-winning author, she is a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America. She lives with her beau and an energetic kitten north of Boston

As Edith Maxwell, she writes the Local Foods Mysteries (Kensington Publishing) and the Quaker Midwife Mysteries (Midnight Ink), as well as writes award-winning short crime fiction.

You can find all Maddie’s/Edith’s identities at www.edithmaxwell.com. She blogs every weekday with the other Wicked Cozy Authors at wickedcozyauthors.com. Look for her as Edith M. Maxwell and Maddie Day on Facebook and @edithmaxwell and @maddiedayauthor on Twitter.


Coming February 22, 2022

Also by Maddie Day

Coming November 30, 2021

Writtem as Edith Maxwell

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 Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Literary Escapes paradise rating You Read How Many Books Challenge

What the Cat Dragged In (Cat in the Stacks Mystery) by Miranda James #Review @BerkleyMystery


What the Cat Dragged In (Cat in the Stacks Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
14th in Series
Setting – Mississippi
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Berkley (August 31, 2021)
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 304 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0593199464
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0593199466
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08CTFV6VW

Librarian Charlie Harris and his faithful feline companion, Diesel, have inherited Charlie’s grandfather’s house, along with a deadly legacy: a decades-old crime scene, in this all-new mystery in the New York Times bestselling Cat in the Stacks series.

Charlie has always believed that his grandfather had sold his house to his longtime tenant, Martin Hale. So when Martin dies, Charlie is surprised to discover the house was not left to Martin but instead belongs to Charlie. As he and Diesel check out the house he remembers fondly from his childhood, he is pleasantly surprised that it is in better condition than expected. That is, until they find a literal skeleton in a closet.

While the sheriff’s department investigates the mysterious remains, Charlie digs deeper into the past for clues to the identity of the bones and why they are there. But the cold case heats up quickly when Martin’s grandson is found dead on the farm.

As Charlie delves into his own family history, he encounters many people who might have been motivated to take a life. But Charlie and Diesel know that things are not always what they seem and that secrets seemingly lost to time have a way of finding their way back to haunt the present.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

In this latest Cats in the Stacks Mystery Charlie gets a big surprise. He inherits the family farmhouse outside of town. He had always thought his grandfather had sold the property but instead he gave the tenant Martin Hale, a lifelong lease. When Mr. Hale passed away the property reverted back to the Harris family, Charlie. His son Sean, a lawyer, is helping him wade through all the paperwork and necessary actions. Not having been in the house in years Charlie is anxious to take a tour of the place with Diesel by his side. The place will need a little work but is in better shape than he expected. While checking out the attic, Diesel makes a scary discovery  . . . a human skeleton in an old wardrobe. This puts any plans for the place on hold.

Charlie reports Diesel’s find to the sheriff’s office who calls in a specialist to try to identify the skeleton. Charlie realizes he doesn’t know or remember much about his family history so he takes the opportunity to investigate his family tree. He may even be able to identify the remains before the sheriff.

A huge storm moves through the area leaving downed trees at the family homestead and a body is found under a downed limb. It is quickly identified to be Hale’s grandson who thought he would be inheriting the property. When the limb is removed evidence shows the man was killed before the storm and it wasn’t any accident. The investigation into the skeleton turns into a current murder investigation and Charlie uncovers many reasons for the death and many other secrets as well.


I loved this story. Charlie’s deep dive into his family’s history drew my interest. I have a niece that has been researching our family history, something I have wanted to do for years but haven’t been able to do. I realized too late that I should have sat down with my mother who had vast knowledge of our family on both her and my father’s sides and his was very complicated. She would always know how everyone fit together and had wonderful stories that I should have listened to more carefully. When she passed away much of that knowledge passed away with her, knowledge I would have loved to pass on to my children and grandchildren. So you see, I was very excited to see Charlie take on this project. Keeping track of a family’s history is so important.

The mysteries Charlie was entangled in, the murder, and the skeleton were just a jumping-off point. There was another case the Athena Sheriff’s Office had been trying to solve that was really unknown to Charlie that he was able to solve as part of a terrifying incident at the end of the story. It was totally off his radar as he struggled with decisions about his family homestead and the deaths that had occurred.

I really enjoyed the author’s description of the Harris Family Homestead. I know the layout of Charlie’s current home, Helen Louise’s Bistro, (she on a girls getaway with her friends during this story), the college, his office, and the layout of the small town of Athena quite well after the 13 previous books in this series. She gives good concise details of this new to us property and I was able to follow along through each room and even into the neighboring woods.

Ms. James plotted such an excellent story with intrigue, secrets, drama, and action while allowing us to catch up on the regular daily news with Charlie, his family, his tenants, Melba, Kanesha, Azalea, plus Ramses and Diesel too. All of these characters are charming in their own ways and while I know there is going to be a stellar mystery or two in each book it is those characters that bring me back for each new installment of this wonderful series.

What the Cat Dragged In is now my favorite book in this series. It has everything I look for in a  cozy mystery and more.

You will find What the Cat Dragged In on my Best Reads of 2021 list because in my opinion it deserves more than 5 stars and receives my Paradise Rating.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

About the Author

Miranda James is the New York Times bestselling author of the Cat in the Stacks Mysteries, including The Pawful Truth, Six Cats a Slayin’, and Claws for Concern, as well as the Southern Ladies Mysteries, including Fixing to Die, Digging Up the Dirt, and Dead with the Wind. James lives in Mississippi.

Find out more about Miranda James and her books on her webpage here.

Use the search feature to find my reviews for all of
the Cats in the Stacks Mysteries.


The Rest of the Series




Also by Miranda James

Click on the covers for more information or to order by Amazon.

Due to COVID-19, the publisher is unable to 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.”

Posted in 2021 Reviews Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday featuring Death of a Red-Hot Rancher (A Love Is Murder Mystery) by Mimi Granger #Review / #Giveaway @BerkleyMystery

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am excited to share my thoughts about
Death of a Red-Hot Rancher today!


Death of a Red-Hot Rancher (A Love Is Murder Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – New York
Berkley (September 14, 2021)
Mass Market Paperback ‏ : ‎ 288 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0593201566
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0593201565
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08PYKMCJW

Love meets murder in this new cozy mystery series set in a quirky romance bookstore, with a heroine to die for.

Lizzie Hale may be the lucky owner of a successful romance bookshop, Love Under the Covers, but she’s decidedly un-lucky in love. Though she’s read almost every famous romance novelist, from Jane Austen to Nora Roberts, none have helped her figure out how to get—and keep—a man.

But Lizzie has bigger problems to worry about. Like murder.

When Brody Pierce, swoon-worthy ranch owner and resident bachelor, is found stabbed through the chest, hearts were heard breaking all over idyllic Tinker’s Creek. But when Lizzie’s aunt is implicated in the murder, she’s determined to clear her name. Lizzie quickly realizes that Brody was a hunk with many hidden secrets, and she’s soon leafing through a stack of suspects longer than Brody’s list of lovers.

With the killer still on the loose, Lizzie will have to find the truth before this act of passion ignites a fire she can’t put out.

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

In this new series by Mimi Granger, we meet Lizzie Hale. Lizzie owns Love Under the Covers, a well-known romance bookshop in Tinker’s Creek Ohio. Lizzie may excel at recommending romance novels but she definitely does not excel in her own romantic relationships, And there is a handsome hunk in town that has all the ladies swooning. Even Lizzie thinks he is pretty easy on the eyes. Brody Pierce is a tall drink of water who gained his fame and fortune in Hollywood starring in a truck commercial and now owns a bison ranch just outside of town. Brodie stopped by Love Under The Covers for a special purchase and was surrounded by women the entire time he was in the store. Distracted he left his credit card behind when he exited the store.

Since Brodie hadn’t returned for his card a few days later Lizzie makes the trek to his home to return it and oh! my! what a magnificent home it is. The barn is spectacular too. When Brody didn’t answer the door she wandered over to the barn and found Brody . . . dead on the floor . . . stabbed in the chest . . . with his loyal dog Violet howling by his side.

But Brody was a man with many secrets and a good lineup of suspects that could have wanted the man dead. Even Lizzie’s Aunt Charmaine is on the list. Lizzie can’t stand for that so she starts her own quest to clear her aunt and find the real killer knowing she could be their next victim.


Lizzie was such a fun new protagonist and I was really taken with her bookshop, an old home she has set up with different sub-genres of romance novels each having its own room. Each is unique in its furnishings with places for people to relax and escape right into a new story. She is a smart savvy businesswoman who has definitely found her niche. She has a great sense of humor which is handy when working with her aunt Charmaine. Ms. Granger has surrounded these ladies with a great supporting cast including “a large dog of questionable parentage”, and a delightful park ranger that is assisting in the murder investigation.

I knew from the title that the red-hot rancher was going to die, but when Brody was killed I was sad. He was an interesting character that I would have liked to have gotten to know better. We did learn a lot of things about him while trying to catch his killer. He was clearly a man with a checkered past.

Because Lizzie read more into one incident she was scared her aunt had something to do with the man’s death. That was my only drawback in this book. An honest conversation would have cleared that matter up quickly and Lizzie could have still been caught up in the case. Other than that I really enjoyed following along as clues came together to create a very exciting ending.

Death of a Red-Hot Rancher has set this series off to a wonderful start. I love the small-town atmosphere and Lizzie’s place in the community. Mimi Granger is a seasoned author that has written under many pen names so she knows her stuff. I am excited for this series to continue so I can visit Tinker’s Creek and its residents again soon.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Mimi Granger began her publishing career writing historical romance. Many years later, there’s still nothing she likes better than a happily-ever-after…as long as there’s a little murder and mayhem thrown in. Her Love is Murder mystery series provides the perfect opportunity to salute the two genres she loves most—romance and mystery—and to play out every reader’s dream of owning a fabulous bookstore. Mimi lives outside of Cleveland with her own personal romance hero and two dogs: Eliot, an enthusiastic Airedale, and Lucy, who provides the inspiration for Violet in her stories (including the incredible amount of shed fur).

Mimi Granger is a pseudonym for Connie Laux and writes as Kylie Logan. Lucy Ness, and Casey Daniels too. She is the author of the League of Literary Ladies Mystery series, the Button Box Mystery series, and the Haunted Mansion Mystery series. Learn more online at www.mystery-book-series.com.

Thanks to the publisher I have 1 copy to give away!

I am giving away my review copy!
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with a US or Canadian mailing address.

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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 2021 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

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


Murder with Orange Pekoe Tea (A Daisy’s Tea Garden Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
7th in Series
Setting – Pennsylvania
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Kensington (September 7, 2021)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 320 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1496733975
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1496733979
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08P82JPHP

In Pennsylvania’s Amish country, Daisy Swanson is serving hot tea at a fundraiser for a homeless shelter—but tempers are getting heated too . . .

Daisy’s orange pekoe is flowing at a fundraiser—and she’s also made a new friend, Piper, a young woman whose hopes for motherhood were dashed by a foul-up at a fertility clinic. But before they can settle into a long conversation, the event is disrupted by masked protestors who object to building a shelter in Willow Creek. Among the angry crowd is Eli—who left his Amish community some time ago, with help from a lawyer named Hiram.

It just so happens that Hiram is also representing the fertility clinic in a class-action suit—and soon afterward, he turns up dead, felled by an insulin injection. Daisy can’t help but get drawn in, especially since Piper’s husband had been pretty steamed at the victim and didn’t hide it. She’d love to spend some time with the dog she and her boyfriend have just adopted—but first, she’ll be straining to find a killer . . .

Includes delicious recipes!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

In this 7th Daisy’s Tea Garden Mystery, Willow Creek is planning for a homeless shelter and is trying to raise the needed funds now that the land has been donated. Daisy Swanson is doing her part by providing tea (Orange Pekoe) and some delicious sweets. But everyone is not in favor of the shelter and a bunch of masked protestors try to shut the event down by overturning the tables and causing a ruckus. Daisy notices that one of the protesters is a young man, Eli Lapp, who left the Amish community. She is surprised he would be involved in such an altercation. He did take a moment to confront his friend and local lawyer, Hiram Hershberger.

Hiram is a busy man because he is also representing a local fertility clinic that through an employee error several embryos were lost. The affected individuals are bringing a class-action suit against the facility. Daisy met Piper a young woman who lost her embryos in the tragic event and her husband, Emory who is blaming everyone connected to the event, even Hiram.  When Hiram is killed Daisy fears Emory may be responsible.  Because of her budding friendship with Piper Daisy decides to do a little investigating of her own.


The author continues to put Daisy in some hot-topic situations. A fertility clinic that killed a batch of embryos and a homeless shelter that could bring some unsavory people to the neighborhood. Daisy has a good head on her shoulders that allows her to see both sides of a situation. It is to the author’s credit to create such a well-developed protagonist for this series and it is not just this main character that is well-developed. All of the core characters have grown over the course of the series but she has left plenty of room for future growth. Family is always a clear focus in any story in this series. I did enjoy that Daisy’s daughters were more involved in aspects of this story. I am also very happy with the way Daisy’s relationship with Jonas is proceeding and that they have added a wonderful canine to the mix. The author does blend the Englisch and Amish communities that are close in Willow Creek with a balanced hand. I always seem to learn something new about the Amish way of life in each book.

I do love the tea shop setting where many of the suspects could drop in at any time. Daisy just needs to keep her ears and eyes open. The foods described always make my tummy rumble. I am not a big tea drinker but Daisy could convert me quite quickly.

Ms. Smith has penned a perfectly plotted mystery with plenty of suspects. The method of murder was unique and the clues were well placed throughout the story. I was very wrapped up in all that was happening and I didn’t hone in on anyone decisively. The ending was very exciting and surprising. I do enjoy it when that happens because that means the author did an excellent job of diverting my thinking.

Murder with Orange Pekoe Tea is a marvelous cozy mystery with interesting subplots too. The pace was quick and the characters drew me deeply into the story. I am so looking forward to my next visit to Daisy’s Tea Garden and Willow Creek.

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.”

Posted in 2021 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – Doggone Dead (The 2 Sisters Pet Valet Mysteries) by Dane McCaslin #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.

Doggone Dead (The 2 Sisters Pet Valet Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Oregon
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Lyrical Underground (August 25, 2020)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 183 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 151611017X
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1516110179
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B07ZPL51NL

Retired high school teacher Gwen Franklin has a new pet valet business with her BFF, and a whole new leash on life. But a killer is about to come sniffing around . . .

Gwen Franklin is looking forward to spending her retirement drinking her favorite coffee and reading mystery novels. Those peaceful plans are brought to heel by her best friend, Nora. Sporting stiletto heels, leggings, and a “more is better” makeup routine, fifty-something Nora Goldstein has a penchant for marrying—and divorcing—rich men. Now that Gwen’s got free time, Nora figures they should start a dog-walking and pet-sitting service together.

But it’s far from a walk in the park when the corpse of Linda Fletcher is found in Nora’s kitchen. Linda was Nora’s nemesis, and the large knife protruding from her chest points to murder. With no doubt that her bestie’s being framed, Gwen puts her sleuthing skills—acquired from reading every Agatha Christie mystery—to the test as she digs through suspects, including four disgruntled ex-husbands, ten greedy ex-stepchildren, not to mention all her exes’ exes. But with death threats and another body surfacing, can Gwen curb a killer before her own (dog) days come to an end?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Gwen Franklin has retired from teaching and is looking forward to sleeping in and relaxing with some good mystery books and her favorite cup of coffee. But her best friend Nora Goldstein has other ideas. She calls and wakes Gwen up early with another harebrained scheme. She has summoned Gwen to The Friendly Bean to tell her all about it.

Nora has decided Gwen now has plenty of time on her hands so it is the perfect time for the two women to go into business together and her big idea is a pet-setting service that includes dog walking. She is excited about all the money they will be raking in even though Nora already has her own fortune collected from the several exes she has left behind. Gwen has to be careful, she can only earn so much money before it affects her pension and she is severely allergic to animals including dogs. But Nora doesn’t seem to care, they head back to Nora’s condo to firm up the details to promote the new business over a cup of tea.

But their plans are going to have to wait. The dead body of Nora’s neighbor and arch enemy Linda Fletcher is lying in a pool of blood on Nora’s kitchen floor with a knife protruding from her chest. Gwen knows her friend is pushy and can be overbearing but she wouldn’t kill someone, especially in her immaculate kitchen. Also, her reaction is not an act, her face goes pale and she is trembling like a leaf. That means someone is trying to frame her for the crime.

Nora’s extended family starts dropping in thinking Nora was the one killed and being sadly disappointed. Some are quickly dealt with but most want to know what they will inherit when Nora does kick the bucket and if there was any way they could get their inheritance now.

Gwen knows her retirement is going to include some amateur sleuthing to clear her friend. Sleuthing that could make her the killer’s next victim.


I really didn’t like Nora. A best friend would have allowed her friend to at least enjoy being retired for a few days. Plus she comes across as a very entitled woman with more money than sense. She is rude to everyone including Gwen. She has been married and divorced several times and comes out richer after each relationship. She also dresses like a 20-year old on high stiletto heels and wears make-up applied with a trowel instead of a gentle hand. But Gwen has known her since childhood and has stood by her and has let her bowl over her for years. I would expect a retired school teacher who has dealt with a room full of children would have more backbone.

We also meet Brent, a former student of Gwen’s who was a crazy uber driver.  They hire him to do most of the work for Nora’s new business scheme. The ladies try to do some pet sitting themselves but it doesn’t go well. It is kinda comical though.

The mystery does have several suspects but it is overshadowed by the craziness of the pet sitting business and all the stepchildren coming to call. The clues to the mystery are dropped haphazardly through the story until the big reveal of the killer. I am happy to say I did have the culprit as number one on my suspect list but I need more of the motive explained which happened at the end.

I did enjoy the ending very much with the two main characters in a happy place in very different ways. Gwen had some redeeming qualities that won me over but the verdict is still out on Nora.

Doggone Dead is an interesting start for this series. There are some very quirky characters and some endearing pets. There was a lot of madcap comedy which I really enjoyed. I would have liked a stronger mystery but for the first book in a series, the author did a great job of introducing the characters. I am looking forward to seeing what hijinks they get up to next.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Dana McCaslin

McCaslin began a life-long love of mysteries at a very young age. She bypassed Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden and went straight for Agatha Christie, thanks to her mother’s library books. Dane is retired from a twenty-plus-year career in teaching high school and college English, and she uses her newfound freedom to read for pleasure, write mysteries, and smell the roses.

Author Links

Website  Facebook – Twitter Instagram GoodReads BookBub


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

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Contest Will End September 17, 2021, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
The 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.”

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Deadly Summer Nights (A Catskill Summer Resort Mystery) by Vicki Delany #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @vickidelany


Deadly Summer Nights (A Catskill Summer Resort Mystery)
by Vicki Delany

About Deadly Summer Nights

Deadly Summer Nights (A Catskill Summer Resort Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Berkley (September 7, 2021)
Setting – New York
Mass Market Paperback ‏ : ‎ 304 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 059333437X
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0593334379
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08NT3JCXQ

A summer of fun at a Catskills resort comes to an abrupt end when a guest is found murdered, in this new 1950s set mystery series.

 

It’s the summer of 1953, and Elizabeth Grady is settling into Haggerman’s Catskills Resort. As a vacation getaway, Haggerman’s is ideal, and although Elizabeth’s ostentatious but well-meaning mother is new to running the resort, Elizabeth is eager to help her organize the guests and the entertainment acts. But Elizabeth will have to resort to untested abilities if she wants to save her mother’s business.

 

When a reclusive guest is found dead in a lake on the grounds, and a copy of The Communist Manifesto is found in his cabin, the local police chief is convinced that the man was a Russian spy. But Elizabeth isn’t so sure, and with the fate of the resort hanging in the balance, she’ll need to dodge red herrings, withstand the Red Scare, and catch a killer red-handed.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

This new series from Vicki Delany takes place in 1953 and features Elizabeth Gray and her mother Olivia Peters. Olivia inherited Haggerman’s Catskills Resort that specializes in A Healthy Outdoor Exercise during the day and The Stars of Entertainment at Night. (Think Hellerman’s from Dirty Dancing.) Elizabeth manages the day-to-day activities and Olivia, a former Hollywood, and Broadway dance star steps in and uses her celebrity status to iron over any problems that arise. They are working hard to make the business a great success but even Olivia can’t intervene when one of the guests is found dead in the lake. The guest had booked the most private cabin for a few weeks and aside from taking nightly walks by the lake no one really ever saw him. His meals were delivered by room service and left at his door and he left the cabin when the maids came to clean.

The local sheriff searched the room and noticed the copy of The Communist Manifesto and called a full stop to his investigation and called in the FBI absolutely sure the dead man was a Russian Spy or communist sympathizer. From what Elizabeth could see of the scene she believes the man was writing a book and that the Manifesto could have been research. She also knows the reputation of the resort is on the line. With little faith in the authorities, she starts her own little investigation while trying to save the resort from any bad publicity but her snooping could prove deadly for herself or someone she cares about.


Vicky Delany has set this series off to a fabulous start. She takes the reader back in time in a very comfortable way. She sets the scene wonderfully with detailed descriptions and brings the area to life featuring a core set of characters along with some of the 400+ guests, 1 talented entertainer, and the nephew of the deceased who wants some answers.

I really liked Elizabeth. A strong sassy woman in a job typically held by a man. She is juggling several duties at the resort and the last thing she needs is a murder on the grounds. She takes that on too without complaint and keeps her wits about her when the men involved in the case basically overlook, dismiss, or completely ignore her due to her gender. She has brought together an excellent staff, some of which are family or have been lifelong friends. They are truly competent and keep the place humming from the children’s swimming lesson to doing the foxtrot at the nightly dances. I was pleased to see another glass ceiling broken when another woman takes on a job normally held by a man and with her excellent abilities she handles the job with ease and flair while still taking care of her other responsibilities. All the characters develop nicely over the course of the story but have plenty of room for growth as the series continues.

Catching the killer wasn’t easy. The author threw a good share of red herrings into the mix, including the owners of a nearby competing resort trying to put Haggerman’s out of business with some dirty deals, but would they murder a man to get ahead? The dead man himself was a mystery until his nephew enlightened Elizabeth and the authorities about his past history. Imagine the timeframe, there are no smartphones, internet, or computers. Solving a murder in 1953 entails actual legwork. knocking on doors, keeping your eyes and ears open, and physically chasing down clues. Ms. Delany plotted out a precise mystery that was so entertaining to follow.

Deadly Summer Nights was filled with interesting characters, some of which innocently brought some truly funny moments. The scene was idyllic for time and the story was filled with drama, friendship, history, mystery, and just a touch of romance. I did feel a little hit over the head with all the references to smoking, drawing the keen difference between the 1950s and the present day. That being said I still felt this story was a Perfect Escape. I was entertained by the whole story and am really looking forward to Deadly Director’s Cut that will be released early next year and my next trip to the Catskills.

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About Vicki Delany

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Vicki Delany is one of Canada’s most prolific and varied crime writers and a national bestseller in the U.S. She has written more than forty books: clever cozies to Gothic thrillers to gritty police procedurals, to historical fiction and novellas for adult literacy. She is currently writing four cozy mystery series: the Tea by the Sea mysteries for Kensington, the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop series for Crooked Lane Books, the Catskill Resort mysteries for Penguin Random House, and the Lighthouse Library series (as Eva Gates) for Crooked Lane.

Vicki is a past president of the Crime Writers of Canada and co-founder and organizer of the Women Killing It Crime Writing Festival. Her work has been nominated for the Derringer, the Bony Blithe, the Ontario Library Association Golden Oak, and the Arthur Ellis Awards. Vicki is the recipient of the 2019 Derrick Murdoch Award for contributions to Canadian crime writing. She lives in Prince Edward County, Ontario.

Author Links

Website – Facebook – Twitter:  @vickidelany and@evagatesauthor – Instagramvickidelany

Bookbub: Vicki Delany Books – BookBub

Purchase Links –

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Coming March 1, 2022

Also by Vicki Delany


Find more books by Vicki Delany here
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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.”