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Lies of Omission: A Hanneke Bauer Mystery by Kathleen Ernst #Review


Lies of Omission: A Hanneke Bauer Mystery
Historical Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Wisconsin
Level Best Books (November 30, 2021)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 260 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 168512027X
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1685120276
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09K4LWGL8

When Pomeranian immigrant Hanneke Bauer reaches Wisconsin in 1855, she believes her dearest dreams are coming true. After reuniting with her husband Fridolin at his farm near Watertown, she will help create a true home. Instead, she receives the shocking news that he is dead.

Hanneke quickly learns that Wisconsin life is not as bucolic as it seems. Alone and destitute, she is determined to discover the details of Fridolin’s death. Her efforts prompt animosity from his friends, anger the deputy sheriff and entangle her in the rising tide of anti-immigrant sentiment. Finding herself in danger, Hanneke races to learn the truth about her husband’s secrets and lies…before a killer can silence her forever.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Like many Pomeranian immigrants, Hanneke Bauer is coming to America full of dreams for her future. She has traveled a long way to reunite with her husband Fridolin and has finally reached Wisconsin. But he wasn’t there to meet her when she got off the ship so she makes her own way to Watertown anxious to start their life together. Her search leads her to a local hotel. There she learns her husband was killed in a freak farming accident and that he never mentioned to anyone about having a wife. The sheriff even tells her to get out of his town. Scared and unsure how to proceed she befriends a young pregnant woman who gives her a job and a place to rest. She quickly learns that America is not the safe haven she sought. She also knows in her heart her husband’s death was not an accident. As she tries to get to the truth she finds that her husband omitted much about his life in Wisconsin. She puts herself in danger to find out what he was hiding and why.  An investigation that could get her killed as well.


Kathleen Ernst is an amazing storyteller. In this first book in the Hanneke Bauer Mystery Series following the wonderful Chloe Ellefson Mystery Series, she takes her readers back to a tumultuous time in Wisconsin. In 1855 it was the height of the nativist movement where people were up in arms by all Irish and German Catholic immigrants flowing into the country. It was also the time of the Fugitive Slave Act and slaves who had escaped bondage traveled through Wisconsin north for freedom. We see this time through Hanneke’s eyes as she tries to make her way in her new world. The author has fictionalized this time but I think she captured it realistically.

Hanneke is a strong courageous woman, she had to be. She had no idea who she could trust especially when no one believed she was Fridolin’s wife. She also had no money to return home. Her friend Angela was a strong woman as well as she was dealing with making a life for herself after her brother left her. Both women are so well crafted. They are easy to identify with and root for. Ms. Ernst has surrounded these women with a real menagerie of supporting cast that ran the gambit of creepy, frightening, and mean. By the end, thankfully, a few helpful folks enter the story showing there were good people in the area. 

The mystery of Fridolin’s death was very complex. The title fits the story perfectly. Lies of Omission were the driving force behind all of Hanneke’s experiences. Her drive to delve for the truth was something I really admired. She made some wrong assumptions and walked dangerous lines which came from the perfectly timed twists the author plotted out so well. She also painted such vivid pictures with her words to set every scene whether Hanneke was walking down a dirt road or watching protestors marching through the town, or when she made an unbelievable discovery. With the story being set so close to home for me I felt even closer to Hanneke and her struggle.

Lies of Omission was a fantastic read. I am very excited about this series. The author draws from all her historical studies to write stories that stick with her readers. This one will surely stick with me until we get to visit Hanneke Bauer again. You will definitely find Lies of Ommission on my Best Reads List for 2022. I am giving it my Paradise Rating. Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

Kathleen Ernst is a social historian, educator, and bestselling author. Kathleen’s forty-one published books encompass mysteries, historical fiction, poetry, and non-fiction. The Chloe Ellefson Mysteries feature a museum curator whose knowledge of the past helps solve contemporary crimes. Her children’s books include twenty titles for American Girl. Honors for Kathleen’s work include multiple Agatha nominations, an Edgar nomination, a Lovey Award for Best Traditional Mystery, the American Heritage Women in the Arts Recognition Award for Literature from the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, a Major Achievement Award from the Council for Wisconsin Writers, the Sterling North Legacy Award for Children’s Literature, and an Emmy Award for Children’s Instructional Programming. Kathleen lives in Middleton, Wisconsin, with her husband Scott (AKA Mr. Ernst) and feline muse Eliza.

Author Links

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Also by this Author
Not all are available for Kindle or purchase but you may be able to find them at your local library.

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 2022 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 Guest Posts Literary Escapes New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday with Maggie King Author of Laughing Can Kill You: A Hazel Rose Book Group Mystery #Guest Post / #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @MaggieKingAuthr


Laughing Can Kill You: A Hazel Rose Book Group Mystery
by Maggie King

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
I am excited to have Maggie stop by today!!

Hi Maggie, 

The blog is yours!

This One’s for the Writers
By Maggie King

When Laughing Can Kill You opens, romance author Hazel Rose has been dropped by her publisher. Good thing she signed up for a mystery-writing class—perhaps writing crime fiction will jumpstart her career. But what’s a mystery-writing class without a mystery? So when Randy Zimmerman, an obnoxious classmate given to laughing at others’ expense, is murdered, Hazel recruits her book group pals to help with the investigation. Trouble is, there are more suspects than they bargained for. And they unearth secrets that a killer would go to any lengths to keep hidden.

Besides being a murder mystery, Laughing Can Kill You is a story about writers, where they are on their writing paths, and the ups and downs they experience throughout their careers. How do writers cope with the vagaries of the publishing industry? How do some writers stay on top, continuing to publish bestsellers year after year? Do writers really need to spend copious amounts of time on social media?

Hazel Rose has published eight bestselling baby boomer romances. Sales for the ninth were disappointing and her publisher dropped her. To make matters worse, her agent planned to retire soon.

Hazel may have seen the proverbial writing on the wall, as she had already signed up for a mystery-writing class. She was a founding member of the Murder on Tour book group, so transitioning into crime writing seemed like a natural next step in her writing career. Her cousin Lucy quips, “You could always kill off a publisher.”

But Hazel already has an idea: she will pen romantic mysteries, a la The Thin Man.

Hazel understands that publishing’s a tough business with no room for slack. Still, she’s crushed by this setback. The next day she meets fellow classmate Randy Zimmerman at a book signing. Randy thoroughly enjoys giving Hazel his thumbs-way-down review of her writing. Needless to say, her altercation with him didn’t lift her spirits.

When Randy is murdered, a number of motives drive Hazel’s decision to investigate his murder—one being that solving a real-life murder will surely lend authenticity to her creative writing.

Claudia Marlowe is a best-selling author of twenty-three police procedurals and continues to enjoy success. Her fans happily stand in line for hours at her book signings. She teaches the mystery-writing class Hazel takes (and that the victim planned to take).

Lorraine Popp is also signed up for the mystery-writing class. She has published one mystery, Murder at the Quilting Bee. It hasn’t done well, partly due to Lorraine’s lack of enthusiasm, ignorance of promotion, and reluctance to embrace social media. She won’t write any more quilting mysteries (she knows nothing about the craft, anyway), and no one is asking her to do so. She also has to endure Randy Zimmerman’s ribbing about her writing.

Hazel Rose fancies herself as Lorraine’s mentor and tries coaxing her to take a pro-active role in her own career. It’s tough-going, but Hazel persists. Lorraine has helped her mother with their family tree, and they found criminals on a couple of the branches. Her great, great uncle was a bank robber, and her great aunt embezzled a fortune from her employer. Her response to Hazel’s encouragement to work these findings into a murder mystery: “I’ll think about it.”

Apparently, she did. At the next mystery-writing class, Lorraine enthuses about the genealogy idea and thanks Hazel for encouraging her. And she tells another student that she’s going to use genealogy to hunt down Randy’s killer.

How will that work out for her?

Randy Zimmerman has finished his first manuscript. When he meets Hazel and Lorraine at the book signing, he immediately boasts about his legal thriller, predicting that he’ll give John Grisham a run for his money.

Matt Rowan, Randy’s long-time friend, also has a completed manuscript for a legal thriller, his set in the 19th century. Unlike Randy, Matt is modest about his writing.

Lucy Hooper and Eileen Thompson complete the small writing class. They are starting on their writing paths. Brings back memories of my first writing efforts at a class I took at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. No dead bodies, though.

***

Considering a writing career? Wonderful choice. Just keep your eyes wide open and be prepared for ANYTHING!

Thank you Maggie for being my guest today.

Now keep reading for my thoughts about Laughing Can Kill You

 

About Laughing Can Kill You

Laughing Can Kill You: A Hazel Rose Book Group Mystery
Edgy Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Virginia
Olive Lane Press (December 6, 2021)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 320 pages
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 979-8985231816
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09MMHLSSJ

He who laughs last, laughs longest.

Unless he’s dead.

When romance author Hazel Rose is dropped by her publisher, she sees herself heading down a path strewn with has-been authors. While disappointed, Hazel won’t give up without a fight—she signs up for a mystery-writing class, thinking that crime fiction will jumpstart her career.

But what’s a mystery-writing class without a mystery? So when Randy Zimmerman, an obnoxious classmate given to laughing at others’ expense, is murdered, Hazel tackles the case. Solving a real-life murder will surely lend authenticity to her creative writing.

She recruits her book group pals to help with the investigation. Trouble is, there are more suspects than they bargained for—even Hazel herself, who endured Randy’s thumbs-way-down review of her writing, had a motive.

A second body drives the stakes higher, and Hazel doubles her efforts to find who’s behind the murders, unearthing secrets that a killer would go to any lengths to keep hidden.

Will Hazel succeed? Or will this be “The End” for her?

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

Hazel Rose is back and her writing career is in peril. Dropped by her publisher she decides combining mystery with her usual romance themes may just save her from being a has-been. She signs up for a class being taught by successful best-selling mystery author Claudia Marlowe. Prior to the class, the authors meet at a book signing where future classmate and author hopeful Randy Zimmerman brags his book will rival the works of John Grisham. He also seems to find humor in everything and spews some hurtful words. Shortly thereafter the man is found dead, by Hazel no less, and she and her book club have another murder to solve. One where she and other authors find themselves prominent on the suspect list.

Can Hazel find the killer or has she written her last word?


While part of a series this book easily stands on its own. The author provides plenty of background information so readers new to the series will not feel lost at all.

Hazel Rose is an excellent protagonist. She is a genuinely nice person. Her natural curiosity suits her well both in her storytelling and sleuthing. I love that she is an author dealing with all the hurdles in the publishing world and gives readers a look behind the scenes. She is surrounded by the required set of quirky characters that are unique and each intriguing in their own ways.  Randy Zimmerman was a real piece of work who left a lot of enemies in his wake. The suspect pool is large but manageable.

The story is very well-written with Hazel meeting with the suspects one by one trying to determine who could have done Randy in. There is plenty of humor layered throughout and the dialogues are top-notch. The story moves along at a very comfortable pace. I was very entertained by Hazel’s process and the final confrontation was very exciting when things almost went horribly wrong.

I did enjoy the way Ms. King sets a scene. I can tell how much she loves where she lives. Her descriptions gave a great vision of the time and place.

Laughing Can Kill You has an interesting amateur sleuth, a nice cast of supporting characters, a wonderful setting, and a captivating mystery. I hope to visit Hazel Rose again soon, I want to know how her writing career is faring. I am sure a dead body or two will give her plenty of ideas.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Maggie King

 

Maggie King is the author of the Hazel Rose Book Group mysteries. Her short stories appear in various anthologies, including the Virginia is for Mysteries series, 50 Shades of Cabernet, Deadly Southern Charm, Murder by the Glass, and Death by Cupcake.

She is a member of James River Writers, International Thriller Writers, Short Mystery Fiction Society, and is a founding member of Sisters in Crime Central Virginia, where she manages the chapter’s Instagram account.

Maggie graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology with a degree in Business Administration and has worked as a software developer and a retail sales manager. She has called New Jersey, Massachusetts, and California home. These days she lives in Richmond, Virginia, with her husband and two indulged cats. When Maggie isn’t writing she enjoys reading, walking, cooking, traveling, movies, British TV shows, and the theatre. Visit Maggie at www.maggieking.com

Author Links:

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 Purchase Links:

Amazon    Universal Book Link (ebook)    Barnes & Noble (print)     Bookshop.org (print)    GoodReads Link       Kobo

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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 2022 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 Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge TBR Pile Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – Belinda Blake and the Snake in the Grass (An Exotic Pet-Sitter Mystery) by Heather Day Gilbert #Review / #Giveaway @lyricalpress #CravingCozies

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.


Belinda Blake and the Snake in the Grass (An Exotic Pet-Sitter Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Connecticut
Lyrical Underground (June 25, 2019)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 192 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1516108841
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1516108848
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B07HVYQ9XZ

When exotic pet-sitter Belinda Blake moves into a carriage house in tony Greenwich, Connecticut, she’s hoping to find some new clients. Instead, she discovers a corpse in the garden—and a knack for solving murders . . .  
 
Pet-sitter Belinda Blake doesn’t rattle easily, but move-in day has been eventful, to say the least. The python in her care tried to slither to freedom—just as she met Stone Carrington V, her landlords’ disarmingly handsome son. With the constrictor back in its cage, she heads out to the garden, only to discover a designer shoe poking out of the boxwood hedge—attached to a woman’s dead body.

The victim, Margo Fenton, was a Carrington family friend, and no one in their circle seems above suspicion. Between client trips to Manhattan and visits to her family in upstate New York, Belinda begins to put the pieces together. But though she’s falling for Stone’s numerous charms, Belinda wonders if she’s cozying up to a killer. And soon, daily contact with a deadly reptile might be the least dangerous part of her life . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Exotic pet-sitter Belinda Blake has moved to Greenwich, Connecticut hoping to grow her business. She has rented a delightful little carriage house on the Carrington estate and has now moved in with her latest client’s pet in tow. A nice-sized python who she just happens to have out for a walk when her landlord’s hunky son, Stone comes to the door. After an interesting meeting and the snake back in its cage, Belinda decides to check out her backyard. While pulling a few weeds and admiring the flowers she makes a horrible discovery. A very pricy shoe still attached to a very dead lady.

Belinda learns that the woman was a friend of Stone’s and that should give her pause but then the man asks for her help to catch the killer and she just can’t say no. She is incredibly drawn to this man and until her family points out the obvious she never even seems to consider he may be the man responsible for his “friend’s” death. Now she suspects him and everyone else she meets and that could just end with her own demise.


I really enjoyed this story.

Belinda is a very interesting protagonist. Not only is she an exotic pet-sitter but she also reviews video games. She is an introvert, happy to spend time alone sometimes reading her fave Agatha Christie. A woman after my own heart. She is totally captivated by the handsome son of the landlord. He is quite charming but for me, she was just too trusting. These two main characters are surrounded by Stone’s family and their employees and their friends. It is quite an eclectic group. We also meet Belinda’s family. They are close-knit and each interesting in their own ways. All the characters have plenty of room for growth.

People that know me will be shocked to know that my favorite character followed closely by Belinda was the snake. His name is Rasputin and he almost stole the entire show. I am fine because he was in the book, had he been in my real life I probably wouldn’t even go in the room his cage was in.

The mystery was well-plotted and written with a nice amount of suspects and a vast number of twists and turns. The author did an excellent job of making so many people look guilty that my mini little investigation was going in circles. Then some sneaky little things start to fall into place but that final twist really surprised me. The ending was exciting and I was thrilled with how everything played out and who played a vital role.

I love that this story and the other two in the series are based on stories Ms. Gilbert’s father told her as a child. What a wonderful tribute to her father. Seems she has inherited a fantastic storyteller gene.

Readers are treated to a nice preview of the next book, Belinda Blake and the Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing, and had I not had other reading commitments I would have dove right into that one right away. That one and Belinda Blake and the Birds of a Feather are both cued up on my Kindle so I can squeeze them into my reading schedule soon. 

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

Award-winning novelist Heather Day Gilbert enjoys writing mysteries and Viking historicals. She brings authentic family relationships to the page, and she particularly delights in heroines who take a stand to protect those they love. Avid readers say Heather’s realistic characters—no matter what century—feel like best friends. When she’s not plotting stories, this native West Virginia gal can often be found hanging out with her husband and four children, playing video games, or reading Agatha Christie novels.

Author Links – Website – Facebook Author Page  – Bookbub  – Goodreads

Twitter@heatherdgilbert    Instagram: @heatherdaygilbert


Also by Heather Day Gilbert




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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 2022 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Alphabet Soup A -Z Author Edition Challenge Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Literary Escapes New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

A Fatal Family Feast (A Farm-to-Fork Mystery) by Lynn Cahoon #Review @LynnCahoon @lyricalpress #LiteraryEscapes #CravingCozies

A Fatal Family Feast (A Farm-to-Fork Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Setting – Idaho
Lyrical Press (January 4, 2022)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 192 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1516111060
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1516111060
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B092Y427J2

Angie Turner’s Idaho restaurant, the County Seat, is the perfect site for a picturesque country wedding, but the party planning skids to a halt when the groom-to-be is implicated in a murder investigation…
 
When Angie’s best friend and business partner, Felicia Williams, picks the County Seat to host her upcoming nuptials, Angie wants it to feel like a family affair–especially since Felicia is set to marry the farm-to-fork restaurant’s talented sous chef, Estebe Blackstone. Unfortunately, the bride’s actual family is far less enthusiastic about the union. They’re pulling out all the stops to cancel the couple’s wedding, even arranging for a surprise visit from Felicia’s ex-fiancé (and her father’s current lackey). But when her ex is killed days before the ceremony and Estebe is framed for the crime, Angie and the County Seat crew must scramble to solve the murder and save the wedding . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Much to Angie Turner’s dismay her best friend Felicia Williams’s wedding may not happen. Her parents have determined that her intended is beneath her status and that they feel her ex is much better suited to her, their family, and their business. Felicia is over the moon in love with sous chef, Estebe Blackstone and she is not going to let her parent’s wishes delay her nuptials. Then her ex-fiancé is found dead and all the evidence points to her beloved. To make sure the wedding goes off without a hitch Felicia’s work-family pulls together to save her wedding and reveal the true killer. But Angie may have pushed the murderer too far . . . will she survive to see her BFF walk down the aisle.


Ms. Cahoon was written a very tangled web of a story in A Fatal Family Feast. It has a slow build as we are introduced to several new characters, mainly Felicia’s family and her ex. They are a determined bunch and for the most part totally unlikable. But darn it, Estebe really keeps his cool even with all he is up against. The author really allows readers to get to know him better. We even get to meet his family. I hope they pop up often in future stories because they all have a great sense of themselves and a great sense of humor. We also meet some new employees at the County Seat. They all seem to fit well into the existing team but there soon appears to be one very bad apple in the bunch.

Angie and Felicia have their hands full with the restaurant, the wedding, and now a murder but they do carve out just a little bit of time for some fun pre-wedding traditions. I really enjoy the way these characters grow in every story. Through the dire situations they get involved in their friendship just gets stronger and stronger. We also spend plenty of time at Angie’s farm with her animals and her relationship with Ian is definitely moving right along. These core characters along with Estebe are so relatable and fun in their own ways. It is a joy to eavesdrop on their lives.

The mystery this time is a tough one for the Scooby Gang. The pace really picks up after the murder. Angie’s determination really knew no bounds. As the wedding day approached Angie was really dealing with a lot and Ian was a terrific helpmate. His uncle Sheriff Allen Brown really impressed me too for the part he played. There were plenty of twists leading up to the amazing and scary reveal. I had pinpointed the killer a bit earlier but that scene had me positively riveted to the pages.

A Fatal Family Feast was an absolutely sensational read.  The mystery was great, the characters are stellar, and the ending was so darn wonderful. I can hardly wait for the next book to be released.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

ABOUT LYNN CAHOON

New York Times and USA Today best-selling author, Lynn Cahoon is an Idaho native. If you’d visit the town where she grew up, you’d understand why her mysteries and romance novels focus around the depth and experience of small-town life. Currently, she’s living in a small historic town on the banks of the Mississippi river where her imagination tends to wander. She lives with her husband and two fur babies.

Author Links

Goodreads – Twitter –Facebook Website –Amazon Author Page

 


Also by Lynn Cahoon




I may have missed some books so be sure to
check out Lynn’s Amazon Pages here.

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

Posted in 2022 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

Cold Brew Corpse: A Coffee Lover’s Mystery by Tara Lush #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @crookedlanebks #AlphabetSoupChallenge


Cold Brew Corpse: A Coffee Lover’s Mystery
by Tara Lush

About Cold Brew Corpse

Cold Brew Corpse: A Coffee Lover’s Mystery
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Florida
Crooked Lane Books (December 7, 2021)
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 320 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1643857886
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1643857886
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08Y8DJVGJ
Other Digital ISBN-13: 9781643857893

Espresso bar owner Lana Lewis returns in Tara Lush’s second Coffee Lover’s mystery, a stimulating read that fans of Cleo Coyle and Laura Childs will savor to the last drop.

It’s a steamy September, and business is brisk at Perkatory, the hottest coffee shop in Devil’s Beach, FL. Much of the clientele pours in from Dante’s Inferno, the hot yoga studio next door. But the bright, sunny Gulf Coast days turn decidedly dark-roast when the body of the studio’s owner turns up in a nearby swamp.

Between running Perkatory and training Stanley, her golden Shih Tzu puppy, reporter-turned-barista Lana Lewis is too busy to go sleuthing. But when the editor of the local paper asks her to write about the murder, Lana’s dreams of getting back into journalism start to percolate.

Lana discovers that the yogi has a nefarious past and her share of mug shots, so grinding her way through the suspect list is a large task. She learns that the victim was fatally beaned by an SUV before she was dumped in the swamp. But was the killer one of her students? An envious yoga teacher? Or a local photographer who seems to know too much?

But no one tells Lana Lewis what to do. Hunting the caf-fiend who killed the yogi puts Lana and Chief Noah’s relationship–and Lana’s life–in very hot coffee.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

While Lana Lewis serves up her Cold Brew her neighbor at Dante’s Inferno takes her clients through the movements of Hot Yoga. That is until the yogi goes missing and is later found dead floating in a nearby swamp.

Lana is swamped herself with managing Perkatory and training her new puppy Stanley but when the editor of the local paper asks her to get the scoop on the woman’s murder and write about it for the paper Lana can’t say no. This story could be the big break she needs to get her journalism career back on track.

With her connection to the police chief, she is right on the scene when the body is removed from its watery grave. Then with a little bit of old-fashioned legwork and her trusty investigation skills, she learns Raina Rose had quite a checkered past. This opens up the suspect pool she will have to brew through as she tries to steam out the killer while not becoming a victim herself or ruining her relationship with Chief Noah.


I was very happy to visit these characters again. Lana has grown more comfortable in her barista skills but does have an issue with her new Cold Brew that she can’t seem to remedy. She doesn’t lose her cool though, and she doesn’t give up, even when another murder investigation takes over a majority of her time. Thankfully she has Erika and her dad to take up the slack at Perkatory. She and Erika are much more comfortable with each other and make a great team. Her dad is great too, stepping in when needed. I really love the calm he can bring to a situation. I wish he played a larger role in this story. He is a definite fave for me.

I was thrilled to see the relationship between Noah and Lana growing but there are a couple of obstacles in their way. Lana does make a mistake that could blow them miles apart and I enjoyed the way this played out quickly without being drawn out for pages and pages or even into the next book. All the characters have noticeable growth and continue to pull me into their lives very easily.

The mystery was a real conundrum. Following each clue along with Lana was very captivating. The suspects were pretty clear until WHAM! Twist! Turn! I was totally flabbergasted! Oh, Miss Lush, you got me good! Lana too!

There was a subplot that I felt was important that was left open from Lana’s past. I hope that it will develop and Lana is allowed to get to the bottom of it in a future story.

I just have to share that little Stanley is so adorable even when his training has a hiccup or two or three. Also, there is a hilarious moment between Lana and Noah. I almost snorted soda all over my Kindle.

Cold Brew Corpse was a Perfect Escape. It tested me, surprised me, and tickled my funny bone. I am looking forward to my next visit to Devil’s Beach and catching up for a coffee or two with everyone at Perkatory.


Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Tara Lush

Tara Lush is a Florida-based author and journalist. She’s an RWA Rita finalist, an Amtrak writing fellow, and the winner of the George C. Polk award for environmental journalism.

She was a reporter with The Associated Press in Florida, covering crime, alligators, natural disasters, and politics. She also writes contemporary romance set in tropical locations under the name Tamara Lush.

Tara is a fan of vintage pulp fiction book covers, Sinatra-era jazz, 1980s fashion, tropical chill, kombucha, gin, tonic, seashells, iPhones, Art Deco, telenovelas, street art, coconut anything, strong coffee, and newspapers. She lives on the Gulf Coast with her husband and two dogs.

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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 2022 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Alphabet Soup A -Z Author Edition Challenge Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Finish The Series Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways Literary Escapes Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge TBR Pile Challenge What An Animal Reading Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – Have Yourself a Fudgy Little Christmas (A Candy-Coated Mystery) by Nancy Coco #Review / #Giveaway @KensingtonBooks @nancy_coco

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.

Have Yourself a Fudgy Little Christmas (A Candy-Coated Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
8th in Series
Setting – Mackinac Island, Michigan
Kensington (October 27, 2020)
Mass Market Paperback ‏ : ‎ 288 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1496727584
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1496727589
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B085LTPHQY

Christmas on Mackinac Island brings a flurry of festive activity for fudge shop owner Allie McMurphy—but also a body in a snowbank . . .

SNOWED UNDER

All Allie wants for Christmas is for renovations to be finished on the Historic McMurphy Hotel and Fudge Shop so she can move back home for the holidays. But for now she’s staying in her friend Frances’s apartment, busily baking batches of holiday fudge. After someone leaves a mysterious note on the door to meet up, the curious fudge maker goes to the rendezvous with her bichonpoo, Mal—only to discover a woman facedown in a snowdrift. With her dying breath, the woman gasps, “Frances.” The police suspect she named her killer, but Allie knows that’s impossible. She needs to wrap up this case before the trail runs cold—and give her friend the gift of freedom this Christmas season . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

There are not a lot of tourists on Mackinac Island for Christmas but the online fudge orders have Allie very busy. Because the Historic McMurphy Hotel and Fudge Shop is closed for repairs and renovations that means she is doing her fudge making in Frances’s old apartment and rushing the orders to be shipped every day.

There are holiday celebrations and fun to be had on the island though for those who chose to stay or visit through the winter’s snow and cold. A tree lighting, a community lighting show contests, and an awesome sledding hill.

Allie received a strange unsigned note on the apartment door and asking her to meet them near the hill so she and Mal, her bichonpoo, trek out to meet the person. When they arrive Mal drags Allie to a woman facedown in the snow. Everyone does their best to revive the woman but she passes away and utters “Frances” as her last word. Was she naming her killer? Everyone knows Frances would hurt a soul so Allie is on the case to ice the real killer.


I needed just a little more Christmas cheer so I took the opportunity to start to catch up on this series. What better way to spend the New Year’s weekend than taking a virtual escape to Mackinac Island.

Allie, Frances, Douglas, and Rex are back. Liz still hasn’t returned but a blast from Rex’s past has returned to the island ready to fudge up his life yet again. The core characters are very well developed but in this story, we see how two react when they are thrown some icy curveballs. The new characters featured in this story are well written too and have layers that get peeled away nicely.

The mystery deals with a long-held secret. Ms. Coco has written this in such a way as to grab the reader’s attention but give reverence to the feelings of the people involved.

I loved and laughed out loud several times at the group of ladies that invaded Allie’s loaner apartment to help her investigate. Oh, my stars! Rex had the patience of a saint and remained so calm. Allie surprised with their presence and ideas realized early she had absolutely no control over these women. Those dialogues were absolutely priceless.

This is such a fun series filled with wonderful characters.  I blame my cancer treatments for getting behind on reading it. I plan on reading and reviewing Here Comes the Fudge soon, so I am ready for A Midsummer Night’s Fudge when it is released in May. 

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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.”

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Absence of Mallets (A Fixer-Upper Mystery) by Kate Carlisle #Review


Absence of Mallets (A Fixer-Upper Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
9th in Series
Setting – California
Berkley (December 7, 2021)
Mass Market Paperback ‏ : ‎ 304 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0593201337
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0593201336
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08Y8BFNML

Contractor Shannon Hammer steels her nerve to pin down a killer in the latest Fixer-Upper Mystery from the New York Times bestselling author of Premeditated Mortar. . . .

Shannon could not be happier that her hunky thriller-writing boyfriend, Mac, has moved in, and it is a good thing they are living together because they are both busier than ever. Mac is hosting writing retreats at his now vacant lighthouse mansion, while Shannon and her crew build Homefront, a quaint Victorian village of tiny homes for veterans in need. Mac’s latest guests are proving to be a handful though, and Shannon has heard some grumbling from the luminaries of Lighthouse Cove about her latest passion project. But nothing can throw a wrench in their plans except a malicious murder.

When one of Shannon’s new friends is found brutally bludgeoned with a mallet near the lighthouse on Mac’s property, the couple hammers out a suspect list and searches for a motive. As they drill deeper for clues, more violence strikes and a new victim winds up in a coma. The pressure is on, and Shannon and Mac will have to move fast to find an unhinged killer dead set on demolishing anyone who gets in their way. . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Shannon and Mac are both super busy but now that they are living together they are assured of running into each other eventually. He is in the throes of writing a new book and trying to keep a handle on the latest group of authors staying at the lighthouse mansion for a two-week writing retreat. Sharon has a huge new project that is near and dear to both her and Mac. Shannon’s crew is building 50 tiny Victorian-style homes for needy veterans. The little village already has a community center addressing all kinds of needs for the veterans including classes both Shannon and Mac are teaching. Shannon’s sister is also back in town willing to help Shannon in any way she can. Sadly, Shannon is going to need her help for more than her building and decorating expertise. She is going to need her to help find the killer who bludgeoned her new tile artist and friend to death and left her lying on the beach just waiting for the tides to wash her out to sea. Shannon, Mac, and Chloe need to hammer out the details quickly because more violence takes place and someone else gets hurt. The mallets are the key, if they find those they know they will find the killer.


I really enjoy this series and there were so many great things in this story. Shannon and Mac are in a really good and comfortable place. Chloe is taking major steps in her career so she will be in town more as she and police chief Eric plan their wedding. The town is taking a huge step to help homeless veterans even though they are getting a little interference from a few residents. These core characters truly feel like old friends. I live a little vicariously through Shannon remembering the short time I worked in home construction. Being in an occupation dominated by men isn’t easy but Shannon is killing it and goes out of her way to help more women get into the field. Her class at the community center in this story really made me happy.

Of course, with the good comes the bad. Mac’s current writing group is so bad. Selfish, irresponsible, and creepy doesn’t really cover the group but it’s a start. Then we have the murder of a woman who seemed to be a wonderful human being and an attack on another with a huge heart. This cast of characters was so well written. They invoked all the emotions the author intended so easily. I had a hard time adjusting after the victim was revealed. We just met her and just started to see her artistry and she was gone. This was nicely played by the author. Readers and characters alike were invested in seeing her get justice.

That being said there really were a limited number of truly viable suspects. Being new in town she knew only a few people so I found it easy to hone in on the right individual after a few clues were revealed. What I really enjoyed was the way Eric, Mac, Shannon, and Chloe worked together. Eric has learned to trust Shannon’s instincts and that makes the story even better.

I really appreciated the message/theme of the story. The plight of homeless vets is heartbreaking and Lighthouse Cove has made them a priority building the village of Homefront. The community center is wonderful with classes, counselors, and even a cafe, plus there is room to offer more services. If only more communities in real life could follow in these footsteps.

While the mystery wasn’t as complex as other books in this series, Absence of Mallets is my favorite book so far. Murder and mayhem aside, it is a feel-good story. The perfect book to read after the holiday season. It warmed my heart seeing what good people can do and as I turned the last page I had a huge smile on my face.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

Read my Reviews for the whole series. 

Book 1 – A High End Finish here

Book 2 – This Old Homicide here.

Book 3 – Crowned and Moldering here.

Book 4 – Deck the Hallways here

Book 5 – Eaves of Destruction here

Book 6 – A Wrench in the Works here.

Book 7 – Shot Through The Hearth here

Book 8 – Premeditated Mortar here.

Read more about Kate and the Fixer-Upper Mysteries at www.KateCarlisle.com!



Also by Kate Carlisle



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.” Publisher is not offering giveaways due to COVID 19.

Posted in 2022 Reviews Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways New Release Challenge Read The Printed Word Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday featuring Essentials of Murder (Aromatherapy Apothecary) by Kim Davis #Review / #Giveaway @Kookiesandbooks

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am excited to feature Essentials of Murder by Kim Davis today!


Essentials of Murder (Aromatherapy Apothecary)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – California
Kindred Ink Press LLC (September 8, 2021)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 312 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1951579461
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1951579463
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09BBLP2C2

Following a scandal that chased her from San Francisco, Carissa Carmichael struggles to find acceptance in her small Southern California hometown as she opens her aromatherapy and reflexology shop.

When she finds a man murdered in her distilling room, Carissa becomes the main suspect, especially when her fingerprints are found on the murder weapon. Despite her father’s position as Oak Creek Valley’s chief of police, most townspeople assume she’s guilty—including the new leading detective.

Refusing to run again, Carissa knows she must prove her innocence to save her shop and her family’s reputation. With suspects acting as slippery as the essential oils she distills, it’s up to Carissa to apply pressure and sniff out the truth before it’s too late.

If you like your cozies with quirky hometown characters, small-town California charm, recipes, and essential oil and reflexology tips, Book 1 in the Aromatherapy Apothecary cozy mystery series is for you. Clean read: no graphic violence, sex, or strong language.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Carissa Carmichael returns home after leaving San Francisco in hopes of leaving her recent past behind. With the support of family and friends, she strives to open an aromatherapy and reflexology shop but before she can even host her grand opening she finds a dead body right next to her distilling equipment and her fingerprints are the only ones on the murder weapon. Her chief of police father is forced off the case and the new lead detective feels his investigation is easy because he is convinced she is the killer. She now knows it is essential to catch the killer herself or to get rubbed out permanently.


Kim Davis excels in creating multifaceted characters that readers are drawn to almost immediately. Take Carissa, she has a bit of a checkered past that has probably given her father some gray hair, and in the San Francisco case, a situation that could come back to bite him in the future. She did make a great friend and mentor in Mari Kemp while there and Mari has come to town too now to help her open her shop. Cari also reconnects and hires a friend from high school who is a marketing whiz but she needs more help than just the job. Ashley is a character that really grabbed me and I can’t wait to see her life hopefully change in positive ways.  We are introduced to a couple of possible romantic interests, a jerk detective, and other interesting residents of the California small town too. All are well-crafted, essential to the plot, and interesting in their own ways.

I really enjoy the way Ms. Davis tells a story. This mystery was filled with twists and turns. The victim really had issues that served up a nice list of possible suspects. The detective had ulterior motives that really tested everyone involved. Some strange land deals play into the mix and Cari tries to so be a good friend to many while trying to follow her dad’s orders to stay safe. The dialogues between the cast are both dynamic and true to life. But it is her delightful descriptive writing style that really makes her story so enjoyable. She can set a scene that paints a vivid picture in your mind while never being overly wordy. She seems to weigh each word and phrase carefully to really make them count. Readers can tell she did her research and knows her theme. The information she imparts about essential oils is so well presented. You can almost smell them too.

You can’t have a Kim Davis cozy mystery without some emphasis on food and let me tell you, all the trips Carissa made to the bakery down the street had me virtually adding pounds to my own body. Then again they could be actual pounds because she includes the recipe for Jasper’s Triple Chocolate Rolls in the back of the book. She also includes an Aromatherapy Basic Care Guide that I found very helpful and renewed my interest in essential oils.

This series is off to a marvelous start with Essentials for Murder. I can’t wait for book #2.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

Kim Davis lives in Southern California with her husband. When she’s not chasing her new puppy or spending time with her granddaughters she can be found either writing stories or working on her blog, Cinnamon, Sugar, and a Little Bit of Murder or in the kitchen baking up yummy treats.  She has published the suspense novel, A GAME OF DECEIT, and cozy mystery, SPRINKLES OF SUSPICION, CAKE POPPED OFF, and FRAMED AND FROSTED. She also has had several children’s articles published in Cricket, Nature Friend, Skipping Stones, and the Seed of Truth magazines. Kim Davis is a member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime.

Author Links – Website  – Facebook  – Twitter: – Goodreads  – Pinterest – Blog

Also by Kim Davis

Written as K.A. Davis

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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 2022 Reviews

We Are 100 by Nathan Timmel #Review


We Are 100
Suspense/Thriller
Independently published (March 19, 2021)
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 259 pages
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 979-8749990232
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 259 pages
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 979-8561728617
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08YS3HNJX

After losing his wife, Evan Francart is depressed. He has an ax to grind with the pharmaceutical company that jacked up the price of her medications but feels powerless against a billion-dollar corporation.

Then he meets Cassandra.

She shows Evan a way to both end his life and become a hero. With her guidance, Evan interrupts a company board meeting and blows the building sky-high.

As FBI agents Susan Chamberlain and Michael Godwin discover, Evan is the first of many. Ninety-nine more like him wait anonymously in the wings, their targets just as personal as Evan’s: the prosecutor who lets rapists walk free, the inept surgeon who maims patients yet keeps operating, the phony evangelist preying on those seeking solace… and that’s just the beginning.

Will the FBI unearth Cassandra’s identity before all 100 have carried out their plans?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Sadly, Evan Francart lost his wife because in part, because of high drug prices, which leaves him very upset with the responsible pharmaceutical company. That is when Cassandra enters his life and gives him a way to make the company pay. Her plan leaves him and several others dead.

FBI agents Susan Chamberlain and Michael Godwin are assigned to Evan’s case and what they find is mind-blowing. Evan is the first of a group of 100 that have connected to Cassandra with various unknown targets. Scared by all the possible tragedies in the future their mission is to find Cassandra and the other 99 people before more people are killed. Unfortunately, more souls are lost before they even get organized. Every minute counts if they have any hope of stopping the carnage.


The 100 are sick of getting screwed, the short end of the stick, the rich get richer, and the guilty getting off. It is time to do something but is following Cassandra’s instructions the right thing?

Evan Francart’s plight grabbed a hold of me right away especially after the past two years of my cancer treatments. Drug costs are crazy! The man was clearly pushed to his limits. I have to say the suicide element triggered me a little bit but looking at the big picture that had to be a feature of Cassandra’s plan. Mr. Timmel did a great job of presenting Evan as a character most people would be moved by, he is very human, with natural feelings after suffering such a loss. Someone easy for someone to prey on and force their agenda. We get snippets of other people connected to Cassandra but not as in-depth as Evan. Their reasons for vengeance are varied and some even more harrowing. The 100 are dealing with corruption on so many levels and the author has written the story in a way that really makes the reader evaluate life through their eyes.

The FBI agents are presently realistically too. It was very interesting to follow their process and thinking. You can feel their drive to solve this case and the way they banter theories around to try to make sense of what is happening is eye-opening. Susan and Michael are new partners and I really enjoyed their dialogues. Serious when warranted but some funny conversations as well.

We Are 100 is full of action right from the start. The pace slows as the agents work the case but rachets right back up again as danger mounts. Mr. Timmel has constructed his story with a nice balance told from several points of view in a way that makes the book impossible to put down. The ending was fantastic. I can tell he did a ton of research to make the entire drama plausible and real. It is a book that will stick with you long after you reach the final page. I can easily see this story adapted for a movie of the week.

I know this is stand-alone suspense and this is the author’s first fiction novel but agents Chamberlain and Godwin were very smart and entertaining. I would definitely read another story or more featuring them.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Nathan Rimmel

Not as serious as Plato, but lighter than Socrates. Not as edgy as Clinton, but livelier than Nixon. Not as heavy as GWAR, but deeper than Culture Club.

Nathan Timmel has been writing since he could scribble using crayons. As a comedian, he has released six albums—four of which are in rotation on Sirius/XM radio—and has appeared on The Bob & Tom Show.

Nathan currently lives in Iowa with his wife, daughter (who was born on his wedding anniversary. Neat, eh?), son, and their annoying cat (named Turtle). Nathan Timmel is originally from Madison, Wisconsin.

Find out more on his website here.

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