Posted in 2023 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Finish The Series Challenge Literary Escapes Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Something’s Guava Give: A Tropical Island Cozy Mystery by Carrie Doyle #Review


Something’s Guava Give: A Tropical Island Cozy Mystery
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Caribbean Island
Poisoned Pen Press (January 25, 2022)
Mass Market Paperback ‏ : ‎ 288 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1728232368
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎978-1728232362
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0915QZ6WD

Nothing ruins an ocean view like a body on the beach!

Plum Lockhart went out on a limb when she ditched her corporate job in New York City and moved to the Caribbean island of Paraiso. Now the head of her own villa broker agency, Plum spends her days chasing down clients and lounging on white sand beaches.

But the sweet life turns sour when a publishing heiress is found dead at the mansion of an eccentric tycoon, Dieter Friedrich. Even worse, Plum’s old colleague cashes in a favor and asks her to investigate. It looks like she’ll need to fit a murder case into her already jam-packed schedule!

Friedrich is known for his shady dealings, but he’s not the only bad apple on the island—Plum will have to contend with a scheming millionaire, a sleazy rockstar, and devious B-list celebrities. And joining Plum once again is Juan Kevin Munoz, the distractingly gorgeous Director of Security. Despite the sparks between them, they’ll need to stay focused on the case—there’s a murderer hot on their heels!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Plum Lockhart took a big step leaving New York for Paraiso, a Caribbean island overflowing with tourists. Now she takes another big step by starting her own villa brokerage agency. In the midst of finding the perfect tenants for her clients, renovating villas, and trying to get in a little beach time she finds herself in the middle of another murder investigation.

A young publishing heiress runs into a little trouble in paradise and an old employee from New York, someone she fired right before she was let go, Gerald Hand, begs Plum to help the girl, his new boss’s daughter out of it. Plum does but then the next day she learns the heiress was found dead on the private beach of Dieter Friedrich, an eccentric fat cat with a crazy theme park-like estate with a group of bizarre friends and staff.

Soon Gerald arrives on the island and moves into Plum’s guest room to help her catch the killer. Gerald gets more caught up in island life while Plum deals with Dieter Friedrich, his employees, some B-List Celebrities, a rundown rockstar, and other assorted island residents as she works with the hunky Director of Hotel Security, Juan Kevin Munoz, to catch a killer before they become victims themselves.

_____

Paraiso is a zany island if you live there, hopefully, the tourists can avoid all the drama. Feuds between families, jealousy, greed, lust, envy, heck all the seven deadly sins are apparent on this island of paradise. Sadly our protagonist, Plum, a tall redheaded American, gets caught up in it all as she tries to find her place and solve a murder. Her new friend Lucia, a small sixty-year-old grandma Paraison, accompanied her to start her own villa broker agency Plum Lockhart Luxury Retreats. Lucia knows everyone and the ways of the island. It will take both of them to make the business a success. I wasn’t really a Plum fan when reading the 1st book in this series, It Takes Two to Mango, but I liked her much better in this book. She is still adjusting to island life but still has a lot of New York attitude to work through.

It is Juan Kevin Munoz, the Security Director that I really enjoy. His laid-back way of life is just so comfortable. He grew up on the island so while he takes things like murder very seriously he understands how to handle danger on Paraiso. His interactions with Plum are filled with romantic tension and are very entertaining. He is doing his best to keep her safe while the murder investigation unfolds. He knows she can’t keep her nose out of it and that knowledge is half the battle. Of course, having Gerald tagging along in his leather pants on a tropical island adds to the chaos but sometimes it is pretty darn funny.

Yes, there are a bunch of secondary characters but they all have unique traits, good and bad. Some live on unique estates too. The author’s descriptions really brought the people and places to life. Let me tell you, Dieter Friedrich has some outlandish tastes and weird things on his estate and I easily envisioned it all from her words.

The mysteries are very well-plotted and Ms. Doyle sets a quick pace. There was a slew of suspects to work through and again Plum isn’t always the best amateur sleuth, she needs to work a little more on her questioning and eavesdropping techniques but that just adds to the fun for readers. There were several twists and turns too but all the clues do come together setting up a very satisfying reveal.

Something’s Guava Give was a very amusing cozy mystery. Heavy on quirky characters but set on a delightful island paradise. The mystery was complicated and kept me guessing the whole way.  I am looking forward to reading The Girl With the Dragonfruit Tattoo soon.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent


Carrie Doyle
is the best-selling author of multiple novels and screenplays that span many genres, ranging from cozy mysteries to chick lit to comedies to Young Adult.

A born and bred New Yorker, Carrie has spent most of her life in Manhattan, with the exception of a six-year stint in Europe (Russia; France; England) and five years in Los Angeles. A former Editor-in-Chief of the Russian edition of Marie Claire, Carrie has written dozens of articles for various magazines, including countless celebrity profiles. She is also a screenwriter, and her movie Intern (co-written with Jill Kargman) premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.

Carrie has three books that will be published in 2021: Death on Bull Path (the fourth book of the Hamptons Murder Mystery Series); The Murder Game; and It Takes Two to Mango (the first book of the Trouble in Paradise Series.)

Carrie currently splits her time between New York and Long Island, with her husband and two teenage sons.

Website

Also by Carrie Doyle

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 2023 Reviews Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways Literary Escapes You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday featuring Cheddar Late Than Dead (Grilled Cheese Mysteries) by Linda Reilly #Review / #Giveaway @LindaSReilly7 @PPPress


Cheddar Late Than Dead (Grilled Cheese Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Vermont
Poisoned Pen Press (January 31, 2023)
Mass Market Paperback ‏ : ‎ 384 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1728238382
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1728238388
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09Y2M5X9M

A bridal shower gone bad quickly becomes the swiss of death, and grilled cheese shop owner Carly Hale must sniff out the suspect.

Winter in Balsam Dell is a snowy affair, and to add in some cheer after the holidays Carly’s former classmate Klarissa Taddeo is hosting her extravagant bridal shower at the historic Balsam Dell inn. But when a double-booking throws some mold in the cheese, Klarissa is left scrambling. Dawn, the maid of honor and wedding planner, saves the day by moving the shower to her family’s mansion and books Carly to cater the party. It seems the group is going to pull off the shower without a hitch.

That is, until Klarissa’s fiancé crashes the event. She’s furious with her groom-to-be and when a loud argument ensues, everyone is shocked by what they hear. When the groom is later found dead at the bottom of the stairs, his drink spiked with a hefty dose of poison, Carly must put her nose to the rind and save Klarissa from being suspect #1.

Because you know what they say: it’s always the (almost) wife.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Carly Hale’s Grilled Cheese Eatery is the perfect stop to warm up during the winter in Balsam Dell. There is nothing better than a hot cup of soup and one of Carly’s gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches. It is there where Carly’s former classmates Klarissa and Dawn meet to discuss Klarissa’s upcoming bridal shower. It is also where they learn their choice of venue, the Balsam Dell Inn has been double booked. Dawn agrees to have the party moved to her family’s mansion but only if Carly caters the event. Well, they really didn’t give her much of a choice.

The big day arrives and Carly and the family’s maid get into a great rhythm grilling the special sandwiches but something just feels off about the day. The groom’s stepmother was not welcomed with open arms and she makes it known. Soon the groom arrives at the party to have words with his bride, loud words. And soon thereafter, the groom is found dead, poisoned, and someone at the shower is responsible. Was it the bride-to-be? Her maid of honor? or one of their guests? Carly is a little cheesed but she agrees to help find who objected to this marriage enough to off the big cheese before they even made it to the church.

_______

The author has created such a captivating cast of characters I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this book. Carly is a fun protagonist. Her relationship with Ari is moving along nicely.  Her grillmaster Grant is a true friend with some wonderful ideas, mostly cheese related but this time he has a revelation to change school lunches. Suzanne too continues to be there for whatever Carly needs. What Carly needed most was an assistant especially if she is going to be off catering events or tracking down killers. Valerie Wells appears to be an ideal hire but something is bothering her. Carly just needs to find out what. Gina is also a great best friend and a big help to Carly as she organizes her suspects and motives.

We do meet a number of new characters. Carly’s classmates Dawn Chapin and Klarissa Taddeo, Klarissa’s aunt, Megan Gilbert who practically raised her, her mother Ursula, and Dawn’s mom Julia, the groom Tony’s stepmother, Rose Manous, and Megan’s friend, Gretel Engstrom who is the town manager of Balsam Dell, and Astrid, the Chapin’s maid. All were important to the story and developed nicely throughout the pages.

There were a couple of mysteries in the story, the groom’s murder and later a missing person. Ms. Reilly plotted them both out so well. Carly really didn’t want to get involved but soon she was all in. Her caring nature makes it so easy for people to open up to her especially when she brings her sweet little Morkie, Havarti, along. It also makes it fun for the reader to follow along with her step by step and cringe with fear when we know she is about to make a misstep. The author grilled up some skilled twists that blew my theory altogether but lead up to a heart-pounding reveal.  I loved it!

I really enjoy the grilled cheese theme of this series. A dinner of grilled cheese and tomato soup always coincides with reading a book in this series. The cravings start with the title and grow with each sandwich description. This time the story features Grilled Cheese Donuts and while I haven’t tried one of those yet there have been discussed a lot around here.

Cheddar Late Than Dead was a scrumptiously good read! I was totally entertained from beginning to end. I hope I don’t have to wait too long to catch up with these characters again. I love visiting Vermont and Balsam Dell.



Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Linda Reilly is the author of several mystery novels, including the Cat Lady Mysteries, the Deep Fried Mysteries, and the Grilled Cheese Mysteries. A member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and Cat Writers’ Association, she can be found prowling the shelves of a local bookstore or library when she’s not pounding away at her keyboard. A dyed-in-the-wool New Englander, she lives with her husband and rescue cat in southern New Hampshire.


Also by Linda Reilly

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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 2023 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Cloak and Dagger Challenge Giveaways Literary Escapes You Read How Many Books Challenge

Hidden in the Pines (A Lew Ferris Mystery) by Victoria Houston #Review / #Giveaway @crookedlanebks


Hidden in the Pines (A Lew Ferris Mystery)
Mystery/ Small Town Fiction
2nd in Series with this Publisher
21st in Series Overall
Setting – Wisconsin
Crooked Lane Books (January 10, 2023)
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 288 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1639101470
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1639101474
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09XM49DQC

Sheriff Lew Ferris knows how to land a sweet brook trout—but can she catch a cold-blooded killer in the thrilling second installment in the Lew Ferris mysteries.

It’s Lew Ferris’s first day as the newly-elected Sheriff of McBride County, and already things are heating up in the Wisconsin Northwoods. The tragic drowning of a teenage girl draws an eerie parallel to the unsolved murder of another teen thirty years earlier, but one of Lew’s new subordinates—Alan Stern, Chief of the Deer Haven Police Department—has ruled it an accidental death by drowning. Neither Lew nor the girl’s family accept the ruling, but Lew is up against a wall of sexism and subterfuge. Not only is Stern belligerent and dismissive of Lew, but he takes the word of the local coroner, Ed Pecore, who Lew believes is completely unqualified for the job.

Adding to Lew’s headaches, an unwelcome interference in the case by a multimillionaire resident reopens a cold case that stretches back decades—and could lead to an anguished relative taking justice into his own hands to avenge a crime the cops never solved. And when Lew’s dear friend, Dr. Paul “Doc” Osborne, finds himself witness to a sophisticated money laundering scheme that could threaten the lives of his daughter and her close friend, Lew finally feels like she’s reached the breaking point.

The fish may be biting in McBride County—but now, Lew is on the line to uncover the long-buried secret that could ensnare a killer once and for all.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Newly elected Sheriff Lew Ferris isn’t going to have a lot of time for flyfishing as she tries to get things in order in McBride County, Wisconsin.

Deer Haven Chief of Police, Alan Stern is livid when he finds out his new boss is looking into a case he had closed and ruled as accidental. The case has been brought to Lew’s attention by the family’s lawyer because the family does not accept the girl’s death was accidental. When Lew sees that Ed Pecore, the county’s embarrassment of a coroner is behind the ruling she agrees to take a second look. The case has a lot of similarities to an unsolved case from 30 years ago.

Meanwhile, Dr. Paul “Doc” Osborne receives some stunning information that could put the lives of his daughter and her friend in danger. He is going to need some help from Lew to keep them safe.

Lew’s first days as Sheriff are going to be filled with mayhem as she juggles it all trying to uncover the truth to finally put a killer behind bars where he belongs.

_____

While this is the second book in the series from Crooked Lane, there were 19 books featuring this cast of characters prior to those. Don’t worry the author will give you enough details to feel quite a home no matter where you jump into the series.

I have enjoyed this series so much. The characters are like old friends. I do love that Lew took the leap and has become the Sheriff of the whole county after being Chief of Police for Loon Lake for years. She is qualified and strong enough to deal with the flack she is going to receive by being a woman in typically man’s position. Her relationship with the man in her life, Doc Osborne is comfortable and realistic. I liked that his daughter had a role in this story. Ray Pradt continues to be a fave. He is truly a man with his own set of rules and talents and is always game for anything.

We do meet a very interesting new character in this story connected to the 30-year-old open case. I hate to say too much but she fits in really well with everyone and I am happy that it looks like she will be sticking around.

The mysteries are very interesting with some nice moments of suspense. The cold case really tugged at my heartstrings. Still being haunted by something that happened so long ago was a huge load to shoulder. I was so happy that by the end of this book, the character finally had some closure.

As always, the author’s descriptions of life in the Wisconsin Northwoods are always a delight. The places, the actions and the dialogues always ring true. The flyfishing excursions always remind me of my grandfather. I can always picture him in his waders, reel in his hand, just around the next curve from where Doc and Lew are. He has been gone a very long time but he was happiest casting out a line just like so many characters in these stories.

Victoria Houston is such a fine storyteller and her love of the Northwoods always shines. I am always able to escape right into her stories. Hidden in the Pines is a terrific addition to this series. I can’t wait for my next visit up north.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

About the Author

Victoria Houston is the author of the Loon Lake mysteries as well as several nonfiction books on family issues. She has been featured on the front page of The Wall Street Journal and on NPR. She lives, writes, and fishes in northern Wisconsin.

To find out more about Victoria Houston
visit her webpage here and Facebook here.


Check out The Loon Lake Mysteries
to see how these characters started out.


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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 2023 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Alphabet Soup A -Z Author Edition Challenge Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Flashback Friday Giveaways Literary Escapes Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge TBR Pile Challenge Wisconsin Author You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – Murder at Wedgefield Manor (A Jane Wunderly Mystery) by Erica Ruth Neubauer #Review / #Giveaway @KensingtonBooks

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.


Murder at Wedgefield Manor (A Jane Wunderly Mystery)
Historical Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – England
Kensington (March 30, 2021)
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 288 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1496725883
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1496725882
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 304 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1496725891
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1496725899
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08CBP6QW3

England, 1926: Wedgefield Manor, deep in the tranquil Essex countryside, provides a welcome rest stop for Jane and her matchmaking Aunt Millie before their return to America. While Millie spends time with her long-lost daughter, Lillian, and their host, Lord Hughes, Jane fills the hours devouring mystery novels and taking flying lessons—much to Millie’s disapproval. But any danger in the air is eclipsed by tragedy on the ground when one of the estate’s mechanics, Air Force veteran Simon Marshall, is killed in a motorcar collision.

The sliced brake cables prove this was no accident, yet was the intended victim someone other than Simon? The house is full of suspects—visiting relations, secretive servants, strangers prowling the grounds at night—and also full of targets. The enigmatic Mr. Redvers, who helped Jane solve a murder in Egypt, arrives on the scene to once more offer his assistance. It seems that everyone at Wedgefield wants Jane to help protect the Hughes family. But while she searches for answers, is she overlooking a killer hiding in plain sight?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Moving on from Egypt Jane and her Aunt Millie make a stop at Wedgefield Manor in the countryside of Essex, England so that Millie can have some quality time with her long-lost daughter, Lillian. Millie is also enjoying time with their host Lord Hughes. Meanwhile, Jane spends her time reading mystery novels and taking flying lessons. Millie would rather have her using her feminine wiles to land a man.

Not long after their arrival one of the estate’s mechanics, Air Force veteran Simon Marshall, is killed when the car he is driving crashes into a tree. Mr. Redvers arrives to inform everyone of the man’s death and reveals it was not an accident. Someone had cut the brake lines. Redvers offers to stay and assist in catching the murderer. Jane is happy about that and looks forward to working with him again. But their investigation isn’t going to be easy. The manor is full of visitors and servants and even mysterious strangers and they are all suspects. Plus they are not even sure Simon was the intended victim. She and Redvers will have to work through all the secrets and clues to uncover the killer. While at it, maybe she can uncover what her true feelings are for Mr. Redvers as well.

______

Again Ms. Neubauer takes us back in time, to England in 1926 and the country estate of Lord Hughes, a very complicated man with more than a few secrets. Several characters including Lord Hughes from Murder at the Mena House return in Murder at Wedgefield Manor so we get to know them better and in different ways.

Jane Wunderly is a great protagonist. She is strong-willed, smart, independent and ready for almost anything. She has grown quite a bit since the first book in this series. Jane and Mr. Redvers make a very good team and I enjoyed the way their feelings for each other played a major part in this story. I like a little romance with my mystery and this one continued to develop over the course of this story in a very natural way, especially for a woman who has sworn off ever getting married again. Millie is still trying to play matchmaker for Jane so she is thrilled when Mr. Redvers arrives on the scene. Her daughter Lillian has devoted herself to bettering her golf game in hopes of playing in tournaments. Like Jane, all these characters are well-developed and their growth continued throughout the story.

There are a lot of new characters introduced too. They are all unique and I never felt overwhelmed getting to know them and how they fit into the realm of things at the manor. It was interesting and I was pleased to see that Lord Hughes hired so many veterans from the war. They were all dealing with emotional or physical disabilities, sometimes both. They were realistically portrayed but there is more than just the Lord’s generous nature behind these hirings.

The murder mystery was very well-plotted and written. The police, Redvers, and Jane all were active in the investigation and I like the way they worked together. Clues were sorted through, secrets were revealed and some good honest legwork came together leading up to an exciting chase to catch the killer. I thoroughly enjoyed every part of solving this mystery.

I must also say the setting of Lord Hughes’s estate was wonderfully described. From the manor house itself to the outbuildings and the countryside, the author took this reader on a wonderful virtual trip to a beautiful place at a fascinating time.

Murder at Wedgefield Manor was a stirring story filled with an entertaining cast of characters. The mystery was compelling and the setting ideal. I can’t wait to see what is next for Jane as her journey continues.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

from amazon About Erica Ruth Neubauer

Erica Ruth Neubauer spent eleven years in the military, nearly two as a Maryland police officer and one as a high school English teacher before finding her way as a writer. She has been a reviewer of mysteries and crime fiction for Publishers Weekly and Mystery Scene Magazine for several years and is a member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime. When she’s not writing, Erica Ruth enjoys traveling, yoga, and craft beer. She lives in Milwaukee, WI.

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I am giving away 1 Hardcover 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
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Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Following My Facebook Fan Page.

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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 2023 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Alphabet Soup A -Z Author Edition Challenge Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways Literary Escapes

The Game is a Footnote (A Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery) by Vicki Delany #Review / #Giveaway @vickidelany @crookedlanebks


The Game is a Footnote (A Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
8th in Series
Setting – Massachusetts
Crooked Lane Books (January 10, 2023)
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 320 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1639101454
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1639101450
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09XM5M8SC

Gemma Doyle and Jayne Wilson are back on the case when a body is discovered in a haunted museum in bestselling author Vicki Delany’s eighth Sherlock Holmes Bookshop mystery.

Scarlet House, now a historical re-enactment museum, is the oldest building in West London, Massachusetts. When things start moving around on their own, board members suggest that Gemma Doyle, owner of the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium, might be able to get to the bottom of it. Gemma doesn’t believe in ghosts, but she agrees to ‘eliminate the impossible’. But when Gemma and Jayne stumble across a dead body on the property, they’re forced to consider an all too physical threat.

Gemma and Jayne suspect foul play as they start to uncover more secrets about the museum. With the museum being a revolving door for potential killers, they have plenty of options for who might be the actual culprit.

Despite Gemma’s determination not to get further involved, it would appear that once again, and much to the displeasure of Detective Ryan Ashburton, the game is afoot.

Will Gemma and Jayne be able to solve the mystery behind the haunted museum, or will they be the next to haunt it?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

A ghost appears to be haunting the historical reenactment site Scarlet House in West London, Massachusetts in the latest Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery. The museum board asks bookshop owner Gemma Doyle to give her input on the problem. While she doesn’t believe in ghosts she reluctantly agrees to spend the night in the home with her friend Jayne and Jayne’s fiancé Andy. Two others camp out in the barn to observe things there. A big storm blew in, they all heard some weird noises, and something upset the barn animals but Gemma had no explanation for any of it. She assumes someone is playing some practical jokes. Then the next day, following a meeting to report on their sleepover Gemma and Jayne find a dead body in the barn.

Involved in another murder investigation, Gemma and Jayne delve into the site’s history, its board, and volunteers in hopes to uncover who is behind the murder and the mischief at Scarlet House.

Add to that Gemma’s sister Pippa arrives from England for a surprise visit and Ashleigh, Gemma’s unique employee, left in the middle of her shift and is now missing. Oh, and bookshop cat Moriaty has a medical emergency.

_____

Ms. Delany has packed a lot of mayhem into this book and I wouldn’t ever expect anything different.

The characters in this series are strong and well-developed. I did enjoy that it was Jayne’s mother, Leslie, that got Jayne and Gemma mixed up with the people at Scarlet House.  I also enjoyed Pippa’s surprise visit. Readers are able to see a different side of both Gemma and Jayne. Another character is introduced which brings havoc to the story regarding Ashleigh. I questioned some of the behavior but it worked as a distraction as intended. I was drawn into all the character’s interactions easily.

The main mystery was pretty straightforward with clues nicely dropped in all the right places. The darn Gemma is a brave soul traveling around the drafty old house by herself while a thunderstorm was booming outside. I wouldn’t have done it. She also goes to do some investigating without Jayne by her side and she lands herself in a real fix that she eventually got herself out of. I love this woman. Her keen way of observing things everyone else misses and the way she brings the clues all together are always fun to observe. I want to be just like her in my next life. She pulled this mystery together for a fantastic reveal. While I was on the right track there was a nice little twist that I really enjoyed. She also kept at it to solve the mystery of the missing Ashleigh too.

I love the way Ms. Delany tells a story. Her descriptive style paints wonderful pictures of time and place and brings her characters to life. It was so easy to escape into this story.

The Game is a Footnote is a marvelous addition to this series. It truly was A Perfect Escape!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

About the Author

Vicki Delany is a bestselling author of more than twenty novels/novellas in several mystery subgenres. Born in Manitoba and raised in Ontario, she is the former president of the Crime Writers of Canada, a member of Capital Crime Writers, and a member of Sisters in Crime.

Author Links

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



Also by this Author

Find more books by Vicki Delaney 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.”

Posted in 2023 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Alphabet Soup A -Z Author Edition Challenge Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways Literary Escapes You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday featuring Canter with a Killer (A Horse Rescue Mystery) by Amber Camp #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @ambercatcamp @crookedlanebks


Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

Today I am happy  to feature
Canter with a Killer (A Horse Rescue Mystery)

by Amber Camp

About Canter with A Killer


Canter with a Killer (A Horse Rescue Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Arkansas
Crooked Lane Books (October 11, 2022)
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 304 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1639101802
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1639101801
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09S3G8PDD

Perfect for fans of Amanda Flower and Mollie Cox Bryan, Amber Camp’s debut novel will have you galloping through the pages, as a horse rescue owner races to find a killer and clear her name.

Mallory Martin left her marriage and her unfulfilling job to move back to her hometown of Hillspring, Arkansas, and start a horse rescue. It’s everything she’s been missing, with paddocks of happy horses and one very quirky donkey. But when her cantankerous neighbor and longtime critic, Albert Cunningham, is found murdered in his fancy show barn, Mallory becomes suspect number one. Since Sheriff Grady Sullivan is ignoring all good sense and focusing only on Mallory, she decides to take matters into her own hands.

Aided by her best friend, Lanie, and rescue volunteer Tanner, Mallory races headlong into the investigation in search of the real killer. But horses and murder aren’t the only thing on her mind when she meets Albert’s handsome son, Braydon. Sparks fly, and soon she’s got a new boyfriend. But there’s a case to be solved, and she redoubles her efforts to learn the truth.

The suspects mount quickly. There’s Albert’s girlfriend, Kathleen, who was on the farm when he was murdered; organic farmer Heather Rogers, who accused Albert of contaminating her creek; and Philip Atwood, who’d been trying for a right-of-way across Albert’s farm. None of the evidence is holding up though, and Mallory learns that she’ll need to take the reins on this investigation if she’s going to clear her own name.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Not happy in her marriage or her job Mallory Martin divorces her spouse and moves back to her hometown of Hillspring, Arkansas to take care of her ailing father and open up a horse rescue. Her obsession with horses goes way back as does wanting to make a difference in the world so opening up a rescue on the family farm was an easy choice. But money is not rolling in so Mallory decides to add riding lessons to the rescue. This angers her neighbor Albert Cummings, who owns Champion Performance Horses, a horse breeding and training farm uphill from Mallory’s rescue. He called to voice his displeasure the day before he was killed and found in his fourteen-stall show barn. A witness to the conversation and Mallory’s iffy alibi make her the prime suspect.

Sheriff Grady Sullivan has known Mallory forever so you would think he would know she couldn’t be responsible for the crime but he still is going all out to prove her guilty. Heck, she can think of several others with more motive and even Albert’s son believes she is innocent.  So with a little help from her friends, she is bound and determined to find the real killer.

______

Mallory Martin is a strong woman intent on making her dreams come true but she is a bit gruff at times. She tries to use her knowledge learned as a forensic nurse to ferret out the killer but at times she leaps into action before thinking things through and that just gives the sheriff more ammunition against her. He clearly had tunnel vision when it came to Mallory. He also had a problem in his department he failed to address. I was not a fan.

Mallory has two college-age volunteers to help her take care of her rescues. Tanner and Ashley are knowledgeable about horses and love their jobs. They can’t believe their “boss” is even considered a suspect. With her daughter away at college these kids help her deal with her empty nest feelings. Her friend Lanie along with her husband Bill truly have Mallory’s back and fully support her throughout the whole ordeal. I loved the way Bill stepped up when a supplier was treating Mallory so poorly. It gave her the strength to take the man on too. Mallory’s lawyer Andy was great too.

I loved the unique setting of a horse farm with rescues. The horses and a crazy lovable donkey tugged at my heart. Mallory also has a wonderful blue heeler. We have a loveable red heeler and they are great dogs.

The mystery was filled with some nice twists. There were some clear suspects and a couple more that I added to my personal list. I was focused on the wrong person for quite a while so I was surprised when the actual culprit was revealed. I was not sure how Mallory was going to save herself but then her rescuer took care of it in an awesome way.

Canter with a Killer was a strong debut and a very enjoyable read. A fine mystery with a brisk pace and a smashing ending that was very entertaining. I look forward to getting to know these characters better as the series continues.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Amber Camp

Amber has lived in Northwest Arkansas for twenty+ years, working as an RN at a rural hospital in the area. She has a menagerie of animals that includes dogs, cats, horses, chickens, and what has been described as the Mule from Hell, which may or may not be a slight exaggeration. Writing has always been a focus in Amber’s life, something she describes as “food for my soul.” An avid reader since grade school, she enjoys multiple genres and is always looking for new authors to add to her favorites. Amber is a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America.

Social media links:

Website – Facebook  – Twitter   –  Instagram

Purchase Links:

Amazon>> Barnes & Noble>> Books-a-Million>> Bookshop.org>> Hudson Booksellers>> Target>> Walmart>> Penguin Random House>> Apple Books>> Google Play>> Audible>>

TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please visit all the stops. 
January 23 – Jane Reads – AUTHOR GUEST POST  
January 23 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT
January 24 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
January 24 – Mythical Books – SPOTLIGHT
January 25 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
January 25 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
January 26 – FUONLYKNEW – REVIEW
January 26 – Mochas, Mysteries and Meows – AUTHOR GUEST POST
January 27 – Literary Gold – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
January 27 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT
January 28 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews -SPOTLIGHT
January 29 – Cozy Up With Kathy – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
January 30 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
January 31 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
February 1 – Baroness Book Trove – REVIEW
February 2 – The Mystery Section – SPOTLIGHT
February 3 – The Book Decoder – REVIEW
February 4 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
February 5 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW
February 5 – I’m Into Books – SPOTLIGHT

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

Posted in 2023 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Alphabet Soup A -Z Author Edition Challenge Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Literary Escapes You Read How Many Books Challenge

Against the Currant: A Spice Isle Bakery Mystery by Olivia Matthews #Review


Against the Currant: A Spice Isle Bakery Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – New York
St. Martin’s Paperbacks (January 24, 2023)
Mass Market Paperback ‏ : ‎ 304 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1250839041
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1250839046
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09XL7LK9C

In Olivia Matthews’s Against the Currant, the first Spice Isle Bakery Mystery, investigating a murder was never supposed to be on the menu…

Little Caribbean, Brooklyn, New York: Lyndsay Murray is opening Spice Isle Bakery with her family, and it’s everything she’s ever wanted. The West Indian bakery is her way to give back to the community she loves, stay connected to her Grenadian roots, and work side-by-side with her family. The only thing getting a rise out of Lyndsay is Claudio Fabrizi, a disgruntled fellow bakery owner who does not want any competition.

On opening day, he comes into the bakery threatening to shut them down. Fed up, Lyndsay takes him to task in front of what seems to be the whole neighborhood. So when Claudio turns up dead a day later—murdered—Lyndsay is, unfortunately, the prime suspect. To get the scent of suspicion off her and her bakery, Lyndsay has to prove she’s innocent—under the watchful eyes of her overprotective brother, anxious parents, and meddlesome extended family—what could go wrong?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

The first book in the Spice Isle Bakery Mysteries introduces readers to Lyndsay Murray. Her lifelong dream has been to open a West Indian bakery featuring food and using recipes from her Grenadian history. The bakery is set to open in the Little Caribbean neighborhood, of Brooklyn, New York. She is so excited to be working alongside her parents, grandmother, and even her brother who is helping out with the opening.

The bakery’s opening day arrives and is very well received by everyone in the area except Claudio Fabrizi, who owns and operates another bakery a few blocks away. He doesn’t want any competition even though the new bakery is offering very different choices from what he serves at his place. He barges into the Spice Isle Bakery spewing threats and just being nasty. Lyndsay has been dealing with the man for weeks and has had enough. She comes around the counter and has a serious verbal altercation with him in front of a room full of her customers. So when Claudio is found murdered the next day, Lyndsey finds herself at the top of the suspect list, Before her lifelong dream goes up in smoke she has to find the real killer and fast.

______

I love that this story features a tight closely knit family. Lyndsay starts out pretty meek and mild but over the course of the book her self confidence grows exponentially. It was a pleasure to see this happen. Her grandmother is also a treasure. Sitting at a table crocheting, ready to jump in and help in any way possible. She is not afraid to speak her mind or give a push or a shove to get anyone moving in the right direction. Her parents are hard workers who love their daughter and want to help her succeed. Her father is in charge of the Caribbean music played at the bakery and Lyndsay knows his emotions through the songs he plays. Her brother Dev, a junior partner of an international law firm has taken time off to help during the opening week. Family always comes first and they back it up in both their words and actions. All are cleverly written and evolve nicely throughout the story, leaving plenty of room for growth as the series continues.

The mystery was complex with more suspects than I first imagined. Claudio Fabrizi was not a nice man. He was cantankerous and rude. No wonder his business was going down the tubes. Filled with twists and turns Lyndsay followed the clues, asked some great questions, and did her best to solve the mystery. Like me, she was surprised when the guilty party revealed themselves, but her actions in the showdown were absolutely epic and had me cheering.

I really enjoy Ms. Matthews’s descriptive writing style. She sets a scene so well without getting overly wordy. I could easily imagine each place Lyndsay went. I could hear the music and smell the food. All the food served at the Spice Isle Bakery was new to me but everything sounded so good. Recipes for the popular Currant Rolls and Coconut Bread are included at the back of the book.

The Spice Isle Bakery Mysteries are off to a great start with Against the Currant. The characters are unique and interesting as is the setting of the Little Caribbean neighborhood in Brooklyn. I am excited to see the series continuing with Hard Dough Homicide which will be released in May. I am eager to see what drama Lyndsay Murray and her family get into next.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

About the Author

OLIVIA MATTHEWS, pen name for romance author Patricia Sargeant, is a national bestselling and award-winning author. The Spice Isle Bakery mysteries are inspired by the author’s family history and the history of her birthplace. As Olivia Matthews, she is also the author of the Sister Lou mysteries and Peach Coast Library mysteries, and writes romance as Patricia Sargeant and Regina Hart.


Coming May 23, 2023

Also by Olivia Matthews

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 2023 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Alphabet Soup A -Z Author Edition Challenge Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Flashback Friday Giveaways Literary Escapes TBR Pile Challenge What An Animal Reading Challenge Wisconsin Author Wisconsin Setting You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – Dogged by Death: A Furry Friends Mystery by Laura Scott #Review / #Giveaway @laurascottbooks @crookedlanebks

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


Dogged by Death: A Furry Friends Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Wisconsin
Crooked Lane Books (July 13, 2021)
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 320 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 164385657X
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1643856575
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08L5TPW4C

In Laura Scott’s Furry Friends series debut, veterinarian Ally Winter must collar the killer of a shifty lawyer. Does the dead man’s dog know who committed the arf-ul crime?

Ally Winter is going through a ruff patch. The thirty-something veterinarian lost her fiancé, her clinic, and her savings in rapid succession. So when Ally’s grandfather undergoes hip replacement surgery, she moves back to Willow Bluff, Wisconsin, to care for him. She arrives home, tail between her legs, only to find sleazy lawyer Marty Shawlin murdered in his home office. And the only witness was Marty’s faithful boxer, Roxy.

Quick as a greyhound, Noah Jorgensen is on the case. The good news is, he’s the best detective around. The bad news, at least the way Ally sees it, is that Noah is still just as fetching as he was back in high school. He also just happens to have witnessed every embarrassing incident that befell accident-prone Ally–including the fire-ant attack that set tongues wagging and won her the unshakable nickname Hot Pants.

Meanwhile, true-crime aficionado Gramps fancies himself a sleuth, and he is doggedly determined to sniff out the culprit himself…with Ally’s reluctant help, of course. Ally has no choice but to team up with Noah–and the irrepressible Roxy–to solve the case while keeping Gramps on a short leash.

Ally had better learn some new tricks, lickety-split. Because if she can’t bring the killer to heel, she won’t just be playing dead.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Veterinarian Ally Winter has returned to Willow Bluff, Wisconsin to care for her grandfather after hip replacement surgery and to hit the restart button on her life following a bad breakup. She has bought the clinic of a retiring vet and is working hard to build her client list. Her Grandpa Oscar is recovering in an assisted living home along with three widows who all would like to be more than friends with Oscar. Oscar is more into true crime books and television shows but he eats up all the women’s attention with a smile.

One of Ally’s first clients is a boxer named Roxy, owned by lawyer Marty Shawlin. He has hired her to walk Roxy daily. When she arrives to take Roxy on her walk she makes a gruesome discovery. Martin Shawlin stretched out on the floor, eyes staring vacantly into space, his head matted with blood, and no pulse. Roxy is barking like mad. Marty Shawlin has been murdered and the only witness seems to be his beautiful boxer.


Ally Winter is a wonderful protagonist. She’d been knocked down and she got back up and is slowly succeeding at getting her life back on track after leaving her cheating fiancé in the dust. She has a great bond with her grandfather. Oscar thinks it will be easy to catch a killer and encourages Ally to investigate with his help, of course. Harriet, Lydia, and Tillie reside with Oscar at the Willow Bluff Legacy House, a small assisted-living facility. The “Willow Widows” are all trying to outdo each other for Oscar’s attention. We also meet Detective Noah Jorgensen. He went to school with Ally and knows all of her embarrassing history. And then there is Roxy. She immediately stole Ally’s heart and mine as well. All of Ms. Scott’s core characters are very well developed for the first book in the series. They are genuine and for the most part, engaging. Noah hit me wrong from the start so I haven’t made up my mind about him yet.

The mystery was very well-plotted. The victim had angered several people which meant a nice pool of suspects. I got a real kick of Grandpa Oscar. He doesn’t let a little thing like a hip replacement slow him down especially when the police have him on their suspect list. Ally tries hard to reel him in but when the threats hit close to home she knows she needs his help. I enjoyed tagging along with them as they followed the clues and came up with theories.

The author adds a whole bunch of humor to the story too. The Willow Widows bring their share but Gramps and Allie have their moments too.

Dogged by Death has set this series off to an excellent start. Tailing Trouble is impatiently waiting on my Kindle. I can’t wait for my next trip up the road to Willow Bluff.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Laura Scott 

Laura Scott is a registered nurse by day and an author by night. She has written over sixty books and has more ideas than time to write. She lives with her husband and a variety of pets, including a beautiful chocolate lab named Moose, in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin.

Author Links – Website FacebookTwitter

Laura also writes Christian Romance. Find those books 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.”

Posted in 2023 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Alphabet Soup A -Z Author Edition Challenge Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Literary Escapes You Read How Many Books Challenge

Rivalry Gone Wrong: A Cheer Moms Mystery by L.C. Turner #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @laina_turner


Rivalry Gone Wrong: A Cheer Moms Mystery
by L.C. Turner

About Rivalry Gone Wrong


Rivalry Gone Wrong: A Cheer Moms Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Seris
Setting – Southern Illinois
Independently Published (January 10, 2023)
Print length ‏ : ‎ 105 pages
ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0BNQWW6LM

These cheer moms are not content to sit on the sidelines.

Abby Winters is not your typical cheer mom. She doesn’t have time to micromanage her daughter’s competitive cheer group. She’s got her business, Scoops Ice Cream Shop, to run.

But when a rival team’s coach turns up dead and all signs point to murder, Abby wants to make sure her daughter is safe.

Can she catch the killer before they strike again or is the culprit going to murder the competition?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Competitive cheerleading can be deadly!

Abby Winters’ daughter Ashley is on a cheer team and unlike some other cheer moms, Abby had only been attending the competition meets and very few practices. That is until a coach from a rival team is murdered. Now Abby is attending every practice, even a practice of the team that lost their coach. With a killer on the loose, she wants to be sure Ashley, her friends, and all the other girls are safe. So maybe by sitting with the other moms, listening carefully, and asking the right questions she may able to get a line on the killer before anyone else ends up dead.


This is a very fast read at just over 100 pages. Ms. Turner sets the scenes well and gives readers an insight into the world of competitive cheerleading. While it is not a big sport around here I have seen the movie Bring It On more than once and the reality show Cheer, so I know the girls work hard and the competition is fierce. I also know the moms can get crazy. I love that Ms. Turner has used it for the theme of this series.

Her characters seem very realistic too, Abby is a great mom juggling her business, an ice cream shop, and trying to be there for everything her daughter needs. Ashley is a typical teenager involved in a sport that takes a lot of dedication.  They have s strong bond. Detective Barrett is in charge of the case. He also loves ice cream and appears to be sweet on Abby. These main characters were pretty well developed for the first book in a new series and for the length of this book. I am intrigued to get to know them better.

The supporting characters didn’t have as much depth but I hope they evolve more over the course of the series.

I believe the novella length also forced the mystery to be wrapped up pretty quickly but it was a satisfying end. Abby was very determined and I liked that.

Rivalry Gone Wrong has me cheering for this series. The characters have my attention and I am excited to see what the author has in store for them next.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

About L.C. Turner 

As a child, L.C. thought she would either be a truck driver (thanks to Jerry Reed in Smokey and the Bandit) or work at Taco Bell (her favorite restaurant as a child). As she grew older, she realized her talents lay in other areas, and for the last several years has been a college professor teaching business and English.

Through all her career choices, she has continued to have a passion for writing stemming from childhood, where, as an only child, she developed a vivid imagination.

She is proud of her vast experiences in life from barrel racing, to being on the dance team for a semi-pro basketball team, to being a mom of 2 amazing kids.

She decided to follow her dream as an author in 2009 and has worked her way up to having 5 fans (maybe 6 now). She often tells her family and friends that no one is safe from his or her ventures slipping into her books. She lives in Indiana with her husband, kids and two very spoiled dogs.

Author Links

Facebook   Twitter    Amazon    Instagram    Website

Purchase Link

Amazon 
The Rest of the Series – Coming Soon

Great Escapes Praise for Rivalry Gone Wrong: A Cheer Moms Mystery by L.C. Turner

This is a fast, and enjoyable read! The author has first-hand experience with Cheering, and we learn how intensive this sport is!
~Maureen’s Musings

Rivalry Gone Wrong is the first book in the Cheer Moms Mystery series. As a former cheerleader and “cheer watcher”, I enjoyed reading Rivalry Gone Wrong and think you should give this quick mystery a read.
~Christy’s Cozy Corners

TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please visit all the stops. 
January 10 – Maureen’s Musings – REVIEW
January 11 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
January 11 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW 
January 12 – Literary Gold – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
January 12 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
January 13 – Lady Hawkeye – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
January 13 – Novels Alive – REVIEW – SPOTLIGHT
January 14 – I’m Into Books – SPOTLIGHT
January 14 – The Mystery of Writing – SPOTLIGHT
January 15 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW
January 16 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
January 17 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT
January 18 – Diana’s Book Journal – SPOTLIGHT
January 19 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
January 19 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

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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 2023 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Alphabet Soup A -Z Author Edition Challenge Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways Literary Escapes You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday featuring Bookclubbed to Death (Mystery Bookshop) by V.M. Burns #Review / #Giveaway @vmburns

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

Today I am featuring Bookclubbed to Death by V.M. Burns.


Bookclubbed to Death (Mystery Bookshop)
Cozy Mystery
8th in Series
Setting – Michigan
‎Kensington Cozies (December 27, 2022)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 240 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1496739469
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1496739469
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09YL6DB6Y

When the bookshop she owns becomes a crime scene, mystery writer Samantha Washington discovers there is such a thing as bad publicity . . .

After the local library in North Harbor, Michigan, is flooded in a storm, Sam offers her bookstore as a new venue for the Mystery Mavens Book Club. Unfortunately, she immediately runs afoul of the club leader, Delia Marshall, a book reviewer who can make or break careers—something Sam can ill afford with her debut historical mystery soon to be published.

But the next morning, Sam opens her shop to find the unpleasant woman dead on the floor, bashed with a heavy—apparently lethal—tome: the Complete Works of Agatha Christie. While Sam is busy writing her latest British historical mystery in which the queen mother is suspected in the murder of a London Times correspondent, a pair of ambitious cops suspect Sam of the real-life crime. When she gathers Nano Jo and their friends from the Shady Acres Retirement Village to review the case, they discover every one of the Mavens had a motive. With her novel about to hit the stores, Sam must find out who clubbed Delia before a judge throws the book at her . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

North Harbor, Michigan is hit by a huge storm that downed trees and power lines and flooded the local library. Mystery bookshop owner Samantha Washington wanted to help so she opened her doors for the Mystery Mavens Book Club until the library could be reopened. Club leader Delia Matthews walked into the shop like she owned the place and started making demands for food to be served during the meeting and complaining that the meeting room was too small. Delia is a well-known book reviewer and the last thing Sam wants to do with her debut historical mystery about to be released is to ruffle the woman’s feathers so that while she can’t do anything about the space, she can provide food for the group.

The next morning Nana Jo wakes up Sam telling her that Delia Marshall was downstairs, dead. “Someone clubbed her to death with that book.” That book happens to be The Complete Works of Agatha Christie which was ordered by the now-deceased reviewer.

Sam has been busy working on her next mystery but now she has to add a real murder investigation to her duties as the police are ready to book her for Delia Marshall’s murder. She is glad she will have her Nana Jo and her friends from Shady Acres to help because it looks like every member of the Mystery Mavens Book Club had a reason to club the woman to death.


This is one of my favorite series. I really enjoy that our protagonist Samantha Washington is an author as well as a bookshop owner and that Ms. Burns gives us two mysteries within each book. The one Samantha is writing and the other that she ends up investigating to clear herself or someone near and dear to her. She is a darn good amateur sleuth and Nana Jo, Irma, Dorothy, Ruby Mae, and this time Detective Bradley Pitt—aka “Stinky Pitt” do their best to help. All these characters are very well-developed and those ladies from Shady Acres sure will tickle your funny bone. “Irma!” is heard often. She is a hoot and a half. I love her reports to the group. But she isn’t the only one to bring the humor. These lines really cracked me up. This is Nana Jo to Sam on their way to the basement with a scared Oreo and hard-of-hearing Snickers.

“We don’t have time for this, Dorothy. That tornado is almost on top of us, and I left my magic wand and shiny red shoes at the dry cleaners.”

Sam’s stories are also filled with great characters. The Queen Mother is a suspect this time and Lady Elizabeth is searching for clues. It is fun that Sam uses her writing to escape the drama happening in her real life but that it also helps her see what she is missing in her very real investigation. She rarely travels without her laptop so can write anywhere, even at a crowded casino.

Both mysteries are very well plotted with twists and turns. I really felt for Sam because her huge heart put her in Delia Marshall’s path. It is great that she has a supportive man by her side in her fiancee’ Frank. Frank has a mysterious past that gives him some fabulous connections. She also had a wonderful sister who Sam hates to ask for help but this time she really needs her. Interesting evidence paved the way for Sam but it involved some hard work to figure everything out. Lady Elizabeth has great support too.  It is always fun to have a mystery involving the royals.  Both mysteries kept me guessing.

Oreo and Snickers are a spunky pair and they always add to the story but they are getting up there in age. Our girls lasted for 17 years. I hope these two continue to frolic through the pages for a good long time.

Bookclubbed to Death is an excellent addition to this series. I was entertained totally by these wonderful characters and the situations they found themselves in. While this book can be read all on its own I truly recommend you read the series in order to enjoy the characters and their antics from the start.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

V.M. Burns was born and raised in the Midwestern United States. She is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Dog Writers Association of America, Thriller Writers International, is on the national board for Sisters in Crime. She currently resides in the warmer area of the U.S. with her two poodles. Readers can visit her website at http://www.vmburns.com

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

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Also by V.M. Burns

Writing as Valerie Burns

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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.