Jan 192018
 

Changing things up a little bit today.
I received this book for an early review and couldn’t wait to read it,
so I stuck in a Flashback Friday spot.
That means we are having a FlashForward Friday

so I could tell you about it right away.


Tart of Darkness (Chef-to-Go Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Illinois
Sourcebooks Landmark (April 3, 2018)
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1492648383
Kindle ASIN: B0748MXMSZ

 

 

Right when Dani thinks she’s hit a dead-end in her career, she unexpectedly inherits an enormous old house in a quaint college town. This gives her the perfect opportunity to pursue her true passion―cooking! So Dani opens Chef-to-Go, preparing delicious, ready-made meals for hungry students attending the nearby university, as well as providing personal chef services and catering events for the local community. To help support her new business, she opens her home to a few students, renting them rooms and becoming almost like a big sister figure in their lives.

But just as Dani is relishing her sweet new life, the friend of one of her boarders is murdered, and Dani becomes one of the primary suspects! She’ll have to scramble to clear her name and save her business before the killer reappears―perhaps to silence the new chef forever.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

This series is off to an amazing start!

Danielle (Dani) Sloan quit her job, dropped her “Dr. McCreepy” and is cooking up a storm, watching Hell’s Kitchen and Cupcake Wars, as she sends out her resumé. She is usually joined by Ivy Drake, an 18-year old college junior that lives across the hall. Not a typical friendship, more of a big sister/little sister thing, but it works for them. One day she receives a letter telling her she has inherited a mansion, an old Victorian that was being remodeled into a B&B. After the shock wears off she realizes this inheritance could make her dreams come true. So while the lawyer gets the paperwork done she makes plans for her new business, Chef-to-Go. She will be doing catering, providing meals on the go for the college students and hiring herself out as a personal chef. She gets help with the business from her new tenants, Ivy and her friends that used to live across the hall. They were evicted for some major infractions of the landlord’s rules. Their parents have agreed to pay for them to live with Dani as long as Dani watches over them and Ivy’s Uncle Spencer checks on them weekly. Spencer, the head of college security is glad to help the girls any way he can, especially after he meets Dani.

Things are going great until one of Ivy’s college friends is murdered, shortly after Dani caters a party for her. The investigating detective decides quickly that Dani is the killer. She could lose everything. She needs to clear her name and fast or the only place she will cooking will be the state penitentiary.

The first book in a series is a huge undertaking because you have to introduce the characters, give them each a back story, connect them together and then wrap them in a mystery that keeps readers flipping those pages while leaving them wanting for more. Ms. Swanson more than met this challenge.

I liked Dani immediately. She left her job for a very good reason and I was excited that she could follow her passion. Her business plan makes sense and her new living arrangement is unique and fun. Ivy being so young is a bit naive and needs to have someone looking out for her. Her friends Tippi and Starr do what they can, but she needs Dani and Spencer in her life too. Tippi and Starr are typical college students and Dani likes having them live with her, but one tends to shirk her responsibilities to Danni quite a bit. Spencer is a former FBI agent who spent most of his career undercover. Now retired he enjoys the slower pace of running the security division for the college. These core characters are engaging and interesting. The author has left plenty of room to grow as the series continues.

There are some crazy characters too. Detective Mikeloff is off the rails and the victim and her family have their issues too.

The plot and subplots of this story are very well developed. The mystery itself had plenty of suspects with motive. The victim had done some really terrible things. Dani is a great investigator, people opened up to her so easily. She tries to help everyone she talks to, even when she was facing the murderer. This blends in with the romantic tension Dani and Spencer have every time they are in the vicinity with each other and Dani having to deal with a request from her ex.

I do enjoy the college campus setting. There are tons of possibilities for future stories.

I did have a couple of minor concerns. The author mentions her Scumble River series and ties a couple of characters to characters in that series. This may be likable for fans of that series but may be off-putting to those who have not yet read that series. Also, while the Epilogue wraps up this story,  Dani comes off just a little bit preachy at the end.

I am excited to see where Ms. Swanson takes this series. I am invested in the characters and can’t wait for the next story.

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Denise Swanson is the New York Times bestselling author of the Scumble River Mysteries, the Devereaux’s Dime Store Mysteries, the Change of Heart romances, and the Delicious romances She worked as a school psychologist for twenty-two years before quitting to write full-time. She lives in Illinois with her husband, classical music composer David Stybr.

 




I want to share my advance review copy with you!

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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.”

Jan 182018
 

Escape Claws (A Cat Lady Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – New Hampshire
Lyrical Underground (December 26, 2017)
Paperback: 202 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1516104192
Kindle ASIN: B06XJZ6HWX

 

 

Here, killer, killer, killer . . .
 
For the first time in sixteen years, Lara Caphart has returned to her hometown of Whisker Jog, New Hampshire. She wants to reconnect with her estranged Aunt Fran, who’s having some difficulty looking after herself—and her eleven cats. Taking care of a clowder of kitties is easy, but keeping Fran from being harassed by local bully Theo Barnes is hard. The wealthy builder has his sights set on Fran’s property and is determined to make her an offer she doesn’t dare refuse.

Then Lara spots a blue-eyed ragdoll cat that she swears is the reincarnation of her beloved Blue, her childhood pet. Pursuing the feline to the edge of Fran’s yard, she stumbles upon the body of Theo Barnes, clearly a victim of foul play. To get her and Fran off the suspect list, Lara finds herself following the cat’s clues in search of a killer. Is Blue’s ghost really trying to help her solve a murder, or has Lara inhaled too much catnip?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Lara hasn’t been home in quite a while, but when one of her friends contacts her about her Aunt Fran and her house full of cats she knows she needs to head back and reconnect with her aunt.  She finds her aunt does not only need help with her felines but she has some medical issues to attend to as well. Fran is also being harassed by one of her neighbors who is determined to have a portion of her land. It seems Lara has arrived just in time. Just in time to find the bully, Theo Barnes dead on her aunt’s property and it wasn’t a natural death. She and her aunt quickly become the prime suspects so Lara adds “find the real killer” to her already long to do list. She may have an unlikely partner helping her solve the crime that makes her pursuit very interesting.

Aunt Fran, aka “the crazy cat lady” and Lara and all the feline companions have pawed their way right into my heart. Heck, if I had a place like Fran’s I would be a crazy cat lady too. Her genuine desire to care for these rescue kitties drew me into the story. Lara’s devotion to caring for her aunt and the cats was heartwarming. These are two formidable women and make a great team.

I like the way the author took time to introduce us to the characters, including the kittens. The first page of the story introduces the “Cast of Feline Characters” including Blue, a very important feline in this story. They are all unique with different personalities, just like real cats.

We also meet several other residents of Whisker Jog, friends and suspects. The victim was not well liked so many people should have been on the list of suspects but Police Chief Jerry Whitley set his sights on Fran and Lara immediately.

I am a big fan of Linda Reilly, all of her Deep Fried Mysteries were Perfect Escapes for me. I love the way she tells a story and sets the scenes. She has a very descriptive style that makes you feel you are right there with the characters. Again in Escape Claws, the mystery unfolds at a very comfortable pace. It was not an easy mystery to solve and it is offset by the inner turmoil Lara is facing. Her aunt needs her but she has to go back to her job. The storylines are woven together very skillfully.

You don’t need to love or even like cats to enjoy this story, but if you do you will absolutely love this book.

This series is off to a fabulous start! I cant’ wait to return to Whisker Jog!

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

You can find out all about Linda Reilly on her Webpage here. Find her on Facebook and GoodReads too!  


I am giving away a Kindle Copy of Escape Claws.
Book will be sent directly from Amazon.

The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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Click Here For Entry Form

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

Jan 172018
 

 
Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
I am so happy to have Winnie Archer drop by for a visit!

Guest Post
by Winnie Archer

 

I think the absolute best part about being a writer is knowing that your characters have connected with someone. I get “fan” email (for lack of a better term) fairly consistently relating to the different series I write. Every once in a while, they say something like:

I love your books. Keep writing them! I do want to point out that there is an inconsistency between X and Y, and you really should consider XYZ…

The first time I received such an email, I was taken aback, but then I thought about it. Even if this person was being critical, she had liked my book enough to care. And that was pretty amazing to me–a teacher, a mom, a wife, a daughter… just an ordinary person-turned-writer.

The very best moments are when I receive emails asking when the next book is coming out in one of my series, or telling me that reading one of my books is like being with old friends. I never realized just how much that would mean to me until I received the first such message. I began writing because I had a character (Lola Cruz) that was in my head. I wrote that very first book for me. That was fifteen years ago. Just a few days ago, I opened an email from someone who’d read the three Lola Cruz books. She wondered if/when there would be another one in the series. She just loved Lola! The happy byproduct of my writing was understanding that the books I’d written for myself connected with other people in a way I’d never anticipated.

Lola Cruz; Harlow Cassidy; Ivy Culpepper. These three heroines in my respective series are so alive in my head. Their families; their communities; their friends: they are all part of me. They all come from me. And they resonate with readers, which is truly amazing.

Although I miss the people and the series I’m not currently working on (Lola Cruz and Harlow Cassidy), the deeper I get into Ivy Culpepper and the seaside community of Santa Sofia (the Bread Shop Mysteries), the happier I am. Being in Yeast of Eden with Olaya Solis and Penelope Branford, rekindling romance with Miguel Baptista, and being part of a family again with her father, brother, and old friend, Emmaline Davis…it’s like pot roast. Warm and comforting and…home.

Finding a connection to what you read is incredible. I hope it happens for each of you!

Happy reading.

Winnie Archer

 

Thank you so much, Winnie, for stopping by today!


Crust No One (A Bread Shop Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – California
Kensington (December 26, 2017)
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1496707741
Kindle ASIN: B06XZ7TQXR

 

 

Business is booming at Yeast of Eden. But with a deadly mystery taking over the seaside town of Santa Sofia, the Mexican bread shop can’t possibly leaven a killer’s appetite . . .

For once, Ivy Culpepper feels fulfilled. An apprenticeship at Yeast of Eden has opened her world to time-honored baking techniques under owner Olaya Solis’s guidance—as well as the freshest small-town gossip, courtesy of chatty regulars known as the Blackbird Ladies. Ivy even begins accepting that she and restaurateur Miguel Baptista may never again rekindle their romance—despite the undeniable tension between them . . .

But she’s tied to Miguel again when his trusted produce supplier goes missing. Old Hank Riviera’s financial troubles would make anyone consider running away forever. And with his relationship woes, there are plenty of people who might want to see Hank disappear. As Ivy, with the help of her octogenarian sidekick, turns to the loose-lipped Blackbird Ladies for leads, she soon finds herself caught in a web of lies stickier than a batch of Olaya’s popular pastries . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts
We return to Santa Sofia for the Winter Wonderland Festival. Ivy is getting set to help Olaya do all the baking but before she can she learns a man has gone missing. Hank Riviera delivers his produce to several local businesses including Miguel Baptista’s family restaurant. Ivy was there to talk about a photography opportunity but that is forgotten as soon as they get the news that Hank has missed deliveries and can’t be found. She and Miguel along with a group of customers from Yeast of Eden, who Ivy lovingly named the Blackbird Ladies, start an investigation to find the missing vendor. Where their investigation leads them surprises everyone.

Ms. Archer has written another fantastic mystery. Ivy grew so much in the first book in this series and she really seems very comfortable now in her life even though the tension between she and Miguel continues.  The supporting characters are very well developed too. I felt like I was reconnecting with old friends. The new characters introduced were unique and interesting.

The mystery itself developed and at a nice pace throughout the book. Twists galore took the story in a very unexpected direction. The author does an excellent job of dropping clues like breadcrumbs until we have not one but two “aha” moments.  Even Deputy Sheriff Emmaline Davis was surprised.

Winter in Santa Sofia, not quite winter in Wisconsin, but no matter where you live it is the perfect time to visit Yeast of Eden for a tasty treat. Doesn’t that cover just make you crave bread, rolls, and every other doughy product you can think of?

I enjoyed every minute of this story. I don’t want to spoil anything, but this mystery unfolds a little differently than most cozy mysteries. I was engaged from page 1. The real-life moments, Em moving in with Billy, Ivy trying to find more photography work, customers in the bread shop, the baking, all tied into the plot seamlessly.  I loved it!

I can’t wait for the next book in this series! The Walking Bread comes out September 25, 2018.

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

The indefatigable Winnie Archer is a middle school teacher by day and a writer by night. Born in a beach town in California, she now lives in an inspiring century-old house in North Texas and loves being surrounded by real-life history. She fantasizes about spending summers writing in quaint, cozy locales, has a love/hate relationship with both yoga and chocolate, adores pumpkin spice lattes, is devoted to her five kids and husband, and can’t believe she’s lucky enough to be living the life of her dreams. Visit her online at WinnieArcher.com.

Written as Melissa Bourbon

Written as Misa Ramirez


Thanks to the publisher I have 1 copy to give away!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
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Leave a comment for the author for 5 Bonus Entries.

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Contest Will End January 31, 2018, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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.”

Jan 162018
 

Many a Twist: A County Cork Mystery
Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Setting – Ireland
Crooked Lane Books (January 9, 2018)
Hardcover: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1683314530
Kindle ASIN: B072LTRZXS

 

 

Pub owner Maura Donovan hasn’t seen her mother for over twenty years, so when she suddenly shows up in Maura’s pub, Maura’s not sure what to expect. Her mother is trying to find a life for herself back home and has taken up a position working with the new owners of the Crann Mor hotel just outside Skibbereen. Until her new boss is found dead in the gardens, dumped down the hillside behind the hotel.

Now, trying to rekindle the relationship they’ve lost, Maura must investigate in order to clear her mother’s name. It’s not so easy though, as long-time residents of County Cork, including the families of her employee Mick, and the family of the deceased hotel owner, have bottled deep dark family secrets not meant to be uncorked. And someone will kill to keep them that way.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

What a story! Maura Donovan’s mother left her with her grandmother when she was just 2 years old. Now after all these years she shows up in Ireland working on the acquisition of a local hotel. When the head of the company ends up dead Maura’s mother has to tell her who she is before she reveals it to the police. The death has yet to be labeled as a murder but after Maura’s previous relationship with the local garda, she is looped right into the investigation.  She also has her hands full helping her best friend get ready for the birth of her baby, and Mick reveals something about his past that Maura never expected. Family secrets play a major part in this book and as they are revealed things could get dangerous.

Many A Twist is the perfect title for this story. There were twists on top of twists and a few turns thrown in as well. The main plot and the subplots twist up to create a very entertaining story. One that is very hard to put down.

The character development over the span of this series is excellent. Just a year ago Maura arrived in Leap unsure of herself and unsure if she was going to stay in Ireland. Since that time she has made many friends, has expanded her business, and helped out with several police investigations.  She has made herself at home in her little cottage too and learns more about the area every day.

The supporting cast has also grown and changed since the beginning. Their relationships with Maura are stronger but they are also dealing with their own issues. A marriage pending, a young woman looking toward her future, a couple learning all about raising their son, and a man coming to terms with his past. Several more characters round out the cast too.

I have never been to Ireland but the way this author describes the setting of the stories in this series, I can picture it very clearly. The pub, Maura’s cottage, the countryside, a bog or two, and added in this story the Crann Mor hotel and its garden paths.

I have enjoyed this series from the start. I am excited when a new story comes out and sad when it ends much too soon. These literary trips to Ireland remind me of my own little bit of Irish heritage and I can’t wait for my next visit.

You can’t go wrong with a story penned by Sheila Connolly. She is an awesome storyteller.

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Note – The first four of this series were published by Berkley Prime Crime.
The series continues with books 5 and 6 published by Crooked Lane Books.

 About The Author

Sheila is the author of many fantastic reads. She not only writes County Cork Mysteries but the Orchard Mysteries and the Museum Mysteries too. Visit Sheila’s webpage here to find out more about her and her books.

 


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.”

Jan 122018
 

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.

This is a series I am going to try to catch up on before the next book in the series, I Know What You Bid Last Summer comes out at the end of February.


The Longest Yard Sale (A Sarah Winston Garage Sale Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Massachusetts
Kensington (June 30, 2015)
Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1617730191
Kindle ASIN: B00ONTS4UM

 

 

ONE MAN’S CLUTTER

When Sarah Winston turns Ellington, Massachusetts, into New England’s largest garage sale for a day, it’s the small town’s biggest event since the start of the Revolutionary War—but without the bloodshed. That is, until a valuable painting goes missing…and the lifeless body of an Air Force officer is found in Carol Carson’s painting studio, his face perfectly framed with the murder weapon—a metal picture frame.

IS ANOTHER MAN’S CLOVER

Sarah is mad as heck that someone used her town-wide garage sale to commit a crime—and frame her good friend Carol. She is definitely on this case…but it’s not easy rummaging through increasingly strange clues that point to cheating spouses, downright dirty investment schemes—even the mob. And Sarah will have to be very careful if she wants to live to bargain another day…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Book #2 of this series has Sarah Winston organizing a huge garage sale, the largest in New England. The day arrives with crowds of people, traffic jams, happy customers, and a very happy town manager. The tourists would come for the sale and spend money and then she hoped would come back again and again. But then, a man is found murdered at the Paint and Wine studio and a painting is missing. Then another valuable painting is stolen from the library.  Sarah’s ex, C. J. Hooker is ready to pin the crimes on Carol Carson, the owner of the studio and Sarah’s friend. With the town’s garage sale over Sarah has some time on her hands and she is going to use it bag the real culprit. The clues have her chasing all over town and the Air Force base. She may solve more than one mystery before she wraps up her investigation.

I love Sarah Winston. Between her garage sale business, dating two men, her ex, and Seth, the local district attorney, and volunteering a the base thrift store, she is one busy woman. But she uses all of it to try to catch a killer. People open up to her very easily and she can do a little snooping under the guise of garage sale business. Her friends are great sources too. She also has no problem asking C.J. and Seth for information either. Every character that the author has created comes off realistically. They have grown since the first book. I enjoyed getting to know all of them a little better.

The mystery this time has several tangents with twists galore. The story starts a little slow but then the pace picks up as more clues are revealed and the motive becomes more clear. There is a lot of ground covered in this story, but by the end, the plot and subplots come together nicely with just a little romantic cliffhanger that has me excited to read book #3.

I love the author’s writing style, the way she shares life on an Air Force Base and it’s neighboring town. The way she picks up that Boston accent and the way real people talk. The dialogue in this story is excellent. Her descriptions of time and place clearly enabled me to picture everything that was happening. The mystery was well plotted and real life was portrayed honestly. The romance was depicted well and made me laugh more than a few times.

I am late to the party for this series but hope to catch up before I Know What You Bid Last Summer comes out at the end of February.

 

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Agatha award-nominated author, Sherry Harris, started bargain hunting in second grade at her best friend’s yard sale. She honed her bartering skills as she moved around the country while her husband served in the Air Force. Sherry uses her love of garage sales, her life as a military spouse, and her time living in Massachusetts as inspiration for the Sarah Winston Garage Sale series.

Find out more about Sherry on her webpage here.


I am giving away my paperback copy!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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Click the Like Button at the top of this post for a Bonus Entry.

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Contest Will End January 26, 2018, at 11:59 PM CST
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Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

 

Jan 102018
 

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am always happy when Laura Bradford drops by for a visit! 

First Suspend, Then Fun

By Laura Bradford

Author of Dial M For Mousse,
an Emergency Dessert Squad Mystery

When you write a cozy mystery you have certain aspects you must adhere to, not the least of which is the whole small-town/amateur sleuth backdrop. In and of itself, basing a story in a small town provides lots of background fodder—gossip, connections, fights, secrets, etc.  But when it comes to the mystery component and the fact that murder must happen in this small town again and again (and again), you need your readers to be willing to suspend reality to an extent. Still, just as they need to accept the fact that ten murders have happened in quaint little Nowheresville, Ohio in as many (or less) years, you, as the writer, must make your sleuth’s reason for getting involved believable. Because really, why is the average-Joe bookseller going to keep putting herself in harm’s way to solve yet another murder?

It’s that challenge that I find particularly fun about writing a cozy mystery. I like seeing how the main murder plot can draw my main character toward it, rather than away from it like most normal people would go.

Just by the very nature of my Emergency Dessert Squad Mysteries, my main character, Winnie Johnson, is on the go—delivering her emergency themed desserts to college dorm rooms, businesses, personal residences, and even local politicians. So the potential for her to stumble across something out of the ordinary is higher than, say, a bookseller who stays in one place. But even if she comes across a body, there has to be a reason she’d want to get involved rather than just go home, detox with a hunk of chocolate, and let the local cops do their job.

In Éclair and Present Danger, the debut book in the series, grief propels Winnie to get involved when her elderly neighbor is murdered.

In The Silence of the Flans, book #2 in the series, desperation propels Winnie to get involved when the victim dies while eating one of her desserts.

And in Dial M for Mousse, the latest book in the series, anger propels Winnie to get involved when a routine delivery is manipulated into an alibi for murder.

So while it may be hard to fathom stumbling across dead bodies on a routine basis, everyone, on some level, knows grief…and desperation…and anger. And as long as we can identify on some level, suspending reality for our small town backdrop isn’t all that difficult. In fact, it’s actually kind of fun…

~Laura

Thank you for visiting today, Laura!


Dial M for Mousse (An Emergency Dessert Squad Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Ohio
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery (January 2, 2018)
An Imprint of Penguin Random House
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425281253
Kindle ASIN: B06Y573L55

 

 

Murder takes the cake in an irresistible Emergency Dessert Squad mystery from the national bestselling author of The Silence of the Flans.

The Emergency Dessert Squad business is booming, with owner and baker Winnie Johnson working overtime to satisfy the emergency cravings of Silver Lake, Ohio. Her latest order, a plate of motivational desserts for an artists’ retreat, is just what she needs to keep her mind off her own relationship woes.

But Winnie’s problems seem like trifles when she discovers the body of retreat owner Sally Dearfield mere inches away from five oh-so-eccentric and viable suspects. Now, this baking detective must uncover the inspiration behind Sally’s murder before another creative genius is iced.

RECIPES INCLUDED

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Winnie’s business continues to grow. With all her friend’s help, she creates delectable desserts to rescue her customers from things like a bad breakup, loss of a job, and anything else you can imagine. In this story, she has been asked to bake up motivational treats for a group of artists with different talents at a local retreat. After she delivers the goodies she goes to tell the owner and finds her dead on the floor with all the artists standing nearby. The police immediately suspect foul play and Winnie has a dessert connection with all the viable suspects which lands her right in the middle of another murder investigation.

The author has created a very unique theme for this series. After the expenses of having a bakery in a storefront became beyond what Winnie could afford she started a home-based business and uses an old ambulance she inherited to deliver her desserts to her customers. The treats even arrive on a stretcher complete with icing IV’s. She also inherited a cat that goes along for each delivery.

The characters are all very well developed. Most of Winnie’s friends are senior citizens and she has a real bond with them. They along with her best friend Renee are her taste testers and her confidants. Renee is also Winnie’s only employee.  Her romantic relationship with a local college professor, who she met when making a delivery to him, is a little murky. His teenage daughter does not like her father giving anyone else attention and she has done everything she can to break them up.

I thought solving the murder this time would be easy as we knew from the start there were only five suspects, but it turned out to be very complex. None were very forthcoming and all appeared to be hiding something. Winnie didn’t give up though and I really enjoyed following each little hint and clue right along with her.

The clever theme of this series, interesting characters, and a very imaginative plot kept this reader very entertained. All the dessert talk and descriptions made my mouth water. I loved the names Winnie gave her goodies.

A fun read that stands on its own but the series is better served if you start at the beginning.

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Laura Bradford is the national bestselling author of many mystery series, including the Emergency Dessert Squad Mysteries, the Amish Mysteries, and the brand new Tobi Tobias Mysteries. Her first women’s fiction novel, Portrait of a Sister, will release in June 2018. When she’s not writing, Laura enjoys making memories with her family, baking, and being an advocate for those living with Multiple Sclerosis.

To learn more, visit her website: www.laurabradford.com, or hang out with her on Facebook. She can also be found occasionally tweeting at @Bradfordauthor.

 

Also by Laura Bradford

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Click Here for books written as Elizabeth Lynn Casey.


Thanks to the publisher I have 2 copies to give away!
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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.”

Jan 092018
 

Pre-Meditated Murder (A Downward Dog Mystery)
by Tracy Weber


Pre-Meditated Murder (A Downward Dog Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Setting – Washington/Oregon
Midnight Ink (January 8, 2018)
Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0738750682
E-Book ASIN: B0711WY9ST

 

 

Yoga instructor Kate Davidson is ready to marry her boyfriend Michael, so she’s disappointed when a special dinner doesn’t end with a proposal. But disappointment turns to dismay and outrage as she learns the real problem: Michael is already married and his green card-seeking wife is blackmailing him.

When his wife’s body is found—by Kate and her dog, no less—Michael is strangely unable to remember where he was the night she died. Since Michael has no alibi, Kate steps up to uncover what happened. What she walks into is a tangled web of deceit, obsession, and immigration fraud . . . with Michael trapped in the middle.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

In this fifth Downward Dog Mystery, Kate, Michael, Bella along with Rene and her entire family including twin babies and twin dogs hit the road and travel to Oregon. Kate was expecting a proposal but then Michael drops the bomb that he is already married and that his wife is blackmailing him. Furious with Michael she shuts him out but when he decides to go talk to his wife the whole gang goes along. After one chilly meeting with the woman, Kate is unsure what to think. But then Bella later finds the woman dead on the beach, Kate panics, she knows Michael is going to the prime suspect. After a few deep cleansing breaths Kate and Rene team up to find out what really happened much to the despair of Michael’s lawyer, her friend, and her mother’s significant other.

I have been waiting for this book since I finished the last one, so I fixed myself a beverage and a little snack and settled in to read. A few hours later I reached the end and reentered society 🙂 feeling that time must have flown by. From the moment Michael told Kate he was already married I was sucked right into the pages. I was livid for her, how could he have kept that kind of thing secret?

The author took us on quite a journey to first track down the wife and then find her murderer, all while taking care of two infants and 3 dogs. I was kept extremely entertained. These characters are realistic, fun, smart, determined and very centered most of the time. I love the role Bella plays in each mystery. He is is a very special, caring dog that has a nose for dead bodies while being a true canine companion for Kate. Even this time when he meets a polydactyl cat named Mouse he adjusts and comes to love the kitty.  Kate and Bella are so good for each other.

This story really hit me on an emotional level. I am not sure I would have been able to be as strong as Kate. She put her hurt feelings aside to save a man who didn’t trust her enough to be truthful and his first words after he told her were like a stake in the heart. This added to the mystery of who killed his wife made this just a compelling read. There were several suspects, a cop that refused to look beyond Michael, and a whole bunch of twists and turns until the truth is revealed. The author also weaves the yoga theme throughout the whole complex mystery. This story is so well written.

I believe to get the full experience of this story you need to read Kate’s story from the beginning, but with that said Tracy Weber has written this story in a way that it can stand on its own.

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Tracy Weber is the author of the award-winning Downward Dog Mysteries series featuring yoga teacher Kate Davidson and her feisty German shepherd, Bella. Tracy loves sharing her passion for yoga and animals in any form possible. Her first book, Murder Strikes a Pose won the Maxwell Award for Fiction and is a 2015 Agatha award nominee for Best First Novel.

Tracy and her husband live in Seattle with their challenging yet amazing German shepherd Tasha. When she’s not writing, Tracy spends her time teaching yoga, walking Tasha, and sipping Blackthorn cider at her favorite ale house.

 Author Links 

Website    Blog    Facebook    GoodReads  Twitter

Purchase Links

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS

January 8 – Sneaky the Library Cat’s Blog – INTERVIEW
January 8 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT
January 9 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
January 10 – A Blue Million Books – INTERVIEW
January 10 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT – unable to post
January 11 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW
January 12 – Read Your Writes Book Reviews – REVIEW, GUEST POST
January 13 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT
January 14 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW
January 15 – Island Confidential – GUEST POST
January 16 – Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers – SPOTLIGHT
January 17 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
January 18 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews REVIEW
January 19 – Socrates Book Reviews – REVIEW
January 20 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
January 21 – Varietats – 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.”

Jan 052018
 

I am thrilled to kick off this tour!

Deadly Fashion
by Kate Parker


Deadly Fashion (The Deadly Series)
3rd in Series 
Cozy Historical Mystery
JDP Press (December 8, 2017)
Paperback: 324 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0996483193
Digital JDP Press (January 11, 2018)
ASIN: B077XNDW83

Why would a man, knowing his life was in danger, turn his back on his killer?

In pre-war London, Olivia Denis wins a plum assignment from her newspaper when she meets the glamorous French fashion designer, Mimi Mareau. Mimi has it all, wealth, talent, acclaim, and a British duke for a lover. But on her first visit to Mimi’s new Mayfair house of haute couture, Olivia finds something else – the body of an unknown man.

Mimi and her three French assistants say they don’t know the man, but is that true? As Olivia spends time around the salon, she learns at least one of the women knew the dead man and four women are lying.

A British agent in possession of a terrible secret, an attempt on the life of a British leader, a fashion house in the middle of it all, and war marches closer. Can Olivia stop a murderer before he or she can strike again or shatter the fragile peace?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Olivia Denis may not be much of a newspaper reporter but she is one heck of a sleuth. She meets Mimi Mareau, a noted French Fashion Designer while interviewing a bride to be for the society pages. The designer is opening a salon in London so her elite clientele will not need to travel to Paris. She invites Olivia to stop by and write a feature for the newspaper. While there she discovers a dead body. The designer and her assistants all claim they have no clue who the man is or how he died, but Olivia knows they are lying. Dangerous events are taking place and they all seem to be connected to Mimi Mareau and her staff. With her employer’s approval Oliva find herself again in the middle of an investigation and putting her life at risk.

Kate Parker continues to top herself. She has created a wonderfully strong protagonist in Olivia Denis. She doesn’t shy away from these special assignments, in fact, she is excited by them.  She always jumps in with both feet and follows the clues wherever they lead, no matter how hazardous her actions may be to her own health. She is surrounded by a great supporting cast that helps her in her endeavors, most of it behind the scenes.

With a war on the horizon many Jewish people are trying to flee Germany and as in the previous two books in this series, this is the backdrop for this story as well. Ms. Parker gives readers an excellent sense of time and place. Seen through the eyes of our main character we get a clear picture of where she travels and who she meets. The woman has a keen way of investigating.

The story has a very brisk pace and I was rapidly drawn into it. I read the entire book in one evening. As it was getting late, I kept reading, just one more chapter and then another, but the book was impossible for me to put down. I had to see how it ended before I could lie my head on my pillow.

I am a huge fan of this author. I loved her Victorian Bookshop Mysteries and now this Deadly Series. I highly recommend them all.

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Kate Parker has wanted to travel to 1930s England since she read her mother’s Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers mysteries when she was a schoolgirl. After many years of studying science, she decided a time travel machine was out of the question so she found herself limited to reading about the period and visiting historic sites. Her love of this fascinating and challenging period led her to the research from which the Deadly series grew. Eventually, she found it necessary to spend several days in the British Library reading old newspapers, which meant another trip to England. Near Christmas. A sacrifice she’d gladly make every year.

Author Links:      Website     Facebook    Twitter    Goodreads

Purchase Links

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS

January 5 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
January 5 – The Editing Pen – GUEST POST
January 6 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
January 7 – Ms. Cat’s Honest World – REVIEW
January 7 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT
January 8 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT
January 8 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, INTERVIEW
January 9 – The Mysterious Ink Spot – REVIEW
January 10 – Queen of All She Reads – SPOTLIGHT
January 10 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW
January 11 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
January 12 – A Blue Million Books – INTERVIEW
January 13 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST
January 14 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

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Jan 052018
 

My first Read of 2018!

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.


Bones To Pick (A Brie Hooker Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – South Carolina
Henery Press (October 24, 2017)
Paperback: 286 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1635112597
Kindle ASIN: B0748LL8V8

 

 

Living on a farm with four hundred goats and a cantankerous carnivore isn’t among vegan chef Brie Hooker’s list of lifetime ambitions. But she can’t walk away from her Aunt Eva, who needs help operating her dairy.

Once she calls her aunt’s goat farm home, grisly discoveries offer ample inducements for Brie to employ her entire vocabulary of cheese-and-meat curses. The troubles begin when the farm’s pot-bellied pig unearths the skull of Eva’s husband, who disappeared years back. The sheriff, kin to the deceased, sets out to pin the murder on Eva. He doesn’t reckon on Brie’s resolve to prove her aunt’s innocence. Death threats, ruinous pedicures, psychic shenanigans, and biker bar fisticuffs won’t stop Brie from unmasking the killer, even when romantic befuddlement throws her a curve.

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts

In this new cozy mystery series, we meet Brie Hooker when she arrives to help her Aunt Eva with her farm after her Aunt Lilly passes away. Brie, a chef, and a vegan is sure her diet choices are going to be fodder for many jokes and make meals very interesting, but that is the least of her worries when her aunt’s pig, Tammy, digs up a human skull right in the middle of Aunt Lilly’s wake.

It is soon determined that the bones belong to Aunt Eva’s husband that had been declared dead after he went missing many years ago.  The sheriff is quick to try to pick Eva as his prime suspect. But Brie is going to prove him wrong even if she may get killed in the process. Thankfully she has a couple handsome men ready to stay by her side to protect her, even if she knows she can take care of herself.

I liked main character Brie right away. Her relationship with her aunt and her parents was very caring and loving. While being a vegan is very important to her she understands that lifestyle is not for everyone. She can cook anything and makes delicious meals but always has a vegan dish for herself and others to try. She gets that she is working on a goat farm and they sell goat milk items. She also realizes she needs to learn a lot more about goats if she is going stay on the farm.

We also meet Andy and Paint, two young men, friends of Aunt Eva, and very interested in a romantic relationship with Brie. For the first book in a new series, I found all the characters very well developed. The dialogue was spot on and Brie’s meat and cheese curse words cracked me up. Her aunt holds her weight in the comedic department too but her minimal cursing in a little stronger than Brie.

The murder was a real cold case happening so long ago. It turned out there were quite a few suspects and took a lot of more digging after Tammy’s discovery to wrap this mystery up. There were several exciting moments as Brie got closer to the truth.

I really enjoyed all the “pet’s” names. The author explains some of them at the beginning of the book. I also enjoyed Ms. Lovely’s writing style. It is very descriptive.  I felt right in the middle of all the drama, but especially at the end when Brie and her friend were in so much danger. I was on the edge of my seat.

This book was a perfect escape for me. Great characters, a strong plot, Southern charm and a wheelbarrow full of humor.  I am not sure when the next book will be released but it can’t be soon enough for me.

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

You can find out about Linda Lovely and her books on her website here.

I am giving away 1 Kindle copy of Bones to Pick!
Book will be sent directly from Amazon.
If price rises from $2.99 +tax – I will award an Amazon Gift Card for $3.50.
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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Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

Sign Up for the Author’s Newsletter for 3 Bonus Entries.

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Contest Will End January 19, 2018, at 11:59 PM CST
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Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

Jan 042018
 

Alpha Alpine: An Emma Lord Mystery (Emma Lord Returns)
Cozy Mystery
27th in Series
Setting – Washington State
Alibi (December 12, 2017)
Print Length: 275 pages
ASIN: B018CHA1SS

 

 

Emma Lord is back and better than ever! This time around, the amateur detective partners up with a rookie sleuth to investigate a string of murders in her beloved Alpine, Washington.

For a small town nestled in the Cascade Mountains’ foothills, picturesque Alpine provides more than enough headlines to fill the pages of editor and publisher Emma Lord’s Alpine Advocate. The Labor Day edition’s lead story features controversial timber baron Jack Blackwell’s scheme to become Skykomish county manager. But the recent strangling deaths of two young women are all anyone can talk about.

After a third body is found, Emma’s husband, Sheriff Milo Dodge, suspects there’s a serial killer in their midst. The latest victim is the sister of a dashing newcomer rumored to be working for Blackwell. “Black Jack,” as he’s known to his non-admirers, has a long-standing rivalry with Milo. To discover if there’s any connection between the mogul and the murders, Emma recruits the Advocate’s receptionist, Alison Lindahl, to do a little digging.

Still recovering from a recent breakup, Alison welcomes the distraction. But when the investigation puts the eager protégé in the line of fire, Emma worries that the cub reporter’s career will be over before it even begins.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

When I reviewed The Alpine Zen back in May of 2015 I was excited to see on Ms. Daheim’s website that the series was not ending just because we had reached the letter Z but I found that the wait would be longer than usual for book 27. Now 2+ years later I was thrilled to download it to my Kindle. It was worth the wait.

Over the years these characters have become old friends. Emma and Milo have to balance work and home life but they do it amazingly well. Their dialogue is realistic and at times quite comical. Their bickering with each other reminded me of my own parents at times. But this couple is still in the honeymoon phase of their relationship, they try to relax each evening with a drink and that usually leads them behind a closed bedroom door.

Vida is thinking of retiring from the newspaper, I will believe that when I read it. The new receptionist, Alison has jumped in with both feet, even helping Emma with her investigations. The rest of the newspaper staff is still there putting out stories online and on paper.

Milo’s daughter is doing much better and is dating a police officer, but her world is rocked when a body is found in her basement.  That is not the only body found either.

The mystery itself is very interesting because there are so many things happening in Alpine. County politics is on the ballot and the vote is so close it required several recounts. An explosion at the newspaper causes major damage but no major injuries. And murder is definitely on the rise in Skykomish county. Everything may be connected to timber baron Jack Blackwell. He and Milo have never gotten along and he would like nothing better than getting Milo off the force. Milo would like nothing better to put “Jack Black” behind bars.

I really tried to slow down and savor this book, but that was almost impossible. The story has a very quick pace and we meet several new characters. The author weaves everything happening together seamlessly. Full of drama and action, I admit I was sad when I reached the end. I am already anxiously waiting for the next Emma Lord Mystery.

This is a long running series and I always recommend they be read from the start, but Ms. Daheim has included plenty of details so you shouldn’t feel lost if you start with this one. After you finish you most likely will want to go back and read them all. 🙂

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

You can find out all about Mary Daheimon her 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.”

Another Man's Poison (A Jersey Girl Cozy Mystery) by Jo-Ann Lamon Reccoppa Buy Today!
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