Posted in 2020 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Paw and Order (A Dog Club Mystery) by V.M. Burns #Review

Several months ago V.M. Burns asked for help on Facebook to come up with a title for this book.
I was chair dancing for days when she and
the publisher picked one of my suggestions.

hen a short time ago I downloaded the book from NetGalley and saw my name with credit for the title.
I was going through a rough stretch with my cancer treatments and seeing my name on the screen just made my day.
I do have to apologize to Ms. Burns for my delay in posting this review.
Chemo brain made it hard to write reviews but I am slowly getting back on track.

Paw and Order (A Dog Club Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Setting – Tennessee
Publisher: Lyrical Underground (August 11, 2020)
Paperback: 168 pages
ISBN-10: 1516109945
ISBN-13: 978-1516109944
Kindle ASIN : B07ZPK3DCJ

Dog-loving divorcée and amateur sleuth Lilly Echosby is not the only one who wants her new foster poodle. Some are willing to kill to have him . . .

 

Lilly’s best pal Scarlett “Dixie” Jefferson has done it again! She’s convinced eccentric poodle-loving billionaire Archibald Lowry to sponsor a grand fundraiser for the Eastern Tennessee Poodle Rescue. Tragically, it’s too late to rescue Lowry, who is murdered at the event. His pet poodle is now orphaned, so Dixie begs Lilly to foster the adorable pup. Of course, she already has a poodle—her beloved Aggie, named after Agatha Christie. Fortunately, Aggie seems to like the new addition to the family, whom Lilly renames Rex, after her second favorite mystery author, Rex Stout.

 

But she’s barely welcomed Rex into her home when there’s an attempted poodle-nabbing, foiled with Aggie’s help. As desperate characters try to get their hands on the canine cutie, Lilly turns to Dixie’s dog training class to help her sort through a litter of suspects. Ultimately, she may have to unleash Rex as bait to collar the killer . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

When poodle-loving billionaire Archibald lowry is murdered at an event he is sponsoring for the Eastern Tennessee Poodle Rescue at Scarlett “Dixie” Jefferson’s request Lily Echosby finds herself fostering the billionaire’s pooch while trying to catch his killer.


Friendship blooms within these pages, Lily and Dixie are women I would love to hang out with in real life. They always have each other’s back and their love for their canine companions is heartwarming. Lily and Red’s relationship is evolving nicely. Lily’s daughter Stephanie comes for a visit, there is a little tension in her relationship with Joe and she needs a little TLC from mom. Her mom may need her for some advice as well. I enjoyed the way Dixie’s training group gets involved in all the chaos. All the characters are well-developed with plenty of room left to grow.

The story has an excellent flow with action ratcheting up in all the right places. There are several suspects and different events for them to be observed and questioned. Well-crafted twists kept me guessing right up until the very end. I continue to be amazed by Ms. Burns tells such a great story in less than 200 pages, especially with her wonderfully descriptive writing style.

Paw and Order is a delightful cozy mystery that I enjoyed start to finish. Engaging characters, precious poodles, a great mystery, with a touch of romance and a nice amount of humor make this story a perfect escape.

While this book can be read on its own for maximum enjoyment I recommend reading them all in order.

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About V.M. Burns

V.M. Burns was born in Northwestern Indiana and spent many years in Southwestern Michigan on the Lake Michigan shoreline. She is a lover of dogs, British historic cozies, and scones with clotted cream. After many years in the Midwest, she went in search of milder winters and currently lives in Eastern Tennessee with her poodles. Her debut novel, The Plot is Murder was nominated for a 2017 Agatha Award for Best First Novel. Valerie is a member of Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and a lifetime member of  Sisters in Crime. Readers can learn more by visiting her website at vmburns.com

Author Links:  Website   Facebook  Twitter:  @vmburns


Also by V.M. Burns

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 2020 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

15 Minutes of Flame (Nantucket Candle Maker Mystery) by Christin Brecher #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @KensingtonBooks

I wasn’t sure if I would be able to get this book read
with my cancer treatments so I didn’t sign up for this tour.

i am thrilled I was able to read it so I am barging my way onto this tour 🙂 

15 Minutes of Flame (Nantucket Candle Maker Mystery)
by Christin Brecher

About 15 Minutes of Flame


15 Minutes of Flame (Nantucket Candle Maker Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Massachusetts
Publisher: Kensington (August 25, 2020)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1496721438
ISBN-13: 978-1496721433
Digital ASIN: B082WR2LH6

As Stella Wright’s Nantucket candle store thrives, her knack for solving mysteries burns equally bright—especially when a Halloween haunted house uncovers evidence of a centuries-old murder . . .

 

When Stella’s friend inherits a creaky, abandoned home in Nantucket, she knows it’s the perfect setting for the town’s annual Halloween fundraiser. A deserted, boarded-up building on the property—once used as a candle-making shop—adds to the creepy ambiance. But as Stella explores the shack’s dilapidated walls, she discovers a terrible secret: the skeleton of a Quaker woman, wrapped in blood-soaked clothing and hidden deep within a stone hearth . . .

 

While police investigate, Stella wastes no time asking for help from friends with long ties to Nantucket’s intricate history. The key to the murder may lie within a scorching 18th century love triangle that pit two best friends against one another over a dubious man. But before the case is solved, another life will be claimed—leaving Stella to wonder who in Nantucket is friend, and who is foe . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

We arrive in Nantucket just before Halloween and Wick and Flame owner Stella Wright is helping the Girl Scouts set up a haunted house for a fundraiser. When Stella checks out a shack on the property she finds it used to be a candlemaking shop. With the owner’s approval, she is taking down a sign from the mantle to display in her shop. But she finds more than she bargained for. She finds a skeleton. From the clothing, it looks to be a Quaker woman and she has been there a while. It is not long before this skeleton leads to another and then a dead body.

To calm fears, Stella moves into the house while the police investigate, but Stella just can’t stop herself from doing her own sleuthing. When she starts to uncover some key facts she knows she is on the right track. A track that could get her life to be snuffed out next.


In this third installment, the author brings some of Nantucket’s history to light. With a 100-year-old skeleton entombed in the shack you know, there has to be a dark story.

I love the way Stella continues to develop over the course of this series. She is smart and truly has her friend and local cop, Andy’s number. She works her way into the police investigation and persuades him to fill her in on what they have and what they are working on.  Reporter and boyfriend, Peter was a little distracted this time but by the end, we know why. Emily was under the weather but helped Stella as much as she could. All of Brecher’s characters are well developed and have a purpose in the story. The dialogues were also very well-written

Ms. Brecher unraveled the old story alongside the current one seamlessly with plenty of twists and turns. There is also quite a treasure hunt that ends up being very important to the story.  The pacing was perfect. The ending was so well-played out. Finishing this book on Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie’s birthday was very apropos.

I do love the candlemaking theme. This time readers learn about candle clocks. I was totally captivated by them and loved that Stella was teaching a class on how to make them.

15 Minutes of Flame has it all, great characters, mystery, murder, betrayal, and secrets. There is a fair amount of humor too. I really enjoyed this story!  I am looking forward to the next book in this series.

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About Christin Brecher

Christin Brecher was born and raised in NYC, where her family and many childhood friends still reside. As such, she feels she is as much of a small-town girl as any. The idea to write the Nantucket Candle Maker series sprang from her life-long connection to the small island off the coast of Massachusetts. Spending summers there as a child, Christin read from her family’s library of mystery novels, after which she began to imagine stories inspired by the island’s whaling heyday, its notoriously foggy nights, and during long bike rides to the beach. After many years in marketing for the publishing industry, followed by years raising her children, Murder’s No Votive Confidence is Christin’s debut novel. Visit her at www.christinbrecher.com.
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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 2020 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Designed to Death (A Faith Hunter Scrap This Mystery) by Christina Freeburn #Review / #Giveaway @HeneryPress


Designed to Death (A Faith Hunter Scrap This Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Publisher: Henery Press; 1st Edition (September 3, 2013)
Paperback: 292 pages
ISBN-10: 1938383524
ISBN-13: 978-1938383526
Kindle ASIN: B00F1IFYJ8

Faith Hunter planned the perfect event at her grandmother’s shop, Scrap This, featuring local scrapbooker and Life Artist Diva, Belinda Watson. But the extravaganza goes up in a cloud of glitter when Belinda and her cousin, Darlene, brawl over scraplifted designs. Faith attempts to break it up, but only makes things worse. Then when Belinda turns up dead behind the Scrap This store, Faith’s involvement goes viral.

 

As accusations against her turn vicious, Faith sets out to prove her nemesis, Darlene, committed the crime, only to realize they are both innocent. Now they must team up or the murderer’s plan will come together seamlessly with the frenemies sharing a jail cell—or worse, a funeral.

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Scrapbookers take their creations seriously and heaven forbid some steals someone else’s designs and submits them to a magazine. That is just what local scrapbooker and Life Artist Diva, Belinda Watson is accused of. The accusation by Belinda’s cousin Darlene happened in front of a full class at Scrap This. Faith does her best to gain control when the glitter starts to fly. But later Belinda is found dead behind the scrapbooking shop and Faith finds herself cropped into another murder investigation and working with DARLENE!

Faith Hunter is a smart protagonist that has returned home to manage her grandmother’s scrapbook store. When she receives a call from the security company about a possible break-in she tells them to call the police and she heads to her neighbor and assistant prosecutor, Steve’s home to get him to go with her to find out what is happening at the store. Her grandmothers think Faith and Steve would make the perfect couple. Homicide detective Ted Roget also has eyes for Faith but he has a murder to solve while trying to keep Faith out of his investigation. The murder could upend everything her grandmothers’ have worked so hard for that Faith just can’t back off.


The scrapbook theme is a wonderful venue for a cozy mystery series. The author uses her descriptive talents to set the scene and the projects making it easy to visualize everything.

Ms. Freeburn has created strong core characters with strong relationships for this series. They are engaging and true to life. Faith’s grandmothers, Hope and Cheryl, are just amazing. They just want Faith to be happy. Her devotion to them is heartwarming. Her love triangle with Ted and Steve is still fresh and new. Due to her past, she is taking things slow, and her actions and reactions clearly show this is a wise choice.

The mystery was very interesting. Pairing Faith with Darlene was unexpected and at times their antics had me shaking my head. Plenty of twists kept this reader on her toes.

Designed to Death has a strong family dynamic along with an entertaining mystery and a nice dose of humor.  I was late to the party for this series but hope to remedy that soon.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Christina Freeburn

Christina Freeburn has always loved books. There was nothing better than picking up a story and being transported to another place. The love of reading evolved into the love of writing and she’s been writing since her teenage years. Her first novel was a 2003 Library of Virginia Literary Award nominee. Her mysteries series, Faith Hunter Scrap This Mystery and Merry & Bright Handcrafted Mysteries, are a mix of crafty and crime and feature heroines whose crafting time is interrupted by crime-solving.

Christina served in the US Army and has also worked as a paralegal, librarian, church secretary, and golf shop pro. She lives in West Virginia with her husband, dog, and a rarely seen cat except by those who are afraid and allergic to felines.

Author Links – Webpage     Blog     Facebook     Twitter     Goodreads 

Also by Christina Freeburn

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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 2020 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Literary Escapes You Read How Many Books Challenge

Dash Away All (A Merry & Bright Handcrafted Mystery) by Christina Freeburn #Review


Dash Away All (A Merry & Bright Handcrafted Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Indiana
Publisher: Henery Press (July 7, 2020)
Hardcover: 264 pages
ISBN-10: 1635116023
ISBN-13: 978-1635116021
Paperback: 264 pages
ISBN-10: 163511599X
ISBN-13: 978-1635115994
Digital ASIN: B086TYK58V

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…Merry Winters is excited for her dream-come-true moment: Being an on-site crafter for a Christmas movie. The tidings of joy are short-lived as she finds herself becoming a referee, dealing with a raging Ebenezer, participating in a bucket brigade, and finding evidence in a “murder.”

 

Is someone trying to stop the production or is it tied to a secret someone has on Luna Carmichael, the star of the movie and the queen of Christmas?

 

When Marie, Luna’s assistant, stumbles away from a car accident and dies, Merry believes the accident wasn’t quite so accidental. Was Luna or Marie the target? Merry finds more questions than answers, but one thing is certain: Everyone has an ulterior motive for being part of the production—including Marie.

 

After another murder, Merry wonders if the deaths are tied to a baby born long ago and abandoned. And more importantly, will Merry live long enough to find out?

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

Merry Winters has landed a great job, crafting decorations for a Christmas movie, think Hallmark. But she finds the movie’s leading lady, the Queen of Christmas movies, may have ulterior motives in a few hiring decisions for the film, including Merry. Soon after she arrives many of the movie props are destroyed in a fire. She learns there have been many pranks played already, was the fire a prank that went too far or a real crime. Then the star’s assistant dies in a car accident that Merry believes was more murder than accidental. Merry finds herself putting on her sleuthing cap again and finds much more than she ever could have wished for.


I love Christmas movies, both the new Hallmark variety and the classic ones like White Christmas and Miracle on 34th Street so this series is a wonderful gift.

Ms. Freeburn takes our protagonist on the road in Dash Away All. Merry Winters and her guinea pig, Ebenezer, go to Indiana for a dream job that quickly turns into a nightmare. These characters are so well-crafted. I love that Ebenezer got to make his acting debut.

The author also has to introduce several new characters with the movie’s cast and crew along with a few locals who have to evolve over the course of the book. Some are pretty over the top but most are true to real life.

The mystery was very well-plotted with more than one mystery to solve. For me, the second mystery would have had a greater impact if it hadn’t been mentioned in the synopsis. I like to be surprised by twists like the one in this story. Many characters looked like they could be the guilty party and I changed my mind a couple of times. Merry took some real risks to get to the truth. It was fun to tag along with her.

Dash Away All is an entertaining story with captivating characters.  Great for fans of cozy mysteries and Christmas movies.



Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Christina Freeburn

Christina Freeburn has always loved books. There was nothing better than picking up a story and being transported to another place. The love of reading evolved into the love of writing and she’s been writing since her teenage years. Her first novel was a 2003 Library of Virginia Literary Award nominee. Her mysteries series, Faith Hunter Scrap This Mystery and Merry & Bright Handcrafted Mysteries, are a mix of crafty and crime and feature heroines whose crafting time is interrupted by crime solving.

Christina served in the US Army and has also worked as a paralegal, librarian, church secretary, and golf shop pro. She lives in West Virginia with her husband, dog, and a rarely seen cat except by those who are afraid and allergic to felines.

Author Links – Webpage     Blog     Facebook     Twitter     Goodreads 

Purchase Links – Amazon – B&N – Kobo



Also by Christina Freeburn

 

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 2020 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

The Key Lime Crime: A Key West Food Critic Mystery by Lucy Burdette #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour – Paradise Rating

The Key Lime Crime: A Key West Food Critic Mystery
by Lucy Burdette

About The Key Lime Crime


The Key Lime Crime: A Key West Food Critic Mystery
Cozy Mystery
10th in Series
Setting – Florida
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books (August 11, 2020)
Hardcover: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 1643853082
ISBN-13: 978-1643853086
ASIN: B07Z2TR2Z2

National bestselling author Lucy Burdette’s tenth Key West Food Critic mystery is piping hot with pie-enthusiasts and murder suspects.

 

When a fierce rivalry between key lime pie bakers leads to a pastry chef’s murder, food critic Hayley Snow is fit to be pied.

 

During the week between Christmas and New Year’s, the year-round population of Key West, Florida, faces a tsunami of tourists and snowbirds. It doesn’t help that outrageously wealthy key lime pie aficionado David Sloan has persuaded the city to host his pie-baking contest. Every pie purveyor on the island is out to win the coveted Key Lime Key to the City and Key Zest food critic Hayley Snow is on the scene to report it.

 

Meanwhile, Hayley’s home life is turning more tart than sweet. Hayley’s new hubby, police detective Nathan Bransford, announces that her intimidating mother-in-law is bearing down on the island for a surprise visit. Hayley offers to escort Nathan’s crusty mom on the iconic Conch Train Tour of the island’s holiday lights, but it becomes a recipe for disaster when they find a corpse among the glittering palm trees and fantastic flamingos. The victim–Au Citron Vert’s controversial new pastry chef–was a frontrunner in Sloan’s contest.

 

It’s bad enough that Hayley’s too-curious mother-in-law is cooking up trouble. Now, the murderer is out to take a slice out of Hayley. Can she handle the heat of a killer’s kitchen?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

The week between Christmas and New Year’s is crazy in  Key West, Florida when tourists take over the area. One enterprising chef thought it was the perfect time to hold a contest to find the place serving the best Key Lime Pie. The first event to introduce the chefs participating ends with tempers flaring and pies flying. Key Zest food critic Hayley Snow was there to witness it all.

Hayley and Nathan are starting their life together. They are living with Miss Gloria waiting for their houseboat renovation to happen, Nathan is working overtime with the influx of people on the island, while Hayley is working on several articles for Key Zest. Then Nathan announces his mother is coming for a visit. With every hotel and B&B booked solid, they need to find a place for her to stay because there is no way she will appreciate sleeping on the houseboat. Nathan also explains that he is not going to have time to entertain her and apologies for putting something else on Hayley’s plate. She decides to take the woman on the Conch Train Tour to see the houses all decorated on the island and Gloria goes along for the ride. Eagle-eyed Gloria is sure she saw something at one of the houses and they went to check it out but they found much more than they bargained for . . . a dead pastry chef in a Santa suit.  Her mother-in-law is intrigued and has her own ideas for investigating the death. Hayley is worried because Nathan is not going to be happy and she is afraid they may be the killer’s next victims.


I loved this story! Christmastime in Key West! What could be better?

Lucy Burdette has created such wonderful characters for this series and now she has added Helen Bransford, Nathan’s mother, and she is more than first meets the eye. She is a force no matter what character she is interacting with. I hope to see more of her in future installments because she is unique and savvy. Hayley is one busy lady but she finds time to entertain a woman she had never met, Helen didn’t attend the wedding, and who really loved Nathan’s first wife. Hayley was eager to impress and she did all she could. Miss Gloria never fails to crack me up throughout the story. Her relationship with Hayley continues to grow. They depend on each other. Thankfully, Hayley and Nathan’s houseboat is right next to Gloria. All the characters in this story are well developed and their dialogues are crisp and true to life.

Ms.  Burdette was cooked up a fabulous mystery too. Plenty of suspects, plenty of twists, and plenty of turns, all leading to some great surprises. I was already totally captivated by the story when a very suspenseful part had me truly on the edge of my seat. I was also totally wrong on the guilty party too.

The setting for this series is a delight, I have loved each and every visit. I understand why snowbirds leave the cold weather as we have in Wisconsin behind to spend time at such a happening place. Hopefully without the dead bodies.

I can’t leave without the food mentioned. This time Key Lime Pie was the star and I quickly found out I didn’t know the different ways Key Lime Pie can be made. Learning something new is always a bonus.

Lucy Burdette is a fantastic storyteller who seems to keep topping herself with each book in this series. I highly recommend all 10 books. In fact, this book is one of the best cozies I have read this year earning my Paradise Rating!

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About Lucy Burdette

Courtesy Carol Tedesco

Clinical psychologist Lucy Burdette (aka Roberta Isleib) has published 16 mysteries, including the latest in the Key West food critic series, DEATH ON THE MENU (Crooked Lane Books, August 2018.) Her books and stories have been short-listed for Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity awards. She’s a member of Mystery Writers of America and a past president of Sisters in Crime. She blogs at Jungle Red Writersand shares her love for food with the culinary writers at Mystery Lovers Kitchen She lives in Madison CT and Key West FL. Read more at www.lucyburdette.com.

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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 2020 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Literary Escapes You Read How Many Books Challenge

Fowl Murder: A Cozy Mystery with a Determined Female Amateur Sleuth (A Kenya Kanga Mystery) by Victoria Tait #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour

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Fowl Murder: A Cozy Mystery with a Determined Female Amateur Sleuth
(A Kenya Kanga Mystery) by Victoria Tait

About Fowl Murder

Fowl Murder: A Cozy Mystery with a Determined Female Amateur Sleuth (A Kenya Kanga Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Kenya
Publisher: Kanga Press (July 21, 2020)
ebook, 190 pages
Digital ASIN: B089RRXBC1

 

A shooting on the savannah. A tragedy she’d rather forget. When past and present collide, will she survive to see her future?
Kenya, 2016. Semi-retired vet Rose Hardie just wants to enjoy her golden years and care for her disabled husband. But her peace of mind shatters when a forgotten confidant returns and reopens a case where Rose pulled the trigger. With her memories of the poacher’s shocking death flooding back, she barely catches her breath before her childhood friend is brutally murdered.

 

Braving blackmail and entrenched corruption, the tireless woman dives headfirst into helping the victim’s son solve the crime. But when the lead suspect is killed, Rose’s plans for a peaceful life end up dead and buried…

 

As her own traumatic history unravels, can Rose catch a killer before she becomes the next victim?

 

Foul Murder is the first book in the compelling Kenya Kanga Mystery series. If you like determined heroines, unpredictable twists and turns, and vivid African settings, then you’ll love Victoria Tait’s pulse-pounding tale.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Note: Take a moment to read the Glossary of words before starting to read the books because the author uses many words local to the region. I love that she did this. 

We meet Rose Hardie, known as “Mama Rose,” and her invalid husband, Craig, in Nanyuki, Kenya.    Rose works as a volunteer vet. She also helps anyone with a need the best she can. They are happily married but do clash when Rose is away and not tending to Craig.

When a childhood friend, Aisha, suddenly moves nearby talking about an event that happened decades ago, an event Rose would like to forget, she gets nervous. Soon after the friend is murdered. True to her nature Rose jumps in to help the victim’s son find her killer. She is also being blackmailed by someone connected to the event Aisha reopened. Unfortunately, Aisha was killed before Rose could get any details from her.  Now with Aisha’s son and a little help from Craig, Rose is doing her best to catch a killer and find the truth, but she could end up the killer’s next victim.


Ms. Tait has taken us to Kenya and creates wonderful imagery with her words. I could easily envision every place the characters went. The dryness of the land, the weather that comes in, Mount Kenya, the homes of the characters. I will never travel to Africa but enjoyed this virtual trip immensely.

(Mama) Rose is such a strong character. She is smart and, in some ways, methodical as she ventures into her investigation. She sees things others don’t. She knows everyone and they open up and tell her things they wouldn’t share with others. Husband Craig makes a great sounding board even though his disability keeps him from going everywhere Rose goes. Aisha’s son Thabiti steps in as her sidekick but his youth sometimes gets in the way. Other characters weigh in with information. All these characters develop over the course of the book. They come across as believable and real.

The mystery is full of twists and turns. The subplots blend in easily and the flow is great. The story has many layers to hold readers’ attention from beginning to end.  I did figure out part of the whodunit before Rose but was totally surprised when all was explained. Rose also gets some unexpected news that really evokes a change.

Fowl Murder is an exceptional start for the Kenya Kanga Mystery Series. Rose and Craig are definitely characters I want to visit again. Victoria Tait is an author to watch.

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About Victoria Tait

Victoria Tait is an exciting new author launching her Kenya Kanga Mystery series.  She’s drawn on 8 years living in rural Kenya with her family to transport her readers to a world of curiosity, community and conspiracy.  The Kenya Kanga Mystery series brings to life the beauty of the Kenyan landscape, the magic of its wildlife and the warmth of its people.

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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 2020 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Literary Escapes You Read How Many Books Challenge

Vangie Vale and the Larcenous Lava Cake (The Matchbaker Mysteries) by R.L. Syme #Review

Vangie Vale and the Larcenous Lava Cake (The Matchbaker Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Setting – Montana
Publisher: Hummingbird Books (June 16, 2020)
Number of Pages: 240
Digital ASIN: B0878RT482

I never thought Edward would come back…

 

When the court case against my ex was finished, I thought we were finished, too. But it turns out, it was only the beginning.

 

The Larcenous Lava Cake is book four in The Matchbaker Mysteries, a new cozy culinary mystery series from USA Today Bestselling Author, R.L. Syme.

 

RECIPE INCLUDED: The Larcenous Lava Cake

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

The past comes back to bite Vangie when Edward returns. She lost everything because of him and she hoped he was out of her life forever. How did he get out of jail? She is sure he is running another scheme and wrapped her up in it again, but she isn’t going down. Vangie is going to protect herself but getting to the bottom of everything before she finds herself behind bars.

____

This was an emotional book for Vangie. So many things are thrown at her within these pages in addition to figuring out the mystery. I felt we really got to know her in this story. She is a strong woman but anyone would feel overwhelmed by what she had to deal with. I liked the character before and love her now. She has real-life problems with real-life consequences just like us regular people and it is all not tied up with a nice bow at the end of the book. She did have a few moments that had me shaking my head when she did something she shouldn’t but those evened out the further you get into the story.

This book had a different feel than previous books in the series. Ms. Syme has baked up a complicated mystery with several characters involved. With plenty of twists and red herrings, I was kept guessing right up until the end. The author knows how to draw the reader in and hold our attention. She shook some things up which was a nice change.

I have enjoyed this whole series. This is my new favorite. While the mystery is wrapped up Vangie’s life is in flux at the end. I am anxious to see where the author takes her next.

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About R. L. Syme

She is a writer of sleuths worth loving and villains worth hating. Lover of fancy cheese, binge-watching, strawberries, and hope. A foodie and baker of yummy delights, Becca grew up reading Nancy Drew mysteries passed on by her grandmother. A Tweeter and Pinner of things.

Click on covers to purchase.

Purchase Link

Amazon 

 

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 2020 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours You Read How Many Books Challenge

Quiche of Death (A Sugar & Spice Mystery) by Mary Lee Ashford #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour

REVIEW NOW ADDED

Quiche of Death (A Sugar & Spice Mystery)
by Mary Lee Ashford

About Quiche of Death


Quiche of Death (A Sugar & Spice Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Iowa
Publisher: Lyrical Press (July 21, 2020)
Print Length: ~254 pages
ASIN: B0855Q9JFW

When editor Sugar Calloway and baker Dixie Spicer went into business creating cookbooks, they found a sideline as amateur sleuths. Now a bitter family grudge could leave a fatal aftertaste…

 

At Sugar & Spice Community Cookbooks, the friends and business partners have secured a tasty new commission: producing a cookbook for the Arbor family. The Arbors have made their fortune in quiches, and Sugar and Spice have been invited to a weekend gathering where all the siblings, along with crusty matriarch Marta, will be in attendance. But it’s soon clear that this trip will come with a hefty slice of drama.

 

Theo, the only grandson, arrives with his flaky fiancée, Collette, who quickly stirs up trouble . . . and is found dead the next day. As the investigation unfolds, secrets—and recipes—are shared, and Sugar and Spice realize just how messy and murderous the situation may be. As another family member falls ill, can they solve the case without getting egg on their faces . . .and a target on their backs?

* Includes delicious recipes! *

Excerpt 

 “Quiche me, you fool.”

The demand was followed by hoots of laughter as the sister—Jezzie, I think her name was—leaned into her spouse for a smooch. He hesitated but obliged.

I smiled at the boisterous group who clearly shared some inside joke about quiche and kissing. The warmth of the table and the sibling love melted my heart like butter on a biscuit. Taking a sip of water, I glanced over at Dixie, who sat across from me at the huge oak table.

She rolled her eyes.

“What?” I mouthed.

Dixie shrugged. Jezzie had perhaps a teensy bit too much wine, but still: When did my best friend and business partner get so darn stuffy? Maybe it was the inside-joke part that she found off-putting.

But we did know quiche was the family’s stock-in-trade, so it wasn’t that much of a stretch to figure out the expression had something to do with the Arbor family’s food business. After all, that was why we were here.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Sugar and Spice Publishing usually compiles fundraiser cookbooks but when the well to do Arbor family, who made their money with their quiche recipe, ask them to create a family cookbook they just can’t refuse. The family is all getting together for the weekend and has invited Sugar and Dixie to join them to meet the family, go over recipes and get some background stories to use alongside the recipes in the cookbook.

Instead, they see the family is pretty high maintenance and that was before the grandson arrives with his new fiancée. A fiancée who is killed her first night with the family. Accident or murder?? Amateur sleuths Sugar Calloway and baker Dixie Spicer can’t help themselves; they start doing their own investigation which could end up being a recipe for disaster.

____

Again, we are introduced to a large cast of characters, the Arbor family. The author does a great job of giving the reader time to learn the family dynamics before we got too deep into the mystery while leaving much to be revealed over the course of the story.

The core characters continue to grow. Sugar is obsessed with getting in her steps every day and enjoying her new relationship with photographer Max. Dixie is still baking up a storm and a certain sheriff stops by often to do a little tasting.

The mystery is well done with Sugar taking the lead trying to get information out of the family. Everyone seems to have a secret but she is a smart woman and even when things get dicey she doesn’t give up. I was totally caught up in the story and pegged almost every family member to be the guilty party at one time or another. After more than a few twists and a fair share of humor, I was pleased with the way things wrapped up.

As someone who has taken part in making fundraising cookbooks in the past, this theme always brings back memories, some good, some frustrating. I would have loved working Sugar and Dixie to keep our committees on track and make key decisions. I have always wanted to make a family cookbook too, so I found the Arbor family ideas pretty appealing, sans all the drama and dead body.

Of course, the food descriptions had my mouth drooling. The Arbor family did have quite a few delectable recipes and some are included in the back of the book.

Quiche of Death is an entertaining addition to this series. I am looking forward to their next cookbook adventure.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

 

About Mary Lee Ashford 

Mary Lee Ashford is a lifelong bibliophile, and avid reader, and supporter of public libraries.

In addition to writing the Sugar and Spice series for Kensington Books, she also writes as half of the writing team of Sparkle Abbey, author of the national bestselling Pampered Pets mystery series from Bell Bridge Books.

Prior to publishing Mary Lee won first place in the Daphne du Maurier contest, sponsored by the Kiss of Death chapter of RWA, and was a finalist in Murder in the Grove’s mystery contest, as well as Killer Nashville’s Claymore Dagger contest.

She is the founding president of Sisters in Crime – Iowa and a past board member of the Mystery Writers of America Midwest chapter, as well as a member of Novelists, Inc., Romance Writers of AmericaKiss of Death the RWA Mystery Suspense chapter, Sisters in Crime, and the SinC internet group Guppies. She loves encouraging other writers and is a frequent presenter for writers’ groups.

Mary Lee has a passionate interest in creativity and teaches a university-level course in Creative Management to MPA candidates, as well as presenting workshops and blogging about creativity.

She currently resides in the midwest with her husband, Tim, and cat, Zoey. Her delights are reading and enjoying her two sons and daughters-in-law, and six grandchildren.

For more information, visit her website at www.MaryLeeAshford.com

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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 2020 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Great Escapes Book Tours New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

From Beer to Eternity (A Chloe Jackson, Sea Glass Saloon Mystery) by Sherry Harris – #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour

REVIEW HAS BEEN ADDED!

From Beer to Eternity (A Chloe Jackson, Sea Glass Saloon Mystery)
by Sherry Harris

About from Beer to Eternity 

From Beer to Eternity (A Chloe Jackson, Sea Glass Saloon Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
New Series
Publisher: Kensington (July 28, 2020)
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 1496723031
ISBN-13: 978-1496723031
Digital ASIN: B07ZPKTWCZ

A whip smart librarian’s fresh start comes with a tart twist in this perfect cocktail of murder and mystery—with a romance chaser.

 

MURDER ON TAP

 

With Chicago winters in the rearview mirror, Chloe Jackson is making good on a promise: help her late friend’s grandmother run the Sea Glass Saloon in the Florida Panhandle. To Chloe’s surprise, feisty Vivi Slidell isn’t the frail retiree Chloe expects. Nor is Emerald Cove. It’s less a sleepy fishing village than a panhandle hotspot overrun with land developers and tourists. But it’s a Sea Glass regular who’s mysteriously crossed the cranky Vivi. When their bitter argument comes to a head and he’s found dead behind the bar, guess who’s the number one suspect?

 

In trying to clear Vivi’s name, Chloe discovers the old woman isn’t the only one in Emerald Cove with secrets. Under the laidback attitude, sparkling white beaches, and small town ways something terrible is brewing. And the sure way a killer can keep those secrets bottled up is to finish off one murder with a double shot: aimed at Chloe and Vivi.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I am so excited about Sherry Harris’s new series. Don’t worry, there is a new Sarah Winston Garage Sale Mystery coming in December.

In From Beer to Eternity, we meet Chloe Jackson, a children’s librarian in Chicago who has taken a leave of absence to fulfill a promise she made to her best friend Boone who was killed in Afghanistan. She promised that if anything happened to him to go help his grandmother in the Florida Panhandle with her business, the Sea Glass Saloon. Short on details, Chloe uses a few white lies to get Vivi Slidell to hire her as a cocktail waitress so she can find out just what help this seemingly very competent woman may need. Chloe never expected she would be working to keep the woman out of jail after one of her regulars is found dead behind the bar. Chloe soon finds that something is clearly brewing in the town of Emerald Cove and her questions could land both her and Vivi in the line of fire.


Ms. Harris has introduced some very strong characters in this story and fleshed them out nicely in this first book while leaving them plenty of room to grow in future installments. I loved that Chloe found common ground with the sometimes cranky young children she usually works with and the overindulging patrons at the Sea Glass Saloon. Handling both in the same way successfully. She is smart and can think on her feet. Dealing with Boone’s death is hard especially when she finds out his true feelings. Vivi is a strong, independent woman, and nothing like Chloe expected. She has run her business successfully for years. Bartender Joaquin befriends Chloe quickly and is a great buffer between Chloe and Vivi. These main characters are surrounded by a great supporting cast.

The setting for this series is positively divine. A place I would go to and probably never leave. As in her other series it is set near military bases, Elgin Air Force Base and the nearby Hurlburt Field and there are Navy bases nearby too. Her descriptions of the area were fantastic and created wonderful imagery. She took us to several places and I really felt like I was right there with her.

The mystery was well done, complex, and intriguing with plenty of suspects. I couldn’t really hone in on any person fully because they all seemed a bit shady with secrets or hiding something.    The mystery reveal was a bit rushed for me although very exciting. I was on the edge of my seat.

As the book came to a close the ending wasn’t much of a surprise but this series is off to a fine start.

From Brew to Eternity feels like more than a cozy mystery. While it has all the cozy elements, amateur sleuth, small-town setting, humor in all the right places, etc. Chloe deals with the loss of Boone and that adds an extra serious element. I am eager to see where the author takes this series.

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About Sherry Harris

Sherry Harris is the Agatha Award-nominated author of the Sarah Winston Garage Sale Mystery series and the upcoming Chloe Jackson Sea Glass Saloon mysteries. She is a past president of Sisters in Crime, and a member of the Chesapeake Chapter of Sisters in Crime, the New England Chapter of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and International Thriller Writers.

In her spare time, Sherry loves reading and is a patent-holding inventor. Sherry, her husband, and guard dog Lily are living in northern Virginia until they figure out where they want to move to next.

Author Links – Kensington –  Website  – Facebook 

Purchase Links – AmazonB&NKoboGoogle BooksIndieBound 

Also by Sherry Harris

Coming December 2020

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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 2020 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Literary Escapes New Release Challenge Read The Printed Word Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Game of Dog Bones (A Melanie Travis Mystery) by Laurien Berenson #Review


Game of Dog Bones (A Melanie Travis Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
25th in Series
Setting – Connecticut/New York
Publisher: Kensington (June 30, 2020)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1496718372
ISBN-13: 978-1496718372
Kindle – ASIN: B07W4MRR69

Standard Poodle owner Melanie Travis is an excellent judge of dogs—and people. But what happens when an unnamed killer emerges at one of the fiercest all-breed competitions ever?

 

As Greenwich, Connecticut, slows down during a bitterly cold February, Melanie and her spunky Aunt Peg head to the city that never sleeps for the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at Madison Square Garden. Aunt Peg can’t wait to demonstrate her judging chops on national TV, even after being hounded by frustrating mishaps—all seemingly orchestrated by Victor Durbin, an ousted Paugussett Poodle Club member with a bone to pick. But the bright lights of the show ring grow dim when Victor is found murdered, and she’s the one topping the suspect list . . .

 

Driven to solve the crime on her aunt’s behalf, Melanie fetches hair-raising clues about the victim. Victor didn’t score many friends with his unethical breeding practices, sketchy puppy café, and penchant for mercilessly scamming others to get ahead. He burned so many bridges that his own business partner admits to being delighted by news of his death. It appears Victor finally toyed with the wrong person, and as Melanie digs up more chilling evidence, she realizes that exonerating Aunt Peg means confronting a murderer who’s in it to win it . . .

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Aunt Peg gets to fulfill her dream when she is asked to judge for the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at Madison Square Garden and be on television. She is even hosting a seminar before her judging. But a former member of her poodle club, Victor Durbin is doing his best to ruin her day by planning his own event at the same time as Peg’s. When the man is later found dead Peg finds herself on the shortlist of suspects. New York is taking its own sweet time with their investigation so Melanie dives into her investigation to clear her Aunt Peg’s name while putting herself in jeopardy.


Visiting the Travis family is always a good time. With a husband, 2 sons, 5 Standard Poodles, 1 spotted mutt, and Aunt Peg, there is never a dull moment. Going with them to the biggest dog show was a real treat. We get a behind the scenes look and see Aunt Peg’s judging techniques in full force. All the human and canine characters really shine within this story. This is the 25th book in this series and the characters all continue to evolve and remain fresh. The dialogues and all interactions are believable and ring true.

In addition to some awesome subplots, the mystery was very well written. The victim truly had his share of enemies and I really enjoyed tailing along with Melanie as she worked her way through all of them. The author’s descriptive writing style takes her readers right into the moments of her characters in a way that keeps the pages rapidly turning. A major event takes place and that was truly my favorite part of the story.

Game of Dog Bones is an excellent addition to this long-running series. Each story reads well as a stand-alone too. It is fun and entertaining and leaves readers panting for the next book.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About This Author

Laurien Berenson is an Agatha and Macavity Nominee, winner of the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, and four-time winner of the Maxwell Award, presented by the Dog Writers Association of America. She and her husband live on a farm in Kentucky surrounded by dogs and horses.

Find out more about her and her books on her webpage here. Find her on Facebook here and on Twitter here.

THE REST OF THE SERIES

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.”