Apr 032019
 

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am so happy to feature Debra Sennefelder’s new book today! 

 

About the Book


The Hidden Corpse (A Food Blogger Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Connecticut
Kensington (March 26, 2019)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1496715934
ISBN-13: 978-1496715937
Digital ASIN: B07F5YS5XR

Former reality TV baking show contestant and recent divorcée Hope Early is trying to find her recipe for success as a food blogger—but murder keeps getting in the mix . . .

When Hope’s elderly neighbor perishes in a home fire, she can’t help but feel somewhat responsible. Only the day before, Peggy Olson had called her over, having burned a pot on the stove while she was sleeping and filling the house with smoke. In fact, she couldn’t even remember cooking. Clearly, it was dangerous for the woman to live alone.

But it turns out she wasn’t alone. When a second body is discovered in the basement of the burned house, suddenly what appeared to be a tragic accident is beginning to look like premeditated murder. As rumors spread like wildfire, Hope is determined to sort out the facts and smoke out a killer, but she might be jumping from the frying pan straight into the fire . . .

Includes Recipes from Hope’s Kitchen!

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

Photos make up a huge part of every blog and food blogger Hope Early has enrolled in a class to up her photo game with Cal Barnhart. She was afraid the class would be canceled since Cal’s wife has gone missing and the police have all but arrested him while their investigation is pending. But the class is on and everyone can see the man is barely functioning without his wife.

Hope is also worried about her elderly neighbor, Peggy Olsen. After Peggy rushed to Hope’s home for help with a kitchen fire caused by food burning on the stove, food Peggy cannot even remember starting, she feels it is not safe for Peggy to live alone.

Before Hope can contact Peggy’s family there is another fire and Hope can’t save Peggy this time. A second body is found in the house and it appears they were dead before the fire even started. Was Peggy collateral damage of a killer trying to cover his tracks? Hope feels responsible for not getting Peggy out of that house. She decides she needs to focus and get a clear picture of the killer and get justice for her friend. That is unless she is the next one going up in flames.

___

Our protagonist Hope Early is juggling a lot of things in the air before she even adds this new murder mystery to her list. Her sister Claire is running for mayor while trying to keep the Planning and Zoning committee filled with people of her choosing. She ropes Hope into hosting a tea to garner support for Maretta Kingston to become its newest member. She also is trying to decide on 5 recipes she contractually has to submit for a cookbook after being on that baking show. Plus she is trying to train her lovable pup Bigelow, remodel her new home, keep her blog up to date and oh yeah, the photography class, which may be taught by a murderer.

Author Debra Sennefelder has put her lead character to the test but she has surrounded her with a fantastic supporting cast that helps her keeps all those balls in the air. Those characters include Ethan Cahill, longtime friend, and chief of police. They make a great team and it drives “just the facts” Detective Reid crazy and I absolutely loved it! Her best friend Drew is feeling the heat as he is up against a new hot-shot reporter at the finally struggling newspaper. He hopes Hope can help him get a scoop so he doesn’t lose his job. The characters are all very realistic. The interactions and dialogue are spot on, good for the occasional chuckle or serious when necessary.

Readers are treated to a wonderfully written mystery with a variety of suspects. After a plethora of twists and turns, a red herring or two, I was completely surprised by the killer reveal. I found the story to be very fast-paced with something always drawing my mind a little sideways away from my original task of sleuthing out the killer before Hope. I really enjoy when that happens because that means I did “escape” into the book.

A perfect escape, this story held me tight and I was entertained the whole way. I can’t wait to visit these characters again.

Three Widows and A Corpse will be out October 29, 2019.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Debra Sennefelder, the author of the Food Blogger Mystery series and the Resale Boutique Mystery series, is an avid reader who reads across a range of genres, but mystery fiction is her obsession. Her interest in people and relationships is channeled into her novels against a backdrop of crime and mystery. When she’s not reading, she enjoys cooking and baking and as a former food blogger, she is constantly taking photographs of her food. Yeah, she’s that person.

Born and raised in New York City, she now lives and writes in Connecticut with her family. She’s worked in pre-hospital care, retail and publishing. Her writing companions are her adorable and slightly spoiled Shih-Tzus, Susie and Billy.

She is a member of Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, Women’s Fiction Writers Association and Romance Writers of America.

Author Links:

Website – Facebook – Goodreads 

Purchase Links – AmazonB&NKoboGoogle PlayIndieBound

Also by Debra Sennefelder

Praise forThe Hidden Corpse (A Food Blogger Mystery)
by Debra Sennefelder

I love the great cast of characters the author Sennefelder has created. She once again takes my emotions on a ride.
~Laura’s Interests

The Hidden Corpse is a humorous cozy mystery with an intriguing premise, a simmering whodunit, delectable recipes, political intrigue, and one adorable canine.
~The Avid Reader

It was fun to read as Hope cooked up possibilities to what happened.
~Community Bookstop

THE HIDDEN CORPSE was an incredibly well-done mystery.
~Lisa Ks Book Reviews

I found the story to be rather delightful, and it kept me guessing all along.
~Literary Gold

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please visit all the stops.
March 26 – A Holland Reads – REVIEW
March 26 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT
March 27 – Off
March 28 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW
March 29 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW
March 30 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT
March 31 – Community Books – REVIEW
March 31 – Lisa Ks Book Review – REVIEW
April 1 – Literary Gold – REVIEW
April 2 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW
April 2 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – SPOTLIGHT
April 3 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
April 4 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW
April 5 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
April 6 – Carla Loves To Read – REVIEW
April 6 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW
April 7 – Elle G. Reads – REVIEW
April 7 – The Book Decoder – REVIEW
April 8 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
April 8 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
April 9 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW
April 9 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
April 9 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT

 

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

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Apr 022019
 

Deadly Deception
(The Deadly Series)
by Kate Parker

About the Book


Deadly Deception (The Deadly Series)
Historical Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Setting – England – Germany
JDP Press (March 22, 2019)
Paperback: 316 pages
ISBN-10: 0997663758
ISBN-13: 978-0997663754
Digital ASIN: B07NPCJYPX

Everyone hides secrets. Some provoke murder.

Olivia Denis discovers her father kneeling over the body of a man…a man who supposedly drowned in the Channel years before. Olivia wants to ring for help, her father wants to hide the body, but a mysterious phone call brings Scotland Yard to the murder scene.

Olivia can’t stand by and let her maddening, disapproving father hang. To prove his innocence – and learn his secrets – she must work with a master spy. The search for clues takes Olivia to the continent and the Kent countryside, Hastings and London, pushing her deeper into the world of danger and deception.

As war between Germany and Britain stalks closer, the hunt for a Nazi collaborator intensifies. With a mounting death toll, Olivia knows she must unmask the killer or be the next to die.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Olivia Denis and her father have a complicated relationship and it is about to get even more complicated. She arrives at his door to find him kneeling beside a dead man. She recognizes the man as someone she thought was already dead. Her father’s first inclination is to hide the body but before Oliva can explain why that wouldn’t be a good idea, the fellows from Scotland Yard are already at the door.  Observing the scene in front of them they take her father away.

Then she can’t find him anywhere, not at the prison, he hasn’t returned home. She makes an interesting acquaintance who tells her he can help find her father if she helps him. Her employer also has an important job for her. And the war between Germany and Britain seems imminent. She knows her fiance is on a mission but has no idea where.

Olivia has no choice, she has to save her father and she has to do it quickly or they could both end up dead.

___

Kate Parker picks up where Deadly Fashion ends. The war is drawing near and Jewish people are fleeing Germany. Her employer needs to get the last of his family out of Germany and he needs Olivia’s help. She tells him she needs to find her father first. Soon Olivia is caught between two powerful men and facing danger at every turn. A woman she has been trying to find seems to be the key to saving her father but if she finds her own life may be struck down.

The author takes us on a journey, London, to the English countryside, with a side trip to Germany and back. Each trip is full of intrigue and peril. Olivia Denis is one smart, savvy, and very lucky woman, who seems to have friends in all the right places. The pace of this book is brisk and there is a lot going on, so putting the book down for any reason is darn near impossible. The ending is intense and surprising in an unusual way.

Again Ms. Parker paints a clear picture of time and place. Olivia’s many travels are so easily visualized, even in the middle of a field . . .  in the dark. Her excursions had me trembling for her in places. The woman has no fear and it was exciting to follow her each and every step of the way.

Each story in this series builds from the last so I do recommend reading the books in order. The author continues to top herself with each new installment.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

About the Author

Kate Parker grew up in Washington, D C, spent several years along the Carolina coast, and now finds herself in the Colorado front range. All the time, she has been busy plotting to spend more time in her favorite city, London, where her books are set. So far, she hasn’t been able to build a time machine, so she has to visit historical sites and books to immerse herself in the details of life in bygone days.

2019 will see the publication of her fourth Deadly Series book, Deadly Deception, as well as a novella, The Mystery at Chadwick House. Chadwick House will both be for sale at the usual retailers plus given away to the readers of her newsletter. It is her first contemporary mystery. Later in the year, Kate plans on publishing the second Milliner Mystery. Her daughter has informed her this year she will also become the servant of a large, exuberant dog.

Author Links:      Website     Facebook    Twitter    Goodreads

Purchase Links – AmazonB&N

 

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please visit all the stops. 
March 27 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT
March 28 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – GUEST POST
March 28 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
March 29 – Here’s How It Happened – SPOTLIGHT
March 30 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT
March 31 – A Blue Million Books – GUEST POST
April 1 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW
April 2 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW  
April 2 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST
April 3 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT
April 3 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
April 4 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW
April 4 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT
April 5 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW
April 6 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT
April 7 – Laura’s Interests – GUEST POST
April 7 – Elle G. Reads – REVIEW

 

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

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Mar 292019
 


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.
Not going too far back in time this week.

 

A Literal Mess (An Allie Cobb Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Indiana
Lyrical Underground (January 8, 2019)
Print Length: 196 pages
ASIN: B07C6T6X41

The first book in a new series featuring Allie Cobb brings the New York literary agent back to her Hoosier home town where a mysterious death keeps everyone on spoiler alert . . .

Allie Cobb left home for the literary circles of Manhattan to make her name out from under the shadow of her legendary father. Now his death brings her and her rescue cat Ursula back to the southern Indiana town of Rushing Creek, population: 3,216. But a tragic new chapter hits the presses when the body of her father’s hard-drinking, #1 bestselling client is found under the historic town bridge. The local police suspect foul play and their prime candidate for murder is the author’s daughter—Allie’s longtime friend.

Determined to clear her bestie, Allie goes into fact-checking amateur detective mode while trying to ignore the usual rumormongers. Those with means, motive, and opportunity include the vic’s ex-wife, his rejected girlfriend, the mayor, and a rival agent trying to mooch clients. With a rugged genealogist distracting her and the imminent Fall Festival about to send tourists descending on their once-peaceful hamlet, Allie needs to stay alive long enough to get a read on a killer ready to close the book on a new victim: Allie . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Losing a parent can be devastating and Allie Cobb is upset she was unable to get home to say that final good-bye to her dad. She was so much like him and she left home for New York to make it on her own in a field where he was very well known and she did. Now she and her cat Ursula have come back to Indiana for the funeral and so that she can close his office and pass his literary clients on to others.

Then one of his clients is murdered. Thornwell Winchester, a prominent author and the father of Allie’s best friend. The man had issues but he was said to be working on another book and trying to beat his demons. There are several people that could be on the suspect list but the police decide his daughter, Sloane, is to blame. All they and the mayor want is the case wrapped up before the Fall Festival begins. Allie knows she has to clear her friend before they throw the book at her. She just needs to stay on step ahead of the killer which isn’t easy, or she could be next.

If I could back up a couple of decades knowing then what I know now I would love to have a job in book publishing. A literary agent would be a job I know I would enjoy. So when I read the synopsis for this book I knew I had to get to know Allie Cobb. With a literary agent for a father, you know reading was an integral part of Allie’s life. So much so she followed in his footsteps but was independent enough to want to make her own way in the field. I really enjoyed watching her do her job, the queries, the editing, the push to get the books into the right hands to be published. Her attention to detail not only helps with her job, it is a key element to being a great amateur sleuth.  Her mother is a physician and I could see a lot of her mother in her as well. Mr. Kenney has created a wonderful protagonist, a woman who can think on her feet and ask the right questions. She also doesn’t give up.

Rushing Creek, Indiana is populated by a quirky bunch of residents. Those readers will love and those readers will love to hate. The mayor along with Allie’s missing boyfriend were high up on my list of the later. He also includes a couple of four-legged characters that will steal your heart. For the first book in a series, there was a great deal of character development while still leaving plenty of room for growth as the series continues.

The mystery itself was very well written with a pace that ramped up as the story continued. Red herrings, yes there are a few and along twists that led to a surprising ending. I was very wrapped up in the drama and read the entire book, just under 200 pages in one afternoon.

The series is off to an excellent start. I look forward to A Genuine Fix, the second book in this series hits stores July 16. 

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

J.C. Kenney grew up in a household filled with books by legends Agatha Christie and Lilian Jackson Braun, among many others, so it was no surprise when he found himself writing mystery stories. When he’s not writing, you can find him following IndyCar racing or listening to music. He lives in Indianapolis with his wife, two sons, and a cat who is the inspiration for Ursula in the Allie Cobb Mysteries.

Author Links    – Website –    Twitter –    Facebook –  Goodreads –   Instagram

Click on covers to order from Amazon.

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Book will be sent directly from Amazon.

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and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

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Mar 282019
 


Trouble on the Books: A Castle Bookshop Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – New York
Crooked Lane Books (March 12, 2019)
Hardcover: 336 pages
ISBN-10: 1683319818
ISBN-13: 978-1683319818
Kindle ASIN: B07H7R7GVP

Rookie bookstore owner Shelby Cox must hit the books to learn the ropes before she loses a killer in the stacks.

Shelby Cox never intended to become a bookseller, so when the former editor returns to her hometown of Alexandria Bay, nestled in upstate New York’s breathtaking Thousand Islands region, to take over her aunt’s bookstore, she has no idea what to expect. To her amazement, she discovers that she now owns a fifty-percent share in Bayside Books, and will also run the store’s second location in the majestic castle on nearby Blye Island.

But just as Shelby is gearing up for the start of the tourist season, the Castle volunteer coordinator is found murdered in the nearby Grotto. Castle caretaker Matthew Kessler is suspect number one, but Shelby thinks the killing may be connected to an earlier era, when violence among Prohibition-era smugglers was rampant in the region. As Shelby launches her own investigation, handsome and unnerving Special Agent Zack Griffin of the Coast Guard Investigative Services tries to quell her smuggling theory and keep her safe. But Shelby is determined to summon all her savvy as a book editor to plot the murder—and find the killer before he strikes again.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Her aunt has just had knee surgery so Shelby Cox arrives in Alexandria Bay to help manage her aunt’s bookstore and open a satellite store in the castle on Blye Island. She is surprised when her aunt informs her that she, in fact, owns fifty-percent of Bayside Books. She has a lot to learn but she is surrounded by a great staff. The island is a popular tourist attraction so her main focus is getting the castle bookshop open as before the tourists start arriving by the busload.

After a busy grand opening Shelby is excited about her new life as a bookseller. That is until she finds a dead body floating in the Grotto. She knows immediately that it is the prickly volunteer coordinator for the Castle. The police quickly peg Matthew Kessler, the Castle caretaker as their prime suspect. When the Coast Guard gets involved Shelby starts to think the murder may be linked to smuggling, something the island was used for during Prohibition. She can’t stop herself from sticking her nose into the investigation much to the dismay of Coast Guard Special Agent Zack Griffin. She is determined to solve the case and Zack is determined to keep her safe.

The setting of this story grabbed my attention right away. A bookshop in a castle on one island that is part of the Thousand Islands area off New York. A truly perfect setting for a cozy mystery series.

Shelby Cox is an interesting protagonist. She has her work cut out for her. She admits she isn’t a people person and knows that has to change if she is going to be a success in her new profession. She is curious, a trait every amateur must have. She is also intelligent and detail oriented so I know she is going to succeed in both of these endeavors. In addition to trying to solve a murder, Shelby hopes to learn more about her mother. She was quite young when she lost her and has so many questions.

Ms. Lang has surrounded Shelby with a great supporting cast. Aunt Edie was my fave. She is a strong woman too who hates being still and away from her shop. Her recovery is moving quickly and I am excited to get to know her better when she isn’t hindered at all.  Romance is two-fold in this story. Caretaker Matthew Kessler is very important to Edie and Agent Zack appears to be very interested in Shelby.

The murder happens early in the story. Shelby’s first investigation is a bit clunky as to be expected, it is her first, but it messed with the story flow in places. When she found her rhythm so did the story. Clues fell into her path and the twists and turns kept her and the reader guessing.

The subplot of Shelby’s mother blended in nicely, but I must confess I was almost more interested in it than murder. I feel this is a credit to the author because I was invested in her main character and cared about her and her feelings very early in this first book. She has left so much room for all the characters to grow.

This is a fine start for this series. Endearing characters drew me in and their lives and the mysteries thrown into their paths kept those pages turning. I am excited to learn more about these characters and to see what the author has in store for them next.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Essie Lang has been nominated for an Agatha Award for Best First Novel and has also been short-listed for an Arthur Ellis Award from Crime Writers of Canada for Best Short Story under other pen names. She is a former mystery bookstore owner and still loves reading all the mysteries she can get her hands on. She also loves choral singing, which is not always so pleasant for her Siamese cat, Keesha, who must endure hours of practice. This is her first Castle Bookshop mystery.

Written as Linda Wiken

Written as Erika Chase

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

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Mar 272019
 

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

Husband James E. Clapp and wife Ann I. Goldfarb make up the writing team of
J.C. Eaton and I am so happy to have them visit today as part of their Great Escapes Book Tour!

Tell us a little bit about yourselves.

We’re both from upstate New York in the Finger Lakes but now call the Valley of the Sun (Phoenix) our home. Ann is a retired teacher and school principal, Jim worked most of his life in construction before taking a position as tasting room manager for a major winery on Seneca Lake and enjoying it for over a decade before retiring.

Rescuing cats and dogs has been a passion for us and we happily admit we are foster failures. We now have five kitties and one very spoiled Chiweenie, who became the inspiration for Streetman in our Sophie Kimball Mysteries. As for the goat and the Plott Hound in the Wine Trail Mysteries, they were inspired by Ann’s brother’s pets!

What are three things most people don’t know about you?

We collect rocks and minerals and have them stashed everywhere. We make up silly songs and sing them to our dog. (Seriously!) We bought our first slow cooker this year and have had enough pot roast to last a century. Also, Jim has had Parkinson’s Disease for a number of years but it hasn’t slowed him down. He exercises all the time and has a terrific sense of humor. When he tried the Dragon Speak software for writing and it kept mixing up his words, he couldn’t stop laughing. Finally, he went back to legal pads and pencils!

What is the first book you remember reading?

Ann remembers the Bobbsy Twins and Nancy Drew. Jim remembers the Hardy Boys and Mark Twain stories.

What are you reading now?

Ann – Rosemary Simpson’s Gilded Age Mysteries – What the Dead Leave Behind,   Jim – C. J. Box’s The Disappeared

What made you decide you want to write?

Ann cannot remember a time when she wasn’t writing and somehow, Jim caught that bug, too!

Do you have a special place you like to write?

Ann is very particular. It must be in our office/spare bedroom and must be absolutely quiet. Jim can write anywhere and does – the living room, the kitchen table, and anyplace he can find. He is oblivious to noise, too!

Where do the ideas for your books come from?

The Wine Trail Mysteries were easy. We lived in NY’s wine country most of our lives. When we moved to Arizona and settled in a senior community, we couldn’t resist poking fun at all the goings on. That started the Sophie Kimball Mysteries. Both of us have always wanted to spend time in Minnesota, but since we never did, we created a mystery series there. (Marcie Raynor Mysteries). Our ideas come from everyday life  – news, chit-chats with friends, and our daily routines.

What books have most inspired you?

Ann – One Hundred Years of Solitude and anything by Charles Dickens. Jim is a Mark Twain aficionado and that’s where his inspiration came from.

Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

Yes – the constant grammatical changes from the Chicago Manual of Style. Just when we think we’ve gotten it right, we find out we didn’t!

What do you think makes a good story?

Believable characters, a solid plot, a setting that draws the reader in, and a flow that keeps things moving.

Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you?

There’s a little bit of Ann in Norrie Ellington, Sophie Kimball, and Marcie Raynor. As for Jim…guess, we’ll still have to keep writing.

Why did you pick your particular genre?

Life is tough enough and handling human angst is not something we wanted to tackle. We want to entertain. We want to put a smile on our readers’ faces and make them guess whodunit while we’re at it. Cozy mysteries offer all the suspense without the blood, guts, and gore.

What makes your books different from others out there in this genre?

We take full advantage of hyperbole and must infuse our mysteries with humor. We offer sleuths of all ages in our series – 20’s, 30’s, 40’s and 70 plus if you consider the book club ladies in our Sophie Kimball Mysteries.

What’s next on the horizon for you?

We’ll continue juggling our series and hoping someone decides to put something on the big screen!

Ann and Jim, thank you so much for stopping by today! It is so much fun to learn about authors who write the books we love! 

Now let me give you my thoughts on J.C. Eaton’s latest, Pinot Red or Dead?

 

About the Book


Pinot Red or Dead? (The Wine Trail Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – New York
Lyrical Underground (March 26, 2019)
Paperback: 206 pages
ISBN-10: 1516108035
ISBN-13: 978-1516108039
Digital ASIN: B07F5XDH41

There’s a lot of noir surrounding this rare pinot.

As the vineyards in Seneca Lake, New York, prepare for the seasonal “Deck the Halls Around the Lake” festivities, someone is determined to keep pinot noir off the wine list. Hijacked trucks and sabotaged ingredients have made it a hard-to-acquire vintage for the six local wineries—including Norrie Ellington’s Two Witches Winery.

The case of the stolen and spoiled wines gets stranger when Arnold Mowen, owner of the company distributing the wine, is found dead, the apparent victim of a hunting accident. As Norrie tries to find the connections between the pinot’s problems and Arnold’s death, she uncovers a conspiracy among many locals whose hatred for the wine distributor was bottled up for far too long . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

We return to Two Witches Winery in Seneca Lake, New York, right before the big holiday event Deck the Halls Around the Lake. This time pinot noir is the featured wine and someone wants to be sure there is a shortage of this fine vintage. Sabotaged barrels and stolen bottles are making local vintners amp up security and press for answers. Then their wine distributor in murdered. His body is found between Norrie’s winery and Don and Theo’s winery by her dog. The police try to play it off as a weird hunting accident but Norrie knows that isn’t the case. She again teams up with Don and Theo to save their wine and catch the killer.

Book 3 has Norrie’s sister and brother-in-law still in Costa Rica hunting down the rare insect but she is in contact with the head of their program in New York much more this time as he can get her into the places she needs to investigate. You see Mr. Arnold Mowen seems to have promised a lot of people he would bequeath all his worldly possessions to them upon his death. It seems someone couldn’t wait for that event to happen naturally. Some of those people reside in a place that is having a pest control problem and have called in an expert, Norrie’s new friend. Now she needs to find the evidence to tie either these individuals or one of her other suspects to not only the murder but the tampering and stealing of the pricey rare pinot noir.

Norrie continues to impress me, especially when she, Theo and Don mix themselves up in a police investigation. They dig into everything, no matter how far-fetched.  Norrie puts herself out there too, where she could get in a lot of trouble. It is so much fun following her around, sometimes in circles to get to the truth.

J. C. Eaton had offset our regular characters this time with some really quirky characters. Lavettia Lawrence, the deceased girlfriend seems to think she has become Norrie’s new best friend and Norrie handles it with grace and uses it to her advantage too. But Lavettia is just one in a rather long list of suspects. The mystery had many components and twists too. Arnold’s will was crazy, not the craziest I have ever heard of but it was out there.  It all leads up to a great reveal.

I have enjoyed all three escapes to the Two Witches Winery. The characters are well rounded and engaging, the location is somewhere I would love to actually visit and as a wine novice, I love learning something in every story. Pinot Red or Dead? was a cleverly written mystery with the perfect amounts intrigue and humor. I loved it and am looking forward to more books in this series.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Read my review of A Riesling to Die – just click here.

Read my review of Chardonnayed to Rest just click here.

About the Authors

Ann I. Goldfarb

New York native Ann I. Goldfarb spent most of her life in education, first as a classroom teacher and later as a middle school principal and professional staff developer. Writing as J. C. Eaton, along with her husband, James Clapp, she has authored the Sophie Kimball Mysteries (Kensington) set for release in June 2017. In addition, Ann has nine published YA time travel mysteries under her own name. Visit the websites at www.jceatonauthor.com and www.timetravelmysteries.com

James E. Clapp

When James E. Clapp retired as the tasting room manager for a large upstate New York winery, he never imagined he’d be co-authoring cozy mysteries with his wife, Ann I. Goldfarb. His first novel, Booked 4 Murder (Kensington) is set for release in June 2017. Non-fiction in the form of informational brochures and workshop materials treating the winery industry were his forte along with an extensive background and experience in construction that started with his service in the U.S. Navy and included vocational school classroom teaching.

Visit their website at www.jceatonauthor.com and Like and follow on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/JCEatonauthor/


Just Released

Also by J.C. Eaton

Coming August 27, 2019

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS
March 25 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
March 25 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
March 25 – fundinmental – REVIEW
March 26 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW
March 26 – Reading Is My SuperPower – GUEST POST
March 26 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
March 26 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT
March 26 – Ruff Drafts – GUEST POST  
March 27 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW
March 27 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
March 27 – I’m All About Books – CHARACTER GUEST POST 
March 28 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
March 28 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW
March 29 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
March 29 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT
March 29 – StoreyBook Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST
March 29 – MJB Reviewers – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
March 30 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
March 30 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT
March 30 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
March 31 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW
March 31 – Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
March 31 – Rosepoint Publishing – 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.”

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Mar 262019
 

This book was released today!! 


Leave No Scone Unturned (Chef-to-Go Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Illinois
Sourcebooks Landmark (March 26, 2019)
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
ISBN-10: 1492648418
ISBN-13: 978-1492648413
Kindle ASIN: B07JN63J8X

Another deadly fun Chef-to-Go mystery from New York Times bestselling author Denise Swanson!

The back-to-school season can be murder

It’s the beginning of the university’s fall semester and Dani can’t wait for the college students to return to Normalton, Illinois—after all, without them, there is no one to support her Lunch-to-Go service, which is a vital part of her Chef-to-Go business. But Normalton University’s orientation week is marred by a mysterious murder, along with a series of car-jackings and sightings of a mysterious creature in a pond on campus. And with the whole town feeling unsettled, Dani finds herself dealing once again with the infuriatingly handsome Spencer Drake, the head of security at the university.

Although Dani vowed that her life would never again be boring and routine after she quit her stifling corporate job, she had no idea that she’d end up dealing with such strange happenings—not to mention murder. But as the trouble in Normalton draw worryingly close to home, Dani realizes that if the killer isn’t caught soon, she may be the next one who is found scone cold dead.

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

It’s Orientation Week at the university and freshman are flocking to take part. Dani Sloan is hoping to draw new students to her Lunch-To-Go business in addition to getting the word out about her catering and personal chef services to keep Chef-To-Go going strong. Unfortunately, the area is also dealing with several car-jackings, of which one of Dani’s tenants is a victim, and an eerie creature appearing at twilight in the pond on campus. Ivy’s uncle Spencer is the head of security and he has his hands full.

Dani also finds out the Ivy has been giving food left over from their catering events to the homeless who are camped out near the university. At first, Dani thinks this is a wonderful idea, but then they find Ivy’s contact person dead in his tent. Dani wants to do anything she can to help find the killer so she teams up with Spencer AND the new hunky detective, Gray Christensen. Spencer is not pleased with her new alliance at all.

Dani, Ivy, Tippi, and Starr are still figuring out their living/working situation but Chef-To-Go is off to a great start. While Dani is like a big sister and friend to the girls she is learning that sometimes she must put the boss hat on as well. Dani’s relationship with Spencer is moving very slowly because they are both so busy and are getting over past relationships, but a new man entering Dani’s life has Spencer rethinking things. Some people don’t but I enjoy the beginning of a romantic triangle. Gray can really shake things up and shake things out for Dani. I am excited to see how the author continues the romantic side of Dani’s life.

Ms. Swanson has entangled these wonderful characters in complicated mystery too. With each turn of the page, I became deeper ensconced into this mystery. Twist after twist truly kept me guessing. The ending was super exciting.

I was really drawn in by the homeless plight that was featured. Homeless veterans, families, teens. It has become so prevalent in this nation and two sides were clearly portrayed with this story.

Again, the college setting opens up so many possibilities. All the core characters are involved in college life in different ways giving the story different views of all the happenings. The author has described the layout so well that I could easily picture the events happening all over and around the campus.

There is also plenty of food being made, sold, and passed around throughout the whole story. Enticingly described, I could easily whip up some of the tasty treats from those descriptions, but I was surprised there were no recipes at the end of the book.

A complex mystery featuring likable and interesting characters set at a fine school of knowledge featuring delectable food.  This book checks all my boxes for a fabulous cozy mystery. I highly recommend Leave No Scone Unturned to all foodie cozy lovers!

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

You can read my review for Tart of Darkness, the 1st book in this series here.

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!

The 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.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
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Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End April 9, 2019, 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.”

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Mar 212019
 


Criminally Cocoa (An Amish Candy Shop Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3.5 in Series
Setting – New York
Kensington (February 26, 2019)
Print Length: 86 pages
ASIN: B07KNT89SN

A taste for trouble . . .

As if being in New York City for Easter isn’t exciting enough, Charlotte Weaver has another reason to be thrilled. She’s helping her cousin, Bailey, on the set of her first cable TV show, Bailey’s Amish Sweets. Bailey will even be re-creating the delectable hand-woven chocolate Easter baskets she once crafted for the city’s world-famous JP Chocolates. But once things start rolling, Charlotte starts to notice odd things happening—things that seem intended to make Bailey look bad . . .

With Bailey feeling extra nervous about being on camera, Charlotte decides to keep her suspicion of sabotage to herself. But she knows that among Bailey’s fans at the Gourmet Television network lurks a dangerously jealous rival. Now Charlotte will have to find out who that person is—before sour grapes turns one of the sweetest times of the year fatally bitter . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

This delightful novella picks up where the last book leaves off, Bailey and Charlotte travel to New York to film Bailey’s Amish Sweets. Both are thrilled to be part of the Gourmet Television Network. Anxious and nervous for everything to go smoothly Bailey tries to do her best but a bunch of freaky things happen. It seems the show may never get off the ground. Charlotte makes some keen observations proving the mishaps are not accidents and she is determined to find out who is trying to keep Bailey off the air. She just needs to keep herself safe in the process.

I loved that this story was told from Charlotte’s point of view. She has a huge decision to make soon and spending part of her rumspringa in New York may help her to make her decision. Seeing New York through her eyes was wonderful, that city is awestriking whether you are Amish or English. I am sure I would have reactions similar to hers.

I enjoyed that Juliet Brody and her comfort pig, Jethro make a surprise appearance to help Bailey out. That Jethro shakes things up wherever he goes.

For a book of this length, there was a good number of suspects and Ms. Flower twisted the clues up nicely. There were some tense moments as everything came to a head. I was partially right in my deductions, I just didn’t get the extra little skewering twist.  Well-plotted Ms. Flower.

This was a nice little interlude as fans wait for Toxic Toffee to be released June 25.

Oh, and there are recipes too!

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Check out my review of Assaulted Caramel here and Lethal Licorice here
and Premeditated Peppermint here.

About This Author

Amanda Flower, a two-time Agatha Award-nominated mystery author, started her writing career in elementary school when she read a story she wrote to her sixth-grade class and had the class in stitches with her description of being stuck on the top of a Ferris wheel. She knew at that moment she’d found her calling of making people laugh with her words. She also writes mysteries as national bestselling author Isabella Alan. In addition to being an author, Amanda is an academic librarian for a small college near Cleveland.

Author Links:

Website  Pen Name Website     Facebook    Twitter    Goodreads    Pinterest

Amish Quilt Shop Mystery Series (writing as Isabella Alan)

I am giving away 1 Kindle Copy of Criminally Cocoa!
The 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.

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

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

Subscribe to Amanda’s Newsletter for 5 Bonus Entries.

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

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End April 4, 2019, 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.”

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Mar 202019
 

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am happy to welcome Cheryl F. Taylor back to Escape With Dollycas today!

The Brain of the Writer
by Cheryl Taylor

Writers have sponges in place of their brains. We absorb everything we’re around and then squeeze it out over the page. At least that’s the way it feels to me at times, and probably to many of the people who have wound up the target of my constant questioning.

It has been pointed out to me that I can ask more questions than the average 3-year-old… and just like a toddler, my questions usually start with “why.” In some areas of my life that habit has benefitted me. For many years I worked with students with severe emotional disabilities, autism or behavioral issues. My students always liked that I listened to their side of the story, even when I didn’t approve of their actions. My parapros, not so much, as they at times wanted me to see their sides and none other.

The long term effects of this habit, however, has been to fill my brain with all these snippets of human behavior and thinking. Not necessarily “normal” human behavior and thinking, but still human. I’m not really into trivia, although I know some writers who are. When it comes to the actions of people, however, I can’t seem to get enough, and it’s been that way as long as I can remember. I want to know why. Why did you choose to treat your friend that way? Why did you choose to shred your paper into a million pieces? Why did you react in a certain way? Why? Why? Why?

I unconsciously seek out random bits of information, like a sponge being wiped over a dirty counter, and once those gobbets of data fall into my brain, they never leave. They might be covered up, obscured or hidden for a period of time, but then I’m writing, and those bits and pieces float back out again to color my characters.

Just yesterday the ongoing presence of this strange habit was brought home. I was visiting a friend of mine, Suzanne Morrison, at a local rock show where she was a vendor. (She’s actually mentioned in the new book.) We were discussing the change in a nearby river due to a fire a few years ago. I’d finished explaining why I thought I’d seen the changes I had, then finished with, “Well, you were a firefighter, you know this.” She looked at me in shock and asked how I knew she’d been a firefighter, that almost no one these days knew that. All I could say was that at some point she’d mentioned she’d been a wildland firefighter, among other things. It stuck and has been floating in there for years. Who knows when it might get squeezed back out again.

The great thing about cozy mysteries is that I’ve got time to learn all the whys behind their actions. As the series develops, we all learn more about the characters, and what motivates them to make the choices they do. I learn about the characters in the same way that the readers do… in other words, the characters tell me about themselves. I’m not the type of writer who plots out a character beforehand. Instead, I put those characters into situations, and they then “tell” me who they are.

For example, in Murder on the Wind, the second in the Rock Shop Cozy Mystery series, we start to learn more about “why Jackson is as caring as he is of others.” The answer is because he has been taking care of his sister since their parents were killed. (I really admire that guy). In my “cozy apocalyptic” I had to learn the whys a bit faster. Still, I couldn’t stand to write something without knowing the whys.

I have no doubt that every writer who creates characters who live, breath and jump off the page has a similar raging curiosity to know the whys behind their characters. Other writers must have sponge brains, which absorb the spirits of people they know and then leak out into their characters. It’s part of our anatomy, but it sometimes gets crowded in here.

Thank you, Cheryl, for visiting today!

Keep reading for my thoughts of Murder on the Wind.


Murder on the Wind (Rock Shop Cozy Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Arizona
CT Communications (February 3, 2019)
Paperback: 272 pages
ISBN-10: 0998212245
ISBN-13: 978-0998212241
Kindle ASIN: B07NCNZ688

Amy Stone has recently returned to Copper Springs, a small town on Historic Route 66 in Arizona, in order to run her family’s rock shop, Stone’s Gems and Minerals. In a horrific welcome home, however, she was faced with the murder of the shop’s employee, and forced to defend herself against the actual murder, with the help of the shop’s new assistant, Jackson Wolf.

Now that things have settled into a more peaceful way of life, Amy and Jackson are looking forward to things returning to normal.

Unfortunately, a fun field trip to a local mine, organized by the local rock club and the Copper Springs Historical Society, throws their new found peace into turmoil as one member of the field trip is assaulted and the body of a miner who disappeared over thirty years ago is discovered.

Amy and Jackson are determined to clear their friend Pete Martin’s name. That proves to be a difficult task, as Pete has been witnessed arguing violently with the assault victim not long before he was pushed into a mine shaft and left to die. Along the way, the duo find themselves faced with the older mystery… why was the miner killed, and who will he kill next?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

It has been a while since we visited with Amy (Amethyst) Stone but the story picks up shortly after the end of the first book. Amy is managing the family’s rock shop while her father recovers from a broken leg. She and Jackson Wolf, the shop’s assistant, had recently solved a murder and are about to be tied up in another one.

Traveling with a group of people from the rock club and the local historical society they visit a nearby mine that is now run by two sisters. While searching for some prizes among the spoils a scream rings out. People rush to find one person has fallen down a shaft. His wife is claiming he was pushed by Amy and Jackson’s friend Pete Martin. Pete claims he was nowhere near the man. To get to the bottom of the story the first must get injured man out of the mine. While doing so they make an eerie discovery, a skeleton of a man thought to have left the area over 30 years ago. Now Amy and Jackson have two mysteries to solve.

What really drew me into the first mystery was the Stone family,  Nick, his wife Crystal, Amy, who also has a brother named Jasper Onyx Stone and a sister named Opal Jewel Stone Amethyst’s middle name is Gem. They along with Jackson Wolf were all characters I wanted to know better. This time Amy and Jackson take center stage as the family remains in the background. They again make an excellent team of amateur sleuths. I love their relaxed and easy dialogue.

I really enjoyed the way the author blended an old murder in with a new mystery. She surprised me with a twist that sent the story in a whole new direction. It was very well-plotted and there were plenty of clues to mine before the real jewel is revealed.

Ms. Taylor’s descriptions of the tunnels in the mine really took me there. So much that my slight case of claustrophobia reared its ugly head. Darkness, water, bullets, and more. I was worried for those characters so much it had my heart racing. Closed in places have always been a problem I tackle one issue at a time. I don’t think mines will ever be a place I will conquer.

Cleverly written with very engaging characters. I found this book to be very entertaining and hope to visit the characters again. I just hope we don’t have to wait as long.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Read my review of Book #1 Stone’s Gems and Murder here.

About the Author

Cheryl Taylor was raised in northeastern Michigan and pursued a degree in agriculture communications from Michigan State University. In 1986, Taylor moved to Arizona where she worked in publishing and advertising in the livestock industry, then eventually moving into teaching in 1998 after receiving a masters in education from Northern Arizona University.

In addition to her publishing endeavors, Taylor also creates wire tree sculptures and sun catchers under the business name, Ugly Rock Beautification Project, and loves to create locker hooked projects.

Taylor currently resides in northern Arizona with her family of horses, cattle, dogs, and birds.

Visit her Amazon Author Page here.


Also by this Author


The author is giving away a signed copy of the book
and 3 Blank Greeting Cards as shown.

The 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.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

Leave a comment for the author for 5 Bonus Entries.

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

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End April 3, 2019, 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.”

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Mar 192019
 

An Au Pair to Remember:
A Male Housekeeper Mystery
by Stephen Kaminski

About the Book


An Au Pair to Remember: A Male Housekeeper Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Michigan
Cozy Cat Press (January 27, 2019)
Paperback: 260 pages
ISBN-10: 1946063703
ISBN-13: 978-1946063700
Digital ASIN: B07NCBZ23L

From the author of the award-winning Damon Lassard Dabbling Detective series comes the Male Housekeeper Mysteries, focusing on charming characters, snappy dialogue, eclectic murders, and cunning confidence schemes. To his mind, Cam Reddick has failed—as a husband, as a father, and as a professional. After recognizing that his vanilla credentials didn’t stack up in a big city brimming with overachievers and toiling in drudgery for half of a decade, an emotionally raw Cam returns to his childhood hometown—the quaint and quirky village of Rusted Bonnet, Michigan. He’s determined to resuscitate relationships marred by youthful immaturity, most importantly those with his ex-wife Kacey Gingerfield (who doubles as the village’s Deputy Chief of Police) and their first grader, Emma. Armed with striking looks and an endearing proclivity for mixing metaphors, but saddled by “momma’s boy” tendencies, Cam takes the helm of his mother’s housekeeping business—Peachy Kleen. Access to homes across the village facilitates Cam’s penchant for amateur sleuthing as Kacey’s aide-de-camp. Surrounded by Kacey, his sophisticated mother Darby, garrulous senior housekeeper Samantha, and recuse fish cum confidant Bait, Cam’s circuitous journeys to solving murders and unravelling complex cons hasten his struggle down the path of self-healing to self-respect. And there’s hope that—just maybe—he can rekindle the romance he once had with Kacey.

In An Au Pair to Remember, Cam’s plan for a quiet return to Rusted Bonnet is dashed when a beautiful German au pair, Greta Astor, is found dead in Dutch McRae’s foyer with all signs pointing to a hastily disassembled trip wire at the top of the stairs. When Kacey learns that Cam was cleaning the McRae home the previous afternoon, she confides to him that Chief Bernie Leftwich is set on arresting Dutch for the murder—either alone or in tandem with Greta’s bartender boyfriend. But she worries that Bernie’s been duped. And later, when his mother Darby becomes a suspect, Cam inserts himself into the investigation and stumbles through a series of ostensible incongruities—a thief swallowing a cache of stolen diamonds, a snack food distributor laundering money, and a Cash-for-Gold scam. Meanwhile, Peachy Kleen’s young African housekeeper has disappeared with one of the company vans. All the while, Cam finds himself flirting with his new neighbor and struggling with his complicated feelings for Kacey.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Cam Reddick has returned to Rusted Bonnet, Michigan to take over his mother’s housecleaning business, Peachy Kleen. But he has an ulterior motive. He hopes to have a real relationship with his daughter Emma and repair the relationship with his ex-wife Kacey Gingerfield, that blew up when he ran away and headed off to the big city. Kacey has moved on with her life working as the Deputy Chief of Police and taking care of her 6-year-old daughter. Cam’s mother, Darby is also very involved in the child’s life.

Cam is taking a hands-on approach at Peachy Kleen. He is part of the team sent to clean the McRae home where he meets Greta Astor, the McRae’s au pair. He is shocked to learn that the woman was found dead in the home the next morning. Chief Bernie Leftwich has already solved the case to his satisfaction. He deduces a trip wire was placed on the staircase and removed after Greta’s fall. He decides the children’s father, Dutch McRae is the murderer, but Kacey has her doubts. Then due to some “evidence”, he has determined that Cam’s mother Darby did it or is at least an accomplice. Cam can’t take the news sitting down so he starts doing a little sleuthing on his own. His ex-wife isn’t happy about it but at least he is keeping her in the loop with his findings.

I didn’t like Cam from the first sweep but he grew on me more as the story continued. He uses his immaturity as a reason for leaving his family behind and I just wasn’t having it. I pegged him as selfish and conceded.  I do believe in second chances though so I was willing to give him a chance and I am glad I did. I really liked Kacey. A strong woman in a tough job being the best single mom that she can. She does open her life to Cam and allows him to see his daughter a lot without a whole lot of custody craziness. He steps up too with Emma when Kacey needs to work overtime to solve the case.  Darby brings some levity to the story. I was stunned though by the Chief’s stupidity when he actually pulled her in as a suspect.

The mystery is a twisted one with plenty of theories but not a lot of actual evidence making it difficult to solve. The subplot featuring one of Peachy Kleen’s employees was very interesting and I was anxious to see how that played out and how and if it had anything to do with the au pair’s death. I did have an inkling about the murderer early on but can’t point to one thing that took me in their direction, it was just an overall thing until the final clues fell into place.

I hope in the next story we learn much more about the characters. Cam appears to have Celiac Disease and should adhere to a gluten-free diet. His good and bad food choices run throughout the story. I feel we have just scratched the surface on Kacey and Darby and I really want to see more of Emma. Of course, Cam’s fish Bait, yes he named his fish Bait, already plays a crucial role as Cam’s sounding board. I just hope he has a life longer than a typical fish 🙂

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Stephen Kaminski is the author of An Au Pair to Remember, the first installment of the Male Housekeeper Mystery series.  He also writes the award-winning Damon Lassard Dabbling Detective books.  Stephen is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and Harvard Law School and serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the trade association representing the United States’ poison control system and its fifty-five centers.  He lives with his daughter and rescue kitty in the Washington, DC area.

Author Links – GoodReads Facebook

Purchase Links – Amazon KindleAmazon Paperback 

Also by this Author

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Be sure to visit all the stops. 
March 18 – fundinmental – SPOTLIGHT
March 18 – Read Your Writes Book Reviews – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
March 19 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
March 19 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
March 20 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
March 20 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT
March 21 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
March 21 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW
March 22 – Cozy Up With Kathy – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
March 23 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
March 23 – The Broke Book Bank – REVIEW
March 24 – My Journey Back – REVIEW
March 25 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
March 26 – Books Direct – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
March 27 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
March 28 – Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews – REVIEW
March 28 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

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

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Mar 152019
 


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.


Assault and Pepper (A Spice Shop Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Washington State
Berkley (March 3, 2015)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 0425271781
ISBN-13: 978-0425271780
Kindle ASIN: B00LMGK51A

The Agatha Award-winning author of Crime Rib is proud to introduce Pepper Reece, the owner of the Seattle Spice Shop who thinks she can handle any kind of salty customer—until a murderer ends up in the mix…

After leaving a dicey marriage and losing a beloved job in a corporate crash, Pepper Reece has found a new zest for life running a busy spice and tea shop in Seattle’s Pike Place Market. Her aromatic creations are the talk of the town, and everyone stops by for a cup of her refreshing spice tea, even other shopkeepers and Market regulars. But when a panhandler named Doc shows up dead on the store’s doorstep, a Seattle Spice Shop cup in his hand, the local gossip gets too hot for Pepper to handle—especially after the police arrest one of Pepper’s staffers, Tory Finch, for murder.

Tory seems to know why she’s a suspect, but she refuses to do anything to curry favor with the cops. Convinced her reticent employee is innocent, Pepper takes it on herself to sniff out some clues. Only, if she’s not careful, Pepper’s nosy ways might make her next on the killer’s list…

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

Pepper Reece’s life was in flux, her job eliminated and her marriage over. She took a gigantic leap and bought the Seattle Spice Shop in the Pike Place Market. She is working at making the place her own while keeping all the current customers and gaining new ones too. It is a popular place where tourists, fellow shopkeepers, and local market customers stop by for a cup of spice tea to get their day started.

One morning when Pepper arrives to open the shop she finds a body blocking her path with one of her stamped cups in his hand. Doc, was a panhandler that had recently shown up on her corner. He hadn’t been dead for long and Pepper is surprised to find out one of her employees was already in her shop. Tory Finch works for Pepper but she is also an artist. She tells Pepper she came in early to work on some sketches. The police take her presence to mean something else. They have made her their prime suspect and have placed her under arrest and thrown away the key. Pepper wants to help as does the rest of her staff but Tory just wants to be left alone. Pepper will not let her employee be railroaded. She is going to spice things up by finding the killer herself.

I have never been to Seattle but when I think about the city, I think of rain and coffee. After reading this book I will also think of the Pike Place Market and Pepper’s fantastic shop. She and her staff make their own spice blends depending on the month and the season. They also create and sell their own spiced tea. I could almost smell the aromas right through the pages and I learned some interesting things too. The market is a real place and also very unique, on the waterfront with views of the Olympic Mountains and Puget Sound. There are many levels, passages and nooks, and crannies. The author’s descriptions draw a clear picture but I still had to look it up online to satisfy my curiosity. I would love to enjoy it in person someday.

Pepper is a caring individual. She watches out for her friends and staff, and she takes an active role with the homeless that spend their time at the marketplace. When 2 panhandlers had a disagreement about her corner she went out to help them find a suitable answer when others may have just called the police. Her ex-husband just happens to be one of the officers that patrols the area on his bicycle and she tries to involve him as little as possible in her life. The staff is a quirky group that works well together.

I enjoyed the mystery in this story. The connections that were revealed opened up a realm of possibilities. With some original twists, the story evolved in a satisfactory fashion. I was caught up in the whodunit right away, but with Pepper’s background in Human Resources, a couple of things had me shaking my head. I appreciated how the homeless issues were addressed and the part they played in the story.

As the first book in the series, this story gave me everything I was looking for, intelligent and engaging characters, a spectacular setting, and a mystery that made me think. I look forward to reading the next book in this series soon.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

About the Author

Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries—and the first author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction. She lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician, and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat Ruff, a cover model, and avid bird-watcher.

Connect with her on her website, http://www.LeslieBudewitz.com, on Facebook, or on Twitter.


Also by this Author


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

 

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