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#FlashbackFriday – The Murder Before Christmas (Charlie Kingsley Mysteries) by Michele Pariza Wacek #Review / #Giveaway

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.


The Murder Before Christmas (Charlie Kingsley Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Wisconsin
Love-Based Publishing (November 2, 2021)
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 205 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1945363320
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1945363320
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 205 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1945363304
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1945363306
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09H22K7LJ

If you’ve got a problem, Charlie Kingsley probably has a tea that’ll help make it right.

EXCEPT when it comes to love. She does NOT do love potions.

Not even for Courtney, her pregnant new client who showed up three weeks before Christmas seeking a love potion because her husband was cheating on her.

So, Courtney asked about poison, instead.

She said she was joking. That’s what happens between wives and husbands. They get angry and talk about killing each other. They don’t really mean it.

It seems to make sense … until Courtney’s husband turns up dead on Christmas Eve.

He was poisoned, of course.

And who is the number one suspect? Courtney. Of course.

But did she actually do it? Or is she being set up?

It’s up to Charlie to sort through all the twists and turns in a case that gets more complicated the deeper she digs.

Meet Charlie. Better known as “Aunt Charlie” from the award-winning Secrets of Redemption series. She’s back, making teas and solving cases in this funny, twisty, cozy mystery series set in the 1990s in Redemption, Wisconsin.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I read the second book in this series as part of a Great Escapes Book Tour and enjoyed it but felt like I needed to get to know Charlie better. So I purchased this book to read before the third book in the series is released in April. Now I know Charlie a little bit better. She is a very smart woman with many talents. When she starts something she doesn’t give up.

Reading Ice Cold Murder I thought Charlie ran a tea shop in this series, I learned that is not the case, she runs a tea and tincture business out of her home. This is where a very pregnant Courtney comes and asks Charlie to create a love potion to make her husband fall back in love with her. After Charlie explains that she doesn’t make love potions Courtney turns the conversation sideways when she asks about poisons. But then quickly tells Charlie she was kidding. Charlie shakes it off until she learns that Courtney’s husband died on Christmas Eve and that he was poisoned. Courtney swears up and down she didn’t do it but can Charlie believe her? It would be quite a fluke if someone else did the deed but Charlie decides to investigate the crime herself. Either Courtney will end up behind bars or the real killer will. Charlie just needs to be careful or she could be the killer’s next victim.


Pat is the perfect sidekick for Charlie. She tries to reel her in if necessary but it is just as happy to jump in the car and tag along as Charlie visits her suspects. They work well bouncing ideas off each other too. I also liked the way Charlie bantered with Officer Wyle and the fact that he didn’t really tell her to butt out of his investigation and welcomed her input.

We also meet all the people in Courtney’s world. They developed satisfactorily over the course of the book. Some made really nice suspects.

The author has plotted out quite a mystery for Charlie. Courtney wants her help but doesn’t tell her the whole story. Courtney’s mother is happy Charlie is looking into the case but holds back important information. And that continues with almost everyone Charlie talks to, no one tells the full story and in many cases the truth or their observations are faulty. I felt for Charlie as she truly was running in circles and doing aerobics to get to the truth. It sure was fun to read though. I enjoyed all the twists and turns as everything was revealed and that the real culprit was a surprise.

Set in the 1990s it is great to harken back to the time when phones were hooked to the wall or on a desk and not in everyone’s pockets and to get somewhere you need actual directions.

The Murder Before Christmas is a fine holiday mystery that you can read at any time of the year. Charlie is a determined amateur sleuth and I am looking forward to seeing what kind of twisty mystery she gets wrapped up in next.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent  

About the Author

When Michele was 3 years old, she taught herself to read because she wanted to write stories so badly. It took some time (and some detours) but she does spend much of her time writing stories now. Mystery stories to be exact, ranging from psychological thrillers to cozies, with a dash of romance and supernatural thrown into the mix. If that wasn’t enough, she also hosts a virtual book club you can check out and join (for free!) at MPWNovels.com.

Michele holds a double major in English and Communications from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Currently, she lives in the mountains of Prescott, Arizona with her husband Paul and southern squirrel hunter Cassie.

Author Links
Website FacebookLinked InTwitter Instagram

Purchase Link – Amazon

Also by Michele Pariza Wacek

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

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

Evil Under the Tuscan Sun (A Tuscan Cooking School Mystery) by Stephanie Cole #Review @BerkleyMystery


Evil Under the Tuscan Sun (A Tuscan Cooking School Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Italy
Berkley (February 1, 2022)
Mass Market Paperback ‏ : ‎ 304 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0593097831
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0593097830
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B093YQKMY3

Nell Valenti is at ease when managing a farm to table cooking school in sun-dappled Tuscany, but begins to feel the heat when tasked with catching a killer, in this engaging Italian-set cozy mystery series.

When a wealthy New York philanthropist pays top dollar for a private, four-day ziti workshop, Nell Valenti wants everyone at the Orlandini cooking school focused on the task at hand. But complications abound when Nell’s boyfriend Pete Orlandini rushes to Rome for an unexpected business trip, Chef Orlandini is more preoccupied with a potential spot on an American cooking show than preparing for the workshop, and an uninvited woman sneaks into the villa to inspect Pete’s olive grove. The last disturbance proves deadly, and when the woman’s body is found in the grove, Nell must investigate before her hopes for the workshop, like the olives, are crushed.

Nell now has another item on her checklist–keep the Orlandinis out of trouble and the wealthy ziti-lovers happy while she looks into the stranger’s past. When Nell discovers that for one of the Orlandinis, at least, the murder victim was not such a stranger, after all, she’ll learn that when a detective goes digging in Italy, she’d better be ready for truffle.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

It’s Ziti time at the Tuscan Cooking School. A New York philanthropist, Philip Copeland has bought out the entire four-day class for himself, his mother, and her friend.

Nell has really wrapped up what she was hired to do but now that she is in a relationship with Chef Claudio’s son, Pete, Pierfranco Orlandini, she doesn’t want to leave so she takes on the task of keeping Chef focused on teaching and not on the American cooking show he has set his sights on. With Pete out of town, she feels the pressure to make this trip perfect for their guests. But while getting ready for their arrival she notices a man and a woman trespassing in Pete’s Olive grove. Later the woman is found dead in the same grove and Pete becomes the prime suspect.

All this means Nell’s plate is overflowing. She has to try to clear Pete while keeping her guests happy, entertained, and cooking ziti. She has also learned more about the history of the cooking school property and is trying to find items to display that will illustrate how the place was used in its past lives but she may have bitten off more than she can chew.


The author has packed this book full of life, mystery, and food. Nell continues to try to hold things together at the cooking school and with Chef Claudio that is no easy task. Her relationship with Pete hits a bit of a snag but she pushes forward to keep all the other plates she is juggling high in the air. At the end of the previous book, Crime of the Ancient Marinara, a key part of the staff leaves. Thankfully that is addressed early in this story as Nell is almost forced to take on an even larger role at the school. She is written very realistically and some of her reactions are priceless.  Again, Chef is quite a character. A lovable, over-the-top character that can make you laugh out loud, shake your head, and want to scream, sometimes all at the same moment.

In this story, we meet Philip Copeland, his eighty-year-old mother Mimi, and her friend Muffy Onderdonk. Their four-day luxury trip to Tuscany was a treat for ziti obsessed Mimi’s birthday. Sadly, Mimi is dealing with the onset of dementia but she sure loved her trip and all the ziti she could eat. It was easy to root for Mimi and I was happy that her trip was filled with fun events.

Surprisingly, the victim had many more enemies in Italy than was originally thought. She had big plans that ruffled a lot of feathers. This mystery was cleverly plotted and I enjoyed the way it played out. The subplot of the school history really grabbed my interest as well. I had part of the mystery of it figured out but was taken aback by a sudden turn of events that twisted the whole story up delightfully.

The Tuscany setting never disappoints. Ms. Cole describes everything so well that it is like a virtual vacay. And the food, oh my! I was hoping for a new special ziti recipe at the end of the book but that was not to be. My husband does make a great baked ziti and we enjoyed that the night after I finished this book to take care of my cravings.

Evil Under the Tuscan Sun was filled with engaging characters wrapped up in a fine mystery that included some very interesting history all in a spectacular setting. I am really looking forward to the next Tuscan Cooking School Mystery just to see what Nell has thrown at her next.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

About the Author

Stephanie Cole is an active member of the mystery writing community. Writing as Shelley Costa, she was nominated for both an Edgar and an Agatha award, and she co-founded the Northeast Ohio chapter of Sisters in Crime. She teaches creative writing workshops and lectures on American literature in the greater Cleveland area. For fun, she takes violin lessons, studies Art History—and eyes them both for murder plots.

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

Posted in 2022 Reviews Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Literary Escapes New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday featuring Batter Off Dead (A Country Store Mystery) by Maddie Day #Review / #Giveaway @maddiedayauthor @KensingtonBooks

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am happy to share my thoughts today about Batter Off Dead!


Batter Off Dead (A Country Store Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
10th in Series
Setting – Indiana
Kensington Cozies (February 22, 2022)
Mass Market Paperback ‏ : ‎ 304 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1496735633
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1496735638
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0964F6KXW

In South Lick, Indiana, fine foods and classic cookware can be found at Robbie Jordan’s Pans ’N Pancakes. Unfortunately, her country store also seems to stock up on murder . . .

Robbie and her new husband Abe O’Neill are enjoying a summer evening in the park with fellow townsfolk excited for some Friday night fireworks. In attendance are senior residents from Jupiter Springs Assisted Living including Roy Bird, father to South Lick’s very own Police Lieutenant Buck Bird. Despite his blindness, Roy is a member of his group home’s knitting circle, spending quality time with some lovely ladies.

But when the light show ends, one of the knitters who sat with Roy is found dead, a puncture wound in her neck. The poor woman’s death echoes that of Buck’s mother and Roy’s wife—an unsolved homicide. To help find the killer, Robbie’s going to have to untangle the knotty relationships deep in the victim’s past . . .

Includes Recipes for You to Try!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

While the fireworks fly a resident of the Jupiter Springs Assisted Living dies, and not from natural causes. There was a killer in their midst and Police Lieutenant Buck Bird’s father Roy may have heard the murder happen. Roy is blind but his other senses work just fine. In a weird twist, this person’s death is similar to an unsolved homicide from years ago. The victim then was Roy’s wife and Buck’s mother. Robbie just knows she has to help whisk up the killer and maybe even solve both homicides.


Wow, this is the 10th book in the series and these characters continue to excite me as soon as I open the book. Robbie and Abe are happily married and settling nicely into their lives together. Her team at the restaurant is kept hopping by a crush of locals and tourists eager to fill their stomachs and catch up on the latest news/gossip. Danna is a little under the weather this time but doesn’t miss much work. Robbie is lucky that she can usually find people to help when she is in a pinch. Buck arrives daily usually for breakfast and lunch depending on what case he is working on. Man, that man can put away food! It is always nice to catch up with these primary characters.

This time we meet two new fantastic characters. Buck’s dad Roy resides at Jupiter Springs Assisted Living Home. He is such a kind man that has not had an easy life. He handles his blindness with such courage. He knows his limitations, has a great outlook on life, and likes to knit too. But he was very close to the victim, Vi Perkell, and is truly grieving. We also meet Simone, Buck’s grandmother, and that woman is as sharp as a razor and keenly remembers things from the past. Robbie gets to visit with both of them and they become fast friends. They are also able to give her some great insight to help in her pursuit to find the truth.

Readers are also introduced to Edna Warner and Joan Lindell. Two sisters who have come west from Connecticut. Joan is moving into Jupiter Springs Assisted Living to be closer to family and her sister is staying in one of Robbie’s upstairs rooms for a few days to get her sister settled before she returns back east. They get a front-row seat to everything happening in South Lick. Edna even steps in to help Robbie out when she is short-staffed. These ladies were fun to get to know.

We meet other new characters as Robbie starts to dig into Vi Perkell’s death and there are quite a few but this author does an excellent job fleshing them out and making each one unique.

The mystery is very complex with plenty of moving parts. The connection between the current death and the one in the past really adds to the story, especially because it is personal to folks Robbie cares about. I really enjoyed the tenderness she had with Roy and Simone and how she could then turn tough to get answers from others. It wasn’t an easy solve either because there were so many things knit together that had to be unraveled to get the full picture.

What I enjoy most is Ms. Day’s writing style. She is very descriptive giving readers a clear sense of everything and she blends the mystery and everyday life seamlessly. While not a Hoosier, she always makes me feel right at home with the Midwest dialogues and idioms too.

Batter Off Dead is a sensational addition to this series. Each visit to South Lick passes way too fast and I am always sad to turn that final page. I can’t wait for my next escape to visit these wonderful characters again.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

Maddie Day is a talented amateur chef and holds a PhD in linguistics from Indiana University. An Agatha Award-winning author, she is a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America. She lives with her beau and an energetic kitten north of Boston

As Edith Maxwell, she writes the Local Foods Mysteries (Kensington Publishing) and the Quaker Midwife Mysteries (Midnight Ink), as well as writes award-winning short crime fiction.

You can find all Maddie’s/Edith’s identities at www.edithmaxwell.com. She blogs every weekday with the other Wicked Cozy Authors at wickedcozyauthors.com. Look for her as Edith M. Maxwell and Maddie Day on Facebook and @edithmaxwell and @maddiedayauthor on Twitter.


Also by Maddie Day

Coming September 27, 2022

Written as Edith Maxwell

 

Thanks to the publisher I have 1 copy to give away!

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

Posted in 2022 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours New Release Challenge Purrfect Reading Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Murder Faux Paws: A Nick and Nora Mystery by T. C. LoTempio #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @RoccoBlogger


Murder Faux Paws: A Nick and Nora Mystery

by T. C. LoTempio

About Murder Faux Paws


Murder Faux Paws: A Nick and Nora Mystery
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Setting – California
Beyond the Page (February 22, 2022)
Print length ‏ : ‎ 273 pages
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09Q6HDGF9

Dead men tell no tales, but in the riveting new Nick and Nora Mystery, they sure leave a lot of clues . . .

When a local PI’s untimely death is ruled a suicide by the police, budding sleuth Nora Charles has no intention of letting sleeping dogs lie—or sleeping cats, for that matter. Certain it was a case of foul play, Nora rouses her trusty sidekick Nick and launches an investigation of her own. Then a second PI is murdered, and Nora knows the two men were on to something—and that she’s on to something too.

Following the enigmatic clues left by her late predecessors, Nora soon uncovers a plot that involves a local politician, missing campaign funds, and what could be a bogus real estate deal. But when hints of treason surface, what started as small-time thievery soon balloons into a matter of national security. With the uncanny Nick sniffing out—and spelling out—leads, Nora follows a trail that will take her to the heart of a shadowy conspiracy, and into a trap set by a conniving culprit that will have her wishing she had Nick’s nine lives . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Someone is killing private investigators and with the way Nora Charles snooping into the cases she may be next! Can Nick spell out the clues to keep her safe?

In this fifth installment, Nora is taking a class to get her PI license and through her substitute instructor, she learns that a local PI’s death has been ruled a suicide but he believes the man was murdered. Then the substitute instructor is killed right near her sandwich shop. Of course, Nora jumps right in when she can’t get Samms and Daniel to listen to her at all. When the police co make an arrest she knows they have no clue to what is really going on so she and Nick will have to solve the mystery for them. But she may take things on her own a step too far . . .


Ms. Lo Tempio’s re-imagination of Dashiell Hammett’s characters is priceless. These stories feature handsome tuxedo cool cat Nick and his person, Nora Charles. Nora keeps finding dead bodies and Nick uses Scrabble tiles to spell out clues to help her catch the killers.

The author has created some truly clever characters for this series holding on to just enough thread to honor Hammett’s. Their relationship is grand and Nick always steals the show. Former investigative reporter Nora has the chops to be a wonderful amateur sleuth and future private investigator but Nick catches things she misses, sometimes literally, and spells out just what she needs to know. She has close relationships with the local police and an FBI boyfriend so she should know to report to them before rushing into what can be scary scenes but she doesn’t and she fails to learn from her past experiences. I really have a problem with that. I did think her goose was cooked this time.

Readers are treated to a nice mystery with plenty of twists and turns and an exciting ending. I liked that the case was bigger than it seemed at first with national security on the table. The entire story was delightfully plotted handling the current mystery, questioning some things from the past, and looking forward to the future for Nora and Nick.

Murder Faux Paws is a captivating cozy with a fascinating cat and a diverse cast surrounding him. I am excited for this series to continue and for Nora to learn just a teeny tiny bit of restraint. Oh who am I kidding, she is never going to change and she is going to scare the heck out of us again and again. And I will keep coming back for more. 🙂

Every time I read a book in this series I feel the need to watch The Thin Man again. I may have to dig out my copy.


Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About T.C. LoTempio

T.C. Lotempio is the national bestselling author of the Nick and Nora mystery series, as well as the Pet Shop Mystery Series and the Cat Rescue mysteries.  She lives in sunny Phoenix Arizona along with her two cats, Maxx and ROCCO, who is a talented blogger himself.  Cat-ch up with them at her website, tclotempio.net, or ROCCO’s blog, www.catsbooksmorecats.blogspot.com

Blog     Website    Facebook   Twitter:  @RoccoBlogger

Purchase Link – Amazon –  B&N  – Google Play  –  Apple iBooks  –  Kobo  –  Smashwords 



TOUR PARTICIPANTS

February 22 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
February 22 – Lady Hawkeye – SPOTLIGHT WITH EXCERPT
February 23 – Nellie’s Book Nook – REVIEW
February 23 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
February 24 – I Read What You Write – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
February 24 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT
February 25 – eBook Addicts – SPOTLIGHT WITH RECIPE
February 25 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
February 26 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
February 26 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
February 27 – Cozy Up With Kathy – CHARACTER GUEST POST
February 28 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT
February 28 – Mochas, Mysteries and Meows – SPOTLIGHT
March 1 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
March 2 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT WITH RECIPE
March 2 – Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic – GUEST POST
March 3 – Tea Book Blanket – SPOTLIGHT WITH EXCERPT
March 3 – Socrates Book Reviews – REVIEW
March 3 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW
March 4 – Here’s How It Happened – REVIEW  
March 5 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST
March 6 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
March 6 – Cinnamon, Sugar, and a Little Bit of Murder – REVIEW, RECIPE
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Posted in 2022 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Finish The Series Challenge Literary Escapes You Read How Many Books Challenge

Fit For Murder (Adina Donati, Accidental Sleuth) by Cassidy Salem #Review

Fit For Murder (Adina Donati, Accidental Sleuth)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Setting – Washington D.C.
‎Independently published (October 6, 2019)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 193 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1695022653
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1695022652
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B07YLZMY5K

Exercise is good for you, or so they said. So why is the Pilates instructor dead?

Adina signed up for Pilates because she wanted to get some exercise, not to find another body. Initially ruled an accidental death, the victim’s business partner has her doubts, which are soon reinforced by a series of suspicious incidents. With no obvious motives or suspects, Adina sets out to identify the killer – with or without help from her favorite detective.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Adina is back and her roommate and “fitness freak” Lynda has talked her into trying pilates. The new gym Fun & Fitness just opened and it is near their home and Cutie Pie Rescue where she volunteers and walks dogs so maybe this class won’t be so bad. Adina is ready to snap some pictures of a new pooch at the rescue but realizes she doesn’t have her phone. Backtracking she and Lynda head back to Fun & Fitness to look for her phone. On their arrival, the phone is forgotten when they find their pilates instructor, Bonnie, on the floor unconscious with her face red and swollen and a bottle of water by her side. They also find the instructor’s phone with an open call to 911. So Bonnie knew something was wrong and tried to get help. Adina and Lynda learn the next day that Bonnie died. Police have it classified as accidental but her business partner and co-owner of the gym Piper, doesn’t believe it was.

With Bonnie gone and Piper with a new baby at home, huge adjustments need to be made at Fun & Fitness. Adina volunteers to help in any way she can and she also decides to do her thing and find out what really happened to Bonnie. Her favorite detective has a lot on his plate with working at the Metro Police Department and studying for his master’s in criminology at Georgetown so he and Adina aren’t spending much time together but she will fill him in on everything when they finally meet face to face. That is if she doesn’t get in trouble before then.


Adina is a strong, independent woman and she is a terrific amateur sleuth, which is a good thing because she does keep finding dead bodies. She has a huge heart. She volunteers at a pet rescue and recently adopted a pup of her own, Bonzo, and convinced her neighbor to adopt one too, Speckles. She also didn’t think twice about helping Piper after Bonnie’s death. Both women she just met but she automatically felt compelled to help. Of course, helping Piper meant she would get to check out the business’s files, Bonnie’s computer, and her home to try to find any clues that could lead to a killer. There was a big bonus too, she was able to meet Bonnie’s boxer named Harley and share caretaking duties with Piper’s husband Noah.

Ms. Salem surrounds Adina with strong characters like herself in her roommates and Joan the driving force behind Cutie Pie Rescue. Her relationship with Jonathan is progressing nicely but he plays a small role in this story. I do love all the characters she has created for large roles or small, human and canine. It is a diverse cast with believable lives and they all have a purpose in the story. The dialogues all ring true too.

This author also knows how to write a complex compelling mystery in less than 200 pages. She has each scene so well-plotted. It is uncanny the way Adina finds one clue after another that others just don’t see. I thought I had the killer firm in my mind and then there was a twist that as the author intended drew my attention away from that person. Then she twisted things all up again and I was chasing new leads right along with Adina. I really enjoy mysteries that make me think and Cassidy Salem’s stories always do that.

Fit For Murder features a protagonist with a “gift”. A gift that just keeps on giving and that has pulled me into every book in this series. Each book in this series can be read all on its but they are even better read in order. I am really excited to read Dead Amid the Dogwoods which is available now!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Cassidy Salem has always been an avid reader. She is especially fond of mysteries (both cozy and traditional) and police procedurals.  Cassidy also enjoys reading historical fiction focused on American and world history, as well as the classics.  When she’s not reading, she enjoys music and spending time with family and friends, and travels with her husband and son whenever possible. Her travels have taken her to destinations throughout the United States, Europe, and Scandinavia.

Author Links

Twitter: @csalem11    Blog     Sign up for Cassidy’s Newsletter     Amazon Author Page    Bookbub    Pinterest    Facebook

Fit for Murder is now on sale for 99 cents but hurry because it goes back up to $3.99 at midnight Sunday!


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
Posted in 2022 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Literary Escapes New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FollowMe for Murder: A Trending Topic Mystery by Sarah E Burr #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @SarahEBurr


#FollowMe for Murder: A Trending Topic Mystery
by Sarah E Burr

About #FollowMe for Murder


#FollowMe for Murder: A Trending Topic Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – In the fictional, seaside town of Central Shores, Delaware.
Level Best Books (February 15, 2022)
Print length ‏ : ‎ 300 pages
ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09MYP1GGM

Meet 28-year-old influencer and celebrity blogger Coco Cline, who has started her own social media consulting firm in her hometown of Central Shores, Delaware. Her new clients, Sean and Olivia Chen, are ten days away from the grand opening of their specialty consignment shop when Coco stumbles across their store clerk Stacy dead behind the register.

Worried that a cloud of suspicion will ruin their chances of a successful business launch, the Chens ask Coco to work alongside the inexperienced Central Shores police force to speed up the investigation. Using her celebrity status and social media savviness, Coco realizes Stacy’s seemingly ordinary life was all an act. Following a trail of cryptic online posts, confusing timelines, and muddied gossip, Coco and her friends discover Stacy’s questionable relationships just might be the reason for her untimely demise.

Murder is about to go viral in #FollowMe for Murder, a Trending Topic Mystery.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Coco Cline has been a blogger and Instagram influencer for quite a while. She is now adding social media consultant to her resume. Her first clients are opening a consignment store and want their grand opening to be a rousing success. They are banking on Coco to boost their online presence. Sean and Olivia Chen have also hired a clerk to help them get everything set up and to help them man the store after it opens.

Coco has done a lot of work for the couple and when she arrives at the store for yet another meeting her clients are running late. She lets herself in with a key they provided and finds Stacy, their clerk dead on the floor. The Chens seem to be more worried about how the murder will affect their grand opening than they are about their dead employee. They ask Coco to work with the police to get the store cleared as quickly as possible so they will be ready to open as planned.

The Central Shores police have never really handled a crime like this and call in county reinforcements but they don’t seem to have much of a clue either. This leads Coco to use all her assets to investigate the murder herself. It isn’t long before she learns Stacy has some interesting relationships that just may have led to her death. Now Coco just needs to follow the clues to nab the culprit that made murder go viral in quiet Central Shores.


I love Coco Cline. She is an internet maven and can dig through social media threads to get the information she needs to track down a killer and the truth about the victim. It is amazing what she can find but she needs to use her keen intellect to put all the clues together. She is very relatable, professional, and understanding, so much so it could get her in trouble. She is like a breath of fresh air in the cozy world.

The author has also surrounded Coco with a great supporting cast. Charlotte and Jasper are true friends that have her back. They have their flaws but felt true to life. I am a little concerned about Coco’s boyfriend, Hudson though. The romance was the only part of this story that really didn’t work for me. I hope there is more to Hudson under the surface or Coco moves on.

The author has taken on a fresh theme. Police use the internet to solve crimes but these officers and staff have nowhere near the knowledge and capability of Coco. She does try to share everything she can with the cops but are they really following through.

Ms. Burr has plotted out a very convincing mystery with plenty of twists and turns to keep us readers on our toes. The story was well-paced leading up to a very exciting reveal. I made the mistake of starting this book late one night and only made it through about 20% when I had to put it down. I was excited to get back to it the next evening and I never left my seat until I read the last word.  The reveal and ending were fabulous and surprising.

I found #FollowMe for Murder to be a very entertaining read and a nice debut for this series. With so many people glued to their phones and social media accounts, this series is so timely. Even though I really enjoyed this book I may not be the perfect demographic for it. I think millennials will love it and maybe it will be their introduction to cozy mysteries and I am all for that!

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About Sarah E. Burr

Sarah E. Burr lives near New York City. Hailing from the small town of Appleton, Maine, she has been dreaming of being Nancy Drew since she was a little girl. Since Sarah wasn’t stumbling across any crime scenes in corporate America, she left her career in healthcare technology to write mysteries of her own.

Her novel #FollowMe for Murder, first in the Trending Topic Mysteries, shines the spotlight on a social media PR expert after she discovers a dead body in her clients’ store, forcing her to untangle a web of secrets in her small, beach-side town.

Sarah is also the author of the Court of Mystery series and the Glenmyre Whim Mysteries. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, currently serving as the New York Tri-State Chapter’s social media guru. When she’s not spinning up new stories, Sarah is off seeing Broadway musicals, reading up a storm, video gaming, and enjoying walks with her dog, Eevee.

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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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The Secret in the Wall: A Novel (Silver Rush Mysteries) by Ann Parker #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour –


The Secret in the Wall: A Novel (Silver Rush Mysteries)
by Ann Parker

About The Secret In The Wall


The Secret in the Wall: A Novel (Silver Rush Mysteries)
Historical Mystery
8th in Series
Setting – California
Poisoned Pen Press (February 15, 2022)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 400 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1464214948
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1464214943
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B096L9XZ73

Sometimes you can’t keep your gown out of the gutter…

Inez Stannert has reinvented herself—again. Fleeing the comfort and wealth of her East Coast upbringing, she became a saloon owner and cardsharp in the rough silver boomtown of Leadville, Colorado, always favoring the unconventional path—a difficult road for a woman in the late 1800s.

Then the teenage daughter of a local prostitute is orphaned by her mother’s murder, and Inez steps up to raise the troubled girl as her own. Inez works hard to keep a respectable, loving home for Antonia, carefully crafting their new life in San Francisco. But risk is a seductive friend, difficult to resist. When a skeleton tumbles from the wall of her latest business investment, the police only seem interested in the bag of Civil War-era gold coins that fell out with it. With her trusty derringer tucked in the folds of her gown, Inez uses her street smarts and sheer will to unearth a secret that someone has already killed to keep buried. The more she digs, the muddier and more dangerous things become.

She enlists the help of Walter de Brujin, a local private investigator with whom she shares some history. Though she wants to trust him, she fears that his knowledge of her past, along with her growing attraction to him, may well blow her veneer of respectability to bits—that is, if her dogged pursuit of the truth doesn’t kill her first . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Inez Stannert and her ward Antonia have moved from Colorado to San Francisco in this 8th book in the Silver Rush Mysteries. Inez owns D&S House of Music and Oriental Curiosities and she invests in businesses run by women like Moira Krause’s and her boardinghouse. They have purchased the joined home next to her existing property and Moira hopes to be able to double the number of tenants she can host. Moira insisted on a special ceremony to complete the sale and knock the wall that will connect the two properties but the event didn’t quite go as planned. When the sledgehammer broke through the wall a skeleton and a bag of gold coins cascaded out of the wall. When the authorities put all their attention on the coins Inez decides to investigate the body. Why would someone hide a body within the walls? What secret was that person hiding? Working with a PI from her past they try to get the answers before it is too late.


I first have to say this is the 8th book in the series and the first I have read but I escaped right into it very easily. The author gives enough backstory for new readers to understand the characters and their relationships without giving away too much that would deter those readers from going back and reading the previous books.

Inez Stannert is a unique individual, especially for a woman in the late 1800s. Savvy and street smart she makes herself at home with men and women alike. She is respected and driven to help others to succeed. She is also is doing her best to raise a strong-willed pre-teen ward who tests her a lot in this story. I really enjoyed the young amateur sleuths of Antonia and Moira’s daughter Charlotte and their scheming ways to spend time together to search the Treasure House. I really felt for Antonia when she made a horrific discovery and did her best to keep a stiff upper lip when you know a 12-year-old should never have to see such a thing even back in the 1800s.  All of Ms. Parker’s characters are dynamically written with multiple layers some of which are kept well hidden or slowly revealed.

The mystery the author wrapped her characters in was so well-plotted laced with well-referenced historical facts of California’s part in the Civil War. It really brings an authentic feel to the book and the secrets many people were holding. Moira’s boardinghouse and the house next door were right in the middle of so much of that history. The discoveries made by Inez and the girls were so enveloping. Ms. Parker really brought the place to life with her descriptive style. I truly felt as if I was taking each step right along with the characters. I could also tell she weighed each word to make sure they presented each scene perfectly.

Ann Parker takes her readers on quite an adventure in The Secret in the Wall. If you like historical mysteries I think you would enjoy this story and encourage you to pick it up. I also think the author would have no trouble creating a young adult series featuring Antonia. She is a character that I would love to keep reading about. That girl could have a wild future.

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About Ann Parker

Ann Parker is a science writer by day and fiction writer by night. Her award-winning Silver Rush Mysteries series, published by Poisoned Pen Press, a Sourcebooks imprint, is set primarily in 1880s Leadville, Colorado, and more recently in San Francisco, California, the “Paris of the West.” The series was named a Booksellers Favorite by the Mountains and Plains Independent Booksellers Association, and Ann is listed in the Colorado Authors’ Hall of Fame. The Secret in the Wall is the eighth and newest entry in the series.

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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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Cozy Wednesday featuring Live, Local, and Dead (A Vermont Radio Mystery) by Nikki Knight #Review / #Giveaway @NikkiKnightVT

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

Today I am pleased to share my thought about Live, Local, and Dead by Nikki Knight!


Live, Local, and Dead (A Vermont Radio Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Vermont
Crooked Lane Books (February 8, 2022)
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 304 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1643859455
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1643859453
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B094GMSQ17

Death waits for snowman in Nikki Knight’s new Vermont-based cozy series, perfect for fans of Connie Archer and Mary Kennedy.

In a fit of anger, radio DJ Jaye Jordan blows a snowman’s head off with a Revolutionary War-style musket. But the corpse that tumbles out is all too human. Jaye thought life would be quieter when she left New York City and bought a tiny Vermont radio station. But now, Edwin Anger—the ranting and raving radio talk show host who Jaye recently fired—lies dead in the snow. And the Edwin Anger fans who protested his dismissal are sure she killed him.

To clear her name, Jaye must find the real killer, as if she doesn’t have her hands full running the radio station, DJing her all-request love song show, and shuttling tween daughter Ryan to and from school. It doesn’t make matters easier that the governor—Jaye’s old crush—arrived on the scene before the musket smoke cleared. Fortunately, Jaye has allies…if you count the flatulent moose that lives in the transmitter shack, and Neptune, the giant gray cat that lives at the station.

If Jaye can turn the tables on the devious killer, she and the governor may get to make some sweet, sweet music together. But if she can’t, she’ll be off the air…permanently.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Jaye Jordan has come home to take over the radio station where she got her start after a very tumultuous time. She and her husband have divorced following the survival of his cancer treatments. Their daughter Ryan spends the weekdays with Jaye and weekends with her dad, David.

Jaye has taken the station away from its talk format back to music and some of her listeners are not having it. In fact, they are staging a protest at the station. At the end of her rope, Jaye heads outside, grabs a Revolutionary style musket from one of the protesters, and turns and fires blowing the head off a 10-foot high snowman left over from the winter festival. As the rest of the snowman falls apart a body is discovered. Edwin Anger was a right-wing talk show host that had been fired by Jaye due to the new format and now people think she killed him and hid his body inside the snowman. She wants to clear her name but people convince her to leave the matter to the police.

As the police investigate someone turns up the dial and threatens Jaye and her daughter with everything from horrific graffiti to a pipe bomb. To bide her time Jaye spends more time rekindling a relationship with a man she had a huge crush on years ago. But the killer is not giving up and Jaye may find herself and her station down the tubes forever.


First, I am so thankful my cancer diagnosis and treatment did not destroy my marriage. My family was my rock. I was sad to see how easily Jaye and David’s marriage fell apart and how easily they just got on with their lives. I think this is the reason I had a hard time connecting with these characters. I wish we would have had more of a backstory with them because I hope there was more drama and feelings that led up to what to me would be a major event but came off as a minor one in this story, especially because she converted to Judaism for this man.

Next, the writing style/dialogues gave me some issues. Jaye just seemed all over the place. Her station is her focus along with her daughter. Then you throw in her budding relationship with the governor, and spending time with her friends next door and sometimes this all seems to happen within one page of the story. In a normal cozy mystery, finding a killer would be in the mix too but Jaye seems to have a real lackadaisical attitude about the murder even when trouble comes knocking right at her door.

What I did like about the book was the strong relationship Jaye and David have with their daughter. They come together each Friday evening for the ritual of Shabbat. They have moved to be far enough apart to have their own lives but close enough to be available to her for anything that comes up. And they have good honest conversations with her about anything she asks. Jaye and David have a great co-parenting system and they are going to need it as this series continues and the murder drama ensues.

I do wish Jaye would have had a more active part in the murder investigation and the mystery would have been harder to solve. A complex mystery is always hard in the first book of a series because it takes pages to introduce the characters and the setting leaving less room to develop a complicated plotline. Vermont is a fabulous place for a cozy mystery to take place. And we do meet some unique characters in this story including a wonderful wild moose with a sweet tooth but I feel the characters could have been more fleshed out in this book to start the series. It is clear the author knows the radio business and it has been an important part of her life but I need her protagonist to be a more well-rounded character with a more serious nature when called for.

I do love the radio station theme and Live, Local, and Dead has good bones. I think it just needs a little tweaking going forward with the series. Ms. Knight has the humor and small-town setting right for a cozy mystery series. I do think the romantic scenes played too big of a part in the story taking over where the mystery should have played the leading role. I hope to see more character development and a more complicated mystery with the main character more involved as the series continues. This story does have a political slant due to the victim and the governor being involved and that may be off-putting to some readers as would the explicit language used. All in all, I am holding out hope that the second book in the series will fall more into the cozy realm I am used to because I do want to give these characters another chance. I am rounding up to 4 stars.

 

 

About the Author 
Author. Anchor. Mom…not in that order.

Nikki Knight aka Kathleen Marple Kalb grew up in front of a microphone, and a keyboard.  She started her radio career as a teenage DJ at a small station in her hometown of Brookville, Pennsylvania, and despite a brief flirtation with advanced study in history before taking her B.A. at the University of Pittsburgh (her mother will never forgive her for turning down an assistantship at William and Mary), worked her way up through newsrooms in Pittsburgh, Vermont, and Connecticut, to New York. But she never wore her Phi Beta Kappa key again after her first day at KDKA, when she accidentally hung up on a U.S. Senator. Her broadcast career went significantly better after that, including a number of regional Edward R. Murrow awards in Vermont, and her current post as a weekend morning anchor at 1010 WINS, New York’s top all-news station.

At age sixteen, she wrote her first historical novel, which thankfully did not find a publisher, though a couple of editors did actually read it. Her Vermont story, “Bad Apples” was recently named an Honorable Mention in the 2021 Black Orchid Novella Award contest. She lives in Connecticut with her husband and son in a house owned by their cat.

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Written as Kathleen Marple Kalb

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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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#FlashbackFriday – Night Shift (A Helping Hands Mystery) by Annelise Ryan #Review / #Giveaway

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.


Night Shift (A Helping Hands Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Wisconsin
Kensington Cozies (July 28, 2020)
Mass Market Paperback ‏ : ‎ 368 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1496719441
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1496719447
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B07ZPLB14V

When social worker Hildy Schneider commits to an after-hours side job, she finds herself drawn into the darker side of small-town Sorenson, Wisconsin—and the twisted mind of an unnamed killer . . .

Strange things have been happening since Hildy started moonlighting with local police, but a desperate late-night call involving a former patient from Sorenson General Hospital tops the list. Although Danny Hildebrand has been tormented by hallucinations for years, he swears he’s being haunted for real by the victim of a grisly murder . . .

The rambling ghost story seems like another delusion. But after a body turns up in a neglected farmhouse crawling with secrets, Hildy and the magnetic Detective Bob Richmond rush to explain Danny’s knowledge of the incident. As the crime-solving partners unwittingly grow closer while examining a series of eerie leads, they realize that surviving past sunrise means shedding light on a criminal willing to do whatever it takes to stay in the shadows . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

We are back in Sorenson, Wisconsin but this time we are tagging along with Social Worker Hildy Schneider in this second book in Annelise Ryan’s spinoff series from her Mattie Winston Mysteries.  Hildy is just starting her new side job working directly with the police on the night shift. Her first call involves a man she has worked with before. Danny Hildebrand has been taking medications to keep his hallucinations at bay for years.  When he stops taking them properly or they are no longer working as expected he needs to go into the hospital to get him back on track. Hildy expects that is what she is walking into with the police for this disturbance call. She knows her dog Roscoe has calmed Danny in the past so she convinces the police to let her take the lead. Roscoe does his magic but soon Danny is telling Hildy he isn’t having his normal issues, he swears he is being haunted by a real murder victim.

After getting Danny checked in to the hospital Hildy and her police partner find a horrific murder scene at a rundown farmhouse when sent to do a welfare check. A quick inspection of the scene looks eerily like Danny’s hallucination right down to a particular item. Detective Bob Richmond and Hildy start to work together and even have to call in some alphabet agencies when they discover something truly scary and above their pay grade on the dead farmer’s property. Just how deep is Danny involved in all this illegal activity? Can he be the key to finding the killer? Will Hildy help solve the murder? Or will she become another victim?


Hildy Schneider is a complex leading character. Peel back her layers and you will see how her troubled past has led to her Helping Hands present. She really is an amazing character with a unique way of seeing things others don’t. Her therapy dog Roscoe is fantastic too.

Another complex character is PJ, an autistic pre-teen that lives next door to Hildy and takes Roscoe on walks while Hildy is at work. The girl is brutally honest in all the best ways.

There are several characters that crossover from the other series. The most noteworthy is Detective Bob Richmond who has changed quite a bit over the course of that series and is now pursuing a deeper relationship with Hildy. Hurley makes a cameo at the end of the book and Mattie is mentioned a couple of times in the story.  All the characters are well crafted with plenty of room for growth.

The mystery ended up being much more expansive than one dead body. There was a major plan afoot and finding a dead Arthur Fletcher at his kitchen table was just part of a cover-up. I really enjoyed the way the author plotted out this story. Hildy’s keen observation skills and her willingness to really get involved with Danny and his care as she continued to piece everything together really was fun to read. One character felt off to me a few times but I kept discarding it until their behavior became more glaring. My attention still kept being diverted up until the very end.

Again, this story takes place in my home state. I love the local references and overall Wisconsin feel I get when reading books by this author.

Sadly there hasn’t been a 3rd book in this series. I really like the focus on Hildy that this series brings. She is unique and I would love to see more stories featuring her.

If you like your cozy mysteries with a bit of an edge and plenty of humor you will enjoy all the books by this author and those she writes as Allyson K. Abbott.

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About the Author

Annelise Ryan is the USA Today bestselling author of the popular Mattie Winston mystery series and a pseudonym for Beth Amos, who also writes the Mack’s Bar Mystery series under the pseudonym Allyson K. Abbott. Beth is a real-life emergency room RN living in Wisconsin. She believes laughter is the best medicine, and with the Mattie Winston series, she is hoping to “medicate” the masses.

For more Mattie Winston fun and to keep up with the latest news, visit www.mattiewinston.com

Also by this Author

Written as Allyson K. Abbott

I am giving away 1 Kindle Copy.

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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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Strong Suspicions: A Sophie Strong Mystery by Amy Renshaw #Review / #Giveaway


Strong Suspicions: A Sophie Strong Mystery
Historical Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Wisconsin
Lilac Bower Media LLC (September 6, 2021)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 334 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1737353318
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1737353317
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09C3YFB7C

A notorious woman is murdered, and reporter Sophie Strong stumbles onto the story. Does she have what it takes to find the killer before it’s too late?

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, May 1912: As the only female reporter at the Milwaukee Herald, twenty-two-year-old Sophie Strong is thrilled when she’s invited to cover the party of the season. Soon she’s swept into the opulent world of the city’s wealthy brewing families. But before she can even get to her typewriter, she discovers a murder victim. The intriguing Detective Jacob Zimmer warns her to leave sleuthing to the police, while Sophie’s editor insists she focus on tea parties and fashion shows. But when her friend and fellow suffragist Clara Elliot comes under suspicion, Sophie is determined to uncover the truth—even if she risks her own life along the way.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Sophie Strong works at the Milwaukee Herald covering women’s topics like teas and fashion while what she really wants is to become a hard news reporter. Her current assignment is to cover a gala hosted by one of Milwaukee’s famous families. The Wolff’s own a huge brewery and love to show off their wealth and flex their high society muscles. Sophie is enjoying the party, taking careful notes, and even getting a turn on the dance floor. Shortly before dinner is set to be served a bunch of marauders disrupts the party calling out the way Wolff treats his workers. Sophie thinks reporting on the crime for the newspaper may be her big break but before she can even file the story she finds a body outside the Women’s Sufferage office. Warned to leave the investigation to the police Sophie just can’t especially when her friend Clara Elliot finds herself in the detective’s crosshairs. Using her profession as a reporter for the Herald she starts her own investigation and what she finds could cost her her life.


Amy Renshaw took me right back to Milwaukee in 1912 when so many political things were happening. Most importantly giving women the right to vote. She has clearly researched this time in Wisconsin thoroughly to be able to give readers a wonderful story with so much accuracy. I really enjoyed seeing everything happen through Sophie’s eyes.

Sophie Strong is a mighty protagonist with an interesting background and a drive to make things happen and dreams of reporting it to the masses. Raised by her Aunt Lucy, a formidable woman in her own right, Sophie was taught women could do anything they put their mind to. Lucy and Clara Elliot have been inseparable for as long as Sophie can remember and both women introduced her to the suffrage movement. Lucy and Clara are the leaders of the group in Milwaukee with Sophie helping in any way that she can. All three women have loving caring hearts to support women and children. Through Sophie, Lucy meets some very special people and I loved the way she opened her home and heart to them without a second thought, just like she did for Sophie several years ago. The author has created a vast cast of spectacular characters that just leap off the page.

Ms. Renshaw has also crafted an excellent well-plotted mystery filled with twists and clues that our heroine sometimes misses at first but that the reader can stow away for reference as we try to solve the mystery too. Sophie really has no fear and inserts herself in some scary situations. The author ramps up the pace and makes those moments quite suspenseful. I did enjoy Sophie’s never-give-up attitude. Naturally curious she makes a great amateur sleuth.

What I really loved was the author’s descriptive writing style. She can bring a scene to life vividly without getting overly wordy and that is a gift. Each time and place came to life like I was watching a movie. Many of those scenes have stuck with me, especially when the killer was revealed and everything that happened after. I was definitely on the edge of my seat.

I have found Amy Renshaw to be a marvelous storyteller. I loved everything about Strong Suspicions. Strong characters that I cared about immediately, a terrific setting, and a compelling mystery based on historical facts all made this book virtually impossible to put down. And yes, you will find this book on my Best Reads List for 2022. I am excited for this series to continue.

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About the Author
Amy Renshaw loves writing, reading, and sleuthing about history. She’s the Senior Editor at Brilliant Star Magazine and Brilliant Star Online, award-winning publications from the Baha’is of the U.S. Amy lives in Wisconsin, where she hikes in the woods, adores chocolate, and writes historical mystery novels.

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