Posted in 2021 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – Uncle and Ants: A Silicon Valley Mystery by Marc Jedel – #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.

I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing the first book in Marc Jedel’s new series Fish Out of Water earlier this year and enjoyed it so much I purchased this whole series. 

Uncle and Ants: A Silicon Valley Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – California
BGM Press (October 11, 2018)
Paperback: 287 pages
ISBN-10: 1732716404
ISBN-13: 978-1732716407
Digital: ASIN: B07H68L6XR

Mysterious attacks. Mischievous nieces. Can a clueless uncle catch a tech-savvy killer … and be home before bedtime?

When a freak accident hospitalizes Marty Golden’s sister and condemns him to babysitter duty, he thinks it’s just another case of hardwired bad luck in Silicon Valley. Until a suspicious murder suggests the mishap was no mere coincidence. Something must be done.

Too bad this quirky, fashion-backward uncle isn’t exactly hero material.

Convinced his sister is in mortal danger, this amateur sleuth follows clues to an oddball array of suspects. Armed with nothing but an eye for detail and powers of self-delusion, Marty tangles with gangsters, a cantankerous school secretary, and a perplexing woman he can’t help but fall for. Glitches in his investigation seem like a piece of cake compared to dinner-prep and bedtime stories with his two precocious, pre-teen nieces.

Can Marty catch the culprit, save his sister, and get his life back in order before he gets unplugged?

Uncle and Ants is the first novel in a refreshingly modern mystery series set in Silicon Valley. If you like clever humor, sassy side characters, and average Joes facing extraordinary circumstances, then you’ll love this twisty mystery.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

We meet Marty Golden when he is notified his sister has been injured in a scary car accident. She will be in the hospital for a while and Marty needs to step up and take care of her daughters. The man isn’t really equipped to be an all-star uncle but with a little help from his neighbor, Mrs. Kim, he is able to take care of the girls.

Back at the hospital, a mislabeled room leads to the death of one of the patients. Marty knows right away the woman was murdered and that his sister was the real target but with her unconscious, he is grasping at straws to figure out why. He finds a couple of clues on his sister’s calendar and decides to investigate on his own. He isn’t any better equipped for that task either but he soldiers on to get answers and protect his sister. Hopefully, he survives the endeavor.


Oh, my stars! Marty Golden is a hoot and half. Self-proclaimed computer nerd, Marty is a software engineer who writes code for Rover, a company that features a driverless car service. Just use their app to order your car and it shows up to take you wherever you want to go. With the right command, it will even wait for you and take you to another destination.

He works with Raj, who is from India who is learning American idioms. Their dialogues cracked me up. His sister Laney recently moved to town and is an HR consultant. She has two daughters, Skye is “twelve going on thirty” and Megan is “nine or eight, or possibly a mature seven”. Skye has a very interesting science fair project, the effectiveness of different feeding regimens of Dorymyrmex insanus, which translates to “crazy ants”. Megan tells her uncle her project is studying milkshakes and that is more up his alley.

These core characters are all cleverly written and genuine. The school secretary though is quite a character. She takes her job very seriously and that makes her a thorn in Marty’s side. I loved it! The police detective, a former underwear model, also takes his job seriously but doesn’t take Marty seriously at all.

The story moves along at a good clip as Marty travels to try to figure out what kind of trouble his sister is in. Sometimes he even shows up at work to do his actual job. His excursions even take him to a dream employer but before he leaves there he kills any option of ever actually working there. Another laugh-out-loud moment. I will say solving the mystery was not easy, Mr. Jedel twisted the clues up nicely.

I really enjoyed this story and the characters. Marty is an unusual protagonist and I was totally entertained by his antics. Uncle and Ants is a great debut for this author and I am really looking forward to reading the rest of the series.



Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Marc Jedel writes humorous murder mysteries. He credits his years of marketing leadership positions in Silicon Valley for honing his writing skills and sense of humor. While his high-tech marketing roles involved crafting plenty of fiction, these were just called emails, ads, and marketing collateral.

For most of Marc’s life, he’s been inventing stories. As he’s gotten older, he’s encountered more funny and odd people and situations. This has made it even easier for him to write what he knows and make up the rest. It’s a skill that’s served him well, both as an author and marketer.

The publication of Marc’s first novel, UNCLE AND ANTS, gave him permission to claim “author” as his job. This leads to much more interesting conversations with people than answering, “marketing.” Becoming an Amazon best-selling author has only made him more insufferable.

 Visit his website, marcjedel.com, for free chapters of novels, special offers, and more.

I am giving away 1 KINDLE Copy!

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.

Add this book to your WANT TO READ shelf on GoodReads
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If you publicize the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or
anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End July 30, 2021, at 11:59 PM CST
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The Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

This was from my private collection.

 

Posted in 2021 Reviews Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways New Release Challenge Read The Printed Word Challenge Wisconsin Author Wisconsin Setting You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday featuring The Weaver’s Revenge (A Chloe Ellefson Mystery) by Kathleen Ernst #Review / #Giveaway

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am excited to share my thoughts about The Weaver’s Revenge today!

The Weaver’s Revenge (A Chloe Ellefson Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
11th in Series
Setting – Wisconsin/Upper Michigan
Three Towers Press (an imprint of HenschelHAUS) (May 15, 2021)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 398 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1595988106
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1595988102
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09471KLGN

A Killer Weaves a Deadly Blend of Betrayal and Revenge that Threatens Chloe’s Work … and Her Life

When offered a rare opportunity to help develop a fledgling historic site dedicated to Finnish American history and heritage, curator Chloe Ellefson journeys to the remote Northwoods of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

In addition to the consultant job, she’s on a personal quest to learn about the enduring tradition of rag rug weaving. Encountering a dead body upon arrival, however, immediately puts that goal in jeopardy. Although suspicion soon falls on her new colleagues, Chloe is determined to persevere … even if it means ignoring the advice of her new husband, police officer Roelke McKenna. Can she identify the killer and complete her mission, or will all her dreams unravel?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Chloe Ellefson has been given an exciting opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a new historic site in Upper Michigan. This site is featuring Finish American History and Chole jumps at the chance to consult and make program recommendations to the people involved in developing this new historic site. She is also excited to meet some rag rug weavers as that was popular in Finnish history and continues to be in the area.

Chloe arrives at one weaver’s home just in time to discover a dead body. She had such high hopes to tap into the woman’s knowledge, her death has her questioning her whole journey. But she can’t back away from her commitment even when there may be a murderer in her midst. Her new husband, police officer Roelke McKenna is not pleased with her decision especially when he is not there to protect her but he knows Chloe is a strong independent woman and that while she may listen to his advice he knows she isn’t coming back to their home in Wisconsin until all her commitments are fulfilled and now that includes murder.


History and mystery come together in the precise way I expect when I pick up a book by Kathleen Ernst.

Chloe’s part of the story takes place in the 1980s, a time where cell phones, GPS., and the internet are still a dream. She is consulting on rebuilding the Hanka Homestead as of 1920 in the Upper Penisula of Michigan. We go back in time to Finland in May of 1915/16 when Matti Peltoniemi immigrates to the United States. His young wife Liana follows when his letters stop coming. She is on a quest to find her husband who should be in the U.P. The characters we are introduced to in this story are so interesting and believable. I quickly became invested in their lives, especially Liana as she endures a lot and stays strong to find the man she loves. Her journey is full of tough and scary times. My heart broke for her so strongly at one point.

The characters in Chloe’s time are also incredibly written with secrets and strife of their own. Chloe meets many people and attends some community events to learn more about the weaving craft and the Hanka’s time period so that she can get the new historic site off to a good start. She imparts her knowledge about collections and uses elbow grease on some wonderful finds. She also uses her sleuthing skills to ferret out a killer.

The investigation into the death of the weaver is compounded by another death. The author has plotted out a tightly woven mystery full of twists and turns. Clues were difficult to pin down. I had just a little feeling as to where I thought the story was heading. I was only slightly right. The ending ended up totally taking me by surprise. Roelke had a mystery of how one to solve back in Eagle and I eagled out that solution fairly quickly even though he had to deal with an over-the-top victim.

Kathleen Ernst is a terrific storyteller and I credit a lot of that to her time spent at Old World Wisconsin.  Finding and overseeing collections that tell historic stories, this series and her young reader mysteries feel like a natural offshoot for a person who loves history as much as this author does. I always learn something new when reading her stories. I took a great interest in the weaving theme this time because that has been a craft I have been interested in forever. I never had anything wonderful like the looms in this story but I did make a few creations with my tabletop loom.

This is the 11th book in this series and I have loved every one of them. I am so happy Ms. Ernst found a new home for this series! It was well worth the wait to find the right fit. I am looking forward to many more journeys with Chloe. I love her plan for the future.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Kathleen Ernst is a social historian, educator, and author. Her Chloe Ellefson mysteries reflect the decade she spent as a curator at a large outdoor museum, and feature historic sites in the Upper Midwest. Library Journal says, “Ernst keeps getting better with each entry in this fascinating series.” Kathleen has also written many mysteries for young readers. Honors for her work include a LOVEY Award and Agatha and Edgar nominations. Kathleen lives and writes in Wisconsin.

 Author Links – Website    Blog   Facebook

I am giving away my review copy!
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.

Sign up for Kathleen’s Mailing List for 5 Bonus Entries.

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If you publicize the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
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Contest Will End July 28, 2021, at 11:59 PM CST
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Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

Posted in 2021 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

The Mountain View Murder (A Wintergreen Mystery) by Patrick Kelly #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @pkfiction


The Mountain View Murder (A Wintergreen Mystery)
by Patrick Kelly

About The Mountain View Murder

The Mountain View Murder (A Wintergreen Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Virginia
Publisher: Chaparral Press LLC
Paperback: 270 pages
ISBN-10: 1734239220
ISBN-13: 978-1734239225
Digital – ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0977C7WVL

Guess who cried at Lou Thorpe’s funeral

 

No one. His wife, grown children, and best friends all attended the service, but no one shed a single tear. Poor Lou. He was out for his morning walk when a crazed driver knocked him out of life. Crazed? With no car, no driver, and no witnesses, it’s difficult to say. Was it an accident or intentional?

 

Until that morning, Bill O’Shea was living the dream. After a career of fighting crime in the big city, Bill bought a condo in the beautiful mountain resort community of Wintergreen, Virginia. When he met his attractive new neighbor, Bill knew his retirement was off to a great start. But then the short-staffed police department asked Bill to help them investigate Thorpe’s death.

 

Soon, Bill fell into an old routine. Interviewing suspects. Checking alibis. Everyone had a secret to hide, but Bill lacked evidence to tie any of the suspects to the crime. He was missing something–like he had an itch he couldn’t reach to scratch.

 

Will Bill and his new friends solve the case, or will the murder of Lou Thorpe remain a mystery forever?

 

If you love beautiful mountain settings, a charming cast, and intriguing plot twists, you’re going to love this new series!

 

Clean read: no graphic violence, sex, or strong language.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

“In the dead of the summer night, harsh winds blow from the north into the Shenandoah Valley.” Plagued by insomnia Lou Thorpe heads out for his usual early morning walk never to return home again. The apparent victim of a hit and run the police have no witnesses to say if it was an accident or intentional. The local force is short-handed and the temporary man in charge has no clue where to start his investigation. Enter Bill O’Shea, a retired cop from the big city who has recently moved to the resort community of Wintergreen. He quickly starts checking alibis and talking to suspects but there is nothing to pin anyone with the crime. Frustrated that he is missing an important piece of the puzzle. Maybe his new neighbor can help him uncover something to get the investigation moving again but no one really seems distraught that the man is dead. Bill could be looking at a case he just may not be able to solve.


I really enjoyed Mr. Kelly’s descriptive writing style. From the first line, he whisked me away to the beautiful area of Wintergreen, Virginia. The mountains and their trails are traversed throughout the story and I could easily picture every step along the way. This added so much to the story.

The victim, Lou Thorpe was a longtime resident of the community and he had a clear routine that everyone was aware of, but he wasn’t a nice man. I was a little shocked by the number of suspects that were revealed as the retired Bill O’Shea digs into Thorpe’s life. Bill is an excellent protagonist. He is a smart man and his heart is in the right place. He was asked to assist on this case and he truly gave it his all. He interacts with a wide variety of people and at times he truly had the patience of a saint. Everyone seems to have a secret and some are pretty big. He does have an instant connection with his new neighbor Cindy but she worries me a bit after some of her reactions. I am interested to see how this relationship plays out. All the other characters we meet have issues that make them unique and memorable. It is a very interesting community.

The mystery is very well-plotted with a lot of moving parts. I really enjoyed following along with Bill and witnessing his thought process. The ending did surprise me and played out in an unusual way. The characters were believable for the most part the ending was not. I was not left with that satisfied feeling I usually have when finishing books in this genre. I can only assume the author had a very good reason for writing it the way he did.

While the ending felt off I found The Mountain View Murder to be an entertaining read. I really like Bill O’Shea and would definitely read more stories featuring him. I also really like the Shenandoah Valley and the Appalachian Trail setting and the way the author brought the area to life. I am curious to see where the author takes these characters.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Patrick Kelly

Pat Kelly was raised in the idyllic suburb of Yorktown, Virginia, where children ran barefoot through the grass and fished in the York River. After graduating from UVA, he left the state to pursue a career in finance. He settled in Texas, married a wonderful woman (Susie), and together they raised two daughters in Austin.

With the girls now grown and gone, Pat has pursued a lifelong love of writing stories. Countless hours at the keyboard have produced the Joe Robbins Thriller Series, two book awards, and four standalone novels.

A few years ago, Pat and Susie bought a summer home in the bucolic mountaintop resort of Wintergreen, Virginia. The beautiful vistas there inspired Pat to write a cozy mystery series featuring the reluctant detective Bill O’Shea. Join Pat’s newsletter to follow Bill’s adventures as he dodges irrepressible bears, pursues romance, and solves mysteries.

Author Links

Webpage     Blog    Facebook    Twitter     Goodreads   Instagram

Purchase Links

Amazon Paperback  – Amazon Kindle – Books2Read   –  Barnes & Noble –   Kobo 

Also by Patrick Kelly


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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 2021 Reviews Cozy Wednesday 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

Cozy Wednesday featuring The Moonshine Shack Murder (A Southern Homebrew Mystery) by Diane Kelly #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @BerkleyMystery @DianeKellyBooks


Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
I am so happy to feature The Moonshine Shack Murder today!

The Moonshine Shack Murder (A Southern Homebrew Mystery)
by Diane Kelly

About The Moonshine Shack Murder


The Moonshine Shack Murder (A Southern Homebrew Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Tennessee
Publisher: Berkley (July 6, 2021)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 0593333225
ISBN-13: 978-0593333228
Digital ASIN : B08KPKD22T

In this intoxicating new cozy mystery series, the future for modern-day moonshiner Hattie Hayes looks bright–until death darkens the doorstep of her Moonshine Shack.

 

The Hayes family has made moonshine in Chattanooga since the days of Prohibition, and Hattie is happy to continue the tradition, serving up fun, fruity flavors in mason jars for locals and tourists alike. All signs indicate her new ‘shine shop will be a smashing success. What’s more, mounted police officer Marlon Landers has taken a shine to Hattie. For the first time ever, the stars seemed to have aligned in both her work and romantic life. But when a body ends up on her store’s doorstep alongside a broken jar of her Firefly Moonshine, it just might be lights out for her fledgling business.

 

The homicide detective can’t seem to identify the person who killed the owner of a nearby bar. The only witness is Hattie’s longhaired gray cat, and Smoky isn’t talking. When the detective learns that the victim and Hattie had a heated exchange shortly before his murder, she becomes her prime suspect.

 

Lest Hattie end up behind bars like her bootlegging great-grandfather a century before, she must distill the evidence herself and serve the killer a swift shot of justice.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Hattie (love that name, it was my grandma’s) Hayes comes from a long line of moonshiners and now she is keeping the tradition alive with The Moonshine Shack where she will sell her grandfather’s shine along with her own brand with fruity flavors. She hopes her “Shack” and her “Shine” will be a hit with tourists and locals.

Hattie holds a grand opening party where she meets the tavern owner from across the street. She thought she had him convinced to carry her “shine” but when she goes to deliver his first order he backs out of the deal. Then a few nights later he is found dead on the Shack’s porch with a smashed jar of her moonshine nearby. She was upset by his deceit but she would never have killed the man. The only witness appears to be Hattie’s cat but he isn’t talking so she becomes the homicide detective’s #1 suspect. Officer Landers is on her side and tries to help her distill the evidence to clear her name and put the real killer behind bars.


Ms. Kelly has given her new Southern Homebrew Mystery a fantastic start. I liked these characters immediately, okay I loved her grandfather. He leaves the senior home every day to help her out at the store. When the customers are scarce he sits in the rocker on the front porch and whittles the cutest little animals. He also takes a nap here and there and there is a scene that had me giggling and you will too. I love the close relationship he has with his granddaughter. He is so proud of her for carrying on the family tradition. She is smart and savvy and knows how to market her product. Those characteristics come in handy when trying to sleuth out a killer.

Hattie has her two besties helping her out too but one is due to have a baby any day so that means she will have less time to help out. Officer Landers is such a nice man and good at his job. He takes a special interest in keeping Hattie safe and his horse is adorable. I love that this relationship is taking a romantic turn. Marlon and Hattie’s families have a history but I don’t think some old feud will come between them. I also approve highly of Hattie bringing her kitty Smoky to the shop each day. Seeing him lying in the window in the sunshine each day gives the place a real homey feel.

The mystery is very well-plotted and it quickly becomes apparent that the former barkeep has his fair share of enemies which really opened up the suspect pool. Some of his employees/girlfriends rank high on Hattie’s list but a local lawyer and other shopkeepers and a certain restaurant owner all had motives to kill the man. Hattie works hard to pare down the suspects and catch the killer because when the case wraps she has a special event she is looking forward to. I did enjoy the way she did her investigating but I took a shine to one person early on and never eliminated them. Sure I missed something I was surprised by how the ending played out and that I actually picked the right character.

As I said this series is off to a fantastic start. The location is ideal and the characters are interesting. I am excited because the author has just scratched the surface and can take this series in so many directions. I want to get to know all the characters better. I can’t wait to return to Chattanooga and The Moonshine Shack for a sample or two and whatever trouble Hattie gets herself wrapped up in.

The Moonshine Shack Murder was a pure pleasure to read and I enjoyed it very much.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Diane Kelly

Diane Kelly writes stories that feature feisty female lead characters and their furry, four-footed friends. Diane is the author of over 30 novels and novellas, including the Death & Taxes, Paw Enforcement, and House Flipper mystery series. In 2021, she’ll launch two new series, the Southern Homebrew moonshine series and the Mountain Lodge Mysteries.

Author Links: 

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Purchase Links 


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Also by Diane Kelly

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please visit all the stops.
July 6 – Author Elena Taylor’s Blog – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
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July 7 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW
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July 9 – Novels Alive – REVIEW
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July 11 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
July 11 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW
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July 13 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
July 13 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
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July 14 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
July 14 – Sneaky the Library Cat’s Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW (moved from 12th)
July 15 – Ascroft, eh? – GUEST POST
July 15 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT
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July 17 – Socrates Book Reviews – REVIEW
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Posted in 2021 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways Literary Escapes TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – Dead, White, and Blue (The Juniper Junction Holiday Mystery Series) by Amy M. Reade #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.


Dead, White, and Blue
(The Juniper Junction Holiday Mystery Series)

Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Colorado
Pau Hana Publishing (June 11, 2019)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 322 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 173269074X
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1732690745
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B07SKW9B9D

It’s bad enough when the owner of the new bistro in town drops dead at the Independence Day celebration, but when Noley, Lilly’s best friend, is charged with the murder, things start to heat up.

And speaking of heat, there’s a firebug on the loose in Juniper Junction. Houses in town are going up in smoke and when the fires hit a little too close to home, Lilly is pulled into the investigation to uncover the identity of the arsonist.

Can Lilly clear Noley’s name and figure out who’s starting the fires before she becomes a victim herself?

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire in this cozy holiday mystery perfect for fans of Gayle Leeson and Karen MacInerney. Find out if Lilly gets burned as she deals with murder, mayhem, her mother’s dementia, and a coming-of-age issue under her own roof.

Recipes included!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Juniper Junction goes all out for the 4th of July Holiday complete with a celebration and a reenactment of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The shopkeepers decorate their stores in banners of Red, White, and Blue, and dress in costumes of the period. This year Lily’s best friend Noley has been awarded the contract to provide all the food for the event but the owners of a new bistro in town want to provide food too. An agreement is made that the bistro will provide an ice cream sundae bar adjacent to Noley’s food tent. Noley has run herself ragged making sure everything is just perfect and the day is going well until one of the owners of the bistro drops dead and Noley is charged with the murder.

As if the murder isn’t enough to keep the police busy, someone is burning down vacant houses. The first house was near a graduation party Lily’s son is attending. Lily witnesses the final house fire herself and may be able to identify the firebug. On top of that Lily is dealing with her mother’s dementia and some tough decisions are going to be made soon. First, though she needs to clear Noley’s name and get her out of jail without becoming another one of the killer’s victims.


I really enjoyed the first book in this series, The Worst Noel, and added this book to my calendar for this week to coincide with the holiday.

Lily and her family are very true to life and deal with issues many of us face. She raised her children on her own and their father has just recently reentered the picture. Her mother is living on her own but her health is truly failing. I love the way her grandchildren step in to help and how close they are, having sleepovers and family meals. They are just as concerned about her as their mom and their uncle.

The one thing that felt a little off is Lily’s business. She does leave her employee in charge a lot as she handles chamber business or chasing down clues, but she also spends an extraordinary time in her office doing paperwork. Her employee is very capable but usually, a small business has the owner covering most of the hours. She must truly have an incredible business to meet all her expenses for both her business and her family and still be able to employ someone more than full-time. Unless I totally missed it she didn’t design any jewelry pieces during this story either.

Now the mystery in this story really had me guessing. Anyone at that event could have been the killer as it was super easy to set up the crime and disappear into the crowd. The same with the firebug. Anyone in town could be starting the fires, even some newly graduated high school students. Lily is pulled in several directions as she tries to sort through the suspects and clues while handling teenagers and her mom and still trying to have a little romance in her life. The author tangles all the events and happenings together superbly giving the book an excellent flow. I was truly surprised by the big reveal and a little sad at the same time.

Dead, White, and Blue was a fun holiday read that helped get me into the spirit for the celebration this weekend. After missing the family get-together last year due to COVID this is our first chance to get our extended clan together. Hopefully, murder won’t play a part in our event and the only firetrucks we will see are in the parade.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

About the Author

Amy M. Reade is the USA Today bestselling author of Secrets of Hallstead House, The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor, and House of the Hanging Jade, all standalone Gothic mysteries. She has also written the Malice series, consisting of three contemporary mysteries set in the United Kingdom (The House on Candlewick Lane, Highland Peril, and Murder in Thistlecross). Ms. Reade is a former attorney living in New Jersey. She loves to read, cook, and travel. ~From Amazon

I am giving away 1 KINDLE Copy!

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This was from my private collection.

Posted in 2021 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Literary Escapes New Release Challenge Purrfect Reading Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Beauty Expos Are Murder (A Poppy McAllister Mystery) by Libby Klein #Review


Beauty Expos Are Murder (A Poppy McAllister Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Setting – New Jersey
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Kensington (June 29, 2021)
Mass Market Paperback ‏ : ‎ 464 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1496733134
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1496733139
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08KKW5HS3

Gluten-free baker Poppy McAllister is about to see the ugly side of beauty expos . . .

Easter weekend on the Jersey Shore is hopping. Poppy’s Bed and Breakfast is busier than ever, but she needs to leave things in the hopefully capable hands of Aunt Ginny—and paws of Figaro the black smoke Persian. She’s selling her paleo muffins and keto cookies at the Health and Beauty Expo in Cape May’s Convention Hall. Normally sharing a booth with the love of her life would be a treat, but she’s recently discovered secrets that throw her new romance into chaos.

But more secrets are about to be exposed at the expo. In his keynote address, prominent cosmetic surgeon Dr. Lance Rubin reveals his breakthrough anti-aging technology. Unfortunately, someone has one-upped him with a truly foolproof anti-aging formula: murder. With the plastic surgeon dead under his own UV mask, and bedlam reigning in the hall and back at the B&B, Poppy needs to follow a twisted trail marked by glowing footprints to unmask a killer . . .

Includes Seven Recipes from Poppy’s Kitchen!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Poppy McAllister is juggling several plates in the air as a Health and Beauty Expo comes to town. Dr. Lance Rubin and his Rubinesque Cosmetic Surgery are the big draws but Gia and Poppy will have a booth featuring her gluten-free desserts. Her Bed & Breakfast is also fully booked and she wants to host a tea on Easter Sunday, plus Aunt Ginny’s birthday is coming up and Poppy hopes to surprise her with a party. She is also going to need to bake goodies to keep the shelves filled at La Dolce Vita which will still be open during the expo. Normally she could handle this all but with her love life in flux, it is hard to work side-by-side with Gia. A recently revealed secret and the arrival of someone from his past has turned her world upside down.

All of Poppy’s concerns fly out the window when Dr. Rubin is murdered at the expo. His death opens up a large group of suspects. Who had the most to gain with the good doctor 6 feet under? Who had the most to lose? Poppy just needs to unmask the real killer without dropping any of those other plates she is juggling.


Beauty Expos are Murder picks up right where Wine Tastings are Murder left off and my heart was breaking for Poppy. She has immerged as a much stronger woman over the course of this series but Gia’s secret sets her back greatly. This story is packed with so many tense moments, I really was amazed how Poppy soldiered on and through them all. Aunt Ginny does play a huge part and that woman is such a hoot. Thanks to her and the new maid at the B&B humor is infused in all the right places. Ms. Klein’s core characters continue to evolve. The new characters she introduces in this story are excellent as well.

The murder mystery is expertly plotted. Poppy gets help from an unlikely source and those escapades never seem to go as planned and delivered a few laughs along the way. The author blends the many subplots in nicely. Sawyer is dealing with something but just won’t open up to her BFF Poppy. There is an unexpected love match at the B&B that was both cute and funny. And Aunt Ginny has hired a new employee at the B&B knowing Poppy would never approve but that just scratches the surface of the antics of Ginny and her friends in this story. One subplot was definitely not funny and I am holding back comments to avoid spoilers but I was very happy with the way that part of the story concluded.

I just love the way Libby Klein writes a story. I know when I open each book there will be a great mystery and captivating drama but that I am going to be laughing out loud more times than I will be able to count. Her sense of comedy is top-notch and she delivers it in spades.

To truly enjoy this series the books should be read from the beginning, in order, because they truly do build from each other. Each story is wonderful in its own right. I do declare every one of them special and a must-read! Beauty Expos Are Murder is a Perfect Escape. It was fun and entertaining and I enjoyed every minute of it.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

You can read my review of Midnight Snacks Are Murder here. 

You can read my review of Restaurant Weeks Are Murder here

You can read my review of Theater Nights Are Murder here.

You can read my review of Wine Tastings Are Murder here.

Libby Klein dabbles in the position of Vice President of a technology company which mostly involves bossing other people around, making spreadsheets, and taking out the trash. She writes culinary cozy mysteries from her Northern Virginia office while trying to keep her cat Figaro off her keyboard.
Author Links – Webpage – Facebook – Twitter – Pinterest  – Cozy Mystery Crew  – GoodReads –  BookBub – Instagram –  Amazon 

 

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

Posted in 2021 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways Literary Escapes New Release Challenge Read The Printed Word Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

It Takes Two to Mango: A Tropical Island Cozy Mystery (Trouble in Paradise!) by Carrie Doyle #Review / #Giveaway @PPPress

Available Today!

It Takes Two to Mango:
A Tropical Island Cozy Mystery
(Trouble in Paradise!)

Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Caribbean Island
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Poisoned Pen Press (June 29, 2021)
Mass Market Paperback ‏ : ‎ 288 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1728232333
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1728232331
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08KHTPFR8

FIRST BOOK IN A BRAND-NEW ISLAND COZY MYSTERY SERIES

It’s all fun in the sun until there’s a murder in paradise

Looking for an escape to the Caribbean? Check out this new series:

  • Great beach read
  • Perfect for fans of Ellery Adams and Vicki Delany
  • For readers of mysteries set in paradise

After Plum Lockhart’s job as a travel magazine editor is eliminated in corporate cuts, she decides she’s sick of cold winters in NYC and fruitless swiping on dating apps—what she needs is a dramatic change of scenery. On a whim, she accepts a job as a villa broker and moves to a beautiful Caribbean island.

However, paradise isn’t as perfect as it seems: the slow pace of island life, the language barrier, and a cutthroat office rival make Plum question leaving her old life behind. But when a client is found dead in the jacuzzi of Casa Mango—a property Plum manages—she knows she’s really in a jam. With a killer loose on the island Plum will have to deal with a stonewalling police chief, a string of baffling clues, and a handsome Director of Security to solve this deadly case!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

The bottom drops out of Plum Lockhart’s life when the travel magazine she works for goes belly up. After she fails to land a job at any other New York magazine she decides to leave the cold weather behind and take a job on the Caribbean Island of Paraiso as a village broker. Thinking it would a vacation in paradise until she could find a new position back in the states she arrives to find she may have made a grave mistake. She is used to the pressures and fast pace of New York and island life is all about relaxation. The fact that she doesn’t speak the language doesn’t help either.

Her first task is to rent out Casa Mango for the holiday weekend. She assumes the place hasn’t rented due to the state of the place so she authorizes some updates and cleaning and rents the place out. Sadly, one of her clients is found dead soon after his arrival and she finds herself in hot water. Murder is not a popular thing in paradise so Plum finds herself pitted against the police chief. The resort’s Director of Security is very helpful and he’s pretty easy on the eyes too. Now she just needs to catch a killer before she is forced off the island by her very unhappy employer.


Plum Lockhart would be labeled a high-maintenance woman by many. She is very confident and has a high opinion of her abilities. She is totally unlikeable and very selfish. She is definitely not made for island life. She meets a similar co-worker who is just as arrogant and high maintenance and I disliked him more than I disliked Plum. After meeting him I was cheering for her. She does receive some good advice that doesn’t really take hold until late in the story. She is still far from perfect but I have hope she continues to improve as the series continues.

The author introduces several island residents and guests and almost all are shady in some way. I really liked Security Director Juan Kevin Munoz. His interactions with Plum are totally entertaining. The man had tons of patience but that could come from the laid-back lifestyle he has lived his whole life. He is smart and fun to be around and I am excited to see what develops between him and Plum.

The mystery laid out by Ms. Doyle was very well plotted and written and there were a ton of suspects. Plum works hard to pin the suspects down but really needs Juan Kevin’s help because he knew the lay of the land and many of the people involved. Several had secrets that made them look guilty and it took a lot of digging to get to the big ah-ha moment when things come into focus.

Let’s face it, an island paradise is the perfect setting for a cozy mystery series. New characters can be introduced in each new story while the core characters continue to develop and grow stronger. Plum makes a great decision at the end that has me anxiously awaiting to see what Ms. Dolye has in store for her protagonist and the residents of Paraiso and all the visitors that come to the island. You can only have so many dead bodies before tourism takes a hit but I see many more exciting adventures in Plum’s future. Trouble in Paradise can be very entertaining for mystery lovers. This book has set this series off to a great start.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

About Carrie Doyle

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

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

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

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

Website

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.”

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Cozy Wednesday featuring Framed and Frosted (Cupcake Catering Mystery Series) by Kim Davis #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @Kookiesandbooks

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am so excited to share my thoughts today about Framed and Frosted!


Framed and Frosted (Cupcake Catering Mystery Series)
by Kim Davis

About Framed and Frosted


Framed and Frosted (Cupcake Catering Mystery Series)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – California
Publisher: Cinnamon & Sugar Press (June 22, 2021)
Number of Pages: 323
Digital ASIN: B092W8TKCC

Framed and Frosted, the third book in the Cupcake Catering Mystery series, finds cupcake caterer, Emory Martinez, working at a Laguna Beach society Fourth of July soiree, with her sister and their new employee, Sal. With a host that seems intent on accosting both catering employees and guests alike, things go from bad to worse when he accuses Sal of murdering his long-dead son.

 

As the crescendo of exploding fireworks overhead becomes the backdrop for cupcakes and champagne, a deadly murder occurs. Can Sal and Emory explain why the cupcake the host ate, after shoving a trayful of buttercream frosted cupcakes onto Sal, resulted in his death? Or will the guests and detective alike believe that Sal is a murderer? Emory and her octogenarian employer, Tillie, whip into action to find out who framed Sal after being frosted by the victim.

 

Includes recipes!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Fireworks fly and a body drops when Emory Martinez and her twin sister, Carrie cater an Independence Day event for some Laguna Beach Elite. The Jorgensen’s are high maintenance clients but Carrie is working hard to rebuild her business so she bites her tongue and endures what they dish out, even when Mr. Jorgensen is drunk and manhandling her sister and wrongly accusing her new employee, Sal of murdering his son. Mrs. Jorgensen and their “bodyguard” Tiny do try to keep the man under control but it is an impossible task.

Things get totally out of control when the dessert of Emory’s cupcakes is served. Sal is covered in frosting and Arthur Jorgensen is dead on the ground. The police arrive and Sal is quickly accused of the murder and arrested. Carrie and Emory know he has been framed so Emory taps her octogenarian employer, Tillie to help her prove it and corner the real killer. Now she just has to stay alive long enough to make that happen.


Family drama and Jorgensen drama collide and murder and mayhem rule supreme before this amazing mystery draws to a close.

The story is filled with great characters. I absolutely love Tillie. She may be in her 80’s but that woman has stamina I wish I had and connections Emory needs. The way these ladies team-up is heartwarming and sometimes hair raising. They are true friends and care for each other dearly. They really lean on each other as they endure some heartbreaking and harrowing events. Carrie is struggling with motherhood and it is portrayed realistically, no sugar coating here. I did enjoy the introduction of a new detective for this story. Another strong woman with some baggage brought a lot to the story and shook things up in several ways. All the characters are as complex as the mystery they are wrapped up in and I love knowing they have more room to grow in future stories.

As I said the mystery is complex with a lot of moving pieces. I was really upset that Sal was railroaded, a clear case of racial profiling and rich white privilege but knowing he had Tillie and Emory fighting for him gave me a little solace. At least he was just arrested and the event wasn’t escalated as it could have been these days. I admire the author for using a hot topic for this book. I also enjoyed the way she blended happenings in Tillie’s family and the murder mystery while keeping it real with everyday life things as well. There was a frightening moment for Emory’s dog Piper that had my blood pressure rising too.  To say there were twists and turns is an understatement. Hang on tight, this story will rock you from beginning to end.

Ms. Davis also excels at world-building. Each and every setting and activity was so easily seen in my mind’s eye. From the cupcakes flying to breakfast in Tillie’s kitchen to the exciting ending, everything was crystal clear.

Kim Davis continues to exceed my expectations and top herself. My only issue is the books don’t come with free samples. BUT they do come with recipes. I really need to learn to bake up some cupcakes before I start reading. The cravings definitely become real as soon as Emory mixes up a batch. The author also includes some savory recipes too.

Each story in this series has been excellent. I recommend reading them in order. Last year Cake Popped Off was a Best Read of 2020 for me and received my Paradise Rating. Again, I am shouting from the rooftops! This Is A Must-Read Mystery!  Framed and Frosted receives my Paradise Rating and will be on my Best Read of 2021 list! Kim Davis is an awesome storyteller and her books are amazing treats that should not be missed!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Kim Davis

Kim Davis lives in Southern California with her husband. When she’s not spending time with her granddaughters she can be found either writing stories or working on her blog, Cinnamon, Sugar, and a Little Bit of Murder or in the kitchen baking up yummy treats.  She has published the suspense novel, A GAME OF DECEIT, and cozy mystery, SPRINKLES OF SUSPICION and CAKE POPPED OFF. She also has had several children’s articles published in Cricket, Nature Friend, Skipping Stones, and the Seed of Truth magazines. Kim Davis is a member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime.

Author Links – Website  – Facebook  – Twitter: – Goodreads  – PinterestBlog

Purchase Links: Amazon 

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Written as K.A. Davis

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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 2021 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Literary Escapes Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Open for Murder (A Happy Camper Mystery) by Mary Angela #Review


Open for Murder (A Happy Camper Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – South Dakota
Publisher: Lyrical Press (November 24, 2020)
Paperback: 207 pages
ISBN-10: 1516110722
ISBN-13: 978-1516110728
Digital ASIN: B085LTP1XH

Deep in the heart of touristy small-town Spirit Canyon, South Dakota, former journalist Zo Jones runs the Happy Camper gift shop, where she sells everything from locally made souvenirs to memorabilia. She even rents out mountain bikes, and dabbles in the adventure industry—and sleuthing . . .

It’s Memorial Day weekend in Spirit Canyon, and for Zo that means the return of summer shoppers. It also means the return of her good friend Beth, who’s moved back to the area to reopen her family’s premier hotel, Spirit Canyon Lodge. Beth and Zo spent many childhood summers there and Zo can’t wait to reconnect and celebrate the Grand Opening. But the festivities go from bad to worse when a power outage knocks out the lights—and morning reveals a competitor’s dead body found on the premises . . .

Soon enough, Beth is the prime suspect in the suspicious death. Fortunately, Zo isn’t afraid to put her investigative skills to work and prove her friend’s innocence. To start digging for information, she appeals to Max Harrington, a local Forest Ranger and unlikely ally. Though they’ve argued about Happy Camper’s tours, in this case they agree on one thing: Beth isn’t a murderer. Stranger things have happened than their collaboration. After all, this is Spirit Canyon. But as the list of suspects grows, Zo will have to keep her guard up if she doesn’t want to be the next lodge guest to check out . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Summer means tourists in Spirit Canyon, South Dakota. For Zo Jones and her friend Beth it means business. Zo is excited about Beth reopening the family’s hotel and can’t wait to attend the grand opening. But there is one person who wants Beth to fail and the person is found dead in her room at the hotel the morning after the grand opening event. The deceased is Beth’s competition so she is pegged as the prime suspect in the suspicious death. Zo is not a Happy Camper, she knows Beth is innocent and she is going to prove it unless the killer ends Zo’s summer early.


After a somewhat slow start Open for Murder takes off as we meet several characters including the victim. With her crotchety disposition, you just knew she was not going to be around long so her death wasn’t a surprise. What was a surprise was the number of suspects. I enjoyed the way Zo delved into the investigation and that she enlisted Forest Ranger Max Harrington to help her. I found the chief of police very offputting and lackadaisical about the entire situation. While some suspect’s motives were minor there were some that definitely should have been higher on the list than Beth. I loved that Beth kept going with her plans even with the murder being held over her head. The core characters of Beth, Zo, and Max were very likable but I want to know them better. The author has left plenty of room for them to grow and develop. I did find that Zo’s cat just tolerated her made me laugh. It is above and beyond the usual independence of a cat.

The mystery was very well-plotted. I had my own shortlist and was pleased that I followed the clues correctly and solved the mystery just before the characters. The reveal was great!

As with the author’s previous series, this series is set in South Dakota and she does a fantastic job bringing the area to life. It has been several years since I have traveled to the state and her descriptions invoked some nice memories and make me want to plan a return trip soon.

Open for Murder has set this series off to a grand start. As I said these characters have so much room to grow. I can’t wait to see where the author takes them in the future. I  am excited about the continuation of this series.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

Mary Angela is the author of the Professor Prather and Happy Camper cozy mystery series. When Mary isn’t penning heartwarming whodunits, she’s teaching, reading, traveling, or spending time with her family. She lives in South Dakota with her husband, daughters, and spoiled pets. You can find out more about her loves, including her writing, at MaryAngelaBooks.com.

Author Links 

Website       Facebook        Twitter      Goodreads     Instagram

Coming July 13, 2021

Also by Mary Angela

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 2021 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge Wisconsin Author Wisconsin Setting You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – Shots in the Dark (Mack’s Bar Mysteries) by Allyson K. Abbott #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.


Shots in the Dark (Mack’s Bar Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Setting – Wisconsin
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Kensington (July 26, 2016)
Mass Market Paperback ‏ : ‎ 352 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1496701704
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1496701701
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B017G7HDZE

For Mack and her barfly allies, solving homicides calls for equal parts instinct and wit. To strain out a crafty criminal, the mixture has got to be absolutely perfect . . .

It’s a week before Christmas, but Milwaukee bar owner Mackenzie “Mack” Dalton is hardly in good spirits. Chilled to the core by the murder of bouncer Gary Gunderson, Mack is determined to use her extra perceptive senses to identify the gunman responsible. Did Gary’s patchy past brew up some fatal trouble, or could his death be linked to a series of cryptic letters concocted by Mack’s anonymous adversary? With a second case to crack, innocent lives at stake, and a media frenzy in their midst, Mack and her barstool detectives have little time to mull over the grim details—especially when clues lead dangerously close to home . . .

Includes drink recipes!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Mack’s holiday is not going to be happy until she ends the letter writer’s reign of terror and they are held responsible for the death of her employee Gary Gunderson. While she awaits the next letter and nurses her broken leg she and her fellow barstool detectives agree to look into another case where an innocent man may be serving time for a crime he didn’t commit. Can her unique gift of Synaesthesia help break the case wide open?


What I love about this series is the cast of characters the author has created. Everyone has Mack’s back. Her employees keep the bar running while she sleuths out killers. Her relationship with Detective Duncan Albright is in flux because of a case they worked together and the letter-writing criminal has forbidden her to be in contact with the police specifically Detective Albright but they still manage a few meetings. Undercover cop Mal is posing as her boyfriend to help her with both cases but they are clearly developing feelings for each other. The Capone Club, a group of patrons that love to solve mysteries work so well together even when this time a new person is added to the group. Every character is distinct and has a purpose in the story. Their unique talents are used in many ways. They are also very believable and you could find people like them in any Wisconsin bar. They may not all have a group like the one at Mack’s bar but gossip, crime, and current news can all be topics mused over with a shot and a beer.

The mysteries included in this story are gripping. I was really taken in by the Capone Club’s case because I could poke holes in the police investigation immediately. Investigating a crime that takes place during a Wisconsin blizzard is tough but anyone could see they jumped to several conclusions not supported by the evidence. Right alongside that case, Mack is working tirelessly to solve the case she is personally involved in so another one of her friends doesn’t end up dead. This case has unfolded over the course of the series so it is good to read the prior books in order to understand everything but the author does a great job of recapping the highlights in each new book.

Having the series set nearby is an absolute delight especially when my current place of residence is mentioned several times in the story due to the correctional facility just down the road. It is easy to imagine Mack there visiting one or more of the residents using her personal method of lie detection.

Shots in the Dark was a gripping story but only one mystery is solved by the final page. There are also some romantic issues up in the air and I am starting to support one cop over the other so I am very interested in what will happen next. I am thankful that the next book in this series is on my To-Be-Read shelf and I will be jumping into A Toast to Murder soon.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

Allyson K. Abbott is a pseudonym used by suspense writer Beth Amos. Beth has enjoyed a varied writing career that included a stint as a book reviewer and several years of nonfiction freelancing. Now she writes only fiction, and in stark contrast to her “day job” as an ER nurse, where she gets to save lives, the one common factor in her fiction, no matter what name it’s written under, is that someone always dies. Allyson K. Abbott is my little insider joke at having to pick yet another pseudonym. It’s not a coincidence the initials are what they are.  Check out her webpage here and on Facebook here.

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