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

A Brush with Murder: A Paint by Murder Mystery by Bailee Abbott #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @crookedlanebks


A Brush with Murder: A Paint by Murder Mystery
by Bailee Abbott

About A Brush With Murder


A Brush with Murder: A Paint by Murder Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – New York
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Crooked Lane Books (October 12, 2021)
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 320 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1643857746
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1643857749
Digital – ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08SVXS4J3

A quiet lakeside town in western New York state is the new home of Manhattan artist Chloe Abbington and the backdrop for murder in this series debut by Bailee Abbott.

For Chloe Abbington, the transition from a fine art painter in New York City to a painting-event business owner in charming Whisper Cove is more than a little jarring. But when poison-pen journalist Fiona Gimble writes a viciously negative review of the newly opened Paint with a View, Chloe learns that critics are the same everywhere. And when she finds Fiona’s body behind her shop with a painting knife in her neck, Chloe realizes that this picture-perfect town offers anything but peace and quiet.

Suddenly, bustling Artisan Alley is a crime scene, and Chloe is the prime suspect. Her sister and business partner, Izzie, isn’t much help–she’s busy running the shop, and besides, she has secrets of her own. As shrewd Detective Barrett tries to paint her into a corner, Chloe soon finds that Fiona had plenty of enemies. The Whisper Cove Gazette columnist wielded her pen like a sword, slicing and dicing just about every shop owner in the lakeside town.

Chloe sets out to prove that she’s been framed for Fiona’s murder. But she’d better learn the fine art of detection quickly before the real killer paints the town red again. Otherwise, she may end up trading in her paint smock for an orange jumpsuit…or a green burial plot.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Chloe Abbington has returned to Whisper Cove to help her sister open her new business, Paint with a View, a painting event shop. Chloe isn’t sure when or if she will return to New York, right now she is just going to do her best to make her sister Izzie’s shop a success.

Journalist Fiona Gimble is not a nice person. She has negatively reviewed almost every place in Whisper Cove and enjoyed doing so. Izzie tried to do the right thing by inviting Fiona to her opening night event. Instead, the woman flung one-liners at Chloe during the event and stated she doesn’t know when she will run the article about Izzie’s shop as she hightails it out the door.

As Chloe finishes cleaning up she goes to take the trash out to the dumpster and finds a very dead Fiona Gimble with a painting knife in her neck. Of course, Chloe is the prime suspect, but she really doesn’t have much history with the victim. She needs to convince Detective Barrett there are plenty of other viable suspects while working to clear her name too. The only thing Chloe would want to be framed is her artwork, not herself for a crime she didn’t commit.


In Brush with Murder, author Bailee Abbott introduces us to Chloe, Izzie, and her parents along with Izzie’s employee Willow and some other friends. I really enjoyed meeting Chloe. She really puts her sister’s interests first. Willow is also a hard worker which is a good thing because Izzie’s interests are clearly divided giving me a negative feeling about her. She pushes a lot off onto Chloe’s shoulders and not the way I would expect someone to act when opening their dream business. Some of the tasks Izzie’s came up with to promote her business felt off too, but those issues were minor. Their parents seem to be the quirky characters a mystery like this needs. Mom is pretty set in her ways and Dad is the cuddly guy that tries to smooth everything out. A surprise appearance by Chloe’s ex shakes up the story in a fun way. I felt the author did a nice job of presenting the core characters, but I hope Izzie grows quickly as the other characters evolve at a reasonable pace. Check out the cute puppy on the cover. That is Chloe’s dog Max, lovable from the very start.

The mystery was complicated by the victim’s own actions. She was a ruthless individual leading to a vast number of suspects in her death. The author drops some clear clues but it took me some time to catch on. When I did my thinking was still diverted by some turns and twists perfectly placed by the author. By the end, the guilty party was at the top of my personal suspect list but there were a couple of others still on the list too. I think Ms. Abbott penned a very interesting mystery that kept me on my toes.

The event painting theme was fun. I really liked the painting your pets event and would love to do something like that for my own pets. It seemed to be set up for novice painters which I truly am.

Brush with Murder was a really good first installment for this series. I hope Izzie grows on me in the next installment because I truly like the other characters and think the series has a lot of potential.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Bailee Abbott

Bailee Abbott is a native Ohioan who spends her days plotting murder and writing mysteries. She’s a member of Sisters in Crime as well as of International Thriller Writers. Bailee lives with her husband and furry friend Max in the quiet suburbs of Green, Ohio. Visits to Bemus Point, a town along the Chautauqua Lake in southwest New York inspired the setting for the PAINT BY MURDER mystery series. She also writes the SIERRA PINES B&B mystery series under the name Kathryn Long.

Author Links

 Author Website   Facebook Page     Twitter    Goodreads  

Purchase Links

Amazon     Barnes & Noble    Kobo      Apple  

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Great Escapes Praise for A Brush with Murder: A Paint by Murder Mystery
by Bailee Abbott

A Brush with Murder transports readers to Whisper Cove where there is a wrathful departed reporter, pleasurable paint projects, shop owner suspects, a cuddly canine, a determined detective, a bothersome ex-beau, and a curious Chloe.
~The Avid Reader

I loved the characters and the backdrop of painting was so entertaining.
~Moonlight Rendezvous

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October 17 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
October 18 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
October 19 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
October 19 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
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October 20 – Books a Plenty 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 TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – Howloween Murder (A Melanie Travis Mystery) by Laurien Berenson #Review / #Giveaway #KensingtonCozies @KensingtonBooks

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.


Howloween Murder (A Melanie Travis Mystery)
Cozy Wednesday
26th in Series
Setting – Connecticut
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Kensington (August 25, 2020)
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 208 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1496730577
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1496730572
Paperback ‏(August 24, 2021) : ‎ 192 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1496730585
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1496730589
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B082WRWK5X

As the town of Greenwich, Connecticut, counts down to a spooky celebration on October 31st, a horrifying murder leaves Melanie Travis pawing for clues in a hair-raising game of trick-or-treat . . .

With just a few days left before Halloween, everyone at Howard Academy is anticipating the guaranteed sugar high they’ll experience from gorging on Harriet Bloom’s famous marshmallow puffs. The school’s annual costume party revolves around the headmaster’s assistant and her seemingly supernatural batches of gooey goodies. So, it’s a shock when Harriet’s elderly neighbor is suddenly found dead with the beloved dessert in his hand.

Melanie knows her tenured colleague would never intentionally serve cyanide-laced puffs to a defenseless old man. But as explosive neighborhood gossip reveals a potential culprit, it also brings her closer to sealing her own doom. Because on an evening ruled by masked revelers, Halloween might just be the perfect opportunity for a cold-hearted killer to get away with murder once again—this time sending a nosy, unsuspecting sleuth to an early grave!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Howard Academy is getting ready for their annual Halloween costume party complete with the headmaster’s secretary’s marshmallow puffs. Harriet Bloom has been providing the treats for years and she even shares them with her neighbors. Everyone looks forward to these delightful puffs of marshmallows. But this year the treats appear to be the vehicle used to poison her elderly neighbor, Ralph Penders. So while everyone knows Harriet wouldn’t poison anyone the police have confiscated all the puffs made for the party.

Melanie is worried Harriet may be convicted of a crime she didn’t commit so she agrees to collect the marshmallow puffs from Harriet’s neighbors while trying to find out more about Mr. Penders and who may have wanted him dead. But not everyone is anxious to answer her questions. She may have even put herself on the killer’s radar sealing her own howloween fate.


I do love visiting Melanie, Sam, Davey, Kevin, Aunt Peg, and all their dogs. Faith is truly a special poodle, I love her empathic nature and the way she helps with Melanie’s students. I also love the relationship between Sam and Melanie. They truly are a perfect match and their love just shines in every interaction. Aunt Peg played a smaller role in this story but she does play a huge role for a special family. Almost all the characters Ms. Berenson creates are genuine and true to life. Even the dogs each have their own personalities, strengths, and weaknesses. Of course, she has to create a few people as suspects with questionable traits but she gives them layers to work through to reach their motives. I will say my heart was touched by the elderly victim and his circumstances.

I really enjoyed the Halloween theme as a background to the mystery. While Kevin tries to decide on a Halloween costume and she continues to work with her students Melanie divides her time up to include questioning likely suspects. The author blends it all together with a balanced hand. She drops the clues and inserts twists like the pro she is. I found myself leaning toward a certain character but it sure was fun to follow Melanie along step by step as she honed in on the killer and proved me right.

You really can’t go wrong with any book in this series. All are well-plotted and written. The characters are easy to become invested in too. The author does write each book to be read on its own so you can jump in anywhere. Howloween Murder was a fun and entertaining read perfect for this time of year. It was a howling good time.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About This Author

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

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

THE REST OF THE SERIES

I am giving away 1 Kindle copy!
The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old.
Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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*This was a book I purchased from Amazon / from my private collection.

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

Cozy Wednesday featuring Deep Green Envy (Deep Lakes Cozy Mystery Series) by Joy Ann Ribar #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour


Deep Green Envy (Deep Lakes Cozy Mystery Series)
by Joy Ann Ribar

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am very happy to feature Deep Green Envy today!

About Deep Green Envy

Deep Green Envy (Deep Lakes Cozy Mystery Series)
Cozy Mystery
Setting – Wisconsin
3rd in Series
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Ten16 Press (September 21, 2021)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 344 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1645382931
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1645382935
Digital Print length ‏ : ‎ 226 pages
ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09CMX8S6W

Summer in Deep Lakes sprouts a homegrown murder on the O’Connor farm. Frankie Champagne’s hunt for clues lands her deep in sheep doo-doo, especially after rare stones surface in unexpected places. Crime-solving is no picnic for the baker/vintner as she hops from farm to field to bakery, trying to keep up with the tourist season and track a killer, too.

Dollycas’s Thoughts – Review Coming Soon! 

About Joy Ann Ribar

Joy Ann Ribar lives in central Wisconsin with her business partner-husband, John. She writes the Deep Lakes Mystery Series, starring baker/vinter and all-around spitfire, Frankie Champagne. Joy’s writing is inspired by Wisconsin’s four distinct seasons and local flavors, which she hopes to promote for all to enjoy.

Joy is a member of Sisters in Crime, Midwest Independent Booksellers, and Wisconsin Writers Association.  She enjoys researching viticulture at area wineries, birding, hiking, and chatting with readers.  Joy and her husband, John, someday plan to sell their house, buy an RV and travel around the U.S. spreading good cheer and hygge! Joy is a little proud to have two bestsellers with Orange Hat Publishing: Deep Dark Secrets (2019) and Deep Bitter Roots (2020), under the Ten16 Press imprint of Orange Hat.

Author Links 

Purchase Links – AmazonB&N

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS
October 4 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
October 4 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
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October 6 – Reading Authors Network – RECIPE
October 6 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
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October 7 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
October 8 – Ascroft, eh? – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
October 8 – I Read What You Write – GUEST POST
October 9 – Literary Gold – CHARACTER GUEST POST
October 9 – Here’s How It Happened – SPOTLIGHT
October 10 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
October 10 – Cozy Up With Kathy – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
October 11 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – SPOTLIGHT
October 11 – Novels Alive – REVIEW
October 12 – My Journey Back – CHARACTER GUEST POST
October 12 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
October 12 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
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October 13 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – 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 Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – Verse and Vengeance: A Magical Bookshop Mystery by Amanda Flower #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.


Verse and Vengeance: A Magical Bookshop Mystery
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Setting – New York
Crooked Lane Books (December 10, 2019)
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 320 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1643851519
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1643851518
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 336 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1643856812
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1643856810
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B07NTYQQM4

With the help of Walt Whitman’s works, magical bookshop owner Violet Waverly puts her pedal to the metal to sleuth a bicycle-race murder that tests her mettle.

A bicycle race is not Charming Books proprietor Violet Waverly’s idea of a pleasant pastime. But police chief David Rainwater wheelie wants them to enter the Tour de Cascade as a couple, so she reluctantly consents.

The Tour de Cascade is the brainchild of Violet’s Grandma Daisy. The race is a fundraiser to build the Cascade Springs Underground Railroad Museum. But not everyone in this Niagara Region village supports the race. As if the bike race weren’t tiring enough, pesky private investigator Joel Redding is snooping around Charming Books. It takes all of Violet’s and Grandma Daisy’s ingenuity to keep Redding from discovering the shop’s magical essence–which communicates with Violet through books.

When Redding perishes in an accident during the race, David discovers that the brake line of the private eye’s bike was cut. Worse, Violet tops his list of suspects. As Emerson the tuxedo cat and resident crow Faulkner look on, Charming Books steers Violet to the works of Walt Whitman to solve the crime. But no other names ring a bell as culprits, and as David’s investigation picks up speed, Violet will have to get in gear to clear her name.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

We arrive in Cascade Springs just in time for the Tour de Cascade. The bike race is a fundraiser to raise funds to build an Underground Railroad Museum. It is one of the grand ideas of Mayor Daisy aka Grandma Daisy to Violet Waverly, caretaker of the magical Charming Books. Violet hadn’t planned on participating but her boyfriend police chief David Rainwater wants them to ride the course together. She just hopes she can make it the whole way.

As if keeping up with David wasn’t hard enough Private Investigator Joel Redding is making a nuisance of himself by riding right by her trying to take her picture. He has been outside the bookshop for days spying on her too. He is convinced there is something strange going on in the shop and if he discovers what it is he will have a cash windfall spreading the news. Violet and Grandma Daisy are determined to keep their secret especially from the likes of a man like Joel Redding.

In the last bit of the race a man crashes and dies. That man turns out to be Joel Redding and David notices the brake lines on the bike were cut, Someone wanted this man to get hurt and maybe even die and that person got their wish. Sadly, Violet finds herself on that list of suspects. So she has to do something to clear her name. Hopefully, the Essense will be able to help and point her in the right direction.


I am not a fan of Walt Whitman but I am a huge fan of Amanda Flower so I was happy to finally read this book.

I love everything about Charming Books including the mischievous tuxedo cat Emerson and the staunch crow Faulkner. It is the place where the right book will find you. And when it does there are plenty of places to curl up with it and start reading. The tree growing in the middle of the shop guards over the books and gives Faulkner a great place to perch and invoke his wisdom. I am sure if I was ever blessed to enter the shop I would read book after book and never leave.

Ms. Flower has created characters that have a lot of layers and it is nice to see them revealed slowly over the course of the series. Grandma Daisy is a woman on a mission and she will not stop until she succeeds. She is truly a force to be reckoned with, sometimes a little too bull in the china shop but her heart is always in the right place. With Daisy taking on the responsibility of the mayor’s office, Violet has realized she must take the job of caretaker of the shop on fully and learn truly what that job entails. I was thrilled that we learned more about the bookshop’s history. With the murder to investigate and all the summer tourists coming soon, she brings in college professor Richard to take some hours. He has no idea of the magic within the walls but the Essence sure helps him make some wonderful discoveries. Police Chief David Rainwater and Violet don’t get to spend a lot of time together but he knows she is hiding something so their relationship is not just sailing along.

The mystery was well-crafted. At first, I was a little frustrated that a key individual keep disappearing but then I accepted it and like Violet was worried. Walt Whitman’s connection was interesting but I do not enjoy his poetry. Seeing Violet’s frustrations at trying to figure out the clues took me back to the English classes where we studied his works and my frustration and trying to decipher his words for a grade. I passed that section by the skin of my teeth just like I figured out this mystery. I was totally in the dark and solved it when the reveal hit me in the face. LOL

I do love this series and can’t believe I had not read this book when it was released. I truly thought I had until I checked all my lists and saw it was still on my To-Be-Read list. I am so glad that I have now corrected that oversight.

Verse and Vengeance was a delightful way to spend two evenings. I couldn’t wait to get done with work each day so I could escape into this story. No spoiler but the ending made me smile and really excited for the next book in the series. Due to my delay in reading this one I don’t have as long to wait. Crimes and Covers will be out on January 11, 2022.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

About This Author

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

Author Links:

Website  Pen Name Website     Facebook    Twitter    Goodreads    Pinterest


Coming January 11, 2022

Also by Amanda Flower




Coming November 30, 2021



Amish Quilt Shop Mystery Series (writing as Isabella Alan)

I am giving away 1 Kindle copy!
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 Following My Facebook Fan Page.

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

Contest Will End October 22, 2021, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
The 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 New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Spilled Milk (Barks & Beans Cafe Cozy Mystery) by Heather Day Gilbert #Review


Spilled Milk (Barks & Beans Cafe Cozy Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Setting – West Virginia
‎WoodHaven Press (April 7, 2021)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 220 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1735565148
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1735565149
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08JS228FZ

Welcome to the Barks & Beans Cafe, a quaint place where folks pet shelter dogs while enjoying a cup of java…and where murder sometimes pays a visit.

The fall flea market has arrived in Macy’s small mountain town, and she’s taking a day off work to check out the local wares. As she and her Great Dane, Coal, wander through the booths, Macy’s more than a little taken aback to discover that her enigmatic tattooed barista, Kylie, is selling antique weapons at the event. She’s even more shocked when Coal sniffs out a dead body…and the man appears to have been struck down by one of Kylie’s swords.

As rumors begin to circulate, the Barks & Beans Cafe also takes a hit. Customers are reluctant to order their mochas from a murderess. Macy stands by her employee, but even she believes there’s a whole lot more to Kylie’s history than the woman lets on. To make matters worse, Macy’s brother Bo is out of the country, leaving the cafe’s future in her hands.

And then her ex-husband Jake shows up, begging to make amends.

With the past rearing its ugly head, Macy has to ignore Jake’s distractions, appease the angst of her nervous customers, and convince Kylie to trust her, all before an elusive killer strikes again.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Macy had planned a quiet day for herself and her Great Dane Coal checking out the wares at the local flea market. She is totally surprised to see her barista, Kylie, has a booth selling antique weapons. After visiting with her for a few minutes she moves on to a few more booths and then wanders into the antique car show. She is almost run over by a guy in a hoodie going somewhere in a hurry. As she ventured further into the car show Coal starts to whine and pulled Macy toward one of the cars. When she peered through the windows she noticed something in the backseat. She quickly figured out it was a person . . . a very dead person . . . with a bloody sword stuck in his back.

Could Kylie be involved in the death? The sword looks like one she had at her booth. She is high on the police suspect list and people are hearing rumors. So much so that customers are avoiding Kylie at Barks and Beans. They have a big event coming up at the cafe and with her brother Bo out of town she needs all hands on deck. She also has a huge thorn in her side, her ex-husband has come to town to make amends but she is sure he is up to something.

So Macy has a lot of things brewing in her life. The cafe, her ex, and the murder. Can the killer be caught before more blood is spilled?


I am so captivated by this series and its characters.  Macy and Bo have a strong bond. In this installment, though he is away on a secret assignment. More little crystals of knowledge about his other job are dropped in this story.  I was happy he could check in with Macy a few times by phone. She was comforted by those calls and didn’t mention the murder but he does have other sources. Macy did an excellent job of keeping everything running at the cafe. Her employees are well-trained and she trusts them which gives them the confidence to do their jobs well. Kylie though is a tough nut to crack but Macy worked hard to bring down some walls. Meeting her sister answered many questions.

Of course, there are some 4 legged characters too. The lovable Coal stole my heart a long time ago. Summer brings in a group of pups each day in hopes they will be adopted. The success rate has been really good. The exception being Waffles, a unique dog that has been placed and returned several times. It was nice to see him again in this story and this time might just be the charm. Bo’s kitten is staying with Macy while Bo is out of town and he is none too happy about it.

This mystery was excellent. The body count does rise and there are twists on top of twists. I was pulled deeply into the story honing in on a few suspects but I was wrong, wrong, wrong. The ending was very exciting, I truly was on the edge of my seat.

Heather Day Gilbert wraps her awesome characters in a story with a perfect balance of intrigue, drama, romance, and humor. Spilled Milk is a great addition to this series. I do recommend you read them all in order but each story is written to stand on its own. The next book in this series, Trouble Brewing will be released on October 18.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Heather Day Gilbert 

Award-winning novelist Heather Day Gilbert enjoys writing mysteries and Viking historicals. She brings authentic family relationships to the page, and she particularly delights in heroines who take a stand to protect those they love. Avid readers say Heather’s realistic characters—no matter what century—feel like best friends. When she’s not plotting stories, this native West Virginia gal can often be found hanging out with her husband and four children, playing video games, or reading Agatha Christie novels.

 

Author Links – Website – Facebook Author Page  – Bookbub  – Goodreads

Twitter@heatherdgilbert    Instagram: @heatherdaygilbert

The Barks & Beans Cafe cozy mystery series in order:
Book 1: No Filter
Book 2: Iced Over
Book 3: Fair Trade
Book 4: Spilled Milk
Book 5: Trouble Brewing
Book 6: Cold Drip


Also by Heather Day Gilbert


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 You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday featuring A Perfect Bind (A Beloved Bookroom Mystery) by Dorothy St. James #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am excited to share my thoughts with
you about A Perfect Bind. 


A Perfect Bind (A Beloved Bookroom Mystery)
by Dorothy St. James

About A Perfect Bind


A Perfect Bind (A Beloved Bookroom Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – South Carolina
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Berkley (September 28, 2021)
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 304 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0593098609
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0593098608
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08SJLRBJN

Librarian Tru Beckett, ardent defender of the printed word, is about to find out that keeping murder checked out of her beloved library is much harder than she thought…

Tru Beckett succeeded in building a secret book room in her now bookless library, where book lovers from lovely Cypress, South Carolina, can rejoice in the printed word. Now she’s working hard to maintain the little library downstairs while keeping her “real job” upstairs in the bookless technology center. The last thing she needs is a mysterious vandal who seems intent on breaking into her secret book-filled sanctuary and creating chaos. The nasty interloper doesn’t steal anything, but brutalizes the books, damaging them and knocking them off shelves.

A patron of the secret book room tells Tru that there have been creepy goings-on at the library for years, especially in the basement where the secret book room is located. He’s heard rumors of a poltergeist that haunts the library, determined to scare off readers. Tru is certain it’s hogwash, but she’s at a loss to think of who might be vandalizing the beautiful books she fought so hard to protect. And when a dead body shows up right behind the library, Tru is certain that it’s not a ghost but a cold-blooded killer that she and her trusty tabby Dewey Decimal will need to uncover.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

The shock of a bookless library that held me captive in the first book, The Broken Spine is gone, but the disappointment of it still runs through my veins. All this new technology can co-exist with print versions of the books. I am happy Librarian Tru Becket was able to hide away several boxes of books meant for the dumpster and that she could set up the secret book room in the basement. Sadly that book room is in peril. The peril of being found out by Mrs. Farnsworth, the head librarian, and in peril of a vandal who is destroying the books and generally trashing the room.  It has Tru and other patrons up in arms. One patron even believes it is a poltergeist that has been haunting the library for years. Tru believes it is someone looking for something and is getting angrier and angrier that they can’t find it.

To make matters worse someone has killed local car mechanic Owen Maynard. The drunkard has been a thorn in Mrs. Farnsworth’s side for years. He would drink to excess and then park his truck in the alleyway behind the library to sleep it off. No one would ever think she would kill him. And he did upset a lot of people by fixing their cars and trucks with rebuilt parts and selling them as new only to have them break down again. But is that a reason to kill the man? Maybe his death is related to the person trashing the secret book room.  Tru needs to get to the bottom of both mysteries fast or her secret will get out or worse the killer could come for her next.


I really have been looking forward to returning to Cypress and the bookless library and Ms. St. James sure didn’t disappoint.

We get to know the core group of characters even better in this installment. There are some really strong women living within these pages. Starting with Mama Eddy and Aunt Sal, they have had to fight for a lot over their lifetimes. Then you have Tru, Tory, Flossie, Mrs. Farnsworth, and Anne. They are all ready to fight for their principles and the right thing for the library even when some things need to be kept under wraps. They strive to do the right thing.

Tru has a way about her that just allows people to open up and answer her questions. She does have a lot of layers and I do enjoy peeling those back a little more in each story. I love the romantic relationship blooming between Tru and Jace. It just feels really right. Her cat Dewey Decimal is quite a cat and I love that Tru brings him to work every day and he is allowed to roam the secret room or nap as he desires.

The mystery was very well written with two mysteries to solve. The author does an excellent job of placing the clues throughout the story. I had an inkling of part of what the vandal was looking for but was unsure of how that would be revealed. Well, let me tell you it was revealed in a fun, entertaining, and yes, a scary way until the culprit was in cuffs and taken away. I really enjoyed learning more about the history and of Cypress in general. It is things like that that really draw me into a story. It is also impressive that the room had a variety of secrets.

A Perfect Bind was a Perfect Escape. I enjoyed everything about this story. The Beloved Bookroom is still a secret from most of the residents of Cypress but I am concerned about how long it can be hidden from the powers that be. It seems that in every installment more people know about the special place in the basement. I am excited to see what Ms. St. James has planned for these wonderful characters next.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Dorothy St. James

Dorothy St. James is the author of the White House Gardener Mysteries and the Southern Chocolate Shop Mysteries. She lives in the Lowcountry of South Carolina with her sculptor husband. Dorothy is a member of Mystery Writers of America (MWA) and the International Thriller Writers (ITW) and Sister’s in Crime (SInC). This is her second Beloved Bookroom Mystery.

Follow Dorothy Online:

Facebook    Twitter    Instagram    Website

Purchase Links – AmazonPenguin Random HouseB&NKoboGoogle PlayIndieBound

Also by Dorothy St. James


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Great Escapes Praise for A Perfect Bind (A Beloved Bookroom Mystery)
by Dorothy St. James

A Perfect Bind is a cute cozy mystery with a murdered mechanic, a bothered bookroom, a prodding detective, apple pie problems, a meddlesome assistant librarian, and a fun Fall Festival.
~The Avid Reader

As someone interested in history and the past, I loved the town history and the story of the basement area of the library. Before it was a secret bookroom or a storage area, it was a bomb shelter, and long before that, it was an illegal speakeasy!
~View from the Birdhouse

I love everything about the Beloved Bookworm series by Dorothy St. James, and A Perfect Bind made me smile just as much as its predecessor.
~Reading Is My SuperPower

A PERFECT BIND is a perfect blend of books and murder. Local history and tradition add interest and fun and that dash of romance makes a great read even better.
~Cozy Up With Kathy

St. James’s cast of characters are high-spirited and create the perfect stage for madcap moments, outrageous behavior, and laugh-out loud situations–the very elements that draw cozy mystery fans into a series and leave them anticipating the next installment.
~Book Club Librarian

TOUR PARTICIPANTS
September 28 – Novels Alive – GUEST POST
September 28 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
September 29 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW
September 30 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
September 30 – Author Elena Taylor’s Blog – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
October 1 – Mochas, Mysteries and Meows – CHARACTER GUEST POST
October 1 – View from the Birdhouse – REVIEW
October 2 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
October 2 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW
October 3 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW
October 3 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – REVIEW
October 4 – Ascroft, eh? – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
October 4 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
October 5 – Book Club Librarian – REVIEW  
October 5 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – SPOTLIGHT
October 6 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT
October 6 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
October 7 – Socrates Book Reviews – REVIEW
October 7 – Mysteries with Character – GUEST POST
October 8 – Angel’s Guilty Pleasures – SPOTLIGHT
October 8 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
October 9 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW
October 9 – I Read What You Write – SPOTLIGHT
October 10 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
October 10 – Literary Gold – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
October 11 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW
October 11 – BookishKelly2020 – SPOTLIGHT  

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

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

Twisted Tea Christmas (A Tea Shop Mystery) by Laura Childs #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour


Twisted Tea Christmas (A Tea Shop Mystery)
by Laura Childs

About Twisted Tea Christmas 

Twisted Tea Christmas (A Tea Shop Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
22nd in Series
Setting – South Carolina
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Berkley (October 5, 2021)
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 336 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0593200861
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0593200865
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08S7DLKWL

An attack on the host of a fancy tea party sends Theodosia Browning looking for answers in the latest entry in the New York Times bestselling series.

 

Tea maven Theodosia Browning and her tea sommelier, Drayton Conneley, are catering a Victorian Christmas party at a swanky mansion in downtown Charleston. Drucilla Heyward, the hostess, is one of the wealthiest women in town.

 

As the champagne flows and the tea steeps, Drucilla is so pleased with the reception by her partygoers that she reveals her secret plan to Theodosia. The Grande Dame has brought the cream of Charleston society together to reveal that she is planning to give her wealth away to various charitable organizations. However, before she can make the announcement, Theodosia finds her crumpled unconscious in the hallway. It looks like the excitement has gotten to the elderly woman–except that there is a syringe sticking out of her neck.

 

INCLUDES DELICIOUS RECIPES AND TEA TIME TIPS!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

The week leading up to Christmas is one of the busiest weeks of the year at the Indigo Tea Shop. Theodosia Browning and Drayton Conneley have several special tea events planned and they are catering a Victorian Christmas party for Drucilla Heyward at her mansion in downtown Charleston. All the preparations have been made for a perfect evening. An evening when Drucilla plans to make a major announcement. She is bringing together the Charleston elite to announce that she plans to give her fortune away to several charitable organizations.

The big evening arrives and Drucilla is having a blast at her reception. Champagne corks are popping, Drayton has the tea brewing, the musicians are playing, and the amazing food is ready to be served.  She tells Theodosia she is so excited to announce her plans. She leaves the kitchen giddy with her plan. Responding to an alarm going off Theodosia set out to find the philanthropist hostess and finds her down on the floor in the hallway unconscious with a syringe protruding from her neck.

The holidays do not get off to a great start with Drucilla’s murder and a mansion full of suspects. Theodosia needs to put on her running shoes because finding a killer while serving tea to everyone at their special events to going to require her to move at top speed. I have full confidence she is up to the task.


The Nutcracker Tea

The White Christmas Tea

The Old-Fashioned Southern Tea

Drucilla’s Victorian Christmas Tea

Grand Illumination Tea

Plus the Everday Morning Tea and the people that drop in for lunch and a booth at the Holiday Market.

Oh, my stars Theodosia has an overflowing plate, and yet she squeezes in a dinner with her tea sommelier, Drayton. He is the Watson to her Sherlock in this murder investigation. He, Haley, and Mrs. Dimple keep the tea flowing at the tea shop while Theodosia follows the clues.

These cozy characters are some of my favorites. Theodosia is such a great protagonist. She has grown so much over the course of this series. She is always all-in for every murder investigation that comes her way. She’s tough and doesn’t give up. Drayton is a wonderful sounding board and the person that tries to keep the investigation on a calm even keel, tries is the optimum word. Haley is a sounding board for Drayton and the person that rocks out the fantastic food served by the staff of the Indigo Tea Shop. They all work together like a well-oiled machine. It truly does feel like I am visiting old friends when I open each Tea Shop Mystery.

I have never been to South Carolina but hope to in the future. This author’s descriptions do take me there virtually bringing each scene to life.  I was super excited to see that one of Drucilla’s guests resides in “the old Caswell Mansion.”

Twisted Tea Christmas contains a very twisted mystery. There are tons of suspects that need to be pared down. Who had a motive to kill the Grande Dame? She seemed to be such a nice lady.  It was fun to trail along with Theo as she did all she could to catch a killer. She did have a few different theories but letting down her guard she found out how easily she could have become the killer’s next victim. That said the reveal was scary until it turned into a marvelous capture. Detective Tidwell’s reactions were absolutely priceless.

Escaping to Charleston at Christmastime was delightful, I wish I could have read it in December because it did get me in a holiday spirit but it is much too early to get out the lights and garland. If you like strong characters and a well-plotted mystery Twisted Tea Christmas is the perfect book for you. Don’t worry that this is a long-running series because Laura Childs writes each book to be read on its own. You can jump into this series at any time and then go back and read previous installments while you are waiting for the next Tea Shop Mystery.


Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Laura Childs

Laura Childs is the New York Times bestselling author of the Tea Shop MysteriesScrapbook Mysteries, and Cackleberry Club Mysteries. In her previous life she was CEO/Creative Director of her own marketing firm and authored several screenplays. She is married to a professor of Chinese art history, loves to travel, rides horses, enjoys fundraising for various non-profits, and has two Chinese Shar-Pei dogs.

Laura specializes in cozy mysteries that have the pace of a thriller (a thrillzy!) Her three series are:

The Tea Shop Mysteries – set in the historic district of Charleston and featuring Theodosia Browning, owner of the Indigo Tea Shop. Theodosia is a savvy entrepreneur, and pet mom to service dog Earl Grey. She’s also an intelligent, focused amateur sleuth who doesn’t rely on coincidences or inept police work to solve crimes. This charming series is highly atmospheric and rife with the history and mystery that is Charleston.

The Scrapbooking Mysteries – a slightly edgier series that take place in New Orleans. The main character, Carmela, owns Memory Mine scrapbooking shop in the French Quarter and is forever getting into trouble with her friend, Ava, who owns the Juju Voodoo shop. New Orleans’ spooky above-ground cemeteries, jazz clubs, bayous, and Mardi Gras madness make their presence known here!

The Cackleberry Club Mysteries – set in Kindred, a fictional town in the Midwest. In a rehabbed Spur station, Suzanne, Toni, and Petra, three semi-desperate, forty-plus women have launched the Cackleberry Club. Eggs are the morning specialty here and this cozy cafe even offers a book nook and yarn shop. Business is good but murder could lead to the cafe’s undoing! This series offers recipes, knitting, cake decorating, and a dash of spirituality.

Laura’s Links:   Website –  Facebook 

Purchase Links
AmazonB&NKoboIndieBound

The Rest of the Series

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS
October 5 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
October 5 – Brianne’s Book Reviews – REVIEW
October 6 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW
October 6 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
October 7 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
October 7 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
October 7 – Novels Alive – SPOTLIGHT
October 8 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
October 8 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
October 8 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
October 9 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW, GUEST POST
October 9 – Author Elena Taylor’s Blog – SPOTLIGHT
October 10 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
October 11 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW
October 11 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
October 12 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
October 12 – Baroness Book Trove – SPOTLIGHT
October 13 – Ascroft, eh? – GUEST POST
October 13 – Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic – SPOTLIGHT
October 14 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT
October 14 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT
October 15 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW
October 16 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW  
strong>October 16 – Dear Reader – REVIEW
October 17 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
October 17 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
October 18 – Here’s How It Happened – SPOTLIGHT
October 18 – BookishKelly2020 – SPOTLIGHT  

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

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 You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – It Cannoli Be Murder: A Culinary Cozy Mystery (Italian Chef Mysteries) by Catherine Bruns #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.


It Cannoli Be Murder: A Culinary Cozy Mystery (Italian Chef Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – New York
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Poisoned Pen Press (July 28, 2020)
Mass Market Paperback ‏ : ‎ 384 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1492684287
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1492684282
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B085F4F4XB

A delicious new title in a new series from USA Today bestselling author Catherine Bruns! Tessa’s biscotti have always been killer, but never as deadly as in this addition to the Italian Chef mystery books!

It’s time to serve some just desserts…

Six months after her husband’s death, Tessa Esposito is hoping to drum up reservations for her restaurant’s grand opening. And since a signing with bestselling author, Preston Rigotta, is sure to draw a crowd, Tessa agrees to cater her cousin’s bookstore event—whipping up some of her famous Italian desserts. But the event soon takes a sour turn when Preston’s publicist, an old high school rival, arrives and begins to whisk up their old grudges.

That night, a fight breaks out in front of the crowd, and it becomes clear there’s bad blood in Harvest Park. And when the publicist is found dead on the bookstore floor the next morning, a stray cannolo at her side, Tessa knows who will be framed as the prime suspect.

To clear both her cousin’s and her own name, Tessa must investigate the murder. But Preston’s publicist has many secrets to hide, and in the end, the truth is bittersweet…

The second book in the Italian Chef Cozy Mystery series! As Italian Chef Tessa plays the role of a female detective in this murder mystery, she’ll have to follow a string of clues before the case boils over.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

It has been a long time coming but Tessa Esposito’s new restaurant, Anything’s Pastable, is almost ready to open.  She just needs to hire a few more staff, the correct menus to arrive, and a few little touchups in the dining room, and she will thrust open the doors for her grand opening. Hoping to drive up the reservations she agrees to whip up some cannoli and biscotti to serve at a book signing at her cousin Gabby’s bookstore Once Upon A Book. Sadly, there is a disturbance when the author’s publicist arrives and it is an old high school rival who does her best to push Gabby’s buttons. The event escalates to a full-blown fight which has the author chewing Gabby out and her worried about the future of Once Upon A Book.

The next morning Tessa discovers the publicist dead on the floor of the bookshop with a cannolo nearby setting up Tessa and Gabby as the prime suspects. Knowing that could put their lives and businesses at risk they are not waiting for the police to complete their investigation, Tessa jumps right in with her own investigation and discovers one secret that could have easily set the murder in motion. She just needs to prove it.


Tessa has been through a lot.  After the death of her husband she finds out he was actually murdered and she goes undercover to try to catch his killer. Now in this story, she is about to open her dream Italian Restaurant when another murder puts not only her dream in jeopardy but her cousin’s bookstore as well. Because they are both involved in the case, Gabby’s brother, Detective Gino Mancusi cannot be the detective in charge of the investigation. These are three strong characters that are really developing nicely. They have each other’s back and while Gino would like Gabby and Tessa to leave the death to the police he understands their frustrations.

We meet author Preston Rigotta, his wife, his daughter, their maid, and his publicist. These characters are also nicely developed even with the publicist dying. We learn a lot about her and the Rigotta family as the mystery unfolds.

The mystery was very well-plotted with some corkscrew twists. The victim was a real piece of work and definitely has not changed from high school, which meant she had made a few enemies. I was a little nervous about the risks Tessa and Gabby took. So much so, I wanted to jump into the book and save them from themselves. I thought I had nailed down whodunit and then Ms. Bruns added another twist that changed everything, I love it when that happens.

It Cannoli Be Murder contains an excellent mystery and characters I have grown to care about. My cancer treatments kept this book on my T-B-R shelf too long. But that means I have less time to wait for book number 3, The Enemy You Gnocchi, is being released on October 26 and it is already on my reading calendar. I am excited because it is a Christmas holiday mystery and I am looking forward to visiting Harvest Park when the snow is flying. 



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About the Author

USA Today bestselling author Catherine Bruns lives in Upstate New York with an all-male household that consists of her very patient husband, three sons, and several spoiled pets. Catherine has a B.A. in both English and Performing Arts and is a former newspaper reporter and press release writer. In her spare time, she loves to bake, read, and attend live theater performances. Over the past five years, she’s written fifteen mystery novels plus several novellas and has many more stories waiting to be told.

Coming October 26, 2021

Also by Catherine Bruns



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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 Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Guest Posts New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Playing Possum (The 2 Sisters Pet Valet Mysteries) by Dane McCaslin #GuestPost / #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour


Playing Possum (The 2 Sisters Pet Valet Mysteries)
by Dane McCaslin



I am very happy to welcome Dane McCaslin to Escape With Dollycas today!

Hi Dane, 

Hi Everyone! 

Books – and reading them – are among my favorite things to collect. My cozy mystery collection is still in a growth spurt, and the bookcase holding my poetry books is threatening to dump the double-layered shelves on the floor if I don’t get another bookshelf. It’s all my own fault, of course: I simply cannot pass up “just one more book” over and over. I blame it on my genetic makeup. We are collectors by nature and readers by choice, and the more books we have around us, the better we like it.

When I was young, I loved visiting my grandmother. Her book collection was amazing, and my favorite book in it was a collection of poems by James Whitcomb Riley. There were a couple that I always requested to hear, and one of them was a delightful poem called “Knee-deep in June”. The first stanza goes like this:

Tell you what I like the best —
‘Long about knee-deep in June,
‘Bout the time strawberries melts
On the vine, — some afternoon
Like to jes’ git out and rest,
And not work at nothin’ else!

The visuals in his words were magical to me, even at a young age. When I became an English teacher, I was absolutely delighted to introduce my students to Riley’s poetry. And yes, “Knee-deep in June” was always included. Not only was this the perfect way to show my high schoolers how to create imagery, it also exposed them to the vernacular of a place and time they’d never see.

And I loved every minute of it, of course.

Which brings me to this: Have you ever read anything that sticks in your mind simply because the words sang to you? If so, consider sharing them with those around you. You might just open a whole new world for them the way my grandmother did for me.

And you might just be the one to induct another devotee into the magnificent world of words.

~Dane

Thank you Dane so much for visiting today!

Keep reading for my thoughts about Playing Possum

About Playing Possum

Playing Possum (The 2 Sisters Pet Valet Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Oregon
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Lyrical Press (October 5, 2021)
Number of Pages: 300 (approx.)
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08SJ2VFHP

The 2 Sisters Pet Valet Service is purring along, thanks to the entrepreneurial talents of retired schoolteacher Gwen Franklin and her bestie and business partner, Nora Goldstein. But when the fur starts to fly, they become partners in crime detecting as well . . .

At Nora’s request, Gwen is happy to accompany her to a meeting with ex-hubby #3’s lawyer. Much to Nora’s surprise—and dismay—she’s been named executor of said ex’s will. The fact that the man has been missing for years and was just declared legally dead only makes an already complicated process more so. And besides, is he really dead? What’s not a surprise is that Nora’s twin ex-stepchildren are pressing for access to their father’s dry cleaning fortune . . .

With Gwen’s assist, it’s time for Nora to do a little digging. It turns out that the twins’ catering business is failing—and that their dad’s business was laundering more than clothing. Soon, Gwen and Nora are infiltrating a long list of dirty deeds, including fraud and illegal gains. And the perpetrators are all too close to home. The police may want Gwen and Nora to stick to their own line of work, but the pair are determined to make sure the truth comes out in the wash—before someone ends up in the discard bin . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Gwen Franklin and Nora Goldstein have turned 2 Sisters Pet Valet Service into a very successful small business but they need to leave their employees in charge when Nora is named executor of ex-hubby number 3’s will. Apparently, the man has been missing for years and his children have had him declared dead. That raises some red flags for Nora and Gwen. There is no love lost between Nora and her twin ex-stepchildren and she knows they may be up to something hinky. So she and Gwen hit the road and find out that their dad’s laundry business is laundering more than just clothes and surprise, surprise, the twins catering business is on its last legs.  She is also not sure if her ex is really dead? With no body, she wouldn’t be surprised if he was playing possum and laying low somewhere. The police would like them to just back off and leave the investigating to them but Nora and Gwen are not going to stop until all their questions are answered and all the truth comes out.


Okay, Nora has finally won me over and I love Gwen even more. Nora is still her pushy self but Gwen is really starting to hold her own. These women have been friends since childhood but now with Gwen’s retirement, they are together almost 24/7 so it took a little time for this closeness to evolve. They do make a great investigation team.  I also like the way Brent and Rachel’s relationship has grown. She really is the perfect match for him. I am also enjoying Gwen’s blooming relationship with Roger. She deserves to have a happy relationship. I am over the on again and off again relationship of Nora and Marcus. At times it is hard to tell who is using who. She seems to be wasting a lot of money backing his business as he continues to cheat on her. She doesn’t have a good track record with men. I wish she would find someone to really love and love her back even with all her faults.

The new characters introduced in this story run the gambit of swarmy to criminal. They really put Gwen and Nora through the wringer but these ladies are like dogs with bones, they keep going back again and again as they strive to find the truth but their luck may have run out. The mystery they are trying to solve is a twisted one, each clue drags them in deeper and deeper. They were treading very close to “too stupid to live territory” though with their persistence.

The author did temper the mystery with plenty of humor. Even in the direst straights, she knew when to bring the funny. She also cracked me up with Brent’s way to get into Gwen’s house. I knew what he was going to say when she asked him but it still gave me a good giggle. The road trip that included Brent, Rachel, and Marcus was pretty funny too. You can’t take Nora anywhere, she just has to make trouble.

Playing Possum is definitely my favorite book in this series. I was totally entertained following along with all the crazy chaos these characters brought to this story. I hope this series continues because I am anxious to see what the author has in store for them next.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Dana McCaslin

McCaslin began a life-long love of mysteries at a very young age. She bypassed Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden and went straight for Agatha Christie, thanks to her mother’s library books. Dane is retired from a twenty-plus-year career in teaching high school and college English, and she uses her newfound freedom to read for pleasure, write mysteries, and smell the roses.

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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 The Glitter End: A Cozy Mystery (Stationery Shop Mystery) by Vivian Conroy #Review / #Giveaway

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

Today I am sharing my thoughts about The Glitter End today! 


The Glitter End: A Cozy Mystery (Stationery Shop Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Montana
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Poisoned Pen Press (September 28, 2021)
Mass Market Paperback ‏ : ‎ 384 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1492684090
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1492684091
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08VYFMP8L

Stationery shop owner Delta Douglas is finally settling into small-town life in Tundish, Montana. But with the tourist season drying up, she must find a way to draw in her stationery shop clientele. Well-known artist Tilly Tay is just the ticket—and her new miniature gold mining display is sure to be a hit attraction in town.

But on the day of the grand reveal, Delta discovers a tiny prospector dead in the exhibit. That’s when a body is found at the nearby motel, perfectly mirroring the miniature murder. Soon enough, Delta’s artist guest is suspected of the crime and her shop is suddenly cast under a cloud of bad press. With her faithful Paper Posse at her side, Delta must pull no paper punches to crack the case and save Wanted’s reputation before more trouble comes into the fold.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Trying to drum up business now that the tourist season is over Stationery shop co-owner Delta Douglas has arranged to host a new miniature gold mining display. The display was bigger than she imagined so it takes up most of the floor space in Wanted but it was quite interesting to watch the artist place each miniature creation perfectly into the grand scheme of the entire display.

When the display is revealed to the public Delta notices a tiny prospector appears dead. Later a man is found dead at a local hotel and the way his body is placed, it looks exactly like the dead prospector in the display. This leads the authorities to believe the artist is the killer. The death also hurts Wanted’s bottom line as the shop brought the artist to Tundish. So Delta lines up the members of the Paper Posse to help her track down the real killer to save her shop as quickly as possible.


Delta came to Tundish, Montana to be an asset to Hazel. She feels it is important to keep things fresh and inviting to have customers year-round. But this time her grand idea of inviting artist Tilly Tay to showcase her miniature gold rush exhibit may do more damage to the stationary shop instead of making it more of a success. Tilly appears to have a history in Tundish which Delta tries to figure out when she sees her arguing on the street with a man. These characters are surrounded by a great supporting cast. I really enjoyed the subplot about Delta’s grandmother and her new boyfriend. It has a nice twist that was unexpected and put a smile on my face. Sadly Hazel is lost in this story playing a very minor role. Jonas helps in Delta’s investigation but I was disappointed by some of Delta’s behavior and her thoughts. It really took away from the main plot. There is plenty of room to flesh out the supporting cast. I do want to get to know them better.

The mystery was interesting but it unfolded slowly and then ended abruptly for me. Tilly was what my mother would call an “odd duck”. She was very happy with her solitary life but that all blew up when she arrived in town. A relationship is revealed that shakes things up a bit but Delta seemed distracted. I wish there had been more depth to the mystery.

I like the Montana setting and the miniature theme was fun for me. I had a hard time bringing the display totally into focus but know I would be first in line to see an exhibit like the one in this book.

The Glitter End missed the mark for me at least as far as the main mystery goes. It didn’t have much glitter. I don’t think Hazel or the Paper Posse were utilized enough and Delta’s inner angst was off-putting. Delta’s independent grandmother and her new beau saved this book for me. The subplot was entertaining and could have ended two ways and I was curious about that right up until the end. That portion of the story has me adding an extra star.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

The Stationery Shop Mysteries are the latest addition to Vivian Conroy’s expanding mystery range. She also writes the contemporary Country Gift Shop Mysteries and the historical Murder Will Follow Mysteries, paying tribute to her favorite mystery author Agatha Christie. Away from the keyboard, Vivian loves to hike, craft, and hang out on Twitter where readers can connect with her via @VivWrites.


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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.”