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

A Trail of Lies: A Mystery (A Jazz Ramsey Mystery) by Kylie Logan #Review


A Trail of Lies: A Mystery (A Jazz Ramsey Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Ohio
Publisher: Minotaur Books (May 11, 2021)
Hardcover: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 1250768632
ISBN-13: 978-1250768636
Kindle ASIN: B08FZ8143D

A Trail of Lies is the third in the Jazz Ramsey mystery series from national bestselling author Kylie Logan.

Jazz Ramsey is just getting used to the idea that her on-again-off-again beau, Nick, might actually be a permanent fixture, when she gets an alarming call in the middle of the night from his mother, Kim: there’s a dead man in her backyard. Kim has a long history of drinking and a vivid imagination, so when Jazz’s human remains detection dog, Wally, finds no evidence of a body, Jazz thinks she can breathe easy.

But when the body of a middle-aged man, Dan Mansfield, is discovered in a nearby park, and a photo of Nick and his mom is found in his pocket, Jazz has to admit that something isn’t adding up. Kim claims not to know who Dan is, but the cops find out soon enough: he’s a recently paroled convict who served thirty years for murder. And when Jazz traces his crime back to a bar fight with an antiques dealer, she ends up with more questions than answers.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Jazz Ramsey works at St. Catherine’s Preparatory Academy, an all-girls school as an administrative assistant. She handles the day-to-day details to keep the school running smoothly. Right now her focus is on the Fall Formal which she will be attending without her boyfriend Nick because he is on assignment with a gang task force. It’s a dangerous job that causes Jazz constant worry. So when she gets a call in the middle of the night from Nick’s mother, Kim, saying she needs Jazz right away because “it’s Nick . . . Nick, he’s . . . he’s dead in my backyard”, she rushes to Kim’s house while trying to reach Nick but her call goes to voice mail. She arrives at Kim’s house and hurries to the backyard but after a quick search, she doesn’t find a body. Nick or anyone else. Kim is a “raging alcoholic” so not the most reliable witness so Jazz is not totally surprised. Kim also changes her story, saying it wasn’t Nick but a different man and that she killed him. Jazz stays long enough to calm Kim down and then goes home thinking Kim’s story is a drunken illusion.

Then Dan Mansfield is found dead in a park near Kim’s house. He has a photo of a younger Kim and Nick in his pocket. Kim claims not to know the man but clues leads Jazz to believe Kim is lying. Now Jazz has more questions than answers and she fears there will be a whole trail of lies before this case is solved.


Jazz is an excellent protagonist. She is smart, strong but tenderhearted too. She has tried to stay away from Kim but with Nick out of town, she feels she needs to stay present in Kim’s life not only to solve a murder but because she starts to see Nick’s life growing up. She realizes he was more parent than child in the relationship with his mom. I appreciated the way the author dealt with Kim’s alcoholism. It was very realistically portrayed, and it does give the story a more serious tone than what we usually find in a cozy mystery. Ms. Logan does a great job though of balancing the darker tone with some fun things too. I love the relationship Jazz has with her co-workers. They are truly friends and support each other. Sister Eileen does something surprising in this story and it makes me like her even more. Of course, a certain Airedale named Wally lightens the story up too. Still, in training his antics bring the humor when needed. I thought all the core characters developed over the course of the story but I was really caught up in what we learned about Nick’s life.

The mystery was extremely well-plotted. It really focused on Kim’s life and the people in it over the years. With some nice twists and suspenseful moments the book really held my attention. Ms. Logan gave us plenty of suspects but several red herrings too that made it very hard to pin down the actual killer. Jazz truly was like a dog with a bone. Even when her own life was in peril she did not give up. That made for a very exciting story from beginning to end.

The title A Trail of A Lies fits this story so well. While it can be read as a stand-alone, I encourage reading the series from the start in order for maximum enjoyment.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent 

Read my review of The Scent of Murder here and The Secret of Bones here.  

About the Author

Kylie Logan is the national bestselling author of The League of Literary Ladies Mysteries, the Button Box Mysteries, the Chili Cook-Off Mysteries, and the Ethnic Eats Mysteries, among others.

Visit her at – WebsiteFacebookTwitter

Also by this Author

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 Finish The Series Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday featuring Peaches and Schemes: A Georgia B&B Mystery by Anna Gerard #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am excited to share my thoughts about
Peaches and Schemes by Anna Gerard today!

 

Peaches and Schemes: A Georgia B&B Mystery
by Anna Gerard

About Peaches and Schemes


Peaches and Schemes: A Georgia B&B Mystery
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Georgia
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books (May 11, 2021)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1643855840
ISBN-13: 978-1643855844
Digital ASIN: B08FZLH8HS

In Anna Gerard’s third delightful Georgia B&B mystery, Nina Fleet learns that despite the satin, lace, and buttercream trappings, weddings often prove to be anything but sweet…

Nina Fleet might be new to the innkeeping business, but she’s savvy enough to know that Cymbeline’s tourists aren’t enough to keep her fledgling bed and breakfast going. And so, Nina decides to tap into the destination wedding market by taking a booth at the Veils and Vanities Bridal Expo. The twice-yearly event is sponsored by the town’s two wedding pros: Virgie Hamilton, the sixtysomething owner of Virgie’s Formals, and Roxanna Quarry, a Gen X event planner and Nina’s new friend. But everything goes wrong during the expo’s fashion show when Roxanna comes tumbling out of an oversized prop wedding cake, strangled to death by her own scarf.

Virgie is arrested for the crime, thanks to Nina’s statement to the police about having overheard the woman accusing her partner of embezzlement. Meanwhile, the situation grows tense with her sometimes nemesis and current tenant, the dashing out-of-work actor Harry Westcott. Harry is concentrating on plugging his most recent side hustle …but he’s not too busy to break the news to Nina that her ex-husband is engaged to be married again.

Certain that Virgie’s only offense is a bad temper, Nina decides to do her own investigating. First, however, she and Harry retrieve Roxanna’s now ownerless dog, planning to foster him until a new home can be found. But local gossip soon convinces Nina that others besides Virgie might have had reason to murder Roxanna. As Nina gets close to the truth, she’s putting her own life in danger. And when Virgie vanishes after being bailed out of jail by an unknown benefactor, Nina fears that if she can’t find the dress shop owner in time, tying the knot will take on a whole new meaning for them both.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

To ensure the success of her Fleet House B&B Nina (Nine-A) has decided to add weddings and receptions to the services she will offer. She is hoping members are the wedding parties will want to stay at the B&B too. To get the word out she takes part in the semi-annual Veils and Vanities Bridal Expo sponsored by Virgie Hamilton, the sixtysomething owner of Virgie’s Formals, and Roxanna Quarry, a Gen X event planner. Her booth has been busy with brides-to-be asking for information. Nina is about to declare the event a success when the fashion show part of the event takes a deadly turn. During the big finale Nina’s new friend, Roxanna tumbles out of a prop wedding cake. She appears to have been strangled to death, the murder weapon, her own scarf.

There had been tension between the two event sponsors. Nina even overhears Virgie accuse Roxanna of stealing funds from their partnership. When she tells the police they believe that is enough motive to arrest Virgie for the murder.

Nina has a little stress in her life too as she learns her ex-husband is getting married again. Plus, Harry Wescott is still staying at her B&B and he seems to have a new money-making scheme he may soon come to regret. She has also decided to move Roxanna’s dog into the B&B until a new home is found. On top of all that she is of course digging into the murder investigation because while Virgie had the motive, means, and opportunity to kill her partner, Nina doesn’t think she is a killer. The trouble is she knows she is on the actual killer’s radar and that may prove to be a dangerous place to be.


Ms. Gerard has created some wonderful characters. I have enjoyed Nina from the start and in this third Georgia B&B Mystery Harry Westcott really surprised me and in a good way. He is still a schemer but he is really there for Nina this time. They are turning out to be a great team and maybe more . . . I don’t want to get ahead of myself or the author with this thinking. I do love their back and forth dialogue and his “Secret Squirrel” nickname for her. The new characters she introduced for this story are diverse and all brought something interesting to the mystery. As always the animal characters made my heart happy.

Again this author delivers a well-plotted and well-written mystery with multiple possibilities. I was very caught up in all the action and the actual guilty party never landed on my suspect list. The big reveal was full of surprise and suspense. Nina really didn’t know her friend Roxanna as well as she thought she did and that added some really intriguing twists including one that stuck very close to home. The ending was really a melancholy moment but by the final word, things seem to be looking up.

I have to say the author set a great pace with the entire story. There wasn’t a time I ever thought about putting the book down, except to sleep, and I couldn’t wait to get right back into the story the next evening and stay tuned in for a satisfying and exciting conclusion.

Peaches and Schemes was a Perfect Escape. Excellent characters, a captivating mystery, a wedding, a little romantic tension, and humor liberally placed throughout kept me entertained from beginning to end. I am so excited to see where Ms. Gerard takes her characters and her readers next.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Anna Gerard

DIANE A.S. STUCKART began her writing career in the 1990s as the critically acclaimed author of historical romance under the names Alexa Smart and Anna Gerard. She later switched to the mystery genre and is the NYT bestselling author of the Black Cat Bookshop Mysteries (written as Ali Brandon) and the award-winning Leonardo da Vinci historical mysteries. Her Tarot Cats Mystery series launched in 2018 with FOOL’S MOON. Her Georgia B&B Mystery series (also written as Anna Gerard) debuted in 2019 with PEACH CLOBBERED. Kirkus Reviews describes that book as “Filled with Southern charm and enough ditzy characters to keep readers guessing and laughing.” Book 3 in that series, PEACHES AND SCHEMES—her 17th published novel—now available.

Author Links – WebsiteFacebookBookLoversBench

Purchase Links – AmazonB&N

Written as Ali Brandon

Written as Diane A.S. Stuckart

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Great Escapes Praise for Peaches and Schemes: A Georgia B&B Mystery
by Anna Gerard

Part of the charm of this series – and it certainly is charming – is in the cast of characters and the setting the author has created to contain them and their murderous ways.
~Reading Reality

Author Anna Gerard gives the reader a light-hearted story filled with fun Characters and interesting relationships!
~My Reading Journeys

. . . a great read full of interesting characters that you will happy follow as the story progresses. The dogs are an added bonus I must say.
~Books a Plenty Book Reviews

In addition to the wonderful characters in Peaches and Schemes, the author delivers a charming setting and a dash of potential romance. Not to mention the intriguing plot that kept me guessing!
~Reading Is My SuperPower

Delightfully focused on the mystery, this cozy offers up plenty of suspects to keep armchair sleuths entertained. I also found that the relationship between Nina and her sidekick Harry kept the mystery light and fun.
~Mysteries With Character

Peaches and Schemes by Anna Gerard is a brilliant mystery with a perfectly plotted crime. The characters are so wonderfully flawed and yet wonderful.
~Baroness’ Book Trove

Wonderful characters, an interesting setting, and a B&B house I’d like to visit, make this a fun cozy to read, and puzzle out.
~Laura’s Interests

PEACHES AND SCHEMES is a delightful mystery that had me laughing, commiserating, and gasping in shock. Its characters have wormed their way into my heart and I feel their pain as well as their joy.
~Cozy Up With Kathy

Peaches and Schemes is a lighthearted, humorous cozy mystery with an eventful expo, a maimed mate, Gus the Goldendoodle, a tryophobia terror, a suspicious silver sedan, and a helpful Harry.
~The Avid Reader

A big goofy dog, a wedding expo, two hot romantic opportunities, and a murder to solve! What’s not to love about Peaches and Schemes? . . . If you like your cozy mysteries with some romantic tension, you should pick up this book.
~Diane Reviews Books

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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 Finish The Series Challenge New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Deadly Ever After: A Lighthouse Library Mystery by Eva Gates #Review


Deadly Ever After: A Lighthouse Library Mystery
Cozy Mystery
8th in Series
Setting – North Carolina
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books (May 11, 2021)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1643855883
ISBN-13: 978-1643855882
Kindle ASIN: B08FZLW1SB

Librarian Lucy’s wedding is at stake when a murder interrupts her engagement celebrations. To make it down the aisle, she’ll have to find the killer to save the date in the 8th book in the Lighthouse Library mysteries.

They’re getting married! Lucy Richardson and Connor McNeil have announced their engagement. Their friends throw a party for the couple at Coquina Beach, close to Lucy’s beloved Bodie Island Lighthouse Library.

As they’re packing up the presents and the (few) leftovers from Josie’s Cozy Bakery, who should arrive, but Richard Eric Lewiston III, Lucy’s former almost-fiancé and his overbearing mother Evangeline. Push comes to love when Evangeline makes no secret of why she’s here: to get Lucy and Ricky back together.

Lucy isn’t tempted in the least, and Ricky is nothing but embarrassed at his mother’s desperate ploy. Before returning to Boston Evangeline throws a dinner party at Jake’s Seafood Bar for a reluctant Lucy and her family. Lucy hopes to get the dinner over with and see Evangeline and Ricky returning to Boston. But when a body is found at the restaurant’s kitchen door, Lucy is again forced to unwillingly put on her detective’s hat and do what she can to save her family and her engagement. Meanwhile, the classic novel reading club is reading The Hound of the Baskervilles, and open war breaks out in the Lighthouse Library when Lucy agrees to temporarily take care of a dog named Fluffy, but Charles the library cat has other ideas.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

The last book, A Death Long Overdue ended with Lucy Richardson and Connor McNeil getting engaged. This book opens with an engagement party thrown by their friends and family. Right as the party is wrapping up Lucy’s former boyfriend, Richard Eric Lewiston III, his mother and her dog, Fluffy, come walking down the beach full of explanations for their late arrival to a party they were not invited to. Evangeline Lewiston is a woman on a mission. A mission to get Lucy to cast Connor aside and get back together with her son Ricky. Lucy has no interest in the woman’s plans or her son.

In a last-ditch effort, Evangeline invites Lucy and her family to a dinner party at Jake’s Seafood Bar. She isn’t put off at all that Connor arrives with Lucy. Lucy just wants to get the evening over with and the Lewiston’s back on the road home to Boston. Instead, the dinner ends when a dead body is found just outside the restaurant’s kitchen door. The victim’s identity is quickly revealed and it means no one will be heading back to Boston anytime soon. Lucy knows if she wants to get on with her life with Connor she needs to emulate Sherlock Holmes and catch the killer as quickly as possible. Oh, the library’s classic reading group is reading The Hound of the Baskervilles too, maybe Mr. Holmes will have some insight to help Lucy solve the case.


This truly is one of my favorite cozy series because it takes place in my favorite fictional library. the Bodie Island Lighthouse Library is a magnificent place that can only exist if you let your imagination take over and enjoy the unique library to its fullest. I would give anything for it to be a real place because I would pack my bags to visit it today. The best vacation our family ever had was to the Brunswick Islands, specifically Caswell Beach in North Carolina. We traveled quite a bit of the coast visiting the lighthouses and would love to return and maybe stay in Nags Head.

The genuine characters are another reason this is a favorite series. They are caring individuals who not only care about each other but the Outer Banks, Bodie Island, and its Lighthouse Library. Lucy and her mom bend over backward to help and support Ricky and Evangeline throughout the entire course of the investigation. Heck, Lucy even takes Evangeline’s dog Fluffy home to her Aerie after the pup is kicked out of the hotel, much to the library cat’s Charles’ ire, at first.

Ms. Gates always delivers a top-notch mystery too. She knows how to set the scene and drops clues in a way that keeps her readers on their toes. She sets up some epic twists that can turn most theories inside out, Her stories are a real treat to read. The pace is quick and the subplots always add so much to the story. Right now, Lucy and Connor are looking for a home to share their lives in before they really make any concrete plans for their wedding. and it is not an easy task. This subplot has an excellent twist of its own that I really enjoyed.

Each new book in this series becomes my new favorite as Deadly Ever After is now. I am sad when I read the final page because each visit to the Outer Banks ends much too soon. Until next time . . .

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

Vicki Delany is one of Canada’s most prolific and varied crime writers and a national bestseller in the U.S. She has written more than thirty books: clever cozies to Gothic thrillers to gritty police procedurals, to historical fiction and novellas for adult literacy. She is currently writing four cozy mystery series: the Tea By The Sea mysteries for Kensington, the Year Round Christmas mysteries for Penguin Random House, the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop series, and, as Eva Gates, the Lighthouse Library books for Crooked Lane.

Vicki is a past president of the Crime Writers of Canada and co-founder and organizer of the Women Killing It crime writing festival. She lives in Prince Edward County, Ontario.

Author Links –
Visit Vicki at www.vickidelany.com.
On Facebook at www.facebook.com/evagatesauthor.
Twitter @vickidelany@evagatesauthor

Instagram: vickidelany

The Rest of the Series



Available Today!


Written as Vicki Delany


Find more books by Vicki Delaney here.

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 Finish The Series Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – A Scandal in Scarlet (A Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery) by Vicki Delany #Review / #Giveaway @vickidelany

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.


A Scandal in Scarlet (A Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Setting – Massachusetts
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books (November 13, 2018)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1683317904
ISBN-13: 978-1683317906
Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-10: 164385027X
ISBN-13: 978-1643850276
Kindle ASIN: B079DWNBV7

Gemma and Jayne donate their time to raise money for the rebuilding of a burned-out museum—but a killer wants a piece of the auction—in this fourth Sherlock Holmes Bookshop mystery.

Walking her dog Violet late one night, Gemma Doyle, owner of the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop, acts quickly when she smells smoke outside the West London Museum. Fortunately, no one is inside, but it’s too late to save the museum’s priceless collection of furniture, and damage to the historic house is extensive. Baker Street’s shop owners come together to hold an afternoon auction tea to raise funds to rebuild, and Great Uncle Arthur Doyle offers a signed first edition of The Valley of Fear.

Cape Cod’s cognoscenti files into Mrs. Hudson’s Tea Room, owned by Gemma’s best friend, Jayne Wilson. Excitement fills the air (along with the aromas of Jayne’s delightful scones, of course). But the auction never happens. Before the gavel can fall, museum board chair Kathy Lamb is found dead in the back room. Wrapped tightly around her neck is a long rope of decorative knotted tea cups—a gift item that Jayne sells at Mrs. Hudson’s. Gemma’s boyfriend in blue, Ryan Ashburton, arrives on the scene with Detective Louise Estrada. But the suspect list is long, and the case far from elementary. Does Kathy’s killing have any relation to a mysterious death of seven years ago?

Gemma has no intention of getting involved in the investigation, but when fellow shopkeeper Maureen finds herself the prime suspect she begs Gemma for her help. Ryan knows Gemma’s methods and he isn’t happy when she gets entangled in another mystery. But with so many suspects and so few clues, her deductive prowess will prove invaluable in A Scandal in Scarlet, Vicki Delany’s shrewdly plotted fourth Sherlock Holmes Bookshop mystery.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Gemma Doyle owns the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop on Baker Street in West London Massachusetts. While out walking her dog, Violet one evening outside of the West London Museum she smells smoke. The fire department arrives and saves most of the house but the furnishings and collectibles are destroyed. To rebuild and refurnish the Scarlet House an auction and tea is held at Mrs. Hudson’s Tea Room with prizes donated by the Baker’s Street shopkeepers and other friends of the museum.

After the tea service ends the auction is set to start everything comes to a halt when museum board chair and auctioneer Kathy Lamb is found dead in the storeroom. Police arrive to an entire room of suspects including the deceased ex-husband and his new wife. One of the shopkeepers, Maureen MacGregor, is pegged as the prime suspect though because of a verbal altercation with Kathy prior to the start of the tea that was witnessed by everyone. She has asked Gemma to help prove her innocence. This doesn’t make her boyfriend, Detective Ryan Ashburton, or his partner Detective Louise Estrada happy but with the vast array of suspects, her insights could be helpful.


Gemma Doyle is a fantastic protagonist. She has a keen sense of observation, is smart and independent, and speaks her mind, sometimes to her own detriment. She may be viewed as a little harsh but by this fourth book in the series, she is softening a bit.  I think we have the good detective to thank for that. He has learned she can be helpful in solving his cases because she sees and picks up on things other people don’t. Her friend Jayne is the perfect Watson to her Sherlock. Gemma sometimes forges ahead quickly while Jayne does her best to keep Gemma out of trouble. Gemma has a unique assistant in Ashleigh that frees her up and gives her plenty of time to sleuth out clue after clue.

The author has written a very complicated mystery. The deceased wasn’t well-liked and at times was as subtle as a bulldozer when it came to the changes she wanted to make at Scarlet House. Hence, the plethora of suspects. The investigation takes Gemma and Jayne from one end of Baker Street to the other and visiting not one but two yacht clubs. The current mystery may have ties to an old cold case which brings even more intrigue to the story. I was totally kept guessing until the very end and then wanted to kick myself. The K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid) theory totally applied in this case and I missed the clues completely.

The Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium and the attached Mrs. Hudson’s Tea Room sounds like a fabulous place to visit for Sherlock Holmes lovers. Gemma carries several book titles and all types of memorabilia related to all the versions that have evolved over the years. Someone is always taking a new twist on the famous fictional detective and his sidekick.

A Scandal in Scarlet is an excellent addition to this series. As a fan of the Basil Rathbone Holmes portrayal and a fan of Vicki Delany, I don’t know how I got so far behind on this series but I am working to rectify that now. I hope to read and review There’s A Murder Afoot and A Curious Incident soon.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

 

About the Author

Vicki Delany is a bestselling author of more than twenty novels/novellas in several mystery subgenres. Born in Manitoba and raised in Ontario, she is the former president of the Crime Writers of Canada, a member of Capital Crime Writers, and a member of Sisters in Crime.

Author Links

Website – Facebook – Twitter:  @vickidelany and@evagatesauthor – Instagramvickidelany


Also by this Author

Find more books by Vicki Delaney here.

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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 Literary Escapes New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

The Ghost and the Haunted Portrait (Haunted Bookshop Mystery) by Cleo Coyle #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @CleoCoyle


The Ghost and the Haunted Portrait (Haunted Bookshop Mystery)
by Cleo Coyle

About The Ghost and the Haunted Portrait


The Ghost and the Haunted Portrait (Haunted Bookshop Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
7th in Series
Setting – Rhode Island
Publisher: Berkley (May 4, 2021)
Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-10: 0425251861
ISBN-13: 978-0425251867
Digital ASIN: B08274WCLM

Bookshop owner Penelope Thornton-McClure and her gumshoe ghost team up to solve the stunning mystery at the heart of a madwoman’s self-portrait in this all new installment from New York Times bestselling author Cleo Coyle.

 

While gathering a collection of vintage book cover paintings for a special event in her quaint Rhode Island bookshop, Penelope discovers a spooky portrait of a beautiful woman, one who supposedly went mad, according to town gossip. Seymour, the local mailman, falls in love with the haunting image and buys the picture, refusing to part with it, even as fatal accidents befall those around it. Is the canvas cursed? Or is something more sinister at work?

 

For answers, Pen turns to an otherworldly source: Jack Shepard, PI. Back in the 1940s, Jack cracked a case of a killer cover artist, and (to Pen’s relief) his spirit is willing to help her solve this mystery, even if he and his license did expire decades ago.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Penelope Thornton-McClure and her Aunt Sadie are getting their bookshop, Buy the Book, ready for a big event. A book signing with the authors of a new book featuring Pulp Fiction covers from the past. As a bonus for the event, a local collector of the vintage covers is lending the shop some of his collection. Pen and her friends Seymour and Professor J. Brainert Parker travel to pick up the artwork. When they arrive Seymour becomes enamored with a portrait of a young Harriet McClure who just happens to have been related to Pen’s late husband. The painting is said to be cursed but that doesn’t stop Seymour from buying it. Strange events start to happen shortly after the purchase but are shaken off as coincidence. Then the previous owner is found dead and the ghostly private eye Jack Shepard tells Pen he has a history with one of the pieces of art and he offers to help her solve the current case.


If you love old movies you are going to love this story. Even the current mystery had an old-timey feel due to the theme of vintage cover art. As soon as we meet Walt Waverly and enter his  “sprawling Tudor home” and his library where he displays “a lot of” his art I felt we stepped back in time. The author describes everything in detail even the doorknobs “covered with a patina of green from age and neglect” and the “pristine condition” of his rare books and the Nathan Brock cover painting from 1948 that even got Jack’s attention.  The words put the readers right there on the scene observing each and every moment. I was captivated by the entire experience.

Then with the P.I.’s mysterious way we actually travel back in time to tackle one of his old cases that was linked to that Nathan Brock cover. Again I was intrigued by the whole process and how those experiences helped Pen solve the current mystery. The way Pen and Jack communicate is very interesting but eerie too.

The story sheds a light on corruption in publishing and scams. Authors and artists are both affected. While this was not a new concept to me I felt educated by what happened to a couple of characters in this story.  The old adage, “if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is” definitely applies.

I absolutely loved the ending. Yes, the killer was revealed but so much more happens to bring things full circle. I can’t say more, you need to read the book yourself.

The Ghost and the Haunted Portrait is an exciting addition to this great series.  I am looking forward to the next adventure with Pen and her ghost gumshoe detective.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Cleo Coyle

Cleo Coyle – Alice Alfonsi – Marc Cerasini

CLEO COYLE is a pseudonym for Alice Alfonsi, writing in collaboration with her husband, Marc Cerasini. Both are New York Times bestselling authors of the long-running Coffeehouse Mysteries—now celebrating eighteen years in print. They are also authors of the nationally bestselling Haunted Bookshop Mysteries, previously written under the pseudonym Alice Kimberly. Alice has worked as a journalist in Washington, D.C., and New York, and has written popular fiction for adults and children. A former magazine editor, Marc has authored espionage thrillers and nonfiction for adults and children. Alice and Marc are also both bestselling media tie-in writers who have penned properties for Lucasfilm, NBC, Fox, Disney, Imagine, and MGM. They live and work in New York City, where they write independently and together.

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The Rest of the Series!


Also by Cleo Coyle

Coming December 7, 2021

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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 Reading Challenges 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 Whole Latte Murder (All-Day Breakfast Cafe Mystery) by Lena Gregory #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour


Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am excited to share my thoughts about
Whole Latte Murder with you today!


Whole Latte Murder (All-Day Breakfast Cafe Mystery)
by Lena Gregory

About Whole Latte Murder 


Whole Latte Murder (All-Day Breakfast Cafe Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Setting – Florida
Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation Lyrical Press(April 27, 2021)
Paperback: 206 pages
ISBN-10: 1516110498
ISBN-13: 978-1516110490
Digital ASIN: B08F2X8NGW

Ex-New Yorker and local diner owner Gia Morelli is still getting used to the sweltering Florida sun. But this summer she’ll have to deal with a more dangerous kind of heat—when she’s hot on the trail of another murderer . . .

 

Summer in Boggy Creek has arrived, and Gia’s best friend, successful real estate agent Savannah, is getting hitched. Now she’s enlisted Gia’s sleuthing talents in a desperate search for the perfect wedding dress. But when Savannah mysteriously vanishes after showing a mansion to a bigwig client, Gia investigates the house Savannah was trying to sell. The first clue she finds is Savannah’s car in the driveway. Inside the house, they stumble on Savannah’s potential buyer—dead. Someone had apparently closed the deal—with a two by four full of nails to the client’s head. Soon afterward, a woman’s body is fished from the lake near the same house. The townsfolk are now sweating bullets over the murders, and the heat comes down on poor Gia to find her missing friend, and track down the killer . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

It’s summer in Boggy Creek and Gia is excited to help her BFF Savannah plan the perfect wedding. They just have to find a venue that meets their needs without breaking the bank. A big commission could really help real estate agent Savannah have the wedding of her dreams. She sets off to meet a wealthy client at the priciest home for sale in the area planning to meet Gia for some dress shopping later.

There were some concerns about her meeting this man by herself and when Savannah fails to pick up Gia and doesn’t answer her phone Gia sets off to find her friend. She arrives at the mansion and finds Savannah’s convertible in the driveaway but no Savannah. She does however find her client, dead, looking like he was hit upside the head with the nearby two by four full of nails. The police arrive and also find a woman’s body in the nearby lake. Thank God, it wasn’t Savannah, but where is she? Friends and family gather at Gia’s cafe while the police start a search. Everyone is frantic with whole latte worry. Will they find Savannah? and will they catch the killer before they strike again? Gia will not rest until they do!


The characters in this series have grown so much over the course of five books. Gia and Savannah are such a great team. When Savannah goes missing you can feel Gia’s pain jump off the pages. Savannah’s fiance Leo and her cousin Hunt along with most of the community search to find the real estate agent. It was heartwarming the way everyone came together.

With Savannah in peril, we get to see her brothers and father in action. They are a close-knit family and have welcomed Gia as one of their own. Trevor also has a larger role in this story and Alfie returns for a little technical support. All the cafe regulars return as well. Ms. Gregory has created a cast of truly genuine characters.

What I really love about the All-Day Breakfast Cafe Mysteries is the emphasis on friends and family. The characters really feel like old friends who would open their arms and hearts to anyone in need.

The mystery gets off to a very quick start. Savannah’s client has a shady past and possible mob connections. Gia’s house gets broken into and the treatment of a certain Bernese Mountain Dog had me absolutely livid.  Money is missing from several places and there is something hinky going on at Savannah’s real estate office. All these things are tangled together in a way that had the pages flying so fast I think my Kindle was steaming. Again the girls go to some crazy and dangerous lengths that had me holding my breath but I wouldn’t expect any less from this dynamic duo.

Whole Latte Murder is a Whole Latte good! Great characters and a fantastic story full of twists and turns along with just a little humor and romance make this book a Perfect Escape!

I am excited about Savannah and Leo’s wedding and look forward to pulling up a virtual seat for it and whatever murder mystery the author comes up with. I highly recommend every book in this series!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Lena Gregory

Lena Gregory is the author of the Bay Island Psychic Mysteries, which take place on a small island between the north and south forks of Long Island, New York, and the All-Day Breakfast Café Mysteries, which are set on the outskirts of Florida’s Ocala National Forest.

Lena grew up in a small town on the south shore of eastern Long Island, but she recently traded in cold, damp, gray winters for the warmth and sunshine of central Florida, where she now lives with her husband, three kids, son-in-law, and four dogs. Her hobbies include spending time with family, reading, and walking. Her love for writing developed when her youngest son was born and didn’t sleep through the night. She works full time as a writer and a freelance editor and is a member of Sisters in Crime.

To learn more about Lena and her latest writing endeavors, visit her website at http://www.lenagregory.com/, and be sure to sign up for her newsletter here.

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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

Treasure Most Deadly (A Seaside Cove Bed & Breakfast Mystery) by Terry Ambrose #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @terryawriterguy


Treasure Most Deadly (A Seaside Cove Bed & Breakfast Mystery)
by Terry Ambrose

About Treasure Most Deadly 


Treasure Most Deadly (A Seaside Cove Bed & Breakfast Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Setting – California
Satori (April 28, 2021)
Print Length: 265 pages
ASIN: B08ZJ4XQ89

Seaside Cove amateur sleuths Rick and Alexandra Atwood are back!

 

Seaside Cove Bed & Breakfast owner Rick Atwood is again called on to assist his friend, Chief of Police Adam Cunningham, with a murder investigation. The case seems straightforward enough. Clive Crabbe, who has a quick temper and a strong jealous streak, was found hunched over the victim after the man made advances toward Clive’s ex-wife.

 

A murder investigation is the last thing Rick wants right now. The B&B is booked solid. The town is inundated with tourists and news reporters chasing stories about treasure thieves. And Rick’s wedding to Marquetta Weiss is just weeks away. As if that wasn’t enough, Rick’s eleven-year-old daughter Alex is not only itching to help the cops solve another murder, but she’s forming an unhealthy friendship with a B&B guest.

 

As the murder investigation progresses, Rick realizes Alex’s new friend could be at the center of everything. The worst part is that Alex may be the one person capable of cracking the case.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Since the hidden treasure of San Manuel has been found Seaside Cove has been overtaken by tourists and reporters but a few thieves look to have arrived too. Rick and Marquetta have a full house at their B&B and Alex and Marquetta’s mother, Madeline, are pressuring them to choose a date and get their wedding planned. The last thing they need is another murder.

But soon Chief of Police Adam Cunningham calls on his good friend Rick when he finds a dead man in an alley. It appears to be an open and shut case though. Clive Crabbe is found next to the body. Clive and his wife are separated but he can’t handle anyone giving his ex and attention. According to reports she and the dead man had been flirting up a storm. But Clive claims he is innocent.

On top of that Alex is helping a “reporter” get the facts for a story while chasing down her own set of clues for the murder case. Is she going to solve this one before the chief and her dad? or is she going to find herself in a boatload of trouble she can’t handle?

_________

I am so happy to be visiting Seaside Cove again. You never know what is going to happen when you check in at Seaside Cove Bed & Breakfast. Marquetta makes sure all the guest’s needs are met with a little help from Alex and Rick, but it won’t be long before Rick is working a case and Alex is off on an adventure. I love the way these characters have grown quickly into a family and that Alex comes to really realize that in this story. The alternating points of view between Rick and Alex are great. Seeing things from an eleven-year-old POV is always fun. She does have some great insights. Alex’s dedication to Flynn was heartwarming. She will not abide anyone lying about her friend.

The author introduces a handful of new characters, some just tourists, some who seem to have a secret, one on a mystery mission, and another trying to heal from a harrowing experience. A few unsavory characters have arrived in town too. All of these new characters are cleverly crafted and develop nicely over the course of the story.

The mystery is very well-plotted with just the right amount of suspects. In addition to the murder, someone is stealing artifacts from the sunken ship. All the plotlines mesh together for an exciting and comprehensive mystery. I totally enjoyed following along with Alex and her antics. That girl can’t stop thinking about the case even at school. I do appreciate that Rick and Marquetta try to keep her to safe parts of the investigation but their best-laid plans don’t always work.

The subplot of Rick and Marquetta’s wedding planning was so realistic. How do you have the wedding of your dreams when you are in the hospitality business, taking care of other needs day in and day out? I think these two are starting to figure it out.

Each trip to Seaside Cove is unique and fun. Treasure Most Deadly is a fantastic addition to this series. Come for the sea, the sun, and the treasure. Just remember that treasure can be deadly.

I am already looking forward to my next visit!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Terry Ambrose

Once upon a time, in a life he’d rather forget, Terry Ambrose, tracked down deadbeats for a living. He also hired big guys with tow trucks to steal cars-but only when negotiations failed. Those years of chasing deadbeats taught him many valuable life lessons such as always keep your car in the garage. Today, Terry likes fast, funny mysteries and cool photography. He writes the Trouble in Paradise McKenna Mysteries and organized an anthology to benefit Read Aloud America. He fondly likens his efforts to those of a blind man herding cats.

Author Links:

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Purchase Link – Amazon – 


TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please visit all the stops.
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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

Legally Blind Luck (Braxton Campus Mysteries) by James J. Cudney #Review / #Giveaway @jamescudney4 – Great Escapes Book Tour


Legally Blind Luck (Braxton Campus Mysteries)
by James J. Cudney

About Legally Blind Luck 


Legally Blind Luck (Braxton Campus Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
7th in Series
Gumshoe – A Next Chapter Imprint (April 15, 2021)
Paperback: 295 pages
ISBN-13: 979-8707757341
Digital ASIN: B08R347N84

Surprising new family members. A hidden talisman. Deadly curses. Murder. Months after tragically losing a loved one, Kellan learns his relative’s death wasn’t an accident.

 

Someone has discovered a cursed talisman, and a rogue government agent will stop at nothing to retrieve the heirloom. Unfortunately, it has already changed hands and found its way on campus. Moments before Braxton’s controversial art exhibition opens, Kellan stumbles upon another murder victim, and it appears he might be next on the avenger’s list.

 

Can Kellan protect the talisman’s true heir and prevent the killer’s nefarious plan? Given all the suspects have ties to prominent Braxton citizens, he’s uncertain whom to trust. Together, Kellan and Sheriff April are determined to solve the mystery – via legal means or blind luck.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Kellan has his hands full with his work at the college, preparing for the next term and helping to oversee that an exhibit of South African Art goes off without a hitch. An exhibit that connects to his recently deceased uncle and a hidden talisman and a curse. Before the event even starts another dead body is found on the Braxton Campus. People are starting to worry. There has been a great influx of murders since Kellan returned home. Especially because he gets so involved in their investigations. Being romantically involved with the Sheriff should help him get all the details but that isn’t always the case. This time it is going to take both of their intellect and prowess to solve this crime.


This one started a little slow for me. With the cliffhanger at the end of Frozen Stiff Drink, I expected this story to pick right up where that story left off but several months seem to have passed. I felt I had a lot of information to absorb before the story really got going. I also appreciated the cast list at the beginning of the book because we meet a lot of new characters and at times it was hard to keep all the characters and their connections straight.

As I read further into the story I found the James J. Cudney rhythm I am used to. The intricate plotlines evolved and again Kellan is in the middle of everything that happens. Because of the death of his uncle, we meet several characters connected to him and now connected to the college. They are brought together in search of a talisman many believe could now be at the college or with Kellan. The backstory of this artifact and its curse was very interesting but its entanglements did get a little confusing at times.

I really enjoyed the way Kellan and April’s romance is progressing buy I think they made a huge mistake when a key piece of evidence is found. Not handling its security immediately as most law enforcement professionals would have instigated did allow some future events but to me, this part was just not believable.

The mystery had several twists but I focused on one character almost from the moment they were introduced. I was still completed entertained with the way all was revealed.  While I wasn’t surprised most of the characters definitely were.

The uniqueness of Kellan’s family is what originally drew me into this series, the mob connections, protecting his daughter, and the formidable presence of Nana D. always kept my attention and the pages flying. With his ex-wife’s story basically wrapped the author had to move these characters in a new direction and he has done a great job at that. We are getting to know some other of the key characters better. Kellan has also opened his home and his heart. Sadly Nana D. had a much smaller role in this book and I really missed the humor she usually brings. There was some but I can never get enough of that lady. We were introduced to another over-the-top character but she couldn’t fill Nana D.’s shoes.

I was happy that the main mystery was wrapped and I wouldn’t say this book ended with Mr. Cudney’s typical cliffhanger. Instead, it looks like Kellan has several options in his future. It sets up what could be a very compelling plot.

Legally Blind Luck, boy that title really fits, was an intriguing read with captivating characters, old and new. It’s always exciting to see what this author has in store for his characters.



Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About James J. Cudney

Background

James is my given name, but most folks call me Jay. I live in New York City, grew up on Long Island, and graduated from Moravian College, an historic but small liberal arts school in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, with a degree in English literature and minors in Education, Business and Spanish. After college, I accepted a technical writing position for a telecommunications company during Y2K and spent the last ~20 years building a career in technology & business operations in the retail, sports, media, hospitality, and entertainment industries. Throughout those years, I wrote short stories, poems, and various beginnings to the “Great American Novel,” but I was so focused on my career that writing became a hobby. In 2016, I committed to focusing my energies toward reinvigorating a second career in reading, writing, and publishing.

Author

Writing has been a part of my life as much as my heart, mind, and body. At some points, it was just a few poems or short stories; at others, it was full length novels and stories. My current focus is family drama fiction, cozy mystery novels, and suspense thrillers. I conjure characters and plots that I feel must be unwound. I think of situations people find themselves in and feel compelled to tell the story. It’s usually a convoluted plot with many surprise twists and turns. I feel it necessary to take that ride all over the course. My character is easily pictured in my head. I know what he is going to encounter or what she will feel. But I need to use the right words to make it clear.

Reader & Reviewer

Reading has also never left my side. Whether it was children’s books, young adult novels, college textbooks, biographies, or my ultimate love, fiction, it’s ever present in my day. I read two books per week and I’m on a quest to update every book I’ve ever read on Goodreads, write up a review, and post it on all my sites and platforms.

Blogger & Thinker

I have combined my passions into a single platform where I share reviews, write a blog and publish tons of content: TRUTH. I started my 365 Daily Challenge, where I post about a word that has some meaning to me and converse with everyone about life. There is humor, tears, love, friendship, advice, and bloopers. Lots of bloopers where I poke fun at myself all the time. Even my dogs have had weekly segments called “Ryder’s Rants” or “Baxter’s Barks,” where they complain about me. All these things make up who I am; none of them are very fancy or magnanimous, but they are real. And that’s why they are me.

Genealogist & Researcher

I love history and research, finding myself often reaching back into the past to understand why someone made the choice he or she did and what were the subsequent consequences. I enjoy studying the activities and culture from hundreds of years ago to trace the roots and find the puzzle of my own history. I wish I could watch my ancestors from a secret place to learn how they interacted with others, and maybe I’ll comprehend why I do things the way I do.

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Great Escapes Praise for Legally Blind Luck (Braxton Campus Mysteries)
by James J. Cudney

The author writes cozies that are fun to read, and this one is no exception. Full of mystery, twists and turns… it keeps one guessing who the murderer is.
~Literary Gold

As always James is able to intertwine details, braiding them together flawlessly and revealing one shock after another . . . this is one of my absolute favorites! 5 stars, and I’ll be holding my breath for book 8!
~Author Didi Oviatt

I loved the storyline in this installment – the cursed object gives the story a slightly darker feel while managing to remain “cozy”, and it was a fun change.
~The Book’s the Thing

The mystery in this one was quite twisty and I enjoyed the history and story about the curse. It added a lot of enjoyment to the story, especially for this history buff.
~Carla Loves To Read

James Cudney has a talent for writing family/murder mysteries, with wonderfully engaging dialogue, great characters, (my favourite is Nana D!)
~M J MALLON AUTHOR – Kyrosmagica

TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please visit all the stops. 
April 21 – Literary Gold – REVIEW
April 21 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
April 21 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
April 22 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
April 22 – Didi Oviatt – Author – REVIEW
April 22 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
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April 26 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
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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 Author Edition Challenge Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday – Southern Sass and a Battered Bride (A Marygene Brown Mystery) by Kate Young – #Review / #Giveaway @KAYoungBooks @KensingtonBooks – Great Escapes Book Tour

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am thrilled to share with you my thoughts today about
Southern Sass and a Battered Bride.


Southern Sass and a Battered Bride (A Marygene Brown Mystery)
by Kate Young

 

About Southern Sass and a Battered Bride


Southern Sass and a Battered Bride (A Marygene Brown Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Georgia
Publisher: Kensington (April 27, 2021)
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
ISBN-10: 1496721497
ISBN-13: 978-1496721495
Digital ASIN : B08F2WNNPQ

At a murder mystery–themed wedding reception on Georgia’s picturesque Peach Cove Island, the bride is doing an awfully good job playing dead . . .

 

Marygene Brown always figured she’d marry her childhood sweetheart, Alex Myers, not cater his wedding. But the Peach Diner could use the exposure. Most of the island is showing up—although more for the role-playing murder game at the reception than for the widely loathed bridezilla, Lucy Carmichael. Marygene may have to smile through the festivities, but Mama doesn’t have to hold her peace—especially since only Marygene can hear her mother’s ghost. Mama says she sees an aura of darkness around the wedding.

 

So when Marygene finds Lucy lying beside the wedding cake, buried in batter, with no pulse, it looks like Mama called it. This is no game. And when the bride’s body simply vanishes, it’s up to Marygene and her best friend Betsy (cousin to the groom and no fan of the bride) to solve a real-life mystery—with a little help from Mama’s sassy spirit . . .

 

Includes Seven Recipes from Marygene’s Kitchen!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Alex Myers is getting married but not to his childhood sweetheart Marygene Brown. No, he is marrying Lucy Carmichael and no one is really happy about it. Marygene has consented to cater the event because it is good business, especially because most of the island is attending. They aren’t really coming to support the nuptials, they are coming to take part in the murder mystery reception. Marygene is surprised the bridezilla has consented to be the victim but when she sees the woman on the ground covered in batter she realizes the woman will do anything to be the center of attention.

Looking closely Marygene thinks the woman is doing an excellent job, she really looks dead. OMG! She is dead! Her mama’s ghost had warned her to be careful because there is an aura of darkness around the wedding. Well, she was right and things get even eerier when Lucy’s body disappears. Was she really dead or was it all just an act? Who would have taken a dead body? and how did they do it without being seen? Marygene knows she has to find out because she and her best friend Betsy are high up on the suspect list. She just hopes her mother will be able to see something Marygene is missing because this is no longer a game, it’s murder and other lives are on the line.


Kate Young has created such strong characters with a fantastic family dynamic. Marygene has grown so much since this series began. She is Southern through and through always trying to see the best in everyone even when they are clearly at their worse. She will bend over backward to help, again when people don’t deserve it. This time we saw the worse of Alex and it really shakes Marygene to her core but she remains open to help him even when others have backed away. Betsy and her Aunt Vi are really hurt by his words and actions but they are still able to bring plenty of funny to this story. I just love Marygene’s mother. Her ghostly presence is always interesting. She is still learning about what she can and can’t do but she always shows up when Marygene needs her most. A tragic event within the story shows that even a ghost can grow and evolve. Marygene’s siblings also play a large role in the story. I became invested in these characters early in this series and they continue to warm my heart and surprise me too. This family is close and that is what drives this series.

The story starts out of the gate fast with so much going on. This author excels at blending real-life happenings with the murder mystery. Marygene is pulled in several directions it seems all at the same time. A complicated mystery unfolds with several twists and exciting moments. Marygene takes a wild ride literally this time and it had me holding my breath imagining what could have been and that was just the first time it happened. The pages were flying as each clue dropped and my theories took flight. I did have someone pretty well pinned to the top of my suspect list but there were twists that really surprised me and I was pretty shocked when all was revealed.

As I have said before, the books in this series are so much more than cozy mysteries. Kate Young gives her readers a story full of Southern charm and sass and characters that are realistic and true. The dialogues are cleverly written and the humor is spot-on.  Southern Sass and a Battered Bride is a very entertaining story. I definitely need more Marygene, Betsy, and Aunt Vi in my life. I hope to return to Peach Cove Island soon.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Kate Young

Kate Young writes Southern mystery novels. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and the Guppy Chapter. Kate lives in a small town in Georgia with her husband, three kids, and Shih Tzu. When she is not writing her own books, she’s reading or cooking.

Author Links – Website Facebook – Twitter  GoodReads BookBub

 Purchase Links  – Amazon – B&N – Kobo – IndieBound

Also by Kate Young

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please visit all the stops. 
April 26 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
April 26 – Cinnamon, Sugar, and a Little Bit of Murder – REVIEW, RECIPE
April 26 – Angel’s Guilty Pleasures – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
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April 27 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW
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April 27 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
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April 28 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
April 28 – My Journey Back the Journey Back – CHARACTER GUEST POST
April 29 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
April 29 – Literary Gold – REVIEW
April 29 – Thoughts in Progress – SPOTLIGHT
April 29 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW
April 30 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW
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May 1 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
May 2 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW
May 2 – Diane Reviews Books – 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 E-Book Challenge New Release Challenge paradise rating You Read How Many Books Challenge

Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto #Review


Dial A for Aunties
Humorous American Literature
Asian American Literature & Fiction
Setting – California
Publisher: Berkley (April 27, 2021)
Hardcover: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 0593336739
ISBN-13: 978-0593336731
Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 0593333039
ISBN-13: 978-0593333037
Kindle ASIN: B08JKM7JCC

What happens when you mix 1 (accidental) murder with 2 thousand wedding guests and then toss in a possible curse on 3 generations of an immigrant Chinese-Indonesian family? 
 
You get 4 meddling Asian aunties coming to the rescue!

When Meddelin Chan ends up accidentally killing her blind date, her meddlesome mother calls for her even more meddlesome aunties to help get rid of the body. Unfortunately, a dead body proves to be a lot more challenging to dispose of than one might anticipate, especially when it is inadvertently shipped in a cake cooler to the over-the-top billionaire wedding Meddy, her Ma, and aunties are working at an island resort on the California coastline. It’s the biggest job yet for the family wedding business—”Don’t leave your big day to chance, leave it to the Chans!”—and nothing, not even an unsavory corpse, will get in the way of her auntie’s perfect buttercream flowers.

But things go from inconvenient to downright torturous when Meddy’s great college love—and biggest heartbreak—makes a surprise appearance amid the wedding chaos. Is it possible to escape murder charges, charm her ex back into her life, and pull off a stunning wedding all in one weekend?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Oh my, this is satire at its finest. Jesse Q. Sutanto sure knows how to bring the funny.

Meddelin Chan is part of her family’s wedding business. She photographs the event from start to finish and with Indonesian – Chinese weddings that entails a lot. “Big Aunt” makes the luscious cakes, “Aunt 2” is in charge of hair and make-up. Meddie’s mother takes care of all the flowers and “Aunt 4” sings, providing entertainment. Together all five of them try to hide a body but wait, I am getting ahead of myself.

Meddy’s mother is so worried about her daughter’s love life that with some help from her meddlesome aunts she sets Meddy up on a dating site and pretends to be her. Meddy finds out when she learns she has a blind date with a man her mother feels is perfect. Sadly the date doesn’t go well and Meddelin accidentally kills the man and could have killed herself. But she survives and makes it home with the date in the trunk of the car. With a huge wedding the next day they try to keep the body on ice until after the event but due to circumstances beyond their control that darn body ends up at the wedding site. What ensues is a wild ride of a story I could not put down. Heck, Meddy’s college boyfriend even enters the scene and plays an integral part.


Okay, you need to suspend reality while reading this story but you will catch yourself laughing out loud and immersed in a wonderful escape.

Meddy is the dutiful daughter and “Ma” and her Aunties are an absolute hoot! The Chans are a close family and there is so much love there. The Auntie’s get a little snippy with each other but they truly support each other even when it comes to getting rid of a dead body. These characters practically jump off the page. The dialogue which includes a little bickering just sings. I laughed so hard when Meddy and her aunties had to explain to Ma the text messages she had received from the man she set her daughter up with.

The story had a few Weekend At Bernie’s movie moments too as we moved to the wedding part of the story. That poor dead body turned up in some surprising places.

But the story isn’t all laughs. We get a nice look at the traditions and stress of an Indo-Chinese wedding. I really felt for the bride as certain things came to light.

I loved the twist that brought Meddy’s college boyfriend, Nathan Chan back into the story and the little flashbacks to their previous relationship. Don’t worry Chan is like Smith in the Indo-Chinese world so they are not related.

I absolutely loved everything about this story and I was thrilled to read it is going to be adapted into a movie on NetFlix. It was such a wonderful escape I have to give it my highest – deserves more than 5 stars – Paradise Rating. Dial A for Aunties is a fantastic story full of delightfully quirky characters that I wish I could meet in person. Crazy chaos overtakes these pages and will have readers grinning ear to ear. Fun and entertaining. A must-read!

*Note: The book does include explicit language. 

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

Photo Credit Michael Hart

About the Author

Jesse Q Sutanto grew up shuttling back and forth between Indonesia, Singapore, and Oxford and considers all three places her home. She has a Master’s from Oxford University, but she has yet to figure out how to say that without sounding obnoxious. Jesse has forty-two first cousins and thirty aunties and uncles, many of whom live just down the road. When she’s not writing, she’s gaming with her husband (mostly FPS), or making a mess in the kitchen with her two daughters.

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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.”