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

On Skein of Death (A Riverbank Knitting Mystery) by Allie Pleiter #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour – @BerkleyMystery


On Skein of Death (A Riverbank Knitting Mystery)
by Allie Pleiter

About On Skein of Death


On Skein of Death (A Riverbank Knitting Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Maryland
Publisher: ‎ Berkley (June 1, 2021)
Mass Market Paperback: ‎ 304 pages
ISBN-10: ‎ 0593201787
ISBN-13: ‎ 978-0593201787
Digital ASIN: ‎ B08H15VG1T

For Libby Beckett, opening her charming yarn shop, and introducing customers to the joys of knitting and crochet, is the work she was meant to do. Until the yarn she loves is used for murder….

 

Libby has come home to Collinstown, Maryland to live her dream and open her own yarn shop, aptly named Y.A.R.N., along the Chester River. To Libby, Y.A.R.N. stands for “You’re Absolutely Ready Now.” But the acronym changes whenever inspiration strikes, and customers add to the list of suggestions that fill the blackboard wall in a shop stuffed with color, fiber, and comfort.

 

Libby is thrilled when she lands famous Norwegian knitting celebrity Perle Langager for a series of events at Y.A.R.N. Libby’s English bulldog, Hank, has been modeling one of Perle’s doggie sweaters, and customers just can’t wait to see Perle in action. The mayor of Collinstown even decrees a Collinstown Yarn Day to celebrate. But once Perle arrives in town, she seems distracted and on edge. And when she’s found strangled with a skein of red yarn, Libby knows she has to solve a knotty mystery before her new life unravels.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Libby Beckett is living her dream of opening up her Y.A.R.N. shop to spread her joy of yarn crafts with the masses. Y.A.R.N. stands for “You’re Absolutely Ready Now” but she wasn’t ready to find Perle Langager dead. Perle was a famous Norwegian knitting celebrity who had come to Collinstown, Maryland to lead several events at Y.A.R.N. Perle seemed very nervous and distracted when she arrived but was looking forward to each event. Sadly she was found strangled with a skein of red yarn before a big event and Libby knows she needs to untangle all the suspects and unravel all the clues to knit her life back together so she can continue to live her dream.


I really liked Libby. Her passion for yarn and knitting just oozed out of her. I loved the way she encouraged an overwrought businesswoman to try knitting to alieve her stress. The woman was hooked after her first lesson. She also taught a 13-year-old girl anxious to learn to knit. Libby also realizes sorting out clues is easier with a pair of needles in her hands. You will rarely find the woman not knitting up some wonderful creation.

Ms. Pleiter has surrounded her protagonist with a wonderful supporting cast. Her mom and “the Gals” bring a lot of humor to the story, you never know what these ladies are going to come up with. That young 13-year-old knitter, Jillian is the daughter of Gavin, Collinstown’s mayor, and Libby’s high school boyfriend, who just may want to rekindle their relationship. But it was Hank the completely stole my heart. Hank is an English Bulldog, who is the shop’s mascot and quite the model of doggie sweaters. He is also good to have around when you’re feeling blue or in a bit of trouble. Libby is truly blessed to be Hank’s person.

This book suffers from first book-itis. It is really hard to introduce all the characters so readers get invested in their lives and try to give readers a complicated mystery. There were a few star suspect choices and I was able to knit and purl the clues and picked out the culprit pretty quickly. I was waiting for an epic twist to prove me wrong but that didn’t happen. I am sure now that we know the characters the mystery in the next book will be more complex.

I will say though that while the mystery was light I really enjoyed this story. The setting is delightfully described and if Y.A.R.N. was a real place I would be there in an instant to add my own words of inspiration to store blackboard. Y – You A – Are – R – Really N – Nice or Y- You A- Are – R- Raving N – Now, okay those are just off the top of my head.  I also liked all the characters and want to know them better. Lily is very creative and I am excited to see what her next project will be.

On Skein of Death has given the Riverbank Knitting Mystery Series a firm foundation to build on. I am looking forward to returning to Collinstown and Y.A.R.N. soon.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Allie Pleiter

An avid knitter, coffee junkie and firm believer that “pie makes everything better,” Allie Pleiter writes both fiction and non-fiction working on as many as four novels at a time.  The bestselling author of over fifty books, Allie has enjoyed a twenty-year career with over 1.5 million books sold.  In addition to writing, Allie maintains an active writing productivity coaching practice and speaks regularly on the creative process, publishing, and her very favorite topic—The Chunky Method of time management for writers. Visit her website at www.alliepleiter.com to learn more.

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Coming February 1, 2022

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please visit all the stops. 
August 2 – Literary Gold – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
August 2 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – REVIEW
August 3 – Novels Alive – GUEST POST
August 3 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT
August 4 – Novels Alive – SPOTLIGHT 
August 4 – Brianne’s Book Reviews – REVIEW
August 5 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
August 5 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
August 6 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
August 6 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW  
August 7 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
August 7 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW
August 8 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
August 8 – I Read What You Write – SPOTLIGHT
August 9 – Dear Reader – REVIEW
August 9 – Tea Book Blanket – SPOTLIGHT
August 10 – Ascroft, eh? – CHARACTER GUEST POST
August 10 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
August 11 – BookishKelly2020 – SPOTLIGHT  
August 11 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – GUEST POST
August 11 – Reading Is My SuperPower – 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 Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday with Gabby Allan – Author of Much Ado about Nauticaling (A Whit and Whiskers Mystery) #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour


Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!


Much Ado about Nauticaling (A Whit and Whiskers Mystery)
by Gabby Allan

I am thrilled to welcome Gabby Allan to Escape With Dollycas!

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

After writing plays for my friends to act out as a kid, bad poetry in high school, and my high school Alma Mater song, I finally found my true passion—cozy mysteries. Being able to share my world with readers, one laugh at a time, and touch people’s hearts with my down-to-earth characters makes for the best job ever. This California girl now lives with my husband, daughter, and two insane dogs in Central Pennsylvania where I am hard at work on my next novel, or three. I love to tell stories and am very much known for not being able to have less than an hour-long conversation and even that is short. So if you’re going to call, make sure you have the time to talk about all the things!

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

I was born in Hawaii. I married the boy who had a crush on me in ninth grade even though we didn’t start dating until after high school. I often plot stories in the shower and draw my thoughts on the shower wall with a water crayon.

What is the first book you remember reading?

The Maggie B.

What are you reading now?

Monster, She Wrote by Kroger and Anderson

What books have most inspired you?

I love books about characters who not only survive but thrive during and after challenges.

What made you decide you wanted to write mysteries?

Lots of Murder, She Wrote and Perry Mason when I was younger. Plus I really enjoy the ability to murder on the page and know that there will be justice!

Do you have a special place where you like to write?

My huge desk that is actually supposed to be a breakfast bar but I like to repurpose furniture as often as possible!

Where do the ideas for your books come from?

News articles, people who irritate me, anywhere and everywhere 😊 LOL

Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

Sometimes that first chapter in a new story needs a little coaxing to get things moving.

What do you think makes a good story?

Characters I want to go find and have coffee with.

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

They’re all a little like me. But I think Whit has a lot of my sass and spunk and I love her for it.

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

I’m going to have to say the difference is probably that I wrote more of a RomCozy – rom com and cozy mixed into one and sitting on the beach having a Mai Tai.

What’s next on the horizon for you?

Whit and Whiskers 2 Something Fishy This Way Comes releases in July 2022 and I can’t wait for you to continue these adventures with my girl Whit and her frisky kitty Whiskers!

Thank you so much, Gabby for dropping by today!

Keep reading for my thoughts about Much Ado about Nauticaling. 

About Much Ado about Nauticaling


Much Ado about Nauticaling (A Whit and Whiskers Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – California
Publisher: Kensington (July 27, 2021)
Paperback: 256 pages
ISBN-10: 1496731069
ISBN-13: 978-1496731067
Digital ASIN: B08TB5M4K8

Whitney Dagner is your tour guide to a Pacific paradise that’s to die for—only to find it’s a place people are also willing to kill for—in Gabby Allan’s Much Ado About Nauticaling, first in the Whit and Whiskers Mystery series.

After far too many years in the Los Angeles corporate world, Whitney Dagner has come home to Santa Catalina Island off the California coast to help her brother Nick run Nautically Yours, the family tourism business. Between gift shop shifts selling all manner of T-shirts and tchotchkes and keeping her feline Whiskers in fine fettle, she pilots the Sea Bounder, a glass bottom boat showing tourists the underwater sights of aquatic plants, marine life—and a murder victim?

The self-proclaimed “Master of the Island,” Jules Tisdale was a wealthy man with business interests throughout Catalina who was about to be honored as Person of the Year before someone strangled him with his own tie and tossed his body into the water. That someone appears to be Nick, who had a raw deal from Jules and no alibi the night of his murder. To clear her brother’s name, Whit will have to investigate Jules’ shady associates and not exactly grief-stricken family members—with the unwelcome help of Felix Ramirez, police diver and Whit’s ex-boyfriend who’s looking to rekindle their relationship.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

In this first Whit and Whiskers Mystery, we meet Whitney Dagner, her cat Whiskers, and her brother Nick. She has left her high-pressure job and returned to Santa Catalina Island to help Nick in the family business Nautically Yours. Their business offers glass-bottom boat tours so tourists can view fantastic underwater sights. Whitney is also opening a gift shop selling all kinds of souvenir-type items, including treasure maps and puzzles.  She is just getting her sea legs back when she looks through the glass bottom of the boat and sees a dead body. OMG, Jules Tisdale, the self-proclaimed “Master of the Island,” is dead and it definitely was not due to natural causes. The police quickly decide Nick is their prime suspect. Whitney knows her brother is innocent, she just needs to prove it and she receives help from an unwanted source . . . her ex-boyfriend, Felix Ramirez. He not only wants to help her investigate, but he would also be really happy to give their relationship a second chance.


After reading this book, I want to plan a vacation to Santa Catalina. It sounds like an idyllic place sans the murder, of course. A tour in a glass-bottom boat, enjoying several restaurants, and relaxing on the beach sounds wonderful to me.  The author does an excellent job of bringing her setting to life.

We are introduced to several characters in this story.  In addition to Whitney and Nick, we meet their grandparents, Pops and Goldy. The kids visited their grandparents every summer while growing up and the place just feels like home. I love Goldy. She is a confident woman who knows what she wants and how to get it. The woman takes her wardrobe very seriously as well as her make-up. It is not unusual to see Goldy walking around town in a swimsuit, cover-up, and high heels so she can soak up the sunshine rays as often as she can. I would love her life. Pops is well suited to her. He brings the calm to hectic situations and knows how to handle his wife. They have left the business to Nick and Whitney but are there quickly to help in a pinch. We also meet Whitney’s roommate, Maribel, and her ex, Felix but I think we have just scratched the surface of the characters’ pasts and current situations. The is a lot of room for character development in future books.

The mystery is pretty standard but boy, Whitney really needs to work on her investigative skills if she is going to shine as an amateur sleuth.  She needs to be more focused. She is all over the place with her theories, and readers are treated to thoughts as she tries to bring the clues together to pin down the killer. There are several suspects and Nick isn’t really a big help. I really like that her cat plays a key role throughout the story. The mystery had a nice slow build which I enjoyed but then the pace picked up and the ending felt a little rushed. It did leave some subplots and questions open making me excited for the next book in the series.

Much Ado about Nauticaling is setting this series off to a great start. I hope the main characters are more fleshed out as the series continues. I want to get to know them better.


Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

More About Gabby Allan

 

After writing plays for her friends to act out as a kid, bad poetry in high school, and her high school Alma Mater song, GABBY ALLAN finally found her true passion—cozy mysteries. Being able to share her world with readers, one laugh at a time, and touch people’s hearts with her down-to-earth characters makes for the best job ever. This California girl now lives with her husband, daughter, and two insane dogs in Central Pennsylvania where she is hard at work on her next novel.

Author Links – Website Facebook

Purchase Links –

AmazonB&NKoboGoogle PlayIndieBound – 

Great Escapes Praise for Much Ado about Nauticaling (A Whit and Whiskers Mystery)
by Gabby Allan

The storyline is intricately woven with many motives and suspects. . . . I can already see this is going to be a fun series and I’m looking forward to reading more.
~Socrates’ Book Reviews…

Much Ado about Nauticaling is a carefree cozy with a cuddly cat, a glass-bottom boat, treasure map trouble, a bothersome ex-beau, and straggling sand.
~The Avid Reader

MUCH ADO ABOUT NAUTICALING is a breezy island mystery with great characters and a wonderful setting.
~Cozy Up With Kathy

This story has all the promise of a good cozy series. The setting is wonderful. There are some terrific characters and the author obviously knows how to tell a story.
~I Read What You Write!

TOUR PARTICIPANTS
July 30 – Socrates Book Reviews – REVIEW
July 30 – Here’s How It Happened – SPOTLIGHT
July 31 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW
July 31 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT
August 1 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW
August 1 – eBook Addicts – SPOTLIGHT
August 2 – Novels Alive – GUEST POST
August 2 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
August 3 – Book Club Librarian – REVIEW  
August 3 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
August 4 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
August 4 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
August 5 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
August 5 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW
August 6 – Mochas, Mysteries and Meows – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
August 6 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
August 7 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW
August 8 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST
August 9 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
August 9 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW, GUEST POST
August 10 – Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic – GUEST POST
August 11 – Novels Alive – REVIEW
August 12 – 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 Literary Escapes New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

The Cider Shop Rules (A Cider Shop Mystery) by Julie Anne Lindsey #Review (Paradise Rating)


The Cider Shop Rules (A Cider Shop Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – West Virginia
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Kensington (July 27, 2021)
Mass Market Paperback ‏ : ‎ 320 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1496723511
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1496723512
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08MBD78KS

Autumn in Blossom Valley means pumpkin patches are ripe and Winona Mae Montgomery and her Granny Smythe’s cider shop is flourishing. But with this season comes . . .

A FATAL HARVEST

The Fall Festival is in full swing. Civil War reenactors from three counties are partaking in Blossom Valley’s tribute to John Brown. Blue Ridge Mountain foliage is in full bloom. And best of all is Jacob Potter’s pumpkin farm where his hayrides, piglet races, pumpkin picking, and corn maze are time-honored draws for locals and tourists alike. That’s why it’s such a shock when Mr. Potter is found dead, hidden under a tarp in the back of Winnie’s pickup truck. This certainly betrays Potter’s reputation as one of the town’s most popular citizens. Fortunately, when it comes to solving a murder, no one has a patch on Winnie. Now, all eyes are on her to do it. Unfortunately, that includes those of the killer who’ll do anything to keep an orchard full of secrets buried.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

There are some great things happening in Blossom Valley. The Potter’s Pumpkin Farm is having a fall festival as is Smthye’s Orchard. There is a civil war reenactment that brings some wonderful guests to Blossom Valley and Winnie’s new cider shop has become a location to visit for cider and baked treats. It’s too bad one venue has to close when the owner is killed and his body is stashed under a tarp in the bed of Winnie’s beloved pickup truck. Sheriff Colton Wise is not happy when many Blossom Valley residents assume Winnie will pare down the suspects and serve up the killer. Sadly the killer knows that too and they are not the only one looking to harm Winnie and Colton.


Take a deep breath of the wonderful autumn air and look around to see all of the beautiful fall foliage. Amble over for a glass of Winnie’s delicious cider and sit back and relax.

Unless your want to trail along with Winnie as she pulls out the stops to catch Mr. Potter’s killer and help her to avoid a criminal from Sheriff Colton’s past. Winnie has her hands full this time trying to take care of everything that has been tossed on her plate.

I love this series. Winnie is a wonderful leading character. Her heart is always in the right place but she sometimes treads into situations she should have avoided. Thankfully Colton Wise is wise to Winnie’s ambitions and does his best to keep her safe. This time his brother Blake is in town to help him. But Blake is a notorious flirt and Winnie gets a little rattled with two Wise men in her life. The handsome brothers are also joined by their parents which adds some really nice things to the story. Best friend Dot is around to play Watson to Winnie’s Sherlock and Winnie’s grandmother is nearby with words of advice. Granny’s group of friends are great sources for local gossip. Ms. Lindsey has created such a wonderful group of truly genuine characters. They kept me engaged from the first page to the last.

Ms. Lindsey has wrapped these wonderful characters into an exciting mystery. Who killed Mr. Potter? Is there a fugitive lurking nearby? Twists, turns, flips, and a trip through the corn maze kept my eyes glued to my Kindle. I would have read the entire book in one sitting if my brain would not have demanded sleep. The author has done an excellent job dropping clues throughout the story but you could have knocked me over with a feather when the killer was disclosed during a thrilling reveal.

The Cider Shop Rules is a fantastic cozy mystery. Charming characters and an exhilarating mystery make this a must-read for cozy mystery lovers. I thoroughly enjoy my visit to Blossom Valley. This book exceeded my expectations and will take a slot on my Best Reads of 2021 list.

This story reads well all on its own but for maximum enjoyment, I recommend ready the series from the start.

 

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

You can read my review of Apple Cider Slaying here. and Pulp Friction here.

 

About the Author

Julie Anne Lindsey is a multi-genre author who writes the stories that keep her up at night. When she’s not creating new worlds and organizing the epic adventures of fictional characters, Julie can be found carpooling her three kids around Northeastern Ohio and plotting with her shamelessly enabling friends. Today, she hopes to make someone smile. One day she plans to change the world. Julie is a member of the International Thriller Writers, Romance Writers of America, and Sisters in Crime.

Author Links

Visit her online at www.JulieAnneLindsey.com

Facebook – Twitter – Pinterest – 


Coming Soon from Julie Anne Lindsey

Also by Julie Anne Lindsey

Find more by Julie Anne Lindsey 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 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 Dead as a Duck (A Washington Whodunit) by Colleen J Shogan #Review / #Giveaway – @cshogan276 – Great Escapes Book Tour

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am happy to share my thoughts today about Dead as a Duck!

About Dead as a Duck


Dead as a Duck (A Washington Whodunit)
Cozy Mystery
7th in Series
Setting – North Carolina
Publisher: Camel Press (July 14, 2021)
Paperback: 230 pages
ISBN-10: 1942078323
ISBN-13: 978-1942078326
Digital ASIN: B08WTPNBD6

Congressional staffer Kit Marshall is looking forward to a much-deserved summer vacation in the Outer Banks. When the mayor of the beach town turns up dead, Kit and her friends need to put their fun and relaxation on hold to help solve the crime.

August has been a busy month for congressional staffer Kit Marshall. She hit the road with her boss, Congresswoman Maeve Dixon, who is considering running for the United States Senate in North Carolina. After endless town halls and meet-and-greets, Kit is happy to end the tour in Duck, an upscale beach town in the Outer Banks.

Before Kit can relax on her much-deserved vacation with her husband Doug, brother Sebastian, best friend Meg, and beagle mutt Clarence, the body of Duck’s mayor is found floating in the shallow waters of the Currituck Sound.

Kit’s brother Sebastian, who got in a public kerfuffle with the victim the day before, becomes the prime suspect. Solving the mystery takes her to popular hotspots in the Outer Banks, including a private tour featuring the wild horses of Corolla.

Kit must sacrifice sun-filled days of relaxation to clear her brother. In the end, Kit and Sebastian put their own lives on the line to secure a confession from the killer and make sure justice is served.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Congressional staffer Kit Marshall has hit the road for a listening tour as her boss, Congresswoman Maeve Dixon,  considers a run for Senate. The tour’s last stop is the town of Duck and Kit is looking forward to sticking around and vacationing in the outer banks with her husband, friends, and her brother. Oh, the dogs have come along too. The last town hall meeting gets out of hand when the mayor is put in the hot seat to answer questions about some of the plans he has initiated and his future plans. Congresswoman Dixon doesn’t get much time at all as the event breaks up when things get out of hand.

Kit barely gets to wind down and start her vacay when she finds the now dead mayor of Duck floating in the Currituck Sound. Because her environmental activist brother Sebastian got into it with the mayor at the town hall meeting and has no alibi matching the time of death he becomes the police’s number one suspect. So instead of hitting the beach Kit hits the town’s businesses and residents to find the real killer and clear her brother’s name. It isn’t an easy task and both she and her brother could end up dead instead of catching the killer.


The author takes her wonderful characters out of Washington D.C. to Duck, North Carolina and I enjoyed that very much. One of our best family vacations was in North Carolina. We did stay on our namesake Caswell Beach but did visit the outer banks on a day trip. We have wonderful memories of the area and I felt bad that Kit’s vacay was marred by murder. She did get to visit a few places but clearing Sebastien was her main focus.

It was fun to see the characters out of their high-pressure element and be able to kick back and relax a little bit.  The dogs had a good time too but one enjoyed the beach much more than the other. They did have to deal with the murder and a couple of characters are faced with a vital decisions so it wasn’t all sunshine and beaches. These characters are all very strong and well-developed. Their interactions are all believable. They really are a fun group of people.

The mystery is very well written. The mayor had ruffled a lot of Duck feathers and it really made sense that the suspect pool was drawn from its residents rather than a tourist after just one meeting but the police seemed remiss about pinning it on a member of the little town. With a more open pool Kit’s snooping lead to some nice twists and turns. I was really kept guessing right up to the very end.

I really enjoy Ms. Shogan’s writing style. It is comfortable and makes her books easy to escape into. Even though politics to a backseat to the mystery this time there was enough for those readers who like the political theme.

Dead as a Duck takes us to a wonderful place with fantastic characters wrapped up in a marvelous mystery. For me, it was definitely a Perfect Escape. The author took me on a nice little escape to Duck and the story had everything I look for is a stellar cozy mystery. Kit has some immense duties coming up as her boss makes a huge decision so I am really looking forward to the next installment of this series too.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Colleen J. Shogan

Colleen J. Shogan has been reading mysteries since the age of six. A political scientist by training, Colleen has taught American politics at numerous universities. She previously worked on Capitol Hill as a legislative staffer in the United States Senate and as a senior executive at the Library of Congress. Currently, she’s a Senior Vice President at the White House Historical Association. A member of Sisters in Crime, Colleen splits her time between Arlington, VA and Duck, NC.

Authors Prior titles: STABBING IN THE SENATE, HOMICIDE IN THE HOUSE, CALAMITY AT THE CONTINENTAL CLUB, K STREET KILLING, GORE IN THE GARDEN, LARCENY AT THE LIBRARY

Author Links

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Purchase Links –

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Praise for the Series

“The mystery is perplexing—for Kit and company, and for me—and well done. I was impressed by the complexity of the murder plot. I enjoyed the political theme, and all the details about lobbyists.” —Jane Reads

“To someone who has mastered that uniquely Washington skill of bobbling two cell phones and a glass of wine without spilling a drop, solving a murder is practically child’s play.” —HillRag

“A solid choice for political junkies and readers of ­Maggie ­Sefton, Fred Hunter, and Mike Lawson.” —Library Journal

“The fourth volume in author Colleen J. Shogan’s simply outstanding ‘Washington Whodunit’ series, K Street Killing is a consistently entertaining read with many an unexpected twist and turn by a true master of the genre.” —Midwest Book Review

“Shogan does a good job depicting the creaky, squeaky wheels of government, and Marshall plays politics and sleuth with equal dexterity in this capital Capitol Hill mystery.” —Publishers Weekly

“Loads of inside scoop about the workings of Senate offices—complete with all the gossiping, back-stabbing, and procedural maneuvering—plus an appealing young sleuth, sprightly pacing, and an edge-of-your-seat showdown on the Hart-Dirksen underground train.” —Literary Hill

“An excellent whodunit…. I was really impressed with this very smart story. The author is a former Senate staffer so she is writing what she knows, less the murder, I hope.”    —Escape with Dollycas Into a Good Book

“Readers who enjoy amateur sleuth mysteries written in the style of Agatha Christie will enjoy this promising debut mystery.” —The Washington Independent Review of Books

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please visit all the stops. 
July 15 – Novels Alive – GUEST POST
July 15 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT
July 16 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – SPOTLIGHT
July 16 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
July 17 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT
July 18 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
July 19 – Author Elena Taylor’s Blog – SPOTLIGHT
July 20 – The Book Diva’s Reads – GUEST POST
July 20 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
July 21 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT
July 21 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
July 22 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
July 23 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
July 24 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT
July 24 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
July 25 – eBook Addicts – SPOTLIGHT
July 26 – Brooke Blogs – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
July 26 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW
July 27 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
July 27 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
July 27 – Baroness’ Book Trove – SPOTLIGHT
July 28 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
July 28 – 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 Literary Escapes Read The Printed Word Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Body Over Troubled Waters: A Cozy Mystery (Welcome Back to Scumble River) by Denise Swanson #Review / #Giveaway @DeniseSwansonAu @Sourcebooks

Body Over Troubled Waters: A Cozy Mystery
(Welcome Back to Scumble River)

Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Setting – Illinois
Poisoned Pen Press (July 27, 2021)
Mass Market Paperback ‏ : ‎ 352 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 149268600X
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1492686002
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08SDTFVH4

 

Love is deadly

Stupid Cupid is making School psychologist Skye Denison-Boyd regret returning to work after her maternity leave. It starts with an emergency school lockdown, continues with her godfather’s arrest by the state police, and ends with a dead body!

It’s every teacher and administrator’s worst nightmare—a school shooter lockdown. And even worse for Skye because she’s trapped in a tiny room with the district’s creepy superintendent, Dr. Wraige while they wait for the all-clear.

When Dr. Wraige turns up dead in his home just a short time later, is it a coincidence, or something more?

Skye joins her police chief husband, Wally, in an investigation that becomes more complicated by the minute. With a dead boss and a mysterious killer on the loose, Skye is caught between a rock and a heart place—but she won’t give up until Scumble River is safe once again.

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

It’s almost Valentine’s Day in Scumble River and a couple of cupids are causing a little mayhem.

Skye Denison-Boyd is back to work after her maternity leave but she may wish she was still at home. First, there is a crazy school lockdown. Next, the state police arrest her godfather. And then there is that pesky dead body. Skye finds herself sitting out the lockdown with the school superintendent who is just plain creepy. She is totally surprised when he is found later dead at his home. Police chief/hubby has asked Skye to assist him on the case because she knows the would-be suspects at the school. But this case doesn’t have an easy solution. Skye doesn’t give up though. She keeps digging until the killer is found.


I really enjoy visiting these characters. The bond between Skye and Wally is so strong. They make an excellent team both as parents and catching criminals. They are surrounded by an excellent supporting cast. Strong relationships really bring the story to life. The Dooziers also return in this story and shake things up a little bit. Ms. Swanson has kept these characters fresh which is hard to do with a long-running series. Nineteen books with one publisher and now four books with a new publisher. I hope this series continues for many years.

There is more than one mystery to solve in this story. Before his murder, someone was stealing the superintendent’s valuable items. Also, Skye’s godfather is behind bars for illegal activity at his motor court.  The author twists the mysteries together along with daily life happenings like the pro she is. The murder weapon is truly unique. I had my own theories on the murder and thefts as I read the book but wasn’t completely sure of anything until the final reveal. Uncle Charlie’s arrest had his family up in arms but that mystery wrapped up the way I hoped it would.

The fictitious Scumble River, Illinois setting is really ideal. It is the perfect size with plenty of quirky characters and everyone knows everyone’s business. It has its issues and the occasional murder but it sounds like a nice place to live.

Body Over Troubled Waters was a fun and entertaining read. I am really invested in these characters and I can’t wait for my next visit to Scumble River.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

About the Author

Denise Swanson is the New York Times bestselling author of the Scumble River Mysteries, the Devereaux’s Dime Store Mysteries, the Change of Heart romances, and the Delicious romances She worked as a school psychologist for twenty-two years before quitting to write full-time. She lives in Illinois with her husband, classical music composer David Stybr.

Check out the publisher’s book page with a list of characters and a Scumble River map here.

 





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

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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

Sand Trapped: Cara Mia Delgatto Mystery Series by Joanna Campbell Slan #Review / #Giveaway @joannaslan Great Escapes Book Tour


Sand Trapped: Cara Mia Delgatto Mystery Series
by Joanna Campbell Slan

About Sand Trapped


Sand Trapped: Cara Mia Delgatto Mystery Series
Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Setting – Florida
Publisher: Spot On Publishing (May 16, 2021)
Paperback: 292 pages
ISBN-13: 979-8503202564
Digital ASIN: B091S4S2MW

A Cozy Mystery That’s a Real Hit!

 

First they warned Jocelyn Johnson.

 

Then they ticketed Jocelyn Johnson.

 

Then someone murdered Jocelyn Johnson.

 

And Cara Mia Delgatto was looking for a lost ball when found Jocelyn “JJ” Johnson face down in a sand trap. Gave a whole new meaning to “take a drop.”

 

It wasn’t a surprise. The neighbors hated JJ for the reckless way she drove her golf cart. Sure, she lived on the grounds of a swanky golf club, and yes, she had tons of money, but JJ ruined flowerbeds, terrorized grandkids, and made a nuisance of herself.

 

Except…except…she’s quiet now. Lying there in the dirt at Hole #6. Someone bashed in JJ’s head. (Who would risk ruining an expensive Homna golf club like that?)

 

Cara doesn’t want to get involved. But when Gerta Hunsickler is named the prime suspect, and Gerta’s husband is so angry at his wife that he’s starting divorce proceedings, Cara can’t sit on her hands. She knows what it’s like to be unfairly accused. So she promises to take a swing at it and see if she can hit a long drive down the fairway of justice!

 

Meanwhile, back at The Treasure Chest, Cara’s friends are busy creating fabulous and fun Mother’s Day gifts. There are two brides-to-be working for Cara, and their two mothers-in-law-to-be have decided not to play nice. Can you say, “Mama’s boy” ten times really fast? I thought you could.

 

If you love warm-hearted, clean books, that feature female amateur sleuths, fur babies, family, and friends, you’ll love this charming DIY/recycling/upcycling series set on the Southeast Coast of Florida.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Jocelyn Johnson wasn’t a good neighbor. She pushed people’s limits and she broke rule after rule. So when she is found dead in a sandtrap on the sixth hole not a lot of tears were shed. Cara is sorry she agreed to be her friend’s teammate in a golf tournament because again she finds herself knee-deep in another murder investigation. Just what she didn’t need as her store, The Treasure Chest is gearing up for Mother’s Day and the merchandise is flying off the shelves. She also has two brides to be on pins and needles as their future mothers-in-law are coming to town. She has done it before, she will just have to multitask and putt the murderer right into a jail cell while not shanking all her other duties.


Cara Mia Delgatto owns The Treasure Chest,  specializing in upcycled, recycled, and repurposed goods. She has a great group of friends working for her. It appears that over the course of the series they have become more like family. They support each other in everything they do, even helping Cara catch a killer. I enjoyed getting to know all the characters. They are well developed but still have room to grow as the series continues.

The Treasure Chest is a very interesting shop. It is well stocked with a variety of items but I was pleasantly surprised that they have pet memory items and Cara is working to increase the products she has to offer. I also enjoyed the descriptions of all the places Cara traveled, her home, her store, the Sandy Ridge Golf Club, and more. This area of Florida sounds like a wonderful place to live sans the crazy neighbors and the murder.

The murder mystery was very well done. Joanna Campbell Slan weaves the main plot together with the subplots very nicely. There is always something happening and the murder mystery has some really great twists. The big reveal was done in a fantastic way and I was surprised by whodunit.

I have read other books by this author but this is the first book in the series I have read but it won’t be my last. I am so happy that the author wrote the story so I new readers won’t feel lost or pressure to read the previous books in the series prior to reading Sand Trapped. I do hope to read the rest of this series and more books by this author.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Joanna Campbell Slan

“Our best friend, our next-door neighbor, and ourselves with just a touch of the outrageous.” That’s how RT Book Review describes Joanna’s protagonist, Kiki Lowenstein. The truth is that’s a pretty good description of Joanna Campbell Slan as well.

Joanna is a New York Times Bestselling, USA Today Bestselling, and Amazon Bestselling author as well as a woman prone to frequent bursts of crafting frenzy, leaving her with burns from her hot glue gun and paint on her clothes. And the mess? Let’s not even go there.

Otherwise, Joanna’s a productive author with more than 80 written projects to her credit. Her non-fiction work includes how to books, a college textbook for public speakers, and books of personal essays (think Chicken Soup for the Soul).

Currently, she writes five fiction series: The Kiki Lowenstein Mystery Series (Agatha Award Finalist, contemporary, St. Louis setting, crafting), the Cara Mia Delgatto Mystery Series (contemporary, Florida setting, DIY, and recycling), the Jane Eyre Chronicles (Daphne du Maurier Award Winner, 1830s England, based on Charlotte Brontë’s classic), the Sherlock Holmes Fantasy Thrillers (late 1800s, based on Arthur Conan Doyle’s books), and the Zen Cozy Mystery Series (launch 2021).

A former TV talk show host, college teacher, and public relations specialist, Joanna was one of the early Chicken Soup for the Soul contributors. She won a Silver Anvil for her work on the original FarmAid concert to benefit farmers.

In her ongoing quest never to see snow again, Joanna lives with her husband and their Havanese puppy, Jax, on an island off the coast of Florida. You can email her at jcslan@joannaslan.com or visit her website at https://linktr.ee/jcslan

Author Links

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Purchase Links – Amazon 

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July 26 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
July 27 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
July 28 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
July 29 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – GUEST POST
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Posted in 2021 Reviews Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways New Release Challenge Wisconsin Author Wisconsin Setting

Cozy Wednesday featuring Murder at the Lakeside Library: A Lakeside Library Mystery by Holly Danvers #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour


Murder at the Lakeside Library: A Lakeside Library Mystery
by Holly Danvers

About Murder at the Lakeside Library


Murder at the Lakeside Library: A Lakeside Library Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Wisconsin
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books (July 13, 2021)
Hardcover: 336 pages
ISBN-10: 1643856324
ISBN-13: 978-1643856322
Digital ASIN: B08L5VF4X5

In this series debut perfect for fans of Jenn McKinlay and Miranda James, Rain Wilmot must discover the killer, before the book closes on her life.

 

Rain Wilmot has just returned to her family’s waterfront log cabin in Lofty Pines, Wisconsin after the untimely death of her husband. The cabin is peaceful compared to Rain’s corporate job and comes with an informal library that Rain’s mother, Willow, used to run. But as Rain prepares for the re-opening of the library, all hopes for a peaceful life are shattered when she discovers the body of Thornton Hughes, a real estate buyer, on the premises.

 

The community of Lofty Pines starts pointing fingers at Willow, since she has been unusually absent from the library this summer. A fishy rumor surfaces when Rain learns that Willow had been spending a lot of time with Thornton. The town even thought they were having an affair.

 

While theories swirl about Thornton’s death, Rain takes it upon herself to solve the case to exonerate her mother. As more clues surface, Rain will have to piece together the mystery. But if she isn’t careful, she may be the next to end up dead in the water in Murder at the Lakeside Library, the first in Holly Danvers’ new Lakeside Library mysteries.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

In this first Lakeside Library Mystery, we meet Rain Wilmot. She has come home to the family’s cabin in Lofty Pines where she reconnects with her childhood best friend Julia. She hopes for a relaxing solitary summer to start to heal from the grief of losing her husband. Her friend Julia has other ideas. She expects Rain to open the library that is part of the family’s cabin. Rain’s mother usually runs the library but is traveling with no plans to visit Lofty Pines this summer. Julia has big plans so she needs Rain on board and opening the library.

Julia’s plans go seriously awry when they find a very dead Thorton Hughes on the property. Hughes, a real estate developer, had some big plans of his own and had made a few enemies around the area but he was apparently close to Rain’s mother, Willow. Her absence in Lofty Pines this year is questioned and some people think she had something to do with the man’s murder.

Rain decides to do some investigating of her own while rumors fly. She needs to be careful of she could be the next dead body found in Lofty Pines.


I was immediately drawn into this story by the author’s descriptions of Wisconsin’s beautiful Northwoods. I have been to several places like Lofty Pines, none that had a library in one of the cabins, but Ms. Danvers’s descriptions rang true and made it very easy to picture the setting.

I liked Rain and totally understood her need for a quiet place. I also understood Julia’s quest to not allow her friend to wallow in her pain, but boy, that Julia is a pushy woman. She made plans and expected Rain to just fall in line. There was one scene where Rain spends the night in the library and Julia arrives the next morning like a bull in a china shop. I wish Rain would have responded in a stronger way. More insight into Rain and her adult life would have been helpful. We know that the cabin was a special place for her but because her husband didn’t appreciate the area they rarely went there. Again, she allowed another person to make decisions for her. Her behavior really does show a pattern.

I did love the “Laker” attitude. The people that own property in the area and spend every summer there or live there full time are a very cool group. They reach out to help each other whether it be doing a little yard work or bringing treats to share on the deck or just have a listening ear when needed.

The mystery was a little murky for me. There was a bit of repetition and Rain seemed unfocused at times but again she is dealing with a loss and then found a dead body that was oddly connected to her family. Of course, she does get some assistance from Julia, and an elderly library volunteer Marge. They know the people and all the connections that Rain is now unfamiliar with because she has been away so long. The author has a very descriptive writing style but here some of the narration and descriptions get to be too much. I found the treasure found in the library to be a very interesting twist, revealing something important that did move the story forward.

I did have a few issues with the story but Murder at the Lakeside Library was a very entertaining read. It has laid the groundwork for what I hope will be a long-running series. I really liked how important literacy was to Rain’s family going back to her great grandfather, himself an author. The library is a wonderful family legacy. That gives this series a grand uniqueness that cozy readers will love.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Holly Danvers 

Holly Danvers grew up devouring every mystery novel on the shelf of her local library. She lives in the Midwest with her husband and 3 chickens, where she’s already plotting her next novel.

Author Links – 
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Purchase Links –

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Coming in February 2022

Written as Holly Quinn

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Great Escapes Praise for Murder at the Lakeside Library: A Lakeside Library Mystery
by Holly Danvers

Author Holly Danvers has created an appealing physical environment and cast of characters that cozy mystery fans will want to revisit time and again.
~Book Club Librarian

Murder at the Lakeside Library is a blithe cozy mystery with a lakeside library, a curious corpse, a firm friend, uncertain rumors, and a boatload of books.
~The Avid Reader

I loved the cozy setting and the whole idea of “Lakers” (not the basketball team) and running a summer library. It gave me that On Golden Pond feeling but with a delicious cozy mystery wrapped up in it!
~Books To The Ceiling

What a fabulously fun start to a new cozy series. . . a fun delightful read full of clues mixed with characters you can really picture while getting to know them. 5/5 stars.
~Books a Plenty Book Reviews

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July 13 – Novels Alive – GUEST POST
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July 15 – Here’s How It Happened – SPOTLIGHT
July 15 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
July 16 – Books to the Ceiling – REVIEW
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July 18 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
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July 20 – Ascroft, eh? – GUEST POST
July 20 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
July 21 – Novels Alive – REVIEW
July 21 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
July 22 – Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic – SPOTLIGHT
July 22 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
July 23 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW
July 23 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW, RECIPE
July 24 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW
July 24 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW
July 25 – Cozy Up With Kathy – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
July 25 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW
July 26 – BookishKelly2020 – SPOTLIGHT  
July 26 – eBook Addicts – 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 TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – Uncle and Ants: A Silicon Valley Mystery by Marc Jedel – #Review / #Giveaway

On Flashback Fridays I will share with you
the books I was not able to review
when they were first released that have been screaming at me
from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dollycas’s Thoughts

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

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


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

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

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

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

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



Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

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

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

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

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

I am giving away 1 KINDLE Copy!

Book will be sent directly from Amazon.

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Posted in 2021 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Cloak and Dagger Challenge E-Book Challenge New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

The Question Is Murder by Mark Willen #Review


The Question Is Murder
Mystery
Setting – Washington D.C.
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Pen-L Publishing (May 14, 2021)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 322 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1683132246
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1683132240
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B091RNCRQ7

Washington D.C. newspaper columnist Sam Turner, known to his readers as Mr. Ethics, faces his toughest moral dilemma yet: Can murder ever be justified?

That’s the question posed to him by a mysterious young woman who says she is being stalked and harassed by an ex-lover too powerful to be stopped any other way. Sam knows that journalists should never get personally involved in a story, but he finds he is being drawn deeper and deeper into this one whether he wants it or not.

So when Senator Wade Morgan turns up murdered, Sam fears the worst. Worried about his own involvement, the man who normally has all the answers is now the one making questionable decisions.

As his investigation into the Senator’s death begins to spin out of control, Sam finds he can’t let go—even as the case grows more complicated and the threats against his life become more immediate. With the fate of a young woman at stake and his own life in jeopardy, Sam can’t back down until the killer—whoever that may be—is brought to justice.

But this is D.C., and justice can be in short supply.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Can murder ever be justified? That is the question Sam Turner aka Mr. Ethics, a Washington D.C. newspaper columnist is asked in an email from “Truly Desperate”. He feels compelled to learn the mystery woman’s story even though he shouldn’t get personally involved. She tells him the man harassing her is a powerful Washington insider and she believes the only way to stop him is to kill him. No names are revealed but when Senator Wade Morgan is murdered he has a bad feeling that he was the man referred to in the email and his involvement may come back to bite him big time. Instead of backing off, he jumps all in on his own investigation putting his job, his life, and the mysterious woman’s life in danger.


Sam Turner receives many emails for his Mr. Ethics newspaper column but this one draws him in and he makes some terrible decisions which he tries to justify throughout the entire story. Told from multiple points of view the author takes the reader on quite a journey as Sam gets deeper and deeper into the case. The suspect’s first-person accounts really give the story depth but there is some repetition that messed with the flow.

The author brings many ethical questions to light as his characters try to validate what was done. All the characters have flaws and I did have sympathy for their plight. Sam really is at a crossroads in his life and the email plus the suspects are a challenge to him.  Truly Desperate is also struggling but is she guilty?  Is the Senator’s wife involved? What other enemies did the Senator have? I did enjoy the chase. Sam involves his co-workers and other contacts to try to find answers but the entire investigation was a little fuzzy. For that reason, I felt the ending was a little abrupt. Questions were answered but after the ride we had been taken on I just expected more. I felt like the author noticed his word/page count and felt like he just needed to wrap things up.

The theme of The Question is Murder is fantastic, ethics in D.C. is always a slippery slope. I was just very disappointed in the ending. I am open to reading more by this author because this story had a great start but the author seems to have lost his way heading into the conclusion. For me, this is a 3-Star book which is a conundrum because my rating system states those are a Satisfactory Excursion but I was not satisfied with the way the story played out at all.



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About the Author

Mark Willen has been a reporter, editor, producer, columnist, and blogger at The Voice of America, National Public Radio, Congressional Quarterly, Bloomberg News, and Kiplinger. He has published and broadcast hundreds of nonfiction articles from datelines as varied as New York, Concord, N.H., Moscow, Jerusalem, Cairo, Beijing, Tokyo, Buenos Aires, and Cape Town, South Africa.

Mark retired from full-time journalism in December 2010 to devote his energies to writing fiction. His short stories have been published in The Rusty Nail, Corner Club Press, and The Boiler Review. The Question Is Murder is his fourth novel.

Mark also leads a writer’s workshop for teenagers and serves as a volunteer tax preparer for elderly and low-income clients. He lives in Silver Spring, Maryland, with his wife, Janet.

Visit Mark’s Website here.


Also by Mark Willen

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

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


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

About The Mountain View Murder

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

Guess who cried at Lou Thorpe’s funeral

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Dollycas’s Thoughts

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


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

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

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

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

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About Patrick Kelly

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

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

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

Author Links

Webpage     Blog    Facebook    Twitter     Goodreads   Instagram

Purchase Links

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

Also by Patrick Kelly


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