Mar 192019
 

An Au Pair to Remember:
A Male Housekeeper Mystery
by Stephen Kaminski

About the Book


An Au Pair to Remember: A Male Housekeeper Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Michigan
Cozy Cat Press (January 27, 2019)
Paperback: 260 pages
ISBN-10: 1946063703
ISBN-13: 978-1946063700
Digital ASIN: B07NCBZ23L

From the author of the award-winning Damon Lassard Dabbling Detective series comes the Male Housekeeper Mysteries, focusing on charming characters, snappy dialogue, eclectic murders, and cunning confidence schemes. To his mind, Cam Reddick has failed—as a husband, as a father, and as a professional. After recognizing that his vanilla credentials didn’t stack up in a big city brimming with overachievers and toiling in drudgery for half of a decade, an emotionally raw Cam returns to his childhood hometown—the quaint and quirky village of Rusted Bonnet, Michigan. He’s determined to resuscitate relationships marred by youthful immaturity, most importantly those with his ex-wife Kacey Gingerfield (who doubles as the village’s Deputy Chief of Police) and their first grader, Emma. Armed with striking looks and an endearing proclivity for mixing metaphors, but saddled by “momma’s boy” tendencies, Cam takes the helm of his mother’s housekeeping business—Peachy Kleen. Access to homes across the village facilitates Cam’s penchant for amateur sleuthing as Kacey’s aide-de-camp. Surrounded by Kacey, his sophisticated mother Darby, garrulous senior housekeeper Samantha, and recuse fish cum confidant Bait, Cam’s circuitous journeys to solving murders and unravelling complex cons hasten his struggle down the path of self-healing to self-respect. And there’s hope that—just maybe—he can rekindle the romance he once had with Kacey.

In An Au Pair to Remember, Cam’s plan for a quiet return to Rusted Bonnet is dashed when a beautiful German au pair, Greta Astor, is found dead in Dutch McRae’s foyer with all signs pointing to a hastily disassembled trip wire at the top of the stairs. When Kacey learns that Cam was cleaning the McRae home the previous afternoon, she confides to him that Chief Bernie Leftwich is set on arresting Dutch for the murder—either alone or in tandem with Greta’s bartender boyfriend. But she worries that Bernie’s been duped. And later, when his mother Darby becomes a suspect, Cam inserts himself into the investigation and stumbles through a series of ostensible incongruities—a thief swallowing a cache of stolen diamonds, a snack food distributor laundering money, and a Cash-for-Gold scam. Meanwhile, Peachy Kleen’s young African housekeeper has disappeared with one of the company vans. All the while, Cam finds himself flirting with his new neighbor and struggling with his complicated feelings for Kacey.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Cam Reddick has returned to Rusted Bonnet, Michigan to take over his mother’s housecleaning business, Peachy Kleen. But he has an ulterior motive. He hopes to have a real relationship with his daughter Emma and repair the relationship with his ex-wife Kacey Gingerfield, that blew up when he ran away and headed off to the big city. Kacey has moved on with her life working as the Deputy Chief of Police and taking care of her 6-year-old daughter. Cam’s mother, Darby is also very involved in the child’s life.

Cam is taking a hands-on approach at Peachy Kleen. He is part of the team sent to clean the McRae home where he meets Greta Astor, the McRae’s au pair. He is shocked to learn that the woman was found dead in the home the next morning. Chief Bernie Leftwich has already solved the case to his satisfaction. He deduces a trip wire was placed on the staircase and removed after Greta’s fall. He decides the children’s father, Dutch McRae is the murderer, but Kacey has her doubts. Then due to some “evidence”, he has determined that Cam’s mother Darby did it or is at least an accomplice. Cam can’t take the news sitting down so he starts doing a little sleuthing on his own. His ex-wife isn’t happy about it but at least he is keeping her in the loop with his findings.

I didn’t like Cam from the first sweep but he grew on me more as the story continued. He uses his immaturity as a reason for leaving his family behind and I just wasn’t having it. I pegged him as selfish and conceded.  I do believe in second chances though so I was willing to give him a chance and I am glad I did. I really liked Kacey. A strong woman in a tough job being the best single mom that she can. She does open her life to Cam and allows him to see his daughter a lot without a whole lot of custody craziness. He steps up too with Emma when Kacey needs to work overtime to solve the case.  Darby brings some levity to the story. I was stunned though by the Chief’s stupidity when he actually pulled her in as a suspect.

The mystery is a twisted one with plenty of theories but not a lot of actual evidence making it difficult to solve. The subplot featuring one of Peachy Kleen’s employees was very interesting and I was anxious to see how that played out and how and if it had anything to do with the au pair’s death. I did have an inkling about the murderer early on but can’t point to one thing that took me in their direction, it was just an overall thing until the final clues fell into place.

I hope in the next story we learn much more about the characters. Cam appears to have Celiac Disease and should adhere to a gluten-free diet. His good and bad food choices run throughout the story. I feel we have just scratched the surface on Kacey and Darby and I really want to see more of Emma. Of course, Cam’s fish Bait, yes he named his fish Bait, already plays a crucial role as Cam’s sounding board. I just hope he has a life longer than a typical fish 🙂

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About the Author

Stephen Kaminski is the author of An Au Pair to Remember, the first installment of the Male Housekeeper Mystery series.  He also writes the award-winning Damon Lassard Dabbling Detective books.  Stephen is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and Harvard Law School and serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the trade association representing the United States’ poison control system and its fifty-five centers.  He lives with his daughter and rescue kitty in the Washington, DC area.

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

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Mar 142019
 


Cat Got Your Crown: A Kitty Couture Mystery
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Setting – Louisiana
Crooked Lane Books (March 13, 2019)
Hardcover: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 1683319567
ISBN-13: 978-1683319566
Kindle ASIN: B07H7RVB6N

With a pet pageant around the corner and a killer unleashed, Lacy will have to collar the culprit before the claws come out.

Lacy Marie Crocker can hardly believe it’s been a year since her return home to New Orleans. There hasn’t been a dull moment since opening her pet boutique last summer, and thanks to the popularity of Lacy’s organic pet treats, and the arrival of the National Pet Pageant, Lacy desperately needs some help before she is overrun by the demand for pupcakes and crinolines.

The entire Garden District seems to be counting the minutes until opening night of the pet pageant and everything is going spectacularly until Viktor Petrov, the pageant emcee takes a spill from the balcony during dress rehearsal. All signs points to murder and homicide detective Jack Oliver sets his eyes on Eva Little, one of Lacy’s committee sisters and the only other person on the balcony at the time of the fall, as the killer. But when it comes out that Viktor was notoriously rude, the doors blow wide open with potential suspects who could’ve wanted him dead.

Lacy’s determined to find the killer and exonerate Eva, but when Lacy receives a mysterious warning—a plush kitty from Lacy’s shop with its mouth crudely stitched over—it’s clear that she’s been found first. Full with killer recipes for your pet too!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

The National Pet Pageant has finally come to New Orleans and Lacy Marie Crocker is right in the middle of everything. She is on hand to help with all the pets apparel with her trusty pink toolbox filled with fabric, thread, lace, sequins and even a tiara or two. She is also working on a new recipe that pets and their owners can share and baking pupcakes and pet couture to keep the shelves and racks full at her pet boutique, The Furry Grandmother.

Rehearsals at the pageant are barking right along and then the emcee takes a header right off the balcony. Viktor Petrov didn’t fall though, he was pushed. Detective Jack Oliver and Lacy were side by side and witnessed the entire thing. Lacy also noticed a woman on the balcony. Eva Little, one of Lacy’s mother’s friends. She becomes the prime suspect but it isn’t long before more suspects come to light. With a firm nudge from her mother and to the frustration of Jack, Lacy starts snooping. But the killer is on her trail warning her to back-off or else.

These characters are so much fun. Everyone is engaging and fleshed out. Again Lacy has a lot of weight on her shoulders. She has had two men vying for her attention, but in this one, Jack seems to be the one winning her heart which makes me super happy. I have been Team Jack for a while. But attorney Chase Hawthorne is also at the pageant. He has found many pet owners need lawyers in times of divorce to set up ownership and visitation of those furry loved ones. The client that brought him to the event has a very interesting doggie that keeps Chase on his toes.

Lacy’s over the top mother is in charge of making the National Pet Pageant run smoothly along with her committee. She expects perfection not only in the event but right down to what her committee members are wearing. Lacy isn’t always on the same page but she does her best to cater to her mother’s every whim. He father is the calming force that is needed a time or two. Lacy’s former nanny, Imogene, tries to stay on top of everything at the boutique but she is running herself ragged with all the extra business from the pageant. We are introduced to a new character, Willow, she seems to fit right in. I really enjoy the dialogue between the characters. There are serious conversations but some are laugh out loud funny.

There is so much happening in this story but it never seems overwhelming. The pace is quick. The mystery has many twists and turns and is very well plotted. I was totally all over the place when it came to the murderer. The red herrings throughout definitely worked on me.

I loved this story and the animal antics never fail to grab me. Lacy’s cat Penelope riding around on her Roomba always cracks me up. This time a dog had me almost rolling on the floor laughing. The humans are funny too. There is a bit of magic this time, I mean they are in New Orleans, but I not sure how I feel about that yet. I have to see where the author takes this idea.

I encourage you to read the series from the start in order if it is new to you. They have all been perfect escapes for me.

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You can read my review of Cat Got Your Diamonds here and  Cat Got Your Cash here and
Cat Got Your Secrets here.

About The Author

Julie Chase is a mystery-loving pet enthusiast who hopes to make readers smile. She lives in rural Ohio with her husband and three spunky children. Julie is a member of the International Thriller Writers, Romance Writers of America, and Sisters in Crime. She is represented by Jill Marsal of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency. Julie also writes as Julie Anne Lindsey. Learn more about Julie Anne Lindsey here.

Facebook     Twitter     Website    Goodreads

Written as Julie Anne Lindsey

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

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Mar 132019
 

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am very happy to feature Eva Gates’ new book today!! 


Something Read, Something Dead: A Lighthouse Library Mystery
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Setting – North Carolina
Crooked Lane Books (March 13, 2019)
Hardcover: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 1683319508
ISBN-13: 978-1683319504
Kindle ASIN: B07H7Q5L1C

Dark deeds in the Lighthouse Library threaten to send Lucy Richardson’s soon-to-be-wed cousin Josie to an early ‘til-death-do-us-part.

Winter falls on North Carolina’s Outer Banks as Lucy Richardson and her friends joyfully help her favorite cousin, Josie O’Malley, plan her wedding. The owner and head baker of Josie’s Cozy Bakery and her fiancé, chef Jake Greenblatt, want a small, simple wedding.

But to their horror, Josie’s imperious grandmother, Gloria, descends with the “Louisiana Mafia”: a gaggle of aunts and cousins who intend to take control of the wedding plans. Gloria doesn’t do small and simple, and cousin Mirabelle has her own ideas for Josie’s wedding, something grand and lavish—and paid for by Josie’s parents, of course—that will kickstart her fledgling event planning business and get her work shown on the covers of wedding magazines. To make matters worse, Mirabelle focuses her full Southern charm on the prospective groom…and Jake doesn’t seem entirely adverse to her attentions.

To smooth the waters, Lucy hosts a bridal shower at the Bodie Island Lighthouse Library. But it turns deadly when Mirabelle collapses—soon after eating the gluten-free treats Josie prepared specifically for her. Now, to save her favorite cousin from prison, Lucy will have to bring a crook to book in this fifth festive Lighthouse Library mystery from national bestselling author Eva Gates.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

We are back in North Carolina just in time for Josie and Jake’s wedding. Jake and Josie have plenty of love but very little time. Josie owns the local bakery and Jakes owns a restaurant. All they want is a simple wedding with no big fuss and one that is within their budget. As the date draws near Josie’s grandmother has real concerns about this wedding. Email invitations and people left off the guest list have her in a real tizzy. She will not stand for small and simple. Like a hurricane, she blows into town with the “Louisiana Mafia” (aunts and cousins). She has tasked cousins Florence Fanshaw and Mirabelle Henkel with planning the most over the top wedding possible. She also decides the simple shower at the lighthouse library and reception at Jake’s restaurant will never do and Gloria takes over those plans too. Unfortunately, Mirabelle is also searching for a new husband herself and she seems to have set her sights on JAKE!

Things kick off with Lucy’s shower with a few Louisiana adjustments. But it doesn’t end well. Mirabelle dies shortly after eating the gluten-free goodies Jodie had made just for her. The police decide Josie had the motive, means, and opportunity to pull it off. Lucy knows she didn’t do it. Seriously, first Josie would never kill anyone. And second, Josie would not be stupid enough to kill her cousin and have all the evidence pointed right at her. Clearly a set up, Lucy is on the case and she intends to catch the real killer and throw the book at them so that Josie and Jake can start the next chapter of their lives without Josie behind bars.

I absolutely love the Bodie Island Lighthouse Library on the Outer Banks. The author takes poetic license with the place for it to house all the wonderful things it does. Readers imaginations are easily stretched to believe it too. All the books and rooms and Lucy Aerie apartment on the 4th floor reached by climbing all those steps. I can envision it all perfectly. The structure itself has a little trouble in this installment and I was drawn right into the process and cost of handling the issue.

The characters Ms. Gates has created have become old friends. I was taken aback by the way Grandma Gloria took over everything, not caring at all about Josie’s wishes, but I had to deal with something similar when I was married 36 years ago. Instead of a grandmother, it was my mother driving me crazy for opposite reasons though. Gloria wanted things grander, my mother was very budget oriented. Both were determined to have their way.  My mother didn’t like the colors I had chosen for the bridesmaid’s dresses or the style. She thought they were too expensive and our trip to buy dresses turned into a trip to buy fabric and not in peach but lilac. The pattern silhouette chosen was nowhere near what I wanted either and they ended up costing more because we had to pay a seamstress to make them. Both she and I loved to sew and she really thought we could make the six dresses ourselves.  And that was just the bridesmaid dresses, I won’t go into my dress or the food or the other things she tried to take over. Thankfully like Josie, I had great friends, family, and a wonderful man that help me pick my battles. Can you tell I really identified with this part of the story? Of course, no one died at my shower 🙂 but there were a few stressful moments.

All the subplots flowed into the main plot very nicely. I truly enjoyed the way the mystery unfolded and the way the library’s monthly book club selection Busman’s Honeymoon by Dorothy Sayers played into the story. Several more suspects were noted and I had a delightful time following all the clues and detours right along with Lucy. The killer was on my radar but I couldn’t fully commit until the very end.

This is a wonderful addition to this series. The characters are genuine, the setting ideal, and the mystery kept me guessing. This book can be read on its own but I recommend them all.

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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 twenty-five books:  clever cozies to Gothic thrillers to gritty police procedurals, to historical fiction and novellas for adult literacy. She is currently writing three cozy mystery series: the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop series for Crooked Lane, the Year Round Christmas mysteries for Penguin Random House and, under the pen name of Eva Gates, the Lighthouse Library series, for Crooked Lane Books.

Vicki lives and writes in bucolic Prince Edward County, Ontario. She is the past president of the Crime Writers of Canada.  Her work has been nominated for the Derringer, the Bony Blithe, the Ontario Library Association Golden Oak, and the Arthur Ellis Awards.

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

Written as Vicki Delany

GIVEAWAYThanks to the publisher I have 1 copy to give away!
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with a US mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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something you like here and become a follower.

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Contest Will End March 27, 2019, at 11:59 PM CST
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and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

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Mar 122019
 

This book will be released 1 week from today!
March 19, 2019


Run Away
Suspense/Thriller
Setting – New York
Grand Central Publishing (March 19, 2019)
Hardcover: 384 pages
ISBN-10: 1538748460
ISBN-13: 978-1538748466
Kindle ASIN: B07F67CXPW

You’ve lost your daughter.

She’s addicted to drugs and to an abusive boyfriend. And she’s made it clear that she doesn’t want to be found.

Then, by chance, you see her playing guitar in Central Park. But she’s not the girl you remember. This woman is living on the edge, frightened, and clearly in trouble.

You don’t stop to think. You approach her, beg her to come home.

She runs.

And you do the only thing a parent can do: you follow her into a dark and dangerous world you never knew existed. Before you know it, both your family and your life are on the line. And in order to protect your daughter from the evils of that world, you must face them head on.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I absolutely devoured this book! When I had to put it down I couldn’t get it off my mind. Days later it has stuck with me.

Simon Greene and his wife Ingrid have three beautiful children. They are extremely successful in their careers and are living the good life in Manhattan. Then their daughter Paige goes to college where something happens that leads her down the path of destruction. She drops out of school and becomes addicted to drugs. Simon and Ingrid try to help her but she doesn’t want to be helped.

Now they have no idea where she is. They decide to back off their search but when a friend tells Simon he saw her in Central Park he just has to try one more time. He finds her there in the area called Strawberry Fields performing, but when he tries to get close she runs off and her boyfriend physically stops Simon from following. Their altercation brings the police and there are tons of witnesses taping on their phones. It doesn’t look good for Simon. It looks like some rich guy beating up a homeless man.

Three months later Paige is still missing and Simon thinks the assault case is behind him but then the boyfriend is murdered. Simon, his wife, and even Paige are now suspects. Plus Paige could be in danger. The Greene’s now know they have to find their daughter even if it means risking their own lives.

There are two subplots that at first seem unrelated but it soon becomes clear that everything is connected. I can’t say more without spoiling this amazing story.

The characters in this story are believable and so well written. Coben gives them all genuine feel, the good guys and the bad. I felt there was a real hero in this story too. I grew to care about several characters and was very invested to see how their journeys played out.

This story had surprises at almost every turn. I dropped my Kindle at one point, shocked by what had just happened. Mr. Coben takes us to the gritty streets where bad things happen to people with good intentions. As the book continues we are shocked again and again. But whoa, the ending just blew me away. An extremely gripping and powerful story.

Coben is my favorite author when it comes to mind-bending suspense. I have loved every one of his books. As soon as this book arrived I dropped everything to read it and am so happy I did. Previous to this one my favorite was Caught, but this is my new fave. Harlan Coben takes us on a wild ride as Simon Greene follows a dangerous path to find his daughter and get to the truth and for me, he has topped himself. It deserves way more than 5 stars. This is a Run Away hit!

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Find out more about Harlan Coben and his book on his webpage 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.”

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Mar 072019
 

As Directed
(A Maggie O’Malley Mystery)
by Kathleen Valenti

About the Book


As Directed (A Maggie O’Malley Mystery)
Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Midwest, United States
Henery Press (March 12, 2019)
Hardcover: 286 pages
ISBN-10: 1635114705
ISBN-13: 978-1635114706
Digital ASIN: B07LB6N22B

In the shadow of a past fraught with danger and tainted by loss, former pharmaceutical researcher Maggie O’Malley is rebuilding her life, trading test tubes for pill bottles as she embarks on a new career at the corner drugstore.

But as she spreads her wings, things begin to go terribly wrong. A customer falls ill in the store. Followed by another. And then more.

The specter of poisoning arises, conjuring old grudges, past sins, buried secrets and new suspicions from which no one is immune.

As Maggie and her best friend Constantine begin to investigate, they discover that some of the deadliest doses come from the most unexpected places.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Customers are dropping like flies and Maggie O’Malley is always the one to find them. She thought things would be calm and routine at the local drug store where she is working as a pharmacy technician, but instead, murder victims are falling at her feet. They have been poisoned and both Mallory and her boss have been questioned. Her boss has closed down his store until the answers are found and the person responsible is in custody. Without having to work every day, Mallory and Constantine (Gus) have plenty of time to investigate but the path is twisted and secrets are uncovered.

Maggie is still recovering from an injury that occurred in an earlier book, but she doesn’t let the headaches and memory lapses keep her down. Also on her plate in her wedding to Constantine. No date yet but his aunt and hers are bulldozing as many plans forward as they can, even inviting themselves to a cake tasting Mallory hoped she and Gus could handle on their own. An old foe is stalking her and she has acquired a new one. A “TWO-FER” as Gus calls it. She also brings home a four-legged furry friend who worms his way into her heart. She drives a 1962 Studebaker Lark too. I like everything about Miss Maggie O’Malley.

As with the previous stories in this series, the author has put forth a very complex mystery with tangents going in several directions. The deaths are scary, was there tampering? Did Maggie or her boss make a mistake? When another customer is found dead at home, the local news guy is pointing fingers, trying to get the scoop, and being a real pain. That presses Maggie to work harder and faster to get answers. Nothing is really clear and the case has a lot of moving parts. At times it feels like she is going in circles but I was captivated every step of the way.

The story has a real ripped from the headlines feel (remember the Tylenol murders) and the ending packs a real punch. Action, danger, drama, are tempered with just a little bit of humor in the proper places. The book is balanced with Mallory’s real-life experiences. I really love the way Ms. Valenti tells a story. It’s not straight forward in your face. There are layers that need to be peeled and each little reveal moves the story along at just the right pace until everything tragically falls into place.

For me, this story was just what the doctor ordered, a Perfect Escape!

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About the Author

Kathleen Valenti is the author of the Maggie O’Malley Mystery Series, which includes her Agatha- and Lefty-nominated debut novel, Protocol. When Kathleen isn’t writing page-turning mysteries that combine humor and suspense, she works as a nationally award-winning advertising copywriter. She lives in Oregon with her family where she pretends to enjoy running. Learn more at www.kathleenvalenti.com.

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Click Here For Entry Form

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

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

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Mar 062019
 

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am excited to feature Pie Hard by Kirsten Weiss this week!


Pie Hard (A Pie Town Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – California
Kensington (February 26, 2019)
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
ISBN-10: 1496708989
ISBN-13: 978-1496708984
Kindle ASIN: B07DBR4SRF

Will Val pie hard on national TV?

Business at the bakery may have slowed down, but Val Harris isn’t about to eat humble pie—not until a reality cooking show decides to whip the struggling Pie Town into shape. If Val can tolerate criticism from an abrasive pastry chef during filming, the free publicity might turn the unusual opportunity into the sweetest deal she didn’t know she needed.

Except no one in San Nicholas has an appetite for dessert once murder steals the spotlight. When the show’s bossy producer gets pushed to her death, Val and her flaky, septuagenarian pie crust expert, Charlene, follow crumbs in hopes of finding the killer. But with cameras still rolling and the shocking identity of the victim’s replacement a guaranteed recipe for disaster, Val needs to stay cool long enough to solve the crime and keep Pie Town from falling apart—or else she just might go up in smoke before she ever graces the small screen.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Pie Hard, a reality cooking show has come to Pie Town courtesy of Charlene and as a complete surprise to Val. The camera and crew arrive along with Regina Katz, the show’s producer. Val is nervous because she knows what type of show this is. They will bash her shop and everything she does to get the high ratings. The show’s pastry chef, Ilsa Fueder, is already muttering “don’t like” about every pie she looks at.

After the first day of taping Val gets a call from Ray, one of the gaming regulars telling her that show’s producer has died in an “accident” he sees more like murder. Soon the Baker Street Bakers are into a full-blown investigation with Ray as an associate member, (he is not a baker). Shocked that show is continuing Val uses the opportunity to get to know all the suspects on her list. She also has a connection to the show’s new producer. The death has again slowed Pie Town’s business to a crawl. Hard to be a success when Val keeps finding dead bodies. She just knows she needs to find the killer before she is bankrupt and baked to a crisp.

This is a fun series and this is a great addition. Murder with a lot of mayhem fills these pages. Charlene is quite the instigator and to start with Val just has to go with the flow. Right from the beginning when a yurt is dropped within feet of Val’s tiny storage container house and the “goddesses” arrive for their yearly retreat. Something Charlene forgot to mention to Val. Then continuing when Val arrives at Pie Town to see her shop filled with strangers, holding cameras and tacking a microphone to her shirt. And on to Charlene’s several unbelievable and impossible theories about who killed the producer and why. It takes a little time, but Val gets her bearings and juggles all these balls in the air while trying to find out more about a certain new member of the crew. The author has done so well developing the recurring characters and introducing the new batch as well. Charlene’s cat, Frederick continues to make his appearances and is always good for a giggle.

I really enjoyed all the facets of the mysteries within this story. Val has plenty of clues to sift through along with plenty of suspects. The story is expertly plotted in a way that had me guessing right up until the big reveal. The family dynamic that was woven into the murder part of the story really added depth. It will be interesting to see how it impacts future stories. I was intrigued about how the goddesses were going to evolve into the story. I will say I was surprised at the role one of them played, but it was absolutely perfect.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

You can read my review of The Quiche and the Dead here and Bleeding Tarts here.

About the Author

Based in San Mateo, California, Kirsten Weiss writes genre-blending novels: urban fantasy/mystery, steampunk/suspense, and cozy mysteries. Kirsten has never met a dessert she didn’t like, and her guilty pleasures are watching Ghost Whisperer reruns and drinking red wine.
Visit her at kirstenweiss.com.


Also by this Author


Find more books by Kirsten Weiss 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.”

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Mar 052019
 

One Feta in the Grave
(A Kebab Kitchen Mystery)
by Tina Kashian

About the Book


One Feta in the Grave (A Kebab Kitchen Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Kensington (February 26, 2019)
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
ISBN-10: 1496713516
ISBN-13: 978-1496713513
Digital ASIN: B07DBPQQFJ

As summer comes to an end in her Jersey Shore town, Lucy Berberian continues to manage her family’s Mediterranean restaurant. The Kebab Kitchen also has a food tent at this year’s beach festival. But now a local businessman is under the boardwalk—dead by the sea …

With a sand castle contest and live music, Ocean Crest bids a bittersweet farewell to tourist season. Summer will return next year … but Archie Kincaid won’t. The full-of-himself store owner has been fatally shot, soon after a screaming match with Lucy’s best friend. Katie’s far from the only suspect, though, since Archie had some bitter rivals—as well as some relationships no one knew about. It’s up to Lucy to look into some seedy characters and solve the case before the wrong person gets skewered …

Recipes included!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Tourist season is wrapping up in Ocean Crest and the beach festival is underway with music, contests, and plenty of food. Things get a little heated when Archie Kincaid was forced to step down as a judge of the sand castles because his nephew was participating in the contest. After Lucy finishes her judging duties and makes sure all the food vendors have everything they need she takes a walk on the beach. She notices something under the boardwalk. That something turns out to be a dead Archie Kincaid. The man wasn’t well liked and have public arguments with several people, including the one with her best friend Katie, when she eliminated him as a judge.

Detective Clemmons arrives on the scene and is not surprised that Lucy has found another body, but everyone is surprised when Katie lands on his list of suspects. This means her husband, Officer Bill Watson is unable to be part of the case. He knows Lucy’s reputation for solving cases and asks her to keep her ears open and ask a few questions to help clear Katie’s name. Lucy takes the request and runs with it, sometimes with Katie by her side, going much further than Bill intended. Now they just need to catch the killer before anyone else ends up dead.

Lucy Berberian is a fun protagonist and I like it when Katie tags along. This time Katie’s is the one who needs to be cleared. These ladies go to some dangerous lengths to do just that. Lucy is also learning to cook traditional Armenian dishes while taking over managing duties at the restaurant. At the same time, she is trying to rekindle her romance with chef Azad Zakarian while having a friendship with Michael, who runs the bike shop next to the restaurant. Michael and Lucy seem to make a better pair right now, at least in my opinion. With each story, the characters become more fleshed out and relatable.

Ms. Kashian has cooked up a great mystery. A first I thought the arguments between Archie and others were typical business things but as we get deeper in the story we see that isn’t the case. The author sets a nice pace and I enjoyed the way Lucy didn’t give up. There was a point where any amateur sleuth would have quit but not Lucy. It is pointed out to her more than once that she is not a cop and needs to back off, but she will run herself ragged to catch the killer. I had honed in the right party a bit before Lucy but the ending was both exciting and funny. I wish I had half of Lucy’s energy.

I do love the Jersey shore setting. The boardwalk, shops, and restaurants. All the touristy places and food. Yes, the food, again my mouth was watering.

Another fun and entertaining story from Tina Kashian. I look forward to visiting Ocean Crest again soon!

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

You can read my review of Hummus and Homicide here and Stabbed in the Baklava here.

 

About the Author

Tina Kashian spent her childhood summers at the New Jersey shore, building sand castles, boogie boarding, and riding the boardwalk Ferris wheel. She also grew up in the restaurant business where her Armenian parents owned a restaurant for thirty years. She worked almost every job—rolling silverware and wiping down tables as a tween, to hosting and waitressing as a teenager.

After college, Tina worked as a NJ Deputy Attorney General, a patent attorney, and a mechanical engineer. Her law cases inspired an inquiring mind of crime, and since then, Tina has been hooked on mysteries. The Kebab Kitchen Cozy Mystery series launches with Hummus and Homicide, followed by Stabbed in the Baklava and One Feta in the Grave by Kensington Books. Tina still lives in New Jersey with her supportive husband and two young daughters. Please visit www.tinakashian.com and join her Newsletter to enter free contests to win books, get delicious recipes, and to learn when her books will be released.

Author Links  Website   Facebook  Twitter  Instagram   Goodreads

Praise for One Feta in the Grave
(A Kebab Kitchen Mystery)
by Tina Kashian

Hot men, dangerous liaisons, and a town in trouble when their main money making event is canceled due to murder, all contribute to a fast-paced and twisty murder investigation.
~Laura’s Interests

One Feta in the Grave is a fun, light cozy mystery that will have you longing for a sunny day at the beach.
~The Avid Reader

One Feta in the Grave will have you craving the Berberian family recipes so make sure you have a Mediterranean restaurant close by 😉 The plot is well-layered and it’s not readily apparent whodunit . . .
~Reading Is My SuperPower

ONE FETA IN THE GRAVE is great fun keeping me not only entertained but filled with happiness from this big happy Kebab Kitchen family.
~Cozy Up With Kathy

I love the way Ms. Kashian uses words to paint vivid pictures of both her settings and her characters. She wraps the theme of family and friendship into the story with heartwarming results.
~Cinnamon, Sugar and a Little Bit of Murder

From the characters to the tantalizing dishes, everything falls into place and makes this a fantastic read.
~Storeybook Reviews

ONE FETA IN THE GRAVE, it was top notch! There were plenty of suspects to keep me twisted like a boardwalk funnel cake in my guessing.
~Lisa Ks Book Reviews

Purchase Links

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

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Mar 012019
 


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.


Chardonnayed to Rest (The Wine Trail Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – New York
Lyrical Underground (September 25, 2018)
Paperback: 220 pages
ISBN-10: 1516108027
ISBN-13: 978-1516108022
Kindle ASIN: B078QSQXBF

Finding a murderer requires 100% proof.

In Seneca Lake, New York, Norrie Ellington’s Two Witches Winery has been selected by the local vintner community to host the annual Federweisser, a celebration of the season’s first fermentation of white Chardonnay grapes. But the festivities are spoiled when Norrie learns that landowner Roy Wilkes has raised her neighbor Rosalee Marbleton’s rent so high, she may have to close her vineyard.

Before the rent hike could go into effect, Wilkes is found dead on Roslaee’s property—stabbed by a flowerpot stake—and she becomes the police’s number one suspect. To clear her friend’s name, Norrie conducts her own investigation. But as she gathers clues, Norrie finds herself targeted by a killer, and if she’s not careful, her desire to see justice done may die on the vine . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

We are back at the Two Witches Winery just in time for the annual Federweisser celebration. Norrie tries to juggle the preparation for the event along with meeting here screenwriter deadlines. Thankfully the staff of Two Witches has things well in hand because Norrie receives a frantic call from Rosalee Marbleton telling her she has found a dead body on her property. The dead man turns out to Roy Wilkes, the man owns access to the water needed for Rosalee’s winery. He had recently raised the rent so high that it could put her out of business. It’s not bad enough that she found the body but the murder weapon also belongs to her. Rosalee knows it looks bad and begs Norrie to find the real killer. A task Norrie doesn’t take lightly. Neither does the killer as he sets his sights on her.

I really like Norrie. She takes on everything thrown at her. She has become to go to person called to investigate anything shady or nefarious in the Seneca Lake wine community. Heck, they call her before calling the authorities, something that really upsets Deputy Sheriff Gary Hickman. Norrie has a great group of people to support her. These characters are diverse and very well crafted. They have their gifts and idiosyncrasies, but they will do anything for Norrie and the Two Witches Winery. The author has done a great job of making these characters genuine.

J. C. Eaton has fermented a fun mystery for readers to enjoy. A victim no one knows much about except for the fact that he didn’t have any friends and that no one is upset he is gone. A little digging brings more suspects to light but the author also serves up a good share of red herrings to divert and confuse. I enjoyed following along with Norrie, Theo, and Don as they not only did the legwork but online searches too. Even following along I was surprised by the way the big reveal took place. It was exciting and loved that some assistance came from someone truly unexpected.

I was captivated from beginning to end. A real character-driven mystery with just a blossom of romance and glass or two of humor. This Wine Trail Mystery gives us a peek at winemaking and running a successful winery along with an entertaining story. Pinot Red or Dead? will be out March 26 and I am impatiently waiting 🙂

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Read my review of A Riesling to Diejust click here.

About the Authors

Ann I. Goldfarb

New York native Ann I. Goldfarb spent most of her life in education, first as a classroom teacher and later as a middle school principal and professional staff developer. Writing as J. C. Eaton, along with her husband, James Clapp, she has authored the Sophie Kimball Mysteries (Kensington) set for release in June 2017. In addition, Ann has nine published YA time travel mysteries under her own name. Visit the websites at www.jceatonauthor.com and www.timetravelmysteries.com

James E. Clapp

When James E. Clapp retired as the tasting room manager for a large upstate New York winery, he never imagined he’d be co-authoring cozy mysteries with his wife, Ann I. Goldfarb. His first novel, Booked 4 Murder (Kensington) is set for release in June 2017. Non-fiction in the form of informational brochures and workshop materials treating the winery industry were his forte along with an extensive background and experience in construction that started with his service in the U.S. Navy and included vocational school classroom teaching.

Visit their website at www.jceatonauthor.com and Like and Follow on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/JCEatonauthor/


Coming March 26, 2019

Also by J.C. Eaton

Coming August 27, 2019


I am giving away 1 Kindle Copy of Chardonneyed To Rest.
It will be sent directly from Amazon.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
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5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

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Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

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Feb 282019
 

This book is available TODAY!!


Fields’ Guide to Voodoo (The Poppy Fields Adventures)
Mystery/Suspense (Humorous)
3rd in Series
Setting – Louisiana
J & M Press (February 28, 2019)
Print Length: 248 pages
ASIN: B07N34V34S

Laissez les bon temps rouler!

The pleasure of your company is requested at the most over-the-top wedding New Orleans has ever seen…

When Poppy Fields, Hollywood IT girl and super-secret agent, agreed to be a bridesmaid, she anticipated gallons of Sazerac, memorable parties and handsome groomsmen. Instead, she’s dodging bullets.

Juggling wedding showers, exploding buildings, picnics, black magic, lunches in the Vieux Carré, and murder can be tough on a girl. Good thing Thor is there to escort her—until he disappears.

Poppy must outwit smugglers primed to flood the U.S. with a dangerous new drug (one Poppy knows all too well), save Thor, and get to the church on time. If she fails, she may end up dead. Or—worse—late to the wedding.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Poppy Fields is back and taking on New Orleans!

Our Hollywood It girl was set to relax at all the parties leading up to her college roommate Adele’s wedding before she headed off to her super-secret agent training, but while meeting at the Columns Hotel for drinks chaos erupts when a G-Wagon spins out of control. Behind it, a Range Rover stops and men with guns pile out and start shooting. Many are hit, some die, but Adele and Poppy are safe. Adele, a nurse, rushes to help. Poppy rushes to the first officer that arrives and shares all she can about what happened. And we are only midway through Chapter 1!

Poppy tries to attend to all her wedding commitments but she had to let her new secret agent boss know what happened especially what she did at the end of Chapter 1. He sends the cavalry in the form of Thor (not his real name/Chris Hemsworth’s doppelganger).  Good thing too, because we have just scratched the surface of Poppy’s time in NOLA, she is there for 2 weeks and danger seems to follow Poppy everywhere she goes!

I absolutely love this series! The first two books in this series made my Best Reads List of 2018 and this one is headed to this year’s list. Ms. Mulhern continues to top herself. She takes suspense and turns it inside out with antics that will have you laughing out loud.

While in New Orleans Poppy is staying in a house that appears to have a resident ghost. She meets a Voodoo priestess, gets in numerous shootouts and car chases, a building explodes, takes on drug smugglers, some who want her dead after what happened in Mexico, (book #1), has to search for Thor and Jake, of course, he’s in town too! All I can say is that I am so thankful she learned a few fantastic things from her father, like Krav Maga and amazing gun skills. She also learned a few things from her mother and looking so much like her celebrity mom doesn’t hurt either.

I have learned one thing about this series. When you start reading you will not be able to stop so plan accordingly. Lightning fast pace, characters that you want to root for, action, twists, turns, and fabulous dialogue that will have you in stitches. Poppy is a fantastic protagonist and when partnered with Mark (Thor) they are unstoppable.

Come for the wedding, watch out for those flying bullets, use all those luncheons and dinners to get information, and oh yeah, stay alive to see your friend say her I do’s. What an awesome time! I loved every minute!! I can’t wait for the next adventure!! and maybe a little training if she can squeeze it into her busy schedule. 🙂

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

You can read my review of Fields’ Guide to Abduction here. 

You can read my review of Fields’ Guide to Assassins here. 

Book 1 is free right now!

About the Author

Julie Mulhern is the USA Today bestselling author of The Country Club Murders and the Poppy Fields Adventures She is a Kansas City native who grew up on a steady diet of Agatha Christie. She spends her spare time whipping up gourmet meals for her family, working out at the gym and finding new ways to keep her house spotlessly clean–and she’s got an active imagination. Truth is–she’s an expert at calling for take-out, she grumbles about walking the dog and the dust bunnies under the bed have grown into dust lions.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author. 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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Feb 272019
 

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am excited to share my thoughts with you today about the latest Poppy McAllister Mystery!

 

About the Book


Restaurant Weeks Are Murder (A Poppy McAllister Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – New Jersey
Kensington (February 26, 2019)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1496713079
ISBN-13: 978-1496713070
Digital ASIN: B07DBQBVYJ

Cape May, New Jersey, is the site of a big culinary competition—and the knives are out . . .

Poppy McAllister is happy about opening a Jersey Shore B&B—but working in a professional kitchen has always been her real dream. Now it’s coming true, at least briefly, as she teams up with her former fiancée, Tim—and his condescending partner, Gigi—during the high-profile Restaurant Week challenge. Poppy’s specialty is pastries, despite her devotion to a Paleo diet. But if anyone can make glorious gluten-free goodies, it’s Poppy.

Things get heated quickly—especially when some ingredients get switched and Tim’s accused of sabotage. Relatively harmless pranks soon escalate into real hazards, including an exploding deep fryer. And now one of the judges has died after taking a bite of Poppy’s cannoli—making her the chef suspect . . .

Includes Seven Recipes from Poppy’s Kitchen!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Poppy McAllister is so excited. Her ex, Tim and his partner Gigi are representing his restaurant in the upcoming Restaurant Week Challenge for a local television station, think Chopped, but crazier :), and Tim as asked her to be their pastry chef. It will be tough spending that much time with Gigi, but cooking in a professional kitchen and showing her talents with desserts has been her dream, so she quickly accepts.

The “Challenge” is not creating awesome appetizers, entrees, and desserts from the crazy basket ingredients, it is making it through the week. Less Chopped – More Survivor. Pranks like the labels being switched on ingredients escalates to machinery malfunctions including an exploding deep fryer, to one of the judges being poisoned. The chaos in the kitchen is getting out of control so Poppy does it again. She starts her own investigation. If she isn’t careful she may find herself cooking her very last dessert and chopped down before any of her dreams come true.

I have loved these characters since book 1, Class Reunions are Murder. Aunt Ginny always has me laughing out loud. This time her antics were a little tamer but they still cracked me up. Poppy is growing stronger. Her confidence is shaky at first but she gets some nice feedback that by the end helps her to really move forward. I am excited about the opening of her B&B because I think she will really shine, depending of course what kind of obstacles Aunt Ginny throws in her path. I loved every scene when Poppy and Gia were together. I could feel the heat right through the pages. Don’t worry the author keeps it cozy and G-rated. I can’t forget Figaro, that naughty, naughty, kitty. A cat with a mission and he was hilarious.

As a huge fan of Chopped, I really enjoy the Restaurant Week challenge with its own little twist of a points system. The themed baskets and what the chefs did with them was fun even with all the struggles they had along the way. The author shares some of the recipes at the end of the story.

The mystery was very developed. Secrets, grudges, innuendo, revenge, all play into this captivating whodunit. With plenty of suspects, the author set a blazing pace with the twists. The last one almost gave me whiplash. The ending was edge of my seat exciting. I was totally surprised.

Ms. Klein has found the perfect recipe for a marvelous cozy mystery. Wonderful characters mixed in a sensational story with a dash a romance and sprinkled liberally with humor. A delectable treat for every cozy lover.

This is an extraordinary series and while each can stand on its own, they are best read in order for maximum enjoyment.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

You can read my review of Class Reunions are Murder here.

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

Praise for Restaurant Weeks Are Murder
(A Poppy McAllister Mystery)
by Libby Klein

There is a cast of quirky characters that liven up the storyline and of course, we can’t forget Aunt Ginny and her antics along with the rest of her Senior friends. She knows how to liven up this book with her shenanigans.
~Storeybook Reviews

About the Author

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

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

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Beach Blanket Homicide (Whispering Bay Mystery) by Maria Geraci Order Your Copy Today! 99 cents
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