Posted in 2020 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Tusk Justice: (A Kenya Kanga Mystery) by Victoria Tait #Review / #Giveaway


Tusk Justice:
A Cozy Mystery with a Tenacious Female Amateur Sleuth
(A Kenya Kanga Mystery)
by Victoria Tait

About Tusk Justice 


Tusk Justice:(A Kenya Kanga Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Publisher: Kanga Press (October 9, 2020)
Number of Pages App. 300
Digital ASIN: B08FXVFKK7

At a summit on poaching, the keynote is homicide. Can a veterinarian solve the case before she becomes an endangered species?

 

Kenya, 2016. Community vet and skilled sleuth ‘Mama’ Rose Hardie is passionate about saving elephants. As she runs her monthly clinic for the animals at the local resort, she plans to attend a conference on the issue with her ailing husband. But things turn sour when a world-renowned conservationist is found brutally stabbed to death.

 

With the authorities tied up in Nairobi, Rose sets out to bring the killer in herself. But with multiple suspects all hiding secrets and scandalous truths surrounding the victim, the culprit may be too slippery for the aged amateur detective to handle.

 

Can Rose trap the murderer before she ends up as the next target?

 

Tusk Justice is the second book in the thrilling Kenya Kanga Mysteries series. If you like quirky characters, lush African locales, and a love of animals, then you’ll adore Victoria Tait’s adventurous whodunit.

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

Note: Take a moment to read the Glossary of words before starting to read the book because the author uses many words local to the region. I love that she did this. 

 

Mama Rose Hardie returns and she is tested to solve not just one mystery but two!

First, she is asked by the manager at the Mount Kenya Resort and Spa to investigate a series of thefts from small throwaway items to some very pricey merchandise. She is excited because she and her husband Craig are given some wonderful accommodations while she sleuths and he attends a conference leading up to the inaugural Giant’s Club Summit for wildlife conservation.

The second mystery involves Davina Dijan, a woman Rose met after saving a young elephant and wasn’t very impressed with. Davina Dijan is the keynote speaker for the conference as the managing director of the local Gaia Conservancy. Her program started with a few hiccups and we saw her true colors. Rose witnesses Davina’s rude behavior again that night at dinner. She is floored though when the resort manager wakes them during the night to report the woman is dead and he needs Rose’s help. One look tells Rose that Davina Dijan has been murdered.  With Police Commissioner Akida tied up elsewhere, he asks Rose to assist on the case. With her efforts divided she is going to do her best to solve both cases but then a surprise lands something personal on her plate as well. Rose is juggling a lot, and there is a killer on the loose.


The story focuses on the poaching of elephants for their tusks. Such beautiful animals dying just hurts so much. The book is set in 2016 and there has been progress to curtail poaching but 1 dead healthy elephant is too many for me. The author blends awareness with a fictional story that ends with the hope that change may be happening.

Mama Rose is a complex character and this time we delve further into her personal life. Her husband Craig has some serious health problems but I was glad to see he was able to attend the conference and enjoy some time with friends. He is Rose’s #1 priority and she does all she can to keep him out and about and comfortable but she sees his health continue to deteriorate. As someone living with a disability for almost 20 years I can identify with the man very well.

The author has penned a compelling mystery.  Rose is a tenacious investigator and to tag along with her as she tries to solve it all was very entertaining. She rarely takes a break so the pages were flying. I read the entire book in one evening and that is very rare for me right now.

I enjoy the imagery Ms. Tait creates with her words. I will never travel to Kenya in my lifetime which why I truly appreciate descriptive storytelling. Readers are carried thousands of miles away by her words and are able to escape for a few hours to a place so different and full of adventures.

Endearing characters, a splendid location, a worthy cause, and an entertaining mystery, Tusk Justice has it all. A Perfect Escape!

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Find out how to adopt an elephant here.

 

About Victoria Tait

Victoria Tait is the exciting new author of the Kenya Kanga Mystery series.  She’s drawn on 8 years living in rural Kenya, with her family, to write vivid and evocative descriptions.  Her readers feel the heat, taste the dryness, and smell the dust of Africa.  Her elderly amateur sleuth, “Mama Rose” Hardie is Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple reincarnated and living in Kenya.

Like all good military wives, Victoria follows the beat of the drum and has recently moved to war-scarred Sarajevo in Bosnia. She has two, fast-growing nearly teenage boys.  She enjoys horse riding and mountain biking but is apprehensive about learning to ski.  Victoria is looking forward to the sun, sand, and seafood of neighbouring Croatia when the world returns to normal.

Author Links

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Purchase Links – Amazon – B&N – Kobo – 

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Cake Popped Off (Cupcake Catering Mystery Series) by Kim Davis #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @Kookiesandbooks


Cake Popped Off (Cupcake Catering Mystery Series)
by Kim Davis

About Cake Popped Off


Cake Popped Off (Cupcake Catering Mystery Series)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in the Series
Setting – California
Publisher: Cinnamon & Sugar Press (September 22, 2020)
Print Length: 295 pages
Digital ASIN: B08DZ7Z96H

Cupcake caterer Emory Martinez is hosting a Halloween bash alongside her octogenarian employer, Tillie. With guests dressed in elaborate costumes, the band is rocking, the cocktails are flowing, and tempers are flaring when the hired Bavarian Barmaid tries to hook a rich, hapless husband. Except one of her targets happens to be Emory’s brother-in-law, which bodes ill for his pregnant wife. When Emory tracks down the distraught barmaid, instead of finding the young woman in tears, she finds her dead. Can she explain to the new detective on the scene why the Bavarian Barmaid was murdered in Emory’s bathtub with Emory’s Poison Apple Cake Pops stuffed into her mouth?

 

With an angry pregnant sister to contend with, she promises to clear her brother-in-law’s name. As Emory starts asking questions and tracking down the identity of the costumed guests, she finds reasons to suspect her brother-in-law has been hiding a guilty secret. Her search leads her to a web of blackmail and betrayal amongst the posh setting of the local country club crowd. Can Emory sift through the lies she’s being told and find the killer? She’ll need to step up her investigation before another victim is sent to the great pumpkin patch in the sky.

 

Includes spooky Halloween recipes!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

What a fabulous story!

Emory Martinez and her loveable Goldendoodle Piper are settling in with Tillie and they are throwing a Halloween party with Emory providing cupcakes and cake pops while her sister Carrie caters all the rest of the food. The party is rocking until a server dressed as a Bavarian Barmaid starts hitting on many of the wealthy men in attendance. She even sets her sights on Emory’s brother-in-law, Thomas. Confused, Emory thought the bartender and the barmaid were an item. Emory decides to cool tempers she needs to talk to the woman but when she tracks her down she is dead in Emory’s own bathtub. Worse she has a Poison Apple Cake Pops, made by Emory, stuffed in her mouth.

The victim and her little tete-a-tete with Thomas was witnessed by many so he has landed at the top of the suspect list. Carrie begs Emory to investigate and some secrets are revealed. More suspects come to light but Thomas is not immediately cleared. Hang on tight, the twists are epic!


I absolutely love Tillie, in her 80’s and still going strong, even though her family doesn’t think so. They think she is suffering from dementia and belongs in a senior home, leaving them to manage her fortune and inherit it when she dies. Enter Emory to keep an eye on her. Emory quickly learns Tillie is fine and dandy, with more energy and ideas than a woman half her age.

Then Tillie’s son surprises everyone by introducing his new wife. His fourth! after losing his last wife in a tragic accident. The new wife proceeds to change the entire family dynamic by taking charge of everything she can. Thankfully Emory and Tillie have built a bond that can’t be broken, and shockingly the new wife’s days are numbered.

We also meet Detective Gabe O’Neill. Gabe just happens to be Emory’s BFF Brad’s significant other but she doubts that is going to help clear Thomas’s name.   All the characters Ms. Davis has created are strong. Some are very engaging, others bring the drama.

The plot of this mystery is complex and twisted. Emory and Tillie make a great sleuthing team, especially with all of Tillie’s social circle. The subplots blend seamlessly and believe me these are not just daily life interludes, they have some intense moments too. I really enjoyed following along but let me tell you when the killer was revealed the word surprised doesn’t cover it! Blown away! Astonished! Thunderstruck! And this is not the first time Kim Davis has done this to me!  Dang!  she is an incredible storyteller!!

In addition to a marvelous mystery, the story is filled with cupcakes. Emory is always baking and testing new flavor combinations. Some savory dishes are included too. My mouth was watering from the descriptions and I will be copying all the recipes at the back of the book.

Long story short, I am shouting from the rooftops! This Is A Must-Read Mystery! Fun, entertaining, and oh-so-wonderful. If you haven’t read Sprinkles of Suspicion start with that one, because series are always better from the beginning, but it is also a great whodunit. Cake Popped Off will be on my Best Reads of 2020. I am excited to see what the author has in store for her characters next.

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About Kim Davis

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

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

Purchase Link – Amazon 

Also by this Author

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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 2020 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Mistletoe, Moussaka, and Murder (A Kebab Kitchen Mystery) by Tina Kashian – #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @KensingtonBooks

Mistletoe, Moussaka, and Murder (A Kebab Kitchen Mystery)
by Tina Kashian

About Mistletoe, Moussaka, and Murder
(A Kebab Kitchen Mystery)


Mistletoe, Moussaka, and Murder (A Kebab Kitchen Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Setting – New Jersey
Publisher: Kensington (September 29, 2020)
Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-10: 1496726073
ISBN-13: 978-1496726070
Digital ASIN: B082WR6DMT

Not even her impending nuptials can keep Lucy Berberian, manager of her family-owned Kebab Kitchen, from the Jersey Shore’s annual Polar Bear Plunge. But her dive into the icy ocean is especially chilling when she finds a fellow swimmer doing the dead man’s float—for real . . .

 

Who would kill a man in cold blood during Ocean Crest, New Jersey’s most popular winter event? When Lucy learns the victim is Deacon Spooner, the reception hall owner who turned up his nose—and his price—at her wedding plans, she can’t help wondering who wouldn’t kill the pompous caterer . . .

 

Perhaps the culprit is the wedding cake baker whose career Deacon nearly destroyed? Or the angry bride whose reception he ruined? With her maid of honor, Katie, busily planning Lucy’s wedding without her, Lucy will have to get to the bottom of this cold-hearted business in time for Kebab Kitchen’s mouthwatering Christmas celebration—and before her hometown’s holiday spirit washes out to sea . . .

 

Recipes included!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Bundle up for this one. Lucy Berberian and her BFF Katie are taking part in the Polar Bear Plunge to raise money for the renovation of the Senior Center. They plunged into the frigid ocean waves along with about 40 other Ocean Crest residents and business owners and it did not go swimmingly. One plunger didn’t make it out alive. Reception hall co-owner Deacon Spooner’s dead body washed up on the beach from an apparent drowning. It wasn’t the chill in the air and water that took the man down, no, it was MURDER and one of Lucy’s friends is the prime suspect. Wedding cake baker Susie Cutie had a beef with the man but would she murder him? Lucy doesn’t think so. She met the man once and while not wishing him dead, she couldn’t stand him. He must have pushed someone else over the edge. She just needs to find out who . . .


Mistletoe, Moussaka, and Murder is the 5th book in the series and the characters feel like old friends. Lucy and Asad are now engaged to be married and Kate is trying her best to get Lucy’s wedding planning on track like any good Matron of Honor would do. Her parents, Angela and Raffi, now retired still help out at the restaurant when needed and Lucy’s cooking lessons with her mom continue. It’s the holiday season so all of them are making plans for the Christmas party at the Kebab Kitchen for all the Ocean Crest merchants. These characters are so genuine and engaging, people I would like to meet and spend more time with. I grew up in a family-run restaurant business and everything sans the murders rings true to life. I am also loving the relationship between Lucy and her landlord Eloisa, her infatuation with Azad, and the way he handles it is so funny.

Ms. Kashian has a great descriptive writing style. She takes us to the Jersey Shore with its snow-covered sand, the frigid temperatures of the ocean, the sound of a band playing under the boardwalk, the food at the Kabab Kitchen, a lovely Victorian B&B, and more. The food, moussaka to cupcakes and pies, the party attire, and a certain wedding dress are so easy to visualize.

The murder mystery was very well-plotted. Deacon Spooner was not a nice man so there were several viable suspects. I had pared down my guesses to two when the tension really picks up. The big reveal was very exciting and Yes! one of my guesses turned out to be right!

I look forward to each and every visit to Ocean Crest, New Jersey. Lucy and her family never fail to keep me totally entertained. Mistletoe, Moussaka, and Murder sure didn’t disappoint. I enjoyed every bit of this story. Will the next book include a wedding? I can’t wait to find out!



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About Tina Kashian

Tina Kashian is an attorney and mechanical engineer whose love of reading for pleasure helped her get through years of academia. She is the author of the popular Kebab Kitchen Mediterranean cozy mystery series for Kensington Publishing. Tina spent her childhood summers at the Jersey shore building sandcastles, boogie boarding, and riding the boardwalk Ferris wheel. She also grew up in the restaurant business, as her Armenian parents owned a restaurant for thirty years. Tina still lives in New Jersey with her supportive husband and two daughters. Please visit her website at www.tinakashian.com to join her newsletter, receive delicious recipes, enter contests, and more!

Author Links

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Great Escapes Praise for Mistletoe, Moussaka, and Murder (A Kebab Kitchen Mystery)
by Tina Kashian

Mistletoe, Moussaka, and Murder is a feast for the senses – yummy food to make your mouth water, sea breezes to appease the beach lovers among us, the sights & sounds & aromas of a bustling boardwalk, family, friends, humor, heart, and a puzzling mystery to unravel.
~Reading Is My SuperPower

Mistletoe Moussaka and Murder, with its spot-on plotting and developed characters, is ideal for any cozy mystery book lover, especially for those who enjoy a bit of the foodie element!
~The Cozy Pages

Mistletoe, Moussaka, and Murder is a cheery cozy mystery with holiday house hop, matrimonial machinations, Christmas cheer, a polar plunge, seashells, seagulls, and snow.
~The Avid Reader

The author is very talented in her descriptive writing, and through most of the book, I felt like I was right there, watching all the action taking place, whether it was plunging into the ocean or checking out wedding venues.
~MJB Reviewers

Mistletoe, Moussaka, and Murder by Tina Kashian is an excellent book. It seems as I can never figure out the motive for these books. I have to say that it is good for Ms. Kashian.
~Baroness’ Book Trove

A big BRAVA to Tina Kashian for another well plotted, believable mystery filled cover to cover with twists and turns, false leads, and an all-around entertaining storyline that got better with every turn of the page.
~Lisa Ks Book Reviews

 

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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 2020 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Finish The Series Challenge Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge Purrfect Reading Challenge TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Deceased and Desist (A Tallie Graver Mystery) by Misty Simon #Review / #Giveaway @KensingtonBooks

Deceased and Desist (A Tallie Graver Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Pennsylvania
Publisher: Kensington (November 27, 2018)
Mass Market Paperback: 272 pages
ISBN-10: 1496712250
ISBN-13: 978-1496712257
Kindle ASIN: B07B76MMJZ

Window of opportunity . . .

 

Most housecleaners don’t do windows, but Tallie Graver loves leaving a pane of glass streak-free and sparkling. After a dirty divorce from a filthy-rich jerk, she’s started her own cleaning business to make ends meet. On her latest job, prepping a renovated bed and breakfast for a grand re-opening, she’s standing outside on a ladder, wiping off a grimy pane, when she spies a man on a bed through the glass. But the B&B isn’t open for business yet—and the man’s not sleeping. Her family owns the Graver Funeral Home, so Tallie knows a corpse when she sees one.

 

The victim is a shady building inspector with a reputation for handing out passing grades for a greased palm. With the local police resistant, Tallie launches her own investigation, before she gets a rep as a town crank. But it’s going to take more than a squirt bottle and a squeegee to clean up this mess. With the help of her gal pal Gina, Tallie searches for a killer’s motive. But she’d better be careful, or it’ll be curtains for this window cleaner . . .

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Tallie Graver is doing her part to make the grand reopening of a local B&B a huge success in hopes the owners will hire her on for more cleaning duties. For now, she just needs to finish washing the windows. Up the ladder she goes but when she starts to squeegee down a window she notices a man on the bed inside. The B&B hasn’t opened yet so it can’t be a guest and the man is lying in a strange position. Tallie’s family owns the local funeral home so she has seen plenty of dead bodies and she knows now she is looking at another one.

The police don’t suspect foul play but Tallie does. She enlists the help of her bestie Gina to get a crystal clear picture of who killed the man and why. She also gets help from a surprising person. Together they bring down more than a killer.


I loved this story. So much happens within these pages.

The characters continue to evolve with Tallie growing stronger in her convictions, especially when her father wants her to a larger role in the family business. I love the way Max supports her through thick and thin. Gina and Tallie make a great team, but this time there is a third Muskateer and that adds to the fun. A new character pushed all buttons which is what I now know is exactly what the author intended.

The story has a slow build as clues are slow coming at first but the pace really picks up as things start to fall into place. The twists were perfectly placed. Like Tallie, who even ot her dad involved in her snooping this time, I thought I was on the right path when a plot twist proved me wrong. I am always entertained by a story that tests me.

Well written and plotted, with humor infused in all the right places Deceased and Desist was a captivating cozy and a stellar addition to this series. I can’t wait to visit these characters again. Carpet Diem is impatiently waiting on my Kindle.

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About the Author

Laughter and Love are two main components of any story I write. Laughter really is the best medicine and my heroines always figure that out at some point, though perhaps some later than others. I live in Central Pennsylvania with my family and two rambunctious dogs in a house that is about to celebrate its two hundredth birthday. You can find Misty Simon on Facebook here.


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

Posted in 2020 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Finish The Series Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Murder in the Bayou Boneyard: A Cajun Country Mystery by Ellen Byron #Review / #Giveaway Great Escapes Book Tour

Murder in the Bayou Boneyard: A Cajun Country Mystery
by Ellen Byron

About Murder in the Bayou Boneyard 


Murder in the Bayou Boneyard: A Cajun Country Mystery
Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Setting – Louisiana
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books (September 8, 2020)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1643854607
ISBN-13: 978-1643854601
Digital ASIN: B082H3BT6F

Maggie Crozat has the Halloween heebie-jeebies in USA Today bestselling and Agatha Award-winning author Ellen Byron’s howlingly funny sixth Cajun Country mystery.

 

Maggie Crozat, proprietor of a historic Cajun Country B&B, prefers to let the good times roll. But hard times rock her hostelry when a new cell phone app makes it easy for locals to rent their spare rooms to tourists. With October–and Halloween–approaching, she conjures up a witch-crafty marketing scheme to draw visitors to Pelican, Louisiana.

 

Five local plantation B&Bs host “Pelican’s Spooky Past” packages, featuring regional crafts, unique menus, and a pet costume parade. Topping it off, the derelict Dupois cemetery is the suitably sepulchral setting for the spine-chilling play Resurrection of a Spirit. But all the witchcraft has inevitably conjured something: her B&B guests are being terrified out of town by sightings of the legendary rougarou, a cross between a werewolf and vampire.

 

When, in the Dupois cemetery, someone costumed as a rougarou stumbles onstage during the play–and promptly gives up the ghost, the rougarou mask having been poisoned with strychnine, Maggie is on the case. But as more murders stack up, Maggie fears that Pelican’s spooky past has nothing on its bloodcurdling present.

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

Halloween in Pelican, Louisiana can be interesting but this year business at the local B&B’s in taking a hit due to a new enterprise for regular folks can rent out rooms to tourists. So a few local B&B’s band together to host weekends featuring “Pelican’s Spooky Past” packages complete with spa treatments, crafting classes, special menus, and a play Resurrection of a Spirit performed in a cemetery. Visitors may also be treated to seeing a rougarou, which is a cross between a vampire and a werewolf, and scary.

The Crozat’s have added a spa to the property and a Canadian cousin has agreed to come to town as their massage therapist. Maggie quickly learns her dear cousin and her husband have ulterior motives for their visit. Then one night the masseuse crashes the play and dies, the Crozat’s become prime suspects. When there is another murder Maggie plunges herself into the investigation.


These characters continue to be some of my faves. Maggie is a smart amateur sleuth who doesn’t give up. Her relationship with her sassy grandmother is fun and heartwarming. Her mom and dad have a ton of energy and go to great lengths to meet their guests’ needs while still being there for their family and friends. This story takes family to a new level when the Canadian cousins come to town with their outlandish plans.

Ms. Byron has crafted a mystery filled with twists, turns, and a bit of folklore. I am fine with the rougarou as long as I don’t have to meet one in the middle of the night, better yet as long as they stay within the pages of this book. The author also includes a variety of Cajun dishes, some of the recipes are at the back of the book.

What I really enjoy is that the Crozat’s daily life endeavors blend seamlessly with the mystery. Wedding plans are ongoing and Maggie gets a big surprise at the end of the story with a big message for everyone, especially in the world we are living in today.

Murder in the Bayou Boneyard is a totally entertaining Halloween mystery and a fantastic addition to this series. I am so excited for the next book in this series.

 

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

About Ellen Byron

Maria DiRico

Ellen’s Cajun Country Mysteries have won the Agatha award for Best Contemporary Novel and multiple Lefty awards for Best Humorous Mystery. Her Catering Hall Mystery series, written as Maria DiRico, launched with Here Comes the Body and was inspired by her real life. She’s an award-winning playwright and non-award-winning TV writer of comedies like WINGS, JUST SHOOT ME, and FAIRLY ODD PARENTS, but she considers her most impressive credit working as a cater-waiter for Martha Stewart. A native New Yorker who attended New Orleans’ Tulane University, she lives in Los Angeles with her husband, daughter, and rescue furbaby. Sign up for her newsletter at https://www.ellenbyron.com/

Author Links – Webpage – Facebook – Twitter – GoodReads – Instagram – BookBub

Purchase Links –


Penguin Random HouseAmazonB&NKoboIndieBound

Read my review of Plantation Shudders here.

Read my review of Body on the Bayou here.

Read my review of A Cajun’ Christmas Killing here.

Read my review of Mardi Gras Murder here.

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

Posted in 2020 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Finish The Series Challenge Giveaways Literary Escapes Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Fatal Cajun Festival: A Cajun Country Mystery by Ellen Byron #Review / #Giveaway @crookedlanebks


Fatal Cajun Festival: A Cajun Country Mystery
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Setting – Louisiana
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books (September 10, 2019)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1643851292
ISBN-13: 978-1643851297
Kindle ASIN: B07NKW8WMY

Louisiana B&B owner Maggie Crozat kicks up her heels at a country music festival–but she’ll have one foot in the grave if she can’t bring the killer of a diva’s hanger-on to heel.

 

Grab your tickets for Cajun Country Live!, the pickers’ and crooners’ answer to the legendary New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Maggie Crozat, proprietor of the Crozat Plantation B&B, plans to be in the cheering section when her friend Gaynell Bourgeois takes the stage with her band, Gaynell and the Gator Girls.

 

The festival’s headliner, native daughter Tammy Barker, rocketed to stardom on a TV singing competition. She has the voice of an angel…and the personality of a devilish diva. But Maggie learns that this tiny terror carries a grudge against Gaynell. She’s already sabotaged the Gator Girls’ JazzFest audition. When a member of Tammy’s entourage is murdered at the festival, Tammy makes sure Gaynell is number one on the suspect list.

 

Gaynell has plenty of company on that list–including every one of Tammy’s musicians. Posing as a groupie, Maggie infiltrates Tammy’s band and will have to hit all the right notes to clear her friend’s name.

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts

We arrive in Pelican, Louisiana just in time for Cajun Country Live! the brainchild of Maggie’s grandmere. The event has lured hometown favorite, Tammy Barker, back as the headliner for the first time since she won that singing competition on television. Maggie’s friend Gaynell will also be performing with her band the Gator Girls in hopes of making it big like Tammy. It isn’t until after Tammy checks into Crozat Plantation B&B that Maggie learns that Tammy is holding an old grudge against Gaynell.

Tammy seems to be trying to help Gaynell when in truth she is trying to sabotage her any way she can and when one of Tammy’s crew is freakishly killed in front of a crowd at the festival, she makes sure Gaynell is the police’s prime suspect. Maggie knows her friend is innocent and will pull out all the stops to prove it.

____

This series has some of the most well-developed characters out there. Their lives are interesting and entertaining even before adding the murder mystery. These daily life subplots never fail to draw me in. This time Maggie’s grandmother is doing the Swedish tradition of döstädning, which translates to death cleaning. Through this process, she makes a surprising discovery.

The main mystery did have a variety of suspects with opportunity and the author really tangled up all the possibilities. A twist confirmed a little inkling I had and the ending of the murder mystery came together nicely. But that wasn’t the end of the story. There were more surprises to come.

Music, mystery, and mayhem make Fatal Cajun Festival a must-read. I was so excited to have the next book, Murder in the Bayou Boneyard waiting on my Kindle that I dove right in as soon as I finished this book.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

Read my review of Plantation Shudders here.

Read my review of Body on the Bayou here.

Read my review of A Cajun’ Christmas Killing here.

Read my review of Mardi Gras Murder here.

About the Author

Ellen Byron authors the Cajun Country Mystery series. A Cajun Christmas Killing and Body on the Bayou both won the Lefty Award for Best Humorous Mystery and were nominated for Agatha awards in the category of Best Contemporary Novel. Plantation Shudders was nominated for Agatha, Lefty, and Daphne awards. Mardi Gras Murder launches October 9th. Ellen’s TV credits include WingsJust Shoot Me, and Fairly OddParents. She’s written over 200 national magazine articles, and her published plays include the award-winning Graceland. She also worked as a cater-waiter for the legendary Martha Stewart, a credit she never tires of sharing.

Author Links – Webpage – Facebook – Twitter – GoodReads – Instagram – BookBub

I am giving away 1 Kindle copy!

The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old.

.Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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Contest Will End October 8, 2020, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

Posted in 2020 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Finish The Series Challenge Giveaways TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

A Crime of Passion Fruit (A Bakeshop Mystery) by Ellie Alexander #Review / #Giveaway @StMartinsPress


A Crime of Passion Fruit (A Bakeshop Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Setting – Oregon/Cruise Ship
Publisher : St. Martin’s Paperbacks (June 27, 2017)
Mass Market Paperback : 288 pages
ISBN-10 : 1250088070
ISBN-13 : 978-1250088079
Kindle ASIN : B01MRU56AS

Torte–everybody’s favorite small-town family bakeshop–is headed for the high seas, where murder is about to make a splash. . .

 

Jules Capshaw is trying to keep her cool as Torte gets set to make its transformation from quaint, local confectionary café to royal pastry palace. Meanwhile, Jules’s estranged husband Carlos is making a desperate plea for her to come aboard his cruise ship and dazzle everyone with her signature sweets. She may be skeptical about returning to her former nautical life with Carlos but Jules can’t resist an all-expense-paid trip, either. If only she knew that a dead body would find its way onto the itinerary…

 

Now, instead of enjoying tropical drinks on deck between whipping up batches of sea-salted chocolates and flambéing fresh pineapple slices in the kitchen, Jules is plunged into dangerous waters. Her investigation leaves her with more questions than answers: Why can’t anyone on board identify the young woman? And how can she help Carlos keep passengers at ease with a killer in their midst? Jules feels like she’s ready to jump ship. Can she solve this case without getting in too deep?

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Jules has an offer she would like to refuse, going back to work on the cruise ship Amour of the Seas for a week to help out her husband Carlos, but then he sweetens the pot by offering to let her mom, Helen, and her beau the Professor come along. There is a lot happening at Torte but the staff says they can take care of everything and encourages them all to go and enjoy their time a sea.

Excited for the trip they board the ship for a relaxing week but just like at home a dead body mucks up their plans. The Captain quickly pulls the Professor into the investigation and Jules starts to do some snooping too. She is also questioning her relationship with Carlos. She is so happy working at Torte with her mom, but should she stand by her man and return to baking on the ship? With a killer on board, she needs to keep her wits about her and try to keep those she loves and the passengers safe. She can worry about her love life later.

______

With every book in this series, I love the characters more. I was afraid with Helen and Jules away from the bakery the Oregon characters wouldn’t have much presence in this story, but the ship has computers and there is email. With Lance, Director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, “in charge” of Torte there is never a dull moment. 🙂

Ms. Alexander as written a great whodunit. The victim is an apparent stowaway that no one knows. Who would want her dead? They have the added drama of catching the killer before they get to the next port where the killer could get off and be lost forever. Taking place on the ship does mean a limited number of suspects too. I set my sights on the killer early on but that sure didn’t take away my enjoyment of this story. I was totally caught up all the things happening within these pages.

I loved that the story was set on a cruise ship. Going on a cruise has been on my bucket list forever. The author describes the scenes and people vividly. I tuned in to my days of watching Loveboat and let the author just take me away.

As the story ends Jules’s relationship with Carlos is still up in the air and I am still on the fence about who I want for her love interest. While the murder is solved there is so much going on in Jules life and Helen’s too. I am so excited about this series. Another One Bites The Crust is next up. Watch for my review of that one soon.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Ellie Alexander (aka Kate Dyer-Seeley), author of the Bakeshop Mystery Series (St. Martin’s Press), is a Pacific Northwest native who spends ample time testing pastry recipes in her home kitchen or at one of the many famed coffeehouses nearby. When she’s not coated in flour, you’ll find her outside exploring hiking trails and trying to burn off calories consumed in the name of research.

Author Links –  Facebook     Twitter      Instagram    GoodReads

Written as Kate Dyer-Seeley

I am giving away 1 Kindle Copy!
Book will be sent directly frpm Amazon.

The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

Add this book to your WANT TO READ shelf on GoodReads for 3 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

If you share the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End October 7, 2020, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

*This book was from my personal collection. 

Posted in 2020 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Paw and Order (A Dog Club Mystery) by V.M. Burns #Review

Several months ago V.M. Burns asked for help on Facebook to come up with a title for this book.
I was chair dancing for days when she and
the publisher picked one of my suggestions.

Then a short time ago I downloaded the book from NetGalley and saw my name with credit for the title.
I was going through a rough stretch with my cancer treatments and seeing my name on the screen just made my day.
I do have to apologize to Ms. Burns for my delay in posting this review.
Chemo brain made it hard to write reviews but I am slowly getting back on track.

Paw and Order (A Dog Club Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Setting – Tennessee
Publisher: Lyrical Underground (August 11, 2020)
Paperback: 168 pages
ISBN-10: 1516109945
ISBN-13: 978-1516109944
Kindle ASIN : B07ZPK3DCJ

Dog-loving divorcée and amateur sleuth Lilly Echosby is not the only one who wants her new foster poodle. Some are willing to kill to have him . . .

 

Lilly’s best pal Scarlett “Dixie” Jefferson has done it again! She’s convinced eccentric poodle-loving billionaire Archibald Lowry to sponsor a grand fundraiser for the Eastern Tennessee Poodle Rescue. Tragically, it’s too late to rescue Lowry, who is murdered at the event. His pet poodle is now orphaned, so Dixie begs Lilly to foster the adorable pup. Of course, she already has a poodle—her beloved Aggie, named after Agatha Christie. Fortunately, Aggie seems to like the new addition to the family, whom Lilly renames Rex, after her second favorite mystery author, Rex Stout.

 

But she’s barely welcomed Rex into her home when there’s an attempted poodle-nabbing, foiled with Aggie’s help. As desperate characters try to get their hands on the canine cutie, Lilly turns to Dixie’s dog training class to help her sort through a litter of suspects. Ultimately, she may have to unleash Rex as bait to collar the killer . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

When poodle-loving billionaire Archibald lowry is murdered at an event he is sponsoring for the Eastern Tennessee Poodle Rescue at Scarlett “Dixie” Jefferson’s request Lily Echosby finds herself fostering the billionaire’s pooch while trying to catch his killer.


Friendship blooms within these pages, Lily and Dixie are women I would love to hang out with in real life. They always have each other’s back and their love for their canine companions is heartwarming. Lily and Red’s relationship is evolving nicely. Lily’s daughter Stephanie comes for a visit, there is a little tension in her relationship with Joe and she needs a little TLC from mom. Her mom may need her for some advice as well. I enjoyed the way Dixie’s training group gets involved in all the chaos. All the characters are well-developed with plenty of room left to grow.

The story has an excellent flow with action ratcheting up in all the right places. There are several suspects and different events for them to be observed and questioned. Well-crafted twists kept me guessing right up until the very end. I continue to be amazed by Ms. Burns tells such a great story in less than 200 pages, especially with her wonderfully descriptive writing style.

Paw and Order is a delightful cozy mystery that I enjoyed start to finish. Engaging characters, precious poodles, a great mystery, with a touch of romance and a nice amount of humor make this story a perfect escape.

While this book can be read on its own for maximum enjoyment I recommend reading them all in order.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

About V.M. Burns

V.M. Burns was born in Northwestern Indiana and spent many years in Southwestern Michigan on the Lake Michigan shoreline. She is a lover of dogs, British historic cozies, and scones with clotted cream. After many years in the Midwest, she went in search of milder winters and currently lives in Eastern Tennessee with her poodles. Her debut novel, The Plot is Murder was nominated for a 2017 Agatha Award for Best First Novel. Valerie is a member of Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and a lifetime member of  Sisters in Crime. Readers can learn more by visiting her website at vmburns.com

Author Links:  Website   Facebook  Twitter:  @vmburns


Also by V.M. Burns

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 2020 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

15 Minutes of Flame (Nantucket Candle Maker Mystery) by Christin Brecher #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @KensingtonBooks

I wasn’t sure if I would be able to get this book read
with my cancer treatments so I didn’t sign up for this tour.

i am thrilled I was able to read it so I am barging my way onto this tour 🙂 

15 Minutes of Flame (Nantucket Candle Maker Mystery)
by Christin Brecher

About 15 Minutes of Flame


15 Minutes of Flame (Nantucket Candle Maker Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Massachusetts
Publisher: Kensington (August 25, 2020)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1496721438
ISBN-13: 978-1496721433
Digital ASIN: B082WR2LH6

As Stella Wright’s Nantucket candle store thrives, her knack for solving mysteries burns equally bright—especially when a Halloween haunted house uncovers evidence of a centuries-old murder . . .

 

When Stella’s friend inherits a creaky, abandoned home in Nantucket, she knows it’s the perfect setting for the town’s annual Halloween fundraiser. A deserted, boarded-up building on the property—once used as a candle-making shop—adds to the creepy ambiance. But as Stella explores the shack’s dilapidated walls, she discovers a terrible secret: the skeleton of a Quaker woman, wrapped in blood-soaked clothing and hidden deep within a stone hearth . . .

 

While police investigate, Stella wastes no time asking for help from friends with long ties to Nantucket’s intricate history. The key to the murder may lie within a scorching 18th century love triangle that pit two best friends against one another over a dubious man. But before the case is solved, another life will be claimed—leaving Stella to wonder who in Nantucket is friend, and who is foe . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

We arrive in Nantucket just before Halloween and Wick and Flame owner Stella Wright is helping the Girl Scouts set up a haunted house for a fundraiser. When Stella checks out a shack on the property she finds it used to be a candlemaking shop. With the owner’s approval, she is taking down a sign from the mantle to display in her shop. But she finds more than she bargained for. She finds a skeleton. From the clothing, it looks to be a Quaker woman and she has been there a while. It is not long before this skeleton leads to another and then a dead body.

To calm fears, Stella moves into the house while the police investigate, but Stella just can’t stop herself from doing her own sleuthing. When she starts to uncover some key facts she knows she is on the right track. A track that could get her life to be snuffed out next.


In this third installment, the author brings some of Nantucket’s history to light. With a 100-year-old skeleton entombed in the shack you know, there has to be a dark story.

I love the way Stella continues to develop over the course of this series. She is smart and truly has her friend and local cop, Andy’s number. She works her way into the police investigation and persuades him to fill her in on what they have and what they are working on.  Reporter and boyfriend, Peter was a little distracted this time but by the end, we know why. Emily was under the weather but helped Stella as much as she could. All of Brecher’s characters are well developed and have a purpose in the story. The dialogues were also very well-written

Ms. Brecher unraveled the old story alongside the current one seamlessly with plenty of twists and turns. There is also quite a treasure hunt that ends up being very important to the story.  The pacing was perfect. The ending was so well-played out. Finishing this book on Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie’s birthday was very apropos.

I do love the candlemaking theme. This time readers learn about candle clocks. I was totally captivated by them and loved that Stella was teaching a class on how to make them.

15 Minutes of Flame has it all, great characters, mystery, murder, betrayal, and secrets. There is a fair amount of humor too. I really enjoyed this story!  I am looking forward to the next book in this series.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Christin Brecher

Christin Brecher was born and raised in NYC, where her family and many childhood friends still reside. As such, she feels she is as much of a small-town girl as any. The idea to write the Nantucket Candle Maker series sprang from her life-long connection to the small island off the coast of Massachusetts. Spending summers there as a child, Christin read from her family’s library of mystery novels, after which she began to imagine stories inspired by the island’s whaling heyday, its notoriously foggy nights, and during long bike rides to the beach. After many years in marketing for the publishing industry, followed by years raising her children, Murder’s No Votive Confidence is Christin’s debut novel. Visit her at www.christinbrecher.com.
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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 2020 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Designed to Death (A Faith Hunter Scrap This Mystery) by Christina Freeburn #Review / #Giveaway @HeneryPress


Designed to Death (A Faith Hunter Scrap This Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Publisher: Henery Press; 1st Edition (September 3, 2013)
Paperback: 292 pages
ISBN-10: 1938383524
ISBN-13: 978-1938383526
Kindle ASIN: B00F1IFYJ8

Faith Hunter planned the perfect event at her grandmother’s shop, Scrap This, featuring local scrapbooker and Life Artist Diva, Belinda Watson. But the extravaganza goes up in a cloud of glitter when Belinda and her cousin, Darlene, brawl over scraplifted designs. Faith attempts to break it up, but only makes things worse. Then when Belinda turns up dead behind the Scrap This store, Faith’s involvement goes viral.

 

As accusations against her turn vicious, Faith sets out to prove her nemesis, Darlene, committed the crime, only to realize they are both innocent. Now they must team up or the murderer’s plan will come together seamlessly with the frenemies sharing a jail cell—or worse, a funeral.

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Scrapbookers take their creations seriously and heaven forbid some steals someone else’s designs and submits them to a magazine. That is just what local scrapbooker and Life Artist Diva, Belinda Watson is accused of. The accusation by Belinda’s cousin Darlene happened in front of a full class at Scrap This. Faith does her best to gain control when the glitter starts to fly. But later Belinda is found dead behind the scrapbooking shop and Faith finds herself cropped into another murder investigation and working with DARLENE!

Faith Hunter is a smart protagonist that has returned home to manage her grandmother’s scrapbook store. When she receives a call from the security company about a possible break-in she tells them to call the police and she heads to her neighbor and assistant prosecutor, Steve’s home to get him to go with her to find out what is happening at the store. Her grandmothers think Faith and Steve would make the perfect couple. Homicide detective Ted Roget also has eyes for Faith but he has a murder to solve while trying to keep Faith out of his investigation. The murder could upend everything her grandmothers’ have worked so hard for that Faith just can’t back off.


The scrapbook theme is a wonderful venue for a cozy mystery series. The author uses her descriptive talents to set the scene and the projects making it easy to visualize everything.

Ms. Freeburn has created strong core characters with strong relationships for this series. They are engaging and true to life. Faith’s grandmothers, Hope and Cheryl, are just amazing. They just want Faith to be happy. Her devotion to them is heartwarming. Her love triangle with Ted and Steve is still fresh and new. Due to her past, she is taking things slow, and her actions and reactions clearly show this is a wise choice.

The mystery was very interesting. Pairing Faith with Darlene was unexpected and at times their antics had me shaking my head. Plenty of twists kept this reader on her toes.

Designed to Death has a strong family dynamic along with an entertaining mystery and a nice dose of humor.  I was late to the party for this series but hope to remedy that soon.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Christina Freeburn

Christina Freeburn has always loved books. There was nothing better than picking up a story and being transported to another place. The love of reading evolved into the love of writing and she’s been writing since her teenage years. Her first novel was a 2003 Library of Virginia Literary Award nominee. Her mysteries series, Faith Hunter Scrap This Mystery and Merry & Bright Handcrafted Mysteries, are a mix of crafty and crime and feature heroines whose crafting time is interrupted by crime-solving.

Christina served in the US Army and has also worked as a paralegal, librarian, church secretary, and golf shop pro. She lives in West Virginia with her husband, dog, and a rarely seen cat except by those who are afraid and allergic to felines.

Author Links – Webpage     Blog     Facebook     Twitter     Goodreads 

Also by Christina Freeburn

I am giving away a Kindle Copy!
Book will be sent directly from Amazon.

The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

If you share the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End September 23, 2020, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
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