Posted in 2021 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Finish The Series Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways Literary Escapes TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Death by Bagpipes: A Summer Murder in Edinburgh (Travel Can Be Murder Cozy Mystery Series) by Jennifer S. Alderson #Review / #Giveaway

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


Death by Bagpipes: A Summer Murder in Edinburgh
(Travel Can Be Murder Cozy Mystery Series)

Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Setting – Scotland
Independently published (September 14, 2020)
Paperback: 262 pages
ISBN-13: 979-8684013119
Kindle ASIN: B087RMBK7B

When a trip to Scotland ends in tragedy, travel guide Lana Hansen must sleuth out who murdered her guest before she ends up paying the piper.

Lana hasn’t seen her ex-husband, Ron, since their divorce was finalized eight months earlier. So when they bump into each on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, she is not exactly jumping for joy.

To make matters worse, Ron threatens a member of her tour group—a beloved and respected magician named Presto the Amazing. Ron is convinced Presto stole one of his magic tricks—the same act that propelled the famous magician into stardom—and swears he will get his revenge.

After Presto is scared to death by a group of well-meaning bagpipers, the police suspect he was first poisoned—and that Ron is the culprit!

As much as Lana would love to let her ex-husband rot in prison, she soon discovers that he is not the only one who would prefer to have Presto vanish.

Did Ron poison the magician? Or did one of several family members accompanying Presto on the trip use this vacation to knock off the domineering patriarch?

When another guest is murdered, Lana must decide how far she is willing to go to save the man who broke her heart.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

What should have been an idyllic trip to Scotland is ruined by first one murder and then another.

Magician Presto has arranged a tour to Scotland for his family. Lana soon learns the family is highly dysfunctional but she never imagined their patriarch would be killed and that her ex-husband Ron, who she hasn’t seen in months, would be tapped as the prime suspect. Ron does have a history with the deceased by Lana can’t believe he would resort to murder.

Then another member of the family group is killed. With Ron in custody, Lana fears she is traveling with a killer.


Lana’s patience is really tried in this Travel Can Be Murder Cozy Mystery. The family is a bunch of spoiled brats expecting their father/grandfather to dole out cash for their every need and want. Ms. Alderson has created a wonderful group of unlikable characters. They are each unique with their own issues and easily envisioned from the author’s descriptions. Lana and Presto’s personal secretary are the only ones besides one of the deceased that have any redeeming qualities.

The roots of evil in this mystery are money and greed and Lana has a plethora of suspects including her ex. The author has put her protagonist in a difficult situation. She sees and overhears things, things that make her realize she is in a prime spot to do some investigating. She uncovers many secrets and lies and in doing so she puts her own life in danger. I found the mystery to be very well-plotted with a nice pace and an exciting reveal.

Again Ms. Alderson takes her readers on a great virtual vacation. Her descriptive voice brings all the landmarks her characters visit to life. I just wish Presto’s family would have appreciated the extraordinary places they were visiting.

Death by Bagpipes was another Perfect Escape. I really am enjoying this series.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Jennifer S. Alderson

Jennifer S. Alderson was born in San Francisco, raised in Seattle, and currently lives in Amsterdam. After traveling extensively around Asia, Oceania, and Central America, she moved to Darwin, Australia, before settling in the Netherlands. Her background in journalism, multimedia development, and art history enriches her novels. When not writing, she can be found in a museum, biking around Amsterdam, or enjoying a coffee along the canal while planning her next research trip.

Jennifer’s love of travel, art, and culture inspires her award-winning mystery series—the Zelda Richardson Mysteries and Travel Can Be Murder Cozy Mysteries—and standalone stories.

Author Links

Website – Goodreads  –Facebook – Twitter  –LinkedIn – BookBub


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

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

Dead Man’s Hand (Victoria Square Mystery) by Lorraine Bartlett and Gayle Leeson #Review

Release Date – February 5, 2021


Dead Man’s Hand (Victoria Square Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
8th in Series
Setting – New York
Publisher: Polaris Press (February 5, 2021)
Paperback: 294 pages
ISBN-10: 1940801672
ISBN-13: 978-1940801674
Kindle – ASIN: B08NW5DJHW

Katie’s been dealt the Dead Man’s Hand …

It’s all fun and games when Katie Bonner and her friends play poker for chocolate-covered peanuts, but the very next day Jamie Seifert collapses and dies after visiting Katie’s tearoom on Victoria Square.

Katie’s business is on the line and she needs to prove Jamie wasn’t poisoned at Tealicious. Her first order of business is to locate the mysterious woman he was dining with, and her next step is to go undercover at a nearby poker club where Jamie won big just a week before. It seems everyone there might have had a motive to rub Jamie out…and if they learn Katie has been lying to them, she might be next!

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

Katie Bonner continues to get her life on track after her bad breakup with Andy. She has thrown herself into her work at Artisan’s Alley and Tealicious while also leading the committee investigating buildings near the Alley for sale. She is already feeling a bit overwhelmed when her friend Jamie Seifert keels over dead just after leaving her tea shop. Now her main job is saving her shop by proving nothing he ate or drank at Tealicious caused his death.

Jamie’s death wasn’t accidental. He was targeted and poisoned. Could his death be connected to his big poker win last week? Or is there another reason he was killed? Katie decides going undercover may be the only way to find out. It may also get her killed!


To say Katie’s life is in flux is a huge understatement. In addition to the recent murder of her friend, there are issues to be handled at the Alley, and her mother-in-law is coming to town to help save Tealicious but is the fact that her ex Andy seems to have a new woman in his life that really pushes her buttons. I am going to be frank, I didn’t like Katie’s deportment in this story. She has a short temper and is alienating people in her life that have stood by her through thick and thin. Friendships become strained and she may not be able to get them back. While I didn’t like her behavior it made her more real and true to life. We all have days when we say or do the wrong thing. We hurt people with words and actions and need to work hard to make up for it. I am glad the authors presented a less than perfect protagonist.

Another character exhibited some bad behavior too while many others were dealing with losing a friend or helping Jamie’s partner Seth and Jamie’s mother deal with their grief. It was heartwarming to see the group rally together to support where needed and assist in trying to find the killer. The authors also presented an eclectic group of suspects to investigate. All the characters in the story were well-crafted and the regulars continued to evolve in interesting ways.

The mystery was a puzzler to solve. Katie going undercover seemed a little off to me as she is a prominent member of the community and thinking she wouldn’t be recognized was pretty wishful thinking. It did set up some intriguing elements to the story. Combined with plenty of twists and turns it was difficult to truly pare down the suspects. I had my theories but when the real culprit was revealed I was totally wrong.

Ms. Bartlett and Ms. Leeson have dealt their readers a fast-paced mystery in Dead Man’s Hand. I applaud the realistic characters and situations. I enjoyed a lighthearted event that seemed to set everything back on the right track too. These authors are cozy pros and their stories never disappoint.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Authors

Lorraine Bartlett

The immensely popular Booktown Mystery series is what put Lorraine Bartlett‘s pen name Lorna Barrett on the New York Times Bestseller list, but it’s her talent — whether writing as Lorna, or L.L. Bartlett, or Lorraine Bartlett — that keeps her there. This multi-published, Agatha-nominated author pens the exciting Jeff Resnick Mysteries as well as the acclaimed Victoria Square Mystery series and has many short stories and novellas to her name(s). Check out the links to all her works here: http://www.lorrainebartlett.com

Gayle Leeson

Gayle Leeson is a pseudonym for Gayle Trent. Gayle has also written as Amanda Lee. She is currently writing the Kinsey Falls chick-lit/women’s fiction series, the Down South Cafe cozy mystery series, and the Ghostly Fashionista cozy mystery series. Her book KILLER WEDDING CAKE won the Bronze Medal in the 20th Anniversary IPPY Awards. Gayle lives in Southwest Virginia with her family and enjoys hearing from readers. Find her books on Amazon here.

Website     Facebook    Twitter    Pinterest     Instagram

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

Posted in 2021 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Interviews Literary Escapes New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday with Marc Jedel – Author of fISh OUt of WaTER – An Ozarks Lake Mystery #AuthorInterview / #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am delighted to welcome Marc Jedel to Escapes With Dollycas today!


Hi Marc, 

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

After years of working in high-tech marketing, I decided to try writing novels. I figured I had plenty of experience crafting fiction. It was just called emails, ads, and marketing collateral in my day job. Like my character, Marty, in the Silicon Valley Mystery series, I now live in Silicon Valley, work in high-tech, and enjoy bad puns. Like my characters Jonas and Elizabeth, in the Ozarks Lake Mystery series, I grew up in the South and spent plenty of time in and around Arkansas.

What are three things most people dont know about you?

1) Played professional soccer while completing my year as a Rhodes Scholar,

2) Nominated for both Pulitzer and Nobel prizes for my previous novels,

3) Likes to make up answers when asked questions for which he doesn’t have a good response. LOL, Good one.

What is the first book you remember reading?

I’d have to say it’s a tie between Go Dog Go and The Cat in the Hat. This might also explain my love for puns and entertaining word choices. What’s not to love about a story that has great wordplay and shows off awesome party hats?

What are you reading now?

I’m reading a variety of cozy mysteries to catch up on what’s popular as I try to avoid reading them while I’m in the middle of writing one. I tend to bounce back and forth between cozies, sci-fi, non-fiction history, and fantasy books.

What books have most inspired you?

I wasn’t originally planning to write mysteries. However, a few years ago, I picked up my wife’s copy of a Janet Evanovich novel. She got mad when I didn’t return it until I’d finished. My wife that is, not Janet. Janet would probably be happy because I’ve purchased a number of her other books and even consulted her How I Write book when I started my first book. I wouldn’t even mind if Janet decided to tell all her readers that they should try my books too (in case you’re reading this, Hi Janet!) Since then, I’ve read many other mysteries and cozy mysteries and enjoy the good ones for a light, humorous read.

What made you decide you wanted to write mysteries?

I’ve wanted to write a book since I was young. For the longest time, it seemed I couldn’t come up with a good plot. Yet, my writing research clearly demonstrated that having a plot is critical to a book’s success.

One day, I received this awesome birthday drawing from my nieces. And my kids, or nieces, or one of our friends’ kids had done some crazy things. Probably all of the above. One thing led to another and the idea formed to loosely base a mystery with a self-absorbed, fashion-backward software engineer, his sister, and his nieces on my life. It’s clearly fiction. I mean, I’m not a software engineer.

With my novel, Fish Out of Water, I started a completely different series with very different characters, different humor, and different style of sleuthing. This seemed to be a way to keep things fresh for me and my readers. But I’ll continue writing stories in both series.

Do you have a special place you like to write?

I guess my “special place” would be in front of my computer. I have been known to jot down ideas, fragments of conversations, and funny lines on my phone. Typically I write at a sit-stand desk with an extra wide monitor. The original concept was I would have my writing open on one side of the display and my notes or outline on the other. All too often, it seems like the writing is on one side but the other side has my internet browser or email open and distracting me.

 

Where do the ideas for your books come from?

Most of the ideas came initially from some strange news article that I stumble across. Unfortunately, I can’t explain this because these often wind up serving as inspiration for the ending of the story. For Fish Out of Water, I wanted to write a more typical cozy mystery but illustrate the different perspectives of someone new to an area versus someone who grew up there. As my wife had grandparents who owned a small ranch in Arkansas and I spent time in and around Arkansas growing up, I thought it would be interesting to show both sides.

 

Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

Figuring out new, interesting, and plausible ways to kill someone is actually way more challenging than one might think. Especially when you’re trying to do it in such a way that an amateur detective can figure it out without involving any help from the police and I don’t want the readers to guess whodunnit. I’m very gratified when readers tell me they couldn’t guess who was the killer and why until the reveal. Yet all this requires some very unusual internet searches. I’m just glad no law enforcement officer has knocked on my door yet to ask why I was looking up something unusual.

What do you think makes a good story?

1) Great characters that people will care about. 2) Interesting plot that excites them to turn the pages faster. 3) Reasonable actions. I hate stories where the entire thing could be resolved if only the characters would call each other or ask someone an obvious question.

 

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

Marty Golden, my protagonist in the Silicon Valley Mystery series, is the most like me. Family and friends would tell you that he isn’t much of a stretch of the imagination for me to write, but I’m comfortable with that. Of course, Marty is the younger, funnier, cooler, and more handsome version of myself that I imagine I see in the mirror each morning. But Elizabeth and Jonas Trout in Fish Out of Water also have a disturbing number of similarities to me. I don’t know that I could write a first-person point-of-view novel and not have at least some resemblance to the protagonist.

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

I’ve become bored by cozies where the protagonist runs a bakery, bookstore, or bed & breakfast and this supposedly amateur sleuth gets extensive help from the police. So I made sure my characters don’t work with the police and have different jobs. Having both a male and female protagonist with different point-of-view chapters in Fish Out of Water also allows me to show very different takes on suspects and other characters and go to different places.

My Silicon Valley Mystery series is especially unique with its male protagonist who’s not particularly competent, nor especially brave, as the amateur sleuth. Setting it in Silicon Valley is also unusual for cozies but worked well. Despite finding himself thrust into challenging situations, Marty isn’t exactly hero material. He has a wonderful combination of wit, irreverent humor, and sarcasm mixed in with nerdy insecurities, absent-mindedness, and fumbling but effective amateur sleuthing skills. He’s got an active inner voice and doesn’t do a lot of advance planning. Instead, he throws himself into solving problems. Sometimes, he even succeeds.

Whats next on the horizon for you?

I’m continuing to write in both series. My next two books will be book 2 in the Ozarks Lake Mystery series, titled: Swimming with the Fishes, and I’m also working on book 5 in the Silicon Valley Mystery series, titled: Huh? Why? and Punch (say it aloud fast a few times). More novels in both series are planned.

Thank you Marc for visiting today! I loved your answers!

More About Marc Jedel

 

For most of my life, I’ve been inventing stories. Living in many places around the United States, including a lot of time in the South, has given me a particularly keen appreciation for those who feel like a “fish out of water” sometimes.

My writing skills were honed in years of marketing leadership positions in Silicon Valley. While my high tech marketing roles involved crafting plenty of fiction, we called these marketing collateral, emails and ads.

The publication of my first novel, Uncle and Ants in the Silicon Valley Mystery series, gave me permission to claim “author” as my job. And achieving Amazon Best Seller status gave me even better adjectives to use in front of “author.” This has led to way more interesting discussions than answering “marketing.”

Telling the stories in the Ozarks Lake Mystery series has given me an enjoyable opportunity to spend time with characters that somewhat resemble people I’ve known. Writing alternating chapters from the perspective of each spouse of the newlywed Trout couple allowed me to experience multiple personalities without getting a visit from mental health professionals.

Author Links – Website    BookBub     FaceBook     LinkedIn    GoodReads 

About fISh OUt of WaTER


fISh OUt of WaTER – An Ozarks Lake Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Arkansas
Publisher: BGM Press (January 8, 2021)
Number of Pages: 275

A small-town homicide. A community swamped in secrets. Can married amateur sleuths bait and capture the killer before the truth slips away?

 

Elizabeth Trout had escaped her rural Arkansas hometown. Compelled to sort through her deceased grandmother’s belongings, she and her new husband Jonas make an unexpected trip to the family ranch. But when the property manager turns up dead, Elizabeth is rocked when her ex-boyfriend-turned-deputy arrests her for the murder.

 

With incriminating evidence and the sheriff convinced he’s got the right suspect, Elizabeth and Jonas must fish for clues on their own. But with a multitude of potential culprits and her husband’s contrasting personality, Elizabeth fears she may be left dangling on the hook for a crime she didn’t commit.

 

Can these newlyweds net the real killer before Elizabeth is jailed for murder?

 

Fish Out of Water is the charming first book in the Ozarks Lake Mystery series. If you like quirky characters, clever twists and turns, and puzzling whodunits, then you’ll love Marc Jedel’s humorous tale.

Buy Fish Out of Water to reel in a slippery catch today!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Elizabeth and Jonas Trout have traveled from Portland to her home town of Jenkins, Arkansas to deal with her inheritance from her grandmother. Along with her mother, a local doctor, they are sorting through furniture. artwork, photographs, and more to get ready for an estate sale and future sale of her grandmother’s home. Before they can even get started on the project Elizabeth is arrested by her former boyfriend, for the murder of Duncan Fowler. Fowler was a schoolteacher, and property manager hired to help Elizabeth’s grandmother with her ranch. Elizabeth did have a public altercation with the man over some property damage but she didn’t kill the man. The Sheriff thinks he has more than enough evidence to convict her of the crime so it’s time for the Trout’s to do a little fishing for some better suspects. There are not many secrets in this little town but they reel in a whopper that should catch the real killer and land them behind bars.


The Trout’s are a very likable couple with excellent taste in dogs and their names. The puppy on the cover looks just like our recently deceased dog and we have named our new 10-week old pup, Daisy Mae, so you know the canine character immediately stole my heart. Elizabeth’s mom is a doctor and sometimes the medical examiner. She seems to be in non-stop motion tending to her patients or another cause. Because of Elizabeth’s arrest, she can’t have anything to do with the body but that doesn’t mean she can’t get information to clear her child’s name. The victim, Duncan Fowler had a lot of irons in the fire and at one point or another, it seemed like the entire town of Jenkins had a reason to kill the man. I enjoyed the small-town atmosphere and all the residents we met in this first Ozarks Lake Mystery. The characters developed nicely over the course of the story but there is plenty of room for growth as the series continues.

Keeping with the fishy theme, the mystery was filled with red herrings. The Trouts needed a huge net to hold all the suspects and patience as they tried to weed out those with a motive but clearly not the killer. With some nice twists, I was in the dark as to who the guilty party was until near the very end. I did figure out some other aspects as to how the story would play out though. One part didn’t completely fall into place by the end of this story but probably will in the next installment. The ending was exciting and surprising as all the clues fell into place.

This is the first book I have read by Marc Jedel after seeing so many wonderful reviews of his Silicon Valley Mysteries. What always caught my attention was his liberal use of humor so I jumped at the chance to read and review Fish Out of Water. I was thrilled to see his sense of humor shined in this book as well. He also filled this story with plenty of Southern charm.

Fish Out of Water was a delightful whodunit with truly engaging characters and a complicated mystery that I found to be completely entertaining. I am anxious to read the next book in this series, Swimming with the Fishes, I have also added all the Silicon Valley Mysteries to my wish list.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

Purchase Links: Amazon

Also by Marc Jedel


TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please visit all the stops.
February 1 – Diane Reviews Books – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW
February 1 – My Journey Back – CHARACTER GUEST POST
February 2 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
February 2 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
February 3 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW   
February 3 – FUONLYKNEW – REVIEW
February 4 – Literary Gold  – CHARACTER GUEST POST
February 4 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
February 5 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author Blog – SPOTLIGHT
February 5 – Here’s How It Happened – SPOTLIGHT
February 6 – I Read What You Write – GUEST POST
February 7 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
February 8 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
February 8 – Adventures Of A Travelers Wife – GUEST POST
February 9 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
February 10 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
February 11 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT
February 12 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, GUEST POST
February 13 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
February 14 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST

 

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

Posted in 2021 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Literary Escapes New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Egg Shooters (A Cackleberry Club Mystery) by Laura Childs #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @BerkleyMystery


Egg Shooters (A Cackleberry Club Mystery)
by Laura Childs

About Egg Shooters


Egg Shooters (A Cackleberry Club Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
9th in Series
Setting – Midwest (Minnesota)
Publisher: Berkley (January 26, 2021)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 0425281744
ISBN-13: 978-0425281741
Kindle ASIN: B085BVYLKY

A murder in the local hospital is raising everyone’s temperature in the latest book in the New York Times bestselling Cackleberry Club series.

 

Suzanne Dietz co-owner of the Cackleberry Club Café is visiting her fiancée, Dr. Sam Hazelet when a masked gunman bursts into the emergency room. He shoots two people and would probably have done more damage had Suzanne not brained him with a thermos full of chili. Still, the gunman manages to escape.

 

Now the ladies of the Cackleberry Club are determined to find the killer before he finds them.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Shots are fired in a hospital, no less, as this ninth Cackleberry Club Mystery gets underway. Cackleberry Club co-owner Suzanne Dietz was ducking for cover as two people fell struck by bullets. In a moment of pure genius, rage, and adrenalin, Suzanne stuns the shooter with a thermos full of chili meant to have been lunch for her fiancée, Dr. Sam Hazelet. Down but not out the shooter escapes with a duffle bag of drugs stolen from the hospital pharmacy. The gunman was dressed in military gear and wore a mask so Suzanne couldn’t give much info to identify the suspect but that doesn’t mean she, Toni, and Petra aren’t going to pull out all the stops to catch the shooter before they kill again.


I love Suzanne, Toni, and Petra and glad they are back after a bit of a break. These ladies are so genuine and have huge hearts. They are always ready to support a person or cause that comes into their orbit. They are exactly who you would expect to meet when you walk into a small-town Midwest cafe. They give a friendly welcome and try to add a smile to get your day off to a great start. The food they serve up is top-notch too. Supporting characters Dr. Sam, Junior, and Sheriff Dougie all bring diverse personalities to the story. These men couldn’t be more different from each other just like our leading ladies so they are a perfect fit for this series.

Ms. Childs really twisted things up this time. Suzanne is completed invested in finding the shooter so she doesn’t always make wise decisions and she jumped to a few conclusions without the evidence to back them up.  I had to stop and take a second to shake my head at one event that was crazy and downright unbelievable but centered myself with the point that the story is fiction, meant to entertain and it sure did that and the event did really move the story forward so I accepted the situation and moved on. The scene was exciting and it was fun to live vicariously through the adventure the characters were caught up in. The author does blend the subplots with the main plot with an expert hand. She brings the book to a conclusion in a thrilling way that I know raised my blood pressure.

Egg Shooters is an egg-traordinary addition to this series and I have enjoyed every one. We are also treated to tempting recipes that were mentioned in the story at the end of the book. I am very excited for the next installment of this series.



Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Laura Childs

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

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

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

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

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

Laura’s Links:

Webpage – Facebook  

Purchase Links

Amazon   B&N  Kobo   Google Play  IndieBound
The Rest of the Series

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Great Escapes Praise for Egg Shooters (A Cackleberry Club Mystery)
by Laura Childs

This was well written and flowed well, as do most of Laura Childs books. I was kept entertained and curious as to who is behind the murder and the other break-ins. There were just enough twists and turns to keep me guessing, and I did not figure it out till the reveal.
~Melina’s Book Blog

This ninth book in the Cackleberry Club Mystery series is a fast-paced mystery fueled by food and friendship. EGG SHOOTERS is jam-packed with intrigue, adventure, and fun.
~Cozy Up With Kathy

Egg Shooters is another relaxing and engaging read from one of my favorite cozy mystery authors.
~Diane Reviews Book

TOUR PARTICIPANTS
January 26 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
January 26 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT
January 27 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
January 27 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW
January 28 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
January 29 – Cozy Up WIth Kathy – REVIEW
January 29 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
January 30 – I Read What You Write – GUEST POST
January 31 – Diane Reviews Books – REVIEW
January 31 – The Book Diva’s Reads – SPOTLIGHT
February 1 – Nadaness In Motion – REVIEW
February 2 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW  
February 2 – Christa Reads and Writes – SPOTLIGHT
February 3 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – SPOTLIGHT
February 3 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
February 4 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
February 4 – Carla Loves To Read – REVIEW
February 5 – View from the Birdhouse – SPOTLIGHT
February 5 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
February 6 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, GUEST POST
February 7 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW
February 7 – Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers – SPOTLIGHT
February 8 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT
February 8 – Brianne’s Book Reviews – REVIEW

 

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

Posted in 2021 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

One Poison Pie (Kitchen Witch Mysteries) by Lynn Cahoon #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @KensingtonBooks @LynnCahoon

One Poison Pie (Kitchen Witch Mysteries)
by Lynn Cahoon

About One Poison Pie

One Poison Pie (Kitchen Witch Mysteries) by Lynn Cahoon
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Idaho
Publisher: Kensington (January 26, 2021)
Mass Market Paperback: 272 pages
ISBN-10: 1496730313
ISBN-13: 978-1496730312
Digital ASIN: B087YNC1B6

In the first in New York Times bestselling author Lynn Cahoon’s Kitchen Witch series, Mia Malone is starting over in Magic Springs, Idaho—where murder is on the menu . . .

 

What’s a kitchen witch to do when her almost-fiancé leaves her suddenly single and unemployed? For Mia Malone, the answer’s simple: move to her grandmother’s quirky Idaho hometown, where magic is an open secret and witches and warlocks are (mostly) welcome. With a new gourmet dinner delivery business—and a touch of magic in her recipes—Mia’s hopes are high. Even when her ex’s little sister, Christina, arrives looking for a place to stay, Mia takes it in stride.

 

But her first catering job takes a distasteful turn when her client’s body is found, stabbed and stuffed under the head table. Mia’s shocked to learn that she’s a suspect—and even more so when she realizes she’s next on a killer’s list. With Christina, along with Mia’s meddling grandma, in the mix, she’ll have to find out which of the town’s eccentric residents has an appetite for murder…before this fresh start comes to a sticky end. . . .

 

Includes Recipes!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

After reading Chili Cauldron Curse I dove right into One Poison Pie. Mia has broken up with her cheating boyfriend and returned to Magic Springs to restart her life by opening Mia’s Morsels in an old school building. She plans to do some catering but to also build a client list of people that would enjoy a gourmet dinner delivered to their home one or more times a week. While the school is being revamped for her business her grandmother pushes her to cater a friend’s birthday party. It ends up being harder than she thought when her client, Adele Simpson, changes the entire menu at the last minute but Mia rolls with the changes committed to make her first event a hit, hopefully gaining her several new customers.

Sadly the event takes a deadly turn when Adele’s body is found under the head table stabbed with a knife. When Mia is tapped as the prime suspect she can’t believe it. Adele was a difficult client but Mia wouldn’t kill her over a few changes. There has to be someone else the police should be questioning and Mia is going to do a little snooping to give them several options . . .  that is unless the killer murders her next.


Mia is a fantastic protagonist. She is smart, strong, and getting more independent every day. She has a great business plan along with the support she needs to get Mia’s Morsel’s up and running. We met her Gran and her ex-boyfriend’s sister Christina in Chili Cauldron Curse. They continue to immerge as important supporting characters. We are introduced to brothers Trent and Levi, and also Chef James. Trent has some romantic notions with Mia and Levi is just fun to be around. James allows Mia to use his kitchen to prepare the meal for Adele’s party. All the characters are very well crafted, some are more magical than others. Ms. Cahoon has fleshed them out pretty well but has left them plenty of room to grow over what I hope will be a long-running series. The relationships between the characters really drew my attention and the dialogues were true to life.

The mystery plot was complex with a lot of things happening. Someone definitely wants Mia off the case and out of the way. Physical attacks, threatening messages, chilling calls, and more show the danger Mia is in. I love that witches and warlocks are common in Magic Springs and they have a variety of talents. Some are more active in the craft than others but coexist easily. I enjoyed the ghost stories and an actual ghost appearance. The paranormal elements are all well placed and did not overtake the main mystery at all. That mystery has plenty of twists and turns and surprises. A subplot with Mia’s ex adds another interesting element to the story.

I find the author’s writing style very comfortable with clear descriptions without being too wordy. People and places are easily visualized and the characters really come to life. The pace was perfect and humor popped up in all the right places.

I found One Poison Pie to be totally entertaining and easy to escape right into. The characters are engaging and I can’t wait to visit them again in Two Wicked Desserts this summer.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Lynn Cahoon

Lynn Cahoon is the author of the NYT and USA Today best-selling Tourist Trap cozy mystery series. She also pens the Cat Latimer series, the Farm to Fork series, and the Kitchen Witch series. Small town setting, big time fun with a bit of murder to keep it interesting. Romance novels are published under the pen name, Lynn Collins. She lives in a small river town like Mark Twain with her husband and three fur kids..

Author Links

Goodreads – Twitter Facebook – Amazon Author Page Website

Purchase Links – Amazon – B&N – Kobo – Google Play 

Also by Lynn Cahoon

Find more books by Lynn Cahoon here.

 

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS
February 1 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT
February 1 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
February 2 – Literary Gold – REVIEW
February 2 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
February 3 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
February 3 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW
February 4 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
February 4 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
February 5 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
February 5 – Mochas, Mysteries and Meows – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
February 5 –  Novels Alive – GUEST POST
February 6 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – GUEST POST
February 6 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW, EXCERPT
February 7 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW  
February 7 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – REVIEW 
February 8 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT
February 8 – Author Elena Taylor’s Blog – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
February 9 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
February 9 – Novels Alive – REVIEW
February 10 – Wickedly Romance – REVIEW, EXCERPT
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February 11 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW  
February 11 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW, RECIPE
February 12 – Cozy Up WIth Kathy – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
February 12 – Kaisy Daisy’s Corner – SPOTLIGHT
February 13 – Nadaness In Motion – REVIEW  
February 13 – Carla Loves To Read – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
February 14 – Christa Reads and Writes – SPOTLIGHT
February 14 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
February 15 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW
February 15 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

 

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

Posted in 2021 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Alphabet Soup A -Z Author Edition Challenge Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Literary Escapes Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Chili Cauldron Curse: A Delightful Culinary Mystery with Magic (Kitchen Witch Mysteries) by Lynn Cahoon #Review @KensingtonBooks @LynnCahoon


Chili Cauldron Curse: A Delightful Culinary Mystery with Magic
(Kitchen Witch Mysteries)
Paranormal Cozy Mystery
Prequel to Series
Publisher: Kensington Books (August 25, 2020)
Print Length: 102 pages
Kindle ASIN: B0851PV6HQ

Meet a new cozy star with her own special brand of culinary magic in this first story in the New York Times bestselling author Lynn Cahoon’s Kitchen Witch series.

When Mia Malone’s grandmother asks her to take a week away from her restaurant job and come to Magic Springs, Idaho, she’s happy to oblige. Like Mia, Grans has witchcraft running through her veins, and life with her is never boring. Plus, the cause is a good one—helping Grans get the local food bank up and running again. But there’s an unappetizing surprise in store. While Mia is knee-deep in boxes of donated produce, she encounters the body of Dorian Alexander.

Dorian was a warlock, leader of the local coven. He was also her Grans’ new beau. There’s no potion that’ll make this trouble disappear. But if Mia wants to keep her Grans—now a prime suspect—from serving a spell in prison, she’ll have to unearth the real killer fast. . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Chili Cauldron Curse introduces us to Mia Malone and her grandmother. Mia has come to Magic Springs for a week to help reorganize a local food pantry. Mia and Gran are witches like many other residents of Magic Springs. Like Dorian Alexander, a local warlock and special friend oF Mia’s grandmother. Sadly a weird odor at the food pantry leads to a very dead Dorian Alexander. Gran is the police’s prime suspect. It may take more than a little magic to find the killer but Mia is not going to let her Gran do the time when she didn’t do the crime.


I liked Mia right away but felt bad for all the changes she was going to have to adjust to before the story came to an end. I enjoyed the strong relationship she has with her grandmother and the way she took her boyfriend’s sister under her wing. Mia has a huge heart and it is her natural instinct to help people. I know part of that is because she is a kitchen witch but beyond that, she is a caring person.

The mystery was a little light but I love novellas like this because we can get to know enough about the characters before we dive into the first full-length mystery. It opens up time in the new story to give readers a more complex mystery. We get a peek into what time of sleuth Mia is going to be while still leaving room to explore what it means to be a kitchen witch.

I love the way Ms. Cahoon blends humor into her stories. This time Gran’s magic takes a surprising turn that had me giggling for several pages.

Chili Cauldron Curse was an engaging little story giving us a wonderful taste of what to expect from the Kitchen Witch Mysteries. I finished this book and escaped right into One Poison Pie. I will post my review of that next Monday.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

Lynn Cahoon is the author of the NYT and USA Today best-selling Tourist Trap cozy mystery series. She also pens the Cat Latimer series, the Farm to Fork series, and the Kitchen Witch series. Small town setting, big time fun with a bit of murder to keep it interesting. Romance novels are published under the pen name, Lynn Collins. She lives in a small river town like Mark Twain with her husband and three fur kids.

Author Links

Goodreads – Twitter Facebook – Amazon Author Page Website

Also by Lynn Cahoon

Find more books by Lynn Cahoon here.

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

Posted in 2021 Reviews Alphabet Soup A -Z Author Edition Challenge Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Finish The Series Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways Literary Escapes Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – Death by Auction (An Abby McCree Mystery) by Alexis Morgan #Review / #Giveaway @Alexis_Morgan @KensingtonBooks

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


Death by Auction (An Abby McCree Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Washington State
Publisher: Kensington (May 26, 2020)
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 1496719557
ISBN-13: 978-1496719553
Kindle ASIN: B07W7WKTBQ

Not only did Abby McCree inherit her aunt’s house in Snowberry Creek, Washington, she inherited a handsome tenant and a whole lot of trouble . . .

It’s hard to say no to Tripp Blackston. That’s how Abby found herself on yet another committee, organizing a bachelors’ auction to raise money for Tripp’s veteran’s group. The former Special Forces soldier is mortified when Abby enlists him to be one of the prizes, but she has a covert plan to bid on him herself. Before she can, she’s foiled by a sniper bid from a gorgeous stranger, who turns out to be Tripp’s ex-wife, Valerie.

Still reeling from the shock that Tripp was married and wondering what his ex is suddenly doing in town, Abby goes looking to pay the auction’s emcee, radio personality Bryce Cadigan. She finds him in the parking lot, dead in his car. Valerie appears to be the last one to have seen Bryce alive, so she’s the cops’ best bid for suspect. When she asks Tripp for help—and lodgings—it’s Abby’s turn to block by inviting Val to stay with her. But did she just open her home to a murderer?

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

Abby McCree’s new project is organizing a fundraiser for Tripp Blackston’s veteran’s group. She has planned a bachelors’ auction to followed by a dinner event 2 weeks later. It took a bit of convincing but Tripp will be one of the bachelors up for auction and Abby hopes to win with her bid. Her plan goes awry when a beautiful woman takes the prize with a astounding bid of her own. Afterward, she learns the woman is Tripp’s ex-wife Valerie. Say What!?

Okay, Tripp has some explaining to do but she needs to focus on her event. She needs to pay the emcee, Bryce Cadigan, a radio personality that grew up in Snowberry Creek. He has been spending time catching up with people he knows and the last time she saw him he was going outside with Tripp’s ex. She is back glued to Tripp’s side but Bryce is nowhere to be found. She heads to the parking lot hoping he hasn’t left without his check. She finds him in his car and he is going anywhere. He is dead and she has to tell the police she saw him go outside with Valerie. Is Tripp’s ex-wife a killer? Valerie begs Tripp for help and a place to stay now that she can’t leave town. His place is too small for overnight guests so he asks Abby “his landlord” to put Valerie up in one of her guest rooms while they try to track down the real killer. The scary thing is the real killer may be the person moving into her house.


Abby is much more comfortable in Snowberry Creek as she has gotten to know more and more people. Most were friends of her now-deceased aunt but she is finding her place in town in her own right. This time she meets some of Tripp’s military friends as she is working on a veteran’s fundraiser. They come in handy as she tries to find out who killed Bryce Cadigan. Her budding romance with Tripp hits a bump or two with his ex in town. Her friendship with Chief of Police Gage Logan gets stretched as she keeps butting into his case. Jean, Louise, and Glenda, friends of her Aunt Sybil are still pushing and shoving Abby around but she has learned how to deal with them. Jean’s infatuation with Tripp has tamed a bit, again, the ex, but she still is baking him her “famous tuna casseroles. And of course, the lovable mastiff Zeke is around to steal our hearts. I really am a fan of the way these characters continue to evolve. We learn new things about them in every book and I get further invested in their lives as this series continues.

Ms. Morgan has crafted another strong mystery with several suspects. Abby had to really dig deep to find all the connections and press people to reveal secrets or remember past events that would give people reasons to kill off Bryce. Her sleuthing took her to some interesting places. I had a great time following along with her. I had winnowed my list down to two as we headed into the home stretch.

Again the author focuses on helping veterans. I love that the theme continues from the last book which shows it is an important cause for her.

Death by Auction is another great addition to this series. I loved the abundance of humor included throughout the story. I had planned on reading this book when it came out but my breast cancer treatments were wreaking hell in my life last May. Now I am ready for book number 4 Death by Intermission. I will be reviewing it on February 10. I am very excited to visit these characters again so soon.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

You can read my review of Death by Committee here
and Death by Jack-o-Lantern here

About the Author

USA Today Best-selling author Alexis Morgan has always loved reading and now spends her days imagining worlds filled with strong alpha heroes and gutsy heroines. She is the author of over forty-five novels, novellas, and short stories that span a variety of genres: American West historicals (as Pat Pritchard); paranormal and fantasy romances; and contemporary romances. She is excited to say that next year will also see the release of her first cozy mystery series. Alexis has been nominated for several industry awards, including the RITA, the top award in the romance genre.

Author Links 

Website  Facebook Twitter   Blog  

The first three books are on sale for 99 cents right now.
1/29/2021


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

Posted in 2021 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Alphabet Soup A -Z Author Edition Challenge Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Literary Escapes New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday featuring Crime of the Ancient Marinara (A Tuscan Cooking School Mystery) by Stephanie Cole #Review /#Giveaway @BerkleyMystery

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

It is my pleasure to feature Crime of the Ancient Marinara
by Stephanie Cole today!


Crime of the Ancient Marinara (A Tuscan Cooking School Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Italy
Publisher: Berkley (January 26, 2021)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 0593097815
ISBN-13: 978-0593097816
Kindle ASIN: B087PLF2V6

American chef Nell Valenti’s high hopes for a successful Tuscan farm-to-table cooking school are in danger of withering on the vine in this delectable cozy mystery.

Nell Valenti is settling into her role of transforming the Villa Orlandini into a superb farm-to-table cooking school, and the time has finally come for a full taste test run. But when Chef Orlandini prepares to reveal his top secret marinara recipe for the first time to a group of American gastro-tourists, Nell realizes she might have bitten off more than she can chew.

Nell begins to suspect that one of the tourists is actually a private detective sent to spy on her by her overprotective father, and the fussy foodies are noisy and disrespectful from the very start of the Marinara Mysteriosa workshop. Even worse, when one visitor appears to be poisoned by the famous marinara recipe, Nell will have to work fast to uncover a killer and keep a lid on bad press before her fresh start is spoiled for good.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Plans are coming together at Villa Orlandini to open the farm-to-table cooking school. Their first weeklong class will bring a group of gastro-tourists from America to learn all about making marinara sauce and will include Chef Orlandini revealing his mystery ingredient in his famous marinara recipe. They hit a few bumps in the road with their plans as they work through the logistics of keeping their guests involved and happy. Nell has an inkling that one member of the group is a private detective sent by her father. Another member of the group is rude and is only there because his wife dragged him along. She is excited to be there and is determined not to let her husband ruin her trip. The rest of the group all have their flaws and are pretty disrespectful. When one of the group is rushed to the hospital and dies Nell realizes there is a killer in their midst. A murder is bad, but someone dying the first week they are open could seal the fate of the school forever. Nell knows she needs to find the killer and save the school but she could end up the killer’s next victim if she isn’t careful.


All the people we met at Villa Orlandini in the first book are back. Nell and Pete are getting closer. Chef O. is excited to teach but quickly becomes infatuated with one of his new students which causes some turmoil in the kitchen. The new characters all seem to have something to hide. The murder happens later in the story but the victim was not a surprise. I wanted to reach into the book and kill him myself. The language was still of bit of a problem but Nell is learning more Italian and is finding ways to communicate with people at the villa. It was still necessary to bring in a translator after the murder and Pete translated other times. The translations for us readers still messed with the flow of the story for me.

The murder mystery was very well-plotted and I was surprised with all the connections that were revealed. That being said I had a certain character in my sights almost immediately after the murder because I quickly eliminated the other suspects. I just needed the motive to connect my thinking and that wasn’t revealed until the end. I was a little put off by Nell’s investigation this time. Her snooping and theories were a little over the top at times.

I do enjoy Ms. Cole’s right style. She really knows how to set the scene and bring it to life, Every room at the villa was easily visualized. There was a huge flower delivery too and I could almost smell them from the descriptions. The author delivered up plenty of humor throughout the entire story. The Bari sisters are absolutely priceless.

All the talk of marinara did tempt my tastebuds. Thankfully we eat Italian inspired food often around here.

Crime of the Ancient Marinara was a nice little escape to Tuscany. The characters were entertaining and the mystery very interesting. The ending did leave me wanting to know what was going to happen next at Villa Orlandin, so I am looking forward to the next book in this series.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Stephanie Cole is an active member of the mystery writing community. Writing as Shelley Costa, she was nominated for both an Edgar and an Agatha award, and she co-founded the Northeast Ohio chapter of Sisters in Crime. She teaches creative writing workshops and lectures on American literature in the greater Cleveland area. For fun, she takes violin lessons, studies Art History—and eyes them both for murder plots.

Due to COVID-19, the publisher is not offering a giveaway,
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Add this book to your WANT TO READ shelf on GoodReads
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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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Mystery Bones Murders (Frankie Shep Suspense Novellas) by Karen Randau #GuestPost / #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour


Mystery Bones Murders:
A gripping story of love, deceit, and redemption
(Frankie Shep Suspense Novellas) by Karen Randau

 

My Positive Change From COVID-19
by Karen Randau

When I was a kid and visited my dad’s parents, I never could figure out who were all those ginger-haired people who hung out there all the time. Sure, I knew their names, and their last name didn’t match mine or my grandparents. The whole family of five had a carrot top, and young me thought it was really strange.

After I joined a genealogy website, I learned those were relatives on my grandmother’s side—a tiny bit of Viking in me to explain how someone with a quiet, gentle spirit can write murder mysteries and thrillers. Or maybe it explains why I love Celtic music so much. Who knows?

But as a result of my new discovery (and the explanation of why my dark hair had a red tint until recently), I’ve wanted to go to Ireland. I had heritage to discover, after all. I wanted to witness the country’s green rolling hills, rugged seaside cliffs, and windswept rock formations. Experience the lively culture. Visit some of the 30,000 castles. Sip some Irish whiskey (did you know only whisky from Scotland, Canada, and Japan isn’t spelled with an “e” in it?).

The Emerald Isle (made up of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom) is known for its friendly people, lively atmosphere, and lots of festivals. I wanted to go to one of their world-famous festivals.

Since the days of the Celts, Ireland has had a strong tradition of storytelling, and I hear the people love to chat for hours on end. It’s no wonder there are so many famous writers from Ireland. In fact, there’s a whole museum in Dublin dedicated to Irish writers!

Writers like James Joyce (best known for his book, Ulysses, but also the author of a collection of short stories about life in Dublin), the witty and fun Oscar Wilde, the poet W.B Yeats, Bram Stoker (famous for Dracula), Jonathan Swift (Gulliver’s Travels), and many more.

In that tradition, there’s an annual international writers’ festival in Dublin that I’ve wanted to attend, but the cost of both the festival and travel was prohibitive. That is, until COVID-19 took everything virtual. While I didn’t get hands-on experience with a tiny bit of my heritage, I went to Ireland virtually to attend the excellent 2020 writers’ festival.

In fact, I attended several writers’ conferences virtually—so many that I never would have been able to afford it if everything hadn’t been locked down. And as an introvert, there was less stress attending virtually than trying to network amongst strangers (I’m so not into that).

So, there you go. I like to find the positive in every negative, and attending the Dublin International Writers’ Festival virtually was my positive that happened because of the COVID-19 lockdowns.

I hope you’ve experienced at least one positive from this negative pandemic. If not, I hope you’ll look for one.

And if you’re still hunkering down (or not), I hope you’ll enjoy my new novella about a feisty ginger-haired woman named Frankie who in Mystery Bones Murders digs deep down inside to finally overcome unimaginable heartbreak through love and redemption.

 

About Mystery Bones Murders


Mystery Bones Murders (Frankie Shep Suspense Novellas)
Mystery – Thriller
1st in Series
Setting – Wyoming
Independently Published (November 30, 2020)
Print length: 131 pages
ASIN: B08PDGPJT6

Frankie Shep is still mourning the deaths of her husband and young son when she finds a bone in the far corner of her Wyoming cattle ranch.

 

Excited to think she may have discovered an ancient Native American village, she takes the bone to a lifelong friend who is now a forensic anthropologist on contract with her county.

 

After a cursory inspection, he turns a blood-chilling stare at Frankie. The bone isn’t ancient. Worse, the victim could be the remains of Frankie’s mother. She disappeared from her own bed more than a decade ago.

 

And now her retired father is missing.

 

As Frankie digs deeper, she discovers the terrifying truth that a serial killer is using her land to bury his victims, all members of her family and inner circle.

 

And now he’s watching her.

 

Mystery Bones Murders is a story of love, heart-wrenching deception, and finding redemption.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Frankie Shep has isolated herself following the recent deaths of her husband and son and her mother’s disappearance several years ago.. She is only close to the family that helps her work the ranch.

There were several Native American villages in the area and when she finds a human bone by a tree in a corner of the ranch she thinks she thinks she may have found evidence of one. But a forensic anthropologist friend tells her the bone is not old enough to have come from a Native American. He believes it could belong to her mother. With that revelation, she knows she needs to contact her father but he is not answering his cell phone and is not where he was supposed to be. She then learns that there were 3 bodies buried under that tree. She also feels like she is being watched. Could a serial killer still be in the area?

______

Something unusual happened when I started this book. A few pages into the story I started to hear background music in my head. It ebbed and flowed with what was happening on the page, reached a high crescendo when the killer was revealed and the story wrapped up with a classic Law & Order, dun-dun. The story had a real movie or episodic television feel.

Ms. Randau introduces her readers to a relatively small cast of characters but with plenty of options for suspects. I really felt for Frankie as she had an overload of sorrow before the story even started. To deal with it all and things she encountered within these pages we know she is a strong woman. The other characters play important parts in her life. There may even be a little romance in her future.

At just 131 pages this was a fast read made even faster by the author’s writing style and the suspense that unfolded. It was impossible to put down.

Mystery Bones Murder is an entertaining novella with an engaging protagonist you want to root for. As this is just book one in this series I am very interested to see where she takes Frankie next.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent 

About Karen Randau

Karen Randau authors fast-paced stories with intricate plots, lots of action, and a dash of romance told from the point of view of a female amateur sleuth. Mystery Bones Murders is her sixth book and the first book in a new series of novellas. She lives in the mountains of Arizona with her multi-generational family.

Author Links – 

Webpage  Facebook  Twitter  Goodreads  BookBub

Purchase Links – Amazon 

Also by Karen Randau

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Great Escapes Praise for Mystery Bones Murders:
A gripping story of love, deceit, and redemption
(Frankie Shep Suspense Novellas) by Karen Randau

The pace of the story is perfect, with just enough suspense from page to page that you don’t want to put the book down. I liked that Frankie searched for clues but was smart enough to call in the police when things were out of her depth.
~Storeybook Reviews

Although the fast-paced tale does feature an abundance of corpses, it’s (thankfully) not the stuff that nightmares are made of – making for a short, lightweight thriller with many a twist along the way.
~Cassidy’s Bookshelves

TOUR PARTICIPANTS
January 18 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
January 19 – Author Elena Taylor’s Blog – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
January 20 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW, GUEST POST
January 21 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
January 22 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
January 23 – Cassidy’s Bookshelves – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
January 24 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
January 25 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
January 26 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW, GUEST POST
January 27 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
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January 29 – I Read What You Write – CHARACTER GUEST POST
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January 31 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

 

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

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A Cold Brew Killing (All-Day Breakfast Cafe Mystery) by Lena Gregory #Review / #Giveaway


A Cold Brew Killing (All-Day Breakfast Cafe Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Florida
Lyrical Underground (November 6, 2018)
Print Length Approximately 250 Pages
Digital ASIN: B079R5Y14L

When an ice cream vendor discovers a frozen stiff, Florida diner owner Gia Morelli has to serve up some just desserts . . .

 

Gia has become good friends with Trevor, a fun, flirtatious bachelor who owns the ice cream parlor down the street from her popular All-Day Breakfast Café. Trevor has the scoop on all sorts of local attractions and activities. But when he bursts into her diner, trembling and paler than a pint of French Vanilla, she can tell something’s very wrong. Trevor points her toward his shop then passes out cold. When Gia runs down to his shop, she discovers a chilling sight—a dead body in the open freezer. But the ice cream man’s troubles are just beginning. The police suspect him of this murder a la mode, especially when details of his questionable past surface. Gia believes in her friend and is determined to clear his name and find the real cold-blooded killer before someone else gets put on ice . . .

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts

It gets mighty chilly in Florida when a dead body is found in the freezer of the ice cream parlor of Gia’s new friend Trevor. She and Trevor had big plans for bringing cold brews to both their businesses but that is on ice for now. Of course, Trevor is the prime suspect of the police but Gia just knows in her heart the man is innocent. Now she just has to find the evidence to prove it.


It was so good to get back to these characters. I don’t know how I got behind on this series but I plan to rectify that very soon.

Gia, Savannah, Hunt, Leo, Willow, Earl, Harley, Cybil, Cole, and Thor all return and are joined by several new characters. Two mayoral candidates, although one doesn’t last long, ice cream shop owner, Trevor, Willow’s mom, Skyla, join the cast. Ms. Gregory’s characters are all realistic. People you would expect to find in Boggy Creek at Gia’s All-Day Breakfast Café. I enjoy Gia and Savannah’s friendship. This time it is tested just a bit but I really liked the way Savannah convinced Gia it was okay to take some time off. Their relationship is believable and steady. They have each other’s back even when things get downright crazy.

The new secondary characters along with Harley play key roles in the mystery. They have been Boggy Creek residents for a long time and while the murder maybe political it could also be something in their pasts that has gotten Ron Parker killed. There are several twists and turns, shots fired, and another death before all the clues align and secrets come out for the killer to be revealed. The author has plotted an intriguing mystery with many possibilities.

The book also has a message and a revelation for Gia regarding families. It is so true and heartwarming.

A Cold Brew Killing was so entertaining! Great characters, a wonderful mystery and don’t even get me started on the food. We did have breakfast for dinner during the time I was reading this book. Yummy!

Stay tuned, in my quest to get caught up on this series I will be reading A Waffle Lot of Murder soon so I am ready when Whole Latte Murder hits stores on April 27.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

Lena Gregory lives in a small town on the south shore of eastern Long Island with her husband and three children.

When she was growing up, she spent many lazy afternoons on the beach, in the yard, anywhere she could find to curl up with a good book. She loves reading as much now as she did then, but she now enjoys the added pleasure of creating her own stories.

Author Links – Newsletter – Website  –  Facebook – Facebook Page  – Twitter  –  Goodreads  – Pinterest

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Also by Lena Gregory

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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.”