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

#FlashbackFriday – Antiques Roadkill: A Trash ‘n’ Treasures Mystery by Barbara Allan #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.


Antiques Roadkill: A Trash ‘n’ Treasures Mystery
Cozy Mystery (some explicit language)
1st in Series
Setting – Iowa
Kensington Books (August 1, 2006)
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 232 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0758211910
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0758211910
Mass Market Paperback ‏ : ‎ 287 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0758211929
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0758211927
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B004NNUZ3W

Determined to make a new start in her quaint hometown on the banks of the Mississippi, Brandy Borne never dreams she’ll become the prime suspect in a murder case. . .

Moving back in with her eccentric, larger-than-life mother, Brandy Borne finds small-town Serenity anything but serene. It seems an unscrupulous antiques dealer has swindled Vivian out of the family’s heirlooms. But when he is found run over in a country lane, Brandy becomes Murder Suspect Number One–with her mother coming in a very close second. . .

The list of other suspects is impressive–the victim’s business seems to have been based on bilking seniors out of their possessions. And when the Borne “girls” uncover a few very unsavory Serenity secrets, they become targets for a murderer whose favorite hobby seems to be collecting victims.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I have wanted to start this series for some time and put it on my calendar now to help me hopefully finish my Literary Escapes Reading Challenge this year. I am a stickler for reading books in order I had to start from the beginning.

Brandy Borne has left her son and ex-husband behind and returned to Serenity, Iowa with her blind dog to start over and to her sister, Peggy Sue’s delight for help to keep a handle on their outgoing mother who clearly has mental issues. Issues that have allowed her to be taken advantage of by a shady antique dealer. Shocked to find many of her family’s heirlooms gone Brandy vows to get them back. Before she can do that though, the man is killed and both Brandy and her mother separately were on the scene before the police. That lands them the prime two spots on the suspect list. Heck, at first they thought the other one had done the deed. But it seems Vivian Borne wasn’t the only senior citizen the victim scammed out of their antiques. In fact, there is a pretty nice list and Brandy and her mom put their own lives on the line to solve the case.


I need to first say the authors have a unique writing style that takes a few chapters to get used to. The asides really messed with the flow and for me, the foul language has no place in a cozy mystery. I was shocked when a certain word lit up the page.

I really had a hard time with the main character of Brandy. She seemed to care more about her vintage wardrobe and her blind dog than the son she left behind. That really hurt my heart. I realize this book was written back in the early 2000s but Vivian’s mental illness was jabbed at in humourous ways too many times. She was active in the community, a voice to be previously reckoned with but no one seemed concerned when the woman went off her meds. With Brandy not on the scene, I blame her sister while understanding that taking care of a bi-polar parent can be a handful.

The mystery itself was very interesting but more meandering than a typical cozy mystery with many inconsistencies. It did come to a satisfactory conclusion but the exciting chase to the big reveal just escaped me this time.

I do love the antique theme and the publisher stuck by this series for 14 installments. (The 15th book was published by another publisher this past June.) I am hoping that the downfalls were just growing pains as the husband and wife team of writers were learning to write as a duo. So I am not writing this series off, it wasn’t totally “roadkill”.  I plan to read Antiques Maul next year for my Literary Escapes Challenge. with high hopes.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Barbara Allan is the joint pseudonym of acclaimed short story writer Barbara Collins (Too Many Tomcats) and New York Times bestselling mystery novelist Max Allan Collins (ROAD TO PERDITION). Their previous collaborations have included one son, a short story collection, and five novels, including the 2008 winner of the Romantic Times Toby Bromberg Award for Most Humorous Mystery, ANTIQUES FLEE MARKET. They live in Iowa in a house filled with trash and treasures. Website

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.

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

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

Contest Will End December 17, 2021, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
The Winner Will Be Notified By Email and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

*This book is part of my personal collection. 

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

Cozy Wednesday featuring Slayed by Souvlaki (A Callie’s Kitchen Cozy Mystery) by Jenny Kales #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour

I am thrilled to feature Slayed by Souvlaki
(A Callie’s Kitchen Cozy Mystery)

by Jenny Kales today!

About Slayed by Souvlaki


Slayed by Souvlaki (A Callie’s Kitchen Cozy Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Setting – Greece / Wisconsin
Independently published (October 30, 2021)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 267 pages
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 979-8750257041
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09H56VYN7

Greek vacations can be murder! Recipes are included in this cozy mystery set in the Greek Islands.

Callie Costas can’t believe she is finally traveling to Greece with her significant other, Detective Ian Sands. However, this isn’t your average voyage: Callie’s father has invited a slew of colorful family members to his beautiful childhood village to celebrate his recent marriage. Callie is especially delighted to be reunited with her Greek “Aunt Sweetie” aka Glykeria.

The Costas family’s Greek getaway turns to Greek tragedy when murder turns up on the menu at the seaside restaurant of her father’s friend, Dimitrios. A restaurant employee has been killed and Dimitrios is a prime suspect.

With a hodge-podge group of tourists and villagers to round out the suspect list, can Callie help her father clear his friend’s name before the killer skewers her?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Callie Costas’s father George is not taking a typical honeymoon trip with his new bride. No, he is taking his whole family including Callie’s boyfriend, Detective Ian Sands on the trip of a lifetime. He is so excited to take them to his childhood village in Greece where they will meet his best friend and experience his restaurant. It also allows them to catch up with “Aunt Sweetie” who had recently visited them in the States. Everyone is looking forward to viewing the historical sights and eating the amazing food.

Tragedy strikes though after enjoying their first authentic Greek meal when one of the restaurant’s employees is found dead. Callie’s father is shocked when his friend since childhood, Dimitrios, is arrested for the crime. Her father is beside himself with worry, so Callie decides to do something she does best . . . snooping. She comes up with a nice list of suspects and soon Ian figures out what she is up to, and dives in to help her in any way he can because he knows she isn’t going to stop until she finds the real killer.


It has been a while since Ms. Kale released a book in this series but let me tell you it was well worth the wait. These characters are so memorable it was very easy to pick up right where we left off. Plus she takes us along with these fantastic characters to Greece. It really is a family affair. I loved that the family members could split up and do their own things. Trips to the ruins, the beach, and the pool filled the days but everyone came together for the evening meal. Traveling with a big family isn’t easy but the Costas family pulled it off along with a little amateur investigation and a treasure hunt for a lost piece of jewelry.

The author’s descriptive writing style took me on a wonderful virtual vacay of my own. I so enjoyed traveling the streets and checking out the shops. The special date Ian put together for he and Callie really warmed my heart. All the places they traveled were easily cast in vivid pictures in my mind. My only issue was missing out on the gelato and other delicious food. There are recipes at the end of the story but I could never do them justice.

The other part of my vacation that I enjoyed was tagging along with Callie as she sorted out clues. We met a few tourists, shopkeepers, and residents of the village as Callie tried to mix together and make sense of everything she was learning about the victim and his connections with others around the town. She really went all out to find the answers she needed. I really felt for Ian. Out of jurisdiction, he was unsure if he could keep Callie safe or get her out of trouble with the local authorities if that need arose. One thing is for sure. They do make a great team when they work together. At one point I thought I had the killer skewered but within a few pages, my theory fell apart. As I continued reading I must say I had that edge-of-the-seat feeling and that was evidenced by how quickly the pages started to fly.

I have to thank the author for transporting me to an idyllic place with such genuine characters. Of course, I enjoy the stories set in my home state of Wisconsin but would never turn down taking a trip with some of my favorite characters.  Callie has come so far from the first book in this series, On The Chopping Block. The loving relationship she has with her dad always makes me miss mine. Oh, and the ending of the book was just plain sweet.

Slayed by Souvlaki was a Perfect Escape. I hope we don’t have to wait too long for the next book in the series. I implore the author to write quickly. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Jenny Kales

Jenny Kales is the author of The Callie’s Kitchen Mystery Series, featuring Greek-American Calliope Costas, a feisty food business owner and amateur sleuth, who lives in a scenic Wisconsin town with colorful characters — and a high murder rate! Each book contains several delicious recipes, both Greek and American. Callie’s latest adventure, SLAYED BY SOUVLAKI is the 5th Callie’s Kitchen Mystery series and was released in October 2021.

Jenny is an avid reader, cook, and baker and she’s addicted to reading and British TV mysteries. She lives just outside of Chicago with her husband and is the mom of two daughters and one cute but demanding Yorkshire terrier. She’s hard at work on additional writing projects including more Callie’s Kitchen Mysteries and a new series releasing in 2022.

Author Links

Facebook     Website    Twitter     Instagram

Purchase Links

Amazon 

Also available on Kindle Unlimited

TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please visit all the stops. 
November 29 – Literary Gold – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
November 29 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
November 30 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – GUEST POST
November 30 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
November 30 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
December 1 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
December 1 – Novels Alive – GUEST POST
December 2 – Cozy Up With Kathy – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
December 2 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW
December 3 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – SPOTLIGHT
December 3 – I Read What You Write – SPOTLIGHT
December 4 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW
December 4 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
December 5 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
December 5 – BookishKelly2020 – SPOTLIGHT  

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

Posted in 2021 Reviews Cloak and Dagger Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways Literary Escapes Read The Printed Word Challenge TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – Hope Never Dies: An Obama Biden Mystery by Andrew Shaffer #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.


Hope Never Dies: An Obama Biden Mystery
Mystery/Humorous
1st in Series
Setting – Delaware
Quirk Books; First Edition (July 10, 2018)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 304 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1683690397
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1683690399
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B075HY5NPF

Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama team up in this high-stakes thriller that combines a mystery worthy of Watson and Holmes with the laugh-out-loud bromantic chemistry of Lethal Weapon’s Murtaugh and Riggs.
 
Vice President Joe Biden is fresh out of the Obama White House and feeling adrift when his favorite railroad conductor dies in a suspicious accident, leaving behind an ailing wife and a trail of clues. To unravel the mystery, “Amtrak Joe” re-teams with the only man he’s ever fully trusted: the 44th president of the United States. Together they’ll plumb the darkest corners of Delaware, traveling from cheap motels to biker bars and beyond, as they uncover the sinister forces advancing America’s opioid epidemic.

Dollycas Thoughts

Joe Biden is trying to adjust to life after his term as Vice President and his life seems quite boring when compared to his best friend who seems to be jet-setting around the world and living the high life.  But when Amtrack Joe learns from the former President that one of his favorite railroad conductors has died a gruesome suspicious death they decide to work together to get justice for a man Joe thought he knew pretty darn well. What they are saying about him just doesn’t add up and Joe is determined to prove it.


Oh, my stars! Why did I wait so long to read this book? I had snapped it up soon after it came out and it had been languishing on my To-Be-Read shelf ever since. Seeing it was set in Delaware instead of Washington like I first thought I moved it up the stack to help me hopefully complete my Literary Escapes Challenge this year.

Told from the former VP’s viewpoint we are taken on a fabulous journey involving serious topics but in a way that will have you laughing out loud.

The world-famous bromance had hit a bit of a bump in the road until tragedy strikes and brings the dynamic duo back together in an adventure that takes them to the deep dark underbelly of the state Joe calls home. Filled with edge of your seat moments and hilarious interludes this book was very hard to put down.

I am amazed to learn that Hope Never Dies is Andrew Shaffer’s first mystery although not his first humorous work. He has blended both together in this novel masterfully. He has really caught his character’s essence. Biden’s stories and one-liners which we now know even better now that he is President, and Obama’s wit and style clearly shine within these pages. I also love the few cameo appearances of Jill Biden. She knows Joe and seems totally unphased by whatever he has gotten himself into.

The one word that comes to mind about the author’s treatment of the characters and the situations is clever. While the death and the crimes that take place could be very real he has cleverly put two of the most well-known people in the world into the position of detectives but I use the term of detectives very loosely.

If you are looking for a fantastic escape, look no further than Hope Never Dies because readers are truly taken on an escapade. 5 Stars! A Perfect Escape!!!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Andrew Shaffer is the New York Times bestselling author of more than a dozen books. He lives with his wife, novelist Tiffany Reisz, in Lexington, Kentucky, where he teaches at the non-profit Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning. This is his debut mystery.

 

I am giving one Kindle Copy!
The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old.

(I had intended to giveaway by paperback copy but my laughter piqued another resident in this household’s interest
and he doesn’t read as fast as I do.)

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 Following 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 December 10, 2021, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
The Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

*This book was from my private collection.

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 Wisconsin Author Wisconsin Setting You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – Last Call (Mack’s Bar Mysteries) by Allyson K. Abbott #Review / #Giveaway @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.

Last Call (Mack’s Bar Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Setting – Wisconsin
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Kensington (July 31, 2018)
Mass Market Paperback ‏ : ‎ 368 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1496701747
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1496701749
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0776GL23W

A bar owner taps into her special sleuthing talents when a businessman is shot in this top-shelf mystery with drink recipes included.

Fresh off solving a murder that hit too close to home, Mack’s trust is shattered. But when Milwaukee police detective Duncan Albright asks for her help with a shooting, she can’t resist using her extra-perceptive senses to benefit others. It turns out the victim was the ruthless businessman their friend Mal was investigating undercover. And now Mal is missing—and his fingerprints are on the gun. Was his cover blown, forcing him into hiding? Or could he be a straight-up killer on the run? Mack doesn’t know what to believe anymore—except her own gut, which leads her to secret rooms, shocking revelations . . . and the fear that this could be her final round.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Bar owner Mackenzie “Mack” Dalton is brought into her first authorized case as a consultant for the Milwaukee Police. With Detective Duncan Albright by her side, they arrive at the scene of a shooting. The victim is a man undercover cop Mal O’Reilly has been investigating. Now Mal isn’t answering his phone and they have no idea where he is but his fingerprints are on the murder weapon. Mack and Duncan know they need to find their friend fast because his cover could be blown. Also, his family is in town to install an elevator in Mack’s Bar and they are going to want answers. Duncan and Mack can’t believe Mal killed a man and fled the scene.  But then Mack’s special talents lead her to something very surprising in the house where the shooting occurred that could blow the case wide open.


I have really enjoyed this series. Ms. Abbott’s characters are so realistic. Mack’s Synesthesia may be a little bit out there but it is a real condition which she has really fined tuned to give her the ability to help the police. Her romantic relationship with Duncan is heating up, but darn, I was team Mal, especially after we met his family in A Toast to Murder. I loved that their visit continued into this book. The bartenders, servers, and customers are all like Mack’s family and I know that feeling because my parents bought a bar when I was in Junior High and we lived in the apartment upstairs. Like Mack, I spent a lot of time downstairs helping in any way I could and got to know the regulars pretty darn well. We didn’t have a Capone Club but we did have some epic Euchre tournaments. Sadly, Mack had to deal with a lot of tragic events over the course of the series, and each helped to shape her into the fantastic person she is now.

The mystery in this book was marvelous. I am not going into a lot of details because I do not want to spoil anything. I will say Mack uses her gentle soul, her synesthesia, and her own history to get a witness to open up to help solve the case. I really liked that Mack really played a key role in her first case as a consultant and that she changes a lot of minds. I had thought Mack would take an incredible step, but she didn’t. She did take another step that I thought was a bit too soon, but there was a reason for that.

Sadly Last Call is truly the last call. This is the final book in this series that took place over a very traumatic year in Mack’s life.  It was a pleasure to meet her and everyone connected to her life, great people, and even the unsavory ones. I was late to the party on this series but I am so happy I found it and was able to read all six books and was able to share my reviews with you.

The author gave plenty of background in this book so new readers can read this book as a stand-alone, but I really encourage you to read the series from the start so you can get to know the people in Mack’s world from the start.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

 

Allyson K. Abbott is a pseudonym used by suspense writer Beth Amos. Beth has enjoyed a varied writing career that included a stint as a book reviewer and several years of nonfiction freelancing. Now she writes only fiction, and in stark contrast to her “day job” as an ER nurse, where she gets to save lives, the one common factor in her fiction, no matter what name it’s written under, is that someone always dies. Allyson K. Abbott is my little insider joke at having to pick yet another pseudonym. It’s not a coincidence the initials are what they are.  Check out her webpage here and on Facebook here. Allyson also writes as Annelise Ryan.

Kindle copies of these books go on sale quite often.
As I write this the first book is on sale for $1.99. 

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.

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

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

Contest Will End November 26, 2021, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
The 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 2021 Reviews Cloak and Dagger Challenge Finish The Series Challenge Literary Escapes New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Dark Night: A Mystery (Alaska Wild Series) by Paige Shelton #EarlyReview @MinotaurBooks @AuthorPaige

I had planned on reading this book closer to its release date of December 7 but I kept seeing it pop up on Facebook and on my Kindle so I just had to read it now.

Dark Night: A Mystery (Alaska Wild Series)
Suspense/Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Alaska
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Minotaur Books (December 7, 2021)
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 288 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 125079627X
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1250796271
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08R2KMM3M

Dark Night marks the third book in the gripping, atmospheric Alaska Wild series from Paige Shelton, in which Benedict, Alaska is met with some unexpected visitors…and then disappearances.

Winter is falling in the remote town of Benedict, Alaska, and with the cold comes a mysterious guest. The dreaded “census man,” seemingly innocuous, is an unwelcome presence to those members of this secretive community who would prefer to keep their business to themselves. Meanwhile, thriller writer Beth Rivers has received her own unexpected company: her mother. The last Beth heard, Mill Rivers had gone underground in the lower forty-eight, in search of Beth’s kidnapper, and Beth can’t help but be a little alarmed at her appearance: If Mill was able to track down her daughter, who knows who else might be able to?

Beth doesn’t have time to ponder this for long after a battered woman stumbles into the town bar one night, and her husband is found dead the next morning. Suspicions immediately turn to the census man, but when he, too, goes missing, everyone in Benedict—including the police chief—is suspected, and Beth and Mill must work to uncover the truth.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

The days are getting darker and colder and winter comes to Benedict Alaska. The ferry and aircraft come and go less frequently so making the trek to Juneau is hit or miss depending on the weather. Some of the residents handle the darkness, cold, ice, and snow better than others. People who have lived in Benedict for years all have their own ways of coping and for most, it is just their daily lives.

Residents were surprised when the “census man” arrived in town and he definitely was not welcomed with open arms. He made a definite impression with his visit to Ned and Claudia Withers. After the man left their home Ned beat up his wife and by the next morning, Ned was dead.

Also making the trip to Benedict is Mill Rivers. Her daughter Beth has been hiding in this faraway town since recovering from the injuries sustained when she was kidnapped while her captor is still at large. He was injured when her mother found and shot him but he got away again. She was charged for her actions but has gone on the run. So Beth is both shocked and scared that her mother tracked her down after all her efforts to stay safe.  If her mother found her can her kidnapper be far behind?

So with a murder to solve, a couple of fugitives in town, a census man wandering around, and the probability of a kidnapper stepping off the ferry and day now, Police Chief Gril has his hands full. Maybe Beth and her mom can assist him or will they die trying? Who knows when everyone in town and beyond are on a very long suspect list.


Again, I was thrilled to receive an early copy of this book for review and I couldn’t wait to start reading. The first two books in this series, Thin Ice and Cold Wind really stuck with me and I have been really looking forward to this installment for some answers and another suspenseful adventure with Beth Rivers.

Ms. Sheldon doesn’t disappoint. So much happens within these pages, it is the kind of book that has you opening it up and holding on tight until you reach the end.

First, the setting of Benedict, Alaska is a character in itself. It is a living and breathing place. The weather is frigid, a blizzard can blow through quickly or take up residence and drop multiple inches of snow, or it can be a clear cold day where business can go on as usual. It can have secrets and reveal them at its will. The author describes the place so well I had shivers running up my spine and was tingling when its residents ventured out in the vastness of Alaska.

Beth has survived a horrific experience that left her scarred physically and mentally. She is a powerful character but she still has demons she needs to remember and face before she can truly start to heal. She does have a heartwrenching breakthrough in this story. She also gets several answers thanks to her mother showing up in Benedict.

Her mother is a hard woman due to the life she has lived and her need to track down Beth’s father and now her abductor. She is also a bit of a loose cannon as you never know what she is going to say or do.

These two women are surrounded by a vast supporting cast. I am in awe of the way the author has created so many characters with so many layers and so much depth. And not everything about their lives has been revealed. The characters are well-developed but still have room to continue to evolve.

Yes, there is a murder mystery to be solved in this book but there are a plethora of mysteries swirling within these pages. Secrets abound. Delving into people’s lives to find a murderer opens doors that lead to astounding revelations. Masterfully plotted this is a story that is impossible to put down.

The Alaska Wild Series is a series that truly should be read in order. Readers need to follow Beth’s path. Her leaving Missouri on the run, her arrival in Benedict, and all the things she encountered in Thin Ice lead to the continuation of her adjustments to Alaska life, and all her experiences in Cold Wind, and that builds to what happens in Dark Night and hopefully future books. There is a large cast of characters and reading the series from the start will enable readers to meet them and follow their journeys.

I have totally escaped into every book in this series. They have held me spellbound and kept me thoroughly entertained. I finish one and get immediately excited for the next installment. Dark Night like the book before it moved me to feel it deserves more than 5 stars. Dark Night has earned a place on my Best Reads of 2021 and receives my Paradise Rating.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

Read my review of Thin Ice here. and my review of Cold Wind here.

Dark Night is available for pre-order now and will be delivered to your inbox on December 7.
You can also pre-order a print copy as well.

About The Author

PAIGE SHELTON had a nomadic childhood as her father’s job as a football coach took the family to seven different towns before she was even twelve years old. After college at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, she moved to Salt Lake City where she thought she’d only stay a few years, but she fell in love with the mountains and a great guy who became her husband. After a couple of decades in Utah, she and her family recently moved to Arizona. She also writes the Scottish Bookshop Mystery series.

Paige Shelton is also the New York Times Bestselling author of the Farmers’ Market Mysteries and the Country Cooking School Mysteries. She’s lived in lots of places but currently resides in Arizona. Find out more at www.paigeshelton.com


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

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

#FlashbackFriday – Ukulele Murder: A Nani Johnson Aloha Lagoon Mystery by Leslie Langtry #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.


Ukulele Murder: A Nani Johnson Aloha Lagoon Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Hawaii
Gemma Halliday Publishing (June 30, 2016)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 224 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1533594740
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1533594747
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B01HU7401A

Nani Johnson thought she had it made when she moved from Kansas to the resort town of Aloha Lagoon, Kauai. In spite of her certifiably crazy mom, Nani is determined that nothing will stop her from becoming a ukulele virtuoso! Unfortunately, her Julliard training doesn’t help her break into the local music scene due to some heavy competition from the Terrible Trio—three hostile, local musicians. The only work she finds is a few bar mitzvahs and gigs at the kitschy Blue Hawaii Wedding Chapel.

But when one of Nani’s competitors drops dead right after a public feud, Nani becomes the police’s main suspect. A missing murder weapon, mysterious threats, and a heck of a frame-up job all have Nani worrying she’ll be trading in her flowery muumuus for prison orange. Enter hunky local botanist Nick Woodfield, who just might be able to help her clear her name…that is if he doesn’t have secrets of his own. With the bodies stacking up, the danger closing in, and the authorities circling, Nani must track down a killer…before she ends up the latest victim of the Ukulele Murderer!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Welcome to Aloha Lagoon, Kauai. Nani Johnson and her “crazy” mother have recently moved here from Kansas and Nani’s dream is to be a ukulele virtuoso. Being a graduate of Julliard means nothing here and she has some stiff competition in the Terrible Trio, 3 local ukelele masters. Needing a job she plays her ukelele at the Blue Hawaii Wedding Chapel and picks up any other gigs she can like birthday parties and bar mitzvahs.

When one of the Terrible Trio is killed Nani becomes the main suspect under the theory that killing them would enable her to get more high-profile jobs. When she learns one of her ukeleles is missing and it could very well be the murder weapon she realizes someone is setting her up just when her personal life seemed to be looking up. One of her mother’s fix-ups actually brought a great guy into her life. She is surprised when he actually wants to help her clear her name. Is this local botanist too good to be true? He seems to have some secrets of his own.

When another virtuoso is killed Nani starts to fear she may be next or sent to prison for crimes she didn’t commit. She has no choice but to hunt down the killer herself and hope she lives long enough to play her beloved ukelele again.


I needed to read a light fun cozy mystery and this book delivered that nicely.

I really enjoyed meeting Nani and her mother with her silly decorating themes. She does drink to excess and does depend heavily on Nani. In fact, she planned a dinner party with a new friend and her son and failed to tell Nani until the last minute which meant Nani getting dinner from a nearby restaurant and plating it up as if she had prepared it herself. She did forgive her mother this time because she and Nick really hit it off.

Nick is a botanist working at a local resort in charge of their grounds and gardens. His family is very well-known on the island and Nani is surprised his mother is so down to earth and befriended her mother.

Nani does have a lot of stacked against her, first, she is not Hawaiian and she didn’t even grow up on the islands. Then she has the competition of Alohalani, Kua, and Leilani, the Terrible Trio who tolerate her presence but would be happy if she just went away. Thankfully, other natives and locals have welcomed her with open arms, In fact, her best friend Binny comes from generations of Hawaiians and has her back whenever needed. Like clearing her of a murder charge. All the characters feel true to life and genuine. The supporting cast all had meaningful parts in the story and were very well crafted.

The author’s descriptive writing style taken readers to the island with ease. Everywhere the characters traveled was easy to see in my mind’s eye from Nani’s home to the palatial Woodfield estate and the Blue Hawaiian Wedding Chapel.  It was a nice virtual vacay to a place I would love to visit. It is high up on my bucket list.

The mystery was well plotted but I pinned the guilty party pretty early in the story and my selection was reinforced in several places as the book continued. It was fun watching Nani, Nick, and Binny follow the clues. The inept police detective was frustrating as he tried to make the case fit his assumption instead of doing any real investigating but that is part of what makes cozy mystery stories so entertaining to read.

Ukulele Murder is part of a long-running series written by several authors. Leslie Langtry has started this series out wonderfully and I look forward to reading more books in the series. I see we can revisit Nani, her mom, and Nick again in Ukelele Deadly, the 7th book in the series.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Leslie Langtry is the USA Today bestselling author of the Greatest Hits Mysteries, the Merry Wrath Mysteries, Sex, Lies, & Family Vacations, and several books she hasn’t finished yet, because she’s very lazy. Leslie loves puppies and cake (but she will not share her cake with puppies) and lives with her family and assorted animals in the Midwest.
The Aloha Lagoon Mysteries:

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What the Cat Dragged In (Cat in the Stacks Mystery) by Miranda James #Review @BerkleyMystery


What the Cat Dragged In (Cat in the Stacks Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
14th in Series
Setting – Mississippi
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Berkley (August 31, 2021)
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 304 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0593199464
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0593199466
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08CTFV6VW

Librarian Charlie Harris and his faithful feline companion, Diesel, have inherited Charlie’s grandfather’s house, along with a deadly legacy: a decades-old crime scene, in this all-new mystery in the New York Times bestselling Cat in the Stacks series.

Charlie has always believed that his grandfather had sold his house to his longtime tenant, Martin Hale. So when Martin dies, Charlie is surprised to discover the house was not left to Martin but instead belongs to Charlie. As he and Diesel check out the house he remembers fondly from his childhood, he is pleasantly surprised that it is in better condition than expected. That is, until they find a literal skeleton in a closet.

While the sheriff’s department investigates the mysterious remains, Charlie digs deeper into the past for clues to the identity of the bones and why they are there. But the cold case heats up quickly when Martin’s grandson is found dead on the farm.

As Charlie delves into his own family history, he encounters many people who might have been motivated to take a life. But Charlie and Diesel know that things are not always what they seem and that secrets seemingly lost to time have a way of finding their way back to haunt the present.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

In this latest Cats in the Stacks Mystery Charlie gets a big surprise. He inherits the family farmhouse outside of town. He had always thought his grandfather had sold the property but instead he gave the tenant Martin Hale, a lifelong lease. When Mr. Hale passed away the property reverted back to the Harris family, Charlie. His son Sean, a lawyer, is helping him wade through all the paperwork and necessary actions. Not having been in the house in years Charlie is anxious to take a tour of the place with Diesel by his side. The place will need a little work but is in better shape than he expected. While checking out the attic, Diesel makes a scary discovery  . . . a human skeleton in an old wardrobe. This puts any plans for the place on hold.

Charlie reports Diesel’s find to the sheriff’s office who calls in a specialist to try to identify the skeleton. Charlie realizes he doesn’t know or remember much about his family history so he takes the opportunity to investigate his family tree. He may even be able to identify the remains before the sheriff.

A huge storm moves through the area leaving downed trees at the family homestead and a body is found under a downed limb. It is quickly identified to be Hale’s grandson who thought he would be inheriting the property. When the limb is removed evidence shows the man was killed before the storm and it wasn’t any accident. The investigation into the skeleton turns into a current murder investigation and Charlie uncovers many reasons for the death and many other secrets as well.


I loved this story. Charlie’s deep dive into his family’s history drew my interest. I have a niece that has been researching our family history, something I have wanted to do for years but haven’t been able to do. I realized too late that I should have sat down with my mother who had vast knowledge of our family on both her and my father’s sides and his was very complicated. She would always know how everyone fit together and had wonderful stories that I should have listened to more carefully. When she passed away much of that knowledge passed away with her, knowledge I would have loved to pass on to my children and grandchildren. So you see, I was very excited to see Charlie take on this project. Keeping track of a family’s history is so important.

The mysteries Charlie was entangled in, the murder, and the skeleton were just a jumping-off point. There was another case the Athena Sheriff’s Office had been trying to solve that was really unknown to Charlie that he was able to solve as part of a terrifying incident at the end of the story. It was totally off his radar as he struggled with decisions about his family homestead and the deaths that had occurred.

I really enjoyed the author’s description of the Harris Family Homestead. I know the layout of Charlie’s current home, Helen Louise’s Bistro, (she on a girls getaway with her friends during this story), the college, his office, and the layout of the small town of Athena quite well after the 13 previous books in this series. She gives good concise details of this new to us property and I was able to follow along through each room and even into the neighboring woods.

Ms. James plotted such an excellent story with intrigue, secrets, drama, and action while allowing us to catch up on the regular daily news with Charlie, his family, his tenants, Melba, Kanesha, Azalea, plus Ramses and Diesel too. All of these characters are charming in their own ways and while I know there is going to be a stellar mystery or two in each book it is those characters that bring me back for each new installment of this wonderful series.

What the Cat Dragged In is now my favorite book in this series. It has everything I look for in a  cozy mystery and more.

You will find What the Cat Dragged In on my Best Reads of 2021 list because in my opinion it deserves more than 5 stars and receives my Paradise Rating.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

About the Author

Miranda James is the New York Times bestselling author of the Cat in the Stacks Mysteries, including The Pawful Truth, Six Cats a Slayin’, and Claws for Concern, as well as the Southern Ladies Mysteries, including Fixing to Die, Digging Up the Dirt, and Dead with the Wind. James lives in Mississippi.

Find out more about Miranda James and her books on her webpage here.

Use the search feature to find my reviews for all of
the Cats in the Stacks Mysteries.


The Rest of the Series




Also by Miranda James

Click on the covers for more information or to order by Amazon.

Due to COVID-19, the publisher is unable to offer a giveaway at this time.

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

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

Cajun Kiss of Death: A Cajun Country Mystery by Ellen Byron #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @crookedlanebks


Cajun Kiss of Death: A Cajun Country Mystery
by Ellen Byron

About Cajun Kiss of Death 


Cajun Kiss of Death: A Cajun Country Mystery
Cozy Mystery
7th in Series
Setting – Louisiana
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Crooked Lane Books (August 10, 2021)
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 320 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 164385738X
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1643857381
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08N6SMX1J

The next shot from Cupid’s bow may be fatal in USA Today bestselling, Agatha Award-winning author Ellen Byron’s hearty and delightful seventh Cajun Country mystery.

 

In Pelican, Louisiana, Valentine’s Day has a way of warming the heart, despite the February chill. But the air at Crozat Plantation B&B turns decidedly frigid when celebrity chef Phillippe Chanson checks in. And when the arrogant Phillippe–in town to open his newest Cajun-themed restaurant–perishes in a fiery boat crash, Maggie Crozat’s dear friend JJ lands in very cold water.

 

Did JJ, proprietor of Junie’s Oyster Bar and Dance Hall, murder Phillippe because he feared the competition? Might Maggie’s mother, Ninette, have bumped off the chef for stealing one of her cherished recipes? Or was the culprit a local seafood vendor, miffed because Phillippe was somehow able to sell oysters for a remarkably reasonable price, despite an oyster shortage?

 

Maggie had planned to devote her February to art lessons in New Orleans, a present from her sweetheart, Bo. But now she has to focus on helping her friend and her mother cross a murder charge off the menu. Meanwhile, Maggie receives a series of anonymous gifts that begin as charming but grow increasingly disturbing. Does Maggie have an admirer–or a stalker? And are these mysterious gifts somehow related to Phillippe’s murder?

 

Blood may be thicker than water, but this case is thicker than gumbo. And solving it will determine whether Maggie gets hearts and roses–or hearse and lilies–this Valentine’s Day.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Love is in bloom in Pelican Louisiana. Maggie and Bo, Gran and Lee, Rufus and Sandy all got married on New Year’s Eve just before the clock hits midnight. Their reception was catered by JJ, of Junie’s Oyster Bar and Dance Hall. But soon JJ is going to have some real competition, famous chef Phillippe Chanson is opening Chanson’s Cajun Kitchen, the newest addition in his Chanson Restaurant Group. He hopes his “fancy” eatery will become a “destination restaurant”. The locals are split on if this is a good thing or a bad thing for Pelican. JJ definitely is not happy and knows it could be a very bad thing for him.

A few weeks later most of the new restaurant’s staff is calling the Crozat B&B their temporary home and Phillippe is visiting some of the locals. He does have an ulterior motive. He has an excellent palate and he is putting it to use. He has them make their finest dish and is stealing their recipes. This trickery has him at odds with JJ and Maggie’s mother Ninette. The arrogant chef also has big plans to kick off his grand opening.

Sadly that event ends with a blazing fire and the demise of Phillippe Chanson. The man had made a few enemies including some of his staff but also includes Ninette and JJ and who knows who else.

With Valentines Day right around the corner, Maggie has made some plans of her own but with another dead body and her mother and her friend entwined in the case, she knows there can be no celebrating until she clears their names. She also has another mystery to solve . . . someone is sending her romantic gifts and the mystery man is not her beloved husband.  When things take a creepy turn she knows she doesn’t have a secret admirer . . . she has a stalker and she may need help to get them off her tail.


I just love the characters in this series and having six of them have one of the happiest days of their lives together really warmed by heart. But you can’t have a trip to Pelican with drama and murder and Ellen Byron encases these characters in another fantastic mystery.

In Cajun Kiss of Death, the egotistical chef is killed in a way the damages the bridge on the main thoroughfare in and out of Pelican. That brings a wonderful opportunity to bring the ferry back to get people across the Mississippi. We have a ferry nearby that we try to take at least once each summer. With COVID and our busy family, we have not had the pleasure the last couple of years and I really miss it. It was a bit of a hassle for the people of Pelican but Maggie grew to enjoy it and I bet others did too.

The murder investigation had a lot of moving parts and with some of the staff saying at the B&B Maggie and her family were able to get a greater insight into their lives. This also gave Maggie a unique opportunity she may not have had otherwise.  I really enjoy the way the whole family got involved in trying to bring a killer to justice, especially after another murder. The clues were unique and the big reveal was masterful. I felt like a fly on the wall and was completely entertained.

In addition to the main mystery of the book, there were a plethora of subplots and when I got to the epilogue I knew why. Sadly this 7th installment is the final book in this series but the author gives her readers a terrific mystery and her characters one heck of a send-off. There are many happily ever afters but one thing is very clear . . . “Crozat will always be there . . . for however long forever lasts”.

I will miss my virtual trips to Pelican and I will genuinely miss these characters but I bid them a fond farewell. I also want to thank Ellen Byron for sharing them with us for 7 marvelous mysteries. Reading them was time well spent and brought me hours of enjoyment. I hope they bring as much joy to future readers. I highly recommend them all. For me, they were all Perfect Escapes.



Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Ellen Byron

Ellen’s Cajun Country Mysteries have won the Agatha award for Best Contemporary Novel and multiple Lefty awards for Best Humorous Mystery. She writes the Catering Hall Mystery series, which are inspired by her real-life, under the name Maria DiRico. Ellen is an award-winning playwright, and non-award-winning TV writer of comedies like WINGS, JUST SHOOT ME, and FAIRLY ODD PARENTS. She has written over two hundred articles for national magazines but considers her most impressive credit working as a cater-waiter for Martha Stewart.

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



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Great Escapes Praise for Cajun Kiss of Death: A Cajun Country Mystery
by Ellen Byron

Cajun Kiss of Death is finer than a frog’s hair with purloined recipes, a jubilant New Year’s Eve gathering, flaring fireworks, stinky trash, stalker secret admirer, and a Valentine’s Day revelation.
~The Avid Reader

I absolutely love how Byron keeps the plot, with its multiple mysteries, moving forward at the perfect pace . . . I love having multiple mysteries to solve because they keep you on your toes. You won’t want to skim anything, or you might just miss an important clue.
~Christy’s Cozy Corners

I love visiting Pelican Louisiana and the Crozat Plantation B&B even though there always seems to be a murder or two happening close by.
~My Reading Journeys

The mystery was, of course, well-plotted, and it wasn’t until near the end that I knew who the killer was. The characters in this series have always been entertaining, but I noticed early in the book that they had all attained their happily-ever-afters. This had me wondering if I was reading the end of the series.
~Mysteries With Character

This book takes us to the heart of a community and tests the bonds of loyalty and competitive edge.
Quite the page-turner as we watch beloved characters develop and grow.
~Laura’s Interests

. . . a fun mystery full of surprises while laced with Southern charm. These characters are always a hoot making for a fun read. Another fabulous addition to this wonderful series. I totally loved it so I give it 5/5 stars.
~Books a Plenty Book Reviews

There are several moving parts outside of solving the murder including a Gala for the Doucet museum, art lessons, and a ferry brought back into service for a short period of time which is an adventure unto itself. All of these minor storylines just add to an already robust book.
~Storeybook Reviews

The Cajun flavor is delightful and the pace is steady . . . There are plenty of surprises, right to the very end.
~Christa Reads and Writes

I love it! Everything is perfect. Maggie is superb. My rating for Cajun Kiss of Death by Ellen Byron is five stars.
~Baroness’ Book Trove

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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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#FlashbackFriday – Chili to Die For (A Willow Crier Cozy Mystery) by Lilly York

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.


Chili to Die For (A Willow Crier Cozy Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Oklahoma
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Wide Awake Books (November 18, 2015)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 152 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0692583289
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0692583289
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0186KVBIK

A northerner by birth…

Willow moves south when she inherits her grandfather’s ice cream shop.

From the slow southern dialect to the crazy drivers, Willow finds herself at odds with what most call “southern charm.” She becomes obsessed with cook-offs and bake-offs, wanting those trophies for her mantle. With the chili cook-off just around the corner, Willow manages to provoke one of the judges to a fit of road rage.

When that judge ends up face down, dead, in a bowl of Willow’s chili, police chief Grice looks to the newest town resident as his number one suspect. Willow must find out who wanted Ms. Delonda Posey dead before the good citizens of Turtle, OK run her Yankee bottom out of town.

*Contains NO swearing, sex scenes (maybe a kiss or two), or graphic violence

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I purchased this book because it was set in Oklahoma, a state I needed to fill for my Literary Escapes Challenge.

Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweeping down the plain, and Willow Crier comes when she inherits her grandfather’s ice cream shop. She also enters cook-offs with a pure drive to win. But the latest chili cook-off comes with a huge hitch. Willow has met one of the judges and that meeting did not end well. When that judge falls dead face down in Willows chili she becomes the police chief’s prime suspect. She becomes close to the chief as she strives to find more viable suspects.


I did not like the way this story began. No introduction, readers just drop in with Willow in an argument with another driver that quickly escalates and is recorded by others and appears on social media. Willow is not alone in her vehicle, a woman who we later learn is her daughter is also a witness to this bit of road rage. This intro leads up to an event in chapter two. Maybe had I had access to the prequel before I read this story instead of after I would have known the main players. I do blame the novella-length for the author not providing a better introduction of her protagonist.

Also due to the shorter length, Willow is quickly cleared of any wrong doing to set up a very friendly relationship with the police chief. We do get to know the characters a little better but I would have appreciated more of a backstory for Willow. There are also several other characters we get to meet as Willow ferrets out the real killer but not to the depth I would like.

What I really liked about this story was the relationship that was built between the Turtle police chief Steve Grier and Willow. He decided she needed a watch dog and knew just where to get her the perfect puppy and it also opened a way for her to meet more of his family. Then together they worked on finding the killer. It turns out the victim has plenty of enemies but I did tag someone quickly for the crime.

This book sorely needed better character development and the mystery was an easy solve but this series does show some promise. I do want to get to know these characters and see where Ms. York takes them.

Chili to Die For was a Satisfactory Excursion. The author did write 6 books in this series so I hope she adjusted to the novella length and provides more details about her characters and stronger mysteries.

 

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About the Author

Lilly York? How about Lilly Belle; a mis-plant northerner, living in a southern world. Southern charm is lost among late nights with a two-year-old granddaughter, heat flashes competing with hell, copious re-runs of Murder She Wrote with Jessica Fletcher catching the bad guy and a vivid imagination keeping insanity at bay.

In both humor and mystery, Lilly draws inspiration from terrible twos, a 24-year-old daughter who questions her sanity, a son who constantly spews bad puns, and a husband who has selective hearing. Though, that’s perfectly alright with her, because what can you love more than a good laugh and a family so dysfunctional they almost seem functional?

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Wait For It by Jenn McKinlay #Review


Wait For It
Women’s Fiction/Romance
Setting – Arizona
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Berkley (August 10, 2021)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 352 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0593101375
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0593101377
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08N6TVVPL

A woman looking for a new lease on life moves to Arizona where she rents a guest house on a gorgeous property with a mysterious owner—a man who teaches her about resilience, courage, and ultimately true love, in this funny, big-hearted novel about hope and healing from New York Times bestselling author Jenn McKinlay.

Stuck in a dreary Boston winter, Annabelle Martin would like nothing more than to run away from her current life. She’s not even thirty years old, twice-divorced, and has just dodged a marriage proposal… from her ex-husband. When she’s offered her dream job as creative director at a cutting-edge graphic design studio in Phoenix, she jumps at the opportunity to start over.

When she arrives in the Valley of the Sun, Annabelle is instantly intrigued by her anonymous landlord. Based on the cranky, handwritten notes Nick Daire leaves her, she assumes he is an old, rich curmudgeon. Annabelle is shocked when she finally meets Nick and discovers that he’s her age and uses a wheelchair. Nick suffered from a stroke a year ago, and while there’s no physical reason for him not to recover, he is struggling to overcome the paralyzing fear that has kept him a prisoner in his own home.

Despite her promise to herself not to get involved, Annabelle finds herself irresistibly drawn to Nick. And soon she wonders if she and Nick might help each other find the courage to embrace life, happiness, and true love.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Annabelle Martin is a graphic designer working freelance. She has been married and divorced twice, and is sick of the Boston winters. Receiving a marriage proposal from one of her exes tips to scale for her to accept a job offer in sunny Arizona.

Nick Daire is a wealthy businessman who has become a recluse in his palatial home following a stroke. He is in a wheelchair and receives daily physical therapy even though there is no physical reason for his recovery delay.

When Annabelle rents Nick’s guest house with firm instructions to keep her distance from her landlord she looks at it as more than a challenge than a rule especially after she receives his list of rules and his numerous notes taped to her door. As the days go by she knows her sunny personality could win the old man over. She is blown away when she finds out Nick is closer to her age than the old man she imagined and feels she could be the one to help him face his fears and maybe he could help her get over hers.


I loved the way Ms. McKinlay told this story. The chapters alternating between Nick and Annabelle’s point of view allowed the reader to get to know each character and their backstories. They were both relatable and easy to root for. Annabelle faces some conflict at her new job that she has to deal with. Nick’s sister comes back into his life after 20 years and he needs to handle that while keeping his disability a secret. You have Annabelle’s bosses and friends, Sophia and Miquel urging Annabelle to stay away from her landlord and Jackson, Nick’s physical trainer and his groundskeeper, Juan and his wife Lupita, his housekeeper and chef hoping that she finds a way into his life. I found all the characters to be cleverly written and easy to identify with.

Annabelle is a determined woman and we share the trait of not getting places on time no matter how good our intentions are. Nick’s health journey really grabbed me. Life in a wheelchair sucks and I was so happy with the way his journey played out. Their romance evolved at a comfortable pace for me but once they came together it amped up to a breakneck speed with just a few bumps. I appreciated the way mental health issues were addressed. The workplace drama and the way Annabelle handled it also pulled me in. I also enjoyed the special place Annabelle took Nick where the title of this book really was met.

While Jenn McKinlay is better known to me for her cozy mysteries I am thrilled she has penned several romantic stories. She brings strong complex characters to the scene and envelopes them in emotional stories. Wait For It grabbed my attention from the cold dreary weather of Boston and took me on an entertaining ride in sunny Arizona. A great beach read or book to snuggle up with in your cozy chair. This book was truly a Perfect Escape.

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About Jenn McKiinlay

Jenn is the New York Times, USA Today, and Publisher’s Weekly bestselling author of several mystery and romance series. She is also the winner of the RT Reviewer’s Choice Award for romantic comedy and the Fresh Fiction award for best cozy mystery. A TEDx speaker, she is always happy to talk books, writing, reading, and the creative process to anyone who cares to listen. She lives in sunny Arizona in a house that is overrun with kids, pets, and her husband’s guitars.


Also by Jenn McKinlay


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Cupcake Bakery Mysteries

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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.”