Sep 122019
 

Buried in the Stacks: A Haunted Library Mystery
by Allison Brook

About the Buried in the Stacks


Buried in the Stacks: A Haunted Library Mystery
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Connecticut
Crooked Lane Books (September 10, 2019)
Hardcover: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 1643851381
ISBN-13: 978-1643851389
Digital ASIN: B07NKPTL81

Librarian Carrie Singleton is building a haven, but one of her neighbors is misbehavin’. Can resident spirit Evelyn help Carrie catch the culprit who made her a ghost?

In winter, the Haunted Library is a refuge for homeless townspeople. When a group purchases a vacant house to establish a daytime haven for the homeless, Carrie offers the library as a meeting place for the Haven House committee, but quickly learns that it may be used for illegal activities.

As the new Sunshine Delegate, Carrie heads to the hospital to visit her cantankerous colleague, Dorothy, who had fallen outside the local supermarket. She tells Carrie that her husband tried to kill her–and that he murdered her Aunt Evelyn, the library’s resident ghost, six years earlier.

And then Dorothy is murdered–run off the road as soon as she returns to work. Evelyn implores Carrie to find her niece’s killer, but that’s no easy task: Dorothy had made a hobby of blackmailing her neighbors and colleagues. Carrie, Evelyn, and Smoky Joe the cat are on the case, but are the library cards stacked against them?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Like many communities, Clover Ridge is dealing with a homeless population. Because of the winter weather, many spend their days at the library. Carrie learns of a group that has purchased a vacant house in hopes to open Haven House, a daycare type center for the homeless. Carrie is excited about the venture and joins their committee and offers the library meeting room for future meetings. Sadly she learns it may all be just a scam.

Carrie has also become the library’s new Sunshine Delegate and immediately gets a call that research librarian took a fall and is in the hospital. When Carrie arrives for her visit, Dorothy tells her the fall was no accident. She believes her husband is trying to kill her just like he killed her aunt, the library’s resident ghost Evelyn. Dorothy is subsequently killed when her car is forced off the road. Evelyn begs Carrie to find the killer but Evelyn is holding something back. Carrie knew Dorothy was not happy when Carrie got the job she wanted, but Evelyn finally reveals Dorothy had a long list of enemies which translates to a long list of suspects. Carrie isn’t a cat and only has one life, she hopes by the time the killer is found she doesn’t become the second ghost haunting the library.

___

I have enjoyed this series from the start. Carrie has evolved so much from punk rocker chick the arrived in Clover Ridge to an almost sedate librarian. She and her cat Smokey Joe are settling in and she is patiently waiting for her boyfriend Dylan to settle down closer to home too. Her father has also turned his life around. We learn that most of the library staff has secrets. Secrets Dorothy knew about and may have been using to her advantage. Evelyn is still my favorite. She is a very friendly ghost that any library would be happy to have.

The author introduces readers to a few of the homeless taking shelter within the library. My heart broke for an elderly couple who had lost everything. It really brought home the reality of how close many people are to becoming homeless. Carrie handled things perfectly and used her resources/ her uncle to help them as much as she could. I applaud Ms. Brook for taking on hot community issues of mental health and homelessness and twisting things up a bit to fit her story but then gave us hope many places could emulate.

The mystery was a tricky one to solve as more and more suspects came to light. I am surprised someone hadn’t taken out the cranky broad before this. I was very intrigued when Dorothy’s case opened up new questions about Evelyn’s death.

Carrie was also trying to solve a second mystery surrounding Haven House. The cases did cross over in places but Carrie had a few moments when I wanted to jump into the book and stop her from what she was doing. She is a great planner for library programming but when she is snooping she tends to plow straight ahead without thinking things through.

A well-written story full of twists that was a lot of fun to read. The characters are believable and leaped off the page.

Be aware when you start reading the books in this series they are hard to put down. I do recommend reading all three in order but the author has written them so they can each be read on their own.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

You can read my review of Death Overdue here and Read and Gone here

About Allison Brook

Allison Brook is the pseudonym for Marilyn Levinson, who writes mysteries, romantic suspense, and novels for kids. She lives on Long Island and enjoys traveling, reading, watching foreign films, doing Sudoku and dining out. She especially loves to visit with her grandchildren on FaceTime.

Author Links

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

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Aug 272019
 


Jealousy Filled Donuts (A Deputy Donut Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Wisconsin
Kensington (August 27, 2019)
Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN-10: 1496711912
ISBN-13: 978-1496711915
Kindle ASIN: B07L2FNKSJ

When a firecracker becomes a murder weapon, Emily Westhill pursues a killer with a short fuse …

It is a truth universally acknowledged—cops and donuts go together. Exhibit A: Deputy Donut Café, owned and operated by detective’s widow Emily Westhill and her father-in-law, the retired police chief of Fallingbrook, Wisconsin. Named after Emily’s adored and adorable tabby, the donut shop is a favorite among cops, firemen, and EMTs, as well as tourists and townspeople. So when Fallingbrook needs donuts for their Fourth of July picnic, Emily’s shop gets deputized.

But a twisted killer has found another use for Emily’s treats. At the picnic, a firecracker is hidden in a stack of raspberry-filled donuts and aimed at the unwitting queen of the festivities. When it explodes, she is killed. Having her jelly donuts involved puts Emily in a sticky situation, and when a shady shutterbug tries to frame her with incriminating photos, she finds herself in quite a jam. To preserve her freedom and her shop’s reputation, Emily needs to solve this case—before the fuse-lighting felon goes off again …

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Independence Day means, parades, carnivals, fireworks, and food! In Fallingbrook, Wisconsin, the food means donuts from the Deputy Donut Café owned by Emily Westhill and her father-in-law and retired police chief Tom. Emily also drove the Deputy Donut Café’s delivery vehicle, a vintage police car with a donut on top in the parade carrying part of the day’s Royal Court.

After they close the café for the day Emily bakes up a batch of donuts to share with her friends while they watch the fireworks. Her friends are on duty as EMTs, firefighters, or police, but they throw out a blanket by their vehicles to relax and enjoy the show.

Then Emily notices a flame by a nearby couple, she rushes forward but it too late. The flame was on a fuse of a firecracker hidden inside of tower of Deputy Donut donuts. The firecracker goes off and was aimed right at the queen of the festivities and she is killed.

Chaos breaks out but Emily’s friends are immediately on the scene. Things get sticky when a photographer tells Emily he has pictures of her lighting the fuse. She knows that is impossible but knows she needs to be proactive and solve the crime to clear her name. Fireworks are really going to fly when she catches that killer!

I devoured this book! Seriously it is impossible to have too many donuts and with these fabulous characters and excellent mystery, I just couldn’t get enough.

Former 911 dispatcher Emily lost her police officer husband when he was killed while out on a call. She had to quit her job and opening Deputy Donut Café was just what she needed. Her father-in-law is a perfect business partner and best of all her cat Dep can go to work with her every day because the shop office is a place set up just for him. Dep is a special cat and he has completely stolen my heart.

Emily is surrounded by a great group of friends and loyal customers. Emily has hired a new employee and Jocelyn has fitted right in. All the characters are engaging and have a purpose. They also continue to evolve nicely as the series continues. Emily’s family added a few pins and needles throughout the story too.

A death that takes place with a park full of people is a tough solve. Seriously there could be hundreds of suspects. Someone with a score to settle with the victim or someone who just wanted to cause trouble. Thankfully, it was soon clear the queen was targeted by someone she knew which brought the suspects down to a reasonable number. The author has filled this story with some great twists and turns and Brent was open to Emily’s help. I was happy to follow their lead.

The ending of this story was so exciting and fantastically written. Ms. Bolton’s words takes readers right there, on the scene, like a fly on Emily’s shoulder. Living in Wisconsin I knew immediately the kind of place the series of events was playing out. It was totally realistic and riveting to read. Like in Goodbye Cruller World, I was on the edge of my seat as the drama played out.

This was an excellent story! A marvelous addition to this series! So much so it will have a place on my Best Reads of 2019. I am craving the next book in this series already!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

Read my review of Survival of the Fritters here and  Goodbye Cruller World here.

About the Author

Ginger Bolton writes the Deputy Donut mystery series–cops, crime, coffee, donuts, and one curious cat. When Ginger isn’t writing or reading, she’s crocheting, knitting, sewing, walking her two rescue dogs and generally causing trouble. She’s also fond of donuts, coffee, and cafes where folks gather to enjoy those tasty treats and one another’s company.

Author Links

Website   Facebook   Twitter   GoodReadsKiller Characters


Written as Janet Bolin


Thanks to the publisher I have 1 copy to give away!
The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US mailing address.

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.
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Contest Will End September 10, 2018, at 11:59 PM CST
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Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

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Aug 152019
 


A Killer Edition (A Booktown Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
13th in Series
Setting – New Hampshire
Berkley (August 13, 2019)
Hardcover: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 1984802720
ISBN-13: 978-1984802729
Kindle ASIN: B07KNSSZCG

With her assistant, Pixie, picking up more responsibility around the shop, Tricia Miles suddenly has a lot more time on her hands. Tricia decides to join the local animal-rescue board and enter the Great Stoneham Bake-Off, but neither pans out as smoothly as she’d hoped.

Balancing a bake-off that’s heating up with a frosty reception from the board, Tricia stops by Joyce Whitman’s romance bookstore looking for a book to get her fired up. She stumbles on something hot, but it’s an argument between Joyce and her neighbor Vera Olson instead of a steamy read. When Vera turns up dead in Joyce’s garden hours later, Tricia has to wonder—could Joyce be the killer? Or is the culprit still lurking in town?

One thing is for sure, someone in Stoneham is stirring up something more sinister than sweet. Tricia is determined to win the cutthroat cooking contest, but first she will have to make sure no one else is in danger of getting burned….

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Business is better than ever at Haven’t Got A Clue Bookstore. Pixie Poe’s is an excellent assistant manager and Mr. Everett is an excellent clerk. That means it isn’t necessary for Tricia to spend much time in her store. To fill her time she wants to become a board member for a local animal rescue shelter. Since she has almost been baking the snacks for the store she also decides to enter the Great Stoneham Bake-Off going up against her star baker sister Angelica.

Also in her efforts to move on and fill her time she follows her therapist’s advice to pick up a steamy romance novel. Instead, when she enters the romance bookstore she finds her friend Joyce Whitman in an argument with her neighbor Vera Olson. Thoughts of a romance novel are quickly forgotten when Vera leaves as she starts discussing garden options for her balcony with Joyce. Joyce invites her to come to her home to see her gardens. They are both surprised to find Vera in the garden, dead.

Tricia just can help herself, she just keeps finding bodies, maybe she truly is jinxed.

Stoneham/Booktown is a true small town with its hosts of small-town problems. Empty storefronts, chamber of commerce issues, and of course small-town feuds and gossip. It also has more than its share of murders. Murders Tricia always finds herself in the middle of. Ms. Barrett has created an extraordinary town with dynamic characters. Tricia has grown so much over the course of this series. Angelica too, but in totally different ways. I love this sister relationship.

This time we meet several unique characters and the story twists in ways that I totally didn’t expect. Although that is what I should expect from Lorna Barrett, she always has great plot twists up her sleeve.  As always, the story was well-written and the mystery was well-plotted. A mystery that kept me guessing right up to the end.

Engaging characters, a little bit of sibling rivalry and a fun mystery to solve. You will find it all in A Killer Edition and more. There are cupcakes too!

This is one of my favorite series. The character development over the series is stellar which is why I always recommend this series be read from the beginning. The author does a great job to make each book stand on it own, but you are really missing all the trials and tribulations that Tricia and Angelica have endured bringing them to where they are today if you don’t read about them from the start.

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Find out more about Lorna and her books on her webpage here.


GIVEAWAY

I am giving away my review copy!
The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

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

Sign up for Lorna’s Newsletter for 5 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 Ends August 29, 2018, at 11:59 PM CST
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Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

Dollycas

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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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Aug 082019
 

The Time for Murder is Meow
(A Purr N Bark Pet Shop Mystery)
by T. C. LoTempio

 

About the Book


The Time for Murder is Meow (A Purr N Bark Pet Shop Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Connecticut
Midnight Ink (August 8, 2019
Paperback: 312 pages
ISBN-10: 0738760366
ISBN-13: 978-0738760360
Digital ASIN: B07HL4F1Z6

Shell and her two furry sidekicks must cat-ch a killer to save their pet shop

Crishell “Shell” McMillan sees the cancellation of her TV series as a blessing in disguise. The former actress can now take over her late aunt’s pet shop, the Purr N’ Bark, and do something she loves.

While getting the shop ready for re-opening, Shell is asked to loan her aunt’s Cary Grant posters to the local museum for an exhibit. She finds the prospect exciting—until a museum board member, who had a long-standing feud with Shell’s aunt, votes against it. When she discovers the board member dead in the museum, Shell becomes suspect number one. Can she, her Siamese cat Kahlua, and her new sidekick—her aunt’s Persian Purrday—find the real culprit, or will her latest career go up in kitty litter?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Cat lovers rejoice! T. C. LoTempio is penning a new series!

The Time for Murder is Meow introduces readers to Crishell “Shell” McMillan who has retired from acting to move to Fox Hollow, Connecticut to reopen the pet shop her aunt left her when she passed away. Not everyone is happy or understands how she could leave Hollywood behind but she knows this is where she is meant to be.

Aunt Tillie was a true old movie buff with a vast collection of memorabilia. With a Cary Grant festival coming up Shell is asked by the local museum to loan them her aunt’s Cary Grant movie posters, some them signed by the actor! But one member of the board rallies her cronies to vote against the display. Shell learns that member had been in a feud with her aunt for years.

When the woman calls Shell to set up a meeting she is surprised but agrees to meet if it gets her aunt’s posters displayed. When she arrives at the museum she finds her aunt’s nemesis dead and finds herself at the top of the suspect list almost as soon as the police arrive.

Putting the reopening of Purr N’ Bark, on the back burner, she delves into an investigation of her own to cat-ch the killer like a dog with a bone.

___

Ms. LoTempio brings together a great group of characters that band together to help find the culprit that took down Amelia Witherspoon. The woman didn’t have a lot of friends but Shell didn’t know her at all. That brings in the group that welcomed Shell to town, Olivia, Rita, and Ron. When her former co-star Gary Presser calls to check in with her, he knows something is up and it isn’t long before he pulls into town.  Together the group is determined to solve the case. Detective Josh Bloodgood admits that while Shell had motive and opportunity he really doesn’t think she did it, but isn’t happy she and her friends are snooping. All these characters are believable and fleshed out nicely for the first book in a new series.

The human characters shine but so do the pets. Shell’s cat Kahlua soon meets Tillie’s cat Purrday. Will they get along?? Together due to their instincts and actions they play a key role in solving the mystery. I love when animals in cozy mysteries are involved and more than just pets.

The author has constructed a nice whodunit too with plenty of suspects and surprises. I did solve the murder a bit before the reveal but totally enjoyed the story right up to the last page.

As a fan of classic movies, I loved those references and would love to see Aunt Tillie’s collection in person. I hope we delve into other parts of it as the series continues.

Lighthearted, fun, and entertaining. This series is off to an excellent start! I hope Gary sticks around Fox Hollow! He turned out to be my favorite non-feline character 🙂

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

 

While Toni Lotempio does not commit – or solve – murders in real life, she has no trouble doing it on paper. Her lifelong love of mysteries began early on when she was introduced to her first Nancy Drew mystery at age 10 – The Secret in the Old Attic.  She and her cat pen the Nick and Nora mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime and the Cat Rescue series from Crooked Lane.  Her latest, the Pet Shop Mysteries, makes its debut August 8 with The Time for Murder is Meow.

You can cat-ch up with them at ROCCO’s blog, www.catsbooksmorecats.blogspot.com or her website, www.tclotempio.net

Where to find them:

ROCCO’s blog:   www.catsbooksmorecats.blogspot.com

Website:    www.tclotempio.net

Purchase Links:

Amazon   B&N   IndieBound 

Also by T.C. LoTempio

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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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Aug 072019
 

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am so excited to welcome Julia Buckley today!

My Hungarian Grandma

By Julia Buckley

(Guest Post Provided by Publicist)

The author with her Grandma in the 1980s

One character in my new mystery, DEATH IN A BUDAPEST BUTTERFLY, has garnered some attention because she is interesting and possibly psychic. She is a Hungarian immigrant who raised her family in America and adapted to a new way of life despite spending all of her formative years in her home country.

Parts of this character, Juliana Horvath, were based on memories I have of my own grandmother, Julia Vig, who came to this country right around 1920 to keep house for her father, who had traveled to America before her. She traveled by ship, alone, to a country she knew nothing of, and a father she had not seen in years. She was seventeen years old.

I only knew my grandmother in her later life, and my fictional Juliana, too, is an old woman.

My grandmother was full of personality. She was loving, sometimes strict, religious but also superstitious, and extremely talented in the areas of needlework and cooking.

I have not tasted my grandmother’s food in close to forty years, but I have FOOD MEMORY—that thing which allows you to recall the best foods of your childhood as though the flavor is still on your tongue. I remember the smell of her kitchen, the taste of her cooking, the wonderful blend of onions and paprika and chicken stock and pastry.

My grandma did not use recipes, at least not ones that she would write down for us. She had a magical sense of what was needed, and she threw it all into a pot and created delicious things. One of my favorite memories of her involves the sleep-overs my sister and I would have at her house (we were the two youngest and probably the only ones not in school at this point). We would sleep in her “hotel” and we got a room to ourselves, known as the “purple room” because of its purple bedspread. We got to unpack our things in the big old dresser, and it felt quite cosmopolitan to us little girls who pretended we were in some Ginger Rogers movie.

In the morning we would go down the solid wood staircase and travel to my grandmother’s kitchen on a wave of some heavenly aroma. She would have cereal for us, but she would be at work, even in the early hours, making noodles. All of her noodles were homemade, rolled out from dough and cut into tiny pieces, then dried so that they could be used in various recipes. She would have a huge pot of chicken soup going; this became our lunch. It was filled with vegetables from her garden, healthy doses of chicken, and her little noodles. (In her early Chicago days, she even killed and plucked the chicken herself).

The book details all of my favorite foods (they become the favorites of Hana, my narrator) and they will make you hungry.

It’s hard to find a good Hungarian restaurant these days, but even if I could locate one near me, the chef would have a very tough act to follow. The reality is that no one cooks like Grandma did, and the best way I can pay homage to her food is to write about it.

~Julia

Thank you so much, Julia, for visiting today!

Keep reading for my thoughts on Death in a Budapest Butterfly.


Death in a Budapest Butterfly (A Hungarian Tea House Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
New Series
Setting – Illinois
Berkley (July 30, 2019)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1984804820
ISBN-13: 978-1984804822
Kindle ASIN: B07K5ZJ2QL

Hana Keller serves up European-style cakes and teas in her family-owned tea house, but when a customer keels over from a poisoned cuppa, Hana and her tea-leaf reading grandmother will have to help catch a killer in the first Hungarian Tea House Mystery from Julia Buckley.

Hana Keller and her family run Maggie’s Tea House, an establishment heavily influenced by the family’s Hungarian heritage and specializing in a European-style traditional tea service. But one of the shop’s largest draws is Hana’s eccentric grandmother, Juliana, renowned for her ability to read the future in the leaves at the bottom of customers’ cups. Lately, however, her readings have become alarmingly ominous and seemingly related to old Hungarian legends…

When a guest is poisoned at a tea event, Juliana’s dire predictions appear to have come true. Things are brought to a boil when Hana’s beloved Anna Weatherley butterfly teacup becomes the center of the murder investigation as it carried the poisoned tea. The cup is claimed as evidence by a handsome police detective, and the pretty Tea House is suddenly endangered. Hana and her family must catch the killer to save their business and bring the beautiful Budapest Butterfly back home where it belongs.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Welcome to Maggie’s Tea House where Hana, her mother Maggie, and grandmother Juliana, serve cakes and tea focused on the family’s Hungarian heritage. A real treat is that Juliana can read tea leaves and predict the future. The ladies have a vast tea service collection for their customers and Hana has a private collection too. She just added a beautiful butterfly cup, one that she has put on display at their latest event.

With the event well underway Maggie notices her cup is not where she left, but on a table being used by a woman, she doesn’t recognize. Her grandmother is busy reading leaves and Hana overhears some ominous predictions. She looks back to see the woman who was using her cup hurrying off to the bathroom. After a few minutes, Hana heads that way to find the woman dead.

Detective Erik Wolf arrives on the scene, the butterfly cup is bagged as evidence and he and his partner start getting everyone’s information. When he does start questioning witnesses he asks for Hana, Maggie, and Juliana’s help because they are familiar with the woman and the Hungarian language. With their business labeled as a crime scene, they agree but that doesn’t stop them from doing some snooping on their own.

This series is off to a fine start!

Hana Keller is 26 years old and still single much to her mother and grandmother’s dismay. She lives with her cats Anthony & Cleopatra and she has a passion for promoting her family’s Hungarian culture. Her mother Maggie is the force behind the tea house, but her grandmother is also very involved. I really enjoyed getting to know them, but feel we have just scratched the surface of who they are. There is a thread that purposed that Hana may have a gift similar to her grandmother that seems to have skipped her mother’s generation. I am interested to see how this is featured in future stories.

We are also meet several women/suspects from the neighborhood, the hunky Detective Wolf and his partner. Detective Benton. We are also introduced to pastry chef Francois, Hana’s brother Domo, and her dad too. It is a large cast but the author takes time to make each unique and has left plenty of room for growth. There are some sparks between Hana and Detective Wolf but it is very early in the series and hard to classify as a relationship YET, but we know where they are headed. 🙂

The mystery was filled with intrigue. I did like that Hana and Detective Wolf stayed in constant communication and she passed on everything she uncovered. I was also pleased that the family was not automatically pegged as suspects and were treated with respect whenever they needed to answer questions. There were twists and turns too and clues were released in unique ways. The author’s detailed writing style played well for this type of plot.

The Hungarian theme and language continued throughout the story. I had known a little about the culture and was happy to learn more. When Detective Wolf was around it was necessary for words to be translated and as a reader, not familiar with the language that was appreciated. I love that recipes are included in the back of the book. To learn that Grandma Juliana is partly based on the author’s grandmother brought me even more joy about this book. What a wonderful to pay tribute to someone important in her life.

I found Death in a Budapest Butterfly to be delightfully entertaining. I want to get to know these characters better and visit the tea room again soon.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Julia Buckley is the author of the Undercover Dish mysteries and the Writer’s Apprentice mysteries. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and the Chicago Writer’s Association. She has taught high school English for twenty-nine years.

Also By Julia Buckley


Thanks to the publisher I have 1 copy to give away!
The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

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.
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Leave a comment for the author for 5 Bonus Entries.

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5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End August 21, 2019, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

 

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Jul 312019
 

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am so happy to feature Let’s Fake A Deal today by Sherry Harris! 


Let’s Fake a Deal (A Sarah W. Garage Sale Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
7th in Series
Setting – Massachusetts
Kensington (July 30, 2019)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1496716981
ISBN-13: 978-1496716989
Kindle ASIN: B07K5ZMBZB

SHE’S GOT THE GOODS . . .
As a former military spouse, Sarah Winston’s learned a little about organizing, packing, and moving. Her latest project sounds promising: a couple of tech-industry hipsters, newly arrived in her Massachusetts town, who need to downsize. Unfortunately, when Sarah tries to sell their stuff, she discovers it’s all stolen—and she’s the unwitting fence.

BUT SARAH’S PROBLEMS ARE JUST BEGINNING
Michelle, an old friend of Sarah’s from the Air Force base, is in line for a promotion—but not everyone is happy about it, and she’s been hit with an anonymous discrimination complaint. When one of the men she suspects is behind the accusations turns up dead in Michelle’s car, Sarah needs to clear Michelle’s name—as well as her own for selling hot merchandise. And she’ll have to do it while also organizing a cat lady’s gigantic collection of feline memorabilia, or they’ll be making room for Sarah in a jail cell . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Sarah Winston barely opens a garage sale for a couple wanting to downsize when the police show up. The couple is nowhere to be found and everything she was trying to sell for them appears to be stolen. Before she knows it she is on the ground and under arrest. As she tries to find the couple that set her up she is also trying to clear her friend Michelle from murder charges. Michelle was up for a promotion with the Air Force when someone files a complaint against her. One of the men she had pegged for the discrimination report turns up dead in HER car! Sarah is also working on a fabulous feline garage sale too. That is if she stays out of jail long enough for the Cat-tastic Garage Sale to take place.

Hold on tight, Sherry Harris has twisted together a terrific mystery that is impossible to put down!

The first scene grabbed my attention with a premise I never would have thought of and turns Sarah’s business inside out. Then we move to Michelle’s issue which is too prevalent in the military today sans the murder of course. This author doesn’t shy away from hot topics. She gives a wonderful fictional spin that makes her readers aware and informed.

These characters stole my heart back in the first book Tagged for Death and they continue to impress me book after book. Sarah continues to grow after her divorce while trying to start her new relationship with Seth. Sarah does have a huge heart and is very trusting, which was a big flaw this time. Small towns just aren’t what they used to be anymore.

I love the way recurring characters pop up even in small ways in each story. Whenever Mike “Big Cheese” Titone appears on the scene it always makes me smile. He is not your typical mobster when Sarah is involved. The dialogues between all the characters are excellent and laced with the perfect amount of humor.

This mystery is carefully plotted and develops in a surprising way. Ms. Harris faked me out more than once. Every twist and turn had my mind spinning. I was in the dark right up to the fantastic final reveal and perfectly delighted to be so.

This is a brilliant addition to this series. It is my new favorite! In fact, it will be the next book on my Bests Reads list for 2019! I absolutely loved it from beginning to end!

I do want to say each book can be read all on its own, but Sarah Winston is an extraordinary protagonist and to truly understand her and where she is in her life now I recommend reading all the books in order. 

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Agatha Award-nominated author, Sherry Harris, started bargain hunting in second grade at her best friend’s yard sale. She honed her bartering skills as she moved around the country while her husband served in the Air Force. Sherry uses her love of garage sales, her life as a military spouse, and her time living in Massachusetts as inspiration for the Sarah Winston Garage Sale series.

Find out more about Sherry on her webpage here.


Coming December 31, 2019


Thanks to the publisher I have 1 Print Copy to giveaway! 
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Contest Will End August 14, 2019, at 11:59 PM CST
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Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

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Jul 252019
 


Toxic Toffee (An Amish Candy Shop Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Setting – Ohio
Kensington (June 25, 2019)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1496722027
ISBN-13: 978-1496722027
Kindle ASIN: B07HVYLW18

A sweet tooth for murder . . .

Bailey King’s in New York wrapping up a six-week shoot on her first cable TV show, Bailey’s Amish Sweets, when she gets a call from her Ohio town’s resident busybody. With Easter around the corner, Bailey’s been recruited to create a giant toffee bunny for the weeklong springtime festival that will also feature live white rabbits. But back home in Harvest, death becomes the main attraction when Stephen Raber keels over from an apparent heart attack—with Bailey and Raber’s pet bunny as witnesses.
.
Except it wasn’t Raber’s heart that suddenly gave out—a lethal dose of lily of the valley was mixed into a tasty piece of toffee. Who’d want to poison a jovial rabbit farmer who reminded Bailey of an Amish Santa Claus? To solve the murder, she and her sheriff deputy boyfriend Aiden must uncover a twenty-year-old secret. She’ll need to pull a rabbit out of a hat to keep a healthy distance from toxic people, including one venomous killer . . .

Recipe Included!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Rabbits! Rabbits! Rabbits!

Bailey King returns from New York just in time for “Easter Days”. A new festival created to bring more tourists to Harvest, Ohio. While there will be plenty of live rabbits hopping around, Bailey has been asked to make a huge sweet bunny featuring tons of toffee. While trying to get all the details Bailey meets rabbit keeper Stephen Raber and his special bunny, Puff. In the middle of the conversation, Mr. Raber falls to the ground. Bailey shouts for help, but the man is dead. Everyone assumes he had a heart attack, but the coroner finds evidence Stephen Raber was poisoned.

Bailey finds Mr. Raber was very well-liked in the community, why would anyone want to kill him? The victim’s son begged Bailey to find the killer as she had before for others. Then when she learns the murder weapon was a piece of toffee she feels she has no choice and pushes Aiden, her boyfriend/Deputy Sheriff to let her in on his investigation. He knows the Amish will open up with her more than they would with him so he agrees. They may go down a few rabbit holes to solve the case of the Toxic Toffee, but as long as they solve the case, it’s worth it.

I love these characters. Even with a murderer in their midst, they still know what’s important. Keeping a special bunny safe, constructing a giant toffee rabbit, keeping the sweet shop’s shelves full for customers, and in Juliet Brody’s case, getting Aidan and Bailey hitched in a summer wedding. (They have barely started dating and are definitely not engaged.) 🙂 All the characters are fleshed out and believable. The interactions and dialogues are true to life. The animals are absolutely delightful too. The author also sweetens the story with plenty of humor in all the right places.

The mystery is a real puzzler. Stephen Raber’s is new to us readers but has been a resident of the Harvest area for a long time as part of the Amish community. Bailey and Aiden could ask almost anyone in town about his life and how it has changed since he lost his wife. The fact that Bailey has become the caretaker of the victim’s pet rabbit named Puff is an interesting twist and felt like it gave Bailey an added push to solve the crime. Unfortunately she also on the killer’s radar and she finds herself in some very dangerous situations. Ms. Flower plotted out this story so well. There is always something happening and there are some fantastic twists. I had no idea “whodunit” until Bailey did.

I really enjoy the way Amanda Flower uses her Amish knowledge to build stories that show the two cultures coming together in so many ways. Bailey and her Amish grandmother have such a wonderful relationship. She also has an amazing relationship with Charlotte who has not yet been baptized into the faith. It is truly heartwarming the way the entire community comes together in good times and in bad.

Each visit the Harvest is unique and they always end too soon. I can’t wait to return in December for the premiere of Amish Matchmaker Mystery Series.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

Check out my review of Assaulted Caramel here and Lethal Licorice here
Premeditated Peppermint here, and Criminally Cocoa here.

About This Author

Amanda Flower, a two-time Agatha Award-nominated mystery author, started her writing career in elementary school when she read a story she wrote to her sixth-grade class and had the class in stitches with her description of being stuck on the top of a Ferris wheel. She knew at that moment she’d found her calling of making people laugh with her words. She also writes mysteries as national bestselling author Isabella Alan. In addition to being an author, Amanda is an academic librarian for a small college near Cleveland.

Author Links:

Website  Pen Name Website     Facebook    Twitter    Goodreads    Pinterest

Coming December 31, 2019!
A New Series Also Set in Harvest, Ohio.

Amish Quilt Shop Mystery Series (writing as Isabella Alan)

Thanks to the publisher I have 1 copy to give away!
The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US mailing address.

The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

Subscribe to Amanda’s Newsletter for 5 Bonus Entries.

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 August 8, 2019, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

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Jul 242019
 

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am so excited to have Miranda James stop by today! 

For Old Times’ Sake
by Miranda James

(Guest Post Provided by Publicist)

I love old movies. Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, Irene Dunne, Claudette Colbert, Clark Gable, Barbara Stanwyck, Fred McMurray, Rosalind Russell, Carole Lombard, Audrey Hepburn, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers – these were the great stars of Hollywood’s Golden Era (and yes I know I’ve left off a lot of names, so you can add your own favorites to the list). My favorite genre of movies from this period is screwball comedy. I love the fast-paced stories, the rapid-fire dialogue, and the subtle ways that sexual attraction is handled.

My favorite screwball comedies, you ask? Well, Bringing Up Baby tops the list, but close to the top are gems like The Awful Truth and Ball of Fire. I have seen my favorites numerous times. I like to re-watch my favorites for the same reasons that I like to re-read favorite books. It’s simply spending time with old friends, particularly old friends whom you can trust not to disappoint you.

There is at least one screwball murder mystery, The Mad Miss Manton, with Barbara Stanwyck and Henry Fonda. It’s actually a fairly clever plot, and it’s well worth seeking out. So is The Lady Eve with the same two stars; it has crime as part of the plot, and Stanwyck and Fonda are superb in it.

When I was trying to come up with a title for the latest “Cat in the Stacks” novel, I found a list of movies titles that had been changed so that each had some kind of cat reference. The one that immediately attracted my attention was The Pawful Truth. It’s obviously a take-off on one of my favorites, named above, and that set me thinking.

What if? These are the two most useful words for a mystery writer. What if I took elements from the comic movie and used them in the plot of a murder mystery? How would that turn out?

The result was the latest book in the series, The Pawful Truth. If you’ve seen the movie, I hope you will enjoy some of the in-jokes in the story. If you haven’t seen it, I hope you’ll watch it at some point. It’s enormous fun, and I hope you also have fun with the story I have told.

~Miranda

Oh, Miranda, I love old movies too! I haven’t seen The Awful Truth in years. I may have to rectify that soon 🙂

Thank you, for visiting today!

_______________________________________

Keep reading for my thoughts about A Pawful Truth.

 


The Pawful Truth (Cat in the Stacks Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
11th in Series
Setting – Mississippi
Berkley (July 16, 2019)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 0451491122
ISBN-13: 978-0451491121
Kindle ASIN: B07JLMQHRF

In addition to his library duties and his role as doting grandad, Charlie has enrolled in an early medieval history course offered by young, charismatic professor Carey Warriner. Charlie feels a bit out of place- his fellow classmates are half his age- except for Dixie Bell Compton, another ‘mature’ student. When Charlie hears an angry exchange between her and their professor, his interest in piqued. He’s even more intrigued when she shows up at his office asking for a study partner. Charlie turns her down and is saddened to learn just a few days later that Dixie has been killed.

Charlie wonders if Professor Warriner had anything to do with Dixie’s death. Warriner is married to a fellow professor who happens to be a successful author. There are rumors on campus that their marriage was on the rocks. Was Dixie’s death the result of a lovers’ triangle gone bad? Charlie soon discovers that the professor’s wife may have some secrets of her own and his suspect list is only getting longer.

As he and Diesel step further into the tangled web of relationships, someone else is viciously killed. Whose jealousy finally erupted into murderous rage? Was it a crime of passion or is there another more sinister motive? Charlie races to unravel this mystery: and to draw out the culprit, he may just have to put his own life on the line…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Grandpa, Dad, Archive Librarian, Landlord, Student, and Diesel’s person, Charlie Harris has a very full life. Being a student is new as he is auditing an early medieval history course at the college taught by Professor Carey Warriner. Charlie is not the only “mature student” taking the class. Nowhere close to his age but older than the rest in the class Dixie Bell Compton is taking the class for credit and offers to be his study partner. Since he is just auditing the class he turns her down. Charlie is very impressed with Warriner’s lecture skills but after overhearing the professor’s after-class conversation with Dixie and the rumors he has heard about him and his wife, Irene, another professor, he is concerned about his other qualities. When Dixie is killed a few days later he truly wonders if Warriner is involved.

Charlie also takes in a new boarder, a man Stewart and Haskell met at the gym. He also has ties to the college. Dan Bellamy teaches history with a focus on Regency England. He is close to Irene Warriner who is also an author with books set in the time Bellamy specializes in.

All the rest of the cast we have come to love over the course of this series return including Dante, Stewart’s poodle, my favorite fictional feline, Diesel, and the new kitten in residence, Ramses. We are also introduced to a large number of people as the story proceeds in Charlie’s effort to investigate. I was thrilled to see Miss Dickce Ducote make more than a cameo appearance.

The first part of the book gives background for new readers and introduces some of the new characters all before the murder occurs. Since Charlie is now known for his investigations people seem to come out of the woodwork to offer their assistance. There are plenty of suspects and Charlie works hard to pare those down as quickly as possible. Diesel also offers his opinions with a variety of chirps and head bumps. Fans of the series realize his talents and in this installment, he gave a clear indication of who he had his sights on earlier than usual.

I do enjoy the way Ms. James constructs her stories. We get to drop in on the entire Harris family and catch up with them. His daughter-in-law was having a hard time in a previous book and we learn that she is still working through something many women deal with and that there is no quick fix. I appreciate the way all the family storylines continue to evolve and are allowed to run their course. She entangles the murder mystery in key and meaningful ways. The pace she sets is very comfortable at first but as we get deeper into the story and clues start to fall into place the pace picks up until we get to the big reveal. At that point, pages can’t flip fast enough and the reader’s heartrates increase.

This entire series is wonderful. Miranda James is an excellent author. Her characters are some of my cozy favorites. Seeing that cat on the cover always brings a huge smile to my face. You truly can’t go wrong with any book by this author.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

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.



Coming January 2020

GIVEAWAY

Thanks to the people at Penguin I have 1 copy to give away!
The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

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

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

Leave a comment for the author for 5 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 August 7, 2019, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

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Jul 232019
 

A Genuine Fix
(An Allie Cobb Mystery)
by J.C. Kenney

 

About the Book


A Genuine Fix (An Allie Cobb Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Indiana
Lyrical Underground (July 16, 2019)
Paperback: 194 pages
ISBN-10: 1516108604
ISBN-13: 978-1516108602
Digital ASIN: B07KDWV2RX

Murder takes a page out of a killer’s playbook when literary agent Allie Cobb becomes her Indiana town’s number-one bestselling suspect …

Running the family literary business while preparing for her best friend’s wedding, chairing a park planning committee, and getting her rescue cat to bond with her boyfriend’s golden retriever doesn’t leave Allie Cobb much time for crime-solving. But when the guy who stood her up the night of her high school senior prom is killed and dumped in a pile of mulch, Allie’s suddenly the prime suspect.

It’s insulting enough that gambler, drunk, and all-around lowlife Georgie Alonso was found on the site of the memorial park honoring Allie’s deceased father. Now she’s fighting to clear her name and hold off a rush to judgment. But politics, decades-old secrets, and a slew of high-profile suspects make dangerous bedfellows as the eve of the park’s grand opening draws nearer. She’ll have to nab a killer soon, before her storybook life gets a bad ending …

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Allie has found another body, with an assist by her cat Ursi . . . the guy who ditched her years ago on prom night . . . yup, dead under a pile of mulch in the park Allie is in charge of that will be a memorial to her dad and the author he championed.  First on the scene, first on the suspect list. What Allie knows is that she wouldn’t give Georgie Alonso the time of day let alone kill him. She also knows he had a lot of skeletons in his closet and she is focused on shaking all of them to find the killer and throw the book at them.

Ellie a.k.a the Kickboxing Crusader is a fun character. She is getting comfortable back home in Indiana and taking over her father’s business. I love the traditions she has started when sells a book and when the books are published. It shows so much about how invested she is in her authors. In this installment, she is also in charge of keeping the construction of Winchester-Cobb Memorial Park and be sure is it ready for the grand opening. It was during her weekly progress checks that the body is discovered.

Mr. Kenney has written a complicated mystery. The police are having trouble solving it and so is Allie. She had a preliminary list of suspects but each clue she uncovers switches up that list and brings new suspects to light. With her ex-brother-in-law as the Chief of Police, he goes to great lengths to show she could have not committed the crime but that doesn’t stop her from poking and prodding to find the killer. As we moved toward the ending the pace of the story really ratchets up. The killer reveal was so entertaining and the takedown was something that I had never seen in a cozy mystery.

I love the literary agent theme and Allie carrying on in the family business. I really enjoy that the series is set in Indiana and that all the residents feel genuine. There is a real community feel. Kenney sets a scene very well and gives readers a great bird’s eye view. He mixes the real-life and the mystery plotlines nicely.

This story was a Perfect Escape for me and I highly recommend adding it to your summer reading lists. It can be read on its own but treat yourself and read both to learn the story of Allie coming back to Indiana.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

You can read my review of A Literal Mess here.

 

About the Author

J.C. Kenney grew up in a household filled with books by legends Agatha Christie and Lilian Jackson Braun, among many others, so it was no surprise when he found himself writing mystery stories. When he’s not writing, you can find him following IndyCar racing or listening to music. He lives in Indianapolis with his wife, two sons, and a cat who is the inspiration for Ursula in the Allie Cobb Mysteries.

Praise for A Genuine Fix (An Allie Cobb Mystery)
by J.C. Kenney

J.C. Kenney has crafted a masterpiece of misdirection with this second outing for Allie Cobb.
~A Wytch’s Book Review Blog

A Genuine Fix is a lighthearted cozy mystery with a cunning cat, a disagreeable victim, a mound of mulch, a tolerant police chief, and one determined bicycle riding literary agent.
~The Avid Reader

Author Links    – Website –    Twitter –    Facebook –  Goodreads –   Instagram

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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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Jul 112019
 

Murder’s No Votive Confidence
(Nantucket Candle Maker Mystery)
by Christin Brecher

I am pleased to welcome Christin Brecher to Escape With Dollycas Today!

Hi Christin,

Tell us a little bit about yourself

I’m a stay-at-home mom who is about to send her kids off to college over the next couple of years.  I’m excited for them, they’re ready to fly the coop.  On the other hand, a friend said she’s going to start a wine-fueled support group for those of us saying good-bye, and I plan to be the first to join.

Murder’s No Votive Confidence, the first of the Nantucket Candle Maker Mysteries, is my debut novel.

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

  • I conquered my fear of heights by learning how to belay down a cliff with a good friend from college during a spontaneous trip we took to Maine.
  • Years later, I had a relapse atop Mont St-Michel in France, and my kids had to walk me down from the medieval town’s peak. Both experiences were quite humbling.
  • I’m allergic to cats, but I do have a spunky dog named Bandit.

What is the first book you remember reading?

The first book that caused me to lose myself entirely to another world was Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott.  I was about ten or eleven, and I vividly remember feeling heartbroken when I realized I only had fifty pages to go before I’d have to say good-bye to the characters.  I actually cried when I finished the book.

What are you reading now?

The Nantucket Book Festival, in mid-June, was filled with many fantastic authors and panels.  My favorite was a mystery panel featuring Nantucket authors Blue Balliett, Steven Axelrod, and Cherie Burns – hosted by Nancy Thayer.  They were all so interesting and I enjoyed speaking with them briefly afterward.  I walked home with these four author’s latest books, which I’m enjoying immensely.

What books have most inspired you?

  • Agatha Christie’s Curtain – because of the plot twist
  • Rex Stout’s Fer-de-lance – because of the voice
  • Carolyn Keene’s The Hidden Staircase – because it was so liberating
  • Goscinny Sempe’s Nicolas – because of its subtle but spot-on wit
  • Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women – because I made four friends
  • Dante’s Inferno – because it left me with ideas I’d never had before
  • Jane Austin’s Pride & Prejudice – because I was seventeen and fell in love with Mr. Darcy
  • Shakespeare’s As You Like It – because I saw it performed in Stratford-Upon-Avon and my understanding of words changed forever.

Oh, boy.  This is an unfair question.  This list is a betrayal of so many others which have inspired me, each for different reasons and at different points of my life.

What made you decide you wanted to write mysteries?

From the moment I put pen to paper, I was writing a mystery, without really thinking about it consciously.  I think it might be because I love puzzles, and puzzling out motives, psychology, secrets.  There’s also something very satisfying about seeing the world put back to order at the end of a mystery.

Do you have a special place you like to write?

I’m in Nantucket right now, and I have a couple of favorite places to write when I’m here.  One, of course, is the island’s library, the Athenaeum.  There’s a quiet room on the second floor with tables and a nice view of the garden below.  I also frequent the Corner Table down the street from the library.  They are very generous about allowing people to work in their space, which is really great when I need to be around the energy of others.

Where do the ideas from your books come from?

They can come from anywhere.  The other day, for example, a friend told me about candle clocks.  I knew nothing about these ancient devices, which were candles with spaced markings to indicate timed intervals.  The moment I learned about them, however, I’ve been hell-bent on figuring out a way to use one in my Nantucket Candle Maker series.

Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

Chapter One!  There’s always so much I want to say.  And, at the same time, I’ve started a journey that I know will take me in directions I haven’t yet imagined.  It’s both a daunting and exciting moment.

What do you think makes a good story?

I’m really drawn to characters.  When I cried over Little Women, it was because I felt I had come to know Meg, Joe, Beth, and Amy as real people.  Each reached some part of me.

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

This is a fun question.  I suppose there’s a little of me in all of my characters, but none of them is really “me.” As for my heroine, Stella, I relate to someone who has both a business and artistic brain since I worked for years in the corporate world before raising my kids and starting to write.  I connect with her appreciation of being a local girl, since I’ve lived in the same neighborhood in NYC for most of my life, and have always come back to Nantucket.  Like Stella, many of my friends have been in my life for decades, and I am close to and value family.

Unlike Stella, however, I like a map.  I need to make to-do lists to get through the day, rather than throw myself into the unknown and worry about the plan after.  I certainly don’t have her stamina, either.  That girl does more in a day than I sometimes do in a week!  I also envy her ability to eat so much cheese.

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

The Nantucket Candle Maker Mysteries supply all of the fun of a cozy mystery:  An amateur sleuth, a small town, a clever cat, and a cast of supporting characters with whom it’s fun to spend time.  Plus, of course, a puzzle to solve at its core.  Somewhat different from others, however, the books are about a candle-maker and the many ways she’s developed her trade as a craftsman, business owner, and teacher.  The books also embrace the history of Nantucket, which is rich and vibrant and comes with many of its own mysteries.

What’s next on the horizon for you?

I’ve been collecting ideas for new characters.  Whether they will end up in Stella’s adventures or as stars of their own stories, I have yet to figure out.  We’re still at the “nice to meet you” stage.

Thank you, Christin, for stopping by today!

Keep reading for my thoughts on Murder’s No Votive Confidence.

 

About the Book 


Murder’s No Votive Confidence (Nantucket Candle Maker Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Massachusetts
Kensington (June 25, 2019)
ISBN-10: 149672139X
ISBN-13: 978-1496721396
Digital ASIN: B07HVYJNRD

Nantucket candle store owner Stella Wright specializes in creating unique candles for every occasion. But someone sets the stage for murder when a Memorial Day celebration becomes a wedding to die for . . .

Jessica Sterling’s candlelight-themed nuptials promises to be the perfect kick-off to the summer’s first official holiday weekend. Stella’s thrilled to have been chosen to provide the decorative centerpiece for the wedding ceremony: a two-foot-tall scented unity candle—a symbol of the happy couple’s love. But it looks like the bride-to-be’s uncle won’t be walking his niece down the aisle after he’s found dead. The murder weapon is Stella’s seemingly indestructible candle, now split in two.

When a beloved local bartender is arrested, Stella’s sure a visiting police captain running the case made a rush to justice. With superstitious brides-to-be canceling orders and sales waxing and waning at her store, the Wick & Flame owner decides to do some sleuthing of her own. Abetted by a charming reporter and challenged by the town’s sexiest cop, Stella’s determined to shine a light on the truth and uncover a killer who’s snuffing out her own flame.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Stella Wright owns Wick & Flame and has become the go-to person for wedding unity candles. She has created a two-foot-tall unity candle for Jessica Sterling and Joe Handler’s wedding, along with candles for the church, reception, and for the guests to take home all with an original scent approved by the bride. The family and bridal party have checked into the hotel including Simon Sterling, the bride’s uncle who has been asked to walk her down the aisle. New plans must be made when Simon body is found next to the broken unity candle.

A visiting police captain known for quickly solving cases makes a fast arrest. A bartender Stella has known for years. Also, brides are tying her to the murder and starting to cancel their orders. Deciding the only way to catch the real killer is by doing her own investigation. She is soon burning the candle at both ends when she searches out a murderer and works to replace the broken candle. She just needs to do it all without becoming the killer’s next target.

_______

I love the candlemaking theme of this series and am in awe of Stella Wright’s talent. Setting it on Nantucket is a wonderful bonus!

The author introduces us to a wonderful group of core characters. Stella, candlemaker extraordinaire, her female best friend wedding planner and very pregnant Emily, Nantucket Police Officer Andy, male best friend, which may turn into something more. . . or not, and Peter, a journalist who has come to town to report on the wedding. He could also be interested in Stella and wants to help her solve the murder, especially if he gets the scoop.  The author does an excellent job developing these characters, making them real and engaging. There is still much to learn but for the first book in a series, it was very well done.

Ms. Brecher also introduces a vast number of suspects, some with more motive than others and many with opportunity. The victim’s cat, Tinker also played a major role.

This cozy mystery is full of twists, turns, and surprises. I read this entire book in one day. I could not put it down. The pages just kept turning, raising new questions, bringing different suspects to the forefront. I enjoyed the way the story was laid out and the author’s clear descriptions. A romance is hinted at but the relationships are complicated. The mystery came to a very satisfying conclusion. A wedding has its own kind of drama, a dead body takes things to a whole new level.

The first book in a new cozy mystery series is hard to write. The author needs to find a balance between introducing the characters and giving readers an entertaining mystery. Christin Brecher excelled at both. She also left me wanting more. I can’t wait for my next trip to Nantucket and Wick & Flame. Murder Makes Scents is scheduled to release on February 25, 2020.

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More About Christin Brecher

Christin Brecher was born and raised in NYC, where her family and many childhood friends still reside. As such, she feels she is as much of a small-town girl as any. The idea to write the Nantucket Candle Maker series sprang from her life-long connection to the small island off the coast of Massachusetts. Spending summers there as a child, Christin read from her family’s library of mystery novels, after which she began to imagine stories inspired by the island’s whaling heyday, its notoriously foggy nights, and during long bike rides to the beach. After many years in marketing for the publishing industry, followed by years raising her children, Murder’s No Votive Confidence is Christin’s debut novel. Visit her at www.christinbrecher.com.
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Coming February 25, 2020

Praise for Murder’s No Votive Confidence
(Nantucket Candle Maker Mystery)
by Christin Brecher

What a hoot! Seriously! I absolutely adored the main character, Stella.
~The Book Decoder

Christin Brecher has created an entertaining and clean cozy mystery, steeped in small-island atmosphere. This is a fun traditional cozy read, a story that I can easily recommend.
~The Power of Words

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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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