Posted in 2020 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Giveaways Literary Escapes New Release Challenge Read The Printed Word Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Who Rescued Who by Victoria Schade #Review / #Giveaway

who rescued who
Who Rescued Who
Women’s Fiction
Setting – England
Publisher: Berkley (March 24, 2020)
Paperback: 352 pages
ISBN-10: 0593098838
ISBN-13: 978-0593098837
Kindle ASIN: B07TSWP85J

Where can you turn when the world turns against you? When Elizabeth Barnes’ life fell apart she never imagined that she’d be rescued by a new friend on four paws. 

 

The plan was simple: Elizabeth would ignore the fact that she was unjustly fired from her dream job, fly across the pond to settle an unexpected inheritance in her father’s home country and quickly return to reclaim her position among the Silicon Valley elite.

 

But when Elizabeth stumbles upon an abandoned puppy, she’s shocked to realize that her brief trip to England might turn into an extended stay. Her strict itinerary is upended completely by the pup’s dogged devotion, and soon the loveable puppy helps her to connect with a tight-knit community of new friends on two legs and four, from the aunt and uncle she didn’t know existed, to a grumpy coffee shop owner to two very opinionated sheep. Along the way Elizabeth is confronted by long-kept family secrets, hard truths about her former life and a new romance that might lead her to question everything she knows about love. Because sometimes rescue magic happens on both ends of the leash.

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I needed a change of pace in my reading and picking up this book was the perfect choice.

Elizabeth Barnes was flying high until she wasn’t. Fired from a job she loved she was at loose ends until she finds out she had family she knew nothing about and an inheritance to boot. We follow Elizabeth across the pond as she settles her father’s affairs. She had planned just a quick trip so she can get back home and find new employment. But a cute little homeless puppy has her extending her stay. She starts to feel at home in this unique community especially when she feels a romantic spark with one of the town’s residents. Finding her family and learning the truth about her father’s distancing while learning some truths about herself could change her life.

It was the cover that really caught my attention. As a mom to two border collie/blue heeler mixes, one who looks a bit like the dog on the cover, I just couldn’t say no to those eyes. What I found between the covers was delightful.

Elizabeth was a workaholic driven by likes and clicks who was forced to slow down upon arrival to the English countryside with limited internet access. She doesn’t adjust easily but finds several things to fill her time including a border collie mix pup and a handsome co-owner of a local brewery. She also takes on a huge task for her newly-found uncle that reveals something they have in common. All the characters in the book are well crafted and really evolve over the course and right up to the end of the story. The story has a slow build so readers really get to know the wonderful people of Fargrove.

Ms. Shade finds a great balance between family life, romance and some lovable 4 legged creatures. All the twists are so well-plotted. The story feels much more based in reality than other romantic comedies I have read of late. The author also describes each setting so clearly, and there are many. I felt like I was getting a bird’s eye view of all of the action, walking right along in my wellies taking in everything the setting had to offer.

This story gave me the warm and fuzzies. This book actually rescued me and gave me a nice break from some things I was dealing with. Thank you, Ms. Shade, for the Perfect Escape.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Victoria Schade is a dog trainer and speaker who serves as a dog resource for the media and has worked both in front of and behind the camera on Animal Planet, as a co-host on the program Faithful Friends and as a trainer and wrangler on the channel’s popular Puppy Bowl specials. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, her dogs Millie and Olive, and the occasional foster pup.

who rescued who

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.
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.

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

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

Click Here For Entry Form

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

Posted in 2020 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge E-Book Challenge Giveaways Literary Escapes New Release Challenge Read The Printed Word Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

The Evil Men Do (A P.T. Marsh Novel) by John McMahon #Review / #Giveaway


The Evil Men Do (A P.T. Marsh Novel)
Suspense/Thriller
Police Procedural
Setting – Georgia
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons (March 3, 2020)
Hardcover: 368 pages
ISBN-10: 052553556X
ISBN-13: 978-0525535560
Kindle ASIN: B07SZQP2C5

What if the one good thing you did in your life doomed you to die?

 

A hard-nosed real estate baron is dead, and detectives P.T. Marsh and Remy Morgan learn there’s a long list of suspects. Mason Falls, Georgia, may be a small town, but Ennis Fultz had filled it with professional rivals, angry neighbors, and a wronged ex-wife. And when Marsh realizes that this potential murder might be the least of his troubles, he begins to see what happens when ordinary people become capable of evil.

 

As Marsh and Morgan dig into the case, it becomes clear that Fultz’s death was not an isolated case of revenge. It may be part of a dark web of crimes connected to an accident that up-ended Marsh’s life a couple years earlier–and that now threatens the life of a young child. Marsh veers dangerously off track as his search for clues becomes personal..and brings him to a place where a man’s good deeds turn out to be more dangerous than his worst crimes.

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts

My first experience with P.T. Marsh was gripping and this one was even more so.

Swarmy Ennis Fultz is dead and he left plenty of suspects behind. A very observant little girl plays a major role and P.T. uncovers more evil than he ever could have imagined. The deeper he digs veers him in a direction that appears to be personal. A direction that could cost him his job and maybe even his life.


Mr. McMahon has created complicated characters and puts them in complex situations. I ended my review of The Good Detective saying John McMahon is now an author to watch, and I was right.  I thought P.T. Marsh had turned a corner. He did but as far as I thought. He is still hurting and raw. He is smart, determined, and flawed and still trying to come to grips with the loss of his wife and son in a freaky hit and run accident. P.T. is also embroiled in a civil suit along with the police department for excessive use of force on a previous case. He doesn’t believe he did anything wrong and that could come back to bite him financially. He is trying to stay sober and do his job but it isn’t easy. His partner, Detective Remy Morgan, an African American woman is getting frustrated with P.T. but hopes when push comes to shove he has her back. P.T. has started a relationship with Medical Examiner Sarah Raines but he is clearly still in mourning. He tries to hold tight to the relationship with his father-in-law but something always seems to get in the way.

So much happens within the covers of this book. The author has cleverly plotted this story with several tentacles all entwined together. The book opens with “The little girl knew things.” but transitions to P.T.’s life quickly in Chapter 2. We continue to have visits from the little girl between many of the chapters. This process really drew me in from the start. Soon, it truly became impossible to put the book down. P.T. was continually pulled in several directions. Sometimes he followed the clues in a logical manner but sometimes he goes off on tangents that were dangerous for both him and his partner.

McMahon has delivered a compelling story that will have readers glued to the pages. I wanted P.T. to succeed, get the answers he needs and catch the bad guys, but sometimes I wanted to reach into the pages and grab him to protect him from some of his risky decisions.

The Evil Men Do is a  riveting gritty suspense-filled thriller. P.T. Marsh is a character you become invested in quickly. His life is a wild ride that doesn’t let go. All the strings are not wrapped up at the conclusion of this book either so readers are left excitedly waiting for book #3. Well done, Mr. McMahon! This was a PERFECT ESCAPE!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

Read my review for The Good Detective here

About the Author

John McMahon studied Creative Writing at The University of Arizona. In his role as an ad agency creative director, his work has won a Gold Clio for Fiat, and he’s written a Superbowl spot for Alfa Romeo. He currently lives in Southern California with his family and two rescue animals. He’s hard at work on another P.T. Marsh book and dreams of splitting his time between Cabo San Lucas and Lake Lanier, Georgia.

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.

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 April 2, 2020, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

Posted in 2020 Reviews Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways Guest Posts New Release Challenge Purrfect Reading Challenge Read The Printed Word Challenge What's In A Name Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday with Jennifer J. Chow – Author of Mimi Lee Gets a Clue (A Sassy Cat Mystery) #GuestPost / #Review / #Giveaway @JenJChow

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am thrilled to welcome Jennifer J. Chow back to Escape With Dollycas!

Living in La La Land
By Jennifer J. Chow
Guest Post Provided by Publicist

            I’d never planned on living in Los Angeles. However, I ended up moving here in order to get my master’s degree at UCLA. At the time, I figured I’d flee the traffic-heavy, smog-infested area right after completing my required two years of study. Well, fast forward a few years, and I’d stayed put.

I ended up working in the area and had gotten married by then, so I chose to settle down. I started re-evaluating my initial (and sometimes faulty) impressions of Los Angeles and found many silver linings to staying.

Here are my top five fact vs. fiction insights:

    1. Lotsa traffic. Okay, this perception is true. I personally experienced the slow crawl of cars leaving downtown Los Angeles and trailing behind others’ taillights on the congested freeway. However, as a local, I’ve now discovered sneaky ways to bypass the traffic. I often switch to local roads to speed up my traveling. Also, by knowing the traffic patterns, I pick more optimal times for driving to avoid getting stuck.
    2. Smog city. Los Angeles is known for its air pollution. We do have unclean air, but at least on the American Lung Association’s website, we’re not number one for particle pollution—that distinction goes to the Central Valley. We are, though, tops for having high ozone levels. However, we’re aware of the problem, and officials are trying to brainstorm innovative solutions to improve the air quality here. As an aside, I actually appreciate how the smog creates prettier sunsets—those gorgeous reds and oranges are amazing to behold.
    3. Baywatch bodies. When I first got to L.A., I remember seeing (and hearing) advertisements about how I could create a more improved version of myself, whether by eating vitamins, exercising, or undergoing surgery. This fixation on appearance confounded me, but I thought, “Maybe it’s because we’re so close to Hollywood.” While I have seen some knockouts in L.A., what I’ve noticed more is the diversity of the people who live here. There are different ages, ethnicities, and body types, and I love this variety. Bonus: There’s a huge array of delicious cuisines to choose from because of the vast number of cultures represented in the area.
    4. Natural disasters. Yes, we’re prone to earthquakes (and it is common that people sometimes barely blink at a tremor, as depicted in A. Story—a movie others made me watch when I first arrived in Los Angeles). Beyond the disasters, though, we also have access to natural marvels. There are rugged mountains and verdant forests to the north, plus golden sand and glistening waves to the west. Even the stark beauty of the desert is nearby, like at Joshua Tree National Park.
    5. Hollywood glitz. In grad school, my roommate oohed over how she’d seen the ponytail of a celebrity. I’ve also known coworkers who would haunt Pink’s Hot Dogs just to get a glimpse of somebody famous. And out-of-town friends do enjoy purchasing a Star Map and spying on celebrity homes. I myself enjoyed the excitement of a red carpet event one time—okay, so I was only within googling distance. However, I have rubbed shoulders with a few better-known figures and up-and-coming creative individuals. What I appreciate about meeting them isn’t their glamour but their artistry and perseverance. I connect with them since I’m also pursuing my own passion of writing.

I hope both the fabulous and quirky atmosphere of Los Angeles comes through in my newest novel, Mimi Lee Gets a Clue. The first in the new Sassy Cat mystery series, it features an L.A. pet groomer whose dream career gets disrupted when she becomes a suspect in the murder of a dog breeder. But with the help of her snarky cat and a dreamy lawyer neighbor, maybe she can get back to living the LA dream and running her store, Hollywoof.

So, even if you can’t come and visit L.A., perhaps you can do some virtual traveling through my book. Wishing you lots of happy reading!

~Jennifer

Thank you, Jennifer, for visiting today!

Now let me give you my thoughts on Mimi Lee Gets A Clue


Mimi Lee Gets a Clue (A Sassy Cat Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – California
Publisher: Berkley (March 10, 2020)
Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-10: 1984804995
ISBN-13: 978-1984804990
Kindle – ASIN: B07VG4QTFQ

Mimi Lee is in over her head. There’s her new Los Angeles pet grooming shop to run, her matchmaking mother to thwart, her talking cat Marshmallow to tend to—oh, and the murder of a local breeder to solve…now if only Mimi hadn’t landed herself on top of the suspect list.

 

Mimi Lee hoped to give Los Angeles animal lovers something to talk about with her pet grooming shop, Hollywoof. She never imagined that the first cat she said hello to would talk back or be quite so, well, catty—especially about those disastrous dates Mimi’s mother keeps setting up.

 

When Marshmallow exposes local breeder Russ Nolan for mistreating Chihuahuas, Mimi steals some of her cat’s attitude to tell Russ off. The next day the police show up at Hollywoof. Russ has been found dead, and Mimi’s shouting match with him has secured her top billing as the main suspect.

 

Hoping to clear her name and save the pups Russ left behind, Mimi enlists help from her dreamy lawyer neighbor Josh. But even with Josh on board, it’ll take Mimi and Marshmallow a lot of sleuthing and more than a little sass to get back to the pet-grooming life—and off the murder scene.

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

Los Angeles has a new place to take your pets for grooming. Hollywoof is operated by Mimi Lee and she just hopes she gets enough customers to keep her business afloat.

The first day her sister drops by with a surprise, a fluffy white Persian cat with big blue eyes. Mimi does prefer dogs but she can’t say no. The cat is soon named Marshmallow, a name he clearly doesn’t like and let’s er know in a surprising way.

Mimi is single but her mother has a plan for that. Mimi plays along for the most part because she has other concerns. Several customers are bringing in Chihuahuas from various services and she notices they all have health issues. When she learns that all came from the same local breeder she decides to investigate. She gets into a war of words with the man, witnessed by one of his neighbors.  Mimi then reports the breeder to the proper authorities for violations. When a Police Detective Brown shows up a Hollywoof he is not there to talk about the mistreatment of animals. He is there to question her about the breeder’s murder. What!

In efforts to clear her name, Mimi starts rubbing elbows with her client’s well-to-do owners and she hires a lawyer, Josh, an easy on the eyes neighbor, she met while doing laundry. Marshmallow also becomes a key member of the investigation team.

______

I love Marshmallow! Haven’t you always wanted to know what your pet is thinking? The author created this fun character and explains how he learned everything he knows. So lighthearted and funny.

We get to know Mimi Lee pretty well in this first book of the series. She is petite, smart, mid-twenties, but you can tell she has led a bit of a sheltered life due to her upbringing. Her mother is Asian American and her father is caucasian. He’s pretty laid back. She is all in both her daughter’s business or forces one daughter, Mimi, the eldest to interfere in the younger sister’s business. Sometimes this goes unbelievably too far. Mimi has opened a new business without much of a plan and is running it with a seat of the pant’s attitude. Thankfully, she grows over the course of this book and so does her business.  Her mother’s efforts to find Mimi find a man are pretty comical though. The family dynamics are interesting.

I really enjoyed this fresh take for an amateur sleuth team, not your typical Sherlock and Watson.  The mystery was very well done and exceeded my expectations for the first book in a series. The actual detective on the case seemed to be glued to his initial thought even when Mimi tried to give me details she had uncovered. Breeders like the one in this story are a hot topic these days and Ms. Chow gives it a fantastic fictional spin. She plots a twisted up mystery to find who killed the awful man responsible for the poor puppies. Mimi got her clue well before I did. I was very entertained following along with her to clear her name and get justice for the lovable pooches and find them fur-ever homes.

Mimi Lee Gets A Clue gives readers an intriguing mystery with plenty of suspects and twists. I am curious to see how all the characters develop more. Mimi is more Nancy Drew than Jessica Fletcher, meaning she doesn’t have the sage experience needed the help solve complex mysteries, but her youth brings a real freshness to the cozy mystery genre. The rest of the characters need to be more fleshed out to support her and get readers engaged and invested in their lives. For me, Sassy Cat Marshmallow stole the show!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Jennifer J. Chow grew up reading Garfield comics and adores creating sassy kit lit. She also writes the Winston Wong mysteries, which feature a regular meowing cat. Her other Asian American novels include Dragonfly Dreams (a Teen Vogue pick) and The 228 Legacy.

She’s involved in Crime Writers of Color, Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters in Crime. Like her on Facebook and Follow her on GoodReads and Twitter. Connect on Instagram @jenjchow

Coming November 10, 2020

Also by this Author

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

Follow Berkley Mystery on Twitter for 2 Bonus Entries.

Leave a comment for the author 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 share the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End April 1, 2020, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

Posted in 2020 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours New Release Challenge Read The Printed Word Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Lavender Blue Murder (A Tea Shop Mystery) by Laura Childs #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour

Lavender Blue Murder (A Tea Shop Mystery)
by Laura Childs

About Lavender Blue Murder 


Lavender Blue Murder (A Tea Shop Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
21th in Series
Setting – South Carolina
Publisher: Berkley (March 3, 2020)
Hardcover: 336 pages
ISBN-10: 0451489667
ISBN-13: 978-0451489661
Digital ASIN: B07SSQ1X4R

Tea-Maven Theodosia Browning brews up trouble in the latest Tea Shop Mystery from New York Times bestselling author Laura Childs.

 

Tea maven Theodosia Browning and her tea sommelier Drayton Conneley are guests at a bird hunt styled in the precise manner of an English shooting party. Which means elevenses (sloe gin fizzes), gun loaders, the drawing of pegs, fine looking bird dogs, and shooting costumes of tweed, herringbone, and suede.

 

But as gunshots explode like a riff of Black Cat firecrackers, another shot sounds too close for comfort to Theodosia and Drayton. Intrigued but worried, Theodosia wanders into the neighbor’s lavender field where she discovers their host, Reginald Doyle, bleeding to death.

 

His wife, Meredith, is beside herself with grief and begs Theodosia and Drayton to stay the night. But Theodosia awakens at 2:00A.M. to find smoke in her room and the house on fire. As the fire department screams in and the investigating sheriff returns, Meredith again pleads with Theodosia for help.

 

As Theodosia investigates, fingers are pointed, secrets are uncovered, Reginald’s daughter-in-law goes missing presumed drowned, and Meredith is determined to find answers via a séance. All the while Theodosia worries if she’s made a mistake in inviting a prime suspect to her upscale Lavender Lady Tea.

 

INCLUDES DELICIOUS RECIPES AND TEA TIME TIPS!

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

Theodosia Browning and her tea sommelier Drayton Conneley are on a hunt, a bird hunt. They are guests at an English shooting party. Theo is having a great time and even bagged a quail. Drayton is mostly just along for her company. As they are sojourning across the field they hear shots ring out. Shots very close to them. Theo takes off to check things out and she finds their host Reginald Doyle, bleeding to death in the neighbor’s lavender field. By the time the ambulance arrives there is nothing they can do to save the man.

Reginald’s wife Meredith is distraught and begs Theo and Dayton to stay the night and they can’t refuse. In the middle of the night, Theo wakes up to find the mansion on fire and rushes to clear everyone out of the house. Not trusting the local Sheriff Meredith asks Theodosia to investigate too.

Shortly thereafter, Theo surprising meets Reginald’s daughter-in-law not far from Drayton’s house and she is clearly not herself. She then learns the young woman went missing shortly after their meeting. She was out on her husband’s sailboat and is thought to have drowned and the Coast Guard is searching for her body. Theo starts pressing harder in her investigation ruffling more than a few feathers.


What an awesome story! It starts with a bang and ends with a crash!! Loved it!

All the characters we love are back. Theo, Drayton, Haley, Riley, Miss Dimple, Detective Tidwell and of course Earl Grey fill these pages with drama, laughter, Southern charm, and some exciting action too. This is the 21st book in this series and these characters still are fresh and continue to evolve in fantastic ways. Theo never disappoints as she gets down and dirty smack dab in the middle of another murder investigation. Riley tries to reel her in but that is near impossible. Haley and Mrs. Dimple take care of the Indigo Tea Shop while Theo and Drayton chase down leads. But Theo is still front and center for all the special tea events put on at the shop, like the Lavender Lady Tea. She keeps her ears wide open because you never know who will provide a clue that catapults the case forward.

Ms. Childs has not only created a great group of core characters but she introduces a stellar group of new characters to fit this story. Most are suspects but they are all interesting in their own way. She describes them so vividly they are so easy to visualize.

The author’s vivid descriptions also bring each scene clearly into focus, from the field of lavender, the Doyle Mansion, Drayton’s home and Theo’s, which is undergoing a kitchen renovation, to the tea shop itself with each type of china, silverware, and candlestick used. The descriptions of the scones, soups, and sandwiches will make your mouth water. Ms. Childs has perfected the way to bring each scene alive, never going overboard or getting too wordy.

The mystery builds to a fast-pace with a plethora of suspects. Twists, turns, red herrings, this story has it all. Theo is so smart and thinks on her feet. She has so much experience she knows a crime scene must be protected. I was afraid this time she may have had to get physical to protect that scene. Talk about physical the ending had me breathing hard, my blood pressure rising and me sitting right up at the end of my seat.

Amongst this cozy mystery is all kinds of tidbits of information. I love lavender and have a spray I use on my pillow each night that helps me sleep like a baby. I loved all the lavender facts scattered through this book, I would love to live near a field of lavender. Readers are also treated to tea time tips, Drayton is a very knowledgeable tea sommelier and very creative with his blends. There are more tea tips at the end of the book along with several recipes for food served in the story.

I loved everything about this story. It is one of the best books I have read this year! It is so worth a Paradise Rating.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Laura Childs

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

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

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

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

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

Laura’s Links: Website – Facebook – 

Purchase Links

Amazon   B&N  Kobo   Google Play  IndieBound

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Great Escapes Praise for Lavender Blue Murder (A Tea Shop Mystery)
by Laura Childs

Lavender Blue Murder is an enchanting cozy mystery with a weeping widow, a surplus of suspects, tasty tea, loads of lavender, blaring bagpipes, and a spooky séance.
~The Avid Reader

The mystery was engaging and fun, oh and the teas and recipes! Oh my! I think I look forward to the recipes as much as I do the mysteries.
~A Chick Who Reads

Phew this was a humdinger of a story with a plethora of potential suspects for Theo and Drayton to deal with!
~A Wytch’s Book Review Blog

. . . a fun mystery that will have you guessing who did it mixed in between the tea and goodies. Makes for a great read. I totally loved it so I give it 5/5 stars.
~Books a Plenty Book Reviews

As always Laura does a good job of making you feel a part of the story. She also likes to put in just enough twists to keep you guessing until the end.
~A. Holland Reads

Lavender Blue Murder starts out with a bang, quite literally! . . . The mystery was intriguing and well planned, and there are lots of suspects to keep you second-guessing if you think you have it all figured out.
~The Book’s the Thing

LAVENDER BLUE MURDER is an intricately plotted mystery imbued with Southern grace, exemplary food, and fine tea. Sit back with a lavender scone and a cup of steaming Asaam and prepare for a delightful read.
~Cozy Up With Kathy

The writing pace is calming (in spite of the murder lol) and engaging, and you just want to immerse yourself into this world for a while. Especially if it involves lunch at the tea shop (hold the tea… sorry, Drayton) and the yummy food there!
~Reading Is My SuperPower

As I neared the end of this delightful collection of locale, character, and tastiness, I realized that I didn’t expect something different in this release. I expected my Indigo friends, familiar shop chatter, local characters, comfortable teatime, and an all-around good story. Just like all the others in this series. So settle in​ and expect both​.
~The Editing Pen

TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please visit all the stops.
March 2 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW
March 2 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW
March 3 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW
March 4 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
March 4 – My Journey Back – REVIEW (Coming Soon)
March 5 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – GUEST POST
March 5 – A Holland Reads – REVIEW
March 6 – I’m All About Books-SPOTLIGHT
March 6 – Here’s How It Happened – SPOTLIGHT
March 7 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW
March 8 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW
March 9 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW
March 9 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
March 10 – The Editing Pen – REVIEW
March 10 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – SPOTLIGHT
March 11 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT
March 12 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
March 13 – eBook Addicts – SPOTLIGHT
March 13 – The Book Diva’s Reads – GUEST POST
March 14 – Nadaness In Motion – REVIEW
March 14 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
March 15 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW
March 16 – I Read What You Write – GUEST POST
March 16 – This Is My Truth Now – SPOTLIGHT
March 17 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
March 17 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
March 18 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
March 19 – Laura`s Interests – REVIEW
March 19 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
March 20 – Cinnamon, Sugar, and a Little Bit of Murder – REVIEW
March 21 – Socrates Book Reviews – REVIEW

 

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

Posted in 2020 Reviews Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways Literary Escapes New Release Challenge Read The Printed Word Challenge What's In A Name Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday with Stephanie Cole – Author of Al Dente’s Inferno (A Tuscan Cooking School Mystery) #GuestPost / #Review / #Giveaway @BerkleyMystery


Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am delighted to welcome Stephanie Cole to Escape With Dollycas today!

My Inspiration for the Tuscan Cooking School Mystery Series

by Stephanie Cole
Post provided by Publicist

            For some people, inspiration happens in one single, gobsmacking moment when your imagination is positively alight with The Idea. In those five or ten seconds, your life appears to you in a different guise: suddenly you have better clothes, funnier jokes, the kind of memorable laugh that others will want to imitate. The inspired Idea has brilliance and gravitas. Your whole life has moved inexorably to this moment and will never be the same. You go from having had — when you really strip it down — a pretty good idea about something (say, why the hero is wearing a Mets cap), to suddenly seeing yourself as She Who is Inspired. A kind of permanent, enviable state.

Poor inspiration. We have such unrealistic hopes for it!

In my own writing life, inspiration happens in stages. Some part of an idea arrives, and I sit with it — or, as I go about mixing darks and whites for the laundry and trying to track down the smell in the fridge, it sits with me. A casual comment from someone may turn out to be the first piece. In the case of the Tuscan Cooking School Mystery Series, my agent, John Talbot, and I were having a beer together at Malice Domestic two years ago, after I’d been through a long stretch of failed proposals for mystery series. John up and said something along the lines of “Gee, I wish you could get back to something like the Italian Restaurant series.” (Note: I’m not sure about the “gee.”) A casual comment, right? But I felt something happen inside, a little thrill of what I called rightness. There was something right and exciting about what he said. Suddenly I had a direction for my next attempt to scale the publishing fortress.

stephanie cole al dentes inferno When I returned home, I had my next puzzle piece of information that sharpened the beginnings of The Idea. All I had was Italian cooking. What I needed was the premise. In my mind, I tracked cozy mysteries’ travels from the U.S.A. to the U.K. Cozies were going a bit transatlantic, weren’t they? Popular series set in Scotland and Ireland were cropping up. Ahh, said Inspiration in my ear, how long will it be before they jump the Channel and turn up in Europe? For once, I felt like I was absolutely on to something, and that I was ahead of the curve.

But where, where, where, to set a new cozy series set in Europe? It didn’t take me long to choose Italy. I’ve been, I’m going, I’ve got family there, I’ve read Donna Leon, and I like Italian cooking. It didn’t take long to choose. . .not Tuscany at first, oh no. Here’s an important point about inspiration: sometimes it isn’t.  My original premise: I would set the series on the Italian Riviera (a sentimental nod to my family) and my heroine/sleuth would own an olive estate.

Excited, I wrote up my new proposal, which included a series overview and sample chapters, and sent it off to John.

He and his partner, Gail Fortune, discussed it and got back to me with a key change that might make the difference between success and failure.  Another truth about inspiration? Sometimes it’s someone else’s. What they told me was this: Move it to Tuscany and make it a cooking school. And this simple shift in the premise felt like a thunderbolt to me. I knew instantly that they were right. I made the changes, moving the villa to Cortona, where Under the Tuscan Sun was set.

And Nell and Pete and Chef and Annamaria and her sisters who are Sisters welcomed me to the Villa Orlandini Cooking School. These characters were so clear and interesting to me. The final puzzle piece fell into place: It’s a cooking school at the villa of a world-renowned Chef, and its classes are designed for American gastrotourists (yes, it’s a word). Just think, in every book I have a delicious vanload of American foodies turning up at the villa to be either killed, suspected, or homicidally inclined.

A final observation about inspiration. It can start small, it can come to you in pieces and over time and even from someone else’s inspiration. It all counts because however, it arrives — even if it slams you with one single, gobsmacking Idea full of brilliance and gravitas — it sets you on the path of new work that can fill you with creative joy.

~Stephanie

Thank you, Stephanie, for visiting today. 

Keep reading for my thoughts about Al Dente’s Inferno. 

stephanie cole al dente inferno
Al Dente’s Inferno (A Tuscan Cooking School Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Italy
Publisher: Berkley (February 25, 2020)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 0593097793
ISBN-13: 978-0593097793
Kindle ASIN: B07TQKN23G

An American chef will have to serve up more than good eats if she wants to establish a successful farm-to-table cooking school in Tuscany, in this charming first installment in a new cozy mystery series set in Italy.

 

When Nell Valenti is offered a chance to move to Tuscany to help transform an aging villa into a farm-to-table cooking school, she eagerly accepts. After all, both her job and her love life in America have been feeling stale. Plus, she’ll get the chance to work under the acclaimed Italian Chef Claudio Orlandini.

 

But Nell gets more than she bargained for when she arrives. With only a day to go until the launch dinner for the cooking school, the villa is in shambles, and Chef O is blissfully oblivious of the work that needs to be done before a group of local dignitaries arrive, along with a filmmaker sent to showcase and advertise the new school. The situation only worsens when Nell discovers that the filmmaker is an ex-boyfriend, and he’s found murdered later that night. Even worse, Chef O has disappeared, and accusations of murder could shut the school down for good.

 

As tensions reach a boiling point at the villa, Nell must throw her chef’s hat into the ring, and investigate the murder herself. Because if she fails to solve the case, her career, or even her life, could be next on the chopping block.

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts

American chef Nell Valenti needs a break from her family, job, and love life in the States so she jumps at the chance to set up a farm-to-table cooking school in Tuscany. The icing on the cake is that she will be working alongside acclaimed Italian Chef Claudio Orlandini.

Her arrival is a little bumpy but she is finally picked up and transported to the villa where the cooking school will be located and where she will be staying. It is nowhere near what she imagined and clearly sees she has her work cut out of her. Sadly, she seems to be the only one that sees the disorder around them and all the repairs and renovation needed to fulfill the needs of a cooking school. Chef Claudio is so excited he has invited a group of dignitaries for a launch dinner. There is also a filmmaker coming to film the school to use in future advertising.

As the guests arrive Nell is shaken to her core. The filmmaker is her ex-boyfriend that she left back in America. The dinner is filled with fits and starts but after it breaks up, the filmmaker is found dead and Claudio is nowhere to be found.

Nell knows her history with the deceased could make her a prime suspect so she decides to investigate the murder herself. An American in the country for only a few days she does her best to find the killer because even with the school in disarray she needs the job and hopes to stay. That is if she survives.


Stephanie Cole has introduced some interesting characters in this story. Nell is a character I could grow to love. She sees she has a mountain to climb in turning an old rundown villa into a cooking school and she doesn’t run off at her first chance, especially when everyone else seems to be wearing rose-colored glasses when they look at the place.  She also hides her shock when meeting Chef Claudio Orlandini. Her hero certainly does not look or act as she expected. Nell becomes attached to the Chef’s son as he gives her the tour of Villa Orlandini, introduces her to all the staff, and translates as needed. They do make a good sleuthing team. We also meet the staff but the author has left plenty of room for growth for all the characters in future stories.

I loved the Tuscan Cooking School theme of the book/series but it is not without a couple of pitfalls.

Setting the series in Tuscany does present a language problem. Most of the characters are going to speak Italian as their first language which means the book is full of translations. This really messed with the flow for me. Sometimes the translations immediately followed in the text, other times we were on our own. I wished I was reading it on my Kindle instead of in paperback because I would have been able to highlight the words and have them quickly translated.

As with most first books in a new cozy series, a great deal of time is spent introducing the characters and setting the scenes for the story, so the mystery is not too complex. There were twists and turns but I figured it out pretty early. I did enjoy the way Nell took on the case.

Ms. Cole’s descriptive talents were on her full display as her words illustrated the villa and everyplace Nell went masterfully.

I did enjoy the liberal use of humor throughout the story. A couple of times I caught myself laughing out loud.

The food descriptions were fantastic too. I wish there had been more recipes at the back of the book. Italian dishes are my faves.

This story had good bones and with a few tweaks, I can see this being a long-running series. Nell and Chef O. are characters I want to get to know better. I also can’t wait to see Villa Orlandini become all it can be. I hope the author takes her time developing a romance for Nell although we can see where it is headed. Nell has enough on her plate without taking on another man. If the filmmaker, Buford Kaplan is the typical man she gets involved with, the girl needs a good long break. 🙂


Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

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


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.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

Leave a comment for the author for 5 Bonus Entries.

Follow Berkley Mystery on Twitter for 2 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 share the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End March 25, 2020, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

Posted in 2020 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Flashback Friday Giveaways Read The Printed Word Challenge TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – Broken Bone China (A Tea Shop Mystery) by Laura Childs #Review / #Giveaway @BerkleyMystery


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.


Broken Bone China (A Tea Shop Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
20th in Series
Setting – South Carolina
Berkley (March 5, 2019)
Hardcover: 336 pages
ISBN-10: 0451489632
ISBN-13: 978-0451489630
Digital ASIN: B07DMZPLWY

Theodosia Browning serves tea and solves crimes in Charleston, a city steeped in tradition and treachery in the latest Tea Shop Mystery from New York Times bestselling author Laura Childs.

 

It is Sunday afternoon, and Theodosia and Drayton are catering a formal tea at a hot-air balloon rally. The view aloft is not only stunning, they are also surrounded by a dozen other colorful hot-air balloons. But as the sky turns gray and the clouds start to boil up, a strange object zooms out of nowhere. It is a drone, and it appears to be buzzing around the balloons, checking them out.

 

As Theodosia and Drayton watch, the drone, hovering like some angry, mechanized insect, deliberately crashes into the balloon next to them. An enormous, fiery explosion erupts, and everyone watches in horror as the balloon plummets to the earth, killing all three of its passengers.

 

Sirens scream, first responders arrive, and Theodosia is interviewed by the police. During the interview she learns that one of the downed occupants was Don Kingsley, the CEO of a local software company, SyncSoft. Not only do the police suspect Kingsley as the primary target, they learn that he possessed a rare Revolutionary War Union Jack flag that several people were rabidly bidding on.

 

Intrigued, Theodosia begins her own investigation. Was it the CEO’s soon-to-be ex-wife, who is restoring an enormous mansion at no expense? The CEO’s personal assistant, who also functioned as curator of his prized collection of Americana? Two rival antiques’ dealers known for dirty dealing? Or was the killer the fiancée of one of Theodosia’s dear friends, who turns out to be an employee—and whistle-blower—at SyncSoft?

 
INCLUDES DELICIOUS RECIPES AND TEA TIME TIPS!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

The story opens with Theodosia and Drayton high in the air in a hot-air balloon. They were catering the rally and were gifted to fly in the air themselves. While enjoying the spectacular views and the other balloons the clouds start to roll in and Theo noticed a buzzing and then a strange object flying between the balloons. She soon realizes it is a drone. She doesn’t really get excited at first thinking it is carrying a camera taking pictures of the event. But then the drone crashes into the balloon right next to them. There is a huge explosion and as the rain starts to fall and so does the fiery balloon, crashing to the ground killing the three souls aboard.

Theo and Drayton’s balloon makes a hasty descent followed by a bumpy landing. Theo saw the whole thing and reports the drone’s deliberate attack. It is then she learns one of the people killed was Don Kingsley, the CEO of a local software company, SyncSoft. It later comes out that Kingsley is the owner of a rare Revolutionary War Union Jack flag that was recently part of a bidding war and is now missing. He was also in the process of divorcing his wife who had been spending tons of money to renovate a mansion to open it as a B&B.

After witnessing such a tragic event, Theodosia is driven to distraction. Even though she is warned to leave the case to the police she just can’t stop herself from investigating the deaths herself, pulling Drayton along with her. It doesn’t help that the prime suspect is the fiancée of one of her friends and the evidence is piling up.

____

Wow, this is the 20th Tea Shop Mystery and the author always delivers a fresh and exciting mystery. I mean a drone taking down a hot air balloon, that catches a reader’s attention and the investigation keeps it until the last page.

What makes these stories great is the wonderful cast of characters and the Indigo Tea Shop where everyone seems to gather to pick up their morning tea and scones, or stop by for a lunch of soup and sandwiches or the fantastic tea events that are held there several times a week. The Nancy Drew Tea is one I wish I had been able to attend. While Theo and Drayton venture out to sleuth, most of the key figures find their way to the tea shop eventually and some are there numerous times. Ms. Childs’ descriptive talents really bring time, place, and people to life.

I found the historical information about the Union Jack flag was very interesting. It was a unique element playing a big part in a mystery that was full of twists and turns. Theodosia has built a reputation for solving crimes before the police so expectations are always high and she doesn’t let us down.

The author plots her stories so well and truly fills them with Southern charm. They are perfectly paced and flow so well they are almost impossible to put down. I read this one incredibly fast and totally enjoyed every page.

Broken Bone China is a delightful addition to this long-running series. If you’re not already of fan of this series the author always provides plenty of background so you can jump in the series at any time. Of course, I recommend you read them all 😀

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

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

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

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

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

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

Laura’s Links:   Website – Facebook 

 

Thanks to the people at Berkley I have 1 copy of Broken Bone China 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.

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

Contest Will End March 13, 2020, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

Laura Childs will be touring with Great Escapes Book Tours in March!

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

Posted in 2020 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Alphabet Soup A -Z Author Edition Challenge Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Flashback Friday Giveaways Read The Printed Word Challenge TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – Plum Tea Crazy (A Tea Shop Mystery) by Laura Childs #Review / #Giveaway @BerkleyMystery


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.
plum tea crazy
Plum Tea Crazy (A Tea Shop Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
19th in Series
Setting – South Carolina
Publisher: Berkley (March 6, 2018)
Hardcover: 336 pages
ISBN-10: 9780451489609
ISBN-13: 978-0451489609
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 0451489616
ISBN-13: 978-0451489616
Kindle ASIN: B071K4DPRH

Theodosia Browning investigates a Charleston steeped in tradition and treachery in Plum Tea Crazy from New York Times bestselling author Laura Childs.

 

While viewing the harbor’s Gaslights and Galleons Parade from the widow’s walk of Timothy Neville’s Charleston mansion, local banker Carson Lanier seemingly tumbles over a narrow railing, then plunges three stories to his death. But a tragic accident becomes something much more sinister when it’s discovered that the victim was first shot with a bolt from a crossbow.

 

At the request of the mansion owner, Theodosia investigates the tragedy and is soon neck deep in suspects. An almost ex-wife, a coworker, a real estate partner–all had motives for killing the luckless banker, but one resorted to murder to settle accounts.

 

INCLUDES DELICIOUS RECIPES AND TEA TIME TIPS!

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

Theodosia “Theo” Browning is enjoying the Gaslights and Galleons Parade with her friend/employee/tea sommelier Drayton Connelly. They are getting a bird’s eye view up on the widow’s walk of Timothy Neville’s Charleston mansion. There is a ruckus when local banker Carson Lanier falls over the railing finally dying when his body is impaled on the top of a fence below. All the watchers hurry to the grounds and due to some keen observation, Theo sees the fall wasn’t an accident, it was caused by the man being shot by a bolt from a crossbow.

Knowing Theo’s reputation, Timothy Neville asks that she investigate the death. Many suspects quickly come to light. With the assistance of Drayton, they try to winnow down that list and identify who killed Lanier. They also have a lot of tea to serve in the coming days but Theo juggles everything like a pro.

_____

I had gotten behind on this series and with the new one set to be released March 3, I knew it was time to get caught up with the two on my shelf.

The Indigo Tea Shop is one of those great cozy places. This time along with the daily business, the place has many events coming up – a black-tie affair, a fashion show, a Japanese art gallery opening, and a Plum Blossom Tea. I really love all the teas Drayton creates and all the delicious treats  Haley bakes up. (Some of the recipes are included at the end of the book.) Even with all this going on Theo has murder in her own crosshairs. When Detective Tidwell shockingly asks for help she is thrilled and jumps right in. Her boyfriend, Detective Pete Riley is far from thrilled.

Ms. Childs creates diverse and memorable characters. Theo, Drayton, and Haley are engaging and fun. The dialogues are crisp and sometimes pretty funny. I really enjoy the banter between them. The supporting cast is top-notch too. They all are realistic and believable.  The suspects have layers that are peeled away throughout the story. Every character is thoughtfully developed.

The murder occurs early in the story and the drama continues at a constant pace making this book almost impossible to put down. I read into the early morning, playing that “just one more chapter” game until my eyes were slamming shut. Thankfully the next day was Saturday so after a few chores, I could get back to it. It was very entertaining to follow along with Theo and all involved in the sleuthing. There were some scary moments but Theo was on a mission . . . and so was I. I was just a few steps ahead of her . . . and Yes! I was right.

Laura Childs is a phenomenal storyteller. Plum Tea Crazy was well-plotted and written. Ms. Childs brings Charleston to life with spot-on descriptions. Her characters practically leap off the page. She also gives plenty of background for new readers, so don’t be afraid to jump into this series.  I will be reading and reviewing Broken Bone China soon. It is yelling at me from my To-Be-Read shelf. Then I will be ready when Lavender Blue Murder debuts.



Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

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

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

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

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

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

Laura’s Links:   Website – Facebook 

 

Thanks to the people at Berkley I have 1 copy of Plum Tea Crazy 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.

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

Contest Will End February 27, 2020, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

Laura Childs will be touring with Great Escapes Book Tours in March!

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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Posted in 2020 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Literary Escapes Read The Printed Word Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

The Great Iowa Caucus Casserole Mystery: A Cozy Potluck Paradise Cafe Mystery by Rae Katherine Eighmey #Review / #Giveaway

The Great Iowa Caucus Casserole Mystery:
A Cozy Potluck Paradise Cafe Mystery
by Rae Katherine Eighmey

About The Great Iowa Caucus Casserole Mystery

The Great Iowa Caucus Casserole Mystery:
A Cozy Potluck Paradise Cafe Mystery

Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Iowa
Publisher: Independently published (October 31, 2019)
Paperback: 160 pages
ISBN-10: 170047538X
ISBN-13: 978-1700475381
Digital ASIN: B07ZTSMP5S

The Iowa Presidential Caucus is a casserole of finest ingredients—policy ideas, active candidates, determined local politicians dedicated political activists, and hard-working Iowans. Every four years citizens across the state meet to hash out their differences and make a selection. Seldom is one candidate an overwhelming caucus choice. Instead, several winning candidates combine into a single dish of patriotic participation, ready to share with the rest of the nation.

In Lake Livonia, with holiday season fast approaching and the Iowa Presidential Caucus soon to follow, Susan Stewart’s fledgling Potluck Paradise Cafe is humming with the creation of new and delicious dishes to please the appetites of her community.

But then, a mysterious note included in a Christmas card from her friend and mentor, Hazel Romer, who skipped town in the middle of a July night, raises important questions. What was the skeleton in Hazel’s closet that caused her to run away from the town she loved? And why had she left the restaurant to Susan?

When a blizzard traps strangers in town overnight, the stage is set for a series of life-changing events for Susan, her teenaged children, and her friends, as the Presidential Caucus brings Iowa and Lake Livonia into national prominence.

With 30 Family and Potluck Pleasing recipes for main dishes, vegetables and desserts.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

A very timely read and things go much smoother than real life. 🙂

I really loved this book and the way Lake Livonia was educated about the caucus system. The cold winter in Iowa can really get a person down but the people of Potluck Paradise Cafe come up with a great idea for several community events. Meanwhile, we learn why the previous owner of the cafe left town and left her business to Susan Stewart.

The author introduces us to a nice group of characters. We met several residents of Lake Livonia and a few visitors who live elsewhere but spend quite of bit of time in the town. We also meet representatives from both parties who are in town to prepare for the caucus. All the characters have surprising depth for a novella.

Ms. Eighmey delivers up an untraditional cozy mystery, that was interesting and refreshing. The story is only about half of the book so it unfolds at a quick pace and is easy to read in one evening. The rest of the book is filled with 30 recipes for everything from cookies to Polar Vortex Potato Pie.

The Great Iowa Caucus Casserole Mystery addresses a political process in a totally unbiased way. I found it to be entertaining and informative. The characters are some I would be delighted to visit with again. The recipes are great too.

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About Rae Katherine Eighmey

Rae Katherine Eighmey is an award-winning author and cook with blue ribbons from both the Iowa and Minnesota State Fair cooking contests. She is the author of a dozen books about food and history including Abraham Lincoln in the Kitchen and Stirring the Pot with Benjamin Franklin.

She has written two other novels. Current events inspired this cozy mystery. A north Iowa resident, she is familiar with the Iowa presidential caucus and wanted to tell the tale of the caucus through the friendly story of three strong women who meet challenges in their lives and cook great food.

Purchase Link – Amazon

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Praise for The Great Iowa Caucus Casserole Mystery:
A Cozy Potluck Paradise Cafe Mystery
by Rae Katherine Eighmey

The Great Iowa Caucus Casserole Mystery by Rae Katherine Eighmey is a quick and fun read for several reasons. There is a “puzzle” mystery right off; the main characters are likable and real; the whole Iowa Caucus event is very interesting to learn about, and the recipes….
~Here’s How It Happened

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

Posted in 2020 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Alphabet Soup A -Z Author Edition Challenge Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Literary Escapes New Release Challenge Read The Printed Word Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday featuring A Field Guide to Homicide (A Cat Latimer Mystery) by Lynn Cahoon – #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @LynnCahoon @KensingtonBooks


Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am delighted to feature A Field Guide to Homicide today!

About A Field Guide To Homicide

field guide to homicide

A Field Guide to Homicide (A Cat Latimer Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Setting – Colorado
Publisher: Kensington (January 28, 2020)
Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN-10: 149671685X
ISBN-13: 978-1496716859
Digital ASIN: B07R9SXCQ8

Cat Latimer and her writer’s retreat group go on a hiking trip—but a murderer has been lurking off the beaten path . . .

Cat’s sweetheart, Seth, is going all out on an outing into the local mountains—for the benefit of the writing group Cat’s hosting at her Colorado B&B. But when they try to identify some plant and animal life, they find death instead. The body belongs to a man with a gold claim a few miles away. Instead of striking it rich, he’s been struck down.

To his surprise, Seth recognizes the victim from his military days—and up to now believed he’d already died during his last tour of duty. Now Cat has to solve this mystery before the killer takes a hike . . .”

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

It’s time for another retreat at Cat Latimer’s B&B, Aspen Hills Warm Springs Resort. This group is unique because along with the student from the local college, the other writers are two couples. Seth has planned a special hiking trip for the group complete with field guides to identify flora and fauna. Not long after the hike begins they come across something not covered in Seth’s guide . . . a dead body. A body Seth recognizes. A man he thought had died in Germany during his last tour of duty. He is shocked to learn his friend had been living nearby with a gold claim. With this happening right before a planned reunion of his military friends they all become suspects. Now Cat with some assistance of Uncle Pete’s Gal Pal Retired Alaska Deputy Shirley will do her best to end this killer’s story without ending hers.

_____

This was a rich story with many facets. The main mystery puts Seth and Cat a bit at odds. A friend he thought was dead was really alive and living nearby. Now someone killed him and he can’t believe any of his platoon could be involved. There has to be another explanation. His military life is not something Seth speaks about, so Cat feels she needs to tread lightly. Ms. Cahoon threads a needle releasing clues carefully, and issues the twists precisely. Seth shielded his friends so Cat had to dig into the victim in other ways making this investigation unique. I really enjoyed the way the entire story was plotted and the way it played out.

Lynn Cahoon has created such a strong group of core characters. Cat, Shauna, Seth, Uncle Pete and now Shirley can be added to the mix. I thought we had gotten to know them pretty well over the series so far, but this time readers get more information about Cat and Seth’s relationship at the end of high school and how it all fell apart. Cat learns some things she didn’t know. I loved how this was written and that Seth was featured. It makes the characters even more relatable. Shauna also revealed more about her family this time too. It really shows me we are just scratching the surface of these characters.

Readers are also introduced to a group of retreat writers. Two married couples, Sydney and her husband Tristin write a travel blog, Jocelyn, and her husband Josh, also frequent travelers, write western historical fiction. They are joined by college student Brodie Capone. The two couples become fast friends taking the retreat in a direction Cat never expected. Brodie grows over the course of the story too.

As always the location adds to the story. Trekking the trails more than once was fun and while moving the investigation forward, one of the characters was so delighted by what he saw is brought a huge smile to my face.

In A Field Guide to Homicide, the author sets a perfect pace, each page pulling you deeper into the story. A writer’s retreat, a dead body, an Army reunion, and many secrets all come together to make one heck of a story. The ending was just awesome.

This entire series is great. Treat yourself to the whole bunch.

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You can read my review of A Story to Kill here and my review of Fatality by Firelight here,
my review for Of Murder and Men here and my review of Slay in Character here
and my review of Sconed to Death here.

About Lynn Cahoon

Lynn Cahoon is the award-winning author of several New York Times and USA Today bestselling cozy mystery series. The Tourist Trap series is set in central coastal California with six holiday novellas releasing in 2018–2019. She also pens the Cat Latimer series available in mass market paperback. Her newest series, the Farm to Fork mystery series, debuted in 2018. She lives in a small town like the ones she loves to write about with her husband and two fur babies. Sign up for her newsletter at www.lynncahoon.com.

She lives in a small town like the ones she loves to write about with her husband and two fur babies.

Author Links –  Goodreads – Twitter – Facebook –  Amazon author page –  Website 

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

 

Also by Lynn Cahoon


field guide to homicide
Praise for A Field Guide to Homicide (A Cat Latimer Mystery)
by Lynn Cahoon

The sub-plots shined in this book, so I was glad to see a different style. The personal lives of all the main characters also move forward in various ways, which made me happy.
~This Is My Truth Now

A Field Guide to Homicide has a calamitous climb, a solitary stiff, a selfish sibling, a wistful writer, scrumptious cuisine, and a perplexing puzzle.
~The Avid Reader

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

Posted in 2020 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Alphabet Soup A -Z Author Edition Challenge Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways New Release Challenge Purrfect Reading Challenge Read The Printed Word Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

A View to a Kilt (Liss MacCrimmon Mystery) by Kaitlyn Dunnett #Review / #Giveaway @KensingtonBooks


A View to a Kilt (Liss MacCrimmon Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
13th in Series
Setting – Maine
Publisher: Kensington (January 28, 2020)
Hardcover: 288 pages
ISBN-10: 149671265X
ISBN-13: 978-1496712653
Kindle ASIN: B07R8QR5FV

A series of blizzards have kept tourists away from Moosetookalook, Maine, and shoppers out of Liss MacCrimmon’s Scottish Emporium. But as warmer weather brings promises of tartan sales and new faces, melting snow reveals cold-blooded murder . . .

Liss has suddenly found herself in charge of the March Madness Mud Season Sale, a town-wide celebration created to boost the local economy during the slushy weeks of early spring. With businesses ailing after a rough winter, the pressure is on to make this year’s effort the can’t-miss-event of the season. But before Liss can get her hands dirty, her husband makes a horrifying discovery. There’s a dead man on their property, and he didn’t die of natural causes . . .

Stunned by the murder mystery developing in her own backyard, Liss receives another shock. The victim is identified as Charlie MacCrimmon, an uncle believed to have died eleven years before Liss was born. No one has seen or heard from Charlie since he went off to fight in Vietnam. What secrets could he have been hiding for so many years, and who would want to kill a man long thought to be dead?

Enlisting the help of her family, Liss uncovers more questions than answers as she delves into her uncle’s murky past. One thing is clear—before he met his end, Uncle Charlie was desperately trying to warn her about something sinister. And unless Liss can soon track down a maniacal criminal as elusive as the Loch Ness Monster, she just might be the next MacCrimmon to disappear . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

We arrive in Moosetookalook, Maine just before the March Madness Mud Season Sale. Our protagonist Liss MacCrimmon of MacCrimmon’s Scottish Emporium is in charge of this year’s event. With many details to iron out, she knows she is going to busy. When her husband finds, or I should say Scotties, Dandy, and Dondi find a dead body in the backyard,  a body who is soon identified as Charlie MacCrimmon, an uncle who was thought to have died serving in the Vietnam war, Liss knows she is going to be way beyond busy. Where had he been all these years? Why did he come back to Moosetookalook now? Liss and her family try to answer these questions, plus another, Who killed Charlie MacCrimmon?

I love the idea of a long lost uncle. Sadly Liss never got to meet him but her mother is determined that she will find his killer, in fact, dragging her all the way to Florida to uncover the man’s past. Liss is strong and smart but her mother Vi is a force to be reckoned with. Both in solving the mystery and inserting her own event into the March Madness Mud Season Event. This being only the 3rd book in the series I have read I am still learning the family dynamics but I am glad to see these two women get closer. All the other supporting characters are well-developed too. The dialogues are crisp and realistic. This series would be the same without the pets, Scotties, Dandy and Dondi, and Glenora the cat. They always bring a smile to my face.

I was totally caught up in the mystery and the reason Charlie MacCrimmon came back to Maine when he did. I don’t want to give anything away but I was impressed the issue really involved the entire community. It included several twists and a moment that could have gone totally wrong. The author has laid out a very believable plot that kept me glued to the pages.

As a Wisconsinite, it is easy to identify with the muddy or not so muddy March weather. What a fun idea to celebrate the terrain left after the snow melts away. The events sounded like a lot of fun. Who doesn’t love slipping and sliding around with a group of neighbors and friends?

My one critique is that I am sorry that Liss is not happy running the family store and is thinking about just handling online sales. I hope she reconsiders, as in real life though many shops like this one are closing. I hope she can buck the trend and find joy in running the Scottish Emporium for a long time. I just love the word Emporium 🙂

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About Kaitlyn Dunnett


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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.”