Posted in 2021 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Alphabet Soup A -Z Author Edition Challenge Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways New Release Challenge Read The Printed Word Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday featuring Farm to Trouble (Farm to Table Mysteries) by Amanda Flower #Review / #Giveaway @aflowerwriter

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am so happy to share my thoughts about Farm to Trouble by Amanda Flower today! 


Farm to Trouble (Farm to Table Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Michigan
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press (February 23, 2021)
Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN-10: 1492699918
ISBN-13: 978-1492699910
Kindle ASIN: B089N1KFLV

Coming home to a run-down farm, gossipy neighbors, and a shady investor is a lot to handle… but a murderer on the loose is the final straw!

Shiloh Bellamy cashed in her big city job and 401K to return home to Michigan to save the family farm, but turning Bellamy Farms into a sustainable, organic operation—complete with a farm-to-table café—is no small feat. Especially when her new investor is found dead among the flowers just hours after the contract is signed. Everyone knows her father had a grudge against the investor, and word travels fast in a small town…

Now, Shiloh must clear her family’s name and track down the real killer before her organic farm dreams wilt before her very eyes. But with her father trying to stop any progress on his land, her cousin belittling her every effort, the farmhouse falling down around her, and the whole town believing her family at fault, Shiloh’s small-town troubles are growing much faster than her crops. She’ll have to trust her own investigation or risk all her dreams drying up before they begin.

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

After a traumatic event, Shiloh Bellamy hit the road for California landing herself a dream job. A job that enabled her to send money home to keep the family farm afloat. But her father’s health is failing and so is the farm so she heads home to Michigan with high hopes of making Bellamy Farms a totally organic operation. She also plans to add a farm-to-table café to increase the farm’s bottom line.  She knows to enact her plans she is going to need an influx of cash so she makes a contract with an investor right there in her hometown. When she arrives home she sees the farm is in much worse shape than she thought and her father is outraged to find out his daughter has agreed to take money from Jefferson Crocker.

The next day Shiloh arrives at the local farmer’s market to meet with her new investor but when she finds him she knows there will be no meeting. The man has been murdered and thanks to a loudmouth vendor almost everyone believes Shiloh is a cold-blooded killer. Others believe her father committed the crime. So now Shiloh has her work cut out for her. Her investor is dead, the farm still needs to be revived and now she has to find a killer to clear her dad and herself of murder.


Amanda Flower is a prolific cozy author who never disappoints. As soon as I heard about this series I booked a date on my calendar for Farm to Trouble. In this new series, we meet Shiloh Bellamy, her father, Sully, her cousin Stacey, her lovable pug, Huckleberry, along with assorted neighbors, friends, and other residents of Cherry Glen. While she has passed we also hear plenty about Shiloh’s grandmother. She was a hard-working woman who kept her family on track. She left behind quite a legacy as Shiloh recalls several times things her grandmother said and did. The author took her time and allowed her characters to develop over the course of the story while leaving plenty of room to grow as the series continues.

Ms. Flower captured the attitudes of small-town life perfectly. The cliques, the mean girls, the gossips, the hoity-toity, but a couple of good souls as well. Cherry Glen is a typical midwest town striving to find its footing in the progressing world. Change isn’t easy and many Cherry Glen residents are doing their best to avoid it.

The mystery was very well done featuring a victim who had plenty of enemies. The man liked flexing his financial muscles without a care about the people he left in his wake. Shiloh and Sully just happened to be his current mark. Being gone for so many years made it hard for Shiloh to know who to trust and she didn’t receive a hardy welcome home from many people but she still delves into an investigation to catch a killer. I was totally spinning my wheels until the actual guilty party was revealed. I at least had the person on my list but they were nowhere near the top. Ms. Flower penned a story with excellent twists. I did question some of Shiloh’s behavior with so much on the line but every person has their own way of processing actions and information.

Farm to Trouble has set this series off to a marvelous start. All the mysteries exposed within the book are not wrapped up by the final page. I am really looking forward to Shiloh solving the puzzle her grandmother left behind. I also feel there are some other things Shiloh needs to deal with from her past so she can truly move forward.

Ms. Flower has planted some wonderful seeds that I project will bloom into a very entertaining series. The story has a real true-to-life feel. There is some real family drama and there is a lot of hard work ahead for Shiloh to get close to realizing her dream plans. I think it is going to be very interesting to see the paths the author sets for these characters.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

 

About the Author

Amanda Flower, a USA Today bestselling and Agatha Award-winning author of over twenty-five cozy mystery novels, 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. In addition to being an author, Amanda is a former librarian with fifteen years of experience in Northeast Ohio.

Author Links:

Website  Pen Name Website     Facebook    Twitter    Goodreads    Pinterest

 

Also by Amanda Flower


Coming April 27, 2021




Amish Quilt Shop Mystery Series (writing as Isabella Alan)
I am giving away my review copy!

The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

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

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End March 10, 2021, 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 2021 Reviews Cloak and Dagger Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways Literary Escapes Read The Printed Word Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – The Cupid Caper (A Finley Goodhart Crime Caper) by Larissa Reinhart #Review / #Giveaway

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


The Cupid Caper (A Finley Goodhart Crime Caper)
Sassy Southern Suspense
Setting – Georgia
Publisher: Past Perfect Press (April 16, 2018)
Paperback: 286 pages
ISBN-10: 0998548499
ISBN-13: 978-0998548494
Kindle ASIN: B07C12W8WB

She uses her criminal past to catch crooks. He wants her back. In the grift. And in his life. Can Finley Goodhart convince Lex that doing good is the greatest hustle of all?

Ex-grifter Finley Goodhart may try to stay on the straight and narrow, but walking that thin line becomes wobbly when she believes her friend Penny was murdered. The last thing she wants is to work with her ex-partner (and ex-boyfriend), the brilliant (brilliantly frustrating) British con artist, Lex Leopold. However, when it appears Penny’s demise might be related to an exclusive matchmaking service for millionaires, Fin needs Lex’s help to pull a long con to get the goods on Penny.

Romance is in the air for hustlers, gangsters, and their marks. Unfortunately for Fin and Lex, infiltrating the racket doesn’t make for a match made in heaven. This Valentine swindle could stop their hearts for good.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Finley Goodhart has lived an interesting life as a con artist/hustler who really wants to leave that life behind but when she learns her fellow con artist/friend Penny Forbes has died she knows there is much more to the story. There is no way her death went down as reported. Fin knows Penny was murdered and she is going to find out who did it and why. Teaming up with her ex-partner/boyfriend Lex Leopold and all the entourage he brings may be the only way to get Penny justice. Her first lead ties Penny to an exclusive matchmaking service and she is hoping she and Lex can figure out the scheme they were running to get Penny killed and just maybe avenge her death.

_____

The Cupid Caper is a complicated story with a lot of moving parts and players. At times I thought a scorecard would be helpful to keep everyone straight. Fin and Lex donned different personas throughout the book to access different groups and places and traveled the entire Atlanta Georgia area as they tried to piece together what happened to Penny and who was responsible for her death. An elaborate sting is constructed to take down the believed responsible party/s but nothing is straight forward and there are several epic twists before we reach the final page. Not everything is nicely wrapped by the end leaving an opening for future books featuring Finley Goodhart.

Ms. Reinhart has created unique and interesting characters. Finley really has no idea who she can trust.  Lex wants Finley back in his life in a permanent meaningful way and he is hard to resist. Through them, readers are introduced to the elite and members of the Atlanta underworld. Some were downright creepy, all were flawed and all were compelling.

The Cupid Caper is a gritty suspense-filled story with several cat and mouse escapades taking readers on a wild ride. I enjoyed reading it very much. I am surprised the author hasn’t released more books with these intriguing characters but it looks there may be sequels in the works.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

Visit Larissa’s website to join her VIP Readers email group and get the free prequel to The Cupid Caper plus other exclusive bonus content! www.larissareinhart.com

A Wall Street Journal bestselling author, Larissa writes the award-winning Cherry Tucker Mystery, Maizie Albright Star Detective, and Finley Goodhart Crime Caper series. She loves to tell funny stories about women, looking for love (and dead bodies) in all the wrong places.

Larissa, her family, and Cairn Terrier, Biscuit, lived in Nagoya, Japan, but have returned to Peachtree City, Georgia. You can see them on HGTV’s House Hunters International “Living for the Weekend in Nagoya” episode. Larissa loves books, food, and traveling with her family. You can often see her adventures on Instagram (and her little dog, too).

Social Media Links:

Website    VIP Readers:     Official Facebook    Facebook    Fan group     Bookbub    Goodreads    Pinterest


Finley Goodhart Crime Caper series:
Pig’N a Poke (for newsletter subscribers only)
THE CUPID CAPER
THE PONY PREDICAMENT
THE HEIR AFFAIR

The Cherry Tucker Mystery Series in reading order:

A CHRISTMAS QUICK SKETCH (prequel novella)
PORTRAIT OF A DEAD GUY
STILL LIFE IN BRUNSWICK STEW
HIJACK IN ABSTRACT
THE VIGILANTE VIGNETTE (Halloween novella)
DEATH IN PERSPECTIVE
THE BODY IN THE LANDSCAPE
A VIEW TO A CHILL
A COMPOSITION IN MURDER
A MOTHERLODE OF TROUBLE (in YEAR-LONG TROUBLE anthology)

The Maizie Albright Star Detective series in reading order:

15 MINUTES –First in series (15 MINUTES) is free during COVID. 

16 MILLIMETERS
NC-17
A VIEW TO A CHILL
17.5 CARTRIDGES IN A PEAR TREE
18 CALIBER (2020)
19 CRIMINALS (2021)

I am giving away 1 Kindle copy!
The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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 February 26, 2021, 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 2021 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Alphabet Soup A -Z Author Edition Challenge Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways Literary Escapes Read The Printed Word Challenge TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge Wisconsin Author Wisconsin Setting You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday – Deep Dark Secrets (Deep Lakes Cozy Mystery Series) by Joy Ann Ribar #Review / #Giveaway

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am pleased to share my thoughts about Deep Dark Secrets today by Wisconsin Author Joy Ann Ribar today!

Deep Dark Secrets (Deep Lakes Cozy Mystery Series)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Wisconsin
Publisher: Orange Hat Publishing (June 15, 2019)
Paperback: 328 pages
ISBN-10: 1645380343
ISBN-13: 978-1645380344
Kindle ASIN: B07YQ4CJM5

You’re invited to visit Deep Lakes, Wisconsin, and meet a new friend, Francine “Frankie” Champagne. The 40-something owner of Bubble and Bake — bakery by day, wine lounge by night — Frankie is a spitfire pastry maker, vintner, and budding journalist.

Frankie finds herself on the perimeter of a suspicious death that upends the peaceful winter slumber in Deep Lakes when the local pastor is found dead inside his fishing shanty on Lake Loki. Frankie sticks her curious nose into the investigation, despite warnings from the local sheriff to leave it alone. But she has something to prove, maybe to the newspaper editor who wouldn’t hire her as a reporter, maybe to herself as she searches for fulfillment. Regardless, her fierce independence won’t allow her to back down. Follow Frankie as she stumbles upon one discovery after another, trails potential suspects, and solves the case!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Welcome to the frozen tundra of Wisconsin where the lakes like Lake Loki are filled with ice fishing shanties and fundraisers, where cars are set on the ice and people guess when the lake will thaw enough to send the car to a watery grave. Unfortunately, a local pastor is the one being buried when he is found dead in his ice shanty covered in blood. Francine “Frankie” Champagne the owner of Bubble and Bake — bakery by day, wine lounge by night, inserts herself right in the middle of the investigation to get the scoop for a newspaper article she hopes to write. Short on clues, she just keeps digging until she breaks through the ice and uncovers some deep, dark, secrets and all the clues fall into place.


Frankie Champagne has a lot on her plate. Baking, wine-making, and bottling that wine, managing the Bubble and Bake, divorced with two daughters in college, a new romance or two on the horizon, all while trying to follow her dream of becoming a newspaper journalist.  Thankfully she has her best friend Carmen as a partner at the Bubble and Bake and a lot of good help, including her mother, because she is bound and determined to find out who killed the pastor and why. I liked Frankie but the woman is in non-stop motion. For me, it was almost too much as she traveled across a lot of Wisconsin and even to Iowa in her quest to solve the murder.  All the characters we meet, and there are a lot, are very fleshed out for the first book in a series.

The mystery itself was not quite as forthcoming. Yes, there are secrets and while the innuendo about the pastor was there, I wished the suspects had been more clearly spelled out. Frankie talks to several people but I never was able to form a real list or eliminate people as I usually do with a cozy mystery. It was a journey from having the method of death explained clearly to Frankie taking some risks until the final reveal. I did like that we did get to read Frankie’s article at the end, it wrapped the mystery up nicely.

Deep Dark Secrets has some good bones and is a nice start for this series. There are a few things I feel could have been omitted or pared down to help the story flow better. It had first in a series -itis, where the author has to introduce the characters and the setting along with a good mystery to hold our interest. The author does this satisfactorily but sometimes less detail is more conducive to a successful introduction.  As a Wisconite like the author, I can say she described the state very well and made Deep Lakes a place I would love to visit. The characters are engaging and I am looking forward to seeing where the author takes them next. Deep Bitter Roots us already downloaded to my Kindle. I hope to be reading and reviewing it soon.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author (from Amazon)

Joy Ann Ribar is a Wisconsin native who embraces her Scandinavian roots – wine-tasting and food-munching from every culture. A semi-retired English educator, Joy teaches writing classes at Madison College. She earned a Journalism degree from UW-Madison and a Master’s in Education from UW-Oshkosh. She and her husband, John, run a backyard buffet for winged creatures, plus the occasional furry critter. Someday, they plan to sell everything, buy an RV, and escape Wisconsin winters.

WebsiteFacebookInstagram 


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 January 20, 2021, 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 author. 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 Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Alphabet Soup A -Z Author Edition Challenge Challenges Cloak and Dagger Challenge Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Finish The Series Challenge Literary Escapes Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge New Release Challenge Purrfect Reading Challenge Read The Printed Word Challenge TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge What's In A Name Challenge Wisconsin Author Wisconsin Setting You Read How Many Books Challenge

2020 Reading Challenges – Year End Wrap Up


2020 Reading Challenges – Year End Wrap Up

Breast Cancer and COVID 19 dealt some whammies to my reading and reading challenges in 2020.

I was able to complete my GoodReads Reading Challenge because it is the only challenge that allowed me to lower my goal. Something I did after my first week of chemotherapy when I realized my late-night reading would not be happening and that chemo brain would be setting in.

2020 Reading Challenge

2020 Reading Challenge
LORI has
read 162 books toward
her goal of
160 books.
hide

I was also able to complete the Purrfect Reading Challenge.

The Purrfect Reading Challenge 2020
Hosted by Socrates’ Book Reviews…

I am signing up at the Kneading – Read 11-20 cat mysteries 

    1. Hems & Homicide by Elizabeth Penney
      2.Careless Whiskers by Miranda James 
      3. Here Comes the Body by Maria DiRico
      4. Murder Makes Scents by Christin Brecher
      5. On The Lamb by Tina Kashian
      6. Mimi Lee Gets A Clue by Jennifer J. Chow
      7. Revenge is Sweet by Kaye George
      8. A Small Town Can Be Murder by Julie Seedorf
      9. This Magick Marmot by Sharon Pape
      10. Death and Daisies by Amanda Flower
      11. Six Cloves Under by Gin Jones
      12. Seas the Day by Maggie Toussaint
      13. Mousse and Murder by Elizabeth Logan
      14. A Deadly Inside Scoop by Abby Collette
      15. A Call for Kelp by Bree Baker
      16. The Key Lime Crime by Lucy Burdette
      17. Mistletoe, Moussaka, and Murder by Tina Kashian
      18. Mimi Lee Reads Between the Lines by Jennifer J. Chow
      19. Boston Scream Murder by Ginger Bolton
      20. Fishing for Trouble by Elizabeth Logan
      21. Wine Tastings Are Murder by Libby Klein

The Pick Your Poison Reading Challenge


Hosted by Take a walk down Gregory Road

This is a new challenge for me but looks like fun. I am signing up at the Baker’s Dozen Level with hopes of more. 

Baker’s Dozen  |  13 books
Choose one category from any 13 of the topics provided except for the wildcard books

 

DATE FINISHED CATEGORIES BOOK  (READ OR PLANNED)
1 Making Stuff Up
A book with the word “maker” in the title
A book featuring a fictional language
A book about crafts or handiwork Hems & Homicide by Elizabeth Penney
A book about lies
2 Dark Genres
A cult classic book
A dark fantasy book
A gothic horror book
A speculative fiction book
3 Seconds
A book you find in a second hand store
The second book by an author Dead Week by Kelly Brakenhoff
A book with a clock or stopwatch on the cover
A book about eating
4 Quick Decisions
A book based solely on the title or cover
A book you buy on impulse
A book by an author you always read The Book of Candlelight by Ellery Adams
A book about living with consequences
5 Birds Of A Feather
A book with a feather or wings on the cover
A book about differences
A book about community A Small Town Can Be Murder by Julie Seedorf
A book about twins
6 Where We Live
A book about an apartment building
A book with a mansion on the cover Murder at a Country Mansion by Louise R. Innes
A book about nomads
A book about moving to the country
7 Careers
A book written by a current/former journalist
A book about doctors/nurses/health care professionals The Antidote for Everything by Kimmery Martin
A book about a teacher
A book about blue collar workers
8 Body Parts
A book with feet on the cover
A book with “hand” in the title
A book about heads
A book with a nose on the cover
9 Reading Cliches
A book someone called a “page turner” The Request by David Bell
A “beach read”
A book by an author “everyone has read”
A “best seller” you’ve never heard of
# Music Genres
A book whose title could be a Country song
A book with “opera” in the title
A book whose cover makes you think about Heavy Metal
A book you think should have a Jazz soundtrack
# Recovery
A book about recovering from an accident or illness
A book about dealing with death In An Instant by Suzanne Redfearn
A book about a missing person
A book that has been re-issued with a new cover
# Next Door
A book with the word “neighbor” in the title
A book with binoculars on the cover
A book by a local author
A book about the creepy old house in the neighborhood
# Brought To You By The Letter N
A book with the word “novice” in the title
A book that takes place in a country that begins with N Netherlands – Death by Windmill by Jennifer S. Alderson
A book with the word “name” in the title
A book by an author whose name starts with N
# Inspirations
A book that inspires you to go for a walk
A book about improving self image
A book about a place you hope to visit this year
A book by or about a person you admire
# Diversity
A book by an author from a different culture
A book about gender identity
A folk/fairy tale retelling in a non-western setting
A book about a character with a disability
# Check Out Those Lists
A book from NPRs Top 100 Books list
A book from the NY Times Best Sellers list The Boy From The Woods by Harlan Coben
A book inspired by your shopping list this week
A book from a recommended list you find on the internet
# Singles
A story about a widow or widower
A book with a single word title
A standalone book
A book with a single figure on the cover Glitter, Glam, and Contraband by Heather Weidner 
# Animal Kingdom
An author whose name includes an animal (ie:CATherine)
A non-fiction book about animals
A book with a talking animal
A book with an animal on the cover Mimi Lee Gets A Clue by Jennifer J. Chow
# Hidden
A book with a mask on the cover
A book written by an author who uses a pseudonym Careless Whiskers by Miranda James
A book with the word “hidden” in the title
A book about a treasure hunt
# TBR Crushers
A book from your bookshelves you have to dust off
A book you’ve been meaning to read forever
Anything you want Cold Wind by Paige Shelton
The first book you see on your bookshelf
# Shorts
A book less than 100 pages Botched Butterscotch by Amanda Flower 
A book by an author with fewer than 10 letters in their name
A book with character being “towered over” on the cover
A book of short stories
# Movie Quotes
I see dead people. – a ghost story
I coulda been a contender. – a book about sports
There’s no place like home. – a book about going home
I’m not bad. I’m just drawn that way. – a graphic novel
# Places
A book with a place name in the title Death on the Danube by Jennifer S. Alderson
A book with a map on the cover
A book set in the mountains
A book about traveling
# Selfies
A memoir
A book written in first person
A book with a narcissistic character
A self improvement book
# How Old?
A book with obsolete technology on the cover
A contemporary book written by an author older than you
A book about your parents’ generation
A book written before you were born
# Reading Women
A non-fiction book about a famous woman
A book by a woman of color Paw and Order by V.M. Burns
A book with a kick-ass woman on the cover
A children’s book with a strong female lead
WILD- CARD BOOKS Wildcards
A manga book
A book that includes an ocean journey
A book about geeks
A book about Zodiac signs or astrology
A book that centers around a group of friends A Crime of a Different Stripe by Sally Goldenbaum

The 2020 New Release Challenge

2020 New Release Challenge
Hosted by (un)Conventional Bookworms

61-100 books per year – New Release Veteran level. #2020NewReleaseChallenge

      1. Glitter, Glam, and Contraband by Heather Weidner 
        2. Silenced in Sequins by Debra Sennefelder
        3. Come Homicide or High Water by Denise Swanson
        4. Bound for Murder by Victoria Gilbert
        5. Murder Ink by Lorraine Bartlett and Gayle Leeson 
        6. Hems & Homicide by Elizabeth Penney
        7. Careless Whiskers by Miranda James
        8. Sealed Off by Barbara Ross
        9. A View To A Kilt by Kaitlyn Dunnett
        10. A Field Guide to Homicide by Lynn Cahoon
        11. Fatal Roots by Sheila Connolly
        12. Statue of Limitations by Kate Collins
        13. A Crafter Quilts A Crime by Holly Quinn
        14. Bonbon With The Wind by Dorothy St. James
        15. The Book of Candlelight by Ellery Adams
        16.Bitter Alpine by Mary Daheim
        17. Under the Radar by Annette Dashofy
        18. Death by Baguette by Jennifer S. Alderson
        19. The Antidote for Everything by Kimmery Martin
        20. Stayin’ Alive by Julie Mulhern
        21. Here Comes the Body by Maria DiRico
        22.In An Instant by Suzanne Redfearn 
        23. Murder Makes Scents by Christin Brecher
        24. On The Lamb by Tina Kashian
        25. Blueberry Cobbler Blackmail by Jodi Rath
        26. The Boy From The Woods by Harlan Coben
        27. Dressed Up 4 Murder by J.C. Eaton
        28. Al Dente’s Inferno by Stephanie Cole
        29. Sleuth on Safari by A. R. Kennedy
        30. Easter Hair Hunt by Nancy J. Cohen
        31. Lavender Blue Murder by Laura Childs
        32. Mimi Lee Gets A Clue by Jennifer J. Chow
        33. The Evil Men Do by John McMahon
        34. Who Rescued Who by Victoria Schade
        35. Revenge is Sweet by Kaye George
        36. Frozen Stiff Drink by James J. Cudney
        37. Who’s Dead Doc? by J.M. Griffin
        38. A Fatal Yarn by Peggy Ehrhart
        39. The Stolen Letter by Paige Shelton
        40. Deep Fried Revenge by Lynn Cahoon
        41. Staging Wars by Grace Topping
        52. A Small Town Can Be Murder by Julie Seedorf
        43. This Magick Marmot by Sharon Pape
        44. Murder in the Secret Maze by Judith Gonda
        45. To Fetch a Scoundrel, by Heather Weidner, Jayne Ormerod, Rosemary Shomaker, Teresa Inge
        46. Old Friends and New, Another Murder by Christa Nardi
        47. The Dive Spices It Up by Krista Davis
        48. Six Cloves Under by Gin Jones
        49. Seas the Day by Maggie Toussaint
        50. Secrets of the Treasure King by Terry Ambrose
        51. Botched Butterscotch by Amanda Flower
        52. The Secret Life of Bones by Kylie Logan
        53. R.I.P. in Reykjavík by A R Kennedy
        54. Mousse and Murder by Elizabeth Logan
        55. Pulp Friction by Julie Anne Lindsey
        56. A Deadly Inside Scoop by Abby Collette
        57. A Murderous Misconception by Lorraine Bartlett and Gayle Leeson
        58. A Call for Kelp by Bree Baker
        59. The House That Vanity Built by Nancy Cole Silverman
        60. Red Hot by Dana Dratch
        61. Southern Sass and a Crispy Corpse by Kate Young
        62. No Filter by Heather Day Gilbert
        63. Marshmallow Malice by Amanda Flower
        64. Sprinkles of Suspicion by Kim Davis
        65.  Murder with Clotted Cream by Karen Rose Smith
        66. Lady Rosamund and the Poison Pen by Barbara Monajem
        67. Booked for Death by Victoria Gilbert
        68. An Exquisite Corpse by Helen A. Harrison
        69. A Fatal Fiction by Kaitlyn Dunnett
        70. Divide and Concord by J.C. Eaton
        71. Death by Windmill by Jennifer S. Alderson
        72. Larceny at the Library by Colleen J. Shogan
        73. Game of Dog Bones by Laurien Berenson
        74.From Beer to Eternity by Sherry Harris
        75.Quiche of Death by Mary Lee Ashford
        76.Little Tea by Claire Fullerton
        77.Vangie Vale and the Larcenous Lava Cake by R.L. Syme
        78.The Corpse with the Crystal Skull by Cathy Ace
        79.The Key Lime Crime by Lucy Burdette
        80.Dash Away All by Christina Freeburn 

        81.The Request by David Bell
        82.Killer Queen by Julie Mulhern 
        83.Eddy and Julia by William Zink
        84.15 Minutes of Flame by Christin Brecher
        85.Paw and Order by V.M. Burns
        86.Murder in the Bayou Boneyard by Ellen Byron
        87.Winner Cake All by Denise Swanson
        88. For Letter or Worse by Vivian Conroy
        89.Mistletoe, Moussaka, and Murder by Tina Kashian
        90.Cake Popped Off by Kim Davis
        91.Tusk Justice by Victoria Tait
        92. The Solace of Bay Leaves by Leslie Budewitz
        93. Fields’ Guide to Pharaohs by Julie Mulhern
        94. Fields Guide to Dirty Money by Julie Mulhern
        95. Nacho Average Murder by Maddie Day
        96. Egg Drop Dead by Vivian Chien
        97. Iced Over by Heather Day Gilbert
        98. Saddled with Murder by Eileen Brady
        99. Broadcast 4 Murder by J.C. Eaton
        100.Fair Trade by Heather Day Gilbert
        101. Mimi Lee Reads Between the Lines by Jennifer J. Chow
        102. Spawning Suspicion by Maggie Toussaint
        103. Boston Scream Murder by Ginger Bolton
        104. Murder Most Sweet by Laura Jensen Walker 
        105. A Crime of a Different Stripe by Sally Goldenbaum
        106. Cold Wind by Paige Shelton
        107. Fishing for Trouble by Elizabeth Logan
        108. Premeditated Mortar by Kate Carlisle
        109. Murder at a Country Mansion by Louise R. Innes
        110. Wine Tastings Are Murder by Libby Klein
        111.Grounds for Murder by Tara Lush
        112. A Deadly Edition by Victoria Gilbert
        113. Varnished Without A Trace by Misty Simon
        114. Mums and Mayhem by Amanda Flower
        115. Killer Kung Pao by Vivien Chien
        116.Candy Cane Caper by Amanda Flower
        117.Closely Harbored Secrets by Bree Baker
        118.The Malt in Our Stars by Sarah Fox
        119. Undone in Uluru by A.R. Kennedy
        120. Absence of Alice by Sherry Harris
        121.Nothing Bundt Trouble by Ellie Alexander
        122. Chilled to the Cone by Ellie Alexander

The NetGalley and Edelweiss Challenge

NetGalley and Edelweiss Reading Challenge
Hosted by Reading Between the Pages

I am signing up at the Bronze Level – 10 Books. 

1. Murder Lo Mein by Vivien Chien
2. Wonton Terror by Vivien Chein 
3. Death and Daisies by Amanda Flower
4. Living the Vida Lola by Melissa Bourbon
5. Murder with Cherry Tarts by Karen Rose Smith
6. Grounds for Remorse by Misty Simon
7. Designed to Death by Christina Freeburn
8. Fatal Cajun Festival by Ellen Byron
9. Deceased and Desist by Misty Simon
10. Another One Bites the Crust by Ellie Alexander
11. Live and Let Pie by Ellie Alexander
12. Carpet Diem by Misty Simon
13.A Cup of Holiday Fear by Ellie Alexander
14. Stiff Penalty by Annelise Ryan 
15.Banana Cream Pie Murder by Joanne Fluke

16. Better Off Read by Nora Page

The For The Love of Books Challenge

FOR THE LOVE OF EBOOKS 2020 READING CHALLENGE
Hosted by As Told by Tina

Just read as many ebooks as you can throughout 2020!

1. Glitter, Glam, and Contraband by Heather Weidner 
2. Silenced in Sequins by Debra Sennefelder
3. Bound for Murder by Victoria Gilbert
4. Hems & Homicide by Elizabeth Penney
5. Death on the Danube by Jennifer S. Alderson
6. Dead Week by Kelly Brakenhoff
7. Sealed Off by Barbara Ross
8. Be Still My Bleating Heart by Hannah Reed
9. Fatal Roots by Sheila Connolly
10. Statue of Limitations by Kate Collins
11. A Crafter Quilts A Crime by Holly Quinn
12. Bonbon With The Wind by Dorothy St. James
13. Dim Sum of All Fears by Vivien Chien
14. The Book of Candlelight by Ellery Adams
15. Bitter Alpine by Mary Daheim
16. Under the Radar by Annette Dashofy
17. Death by Baguette by Jennifer S. Alderson
18. The Antidote for Everything by Kimmery Martin
19. Murder Lo Mein by Vivien Chien
20. Stayin’ Alive by Julie Mulhern
21. Here Comes the Body by Maria DiRico
22. In An Instant by Suzanne Redfearn
23. Murder Makes Scents by Christin Brecher
24. On The Lamb by Tina Kashian
25. Blueberry Cobbler Blackmail by Jodi Rath
26. The Boy From The Woods by Harlan Coben
27. Dressed Up 4 Murder by J.C. Eaton
28. Sleuth on Safari by A. R. Kennedy
29. Easter Hair Hunt by Nancy J. Cohen
30. Revenge is Sweet by Kaye George
31. Frozen Stiff Drink by James J. Cudney
32. Who’s Dead Doc? by J.M. Griffin
33. A Fatal Yarn by Peggy Ehrhart
34.The Stolen Letter by Paige Shelton
35. Wonton Terror by Vivien Chein 
36. Deep Fried Revenge by Lynn Cahoon
37. Staging Wars by Grace Topping
38. A Small Town Can Be Murder by Julie Seedorf
39. This Magick Marmot by Sharon Pape
40. Murder in the Secret Maze by Judith Gonda
41. To Fetch a Scoundrel, by Heather Weidner, Jayne Ormerod, Rosemary Shomaker, Teresa Inge
42. Death and Daisies by Amanda Flower
43. Old Friends and New, Another Murder by Christa Nardi
44. Six Cloves Under by Gin Jones
45. Seas the Day by Maggie Toussaint
46. Secrets of the Treasure King by Terry Ambrose
47. Botched Butterscotch by Amanda Flower 
48. On Thin Icing by Ellie Alexander
49. The Secret Life of Bones by Kylie Logan
50. R.I.P. in Reykjavík by A R Kennedy
51. Living the Vida Lola by Melissa Bourbon
52. Mousse and Murder by Elizabeth Logan
53. Pulp Friction by Julie Anne Lindsey
54. A Deadly Inside Scoop by Abby Collette
55. A Murderous Misconception by Lorraine Bartlett and Gayle Leeson
56. The House That Vanity Built by Nancy Cole Silverman
57. A Catered Wedding by Isis Crawford
58. Red Hot by Dana Dratch
59. Southern Sass and a Crispy Corpse by Kate Young
60. No Filter by Heather Day Gilbert
61. Marshmallow Malice by Amanda Flower
62. Sprinkles of Suspicion by Kim Davis
63. Murder with Cherry Tarts by Karen Rose Smith
64. Murder with Clotted Cream by Karen Rose Smith
65. Lady Rosamund and the Poison Pen by Barbara Monajem
66. Booked for Death by Victoria Gilbert
67. Board Stiff by Annelise Ryan
68. A Fatal Fiction by Kaitlyn Dunnett
69. Divide and Concord by J.C. Eaton
70. Grounds for Remorse by Misty Simon
71. Death by Windmill by Jennifer S. Alderson
72. Larceny at the Library by Colleen J. Shogan
73.From Beer to Eternity by Sherry Harris
74.Quiche of Death by Mary Lee Ashford
75. Little Tea by Claire Fullerton
76. Vangie Vale and the Larcenous Lava Cake by R.L. Syme
77. The Corpse with the Crystal Skull by Cathy Ace
78. The Key Lime Crime by Lucy Burdette
79. Dash Away All by Christina Freeburn 
80. The Request by David Bell
81. Killer Queen by Julie Mulhern
82. Designed to Death by Christina Freeburn
83.15 Minutes of Flame by Christin Brecher
84. Paw and Order by V.M. Burns
85. A Crime of Passion Fruit by Ellie Alexander
86. Fatal Cajun Festival by Ellen Byron
87. Murder in the Bayou Boneyard by Ellen Byron
88. Deceased and Desist by Misty Simon
89.Mistletoe, Moussaka, and Murder by Tina Kashian
90. Cake Popped Off by Kim Davis
91.Tusk Justice by Victoria Tait
92. The Solace of Bay Leaves by Leslie Budewitz
93. Fields’ Guide to Pharaohs by Julie Mulhern
94. Fields Guide to Dirty Money by Julie Mulhern
95. Nacho Average Murder by Maddie Day
96. Mischief in Maggody by Joan Hess
97. Egg Drop Dead by Vivian Chien
98. Iced Over by Heather Day Gilbert
99. Saddled with Murder by Eileen Brady
100.Another One Bites the Crust by Ellie Alexander
101. Broadcast 4 Murder by J.C. Eaton
102. Fair Trade by Heather Day Gilbert
103. Till Death Do Us Tart by Ellie Alexander
104. Mimi Lee Reads Between the Lines by Jennifer J. Chow
105. Spawning Suspicion by Maggie Toussaint
106. Live and Let Pie by Ellie Alexander
107. Boston Scream Murder by Ginger Bolton
108. Murder Most Sweet by Laura Jensen Walker
109. Carpet Diem by Misty Simon
110. A Crime of a Different Stripe by Sally Goldenbaum
111. Cold Wind by Paige Shelton
112. Fishing for Trouble by Elizabeth Logan
113. Ladies of the Lake by Ken Corday
114. Premeditated Mortar by Kate Carlisle
115. Murder at a Country Mansion by Louise R. Innes
116. A Cup of Holiday Fear by Ellie Alexander
117. Stiff Penalty by Annelise Ryan 
118. Wine Tastings Are Murder by Libby Klein
119.Grounds for Murder by Tara Lush
120. Much Ado About Murder by Joan Hess

121. A Deadly Edition by Victoria Gilbert
122.Much Ado in Maggody by Joan Hess
123. Varnished Without A Trace by Misty Simon
124. Mums and Mayhem by Amanda Flower
125.Killer Kung Pao by Vivien Chien
126.The Worst Noel by Amy M. Reade
127.Candy Cane Caper by Amanda Flower
128.Closely Harbored Secrets by Bree Baker
129,The Malt in Our Stars by Sarah Fox
130.Banana Cream Pie Murder by Joanne Fluke
131. Undone in Uluru by A.R. Kennedy
132. Absence of Alice by Sherry Harris
133.Nothing Bundt Trouble by Ellie Alexander
134. Better Off Read by Nora Page
135. Chilled to the Cone by Ellie Alexander

and the Finish the Series Challenge


2020 FINISHING THE SERIES READING CHALLENGE
Hosted by Celebrity Readers

This series gives me the push I need and help me clear my TBR stacks. I am again signing up at the B-LIST SERIES FINISHER ⇒ COMPLETE 5-8 SERIES. 

 

1. Dim Sum of All Fears by Vivien ChienMurder Lo Mein by Vivien Chien  – Wonton Terror by Vivien Chein Egg Drop Dead by Vivian ChienKiller Kung Pao by Vivien Chien
2. Plum Tea Crazy by Laura ChildsBroken Bone China by Laura ChildsLavender Blue Murder by Laura Childs
3. Death and Daisies by Amanda Flower – Mums and Mayhem by Amanda Flower
4. On Thin Icing by Ellie AlexanderCaught Bread Handed by Ellie AlexanderFudge and Jury by Ellie AlexanderA Crime of Passion Fruit by Ellie AlexanderAnother One Bites the Crust by Ellie AlexanderTill Death Do Us Tart by Ellie Alexander Live and Let Pie by Ellie AlexanderA Cup of Holiday Fear by Ellie AlexanderNothing Bundt Trouble by Ellie AlexanderChilled to the Cone by Ellie Alexander
5. Murder with Cherry Tarts by Karen Rose SmithMurder with Clotted Cream by Karen Rose Smith
6. Fatal Cajun Festival by Ellen Byron  – Murder in the Bayou Boneyard by Ellen Byron
7. Grounds for Remorse by Misty SimonDeceased and Desist by Misty Simon Carpet Diem by Misty Simon Varnished Without A Trace by Misty Simon
8. Fields’ Guide to Pharaohs by Julie MulhernFields Guide to Dirty Money by Julie Mulhern

So that makes 7 out of 19 Challenges Completed. 

I was unable to complete the Alphabet Soup Challenge, the Alphabet Soup- Author Edition Challenge, the Literary Escapes Challenge, the Craving for Cozies Challenge, the Crusin’ Thru the Cozies Challenge, the What’s In A Name Challenge, the Backlist Reading Challenge, the Mount TBR Challenge, the Cloak and Dagger Challenge, the Print Only Challenge, the Literary Road Trip Challenge, the Pages Read Challenge, and the Reading Challenge Addicts Challenge. You can find the lists of the books I did read for these challenges here.

I hope to do much better this year.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

Posted in 2020 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge Read The Printed Word Challenge TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Banana Cream Pie Murder (A Hannah Swensen Mystery) by Joanne Fluke #Review | #Giveaway @KensingtonBooks @JoanneFluke

Banana Cream Pie Murder (A Hannah Swensen Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
21st in Series
Setting – Minnesota
Publisher: Kensington (February 28, 2017)
Hardcover: 368 pages
ISBN-10: 1617732206
ISBN-13: 978-1617732201
Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages
ISBN-10: 1617732222
ISBN-13: 978-1617732225
Kindle ASIN: B01GBAIXD8

New York Times Bestseller: After a glorious honeymoon, baker Hannah Swensen must deal with a ghastly homicide…

A romantic seven-day cruise is the perfect start to bakery owner Hannah Swensen’s marriage. However, with a murder mystery heating up back in Minnesota, it seems the newlywed’s homecoming won’t be as sweet as anticipated.

Hannah’s eager to settle down in Lake Eden and turn domestic daydreams into reality. But then her mother’s neighbor is discovered murdered in the condo downstairs. Victoria Bascomb, once a renowned stage actress, was active in the theater community during her brief appearance in town and made throngs of enemies along the way. Did a random intruder murder the woman as police claim, or was a deadlier scheme at play? As Hannah peels through countless suspects and some new troubles of her own, solving this crime—and living to tell about it—might prove trickier than mixing up the ultimate banana cream pie . . .

Features over a dozen cookie and dessert recipes from The Cookie Jar!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Hannah and Ross are back from their honeymoon cruise just in the nick of time. Her mother is caught up in a murder investigation when she finds her downstairs neighbor dead after hearing a ruckus below. Victoria Bascomb had been very active in the local theater community after her own acting career fizzled. The problem was that she really wasn’t well-liked in Lake Eden and may have had some other enemies before arriving in town. The police believe her death was a random act but Hannah nor her mother believe that is not the case. With a little help from her friends and family, Hannah starts to peel away at the clues and suspects but she may slip up and this could be the last we hear from Hannah Swenson.


I am still adjusting to Hannah choosing Ross over Mike or Norman. The decision has really changed the Hannah I have come to love over the course of this series. The relationship just doesn’t feel comfortable and seems to have zapped a lot of her confidence. At times, she just doesn’t seem happy. She also appears to have become technologically inept. Please, Hannah is a smart woman and would know how to use a smart phone. There are a few other instances where Hannah just comes off as a shell of the woman I have come to love. I hope we get the old Hannah back in future books.

I did like that Hannah’s sister Michelle is back in town. In fact, she is the one that does most of the baking in this book. Dishing up new ideas for breakfast for Hannah and Ross. She is their houseguest while she is visiting. Mike and Norman are also thankfully still around, dropping by to eat mostly but Norman does spend a little sleuthing time with the sisters. Dolores and Doc redecorated most of Ross and Hannah’s home while they were away on their honeymoon cruise. Another thing I don’t think the old Hannah would have been on board with. Dolores finding the body this time allowed her to be in the limelight for a lot of the book.

The mystery itself didn’t take shape until way past the halfway point and for me, it was an easy solve even with the variety of suspects. Hannah did find herself in some dicey situations, and the reveal was very entertaining. The ending of the book was the biggest surprise. A surprise that sets up a cliffhanger. A surprise that may be an answer to my prayers. The next book, Raspberry Danish Murder, is on my To-Be-Read Shelf and I hope to be reading it soon.

Banana Cream Pie is one of my favorites. I can wait to try Hannah’s recipe. There are also about 20 more recipes to try. The recipes are interspersed throughout the book, so my taste buds were tempted the entire way.

Banana Cream Pie Murder was a fun, lighthearted read with plenty of humor. I do enjoy catching up with these characters and am looking forward to another trip to Lake Eden.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

JOANNE FLUKE is the New York Times bestselling author of the Hannah Swensen mysteries, which include Double Fudge Brownie Murder, Blackberry Pie MurderCinnamon Roll Murder, and the book that started it all, Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder. That first installment in the series premiered as Murder, She Baked:  A Chocolate Chip Cookie Mystery on the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Channel. Like Hannah Swensen, Joanne Fluke was born and raised in a small town in rural Minnesota but now lives in Southern California. Please visit her online at www.JoanneFluke.com.



I am giving away 1 Kindle Copy!

The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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 Kensington Books on Twitter for 2 Bonus Entries!

LIKE Kensington Publishing on Facebook 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 receive5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End January 9, 2021, 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

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

Posted in 2020 Reviews Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways New Release Challenge Read The Printed Word Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday featuring Closely Harbored Secrets (Seaside Café Mysteries) by Bree Baker #Review / #Giveaway @PPPress @BreeBakerBooks

Welcome to Coxy Wednesday!

This book will be released next Tuesday, January 29!


Closely Harbored Secrets (Seaside Café Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Setting – North Carolina
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press (December 29, 2020)
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
ISBN-10: 1728205751
ISBN-13: 978-1728205755
Kindle ASIN: B088P765Z1

In the fifth book of the popular Seaside Café Mysteries, Closely Harbored Secrets, Everly Swan just wants to make Halloween-themed treats and specialty teas for her customers. But when it seems that she’s being haunted by the phantom of a sailor straight out of a ghost story, her plans are capsized. Could this be the bitter end for Everly?

Hitting all the sweet-tea spots, this series is:

    • A delightful Tea Shop and Café Culinary Mystery
    • The ideal cozy beach read
    • Perfect for fans of Laura Childs and Kate Carlisle

It’s almost Halloween, and the small island of Charm, North Carolina is decked out for the festivities. When Everly Swan agrees to close her iced tea shop early to help her aunts host their annual haunted historic walking tour, she expects some good-natured spooks. But the night turns grave when one of the ghostly actors is found dead. To complicate matters, the victim scratched Everly’s name into the ground before she died, making her a key suspect.

The murder mystery heats up when Everly’s potential boo, Detective Grady, takes the case—and he definitely doesn’t want her getting involved. Will their seaside romance be threatened by all the ghostly drama? But when a phantom sailor straight out of local legend starts leaving Everly threatening messages, she has to get involved… With a local election underway, ghosts on the loose, and a search for long-lost buried treasure, Everly can’t help but stir the pot!

INCLUDES DELICIOUS FOOD AND DRINK RECIPES

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Halloween means a big celebration in Charm, North Carolina that includes a haunted walking tour. Clara and Fran Swan have key roles in the event and Everly is providing tea and treats for those attending. The night of the walk Everly joins her aunt’s group to hear ghost stories she has heard repeated several times but her aunt always adds something new. This year the something new is a dead body. Dixie Wetherill was to be playing the part of a local legend but when she misses her cue, a quick search finds Dixie dead with Everly’s name spelled out in the ground beside her.

Detective Grady Hays has to follow the evidence even if that means investigating his girlfriend. But then Everly receives several threatening messages. The messages appear to be from the legendary ghost pirate, The Sandman. Threats that are meant to scare Everly only make her mad and set her off on her own investigation to catch the real killer. Although finding that person just may get her killed . . .


What a wonderfully written spooky mystery!

Charm, North Carolina has a rich history and the stories that have come from that history can be downright chilling, especially on a Halloween Haunted Walking Tour. Ms. Baker paints some eerie pictures with her words. I felt like I was right there to enjoy the event and as the body was found. It was so easy to visualize. Her descriptions throughout the story kept me right there at every scene.

The author also breathes great life into each of her characters and she keeps them busy too. In addition to the Halloween festivities, the mayor’s race is right around the corner and Everly is pulling out all the stops to help her Aunt Fran win. Grady is dealing with some family issues that could create havoc in his already complicated relationship with Everly. Everly is busy concocting new tea drinks and running her shop along with a little home renovation. And then, there is that murder and the threats against Everly that has everyone worried. Bree Baker’s development of all her characters is top-notch.

The mystery is very well-plotted and sets a nice pace that really ratchets up as we get to the big reveal. It was so exciting. Again, the descriptive writing style had me feel like I was watching a movie. I could see all the action so clearly.  I truly was on the edge of my seat and may have even been holding my breath.

This Halloween story was a terrific treat! Closely Harbored Secrets blends a fascinating mystery with fabulous characters. There is a light paranormal element or two and that just adds to the fun. Charm, Blessed Bee, and the Sun, Sand, and Tea are places I can’t wait to visit again.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

You can read my review of No Good Tea Goes Unpunished here, Live and Let Chai here, Tide and Punishment here,
and A Call For Kelp here.

Bree Baker is a Midwestern writer, obsessed with small-town high jinks, sweet tea, and the sea. She’s been telling stories to her family, friends, and strangers for as long as she can remember, and more often than not, those stories feature a warm ocean breeze and a recipe she’s sure to ruin. Now, she’s working on those fancy cooking skills and dreaming up adventures for the Seaside Cafe mysteries. Bree is a member of Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers and the Romance Writers of America. She is represented by Jill Marsal of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency.



I am giving away my Advanced Review Copy!

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.

If you publicize the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End January 6, 2021, 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 New Release Challenge Read The Printed Word Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday with Leslie Budewitz – Author of The Solace of Bay Leaves #GuestPost / #Review / #Giveaway


Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am thrilled to welcome Leslie Budewitz back to Escape With Dollycas!

Armchair Travel

by Leslie Budewitz

Whoever first called reading “armchair travel” was brilliant.

Or, to quote another brilliant mind, though Dr. Seuss wasn’t talking about books, “Oh, the places you’ll go.”

I’ve always loved exploring new places by reading, and when I first started writing fiction, I knew one of my goals was to take people to times and places they might not visit themselves. page. My Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries are set in a lakeside town Montana on the road to Glacier National Park, inspired by the village where I live. It’s truly a cozy community, though a Montana mountain valley is not a typical location for a cozy mystery. My Spice Shop series is an urban cozy, set in a community within a community, Seattle’s famed Pike Place Market.

Why the Market? I fell in love with it as a college freshman and made it my life’s mission to eat my way through it. Since it’s constantly changing, and I only get to visit once a year or so, it’s an on-going challenge. But I’m up for it!

It’s a vibrant place, full of sounds, sights, and smells. And the food! The Market is the heart and soul—and stomach—of the city. You can eat just about anything there. Start with a slice of pizza at DeLaurenti’s Italian grocery. Sample spice tea at Market Spice. The Persian food at Farvahar. Dolmatas and falafel from The Falafel King. Dim sum, Vietnamese coffee, baklava, piroshky. Clam chowder, oysters, barbecue. Bagels, crumpets, crepes and cheesecake. Grab coffee at the original Starbucks. Sip wine, beer, ginger beer.

Have I made you hungry? Good! (Me, too.)

The Market transports you to a time gone by, with its cobblestone streets and the jumble of early 20th century buildings jammed against each other. Pillars topped with Victorian capitals. Buckets of fresh flowers. Street-corner musicians. Ghosts who preen and pirouette in the windows of the old ballroom, and other ghosts who reorganize beads in jewelry displays and drink the good whiskey. Bridges to nowhere and windows overlooking nothing. But there are a few modern twists, uniquely Seattle: The Gum Wall outside the Market Theater, a bit of psycho-grunge regularly ranked one of the germiest places in the world. Grown men throwing fish. Visitors from all across the globe.

In The Solace of Bay Leaves, Pepper Reece is about to celebrate her second anniversary as owner of the Spice Shop. Halloween is approaching, and she and Cayenne, one of her employees, have been prowling Market stalls for warty gourds, goblins’ eggs, and other seasonal decors. Through her investigation into the shooting of an old friend and an unsolved murder takes her to the Lake Union houseboat community, some of the city’s older residential neighborhoods, and the hospital district, it’s the Market and its merchants, bakers, craftspeople, and residents who ground Pepper and our story. An observant artist, new to the Market, sees something critical, and Pepper meets a young immigrant woman and her daughter who provide additional clues.

The Market, and the Spice Shop, are Pepper’s happy place. They’re mine, too—even if the Spice Shop exists only in my imagination, and I hope, yours. Pour a cup of something you enjoy, curl up in your comfy chair, and take a trip to Seattle with me, on the page.

Thank you Leslie for dropping by today! 

Keep reading for my thoughts about The Solace of Bay Leaves.

 

The Solace of Bay Leaves (Spice Shop Mysteries)
by Leslie Budewitz
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Setting – Washington
Publisher: Seventh Street Books (October 20, 2020)
Paperback: 248 pages
ISBN-10: 1645060179
Kindle ASIN: B084G9S89T

Pepper Reece never expected to find solace in bay leaves.

 

But when her life fell apart at forty and she bought the venerable-but-rundown Spice Shop in Seattle’s Pike Place Market, her days took a tasty turn. Now she’s savoring the prospect of a flavorful fall and a busy holiday cooking season, until danger bubbles to the surface . . .

 

Between managing her shop, worrying about her staff, and navigating a delicious new relationship, Pepper’s firing on all burners. But when her childhood friend Maddie is shot and gravely wounded, the incident is quickly tied to an unsolved murder that left another close friend a widow.

 

Convinced that the secret to both crimes lies in the history of a once-beloved building, Pepper uses her local-girl contacts and her talent for asking questions to unearth startling links between the past and present—links that suggest her childhood friend may not have been the Golden Girl she appeared to be. Pepper is forced to face her own regrets and unsavory emotions, if she wants to save Maddie’s life—and her own.

 

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Pepper Reece and her boyfriend Nate are out for a night on the town with her BBF Kristen Gardner and her husband Eric when she receives a text message from mutual friend Laurel Halloran . . .

Detective Tracy is in my living room   . . . FBI on the way.

After a little confab, the foursome heads to Laurel’s houseboat where they learn another friend of the girls has been shot and is in the hospital. Then Detective Tracy drops the bomb, their friend Maddie was shot with the same gun as another case that had gone cold. Pat Halloran, Laurel’s husband was murdered about 3 years ago. Is this a new lead? Tracy tells Pepper to stay out of his investigation and that is echoed by the FBI agent. Pepper knows that is not going to happen. She has helped solve other cases, why not this one? or two?

____

Pepper Reece knows her spices and she is a grand amateur sleuth. Her life is on an upswing with a successful and growing business, a new romance with Nate, and her lovable companion Arf, who she adopted when his owner moved away. She is surrounded by a great supporting cast of friends and employees. All the characters are written very realistically. Ms. Budewitz all gives readers a nice group of suspects. Some as sketchy as can be.

The murder mystery is complex and requires a lot of digging. If the shootings are related Pepper needs to finds out how. The author has plotted many twists and turns to keep everyone guessing. There is also a subplot mystery involving the spice shop and a special blend. This mixes in with the main mystery nicely along with the daily routine of running the shop and Pepper’s personal life. The story has a nice pace and builds to an exciting conclusion.

Seattle’s famed Pike Place Market is an ideal setting for this series. Each story we learn more about the place and discover new shops and vendors. I really hope to visit there someday.

The Solace of Bay Leaves is a fine addition to this series. I am looking forward to the next installment.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

You can read my review of Assault and Pepper here, Guilty as Cinnamon here, and Killing Thyme here and Chai Another Day here

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Leslie Budewitz blends her passion for food, great mysteries, and the Northwest in two cozy mystery series. CHAI ANOTHER DAY, her fourth Spice Shop Mystery, set in Seattle’s Pike Place Market, will be published on June 11. DEATH AL DENTE, first in the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries, set in Jewel Bay, Montana, won the 2013 Agatha Award for Best First Novel. She also won the 2011 Agatha Award for Best Nonfiction. “All God’s Sparrows,” her first historical fiction, won the 2018 Agatha Award for Best Short Story. A past president of Sisters in Crime and a current board member of Mystery Writers of America, she lives and cooks in NW Montana.

Find her online at www.LeslieBudewitz.com and on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/LeslieBudewitzAuthor More about CHAI ANOTHER DAY, including an excerpt here: http://www.lesliebudewitz.com/spice-shop-mystery-series/

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Posted in 2020 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways New Release Challenge Read The Printed Word Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

For Letter or Worse (Stationery Shop Mystery) by Vivian Conroy #Review / #Giveaway


For Letter or Worse (Stationery Shop Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Montana
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press (September 29, 2020)
Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN-10: 1492684066
ISBN-13: 978-1492684060
Kindle ASIN: B0861BCV6Y

The second book in the Stationary Shop Mystery Series from Vivian Conroy! When a killer strikes, it becomes clear that this murder mystery has more dimensions than Delta Douglas and her Paper Posse could have ever imagined…

 

The scissors are sharpened and the cardstock stacked for Delta Douglas’ latest workshop: a 3D cardmaking event at socialite Lena Laroy’s birthday extravaganza. As co-owner of Wanted, the local stationery shop, Delta is ready to wow her guests with her one of a kind crafts. But, at this party, paper isn’t the only thing bent out of shape. When a threatening present is unwrapped and the guest of honor’s sister-in-law is discovered dead by the trees, Delta realizes another killer is loose in her small town.

 

Before the cake is even cut, suspects appear from the folds, and Delta and her Paper Posse must analyze the evidence to track the culprit down. But, with Lena’s list of enemies a mile long, Delta soon discovers this case has more dimensions than she bargained for.

 

In this new cozy mystery from Vivian Conroy, Delta and her team will have to get creative to catch a killer!

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Wanting to expand their client base, friends and co-owners of Wanted Stationery Shop, Delta, and Hazel agree to host a 3D cardmaking workshop at former model Lena Laroy’s over the top birthday bash. As the guest of honor opens her gifts, one clearly upsets her. The gift is clearly a threat and the police are alerted. Before the threat can even be addressed a scream rings out. Lena’s sister-in-law’s dead body has been found. Not again, the last thing Delta needs is to get caught up in another murder investigation but she agrees to help her friend Jonas Nord, a retired Detective, dig through the suspects and clues to find the killer.

______

In this second book of the Stationery Shop Mysteries, we are getting to know these characters better. Delta is emerging as a strong protagonist. She and Jonas make a great team. There are plenty of suspects so they have their work cut out for them. They do get some assistance from The Paper Posse, a group of women that know every little thing that happens in town and if they don’t they know someone who does. They communicate through text messages so readers are mostly in the dark about who they really are. I hope these characters are more fleshed out in future stories. I am also hoping Delta’s grandmother is featured prominently in the next book. She was my favorite this time and we just met her.

I am also getting a better picture of the stationery shop itself. A Wild West Sheriff’s Office complete with the cells and furnishings. Hazel has tried to keep the sheriff’s office intact as much as possible while displaying some artifacts to show the town’s history while also displaying all the goods for sale.  It sounds like an interesting place but every time they add new stock or talk about adding specialty items by mind starts to think how crowded the store must be. I just have to expand my imagination and make the shop as large as possible.

The mystery had a nice set of twists and turns. Everyone at the party is a suspect and there is the probability that someone ventured onto the property just to commit murder and left without anyone seeing. This is also not the first murder at this fancy estate and that adds extra intrigue to the story. I did enjoy the way Delta pushed her way into situations and the way mystery was wrapped up.

With characters that continue to evolve and a strong mystery For Letter or Worse is an enjoyable addition to this series. I look forward to book 3.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

The Stationery Shop Mysteries are the latest addition to Vivian Conroy’s expanding mystery range. She also writes the contemporary Country Gift Shop Mysteries and the historical Murder Will Follow Mysteries, paying tribute to her favorite mystery author Agatha Christie. Away from the keyboard, Vivian loves to hike, craft, and hang out on Twitter where readers can connect with her via @VivWrites.


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I am giving my Advance Review Copy away!
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You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Posted in 2020 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways New Release Challenge Read The Printed Word Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Winner Cake All (Chef-to-Go Mysteries) by Denise Swanson #Review / #Giveaway

RELEASES TOMORROW!


Winner Cake All (Chef-to-Go Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Illinois
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press (September 29, 2020)
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1492648444
ISBN-10: 1492648442
Kindle ASIN: B0861BHQLX

Next in New York Times bestselling author Denise Swanson’s chef mystery books, Dani Sloan will have to solve the murder of a bride to clear her crush’s name. Once again, it looks like Dani will get a slice of the action…

 

In the small town of Normalton, IL, there aren’t a lot of opportunities for small business owner Dani Sloan to cater big-ticket events. But that’s about to change—a client named Yvette Joubert is marrying Franklin Whittaker, the richest guy around, and they want Dani to cater their engagement party! The swanky event is the perfect opportunity to put Dani on the map for wealthier clients.

 

But when a storm hits the party after guests arrive, it becomes clear that more than the dinner is ruined: Yvette is found dead beneath the marquee. Is her death a tragic accident, or a perfectly orchestrated murder? Then the case gets even juicier—it turns out that Yvette’s ex-husband is Spencer Drake, Dani’s almost-boyfriend, and the police start circling. Now Dani must follow an unending list of clues to save her business, her better half, and catch a criminal. Let’s just hope they get their just desserts!

 

The third installment of the Chef-To-Go series, Winner Cake All, is full of small-town charm, delicious desserts, and an exciting investigation. Denise  Swanson’s bestselling mysteries will keep you guessing until the end!

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Dani Sloan has been wanting to add more catering gigs to her Chef-To-Go business so when she is asked to cater the engagement party of wealthy Franklin Whittaker and his bride-to-be Yvette Joubert she is excited for the opportunity. She has a very short lead-time but knows she can make it work. Plus with all the ritzy guests she is sure to line up more jobs.

Drinks are being served and appetizers are ready to go when a freak storm blows in and tumbles the party tent with the guests inside. Yvette is the only one who didn’t survive but is the storm responsible or did someone use the storm to try to cover up a murder.


The wonderful characters created by Ms. Swanson continue to develop naturally. Dani’s relationship with Spencer is moving just a little bit faster but he still has a bit of jealousy regarding Gray. A  twist in this story may have Dani a bit jealous too. Ivy, Tippi, and Starr are all having relationship issues. Dani is unsure at first whether to “meddle” or let them handle things themselves. We know Dani well enough by now to know the answer. Dani also has a surprise visitor that answers some lingering questions I have had.

The murder mystery is very intriguing and one suspect hits very close to home making Dani truly invested in finding out what happened and why to Yvette. Sadly, she puts herself in danger. I loved the twists and turns and following along with Dani, Spencer, and Gray. I was entertained by the way all was revealed.

What I really enjoy about this series is the family feel that has grown between the characters. Dani does have to play the “boss” card occasionally but Dani, Ivy, Tippi, and Starr have become so much more than landlord and tenants.

This author also knows how to bring the funny. Spencer has a very special security detail on campus. The pranksters are out for fraternity and sorority pledge weeks. Her attention to detail also brings each scene alive. That storm was a doozy and I could almost feel that rain and wind.

Winner Cake All kept me captivated all the way. It can be read as a stand-alone but to appreciate all the character development you should read the series from the start.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

Denise Swanson is the New York Times bestselling author of the Scumble River Mysteries, the Devereaux’s Dime Store Mysteries, the Change of Heart romances, and the Delicious romances She worked as a school psychologist for twenty-two years before quitting to write full-time. She lives in Illinois with her husband, classical music composer David Stybr.

 

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I want to share my advance review copy with you!

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.

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Winner Will Be Notified By Email
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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 Author Edition Challenge Literary Escapes Read The Printed Word Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Eddy and Julia by William Zink #Review

Eddy and Julia
Women’s Literature & Fiction
Setting – Belgium
Publisher: Sugar Loaf Press (July 1, 2020)
Paperback: 228 pages
ISBN-10: 0578624516
ISBN-13: 978-0578624518
Kindle Publication Date: August 20, 2020
ASIN: B08GG9W787

A young American with a faulty heart, tired of endless operations, travels to Belgium to live out the last few months of his life. At peace with his fate, his plans are derailed when he meets Julia, a student from Italy. They fall in love, forcing him to reevaluate his decision, but he soon discovers a dark secret she’s been keeping, crushing their budding romance. Ultimately, a cycling race through the Ardennes Forest will determine not only their fate, but that of Julia’s mother.

 

Set among the bucolic hills and vibrant cafes of Belgium, Eddy and Julia is a poignant drama filled with complex, colorful characters, celebrating the unpredictable and timeless facets of love.

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts

A man decides to live his last days doing things he enjoys. Then a woman enters his life shaking up everything.


I have been struggling with this review for a few weeks I even read parts of the book again when I saw some 5 star reviews but this just wasn’t the book for me. I didn’t feel engaged by any of the characters and believe me there were plenty.

The cycling theme was interesting as was the Belguim area setting. The author is definitely familiar with both.

Mr, Zink has written a complicated story of romance and relationships. It meanders round and round but the ending left me cold.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

William Zink is the author of several novels and poetry collections, including The Hole, Ballad of the Confessor, Ohio River Dialogues, Pieta, and Wild Grapes. His books have been praised by Booklist, Andrei Codrescu, David Giffels, Donald Ray Pollock, Dagoberto Gilb, The Main Street Rag, and others. His novel, Ohio River Dialogues, was a finalist for the Ohioana Fiction Award. –This text refers to the paperback edition.

Author Links – WebsiteFacebookInstagram


Also by William Zink

 

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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