Nov 132019
 

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am so happy to welcome Kate Carlisle back to Escape With Dollycas today!

The Twisty, Turny Research Journey to Kate Carlisle’s New Book

(Guest Post Provided by Publicist)

Kate Carlisle is the New York Times bestselling author of two ongoing series: the Bibliophile Mysteries featuring San Francisco bookbinder Brooklyn Wainwright, whose rare book restoration skills uncover old secrets, treachery and murder; and the Fixer-Upper Mysteries (as seen on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries), featuring Shannon Hammer, a home contractor who discovers not only skeletons in her neighbors’ closets, but murder victims, too.

Kate’s Latest Fixer-Upper Mystery is Shot Through the Hearth, available now.

As a writer, research can be a massive problem for me. Not because I dread it. Quite the opposite, in fact. I love it so much that I can all too easily be drawn down a circuitous path of wonderment that has no end. I’m curious about everything.

Everything.

I do my research in two stages: while plotting the story and while writing it. During the plotting stage I have more freedom to explore because the things I learn could take the story in exciting directions I never anticipated. At that stage, I don’t know what I don’t know, so every discovery has the potential to change the plot.

During the writing stage, my research has to be more focused on finding the answer to a specific question. I must discipline myself not to go off on any tangents, no matter how seductive they may be. Find the answer, get back to work.

My goal is to weave much of what I learn into a smart, funny murder mystery that keeps readers guessing and teaches them something at the same time. I want lots of those “Huh. I didn’t know that” moments.

My readers are insatiably curious, too. I think it’s one of the reasons they love my books.

To show you what a wide variety of research goes into my books, here’s a sampling of topics I studied while plotting and writing Shot Through the Hearth, my latest Fixer-Upper Mystery, and a random fact about each. You’ll have to read the book to see how these facts come together in one whodunit.

HOW MANY POUNDS DOES IT TAKE TO CRUSH A HUMAN CHEST?

Turns out, there’s no definitive answer—it depends on the strength of the person’s chest muscles. Which means, sadly, I’d go quickly, I’m afraid.

TRADITIONAL SCOTTISH STONE MASONRY TECHNIQUES (even though Shot Through the Hearth is set in Lighthouse Cove, California)

Scotland’s official website is gov.scot. The United States’ official website is usa.gov. Huh.

BARN RAISING

Historically, this was also called a raising bee. The only bees I’d heard of before were quilting bees and spelling bees. We need more bees! A cocktail party could be called a boozing bee. A city council meeting could be a sniping bee.

THE RANGE OF A RIFLE BULLET

Not only did I need to know how far the bullet could travel, but also whether it would have enough velocity at the end of its journey to do any damage. Imagine standing on the street and watching a bullet glance harmlessly off your stomach and roll to the ground.

CAN PLANTS BE SENTIENT?

Instead of sharing a fact here, I’ll share a snippet from Shot Through the Hearth. In this scene, contractor Shannon Hammer and her boyfriend Mac Sullivan, a thriller writer, explore the Ecosphere, an indoor vertical garden that’s hiding something that just may be sinister.

We stepped through the doorway and entered the tropical wonderland.

I hadn’t been inside since Julian and his team had installed small spotlights in various parts of the garden. It gave the space a wonderfully ethereal quality that I really loved.

“The air is cool,” Mac marveled. “I thought it would be warm.”

“No, the plants help clean the air and cool it down. And the louvers help.” I pointed to the nearest window and the wide horizontal blinds covering them. “They move with the sun in order to keep the interior from getting too hot at any time during the day.”

He continued to look around, taking in the verdant carpet of ferns that edged the pathway and the thick vines that draped the walls. Aloe vera plants thrived in every corner. Dozens of pothos plants, with the most abnormally large leaves I’d ever seen, cascaded down from the second- floor balcony. Succulent snake plants cast eerie, tongue-like shadows on the walls.

“I could set up a table and write in here.” Mac moved in a circle, studying the greenery all around us. “In fact . . .” He took out his phone and began taking photos. “I can see Jake Slater getting trapped in here.”

I had to smile. “That’s a great idea. And wait until you meet Stephanie.”

He began to walk up the ramp but stopped and turned. “Who’s Stephanie?”

“Let’s keep going up to the next level. I’ll show you.”

As we reached the second floor of the Ecosphere, the tendrils of the Stephanie vine brushed against Mac’s legs.

“What was that?” he demanded, jumping back.

“That’s Stephanie,” I said, laughing. “She’s a fast-growing vine and seems to move toward anything human.”

“That’s freaking weird.”

“Yeah, it’s weird. But it makes sense when Julian explains it. Something about its DNA causes the plant to react to human pheromones. Apparently it’s attracted to our breath, too. There’s a bunch of other details Julian talked about that I couldn’t begin to explain to you, but he’ll be giving Ecosphere tours starting tomorrow.”

“I’ll sign up for that. I want to hear all about Stephanie. And the rest of this place, too.”

I hope you’ll have as much fun reading Shot Through the Hearth as I had writing—and researching—it.  You can read chapter one for free at https://katecarlisle.com/shot-through-the-hearth.php. Please let me know what you think! You can reach me via my website or at www.facebook.com/katecarlislebooks

Thank you Kate for dropping by for a visit.

Keep reading for my thoughts on A Shot Through The Hearth.

Shot Through the Hearth (A Fixer-Upper Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
7th in Series
Setting – California
Publisher: Berkley (October 29, 2019)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1984804391
ISBN-13: 978-1984804396
Kindle ASIN: B07NCPRQ52

Contractor Shannon Hammer is measuring murder motives in the latest Fixer-Upper Mystery from the New York Times bestselling author of A Wrench in the Works and Eaves of Destruction

Shannon’s good friend and retired tech billionaire, Raphael Nash, is loving his new retired life but he can’t stay unoccupied for too long. He’s started the Marigold Foundation that helps fund small companies and individuals who do humanitarian work around the world. It’s an exciting time in Lighthouse Cove as Raphael hosts the first ever global conference inviting big thinkers from every area of industry to give presentations on eco-living.

Raphael’s old business partner arrives in town with a grudge and a plan to steal him away from his important new passion project. Shannon knows her friend has no intention of giving up Marigold and is proud of Raphael for sticking to his guns. But when his former associate winds up dead, all signs point to Raphael.

It’s up to Shannon to hammer out the details of the murder before her friend gets pinned for the crime…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Shannon  Hammer, contractor extraordinaire, knew her job for billionaire Raphael Nash was going to be a huge job but big thinking Rafe has expanded his plans for his project and Hammer’s construction crew and for Lighthouse Cove too. Not only does he want the home on his property renovated he adds a barn-raising and a garden tower all to be completed before a global conference about eco-living. He has a vast schedule of events with many guest speakers, including Mac, Lighthouse Cove’s resident author.  Rafe has also created the Marigold Foundation, named after his lady love, to award money for research and ecologic humanitarian work around the world. He hopes the conference will become an annual event.

While Rafe Nash is over the moon excited about the foundation and conference, his former partner Dillon Charles is not happy. He wants Rafe to come back to the company they built together and to do new projects together. Rafe tries hard to explain he has a new life in Lighthouse Cove and has no plans to leave it but Charles is not backing down.

Then as the barn-raising gets underway Dillion Charles is found dead and Rafe finds himself at the top of the suspect list. Shannon vows to help her friend. She plans to find the real killer before he gets screwed for a crime he didn’t commit

___

I am always excited when a book in this series is released. With a little home construction experience, I am always pulled into Shannon’s new project and all the drama that surrounds it. Because of this series, I look at every Victorian home that crosses my path in a new light. This time the project is huge and takes about 8 months to complete so we don’t get as many details of all the work completed but the author gives us plenty of information to visualize not only the house with its wonderful outside living space, but the grounds, the barn, the tower, and the unique pods Rafe Nash brings in for his conference.

Ms. Carlisle has also constructed a fantastic mystery. The victim was shady and unlikable. As the story continues information comes to light the pries the suspect list wide open. Many people have a motive, the key is the opportunity. A second death gives a little more focus to who did the deed and readers are taken right into the middle of the scary big reveal when all the clues fall into place. That wasn’t the only scary moment, there are a few that added to the suspense of the story. I was captivated by the process and each little twist and I was still totally surprised at the end.

I enjoy that Shannon is a woman in a male-dominated field who knows her job but isn’t afraid to admit when she doesn’t know something. Her field is Victorian restoration, not barn building, and she sent one of her crew to witness and help in an Amish barn raising and bring back what he learned to have their job go off without a hitch. Her crew, many of who worked with her dad, trust her and they work together like a well-oiled machine.

Shannon also has a strong man in her life and he is right there to help when she finds herself dealing with yet another dead body. Of course, Eric Jensen, the chief of police, is on the scene and kept in the loop on everything Shannon uncovers. Her father is not quite as involved this time but it is for a good reason. Her uncle also makes an appearance. All the characters have a purpose and the dialogue flows so well.

Engaging characters and another fine mystery. A great addition to this series. Each one has been A PERFECT ESCAPE foe me and I recommend them all.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

Read my Reviews for the whole series. 

Book 1 – A High End Finish here

Book 2 – This Old Homicide here.

Book 3 – Crowned and Moldering here.

Book 4 – Deck the Hallways here

Book 5 – Eaves of Destruction here

Book 6 – A Wrench in the Works here.

Read more about Kate and the Fixer-Upper Mysteries at www.KateCarlisle.com!


Also by Kate Carlisle



GIVEAWAY

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.

Click the Like Button at the top of this post for a Bonus Entry.

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

Contest Will End November 27, 2019, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

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Nov 122019
 


Penny for Your Secrets (A Verity Kent Mystery)
Historical Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – England
Publisher: Kensington (October 29, 2019)
Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-10: 1496713192
ISBN-13: 978-1496713193
Kindle ASIN: B07NCN3L74

England, 1919. In Anna Lee Huber’s latest mystery, former Secret Service agent Verity Kent is finding that life after wartime offers its own share of danger . . .

The Great War may be over, but for many, there are still obstacles on the home front. Reconciling with her estranged husband makes Verity sympathetic to her friend Ada’s marital difficulties. Bourgeois-bred Ada, recently married to the Marquess of Rockham, is overwhelmed trying to navigate the ways of the aristocracy. And when Lord Rockham is discovered shot through the heart with a bullet from Ada’s revolver, Verity fears her friend has made a fatal blunder.

While striving to prove Ada’s innocence, Verity is called upon for another favor. The sister of a former Secret Service colleague has been killed in what authorities believe was a home invasion gone wrong. The victim’s war work—censoring letters sent by soldiers from the front—exposed her to sensitive, disturbing material. Verity begins to suspect these two unlikely cases may be linked. But as the connections deepen, the consequences—not just for Verity, but for Britain—grow more menacing than she could have imagined.

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

Verity Kent and husband Sidney attend a party at the home of the Marquess of Rockham. There is clearly tension between Lord Rockham and his wife, Ada but when she pulls out a gun at the dinner table and makes a joke about killing her husband Verity knows there could be trouble ahead. When she receives a frantic call from Ada saying the Lord was dead, Verity fears her friend followed through on her statement.

Verity is also called on by a woman she met working with the Secret Service to investigate the death of her sister. Verity can’t say no, but as both investigations continue she sees her two cases may be connected and may have more deadly consequences.

___

What I really enjoy about this series in the depth of the characters. The war had profound effects on everyone, but we get a personal look at Verity and Sidney as they try to deal with his return and the PTSD and guilt he is fighting while dealing with the Verity’s independence has gained while he was gone. The struggle is real and told in a very believable way. They are surrounded by a cast of characters all dealing with issues of their own and again Ms. Huber gives them depth and their circumstances real.

I found both mysteries to be very interesting. I was more drawn to the Marquess of Rockham’s murder. It was a different time and marriages were made for stature and wealth instead of love.  Ada really had trouble adjusting to the aristocratic ways and clearly isn’t happy. I didn’t condone her behavior but understood part of where she was coming from. Verity has to see something in this woman and I was trying to find some redeeming qualities.

The other death drew Verity back to her Secret Service sources. The victim had a tough job during the war which opened the case which was first classified as a bungled home invasion to so much more. Verity was pulled in several directions and I enjoyed following alongside her as she did her best to find answers, even putting herself in the line of fire.

Anna Lee Huber has a very detailed writing style. You know she has well researched this time in history and does a great job fictionalizing the time period and giving readers a story filled with imagery to bring the story alive. People and places were easy to see in my mind’s eye.

Each book in this series can be read on its own but I recommend reading them in order to really get to know Verity Kent.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

You can read my review for This Side of Murder here and Treacherous Is the Night here.

About the Author

Anna Lee Huber is the author of the historical mystery series. She received the Daphne du Maurier Award for her national bestselling Lady Darby Mysteries. She is a summa cum laude graduate from Lipscomb University in Nashville. To find out more about Anna Lee Huber visit her website here.

Also by this Author


GIVEAWAY

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

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

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

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Sign up for Anna Lee Huber’s Newsletter for 5 Bonus Entries!

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End November 26, 2019, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

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Oct 292019
 

Available Today!


Can’t Judge a Book By Its Murder (Main Street Book Club Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Mississippi
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press (October 29, 2019)
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 1492687774
ISBN-13: 978-1492687771
Kindle ASIN: B07VVT2LFF

Not every murder is by the book…

As Sugar Springs gears up for its all-class high school reunion, Mississippi bookstore owner Arlo Stanley prepares to launch her largest event: a book-signing with the town’s legendary alum and bestselling author, Wally Harrison. That’s when Wally is discovered dead outside of Arlo’s front door and her best friend is questioned for the crime.

When the elderly ladies of Arlo’s Friday Night Book Club start to investigate, Arlo has no choice but to follow behind to keep them out of trouble. Yet with Wally’s reputation, the suspect list only grows longer—his betrayed wife, his disgruntled assistant, even the local man who holds a grudge from a long-ago accident.

Between running interference with the book club and otherwise keeping it all together, Arlo anxiously works to get Chloe out of jail. And amidst it all, her one-time boyfriend-turned-private-eye returns to town, just another distraction while she digs to uncover the truth around Wally’s death and just what Sugar Springs secret could have led to his murder.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Arlo and Chloe’s Books & More is set for a book signing for bestselling author Wally Harrison as part of the Tenth Annual All Class Reunion. Then Arlo receives a phone call that will bring that event to a screeching halt. Arlo has been summoned to the store because a dead body has been found on the sidewalk directly in front of the bookstore. The man has been identified as Wally Harrison and the death is classified as suspicious.  Suicide? Murder? It looks like Arlo’s best friend and business partner Chloe may be involved.

It isn’t long before the ladies of the Friday Night Book Club decide to start their own investigation. Unable to stop them Arlo finds herself investigating too if only to keep the book club members safe. When Chloe is arrested, Arlo is given ten days to prove someone else did the job or Chloe will be transferred to a bigger jail until her trial. Arlo hopes to get a little help from an old boyfriend who is now a P.I. but he may be working the case for another client. All she knows is Chloe didn’t do it and she is going to make sure the right person is booked for murder.

______________

Sugar Springs, Mississippi is full of the requisite quirky characters. We are introduced to a fantastic group of core characters in this first Main Street Book Club Mystery. Arlo and Chloe own and operate the bookstore. Arlo takes care of the books and Chloe takes care of the coffee. Chloe is the mother of the deceased Wally Harrison’s son. We also meet Camille, Fern, and Helen, an elderly group of friends and the original members of the Friday Night Book Club. A spunky group of women who are ready for whatever comes their way. Then there is Chief Matthew “Mads” Keller, Officer Jason Rodgers, and Private Investigator Sam Tucker. Sam and Mads both make Arlo’s heart race. I can’t forget Faulkner, the very vocal Amazon parrot that resides at Arlo and Chloe’s Books & More. All the characters nicely fleshed out for the first book in a series but are left with plenty of room to grow as the series continues.

Like most first books in the series, the murder mystery was interesting but not as complex due to the time needed to introduce readers to the characters and setting. That being said there were some nice twists. Chloe does have motive but Arlo quickly finds others with motive too. I was able to solve this one before Arlo and Mads but found myself very entertained from beginning to end.

I love the small-town ways and feeling. The fact that the book clubbers were able to provide the meals for Chloe reminded me of Mayberry from the Andy Griffth Show. Sugar Springs is full of Southern charm and appealing residents.

This series is off to a terrific start. I see a lot of potential for these characters and the mysteries they could get involved in. Can’t wait for book #2.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Amy Lillard

Amy Lillard is the award-winning author of more than twenty novels, including the Wells Landing series, The Quilting Circle novels, the Sugarcreek Amish Mysteries and the Kappy King Mysteries. Born and raised in Mississippi, she now lives with her husband and son in Oklahoma. Please visit her online at www.AmyWritesRomance.com.

Author Links:


Cozies also by Amy Lillard

Find more books by Amy Lillard here.


I am giving away my Advance 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.

Follow Poisoned Pen Press on Facebook for 2 Bonus Entries.

Follow Poisoned Pen Press on Twitter for 2 Bonus Entries.

Follow Poisoned Pen Press on Instagram 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 November 12, 2019, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

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Oct 102019
 

Mumbo Gumbo Murder
(A Scrapbooking Mystery)
by Laura Childs and Terrie Farley Moran

About Mumbo Gumbo Murder 


Mumbo Gumbo Murder (A Scrapbooking Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
16th in Series
Setting – Louisiana
Berkley (October 1, 2019)
Hardcover: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 0451489578
ISBN-13: 978-0451489579
Digital ASIN: B07M75KVSB

A shocking murder strikes a sour note during Jazz Fest in the latest New Orleans Scrapbooking Mystery from New York Times bestselling author Laura Childs.

It’s Jazz Fest in New Orleans, and the giant puppets from the Beastmaster Puppet Theatre are parading through the French Quarter. Some are very spooky and veiled, others are tall and gangly, like strange aliens.

As the parade proceeds, Carmela Bertrand and her best friend, Ava, follow behind, down Royal Street and past the food booths. Suddenly, they hear a terrible crash from Devon Dowling’s antiques shop. They rush inside to find Devon collapsed with blood streaming down the side of his face. Has he been shot? Stabbed? 911 is hastily called, and the police and EMTs show up. After the police examine Devon’s body, they tell Carmela and Ava that their friend was murdered with an icepick. They’re shocked beyond belief—and now Mimi, Devon’s little pug, is left homeless.

Carmela and Ava are determined to catch the murderer, but the list of suspects is long. How long do they have before they find themselves on the killer’s list?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I have to start this review by saying I started reading this series several years ago and I am usually a stickler for reading series in order so I was putting off jumping back in before I could read the books I missed. But I saw this cover and said the heck with it and took the plunge. I am so glad I did. This book was easy to read all on its own. Readers are given plenty of background and I never felt lost or like I was missing something. I really appreciate it when authors of long-running series think of new readers as well of their long-time fans. Thank you, Laura Childs and Terrie Farley Moran. 

We arrive in New Orleans just in time for Jazz Fest featuring the giant puppets from the Beastmaster Puppet Theatre.  Carmela and Eva are enjoying the festivities when a loud crash halts the progress down Royal street. Something happened at Devon Dowling’s antique shop and Carmela and Eva push through the chaos and into the store. There they find their friend Devon unconscious on the floor amidst a mess of his wares and a scared pug. When the police arrive Devon is declared dead, murdered with an icepick. Carmela and Ava are sent on their way by Carmela’s fiancé, Detective Edgar Babcock and they take Devon’s pub, Mimi, with them. Carmela thinks the dog will help them find the killer but it may end up putting them right in the killer’sights.

Carmela Bertrand owns Memory Mine Scrapbooking Shop and her best friend,  Ava Gruiex owns Juju Voodoo, think Lucy Ricardo and Ethel Mertz set loose in New Orleans. Carmela is supposed to be setting a wedding date and teaching classes in her shop, but now she is wrapped up trying to solve a murder and Quigg Brevard has come back around setting up shop in the building next door to Memory Mine. He has decided he and Carmela would make great partners without any input from her. This does not make Babcock happy at all, in fact he is pretty livid.

These characters are expertly crafted. They practically leap off the page. We also meet some rather shady, alright, creepy characters like members of the Vampire Society and who knows who may be in those crazy puppet costumes. The friendship between Carmela and Eva is strong. Carmela’s employee Gabby tries to keep her boss honest, pointing out things Carmela should but doesn’t realize. She also mans the shop so Carmela is free to snoop. Edgar wants Carmela to stay out of his case but knows she will keep pushing the boundaries right to the end. All the interactions are realistic and the dialogue rings true. Some of it will have you laughing out loud.

The mystery itself is pretty complex and takes our amateur sleuths into some of New Orleans dicier places. They do tend to leap before they think in their quest to find Devon’s killer.  It is truly a crazy ride of twists and turns filled with some dangerous antics before the exciting ending. I was totally surprised by whodunit thanks to the red herrings liberally placed throughout the story.

I really enjoyed the way the story unfolded. I always get a little nervous when two really strong authors combine their talents but Laura Childs and Terrie Farley Moran have figured it out masterfully. The story has a nice flow and it is perfected paced. The descriptions painted vivid pictures in my mind.

Mumbo Gumbo Murder is a fun crime caper that held my interest and had me doing a bit of armchair sleuthing from the beginning to the end. I was totally entertained and I am looking forward to Book 17 – Cadmium Red Dead.

Be sure to check out the Craft Tips and Recipes at the end of the book too!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

Praise for Mumbo Gumbo Murder
(A Scrapbooking Mystery)
by Laura Childs and Terrie Farley Moran

The action starts with a literal bang from the very beginning and continues with page-turning intrigue . . . With an action-packed conclusion, Ms. Childs and Ms. Moran provide a satisfactory end to a highly entertaining read.
~Cinnamon, Sugar, and a little bit of Murder

Mumbo Gumbo Murder is a pleasing cozy mystery with paper projects, wedding woes, a bowwow bystander, a mystified matchmaker, a bothersome ex-beau, and a frustrated fiancé.
~The Avid Reader

Two of our favorite cozy authors once again team up for an explosive mystery in New Orleans . . . Nonstop action and plenty of devious twists come into play.
~Laura’s Interests

MUMBO GUMBO MURDER is packed cover to cover with excitement, fun, mystery and more, all set in the liveliest, and deadliest city in the USA.
~Lisa Ks Book Reviews

Childs is a fantastic go-to author when comes to looking for a good cozy to read and the addition of Moran just makes it that much better . . . a light fun read that is perfect for fans of cozies.
~Books a Plenty Book Reviews

. . . the characters, the location, and the atmosphere are all a little wilder, but it is a lot of fun. I enjoyed the fast pace, the colorful characters, and the great story.
~The Book’s the Thing

The suspense and the chase kept me engrossed to the story . . .. Thrown in some scrapbooking ideas and mouth-watering recipes in a cozy story, and what you get is a Mumbo Gumbo Murder. 😀
~The Book Decoder

About The Authors

laura childs from facebook

 

Laura Childs is the New York Times bestselling author of the Tea Shop Mysteries, Scrapbook 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:   Webpage –  Facebook 

Recipient of both the Agatha and the Derringer awards, Terrie Farley Moran is the author of the beachside Read ‘Em and Eat cozy mystery series; co-author of Laura Childs’ New Orleans scrapbooking mystery series; and has published numerous short stories in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, Mystery Weekly Magazine and numerous anthologies.

The only thing Terrie enjoys more than wrangling mystery plots into submission is hanging out with any or all of her seven grandchildren who reside in New York and Florida.

Terrie’s Links:

Facebook –  Blog  – Goodreads

Purchase Links:     Amazon     B&N    Kobo    Google Play   IndieBound

The Rest of the Series

Find more books by Laura Childs here.
Find more books by Terrie Farley Moran here.

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS
October 1 – Cinnamon, Sugar, and a Little Bit of Murder – REVIEW
October 1 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT – unable to post
October 2 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT – Sapphyria’s Books
October 2 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
October 2 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT
October 3 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW
October 3 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
October 4 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW
October 4 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT
October 5 – MJB Reviewers – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
October 5 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW
October 6 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST
October 6 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
October 7 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW *
October 7 – Reading Is My SuperPower – GUEST POST
October 8 – The Book Decoder – REVIEW
October 8 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
October 9 – eBook Addicts – SPOTLIGHT
October 9 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW *
October 10 – Mysteries with Character – REVIEW
October 10 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW  
October 11 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW *
October 11 – A Holland Reads – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST *
October 12 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
October 12 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT
October 13 – Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers – SPOTLIGHT
October 13 – T’s Stuff – SPOTLIGHT
October 14 – Diary of a Book Fiend – REVIEW
October 14 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW *
October 15 – Socrates Book Reviews – REVIEW
October 15 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
October 15 – Sapphyria’s Books – 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.”

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Oct 082019
 

First things first, this cover is GORGEOUS!!!

A Killer Carol (An Amish Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
7th in Series
Setting – Pennsylvania
Berkley (September 24, 2019)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1984805908
ISBN-13: 978-1984805904
Kindle ASIN: B07MPSFLXG

Heavenly, PA has been transformed into a Christmas wonderland, and Claire is delighted to celebrate the season…but a fiendish killer has other plans in this all-new installment in the national bestselling series.

As the owner of Heavenly Treasures, the local gift shop, Claire is busier than ever helping her English customers (and even a few of her Amish friends, like Esther and Ben) find the perfect gift for the special people on their shopping list.

Claire makes sure she has time for her boyfriend, Detective Jakob Fisher. But the man, who was raised and then shunned by the Amish over his choice of career, has been unusually secretive lately. She tries not to worry, to trust their relationship, but trying and doing aren’t exactly matching up.

Before she can figure out what’s going on with Jakob, word comes that Ruth and Samuel Yoder are being questioned in the death of an elderly Amish couple, found murdered not long after the newlyweds were seen leaving the victims’ farm. Ruth, in turn, seeks Claire’s help in convincing the police that she and Samuel had nothing to do with what happened. But when Claire comes across a cryptic note tucked inside the wedding gift the victims had given the newlyweds no more than an hour before their murder, she finds herself in dire need of a little convincing as well.

Can Claire get to the bottom of things in time to ensure a merry Christmas for all?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Claire Weatherly is so excited about the holidays and the event she has created. One Heavenly Night is sure to bring in the tourists and bring the residents a fun time too. She has gone over all her lists and checked them twice but MURDER was not on the list!

While a group was out caroling they find an elderly couple dead. Detective Jakob Fisher arrives on the scene and tries to reconstruct Daniel and Mary Esch’s final hours. That leads him to newlyweds Ruth and Samuel Yoder. They appear to be the last people to have visited the Esch’s farm. Ruth comes to Claire for help. Claire has helped the police solve cases before and she knows her friend is innocent  . . . or is she . . . Claire finds a note that could change everything!

I always anxiously await each new book in this series. I love these characters and the entire feel of Heavenly, PA.

This time both Jakob and Claire are super busy, but that is usually the case and they still find time for each other. Claire feels Jakob is hiding something and she is not sure if their relationship can survive. One of the best things about this series is the true friendships made amongst the characters and their huge hearts that reach out to not only their friends but others in the community. There are several significant moments like that in A Killer Carol. Ms. Bradford has created characters with many layers and the character development over the series has been stellar.

The author also gives readers a strong mystery. The Amish theme means things unfold at a slower but perfect pace. She details Amish traditions and way of life alongside the Englisch ways. Claire has truly found her place in Heavenly and crosses comfortably between the two even though the practice of shunning still wears on her. This ability allows her to go places and talk to people that are closed off from Jakob. While trying to save her friend Claire is on a journey herself in this story. Both parts take hold and make this book impossible to put down.

The Christmas theme was the icing on the cake. The cover of the book is gorgeous and brings on that Christmas feeling even when the actual weather outside is still pretty balmy. The ending had me singing some happy carols of my own.

Awesome characters, an idyllic setting, a wonderful story. I wish I had book 8 in my hands right now. Waiting will be torture but I know it will be worth it.

This entire series is outstanding! I highly recommend them all! Run, don’t walk, get your copy today! Enjoy! You can thank me later 🙂

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About The Author

While spending a rainy afternoon at a friend’s house more than thirty years ago, Laura Bradford (a.k.a. Elizabeth Lynn Casey) fell in love with writing over a stack of blank paper, a box of crayons, and a freshly sharpened number two pencil. From that moment forward, she never wanted to do anything else.

Today, Laura is the national bestselling author of the Amish Mysteries, the Jenkins & Burns Mysteries, the Tobi Tobias Mystery Series, The Emergency Dessert Squad Mysteries and the Southern Sewing Circle Mysteries (written as Elizabeth Lynn Casey).

In June 2018, Laura debuted her first-ever women’s fiction novel, Portrait of a Sister.

Laura is a former Agatha nominee and the recipient of an RT Reviewer’s Choice Award in romance. In her free time, Laura enjoys making memories with her family, traveling, baking, and visiting the sea lions at the Central Park Zoo. For more information and all the latest book news, visit her website at www.laurabradford.com.

Author Links

Website     Facebook     Twitter   Pinterest




Also by Laura Bradford


 


Click here for more books by Laura Bradford.

Click Here for books written as Elizabeth Lynn Casey.

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
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Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
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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 October 22, 2019, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

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Oct 042019
 


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.

This book was recommended to me several years ago and it has been sitting on my To-Be-Read shelf ever since. I was so happy that one of the books required for the What’s In A Name Reading Challenge was “Contains the word “girl” or “woman”. This book fits to a T.


The Girl Who Fell from the Sky
Cultural Heritage Fiction / Contemporary Literature & Fiction
Setting – Various
Algonquin Books (January 11, 2010)
Hardcover: 256 pages
ISBN-10: 1565126807
ISBN-13: 978-1565126800
Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1616200154
ISBN-13: 978-1616200152
Kindle ASIN: B004GKNBX8

Rachel, the daughter of a Danish mother and a black G.I., becomes the sole survivor of a family tragedy after a fateful morning on their Chicago rooftop.

Forced to move to a new city, with her strict African American grandmother as her guardian, Rachel is thrust for the first time into a mostly black community, where her light brown skin, blue eyes, and beauty bring a constant stream of attention her way. It’s there, as she grows up and tries to swallow her grief, that she comes to understand how the mystery and tragedy of her mother might be connected to her own uncertain identity.

This searing and heartwrenching portrait of a young biracial girl dealing with society’s ideas of race and class is the winner of the Bellwether Prize for best fiction manuscript addressing issues of social justice.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Eleven-year-old Rachel Morse is living with her grandmother in Portland following a day that left her the only survivor of her family. Her father was an African American G.I. and her mother was Danish. They met, fell in love and had a family. Moving to Chicago things were hard for her mother and their mixed children.

After the deaths of the rest of her family  Rachel moves in with her very strict African American grandmother she finds herself surrounded in a black community with her light brown skin and beautiful blue eyes. She misses her “Mor”, mother in Danish, and her siblings so much. As she grows she becomes more aware of what really happened all those years ago.

____

This was such a moving story. Told in two parts from different points of view over several years. It was a little confusing at first but the author makes it work. Each character has a distinct voice and their own baggage.

Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner may have been released in 1967 but in the early ’80s biracial marriages were still not as accepted in the U.S. as they were in Europe. Rachel’s mother Nella tried to do everything putting her children first. When tragedy strikes Rachel is the only one left. Now she has to deal with the prejudice on her own while finding out who she really is and how she can survive. She also learns she wasn’t the only one trying to move on from that fateful day.

Most of this story is full of heartwrenching moments. You can feel Rachel’s pain. She’s black, but not black enough, she has startling blue eyes that set her apart, her hair isn’t right, she talks “like a white person”.  A complex coming of age story with so much adversity. Rachel tries so hard to deal with everything on her own and that really ripped me apart. There are a few softer moments but this was a heavy read. There was a little bit of hope in the end but it left me wondering where is Rachel today?

 The Girl Who Fell from the Sky will have you feeling a bucket full of emotions as you escape into Rachel’s story. A complex, gripping story that will stick with you long after you turn the last page.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author – From Amazon
Heidi W. Durrow is the New York Times best-selling author of The Girl Who Fell From the Sky (Algonquin Books), which received writer Barbara Kingsolver’s 2008 PEN/Bellwether Prize, and is already a book club favorite. The Girl Who Fell From the Sky has been hailed as one of the Best Novels of 2010 by the Washington Post, a Top 10 Book of 2010 by The Oregonian, a Top 10 Buzz Book of 2010 by the Boston Herald and named a Top 10 Debut of 2010 by Booklist. Ebony Magazine named Heidi as one of its Power 100 Leaders of 2010 along with writers Edwidge Danticat, and Malcolm Gladwell. Heidi was nominated for a 2011 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Debut.

Heidi W. Durrow is a graduate of Stanford, Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism and Yale Law School.

Originally from Portland, Oregon, Heidi has worked as a corporate litigator at Cravath, Swaine & Moore, and as a Life Skills trainer to professional athletes of the National Football League and National Basketball Association. She was the co-host of the award-winning weekly podcast Mixed Chicks Chat and now host of The Mixed Experience; and was a founder and executive producer of the now defunct Mixed Roots Film & Literary Festival. She is now spearheading the Mixed Remixed Festival, an annual free public event, that celebrates stories of the Mixed experience. She is an occasional essay contributor to National Public Radio.

She is the recipient of a Fellowship in Fiction from the New York Foundation for the Arts, a Jerome Foundation Fellowship for Emerging Writers, a Jentel Foundation Residency, and won top honors in the Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition and the Chapter One Fiction Contest. She has received grants from the Elizabeth George Foundation, the American Scandinavian Foundation, the Roth Endowment and the American Antiquarian Society. She has also received Fellowships to the Norman Mailer Writers’ Colony and the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference. Durrow’s writing has appeared in the New York Times, Ebony Magazine, Alaska Quarterly Review, The Literary Review, Smokelong Quarterly, Callaloo, Poem/Memoir/Story, the Yale Journal of Law and Feminism, Essence magazine, and Newsday.

I am giving away my hardcover 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.

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 October 18, 2019, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

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Oct 012019
 

Have Yourself a Beary Little Murder
(A Teddy Bear Mystery)
by Meg Macy

About Have Yourself a Beary Little Murder


Have Yourself a Beary Little Murder (A Teddy Bear Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Michigan
Kensington (September 24, 2019)
Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN-10: 1496722655
ISBN-13: 978-1496722652
Digital ASIN: B07MRC5KZG

This holiday season, teddy bear shop manager Sasha Silverman must solve the slaying of Santa Bear . . .

Sasha and her sister Maddie are thrilled that the Silver Bear Shop and Factory has won the Teddy Bear Keepsake Contest, which means they get to produce a holiday specialty toy, a wizard bear named “Beary Potter.” Promising to be just as magical is Silver Hollow’s annual tree-lighting ceremony and village parade. Only one hitch: the parade’s mascot, Santa Bear—played by Mayor Cal Bloom—is missing.

After a frantic search among the floats, Bloom is found dead. When the outfit is removed, it’s clear the mayor’s been electrocuted. Who zapped hizzoner and then stuffed him into his Santa Bear suit? While the police investigate the grisly crime, Sasha attempts to track down the murderer herself, with some help from the Guilty Pleasures Gossip Club. Can they wrap up this case in time for Christmas—or will Sasha meet her own shocking end?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

We arrive in Silver Hollow just in time for the holiday tree-lighting and parade. The folks at the Silver Bear Shop and Factory have been feeling very “beary” because they won a huge contest which means they are producing a special holiday bear that is being sent everywhere. The wizard bear named “Beary Potter” is also popular in Silver Hollow with tons of orders. It’s all hands on deck to be sure every order is fulfilled before Christmas.

Judith Silverman has been roped into organizing this year’s parade. She is a very organized woman but her Santa Bear, aka Mayor Cal Bloom, left to get into his costume but hasn’t returned. Sasha and her mom start a search for the man and find him nearby but he won’t be participating in this year’s parade. It appears he was electrocuted but is found nowhere close to the source.  Sasha bearly had time to turn around and now she is right in the middle of another murder investigation. With a little help from her friends/Guilty Pleasures Gossip Club, they may be able to wrap up the case in time for a Beary Merry Christmas.

_____

Finally, in book three, Judith has won me over a little bit. She is still a meddling mom but she had plenty of other things going on that she wasn’t quite so overbearing. Then again Sasha’s romance was cooler this time because Jay was out of town for most of the book and Flynn appears to have moved on. Who knows what the future stories will bring? 🙂 I do love the rest of the family. They continue to evolve, have great senses of humor and their dialogues are so realistic. I really enjoy the way they all work together to create bears that brings joy to so many people.

The mystery this time was unique in that Sasha’s mom actually wanted Sasha to investigate the murder, in fact, she demands it. The evidence is clearly pointing in one direction but Sasha’s digging presents more suspects. Not everyone loved the good mayor. Twists on top of twists, I was totally up in the air until the earth-shattering reveal.

Ms. Macy’s storytelling skills are top-notch. She does introduce several new characters this time and at times it was a little confusing but not so much that it took away from the mystery. The author details the scenes with her words and makes them easy to envision. I was delighted by the story from the first page to the last. All the events sounded like so much fun, sans the killer running around town, of course.

This is a series that I do recommend be read in order. Getting to know the Silverman family, their friends, and the residents of Silver Hollow from the start will ensure maximum bear-filled entertainment.

Have Yourself a Beary Little Murder is a perfect read for mystery lovers this holiday season!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

You can read my review of Bearly Departed
and a guest post from Meg here.

You can read my review of Bear Witness to Murder
and a character guest post by Sasha Silverman here.

 

About Meg Macy

Meg Macy is an award-winning author and artist, and lives in Southeastern Michigan, the setting of her Shamelessly Adorable Teddy Bear cozy mysteries for Kensington. Her first published book, Double Crossing, won the 2012 Spur Award for Best First Novel from Western Writers of America. Meg is also one-half of the writing team of D.E. Ireland, authors of the Eliza and Henry Higgins Mystery series—of which two titles have been Agatha Award finalists. Meg love gardening, watercolor painting, and reading books of various genres.

Praise for Have Yourself a Beary Little Murder
(A Teddy Bear Mystery)
by Meg Macy

Lots of tension building and the mystery isn’t an easy solve.
~Laura’s Interests

Meg Macy is writing about the season of goodwill, toys, competitions, and murder! and it is a total page-turner from start to finish.
~A Wytch’s Book Review Blog

As a teddy bear collector, I love reading this series. The latest installment does not disappoint . . . Solving the murder was not easy for me in this story…I had no clue who, why or how until the reveal. It was well worth the wait, and was quite a “shocking” surprise!
~Book Babble

The author has created a setting that sounds magical and I would love to visit. Being there with all of the bear themed activities at Christmas would be great.
~MJB Reviewers

Author Links

 Facebook  Twitter  Instagram  Website  Pinterest

Subscribe to Meg’s newsletter!

Purchase Links 

AMAZON     B&N    KOBO

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS
September 23 – Babs Book Bistro – GUEST POST – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews
September 23 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT
September 24 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW
September 24 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW
September 25 – Book Babble – REVIEW
September 25 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT
September 26 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
September 26 – Here’s How It Happened – SPOTLIGHT
September 27 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
September 27 – I Read What You Write – SPOTLIGHT
September 28 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, GUEST POST
September 29 – Literary Gold – CHARACTER GUEST POST
September 29 – Diary of a Book Fiend – SPOTLIGHT
September 30 – eBook Addicts – SPOTLIGHT
September 30 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
October 1 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW  
October 1 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW
October 2 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW
October 2 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
October 3 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
October 3 – My Devotional Thoughts – REVIEW
October 4 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW
October 5 – Socrates Book Reviews – REVIEW
October 6 – Melina’s Book Blog – 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.”

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Sep 252019
 

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

It is my pleasure to welcome Bree Baker to Escape With Dollycas today!

 

A Charming Escape
by Bree Baker

As a fifth-generation Midwesterner, I come from a long line of people who escape annually to the beach. We rent condos, hotel rooms and often entire houses where the clan (or circus depending on perspective) can shake off the confines of life’s daily expectations and live for a week or so on island time. I’ve been all over the East Coast, but find the stretch of barrier islands along the Carolinas, aka the Outer Banks, to be most completely perfect for my crew, with Virginia’s costal islands, Chincoteague and Assateague, as tight seconds. We go off-season and enjoy the quiet. The beaches. Maritime forests. Deep sense of history, museums. Architecture. Lighthouses and wild horses. And don’t even get me started on all the amazing food. It’s heaven, and if you’ve never visited the Outer Banks, I hope you will. It’s a whole other world. I wish I never had to leave.

This is how my Seaside Café Mysteries were born. Eventually, I’d spent one-too-many decades on a rented deck, wondering what it would be like to live in a quaint seaside town, and I decided to write about it. Now, I live vicariously through my main character, Everly Swan, owner, operator and sole proprietor of Sun, Sand and Tea, a seaside iced tea shop and café in her hometown of Charm, North Carolina. (I couldn’t choose a favorite Outer Banks town, so I took all my favorite parts of other area towns and created Charm instead. – That’s a fun perk of writing. Don’t like something? Make up something else instead.)

Now I escape to one version of the islands I love each day while I write about Everly and her fantastic escapades, but, it got me thinking… If I escape to the islands, where do islanders escape? I decided to ask Everly and it turns out she had quite a bit to say on the subject.

As it turns out, Everly is a bit of an escape artist. She often sometimes escapes into nature, walking the boardwalk, digging her toes in the sand or wading through the surf. Other times, especially once she’s in her jammies, she escapes into a book. She frequently borrows novels from the Little Libraries her best friend, Amelia, has set up throughout the town and on the boardwalk. If her great-aunts are home, Everly escapes to the Swan family homestead where they share midnight pancakes and endless glasses of sweet tea around a table that has been in their kitchen for more than a hundred years. But her most common and favorite escape of all is to her café. If not to eat her secret stash of lemon cake, then to create something new and magnificent to share.

Everly grew up at the counter, mixing potions from bags and bowls of homegrown ingredients, chopping produce from the family gardens and sweetening secret recipes with honey from their hives. To Everly, there’s magic in the process of creating or perfecting something spectacular in the kitchen. And there is no better experience than seeing her friends, family, and neighbors truly become enchanted by her spells.

In honor of Everly and her many culinary escapes, I thought it would be fun to share the recipe that got her into trouble (and started all my fun) in book one, LIVE AND LET CHAI. Iced strawberry and peach tea. I hope you will enjoy! And if you’re in the mood for an island escape, but can’t make it over to the Outer Banks just yet, feel free to join Everly on an adventure in Charm. She’d sure love to have you, and spending a few days in her life is certain to make you smile.

 

Summer Strawberry & Peach Tea

Nothing compliments a hot summer day like this
Swan Family Favorite, so dive in and enjoy!

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Yields: 16 servings

Ingredients:

10 cups of cold water divided

1 cup strawberry preserves

8 herbal peach tea bags

12 fresh strawberries, cored and sliced

Ice

Directions:

Add 4 cups of water, strawberry preserves and peach tea bags to a saucepan and bring to a boil

Remove from heat and steep 15 minutes.

Pour in remaining 6 cups of cold water

Remove tea bags and cool completely

Add strawberry slices and stir

Refrigerate until ready to serve

Pour over ice

Enjoy!

Thank you, Bree, for visiting today! 

Keep reading for my thoughts about Tide and Punishment. 


Tide and Punishment (Seaside Café Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – North Carolina
Poisoned Pen Press (September 24, 2019)
Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
ISBN-10: 1492664812
ISBN-13: 978-1492664819
Kindle ASIN: B07T7YSLGT

No one dreams of a killer Christmas…

It’s Christmastime in Charm, North Carolina, and while Everly Swan would prefer to focus on decorating her iced tea shop for its first holiday season, Great-Aunt Fran has decided to run for mayor against her long-time nemesis. But when the other candidate turns up dead just before the first scheduled debate, all eyes turn to Fran as the suspect with the most obvious motive.

Everly knows her sweet, elderly Aunt Fran couldn’t have murdered anyone, but as she struggles to find the real killer, it begins to seem like this may be the last merry Christmas her family may ever have.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Christmas in Charm is plagued by snow, wind, ice, and murder this year. Everly Swan has planned a big holiday party where her sweet Great Aunt Fran plans to announce her run to become the town’s next mayor. When the current mayor steals her thunder with his own announcement she holds it together for a while but then she needs to get some air. When she finds her nemesis dead in the snow with no other witnesses she becomes the top suspect for his murder. Everly knows Fran is innocent and she thinks Detective Grady Hays knows it too. Christmas gnomes Great Aunt Clara has been painting and leaving in front of their shop, Blessed Be becomes debris as the killer is doing their best to frame Fran and Everly just isn’t having it no matter how many gnomes are lost trying to scare her away. Jailing her aunt on Christmas is not an option. Everly is “tea’d” off and will not rest until the real culprit is behind bars.

____

Bree Baker’s stories are much more than mysteries, they are stories of family, friends, and community too. Bree has a strong bond with her aunts, she has a strong bond with best friend Amelia who owns Charmed Reads, and she would like to have a stronger bond with Detective Hays. Having her ex in town and now the good detective’s deceased wife’s mother moving to Charm that may be difficult. The core characters have continued to develop more in each book. Everly’s Sun, Sand and Tea has become a gathering place that really brings residents new and old together. I loved that the town had a holiday progressive dinner. What a fabulous idea for a beach town to stay connected even in the winter. The Giving Tree was also very heartening to read about. We had something in our town similar when our children were young.

The author strikes a quick pace in this well-plotted mystery. Everly really has her hands full but still finds time to do plenty of snooping. But key clues can be found just doing normal activities and keeping her eyes and ears open. Of course, there were those distracting clues that diverted her thinking and my thinking too. The story builds to a very exciting climax with the perfect holiday weapon. I loved it!

The best vacation our family ever experienced was to Caswell Beach, North Carolina many years ago. With a beach that matches our last name, we couldn’t resist. Books like this one take me back to those days. This installment had a rare winter snowfall and unseasonably cold weather but being from Wisconsin I would not be deterred by that at all. Charm is a place I would love to visit, heck it would be a place I would love to live.

A fabulous setting filled with charming characters and a multifaceted story that includes a great mystery, Tide and Punishment was a wonderfully entertaining story. Each book in this series has left me excited for the next. I hope I don’t have to wait too long for my next virtual vacay to Charm! I highly recommend all three of the books that have been released so far!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

You can read my review of No Good Tea Goes Unpunished here and Live and Let Chai 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.

Find out more on her website here. 


Thanks to the publisher I have 1 copy to giveaway!

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with a US mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

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Sep 242019
 

Available Today!


Here Comes Santa Paws (A Melanie Travis Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
24th in Series
Setting – Connecticut
Kensington (September 24, 2019)
Hardcover: 208 pages
ISBN-10: 1496718453
ISBN-13: 978-1496718457
Kindle ASIN: B07MB475ZK

It’s the most wonderful time of the year in Connecticut, but Melanie Travis finds surviving this December may take a real Christmas miracle when a yuletide murderer comes to town . . .

As Melanie attempts to deck the halls in a house overrun by pampered Poodles, her event planner friend, Claire, is busy playing Santa—beard and belly not included—for the wealthiest clientele on Connecticut’s Gold Coast. A personal shopper gig in the affluent town of New Canaan seems like business as usual. Except Claire’s stylish stint comes at a higher price than she bargains for when she stumbles over her newest customer’s dead body on the job. Named a prime suspect for murder, she begs for Melanie’s help, then vanishes like cookies and milk on Christmas Eve . . .

Determined to track down Claire, Melanie and her nosy Aunt Peg dash into a dizzying investigation that leads to even more questions. Why was homicide victim Lila Moran, a secretive woman with an untraceable past, permitted to live on a well-known socialite-turned-recluse’s private estate, and is Claire keeping her own incriminating secrets under wraps? Now, with a grinchy New Canaan detective on their case and disturbing clues piling up like presents beneath the tree, the crime-solving duo must rein in a sinister Kris Kringle before they’re the next ones on someone’s deadly wish list . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Christmas in Connecticut this year comes with a case of murder for Melanie Travis and she is wrapped right into it because her friend Claire finds the body and becomes the prime suspect. Claire trying to expand her event planning business has become a private shopper for the well-to-do residents of New Canaan including Lila Moran. She had just stopped by to drop off some presents when she found her client murdered. She panics but calls the police and then calls Melanie.

Melanie with her school on holiday break has plenty of time to snoop, and of course, Aunt Peg includes herself in the amateur investigation. At first, they have more questions than answers and the detective on the case wants them out of his case, but before Santa can come down the chimney he may be wishing he paid more attention to Melanie because she always seems to be one step ahead of him.

Also, Aunt Peg finds something very special in her stocking!

___

I love visiting the Travis family, they are always up to something!

It’s holiday season so no dog shows to attend or for Peg to judge but that doesn’t mean drama won’t find these sleuths. Claire is married to Melanie’s first husband but they have become friends. That is part of the reason I love this series, Melanie has a huge open heart and an amazing amount of energy. She is always willing to help friends, family, neighbors, fellow dog owners, actually, anybody, even when it may put her in danger.

A husband, 2 sons, 5 Standard Poodles, 1 spotted mutt, and the formidable Aunt Peg, really keeps Melanie on her toes and that is before you add friends, work, dog shows, everyday life, and a murder. Ms. Berenson has created a fantastic protagonist and surrounded her with a marvelous supporting cast. They are credible and real. I could see myself dropping by Melanie’s house for a cup of coffee while enjoying not only her company but plenty of canine love.

In this installment, Melanie does her best but hits a wall while investigating the victim. Aunt Peg just may have a way to help her out. A few suspects in addition to Claire finally come to light and I enjoyed following step by step along with Melanie right up to a very exciting ending. Wow, the edge of my seat, check!

This holiday story was a quick read and as with the previous books in this series, held my attention was beginning to end. The characters are engaging, the mystery is well-plotted and the story leaves me excitedly waiting for the next one.

Reading Here Comes Santa Paws is a great way to kick off your holiday season and would make a great gift for the dog lovers on your list. Ms. Berenson writes each story to stand on its own so don’t be put off by it being number 24 in the series.  I do predict that after reading this one you are going to want to read more about Melanie Travis and her wonderful family though. 🙂 Woof!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About This Author

Laurien Berenson is an Agatha and Macavity Nominee, winner of the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, and four-time winner of the Maxwell Award, presented by the Dog Writers Association of America. She and her husband live on a farm in Kentucky surrounded by dogs and horses.

Find out more about her and her books on her webpage here. Find her on Facebook here and on Twitter here.

THE REST OF THE SERIES


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.

Click the Like Button at the top of this post for a Bonus Entry.

Sign Up for Laurien’s Newsletter for 5 Bonus Entries! 

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

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

CLICK HERE TO ENTER 

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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Sep 202019
 

A Night’s Tail (Magical Cats)
by Sofie Kelly

 

About A Night’s Tail

 

A Night’s Tail (Magical Cats)
Cozy Mystery
11th in Series
Setting – Minnesota
Berkley (September 3, 2019)
Hardcover: 288 pages
ISBN-10: 0440001137
ISBN-13: 978-0440001133
Digital ASIN: B07L7SSYYZ

Librarian Kathleen Paulson’s brother, Ethan, and his band, The Flaming Gerbils, are spending some time in Mayville Heights. Ethan and his band-mate Derek, are giving a song-writing workshop at the St. James Hotel when they stumble upon the body of Lewis Wallace. The former football player was considering the town for the site of his newest business venture. However, not everyone was a fan of the brash ex-athlete, who had a failed business, some disgruntled customers, and several lawsuits in his past. Did he make a new enemy, or did Lewis Wallace’s past finally catch up with him? It’s up to Kathleen—with some furry assistance from her talented cats, Owen and Hercules—to figure out who was trying to settle the score.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

We are back in Mayville Heights and librarian Kathleen Paulson is thrilled that her brother has come to visit. His band, The Flaming Gerbils, is playing some gigs nearby and have organized a song-writing workshop at the St. James Hotel.  When they and Kathleen arrive at the hotel to check out the space they find a man the had encountered the night before deader than a doornail. Lewis Wallace has been in town trying to work out a deal for a new business venture and it isn’t long before his true colors are exposed opening up a large variety of suspects. Because of the band members recent history with the man Kathleen, with a little assist from her magical felines, Owen and Hercules, strive to get the right person booked for the crime.

I love this series! Owen and Hercules are such amazing kitties and so is Micah! Marcus just doesn’t know it yet 😎 They are absolutely priceless. Owen with his catnip chickens, Hercules snaking off to have breakfast across the backyard with Everett and Rebecca, and Micah’s little antics just crack me up.

In this installment, we meet Kathleen’s brother Ethan. I was thrilled that she had a little piece of home with her but it leads her to realize that Mayville Heights is home too. Right now at the library, she is helping set up a quilt show. The organizer is a real micro-manager but Kathleen understands and they make a great team. The show sounded quite impressive. Her boyfriend Marcus would like her to stay out of his case but Kathleen always seems to find the right answers just before he does. Of course, he doesn’t have a set of magical cats helping him investigate.

Ms. Kelly continues to create great characters while letting established characters to grow. They are three-dimensional and the dialogue rings true. This time she not only had to give us a despicable victim, you will see what I mean early in the story, she also brings us The Flaming Gerbils! I love that name! She has to give them all enough depth so that readers become invested and keep those pages flipping. She does this so well. I love the little snarks between brother and sister. It sounded a lot like my house when the kids are together.

Sofie Kelly also pens a twisted mystery with plenty of clues pulling both Kathleen and readers in different directions. I thought I had it all figured out only to keep reading to find I was completely wrong. It turned out to be quite a puzzler until the final clue slid into place.

Readers will get a kick out of this well-plotted mystery with terrific characters, a great dose of humor, just a little bit of romance and cats that will absolutely, positively steal your heart. A Night’s Tail has it all and was truly A Perfect Escape!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

*This book can be read on its own but reading a couple of the early stories may be helpful to get to know the characters. 

About Sofie Kelly

Sofie Kelly writes the New York Times bestselling Magical Cats mysteries that feature librarian Kathleen Paulson and her two very special cats, Owen and Hercules, who have a magical knack for solving crime. As Sofie Ryan she is the author of the New York Times bestselling Second Chance Cat mystery series. She lives on the east coast with her husband and daughter.

Website: www.sofiekelly.com

Purchase Links – Amazon    –    Barnes and Noble     –       Indiebound

Praise for A Night’s Tail (Magical Cats)
by Sofie Kelly

A Night’s Tail is a spellbinding tale with a catnip chicken catastrophe, quilt show quandaries, a cookie calamity, and a busy brother with a bothersome bandmate.
~The Avid Reader

I quickly became immersed in this story and enjoyed every minute spent with Kathleen and her “special” cats, Hercules and Owen.
~The Power of Words

A Night’s Tail by Sofie Kelly is a terrific story about family, friends, lies, and judgment all with a side of murder.
~Baroness’ Book Trove

As with any Cozy, relationships are key and it is obvious that Kathleen and the residents of the town of Mayville Heights have developed strong bonds. There are surely more tails to come. I can see why it is a best selling series.
~I Read What You Write

This series seems to have all the elements cozy readers look for in a favorite series.
~Laura’s Interests

The book is fantastic at drawing you in with characters you can relate to both old and new . . . Total must-read for fans of cozies, kitties, and a touch of magic. I totally loved it so I give it 5/5 stars.
~Books a Plenty Book Reviews

 




Written as Sofie Ryan


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

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Have Yourself a Beary Little Murder (A Teddy Bear Mystery) by Meg Macy Get Your Copy Today!
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