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/

Also by this Author


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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

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.


Also by this Author





I am giving my Advance Review Copy away!
The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

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

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

Contest Will End October 15, 2020, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

Posted in 2020 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies 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.

 

Also by this Author





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

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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.”

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

Game of Dog Bones (A Melanie Travis Mystery) by Laurien Berenson #Review


Game of Dog Bones (A Melanie Travis Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
25th in Series
Setting – Connecticut/New York
Publisher: Kensington (June 30, 2020)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1496718372
ISBN-13: 978-1496718372
Kindle – ASIN: B07W4MRR69

Standard Poodle owner Melanie Travis is an excellent judge of dogs—and people. But what happens when an unnamed killer emerges at one of the fiercest all-breed competitions ever?

 

As Greenwich, Connecticut, slows down during a bitterly cold February, Melanie and her spunky Aunt Peg head to the city that never sleeps for the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at Madison Square Garden. Aunt Peg can’t wait to demonstrate her judging chops on national TV, even after being hounded by frustrating mishaps—all seemingly orchestrated by Victor Durbin, an ousted Paugussett Poodle Club member with a bone to pick. But the bright lights of the show ring grow dim when Victor is found murdered, and she’s the one topping the suspect list . . .

 

Driven to solve the crime on her aunt’s behalf, Melanie fetches hair-raising clues about the victim. Victor didn’t score many friends with his unethical breeding practices, sketchy puppy café, and penchant for mercilessly scamming others to get ahead. He burned so many bridges that his own business partner admits to being delighted by news of his death. It appears Victor finally toyed with the wrong person, and as Melanie digs up more chilling evidence, she realizes that exonerating Aunt Peg means confronting a murderer who’s in it to win it . . .

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Aunt Peg gets to fulfill her dream when she is asked to judge for the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at Madison Square Garden and be on television. She is even hosting a seminar before her judging. But a former member of her poodle club, Victor Durbin is doing his best to ruin her day by planning his own event at the same time as Peg’s. When the man is later found dead Peg finds herself on the shortlist of suspects. New York is taking its own sweet time with their investigation so Melanie dives into her investigation to clear her Aunt Peg’s name while putting herself in jeopardy.


Visiting the Travis family is always a good time. With a husband, 2 sons, 5 Standard Poodles, 1 spotted mutt, and Aunt Peg, there is never a dull moment. Going with them to the biggest dog show was a real treat. We get a behind the scenes look and see Aunt Peg’s judging techniques in full force. All the human and canine characters really shine within this story. This is the 25th book in this series and the characters all continue to evolve and remain fresh. The dialogues and all interactions are believable and ring true.

In addition to some awesome subplots, the mystery was very well written. The victim truly had his share of enemies and I really enjoyed tailing along with Melanie as she worked her way through all of them. The author’s descriptive writing style takes her readers right into the moments of her characters in a way that keeps the pages rapidly turning. A major event takes place and that was truly my favorite part of the story.

Game of Dog Bones is an excellent addition to this long-running series. Each story reads well as a stand-alone too. It is fun and entertaining and leaves readers panting for the next book.

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

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 featuring A Fatal Fiction (Deadly Edits) by Kaitlyn Dunnett #Review / #Giveaway @KensingtonBooks

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am excited to feature A Fatal Fiction by Kaitlyn Dunnett today!


A Fatal Fiction (Deadly Edits)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – New York
Publisher: Kensington (June 30, 2020)
Hardcover: 288 pages
ISBN-10: 1496726863
ISBN-13: 978-1496726865
Kindle ASIN: B07W6S73TB

Freelance book editor Mikki Lincoln knows the makings of a well-written story. But she’ll need to choose her words wisely when a new assignment introduces a deadly plot twist . . .

 

Forgotten on the outskirts of quaint Lenape Hollow, Feldman’s Catskill Resort Hotel has outlasted its heyday as a popular tourist destination and now awaits demolition. But once Mikki is hired to edit a revealing memoir by Sunny Feldman, the last living relative of its original owners, the doomed resort quickly ends up back in the spotlight . . .

 

Unfortunately, everyone’s attention shifts to Mikki when a body is discovered at the demolition site. Seen arguing with deceptive entrepreneur Greg Onslow right before his shocking death, the editor has no choice but to spell out exactly why she isn’t guilty of murdering him . . .

 

Mikki’s dash for answers brings Greg’s shady dealings into focus, along with an unsettling list of potential culprits. As false leads and dead ends force her to revise theories on who really did it, can Mikki separate fact from fiction before the investigation reaches a terrifying conclusion?

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

In this 3rd installment of the Deadly Edits Series, professional editor, Mikki Lincoln finds herself in the middle of a dispute between Sunny Feldman who is writing a memoir of times at her family’s Feldman’s Catskill Resort Hotel which is now owned by entrepreneur Greg Onslow who believes the book will hurt his chances to revitalize the area.

When Onslow’s body is found dead on the property Mikki becomes a prime suspect due to a verbal altercation witnessed by many and videotaped. She knows she is going to need facts to solve this murder and she may need to edit her thoughts on more than one of her suspects. One thing for sure, there is more to this death than first meets the eye and Mikki is determined to get to the truth.

_____

The thing I love most about this series is Mikki herself. A mature woman, set in her ways, strong, smart, savvy, comfortable in her own skin. A retired schoolteacher she is methodical which makes her a great amateur sleuth and so much fun to follow along with. She is very direct which at times works to her determent but at her age, it may be hard to learn to soften her approach.

One thing I didn’t like about this story was the arrival of Mikki’s nephew Nick. Mikki’s family is worried about her getting involved in these murders and sends in the calvary. I found him very off-putting. He didn’t listen to his aunt, jumped to conclusions, and basically drove me to his distraction. I realize his heart was in the right place but Mikki is clearly in control of her life and faculties and he should have realized it right away.

The mystery itself is very well-plotted and written. There are plenty of suspects and some nice twists and red herrings to keep readers intrigued and tuned in. The story has an excellent flow and humor in all the right places.

While I did hone in on the culprit before the big reveal I found A Fatal Fiction entertaining and a great addition to this series. I am looking forward to book #4.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

You can read my review of Crime and Punctuation here
and Clause and Effect here.

About the Author 

Kaitlyn Dunnett writes the Liss MacCrimmon Mystery Series and now the Deadly Edits Mystery Series. You can find out more about her and her books on her website here.

Also by Kaitlyn Dunnett


I am giving my Advance Review Copy 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.

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.

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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 Cloak and Dagger Challenge Giveaways Read The Printed Word Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

An Exquisite Corpse (Art of Murder Mysteries) by Helen A. Harrison #Review / #Giveaway

An Exquisite Corpse (Art of Murder Mysteries)
Historical Mystery
1st in Series
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press (July 7, 2020)
Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 1728214009
ISBN-13: 978-1728214009
Kindle ASIN: B085FTFVC7

Murder is a work of art…

 

When the acclaimed Cuban painter Wifredo Lam turns up dead in his Greenwich Village studio, officers Juanita Diaz and Brian Fitzgerald of the NYPD, must investigate the crime. But what they find is much more gruesome than they ever could have imagined.

 

Suspicion soon falls on a tight-knit circle of Surrealist refugees who fled Nazi-occupied Europe during World War II, and Diaz and Fitzgerald must traverse the city, from Chinatown’s underworld to Spanish Harlem’s gangland, to find the truth. Did one of the artists’ bizarre parlor games turn deadly? Or is there something even more sinister afoot?

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

A group of Surrealist refugees has taken up residence in New York after fleeing Europe during World War II. When one of their group, Cuban painter Wifredo Lam is found dead, NYPD officers Brian Fitzgerald and Juanita Diaz catch the case and uncover some eerie things that take them all around New York in search of the truth.

______

Set in the 1940’s I found the author gave a good sense of time and place but there were so many characters to keep track of I found myself lost at times. As the story went on most of the characters were given more definition but I just couldn’t really identify with any of them. They all had their own agendas and not one felt genuine.

The basis of the story was interesting and multifaceted with several twists and I did enjoy the chase for the truth but was disappointed somewhat by the conclusion. I had never heard of an “exquisite corpse” and did enjoy learning about a different way of drawing.

While I had issues with this book, book two in this series features the same detectives and the death of Jackson Pollock and I may just have to give that book a try.

 

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Helen A. Harrison, a former art reviewer and feature writer for The New York Times and visual arts commentator for National Public Radio, is the director of the Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center in East Hampton, New York, and an authority on 20th century American art. A native of New York City with a bachelor’s degree in studio art from Adelphi University, she also attended the Art Students League, the Brooklyn Museum Art School and Hornsey College of Art in London before receiving a master’s degree in art history from Case Western Reserve University. Among her many publications are exhibition catalogs, essays, book chapters, reviews and articles, and several non-fiction books, including Hamptons Bohemia: Two Centuries of Artists and Writers on the Beach, co-authored with Constance Ayers Denne, and monographs on Larry Rivers and Jackson Pollock. She and her husband, the artist Roy Nicholson, live in Sag Harbor, New York. www.helenharrison.net

 


Thanks to the publisher I have 1 copy to give away!
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Contest Will End June 30, 2020, at 11:59 PM CST
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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

Cozy Wednesday – Featuring A Call for Kelp (Seaside Café Mysteries) by Bree Baker #Review / #Giveaway @sbkslandmark

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am very excited to share Bree Baker’s A Call for Kelp today!


A Call for Kelp (Seaside Café Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Setting – North Carolina
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press (May 26, 2020)
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
ISBN-10: 1728205727
ISBN-13: 978-1728205724
Kindle ASIN: B082LNCZN6

It’s sink or swim for Everly with her most bizarre case yet!

 

Everly Swan is busy as a bee running her beachside iced tea shop, and the small island of Charm, North Carolina is abuzz-Mitzi Calgon, an iconic Hollywood actress, is in town! Everly’s great-aunts are making a documentary about beekeeping and Mira has agreed to help. But when the actress turns up dead, reporters and fans swarm the island, muddying the water and disrupting the peaceful lives of the townspeople.

 

Everly’s never been good at minding her own beeswax, so she starts following her own leads and combing through the evidence. Then there’s the mystery of Detective Hays-ever since their kiss under the mistletoe, he’s been acting distant. And he’s annoyingly determined to keep Everly away from the case. But when she receives a cryptic warning to “Bee Careful”, Everly realizes that she’s gotten herself into a really sticky situation…

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Bees, bees, bees, it’s all about the bees as Hollywood icon, Mitzi Calgon, comes to town to lend her voice to a documentary about beekeeping and saving the bees for Clara and Fran Swan. Before the project even gets off the ground there is a buzz in the air and one dead actress. Everly’s focus should be on her ice tea shop but she can’t get her mind off that Mitzi knew her grandmother and that she has to get her justice even when she is given a huge warning to “Bee Careful”.


The Sun, Sand, and Tea in Charm, North Carolina is a place I would love to spend day after day even with all the drama of a murder.

Ms. Baker gas penned a multifaceted story. We have the recent murder, Detective Grady Hays is dealing with a family issue that has been building over the course of the series. He has also been pulling away from Everly. The excellent character development continues as all the core characters are still evolving nicely. The characters added for this story brought some intrigue. I just wish Mitzi hadn’t been the victim. She was a woman full of stories.

The mystery was very well-plotted and written. I did enjoy that Everly gets help from someone other than Grady and that there were plenty of suspects, secrets, twists, and a surprising reveal. The pace was perfect and I was totally delighted with this book.

Ideal setting, a captivating mystery, and terrific characters make A Call for Kelp a fun and entertaining cozy mystery readers will love. Each book leaves me wanting more. I can’t wait to return to Charm.

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 and Tide and Punishment 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 receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End June 3, 2020, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

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

Caught Bread Handed: A Bakeshop Mystery by Ellie Alexander #Review / #Giveaway


Caught Bread Handed: A Bakeshop Mystery
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks (June 28, 2016)
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 1250088038
ISBN-13: 978-1250088031
Kindle ASIN: B0191K3GN2

Welcome to Torte—a friendly, small-town family bake shop where the oven is heating up as high as the body count…

 

Jules Capshaw is still chewing over her husband Carlos’s return to Ashland, Oregon. Could there be too many cooks in the kitchen? Whatever is stirring between those two will have to wait. Despite the Oregon Shakespeare Festival being dark for the winter, the bakeshop is bustling, the dough is rolling, and there’s no rest for the weary…especially when murder is thrown into the mix.

 

When Mindy Nolan, the owner of a new restaurant in town, turns up dead, the batter at hand thickens. Jules knows that there was bad blood between Mindy and others in town, and tracking down the killer could prove to be an unwelcome treat. And to top it all off, there’s Carlos, who is pleading—with those delicious dark eyes and sexy Spanish accent—for Jules to take him back. Is home where the heart is or will she make a fresh start…and risk getting burned?

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

There’s a new restaurant in the Shakespeare part of town and the only thing that blends this restaurant with the rest of the businesses in the area is its name ShakesBurgers. The facade of the building has been updated and is ultramodern and that has more than one of the merchant’s panties in a twist, especially Rosalind Gates, president of Ashland Downtown Association. The new owner Mindy Nolan doesn’t seem to care and has no plans to bow to their wishes even after a town meeting.

Jules notices the door of ShakesBurgers is ajar the next while she is out making her deliveries and when she steps inside she makes a ghastly discovery. Mindy dead on the floor and her partner trying to save her. Calling in her favorite police officers, Jules tries to shake off what she had seen, but can’t let it go.

Jules is also trying to make a huge decision regarding Carlos. Can they have a life together? What does that mean for her career?

______

I am really enjoying the characters in this series and the way they continue to evolve. All the relationships are captivating and interesting. The dialogue rings true. The story is very character-driven as most of the focus was on their lives at the restaurant Torte. Jules’ life is filled even before adding hubby Carlos to the mix. As in the last book, Carlos seems to fit in with everyone everywhere he goes. He is supportive and happy to do anything he can for Jules, her mom, and the restaurant. Carlos and Jules aren’t the only ones working on their relationship. Romance seems to be blooming a Torte for another couple too. And the Professor and Jules’ mom may be entering a new area of their relationship.

One of my favorite things in the book is the way the business is expanding with things like the Sunday Supper. Carlos takes the reins this time and really pulls out the stops. Torte is facing real situations, cash crunches, needing new equipment, etc. and I like that everything is not always rosy and they need to work hard every day for success.

To me the mystery this time was pretty basic. I was laser-focused on the real culprit very early in the story, I was just waiting for Jules, Thomas, and the Professor to catch up. I wish there had been a little more depth and more investigating but I was very pleased with the exciting ending.

As with all books in this series, the food described in just awesome and there are recipes at the back of the book.

Strong characters with the perfect amount of humor and romance mixes together with a satisfactory whodunit in Caught Bread Handed. I am looking forward to reading Fudge and Jury next.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Ellie Alexander (aka Kate Dyer-Seeley), author of the Bakeshop Mystery Series (St. Martin’s Press), is a Pacific Northwest native who spends ample time testing pastry recipes in her home kitchen or at one of the many famed coffeehouses nearby. When she’s not coated in flour, you’ll find her outside exploring hiking trails and trying to burn off calories consumed in the name of research.

Author Links –  Facebook     Twitter      Instagram    GoodReads

 

Written as Kate Dyer-Seeley

I am giving away my 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 May 21, 2020, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

*This book was from my personal collection. 

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

Cozy Wednesday – The Diva Spices It Up (Domestic Diva Mystery) by Krista Davis #Review / #Giveaway @KensingtonBooks @KristaDavis


Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am excited to share the newest Domestic Diva Mystery today!

It will be released next Tuesday, April 28, 2020!


The Diva Spices It Up (Domestic Diva Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
13th in Series
Setting – Virginia
Publisher: Kensington (April 28, 2020)
Hardcover: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 1496714741
ISBN-13: 978-1496714749
Kindle ASIN: B07TT3V8TZ

After a celebrity ghostwriter dies on the job, Old Town’s favorite entertaining expert and sporadic sleuth, Sophie Winston, whips up an impromptu investigation in the new Domestic Diva mystery from New York Times bestselling author, Krista Davis . . .

 

Sophie never considered ghostwriting as a side gig, until former actress and aspiring lifestyle guru, Tilly Stratford, trophy wife of Wesley Winthrope, needs someone to write her celebrity cookbook. Sophie agrees, hoping she’ll earn enough bread on this assignment to finish her bathroom renovations. But as it turns out, Sophie isn’t the first foodie to get a taste for recipe ghostwriting, and if the marginalia are any indication, this project could be a killer . . .

 

Wesley claims professional ghostwriter, Abby Bergeron, suddenly abandoned Tilly’s cookbook with no warning. But Sophie quickly discovers that Abby may be more ghost than writer now . . . and her disappearance was no accident. So Sophie cracks open a fresh investigation, but sifting the seasoned murderer from this sampling of salty suspects won’t be easy. Will Sophie savor another case closed or will the culprit simply melt away?

 

Includes delicious recipes and entertaining tips!

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts

In this 13th installment of this fun series, Mars hooks Sophie up with Tilly Stratford, a renowned lifestyle guru, to finish ghostwriting her celebrity cookbook. Sophie is already planning to renovate her bathroom with the money she will make. But first, she needs to find out what happened to the previous ghostwriter who quit without warning and disappeared.

Diva Natasha has some drama of her own as she finds she has a new relative through DNA testing. She better keep her eye her business though or someone may just snatch her dream job away from her while she is taking care of family matters.

__________

This is truly one of my favorite cozy series and not just because the author always serves readers a delightful mystery to solve. What I really love is the relationships that have evolved over the course of the series and continue to grow in each new story. Sophie and Mars really care about each other even knowing they just can’t work as a couple. Now that he has divorced Natasha the relationship is even more comfortable. The fact that Sophie is with Alex and that everyone coexists is so refreshing. Also while Natasha and Sophie will never be besties, Sophie is strong enough to be there when Natasha beckons. All the character development is marvelous and the dialogue is realistic.

Now this mystery was quite a twister. Many subplots roll around together leading to a compelling conclusion. Turns, misdirection, and a fair share of red herrings keep everyone on their toes. One body, then another, a suitcase caught by a fisherman, and it is still mystifying how everything fits into this puzzle. I was kept guessing the whole way.

As for spicing things up, I loved that Sophie took on ghostwriting a cookbook and the whole process she followed. From trying out the recipes and making them better to working with Tilly Stratford and the discovery Sophie made within the pages. The food and recipes were great but the way the cookbook played into the whole whodunit was brilliant.

The Diva Spices It Up is an excellent addition to this series. I recommend the whole batch but you can jump in anywhere as Ms. Davis always gives plenty of background on these fabulous characters. I truly can’t wait for the next Domestic Diva Mystery.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

Krista Davis is the New York Times bestselling author of the Domestic Diva Mysteries, the Paws & Claws Mysteries, and the Pen & Ink Mysteries. Several of her books have been nominated for the Agatha Award. Krista lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia with two cats and a brood of dogs. Her friends and family complain about being guinea pigs for her recipes, but she notices they keep coming back for more.

Author Links:
Website   Facebook   Pinterest Mystery Lovers Kitchen    Twitter    Killer Characters


The publisher is unable to give a book away at this time due to Covid 19
so I am giving away my Advanced Reader 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.

Sign Up for Krista’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 May 6, 2020, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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