Posted in 2020 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – Wonton Terror: A Noodle Shop Mystery by Vivien Chien #Review / #Giveaway @StMartinsPress

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.

I am on a mission to get caught up on this series!

wonton terror
Wonton Terror: A Noodle Shop Mystery
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Setting – Ohio
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks (August 27, 2019)
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 1250228344
ISBN-13: 978-1250228345
Kindle ASIN: B07NCWBQRQ

Wonton Terror, the fourth in Vivien Chien’s Noodle Shop delicious mystery series, Ho-Lee Noodle House is ready to take the Cleveland night market by storm—until a brand-new food venue literally explodes onto the scene.

 

Lana Lee is all smiles when the first evening of Cleveland’s Asian Night Market kicks off the summer. The weekly festival is always good for business, packed with locals and tourists, and this year, some stiff new food-truck competition. Wonton on Wheels, run by old friends of Lana’s parents, promises to have customers lining up for their delicately wrapped delights—until the truck blows up at evening’s end.

 

Lana’s boyfriend, Detective Adam Trudeau, had been planning a birthday getaway for the two of them but, lo and behold, Lana must assume the role of amateur sleuth yet again. With one proprietor of Wonton on Wheels dead, it’s beginning to look more like murder and less like an unfortunate accident. And as they begin to unwrap layers of disturbing secrets, Lana’s own family erupts into new drama. Will Lana be able to solve this crime—or has she jumped from the wok right into the fire?

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts

It is time for the Cleveland Night Market and Lana Lee is thrilled her Ho-Lee Noodle House will be serving up its delicious Chinese food. The first night goes very well but wraps up with a huge KABOOM! A food truck belonging to some old friends of her parents explodes killing the husband Ronnie Chow and injuring the wife, Sandra.

On top of that Lana’s mother’s sister, Grace arrives in town for a visit and her boyfriend Detective Adam Trudeau is planning a romantic trip for her birthday.

So there is plenty of family drama and some undercover sleuthing going on, but Lana better tread carefully or she may be the next one getting burned.


Lana continues to grow in each book and this time she really doesn’t back away from the challenge of finding who blew up that food truck. She goes back time and time again questioning suspects and anyone that may have any information. From the elderly Mahjong Matrons to reconnecting with her childhood friend, Calvin Chow, who may be her number 1 suspect, or his uncle Gene. She really came across as brave this time. She is also learning that to avoid some of the family drama is to take a pass on the family dinners once in a while, but her overbearing mother won’t let that happen often. This tight-knit family is what really sets this series apart. With all the drama you can see the love behind it all. This time grandma has some wise words for her daughters, making Lana and her sister Anna Mae have a bit of an awakening too.

Ms. Chien has served up a very twisted mystery here. It was a challenging mystery to solve, in fact, there is a huge twist at the end that turned all my theories inside out. The pace felt a lot faster this time than in the previous books, my pages were flying.

I have enjoyed every book in this series so far. Egg Drop Dead is waiting not so patiently on my Kindle and Killer Kung Pao will be released on August 25.

Wonton Terror is a wonderful addition to this series! I would encourage you to start the series from the beginning but the author does a great job at including enough background to read each story on its own.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

You can read my review of Death by Dumpling here,  Dim Sum of All Fears here
and Murder Lo Mein here

About the Author

VIVIEN CHIEN was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio where she grew up in a mixed-race home, making for some very interesting cultural experiences. She found her love of books and the written word at an early age while writing short stories about her classmates in elementary school. Currently, she writes side-by-side with her toy fox terrier who refuses to sit anywhere else. When she’s not writing, Vivien enjoys frequenting local Asian restaurants, frolicking in the bookstore, and searching for her next donut. (From Amazon)

 

I am giving away a Kindle copy of Wonton Terror!

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 St. Martin’s Press on Twitter for 2 Bonus Entries!

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

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End April 17, 2020, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

 

 

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

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


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


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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 
INCLUDES DELICIOUS RECIPES AND TEA TIME TIPS!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

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

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

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

____

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

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

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

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

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

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

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

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

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

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

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

Laura’s Links:   Website – Facebook 

 

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

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

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

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

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

Click Here For Entry Form

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

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

Posted in 2020 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Finish The Series Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Murder Lo Mein (A Noodle Shop Mystery) by Vivien Chien #Review / #Giveaway @StMartinsPress

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.

I am on a mission to get caught up on this series!


Murder Lo Mein (A Noodle Shop Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Ohio
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks (March 26, 2019)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1250129192
ISBN-13: 978-1250129192
Kindle ASIN: B07F138TSZ

Everyone agrees that the food at Ho-Lee Noodle House is delicious—unless it happens to be deadly.

 

Lana Lee’s stake in her family’s Chinese restaurant is higher than ever now that she’s been made manager. So when she enters Ho-Lee into Cleveland’s Best Noodle Contest, Lana makes it her business to win—at all costs. But when a local food critic receives a threatening note in a fortune cookie and is later found dead, face-down in a bowl of lo mein, all bets are off. . .

 

Now, along with her sweet-and-sour boyfriend Detective Adam Trudeau, Lana decides to take matters into her own hands and dig into the lives of everyone involved in the contest. But when she receives an ill-fated fortune, Lana realizes that in order to save the reputation of her restaurant, she needs to save herself first. . .

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts

For Murder Lo Mein we are back at the Asia Village for the annual Cleveland’s Best Noodle Contest. Lana is banking on her chef Peter Huang to win the contest to show her parents they made the right choice making her manager of Ho Lee Noodle House. Winning will also bring in more customers.

Unfortunately, after the first round one of the judges in found dead, face-down in a bowl of low mein, no less. Then another judge bites the dust. Lana’s boyfriend, Detective Adam Trudeau begs her to leave the investigating to him but she just can’t stop herself from snooping. She knows she is getting close when she discovers something in her purse. Will she survive to see the end of the contest or will the killer get to her first?

_____

I have enjoyed these characters from the start. Lana is funny, smart and a little bit awkward, but she is excelling as manager of the family business. Her parents have returned from Taiwan with Lana’s grandmother in tow. Surprisingly her overpowering mother doesn’t try to return to running the restaurant, but she still has opinions about Lana’s life from how she dresses to her relationship with the good detective. Happily, Lana and Adam’s relationship is making progress. Grandma doesn’t speak English and Lana doesn’t speak her grandmother’s dialect but they do find a way to communicate. Lana’s best friend/roommate Megan is usually available to help Lana with her sleuthing. And they both have the lovable black pug named Kikko to come home to. If Megan isn’t available, friend Kimmy is eager to help out. With the Best Noodle Contest, there are a lot of secondary characters, some become very viable suspects, one would like to get to know Lana much better.

The mystery unfolds nicely with plenty of suspects. Again, people just open up and talk to Lana. Her friendly nature really suits her sleuthing endeavors much to Adam’s dismay at times. Adam opens up to Lana more in this story too. I have not read Sun Tzu’s The Art of War but it is cleverly brought into the mystery. Solving the mystery was not easy. The author really twists things up. I thought I was smart and had it all figured out until I was proven wrong. It was a lot of fun following the clues and being surprised at the big reveal.

I have stated in previous reviews for books in this series that Chinese food is not really my thing but in this book, we learned that Lana loves donuts and so do I. Both are fully described within these pages. Lana is worried about her waistline now that a bakery has taken over the shop next door. I worried about my waistline because those descriptions really cranked up my cravings 😆

Vivien Chien has a real hit on her hands with this series. Murder Lo Mein is an excellent addition. With engaging characters and a great mystery spiced up with the perfect amounts of humor and romance, she has served up a real treat.

The next book in this series, Wonton Terror is on my To-Be-Read shelf and I will be reading and reviewing it soon! Egg Drop Dead is being released on February 25th and Killer Kung Pao will be out on August 25th.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

You can read my review of Death by Dumpling here and Dim Sum of All Fears here

About the Author

VIVIEN CHIEN was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio where she grew up in a mixed-race home, making for some very interesting cultural experiences. She found her love of books and the written word at an early age while writing short stories about her classmates in elementary school. Currently, she writes side-by-side with her toy fox terrier who refuses to sit anywhere else. When she’s not writing, Vivien enjoys frequenting local Asian restaurants, frolicking in the bookstore, and searching for her next donut. (From Amazon)

 

I am giving away a paperback copy of Murder Lo Mein!

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 St. Martin’s Press on Twitter for 2 Bonus Entries!

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

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End March 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.”

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

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


On Flashback Fridays I will share with you
the books I was not able to review
when they were first released that have been screaming at me
from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.
plum tea crazy
Plum Tea Crazy (A Tea Shop Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
19th in Series
Setting – South Carolina
Publisher: Berkley (March 6, 2018)
Hardcover: 336 pages
ISBN-10: 9780451489609
ISBN-13: 978-0451489609
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 0451489616
ISBN-13: 978-0451489616
Kindle ASIN: B071K4DPRH

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

 

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

 

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

 

INCLUDES DELICIOUS RECIPES AND TEA TIME TIPS!

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

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

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

_____

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

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

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

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

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



Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

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

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

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

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

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

Laura’s Links:   Website – Facebook 

 

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

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

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

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

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

Click Here For Entry Form

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

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

Share:
Posted in 2020 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways Literary Escapes TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – Dim Sum of All Fears: A Noodle Shop Mystery by Vivien Chien #Review / #Giveaway @StMartinsPress

 

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 has been patiently waiting on my Kindle and I decided before the end
of last year that this was one series I would get all caught up on this year. 

dim sum of all fears
Dim Sum of All Fears: A Noodle Shop Mystery
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Ohio
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks (August 28, 2018)
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 1250129176
ISBN-13: 978-1250129178
Kindle ASIN: B079DVYJKB

Lana Lee is a dutiful daughter, waiting tables at her family’s Chinese restaurant even though she’d rather be doing just about anything else. Then, just when she has a chance for a “real” job, her parents take off to Taiwan, leaving Lana in charge. Surprising everyone—including herself—she turns out to be quite capable of running the place. Unfortunately, the newlyweds who just opened the souvenir store next door to Ho-Lee have turned up dead. . .and soon Lana finds herself in the midst of an Asia Village mystery.

Between running the Ho-Lee and trying to figure out whether the rock-solid Detective Adam Trudeau is actually her boyfriend, Lana knows she shouldn’t pry into the case. But the more she learns about the dead husband, his ex-wives, and all the murky details of the couple’s past, the more Lana thinks that this so-called murder/suicide is a straight-up order of murder. . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

Just when Lana Lee is about to make a huge life change and take a chance on a job outside of the family business, her parents announce they are going to Taiwan and leave her in charge of Ho Lee Noodle House. She is not happy but takes on the job and realizes she is darn good at it. The one thing she couldn’t control though was the double murder that took place at the souvenir store next door. She had become good friends with Isabelle Yeoh who spent the day running the shop while her husband Brandon was off “running errands”.

Lana is in a new relationship with Detective Adam Trudeau and knows he can handle the case but she still finds herself investigating. So with a busy restaurant, especially with the Chinese New Year only days away, Lana loads up her plate to find out who killed her friend and why.

____

I am not a fan of Chinese food but I am a fan of this author and these characters.

Ho Lee Noodle House is open for breakfast when the Mahjong Matrons arrive through the evening. It is a family-run restaurant supplemented by long term employees. Lana usually works as a waitress/hostess daily while her sister attends college and works around her classes. Their mother is very intense and their father is pretty laid back. I think Lana did an excellent job stepping in as manager and her sister came across as petty and demanding, upset that her sister was left in charge. They did have a view arguments in front of customers and growing up around a family-run restaurant know that is a big no-no, but it happens. The restaurant is in a mall full of Asian shops and that adds its own stress and drama as Lana has to deal with management and the murder site right next door. Lana’s relationship with Detective Adam Trudeau is new and moving at a snail’s pace but it evolving. I feel all the characters are realistically written and loved where the humor was added.

The mystery itself was very interesting. At first, thought to be a murder/suicide which was quickly disproven. When classified as murders people came out of the woodwork to land on the suspect list each with motive and opportunity. The author served up a nice contingent of red herrings. Lana was a fun amateur sleuth the follow around. People really opened up to her, some even asking for her help. My thinking was twisted up several times. I enjoyed the part Lana’s roommate/best friend Megan Riley played both in helping in the investigation and pushing the romance between Lana and Adam.

Again, an animal stole my heart, Lana has a black pug named Kikko. So lovable and the perfect pet to come home to.

Dim Sum of All Fears was a marvelous cozy mystery. I was discouraged at first that Lana’s plans were all messed up by her parent’s sudden trip but by the middle of the story, I was happy to see she excelled at her tasks and was where she was meant to be.

The next book in this series, Murder Lo Mein is on my To-Be-Read shelf and I will be reading and reviewing it soon! 

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

You can read my review of Death by Dumpling here

About the Author

VIVIEN CHIEN was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio where she grew up in a mixed-race home, making for some very interesting cultural experiences. She found her love of books and the written word at an early age while writing short stories about her classmates in elementary school. Currently, she writes side-by-side with her toy fox terrier who refuses to sit anywhere else. When she’s not writing, Vivien enjoys frequenting local Asian restaurants, frolicking in the bookstore, and searching for her next donut. (From Amazon)

I do not have a copy of this book to give away
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Posted in 2020 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Alphabet Soup A -Z Author Edition Challenge Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways Literary Escapes TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge Wisconsin Author

#FlashbackFriday – Be Still My Bleating Heart (A Scottish Highland Mystery) by Hannah Reed #Review / #Giveaway @hannahreed1


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.


Be Still My Bleating Heart (A Scottish Highland Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Setting – Scotland
Publisher: Independently Published (November 27, 2019)
Paperback: 219 Pages
ISBN-10: 171172260X
ISBN-13: 978-1711722603
Kindle ASIN: B07XQBZZB7

National Bestselling author Hannah Reed returns with her fourth Scottish Highland mystery, in which she is swept up in a murder following a Sir Walter Scott celebration…

Spring is here, and Eden Elliott has settled into her new life in the picturesque village of Glenkillen working on her next romance novel and volunteering as a constable in her spare time.
Love should be in the air, but Eden is still unattached. Along with that, she’s experiencing a creative meltdown, most likely caused by lack of inspiration, while a robber runs amok in the village assaulting local pensioners.
When she’s invited to a supper in honor of one of Scotland’s most celebrated literary giants and a guest is murdered, Eden puts aside her personal issues to dig into buried secrets. She’d better book someone soon if she wants to be alive to discover that love she needs to overcome her writer’s block…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Berkley wrapped up this series back in  2016. I am so happy Hannah Read has decided to continue it on her own.

It is now Spring in Glenkillen and Eden Elliott should be working on her next romance novel. With no romance in her own life, she is having a bit of writer’s block. In her voluntary job as a constable, she is concerned about someone robbing local pensioners.

With not much happening in her life, she accepts an invitation to a supper honoring Sir Walter Scott. The dinner gets a little tense when two diners get into an argument. The party breaks up early but Eden is soon called to return. One of the dinner guests has been murdered. Now Eden has to work with Officer Sean Stevens and Detective Inspector Jamieson to catch a robber and a killer. Maybe then her creative juices will start to flow and she can get back to her real job of being an author.

_____

Even after three years, it was easy to jump right back into this series. I was excited to return to Scotland. Eden has really found her place in the picturesque village of Glenkillen. Whether it be working on a manuscript in her favorite corner at the Kilt & Thistle Pub, or traipsing around the town and countryside trying to solve a case.  She has come along way since we met her in Off Kilter. Now it is time for her romantic life to take off. In this story, she took some baby steps in that direction.

The mysteries were well-plotted but I became focused on one individual very early on but wasn’t sure exactly why. Over the course of the story, twists threw me and Eden in different directions. I had a good time following her and her investigation. Sean wasn’t really too much help. Due to circumstances beyond her control, Eden found herself working closely with Inspector Jamieson. One of the robber’s victims was running her own little investigation too. A lot of humor took place in the character interactions. When we reached the two A-HA moments I found out that I was half right, although I was on the right track for the second mystery too.

While shorter than the previous books in this series, the author does a great job reintroducing the characters and setting the scene. There were a couple of places where there could have been more details or things that took place in the background and were just mentioned that could have added for more depth. I am just thrilled that Ms. Reed is writing Eden’s stories again. I hope we don’t have to wait too long for another installment.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

You can read my review of Off Kilter here, Hooked on Ewe here, Dressed to Kilt here.

For more information about the story or about her other tales, visit her at hannahreedbooks.com and Like her on Facebook.

Also by Hannah Reed

Writing as Deb Baker

I am giving away 1 Kindle Copy!
The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old.
Book Will Be Sent Directly from Amazon.

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*This book was from my private collection.

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

#FlashbackFriday – Death on the Danube: A New Year’s Murder in Budapest (Travel Can Be Murder Cozy Mystery) by Jennifer S. Alderson #Review / #Giveaway


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

Death on the Danube: A New Year’s Murder in Budapest
(Travel Can Be Murder Cozy Mystery Series)

Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Hungary
Traveling Life Press (November 28, 2019)
Paperback: 172 pages
ISBN-10: 9083001148
ISBN-13: 978-9083001142
Kindle ASIN: B07XLF95SN

Who knew a New Year’s trip to Budapest could be so deadly? The tour must go on – even with a killer in their midst…

Recent divorcee Lana Hansen needs a break. Her luck has run sour for going on a decade, ever since she got fired from her favorite job as an investigative reporter. When her fresh start in Seattle doesn’t work out as planned, Lana ends up unemployed and penniless on Christmas Eve.

Dotty Thompson, her landlord and the owner of Wanderlust Tours, is also in a tight spot after one of her tour guides ends up in the hospital, leaving her a guide short on Christmas Day.

When Dotty offers her a job leading the tour group through Budapest, Hungary, Lana jumps at the chance. It’s the perfect way to ring in the new year and pay her rent!

What starts off as the adventure of a lifetime quickly turns into a nightmare when Carl, her fellow tour guide, is found floating in the Danube River. Was it murder or accidental death? Suspects abound when Lana discovers almost everyone on the tour had a bone to pick with Carl.

But Dotty insists the tour must go on, so Lana finds herself trapped with nine murder suspects. When another guest turns up dead, Lana has to figure out who the killer is before she too ends up floating in the Danube…

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

It’s Christmas Eve, she’s behind on her rent, has no real worthwhile job in her future, and she is still stinging from her divorce. Then landlord Dotty Thompson makes Lana Hansen an offer she just can’t refuse. Dotty owns Wanderlust Tours and one of her tour guides has ended up in the hospital. She needs Lana to jump on a plane to Budapest, Hungary to ring in the New Year and lead the tour group through the remaining days of the tour.

Lana takes to the job like a fish to water until her fellow tour guide Carl ends swimming with the fishes in the Danube. Accident? Murder? In just her few days with the group, Lana has learned that Carl has a good share of enemies, some right within their group. When a second life is lost and the police eyeing the wrong individual Lana realizes it is up to her to find the real killer.

I had read several reviews praising this book that I knew it had to be one of the first books I read in the new year.

Ms. Alderson not only takes us on an outstanding virtual escape to Hungary but she gives us a fun mystery to solve as well.

Lana Hansen is an excellent protagonist. She is smart, has a great sense of everything around her and I found her to have a very positive outlook even after all the bumps she has had in her life.  As a former investigative reporter, she knows how to dig deep and use her research skills to point her in the right direction. She knows how to link the clues together, take good notes and allow time to think over all the details she has found so that after several twists and a few extra clues she can actually prove whodunit and why.

The suspects included all the members of the tour but Carl had rubbed some people in Budapest the wrong way too. I really liked the “Fabulous Five” a group of mature women who were a whole lotta fun. I quickly eliminated them from my suspect list as did Lana. This is a group of ladies I would love to travel with, they have become great friends who really look after each other. The other members of the group all remain viable suspects. I hope they show up on a future tour.

The author has fully fleshed out all the characters. They truly came to life on the pages. Because this book is only 172 pages I am very impressed at how well she did this. The dialogue between the characters was crisp and realistic as well.

The other thing she did so well was to bring Budapest to life. Everywhere the group traveled was fully described and created wonderful pictures in my mind. She made us feel the cold and the wind too. It was a great trip.

I loved the quick pace and the short chapters. Death on the Danube was a totally entertaining read and I am really looking forward to reading Death By Baguette which will be released February 14, 2020. 

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About The Author

Jennifer S. Alderson was born in San Francisco, raised in Seattle, and currently lives in Amsterdam. After traveling extensively around Asia, Oceania, and Central America, she moved to Darwin, Australia, before settling in the Netherlands. Her background in journalism, multimedia development, and art history enriches her novels. When not writing, she can be found in a museum, biking around Amsterdam, or enjoying a coffee along the canal while planning her next research trip.

Jennifer’s love of travel, art, and culture inspires her award-winning mystery series—the Zelda Richardson Mysteries and Travel Can Be Murder Cozy Mysteries—and standalone stories.

Author Links

Website – Goodreads  –Facebook – Twitter  –LinkedIn – BookBub

Coming February 14, 2020

I am giving away 1 Kindle Copy of Death on the Danube!
The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old.

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something you like here and become a follower.

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Contest Will End January 31, 2020, at 11:59 PM CST
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Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

Posted in Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge Reviews 2019 TBR Pile Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Wedding Cake Murder (Hannah Swensen Mysteries) by Joanne Fluke #Review

I have gotten way behind on this series.
I always try to read at least one at the end of the year when I have fewer reviewing commitments.
Hopefully, I will catch up soon.


Wedding Cake Murder (Hannah Swensen Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
19th in Series
Setting – Minneapolis
Publisher: Kensington (February 23, 2016)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1617732168
ISBN-13: 978-1617732164
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1617732184
ISBN-13: 978-1617732188
Kindle ASIN: B00Y6RB46W

Everyone in Lake Eden, Minnesota, may have had their doubts, but at long last, Hannah Swensen is getting married!

Hannah is thrilled to be marrying Ross Barton, her college crush. And her excitement only grows when she learns he’ll be able to join her on her trip to New York City for the Food Channel’s dessert chef contest. They get a taste of the Big Apple before Hannah wins the Hometown Challenge and the producers bring all the contestants to Lake Eden to tape the remainder of the show. It’s nerve-wracking enough being judged by Alain Duquesne, a celebrity chef with a nasty reputation. But it’s even more chilling to find him stabbed to death in the Lake Eden Inn’s walk-in cooler—before he’s even had a chance to taste Hannah’s Butterscotch Sugar Cookies! Now Hannah has not only lost her advantage, she’ll have to solve a mystery with more layers than a five-tiered wedding cake…

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

The last book in this series, Double Fudge Brownie Murder, was a little off for me, so I was a little nervous about reading this one, but I love these characters so I dove right in. Sadly, Hannah has cast both Mike and Norman aside and it really going to marry Ross. Shockingly, both her past loves vow to remain friends and even become part of the wedding party. I have always been Team Mike so I was heartbroken. Truthfully, Ross seems shady, I was hoping he was the victim or the killer.

Aside from the wedding, Hannah and Michelle are participating in the Food Channel’s Dessert Chef Contest and Ross is going along to New York to film interviews and background for the hometown station. He uses his clout to upgrade the group’s flights and hotel rooms. When Hannah wins the first round, the contest moves back to Lake Eden, a big event for the entire town. That is until one of the judges is found dead in the walk-in cooler at the Lake Eden Inn. With the other judges and contestants on the suspect list, Hannah is sleuthing out a killer, while trying to win the biggest cooking contest of her life and still be standing to take her vows.

__________

The first half of the book is introducing the chefs and the judges, prep through the first round of the contest, and Hannah’s mother and grandmother taking over the wedding planning. All Hannah had to do was pick out her dress and show up for the wedding. Of course, she did have her hands full with other things. I did enjoy several of the new characters. The judges were not as realistic as on the actual cooking shows we see on television but they fit in well with the plot as did the other contestants. The cast regulars continue to gather to go over evidence and theories, but there still seems to be a strong connection between Hannah and her former loves.

The mystery portion is well-plotted with several twists have and after this many cases, everyone knows Hannah is investigating. She does continue to leap into situations without a clear plan, which brings some tense moments. I did not sleuth out the killer myself until Hannah did, and it was kinds a surprise for both of us. 🙂

About a third of the book is yummy recipes for cookies and desserts that are featured in the story. The author includes them at the end of chapters and I sometimes feel they should all be at the end to not mess with the flow of the story but I have become accustomed after this many books to skipping them over and reviewing them when I complete the book when I can scan the ones I want to try into my recipe folder on my computer.

This series continues to be one of my faves. I am anxious to get caught up and see what Hannah gets herself mixed up in next.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

JOANNE FLUKE is the New York Times bestselling author of the Hannah Swensen mysteries, which include Double Fudge Brownie Murder, Blackberry Pie MurderCinnamon Roll Murder, and the book that started it all, Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder. That first installment in the series premiered as Murder, She Baked:  A Chocolate Chip Cookie Mystery on the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Channel. Like Hannah Swensen, Joanne Fluke was born and raised in a small town in rural Minnesota but now lives in Southern California. Please visit her online at www.JoanneFluke.com.
*This book was from my private collection.
Posted in Cloak and Dagger Challenge E-Book Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge Reviews 2019 TBR Pile Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – Fiction Can Be Murder (A Mystery Writer’s Mystery) by Becky Clark #Review / #Giveaway


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


Fiction Can Be Murder (A Mystery Writer’s Mystery)
Cozy Mystery/Women Sleuths
1st in Series
Setting – Colorado
Publisher: Midnight Ink (April 8, 2018)
Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN-10: 0738753327
ISBN-13: 978-0738753324
Kindle ASIN: B0714HL2VC

Life Becomes Stranger than Fiction when Charlee’s Latest Novel Inspires a Real Murder

Mystery author Charlemagne “Charlee” Russo thinks the twisty plots and peculiar murders in her books are only the product of her imagination—until her agent is found dead exactly as described in Charlee’s new, unpublished manuscript. Suspicion now swirls around her and her critique group, making her confidence drop as severely and unexpectedly as her royalty payments.

The police care more about Charlee’s feeble alibi and financial problems than they do her panicky claims of innocence. To clear her name and revive her career, she must figure out which of her friends is a murderer. Easier said than done, even for an author who’s skilled at creating tidy endings for her mysteries. And as her sleuthing grows dangerous, Charlee’s imagination starts working overtime. Is she being targeted, too?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Fiction easily becomes murder when literary agent, Melinda Walter is killed in exactly the same way as the victim in author, Charlemagne “Charlee” Russo’s latest manuscript. Charlee had problems with the woman but never plotted to kill her. So who else had access to the manuscript? Could someone in her critique group have done the deed and used her book to frame her? Stranger than fiction she puts on her sleuthing cap to bring this murder mystery to an end. Hopefully, she’ll survive to tell the tale.

I would call this a cozy-ish mystery. Charlee Russo is a cleverly written imperfect amateur sleuth, very clutzy with a wild imagination, a good thing when you write mysteries for a living, not so much when you are on the trail of a killer. She is protective of her friends but still needs to question and verify everyone’s alibi as much for her peace of mind as to solving the case. Let’s just say her investigating techniques need a little refinement as I was a little frightened by the positions she found herself in at times.

The pacing was mixed. The story starts out briskly but slowed a bit in the middle but then the ending felt a bit rushed. With plenty of twists and a few red herrings, I was completely confused until everything was laid out for me. It was a fun tagging along with Charlee. I always enjoy a challenging mystery. The dialogue is very realistic and I liked the humor interspersed throughout. “I’d tell you to go to hell, but I never want to see you again.”

This series is off to a fine start and I am looking forward to the next book in this series. I do love the Mystery Writer’s theme. The author has left plenty of room for the secondary characters and Charlee to grow. She also left an open question in this story that I hope will be wrapped up in the next.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

A highly functioning chocoholic, Becky Clark (Denver, CO) is the seventh of eight kids, which explains both her insatiable need for attention and her atrocious table manners. She likes to read funny books so it felt natural to write them, too. She published her first novel in 2001 and is a sought-after speaker. Find out more about Becky on her website – https://beckyclarkbooks.com/



I am giving away 1 Kindle Copy!
Book will be sent directly from Amazon.
The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
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Contest Will End January 10, 2020, at 11:59 PM CST
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Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

Posted in E-Book Challenge Finish The Series Challenge Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge Reviews 2019 TBR Pile Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Naughty But Nice: A Hamilton Christmas Novella by Donna Kauffman


Naughty But Nice: A Hamilton Christmas Novella
Holiday Romance
3rd in Series
Setting – Virginia
Publisher: Zebra Books (November 1, 2018)
Print Length: 102 pages
Kindle ASIN: B079R3JHTH

‘Tis the season for sweet surprises . . .

Businessman Griffin’s never believed in luck . . . until sassy-sweet small-town baker Melody turns his world around. Except there’s a catch: There’s no way he’ll be able to build his empire and hold on to her. This new love could destroy all his dreams—or make this Christmas better than he ever imagined possible . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

The third and final book in this series introduces bakery owner, Melody Duncastle, and businessman, Thomas Griffin Gallagher. Griffin has arrived in town to confirm he is the new heir to the Hamilton fortune and he has big plans to reenergize and update the good town of Hamilton. Melody voices her displeasure with his ideas loudly but he is determined to change her mind. He also realizes he has strong romantic feelings for her so he hopes to win her favor in more ways than one.

Of the three stories in this novella series, this was my least favorite one. I disliked Thomas Griffin Gallagher immediately. He was very pushy and had a superior air about him. He does have a backstory that formed the man he had become but I just couldn’t warm to him even after Melody shaved away some of his hard edges. Melody is such a caring individual. She came home to Hamilton to help a sick friend and it totally changed her life. Their first meeting was humorous but I think for two strangers the relationship that was quickly built just didn’t feel right to me, even with a heartwarming moment at the end.

I think as with book two, Lock, Stock, and Jingle Bells, the book was hurt by the novella length. Griffin and Melody are both very strong people with differing points of view and then suddenly they are in love. Where was the conflict? She stood up to him once and then after spending a few hours together, he gets everything he wants. I just wanted more development and some give and take, a little bit of a chase. I really enjoyed the first book in this series but after that, the books went downhill in my opinion. I do believe if the last two stories had been full-length novels it would have allowed for better character development and romantic tension to evolve I would have really enjoyed them.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Donna Kauffman is the USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of over 70 novels, translated and sold in more than 26 countries around the world. The recipient of multiple RT Book Awards, she is also a National Readers Choice Award and PRISM Award winner and a RITA finalist. Born into the maelstrom of Washington, D.C., politics, she now lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, where she is surrounded by a completely different kind of wildlife. A contributing blogger for USAToday.com, she is also a DIYer, a baker, a gardener and a volunteer transporter for the Wildlife Center of Virginia and Rockfish Sanctuary. Please visit her online at www.DonnaKauffman.com.

The Hamilton Christmas Novella Series

Find more books by Donna Kaufman here.
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.”