Posted in 2022 Reviews Cloak and Dagger Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways Literary Escapes TBR Pile Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

A Death in Eden: A Novel (A Sean Stranahan Mystery) by Keith McCafferty #Review / #Giveaway @penguinusa

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.


A Death in Eden: A Novel (A Sean Stranahan Mystery)
Mystery
7th in Series
Setting – Montana
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Penguin Books (July 3, 2018)
Print length ‏ : ‎ 317 pages
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B077CTG2B5

When scarecrows appear in the cliffs above Montana’s famous Smith River and a little girl reports being chased by one in the night, state investigator Harold Little Feather is brought in to find the culprit.  Are the menacing effigies related to a copper-mining project that threatens the purity of the Smith? That’s Harold’s initial suspicion, but his investigation takes an ominous turn when a decapitated body is found in the river.

As Harold’s search leads him back in time through the canyon’s history, Sean Stranahan launches his raft upriver. He has been hired to guide a floating party that includes Clint McCaine, the manager of the mine project; Bart Trueblood, the president of “Save The Smith,” a grassroots organization devoted to stopping the project; and the documentarian filming their arguments. McCaine and Trueblood grew up on the Smith on neighboring ranches, and as they travel downstream, it’s revealed that the two share a past that runs much deeper and darker than their opposing viewpoints.

The currents of the seemingly unrelated trips will soon flow together, and Stranahan’s long-time love Sheriff Martha Ettinger will enter the fray as the boats hurtle toward a date with danger at a place called Table Rock.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

There is something strange happening along the Smith River in Montana. Several scarecrows have been erected on the cliffs above the endangered waterway. Is someone putting them up to protest the proposed copper-mining project or is there something else going on. After a little girl claims to have been chased by one of the scarecrows State Investigator Harold Little Feather is brought in to put the matter to rest. Instead, his investigation turns up a headless body floating in the river.

While Investigator Little Feather digs deep into the canyon’s history to find answers, our protagonist Sean Stranahan is hired to guide a floating party down the river. The party includes the manager of the mine project, Clint McCaine, and the president of “Save the Smith”, Bart Trueblood, his group is trying everything to stop the mine project. They are joined by a documentarian who is filming their journey down the river and their arguments about the project.

Soon Sean’s group and Harold Little Feather come together and Sheriff Martha Ettinger joins them as they set up for a dangerous showdown.


I have enjoyed this series from the start and am a huge fan of the author’s laid-back writing style. From casting a line in the water to the characters traversing up, down, and around the river and its cliffs everything just comes to life. You can almost hear the rush of the water, smell the smoke from the campfires, and reach out and touch the cliffs.  Mr. McCafferty does this better than many other authors that I have read. He really takes his readers on the journey.

This time our characters are a ways away from home and we meet several new characters with their own agendas. Harold Little Feather really shares the spotlight with Sean and Martha this time. He had expected a pretty low-key investigation so he invited the son he barely knows to meet up with him for the trip for a bit of bonding. I enjoyed getting to know him better and meeting his son very much. The acidic documentarian, Lillian Cartwright, brings her own drama to the situation. Anything to make a name for herself as she tees up “discussions” between McCaine and Trueblood. But there is a dark underbelly to this story. Someone has a score to settle and will go to any lengths to get what they want.

I was really drawn into this book by so many things. The fact that the scarecrows were located by ancient petroglyphs left by Native Americans. The history of it all was very captivating along with the mystery of Why? The Smith River itself and that people wait years for their names to be drawn in a lottery for the opportunity to float down the famous river. The dangers faced when you stop to camp like wild animals and rattlesnakes and other humans as well. All the character’s interactions were so enjoyable to observe.

The author’s keen wit can be felt throughout the story. Especially when it comes to Sean and Martha. Where will their relationship lead? I wonder if we will ever know but until then they do this unique dance throughout each story. One thing I do know is that they have each other’s back. When the bullets start to fly or a threatening menace arrives on the scene they will pull out all the stops to rescue each other and save the good people caught in the chaos. This time I was right up to the very edge of my seat and I am surprised there wasn’t smoke pouring out of my Kindle as everything came to a head.

A Death in Eden has become my favorite book in the series so far. Keith McCafferty is a superb storyteller. So much happens within the pages of this book it is almost impossible to put down while you are reading and it is a story that will stick with you long after you reach the end.

*Note the story does contain some explicit language.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About The Author

Keith McCafferty is the Survival and Outdoor Skills Editor of Field & Stream. He has written articles for publications as diverse as Fly Fisherman Magazine, Mother Earth News, Gray’s Sporting Journal, and the Chicago Tribune, and on subjects ranging from mosquitoes to wolves to mercenaries and exorcism. Based in Montana and working on assignment around the globe–he recently spent a month in India trekking the Himalayas, fishing for golden mahseer, and studying tigers–Keith has won numerous awards, including the Robert Traver Award for angling literature. He has twice been a finalist for a National Magazine Award. Find out more about Keith and his books on his webpage here.



I am giving away 1 Kindle Copy of A Death in Eden!
The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old.

Book will be sent directly from Amazon.

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 July 15, 2022, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
The Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For the 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 2022 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Flashback Friday Giveaways Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge TBR Pile Challenge What An Animal Reading Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – The Rocky Road to Ruin: An Ice Cream Shop Mystery by Meri Allen #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.


The Rocky Road to Ruin: An Ice Cream Shop Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Connecticut
St. Martin’s Paperbacks (July 27, 2021)
Mass Market Paperback ‏ : ‎ 352 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1250267064
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1250267061
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08FZ8M8X3

Justice will be swirled by amateur sleuth Riley Rhodes in the first in Meri Allen’s brand-new mystery series, The Rocky Road to Ruin!

Riley Rhodes, travel food blogger, and librarian at the CIA, makes a bittersweet return to her childhood home of Penniman, Connecticut – land of dairy farms and covered bridges – for a funeral. Despite the circumstances, Riley’s trip home is sprinkled with reunions with old friends, visits to her father’s cozy bookshop on the town green, and joyful hours behind the counter at the beloved Udderly Delicious Ice Cream Shop. It feels like a time to help her friend Caroline rebuild after her mother’s death, and for Riley to do a bit of her own reflecting after a botched undercover mission in Italy. After all, it’s always good to be home.

But Caroline and her brother Mike have to decide what to do with the assets they’ve inherited – the ice cream shop as well as the farm they grew up on – and they’ve never seen eye to eye. Trouble begins to swirl as Riley is spooked by reports of a stranger camping behind the farm and by the odd behavior of the shop’s mascot, Caroline’s snooty Persian, Sprinkles. When Mike turns up dead in the barn the morning after the funeral, the peace and quiet of Penniman seems upended for good. Can Riley find the killer before another body gets scooped?

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

In this first book from Meri Allen’s Ice Cream Shop Mystery Series, we meet Riley Rhodes. Riley has a cool job working as a CIA librarian using being a travel food blogger as her cover. Her last undercover mission was in Italy and it ended badly. She now has two reasons to return home to Penniman, Connecticut. She needs to regroup after what happened in Italy but also her friend Caroline’s mother has passed away. She has so many great memories of spending time with Caroline on her family’s farm and working at the Udderly Delicious Ice Cream Shop. She always ate her share of ice cream too.

Now she wants to help Caroline in any way she can as she and her brother Mike make plans regarding the farm’s and ice cream shop’s future. Those two rarely agree on anything so Riley is not surprised they have totally different ideas about what to do with their newly inherited assets. After a bit of a blow-up Mike takes off to a cabin on the property with his girlfriend vowing the hash things out with his sister another day.

But that day doesn’t come. Instead, the next day, Riley finds Mike’s dead body in the barn and his girlfriend is missing. Knowing the argument between the siblings is going to have Caroline on the hot seat with the police Riley delves into her own investigation. She hopes to get the scoop on the killer before someone else gets creamed.


Riley is a very likable protagonist. I love that she has a CIA connection and that she is a librarian. Librarians are so knowledgeable and know how to ask the right questions. I am sure her CIA training has built upon those skills. Skills a great amateur sleuth needs. I admire her dedication to her friend Caroline who has to deal with so much. First her mother’s passing and then her brother’s. She also has a regular job she just can’t drop to handle the farm and ice cream shop. Riley doesn’t think twice, she jumps right in and volunteers to help with no time limits.

Caroline’s mother was beloved by so many and revered for all she had accomplished. We learn this from a variety of supporting characters who work and volunteer on the farm and at Udderly Delicious. Riley’s dad and stepmom are also introduced. Her dad owns a bookstore. That is just so perfect. It is a large group but the characters are clearly defined and easy to keep straight. That being said the author has left plenty of room for growth. There are also a couple of feline characters. One who thinks her royal highness rules the roost and everything around her. The other is a little ragged but cute and is given a great name.

Ms. Allen has done a fine job of world-building. It’s almost time for the Sunflower Festival and all the fields around the farm are filled with sunflowers setting up some great photo ops. The ice cream shop even has sunflower ice cream. As the characters travel up and down Farm Lane there are two farmhouses face to face across the lane. One is the family home behind the ice cream shop where Caroline’s mother lived. The other is teamed up with a large barn where the farm manager and his family live.  Down the road, there is a cabin that was sometimes rented out called the Love Nest. Keep going and there are more sunflower fields, apple orchards, other neighbors’ homes, a cemetery, and a winery. I could picture everything so easily. I could almost taste the ice cream too.

The author has crafted a very intriguing mystery. I had a grand time following along with Riley as she split her time making ice cream and trying to put a killer on ice. She found herself in some heated and scary situations but she kept pressing on. With some marvelous twists, I was drawn deeper and deeper into the story. The final twist was perfect. I was so absorbed in the story I know I missed a clue or two but at least I was in the ballpark with my guess.

The Rock Road to Ruin is a twisty mystery with a leading character that I want to know better and follow wherever she goes. The ice cream theme is just plain sweet and the sunflower backdrop at the farm has me longing for all the sunflower fields close around me that will be blooming and picture-perfect soon.

I am looking forward to reading Mint Chocolate Murder next month! Mint Chocolate Chip! YES!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

https://us.macmillan.com/author/sharirandall/

About the Author

MERI ALLEN/ SHARI RANDALL lives in a quiet corner of Connecticut, where she haunts libraries, used book stores, and vintage shops.


Coming July 26, 2022


I am giving away 1 Kindle Copy of Rocky Road to Ruin!
The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old.

Book will be sent directly from Amazon.

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 July 1, 2022, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
The Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For the 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 2022 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Flashback Friday Giveaways Literary Escapes Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge TBR Pile Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday featuring Two Wicked Desserts (Kitchen Witch Mysteries) by Lynn Cahoon #Review / #Giveaway @LynnCahoon @KensingtonBooks

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.

Two Wicked Desserts (Kitchen Witch Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Idaho
Kensington Cozies (July 27, 2021)
Mass Market Paperback ‏ : ‎ 272 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1496730321
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1496730329
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08MBD7X33

Mia Malone conjures up delicacies while casting about for clues in New York Times bestselling author Lynn Cahoon’s Two Wicked Desserts, continuing her Kitchen Witch Mystery series . . .

Magic Springs, Idaho, may be a small town, but Mia Malone is living an enchanted life running her own catering business and cooking school. And while she’s teaching the locals culinary craft, her grandmother is teaching her witchcraft for the day she inherits the family magical spells that have been passed down for generations. Unfortunately, all that knowledge is not helping Mia or her grandmother in removing the spirit of warlock Dorian Alexander from Mia’s cat Mr. Darcy.

But even though Dorian hasn’t yet left this earthly plane, his spells have already been transferred to his daughter Cindy’s grimoire. An actress looking for her big Hollywood break, Cindy is hoping there’s something in her father’s bag of tricks to make her a star. But playing with magic has only resulted in a trip to Idaho where Cindy finds herself the number one suspect in the murder of a hitman whose body was found in the garden of Mia’s Morsels. Now it’s up to Mia to conjure up a killer before everything she’s worked so hard for vanishes with a poof!

Includes Recipes!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Mia Malone’s cooking school and catering business, Mia’s Morsels is starting to take off and she is thinking about new ways she can use the space in the large school building she has taken over. While she is cooking up a storm her grandmother, Mary Alice is trying to teach Dorian’s daughter, Cindy, the craft she has inherited since her father passed away. Since his spirit has not left yet, only transferred to Mia’s cat, Mr. Darcy, he is on hand to see his daughter struggling to grasp the importance of the witchcraft and the book of spells that she has now received. She is more focused on her acting career and wants to break the rules and use witchcraft to enrich herself and her own interests. In fact, a little spell she cast is what brought her to Magic Springs. She hopes Mary Alice can help her reverse the spell so she can get on with her life.

Then a dead man is found right where Mia plans to plant her garden and he is connected to Cindy. So much so, that she becomes the prime suspect in his murder and won’t be leaving town anytime soon. This could ruin all of Mia’s plans. Who wants to come to a cooking school where a man was murdered? Can Mia cast out a killer? Can they figure out how to free Dorian from Mr. Darcy? Will Cindy be able to go back to Hollywood or will she live the rest of her life behind bars? Those questions and more need to be answered so Mia can continue living her dream.


Kitchen Witches are considered gentle witches because they use their craft to help people and I love that theme. Mia and her grandmother have such big hearts that even when something as evil as a murder happens nearby their quest is to find the true guilty party at all costs. But even a good witch’s spell can go awry, which is how Dorian’s essence ended up in Mr. Darcy and neither of them are happy about it. Ms. Cahoon has herself crafted some very unique characters. They are cleverly written and very engaging.

The author has placed her characters in a very interesting setting. Both Magic Springs and the old school building have plenty of secrets brewing. The room that was opened within this story had some interesting surprises. We also learn more about the building’s history and I think it is just the beginning of what is going to be revealed.

So many captivating things happen in this story that at times the murder takes a backseat. There were enough suspects to keep readers guessing but the reveal was a little lackluster for me. That being said I enjoyed the story overall. There are a few things still up in the air that I hope will carry into the next book and develop. I would also like to see a little more gentle magic.

Two Wicked Desserts is a lighthearted read with intriguing characters, a unique setting, and a little bit of magic sprinkled here and there. My interest is piqued to find out what happens next with these characters in Three Tainted Teas.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

ABOUT LYNN CAHOON

New York Times and USA Today best-selling author, Lynn Cahoon is an Idaho native. If you’d visit the town where she grew up, you’d understand why her mysteries and romance novels focus around the depth and experience of small-town life. Currently, she’s living in a small historic town on the banks of the Mississippi river where her imagination tends to wander. She lives with her husband and two fur babies.

Author Links

Goodreads – Twitter –Facebook Website –Amazon Author Page

 


Also by Lynn Cahoon




I may have missed some books so be sure to
check out Lynn’s Amazon Pages here.

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

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

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

Follow Kensington Books on Twitter for 2 Bonus Entries!

Follow Kensington Publishing on Facebook for 2 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 June 10, 2022, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
The Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For The 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 2022 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Finish The Series Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways TBR Pile Challenge Wisconsin Author Wisconsin Setting You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – Dead in the Water (A Mattie Winston Mystery) by Annelise Ryan #Review / #Giveaway @ryan_annelise

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.


Dead in the Water (A Mattie Winston Mystery)
Hard-Boiled Mystery
8th in Series
Setting – Wisconsin
Kensington (February 28, 2017)
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 352 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 149670665X
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1496706652
Mass Market Paperback ‏ : ‎ 368 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1496706668
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1496706669
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B01GBAG70E

As a single mom and deputy coroner of Sorenson, Wisconsin, Mattie Winston is used to her life being a juggling act. But now that she’s moved in with Detective Steve Hurley and his teenaged daughter, and has started planning their wedding, her home life is looking more like a three-ring circus. At least her workload at the Medical Examiner’s office is lightened by the new hire Hal Dawson. But before Hal can even cash his first paycheck, he’s murdered on a fishing trip with his girlfriend, who’s gone missing. To keep her life from going completely under, Mattie will have to dive deep for clues. But a killer is just as determined to keep the truth from ever surfacing . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Mattie and Hurley have moved into together to raise their son, Matthew now that they have his teenage daughter Emily’s approval. A wedding will happen soon if they can squeeze it in around their hectic jobs. Mattie had thought her part-time schedule would free up some time but her new co-worker Hal Dawson was just found dead on his boat and his girlfriend is missing. On top of that her boss, Izzy is having some serious medical issues and a temporary Medical Examiner has stepped in. Mattie finds herself working closely with Hurley to find out why Hal was found Dead in the Water but the killer seems to be quite elusive and the bodies are piling up.


I do love that the series is set very close to where I actually live and that when they say someone is on their way to or from Madison or Milwaukee I can easily visualize the trip. It is fun when other landmarks are mentioned too.

I am so happy that Mattie, Hurley, Emily, and Matthew are all under one roof and they have come up with a plan to try to juggle everything in their complicated lives. They all seem really happy and I am excited about their future. I am concerned about Izzy and Dom. They are still finding their way with a new baby in the house and Izzy’s judgemental mother in the guest house. Izzy has a serious medical episode in this story and it was very scary. As you can see, I have become invested in these realistic genuine characters Ms. Ryan has created. The unique family dynamic is what really drives the books in this series.

This story grabbed me from the start. Mattie is in court testifying about a gruesome discovery she made when called to a scene for a suspicious death. Then as soon as she is done she is set to another scene for another death that has some unusual facets. Then she has to deal with Izzy which is followed quickly by the dead body found Dead in the Water. Are all or some of these cases related? That is up to Mattie and Hurley with a little assistance to figure out all while dealing with the joys of daily family life.

I really enjoyed the way the author plotted out this story. She mixes together mystery, suspense, family, and humor with such a talented hand. The story flows so well that it is almost impossible to put down due to some hair-raising twists and deadly turns. The ending just rocked me to the core. We have definitely moved from the cozy Stiff part of this series to the edgier hard-boiled Dead part of this series and I am more than fine with that.

Dead in the Water is my favorite book in this series so far. I am excited to dive into Dead Calm soon!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Annelise Ryan is the USA Today bestselling author of the popular Mattie Winston mystery series and a pseudonym for Beth Amos, who also writes the Mack’s Bar Mystery series under the pseudonym Allyson K. Abbott. Beth is a real-life emergency room RN living in Wisconsin. She believes laughter is the best medicine, and with the Mattie Winston series, she is hoping to “medicate” the masses.

For more Mattie Winston fun and to keep up with the latest news, visit www.mattiewinston.com

New Series Starting September 13, 2022

Also by this Author

Written as Allyson K. Abbott

I am giving away 1 Kindle Copy of Dead in the Water.

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, 2022, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
The Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For The 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 2022 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Finish The Series Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge TBR Pile Challenge What An Animal Reading Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday featuring Here Comes the Fudge (A Candy-Coated Mystery) by Nancy Coco @KensingtonBooks @nancyjcoco

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.

here comes the fudge
Here Comes the Fudge (A Candy-Coated Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
9th in Series
Setting – Mackinac Island, Michigan
Kensington Cozies (September 28, 2021)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 272 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1496727606
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1496727602
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08RWFKD68

Fudge shop owner Allie McMurphy never expected her maid of honor duties to include clearing the groom of murder . . .

THE BODY OF A CRIME

It’s late spring on picturesque Mackinac Island, Michigan.  Allie is prepping her Historic McMurphy Hotel and Fudge Shop for the start of the tourist season and her best friend Jenn’s wedding. But when Jenn’s fiancé Shane, a crime scene investigator on the island, misses a dinner date, the two friends go looking for him. Led by Allie’s bichonpoo Mal into an alley, they come upon Shane standing over a body with a bloody knife in his hand. Shane won’t say what’s happened, just tells them to call 911. As the CSI is taken into custody by his colleagues, including Allie’s beau Rex Manning, the fudge maker vows to prove her friend’s fiancé is not a killer—before the ceremony turns into a jailhouse wedding . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Tourist season is just starting on Mackinac Island and the McMurphy Hotel and Fudge Shop is going to be very busy. Allie’s best friend Jenn is back in town and she has two weddings lined up with the guests filling the hotel. One of those weddings is her own and she has ticked off everything on her to-do list. The one thing not on her list was MURDER and having her fiancé Shane named the police’s prime suspect has really fudged up her plans. Everyone that knows Shane knows he would never kill anyone but he’s not talking and neither is Allie’s tentative boyfriend Rex. They want Jenn and Allie to leave the investigation to them but the entire town knows there is no way that is going to happen.


I was so happy to return to Mackinac Island. It really is an idyllic setting that I have always wanted to visit. For now, I have to settle for Ms. Coco’s delightful descriptions for a virtual vacation.

The characters in this series have really worked their way into my heart. Allie is happy all the renovations are complete and soon the outside will have a fresh coat of paint and guests will be filling all the rooms and tourists will be popping in to buy her fudge. She is also excited about Jenn’s wedding and wants to be sure everything is perfect for her. True best friends, they stick together through thick and thin. Their guys are being pretty shady in this installment but think they have a good reason. Newlyweds Frances and  Douglas, they are so cute together. They are truly rocks that Allie can always lean on. They really seem to be unflappable no matter the crisis.

With Jenn’s wedding taking place soon Shane’s family is staying off the island, but her family and Allie’s parents all check in to the McMurphy. I loved that Allie’s mom and dad came for the wedding. They are so supportive of everything Allie is doing with the hotel and fudge shop. Plus they were needed when the scheduled plans went awry. They too remained calm under pressure and allowed Allie the time to do a bit of sleuthing along with her maid of honor duties which are vast when the groom is accused of murder.

Ms. Coco has created such a genuine group of core characters for this series. Truthfully most of the people we meet have good hearts and are willing to help anyone in any way they can. It wouldn’t be a murder mystery without a bad apple or two but she hides them very well until all the clues are mixed together and fall into the right place.

The mystery she has penned in Here Comes the Fudge really tugs on the heartstrings because you want Jenn and Shane’s wedding to go off without a hitch. Allie does turn to a group she knows hears all the gossip on the island to try to get to the bottom of the crime. These ladies are a hoot but they are a fantastic source.  The author does an excellent job of twisting things up which means Allie needs more than the seniors can tell her to find the real killer. With plenty of misdirection, I had eliminated the true culprit and was surprised by the very exciting ending.

Romance in this story has an interesting twist too. Allie has a new admirer. . . yup and Rex is not happy.

I can’t forget the fudge recipes. I think I gained 5 pounds just reading them. Peanut Butter and Chocolate Fudge, oh, dear, so easy to make, I am in big trouble.

Here Comes the Fudge is a strong example of a perfect cozy mystery and a Perfect Escape. A strong family element, true friendships, and lovable pets, all brought together with a captivating mystery, plenty of humor, and a smidgen of romance.  I loved it!

The next book in this fun series, A Midsummer Night’s Fudge is being released on May 24. I will be reading and reviewing it soon!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Nancy Coco is the byline chosen by popular author Nancy J. Parra for use exclusively with the Candy-Coated Mysteries series. With degrees in engineering, journalism, and a MA in Writing Popular Fiction, Nancy has published in cozy mystery, romantic suspense, and sweet western historical romances.

An Air Force veteran who rose to the rank of sergeant, Nancy is a member of an online group of female veterans who are authors—“Military Women Who Have Turned Sword to Pen.” The group’s website is www.romvets.com.

Nancy is also a member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime. She has given workshops on a number of writing topics and enjoys doing author panels at fan conferences such as Malice Domestic and Bouchercon. She lives in California with her dog—a bichonpoo affectionately known as Little Dog on Nancy’s Facebook and Twitter accounts.

WebsiteTwitterFacebook 

Coming May 24, 2022

Written as Nancy J. Parra

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Posted in 2022 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Flashback Friday Giveaways Literary Escapes TBR Pile Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – Deserts, Driving, and Derelicts (A Camper & Criminals Cozy Mystery Series) by Tonya Kappes #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.


Deserts, Driving, and Derelicts (A Camper & Criminals Cozy Mystery Series)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Kentucky
Independently published (June 26, 2018)
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 192 pages
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 979-8746786456
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 196 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1723010863
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1723010866
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B07CJK17LS

SOUTHERN HOSPITALITY WITH A SMIDGEN OF HOMICIDE

USA Today Bestselling author Tonya Kappes brings you southern and quirky characters in her mystery series. Her stories are charged with humor, friendship, family, and life in small southern towns.

Welcome to Normal, Kentucky where NOTHING is normal.

Mae West is getting settled into the RV lifestyle as the owner of a campground in Normal, Kentucky.

Happy Trails Campground, located in Daniel Boone National Park, has started to attract late summer vacationing families who love to hike, swim, fish, and enjoy being outdoors.

Betts Hager, owner of several small businesses, is swamped with work and desperate for help with her cleaning business. Mae offers her services, happy about the prospect of a little extra cash. Heiress Tammy Jo Bentley’s mansion is the first one on her schedule.

Mae makes sure Tammy Jo’s house is spotless because the Kentucky Kennel Association’s annual meeting is going to be held at the mansion. Fifi, Tammy Jo’s high pedigree, insured poodle, is going to be on display and Tammy Jo will be evaluating potential suitors to sire Fifi’s offspring.

Before the annual meeting, Camille Braun, Fifi’s nanny, is stabbed to death.

Everyone knows that Camille would put her life on the line *or* lay down her life for Fifi and, apparently, she did.

Mae tries her best to stay out of it. Tammy Jo begs Mae to help her; after all, she did find the last killer in Normal. Plus, it’s not good for business – or Normal’s revived economy – when a murderer is on the loose.

Mae has grown to love her RV community and now that she’s found a place to call home, she’s not going to let anybody ruin it. Mae throws all of her heart and amateur sleuthing skills into bringing the real killer to justice.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

We are back in Normal, Kentucky. Mae West has done a lot to get the Happy Trails Campground back on track while repaying those her ex-husband scammed. She gets a little blast from the past when Bobby Ray Bond shows up at the campground. He is her foster brother that helped her move to New York for a fresh start 12 years ago. Now it may be her turn to help him out.

Mae is also helping Betts Hager with her cleaning business. The extra cash she will earn always comes in handy. Her first assignment takes her to Tammy Jo Bentley’s mansion to make sure the place is immaculate for the annual meeting of the Kentucky Kennel Association. Tammy Jo dotes on her prize pup and is hoping to find a perfect sire for the poodle.

Realizing she forgot to get payment for her services, Mae returns to the mansion for the check. Instead, she makes a ghastly discovery. She finds the pampered pooch’s nanny has been stabbed to death. Tammy Jo is taken into custody and she is reminded that Mae caught the town’s last killer. She begs Mae to do the same for her. Mae agrees because a murderer on the loose isn’t good for business and she isn’t going to let a pesky killer ruin all the progress she has made.


The characters in this series are so much fun. They are quirky and genuine and full of charm. Mae has been accepted now as everyone sees she is trying hard to right the wrongs done by her ex. She has also grown so much as a person in just two books. She seems always ready to help anyone she can whether it be helping them find a job, lend a sympathetic ear, or sleuth out a killer.

The mystery this time had me stumped the entire way. Ms. Kappes entangled some nice red herrings to misdirect and I think I fell for all of them. I really enjoy the humor she includes heavily within her stories. It makes the characters and their situations feel more real. At under 200 pages, the pace is quick but everything is well detailed.

I really enjoy the way Mae pursues the truth while juggling everything else going on in her life. She has two romantic interests, a campground to run, odd jobs here and there, a foster brother showing up out of blue, and a new house guest, all as she tries to solve a murder case. I envy all of her energy.

Deserts, Driving, and Derelicts is a wonderful cozy mystery filled with fantastic characters and Southern charm. The Laundry Club ladies always crack me up. The gossip runs wild and I love it!

I know I am way behind on this series so I hope to visit again soon.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

USA Today bestselling author Tonya Kappes has published numerous mystery and romance titles. Known for her hilarious plot lines and quirky characters, she has earned thousands of followers and a devoted street team of fans.


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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 2022 Reviews Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge TBR Pile Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday featuring Death by Chocolate Malted Milkshake (A Death by Chocolate Mystery) by Sarah Graves #Review / #Giveaway

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I know this isn’t a new release but I have wanted to get to this series for a while so I decided to feature it today.


Death by Chocolate Malted Milkshake (A Death by Chocolate Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Maine
Kensington (January 29, 2019)
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 288 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1496711319
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1496711311
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 304 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1496711327
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1496711328
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B07CWGWJ1G

When murder interrupts a Maine island wedding, two local confectioners go sifting through suspects in this mystery by the author of Dead Cat Bounce.

With their waterfront bakeshop, The Chocolate Moose, Jacobia “Jake” Tiptree and her best friend Ellie offer sweets to the salty locals of Eastport, Maine. Now they’ve been asked to bake a wedding whoopie pie for Eastport’s favorite lovebirds, Sharon Sweetwater and Andy Devine. The custom-ordered confection is about to reel in some much-needed dough for Jake and Ellie. But the celebratory air, and the sweet smell of success, are ruined by foul murder.

When Sharon’s bitter ex-boyfriend Toby is poisoned with an arsenic-laced milkshake, Andy is arrested and the wedding is cancelled, whoopie pie and all. Then Sharon makes a shocking confession—one that sounds like a fishy attempt to get Andy off the hook. Now both the bride and groom are behind bars. And with the fate of The Chocolate Moose at stake, it’s up to Jake and Ellie to clear their names and make sure justice is served.

Includes an irresistible recipe!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Jacobia (Jake) and Ellie own The Chocolate Moose bakeshop in Eastport, Maine. Keeping the doors open is getting difficult in the colder months and they may have to close. Jake has resigned to their fate but Ellie is holding out hope that the whoopie pie wedding cake they are baking for Sharon Sweetwater and Andy Devine will save their shop.

Then Sharon’s ex is killed, poisoned with milkshake just like Ellie and Jake make in their shop except this time the secret ingredient appears to be arsenic. Eastport’s favorite lovebirds find themselves in dire trouble. Andy is arrested and Sharon shocks everyone with her confession. With the wedding canceled Jake and Ellie know the only way to save The Chocolate Moose is to find out who really killed Toby. But can that do it in time to save their shop and get the young couple’s wedding back on track?


This series is a continuation/spinoff of Sarah Graves’ A Home Repair is Homicide Mystery series but they can easily be read on their own.

I really like that Jacobia’s whole family lives in her huge Victorian and that they all play active parts in the story. Ellie’s husband has to travel for work and tries to be home with his wife and daughter at least one day a week. She and Jake make a wonderful team, best friends, partners in business, and sleuthing partners too. Jake’s dad has had some medical issues and he makes some choices in this story that concern his family. While my medical issues aren’t the same I did identify with him a lot in this story. Families can be a little much sometimes even when their hearts are in the right place.

I really enjoyed the mystery the author has crafted. I immediately had the same question Jake did and it was fun the way she theorized to get answers to that question and others and she pieced all the clues together. Chief of Police Bob Arnold has the patience of a saint. Jake and Ellie crossed some huge lines but he accepted it, moved on, and just voiced his concern for their safety. After some clever twists and turns, the big reveal was very exciting. The ending was heartwarming and very satisfying.

Believable characters with real-life problems mixed together with an intriguing mystery make Death by Chocolate Malted Milkshake a very entertaining read. I am looking forward to visiting these characters again soon and getting caught up on this series.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Sarah Graves lives in Eastport, Maine, in a 200-year-old house much like Jake Tiptree’s. After 20 years of home repair – and yes, it really does make you think about murder! – she has handed in her toolbox and returned to her first love: chocolate. When she’s not cooking or baking something delectable, or writing about it, she tends a huge garden or shovels snow, depending upon the season.

Also by Sarah Graves

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

                                  

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#FlashbackFriday – Murder at the Mena House (A Jane Wunderly Mystery) by Erica Ruth Neubauer #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.


Murder at the Mena House (A Jane Wunderly Mystery)
Historical Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Egypt
Kensington (March 31, 2020)
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 288 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1496725859
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1496725851
Paperback (February 23, 2021): ‎ 304 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1496725867
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1496725868
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B07R7S1D4F

 

WINNER OF THE 2021 AGATHA AWARD

Well-heeled travelers from around the world flock to the Mena House Hotel—an exotic gem in the heart of Cairo where cocktails flow, adventure dispels the aftershocks of World War I, and deadly dangers wait in the shadows . . .

Egypt, 1926.

Fiercely independent American Jane Wunderly has made up her mind: she won’t be swept off her feet on a trip abroad. Despite her Aunt Millie’s best efforts, the young widow would rather gaze at the Great Pyramids of Giza than into the eyes of a dashing stranger. Yet Jane’s plans to remain cool and indifferent become ancient history in the company of Mr. Redvers, a roguish banker she can’t quite figure out . . .

While the Mena House has its share of charming guests, Anna Stainton isn’t one of them. The beautiful socialite makes it clear that she won’t share the spotlight with anyone—especially Jane. But Jane soon becomes the center of attention when she’s the one standing over her unintentional rival’s dead body. Now, with her innocence at stake in a foreign country, Jane must excavate an elusive killer before her future falls to ruin in Cairo, and the body count rises like the desert heat . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Americans Jane Wunderly and her Aunt Mille arrive at The Mena House in the heart of Cairo with different agendas. Jane wants to take in the history of the place and visit the Great Pyramids. Her aunt plans to find young widow Jane a man. At least that is how the trip begins. Instead, Millie becomes close with two young women, one a dedicated tennis player, and Jane meets the mysterious Mr. Redvers. He and Jane spend quite a bit of time together as she tries to get to the heart of his true story.  Both women also meet a variety of guests at The Mena House including Anna Stainton and her father. Anna clearly has a problem with Jane and every other young woman in the place. But it is Jane who finds herself in the hot seat after she finds the young socialite’s dead body. Prison was not on the itinerary for Jane’s Egyptian vacation so with a little help from her new friend Mr. Redvers she intends to find the real killer and ruin their vacation, not hers!


I have wanted to read this book for quite a while and I am so glad I finally did. Egypt, 1926, a luxury hotel with a view of The Great Pyramids. Yes! Please!

Ms. Neubauer takes her readers on a wonderful virtual vacation as her words bring Cairo to life. Like Jane, I would probably need time to adjust to the heat but it was fun to tag along on her adventures to the market, the museum, the camel races, and the pyramids. Either I have forgotten what I learned about the pyramids or I never knew the structure inside them. The way the author described them was so interesting and vivid. I know I will never see them with my own eyes so I really appreciated her take on the historic site.

Jane lost her husband in the great war and because of the life she had with him, she is in no hurry to get entangled with another one. She enjoys her independence and is determined not to lose it to any man. I liked her from the start and as her story unfolded I liked her even more. Her Aunt Millie appreciates leaving prohibition back in the states and is rarely seen without a cocktail in her hand. She is a feisty woman, set in her ways, and sometimes hard to deal with. We learn this trip is more than what she presented to Jane. Millie has a mystery all her own. Mr. Redvers is an interesting man and clearly hiding something. So in addition to trying to find a killer, Jane tries really hard to draw him out. All these characters continue to develop over the course of this story but I truly feel we have just scratched the surface.

The death of Anna Stainton was not an easy solve. There were several suspects and Jane really had her work cut out for her. Different people had different motives and she came up with several theories. She did make some risky moves. I liked how she tried to talk herself out of them but then pushed full speed ahead. I was shocked when the killer was revealed.

As for Millie’s mystery, I had an inkling early as to what was happening but it turned out to be much more than I even imagined.

I really enjoyed reading Murder at the Mena House. It was a great introduction for this series and Jane and Millie. I really liked Mr. Redvers and hope that he turns up in the next book Murder at Wedgefield Manor. I am looking forward to tagging along with Jane again soon.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

from amazon About Erica Ruth Neubauer

Erica Ruth Neubauer spent eleven years in the military, nearly two as a Maryland police officer and one as a high school English teacher before finding her way as a writer. She has been a reviewer of mysteries and crime fiction for Publishers Weekly and Mystery Scene Magazine for several years, and she is a member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime. When she’s not writing, Erica Ruth enjoys traveling, yoga, and craft beer. She lives in Milwaukee, WI.

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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 2022 Reviews Alphabet Soup A -Z Author Edition Challenge Cloak and Dagger Challenge E-Book Challenge Flashback Friday TBR Pile Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday featuring The Sleep Tight Motel (Dark Corners Collection) by Lisa Unger #Review / #PrimeFree

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


The Sleep Tight Motel (Dark Corners Collection)
Suspense/Thriller/Horror
2nd Book in the Dark Corners Collection
Amazon Original Stories (September 27, 2018)
Print length ‏ : ‎ 50 pages
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B07GB1TLYL

A woman on the run finds refuge in a motel at the edge of the woods, with plenty of vacancies. Check-in for the night with New York Times bestselling author Lisa Unger.

Eve has a fake ID, a .38, and a violent lover receding in the rearview mirror. He’ll never find her at the isolated motel, and its kindly manager is happy to ease her fears. But if Eve is the only guest, whom does she keep hearing on the other side of the wall? Eve won’t get a good night’s rest until she finds out.

Lisa Unger’s The Sleep Tight Motel is part of Dark Corners, a collection of seven heart-stopping short stories by bestselling authors who give you so many new reasons to be afraid. Each story can be read in a single sitting. Or, if you have the nerve, you can listen all by yourself in the dark.

An Edgar Award nominee.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I don’t usually read books that venture into the horror genre but I enjoyed a short story I read by Lisa Unger last year that I thought I would give this one a whirl hoping it didn’t give me nightmares. Well, it did, but they have passed now.

This is a classic tale of a woman on the run checking into an isolated hotel in the dead of night and then she hears strange noises and some bumps in the night. Of course, the manager does his best to ease her fears but then . . .  Come on, I can’t tell you the whole spooky story.

At only 50 pages the author provides an incredible amount of detail. I was quickly pulled right into the story and easily visualized every scene. (Probably why I had the nightmare.)

This is the only book in the Dark Corners Collection I have read but I may get gutsy enough to try another.

If you like pint-sized creepy stories be sure to check this one out.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

If you have Amazon Prime you can read or listen to this story and the whole Dark Corner Collection for FREE! If you don’t have Amazon Prime you can buy this book and others in the collection for $1.99 each. 

The Dark Corners Collection

About the Author

Lisa Unger is the New York Times bestselling author of Confessions on the 7:45 and the Edgar Award–nominated short story The Sleep Tight Motel. Her books have been published in twenty-six languages and her essays have appeared in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal and on NPR.
Find more of Lisa Unger’s books here.

*This book was from my private collection. Received using Amazon’s Prime Free Program.

 

 

Posted in 2022 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge TBR Pile Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – Ruby Red Herring: An Avery Ayers Antique Mystery by Tracy Gardner #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.


Ruby Red Herring: An Avery Ayers Antique Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – New York
Crooked Lane Books (June 8, 2021)
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 336 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1643856596
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1643856599
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08F4GJ2DP

A 2022 MARY HIGGINS CLARK AWARD Nominee

In this Avery Ayers Antique Mystery series debut, perfect for fans of Ellery Adams and Jane K. Cleland, an antiques appraiser hunts a missing gem while probing her parents’ deaths.

After her parents’ deaths, Avery Ayers takes over the family business, Antiquities & Artifacts Appraised, from the home office in Lilac Grove and a branch in Manhattan. Now living back at home with her younger sister Tilly and their newly moved-in, eccentric Aunt Midge and her Afghan hound, Avery’s life is filled with jewels, tapestries, paintings, and rare finds. But their world is rocked when Avery learns that the theft of a priceless ruby may be connected to her parent’s demise.

The trouble starts when the Museum of Antiquities hires Avery to appraise a rare, resplendent ruby. It bears a striking similarity to a solitary stone in the museum’s prized Xiang Dynasty bejeweled dragon medallion exhibit, which has long been missing one of its ruby eyes. Now, Avery and her colleagues–ostentatious Sir Robert Lane and fatherly Micah Abbott–suspect they may have the missing gem. But facets of the case remain cloudy. Security guard Art Smith is always underfoot but is not what he appears. Another body turns up connected to the appraisal. And Avery receives mysterious notes that begin to put her life in danger.

Avery enlists possible ally Art’s help in cutting the list of suspects who might have polished off her parents and swiped the jewel. Was it art collector Oliver Renell? Curator Nate Brennan? Acquisitions Liaison Francesca Giolitti? Actor Tyler Chadwick? Was the crime impersonal or perpetrated by someone all too close to Avery? If she can’t find the culprit, lovely Lilac Grove may be the setting for Avery’s own death.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Avery and Tillie Ayers were in the car when it crashed killing both their parents. Their Aunt Midge and her dog Halsten immediately moved from Manhatten to Lilac Grove where they all dealt with their grief and tried to move on. For Avery that meant stepping into her parent’s shoes in the family business, Antiquities & Artifacts Appraised. The business has been hired to appraise and authenticate a large rare ruby. A ruby that may be the missing piece from a dragon medallion from the Xiang Dynasty currently being exhibited by the museum. A piece her parents appraised right before their deaths. Avery with assistance from her employee and friend Micah Abbott must first determine if the ruby is real and if it is, analyze if it is indeed the jewel missing from the dragon medallion.

While Avery is trying to concentrate on the jewel she receives a threatening note followed by other strange events including the murder of an art collector. Realizing the danger she faces she knows they must complete the appraisal as quickly as possible but then someone else is attacked. She finds help from an unusual source to keep her safe. They also work together to try to uncover the killer but their luck just may run out before they do . . .


Oh, this was an exciting story.

I am very appreciative that the author took the time to really introduce these characters and give us readers their back story. Avery is a complex protagonist because she is not only dealing with the deaths of her parents on a personal level but on a business level as well. She has some big shoes to fill and she knows it. It is a lot for a twenty-five-year-old to handle so I was happy to see that her mental health was addressed and that she is seeing a therapist. Tilly has a big audition coming up and it could mean a huge step as she starts her college life. She too is in therapy to help deal with her loss. Their Aunt Midge is their rock. She does anything she can for the girls and keeps the grief of losing her brother under wraps. They are a close family unit and for the most part, they are getting on with their lives. These characters all have a genuine feel and I felt it was very easy to care about what was happening in their lives.

The supporting cast features Micah, Sir Robert, and Art Smith. Micah and Sir Robert work for Antiquities & Artifacts Appraised and have known Avery and Tilly their whole lives. Micah comes across as caring and competent. He has suffered his own loss that turned his life upside down before losing his friends, Anne and William Ayers. Sir Robert seems to be very art smart but lacking in life knowledge. He just isn’t really tuned in to what is happening around him at all times.  Art Smith is a fantastic character. He is working as a security guard at the museum but he is so much more. Ms. Gardner did of nice job of letting these characters develop over the course of the story.

I love that this mystery was different from most of the cozy mysteries I read. The focus was truly on the ruby with a variety of tentacles building off of it. The mystery was truly challenging and riveting, The museum was a busy place, open for its regular exhibits plus there was a movie being shot in one wing. That added to the intrigue as more people came into play. It also adds to the suspect list. Ms. Gardner had me taking notes about all the connections and interactions as I tried my best to solve the mystery before all was revealed. I was still kept guessing right up until the very end and was thrilled by that.

A wonderfully entertaining mystery full of truly interesting characters inhabits the pages of Ruby Red Herring. I love Tracy Gardner’s writing style and was delighted by the precise way she added humor and romance in all the right places. This book is a real gem! It checks all my cozy boxes!

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About the Author

Tracy Gardner is a Detroit native who writes mystery and romance novels. A daughter of two teachers, she has been writing since she could hold a pen. She grew up on Nancy Drew mysteries and rock and roll. When not writing, she works as a visiting nurse in a rural community, where she lives with her husband, two fun-loving teens, and a menagerie of spoiled rescue dogs and cats. She is a strong believer in the power of baked goods, live music, and girlfriend therapy as staples to a happy life.


Coming June 7, 2022

Also by Tracy Gardner


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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.”