Posted in 2021 Reviews Cloak and Dagger Challenge E-Book Challenge Wisconsin Author Wisconsin Setting You Read How Many Books Challenge

Mystery in the Hill by Aaron Qualio #Review


Mystery in the Hill
Mystery/Thriller Short Read
Setting – Wisconsin
Dorrance Publishing Co. Inc. (March 13, 2021)
Print length ‏ : ‎ 79 pages
ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08YXG27JG

A small Wisconsin town is shaken to its core when four high school boys stumble upon an unexpected discovery. As past and present secrets are exposed, more unsolved mysteries are revealed, leading to more danger than anyone could have ever imagined.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Set in 1997 four teenagers uncover quite a find. A find that will rock their world and change their lives forever as the past and present collide in a heartwrenching way. Ashbelle Wisconsin will now have a deadly history that started in 1944 and culminated in 1997.


I was contacted to read and review this book by a publicist who saw I like to support and feature Wisconsin authors. She told me this book was written during the pandemic by a man who was reflecting on his small-town life and how it affected him in big ways. I have to say that really came through in this story. His descriptions took me back to a simpler life in a small town. While I was older in 1997 than the teenagers in this book I could relate to their high school lives. Their friendships, actions, interactions, and curiosities were very familiar. I had a much harder time relating to the people from the past. Their choices and actions gave me chills.  Because of the emotions invoked by both time periods, I would say the author did a fine job of telling this story.

Reading the first chapter 1 was unsure if this was a story for me but by the end of chapter 2, my own curiosity was building, and mid-way through chapter 3 I was completely engaged. With each subsequent chapter, my reading pace increased. I liked that the chapters went back and forth between time periods wrapping up with the final chapter set in 2015. It gave the story a good rhythm and pace.

Mr. Qualio’s Mystery in the Hill introduced very interesting characters and stunning situations. The short novella length suited the story very well giving a true, ripped from the headlines kind of story feel. This appears to be his first novel and it has piqued my interest and has me wondering what he will write next. Reading his book was a great way to spend an evening. I look forward to more from this author.

*Does include some explicit language.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

About the Author 

Aaron Qualio is the author of ‘Mystery in the Hill’, rated a #1 Amazon best-selling book. Aaron is a husband and a stay-at-home dad to two girls. He resides in Green Bay, WI, and grew up in a small Wisconsin town, where much of his inspirations come from.

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

Posted in 2021 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Finish The Series Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways Literary Escapes TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge Wisconsin Author Wisconsin Setting You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – Last Call (Mack’s Bar Mysteries) by Allyson K. Abbott #Review / #Giveaway @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.

Last Call (Mack’s Bar Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Setting – Wisconsin
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Kensington (July 31, 2018)
Mass Market Paperback ‏ : ‎ 368 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1496701747
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1496701749
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0776GL23W

A bar owner taps into her special sleuthing talents when a businessman is shot in this top-shelf mystery with drink recipes included.

Fresh off solving a murder that hit too close to home, Mack’s trust is shattered. But when Milwaukee police detective Duncan Albright asks for her help with a shooting, she can’t resist using her extra-perceptive senses to benefit others. It turns out the victim was the ruthless businessman their friend Mal was investigating undercover. And now Mal is missing—and his fingerprints are on the gun. Was his cover blown, forcing him into hiding? Or could he be a straight-up killer on the run? Mack doesn’t know what to believe anymore—except her own gut, which leads her to secret rooms, shocking revelations . . . and the fear that this could be her final round.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Bar owner Mackenzie “Mack” Dalton is brought into her first authorized case as a consultant for the Milwaukee Police. With Detective Duncan Albright by her side, they arrive at the scene of a shooting. The victim is a man undercover cop Mal O’Reilly has been investigating. Now Mal isn’t answering his phone and they have no idea where he is but his fingerprints are on the murder weapon. Mack and Duncan know they need to find their friend fast because his cover could be blown. Also, his family is in town to install an elevator in Mack’s Bar and they are going to want answers. Duncan and Mack can’t believe Mal killed a man and fled the scene.  But then Mack’s special talents lead her to something very surprising in the house where the shooting occurred that could blow the case wide open.


I have really enjoyed this series. Ms. Abbott’s characters are so realistic. Mack’s Synesthesia may be a little bit out there but it is a real condition which she has really fined tuned to give her the ability to help the police. Her romantic relationship with Duncan is heating up, but darn, I was team Mal, especially after we met his family in A Toast to Murder. I loved that their visit continued into this book. The bartenders, servers, and customers are all like Mack’s family and I know that feeling because my parents bought a bar when I was in Junior High and we lived in the apartment upstairs. Like Mack, I spent a lot of time downstairs helping in any way I could and got to know the regulars pretty darn well. We didn’t have a Capone Club but we did have some epic Euchre tournaments. Sadly, Mack had to deal with a lot of tragic events over the course of the series, and each helped to shape her into the fantastic person she is now.

The mystery in this book was marvelous. I am not going into a lot of details because I do not want to spoil anything. I will say Mack uses her gentle soul, her synesthesia, and her own history to get a witness to open up to help solve the case. I really liked that Mack really played a key role in her first case as a consultant and that she changes a lot of minds. I had thought Mack would take an incredible step, but she didn’t. She did take another step that I thought was a bit too soon, but there was a reason for that.

Sadly Last Call is truly the last call. This is the final book in this series that took place over a very traumatic year in Mack’s life.  It was a pleasure to meet her and everyone connected to her life, great people, and even the unsavory ones. I was late to the party on this series but I am so happy I found it and was able to read all six books and was able to share my reviews with you.

The author gave plenty of background in this book so new readers can read this book as a stand-alone, but I really encourage you to read the series from the start so you can get to know the people in Mack’s world from the start.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

 

Allyson K. Abbott is a pseudonym used by suspense writer Beth Amos. Beth has enjoyed a varied writing career that included a stint as a book reviewer and several years of nonfiction freelancing. Now she writes only fiction, and in stark contrast to her “day job” as an ER nurse, where she gets to save lives, the one common factor in her fiction, no matter what name it’s written under, is that someone always dies. Allyson K. Abbott is my little insider joke at having to pick yet another pseudonym. It’s not a coincidence the initials are what they are.  Check out her webpage here and on Facebook here. Allyson also writes as Annelise Ryan.

Kindle copies of these books go on sale quite often.
As I write this the first book is on sale for $1.99. 

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.

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

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 November 26, 2021, 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 Entry Form

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

Posted in 2021 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Finish The Series Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge Wisconsin Author Wisconsin Setting You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – A Toast to Murder (Mack’s Bar Mysteries) by Allyson K. Abbott #Review / #Giveaway @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.


A Toast to Murder (Mack’s Bar Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Kensington (July 25, 2017)
Mass Market Paperback ‏ : ‎ 352 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1496701720
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1496701725
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B01M6AOYKL

As the champagne flows on New Year’s Eve, a bar owner and her buddies try to solve a bouncer’s murder in a sparkling mystery with drink recipes included.

As Milwaukee counts down to New Year’s Eve, bar owner Mackenzie “Mack” Dalton has but one resolution—unmask the dangerous mastermind who has been taunting her and killed bouncer Gary Gunderson. Mack and her fellow barflies have fleshed out a suspect and arranged an invite-only party to put a cork in the murderer’s game for good. But when the clock strikes midnight and their suspect is found cold and stiff on the basement stairs, it seems the celebration may have come too soon. Now Mack must rely on her special talents to find the real criminal among the crowd of revelers—or someone won’t survive until last call . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

With New Year’s Day approaching bar owner Mackenzie “Mack” Dalton has decided she has just one New Year’s resolution . . . to get her life back! Two people close to her have been killed and she knows she is next. This dastardly letter writer has threatened her and her friends long enough. She has a plan to nab the killer right after the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s and put an end to the race against time she has been on long enough.

What could possibly go wrong?


Ms. Abbott has created a large dynamic and diverse cast of characters over the course of this series. I find them very easy to keep track of because of the excellent character development that has taken place. The cool thing is there is still room for them to grow. I love the Capone Club and its endeavors to solve mysteries. Mack has kept her personal case from most of them to try to keep them safe. She really does put everyone else first. Still on crutches she and the undercover cop pretending to be her boyfriend Mal work hard to chase down clues before the time runs out staving off another death.

What I really enjoy is virtually traveling with these characters to Milwaukee’s wonderful tourist attractions. In this book, we visit the Mitchell Domes, the Pabst Mansion, and the Milwaukee Museum all decked out in their holiday finery. They are all places I love to take my family. They also have perfect little nooks and crannies and dirt for Mack and Mal to look for clues. It was fun the last few books to go everywhere with them but being tied to a possible murder made things intense.

In past installments, there was always a primary mystery with the letter-writer mystery holding the secondary place. This time it had to be the main mystery to enable it to reach its satisfying conclusion. The author added plenty of twists and turns. Many involved Mack’s special Synaesthesia gift and others good old-fashioned legwork. With a long list of suspects, they had a quagmire of details to work through.

Also wrapped up at the end of this story was the romantic triangle of Mack, Duncan, and Mal, but I was pretty unhappy with the choice she made. I am curious to see how the relationship she has chosen works.

A Toast to Murder is a complex mystery with genuine characters. Having it set close to where I live and have traveled and the fact that I grew up in a bar environment too makes this series extra special for me. It was a Perfect Escape.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Allyson K. Abbott is a pseudonym used by suspense writer Beth Amos. Beth has enjoyed a varied writing career that included a stint as a book reviewer and several years of nonfiction freelancing. Now she writes only fiction, and in stark contrast to her “day job” as an ER nurse, where she gets to save lives, the one common factor in her fiction, no matter what name it’s written under, is that someone always dies. Allyson K. Abbott is my little insider joke at having to pick yet another pseudonym. It’s not a coincidence the initials are what they are.  Check out her webpage here and on Facebook here. Allyson also writes as Annelise Ryan.

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.

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

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 November 19, 2021, 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 Entry Form

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

Posted in 2021 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge New Release Challenge Wisconsin Author Wisconsin Setting You Read How Many Books Challenge

Deep Green Envy (Deep Lakes Cozy Mystery Series) by Joy Ann Ribar #Review

When the tour for this book stopped here on October 13
medical appointments didn’t allow me to get my review written
so I am posting it today.

Deep Green Envy (Deep Lakes Cozy Mystery Series)
Cozy Mystery
Setting – Wisconsin
3rd in Series
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Ten16 Press (September 21, 2021)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 344 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1645382931
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1645382935
Digital Print length ‏ : ‎ 226 pages
ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09CMX8S6W

Summer in Deep Lakes sprouts a homegrown murder on the O’Connor farm. Frankie Champagne’s hunt for clues lands her deep in sheep doo-doo, especially after rare stones surface in unexpected places. Crime-solving is no picnic for the baker/vintner as she hops from farm to field to bakery, trying to keep up with the tourist season and track a killer, too.

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

There is nothing better than summer in Wisconsin but Frankie Champagne’s sunny weather is marred by yet another murder.  This time her business partner Carmen’s life could be in jeopardy when a dead man is found on her farm. All the farmhands are questioned.  Carmen and her husband are questioned. But this murder has a far reach and involves more than a little sheep manure.


Frankie and her BFF Carmen own and operate Bubble and Bake, a bakery during the day, and a wine bar at night. Frankie also owns a winery and Carmen and her husband own a sheep farm. The farm provides fertilizer/manure for the vineyard. This all comes into play during this 3rd installment of the Deep Lakes Cozy Mystery Series. Frankie is like the energizer money, always in motion, and when a murder involves her best friend she rachets that up to an even higher level. She just can’t get the murder out of her head. I think I liked Frankie best in this book over the other two. She really took her investigative techniques to new levels and even got some help from her favorite coroner. She has upped her amateur sleuthing game and I loved it.

This mystery was fun to solve after the story literally started with a gunshot and stayed at a quick clip until the very satisfying ending. The author’s descriptive writing style shined within these pages made every element of this story very easy to picture in my mind.

Deep Green Envy was a real treat to read. Set in my home state of Wisconsin, I love all the familiar references. With each book in this series, I feel more and more at home. I am excited for the continuation of the series and the hijinx the characters will get involved in.

*Note – There is a novella – Deep Lakes Christmas that was released last year that I have not read yet but hope to read over the holidays.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Joy Ann Ribar

Joy Ann Ribar lives in central Wisconsin with her business partner-husband, John. She writes the Deep Lakes Mystery Series, starring baker/vinter and all-around spitfire, Frankie Champagne. Joy’s writing is inspired by Wisconsin’s four distinct seasons and local flavors, which she hopes to promote for all to enjoy.

Joy is a member of Sisters in Crime, Midwest Independent Booksellers, and Wisconsin Writers Association.  She enjoys researching viticulture at area wineries, birding, hiking, and chatting with readers.  Joy and her husband, John, someday plan to sell their house, buy an RV and travel around the U.S. spreading good cheer and hygge! Joy is a little proud to have two bestsellers with Orange Hat Publishing: Deep Dark Secrets (2019) and Deep Bitter Roots (2020), under the Ten16 Press imprint of Orange Hat.

Author Links 

Purchase Links – AmazonB&N

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

Posted in 2021 Reviews Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours New Release Challenge Wisconsin Author Wisconsin Setting You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday featuring Deep Green Envy (Deep Lakes Cozy Mystery Series) by Joy Ann Ribar #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour


Deep Green Envy (Deep Lakes Cozy Mystery Series)
by Joy Ann Ribar

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am very happy to feature Deep Green Envy today!

About Deep Green Envy

Deep Green Envy (Deep Lakes Cozy Mystery Series)
Cozy Mystery
Setting – Wisconsin
3rd in Series
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Ten16 Press (September 21, 2021)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 344 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1645382931
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1645382935
Digital Print length ‏ : ‎ 226 pages
ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09CMX8S6W

Summer in Deep Lakes sprouts a homegrown murder on the O’Connor farm. Frankie Champagne’s hunt for clues lands her deep in sheep doo-doo, especially after rare stones surface in unexpected places. Crime-solving is no picnic for the baker/vintner as she hops from farm to field to bakery, trying to keep up with the tourist season and track a killer, too.

Dollycas’s Thoughts – Review Coming Soon! 

About Joy Ann Ribar

Joy Ann Ribar lives in central Wisconsin with her business partner-husband, John. She writes the Deep Lakes Mystery Series, starring baker/vinter and all-around spitfire, Frankie Champagne. Joy’s writing is inspired by Wisconsin’s four distinct seasons and local flavors, which she hopes to promote for all to enjoy.

Joy is a member of Sisters in Crime, Midwest Independent Booksellers, and Wisconsin Writers Association.  She enjoys researching viticulture at area wineries, birding, hiking, and chatting with readers.  Joy and her husband, John, someday plan to sell their house, buy an RV and travel around the U.S. spreading good cheer and hygge! Joy is a little proud to have two bestsellers with Orange Hat Publishing: Deep Dark Secrets (2019) and Deep Bitter Roots (2020), under the Ten16 Press imprint of Orange Hat.

Author Links 

Purchase Links – AmazonB&N

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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 2021 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge Wisconsin Author Wisconsin Setting You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – Deep Bitter Roots (Deep Lakes Cozy Mystery Series) by Joy Ann Ribar #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.


Deep Bitter Roots (Deep Lakes Cozy Mystery Series)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Washington
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Ten16 Press (April 15, 2020)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 374 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1645381226
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1645381228
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B086PWWSC3

The promise of Spring in Deep Lakes, Wisconsin brings the community out of hibernation to plan the annual Roots Festival. Bubble and Bake owner Frankie Champagne just wants to help the Granite Mansion quarry heiress plan the keynote presentation. So, why does she find herself in the middle of the legendary and deadly Quarry Curse?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

They joke that in Wisconsin you can sometimes experience all four seasons in one day. Spring is just starting to bloom in Deep Lakes but you could still see snow in addition to the April showers or the blistering hot heat of summer. People who have been enduring the snow and bitter cold are ready to escape to a milder climate just in time for the annual Roots Festival snd this year will be even more special with quarry heiress Emily Spurgeon giving a speech as the park is rededicated and introducing some new features. Bubble and Bake owner Frankie Champagne has been asked to assist Emily with her presentation. After meeting with Emily several times Frankie is shocked that the heiress had passed away in her sleep. She has a lifelong relationship with Sheriff Alonzo Goodman and he knows she has a keen sense of observation and she doesn’t believe her death was due to natural causes so he allows her to check out Emily’s bedroom to see if she notices anything unusual. From the minute she walks into the room she sees many things that don’t make sense. She knows someone killed Emily and she is going to prove it,


Frankie and her BFF Carmen own and operate Bubble and Bake, a bakery during the day, and a wine bar at night. Right now they have the extra help from Carmen’s mother, Tia Pepita, and Frankie’s Aunt Cece. Cece arrived with a lot of luggage saying “I want to see Wisconsin one last time before I die.” Tia plans to stay with Carmen and Ryan to participate in a three month clinical trial at the UW – Madison Hospital Eye Research Unit.  These ladies bring so much to the story and their antics are hilarious.

Frankie has her hands full with the bakery and the vineyard and still holds the dream of being a news reporter. Working with Emily Spurgeon added more to Frankie’s plate but she really enjoyed the time they spent together. Now she is determined to find out who robbed the woman of the last years of her life. Good thing Carmen is on the ball and can take on things Frankie has to let slide while she investigates. Emily Spurgeon was a wonderful character. She had so much depth and had a wealth of knowledge about the history of the quarry and its employees. Her heart was in the right place as she tried to right the wrongs of the past. We didn’t get to know her long but like Frankie, I was invested in her well-being and heartbroken when she died.  We also meet a long-lost family member of Emily’s. The woman was the complete opposite of Emily.

The author has written a complex mystery and drops clues in an intriguing way. I will say I missed a few along the way that probably would have helped me solve the mystery sooner but I did pick up some great clues that at least had me looking in the right direction. I enjoyed the way Frankie worked to solve the crime. No matter what she was doing the case was on her mind and even with several twists, she didn’t lose her focus.

What I really liked about this book and the one prior is the way Ms. Ribar highlights Wisconsin. I love seeing places I know visited within the book. Frankie, Garrett, Lon, Jovie, Carmen, and Ryan plan to have a triple date at Feil’s Supper Club. The restaurant has been there forever and I remember going there with my parents and later and still with my husband. The food there is awesome, they have several Bavarian specials, Sunday Brunch, and Friday Fish Fry. My go-to is Herb’s Special – “sirloin steak topped with a MOUNTAIN of Feil’s famous onion rings”. Just reading about it in this book had my mouth watering and wanting to make a reservation. The author also highlights many other places too. I do wish the Bubble and Bake was a real establishment because the descriptions of the food and wine tell me the place would be right up my alley.

Deep Bitter Roots has a large wonderful cast and it was fun following them through everything they do. I enjoyed my visit to Deep Lakes and look forward to returning soon. I will be reading and reviewing Deep Green Envy next month and hope to read Deep Flakes Christmas during the holiday season.


Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author (from Amazon)

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

WebsiteFacebookInstagram 


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

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

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

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End October 8, 2021, 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 Entry Form

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

Posted in 2021 Reviews Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways New Release Challenge Wisconsin Author Wisconsin Setting

Cozy Wednesday featuring Murder at the Lakeside Library: A Lakeside Library Mystery by Holly Danvers #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour


Murder at the Lakeside Library: A Lakeside Library Mystery
by Holly Danvers

About Murder at the Lakeside Library


Murder at the Lakeside Library: A Lakeside Library Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Wisconsin
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books (July 13, 2021)
Hardcover: 336 pages
ISBN-10: 1643856324
ISBN-13: 978-1643856322
Digital ASIN: B08L5VF4X5

In this series debut perfect for fans of Jenn McKinlay and Miranda James, Rain Wilmot must discover the killer, before the book closes on her life.

 

Rain Wilmot has just returned to her family’s waterfront log cabin in Lofty Pines, Wisconsin after the untimely death of her husband. The cabin is peaceful compared to Rain’s corporate job and comes with an informal library that Rain’s mother, Willow, used to run. But as Rain prepares for the re-opening of the library, all hopes for a peaceful life are shattered when she discovers the body of Thornton Hughes, a real estate buyer, on the premises.

 

The community of Lofty Pines starts pointing fingers at Willow, since she has been unusually absent from the library this summer. A fishy rumor surfaces when Rain learns that Willow had been spending a lot of time with Thornton. The town even thought they were having an affair.

 

While theories swirl about Thornton’s death, Rain takes it upon herself to solve the case to exonerate her mother. As more clues surface, Rain will have to piece together the mystery. But if she isn’t careful, she may be the next to end up dead in the water in Murder at the Lakeside Library, the first in Holly Danvers’ new Lakeside Library mysteries.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

In this first Lakeside Library Mystery, we meet Rain Wilmot. She has come home to the family’s cabin in Lofty Pines where she reconnects with her childhood best friend Julia. She hopes for a relaxing solitary summer to start to heal from the grief of losing her husband. Her friend Julia has other ideas. She expects Rain to open the library that is part of the family’s cabin. Rain’s mother usually runs the library but is traveling with no plans to visit Lofty Pines this summer. Julia has big plans so she needs Rain on board and opening the library.

Julia’s plans go seriously awry when they find a very dead Thorton Hughes on the property. Hughes, a real estate developer, had some big plans of his own and had made a few enemies around the area but he was apparently close to Rain’s mother, Willow. Her absence in Lofty Pines this year is questioned and some people think she had something to do with the man’s murder.

Rain decides to do some investigating of her own while rumors fly. She needs to be careful of she could be the next dead body found in Lofty Pines.


I was immediately drawn into this story by the author’s descriptions of Wisconsin’s beautiful Northwoods. I have been to several places like Lofty Pines, none that had a library in one of the cabins, but Ms. Danvers’s descriptions rang true and made it very easy to picture the setting.

I liked Rain and totally understood her need for a quiet place. I also understood Julia’s quest to not allow her friend to wallow in her pain, but boy, that Julia is a pushy woman. She made plans and expected Rain to just fall in line. There was one scene where Rain spends the night in the library and Julia arrives the next morning like a bull in a china shop. I wish Rain would have responded in a stronger way. More insight into Rain and her adult life would have been helpful. We know that the cabin was a special place for her but because her husband didn’t appreciate the area they rarely went there. Again, she allowed another person to make decisions for her. Her behavior really does show a pattern.

I did love the “Laker” attitude. The people that own property in the area and spend every summer there or live there full time are a very cool group. They reach out to help each other whether it be doing a little yard work or bringing treats to share on the deck or just have a listening ear when needed.

The mystery was a little murky for me. There was a bit of repetition and Rain seemed unfocused at times but again she is dealing with a loss and then found a dead body that was oddly connected to her family. Of course, she does get some assistance from Julia, and an elderly library volunteer Marge. They know the people and all the connections that Rain is now unfamiliar with because she has been away so long. The author has a very descriptive writing style but here some of the narration and descriptions get to be too much. I found the treasure found in the library to be a very interesting twist, revealing something important that did move the story forward.

I did have a few issues with the story but Murder at the Lakeside Library was a very entertaining read. It has laid the groundwork for what I hope will be a long-running series. I really liked how important literacy was to Rain’s family going back to her great grandfather, himself an author. The library is a wonderful family legacy. That gives this series a grand uniqueness that cozy readers will love.

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About Holly Danvers 

Holly Danvers grew up devouring every mystery novel on the shelf of her local library. She lives in the Midwest with her husband and 3 chickens, where she’s already plotting her next novel.

Author Links – 
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Great Escapes Praise for Murder at the Lakeside Library: A Lakeside Library Mystery
by Holly Danvers

Author Holly Danvers has created an appealing physical environment and cast of characters that cozy mystery fans will want to revisit time and again.
~Book Club Librarian

Murder at the Lakeside Library is a blithe cozy mystery with a lakeside library, a curious corpse, a firm friend, uncertain rumors, and a boatload of books.
~The Avid Reader

I loved the cozy setting and the whole idea of “Lakers” (not the basketball team) and running a summer library. It gave me that On Golden Pond feeling but with a delicious cozy mystery wrapped up in it!
~Books To The Ceiling

What a fabulously fun start to a new cozy series. . . a fun delightful read full of clues mixed with characters you can really picture while getting to know them. 5/5 stars.
~Books a Plenty Book Reviews

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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 2021 Reviews Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways New Release Challenge Read The Printed Word Challenge Wisconsin Author Wisconsin Setting You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday featuring The Weaver’s Revenge (A Chloe Ellefson Mystery) by Kathleen Ernst #Review / #Giveaway

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am excited to share my thoughts about The Weaver’s Revenge today!

The Weaver’s Revenge (A Chloe Ellefson Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
11th in Series
Setting – Wisconsin/Upper Michigan
Three Towers Press (an imprint of HenschelHAUS) (May 15, 2021)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 398 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1595988106
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1595988102
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09471KLGN

A Killer Weaves a Deadly Blend of Betrayal and Revenge that Threatens Chloe’s Work … and Her Life

When offered a rare opportunity to help develop a fledgling historic site dedicated to Finnish American history and heritage, curator Chloe Ellefson journeys to the remote Northwoods of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

In addition to the consultant job, she’s on a personal quest to learn about the enduring tradition of rag rug weaving. Encountering a dead body upon arrival, however, immediately puts that goal in jeopardy. Although suspicion soon falls on her new colleagues, Chloe is determined to persevere … even if it means ignoring the advice of her new husband, police officer Roelke McKenna. Can she identify the killer and complete her mission, or will all her dreams unravel?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Chloe Ellefson has been given an exciting opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a new historic site in Upper Michigan. This site is featuring Finish American History and Chole jumps at the chance to consult and make program recommendations to the people involved in developing this new historic site. She is also excited to meet some rag rug weavers as that was popular in Finnish history and continues to be in the area.

Chloe arrives at one weaver’s home just in time to discover a dead body. She had such high hopes to tap into the woman’s knowledge, her death has her questioning her whole journey. But she can’t back away from her commitment even when there may be a murderer in her midst. Her new husband, police officer Roelke McKenna is not pleased with her decision especially when he is not there to protect her but he knows Chloe is a strong independent woman and that while she may listen to his advice he knows she isn’t coming back to their home in Wisconsin until all her commitments are fulfilled and now that includes murder.


History and mystery come together in the precise way I expect when I pick up a book by Kathleen Ernst.

Chloe’s part of the story takes place in the 1980s, a time where cell phones, GPS., and the internet are still a dream. She is consulting on rebuilding the Hanka Homestead as of 1920 in the Upper Penisula of Michigan. We go back in time to Finland in May of 1915/16 when Matti Peltoniemi immigrates to the United States. His young wife Liana follows when his letters stop coming. She is on a quest to find her husband who should be in the U.P. The characters we are introduced to in this story are so interesting and believable. I quickly became invested in their lives, especially Liana as she endures a lot and stays strong to find the man she loves. Her journey is full of tough and scary times. My heart broke for her so strongly at one point.

The characters in Chloe’s time are also incredibly written with secrets and strife of their own. Chloe meets many people and attends some community events to learn more about the weaving craft and the Hanka’s time period so that she can get the new historic site off to a good start. She imparts her knowledge about collections and uses elbow grease on some wonderful finds. She also uses her sleuthing skills to ferret out a killer.

The investigation into the death of the weaver is compounded by another death. The author has plotted out a tightly woven mystery full of twists and turns. Clues were difficult to pin down. I had just a little feeling as to where I thought the story was heading. I was only slightly right. The ending ended up totally taking me by surprise. Roelke had a mystery of how one to solve back in Eagle and I eagled out that solution fairly quickly even though he had to deal with an over-the-top victim.

Kathleen Ernst is a terrific storyteller and I credit a lot of that to her time spent at Old World Wisconsin.  Finding and overseeing collections that tell historic stories, this series and her young reader mysteries feel like a natural offshoot for a person who loves history as much as this author does. I always learn something new when reading her stories. I took a great interest in the weaving theme this time because that has been a craft I have been interested in forever. I never had anything wonderful like the looms in this story but I did make a few creations with my tabletop loom.

This is the 11th book in this series and I have loved every one of them. I am so happy Ms. Ernst found a new home for this series! It was well worth the wait to find the right fit. I am looking forward to many more journeys with Chloe. I love her plan for the future.

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About the Author

Kathleen Ernst is a social historian, educator, and author. Her Chloe Ellefson mysteries reflect the decade she spent as a curator at a large outdoor museum, and feature historic sites in the Upper Midwest. Library Journal says, “Ernst keeps getting better with each entry in this fascinating series.” Kathleen has also written many mysteries for young readers. Honors for her work include a LOVEY Award and Agatha and Edgar nominations. Kathleen lives and writes in Wisconsin.

 Author Links – Website    Blog   Facebook

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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 2021 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge Wisconsin Author Wisconsin Setting You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – Shots in the Dark (Mack’s Bar Mysteries) by Allyson K. Abbott #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.


Shots in the Dark (Mack’s Bar Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Setting – Wisconsin
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Kensington (July 26, 2016)
Mass Market Paperback ‏ : ‎ 352 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1496701704
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1496701701
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B017G7HDZE

For Mack and her barfly allies, solving homicides calls for equal parts instinct and wit. To strain out a crafty criminal, the mixture has got to be absolutely perfect . . .

It’s a week before Christmas, but Milwaukee bar owner Mackenzie “Mack” Dalton is hardly in good spirits. Chilled to the core by the murder of bouncer Gary Gunderson, Mack is determined to use her extra perceptive senses to identify the gunman responsible. Did Gary’s patchy past brew up some fatal trouble, or could his death be linked to a series of cryptic letters concocted by Mack’s anonymous adversary? With a second case to crack, innocent lives at stake, and a media frenzy in their midst, Mack and her barstool detectives have little time to mull over the grim details—especially when clues lead dangerously close to home . . .

Includes drink recipes!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Mack’s holiday is not going to be happy until she ends the letter writer’s reign of terror and they are held responsible for the death of her employee Gary Gunderson. While she awaits the next letter and nurses her broken leg she and her fellow barstool detectives agree to look into another case where an innocent man may be serving time for a crime he didn’t commit. Can her unique gift of Synaesthesia help break the case wide open?


What I love about this series is the cast of characters the author has created. Everyone has Mack’s back. Her employees keep the bar running while she sleuths out killers. Her relationship with Detective Duncan Albright is in flux because of a case they worked together and the letter-writing criminal has forbidden her to be in contact with the police specifically Detective Albright but they still manage a few meetings. Undercover cop Mal is posing as her boyfriend to help her with both cases but they are clearly developing feelings for each other. The Capone Club, a group of patrons that love to solve mysteries work so well together even when this time a new person is added to the group. Every character is distinct and has a purpose in the story. Their unique talents are used in many ways. They are also very believable and you could find people like them in any Wisconsin bar. They may not all have a group like the one at Mack’s bar but gossip, crime, and current news can all be topics mused over with a shot and a beer.

The mysteries included in this story are gripping. I was really taken in by the Capone Club’s case because I could poke holes in the police investigation immediately. Investigating a crime that takes place during a Wisconsin blizzard is tough but anyone could see they jumped to several conclusions not supported by the evidence. Right alongside that case, Mack is working tirelessly to solve the case she is personally involved in so another one of her friends doesn’t end up dead. This case has unfolded over the course of the series so it is good to read the prior books in order to understand everything but the author does a great job of recapping the highlights in each new book.

Having the series set nearby is an absolute delight especially when my current place of residence is mentioned several times in the story due to the correctional facility just down the road. It is easy to imagine Mack there visiting one or more of the residents using her personal method of lie detection.

Shots in the Dark was a gripping story but only one mystery is solved by the final page. There are also some romantic issues up in the air and I am starting to support one cop over the other so I am very interested in what will happen next. I am thankful that the next book in this series is on my To-Be-Read shelf and I will be jumping into A Toast to Murder soon.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

Allyson K. Abbott is a pseudonym used by suspense writer Beth Amos. Beth has enjoyed a varied writing career that included a stint as a book reviewer and several years of nonfiction freelancing. Now she writes only fiction, and in stark contrast to her “day job” as an ER nurse, where she gets to save lives, the one common factor in her fiction, no matter what name it’s written under, is that someone always dies. Allyson K. Abbott is my little insider joke at having to pick yet another pseudonym. It’s not a coincidence the initials are what they are.  Check out her webpage here and on Facebook here.

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Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

Add this book to your WANT TO READ shelf
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Click Here For Entry Form

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

Posted in 2021 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge New Release Challenge Wisconsin Author Wisconsin Setting

Deadly Delights: A Bookish Baker Mystery by Laura Jensen Walker #Review (Includes Spoilers)


Deadly Delights: A Bookish Baker Mystery
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Wisconsin
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books (June 8, 2021)
Hardcover: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 1643855921
ISBN-13: 978-1643855929
Kindle ASIN: B08HYFYFC6

In Laura Jensen Walker’s second Bookish Baker mystery, Teddie St. John enters a pie-baking contest. But her chances of winning plummet when she’s suspected of killing one of the judges!

August in Lake Potawatomi, Wisconsin, always means one thing: the annual baking contest. Picture The Great British Baking Show, writ Midwestern. It’s a huge draw for the upper crust of Wisconsin pastry aficionados. And, of course, bon vivant baker-turned-mystery writer Teddie St. John has a pie in the ring. The white vinyl baking tent boasts an array of folding tables housing each entrant’s daily baked good. And at one of those tables sits the corpse of the head judge, his face half-buried in a delectable coconut cream pie.

The body in question belonged to notorious Les Morris. Les may have been getting on in years, but he hadn’t outgrown his well-earned reputation for lechery. Now, Les is no more. But unfortunately, by his side lies Teddie’s distinctive embossed rolling pin…covered with blood.

It’s out of the baking pan, into the oven.

Dollycas’s Thoughts – Note there are SPOILERS below.

It’s time for the annual baking contest in Lake Potawatomi, Wisconsin, and illustrious baker Teddie St. John is one of the contestants. Sadly Lester Morris is one of the judges. He’s a man who can’t keep his hands to himself and he preys on young woman and even pinched Teddy’s butt while judging her baked goods. She gets him back with a whack from her rolling pin but that doesn’t even slow him down. He just makes a crude comment and moves along.

Day 2 means it’s time for pies but it looks like Lester has gotten a head start on his judging with his face buried deep in a coconut cream pie when Teddy arrives. She quickly realizes something is amiss because as she moves closes she sees Lester, “the molester” is dead and her rolling pin appears to be the murder weapon. The man has more than a few enemies and Teddy knows she didn’t kill him, she just needs to find who did.


I have been excited to read this book since I turned the last page of Murder Most Sweet. I love Teddie St. John. She is a confident strong woman who is also a breast cancer survivor. She made a huge decision I am not sure I could have made. I admired her immediately. The characters the author surrounds her with were just icing on the cake.

I also enjoy that the story is set in my home state. The author loves the kringles Wisconsin named the official state pastry in 2013. They are a big thing in Racine near where the story is set. They weren’t a family tradition for me like they are for the author and Teddie but they are delicious and I would never walk away from a slice of apple or strawberry kringle.

So I was reading along, dead guy, Teddy’s long-distance relationship, twists, clues, turns, then SPOILER ALERT – there was a suicide, I paused, took a couple of deep breaths, and kept reading. Then SPOILER ALERT – there was another suicide and this time it was way too similar to the way my son took his life. It stopped me dead in my tracks. I closed my Kindle and had a good cry. After more than six years I still can’t read about a death like that. It was hard to move on.

I wasn’t sure I would be able to go back and finish the book but I had committed myself to review this book. So several days later I went back to the story and skipped ahead a bit and let’s just say there was another twist that changed some things from their original appearance. It was still hard to read but I pressed on and I am glad I did because there is a very special event that takes place on the final page. I loved it and it allowed me to close the book with a smile on my face.

Had I known about the subject matter of the book I would have passed on this book even though I loved the characters because I need to protect my heart and I apologize for the spoilers in my review but I needed to explain myself. I am not sure how to rate the book so I won’t here. A person without my history will love this book and while this book didn’t work for me I am looking forward to the next one which I think will be taking Teddy across the pond.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Laura Jensen Walker has loved mysteries ever since she read Trixie Belden in the fourth grade in her Danish-founded hometown of Racine, Wisconsin–America’s kringle capital. A former journalist and the author of several novels and humorous non-fiction books, including Thanks for the Mammogram! Laura, like her main character, chose to go flat after her second mastectomy and is grateful to be a longtime breast cancer survivor. She lives in California with her Renaissance-man husband and their canine-daughter Mellie. (from Amazon)

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.”