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 – Murder with a Twist (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.


Murder with a Twist (Mack’s Bar Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Wisconsin
Publisher: Kensington (August 5, 2014)
Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-10: 9780758280176
Kindle ASIN: B00IKOTTYG

The regulars at Mack’s Bar love putting their heads together to solve a good mystery. But Mack is learning there’s a big difference between barroom brain teasers and real-life murder. . .

Milwaukee bar owner Mackenzie “Mack” Dalton has a unique neurological condition that gives her extra perceptive senses, and police detective Duncan Albright is convinced Mack’s abilities can be used to help catch crooks. Mack may be a pro at mixing drinks, but she’s still an amateur when it comes to solving crimes–and she’s not sure she should mix business with pleasure by working with a man who stirs up such strong feelings in her. At her first crime scene–a suspicious suicide–she experiences a heady cocktail of mixed sensations and emotions that make her question whether police work is right for her. But when Duncan asks her to help find a kidnapped child, she knows she has to give it a shot. . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I found this series a few years ago and loved the first book in the series Murder on the Rocks. Then I picked up this book, Murder with a Twist but I immediately had to stop reading. I knew from reading the synopsis there was a suicide element but I hadn’t expected it to be so similar to the way my son took his life back in March of 2015. I put the book back on my To-Be-Read bookshelf but I kept passing over it until last week when I decided I should be able to handle the subject matter by now. Well, I was partly right. I still had to skip or skim some triggering passages but soon the suicide part of the book wrapped up and I was able to enjoy the rest of the story. I am glad I waited and didn’t just skip the book or forget about the series. 

Mack is such an interesting character. She has Synaesthesia which means she experiences everything differently. Over the years she has learned to control it or she would continually be suffering from an overload of her unique senses. While trying to help Detective Duncan Albright solve her father’s murder (in Murder on the Rocks) they realize her unique extra perceptive senses can be helpful in solving his cases. So this time Mack tags along as he investigates a suspicious suicide and a murder with a missing child.

What I really enjoyed was The Capone Club. A bunch of bar regulars that love to solve puzzles and mysteries, both real cases and those dreamed up by members of the group. Some have special talents that become very helpful in closing Duncan’s cases. The investigations take on a real community feel as they sort through clues and dig up new ones. I usually try to solve the mystery before the protagonist but this time I felt like I had a place at the Capone Club table and we were all working it out together. I did like that there were two completely separate mysteries within the book. One wrapped up and another began which is easy to believe for a city like Milwaukee.

There are a wide variety of characters, regulars, and employees of the bar. Even one from “up Nort'”. I love the way the author brings the uniqueness of Wisconsin to the story. It is so comfortable. I was drawn to this series because Mackenzie “Mack” Dalton and I have some things in common. We both grew up in Wisconsin living above and working in our family’s taverns. Walking into Mack’s Bar virtually brings back so many memories. Unlike Mack, thankfully I never had to deal with a dead body.

I have the next book in this series, In The Drink, waiting on my TBR shelf. I hope to visit Mack’s Bar again soon.

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.

I am giving away my copy!

The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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 March 5, 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

This book was from my private collection.

Posted in 2021 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Alphabet Soup A -Z Author Edition Challenge Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways Literary Escapes Read The Printed Word Challenge TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge Wisconsin Author Wisconsin Setting You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday – Deep Dark Secrets (Deep Lakes Cozy Mystery Series) by Joy Ann Ribar #Review / #Giveaway

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am pleased to share my thoughts about Deep Dark Secrets today by Wisconsin Author Joy Ann Ribar today!

Deep Dark Secrets (Deep Lakes Cozy Mystery Series)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Wisconsin
Publisher: Orange Hat Publishing (June 15, 2019)
Paperback: 328 pages
ISBN-10: 1645380343
ISBN-13: 978-1645380344
Kindle ASIN: B07YQ4CJM5

You’re invited to visit Deep Lakes, Wisconsin, and meet a new friend, Francine “Frankie” Champagne. The 40-something owner of Bubble and Bake — bakery by day, wine lounge by night — Frankie is a spitfire pastry maker, vintner, and budding journalist.

Frankie finds herself on the perimeter of a suspicious death that upends the peaceful winter slumber in Deep Lakes when the local pastor is found dead inside his fishing shanty on Lake Loki. Frankie sticks her curious nose into the investigation, despite warnings from the local sheriff to leave it alone. But she has something to prove, maybe to the newspaper editor who wouldn’t hire her as a reporter, maybe to herself as she searches for fulfillment. Regardless, her fierce independence won’t allow her to back down. Follow Frankie as she stumbles upon one discovery after another, trails potential suspects, and solves the case!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Welcome to the frozen tundra of Wisconsin where the lakes like Lake Loki are filled with ice fishing shanties and fundraisers, where cars are set on the ice and people guess when the lake will thaw enough to send the car to a watery grave. Unfortunately, a local pastor is the one being buried when he is found dead in his ice shanty covered in blood. Francine “Frankie” Champagne the owner of Bubble and Bake — bakery by day, wine lounge by night, inserts herself right in the middle of the investigation to get the scoop for a newspaper article she hopes to write. Short on clues, she just keeps digging until she breaks through the ice and uncovers some deep, dark, secrets and all the clues fall into place.


Frankie Champagne has a lot on her plate. Baking, wine-making, and bottling that wine, managing the Bubble and Bake, divorced with two daughters in college, a new romance or two on the horizon, all while trying to follow her dream of becoming a newspaper journalist.  Thankfully she has her best friend Carmen as a partner at the Bubble and Bake and a lot of good help, including her mother, because she is bound and determined to find out who killed the pastor and why. I liked Frankie but the woman is in non-stop motion. For me, it was almost too much as she traveled across a lot of Wisconsin and even to Iowa in her quest to solve the murder.  All the characters we meet, and there are a lot, are very fleshed out for the first book in a series.

The mystery itself was not quite as forthcoming. Yes, there are secrets and while the innuendo about the pastor was there, I wished the suspects had been more clearly spelled out. Frankie talks to several people but I never was able to form a real list or eliminate people as I usually do with a cozy mystery. It was a journey from having the method of death explained clearly to Frankie taking some risks until the final reveal. I did like that we did get to read Frankie’s article at the end, it wrapped the mystery up nicely.

Deep Dark Secrets has some good bones and is a nice start for this series. There are a few things I feel could have been omitted or pared down to help the story flow better. It had first in a series -itis, where the author has to introduce the characters and the setting along with a good mystery to hold our interest. The author does this satisfactorily but sometimes less detail is more conducive to a successful introduction.  As a Wisconite like the author, I can say she described the state very well and made Deep Lakes a place I would love to visit. The characters are engaging and I am looking forward to seeing where the author takes them next. Deep Bitter Roots us already downloaded to my Kindle. I hope to be reading and reviewing it soon.

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

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

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

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 January 20, 2021, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the 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 Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Alphabet Soup A -Z Author Edition Challenge Challenges Cloak and Dagger Challenge Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Finish The Series Challenge Literary Escapes Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge New Release Challenge Purrfect Reading Challenge Read The Printed Word Challenge TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge What's In A Name Challenge Wisconsin Author Wisconsin Setting You Read How Many Books Challenge

2020 Reading Challenges – Year End Wrap Up


2020 Reading Challenges – Year End Wrap Up

Breast Cancer and COVID 19 dealt some whammies to my reading and reading challenges in 2020.

I was able to complete my GoodReads Reading Challenge because it is the only challenge that allowed me to lower my goal. Something I did after my first week of chemotherapy when I realized my late-night reading would not be happening and that chemo brain would be setting in.

2020 Reading Challenge

2020 Reading Challenge
LORI has
read 162 books toward
her goal of
160 books.
hide

I was also able to complete the Purrfect Reading Challenge.

The Purrfect Reading Challenge 2020
Hosted by Socrates’ Book Reviews…

I am signing up at the Kneading – Read 11-20 cat mysteries 

    1. Hems & Homicide by Elizabeth Penney
      2.Careless Whiskers by Miranda James 
      3. Here Comes the Body by Maria DiRico
      4. Murder Makes Scents by Christin Brecher
      5. On The Lamb by Tina Kashian
      6. Mimi Lee Gets A Clue by Jennifer J. Chow
      7. Revenge is Sweet by Kaye George
      8. A Small Town Can Be Murder by Julie Seedorf
      9. This Magick Marmot by Sharon Pape
      10. Death and Daisies by Amanda Flower
      11. Six Cloves Under by Gin Jones
      12. Seas the Day by Maggie Toussaint
      13. Mousse and Murder by Elizabeth Logan
      14. A Deadly Inside Scoop by Abby Collette
      15. A Call for Kelp by Bree Baker
      16. The Key Lime Crime by Lucy Burdette
      17. Mistletoe, Moussaka, and Murder by Tina Kashian
      18. Mimi Lee Reads Between the Lines by Jennifer J. Chow
      19. Boston Scream Murder by Ginger Bolton
      20. Fishing for Trouble by Elizabeth Logan
      21. Wine Tastings Are Murder by Libby Klein

The Pick Your Poison Reading Challenge


Hosted by Take a walk down Gregory Road

This is a new challenge for me but looks like fun. I am signing up at the Baker’s Dozen Level with hopes of more. 

Baker’s Dozen  |  13 books
Choose one category from any 13 of the topics provided except for the wildcard books

 

DATE FINISHED CATEGORIES BOOK  (READ OR PLANNED)
1 Making Stuff Up
A book with the word “maker” in the title
A book featuring a fictional language
A book about crafts or handiwork Hems & Homicide by Elizabeth Penney
A book about lies
2 Dark Genres
A cult classic book
A dark fantasy book
A gothic horror book
A speculative fiction book
3 Seconds
A book you find in a second hand store
The second book by an author Dead Week by Kelly Brakenhoff
A book with a clock or stopwatch on the cover
A book about eating
4 Quick Decisions
A book based solely on the title or cover
A book you buy on impulse
A book by an author you always read The Book of Candlelight by Ellery Adams
A book about living with consequences
5 Birds Of A Feather
A book with a feather or wings on the cover
A book about differences
A book about community A Small Town Can Be Murder by Julie Seedorf
A book about twins
6 Where We Live
A book about an apartment building
A book with a mansion on the cover Murder at a Country Mansion by Louise R. Innes
A book about nomads
A book about moving to the country
7 Careers
A book written by a current/former journalist
A book about doctors/nurses/health care professionals The Antidote for Everything by Kimmery Martin
A book about a teacher
A book about blue collar workers
8 Body Parts
A book with feet on the cover
A book with “hand” in the title
A book about heads
A book with a nose on the cover
9 Reading Cliches
A book someone called a “page turner” The Request by David Bell
A “beach read”
A book by an author “everyone has read”
A “best seller” you’ve never heard of
# Music Genres
A book whose title could be a Country song
A book with “opera” in the title
A book whose cover makes you think about Heavy Metal
A book you think should have a Jazz soundtrack
# Recovery
A book about recovering from an accident or illness
A book about dealing with death In An Instant by Suzanne Redfearn
A book about a missing person
A book that has been re-issued with a new cover
# Next Door
A book with the word “neighbor” in the title
A book with binoculars on the cover
A book by a local author
A book about the creepy old house in the neighborhood
# Brought To You By The Letter N
A book with the word “novice” in the title
A book that takes place in a country that begins with N Netherlands – Death by Windmill by Jennifer S. Alderson
A book with the word “name” in the title
A book by an author whose name starts with N
# Inspirations
A book that inspires you to go for a walk
A book about improving self image
A book about a place you hope to visit this year
A book by or about a person you admire
# Diversity
A book by an author from a different culture
A book about gender identity
A folk/fairy tale retelling in a non-western setting
A book about a character with a disability
# Check Out Those Lists
A book from NPRs Top 100 Books list
A book from the NY Times Best Sellers list The Boy From The Woods by Harlan Coben
A book inspired by your shopping list this week
A book from a recommended list you find on the internet
# Singles
A story about a widow or widower
A book with a single word title
A standalone book
A book with a single figure on the cover Glitter, Glam, and Contraband by Heather Weidner 
# Animal Kingdom
An author whose name includes an animal (ie:CATherine)
A non-fiction book about animals
A book with a talking animal
A book with an animal on the cover Mimi Lee Gets A Clue by Jennifer J. Chow
# Hidden
A book with a mask on the cover
A book written by an author who uses a pseudonym Careless Whiskers by Miranda James
A book with the word “hidden” in the title
A book about a treasure hunt
# TBR Crushers
A book from your bookshelves you have to dust off
A book you’ve been meaning to read forever
Anything you want Cold Wind by Paige Shelton
The first book you see on your bookshelf
# Shorts
A book less than 100 pages Botched Butterscotch by Amanda Flower 
A book by an author with fewer than 10 letters in their name
A book with character being “towered over” on the cover
A book of short stories
# Movie Quotes
I see dead people. – a ghost story
I coulda been a contender. – a book about sports
There’s no place like home. – a book about going home
I’m not bad. I’m just drawn that way. – a graphic novel
# Places
A book with a place name in the title Death on the Danube by Jennifer S. Alderson
A book with a map on the cover
A book set in the mountains
A book about traveling
# Selfies
A memoir
A book written in first person
A book with a narcissistic character
A self improvement book
# How Old?
A book with obsolete technology on the cover
A contemporary book written by an author older than you
A book about your parents’ generation
A book written before you were born
# Reading Women
A non-fiction book about a famous woman
A book by a woman of color Paw and Order by V.M. Burns
A book with a kick-ass woman on the cover
A children’s book with a strong female lead
WILD- CARD BOOKS Wildcards
A manga book
A book that includes an ocean journey
A book about geeks
A book about Zodiac signs or astrology
A book that centers around a group of friends A Crime of a Different Stripe by Sally Goldenbaum

The 2020 New Release Challenge

2020 New Release Challenge
Hosted by (un)Conventional Bookworms

61-100 books per year – New Release Veteran level. #2020NewReleaseChallenge

      1. Glitter, Glam, and Contraband by Heather Weidner 
        2. Silenced in Sequins by Debra Sennefelder
        3. Come Homicide or High Water by Denise Swanson
        4. Bound for Murder by Victoria Gilbert
        5. Murder Ink by Lorraine Bartlett and Gayle Leeson 
        6. Hems & Homicide by Elizabeth Penney
        7. Careless Whiskers by Miranda James
        8. Sealed Off by Barbara Ross
        9. A View To A Kilt by Kaitlyn Dunnett
        10. A Field Guide to Homicide by Lynn Cahoon
        11. Fatal Roots by Sheila Connolly
        12. Statue of Limitations by Kate Collins
        13. A Crafter Quilts A Crime by Holly Quinn
        14. Bonbon With The Wind by Dorothy St. James
        15. The Book of Candlelight by Ellery Adams
        16.Bitter Alpine by Mary Daheim
        17. Under the Radar by Annette Dashofy
        18. Death by Baguette by Jennifer S. Alderson
        19. The Antidote for Everything by Kimmery Martin
        20. Stayin’ Alive by Julie Mulhern
        21. Here Comes the Body by Maria DiRico
        22.In An Instant by Suzanne Redfearn 
        23. Murder Makes Scents by Christin Brecher
        24. On The Lamb by Tina Kashian
        25. Blueberry Cobbler Blackmail by Jodi Rath
        26. The Boy From The Woods by Harlan Coben
        27. Dressed Up 4 Murder by J.C. Eaton
        28. Al Dente’s Inferno by Stephanie Cole
        29. Sleuth on Safari by A. R. Kennedy
        30. Easter Hair Hunt by Nancy J. Cohen
        31. Lavender Blue Murder by Laura Childs
        32. Mimi Lee Gets A Clue by Jennifer J. Chow
        33. The Evil Men Do by John McMahon
        34. Who Rescued Who by Victoria Schade
        35. Revenge is Sweet by Kaye George
        36. Frozen Stiff Drink by James J. Cudney
        37. Who’s Dead Doc? by J.M. Griffin
        38. A Fatal Yarn by Peggy Ehrhart
        39. The Stolen Letter by Paige Shelton
        40. Deep Fried Revenge by Lynn Cahoon
        41. Staging Wars by Grace Topping
        52. A Small Town Can Be Murder by Julie Seedorf
        43. This Magick Marmot by Sharon Pape
        44. Murder in the Secret Maze by Judith Gonda
        45. To Fetch a Scoundrel, by Heather Weidner, Jayne Ormerod, Rosemary Shomaker, Teresa Inge
        46. Old Friends and New, Another Murder by Christa Nardi
        47. The Dive Spices It Up by Krista Davis
        48. Six Cloves Under by Gin Jones
        49. Seas the Day by Maggie Toussaint
        50. Secrets of the Treasure King by Terry Ambrose
        51. Botched Butterscotch by Amanda Flower
        52. The Secret Life of Bones by Kylie Logan
        53. R.I.P. in Reykjavík by A R Kennedy
        54. Mousse and Murder by Elizabeth Logan
        55. Pulp Friction by Julie Anne Lindsey
        56. A Deadly Inside Scoop by Abby Collette
        57. A Murderous Misconception by Lorraine Bartlett and Gayle Leeson
        58. A Call for Kelp by Bree Baker
        59. The House That Vanity Built by Nancy Cole Silverman
        60. Red Hot by Dana Dratch
        61. Southern Sass and a Crispy Corpse by Kate Young
        62. No Filter by Heather Day Gilbert
        63. Marshmallow Malice by Amanda Flower
        64. Sprinkles of Suspicion by Kim Davis
        65.  Murder with Clotted Cream by Karen Rose Smith
        66. Lady Rosamund and the Poison Pen by Barbara Monajem
        67. Booked for Death by Victoria Gilbert
        68. An Exquisite Corpse by Helen A. Harrison
        69. A Fatal Fiction by Kaitlyn Dunnett
        70. Divide and Concord by J.C. Eaton
        71. Death by Windmill by Jennifer S. Alderson
        72. Larceny at the Library by Colleen J. Shogan
        73. Game of Dog Bones by Laurien Berenson
        74.From Beer to Eternity by Sherry Harris
        75.Quiche of Death by Mary Lee Ashford
        76.Little Tea by Claire Fullerton
        77.Vangie Vale and the Larcenous Lava Cake by R.L. Syme
        78.The Corpse with the Crystal Skull by Cathy Ace
        79.The Key Lime Crime by Lucy Burdette
        80.Dash Away All by Christina Freeburn 

        81.The Request by David Bell
        82.Killer Queen by Julie Mulhern 
        83.Eddy and Julia by William Zink
        84.15 Minutes of Flame by Christin Brecher
        85.Paw and Order by V.M. Burns
        86.Murder in the Bayou Boneyard by Ellen Byron
        87.Winner Cake All by Denise Swanson
        88. For Letter or Worse by Vivian Conroy
        89.Mistletoe, Moussaka, and Murder by Tina Kashian
        90.Cake Popped Off by Kim Davis
        91.Tusk Justice by Victoria Tait
        92. The Solace of Bay Leaves by Leslie Budewitz
        93. Fields’ Guide to Pharaohs by Julie Mulhern
        94. Fields Guide to Dirty Money by Julie Mulhern
        95. Nacho Average Murder by Maddie Day
        96. Egg Drop Dead by Vivian Chien
        97. Iced Over by Heather Day Gilbert
        98. Saddled with Murder by Eileen Brady
        99. Broadcast 4 Murder by J.C. Eaton
        100.Fair Trade by Heather Day Gilbert
        101. Mimi Lee Reads Between the Lines by Jennifer J. Chow
        102. Spawning Suspicion by Maggie Toussaint
        103. Boston Scream Murder by Ginger Bolton
        104. Murder Most Sweet by Laura Jensen Walker 
        105. A Crime of a Different Stripe by Sally Goldenbaum
        106. Cold Wind by Paige Shelton
        107. Fishing for Trouble by Elizabeth Logan
        108. Premeditated Mortar by Kate Carlisle
        109. Murder at a Country Mansion by Louise R. Innes
        110. Wine Tastings Are Murder by Libby Klein
        111.Grounds for Murder by Tara Lush
        112. A Deadly Edition by Victoria Gilbert
        113. Varnished Without A Trace by Misty Simon
        114. Mums and Mayhem by Amanda Flower
        115. Killer Kung Pao by Vivien Chien
        116.Candy Cane Caper by Amanda Flower
        117.Closely Harbored Secrets by Bree Baker
        118.The Malt in Our Stars by Sarah Fox
        119. Undone in Uluru by A.R. Kennedy
        120. Absence of Alice by Sherry Harris
        121.Nothing Bundt Trouble by Ellie Alexander
        122. Chilled to the Cone by Ellie Alexander

The NetGalley and Edelweiss Challenge

NetGalley and Edelweiss Reading Challenge
Hosted by Reading Between the Pages

I am signing up at the Bronze Level – 10 Books. 

1. Murder Lo Mein by Vivien Chien
2. Wonton Terror by Vivien Chein 
3. Death and Daisies by Amanda Flower
4. Living the Vida Lola by Melissa Bourbon
5. Murder with Cherry Tarts by Karen Rose Smith
6. Grounds for Remorse by Misty Simon
7. Designed to Death by Christina Freeburn
8. Fatal Cajun Festival by Ellen Byron
9. Deceased and Desist by Misty Simon
10. Another One Bites the Crust by Ellie Alexander
11. Live and Let Pie by Ellie Alexander
12. Carpet Diem by Misty Simon
13.A Cup of Holiday Fear by Ellie Alexander
14. Stiff Penalty by Annelise Ryan 
15.Banana Cream Pie Murder by Joanne Fluke

16. Better Off Read by Nora Page

The For The Love of Books Challenge

FOR THE LOVE OF EBOOKS 2020 READING CHALLENGE
Hosted by As Told by Tina

Just read as many ebooks as you can throughout 2020!

1. Glitter, Glam, and Contraband by Heather Weidner 
2. Silenced in Sequins by Debra Sennefelder
3. Bound for Murder by Victoria Gilbert
4. Hems & Homicide by Elizabeth Penney
5. Death on the Danube by Jennifer S. Alderson
6. Dead Week by Kelly Brakenhoff
7. Sealed Off by Barbara Ross
8. Be Still My Bleating Heart by Hannah Reed
9. Fatal Roots by Sheila Connolly
10. Statue of Limitations by Kate Collins
11. A Crafter Quilts A Crime by Holly Quinn
12. Bonbon With The Wind by Dorothy St. James
13. Dim Sum of All Fears by Vivien Chien
14. The Book of Candlelight by Ellery Adams
15. Bitter Alpine by Mary Daheim
16. Under the Radar by Annette Dashofy
17. Death by Baguette by Jennifer S. Alderson
18. The Antidote for Everything by Kimmery Martin
19. Murder Lo Mein by Vivien Chien
20. Stayin’ Alive by Julie Mulhern
21. Here Comes the Body by Maria DiRico
22. In An Instant by Suzanne Redfearn
23. Murder Makes Scents by Christin Brecher
24. On The Lamb by Tina Kashian
25. Blueberry Cobbler Blackmail by Jodi Rath
26. The Boy From The Woods by Harlan Coben
27. Dressed Up 4 Murder by J.C. Eaton
28. Sleuth on Safari by A. R. Kennedy
29. Easter Hair Hunt by Nancy J. Cohen
30. Revenge is Sweet by Kaye George
31. Frozen Stiff Drink by James J. Cudney
32. Who’s Dead Doc? by J.M. Griffin
33. A Fatal Yarn by Peggy Ehrhart
34.The Stolen Letter by Paige Shelton
35. Wonton Terror by Vivien Chein 
36. Deep Fried Revenge by Lynn Cahoon
37. Staging Wars by Grace Topping
38. A Small Town Can Be Murder by Julie Seedorf
39. This Magick Marmot by Sharon Pape
40. Murder in the Secret Maze by Judith Gonda
41. To Fetch a Scoundrel, by Heather Weidner, Jayne Ormerod, Rosemary Shomaker, Teresa Inge
42. Death and Daisies by Amanda Flower
43. Old Friends and New, Another Murder by Christa Nardi
44. Six Cloves Under by Gin Jones
45. Seas the Day by Maggie Toussaint
46. Secrets of the Treasure King by Terry Ambrose
47. Botched Butterscotch by Amanda Flower 
48. On Thin Icing by Ellie Alexander
49. The Secret Life of Bones by Kylie Logan
50. R.I.P. in Reykjavík by A R Kennedy
51. Living the Vida Lola by Melissa Bourbon
52. Mousse and Murder by Elizabeth Logan
53. Pulp Friction by Julie Anne Lindsey
54. A Deadly Inside Scoop by Abby Collette
55. A Murderous Misconception by Lorraine Bartlett and Gayle Leeson
56. The House That Vanity Built by Nancy Cole Silverman
57. A Catered Wedding by Isis Crawford
58. Red Hot by Dana Dratch
59. Southern Sass and a Crispy Corpse by Kate Young
60. No Filter by Heather Day Gilbert
61. Marshmallow Malice by Amanda Flower
62. Sprinkles of Suspicion by Kim Davis
63. Murder with Cherry Tarts by Karen Rose Smith
64. Murder with Clotted Cream by Karen Rose Smith
65. Lady Rosamund and the Poison Pen by Barbara Monajem
66. Booked for Death by Victoria Gilbert
67. Board Stiff by Annelise Ryan
68. A Fatal Fiction by Kaitlyn Dunnett
69. Divide and Concord by J.C. Eaton
70. Grounds for Remorse by Misty Simon
71. Death by Windmill by Jennifer S. Alderson
72. Larceny at the Library by Colleen J. Shogan
73.From Beer to Eternity by Sherry Harris
74.Quiche of Death by Mary Lee Ashford
75. Little Tea by Claire Fullerton
76. Vangie Vale and the Larcenous Lava Cake by R.L. Syme
77. The Corpse with the Crystal Skull by Cathy Ace
78. The Key Lime Crime by Lucy Burdette
79. Dash Away All by Christina Freeburn 
80. The Request by David Bell
81. Killer Queen by Julie Mulhern
82. Designed to Death by Christina Freeburn
83.15 Minutes of Flame by Christin Brecher
84. Paw and Order by V.M. Burns
85. A Crime of Passion Fruit by Ellie Alexander
86. Fatal Cajun Festival by Ellen Byron
87. Murder in the Bayou Boneyard by Ellen Byron
88. Deceased and Desist by Misty Simon
89.Mistletoe, Moussaka, and Murder by Tina Kashian
90. Cake Popped Off by Kim Davis
91.Tusk Justice by Victoria Tait
92. The Solace of Bay Leaves by Leslie Budewitz
93. Fields’ Guide to Pharaohs by Julie Mulhern
94. Fields Guide to Dirty Money by Julie Mulhern
95. Nacho Average Murder by Maddie Day
96. Mischief in Maggody by Joan Hess
97. Egg Drop Dead by Vivian Chien
98. Iced Over by Heather Day Gilbert
99. Saddled with Murder by Eileen Brady
100.Another One Bites the Crust by Ellie Alexander
101. Broadcast 4 Murder by J.C. Eaton
102. Fair Trade by Heather Day Gilbert
103. Till Death Do Us Tart by Ellie Alexander
104. Mimi Lee Reads Between the Lines by Jennifer J. Chow
105. Spawning Suspicion by Maggie Toussaint
106. Live and Let Pie by Ellie Alexander
107. Boston Scream Murder by Ginger Bolton
108. Murder Most Sweet by Laura Jensen Walker
109. Carpet Diem by Misty Simon
110. A Crime of a Different Stripe by Sally Goldenbaum
111. Cold Wind by Paige Shelton
112. Fishing for Trouble by Elizabeth Logan
113. Ladies of the Lake by Ken Corday
114. Premeditated Mortar by Kate Carlisle
115. Murder at a Country Mansion by Louise R. Innes
116. A Cup of Holiday Fear by Ellie Alexander
117. Stiff Penalty by Annelise Ryan 
118. Wine Tastings Are Murder by Libby Klein
119.Grounds for Murder by Tara Lush
120. Much Ado About Murder by Joan Hess

121. A Deadly Edition by Victoria Gilbert
122.Much Ado in Maggody by Joan Hess
123. Varnished Without A Trace by Misty Simon
124. Mums and Mayhem by Amanda Flower
125.Killer Kung Pao by Vivien Chien
126.The Worst Noel by Amy M. Reade
127.Candy Cane Caper by Amanda Flower
128.Closely Harbored Secrets by Bree Baker
129,The Malt in Our Stars by Sarah Fox
130.Banana Cream Pie Murder by Joanne Fluke
131. Undone in Uluru by A.R. Kennedy
132. Absence of Alice by Sherry Harris
133.Nothing Bundt Trouble by Ellie Alexander
134. Better Off Read by Nora Page
135. Chilled to the Cone by Ellie Alexander

and the Finish the Series Challenge


2020 FINISHING THE SERIES READING CHALLENGE
Hosted by Celebrity Readers

This series gives me the push I need and help me clear my TBR stacks. I am again signing up at the B-LIST SERIES FINISHER ⇒ COMPLETE 5-8 SERIES. 

 

1. Dim Sum of All Fears by Vivien ChienMurder Lo Mein by Vivien Chien  – Wonton Terror by Vivien Chein Egg Drop Dead by Vivian ChienKiller Kung Pao by Vivien Chien
2. Plum Tea Crazy by Laura ChildsBroken Bone China by Laura ChildsLavender Blue Murder by Laura Childs
3. Death and Daisies by Amanda Flower – Mums and Mayhem by Amanda Flower
4. On Thin Icing by Ellie AlexanderCaught Bread Handed by Ellie AlexanderFudge and Jury by Ellie AlexanderA Crime of Passion Fruit by Ellie AlexanderAnother One Bites the Crust by Ellie AlexanderTill Death Do Us Tart by Ellie Alexander Live and Let Pie by Ellie AlexanderA Cup of Holiday Fear by Ellie AlexanderNothing Bundt Trouble by Ellie AlexanderChilled to the Cone by Ellie Alexander
5. Murder with Cherry Tarts by Karen Rose SmithMurder with Clotted Cream by Karen Rose Smith
6. Fatal Cajun Festival by Ellen Byron  – Murder in the Bayou Boneyard by Ellen Byron
7. Grounds for Remorse by Misty SimonDeceased and Desist by Misty Simon Carpet Diem by Misty Simon Varnished Without A Trace by Misty Simon
8. Fields’ Guide to Pharaohs by Julie MulhernFields Guide to Dirty Money by Julie Mulhern

So that makes 7 out of 19 Challenges Completed. 

I was unable to complete the Alphabet Soup Challenge, the Alphabet Soup- Author Edition Challenge, the Literary Escapes Challenge, the Craving for Cozies Challenge, the Crusin’ Thru the Cozies Challenge, the What’s In A Name Challenge, the Backlist Reading Challenge, the Mount TBR Challenge, the Cloak and Dagger Challenge, the Print Only Challenge, the Literary Road Trip Challenge, the Pages Read Challenge, and the Reading Challenge Addicts Challenge. You can find the lists of the books I did read for these challenges here.

I hope to do much better this year.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

Posted in 2021 Reading Challenges Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Alphabet Soup A -Z Author Edition Challenge Cloak and Dagger Challenge Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Finish The Series Challenge Literary Escapes Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge New Release Challenge TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge Wisconsin Author Wisconsin Setting You Read How Many Books Challenge

2021 Reading Challenges I Will Be Participating In


In addition to the four challenges, I am hosting.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I will be participating in these challenges.

The 2021 GoodReads Reading Challenge 

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Cloak and Dagger Reading Challenge

Hosted by CAROL’S NOTEBOOK

Challenge Rules:

  • You can read any book that is from the mystery/suspense/thriller/crime genres. Any sub-genres are welcome as long as they incorporate one of these genres.
  • You don’t need a blog to participate but you do need a place to post your reviews to link up. (blog, Goodreads, Instagram, etc.)
  • Make a goal post and link it back here with your goal for this challenge.
  • Books need to at least 100 pages long. Please no short stories.
  • Crossovers with other challenges are fine.
  • The Challenge will run from Jan. 1st to Dec. 31st. (Sign up ends March 15th)

We still have our Facebook group so if you haven’t joined we would love for you too! Here’s the group’s link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/350512171977943/. It’s a closed group so just ask to join and we’ll let you in.

There will be a monthly link-up so we can see what everyone’s reading – and probably add some to our own tbr lists. At the halfway mark and at the end we will have a giveaway for those participating.

We’ll continue to use the hashtag #CloakDaggerChal.

Levels:

5-15 books – Amateur Sleuth – This is my goal for the year.

16-25 books – Detective

26-35 books – Inspector

36 – 55 – Special agent 

56+ books – Sherlock Holmes

Sign Up Here

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2021 New Release Challenge

Hosted by (un)Conventional Bookworms

The rules for the 2021 New Release Challenge are simple:

  • Books have to be released and reviewed in 2021.
  • Other challenges can be used as well, if you are participating in the Netgalley / Edelweiss challenge or in the COYER challenge, books can count towards more than one challenge, as long as the ones you use for the 2021 New Release Reading Challenge qualify to the other rules.
  • The minimum length for a book to qualify is 100 pages, it can be in any format though, physical, e-book, ARC or audiobook.
  • The New Release Challenge is open from January 1st through December 31st 2021, and sign-ups are open until September 1st 2021.
  • You don’t have to be a blogger to participate, you can link to your review on Goodreads or Booklikes instead – so don’t be shy!
  • If you want to spread the love, please use #2021NewReleaseChallenge on Twitter 😉

There are five levels  in the 2021 New Release Challenge:

  1. 1-30 books per year – New Release Newbie
  2. 31-60 books per year – New Release Pro
  3. 61-100 books per year – New Release Veteran – This is my goal for 2021 
  4. 101-200 books per year – New Release Enthusiast
  5. 200+ books per year – New Release Obsessed

There is a Facebook Group for the New Release Challenge, to have a place where we can keep up with each other, cheer each other on, and get to know each other better. It is also a place where we can help each other find even more new releases.

Sign Up Here

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2021 FINISHING THE SERIES READING CHALLENGE

Hosted by Celebrity Readers 

guidelines:

While we’re pretty lax about how you wish to set up this challenge for yourself, we do have a few guidelines to follow.

  • The challenge will run from January 1st, 2021 to December 31st, 2021.  Books must be read during this time frame to count.  Sign up is open from now until December 1st, 2021, so you may join even just for the last month of the year.
  • Series can be already completed as well as still ongoing.  For ongoing series, the goal is to catch up to the most recent book published by the end of 2021.
  • We don’t care if you have only 1 book or 10 books to read in order to finish your series, as long as you’ve started the series before 2021 (ie read at least one book in the series), it counts.  Re-reads are not required.
  • Any format and length of book counts – print, ebook, audio, ARC, etc.
  • Series can be any length (even if it’s just a Duet).
  • Crossovers from other challenges are totally acceptable!
  • Reviews are not required but highly encouraged.

how to play:

  • Declare your intentions to participate in this challenge somewhere on the internet!!  You do not need to be a blogger to participate, there are many ways to declare.  You could write a blog post, create a reading challenge page, create a Goodreads shelf containing series you hope to finish, post about it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
  • Some things you could include (but that aren’t required):
    • A link to this page so that others may find us and join the fun as well (feel free to download the button at the top to use in your posts).
    • A list of series you hope to read for this challenge.  You could even get fancy and list the length of the series, or the books you’ve already read, etc.
    • The level you are aiming for.
  • Sign up for the challenge using the link up below, and link directly to where you’ve declared your intentions (ie to the specific blog post, the goodreads shelf, the facebook post, etc).
  • We will be posting quarterly link-ups for you to add links to your reviews or any wrap-up/overview posts you wish to share.
  • Go forth and READ!!  And have fun!!
  • Use the hashtag #FinishingTheSeries2021 on any social media to keep up with other participants!

the reward:

Uh…your own sense of pride in achieving a goal?  Sorry folks, we’re not actually that motivated by prizes ourselves, so we’re just offering bragging rights.  But we can offer you some pretty graphics to either declare your goal or to use as a badge once achieved!

the levels:

We offer you 3 different “Celebrity” levels of achievement for this reading challenge:

C-LIST SERIES FINISHER ⇒ COMPLETE 1-4 SERIES.

B-LIST SERIES FINISHER ⇒ COMPLETE 5-8 SERIES. – This Is my goal for 2021.

A-LIST SERIES FINISHER ⇒ COMPLETE 9+ SERIES.

Sign Up Here

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Cruisin’ thru the Cozies Reading Challenge 2021

Hosted by Socrates’ Book Reviews…

This year’s cozy mystery reading challenge has two ways to participate and you can choose whichever suits you the best:

A) Read only cozy mysteries of your choice.

Or

B) Read one book from these sub-genres:

– One from culinary (anything dealing with food: restaurants, baked goods, etc.)
– One from animal-related (cats, dogs, birds, etc.)
– One from craft-related (any kind of hobbies – knitting, crocheting, scrapbooking, etc.)
– One from paranormal (witches, vampires, etc.)
– One from cozy mysteries based outside the US (example: Belinda Lawrence series (British))
– One career-based cozy mystery (housekeeping, wedding planner, etc.)
– One holiday based (set during any holiday – Christmas, Thanksgiving, Valentines, etc.)
– One travel mystery (character could be on a cruise, touring another area, etc.)
– One historical mystery (any mystery not set in the present)
– One is your choice! (freebie!)

Here are the levels you can join for either A or B…

Level one (Snoop) –
A) Read 10 cozy mysteries of your choice.
B) Read one book in each of the above cozy sub-genres (total of 10 books)

Level two (Investigator) 
A) Read 20 cozy mysteries of your choice.
B) Read all the books in level one plus an additional 10 cozy books of your choice (total of 20)

Level three (Super Sleuth) –
A) Read 30 cozy mysteries of your choice.
B) Read two books from each sub-genre in level one plus an additional 10 cozy books of your choice (total of 30 books)

Level four (Sleuth Extraordinaire) – My goal for 2021 
A)Read 40 cozy mysteries of your choice.
B)Read two books from each sub-genre in level one plus an additional 20 cozy books of your choice (total of 40 books)

Here are the rules…

1. The challenge runs from January 1, 2021 and ends December 31, 2021.

2. You don’t have to choose your books in advance. If you do, you can change your list at any time during the year. Books can overlap with other challenges.

3. Books can be in any format – paper, audio, ebooks…it all counts!

4. You don’t have to post a review, but I’m sure others would love to know about the books you are reading and may even want to add it to their reading lists.

NOTE: If you don’t have a blog and want to participate, that’s fine. You don’t have to have a blog, just post in the comments section as you finish books. If you belong to a site like Goodreads and review the books there, that’s fine too. Just leave us the link. I also have a group for this challenge on Goodreads and you can sign up here.

5. If you do have a blog, take the button above, put it on your blog, and post about the challenge. Then add your name to Mr. Linky below. Please use the link of your challenge post, not the link to your home page.

6. I’m going to have one link for signing up, one link for completed reviews, and one link for your wrap up posts. I won’t be having a monthly link, just one for all reviews read for this challenge

Sign Up Here

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Mount TBR Challenge 2021

Hosted by MY READER’S BLOCK

Challenge Levels:

Pike’s Peak: Read 12 books from your TBR pile/s
Mont Blanc: Read 24 books from your TBR pile/s
Mt. Vancouver: Read 36 books from your TBR pile/s – My goal for 2021
Mt. Ararat: Read 48 books from your TBR pile/s
Mt. Kilimanjaro: Read 60 books from your TBR pile/s
El Toro*: Read 75 books from your TBR pile/s (*aka Cerro El Toro in South America)
Mt. Everest: Read 100 books from your TBR pile/s
Mount Olympus (Mars): Read 150+ books from your TBR pile/s

The Rules:
*Once you choose your challenge level, you are locked in for at least that many books. You are welcome to voyage further and conquer taller mountains after your commitment is met. All books from lower mountains carry over towards the next peak.

*Challenge runs from January 1 to December 31, 2021

*You may sign up at any time–no matter when you see this challenge. All qualifying books read after January 1st count.

*Books must be owned by you prior to January 1, 2021–items requested or ordered prior to January 1, may count even if they arrive in the new year. No library books~. If you’re looking for a library book challenge or one that counts books on your non-owned TBR list, then please see Mount TBR’s sister challenge: the Virtual Mount TBR Challenge.
~The ONLY exception to the library rule: If you own the book in any form and have a reason to check out a version from the library instead, then you may count it. For example–if you own a hard copy, but are planning on taking a trip where listening to the audio version would be a great way to knock out a book while you drive, then by all means check out the audio version and have a wonderful trip! Please check with me if you have questions.

*Rules for Rereads: Any reread may count, regardless of how long you’ve owned it, provided you have not counted it for a previous Mount TBR Challenge.

*Audiobooks and E-books may count provided they are yours prior to January 1. ARCs are also fine.

*You may count any “currently reading” book that you begin prior to January 1–provided you had 50% or more of the book left to finish when January 1 rolled around. I will trust you all on that. The only exception is if you have participated in Mount TBR in 2020 and were unable to finish the book in time for the final Check-in Post. Then–if you finish the book post-January 1, you may count it as your first step of the new challenge.

*You may count “Did Not Finish” books provided they meet your own standard for such things, you do not plan to ever finish it, and you move it off your mountain [give it away, sell it, remove from e-resources, etc.]. For example, my personal rule (unless it’s a very short book) is to give it 100 pages. If I decide I just can’t finish it and won’t ever, then off the mountain it goes and I count it as a victory–the stack is smaller!

*Books may be used to count for other challenges as well.

*Feel free to submit your list in advance or to tally them as you climb.

*A blog and reviews are not necessary to participate. If you have a blog, then please post about the challenge and link that post (not your home page) in the form below. My link provider has limited the number of link “parties” I can have open at a time–so I will be using Google forms for all my sign-up links this year. Non-bloggers may enter their names only without a blog link OR members of Goodreads are welcome to join the Goodreads group HERE.

*If you post on Facebook, Instagram, or other social media to log a book, please use #MountTBR2021.

* As I have in the past, I will have a headquarters link in the left hand side-bar which will offer links to this original post, monthly review links, and the final wrap-up. I will update it at the beginning of the new year The Headquarters will also have a link to a list of our climbing crew with their commitments.

Happy climbing!

Sign Up Here 

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The Backlist Reader Challenge 2021

Hosted by The Bookwyrm’s Hoard

I am combining this challenge will the Mount TBR Challenge with a goal of 36 books.

 

The Backlist Reader Challenge (#BacklistReader) encourages us to read all those older books that have been piling up on our TBR piles or lists. And by “older,” I mean books that came out before 2020 (so, in 2019 or earlier.)

The challenge runs from January 1, 2021 through December 31, 2021. It ends at midnight in whatever timezone you’re in. You can still post reviews, and link them, up until January 5, 2022, but only for books you finished reading in 2021.

The Rules

Rule #1: To count for the challenge, books have to be published before 2020 AND already be on your TBR list or pile. 

In other words, you don’t have to own the book. If it was on your want-to-read list when you signed up for the challenge, and it came out in 2019 or earlier, it counts… regardless of format (ebook, print book, audiobook) and regardless how or where or when you acquired it. Library books totally count, as long as you had the book on your want-to-read list before you signed up for the challenge.

What does”TBR list” or “to-read” list” mean, exactly? It means whatever you use to keep track of the books you want to read. If that’s a shelf or a pile of physical books, great. If it’s the “to-read” shelf on Goodreads, also fine. If you keep a spreadsheet on your computer or a list in a notebook or a “for later” list in your library account, those work too. Just as long as you have something to keep track of what you want to read, but haven’t read yet. (In my experience, most book-lovers have a to-read list of some sort, somewhere.)

Do rereads count? Personally, I love rereading familiar books, and in any given year, at least a third of my reading is rereads. But back when I first created this challenge, the goal was to encourage myself to read books I hadn’t ever gotten around to reading. On the other hand, there are some books on my TBR list that I read a long time ago but want to reread, because I can barely remember them. So here’s the compromise I came up with: you can only count a book you have read before IF (a) you haven’t read the book in the last 10 years, and (b) you can’t remember much about it.

Rule #2: Create a goal or sign-up post on your blog

…or wherever you usually post your reviews or your thoughts about a book (e.g., Goodreads, LibraryThing, Instagram, Facebook.) Please link back to this post! Then link your sign-up post below, where you see the “Add your link” button. (Please link your actual goals/sign-up post, not your home page.)  You can set your own goal, and you can list the books you want to read this year, or leave it up to your mood at the time—as long as they are already on your TBR list when you sign up! You can sign up through December 1, 2021; after that, the sign-up link will be closed.

Rule #3 (optional): Review the books you read for the challenge, and post your links on the review linky

 After Jan. 1, 2021, I’ll post a page with the review linky widget and link it here; you’ll also be able to get to it from the top menu bar. You can certainly do the challenge without writing reviews, but the review links are your entries for the year-end giveaway. Reviews don’t have to be long; a few sentences is fine. If you don’t have a blog, you can post them on Goodreads or LibraryThing or even on your Facebook or Instagram. Please link to your review itself (not to your blog’s main page, your profile, or the book’s main Goodreads or LibraryThing page.) If you’re not sure how to find that link, email me and I’ll walk you through it.

Rule #4: Before January 5, 2022, create and link a wrap-up post

Let us know how you did! I’ll create a link-up post like this one for the wrap-up posts, so you can share your achievement with others who are participating!

Show your support for other participants

Please support other members of The Backlist Reader Challenge by reading and commenting on their reviews, found in the review linky. This isn’t a rule, and you don’t have to check out every review on the list, but please try to visit a few every time you post a review of your own. Your fellow readers will appreciate it!

What else you need to know

There will be at least one giveaway: a $15 Amazon gift certificate (US), or up to that amount in books from Book Depository (as long as they deliver to your country.)  The winner will be chosen from the review links at the end of the year, using a random number generator.

You will find the review linky on the top menu bar in early January, with a link from the sidebar as well. The review linky will stay open through 11 p.m. EST on January 5, 2021, to give you a couple of days to review any books you finished on December 31.

Social media: Please use #BacklistReader on Twitter, Facebook, and anywhere else hashtags are useful!

Sign Up Here

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2021 Netgalley and Edelweiss Reading Challenge 

Hosted by Socrates’ Book Reviews…

What the challenge is all about…

Are you feeling overwhelmed by the number of NetGalley/Edelweiss books sitting on your shelf to be read?
Have you lost your 80% rating and would love to get it back?
Do you want to challenge yourself to read more NetGalley/Edelweiss books?
Do you need extra inspiration to achieve that next badge?

If the answer is “YES” to any of these questions then this is the challenge for you!

Challenge guidelines…

  • The challenge runs from January 1, 2021 – December 31, 2021. There is no deadline to sign up.
  • Everyone is welcome to participate – you do not need to have a blog.
  • Any genre, release date, length, etc. counts – it just needs to be a book from NetGalley or Edelweiss.
  • Books can count for more than one challenge that you are participating in.
  • The first day of each month I will post a monthly “link-up” for you to link your reviews. If you forget one month, no worries, just catch up the next month.
  • Questions: Feel free to leave a comment below.

The Levels…

Bronze – 10 Books – My goal for 2021

Silver – 25 Books

Gold – 50 Books

Platinum – 75 Books

Diamond – 100 Books

To sign-up…

  • Make a blog post stating the level you intend to read in 2020 and link that blog post to Mr. Linky below.  The first Link should be your name, the url should be the direct link to that blog post, not your main blog page.
  • If you do not have a blog then state your reading level in the comments below and how you will be sharing your book reviews.
  • Last but not least, be sure to come back every month and link in those reviews. This is really the hardest part – remember to do the monthly “link-ups”!

Sign Up Here

My Personal Challenges

Wisconsin Authors or Settings

My goal is to read at least 10 books by Wisconsin Authors or Wisconsin Settings.

 

Pages Read

via GIPHY

My goal is 48,000 Pages for 2021.

I am participating in 14 Challenges!

I hope you will join me and challenge yourself.

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

#FlashbackFriday – Stiff Penalty (Mattie Winston Mysteries) 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.


Stiff Penalty (Mattie Winston Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Setting – Wisconsin
Publisher: Kensington Books (March 1, 2015)
Print Length: 417 pages
Kindle ASIN: B00M4ASUL0

Danger multiplies for a pregnant coroner investigating a math teacher’s murder in this hard-boiled mystery by a USA Today–bestselling author.

 

Deputy coroner Mattie Winston knows a thing or two about dead bodies. That’s why she’s on the case of Derrick Ames, a high school math teacher stabbed to death with a barbecue fork straight to the heart. Sure, she’s turned up some motives and a few suspects, but nothing adds up. Especially when the evidence points to Ames’s teenage son. Newly pregnant Mattie can’t believe it, even as her own long-estranged father may be following her. But one thing’s certain, she’d better start figuring things out fast, or a deadly perpetrator could be subtracting two more victims from the population of Sorenson, Wisconsin . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

Stiff Penalty is the sixth book in this series and I want to state upfront that these books should be read in order to fully understand the characters and the relationships but also for the hilarity that ensues within the pages of each book.

Mattie Winston has had a hard life, her father left when she was young, she caught her husband in the act of cheating on her at the hospital where they both work, and now she is dealing with a stalker, an unexpected pregnancy, and of course, another murder or two.


It took me a few minutes to get into this story because most of it is told in flashbacks but after I got the rhythm down the pages flew.

Ms. Ryan really brings the drama this time. Maddie is seeing a therapist and all her insecurities come out. It was great to see the other side of Maddie. She tries to keep a brave face on for the world but her life is changing in ways that can be downright scary.

There is drama at work too. High School math teacher Derrick Ames was stabbed straight into his heart with a barbeque fork. There are suspects but Maddie can’t piece the clues together to pin down the killer. But again, there is that stalker and the baby on the way. And being shot at doesn’t help matters. The drama doesn’t stop there either.

I really enjoyed Stiff Penalty. I started reading this series because it is set in my home state of Wisconsin. I keep coming back and reading more because I have become invested in these characters and the craziness that comes along with them. A great mystery or two just adds to the fun.

I am bound and determined to get all caught up on this series in 2021.

Your Escape With 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

Also by this Author

Written as Allyson K. Abbott

I am giving away 1 Kindle Copy.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End December 18, 2020, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Posted in 2020 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge New Release Challenge Wisconsin Author Wisconsin Setting

Murder Most Sweet: A Bookish Baker Mystery by Laura Jensen Walker #Review


Murder Most Sweet: A Bookish Baker Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Wisconsin
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books (September 8, 2020)
Hardcover: 289 pages
ISBN-10: 1643855026
ISBN-13: 978-1643855028
Kindle ASIN: B08272M182

In this series debut for fans of Jenn McKinlay, baker Teddie St. John spends her time away from the oven writing murder mysteries. But is she herself a murderer?

 

Everyone in Lake Potawatomi, Wisconsin, knows Teddie St. John. Tall, curly-haired Teddie is a superb baker, a bohemian bon vivant, and a mystery writer. Teddie is walking her American Eskimo dog, Gracie, when her four-legged friend finds Teddie’s missing silk scarf. Only problem: the scarf is tied tightly around the neck of a beautiful blond woman, the fiancée of a touring British author.

 

Before you can say “Wisconsin kringle,” Teddie becomes a murder suspect. Everyone in town knows all too well that the distinctive scarf was hers. But there are more layers to this case than there would have been on poor Kristi’s wedding cake. Tavish Bentley should be bereaved after his sweetheart’s strangling. Instead, the dashing Brit takes a shine to Teddie’s witty wisecracks and to-die-for cookies, and soon he’s mooning over her instead of mourning his bride. That is, when he’s not dodging the attentions of Annabelle, an obsessive fan who’s taken to stalking him.

 

And when a second murder shocks the community, the plot thickens to the consistency of fondant as Teddie stands accused of not one, but two, murders. With the help of her friends Sharon and Char, can Teddie clear her name and deliver a killer’s just desserts?

 

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I had planned to read and review this book closer to the release date but I was suffering from chemo side effects and preparing for surgery at that time. Now I have just a few radiation treatments left and am in a much better place to read this book that features a breast cancer survivor protagonist.

Teddie St. John loves to bake and she’s good at it. She also loves to write mysteries and she excels at that too.  A breast cancer survivor she has plotted her life around those two things, plus her friends, her mom, and her American Eskimo dog, Gracie.  She is excited to attend a book signing at her BFF Char’s bookstore. The author, Tavish Bentley, is a famous British suspense writer who ended up in Lake Potawatomi when his event in Milwaukee was canceled. Sadly just as the event is getting started Teddie suffers one of those dreaded side effects brought on by cancer treatments and ends up leaving the book signing early.

Later while out walking Gracie she makes a gruesome discovery. Behind her friend’s bookstore, she finds the famous author’s fiance dead with a significant clue that points directly at Teddie as the murderer.  Thankfully she is friends with the sheriff and he knows she didn’t kill anybody. The author does have a fan who is obsessed with him, and Teddie’s money is on her as the killer but then a second body is found and that really twists things up. Teddie enlists the help of her besties to help her find the real killer and serve them up on a silver platter.


I love Teddie St. John! It is always nice when you have something in common with the lead character in a cozy but this time it isn’t just a craft or an occupation, it is something neither would have chosen for ourselves. Surviving cancer is a battle and her road was much tougher than mine. I know the author drew from her own experiences and that makes the story even more special. Ms. Walker also surrounded Teddie with excellent friends, an overbearing mother, and a lovable pup. These characters all drew me in right away.

Setting the story in my home state, also the author’s, grabbed my attention too. The dialogue rang true, the descriptions of the people and places was like looking out my back door, and OMG the food/Kringles mentions brought me actual joy.

The mystery was top-notch, with actually two to solve. Teddie was an interesting sleuth to follow. If you are looking for quirky, somewhat creepy characters look no further than the people that land on Teddie’s suspect list. She takes some risks but none of the “too stupid to live” kind that some amateur sleuths do. I did hone in on a few things before she did but was very entertained by the way things played out.

The story had a great flow with one scene near the beginning of the book that had me laughing so hard I had tears in my eyes. There is also the start of a romance for Teddie. At first, I thought it was happening too quickly but who am I to judge. Teddie has been through a lot and deserves all the happiness she can get.

Murder Most Sweet is a terrific cozy mystery that has set this series off to a fine start. My appetite has been seriously whet, I can hardly wait for Deadly Delights that will be hitting shelves June 8, 2021.

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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.”

Posted in 2020 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge New Release Challenge Wisconsin Setting You Read How Many Books Challenge

Boston Scream Murder (A Deputy Donut Mystery) by Ginger Bolton #Review


Boston Scream Murder (A Deputy Donut Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Setting – Wisconsin
Publisher: Kensington (August 25, 2020)
Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1496725561
Kindle ASIN: B082WRPQWF

Halloween in the small town of Fallingbrook, Wisconsin, is the perfect season for Deputy Donut owner Emily Westhill to unmask a killer.

 

October 31 is just around the corner and Emily Westhill’s Boston cream donuts, carved with a scream, have made an indelible impression on local eccentric Rich Royalson. So much so that he’s ordered three dozen, with no screaming faces and twice the fudge frosting, for his seventieth birthday—a special event in more ways than one. It’s to be held on fog-shrouded Lake Fleekom where, twenty years ago, his wife mysteriously drowned.

 

But the next day, when Emily arrives with her Boston cream donuts, she stumbles upon Rich’s corpse. The poor guy wanted a unique birthday bash—just not one to the side of his skull. With a guest list of possible perpetrators left at the scene, Emily soon discovers that the Royalson closet is rattling with skeletons. As the fog thickens, motives mount, and the tricks outnumber the treats, Emily fears that Rich may not be the last one in Fallingbrook to go out screaming.

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Halloween, donuts, and murder, oh my!

Autumn in Wisconsin is beautiful with the leaves changing colors but the temps can range from the 80’s down to the 40’s. No matter the weather it is always a good time for donuts.  Rich Royalson from Boston especially likes Emily’s Boston Cream donuts but without the Halloween Scream carving. He was so taken with them he ordered three dozen with some minor adjustments for his 70th birthday party. A party on the lake where his wife drowned 20 years ago.

Emily loads up the donuts in the Deputy Donuts Cafe delivery car, an old police car with a donut on the roof, and heads to the Royalson lake house. Instead of finding a man excited about his birthday, she finds the man dead. She doesn’t know much about the man but she has helped solve a few murders . . . but this one could be her last.


I have enjoyed this series from the start. Emily is such a strong protagonist. After tragically losing her police officer husband in the line of duty she opened the cafe with her father-in-law. She has great instincts and a stubborn streak the comes in handy as she delves into another murder mystery. It helps that she has close ties to the local police department and is surrounded by terrific friends and family. She also has Dep, her cat and the cafe mascot. Ms. Bolton has created endearing and engaging characters. Their relationships make sense including Emily taking her time with her love life.

The mystery has plenty of suspects but I was focused on one early. It was fun to tag along with Emily as she followed clue after clue. I appreciated the way she shared everything with the fine Detective Brent Fyne. I was also pleased to see my thinking was on the right track but I was a little off on a couple of things.

By the way, I have a few favorite donuts. Boston Creme Filled are near the top of the list. Without a Deputy Donuts nearby I had my daughter make a quick trip to Dunkin’ Donuts to pick up a few to soothe all the cravings the book caused. 🙂

Boston Scream Murder is a delightful and delectable cozy mystery with charming characters. The author does an excellent job of giving new readers enough background so you can read this book on its own but I recommend reading the series from the start if you can. Oh, and stock up on donuts too!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

Read my review of Survival of the Fritters here and  Goodbye Cruller World here. and Jealousy Filled Donuts here.

About the Author

Ginger Bolton writes the Deputy Donut mystery series–cops, crime, coffee, donuts, and one curious cat. When Ginger isn’t writing or reading, she’s crocheting, knitting, sewing, walking her two rescue dogs, and generally causing trouble. She’s also fond of donuts, coffee, and cafes where folks gather to enjoy those tasty treats and one another’s company.

Author Links

Website   Facebook   Twitter   GoodReads

Written as Janet Bolin

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

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

#FlashbackFriday – Board Stiff (Mattie Winston Mysteries) by Annelise Ryan #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.


Board Stiff (Mattie Winston Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Setting – Wisconsin
Publisher: Kensington (March 4, 2014)
Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
ISBN-10: 0758272766
ISBN-13: 978-0758272768
Kindle ASIN: B00F8J6RG4

Sorenson, Wisconsin’s deputy coroner Mattie Winston is back on the job. . .in a nursing home examining the body of Bernie Chase—the now former president of the Twilight Home’s board of directors—who is covered in a powder used to turn liquids to solids. The home’s residents are certain Bernie was offing the patients who cost him too much. . .and the patient that found him can’t remember a thing.

 

Between her ongoing tug of war with Detective Hurley, fulfilling her new job requirement of seeing a shrink, and wrangling with the Twilight Home’s board of directors, Mattie’s got her scrubbed hands full. She’ll need all of her outside-the-box forensic skills to crack a case that’s turning out to be stranger—and more dangerous—than anything she’s seen before!

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts

The last book in this series was definitely not a fave but this time Mattie Winston is back in the coroner’s office and investigating a case at a local nursing home. The owner of the place died an unusual death and the place is full of suspects. Unfortunately, the man found with the body is dealing with dementia and can’t remember what happened.

As a condition of Mattie’s return to the job she has to meet with a shrink and she is not happy about that. She is also dealing with the demise of her relationship with Detective Hurley or is she? With them working together again are they going to be able to keep their hands off each other?

______

Okay, the author has got her groove back and it is stories like this I have have come to expect from her! Laugh out loud! Fun! Fun! Fun!

The mystery is well-plotted and full of twists. A plethora of suspects! A nursing home is a terrific setting because residents and staff all may have means, motive, and opportunity for wanting the guy in charge 6 feet under especially if the rumors floating around the place are true. The investigation was heady but handled correctly even with all the roadblocks the powers that be tried to throw up.

The characters in this series are great and the introduction of a special person in Hurley’s life adds a who adds a new element to his life and the series. Plus there is a cliffhanger that just blew me away.

I can’t wait to get started on the next book in this series as I continue my endeavor to catch up on the entire series. I love that it is set in my home state of Wisconsin and upset that it took me so long to find it.

This one was truly A Perfect Escape!

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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

Also by this Author

Written as Allyson K. Abbott

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Posted in 2020 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Alphabet Soup A -Z Author Edition Challenge Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways Literary Escapes New Release Challenge Wisconsin Author Wisconsin Setting You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday featuring A Crafter Quilts a Crime: A Handcrafted Mystery by Holly Quinn #Review / #Giveaway @crookedlanebks


Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am thrilled to feature Holly Quinn’s A Crafter Quilts A Crime today! 

About A Crafter Quilts A Crime

quilter quilts a crime

A Crafter Quilts a Crime: A Handcrafted Mystery
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books (February 11, 2020)
Hardcover
ISBN-10: 1643852906
ISBN-13: 978-1643852904
Kindle ASIN: B07RTMXRK8

Perfect for fans of Betty Hechtman and Maggie Sefton, Holly Quinn’s third Handcrafted mystery aspires to wrap you in its warmth.

Community Craft proprietor Sammy Kane must piece together a patchwork of clues when a “live” mannequin ends up stone-cold dead.

Snowcapped pines and glittery dusted sidewalks adorn tranquil Heartsford, Wisconsin, while residents cuddle beneath heirloom quilts in front of cozy wood fires. But come the next day, the below-zero temperatures won’t keep the locals away from Heartsford’s annual Fire & Ice event. To boost customer traffic at Community Craft’s one-night-only sale, Samantha “Sammy” Kane persuades a few of the craftspeople who sell their wares at the store to participate in a live mannequin window display contest.

Local quilter Wanda Wadsworth emerges as a favorite to win the contest, as she manages to not move a muscle for an unusual amount of time. Onlookers outside the window try everything to get her to crack–tapping on the glass and making funny faces–but nothing disrupts Wanda’s stillness. When the eagle-eyed spectators realize Wanda isn’t breathing, a blanket of grief and fear descends upon the wintry town.

Detective Liam Nash can’t seem to piece the clues together. Fortunately, Sammy’s cousin, Heidi, and her sister, Ellie, are on hand to reconvene their detective team, S.H.E. They set out to solve Wanda’s untimely death before the case grows as icy as a sub-zero Wisconsin winter. But they are all too aware that the killer is too close for comfort.

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

Welcome to winter in Wisconsin and the fictional town of Heartford where the residents are celebrating with the annual Fire & Ice event. The shops are open late and the evening will conclude with a giant bonfire.  Sammy Kane wants her shop Community Craft to really stand out and bring in the customers so she has asked a few of her crafters to take part in a “live” mannequin contest. The front window is all decked out and ready for the crafters to take a starring role.

Wanda Wadsworth is ready to shine, she even brought one of her quilts to feature. She immediately captures the attention of the audience as she remains completely frozen in her pose as people do their darndest to disrupt her performance. When someone suddenly notices Wanda’s lips turning blue people jump into action but it is too late. Then when police try to notify the husband of her passing they find the man is missing.

Detective Liam Nash warns Sammy to stay out of the case but soon she, her cousin, Heidi, and her sister, Ellie, the ladies of S.H.E. are bustling around in the cold and snow trying to find the killer. Things start to heat up as the killer is close on their tail.

_____

This is such a fun series. I have come to think of the main characters as friends and they have their share of strife this time as they don their Nancy Drew hats to try to find who killed their friend. These characters are relatable and believable and continue to evolve over the course of the story. I do like the way the girls work together and that they each have their own strengths. All the characters presented in the story are well crafted but again the four-legged one steals my heart.

The story is very fast-paced with plenty of twists. Sammy’s drive for the truth gets her in trouble making for some very tense moments. There is a nice blend of daily life with the mystery and a real community feel over the whole book. I liked the way the crafting group came together with an idea to remember and honor the friend they had lost. What I really enjoyed most was something people see all over the state of Wisconsin have a new purpose when it comes to solving the mystery.

As a Wisconsin resident, Holly Quinn really brought a real Wisconsin winter to this story. The frigid cold, the blowing, and drifting snow. Waiting for the roads to get plowed noting that for some it can be a long wait. Also showing that snow is not the be-all and end-all. After being cooped up with kids after a snow day, moms will plow through the snow themselves to get to a craft meeting to converse with adults, drink hot chocolate that may include alcohol, and nosh on homemade treats for a few hours before heading back to fray at home ready for anything.

I do love the way this author tells a story. A Crafter Quilts a Crime is quite entertaining and checks all my cozy boxes. I truly can’t for the next book!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

Read my review of A Crafter Knits A Clue – Here

Read my review of A Crafter Hooks A KillerHere

 

About Holly Quinn

holly quinn

Holly Quinn has published two stand-alone fiction novels in another persona. She graduated from Carroll University in Wisconsin with a Bachelor of Science in business and a minor in marketing. This is her second Handcrafted mystery. Visit her @ www.authorhollyquinn.com

Author Links – Website – Facebook – GoodReads 

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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 E-Book Challenge Reviews 2019 Wisconsin Author Wisconsin Setting You Read How Many Books Challenge

Versions of Her by Andrea Lochen – #Review


Versions of Her
Women’s Fiction (Fantasy)
Setting – Wisconsin
Red Adept Publishing (July 1, 2019)
Paperback: 352 pages
ISBN-10: 1948051346
ISBN-13: 978-1948051347
Kindle ASIN: B07TF4YBBH

On the surface, Melanie Kingstad-Keyes’s life is the picture of success. She’s a tenure track professor at a prestigious university and has a perfect husband. But a recent miscarriage has left her reeling and her marriage tenuous. Selling her family’s Lake Indigo summer home, which she hasn’t visited in fifteen years, feels like the perfect distraction from her problems. Now, she only needs to persuade her younger sister, Kelsey, to go along with her plan.

Stuck in a dead-end job, Kelsey Kingstad bounces from one doomed relationship to the next as she struggles to jumpstart her adult life. Carrying the guilt of her mother’s untimely death, Kelsey is reluctant to let go of the Victorian house filled with memories of her mom and their childhood.

When the sisters find a mysterious hidden door, Melanie and Kelsey discover that they can directly view their mother’s younger years and learn all the secrets she never shared with them. Delving into her memories is fun at first, but Melanie and Kelsey quickly uncover difficult truths, throwing their own life choices into question and making them wonder if they ever truly knew their mother. Visiting the past may help them find closure, but the cost could be steeper than they realize.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Sisters can be as different as night and day and that is the case with Melanie Kingstad-Keyes and Kelsey Kingstad. Melanie has always been driven and Kelsey is more laid back. But Melanie has recently suffered a miscarriage and the life she has planned so carefully may not come to fruition. Kelsey is having trouble dealing with her mother’s death and it is affecting her life. Their father has remarried and left the area. They try to get together for the holidays.

Melanie has decided it is time to sell the family’s summer home on Indigo Lake. She has the blessing of her father but Kelsey isn’t so sure she is ready to let go. But Melanie goes ahead and sets up a meeting with a realtor and tells Kelsey to meet with her. They find the home in worse shape than expected, but Melanie is sure they can get everything ship-shape and ready to sell quickly. She decides that after her miscarriage some time away from her husband at Indigo Lake is just what she needs.  It will give her a chance to think while overseeing the repairs the house needs.

Soon after she arrives Melanie makes a surprising discovery and can’t wait to share it with Kelsey. She has found a hidden door that opens into a hidden room. That room enables some amazing things to happen. Things that give the girls pause. Things that shock them and things that make them rethink their lives.

____

I just skimmed the synopsis provided by the publisher before I started reading and I think it gives too much away. That being said, I hesitate to say too much because I don’t want to ruin the story for anyone. But I really enjoyed discovering the treasure of the story and what it encompassed right along with the Kingstad sisters instead of expecting it and knowing what it entailed. I really got caught up in the mystery room and wish so much for one of my own.

This story was incredibility well-written. The characters were all introduced well and depth was built over the course of the book. I feel the sister dynamic was realistically portrayed. Being the younger sister in my family I did identify with Kelsey and could see some of Melanie’s traits in my sister. It is clear the sisters have a strained relationship and they needed this time together. Kelsey’s dog, Sprocket was a great unifier and brought some humor into the story. The other characters we meet all have a purpose and are fleshed out as time passes.

I love that the story is set in my home state of Wisconsin. There are a lot of lakes throughout the state with plenty of homes surrounding them. The author did a great job of describing the area and bringing it to life. I could easily imagine all the activities that happened there over the years.

Versions of Her is a heartwarming story filled with memories. It also a clear message. I found the story to be filled with emotions and growth. Melanie and Kelsey took a journey within these pages and I was happy to go along for the ride.

This is not the type of story I would typically read but I found it to be entertaining and memorable and a Perfect Escape!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Andrea Lochen

Though Andrea Lochen had dreamed of being an author since the third grade, she didn’t realize creative writing was “an actual thing” until she stumbled upon the program at the University of Wisconsin as a college freshman.  After graduating from college, she earned her Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of Michigan and later achieved her dream of becoming a published author.

 

Andrea is now the author of three novels: The Repeat YearImaginary Things, and Versions of Her.  She teaches creative writing at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee at Waukesha, encouraging young writers to learn the craft and pursue their own writing dreams.  She lives in Wisconsin with her husband, two small children, and their adorably fluffy dog, Maddy.  In her free time, she likes to bake cupcakes and cakes, see musicals and plays, and read as much as humanly possible.

Author Links – Author Website – Facebook – Twitter  –  Goodreads –  BookBub  –  Publisher: Red Adept Publishing

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.”