Posted in 2021 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Alphabet Soup A -Z Author Edition Challenge Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Literary Escapes New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday featuring Crime of the Ancient Marinara (A Tuscan Cooking School Mystery) by Stephanie Cole #Review /#Giveaway @BerkleyMystery

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

It is my pleasure to feature Crime of the Ancient Marinara
by Stephanie Cole today!


Crime of the Ancient Marinara (A Tuscan Cooking School Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Italy
Publisher: Berkley (January 26, 2021)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 0593097815
ISBN-13: 978-0593097816
Kindle ASIN: B087PLF2V6

American chef Nell Valenti’s high hopes for a successful Tuscan farm-to-table cooking school are in danger of withering on the vine in this delectable cozy mystery.

Nell Valenti is settling into her role of transforming the Villa Orlandini into a superb farm-to-table cooking school, and the time has finally come for a full taste test run. But when Chef Orlandini prepares to reveal his top secret marinara recipe for the first time to a group of American gastro-tourists, Nell realizes she might have bitten off more than she can chew.

Nell begins to suspect that one of the tourists is actually a private detective sent to spy on her by her overprotective father, and the fussy foodies are noisy and disrespectful from the very start of the Marinara Mysteriosa workshop. Even worse, when one visitor appears to be poisoned by the famous marinara recipe, Nell will have to work fast to uncover a killer and keep a lid on bad press before her fresh start is spoiled for good.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Plans are coming together at Villa Orlandini to open the farm-to-table cooking school. Their first weeklong class will bring a group of gastro-tourists from America to learn all about making marinara sauce and will include Chef Orlandini revealing his mystery ingredient in his famous marinara recipe. They hit a few bumps in the road with their plans as they work through the logistics of keeping their guests involved and happy. Nell has an inkling that one member of the group is a private detective sent by her father. Another member of the group is rude and is only there because his wife dragged him along. She is excited to be there and is determined not to let her husband ruin her trip. The rest of the group all have their flaws and are pretty disrespectful. When one of the group is rushed to the hospital and dies Nell realizes there is a killer in their midst. A murder is bad, but someone dying the first week they are open could seal the fate of the school forever. Nell knows she needs to find the killer and save the school but she could end up the killer’s next victim if she isn’t careful.


All the people we met at Villa Orlandini in the first book are back. Nell and Pete are getting closer. Chef O. is excited to teach but quickly becomes infatuated with one of his new students which causes some turmoil in the kitchen. The new characters all seem to have something to hide. The murder happens later in the story but the victim was not a surprise. I wanted to reach into the book and kill him myself. The language was still of bit of a problem but Nell is learning more Italian and is finding ways to communicate with people at the villa. It was still necessary to bring in a translator after the murder and Pete translated other times. The translations for us readers still messed with the flow of the story for me.

The murder mystery was very well-plotted and I was surprised with all the connections that were revealed. That being said I had a certain character in my sights almost immediately after the murder because I quickly eliminated the other suspects. I just needed the motive to connect my thinking and that wasn’t revealed until the end. I was a little put off by Nell’s investigation this time. Her snooping and theories were a little over the top at times.

I do enjoy Ms. Cole’s right style. She really knows how to set the scene and bring it to life, Every room at the villa was easily visualized. There was a huge flower delivery too and I could almost smell them from the descriptions. The author delivered up plenty of humor throughout the entire story. The Bari sisters are absolutely priceless.

All the talk of marinara did tempt my tastebuds. Thankfully we eat Italian inspired food often around here.

Crime of the Ancient Marinara was a nice little escape to Tuscany. The characters were entertaining and the mystery very interesting. The ending did leave me wanting to know what was going to happen next at Villa Orlandin, so I am looking forward to the next book in this series.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Stephanie Cole is an active member of the mystery writing community. Writing as Shelley Costa, she was nominated for both an Edgar and an Agatha award, and she co-founded the Northeast Ohio chapter of Sisters in Crime. She teaches creative writing workshops and lectures on American literature in the greater Cleveland area. For fun, she takes violin lessons, studies Art History—and eyes them both for murder plots.

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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 Cloak and Dagger Challenge E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Guest Posts Literary Escapes New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Mystery Bones Murders (Frankie Shep Suspense Novellas) by Karen Randau #GuestPost / #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour


Mystery Bones Murders:
A gripping story of love, deceit, and redemption
(Frankie Shep Suspense Novellas) by Karen Randau

 

My Positive Change From COVID-19
by Karen Randau

When I was a kid and visited my dad’s parents, I never could figure out who were all those ginger-haired people who hung out there all the time. Sure, I knew their names, and their last name didn’t match mine or my grandparents. The whole family of five had a carrot top, and young me thought it was really strange.

After I joined a genealogy website, I learned those were relatives on my grandmother’s side—a tiny bit of Viking in me to explain how someone with a quiet, gentle spirit can write murder mysteries and thrillers. Or maybe it explains why I love Celtic music so much. Who knows?

But as a result of my new discovery (and the explanation of why my dark hair had a red tint until recently), I’ve wanted to go to Ireland. I had heritage to discover, after all. I wanted to witness the country’s green rolling hills, rugged seaside cliffs, and windswept rock formations. Experience the lively culture. Visit some of the 30,000 castles. Sip some Irish whiskey (did you know only whisky from Scotland, Canada, and Japan isn’t spelled with an “e” in it?).

The Emerald Isle (made up of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom) is known for its friendly people, lively atmosphere, and lots of festivals. I wanted to go to one of their world-famous festivals.

Since the days of the Celts, Ireland has had a strong tradition of storytelling, and I hear the people love to chat for hours on end. It’s no wonder there are so many famous writers from Ireland. In fact, there’s a whole museum in Dublin dedicated to Irish writers!

Writers like James Joyce (best known for his book, Ulysses, but also the author of a collection of short stories about life in Dublin), the witty and fun Oscar Wilde, the poet W.B Yeats, Bram Stoker (famous for Dracula), Jonathan Swift (Gulliver’s Travels), and many more.

In that tradition, there’s an annual international writers’ festival in Dublin that I’ve wanted to attend, but the cost of both the festival and travel was prohibitive. That is, until COVID-19 took everything virtual. While I didn’t get hands-on experience with a tiny bit of my heritage, I went to Ireland virtually to attend the excellent 2020 writers’ festival.

In fact, I attended several writers’ conferences virtually—so many that I never would have been able to afford it if everything hadn’t been locked down. And as an introvert, there was less stress attending virtually than trying to network amongst strangers (I’m so not into that).

So, there you go. I like to find the positive in every negative, and attending the Dublin International Writers’ Festival virtually was my positive that happened because of the COVID-19 lockdowns.

I hope you’ve experienced at least one positive from this negative pandemic. If not, I hope you’ll look for one.

And if you’re still hunkering down (or not), I hope you’ll enjoy my new novella about a feisty ginger-haired woman named Frankie who in Mystery Bones Murders digs deep down inside to finally overcome unimaginable heartbreak through love and redemption.

 

About Mystery Bones Murders


Mystery Bones Murders (Frankie Shep Suspense Novellas)
Mystery – Thriller
1st in Series
Setting – Wyoming
Independently Published (November 30, 2020)
Print length: 131 pages
ASIN: B08PDGPJT6

Frankie Shep is still mourning the deaths of her husband and young son when she finds a bone in the far corner of her Wyoming cattle ranch.

 

Excited to think she may have discovered an ancient Native American village, she takes the bone to a lifelong friend who is now a forensic anthropologist on contract with her county.

 

After a cursory inspection, he turns a blood-chilling stare at Frankie. The bone isn’t ancient. Worse, the victim could be the remains of Frankie’s mother. She disappeared from her own bed more than a decade ago.

 

And now her retired father is missing.

 

As Frankie digs deeper, she discovers the terrifying truth that a serial killer is using her land to bury his victims, all members of her family and inner circle.

 

And now he’s watching her.

 

Mystery Bones Murders is a story of love, heart-wrenching deception, and finding redemption.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Frankie Shep has isolated herself following the recent deaths of her husband and son and her mother’s disappearance several years ago.. She is only close to the family that helps her work the ranch.

There were several Native American villages in the area and when she finds a human bone by a tree in a corner of the ranch she thinks she thinks she may have found evidence of one. But a forensic anthropologist friend tells her the bone is not old enough to have come from a Native American. He believes it could belong to her mother. With that revelation, she knows she needs to contact her father but he is not answering his cell phone and is not where he was supposed to be. She then learns that there were 3 bodies buried under that tree. She also feels like she is being watched. Could a serial killer still be in the area?

______

Something unusual happened when I started this book. A few pages into the story I started to hear background music in my head. It ebbed and flowed with what was happening on the page, reached a high crescendo when the killer was revealed and the story wrapped up with a classic Law & Order, dun-dun. The story had a real movie or episodic television feel.

Ms. Randau introduces her readers to a relatively small cast of characters but with plenty of options for suspects. I really felt for Frankie as she had an overload of sorrow before the story even started. To deal with it all and things she encountered within these pages we know she is a strong woman. The other characters play important parts in her life. There may even be a little romance in her future.

At just 131 pages this was a fast read made even faster by the author’s writing style and the suspense that unfolded. It was impossible to put down.

Mystery Bones Murder is an entertaining novella with an engaging protagonist you want to root for. As this is just book one in this series I am very interested to see where she takes Frankie next.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent 

About Karen Randau

Karen Randau authors fast-paced stories with intricate plots, lots of action, and a dash of romance told from the point of view of a female amateur sleuth. Mystery Bones Murders is her sixth book and the first book in a new series of novellas. She lives in the mountains of Arizona with her multi-generational family.

Author Links – 

Webpage  Facebook  Twitter  Goodreads  BookBub

Purchase Links – Amazon 

Also by Karen Randau

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Great Escapes Praise for Mystery Bones Murders:
A gripping story of love, deceit, and redemption
(Frankie Shep Suspense Novellas) by Karen Randau

The pace of the story is perfect, with just enough suspense from page to page that you don’t want to put the book down. I liked that Frankie searched for clues but was smart enough to call in the police when things were out of her depth.
~Storeybook Reviews

Although the fast-paced tale does feature an abundance of corpses, it’s (thankfully) not the stuff that nightmares are made of – making for a short, lightweight thriller with many a twist along the way.
~Cassidy’s Bookshelves

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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 Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Alphabet Soup A -Z Author Edition Challenge Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Literary Escapes Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

A Cold Brew Killing (All-Day Breakfast Cafe Mystery) by Lena Gregory #Review / #Giveaway


A Cold Brew Killing (All-Day Breakfast Cafe Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Florida
Lyrical Underground (November 6, 2018)
Print Length Approximately 250 Pages
Digital ASIN: B079R5Y14L

When an ice cream vendor discovers a frozen stiff, Florida diner owner Gia Morelli has to serve up some just desserts . . .

 

Gia has become good friends with Trevor, a fun, flirtatious bachelor who owns the ice cream parlor down the street from her popular All-Day Breakfast Café. Trevor has the scoop on all sorts of local attractions and activities. But when he bursts into her diner, trembling and paler than a pint of French Vanilla, she can tell something’s very wrong. Trevor points her toward his shop then passes out cold. When Gia runs down to his shop, she discovers a chilling sight—a dead body in the open freezer. But the ice cream man’s troubles are just beginning. The police suspect him of this murder a la mode, especially when details of his questionable past surface. Gia believes in her friend and is determined to clear his name and find the real cold-blooded killer before someone else gets put on ice . . .

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts

It gets mighty chilly in Florida when a dead body is found in the freezer of the ice cream parlor of Gia’s new friend Trevor. She and Trevor had big plans for bringing cold brews to both their businesses but that is on ice for now. Of course, Trevor is the prime suspect of the police but Gia just knows in her heart the man is innocent. Now she just has to find the evidence to prove it.


It was so good to get back to these characters. I don’t know how I got behind on this series but I plan to rectify that very soon.

Gia, Savannah, Hunt, Leo, Willow, Earl, Harley, Cybil, Cole, and Thor all return and are joined by several new characters. Two mayoral candidates, although one doesn’t last long, ice cream shop owner, Trevor, Willow’s mom, Skyla, join the cast. Ms. Gregory’s characters are all realistic. People you would expect to find in Boggy Creek at Gia’s All-Day Breakfast Café. I enjoy Gia and Savannah’s friendship. This time it is tested just a bit but I really liked the way Savannah convinced Gia it was okay to take some time off. Their relationship is believable and steady. They have each other’s back even when things get downright crazy.

The new secondary characters along with Harley play key roles in the mystery. They have been Boggy Creek residents for a long time and while the murder maybe political it could also be something in their pasts that has gotten Ron Parker killed. There are several twists and turns, shots fired, and another death before all the clues align and secrets come out for the killer to be revealed. The author has plotted an intriguing mystery with many possibilities.

The book also has a message and a revelation for Gia regarding families. It is so true and heartwarming.

A Cold Brew Killing was so entertaining! Great characters, a wonderful mystery and don’t even get me started on the food. We did have breakfast for dinner during the time I was reading this book. Yummy!

Stay tuned, in my quest to get caught up on this series I will be reading A Waffle Lot of Murder soon so I am ready when Whole Latte Murder hits stores on April 27.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

Lena Gregory lives in a small town on the south shore of eastern Long Island with her husband and three children.

When she was growing up, she spent many lazy afternoons on the beach, in the yard, anywhere she could find to curl up with a good book. She loves reading as much now as she did then, but she now enjoys the added pleasure of creating her own stories.

Author Links – Newsletter – Website  –  Facebook – Facebook Page  – Twitter  –  Goodreads  – Pinterest

Purchase Links

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Also by Lena Gregory

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.
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Add this book to your WANT TO READ shelf on GoodReads
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If you share the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will
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Contest Will End February 6, 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 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 Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Alphabet Soup A -Z Author Edition Challenge Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Flashback Friday Literary Escapes TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – The Killer Outdoors (A Southwest Exposure Mystery) by Jodi Linton @JodiLinton1

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

The Killer Outdoors (A Southwest Exposure Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Indendently Published (October 5, 2020)
Paperback: 162 pages
ISBN-13: 979-8686725898

Digital ASIN : B08C72CMSV

Welcome to Bushwhack, New Mexico: home to tourists, the great outdoors, and murder…

 

Tourist season has hit Bushwhack and Andie Sullivan–owner of Sullivan’s Adventure Company–is ready for her town to fill up with city slickers, snotty teens, and the dollars she needs to keep her business afloat after her messy divorce from Bucky Gunn–local celebrity rafting guide and Sullivan’s main competition. With all her guided tours booked, it finally seems lady luck is on her side.

 

But then Bucky is found dead. Not great.

 

And she’s the prime murder suspect. Double not great.

 

Being framed for murder sucks worse than a rabid chipmunk bite. Andie’s determined to clear her name, and this time her survival training skills won’t be used to fetch an ice pack. But how long can she stay one step ahead of a killer before she becomes the final victim?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Bushwhack, New Mexico is home to Sullivan’s Adventure Company. Andie Sullivan has taken the helm of the company after her father’s passing. She is also trying to move forward after her divorce from rafting guide Buddy Gunn. The man has now opened his own place and is competing with her for tourist dollars. If that isn’t bad enough he now wants the house she won in the divorce but she refuses to even entertain his offer to purchase.

When Buddy is killed, the evidence points directly at Andie. Someone has done a great job setting her up and she is not going to let them get away with it. Sadly she may become the killer’s next victim if she isn’t careful. It may take all the survival skills she has learned over the years to save her this time and catch the killer.

______

I devoured this story. I was engaged by Andie Sullivan immediately. She tough and smart and she has to be to make it in the adventure world. Buddy was a real piece of work and I was impressed by the way Andie stood up to him. There is a ton of romantic tension between Andie and Sherrif Zac Mars but she is crushing on Park Ranger Mike right now. She has known Zac her whole life, he is a friend of her brother and she even used to babysit him. It may be hard to move him out of the friend zone. Ms. Linton has done an excellent job of introducing her cast of characters.

At just 162 pages the story has a fast pace and while Zac asks Andie to leave the investigation to him she dives in anyway. I was totally blindsided by the big reveal. The exciting action brought me to the edge of my seat. All the clues wrapped up nicely but the killer wasn’t even on my radar. I loved the epic twist.

The Killer Outdoors was a gripping read while keeping true to all the cozy elements. This series is off to an exceptional start and I can’t wait to read the next book, The Hiker’s Guide To Murder will be out February 1, 2021. I am excited for my next visit to Bushwhack.



Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Jodi Linton

Hey Y’all,

I’m just a girl from Texas, minus the big hair…and oh, yeah, a horse. My crew consists of two kiddos, one which inherited my makeup addiction, and a husband still living out his garage band dreams, but in our closet next to my shoe collection.

I love to hang out with my readers, discussing books, recipes, and just everyday shenanigans. I got started in the romance community, which you might know a few of my books from there. Now, I’m all about the cozies…and the coffee. Yeah, can’t forget that.

I’d love for you to come join my reader group, Jodi’s Book Corner, or come like me on Facebook to discover my books. And chat. Naturally.

Author Links 

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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 February 5, 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 2021 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Alphabet Soup A -Z Author Edition Challenge Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Literary Escapes New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

A Tourist’s Guide to Murder (Mystery Bookshop) by V.M. Burns #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @KensingtonBooks @vmburns


A Tourist’s Guide to Murder (Mystery Bookshop)
by V.M. Burns

About A Tourist’s Guide to Murder


A Tourist’s Guide to Murder (Mystery Bookshop)
Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Setting – Michigan – London, England
Publisher: Kensington (January 26, 2021)
Paperback: 256 pages
ISBN-10: 1496728955
ISBN-13: 978-1496728951]
Digital ASIN: B087YRY1S4

While visiting the land of Miss Marple and Sherlock Holmes, bookstore owner and amateur sleuth Samantha Washington finds herself on a tragical mystery tour . . .

 

Sam joins Nana Jo and her Shady Acres Retirement Village friends Irma, Dorothy, and Ruby Mae on a weeklong trip to London, England, to experience the Peabody Mystery Lovers Tour. The chance to see the sights and walk the streets that inspired Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle is a dream come true for Sam—and a perfect way to celebrate her new publishing contract as a mystery author.

 

But between visits to Jack the Ripper’s Whitechapel district and 221B Baker Street, Major Horace Peabody is found dead, supposedly of natural causes. Despite his employer’s unfortunate demise, the tour guide insists on keeping calm and carrying on—until another tourist on their trip also dies under mysterious circumstances. Now it’s up to Sam and the Shady Acres ladies to mix and mingle among their fellow mystery lovers, find a motive, and turn up a murderer . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Sam, Nana Jo, Irma, Dorothy, and Ruby Mae are off to England for a Mystery Lovers Tour, what could go wrong? Well before they even leave the country, Sam oversleeps and they miss their shuttle and have to drive all the way to the airport in Chicago. When they arrive Sam realizes she forgot the pack something very important but Ruby Mae, who reminds me a lot of my dad because no matter where they go they know someone, finds a member of her extended family at the airport to help. But then Irma’s flirtations get them unwanted special attention. They finally make it onto the plane where Sam has a major breakdown but it pays off in the end. They fly across the pond where soon after landing Dorothy creates a little chaos of her own.

Happy to arrive at the hotel it soon becomes apparent that the drama will continue when the namesake of the Mystery Tours, Major Horace Peabody is found dead. The death is ruled to be from natural causes and the tour continues, but when another member of their tour group dies of suspicious means, the ladies from Michigan believe there is a murderer afoot. Channeling the great characters of Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle they are going to do what they do best and uncover a killer.

___________

I love these characters! This time they all seem to get equal time as they tour some fabulous places and meet some interesting people. They had me snickering and laughing out loud several times. I am happy to say London survived their visit even though a couple of the new characters did not. I did miss Oreo and Snickers but I am sure they had plenty of love and care while the ladies traveled hither and yon.

I really enjoy that there are two separate mysteries in each book. The main one set in the present time and the historical one aspiring author Sam is writing that features the occupants of Wickfield Lodge, the English country home of Lord William March. Lady Elizabeth and her niece Lady Penelope are worthy amateur sleuths themselves. Both mysteries are very well-plotted. While Sam’s creative juices flow in her writing it helps settle and order her thoughts regarding the current mystery she is trying to solve. Both mysteries have substantial twists and turns that really kept me on my toes. At first, it was a little hard to read the mystery within the mystery but now I crave it and can’t wait to have the parallel mystery start. It is a clever way to write a book and I find it very entertaining.

The setting this time brought me so much joy. I will never be able to travel the streets of London or the English countryside to walk in the footsteps of the classic mystery authors I have come to love. It was a pleasure to tag along with Sam and the Shady Acres ladies on their journey. Solving a mystery or two and the trip to Scotland Yard were just added delights.

A Tourist’s Guide to Murder was just that. I escaped right into this book and was captivated from beginning to end. Each book in this series can be read as a stand-alone but for maximum enjoyment and to get to really know these wonderful characters you should read them all.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About V.M. Burns

V.M. (Valerie) Burns was born and raised in the Midwestern United States. She currently resides in the warmer region of the country in East Tennessee with her two poodles. Valerie is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Dog Writers of America, Crime Writers of Color, International Thriller Writers, and Sisters in Crime. Valerie is the author of the RJ Franklin Mysteries, the Dog Club Mysteries, and the Agatha Award-nominated Mystery Bookshop Mystery series.

Author Links:     Website  Facebook   Twitter:  @vmburns    Goodreads     BookBub    Instagram

Purchase Links

Apple –  Amazon – Google – Kobo – Nook –  BAM –  Bookshop.org –  Hudson Booksellers –  IndieBound –  Target 


Also by V.M. Burns

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January 24 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW
January 24 – The Book Diva’s Reads – SPOTLIGHT
January 25 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW, GUEST POST
January 25 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
January 25 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
January 26 – Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic – SPOTLIGHT
January 26 – Diane Reviews Books – REVIEW
January 27 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
January 27 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
January 27 – Island Confidential – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
January 28 – Here’s How It Happened – REVIEW
January 28 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
January 29 – Book Club Librarian – REVIEW  
January 29 – View from the Birdhouse – SPOTLIGHT 
January 29 – Books to the Ceiling – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
January 30 – Author Elena Taylor’s Blog – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
January 30 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
January 31 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
January 31 – Baroness’ Book Trove – SPOTLIGHT
January 31 – My Journey Back – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

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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 Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Alphabet Soup A -Z Author Edition Challenge Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Literary Escapes New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday featuring The Broken Spine (A Beloved Bookroom Mystery) by Dorothy St. James #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @BerkleyMystery @dorothywrites

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am super excited to share my thoughts about The Broken Spine today!


The Broken Spine (A Beloved Bookroom Mystery)
by Dorothy St. James

About The Broken Spine


The Broken Spine (A Beloved Bookroom Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – South Carolina
Publisher: Berkley (January 19, 2021)
Hardcover: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 0593098579
ISBN-13: 978-0593098578
Kindle ASIN: B086SCQ639

The first in an exciting new series featuring Trudell Becket, a spunky librarian who will stop at nothing to save her beloved books and catch a killer!

 

Trudell Becket, book-loving librarian, finds herself in a bind when the library where she works is turned into a state-of-the-art bookless library. In a rare move of rebellion, Trudell rescues hundreds of her library’s beloved books slated for the recycle center. She sets up a secret book room in the library’s basement and opens it to anyone who shares her love of the printed book.

 

When the town councilman, who was the vocal proponent of the library’s transformation into a “futuristic technological center,” is crushed under an overturned shelf of DVDs, Trudell becomes the police’s prime suspect for his murder. She was the only person in the library at the time of his death, or so the police believe. But that’s not true. For the past month, Trudell had been letting a few dozen residents into the building through the basement entrance so they could read and check out the printed books.

 

But if she tells the police about the backdoor patrons who were in the library at the time of the murder, she’d have to explain about the secret book room and risk losing the books. In order to protect herself from being arrested for a murder she didn’t commit, Trudell–with the help of a group of dedicated readers–decides to investigate. She quickly discovers you can’t always judge a book by its cover.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Like me, Trudell Becket loves books. Being a librarian brings her so much joy. But the Cypress city manager is on a mission to bring tech companies to town so he has decided the way to do that is to make everything computerized and digital. His first major project is to make the library completely digital and send all the print books to the landfill. Trudell just can’t accept that so she comes up with a plan to rescue as many books as she can. She pitches her idea to her friends and they agree to help her. While executing her plan she hears a loud crash. Rushing to the noise she finds the city manager crushed beneath a media shelf that was filled with DVDs. A shelf that had been tampered with. Because she is the one that found him Trudell becomes the prime suspect in the murder. Now with a little more help from her friends, she decides to find the real culprit before she is booked for the crime.


Stop, full stop! A library with no physical books! Yes, technology is great but libraries hold our history. They are a gathering place. A place where dreams are born and goals are set. There is nothing like that new book smell, except maybe that old book smell. The joy that is felt as you open a book and set off on a new adventure. Yes, stories can be read or listened to on devices and loved but there of many types of books that just need to be in print format. All formats can coexist together, there is no need to just trash books especially first editions of some classics. Okay, I will get off my soapbox and tell you more about this book but I must say the premise of the story just broke my heart. That does not mean I did enjoy the book. If the job of a book is to evoke emotions this story truly does that.

I found Trudell to be a very interesting protagonist, a girl after my own heart. She has a diverse group of friends and co-workers, one of who I identified with completely. One has me on the fence. I feel we have just scratched the surface on these key characters. I want to get to know them all better. Dewey, the cat, was a favorite of mine. I found him to be quite captivating.

The mystery had a nice pace with twists and turns. I did hone in on someone very early in the story, I just needed to suss out all the reasons why. Trudell worked her way through all the suspects and did come around eventually to my way of thinking as all the clues finally fell into place for her. It was fun to see her process everything. I think the theme of the story, a bookless library, grabbed all of my attention at first and I was thrilled that the city manager was the victim. Had I been a character in the story I may have topped the suspect list myself. The motive ended up being a bit of a surprise but my thinking was definitely on the right track.

The Broken Spine is a very pleasing start to the Beloved Bookroom Series. I am curious to see where the author takes these characters and how they will develop. I am still trying to wrap my head around the bookless library idea. Ms. St. James has sure piqued my interest. A Perfect Bind will be released on September 7, 2021.

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About Dorothy St. James

Mystery author Dorothy St. James was born in New York but raised in South Carolina. She makes her home on an artsy island community in South Carolina with her husband, a crazy dog, and fluffy cat. Though writing has always been a passion for her, she pursued an undergraduate degree in Wildlife Biology and a graduate degree in Public Administration and Urban Planning. She put her educational experience to use, having worked in all branches and all levels of government including local, regional, state, and federal. She even spent time during college working for a non-profit environmental watchdog organization.

Switching from government service and community planning to fiction writing wasn’t as big of a change as some might think. Her government work was all about the stories of the people and the places where they live. As an urban planner, Dorothy loved telling the stories of the people she met. And from that, her desire to tell the tales that were so alive in her heart grew until she could not ignore it any longer. In 2001, she took a leap of faith and pursued her dream of writing fiction full-time.

* Dorothy St. James is the alter-ego of award-winning multi-published author, Dorothy McFalls. She enjoys writing in several different genres. Her works have been nominated for many awards including: Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, Reviewers International Organization Award, National Reader’s Choice Award, CataRomance Reviewers’ Choice Award, and The Romance Reviews Today Perfect 10! Award. Reviewers have called her work: “amazing”, “perfect”, “filled with emotion”, and “lined with danger.”

Author Links – Website      Twitter     Facebook    Bookbub

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Also by Dorothy St. James


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January 19 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW
January 19 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
January 19 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
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January 20 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
January 20 – Ascroft, eh? – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
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January 20 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW
January 21 – Here’s How It Happened – SPOTLIGHT
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January 22 – Books to the Ceiling – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
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January 22 – Moonlight Rendezvous –  REVIEW, GUEST POST
January 22 – Cozy Up WIth Kathy – REVIEW
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January 24 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST
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January 25 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
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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 Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Alphabet Soup A -Z Author Edition Challenge Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways Literary Escapes TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – A Zen For Murder (Moosamuck Island Cozy Mystery Series) by Leighann Dobbs #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.


A Zen For Murder (Moosamuck Island Cozy Mystery Series)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Maine
Independently Published (November 11, 2014)
Paperback: 224 pages
ISBN-10: 1503235416
ISBN-13: 978-1503235410
Kindle ASIN: B00PHMW27U

A humorous old-fashioned whodunit with a male and female senior sleuth team and enough twists to keep you reading all night.

Tourist season is about to start, and murder is the last thing on the minds of the locals in Mooseamuck Island, Maine … but that’s about to change.

When local psychic Zoila Rivers is found dead at the zen garden, retired police consultants Dominic Benedetti and Claire Watkins are forced to team up to catch the killer. Too bad Claire and Dom don’t always see eye to eye.

But with an island full of locals who all have secrets, Claire and Dom have to put aside their differences in order to solve the case before the police arrest the wrong person and a killer goes free.

Will Claire and Dom figure out whose secret was worth killing for in time to stop the killer from claiming another victim?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Mooseamuck Island, Maine is a popular place with retirees like Dominic Benedetti and Claire Watkins. They both worked as police consultants before their retirements. Dominic is a “just the facts” consultant, while Claire was more of a people profiler.  When Zoila Rivers, a local psychic is murdered in the local zen garden both decide to team up to try to find the killer. The local police are not happy with their interference explaining they could be putting themselves in danger but that doesn’t scare them off the case. Do they still have the skills to catch a murderer or will one or both of them be the killer’s next victim/s?

______

I found this book while searching for books for my Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge and happy that I did.

I enjoyed the characters in this story, maybe because most of them are pretty close to my own age, but they are cleverly written as well. The entire community was very realistically written.

Mooseamuck Island, Maine sounds like a beautiful place. I recently watched an HGTV show set in a similar community. Between what I saw on that program and the author’s descriptions it was easy to picture the community homes and places.

The mystery itself was very straight forward with a group of suspects I pared down quickly. One clue really stood out for me so I deduced the killer early on but that didn’t limit my enjoyment of the story. I loved the part animals played in solving the mystery too. A Maine Coon cat will always find its way into my heart.

A Zen for Murder was a quick entertaining read. I would like to visit these characters again soon so I have added the final two books in the series to my wish list.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Leighann Dobbs

USA Today Best Selling Author, Leighann Dobbs, has had a passion for reading since she was old enough to hold a book, but she didn’t put pen to paper until much later in life. After a twenty-year career as a software engineer with a few side trips into selling antiques and making jewelry, she realized you can’t make a living reading books, so she tried her hand at writing them and discovered she had a passion for that too! She lives in New Hampshire with her husband Bruce, their trusty Chihuahua mix Mojo and a beautiful rescue cat, Kitty. From Amazon


Find more books by Leighann Dobbs here.

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Bait and Witch – A Witch Way Librarian Mystery by Angela M. Sanders #Review /#Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @AngelaMSanders


Bait and Witch – A Witch Way Librarian Mystery
by Angela M. Sanders

About Bait and Witch

Bait and Witch – A Witch Way Librarian Mystery
Paranormal Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Oregon
Publisher: Kensington (December 29, 2020)
Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-10: 1496728742
ISBN-13: 978-1496728746
Digital ASIN: B086R8VF2T

Librarian Josie Way moved to small-town Oregon to lay low. Instead, thanks to newfound magic abilities—and a killer on the loose—she’s leapt out of the frying pan and into a cauldron of trouble . . .

 

Josie Way loved working among the Library of Congress’s leather-scented stacks—until she uncovered corruption and made herself a target. As Wilfred, Oregon’s new librarian, Josie can stay undercover until the case goes to court. But life in this little town isn’t as subdued as she expected. The library, housed in a a Victorian mansion, is slated to be bulldozed. Still digesting the news that her safe haven is about to become scrap lumber, Josie discovers a body in the woods . . .

 

Almost as shocking, Josie learns that she’s descended from a long line of witches—and her powers have suddenly sprung to life. With help from a spoiled alley cat who just may be her familiar, Josie’s thumbing through a catalog of suspects, hoping she can conjure a way to save her library—and her life . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Working at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. was a dream come true for Josie Way until she overheard something that turned her into a whistleblower and put a target on her back. In fear for her life, she escaped to Wilfred, Oregon for a job as the small town’s lead librarian. She had hoped for a sleepy little town with no conflicts only to learn that the beautiful library’s fate may be dire. Someone is trying to buy it and tear it down to put up a retreat center. Worried about how long she will be able to stay in Wilfred without a job she comes up with a plan to try to thwart the sale. Then she finds a dead body in the woods behind the library and worries her fate may be dire as well.

As if that isn’t enough to scare the daylights over her, Josie finds she has a strange power regarding the books she has been entrusted to take care of. Unable to explain what is happening she calls her mother and learns she comes from a long line of witches. Her mother tells how she can curtail her witchy ways but soon after she does she realizes she may need those powers to save her life.

_____

I was a little nervous about reading this book because paranormal-themed stories are not always my cup of tea but the synopsis really made me want to know more about Josie Way and this Victorian mansion that had become a library. It was that unique library that drew me in. The author’s detailed description of the place brought the amazing building to life. Each room filled with books, the apartment Josie would inhabit, the paintings on the walls, and the amazing central atrium with its stained glass window set in the roof all felt magical to me before Josie realized she had powers.

I did enjoy the way Josie’s powers were introduced, a true gift for a librarian. The library also comes with a cat named Rodney who bonds with Josie right away. A witch and her familiar, a perfect pair. Josie is an intelligent and talented woman, comfortable in her knowledge, stepping into this new position in a new place. She is very likable and makes friends quickly with her coworker and library trustee/diner owner/pseudo mayor. We also meet several other residents of Wilfred, some thrilled by the demise of the library and others hoping the sale goes awry. We also meet a man whose family has a long history with the town and the local sheriff. The author does an excellent job introducing the characters and allowing them to evolve throughout the story while leaving them room to grow as the series continues.

I was totally entertained by the way the story played out with several secrets revealed and some nice twists and moments of suspense. I probably would have read the entire book in one sitting. I had to force myself to put the book down when the clock struck one and I needed to get to sleep.

Bait and Witch has gotten this series off to an extraordinary start. I wish the Wilfred Library was a real place. I would book my ticket for Oregon today. This paranormal story was a hit for me and I recommend it to everyone that loves a fun cozy mystery.  I am really looking forward to Seven Year Witch coming out on August 24.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Angela M. Sanders

Angela M. Sanders writes the Amazon bestselling Joanna Hayworth Vintage Clothing Mysteries and The Booster Club Capers. Under the pen name Clover Tate, she’s the author of the Kite Shop Mysteries (Berkley), which Romantic Times praised for their “well written wit and intrigue.” Angela’s articles on food, personalities, and perfume have appeared in a variety of magazines, and her monthly newsletters have nearly 2,000 subscribers. She interacts with readers on Facebook and Instagram and is a prominent blogger for Now Smell This, which garners 1.5 million monthly page views. Angela has two cats—one of whom is black of course—a witch’s freckle in her left eye and learned to read tarot cards from a pagan priestess.

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Coming August 24, 2021

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January 11 – Mochas, Mysteries and Meows – EXCERPT 
January 11 – The Editing Pen – REVIEW
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January 12 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
January 12 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
January 12 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
January 13 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW, EXCERPT
January 13 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW
January 13 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
January 14 – Angel’s Guilty Pleasures – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
January 14 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
January 14 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
January 15 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT
January 15 – Cozy Up WIth Kathy – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
January 15 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW  
January 16 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
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January 17 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW
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January 18 – Thoughts in Progress – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
January 18 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
January 18 – Eskimo Princess Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
January 19 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
January 19 – Sneaky the Library Cat’s Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
January 20 – I Read What You Write – GUEST POST
January 20 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – REVIEW

 

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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 E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Literary Escapes New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday – Wedding Bear Blues (A Teddy Bear Mystery) by Meg Macy #Review / # Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @megmims

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am so happy to share my thoughts about Wedding Bear Blues today! 

 


Wedding Bear Blues (A Teddy Bear Mystery)
by Meg Macy

About Wedding Bear Blues


Wedding Bear Blues (A Teddy Bear Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Setting – Michigan
Publisher: Kensington (December 29, 2020)
Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-10: 1496729153
ISBN-13: 978-1496729156
Digital ASIN: B086R75PC1

When a heartless killer ruins a Valentine’s Day wedding, teddy bear shop manager Sasha Silverman vows to solve the crime . . .

At the Silver Bear Shop and Factory, Sasha will be selling plenty of bride and groom teddy bears come springtime. But this Valentine’s Day weekend, she’d take any of those silent, stuffed couples over the real thing. Sasha and her sister Maddie are bridesmaids at Cissy Davidson’s upcoming wedding in Silver Hollow. Cissy is fuming over the worst choice of best man—the jerk who broke her sister Debbie’s heart—and the groom-to-be won’t budge in his decision. At the rehearsal dinner, you could cut the tension with a wedding cake knife.

That is, until best man Dylan is found dead, impaled with an ice pick. Although jilted Debbie is the most likely suspect—the blood on her dress doesn’t help her case—the bride begs Sasha to prove her sister’s innocence. If anyone’s going to walk down the aisle, Sasha will first need to find the cold-hearted killer who iced Dylan . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

It’s a beary interesting time in Silver Hollow. Bears are popular Valentine’s Day gifts but the Silver Bear Shop and Factory is planning ahead for Spring. With both Sasha and Maddie standing up in their friend’s Cissy Davidson’s Valentine’s wedding, marriage and anniversaries are on the girl’s minds. Bride and groom bears would be fantastic for spring. The could even be personalized. The girls are also excited about the Chocolate Bear Bar they are hosting for Chocolair, the new chocolate shop in town.

As Cissy’s wedding draws near, there are many plans coming up – a shower, complete with Botox treatments, the bachelor party poker game, the wedding rehearsal, and the following dinner, all before the big event. Bridezilla Cissy has a big problem with her groom’s choice for the best man. Dylan Campbell is a womanizer who broke her sister Debbie’s heart. By the time the rehearsal dinner rolls around more than just Debbie and Cissy have issues with Dylan. When he is found dead in the middle of the dinner in the women’s bathroom no less, Debbie may be at the top of the suspect list but there are several other names following hers. Cissy begs Sasha to prove Debbie didn’t do it but she also wants the case wrapped up quickly so she can get hitched as soon as possible.


It is always fun to catch up with the Silverman family. This time the author introduces a plethora of new characters. Family visiting from out of town, the wedding party and their families, along with one big dog, and some strange men coming into the shop looking for a certain type of teddy bear. The author does an excellent job at keeping each character unique which I really appreciated because it was so easy to keep everyone straight and how they connected to other characters. Sasha and Maddie put up with a lot from Cissy and they definitely had much more patience than I ever would have had with the woman.  I did enjoy that Jay and Sasha’s relationship was more present in the story and getting stronger. It was also nice to see Maddie with a man and that the four of them did things together and it felt very comfortable. Their aunt and uncle came to town with heavy hearts as a family member has a huge medical crisis. Without missing a beat, the girl’s come up with a great idea, and the family and the entire community gets on board.  I found that part of the story especially heartwarming.

The murder mystery was a twisted one. I knew there was some underlying secret that would blow the mystery wide open but until everything was revealed I just couldn’t piece the clues together in a sensical way. I eliminated suspects only to bring them back on to my personal list a chapter or two later. A few characters really pushed my buttons and I wanted them to be guilty. The bride’s dog plays an amusing role throughout the story. There are also a couple of subplots woven into the story that added a bit of intrigue. I thought they were kinda unnecessary but one was there to set up the start for the next book in the series.

Ms. Macy always gives her readers a fun and entertaining story with captivating characters. Well-written with an emphasis on family Wedding Bear Blues is a true testament to that. While the book reads well on its own, I recommend reading the series in order to get to know this beary lovable family from the start.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

You can read my review of Bearly Departed
and a guest post from Meg here.

You can read my review of Bear Witness to Murder
and a character guest post by Sasha Silverman here.

You can read my review of Have A Beary Little Murder here.

About Meg Macy

Award-winning mystery author Meg Macy lives in Southeast Michigan, close enough to Ann Arbor, Chelsea, and Dexter — the setting of her “Shamelessly Adorable Teddy Bear” cozy mysteries for Kensington. She is also one-half of the writing team of D.E. Ireland for the Eliza Doolittle & Henry Higgins mysteries; two books, Wouldn’t It Be Deadly and Get Me to the Grave On Time were Agatha Award finalists for Best Historical. Meg’s first published book, Double Crossing, won the 2012 Best First Novel Spur Award from Western Writers of America. Meg loves reading historical and cozy mysteries, gardening, crafts, and watercolor painting.

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Great Escapes Praise for Wedding Bear Blues (A Teddy Bear Mystery)
by Meg Macy

Wedding Bear Blues by Meg Macy is a fun-filled mystery with a lot of teddy bear humor.
~Baroness’ Book Trove

The author has a captivating writing style and has offered an array of colorful characters along with a genuinely interesting and suspenseful plot.
~I Read What You Write

I like Sasha and her whole family, especially as they pull together through good times and bad . . . With its shamelessly adorable teddy bears and a matrimonial murder WEDDING BEAR BLUES is a Valentine’s Day treat.
~Cozy Up With Kathy

I thought this charming cozy was well-written with developed characters and adorable teddy bears. I enjoyed all the cozy elements that make up this entertaining tale . . .
~The Avid Reader

 

TOUR PARTICIPANTS
January 4 – Thoughts in Progress – SPOTLIGHT
January 4 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
January 5 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW
January 5 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
January 6 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – SPOTLIGHT
January 6 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
January 7 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
January 7 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW
January 8 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW
January 8 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – REVIEW
January 9 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
January 9 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW
January 10 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT
January 11 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST
January 11 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
January 12 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
January 12 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW
January 13 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
January 13 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
January 14 – ebook addicts – SPOTLIGHT
January 14 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – SPOTLIGHT
January 15 – Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic – SPOTLIGHT
January 15 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
January 16 – Diane Reviews Books – GUEST POST
January 17 – Ascroft, eh? – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

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Posted in 2021 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Alphabet Soup A -Z Author Edition Challenge Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Literary Escapes New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Hope, Faith, and a Corpse: A Faith Chapel Mystery by Laura Jensen Walker #Review @LauraJensenWal1


Hope, Faith, and a Corpse: A Faith Chapel Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – California
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books (January 12, 2021)
Hardcover: 298 pages
ISBN-10: 1643855042
ISBN-13: 978-1643855042
Kindle ASIN: B0871KRPKG

In the tradition of M. C. Beaton, Hope Taylor, pastor of a small-town California church, tries to find out who sent a church elder to Heaven.

Hope Taylor arrives in Apple Springs to start her new life as the first female pastor of Faith Chapel Episcopal Church. The northern California town’s quaint cottages, bungalows, and shops promise a fresh start for the 42-year-old widow and Bogie, her scruffy black Labrador. But where is Father Christopher? The kindly old rector who hired Pastor Hope was supposed to meet her upon her arrival, but he’s nowhere to be seen. Hope’s faith springs eternal, so she explores the little white church hoping to find Father Christopher. But when she enters the columbarium, she instead finds church elder Stanley King–his skull crushed by a fallen burial urn.

Hope had made Stanley’s acquaintance before and had struggled to take a charitable view of his character. Stanley was as wicked as he was wealthy, as petty as he was pious. His soul may have been holy, but his behavior was wholly rotten. The last time Hope had seen him, he had shouted drunkenly that she would preach at Faith Chapel over his dead body.

Many of the townsfolk witnessed the altercation, so Hope finds herself as the prime suspect in Stanley’s murder. With Bogie’s four-footed assistance, Hope is determined to find the real killer and clear her name…even if it will require a bit of divine intervention.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Oh my, Hope Taylor is a woman I would surely be friends with. We share our Wisconsin roots, we hear our mother’s voice in our heads – “a place for everything and everything in its place” all the time, our inner thoughts sometimes roll off our tongues and escape out our mouths, we both love old black and white movies and can quote lines perfectly if necessary. She even has a labrador named Bogie.

Hope in the new associate pastor at Faith Chapel Episcopal Church and her first day doesn’t get off to a good start. While trying to locate the lead pastor, Father Christopher, she finds church elder Stanley Kind instead. He just happens to be dead in the columbarium with a crushed skull and a bloody urn by his side. She had only met the man once and he was drunk and not very supportive. When two parishioners find her and the deceased that quickly jump to the conclusion that she killed the man. Being a murder suspect was not the fresh start she was hoping to have. Now she is going to have to prove herself to her new congregation and clear her name.


Laura Jensen Walker introduces some fantastic characters in this first Faith Chapel Mysteries. Not only do I love Hope but her sister-in-law Virginia too. She drops everything to come to Hope’s aid and she is a whole lot of fun. I also liked the technology-challenged Father Christopher. He reminded me of one of my former pastors.  There are several other characters that remind me of people in my life. Bogie also stole my heart immediately. All the characters are believable and some are very quirky. They were all very fleshed out for the first book in the series.

The life of a small-town church is accurately portrayed. While not a pastor, I worked for our small town church for several years in different capacities and everything from the fundraisers to the services rang true, as did the dealing with the variety of members’ attitudes and feelings.

The victim was truly a despicable man so there was no shortage of suspects. The more I learned about him I was surprised he lived as long as he did. Another mystery involves a skeleton found buried in Hope’s backyard. Both mysteries are well-plotted and interesting. I really enjoyed doing some armchair sleuthing of my own as Hope was trying to uncover all the facts she could. Several twists and a little legwork brought the real culprit to light. The author’s descriptive writing style made everything clear in my mind’s eye each and every step of the way. The final twist was quite a surprise.

Hope, Faith, and a Corpse was a heavenly read. I loved the way humor was woven liberally throughout the entire story. I truly didn’t want to reach the end. I am very excited about this series. I can’t wait for book two! I have hope and faith that this series is going to be a must-read for cozy lovers everywhere. A Perfect Escape!!

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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 Murder Most Sweet and Thanks for the Mammogram! Laura 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)
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Also by Laura Jensen Walker

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.”