Feb 192019
 

Hot Fudge Murder (A Lickety Splits Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd Book in Series
Setting – New York
Kensington (January 29, 2019)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1496714156
ISBN-13: 978-1496714152
Kindle ASIN: B07CWDT76Q

Just six weeks after the grand opening of Lickety Splits Ice Cream Shoppe, owner Kate McKay has been enlisted to whip up sundaes at the most decadent soiree in the Hudson Valley. If only Kate knew how deadly sticky her sweet deal will turn out . . .

Once Kate arrives at a glamorous gala hosted by world-famous fashion designer Omar DeVane, she’s instantly intimidated by the mogul’s luxurious mansion and the frosty personalities of his handlers. But the party completely loses its flavor when guests follow screams to a room that’s eerily empty—except for Omar’s freshly murdered body . . .

While the headline-grabbing crime brings a steady stream of journalists to the sleepy village of Wolfert’s Roost, Kate knows things won’t return to normal until Omar’s killer is brought to justice. And with the scandalous case driving customers away from Lickety Splits, she has no choice but to put down the ice cream scooper and expose the culprit on her own . . .

As Kate crashes high-profile photo shoots and mingles with fashion’s biggest influencers in search of clues, the puzzling truth about Omar’s fame and fortune rises to the surface—and with it, the key to his killer’s twisted motive. Kate will have to navigate the celebrity lifestyle to save her fledgling business, but her attempts to freeze cold-hearted criminals in their tracks could lead to a double scoop of deadly trouble . . .

Includes mouthwatering ice cream recipes from the Lickety Splits Ice Cream Shoppe!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Kate McKay is thrilled that after only being in business a short time people are booking her to cater ice cream desserts for their parties. She can’t believe she has been asked to serve sundaes at Omar DeVane’s gala. The prominent fashion designer will have many celebrities at his event and she hopes they will love the sweet treats she will be serving. She has been told Mr. DeVane loves hot fudge sundae’s, she hopes his guests will too.

When she arrives at the mansion with her best friend, Willow, her niece Emma, and Emma’s boyfriend Ethan, they are awed by the place but set up their Lickety Split Ice Cream Shoppe station and get ready to serve the guests. Things get really sticky when the housekeeper screams and Omar Devane’s body is found. Murdered by one of his guests? That has to be the answer, but who?

Sadly, the public draws the line between the murder and Kate’s shop. The press has camped out in front of her shop and isn’t there for the ice cream. Could this murder thaw her right out of business? Leaving her shop in Emma’s care she embarks down the path to find the killer herself, making Wolfert’s Roost’s Detective Stoltz very unhappy.

Cindy Baxter delivers another delicious mystery for her readers to enjoy.

Our protagonist Kate McKay is one busy woman. Running her shop, developing new and unique flavors, and tracking down a murderer. Her old high-school boyfriend Jake seems to be quite jealous when Hudson Valley Adventure Tours opens across the street from Lickety Splits and its owner seems to be interested in Kate. A good old fashioned romantic triangle in the making. Kate’s grandmother is getting a little restless at home and has started visiting the Senior Center and having some grand ideas. I really enjoy the way Kate and her Grams evolved from the first story and throughout this one. It is a natural progression and not forced.

The murderer has to be someone at the party which could mean a lot of suspects but the focus quickly narrows down to just a few. There were some wonderful twists but I made my decision of whodunit early on, I just needed the motivation to fall better into place. I did enjoy all the work Kate put in to investigate and had fun following along.

As in the first book in this series, Ms. Baxter’s descriptive writing style drew me in. Not only the people and the places but the ice cream. Being allergic to nuts I was sad to see all the recipes with almonds but love the direction she is going with Lickety Lite. If you don’t have ice cream in the freezer when you start reading this book, put the book down and go get some. You will be wanting a scoop or two before you get through the first couple of chapters.

I really enjoyed this story. I am excited about the next story with both Kate and Grams having some bright ideas.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Read my review of Murder with a Cherry On Top here. 

About the Author

Cynthia Baxter is the author of fifty-three novels. Her books have been translated into German, Swedish, and Danish. Born and raised on Long Island, she currently resides there. Her favorite ice cream flavors are peach, coconut, and chocolate hazelnut. For more information, visit www.cynthiabaxter.com.

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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.”

Feb 152019
 

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 Killing at Kaldaire House

(The Milliner Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
New Series
Setting – England
Self-Published
Release Date – April 2, 2018
Paperback: 318 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0997663716
Digital ASIN: B079ZBJ935

A dying man. The painting within her reach. What’s a thief to do?

Talented London milliner Emily Gates creates amazing hats for Society ladies, but to collect from those who don’t pay her bill, she burglarizes their homes. She needs every penny to send her deaf brother to school. Late one night, she sneaks in to find Lord Kaldaire badly injured in his study. Unwilling to abandon him, she calls for help.

When Kaldaire dies without revealing who attacked him, his widow agrees to keep Emily’s secrets ― if Emily will help find her husband’s killer. A bigger danger is a Scotland Yard inspector who threatens to arrest Emily — unless she spies on her father’s family of swindlers and conmen. Worst of all are the attacks from an unknown assailant. What will Emily face first, jail or death?

This cozy mystery is set in the era of My Fair Lady and Mary Poppins, of early automobiles and aeroplanes, and of King Edward VII and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. If you enjoyed the Victorian Bookshop Mysteries, you’ll like Emily Gates and the collection of aristocrats and thieves in her world as they step into the 20th century.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Emily Gates learned to make fabulous hats as a girl from her Mum and she is now a top London milliner in London. Her hats are in demand by all the Society Ladies and she does enjoy running her shop with her uncle and her deaf brother. She is not happy when the ladies or their husbands fail to pay her for her work. She has learned a few tricks from the shadier side of her family and is not beyond burglarizing their homes and holding their prized possessions hostage until her bill is paid.

She has made some beautiful hats for Lady Kaldaire but Lord Kaldaire has not paid her. She knows there is a painting that hangs in his study that he holds very dear. She decides to sneak in late one night to abscond with the portrait but instead finds Lord Kildaire on the floor. When he moans she realizes he is still alive and she has to call for help. Unfortunately, his injuries were severe and he dies before naming his attacker. Emily gains the trust of Lady Kaldaire who vows to keep the break in a secret if Emily agrees to find the killer. That isn’t going to be easy especially with an inspector from Scotland on her tail with some demands of his own.

I am a big fan of Kate Parker. I have enjoyed both her Victorian Bookshop Mysteries and her Deadly Series, So I escaped right into this story and was taken back in time with Emily Gates. A commoner who is drawn into the world of Ladies and Lords, Princes and Princesses. To help Lady Kaldaire gets the answers she needs Emily finds herself rubbing elbows with the elite, riding in motorcars, and attending parties. Detective Inspector Russell knows her truth as well and thinks she may be working with her father and his family. The family he believes are responsible for many of the thefts on his docket.

Ms. Parker’s characters are quite dynamic. Very fleshed out with vivid detail. The clothing and especially the hats are thoroughly described as are the estates, Emily’s shop, home, and workshop, and the automobiles including the dusty roads they travel on. I could picture every place and person perfectly. Emily is a very strong independent woman, but she did bend to Lady Kaldaire’s elaborate schemes sometimes to her own peril. I enjoyed their interactions though very much. I also find Emily’s dedication to caring for her deaf brother heartwarming. Her main goal is to have enough money to send him to a special school and that is what drives her through the story.

The mystery is a bugger to solve. Emily finds herself going to her grandfather for help, something she has shunned before. She feels she is in danger of losing her business if she can’t put all the pieces together and find the killer all while trying to stay out of her family’s shenanigans. She literally travels far and wide to get answers.

As stated in the synopsis this story does have a My Fair Lady mashed with a little Mary Poppins with a dash of Sherlock Holmes feel. The author has great world building skills and has created very memorable characters.  I found the story to be delightfully entertaining and a perfect escape.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kate Parker has wanted to travel to 1930s England since she read her mother’s Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers mysteries when she was a schoolgirl. After many years of studying science, she decided a time travel machine was out of the question so she found herself limited to reading about the period and visiting historic sites. Her love of this fascinating and challenging period led her to the research from which the Deadly series grew. Eventually, she found it necessary to spend several days in the British Library reading old newspapers, which meant another trip to England. Near Christmas. A sacrifice she’d gladly make every year.

Author Links:

Website     Facebook    Twitter    Goodreads

Purchase Links – Amazon Kindle   Amazon Paperback  B&N    Kobo  BookBub


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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.”

Feb 142019
 

Back in 2013 LynDee Walker released the first Nichelle Clarke Mystery, Front Page Fatality, and I loved it. She went on to release 5 more books in this series.

In July of 2018, she unveiled brand new covers that fit the stories so much better, with a new publisher. They will also be available soon as audio books.

In January she released a novella that takes place between books five and six, Cover Shot and Lethal Lifestyles as we wait for the next book to be released. Last week, she revealed the cover of the new book on Facebook and told us it was “coming soon”. 

Today I am not only going to share my review of the novella Fatal Features but my reviews of the first six books in the series too. Note they are no longer classified as “cozies with an edge”. They are hard boiled with a fantastic female amateur sleuth. If you haven’t started this series or are behind, there is no better time than now to get caught up. 

Front Page Fatality: A Nichelle Clarke Crime Thriller
Severn River Publishing (June 17, 2018)
1st in Series
Print Length: 276 pages
ASIN: B07DV4PLKF


Crime reporter Nichelle Clarke’s days can flip from macabre to comical with a beep of her police scanner. Then an ordinary accident story turns extraordinary when evidence goes missing, a prosecutor vanishes, and a sexy Mafia boss shows up with the headline tip of a lifetime. As Nichelle gets closer to the truth, her story gets more dangerous. Armed with a notebook, a hunch, and her favorite stilettos, Nichelle races to splash these shady dealings across the front page before this deadline becomes her last.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Exciting from the first page to the last!!

This story is packed with drama and strong vibrant characters. Nichelle is a powerful, feisty woman. Her boss, Bob, is her father figure and the interplay between them is just heartwarming. The other supporting characters just leap off the pages and part of the mystery is which of them are the “good guys” and which are the “bad guys”.

The dialogue is terrific, the pace is perfect, and the humor is well placed. Then there are those moments that rival a scary movie and you can’t seem to read fast enough. And don’t forget the shoes….heels to be exact… Carrie Bradford look out!!

This is a wonderful debut. Buried Leads is on deck. I can’t wait! If you like your cozies with just a bit of an edge pick this one up today!!


Buried Leads: A Nichelle Clarke Crime Thriller
Severn River Publishing (June 19, 2018)
2nd in Series
Print Length: 272 pages
ASIN: B07DWDF5WC

When an Armani-clad corpse turns up in the woods, crime reporter Nichelle Clarke smells a scoop. A little digging, and Nichelle uncovers a web of corruption that stretches all the way to Washington, D.C. Politics. Murder. And a dead lobbyist. It’s everything Nichelle’s ever dreamed of.

The cops are playing it close, the feds even closer, and Nichelle’s afraid her boss will assign the story to the political desk any day. Richmond’s new ATF SuperCop makes an arrest before she can say “Louboutin,” but Nichelle’s gut says he’s got the wrong guy.

Her sexy Mafia boss friend warns her off the case, her TV rival is hot on her designer heels, an ambitious copy editor wants her beat, and victims are piling up faster than she can track them down. As Nichelle zeroes in on the truth, it’ll take some fancy footwork to nab this headline before the killer nabs her.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
She did it again. I started reading and just couldn’t stop. The rest of the world just fell away as I chased down the clues with Nichelle.

She is juggling at least 4 headlines for the Richmond Telegraph while trying to keep a co-worker who is sleeping with the managing editor from stealing her job and still scoop a television reporter. Her ex has shown up in town as the area’s newest ATF agent and wants them to give their relationship another chance. But her new “friend” Joey has plans of his own romantically speaking and his contacts in the criminal world have him doing everything he can to keep her safe. Nichelle’s police contacts are telling her nothing. Then her investigation shows a couple of her stories seem to be connected, it is time for her inner Lois Lane to shine as she plans to scoop everyone unless someone scoops her up first.

This is fast paced with fantastic characters, the supporting ones are really growing too! There is political corruption, murder, mayhem, bullets flying, romantic tension, and a tough heroine in high heels.  Hang on tight! Lyndee Walker takes us on us a wild ride with a few surprises and even a couple laugh out loud moments. She is definitely an author to keeps our eyes on!


Small Town Spin: A Nichelle Clarke Crime Thriller
Severn River Publishing (June 19, 2018)
3rd in Series
Print Length: 314 pages
ASIN: B07DWGQZRZ

When a superstar athlete’s son turns up dead in a tiny town on the Virginia coast, crime reporter Nichelle Clarke gets the inside scoop. But she quickly spies a gaping hole her inner Lois Lane cannot ignore.

Determined to unravel the mystery, Nichelle fights off paparazzi cameras and an unexpected rival. She uncovers an illegal moonshine operation, a string of copycat suicides, and a slew of closets stacked with more skeletons than slingbacks. Chasing a killer who’s a breath from getting away with murder, Nichelle realizes too late the culprit has her number—and it might be up.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

LynDee Walker is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors and Nichelle Clarke one of my favorite protagonists. I started this story and just couldn’t put it down.

Even when she is sick Nichelle keeps going. Those darn allergies have to take a back seat when her co-worker asks her to check out a story. His friend’s son is dead and the cops say it’s suicide. The boy’s parents just don’t believe it and want Nichelle to investigate and find out what really happened. Let me say Nichelle works better sick than most of us work healthy. She puts on Manolos, channels her inner Lois Lane, and starts digging and following clues. She is bound and determined to get her exclusive story and leave TV reporter Charlie in the dust. She also wants to give the boy’s parents some kind of closure.

Walker has written quite a mystery with some corkscrew turns and twists and fabulous characters. She also adds the perfect amount of romance and humor. I really love “bad guy” Joey. He has it Nicey bad and he is always there just when he needs her most.  But Kyle is still fighting to have her give their relationship another chance. Stay tuned I think things will heat up even more in the next installment.


Devil in the Deadline: A Nichelle Clarke Crime Thriller
Severn River Publishing (June 21, 2018)
4th in Series
Print Length: 332 pages
ASIN: B07DY7VJJP

When the Richmond police offer an exclusive in exchange for help with a case, nothing—not even a costume party—stops crime reporter Nichelle Clarke from making Manolo tracks to the crime scene. The hunt leads her to a televangelist’s compound in the Virginia countryside where the Reverend may be more interested in fat stacks of cash than he is saving wayward souls.

With two sexy guys tangled up in Nichelle’s story—and in her heart—work and love are on a crash course for disaster. Pressure pours in from every corner, including a faceless new competitor that means the deadline is always five minutes ago. As secrets threaten and the truth becomes her lifeline, Nichelle must unmask the killer and nail down the story before she’s snared in the carefully-constructed web.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Nichelle Clarke is a crime reporter with excellent taste in fine footwear and she doesn’t let those high heels hold her back when she needs to climb to the latest crime scene. The scene she finds is just ghastly and almost beyond words. But her new competition, a blogger, has no problem putting all the gruesome details out there. The big question is where is she getting her information. Nichelle is supposed to have an exclusive agreement with the cops! for her help in the investigation. That investigation puts Nichelle’s life in danger but she will do anything to get the story and catch a killer. It doesn’t hurt that she has her old high school boyfriend, now ATF Agent Kyle and a hunk like Joey with his questionable underworld ties watching her back, but can they keep her safe this time?

This entire series is absolutely awesome. Each story is just full of action, thrills, romance and humor too! LynDee Walker just keeps topping herself!

I love the characters! Nicey is such a strong woman and she is always on a deadline. This time she receives help from a very unlikely person. She also never knows when bad-boy Joey (no last name) will appear but his kisses never fail to curl her toes. Kyle is still interested in rekindling their romance and while she knows his last name and he would offer her a more stable life there is just no toe curling. But he isn’t giving up. I also like her editor at the paper. He seems like a man with common sense in an industry that is changing on a daily basis. He fights hard for his job and for Nichelle and makes an excellent sounding board for her.

The plot is fantastic. The crime seems to be pure evil and the twists really add to the suspense. We also learn more about Nichelle and the story ends with quite a cliffhanger. LynDee Walker’s journalist’s skills shine and have made her an excellent mystery writer.


Cover Shot: A Nichelle Clarke Crime Thriller
Severn River Publishing (June 23, 2018)
5th in Series
Print Length: 360 pages
ASIN: B07DZKP2D6

It’s been a slow news month in Richmond, and crime reporter Nichelle Clarke is enjoying the downtime when ominous messages and a dead body kick things into high gear. And that’s before the guy with the rifle takes a hospital full of people hostage.

Up to the top of her knee-high Prada boots in leads, Nichelle finds her favorite detectives under pressure to make an arrest, but it doesn’t add up—and ignoring the “why” of this story could cost Nichelle the most important person in her life.

With too much to lose, a shot at the story of a lifetime, and a missing bullet that might be the key, landing this headline could save the day, but can Nichelle dig up the truth before the killer buries her with it?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Book #5 in this series starts out with Nicey lamenting about no news to her rushing in her high heels to a hospital on lockdown because a man has a gun. It makes the strange text messages she has been receiving pretty mundane. She knows she needs to investigate them but they will have to wait because a gun trumps a text every time. LynDee Walker has us on the edge of seats with this one.

It’s all about the “WHY”. Why would a man bring a loaded rifle into a hospital? Nichelle Clarke needs to find the “Why” to this story and in doing so investigates the medical treatments and research, the test trials, and the money. The money made by drug companies, insurance companies, and health professionals. The scary question  – Would cures be held back because more money is made treating the disease instead of curing it? Walker puts a personal face to this and puts her protagonist in danger as she tries to find the truth.

I love this series. Nicey is a top-notch reporter that gets to the heart of the matter. She also cares about the people she works with including her editor who is trying to be forced into retirement. There is no way she is going to let that happen. She also loves Joey even though she knows nothing of his past and isn’t sure she wants to. Her ex, Kyle, thinks Joey is trouble and does all he can to shake Nicey’s confidence.

This is such a good story. The characters continue to impress me and the plot has a true ripped from the headlines feel. So well written.

Each of the stories in this series has been fantastic but this is the best one yet. I hope we are chasing down another story in our virtual high heels with Nicey soon. Oh, and a little more Joey would be awfully nice too!


Lethal Lifestyles: A Nichelle Clarke Crime Thriller
Severn River Publishing (June 26, 2018)
6th in Series
Print Length: 290 pages
ASIN: B07F2PQPGJ

Wedding bells are ringing at the Richmond Telegraph, and maid of honor Nichelle Clarke is determined to give her friends the perfect fairytale beginning to their happily ever after. So when a corpse crashes rehearsal weekend, Nichelle ditches her wedding coordinator shoes for her crime reporter ones, and a little poking around turns up a big problem: the victim and the groom have a history, and it’s not a pretty one.

Evidence against groom Grant Parker piles up, leaving Nichelle wishing a hostile bridesmaid was still her biggest worry as she tries to fend off Richmond’s favorite TV reporter—and her own scheming publisher. At odds with the cops, her beloved editor, and the ticking clock, Nichelle races to uncover the truth and save the day before this perfect wedding turns into a funeral.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Our star reporter has been bustin’ her tail to give Grant and Mel the wedding of their dreams. We are just one week from the big day when a dead guy is found at the wedding venue right before the rehearsal festivities are about to start, and the dead guy has a connection to the groom. HOLY MANOLOS!! Nicey’s heels hit the ground running as she tries to save the wedding, keep Charlie, her arch nemesis, off the trail, keep her and her boss employed and pull off this wedding on time. Hold on tight, this is one story that will knock your high heels right off.

Why do I love this series so much? The author writes a fantastic mystery filled with drama but filled with humor too. She always tops herself and leaves me wanting more.

Nicey is an unforgettable heroine not only because she is independent, smart, and wears some of the best footwear in the world but because she is a true friend. She will fight for her friends until she gets to the whole truth and she refuses to publish anything sketchy even when the publisher is holding her beautiful feet to the fire. She also tries to hold her temper in the toughest of times. She has integrity and in today’s world, it is sometimes hard to find reporters like her. She has the right connections and because of the woman, she is they will step up to help her whenever they can. Even her ex. She also is learning to listen to her heart just a bit more in this installment too and they made this reader very happy.

LynDee Walker gives us a story the flows quickly with plenty of twists to keep us on our heels. The mystery is complex, the characters continue to evolve and the new characters are memorable and all seem to be hiding something.

This series is best if you start with Front Page Fatality and read the series in order to understand the characters and their history. Also for me each one is better than the last and becomes my new favorite in the series.

_______________________________________________________

Keep reading for my new review of Fatal Features.


Fatal Features: A Nichelle Clarke Crime Thriller Novella
Crime Thriller
5.5 in Series
Setting – Virginia
Severn River Publishing (January 18, 2019)
Print Length: 76 pages
ASIN: B07MQ6QHRJ

Crime reporter Nichelle Clarke prefers chasing headlines to relaxing.

Even injured and on doctor-ordered bed rest.

When her editor offers her a feature assignment thinking that will silence her requests to return to work early, Nichelle jumps at it. Her editor sends reinforcements to keep Nichelle from overdoing it, venturing to an abandoned renaissance fairground to interview a ghost-hunting reality TV show’s producers and staff.

But a fresh dead body and a nearby tragedy leave Nichelle and her friends on their own to figure out who they can trust on the set—and who might be a killer.

Can Nichelle uncover the truth before someone she loves becomes the next victim?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

You can’t keep Nichelle Clarke down. Settling for a feature story until she is cleared to return to work and her crime beat, Nichelle thought it would be an easy day. She has Parker & Mel tagging along, her editors idea not hers. But soon after she arrives at the isolated set for a ghost-hunting reality show she finds a dead body. She doesn’t know who on the crew to trust but fears that if she doesn’t catch the killer she and her friends could be the next victims.

Even limited to just 76 pages LynDee Walker writes a story that packs a punch. The pages flew with twists and turns. It wasn’t long until we reached the exciting climax and I was stunned by the culprit and sad because I wanted more Nichelle.

A wonderful short story to whet our appetites as we wait for the next full-length feature with Nichelle Clarke, our high heeled heroine.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

LynDee Walker is the author of six national bestselling novels of suspense, beginning with the Agatha Award-nominated FRONT PAGE FATALITY. Reviews have praised her work as “well-crafted, compelling, and fast-paced,” and “an edge-of-your-seat ride” with “a spider web of twists and turns that will keep you reading until the end.”

Before she started writing fiction, LynDee was an award-winning journalist who covered everything from ribbon cuttings to high-level police corruption. Her work has appeared in newspapers and magazines across the U.S.

Aside from books, LynDee loves her family, her readers, travel, and coffee. She lives in Richmond, Virginia, where she is working on her next novel when she’s not juggling laundry and children’s sports schedules.

You can find her online at www.lyndeewalker.com, and connect with her on Facebook at lyndeewalkerbooks or Twitter @LynDeeWalker.

The full-length books are also available in Paperback and Boxed Sets.

Now we wait 🙂

From LynDee Walker’s Facebook Page

Be sure to check out LynDee’s new Faith McClellan Series.
Click here to read my review of Fear No Truth.

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.”

Feb 132019
 

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

V.M. Burns has become one of my favorite authors.
I am so excited to share with you this second Dog Club Mystery today
as part of her Great Escapes Tour!

 

About the Book


The Puppy Who Knew Too Much (A Dog Club Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Lyrical Underground (February 12, 2019)
Paperback: 190 pages
ISBN-10: 1516107918
ISBN-13: 978-1516107919
Digital ASIN: B07D233MVK

Lilly Echosby and her toy poodle Aggie find a fresh start in Chattanooga, Tennessee, spoiled by the scent of murder . . .

Having solved the shooting death of her cheating husband, Lilly’s left behind the drama of Lighthouse Dunes, Indiana, to start over in the hometown of her best friend, Scarlett “Dixie” Jefferson. As she gets settled in her new rented house, Lilly gives Aggie, short for Agatha Christie, her own fresh start by enrolling her in the Eastern Tennessee Dog Club, where Dixie is a trainer.

But drama seems to hound Lilly like a persistent stray. Her cranky new neighbor appears unfamiliar with Southern hospitality and complains that Aggie barks too much and digs up his prized tulips. But what the poodle actually unearths is the buried body of a mysterious man who claimed ownership of the lost golden retriever Lilly recently rescued. Now it’s up to Lilly and Dixie to try to muzzle another murderer . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Lilly Echosby has left Indiana behind and followed her best friend Scarlett “Dixie” Jefferson to Tennessee. It took a while but a chance encounter helped Lilly finds not only a job but a house to rent that was in her budget and allowed her adorable toy poodle, Aggie. She is excited her daughter Stephanie is coming to visit to help her get settled. Lilly finds it refreshing how friendly everyone is until she meets her new neighbor. He is not happy about having another dog in the neighborhood. Her daughter also falls hard for a golden retriever found under Lilly’s deck. After rushing it to the vet and getting its injuries cared for she declares she won’t be giving it up without a fight.

When dear sweet Aggie digs up a body instead of a bone the neighbor is apoplectic and Lilly finds herself back on a suspect list. Stephanie calls in the cavalry, aka Joe, her new boyfriend, the one that helped clear her mom in Lighthouse Dunes. He, in turn, calls in a friend and they along with Dixie are all determined to find the real killer, especially after another body is found.

First, the cover is a little deceiving. The two standard poodles owned by Dixie and Lilly’s Aggie return in this story where they all make a new friend. Aggie does start obedience classes with Dixie where a variety of dogs come together.

Lilly can’t catch a break but she has the perseverance to keep moving forward. New house, new job, new people in her life, and another murderer on the loose. She quickly finds new friends at her job and they are so supportive. I loved her new boss, Linda Kay, and love that we have something in common. The author does such an excellent job with all the characters. They have depth and something about them that draws the reader in and pushes us to want to know them better. Even the cantankerous neighbor and the man that used to have Lilly’s job.

Moving Lilly to Tennessee adds a very interesting twist. She was used to the flatlands of Indiana and Dixie lives on a mountain top with a fantastic view. The road to get there was winding and narrow and made Lily very nervous with its huge dropoffs. She is also very unfamiliar with the area and dependent on her GPS. Each place was nicely described as we readers saw it through Lilly’s eyes for the first time right along with her.

The mystery was not easy to solve with the requisite twists and turns. What I love and what makes this story unique in the part the canines play in solving it all. The motives were very unclear and the clues weren’t falling into place either until the wonderful, surprising, and exciting ending.

Well-plotted and written this story was hard to put down. A complex mystery with its share of Southern charm and humor. Right in Chapter 1 Lilly experiences her first “Bless Your Heart” which she learned was “Southern-speak for “You’re an idiot.” I really enjoy the way V.M. Burns tells a story. The care she takes with her characters is commendable and her love of dogs glows within the pages.

I highly recommend this series. I can’t wait for book #3!

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Check out my review of In The Dog House here.

 

About the Author

V.M. Burns was born in Northwestern Indiana and spent many years in Southwestern Michigan on the Lake Michigan shoreline. She is a lover of dogs, British historic cozies, and scones with clotted cream. After many years in the Midwest, she went in search of milder winters and currently lives in Eastern Tennessee with her poodles. Her debut novel, The Plot is Murder was nominated for a 2017 Agatha Award for Best First Novel. Valerie is a member of Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and a lifetime member of  Sisters in Crime. Readers can learn more by visiting her website at vmburns.com

Author Links:  Website   Facebook  Twitter:  @vmburns

Purchase Links – Amazon –  Barnes & Noble – IndieBound:  – Books-A-Million – Kobo


Also by V.M. Burns

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February 11 – Laura’s Interests – 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.”

Feb 122019
 


Past Due for Murder:
A Blue Ridge Library Mystery
by Victoria Gilbert

About the Book 


Past Due for Murder: A Blue Ridge Library Mystery
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Virginia
Crooked Lane Books (February 12, 2019)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1683318749
ISBN-13: 978-1683318743
Digital ASIN: B07D2GYM25

Has a curse fallen on the small town of Taylorsford, Virginia? After a young woman goes missing during a spring bonfire, library director Amy Webber must wade through the web of lies only to find a truth that she may not want to untangle.

Spring has sprung in quaint Taylorsford, Virginia, and the mayor has revived the town’s long-defunct May Day celebration to boost tourism. As part of the festivities, library director Amy Webber is helping to organize a research project and presentation by a local folklore expert. All seems well at first—but spring takes on a sudden chill when a university student inexplicably vanishes during a bonfire.

The local police cast a wide net to find the missing woman, but in a shocking turn of events, Amy’s swoon-worthy neighbor Richard Muir becomes a person of interest in the case. Not only is Richard the woman’s dance instructor, he also doesn’t have an alibi for the night the student vanished—or at least not one he’ll divulge, even to Amy.

When the missing student is finally discovered lost in the mountains, with no memory of recent events—and a dead body lying nearby—an already disturbing mystery takes on a sinister new hue. Blessed with her innate curiosity and a librarian’s gift for research, Amy may be the only one who can learn the truth.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Past Due for Murder takes us to Taylorsford, Virginia just in time for Spring and the town’s May Day celebration. Our protagonist Amy Webber has opened up the library archives for a professor and her students to research the local folklore. The will be making a presentation at the celebration. One of these students disappears during a bonfire event and police have organized a search. They also question the man in Amy’s life, Richard Muir. He was the woman’s dance instructor and may have been the last person to see her before she went missing. The student is later found, next to a dead body. She is dazed and confused. Amy has been trying to use her talents first to find the student and now the murderer. She meets an elderly woman with stories to tell of the area that just may point her in the direction of the killer. It also could make her their next victim.

Ms. Gilbert has written a story that links the present to the past in a very interesting way. The area folklore includes a story of two missing women, but what parts of the story are true and which are pure fabrication and how does it pertain to the current event of a missing woman and a murder? It is a twisted journey that captivated me right away.

I loved the way the author brought in a woman who is basically a hermit now. I found this woman to be genuine and heartwarming. Having Amy visit to record her stories for the library’s archives was a brilliant idea. Many towns and libraries are doing this now. It makes me wish I had done the same with my parents and grandparents. Our history, our stories, fade due to poor memories and these records would be priceless. If these options are available to you jump on them while you can.

The author also brings a man into the story, a neighbor to the woman, also someone who shuns society for his own reasons. He has a wonderful gift that he has mostly kept to himself but could he be a murderer?

Sticking with new characters, Richard’s parents come to visit and it was quite the experience. No spoiler here, but answers to some of the questions I had about the man are answered.

With great characters and plenty of twists and turns, this story takes us on quite a ride. The blend of folklore with a smidgen of fairies and magic was a delight. The ending was an ultimate surprise. This story is a wonderful addition to this series!

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Read my review of Murder for the Books here.

Read my review of Shelved Under Murder here.

About  the Author

Raised in a historic small town in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Victoria Gilbert turned her early obsession with books into a dual career as an author and librarian.

Victoria’s first cozy mystery series, the Blue Ridge Library Mystery series, garnered her a three-book deal with Crooked Lane Books, which has since been expanded to five books. The first two books in the series have been optioned by Sony Pictures Television, and the first three were or will be produced in audiobook by Tantor Media.

Victoria also just inked a 2-book deal with Crooked Lane for a new cozy series, the Booklovers B & B series, set in historic Beaufort, NC.

A member of Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and Sisters in Crime, Victoria is represented by Frances Black at Literary Counsel.

Author Links:

Website/blog   Facebook author page    Twitter   Goodreads   Instagram 

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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.”

Feb 082019
 

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.

Technically, this book was released last year but it was not screaming at me from my TBR shelf. It was screaming at me from Amazon and then my email inbox. The author had sent me a copy for review and I couldn’t get it to load on my Kindle. We recently straightened that out and I wanted to read/review it asap so I scheduled it for today.  😉


A Stew to a Kill (A Callie’s Kitchen Cozy Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Setting – Wisconsin
Independently published (October 11, 2018)
Paperback: 267 pages
ISBN-10: 1724191233
ISBN-13: 978-1724191236
Kindle ASIN: B07H74PRZX

The Halloween season is serving up more tricks than treats for thirty-something Greek-American foodie and business owner Calliope “Callie” Costas.

When a new employee at a neighboring business, Tea for Two, is found dead, Callie is drawn into a murky brew of motives and murder suspects. It turns out that the seemingly mild-mannered victim might have a few skeletons in his closet. What’s more, the timing of the murder, just a day before Crystal Bay’s first annual Halloween Walk, has threatened to derail the town’s festive fall events, including a Halloween Gala benefiting the local food pantry, one of Callie’s favorite causes.

Callie’s already full plate is set to overflowing with the return of an old boyfriend who has his eye on developing a mall that will compete with and possibly destroy Crystal Bay’s small business scene. Could there be a tie between the mall and the murder?

Somebody has been stewing. Will Callie help find the unsavory killer before things reach the boiling point?

Includes delicious recipes from Callie’s Kitchen!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Plans are underway for Crystal Bay’s first Halloween Walk. All sorts of fun activities are planned and they will wrap up with a huge gala all to support the local food pantry. The shop owners are excited to participate and have placed unique skeletons in their businesses for a #selfie challenge for prizes to bring more customers in. Callie has her hands full with Callie’s Kitchen, but she is also helping with the gala. Having an ex-boyfriend show up touting the idea of a shopping mall on the outskirts of town is the last thing she needed. But the entire town is thrown for a loop when Henry, who works at Tea for Two across the street is murdered. The tragic death is sure to dampen the festivities especially when the police start looking at the shop owners as suspects. With Sands out of the country, Callie tries to stay out of the investigation but again finds herself right in the middle of another murder case.

This is another delightful cozy mystery from Jenny Kales.

Callie is on her own this time. Detective Sands is away, Sam is buried in work, Hugh and Raine are expecting a baby. Her father steps in to help with 11-year-old Olivia when needed, but he and his lady friend seem to be getting serious. The wonderful thing about these characters is that they are relatable and believable. The Greek heritage shines within the pages. I love the relationship Callie has with her dad and how she has taken what he started and ran with it.

The mystery was intriguing. Henry was a quiet man and no one knew much about his past. Callie’s ex Ben is in town pushing hard for a new mall that scares all the business owners. Can the murder and the mall be connected? When another person is attacked more questions arise? The officer in charge of the case has not impressed Callie or the other merchants. I understood Callie’s need to keep asking questions and was really surprised when the real culprit was revealed. Ms. Kales really twisted my thinking with some great red herrings.

Of course, I love the Wisconsin setting, and it is truly portrayed. All the nuances and places felt like home. The author really brings out the small town life of Crystal Bay.

The bonus is the authentic Greek recipes at the end of the story. My mouth was watering throughout the whole book. The stews, the cookies, everything made in Callie’s Kitchen sounded good to me.

A terrific addition to this series!

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About the Author

Sign up for a FREE author newsletter filled with author news like upcoming releases and author events, exclusive recipes, giveaways, price events, author interviews and more: http://tinyurl.com/huv5pof

Jenny Kales is the author of The Callie’s Kitchen Mystery Series, featuring Greek-American Calliope Costas, feisty food business owner and amateur sleuth, who lives in a scenic Wisconsin town with colorful characters — and a high murder rate! Each book contains several delicious recipes, both Greek and American.

ON THE CHOPPING BLOCK is the debut book in the series, followed by SPICED AND ICED (A Christmas cozy mystery), SECRETS AND PIES, and a NEW BOXED SET. The Callie’s Kitchen Cozy Mystery Series Boxed Set, which includes Books 1 – 3, is now available and free to read on Kindle Unlimited!

LATEST RELEASE: A STEW TO A KILL, Book 4 in the Callie’s Kitchen Mystery series! This Halloween mystery is available for the Kindle and in paperback.

Jenny is an avid reader, cook, and baker and she’s addicted to reading and mystery TV, especially anything on Masterpiece Mystery or Acorn TV. She lives just outside of Chicago with her husband, two daughters and one cute but demanding Yorkshire terrier. She’s hard at work on additional writing projects including more Callie’s Kitchen Mysteries and a new series.

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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.”

Feb 072019
 


Death by Committee (An Abby McCree Mystery)
by Alexis Morgan

 

About the Book


Death by Committee (An Abby McCree Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Kensington (January 29, 2019)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1496719530
ISBN-13: 978-1496719539
Digital ASIN: B07CWF6QBL

When Abby McCree suddenly inherits her favorite relative’s property in small town Snowberry Creek, Washington, she soon realizes that the ramshackle home comes with strings attached—one of which is tied to a dead body!

After a rough divorce, Abby McCree only wants to stitch up her life and move on. But other loose ends appear after her elderly Aunt Sybil passes away, leaving Abby to tend to a rundown estate, complete with a slobbery Mastiff of questionable pedigree and a sexy tenant who growls more than the dog. As Abby gets drawn into a tight-knit quilting guild, she makes a twisted discovery—Aunt Sybil’s only known rival is buried in her backyard!

Despite what local detectives say, Abby refuses to accept that her beloved aunt had anything to do with the murder. While navigating a busy social calendar and rediscovering the art of quilting, she launches an investigation of her own to clear Aunt Sybil’s name and catch the true culprit. The incriminating clues roll in, yet Abby can’t help but wonder—can she survive her new responsibilities in Snowberry Creek and still manage to patch together a killer’s deadly pattern without becoming the next victim?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Abby McCree hasn’t spent much time in Snowberry Creek, Washington of late but she remembers all the good times she had with her Aunt Sybil as a child. She especially remembers a quilt they were working on. Aunt Sybil finished it by herself as Abby’s visits became shorter and less frequent. Now her aunt has passed away and left her home to Abby and her aunt’s friends have already volunteered her to take over some of the committees Sybil was leading including the quilting guild.

Her aunt also left her a couple of other surprises. a bull mastiff named Zeke and a cantankerous but very easy on the eyes tenant named Tripp Blackston. Abby also uncovers another surprise among the blueberries, Dolly Cayhill’s body. Dolly was a snowbird who usually takes flight during the winter months, so sadly no one even knew the woman was unaccounted for. Dolly and Sybil were rivals in almost everything they did. Finding her body in Sybil’s yard wrapped in one of Sybil’s quilts lands Sybil square at the top of the suspect list. Abby believes there is no way her aunt could have committed such a heinous crime but the rumors are flying and evidence is stacking up. Is there any way to clear her aunt’s good name? There may be if she can live long enough to stitch all the clues together.

I like Abby McCree, but she needs to learn to say no! Those elderly ladies really ran roughshod over her. By the end of the story, she was getting her bearings and getting stronger, which I was very happy to see. Those ladies reminded me so much of some of the older ladies I have known in my life. A little pushy, but with huge hearts and kind souls. Tripp Blackstone, on the other hand, was a tough nut to crack, ex-military tough, and a little closed off. He starts to soften as he finds himself in the role of protector to Abby as digs into Dolly’s death and right into the line of fire. Tripp and Abby grow a lot for this being the first book in the series. I liked the way the author has started them on their journey. My favorite character of all was Zeke. A big dog who is a gentle giant, at least most of the time. The only time he leaves Abby’s side is when he is with Tripp. He is truly my kind of canine, even with all the drool 🙂

The plot was complex with two real mysteries. The first, the murder, had its share of suspects, but one after another are eliminated and Abby becomes a target. The second deals with 13 missing quilts the quilt had hoped to use for a calendar fundraiser. Given to a new member to photograph who then abruptly leaves town without returning the quilts or the pictures to the guild. As the new president of the guild, Abby tries her best to locate them. I used to love to quilt so this subplot really interested me.  The two mysteries mesh together so well. The story had some really exciting events and I was on the edge of my seat for the nail-biting ending.

Ms. Morgan has taken the time to fully describe each person and place so clearly that I could picture every element of the story. The people came alive. Abby’s home, the yard, the garage, and all the places around town were easily pictured in my mind. I was in each moment right along with Abby.

What I love most about this story was that it is written for the long haul of a series. The main characters evolved a great deal in this book but there is still so much to know about them. I am definitely invested in their lives and want to know more about them. The secondary characters are fun and entertaining too and have plenty of room to grow.

Ms. Morgan has sewn together a wonderful treat for her readers. Death by Committee was a perfect escape for me and I know fans of this genre will enjoy it too!

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About the Author

USA Today Best-selling author Alexis Morgan has always loved reading and now spends her days imagining worlds filled with strong alpha heroes and gutsy heroines. She is the author of over forty-five novels, novellas, and short stories that span a variety of genres: American West historicals (as Pat Pritchard); paranormal and fantasy romances; and contemporary romances. She is excited to say that next year will also see the release of her first cozy mystery series. Alexis has been nominated for several industry awards, including the RITA, the top award in the romance genre.

Author Links –

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Purchase Links –

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Praise for Death by Committee (An Abby McCree Mystery)
by Alexis Morgan

Death by Committee was a charming debut and I absolutely adored Abby and her trusty sidekick, Zeke,
~Moonlight Rendezvous

Death by Committee is a light-hearted cozy mystery with a charming Victorian home, a cute mastiff mix, beautifully crafted quilts, three busy older ladies and killer on the loose.
~The Avid Reader

With likable protagonist and support characters both, gentle humor, a precious dog, and even a little romance, this story has all that I look for in a tradition cozy and I enjoyed it very much.
~The Power of Words

I enjoyed Abby’s reflections on who might have wanted to kill Dolly. Her interactions are realistic and humourous.
~Nadaness In Motion

Wow, just wow! What an amazing start to a new series!
~The Montana Bookaholic

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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.”

Feb 062019
 

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am so excited to share this book with you today! It will be released on February 26! 


No Good Tea Goes Unpunished (Seaside Café Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – North Carolina
Sourcebooks Landmark (February 26, 2019)
Hardcover: 288 pages
ISBN-10: 1492671576
ISBN-13: 978-1492671572
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
ISBN-10: 1492664782
ISBN-13: 978-1492664789
Kindle ASIN: B07HJRTJ7Q

Don’t marry into murder…

Catering her childhood friend’s beachfront wedding was a dream come true for Everly Swan—and, with hundreds of guests in attendance, great exposure for her new iced tea shop and café. But when the well-to-do groom is found floating facedown in the surf, the locals of Charm, North Carolina, turn their suspicions to his new bride. Could she have been so desperate to lay her hands on his fortune that she arranged for his murder before they even set off on their honeymoon?

Everly knows her love-struck friend couldn’t be behind the murder, but with clues pointing in several directions, she can’t decide which wedding guest is the most likely culprit. Meanwhile, the frustratingly handsome Detective Hays has made it clear that Everly should stay out of the investigation altogether. But with a killer on the loose and a feeling that someone is watching her café very closely, Everly knows that if she can’t solve this murder soon, her cake might be iced for good.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Everly Swan is back and catering the wedding a wedding right outside her new tea shop on the beach. The party is off to a great start until the groom goes missing. He is found dead bobbing in the surf. The first suspect is the new bride, a childhood friend of Everly’s. The groom had a very successful business and now what was his is now hers. When his business partner is attacked she comes under greater scrutiny. Everly sees many other suspects on and off the guest list, but she soon becomes the target of the killer who is sending her clear messages to butt out or she could be next. Hunky Detective Hays begs her to leave the investigating to him as he does everything he can to keep her safe. She just can’t help herself though, it seems each glass of tea comes with a little bit of snooping until the killer gets too close.

Another fine story from Bree Baker.

We escape to Charm, North Carolina. A town that has completely charmed me with its beach, sand, sun, iced tea, a bookstore, little libraries, and delightful residents. Bree is finding her place back in town running her own business. Her aunts are right down the beach at the Blessed Bee honey shop. They have enlisted Bree’s help to make a honey education video for an online contest and they have some extreme plans for the 3-minute piece. (Seriously Laugh Out Loud Funny.) She also has a blast from her past in cowboy boots hot on her flip-flops. All that on top of the wedding reception she is in charge of already had her glass already full to the brim and now she has a murder to investigate and a killer on her tail.

This was such a fun read. I loved traveling along the beach with Everly either on a nice stroll or tooling around in her golf cart. She opens her home to her friend in her grief, but all of the wedding guests have been detained in Charm until the killer is caught. Everly’s iced tea shop becomes the place to gather which gives readers a chance to know the most important visitors better. The author does an excellent job of bringing these characters to life. I really identified with the groom’s mother as she deals with the loss of her son. Losing a child is so hard. I really liked her plans for the memorial service even though the city council would not approve them.

The story has a rapid pace and I was totally captivated from start to finish. I loved the way the story was told, mayhem and humor in the exact right amounts. Twists and turns lead to a very exciting conclusion.

Wonderful characters with great dialogue and a well-plotted mystery come together to give readers a splendid story to enjoy. Just like when I finished book 1, Live and Let Chai, I want more!! More Bree, more Aunt Clara, and Aunt Fran, more Detective Hays, and more of the charming life in Charm, North Carolina! I can’t wait for my next trip.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

Bree Baker is a Midwestern writer, obsessed with small-town high jinks, sweet tea, and the sea. She’s been telling stories to her family, friends, and strangers for as long as she can remember, and more often than not, those stories feature a warm ocean breeze and a recipe she’s sure to ruin. Now, she’s working on those fancy cooking skills and dreaming up adventures for the Seaside Cafe mysteries. Bree is a member of Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers and the Romance Writers of America. She is represented by Jill Marsal of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency.

Find out more on her website here. 


I am giving away my paperback 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.

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Contest Will End February 15, 2019, 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.”

Feb 052019
 


The Novel Art of Murder
(Mystery Bookshop)
by V.M. Burns

 

About the Book


The Novel Art of Murder (Mystery Bookshop)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Michigan
Kensington (November 27, 2018)
Paperback: 256 pages
ISBN-10: 1496711858
ISBN-13: 978-1496711854
Digital ASIN: B07B7B4C8Q

Mystery bookstore owner Samantha Washington is trying to keep her grandmother from spending her golden years in an orange jumpsuit . . .

The small town of North Harbor, Michigan, is just not big enough for the two of them: flamboyant phony Maria Romanov and feisty Nana Jo. The insufferable Maria claims she’s descended from Russian royalty and even had a fling with King Edward VIII back in the day. She’s not just a lousy liar, she’s a bad actress, so when she nabs the lead in the Shady Acres Senior Follies—a part Nana Jo plays every year in their retirement village production—Nana Jo blows a gasket and reads her the riot act in front of everyone.

Of course, when Maria is silenced with a bullet to the head, Nana Jo lands the leading role on the suspects list. Sam’s been writing her newest mystery, set in England between the wars, with her intrepid heroine Lady Daphne drawn into murder and scandal in the household of Winston Churchill. But now she has to prove that Nana Jo’s been framed. With help from her grandmother’s posse of rambunctious retirees, Sam shines a spotlight on Maria’s secrets, hoping to draw the real killer out of the shadow.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

We are back in North Harbor, Michigan just in time for Samantha Washington’s Nana Jo to become a murder suspect. It seems her usual part in the Shady Acres Senior Follies has been given to Maria Romanov, a woman of questionable character. Said to be descended from Russian Royalty and a great actress, Nana Jo knows the woman is a phony. As soon as others hear her sing, they know it too. Nana Jo tries to take the woman to task publically so when Maria ends up dead, Nana Jo’s fate as a murder suspect is sealed.

Not so fast, Sam is on the case. Using her current work in progress where Lady Daphne is in the middle of a murder in the home of Winston Churchill to settle her mind and draw parallels, she is sure to find who has framed her Nana. The crew from Shady Acres steps in to help too and soon real suspects are uncovered and clues start to fall into place.

That’s Oreo and Snickers on the cover, Oreo looks nothing like my Oreo but I love the author’s choice of pet names. The expression of the dog in the back cracks me up every time I look at the cover.

Okay, the cover is great, but the story/stories within are excellent. Ms. Burns gives us a present-day cozy mystery and her character Samantha Washington is an author and we get to read her latest work too. I love that we get two stories in each novel. It took some getting used to with the first book, but now with book 3, I hit the rhythm right away. I really enjoy how they work together.

Full of colorful characters the story sets a nice pace. Intrigue with a big dose of humor keeps the pages turning and both stories had wonderful surprise endings. Some parts are truly laugh out loud funny.

I loved this book and can’t wait for more! This is the first book of 2019 to receive my top Paradise rating and a place on my Best Reads of 2019 list. While the story can stand on its own I recommend starting at the beginning of the series for maximum enjoyment.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

V.M. Burns was born in Northwestern Indiana and spent many years in Southwestern Michigan on the Lake Michigan shoreline. She is a lover of dogs, British historic cozies, and scones with clotted cream. After many years in the Midwest, she went in search of milder winters and currently lives in Eastern Tennessee with her poodles. Her debut novel, The Plot is Murder was nominated for a 2017 Agatha Award for Best First Novel. Valerie is a member of Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and a lifetime member of  Sisters in Crime. Readers can learn more by visiting her website at vmburns.com

Author Links:     Website  Facebook   Twitter:  @vmburns

Purchase Links – Amazon –  Barnes & Noble – IndieBound
Books-A-Million –  Hudson Booksellers 


Coming April 30, 2019

Also by V.M. Burns

Praise for The Novel Art of Murder
(Mystery Bookshop)
by V.M. Burns

A well-written cozy mystery with charm and heart, The Novel Art of Murder is a truly enjoyable read from start to finish.
~Reading Is My SuperPower

I had a lot of fun reading this book . . . the wild characters keep Sam`s life interesting . . .
~Laura’s Interests

Lots of little twists and turns to keep you guessing wrapped around enough charm to really draw the reader in.
~Books a Plenty Book Reviews

V.M. Burns has taken the traditional, contemporary cozy mystery and added a twist . . . It had to be the funniest killer takedown I have seen! I highly recommend this one.
~Author, Teresa Trent

 

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January 30 – Reading Is My SuperPower – 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.”

Feb 012019
 

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

This is a book I downloaded last year to meet the New Mexico stop for my Literary Escapes Challenge but it didn’t get read until last week. This is the 1st of 12 books in this series so I shouldn’t have any trouble filling that stop for years to come.  😀 The author’s Charlie Parker Mysteries are set in New Mexico too. (Book 1 of both series (Kindle) are free on Amazon right now.)


Sweet Masterpiece: A Sweet’s Sweets Bakery Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – New Mexico
Self Published (September 8, 2010)
Paperback: 242 pages
ISBN-10: 1453797688
ISBN-13: 978-1453797686
Kindle ASIN: B00413QQ1E

Samantha Sweet breaks into houses for a living. But when she encounters a dying woman in one such house and a backyard grave at another, handsome deputy Beau Cardwell shows up and—well, things get complicated.

A small mural painted inside a closet in the abandoned house provides clues and Sam is caught up in Beau’s investigation. A fortune in artwork, a bogus will, and a wooden box that seems to give Sam powers she never dreamed she possessed— it all adds up to a dynamic paranormal romantic mystery.

Then, there is all that chocolate! Sam’s real goal in life is to use her elegant baking skills to open her own pastry shop, Sweet’s Sweets. She’s gaining quite the reputation as a baker with a magical touch, but a few obstacles stand in her way. Her grown daughter shows up on her doorstep—jobless and homeless; her bank account is at an all-time low; and trying to work from the tiny cramped kitchen in her home is becoming impossible.

Somehow, Sam copes and she finds that her dreams might just have a chance of coming true.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Samantha Sweet has a unique occupation. She breaks into foreclosed abandoned homes for the USDA to get them ready for resale. She is never sure what she will find but she never expected to find a bedridden dying woman in one house and a grave in the backyard of another all in one day. The upside is meeting Deputy Beau Cardwell. She gets to see more of him as she uncovers major clues to help identify the backyard body. There is a spark between them that is undeniable.

Sam’s true passion is baking and she is working hard to make her dreams of opening her own shop Sweet’s Sweets come true. Her coffers are filling nicely until her daughter “borrows” some cash and then returns home after quitting her job before she finds another. With her baking orders, a daughter to encourage, a police investigation, and oh, an unusual discovery with magical powers Samantha Sweet has her hands full.

This was a fun read. A protagonist close to my own age it was a pleasure to meet Samantha Sweet. She has a few insecurities but she is a hard worker who is driven by her quest to own a pastry shop. Her relationship with her daughter is typical, I could identify, and her budding relationship with the handsome deputy was heartwarming.

The plot was very interesting. First, Samantha is given a gift from the dying woman. The woman dies shortly after Sam finds her but that gift is much more than it appears. Then she makes an amazing discovery in a closet in the home with the backyard grave. With the help of one of her friends, she not only uncovers the name of the deceased but their incredible story. Blended into the mysteries are all her baking adventures and the first step she takes in making her dream a reality.

The story is very well plotted and nicely paced. It has a great flow. The characters are introduced and pretty fleshed out for the first book in a series. The mystery of the man in the shallow grave is wrapped up nicely by the end of the book. There were really few suspects and with a few twists the investigation concludes with quite a surprise. The mystery about the gift Sam received is still open. We know a little but hopefully, more will be revealed in the next book.

Sweet Masterpiece was a sweet read. An intriguing mystery with the perfect amount of romance. I chose to read this book because it is set in New Mexico for a reading challenge. I have added the next story, Sweet’s Sweets to my wishlist and plan to read it soon because I enjoyed this one and I want to know what happens next.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

This book is free on Amazon right now.

From the Author

The character of Samantha Sweet first appeared in one of my Charlie Parker mysteries, Gossip Can Be Murder, almost as a walk-on. She had one scene and would have vanished, but I was already thinking of a new series that would feature a baker (anyone who has been around me or read any of my books has a pretty good idea how I feel about chocolate!).

By the time I did the final edits on Gossip, Sam had become a real person to me, complete with her quirky day-job of breaking into houses for a living. I expanded her role in the original Charlie book, giving readers a tiny glimpse of the magical powers that become such a part of Sam’s personality in this new series. My editor was a little unsure about my letting my two fictional heroines cross over into each other’s territories, but readers seem to like it.

About the Author

Connie Shelton is the author of more than two dozen books in her bestselling Charlie Parker mystery series and now in the paranormal romantic Samantha Sweet mystery series. She taught writing for several years and is the creator of the Novel In A Weekend writing course. Visit her website at www.connieshelton.com to sign up for her free email mystery newsletter. She and her husband live in northern New Mexico with their two dogs.


Find more books by Connie Shelton here.

*This was an Amazon Purchase for my private collection.

A Body on Fitzgerald's Bluff - Seaview Cottages Cozy Mystery #1 by Anna Celeste Burke Order Your Copy Today!
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