Posted in 2022 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Finish The Series Challenge Giveaways You Read How Many Books Challenge

Death by Chocolate Chip Cupcake (A Death by Chocolate Mystery) by Sarah Graves #Review / #Giveaway @KensingtonBooks @SarahGraves2011


Death by Chocolate Chip Cupcake (A Death by Chocolate Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Setting – Maine
Kensington Cozies (March 29, 2022)
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 288 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1496729226
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1496729224
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B098KPSC5N

In the quaint island village of Eastport, Maine, Jacobia “Jake” Tiptree and Ellie White run the Chocolate Moose bakery, where delicious treats take the spotlight—but murder sometimes gets a walk-on role . . .

Jake and Ellie are taking a break from perfecting their chocolate pizza recipe to cater a housewarming party hosted by movie icon Ingrid Merryfield. Miss Merryfield is famous for her old-Hollywood glamour. Her new home, Cliff House, has a reputation too—for being haunted. But she isn’t concerned, and some of her guests even try to summon a spirit during the party, using an Ouija board. What arrives instead is a freak autumn storm that downs an ancient tree, trapping everyone on the property and setting the stage for a killer’s planned spree.

Though Jake and Ellie don’t intend to get stirred into the mix, there’s no avoiding it—especially when they witness one of the guests being shoved over the very precipice that gave Cliff House its forbidding name.

Jake and Ellie begin sifting through suspects and motives, a search that takes them from a long-lost family graveyard to a wise old herbalist’s deceptively-sweet cottage and finally to Cliff House’s overgrown gardens. Is there some ghostly presence involved—or a flesh-and-blood villain? And either way, can they ensure that they avoid meeting their very own, very permanent Hollywood ending?

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

Movie icon Ingrid Merryfield has come to Eastport, Maine and her first stop is the Chocolate Moose Bakery. Jacobia “Jake” Tiptree and Ellie White are a little starstruck and surprised when the actress says she has come “home” to Eastport and purchased Cliff House, a house known for being haunted. She asks Jake and Ellie to cater the desserts for her upcoming party and will pay them handsomely to stay overnight to cater to the guests food needs as requested. Needing money to keep the bakery open they just can’t refuse.

The party starts off okay but soon the Ouija board is pulled out to try to lure some ghosts. The only thing that they seem to conjure up is a terrific storm that brings down a huge tree that blocks the only exit by road from the property leaving Ellie, Jake, Bella, and Mika trapped. Soon thereafter bodies start dropping like flies. One, off the cliff, another in the basement, and more to come. Ellie and Jake want out and go to great lengths to try to do that as soon as they realize there is a killer in their midst or a very angry ghost.


Jake and Ellie find themselves in trouble again and have taken Bella and Mika along for the ride. Mika’s husband Sam tries to help and even Jake’s dad gets in on the action. We see the supporting characters differently in this story. Everyone played an exciting role and I loved that. A surprising new character stole my heart and attention immediately. Igor, an Irish Wolfhound found himself in danger too and it made my heart skip a beat during a very tense scene.

This story unfolds at breakneck speed so readers have to hold on tight.  Jake and Ellie took a lot of risks to free their family and friends from the Cliff House property. The killer was not their only worry. They had to battle a horrendous storm, high tides and big waves, earthquakes, falling trees, missing ladders, and more. They traveled through tunnels, spooky rooms, and hallways at Cliff House trying to find answers. They were in constant motion the entire story. I was exhausted for them and with them by the time I turned the final page.

Ms. Graves plotted out a whirlwind mystery and kept the pedal to the metal from start to finish. I was so caught up in the story I didn’t really form my own list of suspects and the actual reveal of the killer was a bit of a surprise. The pieces start to fall into place for me later in the book. This plot really kept me on my toes.

Ms. Graves took her characters on quite an adventure in Death by Chocolate Chip Cupcake and in turn her readers. I really enjoyed this book a lot.

I am excited about the upcoming Death by Chocolate Marshmallow Pie set to hit shelves on April 25, 2023. I think both the characters and myself need a little time to catch our breath before we can handle whatever Ms. Sarah Graves dreams up next. We will all be ready by April.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

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

Coming April 25, 2023

Also by Sarah Graves

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

                                  

Posted in 2022 Reviews Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday with Heather Day Gilbert – Author of Roast Date (Barks & Beans Cafe Cozy Mystery) #Review / #Giveaway @heatherdgilbert #GreatEscapesBookTour


Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!


It is my pleasure to welcome Heather Day Gilbert
to Escape With Dollycas today!

Hi Heather.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m a West Virginia born-and-bred author, and I set my Barks & Beans Cafe series in the nearby city of Lewisburg. I’ve been married for 25 years to a handsome redhead, which is why you’ll see redheads popping up in all of my books. 😉

What are three things most people don’t know about you?

-I’m one of those scary Enneagram 8s. (We’re not as bad as we seem–just protective!)

-Besides mysteries, I also write Viking historical novels, since I’m allegedly related to Eirik the Red. I was actually interviewed about my main Viking character (based on a real Viking woman) on the upcoming Templars show (Episode 4) that will be streaming next year on Amazon Prime. This is so cool!

-One of my fave foods is Jimmy John’s subs, and I can put them away, let me tell you.

What books/authors have most inspired you?

Hands down, it would have to be Agatha Christie. I named my dog Agatha. 😉 She’s my fave comfort-read author, and I love her wit.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

I spend 1-2 days plotting my entire mystery in a synopsis format, but that doesn’t mean I’ll strictly stick to it. I look up terminology and details as I go along, since I write contemporary mysteries (trust me, you do NOT want to see my Google search bar!)

Do you ever suffer from Writer’s Block?

I feel like I don’t have time for it, because I’m always on a deadline. I’m the kind of person who just sits down and writes while I watch the story come to life in my head.

What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?

I’ve been published since 2013, and I’ve had 5 agents along the way. It takes a lot of resilience and the ability to get back to your feet even when you feel your dreams have been repeatedly smashed to the ground. Being strong-willed certainly doesn’t hurt, but you also have to know your goals and pursue them relentlessly.

I always tell new writers they have to believe in their writing more than anyone else, enough to wholeheartedly pursue it and promote it, because sometimes even the people who are supposed to be in your corner will let you down (and you’ll have to say no to projects that don’t line up with your values). You have to believe your writing will bring value into the world.

When you are not writing what do you like to do?

I enjoy playing video games, speed walking, reading twisty books, and hanging out with my husband and four children.

If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you go and why?

Norway and Iceland, to see the Viking museums

What is next on the horizon for you?

Editing book 2 in my co-written Christian Viking historical series (releasing in June 2023), writing a secret project under a pen name, and working on a Christian YA novel later this year. Then I’ll return to my Barks & Beans Cafe series, and book 8 will likely release by the end of 2023. For those wondering, I have ten books planned in the series (unless sales skyrocket, at which point I’d consider more. LOL!). I bolded that, not Heather 🙂 

Thank you Heather for visiting today. 

Now keep reading for my thoughts about Roast Date.

 

About Roast Date


Roast Date (Barks & Beans Cafe Cozy Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
7th in Series
Setting – West Virginia
WoodHaven Press (December 20, 2022)
Number of Pages ~250
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09Z8NYHX9

BOOK SEVEN in the bestselling BARKS & BEANS CAFE cozy mystery series!!

Welcome to the Barks & Beans Cafe, a quaint place where folks pet shelter dogs while enjoying a cup of java…and where murder sometimes pays a visit.

After much cajoling, Macy gives in to her neighbor, Vera, and agrees to come to her book club’s Christmas party so she can share about the cafe. While public speaking isn’t Macy’s thing, she wants to brighten Vera’s lonely holiday season…and she can sell a little house blend on the side.

When a lively book discussion spirals into a public roast of the mayor—who happens to be sitting in their midst—things get uncomfortable. Soon afterward, the mayor shows up dead in Vera’s bathroom, and no amount of gingerbread cookies or eggnog can restore Vera to the club’s good graces. ‘Tis the season for Macy to find the murderer, or else Vera might be taking a long winter’s nap in a jail cell.

Join siblings Macy and Bo Hatfield as they sniff out crimes in their hometown…with plenty of dogs along for the ride! The Barks & Beans Cafe cozy mystery series features a small town, an amateur sleuth, and no swearing or graphic scenes.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Macy and her brother Bo Hatfield own and operate the Barks & Beans Cafe and are decking it out for the holidays. It is a place where you can stop in for a cup of coffee and fall in love with a dog from the local shelter and have a new pet just in time for Christmas. You may also catch a glimpse of Macy’s lovable Great Dane, Coal.

Vera has wanted to have Macy speak at her book club for a while and Macy has finally agreed to attend the club’s Christmas party. A little nervous Macy knows it is important to Vera that she be there and Bo will be happy if she sells some of their house blend.

Macy’s part of the evening goes well but the book discussion gets out of hand with people turning it into a roast of the mayor. Mayor Goldie Keaton was leading the discussion but left the room rather than engage with the group’s innuendos. Sadly she is later found dead in the bathroom. The police arrive and Macy is shocked that Vera is at the top of their list of suspects.  She is not going to let her go down for someone else’s crime. She intends to find the merry murderer before Santa Claus comes to town.


I really enjoy the relationship Macy has built with her neighbor Vera. Bo is right there to help her out too which is good because she is going to need both of them in her corner to get her out of this mess. We learn a lot more about Vera in this story. I liked that she became the central character but not that she was the prime suspect. I was unsure about one thing Macy was doing but was so happy when it worked out.

Bo and Summer’s relationship is moving along nicely as is the relationship between Macy and Titan. These core characters are so well-crafted and continue to develop in each new installment of this series. They are surrounded by great secondary characters like Vera, baristas Milo and Bristol, and Bristol’s mom Della. We meet some quirky new characters as well. And I can’t forget Macy’s Great Dane Coal, Bo’s kitty, Stormy, and Vera’s dog Waffles.

The murder investigation had epic twists and the story had a very rapid pace. I started reading and just couldn’t stop. I always enjoy tagging along with Macy as she follows each clue and tries to make all the clues fit together. A second death turned things a little inside out but Macy stuck with it until she literally faced the killer. I was startled at this reveal and lost my breath for a moment as the exciting saga played out.

What brings me the most joy when reading books in this series is the relationship between Macy and Bo. Working with family doesn’t always work out but Macy and Bo make it work and it seems almost effortless. They have family traditions that I love. They share secrets and have each other’s back at all times. They have a strong bond that can’t be broken. I really appreciate the way the author has written these characters and the situations she puts them in and am excited to see what she has in store for them next.

Roast Date is the seventh book in this wonderful series. We are left with a bit of a cliffhanger at the end and there are some exciting things set to happen too. I really wish the next book was right around the corner but it, Shade Grown, won’t be released until next December. I have trust and faith in Heather Day Gilbert that the wait will be worth it. But I am going to miss these characters, human, canine, and feline.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Heather Day Gilbert

Award-winning novelist Heather Day Gilbert enjoys writing mysteries and Viking historicals. She brings authentic family relationships to the page, and she particularly delights in heroines who take a stand to protect those they love. Avid readers say Heather’s realistic characters—no matter what century—feel like best friends. When she’s not plotting stories, this native West Virginian can often be found hanging out with her husband and four children, playing video games, or reading Agatha Christie novels.

Author Links – Website – Facebook Author Page  – Bookbub  – Goodreads

Twitter@heatherdgilbert    Instagram: @heatherdaygilbert

Purchase Link –

Amazon 

The Barks & Beans Cafe cozy mystery series in order:
Book 1: No Filter
Book 2: Iced Over
Book 3: Fair Trade
Book 4: Spilled Milk
Book 5: Trouble Brewing
Book 6: Cold Drip
Book 7: Roast Date



Coming December 11, 2023

 

 

TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please visit all the stops. 
December 19 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
December 19 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT
December 19 – Reading Is My SuperPower – SPOTLIGHT
December 20 – Literary Gold – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
December 20 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
December 20 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
December 20 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT
December 21 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW
December 21 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
December 21 – Lady Hawkeye – AUTHOR GUEST POST
December 21 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
December 22 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
December 22 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
December 22 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
December 22 – The Mystery Section – SPOTLIGHT
December 23 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW
December 23 – The Book Diva’s Reads – AUTHOR GUEST POST
December 23 – I’m Into Books – SPOTLIGHT
December 23 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT

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

Posted in 2022 Reviews Wisconsin Author Wisconsin Setting You Read How Many Books Challenge

Once Upon a December by Amy E. Reichert #Review @BerkleyPub @amyereichert


Once Upon a December
Contemporary Holiday Romance
Setting – Wisconsin
Berkley (October 4, 2022)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 336 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0593197798
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0593197790
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09PZTF1R4

A one-of-a-kind Christmas market offers holiday magic in this new romance from the author of The Kindred Spirits Supper Club.

With a name like Astra Noel Snow, holiday spirit isn’t just a seasonal specialty—it’s a way of life. But after a stinging divorce, Astra’s yearly trip to the Milwaukee Christmas market takes on a whole new meaning. She’s ready to eat, drink, and be merry, especially with the handsome stranger who saves the best kringle for her at his family bakery.

For Jack Clausen, the Julemarked with its snowy lights and charming shops stays the same, while the world outside the joyful street changes, magically leaping from one December to the next every four weeks. He’s never minded living this charmed existence until Astra shows him the life he’s been missing outside of the festive red brick alley.

After a swoon-worthy series of dates, some Yuletide magic, and the unexpected glow of new love, Astra and Jack must decide whether this relationship can weather all seasons, or if what they’re feeling is as ephemeral as marshmallows in a mug of hot cocoa.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Astra Noel Snow meets Jack Clausen at the Milwaukee Christmas Market and the rest is history.

Astra Noel Snow is a library director in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She and a group of friends visit the Christmas Market every year. One of Astra’s favorite stops is a bakery that serves up the best Kringles around.

Jack Clausen lives in Julemarked and is a baker of the fabulous Kringles Astra loves. But you see time works differently in Julemarked. It is always December in Julemarked and the residents travel the world to a different Christmas market each December 1st. Jack’s favorite is Milwaukee because he has fallen hard for Astra.


“Once upon a December, a girl met a boy, but she didn’t remember.” With a prologue like that, I was hooked from the start.

I loved everything about this book. It was just what I needed to enrich my Christmas spirit.

Ms. Reichert has created a wonderful cast of characters.

Astra Noel Snow, what a great name and she embraces the holiday fully. Plus she shares her joy with an annual getaway with her college roommates. They are a fun group that tries to be there for each other through thick and thin. Astra shares custody of Bernie, a giant loveable Bernese Moutain and Lab mix dog, with her ex-husband. She really hopes one day he will give her full custody and she may have a few ideas on how to make that happen.

Jack Clausen has a great family. Together they own and operate Kringle All The Way, the only bakery in Julemarked. He and his brothers have worked out quite an assembly process to make all the kringles they sell. Living in Julemarked the family remains as close as ever,

The author has also created a magical place in Julemarked. Such a clever idea. Her descriptions paint such a clear picture of this place that is only there for days and not necessarily every year. She has placed it in an area of Milwaukee that is well known where a lot of people congregate too. The landmarks make the story feel so real. It is so easy to imagine the market with the Julmarked offshoot.

Once Upon A December is a magically delightful read. It is a love story but it is also about strong family ties and epic friendships. Heartwarming and unique, funny and emotional, romance and magic, Ms. Reichert blends it all together to make a very entertaining story with an unexpected ending. I think it would make a great Christmas movie! The only thing that could make this story better was if it came with a Kringle!

 

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

About Amy E. Reichert

Amy Reichert earned her MA in Literature from Marquette University and honed her writing and editing skills as a technical writer (which is exactly as exciting as it sounds). As a newly minted member of the local library board, she loves helping readers find new books to love. She’s a lifelong Wisconsin resident with (allegedly) a very noticeable accent, a patient husband, and two too-smart-for-their-own-good kids. When time allows, she loves to read, collect more cookbooks than she could possibly use, and test the limits of her DVR.


Also by Amy E. Reichert

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

Posted in 2022 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Finish The Series Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge Wisconsin Author Wisconsin Setting You Read How Many Books Challenge

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

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

Dead Even (A Mattie Winston Mystery)
Cozy/Hard-Boiled Mystery
11th in Series
Setting – Wisconsin
Kensington; First Edition (March 30, 2021)
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 336 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1496722574
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1496722577
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08CBMX13V

In Sorenson, Wisconsin, a local bigshot is found with a pool cue through the heart—and Mattie Winston must untangle a web of lies to sink a killer . . .
 
In her previous career as a nurse, Mattie Winston’s job was to keep death at bay. Now, as a medicolegal investigator, she’s required to study death intimately—to figure out causes and timing, and help deduce whether it was natural or suspicious.

In the case of Montgomery “Monty” Dixon, a well-to-do Realtor, there can be little doubt: Broken pool cues do not embed themselves. Monty’s body is found in the game room of his lavish house, the walls adorned with photos of Monty and various celebrities. But as Mattie and husband Steve Hurley, a homicide detective, both know, money and connections can’t protect anyone from a killer.

The first suspect is Monty’s wife, Summer, who claims to have been at a cooking class at the time. When that alibi is served up as a fake, Summer moves to the top of the suspects list, but is soon joined by Monty’s ne’er-do-well son, Sawyer, who has racked up gambling debts he hoped his dad would pay off. Monty’s twin brother is engaging in shady financial deals. An affair, a Ponzi scheme, a disputed inheritance . . . there are as many motives as suspects, and soon Mattie and Hurley have turned up other, possibly related deaths.

Balancing a high-profile case with the demands of their increasingly stressful household isn’t easy. It’ll take all of Mattie’s skill—along with a lucky break or two—to stop a killer from racking up another victim . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Death by Pool Cue! You don’t see that every day. But that is the case medicolegal investigator, Mattie Winston and her husband Detective Steve Hurley are tasked with. Prominent Realtor, Montgomery “Monty” Dixon has been taken down by someone he had to have known. Was it his wife, Summer? His son, Sawyer? His twin brother? A disgruntled employee? A client not happy with their real estate deal? Or was someone else trying to get Dead Even? Hurley and Mattie are hot on the case as they juggle their hectic home life. Will Mattie catch the killer? Or will she be the next victim?


I love this series and these characters.

The author has created such fantastic genuine characters. Mattie has grown leaps and bounds over these 12 books. She is still the same clutzy self she has been since Book 1 and I love that. She has always made me laugh out loud and is truly my favorite fictional character of all time. Hurley is her perfect man. They have worked through so much over the years and always come out stronger. Their son Matthew is such a cool kid. He immediately stole my heart. His big sister Emily has been through some tough things but has emerged as such a strong young woman. Dom and Iggy are the best supporting characters. They always have Mattie’s back. Her sister, Desi, and her husband Lucien keep things interesting, especially with the girl’s Dad back in town and Lucien representing the suspects in Mattie’s cases.

Again, Ms. Ryan has wrapped her characters in a complicated mystery with a lot of moving parts. Mattie knows all the suspects are lying and she just keeps tugging one thread after another while Hurley works the case on his end. I love the trust they have in each other. They come up with theories and dig some more. They have no problem bringing suspects into “The Hole” to try to get to the truth. It is so much fun to follow all the breadcrumbs with them right up to the big reveal. I truly was at the edge of my seat. I was so impressed with Mattie. I was cheering and crying. Knowing this is probably the last book in the series, I was afraid about how the book was going to end.

The author uses the final chapter to put a lid on the mystery answering all the questions and presenting the motives and how they snowballed. She also leaves the characters in a very good place. The one thing she doesn’t do is slam the door completely shut on future stories. I hope someday down the road Mattie jumps into Annelise’s brain and pokes at her a lot to pick up the saga of Mattie and Hurley again. As I said, I love these characters, they are like old friends that I could make a short trip up the highway and visit again and again.

Thank you, Ms. Ryan. I found this series late in the game but once I started I was hooked. I really enjoy the humor you infuse into each story while giving us a fabulous mystery to escape into. I have now read everything you have written as Annelise Ryan and Allyson K. Abbott and am anxiously awaiting the release of Death in the Dark Woods, the second Monster Hunter Mystery. As long as you keep writing I will keep reading!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent


About the Author

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

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

Also by this Author

Coming September 12, 2023

Written as Allyson K. Abbott

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

Posted in 2022 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Literary Escapes You Read How Many Books Challenge

Christmas in Newfoundland — Memories and Mysteries (A Sgt. Windflower Christmas Mystery) by Mike Martin #Review

Christmas in Newfoundland — Memories and Mysteries (A Sgt. Windflower Christmas Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Newfoundland, Canada
Ottawa Press and Publishing (September 26, 2022)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 160 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1990896030
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1990896033
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0BGJDPRHF

From the author of the Award-winning Sgt. Windflower Mysteries including Christmas in Newfoundland: Memories and Mysteries Book 1, comes another welcome addition to the Sgt. Windflower family of books.

Come sit by the fire of the woodstove in the kitchen and listen to stories of Christmas long ago in Grand Bank and Ramea and tales of great adventure and Christmas magic in St. John’s in the 1960s and onward. Have Christmas dinner with Sgt. Windflower and Sheila and their two little girls. Then wait and see if any special visitors show up to entertain them.

Sing along with the choir or have a drink with old friends to celebrate Tibb’s Eve. Follow along as Eddie Tizzard has a special mission in the middle of a snowstorm and Herb Stoodley becomes an unlikely Christmas hero.

Christmas in Newfoundland is always a time for good food, good friends, and good cheer. And there’s always another chair at the table.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

The stories in this book are a delightful way to add to your Christmas spirit. Go back in time with the author and the characters from his Sgt. Windflower Mysteries during their holiday seasons.

While I really enjoyed all the stories, A Different Tibb’s Eve was my favorite. Herb Stoodley gets caught in a blizzard trying to get home for Christmas but he stops to help someone stuck in a drift and ends up having a heartwarming experience and his “best Tibb’s Eve ever”.

Several stories are about  Winston Windflower’s and his wife Sheila’s Christmases over the years and they were fun to read too. Those from Winston’s childhood were a real treat as were the ones from the author himself.

The graphics at the start and in between the chapters, and the cover of the book add to the Christmas feeling coming from the stories.

Every family has their own Christmas traditions and they are born in several ways over the years. It was entertaining to read about the traditions of the people from Grand Bank and Ramea.

Entertaining and nostalgic, this book of stories invoked several memories of my own. If I wasn’t already in the Christmas spirit these stories would have gotten me there. You can read this book over several days or be like me and curl up in a blanket with the book and read them all in one evening. It was a wonderful read.

I haven’t read the 1st Christmas in Newfoundland but I have added it to my Christmas list.



Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

Mike Martin was born in St. John’s, NL on the east coast of Canada and now lives and works in Ottawa, Ontario. He is a long-time freelance writer and his articles and essays have appeared in newspapers, magazines, and online across Canada as well as in the United States and New Zealand.

He is the author of the award-winning Sgt. Windflower Mystery series set in beautiful Grand Bank. There are now 10 books in this light mystery series with the publication of Safe Harbour. A Tangled Web was shortlisted in 2017 for the best light mystery of the year, and Darkest Before the Dawn won the 2019 Bony Blithe Light Mystery Award. Mike has also published Christmas in Newfoundland: Memories and Mysteries, a Sgt. Windflower Book of Christmas past and present.

Mike is the Past Chair of the Board of Crime Writers of Canada, a national organization promoting Canadian crime and mystery writers, and a member of the Newfoundland Writing Guild and Ottawa Independent Writers.


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

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Posted in 2022 Reviews Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Wisconsin Author Wisconsin Setting You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday featuring Death Checked Out: A Larkspur Library Mystery by Leah Dobrinska #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour


Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am happy to feature Death Checked Out: A Larkspur Library Mystery
by Leah Dobrinska today! 

About Death Checked Out

Death Checked Out: A Larkspur Library Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Wisconsin
Level Best Books (December 6, 2022)
Number of Pages ~300
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0BHJJ1QRT

She’s used to checking out books. A death? Not so much.

Greta Plank, resident librarian in the small, lakeside town of Larkspur, Wisconsin, prefers her rose-tinted glasses extra rosy, thank you very much. Ever since a family tragedy landed her in Larkspur, she’s kept a happy-or-bust outlook. But Greta’s cheery resolve takes a hit when she finds the town recluse dead at the base of the stairs leading from his deck to the lake. What she assumes is a terrible accident Greta soon learns is something more sinister, and to make matters worse, new-to-town Detective Mark McHenry cites her as not only his primary source for the case, but his top suspect.

To clear her name and return to life as she knew it before the murder, Greta decides to do some clue cataloging of her own. After all, she’s got her master’s degree in library science with an emphasis in research methodology…how hard could a criminal investigation be? With the help of her fellow librarians and her lawyer mom, Greta begins checking out the pages of the murder, uncovering details about the recluse’s rare book collection and Larkspur’s real estate market as she tries to understand why anyone would have authored his death.

But with friends and neighbors stacking up as both victims and suspects, Greta must cross-reference the facts and put a hold on her idyllic worldview if she wants to get the full story without paying the fine of her life.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

In this first Larkspur Library Mystery, we meet Greta Plank. She has come to Larkspur and taken the job as Library Director to restart her life after a family loss. She feels that the little town is a safe place until she finds one of her new friends, her neighbor, and town recluse dead at the foot of his deck stairs.  She thinks the wheelchair-bound man’s fall was an accident but as the evidence is collected the death is classified as a homicide and Detective Mark McHenry has decided Greta is his prime suspect.

Greta is shocked but decides to quickly prove him wrong by starting her own investigation. She definitely has the education to follow the clues wherever they lead. Unfortunately, the killer is not happy that she is on their trail and makes an effort to stop her permanently. Larkspur sure isn’t the town she hoped for and she may have to rethink her options. That is if she lives long enough to have options.


While Greta is the main character in this story and we have just scratched the surface of getting to know her I was drawn right away to her neighbor Franklin Halloway because we have things in common. He is a disabled man who has become a bit of a recluse. It had taken Greta some time to get on the man’s good side and become his friend. They both love books, in fact, he has a wonderful rare book collection. Greta visits him often, bringing books he requests from the library, and always takes time to visit with him and his golden Siberian tabby cat Biff. I could identify with him so easily because due to my disability I spend a lot of time in a wheelchair. We also both love books and have no problem being left alone to read and enjoy them. I was really sad that he was the victim in this story because he was a man I would have enjoyed spending a lot more time with.

We also meet Greta’s friends and fellow librarians Josie and Iris, her parents, a snooty library board member, and of course Detective Mark McHenry along with several others that come into Greta’s life. I really enjoyed meeting Greta’s mom Louisa and her friend Lori. Strong Wisconsin woman that I would easily be friends with in real life. The author has left plenty of room for growth and I am excited to see them get more fleshed out as the series continues.

The mystery was well-plotted but I focused on one character really early and came up with a theory that was surprisingly right. Each clue revealed firmed up my thinking. There was another secret reveal that was apparent to me early as well. I did like it when Greta and Detective McHenry started working together. Their meetings gave me a good chuckle. The final reveal was very exciting. It played out in a different and much better way than I thought it would.

I love that this series is set in my home state of Wisconsin. It is easy to see that Ms. Dobrinska also calls this state home because she captures the essence of this fine state and its small towns so well.

Death Checked Out has given this series a fine start. Writing the first book in a cozy mystery series is hard. You have to introduce all the characters and make them characters readers what to know better while wrapping them in a mystery that will those pages turning. I think the author did a great job. I do want to know more about Greta and the residents of Larkspur. I am intrigued to see what she has in store for her characters next.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Leah Dobrinska

Leah Dobrinska is the author of the Larkspur Library Mysteries, a cozy mystery series set in the Wisconsin Northwoods, and the Mapleton novels, a series of standalone small town romances. She earned her degree in English Literature from UW-Madison and has since worked as a freelance writer, editor, and content marketer. As a kid, she hoped to grow up to be either Nancy Drew or Elizabeth Bennet. Now, she fulfills that dream by writing mysteries and love stories. Death Checked Out is her debut cozy mystery.

A sucker for a good sentence, a happy ending, and the smell of books—both old and new—Leah lives out her very own happily ever after in a small Wisconsin town with her husband and their gaggle of kids. When she’s not writing, handing out snacks, or visiting local parks, Leah enjoys reading and running. Find out more about Leah, join her newsletter community, and connect with her through her website, leahdobrinska.com.

Author Links

Website    Newsletter    Amazon Author Page     Facebook      Instagram    TikTok     BookBub     Goodreads

Purchase Links

AmazonB&N

 

TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please visit all the stops. 
December 12 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW, EXCERPT
December 12 – Literary Gold – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
December 12 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
December 13 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – SPOTLIGHT
December 13 – Brooke Blogs – CHARACTER GUEST POST
December 14 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW  
December 14 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
December 15 – Baroness Book Trove – SPOTLIGHT
December 15 – Elza Reads – REVIEW
December 16 – Novels Alive – REVIEW
December 16 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT
December 17 – FUONLYKNEW – CHARACTER GUEST POST
December 17 – I’m Into Books – SPOTLIGHT
December 18 – Guatemala Paula Loves to Read – REVIEW
December 18 – Lady Hawkeye – SPOTLIGHT
December 19 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW
December 19 – Jane Reads – AUTHOR GUEST POST
December 20 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – AUTHOR GUEST POST
December 20 – Ascroft, eh? – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
December 21 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
December 21 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT
December 22 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
December 22 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
December 23 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
December 23 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

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

Posted in 2022 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Finish The Series Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours You Read How Many Books Challenge

Sleuthing in Stilettos (A Resale Boutique Mystery) by Debra Sennefelder #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour


Sleuthing in Stilettos (A Resale Boutique Mystery)
by Debra Sennefelder

About Sleuthing in Stilettos


Sleuthing in Stilettos (A Resale Boutique Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Setting – Lucky Cove, NY
Lyrical Underground (December 6, 2022)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 256 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1516111044
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1516111046
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09VCWFVRQ

Kelly Quinn, owner of a high-end consignment shop, is a booster for her Long Island town’s small businesses—but now a store owner’s murder has brought big trouble . . .

Locals in Lucky Cove seem to harbor hostility toward Miranda Farrell, proprietor of a new shoe store. Nevertheless, Kelly invites her along to a Chamber of Commerce meeting. But soon afterward, Miranda’s body is found in her shop, with Kelly’s uncle—who’s had multiple public arguments with her—standing nearby. Could her uncle really have committed murder over a business dispute? Or is Miranda’s death related to her late husband’s long-ago embezzlement case?

Kelly feels compelled to investigate, despite her detective boyfriend’s objections—not to mention her commitment to promoting Small Business Saturday. But her effort to pump up sales may fall flat. After her presentation to the committee is sabotaged, the Chamber gives her the boot—and tongues start wagging. Now she has to do some fancy footwork to find the killer . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Kelly is still reeling from her cousin’s death and thinks keeping herself as busy as possible will help her deal with it. So she takes on some vast responsibilities at the Chamber of Commerce including personally inviting the new shoe store owner, Miranda Farrell, to the next meeting. She finds out too late that Miranda has a history in Lucky Cove, so she wasn’t well-received at the meeting. Kelly is also trying to find a way to reconcile her friendship with Ariel after a long-held secret was revealed.  Unfortunately, her presentation at the chamber meeting for the Small Business Saturday makes matters worse. It also gets her removed from the chamber.

Soon after Kelly finds herself in the middle of another murder when Miranda’s dead body is found in her shoe shop with Kelly’s uncle standing over her body. Miranda and her uncle have had several arguments witnessed by others but Kelly can’t believe he would kill her over business-related squabbles. With her chamber obligations removed she has plenty of time to investigate the murder. Now if she could just find her computer mouse and her keys. Blast it! Nate is going to be upset with her butting into his case again.


I love Kelly and her fashion sense, I really do, but the girl really needs to work on her sleuthing techniques. She just can’t ask basic questions without accusing the person of murder and then wonders why they get mad. I know her heart is in the right place but seriously one of these days there won’t be anyone left to rescue her when she gets herself in trouble. Every time she started to question someone I wanted to jump into the book and try to protect her from herself.  I will say that a lot of character development occurs with Kelly as the book continues and for that, I was very delighted.

Kelly is surrounded by an excellent supporting cast.  She has been through a lot and she needs her friends. I am happy to see Breena starting something new. I like the way Nate and Kelly’s relationship is developing and that he is opening himself up more to her. She needs a strong man in her life.

Miranda Farrell had a slew of people that could have wanted her dead so there really is a nice suspect pool. A friend getting seriously injured shakes things up but Kelly doesn’t give up. The author throws in some excellent twists and interesting connections to keep everyone guessing. I was completely surprised when the killer was revealed. The showdown was exciting and I loved the person who showed up just in time!

Sleuthing in Stiletto’s lead character may have frustrated me at times, but the story grabbed my attention from the start and didn’t let go. I stayed up late to finish because I knew I wasn’t going to go to sleep until I knew whodunit!

Another Perfect Escape from Debra Sennefelder, that is not a surprise. She is a fantastic storyteller.



Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Debra Sennefelder

Debra Sennefelder is an avid reader who reads across a range of genres, but mystery fiction is her obsession. Her interest in people and relationships is channeled into her novels against a backdrop of crime and mystery.

Her first novel, THE UNINVITED CORPSE (A Food Blogger mystery) was published in 2018. When she’s not reading, she enjoys cooking and baking and as a former food blogger, she is constantly taking photographs of her food. Yeah, she’s that person.

Born and raised in New York City, where she majored in her hobby of fashion buying, she now lives and writes in Connecticut with her family. She worked in retail and publishing before becoming a full-time author. Her writing companion is her adorable and slightly spoiled Shih Tzu, Connie.


Purchase Links – AmazonB&NKobo – 
The Rest of the Series

Also by Debra Sennefelder

 

Great Escapes Praise for Sleuthing in Stilettos
(A Resale Boutique Mystery)

by Debra Sennefelder

Sleuthing in Stilettos by Debra Sennefelder is a must-read for all cozy mystery fans. Entertaining, engrossing, and a whole lotta fun!
~The Book Decoder

A solid addition to an enjoyable cozy series. Well-rounded characters, plenty of action, and lots of clues are sure to delight fans of the genre.
~Books a Plenty Book Reviews

TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please visit all the stops. 
December 5 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – SPOTLIGHT
December 5 – Lady Hawkeye – SPOTLIGHT
December 6 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
December 6 – Jane Reads – AUTHOR GUEST POST
December 7 – StoreyBook Reviews – AUTHOR GUEST POST
December 7 – I’m Into Books – SPOTLIGHT
December 8 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
December 8 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
December 9 – Baroness Book Trove – SPOTLIGHT
December 9 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT
December 10 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
December 11 –The Book Decoder – REVIEW
December 12 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR GUEST POST
December 12 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
December 13 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT
December 13 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
December 14 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT
December 14 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
December 15 – Novels Alive – REVIEW
December 15 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
December 16 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
December 17 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
December 18 – The Mystery of Writing – AUTHOR INTERVIEWa Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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

Posted in 2022 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Finish The Series Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge TBR Pile Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – Death by Chocolate Snickerdoodle (A Death by Chocolate Mystery) by Sarah Graves #Review / #Giveaway @KensingtonBooks @SarahGraves2011

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.


Death by Chocolate Snickerdoodle (A Death by Chocolate Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Setting – Maine
Kensington Cozies (February 23, 2021)
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 288 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1496729196
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1496729194
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B089N4S1WF

Jake Tiptree and Ellie White are fired up for Eastport, Maine’s Maine’s annual cookie-baking contest, but when a cunning killer and a devastating fire threaten to ravage the quaint island town, Jake and Ellie must dip into another homemade homicide investigation before all they love goes up in smoke . . .

As co-owners of Eastport’s beloved waterfront bakery, the Chocolate Moose, Jake and Ellie know their customers expect them to cream the competition. But they’re really just in it for fun, hoping to get Jake’s daughter-in-law baking again. Those plans collapse when fearsome local curmudgeon Alvin Carter is murdered, and every crumb of evidence points to Tiptree family friend—and all-around sweet guy—Billy Breyer.

Billy’s sisters beg Jake and Ellie to prove his innocence. After all, lots of folks had gone sour on Alvin, whose popularity ranked somewhere between a toothache and the plague. But just as the ladies begin sifting through the suspects, a series of grass fires blaze across the island, threatening catastrophe. Could someone be trying to hide the truth about Alvin’s murder?

Now, Jake and Ellie will need all their courage—and an extra dash of that downeast Maine stubbornness—to sniff out the real killer before anyone else gets burned . . .

Includes a Recipe!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Jake and Ellie really have their hands full in this Death by Chocolate Mystery. The town’s annual cookie-baking contest is right around the corner and they are hoping that putting Mika in charge of the entry will cure her baby blues. Her husband Sam has some blues of his own. His employee Billy Breyer found one of their client’s dead body when he arrived for work and sadly all the evidence points to him as the killer. The victim was not a nice man and had made his share of enemies. So with a long suspect list, Jake and Ellie agree to do their best to get Billy out of jail and the real guilty party there in his place.


Wildfires, wild wills, and wild rides! Sarah Graves takes us readers on a wild trip to find out who killed cranky old Alvin Carter and why.

Jake and Ellie are great characters with their fingers in everything that happens in Eastport, Maine. They are smart and creative but have a real tendency to leap into action without thinking through all the consequences that can occur as they try to get to the truth and a killer.

I really enjoyed that Sam and Mika had a bigger part in this story. So many women deal with baby blues, postpartum depression, baby brain, etc. following the birth of a baby. I appreciated the way Ellie and Jake helped her see her way through a tough time.

Jake’s stepmother is also having issues and the whole family knows it but it is hard to get through to a woman as independent as Bella. The author did an excellent job with this situation.

I also like meeting Billy’s sisters, Anna and Helen. These are young women with hopes and dreams with plans to make them come true. Their Aunt Prunia, such an appropriate name, has totally different ideas for their future. The girls and their brother Billy have had tragedy in their lives and I was thrilled to see such positive attitudes from all of them.

Pinning down a killer this time was really tough especially with grass fires popping up everywhere. Ellie and Jake took some crazy risks. I wanted to jump into the book and reel them in but that being impossible I scooched up to the edge of my seat a few times as the pages flew. I was 82% into the book when a bird hit a window and from there I was sitting up straight and everything in the room around me disappeared. I was caught spellbound by what was happening on the pages. Things settled down by 93% and things were explained and cookie-baking winners were revealed but it took me a couple of minutes to catch my breath.

Death by Chocolate Snickerdoodle was a blast to read. I think Ms. Graves hit it out of the park with this story. I loved it!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

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

Also by Sarah Graves

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

                                  

Posted in 2022 Reviews Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Finish The Series Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday featuring Death by Puffin: A Bachelorette Party Murder in Reykjavik (Travel Can Be Murder Cozy Mystery) by Jennifer S. Alderson #Review / #Giveaway


Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am pleased to feature Death by Puffin: A Bachelorette Party Murder in Reykjavik
(Travel Can Be Murder Cozy Mystery)
by Jennifer S. Alderson today!

About Death By Puffin


Death by Puffin: A Bachelorette Party Murder in Reykjavik (Travel Can Be Murder Cozy Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
9th in Series
Setting – Iceland
Traveling Life Press (November 24, 2022)
Number of Pages: 180
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09WX2D57V

Iceland—land of fire, ice … and murder?

After a nasty fight with her boyfriend, tour guide Lana Hansen takes a week off work to get her head straight. Fate brings her to Iceland and the Hotel Puffin where she hopes the magnificent natural surroundings will help heal her heart and point the way forward.

Instead of the rest and relaxation she wishes to find, Lana ends up neighbors with a group of rowdy Americans in town for a bachelorette party and wedding. Their joyous frivolity is a painful reminder of her own relationship problems, and Lana does her best to steer clear of the group.

Yet when someone in the wedding party dies under mysterious circumstances, she gets pulled into the investigation. Can Lana help unmask the killer before they strike again—or will this trip be her last?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Tour guide Lana Hansen’s entire life is in flux and it was just too much to handle so she grabbed the first flight going anywhere out of Venice. That is how she ended up in Iceland at the Hotel Puffin all by herself. Hoping to sort through her feelings and find direction she tucks herself away in her room but instead of direction, she finds herself even more miserable as a bunch of Americans in the room next door are partying day and night in a week-long bachelorette party.

A special person comes to visit and actually gets Lana to leave her room but she still can’t get away from the bridesmaids as they show up for the same excursion.

Later when one of the bachelorettes dies just a day before the wedding without a clear cause Lana finds herself drawn into yet another murder investigation. Putting her own needs aside she is determined to find the killer. Then she will hopefully be able to sort out her own life. That is unless she is the killer’s next victim.


When I finished Death by Gondola my heart was breaking for Lana. Death by Puffin takes place immediately where that previous book left off. She was not in good shape. She had such a heavy weight on her shoulders. Was her relationship with Alex over? Was Dotty going to let her keep doing the job she loved? Was she a murder magnet? The author did such an excellent job with Lana’s situation. Her actions and reactions were true to real life, especially for Lana. She also had the perfect person come to her rescue. They both needed each other and the time away.

The bachelorettes were deliciously catty. Most felt entitled to everything and acted like spoiled brats. They are a pretty shallow group. One didn’t really fit in with the group and that was refreshing.

There was a slow build to the murder so we did get to know all the new characters well by the time it happened. The entire bridal party was suspect. Who had the motive and opportunity to set up such a crime? There were plenty of twists and turns. I always enjoy the way Lana puts clues together and she was able to do it again even with all she was going through.

I loved that the story was set in Iceland. It feels like the appropriate place to try to get your life together while climbing a glacier or two and freezing your butt off. I was thrilled that right after finishing this book I was watching the latest episode of The Amazing Race and it took place in Iceland and one of the events was climbing a glacier. Ms. Alderson’s detailed descriptions always make the places Lana visits easy to imagine but this time it was great to see actual pictures of the wonderful scenery and it also showed me how accurate her descriptions are. She really knows how to set a scene.

Death by Puffin kept me engaged and entertained. Every virtual vacay I have taken with Lana has been a Perfect Escape, but the last two books are my favorites. I loved the journey Ms. Alderson took Lana through. Things may be changing a bit for this fun protagonist but I know her new adventures are some that I will be very excited to read.

I happily recommend this entire series. Read them from the start and enjoy every tour.

P.S. Puffins are too cute to eat!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Jennifer S. Alderson

Jennifer S. Alderson was born in San Francisco, raised in Seattle, and currently lives in Amsterdam. After traveling extensively around Asia, Oceania, and Central America, she moved to Darwin, Australia, before settling in the Netherlands. Her background in journalism, multimedia development, and art history enriches her novels. When not writing, she can be found in a museum, biking around Amsterdam, or enjoying a coffee along the canal while planning her next research trip.

Author Links

Website     Facebook     Twitter     Instagram     BookBub    Goodreads 

Purchase Links

Amazon( (US)    Amazon Worldwide 

The Travel Can Be Murder Cozy Mysteries are heartwarming stories about making friends, traveling, and celebrating new experiences. Join tour guide, Lana Hansen, as she leads tourists and readers to fascinating cities around the globe on intriguing adventures that often turn deadly.

Books in the Travel Can Be Murder Cozy Mystery series:
Book 1 – Death on the Danube: A New Year’s Murder in Budapest
Book 2 – Death by Baguette: A Valentine’s Day Murder in Paris
Book 3 – Death by Windmill: A Mother’s Day Murder in Amsterdam
Book 4 – Death by Bagpipes: A Summer Murder in Edinburgh
Book 5 – Death by Fountain: A Christmas Murder in Rome
Book 6 – Death by Leprechaun: A Saint Patrick’s Day Murder in Dublin
Book 7 – Death by Flamenco: An Easter Murder in Seville
Book 8 – Death by Gondola: A Springtime Murder in Venice
Book 9 – Death by Puffin: A Bachelorette Party Murder in Reykjavik
Books 10-12 – More adventures are coming soon!!

Great Escapes Praise for Death by Puffin: A Bachelorette Party Murder in Reykjavik
(Travel Can Be Murder Cozy Mystery)
by Jennifer S. Alderson

With exceedingly likable amateur sleuths and equally heinous suspects who you’ll love to hate, I recommend DEATH BY PUFFIN to cozy mystery readers who enjoy stories where the characters travel to exciting and exotic locations.
~Guatamala Paula Loves to Read

Death by Puffin is entertaining from start to finish, and the murder will keep you engaged in the investigation. Honestly, I could read this series indefinitely – as long as she keeps writing them, I’ll keep reading them!
~Reading is my Superpower

Ms. Alderson tells a beautiful tale. I love reading her books. They flow nicely, and occasionally I figure the culprit out before the sleuth. I highly recommend the book Death by Puffin by Jennifer S. Alderson!
~Baroness’ Book Trove

Mysteries located in places I have visited or hope to visit someday are always fun to read, especially if I can picture the locale. Amateur sleuths often add a layer of fun even when solving a crime.
~Novels Alive

I am an avid fan of the series, and truly look forward to every adventure and destination to come.
~Book Club Librarian

TOUR PARTICIPANTS
November 28 – I’m Into Books – SPOTLIGHT
November 28 – Lady Hawkeye – SPOTLIGHT  
November 29 – Cozy Up WIth Kathy – CHARACTER GUEST POST
November 29 – Guatemala Paula Loves to Read – REVIEW
November 30 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
November 30 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
December 1 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR GUEST POST
December 1 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
December 2 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
December 2 – Bootsie’s Book Nook – SPOTLIGHT
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Posted in 2022 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Finish The Series Challenge Literary Escapes You Read How Many Books Challenge

Death by Gondola: A Springtime Murder in Venice (Travel Can Be Murder Cozy Mystery Series) by Jennifer S. Alderson #Review


Death by Gondola: A Springtime Murder in Venice (Travel Can Be Murder Cozy Mystery Series)
Cozy Mystery
8th in Series
Setting – Italy
Traveling Life Press (April 8, 2022)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 208 pages
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 979-8444524107
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09WYZGW8X

Venice — the city of canals, masks … and murder?

Tour guide Lana Hansen is having the time of her life leading a Carnevale-themed trip in Venice, Italy. Her merry group loves exploring the city’s rich artistic and cultural heritage together, as well as sampling the sumptuous cuisine the island city is famous for.

Their invitation to a masquerade ball, complete with historical costumes and fancy masks, should be the culmination of a perfect week. Yet when the guest of honor is bludgeoned to death, all eyes are on the partygoers—including Lana and her group! Was it an environmental protester, a corporate rival, or a disgruntled business associate that did him in? Or could someone have another reason to want the cruise ship executive dead?

Things go from bad to worse when Lana’s boyfriend, Alex, unexpectedly knocks on her hotel room door and shares a shocking secret—one that gets him arrested for murder! Can Lana sleuth out the real killer’s identity before her partner’s visit to the Floating City becomes permanent?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Lana Hansen is back and leading a tour around Venice, Italy complete with an invite to a masquerade ball. Her group is excited to pick up their costumes and masks as well as seeing all the sights in the Floating City.

When they arrive at the ball the entrance is surrounded by protestors but Lana is not going to allow that the hinder her enjoyment or the enjoyment of her group. She spends the evening dancing and partaking in the delicious food and drink but the whole event takes a turn when the host, a cruise ship executive, makes an unexpected announcement. Then he causes another disturbance that involves a member of her group. A short time later the man is found dead. Everyone who attended the ball is now a suspect including Lana and her tour group. This isn’t good  – another murder connected to Lana. Her boss is going to flip!

As if Lana doesn’t have enough to worry about, a knock on her hotel room door reveals her boyfriend Alex and he has a huge secret! A secret that has the police trying to track him down for murder. The murder Lana is already trying to solve! Can she find the killer? or will Alex spend the rest of his life in an Italian prison?


All of Ms. Alderson’s characters are unique and develop well over the course of the story/series. Lana again is a fabulous tour host. This time without Randy by her side. Instead, she is training a new guide. Tom has had a lot of experience with groups in South and Central America and he has a very hands-off approach which just doesn’t work for Lana or Wanderlust Tours. She hopes to whip him into shape by the end of the tour. Lana’s boyfriend, Alex also makes a surprise appearance in Italy to shake things up.

The tour guests are an interesting group. Carmen Winters is traveling with her best friend Rhonda Davis. Carmen is extremely observant of everything happening around her while Rhonda is just delighted to be there and is completely taken in by what she sees and hears. George and Christy Fretwell are two lovebirds. She is beautiful and more reserved. George is more boisterous and tries to fulfill all of Christy’s whims. David and Kathy Windsor have a “little” shipbuilding business and they have brought two of their employees along on the trip. Brothers, Harry and Joe’s excursion is to reward them for their hard work and long hours on an order for an Italian company.

The author also gives the readers rich details of every place the tour group visits. Whether it be tourists coming under a bridge in a gondola or the wonderment of the masquerade ball at Sail Away Cruises to just walking the streets of Venice I was able to clearly visualize everything. She described the costumes at the ball fantastically too. I loved the moment a member of the group reveals his wonderful talent. It felt like an amazing moment.

While this book has all the delightful details of an awesome trip to Venice and eclectic characters, the murder mystery hits too close to home for Lana and it truly turns her life inside out. I really felt bad for her and was mad that she was thrown into such an awful situation. This story had a very different ending than the previous books. It was very emotional and tugged at my heartstrings, and that’s not a bad thing. In fact, it was a very good thing because we see a different side of Lana and it made her even more genuine and real.

Believable characters wrapped up a top-notch mystery make Death by Gondola a sensational addition to this series.



Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Jennifer S. Alderson

Jennifer S. Alderson was born in San Francisco, raised in Seattle, and currently lives in Amsterdam. After traveling extensively around Asia, Oceania, and Central America, she moved to Darwin, Australia, before settling in the Netherlands. Her background in journalism, multimedia development, and art history enriches her novels. When not writing, she can be found in a museum, biking around Amsterdam, or enjoying a coffee along the canal while planning her next research trip.

Author Links

Website     Facebook     Twitter     Instagram     BookBub    Goodreads 

Purchase Links

The Travel Can Be Murder Cozy Mysteries are heartwarming stories about making friends, traveling, and celebrating new experiences. Join tour guide Lana Hansen as she leads tourists and readers to fascinating cities around the globe on intriguing adventures that often turn deadly.

Books in the Travel Can Be Murder Cozy Mystery series:
Book 1 – Death on the Danube: A New Year’s Murder in Budapest
Book 2 – Death by Baguette: A Valentine’s Day Murder in Paris
Book 3 – Death by Windmill: A Mother’s Day Murder in Amsterdam
Book 4 – Death by Bagpipes: A Summer Murder in Edinburgh
Book 5 – Death by Fountain: A Christmas Murder in Rome
Book 6 – Death by Leprechaun: A Saint Patrick’s Day Murder in Dublin
Book 7 – Death by Flamenco: An Easter Murder in Seville
Book 8 – Death by Gondola: A Springtime Murder in Venice
Book 9 – Death by Puffin: A Bachelorette Party Murder in Reykjavik
Books 10-12 – More adventures are coming soon!!

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.”