Posted in 2022 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Alphabet Soup A -Z Author Edition Challenge Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Guest Posts Literary Escapes New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday with Maggie King Author of Laughing Can Kill You: A Hazel Rose Book Group Mystery #Guest Post / #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @MaggieKingAuthr


Laughing Can Kill You: A Hazel Rose Book Group Mystery
by Maggie King

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
I am excited to have Maggie stop by today!!

Hi Maggie, 

The blog is yours!

This One’s for the Writers
By Maggie King

When Laughing Can Kill You opens, romance author Hazel Rose has been dropped by her publisher. Good thing she signed up for a mystery-writing class—perhaps writing crime fiction will jumpstart her career. But what’s a mystery-writing class without a mystery? So when Randy Zimmerman, an obnoxious classmate given to laughing at others’ expense, is murdered, Hazel recruits her book group pals to help with the investigation. Trouble is, there are more suspects than they bargained for. And they unearth secrets that a killer would go to any lengths to keep hidden.

Besides being a murder mystery, Laughing Can Kill You is a story about writers, where they are on their writing paths, and the ups and downs they experience throughout their careers. How do writers cope with the vagaries of the publishing industry? How do some writers stay on top, continuing to publish bestsellers year after year? Do writers really need to spend copious amounts of time on social media?

Hazel Rose has published eight bestselling baby boomer romances. Sales for the ninth were disappointing and her publisher dropped her. To make matters worse, her agent planned to retire soon.

Hazel may have seen the proverbial writing on the wall, as she had already signed up for a mystery-writing class. She was a founding member of the Murder on Tour book group, so transitioning into crime writing seemed like a natural next step in her writing career. Her cousin Lucy quips, “You could always kill off a publisher.”

But Hazel already has an idea: she will pen romantic mysteries, a la The Thin Man.

Hazel understands that publishing’s a tough business with no room for slack. Still, she’s crushed by this setback. The next day she meets fellow classmate Randy Zimmerman at a book signing. Randy thoroughly enjoys giving Hazel his thumbs-way-down review of her writing. Needless to say, her altercation with him didn’t lift her spirits.

When Randy is murdered, a number of motives drive Hazel’s decision to investigate his murder—one being that solving a real-life murder will surely lend authenticity to her creative writing.

Claudia Marlowe is a best-selling author of twenty-three police procedurals and continues to enjoy success. Her fans happily stand in line for hours at her book signings. She teaches the mystery-writing class Hazel takes (and that the victim planned to take).

Lorraine Popp is also signed up for the mystery-writing class. She has published one mystery, Murder at the Quilting Bee. It hasn’t done well, partly due to Lorraine’s lack of enthusiasm, ignorance of promotion, and reluctance to embrace social media. She won’t write any more quilting mysteries (she knows nothing about the craft, anyway), and no one is asking her to do so. She also has to endure Randy Zimmerman’s ribbing about her writing.

Hazel Rose fancies herself as Lorraine’s mentor and tries coaxing her to take a pro-active role in her own career. It’s tough-going, but Hazel persists. Lorraine has helped her mother with their family tree, and they found criminals on a couple of the branches. Her great, great uncle was a bank robber, and her great aunt embezzled a fortune from her employer. Her response to Hazel’s encouragement to work these findings into a murder mystery: “I’ll think about it.”

Apparently, she did. At the next mystery-writing class, Lorraine enthuses about the genealogy idea and thanks Hazel for encouraging her. And she tells another student that she’s going to use genealogy to hunt down Randy’s killer.

How will that work out for her?

Randy Zimmerman has finished his first manuscript. When he meets Hazel and Lorraine at the book signing, he immediately boasts about his legal thriller, predicting that he’ll give John Grisham a run for his money.

Matt Rowan, Randy’s long-time friend, also has a completed manuscript for a legal thriller, his set in the 19th century. Unlike Randy, Matt is modest about his writing.

Lucy Hooper and Eileen Thompson complete the small writing class. They are starting on their writing paths. Brings back memories of my first writing efforts at a class I took at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. No dead bodies, though.

***

Considering a writing career? Wonderful choice. Just keep your eyes wide open and be prepared for ANYTHING!

Thank you Maggie for being my guest today.

Now keep reading for my thoughts about Laughing Can Kill You

 

About Laughing Can Kill You

Laughing Can Kill You: A Hazel Rose Book Group Mystery
Edgy Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Virginia
Olive Lane Press (December 6, 2021)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 320 pages
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 979-8985231816
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09MMHLSSJ

He who laughs last, laughs longest.

Unless he’s dead.

When romance author Hazel Rose is dropped by her publisher, she sees herself heading down a path strewn with has-been authors. While disappointed, Hazel won’t give up without a fight—she signs up for a mystery-writing class, thinking that crime fiction will jumpstart her career.

But what’s a mystery-writing class without a mystery? So when Randy Zimmerman, an obnoxious classmate given to laughing at others’ expense, is murdered, Hazel tackles the case. Solving a real-life murder will surely lend authenticity to her creative writing.

She recruits her book group pals to help with the investigation. Trouble is, there are more suspects than they bargained for—even Hazel herself, who endured Randy’s thumbs-way-down review of her writing, had a motive.

A second body drives the stakes higher, and Hazel doubles her efforts to find who’s behind the murders, unearthing secrets that a killer would go to any lengths to keep hidden.

Will Hazel succeed? Or will this be “The End” for her?

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

Hazel Rose is back and her writing career is in peril. Dropped by her publisher she decides combining mystery with her usual romance themes may just save her from being a has-been. She signs up for a class being taught by successful best-selling mystery author Claudia Marlowe. Prior to the class, the authors meet at a book signing where future classmate and author hopeful Randy Zimmerman brags his book will rival the works of John Grisham. He also seems to find humor in everything and spews some hurtful words. Shortly thereafter the man is found dead, by Hazel no less, and she and her book club have another murder to solve. One where she and other authors find themselves prominent on the suspect list.

Can Hazel find the killer or has she written her last word?


While part of a series this book easily stands on its own. The author provides plenty of background information so readers new to the series will not feel lost at all.

Hazel Rose is an excellent protagonist. She is a genuinely nice person. Her natural curiosity suits her well both in her storytelling and sleuthing. I love that she is an author dealing with all the hurdles in the publishing world and gives readers a look behind the scenes. She is surrounded by the required set of quirky characters that are unique and each intriguing in their own ways.  Randy Zimmerman was a real piece of work who left a lot of enemies in his wake. The suspect pool is large but manageable.

The story is very well-written with Hazel meeting with the suspects one by one trying to determine who could have done Randy in. There is plenty of humor layered throughout and the dialogues are top-notch. The story moves along at a very comfortable pace. I was very entertained by Hazel’s process and the final confrontation was very exciting when things almost went horribly wrong.

I did enjoy the way Ms. King sets a scene. I can tell how much she loves where she lives. Her descriptions gave a great vision of the time and place.

Laughing Can Kill You has an interesting amateur sleuth, a nice cast of supporting characters, a wonderful setting, and a captivating mystery. I hope to visit Hazel Rose again soon, I want to know how her writing career is faring. I am sure a dead body or two will give her plenty of ideas.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Maggie King

 

Maggie King is the author of the Hazel Rose Book Group mysteries. Her short stories appear in various anthologies, including the Virginia is for Mysteries series, 50 Shades of Cabernet, Deadly Southern Charm, Murder by the Glass, and Death by Cupcake.

She is a member of James River Writers, International Thriller Writers, Short Mystery Fiction Society, and is a founding member of Sisters in Crime Central Virginia, where she manages the chapter’s Instagram account.

Maggie graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology with a degree in Business Administration and has worked as a software developer and a retail sales manager. She has called New Jersey, Massachusetts, and California home. These days she lives in Richmond, Virginia, with her husband and two indulged cats. When Maggie isn’t writing she enjoys reading, walking, cooking, traveling, movies, British TV shows, and the theatre. Visit Maggie at www.maggieking.com

Author Links:

Website     Facebook     Twitter     Instagram    Goodreads

 Purchase Links:

Amazon    Universal Book Link (ebook)    Barnes & Noble (print)     Bookshop.org (print)    GoodReads Link       Kobo

TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please visit all the stops. 
January 17 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – SPOTLIGHT
January 18 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
January 18 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
January 19 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT WITH RECIPE
January 19 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW, GUEST POST
January 20 – Brooke Blogs – CHARACTER GUEST POST
January 21 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
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January 25 – fundinmental – SPOTLIGHT
January 26 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
January 27 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT
January 27 – I Read What You Write – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
January 28 – Nellie’s Book Nook – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW
January 29 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT
January 30 – BookishKelly2020 – 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 Cozy Wednesday Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Guest Posts

Cozy Wednesday with Author Lori Robbins – Author of Murder in Second Position – #GuestPost / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @lorirobbins99

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am thrilled to welcome Lori Robbins to
Escape With Dollycas today!


Hi Lori,
Welcome to Escape With Dollycas! 

Hi Lori,
I hope your readers enjoy this guest post.

Fiction That’s True to Life
by Lori Robbins

 

People often ask how I come up with my plots. It’s a reasonable question since my life would appear to offer little in the way of crime-related inspiration. Nonetheless, commonplace events, past and present, fuel my stories. Everything that happens on a typical day, from standing in line for a Covid test to struggling with a difficult coworker, is fodder for my crime fiction. In other words, everything I write is true, but none of it is real.

On the other hand, writing amateur sleuth mysteries poses a creative challenge of no small proportion. The only way to credibly place a teacher, a dancer, a bookseller, or a baker at the heart of a murder investigation is to somehow make the impossible seem inevitable. For me, the best way to solve the problem is to imagine myself in the protagonist’s place. That’s why both my mystery series are inspired by my lived experience.

My first career was as a dancer. It’s a world I know intimately, and because it’s filled with inherent conflict it works well as a dramatic framework for a murder mystery. A ballerina’s professional life is brutally short, even without a fictional crime thrown into the mix, and this vulnerability makes dancers extremely susceptible to all kinds of pressure.  An added element of tension is embedded in the fact that dancers aren’t simply in competition with each other. They’re also in competition with themselves: their own bodies and their own frailties. The stresses dancers face on an everyday basis didn’t need much in the way of exaggeration to provide plenty of motivation for murder. The emotions are real, even if the situation is fiction.

Leah, the protagonist of the On Pointe Mystery series, is a thirty-something ballerina who is battling the limitations of her own body when she is thrust into a murder investigation. Her fraught relationships with food, with her own body, and with her fellow dancers are all grounded in reality. I’ve read and watched many fictionalized accounts of life in a professional dance company, and it really bothers me when the details aren’t true to life. Those elements are something I very much wanted to get right in my books.

The narrative arc of Murder in Second Position doesn’t simply rest upon the murder investigation. It also follows Leah’s growth as a human being as she navigates a perilous path in an unforgiving environment. In the end, she learns there’s more to life, and to her, than being onstage. That’s a lesson, and a challenge, many people face, now more than ever. Others have found themselves outsourced and out of work and have to rebuild their lives in ways they never imagined they could do. Leah’s story is pure invention. Leah’s life is real.

After my dance career ended I became an English teacher. Working in a public high school provided enough material for a library’s worth of murder mysteries.  This is fortunate, for my first novel, Lesson Plan for Murder will be rereleased in June 2022 as the first in a three-part Master Class Mystery series. The mundane events of life as a teacher were fertile ground for life as a writer.

My biggest problem in crafting a realistic backdrop for the story was that the craziest parts of being a teacher seemed too farfetched. I once wrote a passage my editor thought was unrealistic. Except it was toned-down version of an email one of my colleagues actually received from an irate parent. In that case, truth was too strange for fiction.

Within that context, a crime-fighting English teacher feels a lot more reasonable. Liz Hopewell, like ballerina Leah Siderova, is a most unlikely choice as a sleuth. But, not unlike the rest of us, they have to use their wit, their intelligence, and their determination to survive.

I’ll admit that a story about an ex-cop, who has a tortured past and a Glock pistol, may seem more credible. And there’s undeniable appeal in books and movies that follow the adventures of detectives who possess tech skills an MIT grad would envy. It’s thrilling to watch these pros successfully thwart a global conspiracy.

But that’s just not me, or anyone I know. I’ve never been tempted to get into a high-speed car chase. I still get nervous every time I’m stuck in New York City traffic. But the urge to take bold action is within us all.

Really.

Thank you Lori so much for visiting today. 

About Murder in Second Position 


Murder in Second Position: An On Pointe Mystery
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Level Best Books (November 23, 2021)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 258 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1685120210
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1685120214
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09FM1JTFL

Ballerina Leah Siderova belongs onstage. Not in an interrogation room at Manhattan’s Twentieth Precinct. And yet, for the second time in less than a year, that’s where she has a starring role. It wasn’t her fault someone killed the autocratic new director of the American Ballet Company. And it wasn’t her job to find the killer.

 

Leah is determined to stay as far away as possible from the murder investigation. After all, if she were going to kill someone, it would have been the woman who’s been relentlessly trolling her on social media. And that’s where things get complicated. Because when dancers say “ballet can be murder” they don’t mean it literally.

 

Most of the time.

About Lori Robbins

Brooklyn-born Lori Robbins began dancing at age 16 and launched her professional career three years later. She studied modern dance at the Martha Graham School and ballet at the New York Conservatory of Dance. Robbins performed with a number of dance companies, including Ballet Hispanico, the Des Moines Ballet, and the St. Louis Concert Ballet. After ten very lean years as a dancer she attended Hunter College, graduating summa cum laude with a major in British Literature and a minor in Classics.

The opening book in her On Pointe Mystery Series, Murder in First Position, won the Indie Book Award for Best Mystery, was a finalist for a Silver Falchion, and is currently on the short list for a Mystery & Mayhem Book Award. Murder in Second Position will be released November 23, 2021. Her debut mystery, Lesson Plan for Murder, won the Silver Falchion for Best Cozy Mystery and was a finalist in the Readers’ Choice and Indie Book Awards. It will be re-released in June 2022. She authored two short stories in 2021: “Accidents Happen” in Mystery Most Diabolical, and “Leading Ladies” in Justice for All. She is an expert in the homicidal impulses everyday life inspires.

Author Links

Webpage      Facebook      Twitter        Instagram       BookBub        Amazon Author Link          Goodreads Link 

Purchase Link – Amazon 

TOUR PARTICIPANTS
January 5 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
January 5 – The Ninja Librarian – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
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January 6 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
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January 8 – Nellie’s Book Nook – REVIEW, GUEST POST
January 9 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
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January 10 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT
January 10 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
January 11 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
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Posted in 2022 Reviews Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways New Release Challenge Read The Printed Word Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday featuring Essentials of Murder (Aromatherapy Apothecary) by Kim Davis #Review / #Giveaway @Kookiesandbooks

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am excited to feature Essentials of Murder by Kim Davis today!


Essentials of Murder (Aromatherapy Apothecary)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – California
Kindred Ink Press LLC (September 8, 2021)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 312 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1951579461
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1951579463
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09BBLP2C2

Following a scandal that chased her from San Francisco, Carissa Carmichael struggles to find acceptance in her small Southern California hometown as she opens her aromatherapy and reflexology shop.

When she finds a man murdered in her distilling room, Carissa becomes the main suspect, especially when her fingerprints are found on the murder weapon. Despite her father’s position as Oak Creek Valley’s chief of police, most townspeople assume she’s guilty—including the new leading detective.

Refusing to run again, Carissa knows she must prove her innocence to save her shop and her family’s reputation. With suspects acting as slippery as the essential oils she distills, it’s up to Carissa to apply pressure and sniff out the truth before it’s too late.

If you like your cozies with quirky hometown characters, small-town California charm, recipes, and essential oil and reflexology tips, Book 1 in the Aromatherapy Apothecary cozy mystery series is for you. Clean read: no graphic violence, sex, or strong language.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Carissa Carmichael returns home after leaving San Francisco in hopes of leaving her recent past behind. With the support of family and friends, she strives to open an aromatherapy and reflexology shop but before she can even host her grand opening she finds a dead body right next to her distilling equipment and her fingerprints are the only ones on the murder weapon. Her chief of police father is forced off the case and the new lead detective feels his investigation is easy because he is convinced she is the killer. She now knows it is essential to catch the killer herself or to get rubbed out permanently.


Kim Davis excels in creating multifaceted characters that readers are drawn to almost immediately. Take Carissa, she has a bit of a checkered past that has probably given her father some gray hair, and in the San Francisco case, a situation that could come back to bite him in the future. She did make a great friend and mentor in Mari Kemp while there and Mari has come to town too now to help her open her shop. Cari also reconnects and hires a friend from high school who is a marketing whiz but she needs more help than just the job. Ashley is a character that really grabbed me and I can’t wait to see her life hopefully change in positive ways.  We are introduced to a couple of possible romantic interests, a jerk detective, and other interesting residents of the California small town too. All are well-crafted, essential to the plot, and interesting in their own ways.

I really enjoy the way Ms. Davis tells a story. This mystery was filled with twists and turns. The victim really had issues that served up a nice list of possible suspects. The detective had ulterior motives that really tested everyone involved. Some strange land deals play into the mix and Cari tries to so be a good friend to many while trying to follow her dad’s orders to stay safe. The dialogues between the cast are both dynamic and true to life. But it is her delightful descriptive writing style that really makes her story so enjoyable. She can set a scene that paints a vivid picture in your mind while never being overly wordy. She seems to weigh each word and phrase carefully to really make them count. Readers can tell she did her research and knows her theme. The information she imparts about essential oils is so well presented. You can almost smell them too.

You can’t have a Kim Davis cozy mystery without some emphasis on food and let me tell you, all the trips Carissa made to the bakery down the street had me virtually adding pounds to my own body. Then again they could be actual pounds because she includes the recipe for Jasper’s Triple Chocolate Rolls in the back of the book. She also includes an Aromatherapy Basic Care Guide that I found very helpful and renewed my interest in essential oils.

This series is off to a marvelous start with Essentials for Murder. I can’t wait for book #2.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

Kim Davis lives in Southern California with her husband. When she’s not chasing her new puppy or spending time with her granddaughters she can be found either writing stories or working on her blog, Cinnamon, Sugar, and a Little Bit of Murder or in the kitchen baking up yummy treats.  She has published the suspense novel, A GAME OF DECEIT, and cozy mystery, SPRINKLES OF SUSPICION, CAKE POPPED OFF, and FRAMED AND FROSTED. She also has had several children’s articles published in Cricket, Nature Friend, Skipping Stones, and the Seed of Truth magazines. Kim Davis is a member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime.

Author Links – Website  – Facebook  – Twitter: – Goodreads  – Pinterest – Blog

Also by Kim Davis

Written as K.A. Davis

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

                                  

 

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

Cozy Wednesday featuring Arrivals and Arrests (An Isle of Man Ghostly Cozy) by Diana Xarissa #Review / #Giveaway @AuthorDXDunn

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I came across this author while searching for X authors for my Alphabet Soup – Author Edition Challenge and am so glad I did.


Arrivals and Arrests (An Isle of Man Ghostly Cozy)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Isle of Man
Independently Published (November 17, 2016)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 230 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1537699547
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1537699547
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B01KQWEU2U

The first book in a new series by the author of the Aunt Bessie – Isle of Man Cozy Mystery series.

Fenella Woods has only met a few people during the twenty-four hours she’s been in Douglas, the capital city of the Isle of Man. She’s shocked when she discovers one of them dead in an alley behind her apartment building.

Struggling to adapt to her new life in a foreign country seems easy compared to coping with finding herself in the middle of a murder investigation.

Nearly fifty and newly single, Fenella meets a handsome police inspector, a dashing new neighbor, and a sophisticated businessman, all of whom have her questioning her determination to remain unattached.

Having a ghost for a roommate and a kitten as an uninvited houseguest has her questioning her decision to start a new life on the small island in the Irish Sea after all.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Fenella Woods has inherited her Aunt Mona’s apartment and has just arrived in the capital city of Isle of Man. This is her chance to start over and write the book she has been dreaming about. It also gets her far away from the ex she left behind in the states.

Coming home after a trip to the nearby grocery store she finds a dead body in the alley behind her new home. The man seems familiar but with him lying on his stomach she can’t see his face, plus she has not met many people in Douglas yet. But following this death, she does meet a few people, like a very easy on the eyes police inspector, a neighbor who is also pretty good looking, and a hunky businessman too. She also becomes fast friends with her quirky aunt’s friend and neighbor. It is because of her that Fenella finds a wonderful pub just down the street from the Promenade View Apartments.

Fenella also finds she has inherited a roommate, the ghost of her aunt who is not quite ready to start her afterlife. A kitten zips into her apartment and life too. The kitten she is fine with but her aunt not so much, especially when she tries to coax her into investigating the murders.

Her life on the island is nothing like she ever imagined. She just hopes she lives long enough to enjoy it.


This is the first book I have read by this author but it won’t be the last.

I enjoyed my introduction to Fenella and Isle of Man. I love that Fenella is an older protagonist and an American. She is still learning about her new hometown and I really enjoyed her daily walks as I could grasp the locale that was new to me as well. The friendly pub full of books and reading nooks made my heart sing. Like Fenella, I could spend a lot of time there.

I found the people she met to be the classic people you meet in a cozy mystery. The quirky friend, the promising romantic interest/s, in the case there are three, and all the people that fill the suspect list. We get to know them well for the first book in the series.

And then we have the ghostly Aunty Mona. That woman is a hoot and a half. Not entirely happy in her current form she is on hand to give Fenella clothing and romantic advice and quick to encourage her to investigate the murder and pushes even harder when Fenella finds another body. Mona does have some insight into the people involved but she seems to disregard the danger her niece could face.

The murder mystery was well-plotted. Fenella does have some bad luck finding not one but two dead bodies very soon after the crime has been committed. She also knows nothing about the suspects but she is a pro at eavesdropping. She is also not very good at putting the clues together and that could have her running for her life.

Arrivals and Arrests is a lighthearted mystery with an exciting climax. I enjoyed the way Ms. Xarissa told this story so I am looking forward to reading book two, Boats and Bad Guys to see what kind of mystery Fenella gets involved in next. This being an alphabet series it appears Fenella has all kinds of adventures ahead and I have a bunch of catching up to do.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Diana has lived in several US states, the north of England and the Isle of Man. While she is currently in the US, she still misses the stunning scenery, wonderful people, and fascinating history that make the Isle of Man so unique.

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Find more books by Diana Xarissa here.

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

Book will be sent directly from Amazon.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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*This book is part of my personal collection.

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

Cozy Wednesday featuring How to Book a Murder (A Starlit Bookshop Mystery) by Cynthia Kuhn #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @cynthiakuhn @crookedlanebks


How to Book a Murder (A Starlit Bookshop Mystery)
by Cynthia Kuhn

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

It is my pleasure to share my thoughts today about
How to Book A Murder by Cynthia Kuhn!

About How to Book a Murder

How to Book a Murder (A Starlit Bookshop Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Colorado
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Crooked Lane Books (December 7, 2021)
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 336 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1643858599
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1643858593
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08QVJFZZK

Perfect for fans of Jenn McKinlay and Kate Carlisle, in award-winning author Cynthia Kuhn’s series debut, small-town bookseller and literary event planner Emma Starrs is out to close the book on a killer intent on crashing the party.

To help save her family’s floundering Colorado bookstore, Starlit Bookshop, newly minted Ph.D. Emma Starrs agrees to plan a mystery-themed dinner party for her wealthy, well-connected high school classmate Tabitha Baxter. It’s a delightful evening of cocktails and conjecture until Tabitha’s husband, Tip—hosting the affair in the guise of Edgar Allan Poe’s detective C. Auguste Dupin—winds up murdered.

In a heartbeat, Emma and her aunt Nora, a famous mystery writer, become suspects. Emma is sure the party’s over for Starlit events, until celebrated author Calliope Nightfall, whose gothic sensibilities are intrigued by the circumstances, implores the bookseller to create a Poe-themed launch event for her latest tome. Throwing a bash to die for while searching for additional clues is already enough to drive Emma stark raven mad, but another shocking crime soon reveals that Silvercrest has not yet reached the final chapter of the puzzling case.

Someone in this charming artistic community has murder on the mind, and if Emma cannot outwit the killer, she and her beloved aunt will land behind bars, to walk free nevermore.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Colorado’s Starlit Bookshop may be on its last legs so Emma Starrs comes home hoping to save the family store. To help line the store’s coffers Emma agrees to step in to plan a mystery-themed party for one of her high school classmates when the original planner quits. Tabitha Baxter has the kind of friends and acquaintances that may want to host similar events and that would be good for the shop’s bottom line. The hostess’s husband is really into the works of Edwin Allan Poe, so he will be playing Detective C. Auguste Dupin in the game. But he soon finds himself playing the role of the deceased when he is found dead and the murder in the game goes unsolved,  This is definitely not good for the host, it could also mean the end of the Starlit Bookshop when Tabitha accuses both Emma and her aunt, a famous author and college professor, of the murder to anyone who will listen. Of course, everyone at the event is on the suspect list including Tabitha Baxter.

While trying to book the real killer, gothic author and colleague of Emma’s aunt, Calliope Nightfall requests a book signing at the Starlit Bookshop to launch her new book that also has a Poe connection. Knowing this may be her chance to pin down a few suspects Emma can’t refuse. But will she push someone too far in her quest to book the murderer? Will the killer have the last word?


In How To Book A Murder we meet Emma Starrs, her sister Lucy and their aunt Nora. All three are trying to save the bookshop but Nora also teaches at the local college. I found all three to be likable and genuine.

Beyond the main characters, readers will find a large supporting cast. What I came to think of Tabitha and her posse – Her 3 BFFs and their husbands. Tabitha calls the shots and they fall in line. We also meet Nora’s college colleagues. They were all at the party when their host was killed so they are suspects. Even the catering team is called into question.

The author has basically written a closed room mystery unless someone snuck onto the patio to do the deed and Emma has to take that into account. She does have a hard time getting anyone to talk. because Tabitha and her friends just keep accusing Emma and Nora even going so far as saying since Nora wrote a cozy mystery with a similar crime she must be guilty. This theory had me giggling. Look out, my cozy author friends!!

I did enjoy the way Ms. Kuhn plotted out this mystery. I had a lot of fun following the clues right along with Emma. My original theory was found false early and I found myself caught up in the whole story and was totally surprised when all was revealed.

I have to tell you that I have come across a few bookstores in my cozy mystery reading history that I would love to visit in real life if that was actually possible. Well, I have added the Starlit Bookshop to that list. The way the place was transformed for Calliope Nightfall’s reading and signing as well as the wonderful shopkeepers really piqued my interest.

There is so much to entertain readers in How To Book A Murder. Unique characters, a marvelous setting and a really stirring mystery all come together for a very intriguing read. I am excited to see where the author takes these characters next after this enjoyable debut.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Cynthia Kuhn

Cynthia Kuhn is an English professor and author of the Starlit Bookshop Mysteries and the Lila Maclean Academic Mysteries. Her work has also appeared in Mystery Most Edible, McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, Copper Nickel, Prick of the Spindle, Mama PhD, and other publications. Honors include an Agatha Award, a William F. Deeck-Malice Domestic Grant, and Lefty Award nominations. Originally from upstate New York, she lives in Colorado with her family. For more information, please visit cynthiakuhn.net.

Author Links

Website      Twitter    Facebook    Bookbub    Goodreads    Blog    Newsletter 

Purchase Links –

AmazonB&NKoboGoogle PlayIndieBoundBookshop – 

Also by Cynthia Kuhn

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Great Escapes Praise for How to Book a Murder (A Starlit Bookshop Mystery)
by Cynthia Kuhn

This was a very promising start to a new series – great characters, interesting writing, and a wonderful setting. I wasn’t a big fan of Tabitha, but I do think that was the point! I really enjoyed this mystery and can’t wait for more of this series.
~The Book’s the Thing

HOW TO BOOK A MURDER is written in true cozy mystery fashion, which means it’s perfect for fans of all ages. I’m highly looking forward to the next book in this series!
~Lisa Ks Book Reviews

How to Book a Murder is a blithe cozy mystery with a bewitching bookstore, office obstruction, multiple murders, a Poe party, malicious mean females, exquisite culinary cuisine, academic afflictions, and a raven reveal.
~The Avid Reader

HOW TO BOOK A MURDER takes on mean girls and murder in a solid start to a new series.
~Cozy Up With Kathy

Set in an adorable small town we get a wide variety of characters to keep your interest while also falling in love with Emma and her bookshop. Sure to delight cozy fans. I really liked it so I give it 4/5 stars.
~Books a Plenty Book Reviews

The book is full of twists, turns, double-crosses, and deceit. I was surprised at the reveal of the murderer, but not at all surprised about who the person hung around with. There was a lot going on and sorting out what was part of the murder plot and what wasn’t, kept me on my toes. I look forward to the next book in the series.
~Sapphyria’s Books

This first book in the Starlit Bookshop mystery series is a delightful read. It nicely plants the seeds for future developments between characters and the reader’s interest in upcoming installments. The next book can’t come soon enough.
~Book Club Librarian

 

TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please Visit All The Stops. 
December 6 – The Book Diva’s Reads – SPOTLIGHT
December 6 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW
December 7 – Mochas, Mysteries and Meows – CHARACTER GUEST POST
December 7 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW
December 8 – Literary Gold – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
December 9 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
December 10 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW
December 10 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW
December 11 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
December 11 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW
December 12 – Laura’s Interests – SPOTLIGHT
December 13 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
December 13 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – REVIEW
December 14 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
December 14 – Book Club Librarian – REVIEW
December 15 – Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic – SPOTLIGHT
December 15 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
December 16 – Mysteries with Character – GUEST POST
December 16 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW  
December 17 – Ascroft, eh? – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
December 17 – Diane Reviews Books – GUEST POST
December 18 – Author Elena Taylor’s Blog – REVIEW
December 19 – BookishKelly2020 – 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 Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday featuring Killer Words (Mystery Bookshop) by V.M. Burns #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @vmburns


Killer Words (Mystery Bookshop)
by V.M. Burns

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am very happy to feature Killer Words by V.M. Burns today!

About Killer Words


Killer Words (Mystery Bookshop)
Cozy Mystery
7th in Series
Setting – North Harbor, Michigan
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Kensington Cozies (November 30, 2021)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 256 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1496728971
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1496728975
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08Y65TD1X

Bookstore owner and mystery writer Samantha Washington comes to the aid of the cop who once arrested her own grandmother . . .

Sam and Nana Jo are back in sleepy North Harbor, Michigan, where Sam is eagerly awaiting the publication of her first book. In search of more immediate excitement, Nana Jo hits the casino with her fellow Shady Acres Retirement Village gal pals—but they get more than they bargained for when they witness Detective Bradley Pitt decking mayoral candidate John Cloverton.

As Sam well knows, mystery novels are full of brilliant detectives, genius sleuths, and hero cops. Detective Bradley Pitt—aka “Stinky Pitt”—is another story. In the past, the dull-witted detective has mistakenly accused members of Sam’s family for crimes they didn’t commit. Now, it’s his turn: when Cloverton turns up dead, he’s arrested. With his predilection for polyester, Pitt has been wanted by the fashion police for years, but Nana Jo knows her former elementary school math student would never commit murder—it doesn’t add up. Somebody’s framed the flatfoot to take a fall, and Sam and Nana Jo must step in to restore the reputation and good name of Detective Pitt.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Sam is anxious knowing her first book will be published very soon but first in a weird and somewhat delightful twist of fate Detective Bradley Pitt, aka “Stinky Pitt”, gets some of his own medicine when he is arrested for murder after a public altercation, oh heck, it was a smackdown and the subsequent death of mayoral candidate John Cloverton. Sam. Nana Jo, Irma, Dorothy, and Ruby Mae all witnessed the punch but the murder happened later.

There is no love lost between these ladies and the inept Stinky Pitt but Nana Jo knows in her heart he didn’t kill anyone. Positive he has been framed, Sam and the rest of the senior sleuths take on the case to be sure the book isn’t thrown at Detective Pitt. 


I get excited when books in this series come out because I know I am in store for a very entertaining read of not one mystery but two.

The characters in the present-day mystery have become near and dear to me and I love catching up in all of their lives. This time there are a lot of things in flux for several characters that Sam has become dependent on. She also faces some exciting changes of her own, including adding the status of published author to her resume. All these characters have developed realistically which makes it very easy to identify with them in several ways. They are so funny especially the ladies from Shady Acres. They are also darn good gamblers and I love the way they spread out those winnings. Sadly, Oreo and Snickers are getting up there in age but at times they act like young pups. I know how that goes. No matter what they are always the best thing to come home to.

The characters in the British historical mystery, the book Sam is writing, are very interesting too. They always seem to be in the thick of something that includes murder. Set just before WWII Sam draws on a little history in her fictional accounts that engages readers as much as the current day encounters.

Both mysteries are clever with twists and turns and very well written and plotted. I really enjoy the way Sam works out the clues in the current mystery while plotting out her own novel. I also am amazed by the way she can write anywhere she can find a secluded spot even at the casino.

For me, this entire series is a must-read. The mysteries are solid and the characters are genuine.  Each can be read on its own but take my word for it, they are like potato chips, you can’t eat, I mean read just one. Start at the beginning and sit back and enjoy and giggle a little bit too.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

About V.M. Burns

V.M. Burns was born and raised in the Midwestern United States. She is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Dog Writers Association of America, Thriller Writers International, is on the national board for Sisters in Crime. She currently resides in the warmer area of the U.S. with her two poodles. Readers can visit her website at http://www.vmburns.com

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

Purchase Links

Amazon      APPLE    Barnes&Noble     Books-A-Million    Bookshop.Org    Google     KOBO

The Rest of the Series


Also by V.M. Burns

Great Escapes Praise for Killer Words (Mystery Bookshop)
by V.M. Burns

Another fun cozy from V.M. Burns. It was delightful to be back across the one with Sam and the girls.
I enjoyed this read and I have a good size list of the previous titles on my Wish List now.

~My Reading Journeys

This makes for an interesting investigation as she pokes around along with Nana and her gang. Add in the bonus second story written by Sam throughout the book to really make it good. A great choice for cozy fans. I really liked it so I give it 4/5 stars
~Books a Plenty Book Reviews

If you enjoy cozy mysteries and/or historical fiction, don’t miss Killer Words. It’s a racially diverse two-for-one mystery with the best ending ever. 5 stars and a favorite!
~Diane Reviews Books

Bottom Line: Killer Words met all of my preconceived, series-fan expectations, and then some. It was delightfully clever, sweet, and fun with some surprising twists and turns – and even some lovely romantic moments, too. Another entertaining & warmly written visit to the Mystery Bookshop!
~Reading Is My Super Power

One of many things I love about this series is that I feel we get two mysteries in one. Being a midwestern reader, I eagerly look forward to the next book.
~Laura’s Interests

TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please visit all the stops. 
November 29 – Author Elena Taylor’s Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
November 30 – The Book Diva’s Reads – GUEST POST
November 30 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
December 1 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
December 1 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
December 2 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
December 2 – Diane Reviews Books – REVIEW
December 2 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
December 3 – Brooke Blogs – CHARACTER GUEST POST
December 4 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
December 4 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
December 5 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW
December 6 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT
December 6 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW
December 7 – Cozy Up With Kathy – CHARACTER GUEST POST
December 7 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
December 8 – Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic – CHARACTER GUEST POST
December 8 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
December 9 – Novels Alive – GUEST POST
December 9 – Nellie’s Book Nook – REVIEW
December 10 – Here’s How It Happened – REVIEW
December 10 – View from the Birdhouse – REVIEW
December 11 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST
December 12 – BookishKelly2020 – 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 2021 Reviews Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Literary Escapes New Release Challenge Wisconsin Author You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday featuring Slayed by Souvlaki (A Callie’s Kitchen Cozy Mystery) by Jenny Kales #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour

I am thrilled to feature Slayed by Souvlaki
(A Callie’s Kitchen Cozy Mystery)

by Jenny Kales today!

About Slayed by Souvlaki


Slayed by Souvlaki (A Callie’s Kitchen Cozy Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Setting – Greece / Wisconsin
Independently published (October 30, 2021)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 267 pages
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 979-8750257041
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09H56VYN7

Greek vacations can be murder! Recipes are included in this cozy mystery set in the Greek Islands.

Callie Costas can’t believe she is finally traveling to Greece with her significant other, Detective Ian Sands. However, this isn’t your average voyage: Callie’s father has invited a slew of colorful family members to his beautiful childhood village to celebrate his recent marriage. Callie is especially delighted to be reunited with her Greek “Aunt Sweetie” aka Glykeria.

The Costas family’s Greek getaway turns to Greek tragedy when murder turns up on the menu at the seaside restaurant of her father’s friend, Dimitrios. A restaurant employee has been killed and Dimitrios is a prime suspect.

With a hodge-podge group of tourists and villagers to round out the suspect list, can Callie help her father clear his friend’s name before the killer skewers her?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Callie Costas’s father George is not taking a typical honeymoon trip with his new bride. No, he is taking his whole family including Callie’s boyfriend, Detective Ian Sands on the trip of a lifetime. He is so excited to take them to his childhood village in Greece where they will meet his best friend and experience his restaurant. It also allows them to catch up with “Aunt Sweetie” who had recently visited them in the States. Everyone is looking forward to viewing the historical sights and eating the amazing food.

Tragedy strikes though after enjoying their first authentic Greek meal when one of the restaurant’s employees is found dead. Callie’s father is shocked when his friend since childhood, Dimitrios, is arrested for the crime. Her father is beside himself with worry, so Callie decides to do something she does best . . . snooping. She comes up with a nice list of suspects and soon Ian figures out what she is up to, and dives in to help her in any way he can because he knows she isn’t going to stop until she finds the real killer.


It has been a while since Ms. Kale released a book in this series but let me tell you it was well worth the wait. These characters are so memorable it was very easy to pick up right where we left off. Plus she takes us along with these fantastic characters to Greece. It really is a family affair. I loved that the family members could split up and do their own things. Trips to the ruins, the beach, and the pool filled the days but everyone came together for the evening meal. Traveling with a big family isn’t easy but the Costas family pulled it off along with a little amateur investigation and a treasure hunt for a lost piece of jewelry.

The author’s descriptive writing style took me on a wonderful virtual vacay of my own. I so enjoyed traveling the streets and checking out the shops. The special date Ian put together for he and Callie really warmed my heart. All the places they traveled were easily cast in vivid pictures in my mind. My only issue was missing out on the gelato and other delicious food. There are recipes at the end of the story but I could never do them justice.

The other part of my vacation that I enjoyed was tagging along with Callie as she sorted out clues. We met a few tourists, shopkeepers, and residents of the village as Callie tried to mix together and make sense of everything she was learning about the victim and his connections with others around the town. She really went all out to find the answers she needed. I really felt for Ian. Out of jurisdiction, he was unsure if he could keep Callie safe or get her out of trouble with the local authorities if that need arose. One thing is for sure. They do make a great team when they work together. At one point I thought I had the killer skewered but within a few pages, my theory fell apart. As I continued reading I must say I had that edge-of-the-seat feeling and that was evidenced by how quickly the pages started to fly.

I have to thank the author for transporting me to an idyllic place with such genuine characters. Of course, I enjoy the stories set in my home state of Wisconsin but would never turn down taking a trip with some of my favorite characters.  Callie has come so far from the first book in this series, On The Chopping Block. The loving relationship she has with her dad always makes me miss mine. Oh, and the ending of the book was just plain sweet.

Slayed by Souvlaki was a Perfect Escape. I hope we don’t have to wait too long for the next book in the series. I implore the author to write quickly. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Jenny Kales

Jenny Kales is the author of The Callie’s Kitchen Mystery Series, featuring Greek-American Calliope Costas, a 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. Callie’s latest adventure, SLAYED BY SOUVLAKI is the 5th Callie’s Kitchen Mystery series and was released in October 2021.

Jenny is an avid reader, cook, and baker and she’s addicted to reading and British TV mysteries. She lives just outside of Chicago with her husband and is the mom of 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 releasing in 2022.

Author Links

Facebook     Website    Twitter     Instagram

Purchase Links

Amazon 

Also available on Kindle Unlimited

TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please visit all the stops. 
November 29 – Literary Gold – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
November 29 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
November 30 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – GUEST POST
November 30 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
November 30 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
December 1 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
December 1 – Novels Alive – GUEST POST
December 2 – Cozy Up With Kathy – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
December 2 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW
December 3 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – SPOTLIGHT
December 3 – I Read What You Write – SPOTLIGHT
December 4 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW
December 4 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
December 5 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
December 5 – BookishKelly2020 – 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 2021 Reviews Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Finish The Series Challenge Giveaways New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday featuring A Murder Like No Author: A Book Shop Cozy Mystery (Main Street Book Club Mysteries) by Amy Lillard #Review / #Giveaway @PPPress @AmyWritesRomance

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am happy to share my thoughts today about
A Murder Like No Author!
This book will be released next Tuesday!

A Murder Like No Author: A Book Shop Cozy Mystery
(Main Street Book Club Mysteries)

Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Mississippi
Poisoned Pen Press (November 30, 2021)
Mass Market Paperback ‏ : ‎ 264 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1492687839
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1492687832
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08VYZ9S3C

Bookstore owner Arlo and her Friday Night Book Club sleuths are going to have to read between the lines to solve this mystery!

It’s movie time in Sugar Springs and the whole town is pitching together to get the historical Coliseum Theater ready for the event of the year—the premiere of Missing Girl, local author Wally Harrison’s bestselling novel turned film.

Thrilled to bring tourists to Sugar Springs, the town comes together to host the late author’s event. But when a stranger arrives, boasting he has definitive proof that Wally didn’t write Missing Girl…well, drama leaps from the page into real life. Mishaps start taking place around the theater—and then the stranger is discovered dead in his hotel room right before his press conference.

Can Arlo and her Friday night book club to sleuth out the killer and solve the mystery before the town’s Hollywood dreams go up in smoke?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

It has finally arrived! The premiere of Missing Girl based on a book written by local newly deceased (Can’t Judge A Book By Its Murder) author Wally Harrison is taking place in his hometown and everyone is working to make the historic Coliseum Theater red carpet ready. That is until a man arrives in town claiming Harrison didn’t write the book. Soon thereafter Helen (Elly) finds the man dead between the seats in the theater. Of course, the Friday Night Book Club much to Arlo and the Sheriff’s regret butts their noses right into the murder investigation. It is about this time “accidents” start to happen at the theater. One “accident” leaves Arlo injured making it harder to reel in the octogenarian sleuths as they try to catch the killer.

________

First, I must recommend these books be read in order because each builds on things that happened in the previous book. It also helps you understand the relationships of the core characters.

Arlo is a strong main character and she has the patience of a saint. Fern, Camille, and Helen are very active ladies and quite a handful when they get an idea in their heads. Mads also has a bunch of patience but readers will truly understand that it is waning too with the senior sleuths. Also in this story, Sam is dealing with a tough family situation and my heart felt for him. All these characters are well-developed by this third book in the series but feel there is room for growth if there is a fourth book in the works.

The mystery itself is well-plotted and the author drops plenty of clues for a reader that isn’t distracted by all the mayhem caused by Helen, Fern, and Camille. Poor Chloe gets left manning the bookstore/cafe while Arlo works so hard to corral those ladies while trying to help a friend, keep the sheriff happy, and maybe just have a little time for herself. I really enjoyed the  exciting ending and the way all the pieces fell nicely into place.

A Murder Like No Author may bring the Wally Harrison story to an end but I hope that doesn’t mean we won’t be visiting these characters again. I am curious about many facets of Arlo’s life especially if she is going to sort out her romance troubles. I am sure that Friday Night Book Club would have a lot of input for her in that regard.  I am also sure there could be another murder afoot in sweet Sugar Springs. I definitely wouldn’t say “no” to another visit to Arlo and Chloe’s Books & More.

Amy Lillard has penned another very entertaining read.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Amy Lillard

Amy Lillard is the award-winning author of more than twenty novels, including the Wells Landing series, The Quilting Circle novels, the Sugarcreek Amish Mysteries, and the Kappy King Mysteries. Born and raised in Mississippi, she now lives with her husband and son in Oklahoma. Please visit her online at www.AmyWritesRomance.com.

Author Links:

Coming November 30, 2021

Cozies also by Amy Lillard

Find more books by Amy Lillard here.

Thanks to the publisher I have 1 PRINT copy to give away!
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and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

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

Cozy Wednesday with Victoria Tait – Author of Wild Dog Revenge (A Kenya Kanga Mystery) #AuthorInterview / #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour


Wild Dog Revenge (A Kenya Kanga Mystery)
by Victoria Tait

I am so happy to have Victoria Tait visit today!


Hi Victoria,

Hi Lori,

First, I’d like to thank you for all your hard work helping cozy mystery writers like myself.

Your help to organise book tours, especially for new authors, is invaluable, as visibility is becoming harder as more and more books are released.

Thank you so much!

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I had no intention of becoming a writer, but in January 2019, I found myself sitting in a sparsely furnished house, during a UK winter, dreaming of the warmth and life in Kenya, which I had just left.

I started listening to author podcasts, which is when the idea of writing about the 8 years I’d spent in Kenya came to me.  It may have been, in part, because of a version of homesickness and, in part, wanting to convey the extraordinary life my family and I’d spent in such a fascinating country.

I began writing Fowl Murder in May 2019 and published it in July 2020, as the first book in my Kenya Kanga Mystery series.  Wild Dog Revenge completes a six-book series.

My husband is in the British Military, and his job takes him, and our family, around the UK, and the world.  We are currently based in Sarajevo, in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  It is another fascinating country, as is neighbouring Croatia and I’m sure I’ll use them as settings for a future book series.

On a personal note, I’ve not been able to do much in the pandemic except try to maintain my mental health and juggle various different tasks and calls upon my time and emotions.

I’ve started exercising again and I’m up to 25 minutes continuous running, longer with some walking, and I swim twice a week.

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

I spend about a week undertaking research, character development, and plot ideas.  As I’m still a relatively new writer, the process keeps changing.

Wild Dog Revenge needed less research as I was familiar with the main characters and the locations, and I know about horses and have an overview of polo, around which the book is set.

My new series has required a lot more research and development, particularly of the characters.  I had to return to the UK recently, as my youngest son was suspected of having Covid, so I used the opportunity to visit the area where my series is set, and I discovered villages I’d lived close to but never visited.

After a week, I usually begin a book, writing in the mornings, and undertaking any additional research in the afternoons.

Do you ever suffer from Writer’s Block?

I certainly look at the first blank page and think, “New book, where do I start?”  So, I look to my main character and ask what is her motive and journey in the story?  Or it may be that a particular theme comes to me which I want to develop further.  I follow the threads, and characters and plot ideas develop, although I always leave room for development as I write.

In the mornings, I write for one to two hours until I reach a point where the words are hard to find and my concentration lapses.  Then I take a break and do some exercise, housework or cooking.

If I continue to wonder what happens next in my story, I sleep on it and usually find a solution in the morning.  And if I’m really struggling, I put the story to one side and read, or listen to audio books, to re-fill the ‘creative well’.

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

I’ve learned so much on my writing journey.  I have so many tips and resources for those wanting to write and publish their first, and subsequent, books that I’ve started a blog on my website, www.ShoestringPublishing.com In particular, I’m focusing on budget and not spending the family savings, or the weekly grocery budget to publish a book.

A smaller and smaller percentage of writers, particularly aspiring ones, are given traditional publishing deals but it is still possible to publish a book via a small press, or as an independent author.  And the good news is that there is an ever-increasing number of resources to help self-published authors, as well as a very supportive author community.

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

It’s more of a case of what I have to do rather than what I want to do.  My husband and I both caught Covid in March, and he had complications, including pneumonia.  I felt drained for a time and now I’m trying to re-energise through exercise and healthy living.  But things keep knocking me sideways, and I’m struggling to find a rhythm. Fingers crossed the world will start to open up so I can explore more of Sarajevo, Bosnia and the Balkans.

How has the COVID pandemic affected you and you’re writing?

I finished editing my first book as the pandemic started and quickly wrote my second.  I managed to write, even with home schooling, by getting up each morning at 5.30 am and sitting at the computer for a couple of hours.

But what affected me most was packing up the house and moving to a new country, where we had to settle in without personal contact with anyone.  As my boys are at school in the UK, I’ve continued to travel, which has been extremely stressful.

As I don’t know what the publishing world was like pre-Covid it’s difficult for me to comment further.  What did affect me was not having my summer job in 2020, so I didn’t have the money I needed for publishing and marketing, and I found myself in debt.  I’m continuing to write but I’ve cut back my costs and found alternative ways to do things.

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

At the moment, I’d love to return to Kenya to catch up with friends and visit the glorious white sandy beaches of Diani.

After that, I’d like to visit the countries close to Bosnia such as Romania, Hungary and my boys would love to visit Venice and Florence in Italy.  Fingers crossed we will have a chance next year.

What is next on the horizon for you?

I have started a new cozy mystery series set in the scenic Cotswolds of England, close to where I lived in 2019/2020.  I really enjoyed visiting and attending local auctions as I furnished our house, so the series begins at an auction house, with the strange and eccentric characters that are found in the antiques world.

I’m also developing my Shoestring Publishing brand with advice and resources for new writers and those who are published but can’t afford to keep going unless they find a method to publish on a budget.

I’ll continue marketing my Kenya Kanga Mystery series, targeting readers interested in Africa and wildlife.

What a wonderful interview! Thank you, Victoria for spending some time with us today! 


Keep reading for my thoughts about Wild Dog Revenge.

About Wild Dog Revenge 


Wild Dog Revenge: A Page-Turning Cozy Murder Mystery (A Kenya Kanga Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Setting – Kenya
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Kanga Press (November 12, 2021)
Print length ‏ : ‎ 237 pages
ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09B66WXJ4

A high-stakes match. An inexplicable death. As the players take their positions, can an amateur sleuth solve the mystery before the final whistle blows?

Mama Rose just wants to enjoy a local polo tournament and care for any injured horses. But when a polo player is found dead in a stable, there’s all to play for if our silver-haired investigator is to discover the deadly truth.

Intrigued by tales from a late-night party, Rose unearths multiple suspects all with motives to harm the victim. But when her enquires lead to dead ends, she begins to doubt her intuition that there’s been foul play.

With the tournament drawing to a close, and the dead man’s influential father demanding answers, the police are on the losing side.

Can Rose unravel the clues before the umpire calls full time?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I couldn’t wait to get back to Kenya and Mama Rose. In this final book of this series, Mama Rose takes us to a local polo match where she will tend to any injured horses and find herself in the middle of another murder investigation. One of the prominent polo players is found dead in the stable. With all the people attending the matches there is a vast number of suspects. This is a tough case for Mama Rose and she even second-guesses herself but she doesn’t give up.


I have enjoyed this series so much. Ms. Tait has created such diverse characters. Mama Rose is a unique character. She is such a strong woman, very intuitive, will do anything to help an animal or person in need. She is also an awesome amateur sleuth. Her husband Craig was a great character too. Everyone that Rose meets is vividly described. The core characters we have met over the course of the series developed naturally and the characters introduced are given plenty of background. This book had a large cast with all the polo players and those attending the matches. Each was easy to keep straight and all had a purpose within the story.

I also enjoy the setting of the series. I will never travel to Kenya so these little virtual trips excite me. She describes each place so well, I picture everything so clearly. I feel like I am right there on the scene witnessing all the happenings.  I also learn about the animals of the region. Ms. Tait piques my interest and I always find myself doing just a little more research.

On top of the great characters and the amazing setting, she gives her readers a fantastic mystery to really escape into.  So many suspects and situations that tug on your heartstrings grab your attention and hold on tight.

Again, I am amazed how the author packs this all into less than 250 pages.

I am sad this series is ending because I have grown to be very interested in the lives of these characters. That being said I am thrilled Victoria Tait is working on a new series. Her travels must give her a font of ideas. I am looking forward to reading anything and everything she writes.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

More About Victoria Tait

Victoria Tait is the author of the enchanting Kenya Kanga Mystery series.  She’s drawn on 8 years’ experience of living in rural Kenya, with her family, to write vivid and evocative books.  Her readers feel the heat, taste the dryness and smell the dust of Africa.  Her silver-haired sleuth, “Mama Rose” Hardie, is Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple reincarnated and living in Kenya.

Like all good military wives, Victoria follows the beat of the drum and currently lives in Sarajevo, in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  She has two fast-growing teenage boys and enjoys horse riding and mountain biking.

You can find Victoria at VictoriaTait.com, on Bookbub and in her readers’ Facebook group, Victoria’s Voracious Readers (with her cat Izzy)

Author Links – Website  –  Facebook  – Blog/News  – GoodReads – Pinterest – BookBub – Twitter – 

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

Posted in 2021 Reviews Alphabet Soup A -Z Author Edition Challenge Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday featuring Death at the Salon (A Daisy Thorne Mystery) by Louise R. Innes #Review / #Giveaway @KensingtonBooks @LouiseRoseInnes

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am delighted to feature Death at the Salon by Louise R. Innes today!


Death at the Salon (A Daisy Thorne Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Surrey, England
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Kensington (March 30, 2021)
Mass Market Paperback ‏ : ‎ 256 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 149672982X
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1496729828
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08CBM34BZ

After hairdresser Daisy Thorne finds her missing scissors in a customer’s back, she becomes the prime suspect in a murder . . .

When Ooh La La regular Mel Haverstock left the hair salon that morning, no one expected it would be her final parting. But when Daisy closes shop Saturday night, she finds her client dead as the mullet cut. Homicide is back in style in the quiet village of Edgemead in Surrey, England. But who would want to harm a hair on poor Mel’s head?

Suspicions higher than a beehive pile on Daisy when it’s revealed that she and Mel had tangled back in high school, and DNA evidence seems to color her guilty. Handsome DCI Paul McGuinness gives the hairstylist new accessories—a lovely pair of silver handcuffs. To clear her name, Daisy must highlight the real backstabber, or she’ll end up shaving heads in the prison barbershop.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Finding a dead client is harrowing. Finding a dead client with YOUR scissors in their back is murder! And you become the prime suspect! That is exactly what happened to hairdresser Daisy Thorne. The victim, Mel Haverstock, and Daisy have some old history that some people think gives her motive. That and some questionable DNA findings earn her a pair of shiny new bracelets. But Daisy is determined to wash DCI McGuinness right out of her hair and style the real killer off to prison herself or dye trying!


Daisy Thorne is an admirable protagonist. She is intelligent and can think on her feet. She took clearing her name seriously and she came up with a list of suspects and worked her way through them. Ms. Innes also surrounds her with a nice supporting cast. Her friends/employees all have their own little quirks and histories. The banter between them is fun and true to life. What I loved was the way they pulled together and followed Daisy’s lead. The bit of romantic tension between Daisy and Detective McGuiness is interesting and entertaining especially when he has to do his job. All the characters are cleverly written with plenty of room for growth.

The mystery was well-plotted, filled with twists, and set a very comfortable pace. The murder happens early in the story giving plenty of time for a thorough inquiry. I love the way it came to an end. Daisy came up with a great idea to flush out a killer and the good detective was on board and present as her plan played out.

The salon setting really works. It is something relatable to everyone here or across the pond. My son’s girlfriend is working to complete her cosmetology degree and I recently went to the salon attached to the school. My first haircut since the pandemic and my cancer treatments. It was almost exactly what Ms. Innes describes in this book, as were other salons I have visited over the years.

This second Daisy Thore Mystery was very entertaining. I am excited that the third, Death at Holly Lodge has been released. With its Christmas theme, it is perfect reading for this time of year. I hope to read and review it soon.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Louise R. Innis writes contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and cozy mysteries. She lives in leafy Surrey in the United Kingdom with her family, and when she’s not writing, she can be found traipsing through the countryside or kayaking on the River Thames. Visit her on Facebook or Twitter or at louiseroseinnes.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.”