Posted in 2022 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday featuring Peg and Rose Solve a Murder: (A Senior Sleuths Mystery) by Laurien Berenson #Review / #Giveaway @LaurienBerenson

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am delighted to share my thoughts on
Peg and Rose Solve a Murder today!


Peg and Rose Solve a Murder: (A Senior Sleuths Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Connecticut
Kensington (August 30, 2022)
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 288 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1496735781
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1496735782
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09MZS3F83

Murder, She Wrote meets The Golden Girls in the award-winning author’s brand-new series! Two cantankerous septuagenarians, opposites in every way, put aside their differences to stop a killer… if they don’t throttle each other first!

Rose Donovan looks for the good in everyone. With her sister-in-law, Peg, that sometimes requires a lot of searching. Even a sixty-something former nun like Rose has her limits, and gruff Peg Turnbull sure knows how to push them. But after forty years of bickering, they’re attempting to start over, partnering up to join the local bridge club.

Peg and Rose barely have a chance to celebrate their first win before one of the club’s most accomplished players is killed in his home. As the newest members, the sisters-in-law come under scrutiny and decide to start some digging of their own. Bridge is typically seen as a wholesome pastime, yet this group of senior citizens harbors a wealth of vices, including gambling, cheating, and adultery . . .

By comparison, Peg and Rose’s fractious relationship is starting to feel almost functional. But as their suspect list narrows, they’re unaware that their logic has a dangerous flaw. And they’ll have to hope that their teamwork holds steady when they’re confronted by a killer who’s through with playing games . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Sisters-in-law Peg Turnbull and Rose Donovan are complete opposites and have a rocky relationship but Rose decides to take the bull by the horns in hopes they can build a healthier less contentious connection. She asks Peg to join a local bridge club with her and be her partner. Peg has not played bridge in years and she questions Rose’s motives but finally agrees to give the group a try. They don’t fair too well on their first day which Rose blames Peg for and Peg counters that some of their opponents may have been cheating. Still, they agree to return the following week.

Sadly before they can get a rematch one of the group’s players is murdered in his home. All of the members of the tight-knit group are questioned but as the newest members, Rose and Peg are given extra attention. Peg knows the drill, to clear their names they need to do some investigating on their own.   An investigation that uncovers their new friends have some skeletons in their closets. Could one of those skeletons have stacked the cards against the newly deceased? Will Peg and Rose solve the murder before the killer turns the tables on them? Can the two septuagenarians’ new closer relationship trump everything and keep them safe?


We have met and gotten to know well Peg Turnbull in Laurien Berenson’s Melanie Travis Mystery Series. She is a treasure, set in her ways and not afraid to give her opinions and tell you what she thinks about almost any subject but her life revolves around her dogs. She is a breeder/owner of several standard poodles and also a judge of many breeds at dog shows near and far. Her usual sleuthing partner is her niece Melanie but Melanie is traveling across the country on a family vacation. So she takes what she has learned from her escapades with Melanie and teams up with Rose to solve the murder. Rose is a former nun who has traveled the world and fell in love with a priest who she married. They have recently returned to town and have opened a woman’s shelter. These women couldn’t be more different but that starts to change within the pages of this book. The author has these characters take some very interesting steps as they investigate and learn about what really happens in each other’s lives.

The murder mystery has several viable suspects and I enjoyed following along with Peg and Rose as they worked through each of them coming up as to why each had a motive to kill. The clues were cleverly dropped to keep the story moving at a nice pace leading up to a great reveal.

With the unique relationship between Rose and Peg, the story contains quite a few humourous moments. I also loved that Peg’s dogs were featured and that Peg even took on helping a new little pup. Ms. Berenson knows dogs and she crafts them so that each one has its own distinct personality. It really makes them as true to life as her human characters.

Peg and Rose Solve A Murder was a darling little read and has set this series off to a fine start. I am looking forward to seeing how this series moves forward knowing that Peg is a key character in the author’s other series.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About This Author

Laurien Berenson is an Agatha and Macavity Nominee, winner of the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, and four-time winner of the Maxwell Award, presented by the Dog Writers Association of America. She and her husband live on a farm in Kentucky surrounded by dogs and horses.

Find out more about her and her books on her webpage here. Find her on Facebook here and on Twitter here.


Also by this Author


Coming December 27, 2023

Thanks to the publisher I have 1 Paperback ARC copy to give away!
The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old.
with a US or Canadian mailing address.
Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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something you like here and become a follower.

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The Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For the 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 2022 Reviews Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Literary Escapes You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday featuring Mystery of the Tea Cup Quilt A Cozy Mystery: Harland Creek Mystery Quilters by Jodi Allen Brice #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour


I am delighted to feature The Mystery of the Tea Cup Quilt – A Cozy Mystery:
Harland Creek Mystery Quilters by Jodi Allen Brice today!

About Mystery of the Tea Cup Quilt


Mystery of the Tea Cup Quilt A Cozy Mystery: Harland Creek Mystery Quilters
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Mississippi
Guardian Ink LLC (September 5, 2022)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 214 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1953854966
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1953854964
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0B83Y31YN

Hi! I’m Dove Agnew, former successful dress designer who was living the high life in New York, until my sleazy business partner used my business to move his drugs, leaving me to pack my ruined reputation and move back home to the tiny town of Harland Creek.

Despite the setback, all was going relatively well until I found Gertrude Brown’s body on the floor of my mom’s quilt shop. Now, rumors are flying and all eyes are on me. I’m a murder suspect! Even my ex-boyfriend, the current chief of police, is suspicious of me.

Now, it’s up to me to clear my name and find out who the real killer is before someone else gets hurt. But I’m going to need help, and the Harland Creek Quilters, and a goat named Petunia, are just the group to get things done.

Welcome to the new series set in the beloved town of Harland Creek.
With the quilting club ladies and a sidekick, which happens to be a goat, this book will keep you guessing and laughing out loud!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Review Coming Soon Stay Tuned…

About Jodi Allen Brice

Jodi Allen Brice has written numerous books under different pen names. Under Jodi Allen Brice she writes women’s fiction, small town clean sweet romance, and cozy mysteries.

She transitioned away from paranormal romance in the year 2020 when the virus hit. She still writes about lovable characters who overcome the impossible to get what they want. You’ll find yourself laughing and crying when you are reading her books. She is also an avid quilter and camping. Sometimes she does both at the same time!

Author Links – WebsiteFacebook – 

Purchase Links –

Amazon – Kobo –  Google –  nook 

Coming January 9, 2023

 

Great Escapes Praise for Mystery of the Tea Cup Quilt – A Cozy Mystery:
Harland Creek Mystery Quilters
by Jodi Allen Brice

The Mystery of the Tea Cup Quilt is an upbeat cozy mystery with a greedy goat, a murdered meanie, a troubled business, a surplus of suspects, inquisitive quilters, and witty t-shirts.
~The Avid Reader

Filled with fun characters, especially a lovable goat, THE MYSTERY OF THE TEA CUP QUILT is a good start to a new series.
~Cozy Up With Kathy

Bottom Line: If you need a good dose of laughter (and these days, who doesn’t?), then make sure you pick up a copy of The Mystery of the Tea Cup Quilt by Jodi Allen Brice!
~Reading is my Superpower

TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please visit all the stops. 
September 6 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
September 6 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
September 7 – Lady Hawkeye – GUEST POST
September 8 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
September 9 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW
September 9 – Ascroft, eh? – CHARACTER GUEST POST
September 10 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
September 10 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – SPOTLIGHT
September 11 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
September 12 – Sneaky the Library Cat’s blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
September 12 – Cassidy’s Bookshelves – GUEST POST
September 13 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW
September 13 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
September 14 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT
September 14 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
September 15 – Literary Gold – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
September 15 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
September 15 – Novels Alive – REVIEW – SPOTLIGHT
September 16 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST
September 17 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT
September 18 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
September 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 2022 Reviews Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday featuring Peanut Butter Panic (An Amish Candy Shop Mystery) by Amanda Flower #Review / #Giveaway @KensingtonBooks @aflowerwriter


Peanut Butter Panic (An Amish Candy Shop Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
7th in Series
Setting – Ohio
Kensington (August 23, 2022)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 304 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1496734610
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1496734617
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09MY8S3MR

Dead by dessert . . .

Thanksgiving is Bailey King’s busiest holiday weekend. This year promises to be even more hectic, since Bailey’s candy shop, Swissmen Sweets, is providing desserts for Harvest, Ohio’s first village-wide Thanksgiving celebration. Yet, even with a guest list close to seven hundred people—Amish and English alike—the event’s organizer, Margot Rawlings, is unfazed . . . until she discovers her mother, former judge Zara Bevan, will be in attendance.

Zara’s reputation as a harsh critic is matched only by her infamy as a judge who has actively harmed the Amish community. So no one is prepared when Zara arrives with much younger boyfriend Blaze Smith and reveals their impending nuptials at dinner. That should have been the day’s biggest news, except shortly after the announcement, Blaze suffers an allergic reaction to something he’s eaten and dies on the spot.

Now, Bailey’s desserts are prime suspects, along with Margot and nearly everyone who attended the meal. With such a cornucopia of possibilities, Bailey must dig in and get to the bottom of this murder, before the killer goes up for seconds…

Recipe Included!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

We arrive in Harvest, Ohio just in time for the village-wide Thanksgiving celebration, another event planned by Margot Rawlings to bring more attention to the little town. Bailey King was already busy handling the customers and online orders pouring into Swissmen Sweets but she has agreed to provide the desserts for the event.

Margot has her clipboard and is checking things off her long list so the celebration will bring the Amish and English together for a fine feast. Then she learns her mother Zara Bevan, a former judge who many feel she did great harm to the Harvest area Amish is coming to the event. Margot does her best but knows her mother will be critical of everything she does.

As the crowd of more than 700 makes their way to their tables with filled plates Zara has an announcement to make. She and her much younger boyfriend are getting married, Margot was more than surprised but before the meal ends the groom-to-be suffers a fatal allergic reaction and it was no accident. Margot and almost everyone at the meal along with Bailey and her desserts become the prime suspects. She knows she needs to find the killer to clear her name and Margot’s and fast.


I love the core characters in this series. They are so genuine and true to life. They are people I would love to meet. They all have huge hearts and always strive to do the right thing even if it means a lot of extra work.

The animal characters have such great personalities too. I love that a miniature pot-bellied pig, a rabbit, and a kitten can coexist with no drama. Jethro does love attention though and his person, Juliet will do almost anything to make him a star. He also brings a lot of funny to the story

This time we get to learn more about Margot’s life and her mother is quite a piece of work. Bailey and Aiden are trying to figure out their relationship with his new job. Charlotte is still trying to make her way now that she has left the Amish community. She and her Deputy Little are taking things slow. I really enjoy all the subplots the author blends into the mystery. As this is the 7th book in the series and the novellas in between the characters are well developed but they still grow in each story. They stay relevant and fresh and with each book, I feel like I am catching up with old friends.

As someone with a peanut allergy, I found the method of death a little scary but it was perfect for this situation. I am happy Charlotte and Bailey are close. They make a fun sleuthing team. Sometimes even Jethro went along as they followed the clues and questioned people of interest. There was an interesting twist that shook the investigation up. I did solve the mystery before the big reveal but boy what a reveal it was. A fantastic way to end the mystery. I was nervous one moment and thankful the next. I guess that works for a book set around Thanksgiving.

Peanut Butter Panic has it all, mystery, family, friends, and romance laced with humor in all the right places. Amanda Flower is a wonderful storyteller. I am always a bit melancholy when I flip the last page. Every visit to Harvest seems to end too soon. I will be impatiently waiting for the 8th book in this series because the author has piqued my interest with what appears to be exciting times ahead.


Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About This Author

Amanda Flower, a two-time Agatha Award-nominated mystery author, started her writing career in elementary school when she read a story she wrote to her sixth-grade class and had the class in stitches with her description of being stuck on the top of a Ferris wheel. She knew at that moment she’d found her calling of making people laugh with her words. She also writes mysteries as national bestselling author Isabella Alan. In addition to being an author, Amanda is an academic librarian for a small college near Cleveland.

Author Links:

Website  Pen Name Website     Facebook    Twitter    Goodreads    Pinterest



Also by Amanda Flower


Coming December 27, 2022

Coming September 20. 2022



Amish Quilt Shop Mystery Series (writing as Isabella Alan)

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

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

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

Follow Kensington Books on Twitter for 2 Bonus Entries!

Follow Kensington Publishing on Facebook for 2 Bonus Entries!

 Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End on September 21, 2022, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
The Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

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

Something Fishy This Way Comes (A Whit and Whiskers Mystery) by Gabby Allan #Review / #Giveaway @KensingtonBooks – Great Escapes Book Tour


Something Fishy This Way Comes (A Whit and Whiskers Mystery)
by Gabby Allan


Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

Today I am sharing my thoughts about
Something Fishy This Way Comes.

About Something Fishy This Way Comes

Something Fishy This Way Comes (A Whit and Whiskers Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting –  Santa Catalina Island
Kensington (July 26, 2022)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 240 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1496731077
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1496731074
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09KP3169L

Take in the wild beauty of Santa Catalina Island with tour guide and eclectic gift shop owner Whitney Dagner. On the itinerary: dramatic Pacific coastlines, diverse marine life, and murder!

Since returning home from mainland California and finding her groove with the family tourism business, Whitney Dagner’s daily routine has become a wonderfully chaotic adventure. She and her nimble kitty, Whiskers, often find themselves at the center of the action on Catalina, from staged treasure hunts to gossipy birdwatchers. But before Whit can get too comfortable in the place where she grew up, a gift shop order leads to a stunning discovery—someone’s dead body . . .

One of Whit’s best boat tour clients, Leo Franklin was young and newly engaged when he unceremoniously took his own life. Only it doesn’t seem like that’s what really happened—not after the suspicious activity displayed by his family’s old rivals at the scene of his death. As a bitter, generations-long feud between Leo’s kin and the local Ahern clan comes to a head, Whit and her police diver not-so-ex-boyfriend must lead a dangerous investigation into years of scandal and bad blood to figure out who’s innocent . . . and who’s covering a killer’s tracks.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Whitney Dagner owns the Dame of the Sea gift shop on Santa Catalina Island. Her grandmother Goldy helps out at the shop quite often and even orders merchandise she thinks will sell well. Her latest craze is for painted rocks, some with uplifting messages. They are just flying off the shelves.

Whitney leaves Goldie in charge of the shop while she goes out to bury one of the treasure chests her shop is known for. But when she arrives at her destination she finds two men arguing and a dead body on the ground in front of them. They are trying to assert that the young man took his own life.  Whitney is even more confused when she realizes that instead of calling the police they called their family, the Ahern family, who have all started to arrive on the scene.

Whitney knows the deceased, Leo Franklin was a fun guy, newly engaged, and had his whole life ahead of him. There has been a long-time feud between Leo’s family and the Ahern clan, but after all these years would they actually kill someone over the feud? A feud that no one really knows how it started.

With the help of her friend Maribel and her boyfriend Felix, she needs to try to find something that will show he didn’t die by suicide, even if it means uncovering everything about the feuding families.


This story takes place on the idyllic Santa Catalina Island. The author’s descriptions of it really make me want to visit. I would love to see all the sights and enjoy a tour in a glass-bottomed boat.

There is a nice set of core characters, Whitney, Maribel, Goldie, Pops, Nick, Felix, and of course Whiskers. These characters were fleshed out a little more in this second book but there is still much more development needed to really get readers invested in these characters. The relationships do feel genuine. The new characters introduced needed more development as well. Again Goldie was my favorite. I love her confidence and that she goes after whatever she wants. She also mans Dame of the Sea while Whit is chasing down clues.

For me, the story opened with a very slow pace and traveled hither and yon without really getting anywhere. I guess I needed more action mixed in with the humorous passages and Whitney starting her investigation. Whitney always had a lot of irons in the fire but she couldn’t get the clues to fall into place. Then in the last chapters, she had her A-Ha moment the pace picked up with the mystery solved very quickly. The reveal happened in a unique way that was really great.

Something Fishy This Way Comes was a good sequel to Much Ado about Nauticaling. I really enjoy the theme of this series and I am sure the characters will continue to develop as the series continues and Whitney refines her amateur sleuthing techniques. I am curious to see what Ms. Allan has in store next for these characters.

There was a suicide trigger for me in this story but I knew about it beforehand and knew that the character did not take his own life.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Gabby Allan 

After writing plays for her friends to act out as a kid, bad poetry in high school, and her high school Alma Mater song, GABBY ALLAN finally found her true passion—cozy mysteries. Being able to share her world with readers, one laugh at a time, and touch people’s hearts with her down-to-earth characters makes for the best job ever. This California girl now lives with her husband, daughter, and two insane dogs in Central Pennsylvania where she is hard at work on her next novel.

Author Links

Website Facebook

Purchase Links –

Amazon – B&N – Kobo – Google Play – IndieBound –

Great Escapes Praise for Something Fishy This Way Comes (A Whit and Whiskers Mystery)
by Gabby Allan

I enjoyed turning the pages and following the twists and turns. This was a fun read!
~My Reading Journeys

If you’re looking for a new cozy mystery series with a beautiful setting, give Whit and Whiskers a try.
~Christy’s Cozy Corners

The mystery is contained in this book, but it’s so much more fun to read book #1 and get to know the characters better. A fun, suspenseful page turner. Yes, there is a cat involved too! I hope a third book will be coming out soon!
~Socrates’ Book Reviews

Something Fishy This Way Comes by Gabby Allan delivered all the things I enjoyed about book one, with some added twists that give this book its own flavor. Dry humor, warm relationships, colorful characters, and a quaint paradise setting draw readers into the story and the well-crafted mystery keeps them turning pages until the end. I’m looking forward to visiting Catalina, Whit, and her enigmatic feline sidekick Whiskers again!
~Reading is my Superpower

SOMETHING FISHY THIS WAY COMES is a fast-paced quick read. Charming characters, lots of laughs, and a complex puzzle make this second Whit and Whiskers Mystery a fun and refreshing delight.
~Cozy Up With Kathy

TOUR PARTICIPANTS
August 18 – Lady Hawkeye – GUEST POST  
August 18 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
August 19 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
August 19 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
August 20 – eBook Addicts – SPOTLIGHT
August 21 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
August 22 – Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers – CHARACTER GUEST POST
August 23 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
August 23 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW
August 24 – Maureen’s Musings  – SPOTLIGHT
August 25 – Socrates Book Reviews – REVIEW
August 25 – Baroness Book Trove – SPOTLIGHT
August 26 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
August 26 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT
August 27 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT
August 27 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW
August 28 – The Mystery Section – GUEST POST
August 29 – Sneaky the Library Cat’s blog -CHARACTER INTERVIEW
August 30 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
August 31 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

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

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

Cozy Wednesday featuring Two Parts Sugar, One Part Murder (A Baker Street Mystery) by Valerie Burns #Review / #Giveaway @vmburns @KensingtonBooks – Great Escapes Book Tour

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

It is my pleasure to give you my thoughts about Two Parts Sugar, One Part Murder (A Baker Street Mystery)
by Valerie Burns today!

 

About Two Parts Sugar, One Part Murder

Two Parts Sugar, One Part Murder (A Baker Street Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Michigan
Kensington Cozies (August 30, 2022)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 272 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1496738225
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1496738226
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09MZTN6YC

In this delectable new cozy mystery series, social media maven Maddy Montgomery’s perfectly ’grammable life has come undone, and she’s #StartingOver in a tiny town with one giant problem—a killer on the loose . . .

When Maddy Montgomery’s groom is a no-show to their livestream wedding, it’s a disaster that no amount of filtering can fix. But a surprise inheritance offers a chance to regroup and rebrand—as long as Maddy is willing to live in her late, great-aunt Octavia’s house in New Bison, Michigan, for a year, running her bakery and caring for a 250-pound English mastiff named Baby.

Maddy doesn’t bake, and her Louboutins aren’t made for walking giant dogs around Lake Michigan, but the locals are friendly and the scenery is beautiful. With help from her aunt’s loyal friends, aka the Baker Street Irregulars, Maddy feels ready to tackle any challenge, including Octavia’s award-winning cake recipes. That is, until New Bison’s mayor is fatally stabbed, and Maddy’s fingerprints are found on the knife . . .

Something strange is going on in New Bison. It seems Aunt Octavia had her suspicions, too. But Maddy’s going to need a whole lot more than a trending hashtag to save her reputation—and her life.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Maddy Montgomery’s life has been all over social media. She was even going to live stream her wedding but that imploded when the groom failed to show up for the nuptials. Unsure what direction her life may take she receives notification that her great aunt Octavia has died and she has left everything to Maddy. Her home in New Bison, Michigan, her bakery, and her Baby, a 250-pound English mastiff. The only stipulation is that she must live in Octavia’s home for a year. Much to her father’s dismay, Maddy takes off for Michigan to start over. Of course, she doesn’t bake so hopefully that is not a problem. She also knows nothing about caring for a dog as big as a horse.

Thankfully all of Octavia’s friends aka Baker Street Irregulars take Maddie under their wings to help her get her life in New Bison off to a good start. But then the mayor of New Bison is found dead and Maddy’s fingerprints are on the murder weapon. Not the way she intended to be #StartingOver. She soon learns that Octavia thought something strange was going on in New Bison and Maddy believes it too. She needs #catchthekiller before they strike again and Maddy becomes the next victim.


Maddie was a spoiled military brat and her father provided for every need. Her job as a social media influencer kept her busy and flush enough to buy the fancy shoes she loves. Drop the socialite in a small midwestern town on her own where she will either sink or swim. I was so happy with the way Maddy developed over the course of this book. She still spent time on her phone letting her followers know what she was doing but she also used her knowledge to help others. I loved all the #hashtags Maddy used throughout the book and that she stayed upbeat for her fans.

I also enjoyed meeting Leroy Danielson. He works at the bakery and was a great friend to her great aunt. He didn’t let Maddy get away with the “I can’t bake/cook” line. We also meet several more of Octavia’s friends, including Miss Hannah who suffers from dementia but loves to bake and her grandson, Michael, the local vet, Mr. Russell, Octavia, and now Maddy’s lawyer, Tyler Lawrence who owns a shop with the most wonderful knit sweaters and scarves. and Sheriff April Johnson. All these characters felt genuine and diverse and they all loved Octavia and were ready to help Maddy in any way they could, especially after the mayor’s murder.

Baby, the English mastiff is a great character too. He goes almost everywhere with Maddy and tries to protect her just like he did Octavia. You could tell how much he missed the woman that took care of him since he was a pup. Ms. Burns always has dogs in her stories and like those other dogs, Baby grabbed a place in my heart.

The mystery was top-notch too. Octavia was on to something when she died and left clues for Maddy to find. As she delved into her investigation she learned that the people in town had plenty of secrets and that the current deaths may be connected to her great aunt’s death. The closer she got to the truth the pace really picked up. I really enjoyed the scene when that final clue dropped into place for Maddy.

The small-town atmosphere and the way everyone came together several times to help with the bakery or talk about the case really pulled me in. It was surprising that the sheriff was part of the Baker Street Irregulars. It was refreshing to see her wanting help and not just telling everyone to leave the investigation to her.

I have to take a moment to praise all the delicious baking that happens within these pages. Maddy may not have known how to bake but she has a great teacher in Leroy. She also found all her great aunt’s recipes. I am excited to see Baby Cakes Bakery back in action.

Ms. Burns has set this series off to a wonderful start with Two Parts Sugar, One Part Murder. She has found the perfect recipe for what I hope is a long-running series. I found the story to be very entertaining and difficult to put down.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Valerie Burns

Valerie (V. M.) Burns is the author of the Mystery Bookshop Mystery series. Her first book, The Plot is Murder, was nominated for an Agatha Award for Best Debut Novel. She is the author of the Dog Club Mystery Series, the RJ Franklin Mysteries, a three-time finalist in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards, and an Edgar Award-nominated short story. Her newest series, Baker Street Mysteries, will release later this year, and her Pet Detective Mystery series will release in 2023. Valerie is on the board of Sisters in Crime and the Southeastern Chapter of Mystery Writers of America. She is also a member of Dog Writers of America, Crime Writers of Color, and International Thriller Writers. She is a manager for a Fortune 100 company and a mentor in the Writing Popular Fiction Program at Seton Hill University in Greensburg, PA. Born and raised in northwestern Indiana, Valerie currently lives in the southeastern United States with her two poodles. Readers can visit her website at vmburns.com.

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

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Also by V.M. Burns


Coming December 22, 2022

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Cozy Wednesday featuring – Lethal Legacies (A Washington Whodunit) by Colleen Shogan #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour



Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
I am happy to share my thoughts today about
Lethal Legacies (A Washington Whodunit)
by Colleen Shogan

About Lethal Legacies


Lethal Legacies (A Washington Whodunit)
Cozy Mystery
8th in Series
Camel Press (August 9, 2022)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 236 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1684920302
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1684920303
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09VMPZCC4

It’s springtime in Washington, D.C. and congressional staffer Kit Marshall has more on her plate than she can handle. With her boss campaigning for an open U.S. Senate seat, Kit is left to run the office in her absence and manage a new week-long American history extravaganza filled with high-profile events, lectures, and receptions.

When the Director of the Capitol Visitor’s Center ends up dead, Kit springs into action to clear a longtime friend, who becomes the prime suspect in the murder. With her best pal Meg pressuring her to solve the mystery quickly, Kit must figure out how to navigate her closest relationships while keeping an eye out for the diabolical killer.

The investigation takes Kit across the city to famous locations, including Georgetown University, the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, and the White House.

When the killer strikes a second time, the pressure to solve the crimes intensifies. Has our favorite Capitol Hill sleuth finally met her match? In the end, Kit learns the hard way that history tends to repeat itself, often with deadly consequences.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

With her boss on the campaign trail Kit Marshall is in charge of Congresswoman Dixon’s office in D.C. At the present time, the heaviest thing on her plate is managing a week-long American History Festival – Spring into History. The big draw is an outdoor display of the Lincoln catafalque. The rest of the festival will feature lectures, receptions, and other high-profile events. As Kit juggles a bunch of balls in the air she is leaving a lot to the office’s intern to handle and she is doing a great job.

As Kit and her friend Meg arrive at the outdoor tent on the north side of the Library of Congress to check on the catafalque, they notice the black cloth is not lying flat. When Kit pulls the cloth away she finds a dead body on top of the catafalque. Someone has killed the Director of the Capitol Visitor’s Center and left her covered to hide the crime. The Capitol Police who were guarding the tent have no explanation but Kit and Meg realize Trevor went to the tent the evening before to drop off the programs. He also had a verbal altercation with the director. Meg demands Kit investigate the death as she has done before and clear Trevor.

When the killer strikes a second time Kit is feeling pressure and she travels all around Capital Hill to find the killer. This could be the first case she doesn’t solve and there is a clear and present danger that she could be the next victim.


Colleen Shogan wraps up her Washington Whodunit Series in a powerful way.

Kit Marshall has been a strong protagonist from the start. Marrying Doug made her even stronger. Meg and Trevor are dating which I still have trouble believing it but they seem to be made for each other. I was glad to see Kit’s brother back in this final book too. All Ms. Shogan’s characters really developed over the course of the series. She leaves them all in a good place as their stories end.

The mystery in the book was complicated. I did push someone to the top of my personal suspect list but couldn’t come up with a motive. I enjoyed following along with Kit as she sorted through all the clues. Kit was still working on her theories and it almost got her killed. I will say that the corkscrew twist at the end and the showdown setting were very impressive.

Colleen Shogan writes about what she knows. A political scientist she has worked on Capital Hill and the Library of Congress. Just this month she has been nominated by President Biden to be the U.S. Archivist. All her knowledge brings real authenticity to every book in this series.

Lethal Legacies is a whodunit that takes readers on a trip to several D.C. monuments, museums, and restaurants. It has really wishing I could take another trip there soon.

I have loved this series from the start and I highly recommend every one of them. Each story is filled with wonderful characters, and top-notch mysteries, set in a place we all should visit several times in real life. Lethal Legacies brings the series to a close in a perfect way making it another Perfect Escape.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

About Colleen J. Shogan

Colleen J. Shogan has been reading mysteries since the age of six. A political scientist by training, Colleen has taught American politics at several universities and previously worked on Capitol Hill as a legislative staffer in the United States Senate and as a senior executive at the Library of Congress. She is currently the Senior Vice President of the White House Historical Association.

Colleen is a member of Sisters in Crime. “Stabbing in the Senate” was awarded the Next Generation Indie prize for Best Mystery in 2016. “Homicide in the House” was a 2017 finalist for the RONE Award for Best Mystery. “Calamity at the Continental Club” was a 2018 finalist in the “best cozy mystery” at Killer Nashville. “Larceny at the Library” won the 2021 IPPY bronze medal for mystery. She lives in Arlington, Virginia with her husband Rob and their beagle mutt Conan.

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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.”

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Cozy Wednesday featuring A Dish to Die for (A Key West Food Critic Mystery) by Lucy Burdette #Review / #Giveaway @LucyBurdette @crookedlanebks

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am happy to share my thoughts today about
A Dish to Die For!


A Dish to Die for (A Key West Food Critic Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
12th in Series
Setting – Florida
Crooked Lane Books (August 9, 2022)
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 288 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1639100725
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1639100729
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09LH35D92

National bestselling author Lucy Burdette returns to Key West for another delectable dish of secrets, intrigue, and murder.

Peace and quiet are hard to find in bustling Key West, so Hayley Snow, food critic for Key Zest magazine, is taking the afternoon off for a tranquil lunch with a friend outside of town. As they are enjoying the wild beach and the lunch, she realizes that her husband Nathan’s dog, Ziggy, has disappeared. She follows his barking, to find him furiously digging at a shallow grave with a man’s body in it. Davis Jager, a local birdwatcher, identifies him as GG Garcia, a rabble-rousing Key West local and developer. Garcia was famous for over-development on the fragile Keys, womanizing, and refusing to follow city rules—so it’s no wonder he had a few enemies.

When Davis is attacked in the parking lot of a local restaurant after talking to Hayley and her dear friend, the octogenarian Miss Gloria, Hayley is slowly but surely drawn into the case. Hayley’s mother, Janet, has been hired to cater GG’s memorial service reception at the local Woman’s Club, using recipes from their vintage Key West cookbook—and Hayley and Miss Gloria sign on to work with her, hoping to cook up some clues by observing the mourners.

But the real clues appear when Hayley begins to study the old cookbook, as whispers of old secrets come to life, dragging the past into the present—with murderous results.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Hayley taking her husband’s dog Ziggy to the beach and having lunch with a friend should have been a fun afternoon. But that darn Ziggy found an eerie treasure while digging to his heart’s content. Hayley couldn’t see him but she follows his yips and barks and finds him with a very dead body in a shallow grave. The man is identified by local birdwatcher, Davis Jager. It’s GG Garcia, a local developer who has been ruffling a lot of feathers because of his proposed development on the vulnerable Keyes. He is not fond of following the rules and he is a womanizer to boot.

Hayley becomes invested in the case when Davis Jager is attacked soon after talking to her. Since her mother has been asked to cater the memorial service for Garcia, Hayley and Miss Gloria decide it is the perfect place to catch a lot of the suspects in one place. Nathan wishes Hayley would leave the investigation to the police but he knows his bride and with his father in town his hands are pretty full.


Hayley and Nathan are settling into the new married life. They are so comfortable together and every word between them sounds true to life. Miss Gloria is right next door in her own houseboat and while Hayley is no longer living there they are still thick as thieves and make a great sleuthing team even if Miss Gloria’s suggestions can really be out there. Haley’s mom’s business is really taking off and she is always ready for a dinner party. In this story, Nathan’s dad is in town to lead some police training, and Nathan is exhausted trying to keep up with the man and maybe trying to impress him just a bit. All the characters Ms. Burdette has created are strong and gain depth in every new story. When she introduces a new character she gives just enough background and allows that character to evolve over the course of the story and beyond if they return in another book.

The mystery was complex but I was really drawn to the vintage cookbook, notes, and diary aspect of the story even before I realized their relevance. Soon I was totally engrossed by the story. The well-plotted storylines, the descriptions of the fragile Keys, and all the glorious food. Lucy Burdette is a wonderful storyteller and again her talent shines in A Dish to Die For.

I love catching up with these characters. I am always entertained by their daily lives and the drama that always seems to find them. I am excited to see where the author takes her character next.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Lucy Burdette

Courtesy Carol Tedesco

Lucy Burdette (aka Roberta Isleib) is the author of 19 mysteries, including A SCONE OF CONTENTION, the eleventh book in the Key West series featuring food critic Hayley Snow. THE KEY LIME CRIME won the bronze medal for popular fiction in the Florida Book Awards. Lucy’s books and stories have also been short-listed for Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity awards. She’s a past president of Sisters in Crime, and currently serving as president of the Friends of the Key West Library.

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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 featuring A Killing in Costumes (A Hollywood Treasures Mystery) by Zac Bissonnette #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @ZacBissonnette


A Killing in Costumes (A Hollywood Treasures Mystery)
by Zac Bissonnette


Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am happy to share my thoughts about
A Killing in Costumes today!

About A Killing in Costumes 


A Killing in Costumes (A Hollywood Treasures Mystery)
Cozy Mystery – LBGT
1st in Series
Setting – California
Crooked Lane Books (August 9, 2022)
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 320 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1639100865
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1639100866
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09LH99ZCM

Stardom fades fast when you’re on the line for murder, in this debut cozy mystery perfect for fans of Richard Osman and Jenn McKinlay.

Jay Allan and Cindy Cooper were soap opera stars in the late ’90s, a wholesome young husband-and-wife duo who combined musical talent with humor and charisma. When the truth about their sexual orientations came to light, their marriage and TV careers ended, but decades later they have remained friends. Together, they open Palm Springs’ chicest movie memorabilia store, Hooray for Hollywood–but no customers and dwindling finances spell trouble.

A Hail Mary arrives in the form of Yana Tosh, a ninety-year-old diva of the silver screen who has amassed a valuable collection of costumes and props and is looking to sell. But first, Jay and Cindy have to beat their competition, a vice president from a mega-auction house with ten times their resources. And when he winds up dead, they become prime suspects in the murder.

With their freedom and livelihoods on the line, Jay and Cindy desperately need to clear their names. There are plenty of other potential suspects, but they’ll have to solve it soon before they’re forced to trade in their vintage costume collection for two orange jumpsuits.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Their careers have faded from soap opera fame due to an uproar when their sexual orientations are revealed. Now divorced but still best friends Jay Allan and Cindy Cooper are filling their days as owners of the best movie memorabilia store in Palm Springs,  Hooray for Hollywood. But the store has been in a huge slump and may be headed toward financial ruin.

Enter Yana Tosh, an actress from the silver screen and now about 90 years old and ready to part with her own collection of movie memorabilia. She has contacted two companies about the sale, Jay and Cindy, and a huge auction house with ties around the world. Before any contracts can be signed the VP from the auction house is found dead and somehow Cindy and Jay are the prime suspects.

So now while trying to save Hooray for Hollywood they need to catch a killer and save themselves.


I love watching old movies so this book excited me from the start.

It did take me a while though to get engaged by the characters but I blame that partially on the book’s formatting. The point of view goes back and forth between Cindy and Jay and sometimes I was a little confused. That being said, I was very happy to see older protagonists in this story and that while divorced they are best friends and spend most of their waking hours together. I was also pleased by the positive way the LBGTQ+ community was portrayed. Also with pets named Bob Hope and Mae West you can’t go wrong.

The memorabilia store was such a great backdrop for this story. All the movie and music references were great. I enjoyed the description of the few items that were mentioned but I would love to lose myself in the aisles probably for about a week mining out treasure after treasure.

The author plotted out this mystery so well. It was pretty complicated with all the suspects, twists, and turns. I didn’t figure out this Whodunit until everything was spelled out for me. That means the book captivated my thinking so much I didn’t take a single note.

A Killing in Costumes has given this series a strong start and has laid a great foundation for future stories. I am excited to see what Zac Bissonnette has in store for his characters. This was a fun and enjoyable read.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Zac Bissonnette 

Zac Bissonnette is the New York Times bestselling author of several nonfiction books, including The Great Beanie Baby Bubble: Mass Delusion and the Dark Side of Cute.

His favorite singer is Perry Como. His favorite author is Agatha Christie. His favorite tea is Harney & Sons Hot Cinnamon Spice.

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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 Literary Escapes You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday featuring The Sign of the Calico Quartz (The Sweetbrier Inn Mysteries) by Jan Drexler #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour


The Sign of the Calico Quartz (The Sweetbrier Inn Mysteries)
by Jan Drexler

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am so happy to share my thoughts about
The Sign of the Calico Quarts today!

About The Sign of the Calico Quartz


The Sign of the Calico Quartz (The Sweetbrier Inn Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – South Dakota
Swift Wings Press (May 20, 2022)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 276 pages
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 979-8986137803
Digital Swift Wings Press (May 25, 2022)
Print length ‏ : ‎ 242 pages
ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09ZNDM1VL

Emma Blackwood’s favorite pastime is solving literary murder mysteries…until the body in her living room makes everything a little too real.

When Emma comes to the Black Hills to work at her Aunt Rose’s B&B, the Sweetbrier Inn, she is hoping for a quiet break from the corporate treadmill. But she hadn’t expected murder and intrigue to mar this peaceful setting.

As she wades through too many clues to identify the murderer, she soon finds that the culprit isn’t stopping at only one homicide and may even have placed Emma herself on the list of targets. With the help of her friend Becky and a deputy sheriff who grudgingly lets them join in on the investigation, Emma tracks down the killer. But will it be in time to save the next victim?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Emma Blackwood’s Aunt Rose has asked her to come to the Black Hills to help with The Sweetbrier Inn, her B&B that is really starting to take off. Emma is happy to help as she is just getting out of a bad relationship and could use a diversion from the corporate grind too. But she never expected that diversion to be a murder investigation with her at the top of the suspect list. Okay, the dead body was found in her suite, but she has no idea who the man is until she is informed he had been hired to take some of the guests prospecting. While Emma does her best to sort out a myriad of clues she learns her Aunt Rose is being threatened. Then another guest is strangely ill and another goes missing. Can Emma find a way to corner the killer or will she be the next victim?


First, I have to compliment that cute book cover. The cat is named Tim and Emma is his person. The Corgi is Thatcher and he belongs to Rose. The cover was all the push I needed to want to read and review this book.

I liked Emma immediately. She is smart and funny and ready to help her aunt in any way she can. Aunt Rose has an interesting past but she is totally in her element when chatting up the guests and telling them about things to do in the area. Wil, Rose’s chef, and partner has big ideas for the inn but Rose is pretty happy with how things are. Becky delivers baked goods to the inn every morning and she and Emma become fast friends. Deputy Cal Cooper entered the scene when the dead body is found and immediately put Emma in the hot seat.  These characters are interesting and develop well over the course of the story.

Readers are introduced to several new characters in the form of the guests at the inn. Rose’s long-time friend Clara is booked for a two-week stay. Montgomery, a friend from Rose’s past has also checked into the inn to do a little research. Ghost hunter Paul Peterson hopes to film an episode at the inn or in the area. His assistant, Mary Walters is at his beck and call. Fans Roger and Annie would love to be part of his ghost hunting team. Sam Nelson and his wife Nora have checked in and are excited to do a little prospecting. It’s an eclectic group and I loved that Emma used mnemonics to keep all the guests straight and that helped me as a reader too.

Emma was clearly being framed so she had to mine through a lot of clues to solve this mystery. She teams up with Becky to make a crime board to try to put some order to the information they have so far.  I will say the guilty party was on my personal suspect list but I was mystified for quite a while as to their motive. I loved following along with Emma as she continued her investigation but Deputy Cal knows she may have pushed the killer too far. Of course, that sets up a very entertaining reveal.

I also enjoyed the author’s descriptions of the Black Hills. Back in the 1980’s my husband and I along with our infant son traveled through South Dakota and saw all the sights. We even panned for a little gold. I had never heard of “calicoes” but I found the information fascinating.

The Sign of the Calico Quartz has set the Sweetbriar Inn Mysteries off to a great start. Ms. Drexler has written several Amish and Christian Romance stories but this is the first time she has ventured into the cozy realm. I am really excited to see where she takes these characters and this series.

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About Jan Drexler 

Jan Drexler lives in the Black Hills of South Dakota with her husband, where she enjoys hiking and spending time with her expanding family. She is the author of several historical romance novels, including the award-winning Mattie’s Pledge, and is pleased to be starting a new adventure with a cozy mystery series, The Sweetbrier Inn Mysteries. You can find out more about Jan on her website: www.JanDrexler.com.

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Great Escapes Praise for The Sign of the Calico Quartz (The Sweetbrier Inn Mysteries)
by Jan Drexler

The Sign of the Calico Quartz is a charming cozy with the beautiful Black Hills, a cute corgi, a murdered man, scrumptious scones, cagey guests, cowboy Cal, and enquiring Emma.
~The Avid Reader

The Sign of the Calico Quartz is an entertaining start to a new cozy mystery series! If you’re looking for a great mystery to cozy up with this weekend, grab a copy and enjoy!
~Reading is my Superpower

What an adorable mystery! I loved these characters and thought that this was a wonderful start to a brand new series.
~Moonlight Rendevous

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July 25 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW WITH EXCERPT
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July 26 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
July 27 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Posted in 2022 Reviews Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways Guest Posts What An Animal Reading Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday – Special Guest – Leslie Budewitz – Author of Peppermint Barked: A Spice Shop Mystery #Review / #Giveaway @LeslieBudewitz

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am delighted to welcome Leslie back to Escape With Dollycas today!

A Spicy Christmas in Seattle’s Pike Place Market

by Leslie Budewitz

Delighted to beat the heat with you by pretending it’s Christmas and celebrating the launch of Peppermint Barked! This is my sixth Spice Shop mystery featuring Pepper Reece, owner of the Spice Shop in Seattle’s famed Pike Place Market. I love writing and reading cozies, in part because of “the cozy covenant.” My interpretation: each book is a promise to introduce our readers to people they want to know in a place they’d like to visit, tempt them with delicious food, and show them something new about the world we live in, all wrapped in a solid mystery. (Thanks to my friend Barbara Ross, author of the Maine Clambake and Jane Darrowfield mysteries for the original concept of the “cozy covenant.”)

In each book, I aim to fulfill that covenant, along with a pair of challenges I set myself. The first: How can I make this book better than the last? What skill do I want to focus on? What plot twist have I not used that I’d like to try?

For Assault and Pepper, the series opener, I wanted to “explore how a ‘life begins at 40′ gal rebuilds after her life falls apart, in the heart of a city I still love. Explore caring vs. over-protection.” Others: “Investigate a cold case.” “Kill twice and get away with it.” “Deepen the relationships.” “Family on her own terms.” “No murder.”

And this time? My books always touch on a woman’s search for identity. Not that men don’t sometimes struggle with a sense of themselves and their purpose, but it has always seemed like the true heroine’s journey. In Peppermint Barked, I flipped that script to focus on the male search for identity. That led directly to decisions and actions by three men close to Pepper, as well as a few new characters. The combination, I think, is a fun story with a serious edge, and good food!

What’s that second challenge? When I started writing the series, I picked up a book of Market ghost stories. Whether you believe in ghosts or not, the stories are a fascinating part of Market history. One reason, I came to understand, is the physical layout. There’s a main, L-shaped cobbled street, Pike Place. An alley runs through it, ending abruptly and picking up again thirty feet lower, connected by a cobbled passage and a hidden staircase carved into a retaining wall. More than a dozen buildings cropped up over fifty-some years, distinct but connected, some with several levels. Walls were moved, passages closed off, and windows boarded up, creating opportunities for people to seemingly appear and disappear.

In Assault and Pepper, a very real character uses those hidden passages to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, leading him to be wrongly accused of a crime, and later, to be at the right place just in time to help Pepper. How else, I wondered, could I use the idea of ghosts to add a layer of fun to the story, without actually adding ghosts themselves? Ghost peppers. Ghosting in relationships. Ghost nets. Ghost signs, those faded advertisements painted on old buildings that sometimes reappear when an adjacent building comes down. There may, or may not, be a ghost in one book—no spoilers! And often, the ghosts of our own pasts, our choices, our regrets.

I hope you’ll make the trip with me to Pike Place Market, a place where the past, present, and future are all very real.

Thank you Leslie so much for visiting today!

Now keep reading for my thoughts about Peppermint Barked.


Peppermint Barked: A Spice Shop Mystery
Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Setting – Washington
Seventh Street Books (July 19, 2022)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 236 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1645060543
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1645060543
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09JPHR9CH

A Dickens of a Christmas turns deadly…

As the holiday season lights up Seattle’s famed Pike Place Market, Pepper Reece’s beloved Spice Shop is brimming with cinnamon, nutmeg, and shoppers eager to stuff their stockings. Add to the mix a tasty staff competition—a peppermint bark-off—along with Victorian costumes for this year’s Dickensian Christmas theme, and Pepper almost forgets to be nervous about meeting her fisherman boyfriend’s brother for the first time.

But when a young woman working in her friend Vinny’s wine shop is brutally assaulted, costumed revelers and holiday cheer are the last things on Pepper’s mind. Who would want to hurt Beth? Or were they looking for Vinny instead?

The vicious attack upsets everyone at Pike Place, but none more than Pepper’s own employee, Matt Kemp. At first, Pepper is baffled by his reaction, but his clandestine connection to Beth could hold the key to the assailant’s motive. Or perhaps it’s Vinny’s ex-wife who knows more than she’s letting on . . . and what about the mysterious top-hatted man with whom Pepper saw Beth arguing that morning?

As the secrets of the market come to light, long-held grudges, family ties, and hidden plans only further obscure the truth. Is it a ghost of the past rattling its chains or a contemporary Scrooge with more earthly motives? As Pepper chases down a killer, someone is chasing her, and in the end, the storied market itself may hold the final, deadly clue.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Pike Place Market in Seattle including Pepper Reece’s Spice Shop is all geared up for the holiday season. The theme this year is a Dickensian Christmas and many are donning Victorian costumes to give some authenticity to the season.

It should have been a fabulous time at the market but then a woman working for Pepper’s friend Vinny is attacked and assaulted. Beth is taken to the hospital and Matt Kemp who works at The Spice Shop with Pepper is taking the attack seriously hard. Not sure about any relationship the two may have Pepper thinks Matt may know why the young woman was attacked. Pepper is also interested in finding a man she witnesses arguing with Beth.

Pepper is uncovering things that don’t seem to meld together but she must be on to something because someone has started tailing her wherever she goes. Can she catch the killer before they catch her? It could be a real Bah! Humbug! Holiday if she doesn’t.


The cover of this book is gorgeous and will put everyone in the holiday mood and adding peppermint bark to their holiday treats.

Pepper Reece is a real Spice Queen, move over Maneet Chauhan. She is a great amateur sleuth as well. Her client list is growing and the holidays are sure to keep her and her employees very busy. I love that Ms. Budewitz has surrounded her protagonist with a fantastic group of employees and friends who care about each other like a great big family. Even the local law enforcement, including Pepper’s ex and detectives Spencer and Tracy, often make themselves right at home unless they are chasing down clues, and leads and trying to get Pepper to leave the investigation to them. Yeah, that is not happening. All the recurring characters are cleverly crafted and continue to grow over the course of the book/series.

This book is really a hands-on book for cozy mystery lovers. There are a lot of suspects and theories as to why Beth was attacked. Subsequent events will have you wondering if she was the real target. I worked hard to put the clues together in the right way only to have to back up and try again. I really enjoy a book that allows the reader to unwind a very complicated mystery. This story is so well plotted. I found myself highlighting what I thought were important passages. All my efforts were for naught though, There were some nice twists that tangled up my guesses and I was not even close when all was revealed, but I blame it on the pace which really sped up the closer we got to the end. Pages were really flying on my Kindle.

I really appreciate the way the author sets a scene and describes everything whether it be the food, the Spice Shop, the Market, and everything in between. I felt like I could see everything so clearly.

One little thing that pulled me up short while reading was that a group of characters had my last name. That was totally cool!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Leslie Budewitz

Leslie Budewitz blends her passion for food, great mysteries, and the Northwest in two cozy mystery series, the Spice Shop mysteries set in Seattle’s Pike Place Market, and the Food Lovers’ Village mysteries, set in NW Montana, where she lives. As Alicia Beckman, she writes moody suspense, beginning with Bitterroot Lake in April 2021 and continuing with Blind Faith in October 2022. A three-time Agatha-Award winner, she is a board member of Mystery Writers of America and a past president of Sisters in Crime.

Find her online at www.LeslieBudewitz.com and on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/LeslieBudewitzAuthor



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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.”