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

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

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


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

About The Broken Spine


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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Dollycas’s Thoughts

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


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

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

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

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

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About Dorothy St. James

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

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

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

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January 19 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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

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

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

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

 


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

About Wedding Bear Blues


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

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

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

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

Dollycas’s Thoughts

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

About Meg Macy

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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January 4 – Thoughts in Progress – SPOTLIGHT
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January 8 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – REVIEW
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Cozy Wednesday – Deep Dark Secrets (Deep Lakes Cozy Mystery Series) by Joy Ann Ribar #Review / #Giveaway

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am pleased to share my thoughts about Deep Dark Secrets today by Wisconsin Author Joy Ann Ribar today!

Deep Dark Secrets (Deep Lakes Cozy Mystery Series)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Wisconsin
Publisher: Orange Hat Publishing (June 15, 2019)
Paperback: 328 pages
ISBN-10: 1645380343
ISBN-13: 978-1645380344
Kindle ASIN: B07YQ4CJM5

You’re invited to visit Deep Lakes, Wisconsin, and meet a new friend, Francine “Frankie” Champagne. The 40-something owner of Bubble and Bake — bakery by day, wine lounge by night — Frankie is a spitfire pastry maker, vintner, and budding journalist.

Frankie finds herself on the perimeter of a suspicious death that upends the peaceful winter slumber in Deep Lakes when the local pastor is found dead inside his fishing shanty on Lake Loki. Frankie sticks her curious nose into the investigation, despite warnings from the local sheriff to leave it alone. But she has something to prove, maybe to the newspaper editor who wouldn’t hire her as a reporter, maybe to herself as she searches for fulfillment. Regardless, her fierce independence won’t allow her to back down. Follow Frankie as she stumbles upon one discovery after another, trails potential suspects, and solves the case!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Welcome to the frozen tundra of Wisconsin where the lakes like Lake Loki are filled with ice fishing shanties and fundraisers, where cars are set on the ice and people guess when the lake will thaw enough to send the car to a watery grave. Unfortunately, a local pastor is the one being buried when he is found dead in his ice shanty covered in blood. Francine “Frankie” Champagne the owner of Bubble and Bake — bakery by day, wine lounge by night, inserts herself right in the middle of the investigation to get the scoop for a newspaper article she hopes to write. Short on clues, she just keeps digging until she breaks through the ice and uncovers some deep, dark, secrets and all the clues fall into place.


Frankie Champagne has a lot on her plate. Baking, wine-making, and bottling that wine, managing the Bubble and Bake, divorced with two daughters in college, a new romance or two on the horizon, all while trying to follow her dream of becoming a newspaper journalist.  Thankfully she has her best friend Carmen as a partner at the Bubble and Bake and a lot of good help, including her mother, because she is bound and determined to find out who killed the pastor and why. I liked Frankie but the woman is in non-stop motion. For me, it was almost too much as she traveled across a lot of Wisconsin and even to Iowa in her quest to solve the murder.  All the characters we meet, and there are a lot, are very fleshed out for the first book in a series.

The mystery itself was not quite as forthcoming. Yes, there are secrets and while the innuendo about the pastor was there, I wished the suspects had been more clearly spelled out. Frankie talks to several people but I never was able to form a real list or eliminate people as I usually do with a cozy mystery. It was a journey from having the method of death explained clearly to Frankie taking some risks until the final reveal. I did like that we did get to read Frankie’s article at the end, it wrapped the mystery up nicely.

Deep Dark Secrets has some good bones and is a nice start for this series. There are a few things I feel could have been omitted or pared down to help the story flow better. It had first in a series -itis, where the author has to introduce the characters and the setting along with a good mystery to hold our interest. The author does this satisfactorily but sometimes less detail is more conducive to a successful introduction.  As a Wisconite like the author, I can say she described the state very well and made Deep Lakes a place I would love to visit. The characters are engaging and I am looking forward to seeing where the author takes them next. Deep Bitter Roots us already downloaded to my Kindle. I hope to be reading and reviewing it soon.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author (from Amazon)

Joy Ann Ribar is a Wisconsin native who embraces her Scandinavian roots – wine-tasting and food-munching from every culture. A semi-retired English educator, Joy teaches writing classes at Madison College. She earned a Journalism degree from UW-Madison and a Master’s in Education from UW-Oshkosh. She and her husband, John, run a backyard buffet for winged creatures, plus the occasional furry critter. Someday, they plan to sell everything, buy an RV, and escape Wisconsin winters.

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I am giving away my review copy!
The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
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and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

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

Posted in 2020 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 Closely Harbored Secrets (Seaside Café Mysteries) by Bree Baker #Review / #Giveaway @PPPress @BreeBakerBooks

Welcome to Coxy Wednesday!

This book will be released next Tuesday, January 29!


Closely Harbored Secrets (Seaside Café Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Setting – North Carolina
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press (December 29, 2020)
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
ISBN-10: 1728205751
ISBN-13: 978-1728205755
Kindle ASIN: B088P765Z1

In the fifth book of the popular Seaside Café Mysteries, Closely Harbored Secrets, Everly Swan just wants to make Halloween-themed treats and specialty teas for her customers. But when it seems that she’s being haunted by the phantom of a sailor straight out of a ghost story, her plans are capsized. Could this be the bitter end for Everly?

Hitting all the sweet-tea spots, this series is:

    • A delightful Tea Shop and Café Culinary Mystery
    • The ideal cozy beach read
    • Perfect for fans of Laura Childs and Kate Carlisle

It’s almost Halloween, and the small island of Charm, North Carolina is decked out for the festivities. When Everly Swan agrees to close her iced tea shop early to help her aunts host their annual haunted historic walking tour, she expects some good-natured spooks. But the night turns grave when one of the ghostly actors is found dead. To complicate matters, the victim scratched Everly’s name into the ground before she died, making her a key suspect.

The murder mystery heats up when Everly’s potential boo, Detective Grady, takes the case—and he definitely doesn’t want her getting involved. Will their seaside romance be threatened by all the ghostly drama? But when a phantom sailor straight out of local legend starts leaving Everly threatening messages, she has to get involved… With a local election underway, ghosts on the loose, and a search for long-lost buried treasure, Everly can’t help but stir the pot!

INCLUDES DELICIOUS FOOD AND DRINK RECIPES

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Halloween means a big celebration in Charm, North Carolina that includes a haunted walking tour. Clara and Fran Swan have key roles in the event and Everly is providing tea and treats for those attending. The night of the walk Everly joins her aunt’s group to hear ghost stories she has heard repeated several times but her aunt always adds something new. This year the something new is a dead body. Dixie Wetherill was to be playing the part of a local legend but when she misses her cue, a quick search finds Dixie dead with Everly’s name spelled out in the ground beside her.

Detective Grady Hays has to follow the evidence even if that means investigating his girlfriend. But then Everly receives several threatening messages. The messages appear to be from the legendary ghost pirate, The Sandman. Threats that are meant to scare Everly only make her mad and set her off on her own investigation to catch the real killer. Although finding that person just may get her killed . . .


What a wonderfully written spooky mystery!

Charm, North Carolina has a rich history and the stories that have come from that history can be downright chilling, especially on a Halloween Haunted Walking Tour. Ms. Baker paints some eerie pictures with her words. I felt like I was right there to enjoy the event and as the body was found. It was so easy to visualize. Her descriptions throughout the story kept me right there at every scene.

The author also breathes great life into each of her characters and she keeps them busy too. In addition to the Halloween festivities, the mayor’s race is right around the corner and Everly is pulling out all the stops to help her Aunt Fran win. Grady is dealing with some family issues that could create havoc in his already complicated relationship with Everly. Everly is busy concocting new tea drinks and running her shop along with a little home renovation. And then, there is that murder and the threats against Everly that has everyone worried. Bree Baker’s development of all her characters is top-notch.

The mystery is very well-plotted and sets a nice pace that really ratchets up as we get to the big reveal. It was so exciting. Again, the descriptive writing style had me feel like I was watching a movie. I could see all the action so clearly.  I truly was on the edge of my seat and may have even been holding my breath.

This Halloween story was a terrific treat! Closely Harbored Secrets blends a fascinating mystery with fabulous characters. There is a light paranormal element or two and that just adds to the fun. Charm, Blessed Bee, and the Sun, Sand, and Tea are places I can’t wait to visit again.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

You can read my review of No Good Tea Goes Unpunished here, Live and Let Chai here, Tide and Punishment here,
and A Call For Kelp here.

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



I am giving away my Advanced Review Copy!

The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US 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 Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

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

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

If you publicize the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End January 6, 2021, at 11:59 PM CST
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Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

Posted in 2020 Reviews Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Finish The Series Challenge Giveaways You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday featuring Mums and Mayhem: A Magic Garden Mystery by Amanda Flower #Review / #Giveaway @crookedlanebks @aflowerwriter

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am so happy to feature Mums and Mayhem today! 


Mums and Mayhem: A Magic Garden Mystery
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Scotland
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books (August 11, 2020)
Hardcover: 336 pages
ISBN-10: 1643852981
ISBN-13: 978-1643852980
Kindle ASIN: B07TW1XV6D

A famous fiddler has been kilt. A magic garden’s left to wilt. Does Fiona Knox’s father hold the guilt? Will florist Fiona’s blood be spilt?

World-famous fiddle player Barley McFee arrives in blustery Bellewick, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, for a grand homecoming concert organized by jeweler Bernice Brennan. Fiona Knox, the owner of the Climbing Rose Flower Shop, is starting to regret volunteering to help with the concert. Bernice is an exacting taskmaster, and Fiona has enough tension dealing with her parents, who have traveled from Tennessee to visit Fi and her younger sister, Isla, and to reveal a secret about Fi’s birth. But when Barley is found dead in his trailer during the concert’s intermission, and his death is shockingly tied to Fiona’s father, Fiona discovers there are more secrets surrounding her family than she realized.

Much to the chagrin of handsome Neil Craig, Chief Inspector of the County Aberdeen Police, Fiona delves into the case to clear her father’s name. To make matters worse, Fiona learns that Duncreigan, the magical garden that she inherited from her godfather, is dying. At some point during the concert, someone broke into the garden and cut the centuries-old climbing rose–the source of the garden’s magic–from the standing stone.

The stakes are higher than ever and Fiona could lose all that she’s grown unless she’s able to dispel this terrible curse and dig up the truth–fast.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Secrets on top of secrets are revealed within the pages of Mums and Mayhem.

Fiona’s parents arrive from the States for a visit while she has her hands full with her flower shop, her magic garden, and helping with a concert to welcome back Barley McFee. Barley is a fiddle player known around the world but calls Bellewick, Aberdeenshire, Scotland home. Sadly his concert comes to an abrupt halt when he is found dead. Fiona’s world is rocked when she learns her father is the prime suspect in his death.

To add to her troubles someone broke into her beloved Duncreigan, the magic garden she inherited along with her cottage from her godfather while she was at the concert. She has been entrusted with the garden’s care and some thief has taken the source of the magic and everything is dying.

Will Fiona be able to save her father and her garden? or will the killer come after her next?


I really enjoy these escapes to Scotland and while under dire straights I was happy the garden took more of a leading role in this story than the last. The author’s descriptive writing style clearly paints pictures of the whole area but especially Duncreigan. The turmoil of the dying garden brought tears to my eyes. Something so beautiful and magical struck down was truly heartbreaking. I felt so bad for Fiona.

Speaking of Fiona, she is an incredible protagonist. She continues to find her way in Scotland and learning about the precious gift she has been given. In this book, she has many things thrown at her at once but in the end, she perseveres. The relationship with her sister continues to immerge. They are as different as night and day. Fiona is the responsible one, Isla is more by the seats of her pants. I love the way they banter. Having their parents in town brings a new twist especially because they have a history in this town. Also, Fiona’s relationship with Chief Inspector Neil Craig continues to evolve but with her dad in the hot seat, romance could be pretty difficult.

To bring together all the many facets of this story the author has to be steadfast with a clear plan. Her plotting twists all the plotlines together in a way that grabs the reader right away and holds them in her grasp until the final word. She provides plenty of suspects and plants clues precisely making it so much fun to follow each seed right along with Fiona. I was kept guessing until the very end when all the clues come together to bloom.

Well-crafted characters and an exciting mystery make Mums and Mayhem a compelling cozy. One I thoroughly enjoyed. Mums, mystery, mayhem, and magic make for a marvelous read. A Perfect Escape!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

Read my review of Flowers and Foul Play here.

Read my review of Death and Daisies here. 

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








Amish Quilt Shop Mystery Series (writing as Isabella Alan)

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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 2020 Reviews Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday – Grounds for Murder (A Coffee Lover’s Mystery) by Tara Lush #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @crookedlanebks

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am delighted to be part of this tour! 

About Grounds for Murder 

Grounds for Murder (A Coffee Lover’s Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Florida
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books (December 8, 2020)
Hardcover: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 1643856189
ISBN-13: 978-1643856186
Digital ASIN: B0871KTTMC

When Lana Lewis’ best — and most difficult — employee abruptly quits and goes to work for the competition just days before the Sunshine State Barista Championship, her café’s chances of winning the contest are creamed. In front of a gossipy crowd in the small Florida town of Devil’s Beach, Lana’s normally calm demeanor heats to a boil when she runs into the arrogant java slinger. Of course, Fabrizio “Fab” Bellucci has a slick explanation for jumping ship. But when he’s found dead the next morning under a palm tree in the alley behind Lana’s café, she becomes the prime suspect.

 

Even the island’s handsome police chief isn’t quite certain of her innocence. But Lana isn’t the only one in town who was angry with Fabrizio. Jilted lovers, a shrimp boat captain, and a surfer with ties to the mob are all suspects as trouble brews on the beach.

 

With her stoned, hippie dad, a Shih Tzu named Stanley, and a new, curious barista sporting a punk rock aesthetic at her side, Lana’s prepared to turn up the heat to catch the real killer.

 

After all, she is a former award-winning reporter. As scandal hangs over her beachside café, can Lana clear her name and win the championship — or will she come to a bitter end?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Fabrizio “Fab” Bellucci, the beach’s hottest barista is dead and former investigative journalist turned coffee shop manager Lana Lewis is at the top of the suspect list if the cause of death is indeed murder. You see Fab was her star employee until he quit without notice to work for her competitor. On top of that, they were registered as a team for the Sunshine State Barista Championship. So when she couldn’t hold in her fury any longer she confronts him in front of a crowd of people at Island Brewnette, the competing coffee shop.

The trouble is, the chief of police, who seems to have a bit of a crush on Lana, is leaning toward calling Fab’s death a suicide until the evidence proves otherwise. Lana knows Fab was a great casanova/gigolo with some shady connections so she finds plenty of other suspects and theories. She just needs to convince Chief Noah Garcia to follow her clues with her. If not, she and her new barista Erica Penmark will steam out the killer on their own.


I liked Lana Lewis right away. Divorced and unemployed she comes home to Devil’s Beach to manage Perkatory. The cafe was her mother’s dream so after her death her dad kept the business going but his heart wasn’t really into it full time. Lana takes over admitting she has a lot to learn about being a great barista but she has great employees and her dad to help her out. She is intelligent and kind and her investigative skills come in handy as she tries to catch a killer. Erika and Lana get along right away and they make a wonderful team whether it comes to sleuthing or coffee brewing. Lana’s dad is a laid back hippie kind of dude that does seem fazed my much but supports his daughter 100%. Police Chief Noah Garica also escaped the big city to come to Devil’s Beach never expecting to have a murder case on his plate but he sure does like dropping in at Perkatory to see Lana. All of these characters developed nicely over the course of the story but there is so much more to learn. The author has done an excellent job of giving readers characters we can care about.

The mystery she has brewed up is darn good too. Personally, I wish the suicide theory would have been put to rest much earlier with more focus on the variety of people who could have been suspects in Fab’s death. He left quite a path of ladies in his wake and at least one was married. The pushy reporter in Lana came out and she just wasn’t going to give up. Her actions lead to a really exciting big reveal.

I do love the beachy small-town setting. While jumping with tourists and busy residents it still had a relaxing vibe and a place I would love to visit.

Grounds for Murder was a delightful whodunit and has set this series off to a grand start. It’s entertaining with just the right amount of humor. I am looking forward to visiting these characters again soon.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About Tara Lush

Tara Lush is a Rita Award finalist, an Amtrak writing fellow, and a George C. Polk Award-winning journalist. For the past decade, she’s been a reporter with the Associated Press, covering crime, alligators, natural disasters, and politics. She also writes contemporary romance set in tropical locations. A fan of vintage pulp-fiction book covers, Sinatra-era jazz, and 1980s fashion, she lives with her husband and two dogs on the Gulf coast.

Author Links

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AMAZON – KOBO – BARNES AND NOBLE –  ITUNES –  INDIEBOUND

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December 8 – I’m Into Books – SPOTLIGHT
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Posted in 2020 Reviews Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Literary Escapes New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

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

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

Today I am featuring the 1st Daisy Thorne Mystery!


Death at a Country Mansion (A Daisy Thorne Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Surrey, England
Publisher: Kensington (December 1, 2020)
Paperback: 240 pages
ISBN-10: 1496729803
ISBN-13: 978-1496729804
Kindle ASIN: B085KYJQKN

Fans of Agatha Christie won’t want to miss this delightful new mystery set in the charming village of Edgemead in Surrey, England, where you’ll find the latest styles, the juiciest gossip—and the most tantalizing murder clues…

 

No one would ever accuse famous opera star Dame Serena Levanté of lacking a flare for the dramatic. Unfortunately, it’s curtains down on the dysfunctional diva when she’s found dead at the bottom of a staircase in her elegant home. Solving an opera singer’s murder may not be the typical hairdresser’s aria of expertise. But Dame Serena was the mother of Daisy’s best friend Floria, so Daisy must do-or-dye her best to get to the roots of the case.

 

When a priceless Modigliani painting in the house is reported missing, the mystery gets even more tangled. Even though the gruff but handsome Detective Inspector Paul McGuinness tells the stylist to stay out of his hair, Daisy is determined to make sure the killer faces a stern makeover—behind bars.

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Daisy Thorne owns the hair salon, Oh La La in Edgemead England. She is also studying forensic psychology in her spare time. Both come in handy when her best friend, Floria’s mother is found dead at the foot of the staircase of her country mansion. Dame Serena Levanté is a famous opera singer/diva with three ex-husbands and one husband who has just left her for another woman. Last seen, Serena was drowning her sorrows with enough alcohol that her tumbling to her death is easily believable but it is definitely murder. When they notice a famous Modigliani painting is missing the case gets even more intriguing and Daisy vows to cut through the clues and curl the killer right into a jail cell.


Daisy is a people person with the perfect profession. Everyone knows to find the latest news and gossip you head to the beauty salon. Her studies in forensic psychology are teaching her how to read people even better. She is curious, smart, and loyal to her friends. All these things make Daisy Thorne a fantastic protagonist. They also make her the complete opposite of our victim, Dame Serena.

Ms. Innes has filled the story with dynamic and diverse supporting characters as well. From the elderly couple that takes care of the residents and grounds of the country mansion to Serena’s husbands, the staff at Oh La La, the hunky Detective Inspector Paul McGuinness, and more readers are treated to well-crafted characters left with plenty of room to grow.

This mystery was very complicated with surprises and twists. It starts out quickly with the dead body and the pace remains brisk throughout. It was a lot of fun to follow along with Daisy as she worked her way through all the clues. I had given a complete pass on the actual killer until late in the book so I clearly missed something along the way.

Death at a Country Mansion was an enjoyable escape across the pond. I can’t wait to visit Edgemead again soon. Death at the Salon is set to be released on March 30, 2021.

Your Escape With 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.


Coming March 30, 2021


Thanks to the publisher I have 1 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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Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

Posted in 2020 Reviews Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways New Release Challenge Purrfect Reading Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday – Fishing for Trouble (An Alaskan Diner Mystery) by Elizabeth Logan – #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @BerkleyMystery

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am happy to feature Fishing for Trouble today!


Fishing for Trouble (An Alaskan Diner Mystery)
by Elizabeth Logan

About Fishing For Trouble


Fishing for Trouble (An Alaskan Diner Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Alaska
Publisher: Berkley (November 24, 2020)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 0593100468
ISBN-13: 978-0593100462
Digital ASIN: B085BW1KCK

Something fishy is going on at a local seafood processing plant, and Charlie Cooke is on the hook to solve the case in this new Alaskan Diner Mystery.

 

Summer has come to Elkview, Alaska, bringing twenty hours of sunlight every day, not to mention a surge of tourists and seasonal workers. Chef Charlie Cooke is eager for a busy yet relaxing season, but when a young man working a summer job at the local fish processing plant dies moments after walking into the Bear Claw Diner, she’s quickly swept into the investigation.

 

Soon, through her best friend Annie Jensen, Charlie learns that another student worker at J and M Processing has disappeared, leaving more questions and fewer answers. The near-endless sunlight gives plenty of time to search for clues, but Charlie will have to work with Annie and local reporter Chris Doucette to net the killer before anyone else gets hurt.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Summer in Alaska means delicious long days of sunshine. Charlie is looking forward to a diner full of regulars and tourists. It also means seasonal workers have come from the lower 48 to rough it and earn big bucks working at the local fish processing plant. A group of these workers came into the Bear Claw diner for a bite but before they could order one of them keels over. An ambulance arrives too late to save him and a dead body in a diner is never a good thing. Knowing her food didn’t kill him, Charlie thinks there may be something fishy behind his death.

When Charlie catches up with her pal Annie she learns a mom has arrived from Wisconsin because her son, also an employee of the fish processing plant, has not been in touch with her in a long time and she fears something bad has happened to him. She hopes Annie and Charlie can help her find her son. Since Charlie was going to be doing some sleuthing anyway she will try to find the guy from Wisconsin too. Hopefully, Trooper will approve her getting involved along with Annie and that they can pull local reporter, Chris into the investigation too.


The difference about a cozy set in Alaska is that are a lot of territories to cover and not a lot of deputies so the state trooper responsible for Elkview has deputized Charlie, Annie, and Chris before. He knows they have some good instincts if he can just keep them from going too far. Yeah, right. These core characters are developing nicely but I feel we have just scratched their surface.

Charlie is fun and still learning the ins and outs of being an amateur sleuth. She is obsessed with her cat Benny. She has a camera to watch him remotely and has truly gone overboard buying him toys. There may need to be an intervention. An unexpected visitor comes to town that causes some stress in Charlie’s life but her strength eventually comes out. I really enjoy the relationships she has with Trooper, Annie, and Chris. Chris really impressed me this time. The relationships she has with her staff are still evolving but she trusts them enough to leave the diner in their hands a majority of the time.

The author provided a nice variety of suspects but my focus was never really drawn to one individual. The method delivery was murky too. Ms. Logan delivers some nice twists. The real culprit seemed to come totally out of nowhere in a very exciting way, but it wrapped up almost too quickly.

Fishing for Trouble was an entertaining story. I do love the Alaska setting. I am looking forward to visiting Elkview and hanging out with Charlie again soon. Murphy’s Slaw hits shelves and e-readers on May 25, 2021.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About Elizabeth Logan

Camille Minichino is turning every aspect of her life into a mystery series. A retired physicist, she’s the author of 28 mystery novels in 5 series, with different pen names. She writes the Alaskan Diner Mysteries as Elizabeth Logan. She’s also written many short stories and articles. She teaches science at Golden Gate U. in San Francisco and writing workshops around the SF Bay Area.  Details are at www.minichino.com.

Author Links – Website – Facebook –  GoodReads –

Purchase Links – AmazonB&N  – KoboIndieBound 

Written as Camille Minichino


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November 24 – Reading Reality – REVIEW
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November 26 – Ascroft, eh? – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
November 27 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW
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November 27 – I Read What You Write -SPOTLIGHT
November 28 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
November 28 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
November 28 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
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November 29 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – REVIEW 
November 29 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
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December 1 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
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December 3 – Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic – GUEST POST
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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 2020 Reviews Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours New Release Challenge Purrfect Reading Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Mimi Lee Reads Between the Lines (A Sassy Cat Mystery) by Jennifer J. Chow #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour


Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
I am so happy to be part of this tour!


Mimi Lee Reads Between the Lines (A Sassy Cat Mystery)
by Jennifer J. Chow

About Mimi Lee Reads Between the Lines

Mimi Lee Reads Between the Lines (A Sassy Cat Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – California
Publisher: Berkley (November 10, 2020)
Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 1984805010
ISBN-13: 978-1984805010
Digital ASIN: B084V8MB5M

When a local teacher is found dead, LA’s newest pet groomer Mimi Lee finds herself in a pawful predicament—with her younger sister’s livelihood on the line.

 

Mimi Lee is on top of the world. She has a thriving pet grooming business, the sweetest boyfriend, and a talking cat to boot. When she arrives at the elementary school where her sister Alice works, she’s expecting a fun girls’ night out—but instead finds a teacher slumped over in her car, dead.

 

Alice was the last one to see Helen Reed, which instantly marks her as the prime suspect. Unable to sit quietly and let the authorities walk all over her sister, Mimi starts snooping and talks to Helen’s closest contacts, including one jumpy principal, a two-faced fiancé, and three sketchy teachers. With the help of her sassy but savvy cat, Marshmallow, and a cute kitten named Nimbus, the clock’s ticking for Mimi to get to the bottom of yet another case before her sister gets schooled.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Sassy cat Marshmallow and Mimi Lee are back and investigating another murder. A visit to see her sister and the elementary school where she teaches takes a deadly turn when they find another teacher dead in her car. The police believe Mimi’s sister Alice was the last to see the deceased alive and place her at the top of their suspect list. Mimi knows her sister is innocent and quickly sees several other suspects. With a little help from her feline friend, she is going to put her sleuthing to the test and catch the real killer.


Mimi Lee continues to grow in this second Sassy Cat Mystery. She has a boyfriend, Josh, her pet grooming shop, Hollywoof is gaining new clients, some with some unusual requests, and her investigating has gone up a notch too. I love the relationship she has with her sister, Alice. I enjoyed getting to know Alice better. There is something going on with their parents that has them both worried. They take a page out of their mother’s handbook and do a little meddling of their own. The author has done a great job with character development, human and feline. Marshmallow again stole my heart.

The mystery was a fun one with Marshmallow and Mimi ferreting through the clues. Their telepathic relationship is unique. It would be such a treat to actually know what our cats are thinking, heck this cat can even read text messages. They worked through school politics and a clique of teachers as they pared-down the suspects. Frankly, setting the murder aside, it was nice to escape the reality of COVID and read about a school that was actually in session, teaching students.

The regular life subplots blended nicely and added so much to the book. A wonderful twist had me smiling ear to ear.

Mimi Lee Reads Between The Lines is a delightful lighthearted mystery with a sassy, smart kitty and his amateur sleuth person. All in all, a very enjoyable escape.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Jennifer J. Chow

Jennifer J. Chow is the author of the hiss-terical Sassy Cat Mysteries, the Winston Wong cozies, Dragonfly Dreams, and The 228 Legacy. She lives in Los Angeles, where she hunts for all things matcha. Connect with her online and sign up for her newsletter at www.jenniferjchow.com. You can also find her on social media under @jenjchow.

Author Links – WebsiteTwitterInstagramFacebook 

Purchase Links – AmazonPenguin Random HouseBookShopB&N KoboGoogle PlayIndieBound

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Great Escapes Praise for Mimi Lee Reads Between the Lines (A Sassy Cat Mystery)
by Jennifer J. Chow

I love Marshmallow! He is once again my favorite character in this series. To be honest, I think he might be the Sherlock in the relationship. Not only is he telepathic, but he can read texts too. And he really saves the day in this book. Overall, Mimi Reads Between the Lines is another great entry in this cozy cat mystery series.
~DIANE REVIEWS BOOKS

. . . this book was a fun read that cozy fans are sure to enjoy.
~Books a Plenty Book Reviews

As a lover of cozy mysteries, this book shouted at me to be picked up! . . . I found Mimi Lee Reads Between the Lines to be a cracking, fun and lighthearted cozy mystery . . .
~Brianne’s Book Reviews

 

TOUR PARTICIPANTS
November 6 – I’m All About Books – 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 2020 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 with Leslie Budewitz – Author of The Solace of Bay Leaves #GuestPost / #Review / #Giveaway


Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am thrilled to welcome Leslie Budewitz back to Escape With Dollycas!

Armchair Travel

by Leslie Budewitz

Whoever first called reading “armchair travel” was brilliant.

Or, to quote another brilliant mind, though Dr. Seuss wasn’t talking about books, “Oh, the places you’ll go.”

I’ve always loved exploring new places by reading, and when I first started writing fiction, I knew one of my goals was to take people to times and places they might not visit themselves. page. My Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries are set in a lakeside town Montana on the road to Glacier National Park, inspired by the village where I live. It’s truly a cozy community, though a Montana mountain valley is not a typical location for a cozy mystery. My Spice Shop series is an urban cozy, set in a community within a community, Seattle’s famed Pike Place Market.

Why the Market? I fell in love with it as a college freshman and made it my life’s mission to eat my way through it. Since it’s constantly changing, and I only get to visit once a year or so, it’s an on-going challenge. But I’m up for it!

It’s a vibrant place, full of sounds, sights, and smells. And the food! The Market is the heart and soul—and stomach—of the city. You can eat just about anything there. Start with a slice of pizza at DeLaurenti’s Italian grocery. Sample spice tea at Market Spice. The Persian food at Farvahar. Dolmatas and falafel from The Falafel King. Dim sum, Vietnamese coffee, baklava, piroshky. Clam chowder, oysters, barbecue. Bagels, crumpets, crepes and cheesecake. Grab coffee at the original Starbucks. Sip wine, beer, ginger beer.

Have I made you hungry? Good! (Me, too.)

The Market transports you to a time gone by, with its cobblestone streets and the jumble of early 20th century buildings jammed against each other. Pillars topped with Victorian capitals. Buckets of fresh flowers. Street-corner musicians. Ghosts who preen and pirouette in the windows of the old ballroom, and other ghosts who reorganize beads in jewelry displays and drink the good whiskey. Bridges to nowhere and windows overlooking nothing. But there are a few modern twists, uniquely Seattle: The Gum Wall outside the Market Theater, a bit of psycho-grunge regularly ranked one of the germiest places in the world. Grown men throwing fish. Visitors from all across the globe.

In The Solace of Bay Leaves, Pepper Reece is about to celebrate her second anniversary as owner of the Spice Shop. Halloween is approaching, and she and Cayenne, one of her employees, have been prowling Market stalls for warty gourds, goblins’ eggs, and other seasonal decors. Through her investigation into the shooting of an old friend and an unsolved murder takes her to the Lake Union houseboat community, some of the city’s older residential neighborhoods, and the hospital district, it’s the Market and its merchants, bakers, craftspeople, and residents who ground Pepper and our story. An observant artist, new to the Market, sees something critical, and Pepper meets a young immigrant woman and her daughter who provide additional clues.

The Market, and the Spice Shop, are Pepper’s happy place. They’re mine, too—even if the Spice Shop exists only in my imagination, and I hope, yours. Pour a cup of something you enjoy, curl up in your comfy chair, and take a trip to Seattle with me, on the page.

Thank you Leslie for dropping by today! 

Keep reading for my thoughts about The Solace of Bay Leaves.

 

The Solace of Bay Leaves (Spice Shop Mysteries)
by Leslie Budewitz
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Setting – Washington
Publisher: Seventh Street Books (October 20, 2020)
Paperback: 248 pages
ISBN-10: 1645060179
Kindle ASIN: B084G9S89T

Pepper Reece never expected to find solace in bay leaves.

 

But when her life fell apart at forty and she bought the venerable-but-rundown Spice Shop in Seattle’s Pike Place Market, her days took a tasty turn. Now she’s savoring the prospect of a flavorful fall and a busy holiday cooking season, until danger bubbles to the surface . . .

 

Between managing her shop, worrying about her staff, and navigating a delicious new relationship, Pepper’s firing on all burners. But when her childhood friend Maddie is shot and gravely wounded, the incident is quickly tied to an unsolved murder that left another close friend a widow.

 

Convinced that the secret to both crimes lies in the history of a once-beloved building, Pepper uses her local-girl contacts and her talent for asking questions to unearth startling links between the past and present—links that suggest her childhood friend may not have been the Golden Girl she appeared to be. Pepper is forced to face her own regrets and unsavory emotions, if she wants to save Maddie’s life—and her own.

 

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Pepper Reece and her boyfriend Nate are out for a night on the town with her BBF Kristen Gardner and her husband Eric when she receives a text message from mutual friend Laurel Halloran . . .

Detective Tracy is in my living room   . . . FBI on the way.

After a little confab, the foursome heads to Laurel’s houseboat where they learn another friend of the girls has been shot and is in the hospital. Then Detective Tracy drops the bomb, their friend Maddie was shot with the same gun as another case that had gone cold. Pat Halloran, Laurel’s husband was murdered about 3 years ago. Is this a new lead? Tracy tells Pepper to stay out of his investigation and that is echoed by the FBI agent. Pepper knows that is not going to happen. She has helped solve other cases, why not this one? or two?

____

Pepper Reece knows her spices and she is a grand amateur sleuth. Her life is on an upswing with a successful and growing business, a new romance with Nate, and her lovable companion Arf, who she adopted when his owner moved away. She is surrounded by a great supporting cast of friends and employees. All the characters are written very realistically. Ms. Budewitz all gives readers a nice group of suspects. Some as sketchy as can be.

The murder mystery is complex and requires a lot of digging. If the shootings are related Pepper needs to finds out how. The author has plotted many twists and turns to keep everyone guessing. There is also a subplot mystery involving the spice shop and a special blend. This mixes in with the main mystery nicely along with the daily routine of running the shop and Pepper’s personal life. The story has a nice pace and builds to an exciting conclusion.

Seattle’s famed Pike Place Market is an ideal setting for this series. Each story we learn more about the place and discover new shops and vendors. I really hope to visit there someday.

The Solace of Bay Leaves is a fine addition to this series. I am looking forward to the next installment.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

You can read my review of Assault and Pepper here, Guilty as Cinnamon here, and Killing Thyme here and Chai Another Day here

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Leslie Budewitz blends her passion for food, great mysteries, and the Northwest in two cozy mystery series. CHAI ANOTHER DAY, her fourth Spice Shop Mystery, set in Seattle’s Pike Place Market, will be published on June 11. DEATH AL DENTE, first in the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries, set in Jewel Bay, Montana, won the 2013 Agatha Award for Best First Novel. She also won the 2011 Agatha Award for Best Nonfiction. “All God’s Sparrows,” her first historical fiction, won the 2018 Agatha Award for Best Short Story. A past president of Sisters in Crime and a current board member of Mystery Writers of America, she lives and cooks in NW Montana.

Find her online at www.LeslieBudewitz.com and on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/LeslieBudewitzAuthor More about CHAI ANOTHER DAY, including an excerpt here: http://www.lesliebudewitz.com/spice-shop-mystery-series/

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