Oct 182019
 


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


Malice in Maggody (The Arly Hanks Mysteries)
Humorous Mystery (Explicit Language)
1st in Series
Setting – Arkansas
Originally Released (February 5, 1991)
MysteriousPress.com/Open Road – Reprint edition (February 14, 2017)
Print Length: 260 pages
Kindle ASIN: B01N4RHNLC

After a crossbow killing at a cheap roadside motel, Ozarks police chief Arly Hanks finds herself investigating her first murder case.

Her marriage over and career gone bust, Arly Hanks flees Manhattan for her hometown: Maggody, Arkansas. In a town this size, nothing much ever happens, so Arly figures she’s safe as the town’s first female chief of police—until the husband of one of the local barmaids escapes from state prison and heads for town. And that’s not all. An EPA official with ties to polluting the local fishing hole has suddenly vanished off the face of the earth.

As if two manhunts aren’t enough to contend with, a body has been discovered at the pay-by-the-hour Flamingo Motel, shot clean through the neck with an arrow. For some reason, Maggody’s residents—all 755 of them—have gone tight-lipped, stonewalling Arly’s investigations, and Arly hasn’t a soul to trust but her half-wit deputy. Now, as Maggody’s finest, she’ll have to show a little muscle and a lot of cunning to curtail the inhospitable mountain malice that’s overtaken her town. And she’ll have to watch her own back every step of the way.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Arly Hanks returns to Maggody, Arkansas, population 755, after her career and marriage blows up and lands the job of Chief of Police. The crime in Maggody is virtually non-existent and writing traffic tickets is the major concern. But then a prison escape puts everyone on guard. The man who escaped is the husband of Jaylee Withers, a barmaid at Ruby Dee’s Bar and Grill. The residents of Maggody are also dealing with the EPA who has given the go-ahead for a sewage treatment plant that will feed into the beloved Boone Creek. The man sent to get all the I’s dotted and the T’s crossed made it to town but hasn’t been seen since.

So the crime rate in Maggody has taken a huge spike with two manhunts. But that’s not all … Arly now has to add a murder to her list when a body outside the pay-by-the-hour Flamingo Motel and she isn’t getting any help anyone in town, not even her mother. Thankfully Arly isn’t on her own and I don’t mean her Barney Fife deputy, she gets a much-needed assist from the State Police even though she isn’t happy to accept it.

___

This book is listed on many sites as a “cozy mystery” so I was completely caught off guard when the first line of the book is “It’s sh*t – pure and simple sh*t, no matter what they call it in those g*ddamn reports” (asterisks added by me.) While the language may be authentic and I have no problem with that language in almost any other genre, I just don’t believe it should be found in a cozy mystery.  I did keep reading and did enjoy the book but I refuse to classify it as a cozy mystery.

Joan Hess has created larger than life characters and placed them in a quirky small town. Almost everyone we meet is hiding something or keeping a secret or involved in nefarious activities and sometimes all three. While I found most of them to be pretty stereotypical and could be offensive to some readers I did find them entertaining.

The mystery plotlines were interesting even with readers knowing many things Arly didn’t. The story was well-plotted and the final reveal was surprising but made perfect sense. The author leans heavily on humor and some scenes were pretty hilarious.

Colorful characters in a Southern small-town, Malice in Maggody was an unusual and stirring mystery. I do plan to read more of this series.

One note: I think formatting this book for digital devices made transitions hard to follow at times. Storyline transitions were blurred due to the flow of the text. Spaces for setting changes or time changes within the chapters would be appreciated.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

I was sad to learn while researching this series that the author passed away in November 2017. Joan Hess was an American mystery writer, a member of Sisters in Crime, and a former president of the American Crime Writers League. She wrote two popular mystery series: The Claire Malloy Mysteries and The Maggody Mysteries (also called The Arly Hanks Mysteries), and has contributed to multiple anthologies and book series, including: Crosswinds, Deadly Allies, Malice Domestic, Sisters in Crime, and The Year’s 25 Finest Crime and Mystery Stories. She also wrote the Theo Bloomer mystery series, under the pseudonym Joan Hadley.


I am giving away 1 Kindle Copy!
It will be sent directly from Amazon.
The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old.

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.

If you share the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
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Contest Will End November 1, 2019, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

*This book was from my private collection.

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Oct 042019
 


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

This book was recommended to me several years ago and it has been sitting on my To-Be-Read shelf ever since. I was so happy that one of the books required for the What’s In A Name Reading Challenge was “Contains the word “girl” or “woman”. This book fits to a T.


The Girl Who Fell from the Sky
Cultural Heritage Fiction / Contemporary Literature & Fiction
Setting – Various
Algonquin Books (January 11, 2010)
Hardcover: 256 pages
ISBN-10: 1565126807
ISBN-13: 978-1565126800
Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1616200154
ISBN-13: 978-1616200152
Kindle ASIN: B004GKNBX8

Rachel, the daughter of a Danish mother and a black G.I., becomes the sole survivor of a family tragedy after a fateful morning on their Chicago rooftop.

Forced to move to a new city, with her strict African American grandmother as her guardian, Rachel is thrust for the first time into a mostly black community, where her light brown skin, blue eyes, and beauty bring a constant stream of attention her way. It’s there, as she grows up and tries to swallow her grief, that she comes to understand how the mystery and tragedy of her mother might be connected to her own uncertain identity.

This searing and heartwrenching portrait of a young biracial girl dealing with society’s ideas of race and class is the winner of the Bellwether Prize for best fiction manuscript addressing issues of social justice.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Eleven-year-old Rachel Morse is living with her grandmother in Portland following a day that left her the only survivor of her family. Her father was an African American G.I. and her mother was Danish. They met, fell in love and had a family. Moving to Chicago things were hard for her mother and their mixed children.

After the deaths of the rest of her family  Rachel moves in with her very strict African American grandmother she finds herself surrounded in a black community with her light brown skin and beautiful blue eyes. She misses her “Mor”, mother in Danish, and her siblings so much. As she grows she becomes more aware of what really happened all those years ago.

____

This was such a moving story. Told in two parts from different points of view over several years. It was a little confusing at first but the author makes it work. Each character has a distinct voice and their own baggage.

Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner may have been released in 1967 but in the early ’80s biracial marriages were still not as accepted in the U.S. as they were in Europe. Rachel’s mother Nella tried to do everything putting her children first. When tragedy strikes Rachel is the only one left. Now she has to deal with the prejudice on her own while finding out who she really is and how she can survive. She also learns she wasn’t the only one trying to move on from that fateful day.

Most of this story is full of heartwrenching moments. You can feel Rachel’s pain. She’s black, but not black enough, she has startling blue eyes that set her apart, her hair isn’t right, she talks “like a white person”.  A complex coming of age story with so much adversity. Rachel tries so hard to deal with everything on her own and that really ripped me apart. There are a few softer moments but this was a heavy read. There was a little bit of hope in the end but it left me wondering where is Rachel today?

 The Girl Who Fell from the Sky will have you feeling a bucket full of emotions as you escape into Rachel’s story. A complex, gripping story that will stick with you long after you turn the last page.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author – From Amazon
Heidi W. Durrow is the New York Times best-selling author of The Girl Who Fell From the Sky (Algonquin Books), which received writer Barbara Kingsolver’s 2008 PEN/Bellwether Prize, and is already a book club favorite. The Girl Who Fell From the Sky has been hailed as one of the Best Novels of 2010 by the Washington Post, a Top 10 Book of 2010 by The Oregonian, a Top 10 Buzz Book of 2010 by the Boston Herald and named a Top 10 Debut of 2010 by Booklist. Ebony Magazine named Heidi as one of its Power 100 Leaders of 2010 along with writers Edwidge Danticat, and Malcolm Gladwell. Heidi was nominated for a 2011 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Debut.

Heidi W. Durrow is a graduate of Stanford, Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism and Yale Law School.

Originally from Portland, Oregon, Heidi has worked as a corporate litigator at Cravath, Swaine & Moore, and as a Life Skills trainer to professional athletes of the National Football League and National Basketball Association. She was the co-host of the award-winning weekly podcast Mixed Chicks Chat and now host of The Mixed Experience; and was a founder and executive producer of the now defunct Mixed Roots Film & Literary Festival. She is now spearheading the Mixed Remixed Festival, an annual free public event, that celebrates stories of the Mixed experience. She is an occasional essay contributor to National Public Radio.

She is the recipient of a Fellowship in Fiction from the New York Foundation for the Arts, a Jerome Foundation Fellowship for Emerging Writers, a Jentel Foundation Residency, and won top honors in the Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition and the Chapter One Fiction Contest. She has received grants from the Elizabeth George Foundation, the American Scandinavian Foundation, the Roth Endowment and the American Antiquarian Society. She has also received Fellowships to the Norman Mailer Writers’ Colony and the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference. Durrow’s writing has appeared in the New York Times, Ebony Magazine, Alaska Quarterly Review, The Literary Review, Smokelong Quarterly, Callaloo, Poem/Memoir/Story, the Yale Journal of Law and Feminism, Essence magazine, and Newsday.

I am giving away my hardcover 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 Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

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 October 18, 2019, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

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Sep 132019
 


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


Two to Mango (The Tiki Goddess Mystery Series)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Hawaii
Bell Bridge Books (June 20, 2012)
Hardcover: 218 pages
ISBN-10: 1611948096
ISBN-13: 978-1611948097
Paperback: 218 pages
ISBN-10: 1611941318
ISBN-13: 978-1611941319
Kindle ASIN: B007RQV6NK

Forget the grass skirts. Some of the Island’s top hula dancers are pushing up daisies.

Everyone at Em Johnson’s famous North Shore Kauai hang-out, The Tiki Goddess Bar, knows that the bar’s irrepressible Hula Maidens take their hula dancing seriously. So when famed hula instructors from a rival dance troop start dropping like over-ripe passion fruit, Em and the Hula Maidens go undercover at the Kukui Nut Festival Hula Competition to uncover the killer. Em is once again up to her okole in danger and mystery, not to mention the seductive challenge of working with hunky detective Roland Sharpe, who moonlights as one of the island’s sexiest fire dancers.

The hula is lively, the luau is smoking, the mai tais are delicious, and a killer is looking to get away with murder in paradise.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

The Hula Maidens are back and are as hilarious as ever. The senior ladies take their hula dancing very seriously and are afraid that after their latest incident at an old folks home their dancing days may be over. They get a reprieve when Em Johnson’s detective Roland asks for Em’s help. Heads of another local dance group have died suddenly. Roland doesn’t have any proof but he thinks their deaths were not from natural causes. He asks Em to convince the Hula Maidens to enter the Kukui Nut Festival Hula Competition so that she can go undercover and keep her eyes and ears open. He will be there too in his dual roles of law enforcement and fire dancer. Em just can’t say no.

First, I appreciated the author’s refresher on the Hawaiian language and the meaning of the Hawaiian words when they first appear as a comfortable part of the narrative.

Next, Ms. Landis has created the epitome of quirky characters that are what every great cozy mystery series needs. The Hula Maidens are a group of “not-so-talented-over-the-hill dancers”. They have recently lost one member to another group and gained a dancer who hails from Iowa. They dance at events and places for free but their “gigs” are rare because people expect “lovely young Polynesian dancers, not a bunch of wrinkled old haoles (not Native Hawaiian) with underarm bat wings.” In the first book in this series, they convinced Em Johnson to come to Kauai to save her uncle’s Tiki Goddess Bar that was going under mostly because her uncle loans anyone money and never gets repaid. The bar also has a taste testing parrot named David Letterman. Uncle Louie likes to come up with new exotic drink recipes that aren’t revealed to the public without the bird’s okay. And then there is bartender Sophie, who tries to help the maidens with their choreography and hunky fire dancer detective Roland Sharpe. Roland does have feelings for Em and she has feelings for him but they are taking things S .  . . L . . . O . . . W.

The author wraps these characters in a puzzling mystery. Who is killing the Kumu? and How? and Why? It is not easily apparent but Em has her suspects. What ensues is a wacky, wild and at times laugh out loud funny journey to find the truth.

I read the first book in this series because I needed to read a book set in Hawaii for a reading challenge. I came back for this one because there are very few authors that can make me laugh so much from the beginning to the end of a story. The bonus is the mystery is fun to follow and solve too.

If you like cozies with a generous dose of humor and larger than life characters, grab this book, flip to the back for Uncle Louie’s Booze Bible, mix yourself a drink or two, and sit back and enjoy Jill Marie Landis’ Two to Mango!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

You can read my review of Mai Tai One On here.

Find out more about Jill Marie Landis on her webpage here.

I am giving away 1 Kindle Copy!

Book Will Be Sent Directly From Amazon.

The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old.

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 receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End September 27, 2019, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

*This book was from my private collection. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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Sep 062019
 


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


The Final Arrangement: A Cozy Flower Shop Mystery
Amateur Sleuths (Adult Language)
1st in Series
Setting – Utah
Self Published
Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1482314487
ISBN-13: 978-1482314489
Kindle ASIN: B00AF2HXGC

The Vulture is dead.

The body of Quincy McKay’s nemesis and biggest competitor in the floral business has just been discovered in a casket at the mortuary, complete with flowers on the lid.

Derrick Gibbons, aka The Vulture, stole all of Quincy’s funeral business, and now she’s on a mission to get it back. But there’s a problem—Quincy is now the main suspect in The Vulture’s murder.

Armed with only her Zombie delivery van, good intentions, and the business card of a handsome cop named Alex, she must find the killer, save the flower shop, and keep from ending up in the next casket. If she can dodge burning bushes, the plague of a polygamist ex, and her mother’s Mormon Mafia Spy Network, her life with Alex and her shop could become the perfect arrangement.

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

Quinella/Quincy McKay has taken over her aunt’s florist shop, Rosie’s Posies. Business was good until Derrick Gibbons, aka The Vulture, took over all funeral business in the area. It is only fitting he should meet his demise and be found laid out in a casket complete with flowers ready for his own funeral. Because of an altercation with the deceased right before he was killed Quincy lands firmly at the top of the suspect list.

She meets another police officer who tells her she has nothing to worry about. Andy is easy on the eyes and there are immediate vibes between them, but Quincy isn’t sure if she can trust him. She knows she needs to clear her name while avoiding her mother’s Mormon Mafia Spy Network all while dealing with the fallout of her polygamist ex, her sister’s abusive boyfriend, an employee that is getting on her last nerve, and another who she knows she needs to fire. She also needs to stay out of the killer’s way or she could be pushing up daisies next to the Vulture.

Set in Utah, Quincy’s mother wants her daughters to settle down with nice Mormon men, both tried but the men were not who they appeared to be. Qunicy gets out of her relationship and she is determined to help her sister get out of hers even with their mother putting up roadblocks.

We also meet a quirky group of supporting characters. Quincy’s employees, other florists, funeral home staff, and of course members of the local police department. The characters all have their own amount of baggage and the author does a good job fleshing them out. Quincy doesn’t always make the best moves but in her mind, they make sense. She is evolving and that is always a good thing.

Ms. Adams wraps these characters not only in a murder mystery but several subplots. She takes on some hot button issues but keeps them from getting too heavy with well-timed humor. The main mystery was a twisted up puzzle with a variety of suspects in addition to our protagonist. It was fun to follow all the clues to a suspenseful satisfying conclusion.

I love flowers so I loved the descriptions of the floral creations. It was easy to picture every one.

With the perfect amount of humor and romance, The Final Arrangement was an enjoyable mystery, with one caution, this story includes explicit language that for me takes it out of the cozy mystery genre. That being said I am excited to read the next book in the series.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author 

Annie Adams is the author of The Flower Shop Mystery Series and the Rosie McKay Mystery Series. She lives with her husband, two giant dogs, and two, too giant cats in Northern Utah at the foot of the Wasatch Mountains. When not writing she can be found arranging flowers or delivering them in her own Zombie Delivery Van.

Website  – FacebookTwitter  


You can get a copy of this book at Amazon for just 99 cents
but I am giving away 1 Kindle copy.
It will be sent directly from Amazon.

The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old.

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

Contest Will End September 20, 2019, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

*This book was from my personal collection. 

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Aug 302019
 


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

I have really enjoyed the books by this author written at Kate Dyer-Seeley
but I am late to the party with this series, but I hope to rectify that soon.


Meet Your Baker: A Bakeshop Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Oregon
St. Martin’s Paperbacks (December 30, 2014)
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 1250054230
ISBN-13: 978-1250054234
Kindle ASIN: B00JI0RSFS

Welcome to Torte-a friendly, small-town family bake shop where the treats are so good that, sometimes, it’s criminal…

After graduating from culinary school, Juliet Capshaw returns to her quaint hometown of Ashland, Oregon, to heal a broken heart and help her mom at the family bakery. The Oregon Shakespeare Festival is bringing in lots of tourists looking for some crumpets to go with their heroic couplets. But when one of Torte’s customers turns up dead, there’s much ado about murder…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Juliet Capshaw has been working on a cruise ship for years, but when she finds her Chef husband kept a huge secret from her she flees home to Ashland, Oregon, and her family’s bakery, Torte. Working beside her mother they find their rhythm and Jules knows she made the right decision even though she is not sure how long she will stay.

She arrives for her second day at Torte to find one of their customers dead. A woman that was very involved with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival who has accumulated her fair share of enemies. When one of the bakery’s employees is pegged for the crime, She decides to “Go wisely and slowly,” because “Those who rush stumble and fall” and do her best find the real killer.

Typical of the first book in a series that author has jam-packed these pages. Jules is a likable character with a lot going on. Her mother is a wonderful woman and excellent baker but she is hiding something. Jules is not sure what to make of her mother’s young employees but one can sure make a great cup of coffee or any derivative of the caffeine drink. The other seems to have her own issues. All these characters develop well within these pages, but I feel we have much to learn about our protagonist, Juliet Montague Capshaw.

Torte seems to be a popular gathering place especially because of its connection with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival which made it the perfect place for a murder. It was easy to come up with a list of suspects and the secondary characters really came alive. Secrets, falsehoods, and just their general demeanor made it hard to eliminate anyone outright. I followed right along and didn’t put all the clues together until shortly before the villain reveal.

I did enjoy reading about the day to day life of running a bakery and the delectable descriptions of the treats had my stomach growling. There is more than one recipe at the end of the story I can’t wait to try. I have a weakness for anything wrapped in puff pastry 🙂

I have some catching up to do on this series, but with a debut like this, I am looking forward to the next book, A Batter of Life and Death and more!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

About the Author

Ellie Alexander (aka Kate Dyer-Seeley), author of the Bakeshop Mystery Series (St. Martin’s Press), is a Pacific Northwest native who spends ample time testing pastry recipes in her home kitchen or at one of the many famed coffeehouses nearby. When she’s not coated in flour, you’ll find her outside exploring hiking trails and trying to burn off calories consumed in the name of research.

Author Links –  Facebook     Twitter      Instagram    GoodReads

Written as Kate Dyer-Seeley

I am giving my copy 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.

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

Contest Will End September 13, 2019, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

*This book was from my personal collection. 

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Aug 232019
 


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

This is the second book this week that has featured Agatha Christie. That was purely by accident or was it?
Another mystery
🙂 


A Very Merry Murder (A Professor Prather Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – South Dakota
Camel Press (October 1, 2018)
Paperback: 258 pages
ISBN-10: 1603816550
ISBN-13: 978-160381655
Kindle ASIN: B07G2VLLCV

It’s December in Copper Bluff, and from hillside to hallowed hall, everyone is merry—or will be as soon as semester break arrives. Students are studying, professors are grading, and Emmeline Prather is anticipating the university-sponsored holiday concert. Friend and colleague Lenny Jenkins will be accompanying the visiting quartet, Jazz Underground, and Em can’t think of a better way to kick-start the holiday season.

But before she can say “Jingle Bell Rock,” trouble arrives at Candlelight Inn, the bed and breakfast where the quartet is staying. One of the band members dies unexpectedly, and suspicion falls on Em, whose altercation with the man ends with him on the floor. He never recovers, and now she’s worried her reputation might not either. When Emmeline starts to see parallels between an Agatha Christie novel she’s teaching and the victim, Lenny claims she’s read one too many mysteries.

As the clues unravel, so does the murderer’s patience. Em is close to finding the truth, but will the truth—or the murderer—push her over the edge? It will take a Christmas miracle to solve this case, but if there’s one thing in surplus this time of year, it’s faith.

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

Christmas is in the air . . . and so is murder!

As the Christmas Holiday Break draws near the university is hopping. Students have papers to complete and final classes to attend. Professors like Emmeline Prather have papers to grade and classes to wrap up. One of her classes is reading and analyzing a tome by Agatha Christie. Em is also excited about the holiday concert of the group Jazz Underground. Her friend Lenny Jenkins is going to be joining the quartet.

The group is staying at the Candlelight Inn, a local B&B and Lenny invites Em to join the group for a little get-together. When one of the band members acts weird and gets a little handsy, Em gives him a shove and he falls to the floor. He never gets up, even after she administered CPR. Their little altercation puts the spotlight on Emmeline and she decides to channel a little Hercule Poirot and try to solve the crime. But will she get too close to the killer? Will she be the next victim and the murderer go free?

___

The recurring characters are joined by an interesting group of musicians and the owners and staff of the B&B. Those core characters continue to evolve. Again Em and Lenny team up with assistance from one of Em’s former student who is now on the police force to try to solve the case. Lenny is friends with one member of the quartet.  And it appears she would like to rekindle that relationship. Em is surprised by the jealousy she feels. This relationship has been pending for the entire series so far. I have enjoyed the way it has been written and even more so in this story.

The author had laid out a very well-written mystery.  Several suspects, a unique means of murder, and a fantastic closed room style reveal that I absolutely loved. We were served plenty of red herrings, twists, and turns. I was totally surprised by when the guilty party was fingered by Em. She has a great relationship with police and she gave them a vital clue so they allowed her to run with her presentation of the case and the proclamation of the killer.

I have enjoyed every book in this series The core characters are engaging and the mysteries are complex and puzzling. Author Mary Angela gives plenty of background so that each book can be read on its own but I would recommend reading the series from the beginning.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About The Author

Like her protagonist in the Professor Prather mystery series, Mary Angela lives on the Great Plains and teaches college writing and literature. When she’s not grading papers (when is she not grading papers?), she enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with her family. She and her husband have two amazing daughters, one adorable dog, and a cat who would rather not be limited by an adjective. For more information, go to www.maryangelabooks.com.

Author LinksWebpage     Blog     GoodReads      Facebook     Twitter


Coming Soon

You can find my review of Book #1 – An Act of Murder here and Passport to Murder here.

I am giving 1 Kindle Copy away!
Book will be sent directly from Amazon.

The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old.

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.

Leave a comment for the author for 5 Bonus Entries.

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 receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End September 6, 2019, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

 

 

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Aug 162019
 


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


Snoop to Nuts (Nut House Mystery Series)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Texas
Berkley (January 6, 2015)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 0425261417
ISBN-13: 978-0425261415
Kindle ASIN: B00KWG5U52

Lindy Blanchard’s family pecan farm is known county-wide, but it’s the goodies her grandmother sells at their store, the Nut House, that really bring in the crowds—until someone turns one of her tasty treats deadly…

The “Most Original Pecan Treat” contest at the Ag Fair is the talk of Riverville, Texas, especially when it’s clear that Miss Amelia Blanchard’s Heavenly Texas Pecan Caviar will take home a blue ribbon. Which is why everyone is amazed when her dish doesn’t even place—and even more shocked when one of the judges, Pastor Jenkins, keels over dead, right after taking a second taste of Miss Amelia’s food.

No one in town truly believes that Amelia would even hurt a fly, but all the evidence points to poor Pastor Jenkins’ death being caused by poison in the caviar. Now, unless Lindy figures out who wanted to frame Amelia for murder, her meemaw may have baked her last famous pecan pie…

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

We’re back in Riverville, Texas just in time for the Ag Fair and the judging of the “Most Original Pecan Treat”. Everyone is sure Miss Amelia Blanchard will win the prize since she is responsible for all the delicious treats sold at The Nut House. The crowd is shocked when her Heavenly Texas Pecan Caviar doesn’t even receive an honorable mention award. She really wasn’t that upset and even takes her bowl over to one of the judges to get him to try it again.  She is absolutely aghast when the judge, Pastor Jenkins, has some sort of attack and dies just a few minutes later.  While it is crazy to think Miss Amelia would hurt anyone the police have no choice but to name her their top suspect. Her granddaughter Lindy will not stand for that. She is determined to find out who is framing her meemaw and why.

___

Something nutty is going on in Riverville and I am not talking pecan recipes. First, a wild hog gets out of its pen at the fair. Then, Miss Amelia loses a blue ribbon and the woman who wins is plum crazy. All while the church in town is planning a grand expansion for all the “new members” that will be coming to town – A group of parishioners has invested money for the project with the promise of a huge reward after the groundbreaking ceremony. And Miss Amelia and Ethelred Tomroy have some kind of secret and Ethelred is looking at brochures for new cars and fancy vacations.

If you like quirky characters this cozy mystery has quite a few. Even Lindy has her quirks especially when he comes to her long-time friend, Deputy Hunter Austen. The romantic tension vibrates between them but bringing her grandmother for questioning for a murder sure didn’t earn him any points. Lindy is pushy, even convincing him to let her help him with the case. Thankfully Hunter is a very patient man with a very thick skin.

Author Elizabeth Lee has caught up these extraordinary characters in a delightful whodunit. While not difficult to solve I was very entertained as each secret was uncovered and each little turn shined more light on who was guilty.

I really enjoyed the author’s descriptive writing style. She brought the town of Riverville to life from the fair to the homes and shops and even a spectacular garden. She also clearly depicts her characters making each one unique and easy to envision.

Snoop to Nuts was a very entertaining read. Nuts and Buried in waiting on my TBR Shelf and I will be escaping right into it soon!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

You can read my review of A Tough Nut To Kill here


Elizabeth Lee also writes as Eliabeth Kane Buzzelli

 


I am giving away my review copy!

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Contest Will End August 30, 2019, 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.”

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Aug 022019
 


On Flashback Fridays I will share with you
the books I was not able to review
when they were first released that have been screaming at me
from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.
Checking off the “Q” this week on my Alphabet Soup Challenge.


Queen of the Trailer Park (Rosie Maldonne’s World)
Amateur Sleuths/Humorous Fiction
1st in Series
Setting – France
Translated from French
Amazon Crossing (June 1, 2015)
Paperback: 334 pages
ISBN-10: 1477827560
ISBN-13: 978-1477827567
Kindle ASIN: B00Q74VXMC

Rosie Maldonne is outspoken and sexy. She’s also unemployed, and, with three children and a cat, life is a little tough. The four of them—well, five, if you count the cat—live in the South of France, in a run-down trailer near a vacant lot. They make do, living off her part-time waitressing job and a little help from the state.

Rosie thinks things are finally turning around when she meets handsome police officer Jérôme—until she realizes that his appearance coincides with her friend Véro’s disappearance. Then, something even stranger happens: Rosie finds a package with a crazy amount of money in the trash can of a fast-food joint. With so much going on, Rosie has some big questions: Where is Véro? Is Jérôme too good to be true? Who put all that cash in the trash? And what happens when they want it back?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Single mom Rosie Maldonne lives in a trailer that had seen better days with her three children and their cat. Mostly unemployed she depends on government assistance to keep food on the table.  She waitresses at a nearby restaurant and begs loans from friends when the money runs out. That is until she makes a bizarre discovery in a trash can on her way home – A huge amount of money in several envelopes.

During this time her friend Vero and her son go missing and the police come to Rosie for answers she just doesn’t have. One police officer Jérôme is particularly nice and starts to be around wherever she goes. She also meets a very nice older man that wants to take care of her and the children.

While Rosie tries to find her friend and tries to decide what to do with the found money, she also has to deal with a new development that would evict her from her home. Finding help in unique places she fights to keep what’s hers and save Vero and her son.

____

I was looking for a book to fill the “Q” spot for a reading challenge. The synopsis sounding interesting and felt close to the cozy genre I love so I quickly snapped it up.  I was a little nervous when I realized it was a French story translated to English, but after reading the first few pages I knew that was not going to be a problem at all. The book cannot be classified as a cozy though due to the explicit language used throughout the story.

The lead character Rosie, who would rather be called “CriCri” is a very interesting character. She is very open about her life and has a huge heart.  She takes in one child of a friend quickly and is ready to welcome in another even when she is as poor as can be. She doesn’t let it get her down. She gets her children to school each day and tries to have as much fun with them as possible. The kids are happy and well cared for. Rosie has a quick mind and can put anyone in their place immediately, even men who have come to hurt her. She is always one to two steps ahead of everyone and really can think on her feet. She also has a continuous inner dialogue that is absolutely priceless. She uses unique terminology, calling her children lovingly “crib lizards” and “chickadees” along with other phrases that may only be unique because of the translation from French. She also appears to be a very sexy woman.

The flow of the story has a few issues but I know that is due to the translations. There are a few mysteries to solve and some twist together while others don’t. While most are solved by the end of the book they are things unresolved that will have me reading the next book in the series.

The Queen of the Trailer Park is an entertaining/hilarious story.  Rosie’s antics will have you in stitches and shaking your head. I enjoyed following her exploits all around town. I am so glad I was looking for a “Q” book and found this author and this series. This was a great little escape to France.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Alice Quinn has worked many jobs, from theater hostess to waitress, and has traveled the world, often relying on her wits to make ends meet. After the success of her first novel, Queen of the Trailer Park, in her native French, she quit her day jobs and now makes her living writing full-time. She lives in the South of France with her two teenage children and several cats.


I am giving away 1 Kindle copy of this book!  

It will be sent directly from Amazon.

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.

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

Contest Will End August 16, 2019, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

Disclosure of Material Connection: I This book was from my private collection. 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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Jul 122019
 


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

This book takes care of the “X” on my Alphabet Soup – Author Edition Challenge!


On Her Own Two Wheels
Contemporary Literature & Fiction
Setting – Illinois
Independently Published (November 5, 2012)
Paperback: 160 pages
ISBN-10: 1478339780
ISBN-13: 978-1478339786
Kindle ASIN: B00AAQL97C

Just three years out of college and Cassie Wright has hit a dead end. Still living at home with her mom and dad and dating the same writer masked as a waiter, Devon, for just as long, she knows she wants more out of life. Motorcycle lessons seem like a fun idea and the perfect escape. Cassie soon finds herself breaking away from her dull life and starts on a journey to self-confidence as she learns how to make each day extraordinary.

While driving home from visiting her grandmother in Wisconsin, she drags a reluctant Devon to a local biker event at a motorcycle dealership. From there, she becomes inspired to take riding lessons for some much-needed fun and adventure. In time, she meets Marcus, the part-time riding instructor, and full-time college administrator. He is drawn to Cassie’s ambition and adventurous spirit, and a romance quickly blossoms, forcing Cassie to realize she deserves better than what Devon chooses to give.

Becoming more confident in her everyday life through her riding, Cassie quits the electronics shop to become the motorcycle dealership’s new marketing director, opening herself up to an entirely new set of professional and personal obstacles. Cassie must learn to approach her issues in a whole new way while striving to be the type of woman she herself would want to emulate.

An inspirational coming-of-age novel for any woman who has ever settled for less, romantically or professionally, On Her Own Two Wheels tells the moving tale of a young woman finding the courage to challenge herself, break the mold, seek adventure, and make the ordinary in her life extraordinary as she truly comes into her own.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Cassie Wright is trying to find her way in life and makes a spur of the moment decision to take a motorcycle riding lessons. Her parents are very supportive, her boyfriend not so much. Three years out of college she is realizing her relationship with Devon is going nowhere and her life is not heading where she wants.  She decides to have a fun escape that helps her grow more in one week than she has in years. There were bumps along the way and I know this is just a short snippet in her life. Who knows what happened after the last page.

This was a fun quick read! Part self-awareness and part romance this book is a feel-good novel for women young like Cassie and old like me. I enjoyed following Cassie on her short journey. I liked the way her confidence bloomed. The ending was as expected, but it as a nice little distraction from real life.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Stacy Xavier

I am an attorney living and working in Illinois. My great loves include God, books, my friends, my family, animals, good food, good drink, and motorcycles. I also love learning about how people achieve success, collecting inspirational quotes, and pretending I’ve won the lottery. I enjoy going to the gym; I enjoy not going to the gym even more. I believe in Ben Franklin’s words: “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”
Facebook  – Blog – Twitter:

Available for Kindle for $0.99


Since I know this book isn’t a cozy I am giving away
1 Kindle Copy of a Cozy of your choice
priced at $2.99 or lower.
You can choose this book if you would like or need a “x” author too 😛 

It will be sent directly from Amazon.

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.

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

Contest Will End July 26, 2019, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

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Jun 212019
 


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


Murder on the Last Frontier (A Charlotte Brody Mystery)
Historial Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Alaska
Kensington (November 24, 2015)
Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN-10: 1496700546
ISBN-13: 978-1496700544
Kindle ASIN: B00U7LIZCW

There’s many who feel the Alaska Territory is no place for a woman on her own. But Charlotte Brody, suffragette and journalist, has never let public opinion dictate her life choices. She’s come to the frontier town of Cordova, where her brother Michael practices medicine, for the same reason many come to Alaska—to start over.

Cordova is gradually getting civilized, but the town is still rougher than Charlotte imagined. And when a local prostitute—one of the working girls her brother has been treating—is found brutally murdered, Charlotte learns firsthand how rough the frontier can be. Although the town may not consider the murder of a prostitute worthy of investigation, Charlotte’s feminist beliefs motivate her to seek justice for the woman. And there’s something else—the woman was hiding a secret, one that reminds Charlotte of her own painful past.

As Charlotte searches for answers, she soon finds her own life in danger from a cold-blooded killer desperate to keep dark secrets from seeing the light of day…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Cordova, Alaska Territory 1919

Journalist and suffragette Charlotte Brody travels from Younkers, New York to Alaska to visit her brother and report on women in the territory for a series of articles to appear in The Modern Woman Review. The trip was not ideal but she is thrilled to see her brother Michael, who is a very busy doctor. He gets her settled in at Sullivan’s Boarding House but their visit gets off to a bumpy start. He brother has changed and so has she.

Their differences get cast aside when one of the girls from a local brothel is tragically murdered near the rooming house where Charlotte is staying. She may have even heard some of the victim’s last moments. Feeling guilty that she may have been able to do something to save the woman and the fact that a prostitutes death is a low priority for the authorities, Charlotte follows her heart and beliefs to investigate the woman’s death on her own. When a key piece of evidence is found, she finds herself in the killer’s sights putting herself and several others in danger. Will she survive her trip to Alaska or will a Murder on the Last Frontier be her last protest?

I loved this story. I wish I had read it when it was first released. The author takes on social issues of the day, many of which are still hot topics today.

Charlotte Brody is a very likable protagonist. She is smart and curious about her new surroundings and the people that inhabit it. She realizes the town is more primitive than what she imagined but she is up for the challenge. She is independent and open to meeting everyone for the mayor to the working girls. Everyone knows her brother, any are his patients, so she is welcomed in all the circles. But she has a secret.

Charlotte’s brother, Michael is a generous man with his time, which is a requirement for an Alaskan physician. He has made a life for himself and seems happy. Charlotte is a little surprised that his very small home is also his office, which is why she is staying at Sullivan’s. But he too has secrets.

We are introduced to many residents of Cordova in this first installment. The author does an excellent job of making them feel real, believable, interesting, and memorable. There are many reasons people have come to Cordova but for most, it was to start over or get a second chance. I enjoyed the depth that has already been created for these characters.

What I really enjoyed was Cathy Pegau’s descriptive writing style. She brought Alaska, the town of Cordova and all the people in this story to life, in a carefree way. Sometimes author’s descriptions go way over the top, taking away from the actual story. That is definitely not the case here.  I could picture everything I needed to easily. Not only the places and people but the extra hours of sunlight, the neverending rain, the muddy paths, and the boots worn by everyone due to the muddy paths. The balance was superb. Readers are totally transported to 1919 Alaska.

The mystery was very well-plotted with many surprising twists. The pacing was exactly right and kept me engaged from beginning to end. I was surprised by the final twist setting up a perfect ending.

Even before I reached the end of this book I knew I wanted to read more of this series. I was surprised to find the other two books in this series already on my Kindle. I hope to be reading and reviewing them soon.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

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