Dec 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.


A Batter of Life and Death: A Bakeshop Mystery
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Oregon
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks (June 30, 2015)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1250054249
ISBN-13: 978-1250054241
Kindle ASIN: B00QQ1GKRE

Welcome to Torte-a small-town family bakeshop where the coffee is hot, the muffins are fresh, and the cakes are definitely to die for…

It’s autumn in Ashland, Oregon-’tis the season for a spiced hot apple cider with a serving (or two) of Torte’s famous peach cobbler. It’s also the perfect time for Jules Capshaw to promote her family’s beloved bake shop by competing in The Pastry Channel’s reality show, Take the Cake. The prize is $25,000. But as Jules quickly learns, some people would kill for that kind of dough. Literally.

Then, just as Jules dusts off her Bavarian Chocolate Cake recipe and cinches up her apron, the corpse of a fellow contestant is discovered-death by buttercream. What began as a fun, tasteful televised adventure has morphed into something of a true-crime detective show for Jules and everybody else on set. Who could have killed Chef Marco, and why? Can Jules sift out the killer before someone else gets burned?

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

Can Jules Capshaw Take the Cake? The Pastry Channel’s show has come to Ashland, Oregon and she is representing the family’s bakeshop, Torte, as a contestant against four other pastry chefs. Her family sure could use the $25000 prize to continue their improvements to their business.

Jules has baked a Bavarian Chocolate Cake for the day’s challenge but when she arrives on the set she finds one of the competing chefs dead. The powers that be commit to continuing the show as soon as the police release the set, but Jules wants to know – Who killed the chef? Are the rest of the chefs in danger? and most importantly – Is one of the chefs the killer? She starts doing a little snooping on her own to find answers before another chef gets frosted.

___

Ms. Alexander’s characters are so likable. Jules, her mom, their employees, Thomas, the Professor, and more all make me wish I could visit Torte and meet them all. All are genuine and believable. They are joined this time by a group of pastry chefs that are diverse in their specialties along with the small crew from The Pastry Channel who each have something to prove. All these new visitors are viable suspects and seem to have secrets. I liked that some of the chefs ended using Torte’s kitchen to create their show entries. It allowed both Jules and us readers to get to know them better. It also made clear how patient  Jules and mom, Helen could be with strangers in their kitchen. They also handled a little strife between two employees with time and patience.

Readers are treated to a little romance too, as relationships evolve through normal everyday life. Jules is still trying to sort things through will Carlos as the clock ticks down on their break.

I love watching shows like Take the Cake so I was thrilled with this theme. The author created a marvelous whodunit around that theme giving Jules plenty of opportunity to sift through the clues and follow them as need be. Several twists spin to keep everyone guessing. With Helen and Jules’ tight connection to the chief of police, aka, The Professor and Detective-In-Training, Thomas, they keep them informed in everything they find and don’t hesitate to call for help when needed. I like that.

I can’t forget to mention the food. Most of the luscious pastries and desserts. I say most because there are a couple that clearly were not baked by the chef that presented them. Daily life at the bakeshop also adds more delightful treats and morning breakfast ideas. The schedule and the workings of the shop are also interesting. The realistic fact it is a hard business on a tight budget is also appreciated and grounds the whole series in reality.

Awesome characters, a fantastic setting, and a wonderful mystery all make A Batter of Life and Death a delectable cozy mystery and A Perfect Escape. The sample taste of On Thin Icing included at the end of the story has whet my appetite to read more of this series soon.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

You can read my review of Meet Your Baker here. 

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.

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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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Nov 222019
 


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.


Nuts and Buried (Nut House Mystery Series)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Texas
Publisher: Berkley (November 3, 2015)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 0425261484
ISBN-13: 978-0425261484
Kindle ASIN: B00SI026AG

Lindy Blanchard has enough on her hands at her family’s Texas nut farm with her new strain of pecan trees dying. Trouble is, people are dying too. In a nutshell, it’s murder—from the author of Snoop to Nuts…

The Blanchards are invited to the gala event of the season. Lindy’s wealthy friend Eugene Wheatley—who’s just nuts about his new bride—is throwing a party to introduce his wife Jeannie to Riverville, Texas, society. The celebration is in full swing when Eugene is found shot dead.

Jeannie and her unscrupulous kin are the prime suspects, but the Blanchards aren’t convinced. Lindy and her meemaw Miss Amelia have heard just about enough from the local gossips gathering at the Nut House family store to realize that Jeannie needs their help. And when somebody shoots at Lindy during the investigation, things get real personal. Lindy and Miss Amelia are determined to unmask the killer party crasher and shell out some Texas-style justice…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

This series wraps up with the murder of Eugene Wheatley. Following the accidental death of his first wife, the wealthy and influential Wheatley is throwing a party to introduce his new bride, Jeannie, to his friends in Riverville. The whole Blanchard family, Lindy, Meemaw Miss Amelia, sister Bethany, brother Justin and mother Emma are all in attendance when a shot rings out and the groom is found dead in his office. The killer tried to make the death look like a suicide but none of the Blandchards are buying it.  They also realize the new Mrs. Wheatley is in over her head as her new sister-in-law bulldozes over her to make funeral plans and settle the estate. It doesn’t help that her gold-digging mother and just released from prison brother are in town and are prime suspects on some people’s lists.

Lindy and Miss Amelia are determined to help Jeannie and help Lindy’s boyfriend/police officer Hunter Austen catch the true killer. But Lindy keeps getting sidetracked by Peter Franklin, a scientist that also studies pecans who has become best friends with Eugene’s sister. When Lindy gets shot it is time to crack some nuts and turn up the heat to serve up some Texas justice and put that killer behind bars.

All the characters in this series are quirky in one way or another and I love that. Miss Amelia is my favorite character. She is a wise woman and doesn’t back away from a problem. She has a logical way of looking at things and is a great help to Hunter as he sorts through all the clues. She also is the perfect person to give Lindy the push and shove needed to get on with her life and see what is right in front of her. Lindy is a strong, smart woman as well. I love how dedicated she is to her research, trees and the family pecan farm and keeping it going and profitable. She has a huge heart too, she sees someone who needs help and acts. This brings the elderly, 80+, Chancey sisters, twins, Miranda and Melody. They are an absolute hoot and also have huge hearts.

Ms. Lee has written a multifaceted mystery with a couple of interesting subplots that make a story that is hard to put down. She blends together daily life on the pecan farm, the family store, and all the things Lindy and her family are involved in including Hunter and Lindy’s relationship along with more than one mystery to solve. Twister like turns keeps readers on their toes. I loved following along as each twist and clue was revealed.

I was late to this the party for this series and I am upset this series ended because these stories were full of Texas spunk and lovable, believable, and entertaining characters. The author did leave the characters in a good place even though I am sure she had more of their stories to tell. That being said, don’t miss the 3 books in this great series!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

You can read my review of A Tough Nut To Kill here and Snoop to Nuts here


Elizabeth Lee also writes as Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli

 


I am giving away my review copy!

The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For 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 December 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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Nov 152019
 


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 plucked this book off of my To-Be-Read bookshelf to take care of the “O” for my Alphabet Soup – Author Edition Challenge. 

The book was re-released on August 9, 2015, with the title Murder is Dicey. 


Whack ‘N’ Roll: A Bunco Babes Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – South Carolina
Publisher: NAL; Original edition (August 4, 2009)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 0451227697
ISBN-13: 978-0451227690
Kindle ASIN: B013PK0K5 (Murder is Dicey (Kate McCall Mysteries))

The Bunco Babes are not your average retirees …

When not rolling the bones, they like to throw themselves into a juicy mystery.

But murder can be a dicey business ….

The sixty-ish set at Serenity Cove Estates in South Carolina certainly knows how to keep active. When not playing Bunco or putting the greens, they are gossiping-and partying. So it’s no surprise that when Kate McCall and her fellow Bunco Babes come across a dismembered arm during a golf game, rumors-and excitement-follow.

The Bunco Babes decide to roll out their own investigation. But some of the suspects are right in their very own manicured backyards. And there’s no forfeiting the game if the wrong roll of the dice sends the killer their way…

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

Serenity Cove Estates in South Carolina is the place Kate McCall calls home. It’s where she plays a little golf, watches Law & Order and CSI, and plays a lot of Bunco. It is while the Bunco Babes are on the golf course that they make a gruesome discovery. A severed arm in a Walmart bag. The police arrive but it is clear Kate believes her participation is crucial to solving the case. She has watched Lenny Briscoe in action so she knows she is up for the job especially with the Bunco Babes working with her. Sheriff Wiggins orders her to leave the investigation to him but she can’t help herself. When she learns her neighbor, her favorite waitress, and even one of her bunco group whereabouts can’t be accounted for she is sure the arm belongs to one of them. She decides to roll the dice and go all-in on her investigation. If she’s not careful it could be her body parts her friends find next on the golf course.

Kate McCall is a pushy, direct, and a force to be reckoned with. She dives in with both feet using her “talents” to go many places she shouldn’t and at times drags her friends right along with her. There isn’t much that can keep this sexagenarian down. She does have a few cringeworthy moments when she meets with Sheriff Wiggins and others but after I got to know her a little better she grew on me, but she is definitely an acquired taste. We do have something in common, I love watching Law & Order in all its versions, but don’t think that qualifies me to handle a murder case. She is so lucky to be surrounded by a great group of friends.

The mystery was very well-plotted and I enjoy following along each step of the way. I was surprised at the lengths Kate went to while delving into her investigation by making a special purchase and requesting surprising books from the library. She truly was like a dog with a bone.

I had heard of bunco before but really didn’t know how it was played. The women in this story sure do enjoy it and the fellowship it brings to the group. I love that the winner at the end of the night goes home wearing a tiara.

Whack ‘N’ Roll was an entertaining read with a difficult protagonist. I loved all the humor the author weaved through the story while bringing this reader a very interesting mystery. I will be reading more of this series.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent


This series was re-relased digitally.

Also by Gail Oust


I am giving away my paperback 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 November 29, 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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Nov 012019
 


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.


A Catered Murder (A Mystery With Recipes)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – New York
Publisher: Kensington (December 1, 2003)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 157566710X
ISBN-13: 978-1575667102
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1575667258
ISBN-13: 978-1575667256
Kindle ASIN: B00AEWIBK0

Bernadette Simmons wasn’t sure what to expect when she left L.A.–and her no-good, cheating boyfriend–to move back in with her family in New York. And her sister Libby had no idea what she was in for when she hired Bernie to work for her catering business. But in between cutting up canapés and dishing up desserts, the two find themselves in the midst of a mystery they can really sink their teeth into. . .

It’s only been a few days since Bernie and Libby started working together at A Little Taste of Heaven, and already they’ve got their hands full–baking cookies and slicing rare beef tenderloin to serve at a high school reunion. The dinner has a “Dracula” theme and a very strange guest of honor: Laird Wrenn, a New York Times bestselling author of vampire novels. Libby and Bernie know this will be an evening unlike any other. And they’re proven right when Laird pours a glass of water, takes a long sip–and drops stone-cold dead. . .

Now, with murder on the menu and Libby under suspicion, the sisters will have to put their heads together to figure out whodunit–in a mystery that promises to be deadly to the very last bite.

Includes 7 Delectable Recipes for You to Try!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Bernadette Simmons escaped from Los Angeles leaving her cheating ex behind along with most of her belongings to return home to New York. There she starts working with her sister Libby at A Little Taste of Heaven, a store and catering company. They have been hired to cater a high school reunion with a Dracula theme. The guest of honor, author Laird Wrenn, even arrives with his own coffin. Sadly, before the night ends he is going to need it because after a big drink of water he keels over dead. Since Libby provided the bottled water she becomes a prime suspect but everyone at the reunion had access to it so the suspect list is wide open and Bernie and Libby are going to find who sucked the life out of the popular vampire . . . author.

I found the family dynamic interesting in this first book of this series. The sisters are as different as night and day but both seem to attract jerks and deserve better. In addition to working together, they are also taking care of their father, Sean, the former police chief. He is in a wheelchair but no real story as to why as been revealed as yet. Truthfully the author has not given any of the core characters much depth so there is a lot to be revealed in subsequent books.  I did like the interactions between the sisters and with their father. They came across as realistic and true.

The girl’s investigation into the murder was fun to read. Taking along treats when visiting the suspects did loosen some tongues. In fact, the heat was soon off Libby and onto one of her friends. I also liked that they talked things over with their dad to get his expert opinion. His replacement at the police department is a real tool and needed to be put in his place.  I was able to pull all the clues together before Bernie and Libby and the police but enjoyed following along to the end.

This story was good but I wish the characters were more fleshed out so that I would feel more invested in them. I identified a bit with Sean because I too spend a vast amount of time in a wheelchair but want to know more of his story. We did learn Bernie has an eidetic memory which can be annoying and Libby is a really hard worker but again I wanted more.

For me, the book is A Satisfactory Excursion, but I am not writing the series off. I have book #2, A Catered Wedding on my Kindle so I will be giving this author another chance. It is a long-running series, book #15, A Catered New Year’s Eve was just released so I am assuming the flaws I found in this story have all be ironed out.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

ISIS CRAWFORD was born in Egypt to parents who were in the diplomatic corps. When she was five, her family returned to the States, where her mother opened a restaurant in Upper Westchester County and her father became a university professor. Since then Isis has combined her parents’ love of food and travel by running a catering service as well as penning numerous travel-related articles about places ranging from Omsk to Paraguay. Married, with twin boys, she presently resides in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, where she is working on the next Bernie and Libby culinary mystery.



I am giving away 1 Kindle Copy!
The 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 share the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End November 15, 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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Oct 252019
 


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.


Unleashed (A Hamilton Christmas Novella)
Holiday Romance
1st in Series
Setting – Virginia
Publisher: Zebra Books (October 1, 2018)
Print Length: 118 pages
ASIN: B079R7PZ94

A raging winter storm and a holiday spent pet-sitting reveals there’s more than one kind of animal in the house …

When Emma Lafferty is hired by a billionaire CEO to watch his pets over the holidays, she expects to enjoy a quiet Christmas in opulent surroundings. What she doesn’t expect is to spend the week trapped in the mansion with Trevor Hamilton, the CEO’s sexy great-nephew—and heir—whose motives are as shady as his desire is crystal clear …

Dollycas’s Thoughts

In need of a little pick me up with a holiday theme? This novella may be just what you need to read!

Emma Lafferty meets Trevor Hamilton amidst a blizzard. With no power and zero visibility, they make the best of their situation while watching the lovable pets of Trevor’s billionaire uncle.

Emma has opened a pet care business and she couldn’t down this job even with it being over the holidays. Trevor knows his uncle is away for the holidays and sneaks into his house to try to uncover a family secret not knowing that a pet sitter has been hired.

I really liked these characters. The novella-length suits this situation as readers get to know the characters as they get to know each other. I loved the pets, especially the parrot but the dogs were great too. The best thing for me was that Emma was a strong, independent woman. She asked questions and expected answers. Even with her attraction to Trevor, she was never a damsel in distress.

The setting was ideal. A huge mansion with plenty of rooms to get lost in. While the snowstorm made it hard for the dogs to do their business I bet it was beautiful. Losing power was handled with fireplaces and candles which plays right into the romantic theme.

I was intrigued by the important family mystery Trevor was trying to reveal. Mysteries are just my thing. While Trevor’s sleuthing brought some funny moments to the story I was a little disappointed with the way his investigation wrapped up.

This is my first experience with this author and it definitely won’t be my last.

Unleashed is a fast-paced romantic romp.  Heartwarming and entertaining. A great romance to escape into on a wintry afternoon.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Donna Kauffman is the USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of over 70 novels, translated and sold in more than 26 countries around the world. The recipient of multiple RT Book Awards, she is also a National Readers Choice Award and PRISM Award winner and a RITA finalist. Born into the maelstrom of Washington, D.C., politics, she now lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, where she is surrounded by a completely different kind of wildlife. A contributing blogger for USAToday.com, she is also a DIYer, a baker, a gardener and a volunteer transporter for the Wildlife Center of Virginia and Rockfish Sanctuary. Please visit her online at www.DonnaKauffman.com.

The Hamilton Christmas Novella Series

Find more books by Donna Kaufman here.


I am giving away 1 Kindle Copy!
The 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 share the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End November 8, 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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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
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

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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