Posted in 2020 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Finish The Series Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Murder Lo Mein (A Noodle Shop Mystery) by Vivien Chien #Review / #Giveaway @StMartinsPress

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 am on a mission to get caught up on this series!


Murder Lo Mein (A Noodle Shop Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Ohio
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks (March 26, 2019)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1250129192
ISBN-13: 978-1250129192
Kindle ASIN: B07F138TSZ

Everyone agrees that the food at Ho-Lee Noodle House is delicious—unless it happens to be deadly.

 

Lana Lee’s stake in her family’s Chinese restaurant is higher than ever now that she’s been made manager. So when she enters Ho-Lee into Cleveland’s Best Noodle Contest, Lana makes it her business to win—at all costs. But when a local food critic receives a threatening note in a fortune cookie and is later found dead, face-down in a bowl of lo mein, all bets are off. . .

 

Now, along with her sweet-and-sour boyfriend Detective Adam Trudeau, Lana decides to take matters into her own hands and dig into the lives of everyone involved in the contest. But when she receives an ill-fated fortune, Lana realizes that in order to save the reputation of her restaurant, she needs to save herself first. . .

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts

For Murder Lo Mein we are back at the Asia Village for the annual Cleveland’s Best Noodle Contest. Lana is banking on her chef Peter Huang to win the contest to show her parents they made the right choice making her manager of Ho Lee Noodle House. Winning will also bring in more customers.

Unfortunately, after the first round one of the judges in found dead, face-down in a bowl of low mein, no less. Then another judge bites the dust. Lana’s boyfriend, Detective Adam Trudeau begs her to leave the investigating to him but she just can’t stop herself from snooping. She knows she is getting close when she discovers something in her purse. Will she survive to see the end of the contest or will the killer get to her first?

_____

I have enjoyed these characters from the start. Lana is funny, smart and a little bit awkward, but she is excelling as manager of the family business. Her parents have returned from Taiwan with Lana’s grandmother in tow. Surprisingly her overpowering mother doesn’t try to return to running the restaurant, but she still has opinions about Lana’s life from how she dresses to her relationship with the good detective. Happily, Lana and Adam’s relationship is making progress. Grandma doesn’t speak English and Lana doesn’t speak her grandmother’s dialect but they do find a way to communicate. Lana’s best friend/roommate Megan is usually available to help Lana with her sleuthing. And they both have the lovable black pug named Kikko to come home to. If Megan isn’t available, friend Kimmy is eager to help out. With the Best Noodle Contest, there are a lot of secondary characters, some become very viable suspects, one would like to get to know Lana much better.

The mystery unfolds nicely with plenty of suspects. Again, people just open up and talk to Lana. Her friendly nature really suits her sleuthing endeavors much to Adam’s dismay at times. Adam opens up to Lana more in this story too. I have not read Sun Tzu’s The Art of War but it is cleverly brought into the mystery. Solving the mystery was not easy. The author really twists things up. I thought I was smart and had it all figured out until I was proven wrong. It was a lot of fun following the clues and being surprised at the big reveal.

I have stated in previous reviews for books in this series that Chinese food is not really my thing but in this book, we learned that Lana loves donuts and so do I. Both are fully described within these pages. Lana is worried about her waistline now that a bakery has taken over the shop next door. I worried about my waistline because those descriptions really cranked up my cravings 😆

Vivien Chien has a real hit on her hands with this series. Murder Lo Mein is an excellent addition. With engaging characters and a great mystery spiced up with the perfect amounts of humor and romance, she has served up a real treat.

The next book in this series, Wonton Terror is on my To-Be-Read shelf and I will be reading and reviewing it soon! Egg Drop Dead is being released on February 25th and Killer Kung Pao will be out on August 25th.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

You can read my review of Death by Dumpling here and Dim Sum of All Fears here

About the Author

VIVIEN CHIEN was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio where she grew up in a mixed-race home, making for some very interesting cultural experiences. She found her love of books and the written word at an early age while writing short stories about her classmates in elementary school. Currently, she writes side-by-side with her toy fox terrier who refuses to sit anywhere else. When she’s not writing, Vivien enjoys frequenting local Asian restaurants, frolicking in the bookstore, and searching for her next donut. (From Amazon)

 

I am giving away a paperback copy of Murder Lo Mein!

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.

Follow St. Martin’s Press on Twitter for 2 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 share the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End March 6, 2020, 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.”

Posted in 2020 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Alphabet Soup A -Z Author Edition Challenge Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Flashback Friday Giveaways Read The Printed Word Challenge TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – Plum Tea Crazy (A Tea Shop Mystery) by Laura Childs #Review / #Giveaway @BerkleyMystery


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.
plum tea crazy
Plum Tea Crazy (A Tea Shop Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
19th in Series
Setting – South Carolina
Publisher: Berkley (March 6, 2018)
Hardcover: 336 pages
ISBN-10: 9780451489609
ISBN-13: 978-0451489609
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 0451489616
ISBN-13: 978-0451489616
Kindle ASIN: B071K4DPRH

Theodosia Browning investigates a Charleston steeped in tradition and treachery in Plum Tea Crazy from New York Times bestselling author Laura Childs.

 

While viewing the harbor’s Gaslights and Galleons Parade from the widow’s walk of Timothy Neville’s Charleston mansion, local banker Carson Lanier seemingly tumbles over a narrow railing, then plunges three stories to his death. But a tragic accident becomes something much more sinister when it’s discovered that the victim was first shot with a bolt from a crossbow.

 

At the request of the mansion owner, Theodosia investigates the tragedy and is soon neck deep in suspects. An almost ex-wife, a coworker, a real estate partner–all had motives for killing the luckless banker, but one resorted to murder to settle accounts.

 

INCLUDES DELICIOUS RECIPES AND TEA TIME TIPS!

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

Theodosia “Theo” Browning is enjoying the Gaslights and Galleons Parade with her friend/employee/tea sommelier Drayton Connelly. They are getting a bird’s eye view up on the widow’s walk of Timothy Neville’s Charleston mansion. There is a ruckus when local banker Carson Lanier falls over the railing finally dying when his body is impaled on the top of a fence below. All the watchers hurry to the grounds and due to some keen observation, Theo sees the fall wasn’t an accident, it was caused by the man being shot by a bolt from a crossbow.

Knowing Theo’s reputation, Timothy Neville asks that she investigate the death. Many suspects quickly come to light. With the assistance of Drayton, they try to winnow down that list and identify who killed Lanier. They also have a lot of tea to serve in the coming days but Theo juggles everything like a pro.

_____

I had gotten behind on this series and with the new one set to be released March 3, I knew it was time to get caught up with the two on my shelf.

The Indigo Tea Shop is one of those great cozy places. This time along with the daily business, the place has many events coming up – a black-tie affair, a fashion show, a Japanese art gallery opening, and a Plum Blossom Tea. I really love all the teas Drayton creates and all the delicious treats  Haley bakes up. (Some of the recipes are included at the end of the book.) Even with all this going on Theo has murder in her own crosshairs. When Detective Tidwell shockingly asks for help she is thrilled and jumps right in. Her boyfriend, Detective Pete Riley is far from thrilled.

Ms. Childs creates diverse and memorable characters. Theo, Drayton, and Haley are engaging and fun. The dialogues are crisp and sometimes pretty funny. I really enjoy the banter between them. The supporting cast is top-notch too. They all are realistic and believable.  The suspects have layers that are peeled away throughout the story. Every character is thoughtfully developed.

The murder occurs early in the story and the drama continues at a constant pace making this book almost impossible to put down. I read into the early morning, playing that “just one more chapter” game until my eyes were slamming shut. Thankfully the next day was Saturday so after a few chores, I could get back to it. It was very entertaining to follow along with Theo and all involved in the sleuthing. There were some scary moments but Theo was on a mission . . . and so was I. I was just a few steps ahead of her . . . and Yes! I was right.

Laura Childs is a phenomenal storyteller. Plum Tea Crazy was well-plotted and written. Ms. Childs brings Charleston to life with spot-on descriptions. Her characters practically leap off the page. She also gives plenty of background for new readers, so don’t be afraid to jump into this series.  I will be reading and reviewing Broken Bone China soon. It is yelling at me from my To-Be-Read shelf. Then I will be ready when Lavender Blue Murder debuts.



Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

Laura Childs is the New York Times bestselling author of the Tea Shop MysteriesScrapbook Mysteries, and Cackleberry Club Mysteries. In her previous life she was CEO/Creative Director of her own marketing firm and authored several screenplays. She is married to a professor of Chinese art history, loves to travel, rides horses, enjoys fundraising for various non-profits, and has two Chinese Shar-Pei dogs.

Laura specializes in cozy mysteries that have the pace of a thriller (a thrillzy!) Her three series are:

The Tea Shop Mysteries – set in the historic district of Charleston and featuring Theodosia Browning, owner of the Indigo Tea Shop. Theodosia is a savvy entrepreneur, and pet mom to service dog Earl Grey. She’s also an intelligent, focused amateur sleuth who doesn’t rely on coincidences or inept police work to solve crimes. This charming series is highly atmospheric and rife with the history and mystery that is Charleston.

The Scrapbooking Mysteries – a slightly edgier series that take place in New Orleans. The main character, Carmela, owns Memory Mine scrapbooking shop in the French Quarter and is forever getting into trouble with her friend, Ava, who owns the Juju Voodoo shop. New Orleans’ spooky above-ground cemeteries, jazz clubs, bayous, and Mardi Gras madness make their presence known here!

The Cackleberry Club Mysteries – set in Kindred, a fictional town in the Midwest. In a rehabbed Spur station, Suzanne, Toni, and Petra, three semi-desperate, forty-plus women have launched the Cackleberry Club. Eggs are the morning specialty here and this cozy cafe even offers a book nook and yarn shop. Business is good but murder could lead to the cafe’s undoing! This series offers recipes, knitting, cake decorating, and a dash of spirituality.

Laura’s Links:   Website – Facebook 

 

Thanks to the people at Berkley I have 1 copy of Plum Tea Crazy to give away!
The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

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

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

Contest Will End February 27, 2020, 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

Laura Childs will be touring with Great Escapes Book Tours in March!

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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Posted in 2020 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways Literary Escapes TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – Dim Sum of All Fears: A Noodle Shop Mystery by Vivien Chien #Review / #Giveaway @StMartinsPress

 

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 has been patiently waiting on my Kindle and I decided before the end
of last year that this was one series I would get all caught up on this year. 

dim sum of all fears
Dim Sum of All Fears: A Noodle Shop Mystery
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Ohio
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks (August 28, 2018)
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 1250129176
ISBN-13: 978-1250129178
Kindle ASIN: B079DVYJKB

Lana Lee is a dutiful daughter, waiting tables at her family’s Chinese restaurant even though she’d rather be doing just about anything else. Then, just when she has a chance for a “real” job, her parents take off to Taiwan, leaving Lana in charge. Surprising everyone—including herself—she turns out to be quite capable of running the place. Unfortunately, the newlyweds who just opened the souvenir store next door to Ho-Lee have turned up dead. . .and soon Lana finds herself in the midst of an Asia Village mystery.

Between running the Ho-Lee and trying to figure out whether the rock-solid Detective Adam Trudeau is actually her boyfriend, Lana knows she shouldn’t pry into the case. But the more she learns about the dead husband, his ex-wives, and all the murky details of the couple’s past, the more Lana thinks that this so-called murder/suicide is a straight-up order of murder. . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

Just when Lana Lee is about to make a huge life change and take a chance on a job outside of the family business, her parents announce they are going to Taiwan and leave her in charge of Ho Lee Noodle House. She is not happy but takes on the job and realizes she is darn good at it. The one thing she couldn’t control though was the double murder that took place at the souvenir store next door. She had become good friends with Isabelle Yeoh who spent the day running the shop while her husband Brandon was off “running errands”.

Lana is in a new relationship with Detective Adam Trudeau and knows he can handle the case but she still finds herself investigating. So with a busy restaurant, especially with the Chinese New Year only days away, Lana loads up her plate to find out who killed her friend and why.

____

I am not a fan of Chinese food but I am a fan of this author and these characters.

Ho Lee Noodle House is open for breakfast when the Mahjong Matrons arrive through the evening. It is a family-run restaurant supplemented by long term employees. Lana usually works as a waitress/hostess daily while her sister attends college and works around her classes. Their mother is very intense and their father is pretty laid back. I think Lana did an excellent job stepping in as manager and her sister came across as petty and demanding, upset that her sister was left in charge. They did have a view arguments in front of customers and growing up around a family-run restaurant know that is a big no-no, but it happens. The restaurant is in a mall full of Asian shops and that adds its own stress and drama as Lana has to deal with management and the murder site right next door. Lana’s relationship with Detective Adam Trudeau is new and moving at a snail’s pace but it evolving. I feel all the characters are realistically written and loved where the humor was added.

The mystery itself was very interesting. At first, thought to be a murder/suicide which was quickly disproven. When classified as murders people came out of the woodwork to land on the suspect list each with motive and opportunity. The author served up a nice contingent of red herrings. Lana was a fun amateur sleuth the follow around. People really opened up to her, some even asking for her help. My thinking was twisted up several times. I enjoyed the part Lana’s roommate/best friend Megan Riley played both in helping in the investigation and pushing the romance between Lana and Adam.

Again, an animal stole my heart, Lana has a black pug named Kikko. So lovable and the perfect pet to come home to.

Dim Sum of All Fears was a marvelous cozy mystery. I was discouraged at first that Lana’s plans were all messed up by her parent’s sudden trip but by the middle of the story, I was happy to see she excelled at her tasks and was where she was meant to be.

The next book in this series, Murder Lo Mein is on my To-Be-Read shelf and I will be reading and reviewing it soon! 

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

You can read my review of Death by Dumpling here

About the Author

VIVIEN CHIEN was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio where she grew up in a mixed-race home, making for some very interesting cultural experiences. She found her love of books and the written word at an early age while writing short stories about her classmates in elementary school. Currently, she writes side-by-side with her toy fox terrier who refuses to sit anywhere else. When she’s not writing, Vivien enjoys frequenting local Asian restaurants, frolicking in the bookstore, and searching for her next donut. (From Amazon)

I do not have a copy of this book to give away
so I am giving away a $5.00 Amazon Gift Card!

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.

Follow St. Martin’s Press on Twitter for 2 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 share the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End February 21, 2020, 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.

Posted in 2020 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Alphabet Soup A -Z Author Edition Challenge Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways Literary Escapes New Release Challenge Wisconsin Author Wisconsin Setting You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday featuring A Crafter Quilts a Crime: A Handcrafted Mystery by Holly Quinn #Review / #Giveaway @crookedlanebks


Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am thrilled to feature Holly Quinn’s A Crafter Quilts A Crime today! 

About A Crafter Quilts A Crime

quilter quilts a crime

A Crafter Quilts a Crime: A Handcrafted Mystery
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books (February 11, 2020)
Hardcover
ISBN-10: 1643852906
ISBN-13: 978-1643852904
Kindle ASIN: B07RTMXRK8

Perfect for fans of Betty Hechtman and Maggie Sefton, Holly Quinn’s third Handcrafted mystery aspires to wrap you in its warmth.

Community Craft proprietor Sammy Kane must piece together a patchwork of clues when a “live” mannequin ends up stone-cold dead.

Snowcapped pines and glittery dusted sidewalks adorn tranquil Heartsford, Wisconsin, while residents cuddle beneath heirloom quilts in front of cozy wood fires. But come the next day, the below-zero temperatures won’t keep the locals away from Heartsford’s annual Fire & Ice event. To boost customer traffic at Community Craft’s one-night-only sale, Samantha “Sammy” Kane persuades a few of the craftspeople who sell their wares at the store to participate in a live mannequin window display contest.

Local quilter Wanda Wadsworth emerges as a favorite to win the contest, as she manages to not move a muscle for an unusual amount of time. Onlookers outside the window try everything to get her to crack–tapping on the glass and making funny faces–but nothing disrupts Wanda’s stillness. When the eagle-eyed spectators realize Wanda isn’t breathing, a blanket of grief and fear descends upon the wintry town.

Detective Liam Nash can’t seem to piece the clues together. Fortunately, Sammy’s cousin, Heidi, and her sister, Ellie, are on hand to reconvene their detective team, S.H.E. They set out to solve Wanda’s untimely death before the case grows as icy as a sub-zero Wisconsin winter. But they are all too aware that the killer is too close for comfort.

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

Welcome to winter in Wisconsin and the fictional town of Heartford where the residents are celebrating with the annual Fire & Ice event. The shops are open late and the evening will conclude with a giant bonfire.  Sammy Kane wants her shop Community Craft to really stand out and bring in the customers so she has asked a few of her crafters to take part in a “live” mannequin contest. The front window is all decked out and ready for the crafters to take a starring role.

Wanda Wadsworth is ready to shine, she even brought one of her quilts to feature. She immediately captures the attention of the audience as she remains completely frozen in her pose as people do their darndest to disrupt her performance. When someone suddenly notices Wanda’s lips turning blue people jump into action but it is too late. Then when police try to notify the husband of her passing they find the man is missing.

Detective Liam Nash warns Sammy to stay out of the case but soon she, her cousin, Heidi, and her sister, Ellie, the ladies of S.H.E. are bustling around in the cold and snow trying to find the killer. Things start to heat up as the killer is close on their tail.

_____

This is such a fun series. I have come to think of the main characters as friends and they have their share of strife this time as they don their Nancy Drew hats to try to find who killed their friend. These characters are relatable and believable and continue to evolve over the course of the story. I do like the way the girls work together and that they each have their own strengths. All the characters presented in the story are well crafted but again the four-legged one steals my heart.

The story is very fast-paced with plenty of twists. Sammy’s drive for the truth gets her in trouble making for some very tense moments. There is a nice blend of daily life with the mystery and a real community feel over the whole book. I liked the way the crafting group came together with an idea to remember and honor the friend they had lost. What I really enjoyed most was something people see all over the state of Wisconsin have a new purpose when it comes to solving the mystery.

As a Wisconsin resident, Holly Quinn really brought a real Wisconsin winter to this story. The frigid cold, the blowing, and drifting snow. Waiting for the roads to get plowed noting that for some it can be a long wait. Also showing that snow is not the be-all and end-all. After being cooped up with kids after a snow day, moms will plow through the snow themselves to get to a craft meeting to converse with adults, drink hot chocolate that may include alcohol, and nosh on homemade treats for a few hours before heading back to fray at home ready for anything.

I do love the way this author tells a story. A Crafter Quilts a Crime is quite entertaining and checks all my cozy boxes. I truly can’t for the next book!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

Read my review of A Crafter Knits A Clue – Here

Read my review of A Crafter Hooks A KillerHere

 

About Holly Quinn

holly quinn

Holly Quinn has published two stand-alone fiction novels in another persona. She graduated from Carroll University in Wisconsin with a Bachelor of Science in business and a minor in marketing. This is her second Handcrafted mystery. Visit her @ www.authorhollyquinn.com

Author Links – Website – Facebook – GoodReads 

Purchase Links –

Purchase Links – Amazon – B&N – BAM – IndieBound – Powell’s Books – Walmart 

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February 1 – Literary Gold – CHARACTER GUEST POST
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Posted in 2020 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Alphabet Soup A -Z Author Edition Challenge Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways Literary Escapes TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge Wisconsin Author

#FlashbackFriday – Be Still My Bleating Heart (A Scottish Highland Mystery) by Hannah Reed #Review / #Giveaway @hannahreed1


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.


Be Still My Bleating Heart (A Scottish Highland Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Setting – Scotland
Publisher: Independently Published (November 27, 2019)
Paperback: 219 Pages
ISBN-10: 171172260X
ISBN-13: 978-1711722603
Kindle ASIN: B07XQBZZB7

National Bestselling author Hannah Reed returns with her fourth Scottish Highland mystery, in which she is swept up in a murder following a Sir Walter Scott celebration…

Spring is here, and Eden Elliott has settled into her new life in the picturesque village of Glenkillen working on her next romance novel and volunteering as a constable in her spare time.
Love should be in the air, but Eden is still unattached. Along with that, she’s experiencing a creative meltdown, most likely caused by lack of inspiration, while a robber runs amok in the village assaulting local pensioners.
When she’s invited to a supper in honor of one of Scotland’s most celebrated literary giants and a guest is murdered, Eden puts aside her personal issues to dig into buried secrets. She’d better book someone soon if she wants to be alive to discover that love she needs to overcome her writer’s block…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Berkley wrapped up this series back in  2016. I am so happy Hannah Read has decided to continue it on her own.

It is now Spring in Glenkillen and Eden Elliott should be working on her next romance novel. With no romance in her own life, she is having a bit of writer’s block. In her voluntary job as a constable, she is concerned about someone robbing local pensioners.

With not much happening in her life, she accepts an invitation to a supper honoring Sir Walter Scott. The dinner gets a little tense when two diners get into an argument. The party breaks up early but Eden is soon called to return. One of the dinner guests has been murdered. Now Eden has to work with Officer Sean Stevens and Detective Inspector Jamieson to catch a robber and a killer. Maybe then her creative juices will start to flow and she can get back to her real job of being an author.

_____

Even after three years, it was easy to jump right back into this series. I was excited to return to Scotland. Eden has really found her place in the picturesque village of Glenkillen. Whether it be working on a manuscript in her favorite corner at the Kilt & Thistle Pub, or traipsing around the town and countryside trying to solve a case.  She has come along way since we met her in Off Kilter. Now it is time for her romantic life to take off. In this story, she took some baby steps in that direction.

The mysteries were well-plotted but I became focused on one individual very early on but wasn’t sure exactly why. Over the course of the story, twists threw me and Eden in different directions. I had a good time following her and her investigation. Sean wasn’t really too much help. Due to circumstances beyond her control, Eden found herself working closely with Inspector Jamieson. One of the robber’s victims was running her own little investigation too. A lot of humor took place in the character interactions. When we reached the two A-HA moments I found out that I was half right, although I was on the right track for the second mystery too.

While shorter than the previous books in this series, the author does a great job reintroducing the characters and setting the scene. There were a couple of places where there could have been more details or things that took place in the background and were just mentioned that could have added for more depth. I am just thrilled that Ms. Reed is writing Eden’s stories again. I hope we don’t have to wait too long for another installment.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

You can read my review of Off Kilter here, Hooked on Ewe here, Dressed to Kilt here.

For more information about the story or about her other tales, visit her at hannahreedbooks.com and Like her on Facebook.

Also by Hannah Reed

Writing as Deb Baker

I am giving away 1 Kindle Copy!
The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old.
Book Will Be Sent Directly from Amazon.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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.
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Contest Will End February 7, 2020, at 11:59 PM CST
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Click Here For Entry Form

*This book was from my private collection.

Posted in 2020 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Alphabet Soup A -Z Author Edition Challenge Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways Literary Escapes TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – Death on the Danube: A New Year’s Murder in Budapest (Travel Can Be Murder Cozy Mystery) by Jennifer S. Alderson #Review / #Giveaway


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.

Death on the Danube: A New Year’s Murder in Budapest
(Travel Can Be Murder Cozy Mystery Series)

Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Hungary
Traveling Life Press (November 28, 2019)
Paperback: 172 pages
ISBN-10: 9083001148
ISBN-13: 978-9083001142
Kindle ASIN: B07XLF95SN

Who knew a New Year’s trip to Budapest could be so deadly? The tour must go on – even with a killer in their midst…

Recent divorcee Lana Hansen needs a break. Her luck has run sour for going on a decade, ever since she got fired from her favorite job as an investigative reporter. When her fresh start in Seattle doesn’t work out as planned, Lana ends up unemployed and penniless on Christmas Eve.

Dotty Thompson, her landlord and the owner of Wanderlust Tours, is also in a tight spot after one of her tour guides ends up in the hospital, leaving her a guide short on Christmas Day.

When Dotty offers her a job leading the tour group through Budapest, Hungary, Lana jumps at the chance. It’s the perfect way to ring in the new year and pay her rent!

What starts off as the adventure of a lifetime quickly turns into a nightmare when Carl, her fellow tour guide, is found floating in the Danube River. Was it murder or accidental death? Suspects abound when Lana discovers almost everyone on the tour had a bone to pick with Carl.

But Dotty insists the tour must go on, so Lana finds herself trapped with nine murder suspects. When another guest turns up dead, Lana has to figure out who the killer is before she too ends up floating in the Danube…

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

It’s Christmas Eve, she’s behind on her rent, has no real worthwhile job in her future, and she is still stinging from her divorce. Then landlord Dotty Thompson makes Lana Hansen an offer she just can’t refuse. Dotty owns Wanderlust Tours and one of her tour guides has ended up in the hospital. She needs Lana to jump on a plane to Budapest, Hungary to ring in the New Year and lead the tour group through the remaining days of the tour.

Lana takes to the job like a fish to water until her fellow tour guide Carl ends swimming with the fishes in the Danube. Accident? Murder? In just her few days with the group, Lana has learned that Carl has a good share of enemies, some right within their group. When a second life is lost and the police eyeing the wrong individual Lana realizes it is up to her to find the real killer.

I had read several reviews praising this book that I knew it had to be one of the first books I read in the new year.

Ms. Alderson not only takes us on an outstanding virtual escape to Hungary but she gives us a fun mystery to solve as well.

Lana Hansen is an excellent protagonist. She is smart, has a great sense of everything around her and I found her to have a very positive outlook even after all the bumps she has had in her life.  As a former investigative reporter, she knows how to dig deep and use her research skills to point her in the right direction. She knows how to link the clues together, take good notes and allow time to think over all the details she has found so that after several twists and a few extra clues she can actually prove whodunit and why.

The suspects included all the members of the tour but Carl had rubbed some people in Budapest the wrong way too. I really liked the “Fabulous Five” a group of mature women who were a whole lotta fun. I quickly eliminated them from my suspect list as did Lana. This is a group of ladies I would love to travel with, they have become great friends who really look after each other. The other members of the group all remain viable suspects. I hope they show up on a future tour.

The author has fully fleshed out all the characters. They truly came to life on the pages. Because this book is only 172 pages I am very impressed at how well she did this. The dialogue between the characters was crisp and realistic as well.

The other thing she did so well was to bring Budapest to life. Everywhere the group traveled was fully described and created wonderful pictures in my mind. She made us feel the cold and the wind too. It was a great trip.

I loved the quick pace and the short chapters. Death on the Danube was a totally entertaining read and I am really looking forward to reading Death By Baguette which will be released February 14, 2020. 

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About The Author

Jennifer S. Alderson was born in San Francisco, raised in Seattle, and currently lives in Amsterdam. After traveling extensively around Asia, Oceania, and Central America, she moved to Darwin, Australia, before settling in the Netherlands. Her background in journalism, multimedia development, and art history enriches her novels. When not writing, she can be found in a museum, biking around Amsterdam, or enjoying a coffee along the canal while planning her next research trip.

Jennifer’s love of travel, art, and culture inspires her award-winning mystery series—the Zelda Richardson Mysteries and Travel Can Be Murder Cozy Mysteries—and standalone stories.

Author Links

Website – Goodreads  –Facebook – Twitter  –LinkedIn – BookBub

Coming February 14, 2020

I am giving away 1 Kindle Copy of Death on the Danube!
The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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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.

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Contest Will End January 31, 2020, 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.”

Posted in Cloak and Dagger Challenge E-Book Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge Reviews 2019 TBR Pile Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – Fiction Can Be Murder (A Mystery Writer’s Mystery) by Becky Clark #Review / #Giveaway


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.


Fiction Can Be Murder (A Mystery Writer’s Mystery)
Cozy Mystery/Women Sleuths
1st in Series
Setting – Colorado
Publisher: Midnight Ink (April 8, 2018)
Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN-10: 0738753327
ISBN-13: 978-0738753324
Kindle ASIN: B0714HL2VC

Life Becomes Stranger than Fiction when Charlee’s Latest Novel Inspires a Real Murder

Mystery author Charlemagne “Charlee” Russo thinks the twisty plots and peculiar murders in her books are only the product of her imagination—until her agent is found dead exactly as described in Charlee’s new, unpublished manuscript. Suspicion now swirls around her and her critique group, making her confidence drop as severely and unexpectedly as her royalty payments.

The police care more about Charlee’s feeble alibi and financial problems than they do her panicky claims of innocence. To clear her name and revive her career, she must figure out which of her friends is a murderer. Easier said than done, even for an author who’s skilled at creating tidy endings for her mysteries. And as her sleuthing grows dangerous, Charlee’s imagination starts working overtime. Is she being targeted, too?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Fiction easily becomes murder when literary agent, Melinda Walter is killed in exactly the same way as the victim in author, Charlemagne “Charlee” Russo’s latest manuscript. Charlee had problems with the woman but never plotted to kill her. So who else had access to the manuscript? Could someone in her critique group have done the deed and used her book to frame her? Stranger than fiction she puts on her sleuthing cap to bring this murder mystery to an end. Hopefully, she’ll survive to tell the tale.

I would call this a cozy-ish mystery. Charlee Russo is a cleverly written imperfect amateur sleuth, very clutzy with a wild imagination, a good thing when you write mysteries for a living, not so much when you are on the trail of a killer. She is protective of her friends but still needs to question and verify everyone’s alibi as much for her peace of mind as to solving the case. Let’s just say her investigating techniques need a little refinement as I was a little frightened by the positions she found herself in at times.

The pacing was mixed. The story starts out briskly but slowed a bit in the middle but then the ending felt a bit rushed. With plenty of twists and a few red herrings, I was completely confused until everything was laid out for me. It was a fun tagging along with Charlee. I always enjoy a challenging mystery. The dialogue is very realistic and I liked the humor interspersed throughout. “I’d tell you to go to hell, but I never want to see you again.”

This series is off to a fine start and I am looking forward to the next book in this series. I do love the Mystery Writer’s theme. The author has left plenty of room for the secondary characters and Charlee to grow. She also left an open question in this story that I hope will be wrapped up in the next.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

A highly functioning chocoholic, Becky Clark (Denver, CO) is the seventh of eight kids, which explains both her insatiable need for attention and her atrocious table manners. She likes to read funny books so it felt natural to write them, too. She published her first novel in 2001 and is a sought-after speaker. Find out more about Becky on her website – https://beckyclarkbooks.com/



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.

Sign Up for Becky Clark’s Newsletter for 5 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End January 10, 2020, 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.”

Posted in E-Book Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge Reviews 2019 TBR Pile Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – Lock, Stock & Jingle Bells: A Hamilton Christmas Novella by Donna Kauffman #Review / #Giveaway @KensingtonBooks


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.

LOCK STOCK AND JINGLE BELLS
Lock, Stock & Jingle Bells: A Hamilton Christmas Novella
Holiday Romance
2nd in Series
Setting – Virginia
Publisher: Zebra Books (October 1, 2018)
Print Length: 109 pages
Kindle ASIN: B079R6JNTT

The best holiday gifts aren’t always under the tree …

Holly hates the yuletide season more than ever since she received her very early inheritance: her mother’s Christmas novelty store. Now she has to put her life on hold to deal with the shop, while her parents settle into their busy sunny Florida retirement. But Holly’s childhood pal, Sean, is determined to warm her up—to Christmas and to him. When they uncover a diary concealing secrets involving both their families, this could be the Christmas that changes their lives forever …

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Holly Berry Bennett left her small Virginia town to travel across the pond for college and except for a few short visits home has made a life for herself there. Now her parents have other ideas. They have decided to sell their home and retire to Florida. They have also left her mother’s Christmas shop to Holly for her to take over or dispose of as she sees fit. So again she is home trying to figure out with the mess she had been left with.

Sean Gallagher runs the family restaurant right across the street from the Christmas store. He sees Holly arrive by taxi with just one suitcase and he rushes right out to welcome her back. Childhood friends who had secret crushes on each other, Sean hopes that this will be their time. He just needs to convince her to give him a chance.

While Holly is sorting through inventory at the shop she finds an old diary. After reading it she does a little investigating and learns the secrets revealed in the diary could mean changes for both the Gallagher’s and the Bennett’s.

____

Like the first book in this series, Ms. Kauffman gives readers characters we can fall for quickly which is good due to the novella length. She does an excellent job filling us in on their backstories and writes a romance that takes place quickly but realistically. I enjoyed that a little mystery theme was continued.

I was disappointed in Holly’s parents though. Dropping their decision on her and leaving town did not sit well with me.  I realize her mother would have a hard time dealing with her shop’s future but it was totally unfair to put everything on Holly’s shoulders. They could have had her come home and worked things out together instead of just expecting her to drop her life while they just moved along with theirs. This is where the novella-length took away from the story, there just wasn’t space to have two more key characters to be present to make their decision less jarring.

That being said I finished this book and immediately started the third book in this series, Naughty But Nice.

Lock, Stock, and Jingle Bells is an entertaining romance with just a touch of mystery set in a little Virginia town. A nice mini escape to curl up with on a snowy 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
LOCK STOCK AND JINGLE BELLS
Find more books by Donna Kaufman here.

You can read my review of Unleashed 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 January 3, 2020, 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.”

Posted in Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways Literary Escapes Reviews 2019 TBR Pile Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – Murder Casts the Ballot (A Jake and Emma Mystery) by Linda Crowder #Review / #Giveaway @LJCrowder


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 is also the last book needed to complete by Literary Escapes Challenge!

murder casts the ballot
Murder Casts the Ballot (A Jake and Emma Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Setting – Wyoming
Publisher: 307 Publishing LLC (December 15, 2016)
Print Length: 301 pages
ASIN: B01M5K42EA

Jealousy, hatred and domestic terrorism — how can one little primary in one little town pack such a big punch? By the time election day comes, there may be more than one body on this ballot.

Jake Rand is running for County Attorney in Casper, Wyoming, but someone seems determined to keep him out of office. There’s only a week before voters head to the polls, and it’s shaping up to be a very bad one. Protesters, punches, stabbings and shootings – politics isn’t just personal in Casper, it’s downright deadly!

It isn’t long before the police make an arrest, but Jake isn’t sure they’ve got the right man. He wants to win the election, but sending an innocent man to prison isn’t part of his campaign plan.

Fifth book in The Jake and Emma Mystery Series. Previously released as Body on the Ballot.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I read the previous books in this series back in 2015 and had this one waiting on my Kindle for too long. To prove that this book and those before it now have new titles and covers. I am glad to get back to this series and happy to see the author recently released another book in the series.

Casper, Wyoming is holding a primary election in the County Attorney race. Jake Rand is running against Clint Taylor. While they are taking part in an intense debate the doors open and 2 men rush in with shots fired and Jake is hit. The police arrive and more shots ring out winging one of the gunmen. As the scene calms down Jake realizes hit was hit by a paintball not a bullet. The police on the scene also find that Detective Mortimer (Mort) Brugnick who was working security the event was shot and killed by a BULLET!

There is a shake-up at the police station that places Detective Matt Joyner on administrative leave right after State Investigator arrives to assist in the case. He can’t just sit on his hands, with a little help from his friends he does some investigating. Was Mort a target? or was Taylor the target? or was it just random? The case leads them to the college but some crazy and dangerous events really twist things up.

All the characters are well-developed and realistic. All the relationships are strong. I really enjoyed the camaraderie of the core characters and the empathy shown throughout the story. Characters fight with emotions and daily life issues along with the effects the murder has on their lives.

I really enjoyed the politics theme in this book.  A current topic complete with protests and rallies. While on a local scale it still escalates to a scary level.

The murder mystery is filled with drama and the author sets a brisk pace. The case is difficult to solve. The police make an arrest but there are so many holes in the case. Thankfully Jake and Matt stuck with it and some surprising secrets are revealed.

Murder Casts the Ballot is a fine addition to this series. I am looking forward to reading Murder Is Forever soon!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

Agent

linda crowder Linda grew up in Loveland, Colorado, the youngest of six children. She moved with her parents to California when she was 16 and spent the next 16 years of her life in the Bay Area before moving home to Colorado and finally to Wyoming.

In her writing, Linda draws from her vast and varied experience with people facing domestic violence, hunger, homelessness, mental illness and suicide. Her nonfiction is full of practical strategies and her fictional characters leap off the page with all the nuances, strengths and frailties that draw readers to her work.

Her current projects include the third Jake and Emma Mystery, “Justice for Katie,” now out and a new edition of “Life Isn’t Just Luck” to give readers even more real-world advice and activities. Linda is also working on a series of inspirational short stories and exploring a humorous new series called “It’s a Gift” about a young woman determined to make the most of every day of her life.

Follow Linda on Twitter https://twitter.com/LJCrowder

Check out her Author Site www.lindajcrowder.com for news and snippets of upcoming books.

Find her on Facebookwww.facebook.com/lindajcrowderauthor


I am giving away 1 Kindle Copy!
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.

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 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

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

Posted in Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Flashback Friday Giveaways Read The Printed Word Challenge Reviews 2019 TBR Pile Challenge What's In A Name Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – A Batter of Life and Death: A Bakeshop Mystery by Ellie Alexander #Review / #Giveaway @BakeshopMystery


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.

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 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.