Posted in 2021 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Finish The Series Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways Literary Escapes TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge Wisconsin Author Wisconsin Setting You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – Last Call (Mack’s Bar Mysteries) by Allyson K. Abbott #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.

Last Call (Mack’s Bar Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Setting – Wisconsin
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Kensington (July 31, 2018)
Mass Market Paperback ‏ : ‎ 368 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1496701747
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1496701749
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0776GL23W

A bar owner taps into her special sleuthing talents when a businessman is shot in this top-shelf mystery with drink recipes included.

Fresh off solving a murder that hit too close to home, Mack’s trust is shattered. But when Milwaukee police detective Duncan Albright asks for her help with a shooting, she can’t resist using her extra-perceptive senses to benefit others. It turns out the victim was the ruthless businessman their friend Mal was investigating undercover. And now Mal is missing—and his fingerprints are on the gun. Was his cover blown, forcing him into hiding? Or could he be a straight-up killer on the run? Mack doesn’t know what to believe anymore—except her own gut, which leads her to secret rooms, shocking revelations . . . and the fear that this could be her final round.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Bar owner Mackenzie “Mack” Dalton is brought into her first authorized case as a consultant for the Milwaukee Police. With Detective Duncan Albright by her side, they arrive at the scene of a shooting. The victim is a man undercover cop Mal O’Reilly has been investigating. Now Mal isn’t answering his phone and they have no idea where he is but his fingerprints are on the murder weapon. Mack and Duncan know they need to find their friend fast because his cover could be blown. Also, his family is in town to install an elevator in Mack’s Bar and they are going to want answers. Duncan and Mack can’t believe Mal killed a man and fled the scene.  But then Mack’s special talents lead her to something very surprising in the house where the shooting occurred that could blow the case wide open.


I have really enjoyed this series. Ms. Abbott’s characters are so realistic. Mack’s Synesthesia may be a little bit out there but it is a real condition which she has really fined tuned to give her the ability to help the police. Her romantic relationship with Duncan is heating up, but darn, I was team Mal, especially after we met his family in A Toast to Murder. I loved that their visit continued into this book. The bartenders, servers, and customers are all like Mack’s family and I know that feeling because my parents bought a bar when I was in Junior High and we lived in the apartment upstairs. Like Mack, I spent a lot of time downstairs helping in any way I could and got to know the regulars pretty darn well. We didn’t have a Capone Club but we did have some epic Euchre tournaments. Sadly, Mack had to deal with a lot of tragic events over the course of the series, and each helped to shape her into the fantastic person she is now.

The mystery in this book was marvelous. I am not going into a lot of details because I do not want to spoil anything. I will say Mack uses her gentle soul, her synesthesia, and her own history to get a witness to open up to help solve the case. I really liked that Mack really played a key role in her first case as a consultant and that she changes a lot of minds. I had thought Mack would take an incredible step, but she didn’t. She did take another step that I thought was a bit too soon, but there was a reason for that.

Sadly Last Call is truly the last call. This is the final book in this series that took place over a very traumatic year in Mack’s life.  It was a pleasure to meet her and everyone connected to her life, great people, and even the unsavory ones. I was late to the party on this series but I am so happy I found it and was able to read all six books and was able to share my reviews with you.

The author gave plenty of background in this book so new readers can read this book as a stand-alone, but I really encourage you to read the series from the start so you can get to know the people in Mack’s world from the start.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

 

Allyson K. Abbott is a pseudonym used by suspense writer Beth Amos. Beth has enjoyed a varied writing career that included a stint as a book reviewer and several years of nonfiction freelancing. Now she writes only fiction, and in stark contrast to her “day job” as an ER nurse, where she gets to save lives, the one common factor in her fiction, no matter what name it’s written under, is that someone always dies. Allyson K. Abbott is my little insider joke at having to pick yet another pseudonym. It’s not a coincidence the initials are what they are.  Check out her webpage here and on Facebook here. Allyson also writes as Annelise Ryan.

Kindle copies of these books go on sale quite often.
As I write this the first book is on sale for $1.99. 

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.

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

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 November 26, 2021, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
The Winner Will Be Notified By Email and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For 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 2021 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Finish The Series Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge Wisconsin Author Wisconsin Setting You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – A Toast to Murder (Mack’s Bar Mysteries) by Allyson K. Abbott #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.


A Toast to Murder (Mack’s Bar Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Kensington (July 25, 2017)
Mass Market Paperback ‏ : ‎ 352 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1496701720
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1496701725
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B01M6AOYKL

As the champagne flows on New Year’s Eve, a bar owner and her buddies try to solve a bouncer’s murder in a sparkling mystery with drink recipes included.

As Milwaukee counts down to New Year’s Eve, bar owner Mackenzie “Mack” Dalton has but one resolution—unmask the dangerous mastermind who has been taunting her and killed bouncer Gary Gunderson. Mack and her fellow barflies have fleshed out a suspect and arranged an invite-only party to put a cork in the murderer’s game for good. But when the clock strikes midnight and their suspect is found cold and stiff on the basement stairs, it seems the celebration may have come too soon. Now Mack must rely on her special talents to find the real criminal among the crowd of revelers—or someone won’t survive until last call . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

With New Year’s Day approaching bar owner Mackenzie “Mack” Dalton has decided she has just one New Year’s resolution . . . to get her life back! Two people close to her have been killed and she knows she is next. This dastardly letter writer has threatened her and her friends long enough. She has a plan to nab the killer right after the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s and put an end to the race against time she has been on long enough.

What could possibly go wrong?


Ms. Abbott has created a large dynamic and diverse cast of characters over the course of this series. I find them very easy to keep track of because of the excellent character development that has taken place. The cool thing is there is still room for them to grow. I love the Capone Club and its endeavors to solve mysteries. Mack has kept her personal case from most of them to try to keep them safe. She really does put everyone else first. Still on crutches she and the undercover cop pretending to be her boyfriend Mal work hard to chase down clues before the time runs out staving off another death.

What I really enjoy is virtually traveling with these characters to Milwaukee’s wonderful tourist attractions. In this book, we visit the Mitchell Domes, the Pabst Mansion, and the Milwaukee Museum all decked out in their holiday finery. They are all places I love to take my family. They also have perfect little nooks and crannies and dirt for Mack and Mal to look for clues. It was fun the last few books to go everywhere with them but being tied to a possible murder made things intense.

In past installments, there was always a primary mystery with the letter-writer mystery holding the secondary place. This time it had to be the main mystery to enable it to reach its satisfying conclusion. The author added plenty of twists and turns. Many involved Mack’s special Synaesthesia gift and others good old-fashioned legwork. With a long list of suspects, they had a quagmire of details to work through.

Also wrapped up at the end of this story was the romantic triangle of Mack, Duncan, and Mal, but I was pretty unhappy with the choice she made. I am curious to see how the relationship she has chosen works.

A Toast to Murder is a complex mystery with genuine characters. Having it set close to where I live and have traveled and the fact that I grew up in a bar environment too makes this series extra special for me. It was a Perfect Escape.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Allyson K. Abbott is a pseudonym used by suspense writer Beth Amos. Beth has enjoyed a varied writing career that included a stint as a book reviewer and several years of nonfiction freelancing. Now she writes only fiction, and in stark contrast to her “day job” as an ER nurse, where she gets to save lives, the one common factor in her fiction, no matter what name it’s written under, is that someone always dies. Allyson K. Abbott is my little insider joke at having to pick yet another pseudonym. It’s not a coincidence the initials are what they are.  Check out her webpage here and on Facebook here. Allyson also writes as Annelise Ryan.

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.

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

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 November 19, 2021, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
The Winner Will Be Notified By Email and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For 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 2021 Reviews Alphabet Soup A -Z Author Edition Challenge Cloak and Dagger Challenge E-Book Challenge Flashback Friday TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – Let Her Be (Hush Collection) by Lisa Unger #Review / #PrimeFree

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.


Let Her Be (Hush Collection)
Thriller & Suspense Short Reads
1 of 6 Books in This Series (Book 6 0f 6)
Setting – New York
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Amazon Original Stories (July 30, 2020)
Print length ‏ : ‎ 56 pages
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08BTZT8HS

A writer’s misguided suspicions ruined his life once before. This time he plans to prove he’s right in a New York Times bestselling author’s haunting short story of what happens when seeing is not believing.

Will, an aspiring novelist, can’t stop parsing his ex-girlfriend’s popular social media accounts for clues that her ideal new rural life with the perfect man has a dark side. After all, nobody he knows has actually seen the blissful blogger in the flesh for nearly a year. When Will draws a wary friend into his “investigation,” the real question becomes who’s truly in danger.

Lisa Unger’s Let Her Be is part of Hush, a collection of six stories, ranging from political mysteries to psychological thrillers, in which deception can be a matter of life and death. Each piece can be read or listened to in one truly chilling sitting.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Will is an aspiring author who recently survived a suicide attempt following the breakup with her girlfriend. He just can’t stop checking her social media accounts and blog showing she is living her best life with the perfect man. She not only left him behind but her friends and family behind. He meets up with one of her friends and they decide to try to find her but this investigation doesn’t go the way he thought it would.


I had a book by Lisa Unger a couple of years ago that I really enjoyed so when this book popped up in my Amazon feed as a “book you may like” I added it to my wish list and recently saw I could read it for free with my Amazon Prime I decided to use it for my “U” author for my Alphabet Soup – Author Edition Challenge. Due to the suicide element, I had to prepare myself to read it and was finally able to do the last week. I am so glad I did!

This is a short story of just 56 pages and wow, the author packed a lot into those pages. After getting through the first few pages I was totally engrossed in this story.

Will is a totally flawed individual. He is still extremely upset that he drove his girlfriend away. After the breakup, he moved into a stalker phase so much so that he received a restraining order. He was clearly struggling, hence the suicide attempt but now he is seeing a counselor and trying to get his life in order but that girlfriend is always filling his thoughts.

Ms. Unger rachets it up the suspense when Will wonders if Anise is really safe? Is she living her ideal life? Let me just say there should have been steam coming out of my Kindle because of how fast I was reading to get those answers.

Wow, all I can say is the ending was awesome.

Let Her Be is a fast read made faster by the content. It was a Perfect Mini Escape. I need to read the other five short stories in the Hush Collection as well as some longer content by Lisa Unger.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

If you have Amazon Prime you can read or listen to this story and the whole Hush Collection for FREE! If you don’t have Amazon Prime you can buy this book and others in the collection for$1.99 each. 

About the Author

Lisa Unger is the New York Times bestselling author of Confessions on the 7:45 and the Edgar Award–nominated short story The Sleep Tight Motel. Her books have been published in twenty-six languages and her essays have appeared in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal and on NPR.

*This book was from my private collection. Received using Amazon’s Prime Free Program.
Posted in 2021 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – Howloween Murder (A Melanie Travis Mystery) by Laurien Berenson #Review / #Giveaway #KensingtonCozies @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.


Howloween Murder (A Melanie Travis Mystery)
Cozy Wednesday
26th in Series
Setting – Connecticut
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Kensington (August 25, 2020)
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 208 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1496730577
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1496730572
Paperback ‏(August 24, 2021) : ‎ 192 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1496730585
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1496730589
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B082WRWK5X

As the town of Greenwich, Connecticut, counts down to a spooky celebration on October 31st, a horrifying murder leaves Melanie Travis pawing for clues in a hair-raising game of trick-or-treat . . .

With just a few days left before Halloween, everyone at Howard Academy is anticipating the guaranteed sugar high they’ll experience from gorging on Harriet Bloom’s famous marshmallow puffs. The school’s annual costume party revolves around the headmaster’s assistant and her seemingly supernatural batches of gooey goodies. So, it’s a shock when Harriet’s elderly neighbor is suddenly found dead with the beloved dessert in his hand.

Melanie knows her tenured colleague would never intentionally serve cyanide-laced puffs to a defenseless old man. But as explosive neighborhood gossip reveals a potential culprit, it also brings her closer to sealing her own doom. Because on an evening ruled by masked revelers, Halloween might just be the perfect opportunity for a cold-hearted killer to get away with murder once again—this time sending a nosy, unsuspecting sleuth to an early grave!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Howard Academy is getting ready for their annual Halloween costume party complete with the headmaster’s secretary’s marshmallow puffs. Harriet Bloom has been providing the treats for years and she even shares them with her neighbors. Everyone looks forward to these delightful puffs of marshmallows. But this year the treats appear to be the vehicle used to poison her elderly neighbor, Ralph Penders. So while everyone knows Harriet wouldn’t poison anyone the police have confiscated all the puffs made for the party.

Melanie is worried Harriet may be convicted of a crime she didn’t commit so she agrees to collect the marshmallow puffs from Harriet’s neighbors while trying to find out more about Mr. Penders and who may have wanted him dead. But not everyone is anxious to answer her questions. She may have even put herself on the killer’s radar sealing her own howloween fate.


I do love visiting Melanie, Sam, Davey, Kevin, Aunt Peg, and all their dogs. Faith is truly a special poodle, I love her empathic nature and the way she helps with Melanie’s students. I also love the relationship between Sam and Melanie. They truly are a perfect match and their love just shines in every interaction. Aunt Peg played a smaller role in this story but she does play a huge role for a special family. Almost all the characters Ms. Berenson creates are genuine and true to life. Even the dogs each have their own personalities, strengths, and weaknesses. Of course, she has to create a few people as suspects with questionable traits but she gives them layers to work through to reach their motives. I will say my heart was touched by the elderly victim and his circumstances.

I really enjoyed the Halloween theme as a background to the mystery. While Kevin tries to decide on a Halloween costume and she continues to work with her students Melanie divides her time up to include questioning likely suspects. The author blends it all together with a balanced hand. She drops the clues and inserts twists like the pro she is. I found myself leaning toward a certain character but it sure was fun to follow Melanie along step by step as she honed in on the killer and proved me right.

You really can’t go wrong with any book in this series. All are well-plotted and written. The characters are easy to become invested in too. The author does write each book to be read on its own so you can jump in anywhere. Howloween Murder was a fun and entertaining read perfect for this time of year. It was a howling good time.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About This Author

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

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

THE REST OF THE SERIES

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 Following 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 October 29, 2021, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
The Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

*This was a book I purchased from Amazon / from my private collection.

Posted in 2021 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – Verse and Vengeance: A Magical Bookshop Mystery by Amanda Flower #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.


Verse and Vengeance: A Magical Bookshop Mystery
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Setting – New York
Crooked Lane Books (December 10, 2019)
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 320 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1643851519
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1643851518
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 336 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1643856812
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1643856810
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B07NTYQQM4

With the help of Walt Whitman’s works, magical bookshop owner Violet Waverly puts her pedal to the metal to sleuth a bicycle-race murder that tests her mettle.

A bicycle race is not Charming Books proprietor Violet Waverly’s idea of a pleasant pastime. But police chief David Rainwater wheelie wants them to enter the Tour de Cascade as a couple, so she reluctantly consents.

The Tour de Cascade is the brainchild of Violet’s Grandma Daisy. The race is a fundraiser to build the Cascade Springs Underground Railroad Museum. But not everyone in this Niagara Region village supports the race. As if the bike race weren’t tiring enough, pesky private investigator Joel Redding is snooping around Charming Books. It takes all of Violet’s and Grandma Daisy’s ingenuity to keep Redding from discovering the shop’s magical essence–which communicates with Violet through books.

When Redding perishes in an accident during the race, David discovers that the brake line of the private eye’s bike was cut. Worse, Violet tops his list of suspects. As Emerson the tuxedo cat and resident crow Faulkner look on, Charming Books steers Violet to the works of Walt Whitman to solve the crime. But no other names ring a bell as culprits, and as David’s investigation picks up speed, Violet will have to get in gear to clear her name.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

We arrive in Cascade Springs just in time for the Tour de Cascade. The bike race is a fundraiser to raise funds to build an Underground Railroad Museum. It is one of the grand ideas of Mayor Daisy aka Grandma Daisy to Violet Waverly, caretaker of the magical Charming Books. Violet hadn’t planned on participating but her boyfriend police chief David Rainwater wants them to ride the course together. She just hopes she can make it the whole way.

As if keeping up with David wasn’t hard enough Private Investigator Joel Redding is making a nuisance of himself by riding right by her trying to take her picture. He has been outside the bookshop for days spying on her too. He is convinced there is something strange going on in the shop and if he discovers what it is he will have a cash windfall spreading the news. Violet and Grandma Daisy are determined to keep their secret especially from the likes of a man like Joel Redding.

In the last bit of the race a man crashes and dies. That man turns out to be Joel Redding and David notices the brake lines on the bike were cut, Someone wanted this man to get hurt and maybe even die and that person got their wish. Sadly, Violet finds herself on that list of suspects. So she has to do something to clear her name. Hopefully, the Essense will be able to help and point her in the right direction.


I am not a fan of Walt Whitman but I am a huge fan of Amanda Flower so I was happy to finally read this book.

I love everything about Charming Books including the mischievous tuxedo cat Emerson and the staunch crow Faulkner. It is the place where the right book will find you. And when it does there are plenty of places to curl up with it and start reading. The tree growing in the middle of the shop guards over the books and gives Faulkner a great place to perch and invoke his wisdom. I am sure if I was ever blessed to enter the shop I would read book after book and never leave.

Ms. Flower has created characters that have a lot of layers and it is nice to see them revealed slowly over the course of the series. Grandma Daisy is a woman on a mission and she will not stop until she succeeds. She is truly a force to be reckoned with, sometimes a little too bull in the china shop but her heart is always in the right place. With Daisy taking on the responsibility of the mayor’s office, Violet has realized she must take the job of caretaker of the shop on fully and learn truly what that job entails. I was thrilled that we learned more about the bookshop’s history. With the murder to investigate and all the summer tourists coming soon, she brings in college professor Richard to take some hours. He has no idea of the magic within the walls but the Essence sure helps him make some wonderful discoveries. Police Chief David Rainwater and Violet don’t get to spend a lot of time together but he knows she is hiding something so their relationship is not just sailing along.

The mystery was well-crafted. At first, I was a little frustrated that a key individual keep disappearing but then I accepted it and like Violet was worried. Walt Whitman’s connection was interesting but I do not enjoy his poetry. Seeing Violet’s frustrations at trying to figure out the clues took me back to the English classes where we studied his works and my frustration and trying to decipher his words for a grade. I passed that section by the skin of my teeth just like I figured out this mystery. I was totally in the dark and solved it when the reveal hit me in the face. LOL

I do love this series and can’t believe I had not read this book when it was released. I truly thought I had until I checked all my lists and saw it was still on my To-Be-Read list. I am so glad that I have now corrected that oversight.

Verse and Vengeance was a delightful way to spend two evenings. I couldn’t wait to get done with work each day so I could escape into this story. No spoiler but the ending made me smile and really excited for the next book in the series. Due to my delay in reading this one I don’t have as long to wait. Crimes and Covers will be out on January 11, 2022.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

About This Author

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

Author Links:

Website  Pen Name Website     Facebook    Twitter    Goodreads    Pinterest


Coming January 11, 2022

Also by Amanda Flower




Coming November 30, 2021



Amish Quilt Shop Mystery Series (writing as Isabella Alan)

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 Following 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 October 22, 2021, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
The Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For 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 2021 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – It Cannoli Be Murder: A Culinary Cozy Mystery (Italian Chef Mysteries) by Catherine Bruns #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.


It Cannoli Be Murder: A Culinary Cozy Mystery (Italian Chef Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – New York
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Poisoned Pen Press (July 28, 2020)
Mass Market Paperback ‏ : ‎ 384 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1492684287
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1492684282
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B085F4F4XB

A delicious new title in a new series from USA Today bestselling author Catherine Bruns! Tessa’s biscotti have always been killer, but never as deadly as in this addition to the Italian Chef mystery books!

It’s time to serve some just desserts…

Six months after her husband’s death, Tessa Esposito is hoping to drum up reservations for her restaurant’s grand opening. And since a signing with bestselling author, Preston Rigotta, is sure to draw a crowd, Tessa agrees to cater her cousin’s bookstore event—whipping up some of her famous Italian desserts. But the event soon takes a sour turn when Preston’s publicist, an old high school rival, arrives and begins to whisk up their old grudges.

That night, a fight breaks out in front of the crowd, and it becomes clear there’s bad blood in Harvest Park. And when the publicist is found dead on the bookstore floor the next morning, a stray cannolo at her side, Tessa knows who will be framed as the prime suspect.

To clear both her cousin’s and her own name, Tessa must investigate the murder. But Preston’s publicist has many secrets to hide, and in the end, the truth is bittersweet…

The second book in the Italian Chef Cozy Mystery series! As Italian Chef Tessa plays the role of a female detective in this murder mystery, she’ll have to follow a string of clues before the case boils over.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

It has been a long time coming but Tessa Esposito’s new restaurant, Anything’s Pastable, is almost ready to open.  She just needs to hire a few more staff, the correct menus to arrive, and a few little touchups in the dining room, and she will thrust open the doors for her grand opening. Hoping to drive up the reservations she agrees to whip up some cannoli and biscotti to serve at a book signing at her cousin Gabby’s bookstore Once Upon A Book. Sadly, there is a disturbance when the author’s publicist arrives and it is an old high school rival who does her best to push Gabby’s buttons. The event escalates to a full-blown fight which has the author chewing Gabby out and her worried about the future of Once Upon A Book.

The next morning Tessa discovers the publicist dead on the floor of the bookshop with a cannolo nearby setting up Tessa and Gabby as the prime suspects. Knowing that could put their lives and businesses at risk they are not waiting for the police to complete their investigation, Tessa jumps right in with her own investigation and discovers one secret that could have easily set the murder in motion. She just needs to prove it.


Tessa has been through a lot.  After the death of her husband she finds out he was actually murdered and she goes undercover to try to catch his killer. Now in this story, she is about to open her dream Italian Restaurant when another murder puts not only her dream in jeopardy but her cousin’s bookstore as well. Because they are both involved in the case, Gabby’s brother, Detective Gino Mancusi cannot be the detective in charge of the investigation. These are three strong characters that are really developing nicely. They have each other’s back and while Gino would like Gabby and Tessa to leave the death to the police he understands their frustrations.

We meet author Preston Rigotta, his wife, his daughter, their maid, and his publicist. These characters are also nicely developed even with the publicist dying. We learn a lot about her and the Rigotta family as the mystery unfolds.

The mystery was very well-plotted with some corkscrew twists. The victim was a real piece of work and definitely has not changed from high school, which meant she had made a few enemies. I was a little nervous about the risks Tessa and Gabby took. So much so, I wanted to jump into the book and save them from themselves. I thought I had nailed down whodunit and then Ms. Bruns added another twist that changed everything, I love it when that happens.

It Cannoli Be Murder contains an excellent mystery and characters I have grown to care about. My cancer treatments kept this book on my T-B-R shelf too long. But that means I have less time to wait for book number 3, The Enemy You Gnocchi, is being released on October 26 and it is already on my reading calendar. I am excited because it is a Christmas holiday mystery and I am looking forward to visiting Harvest Park when the snow is flying. 



Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

USA Today bestselling author Catherine Bruns lives in Upstate New York with an all-male household that consists of her very patient husband, three sons, and several spoiled pets. Catherine has a B.A. in both English and Performing Arts and is a former newspaper reporter and press release writer. In her spare time, she loves to bake, read, and attend live theater performances. Over the past five years, she’s written fifteen mystery novels plus several novellas and has many more stories waiting to be told.

Coming October 26, 2021

Also by Catherine Bruns



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

Posted in 2021 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge Wisconsin Author Wisconsin Setting You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – Deep Bitter Roots (Deep Lakes Cozy Mystery Series) by Joy Ann Ribar #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.


Deep Bitter Roots (Deep Lakes Cozy Mystery Series)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Washington
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Ten16 Press (April 15, 2020)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 374 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1645381226
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1645381228
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B086PWWSC3

The promise of Spring in Deep Lakes, Wisconsin brings the community out of hibernation to plan the annual Roots Festival. Bubble and Bake owner Frankie Champagne just wants to help the Granite Mansion quarry heiress plan the keynote presentation. So, why does she find herself in the middle of the legendary and deadly Quarry Curse?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

They joke that in Wisconsin you can sometimes experience all four seasons in one day. Spring is just starting to bloom in Deep Lakes but you could still see snow in addition to the April showers or the blistering hot heat of summer. People who have been enduring the snow and bitter cold are ready to escape to a milder climate just in time for the annual Roots Festival snd this year will be even more special with quarry heiress Emily Spurgeon giving a speech as the park is rededicated and introducing some new features. Bubble and Bake owner Frankie Champagne has been asked to assist Emily with her presentation. After meeting with Emily several times Frankie is shocked that the heiress had passed away in her sleep. She has a lifelong relationship with Sheriff Alonzo Goodman and he knows she has a keen sense of observation and she doesn’t believe her death was due to natural causes so he allows her to check out Emily’s bedroom to see if she notices anything unusual. From the minute she walks into the room she sees many things that don’t make sense. She knows someone killed Emily and she is going to prove it,


Frankie and her BFF Carmen own and operate Bubble and Bake, a bakery during the day, and a wine bar at night. Right now they have the extra help from Carmen’s mother, Tia Pepita, and Frankie’s Aunt Cece. Cece arrived with a lot of luggage saying “I want to see Wisconsin one last time before I die.” Tia plans to stay with Carmen and Ryan to participate in a three month clinical trial at the UW – Madison Hospital Eye Research Unit.  These ladies bring so much to the story and their antics are hilarious.

Frankie has her hands full with the bakery and the vineyard and still holds the dream of being a news reporter. Working with Emily Spurgeon added more to Frankie’s plate but she really enjoyed the time they spent together. Now she is determined to find out who robbed the woman of the last years of her life. Good thing Carmen is on the ball and can take on things Frankie has to let slide while she investigates. Emily Spurgeon was a wonderful character. She had so much depth and had a wealth of knowledge about the history of the quarry and its employees. Her heart was in the right place as she tried to right the wrongs of the past. We didn’t get to know her long but like Frankie, I was invested in her well-being and heartbroken when she died.  We also meet a long-lost family member of Emily’s. The woman was the complete opposite of Emily.

The author has written a complex mystery and drops clues in an intriguing way. I will say I missed a few along the way that probably would have helped me solve the mystery sooner but I did pick up some great clues that at least had me looking in the right direction. I enjoyed the way Frankie worked to solve the crime. No matter what she was doing the case was on her mind and even with several twists, she didn’t lose her focus.

What I really liked about this book and the one prior is the way Ms. Ribar highlights Wisconsin. I love seeing places I know visited within the book. Frankie, Garrett, Lon, Jovie, Carmen, and Ryan plan to have a triple date at Feil’s Supper Club. The restaurant has been there forever and I remember going there with my parents and later and still with my husband. The food there is awesome, they have several Bavarian specials, Sunday Brunch, and Friday Fish Fry. My go-to is Herb’s Special – “sirloin steak topped with a MOUNTAIN of Feil’s famous onion rings”. Just reading about it in this book had my mouth watering and wanting to make a reservation. The author also highlights many other places too. I do wish the Bubble and Bake was a real establishment because the descriptions of the food and wine tell me the place would be right up my alley.

Deep Bitter Roots has a large wonderful cast and it was fun following them through everything they do. I enjoyed my visit to Deep Lakes and look forward to returning soon. I will be reading and reviewing Deep Green Envy next month and hope to read Deep Flakes Christmas during the holiday season.


Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author (from Amazon)

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

WebsiteFacebookInstagram 


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

Posted in 2021 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading 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 – Ukulele Murder: A Nani Johnson Aloha Lagoon Mystery by Leslie Langtry #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.


Ukulele Murder: A Nani Johnson Aloha Lagoon Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Hawaii
Gemma Halliday Publishing (June 30, 2016)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 224 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1533594740
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1533594747
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B01HU7401A

Nani Johnson thought she had it made when she moved from Kansas to the resort town of Aloha Lagoon, Kauai. In spite of her certifiably crazy mom, Nani is determined that nothing will stop her from becoming a ukulele virtuoso! Unfortunately, her Julliard training doesn’t help her break into the local music scene due to some heavy competition from the Terrible Trio—three hostile, local musicians. The only work she finds is a few bar mitzvahs and gigs at the kitschy Blue Hawaii Wedding Chapel.

But when one of Nani’s competitors drops dead right after a public feud, Nani becomes the police’s main suspect. A missing murder weapon, mysterious threats, and a heck of a frame-up job all have Nani worrying she’ll be trading in her flowery muumuus for prison orange. Enter hunky local botanist Nick Woodfield, who just might be able to help her clear her name…that is if he doesn’t have secrets of his own. With the bodies stacking up, the danger closing in, and the authorities circling, Nani must track down a killer…before she ends up the latest victim of the Ukulele Murderer!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Welcome to Aloha Lagoon, Kauai. Nani Johnson and her “crazy” mother have recently moved here from Kansas and Nani’s dream is to be a ukulele virtuoso. Being a graduate of Julliard means nothing here and she has some stiff competition in the Terrible Trio, 3 local ukelele masters. Needing a job she plays her ukelele at the Blue Hawaii Wedding Chapel and picks up any other gigs she can like birthday parties and bar mitzvahs.

When one of the Terrible Trio is killed Nani becomes the main suspect under the theory that killing them would enable her to get more high-profile jobs. When she learns one of her ukeleles is missing and it could very well be the murder weapon she realizes someone is setting her up just when her personal life seemed to be looking up. One of her mother’s fix-ups actually brought a great guy into her life. She is surprised when he actually wants to help her clear her name. Is this local botanist too good to be true? He seems to have some secrets of his own.

When another virtuoso is killed Nani starts to fear she may be next or sent to prison for crimes she didn’t commit. She has no choice but to hunt down the killer herself and hope she lives long enough to play her beloved ukelele again.


I needed to read a light fun cozy mystery and this book delivered that nicely.

I really enjoyed meeting Nani and her mother with her silly decorating themes. She does drink to excess and does depend heavily on Nani. In fact, she planned a dinner party with a new friend and her son and failed to tell Nani until the last minute which meant Nani getting dinner from a nearby restaurant and plating it up as if she had prepared it herself. She did forgive her mother this time because she and Nick really hit it off.

Nick is a botanist working at a local resort in charge of their grounds and gardens. His family is very well-known on the island and Nani is surprised his mother is so down to earth and befriended her mother.

Nani does have a lot of stacked against her, first, she is not Hawaiian and she didn’t even grow up on the islands. Then she has the competition of Alohalani, Kua, and Leilani, the Terrible Trio who tolerate her presence but would be happy if she just went away. Thankfully, other natives and locals have welcomed her with open arms, In fact, her best friend Binny comes from generations of Hawaiians and has her back whenever needed. Like clearing her of a murder charge. All the characters feel true to life and genuine. The supporting cast all had meaningful parts in the story and were very well crafted.

The author’s descriptive writing style taken readers to the island with ease. Everywhere the characters traveled was easy to see in my mind’s eye from Nani’s home to the palatial Woodfield estate and the Blue Hawaiian Wedding Chapel.  It was a nice virtual vacay to a place I would love to visit. It is high up on my bucket list.

The mystery was well plotted but I pinned the guilty party pretty early in the story and my selection was reinforced in several places as the book continued. It was fun watching Nani, Nick, and Binny follow the clues. The inept police detective was frustrating as he tried to make the case fit his assumption instead of doing any real investigating but that is part of what makes cozy mystery stories so entertaining to read.

Ukulele Murder is part of a long-running series written by several authors. Leslie Langtry has started this series out wonderfully and I look forward to reading more books in the series. I see we can revisit Nani, her mom, and Nick again in Ukelele Deadly, the 7th book in the series.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Leslie Langtry is the USA Today bestselling author of the Greatest Hits Mysteries, the Merry Wrath Mysteries, Sex, Lies, & Family Vacations, and several books she hasn’t finished yet, because she’s very lazy. Leslie loves puppies and cake (but she will not share her cake with puppies) and lives with her family and assorted animals in the Midwest.
The Aloha Lagoon Mysteries:

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

Posted in 2021 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – Doggone Dead (The 2 Sisters Pet Valet Mysteries) by Dane McCaslin #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.

Doggone Dead (The 2 Sisters Pet Valet Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Oregon
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Lyrical Underground (August 25, 2020)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 183 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 151611017X
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1516110179
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B07ZPL51NL

Retired high school teacher Gwen Franklin has a new pet valet business with her BFF, and a whole new leash on life. But a killer is about to come sniffing around . . .

Gwen Franklin is looking forward to spending her retirement drinking her favorite coffee and reading mystery novels. Those peaceful plans are brought to heel by her best friend, Nora. Sporting stiletto heels, leggings, and a “more is better” makeup routine, fifty-something Nora Goldstein has a penchant for marrying—and divorcing—rich men. Now that Gwen’s got free time, Nora figures they should start a dog-walking and pet-sitting service together.

But it’s far from a walk in the park when the corpse of Linda Fletcher is found in Nora’s kitchen. Linda was Nora’s nemesis, and the large knife protruding from her chest points to murder. With no doubt that her bestie’s being framed, Gwen puts her sleuthing skills—acquired from reading every Agatha Christie mystery—to the test as she digs through suspects, including four disgruntled ex-husbands, ten greedy ex-stepchildren, not to mention all her exes’ exes. But with death threats and another body surfacing, can Gwen curb a killer before her own (dog) days come to an end?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Gwen Franklin has retired from teaching and is looking forward to sleeping in and relaxing with some good mystery books and her favorite cup of coffee. But her best friend Nora Goldstein has other ideas. She calls and wakes Gwen up early with another harebrained scheme. She has summoned Gwen to The Friendly Bean to tell her all about it.

Nora has decided Gwen now has plenty of time on her hands so it is the perfect time for the two women to go into business together and her big idea is a pet-setting service that includes dog walking. She is excited about all the money they will be raking in even though Nora already has her own fortune collected from the several exes she has left behind. Gwen has to be careful, she can only earn so much money before it affects her pension and she is severely allergic to animals including dogs. But Nora doesn’t seem to care, they head back to Nora’s condo to firm up the details to promote the new business over a cup of tea.

But their plans are going to have to wait. The dead body of Nora’s neighbor and arch enemy Linda Fletcher is lying in a pool of blood on Nora’s kitchen floor with a knife protruding from her chest. Gwen knows her friend is pushy and can be overbearing but she wouldn’t kill someone, especially in her immaculate kitchen. Also, her reaction is not an act, her face goes pale and she is trembling like a leaf. That means someone is trying to frame her for the crime.

Nora’s extended family starts dropping in thinking Nora was the one killed and being sadly disappointed. Some are quickly dealt with but most want to know what they will inherit when Nora does kick the bucket and if there was any way they could get their inheritance now.

Gwen knows her retirement is going to include some amateur sleuthing to clear her friend. Sleuthing that could make her the killer’s next victim.


I really didn’t like Nora. A best friend would have allowed her friend to at least enjoy being retired for a few days. Plus she comes across as a very entitled woman with more money than sense. She is rude to everyone including Gwen. She has been married and divorced several times and comes out richer after each relationship. She also dresses like a 20-year old on high stiletto heels and wears make-up applied with a trowel instead of a gentle hand. But Gwen has known her since childhood and has stood by her and has let her bowl over her for years. I would expect a retired school teacher who has dealt with a room full of children would have more backbone.

We also meet Brent, a former student of Gwen’s who was a crazy uber driver.  They hire him to do most of the work for Nora’s new business scheme. The ladies try to do some pet sitting themselves but it doesn’t go well. It is kinda comical though.

The mystery does have several suspects but it is overshadowed by the craziness of the pet sitting business and all the stepchildren coming to call. The clues to the mystery are dropped haphazardly through the story until the big reveal of the killer. I am happy to say I did have the culprit as number one on my suspect list but I need more of the motive explained which happened at the end.

I did enjoy the ending very much with the two main characters in a happy place in very different ways. Gwen had some redeeming qualities that won me over but the verdict is still out on Nora.

Doggone Dead is an interesting start for this series. There are some very quirky characters and some endearing pets. There was a lot of madcap comedy which I really enjoyed. I would have liked a stronger mystery but for the first book in a series, the author did a great job of introducing the characters. I am looking forward to seeing what hijinks they get up to next.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Dana McCaslin

McCaslin began a life-long love of mysteries at a very young age. She bypassed Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden and went straight for Agatha Christie, thanks to her mother’s library books. Dane is retired from a twenty-plus-year career in teaching high school and college English, and she uses her newfound freedom to read for pleasure, write mysteries, and smell the roses.

Author Links

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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.
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Contest Will End September 17, 2021, at 11:59 PM CST
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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 2021 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 – Chili to Die For (A Willow Crier Cozy Mystery) by Lilly York

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.


Chili to Die For (A Willow Crier Cozy Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Oklahoma
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Wide Awake Books (November 18, 2015)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 152 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0692583289
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0692583289
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0186KVBIK

A northerner by birth…

Willow moves south when she inherits her grandfather’s ice cream shop.

From the slow southern dialect to the crazy drivers, Willow finds herself at odds with what most call “southern charm.” She becomes obsessed with cook-offs and bake-offs, wanting those trophies for her mantle. With the chili cook-off just around the corner, Willow manages to provoke one of the judges to a fit of road rage.

When that judge ends up face down, dead, in a bowl of Willow’s chili, police chief Grice looks to the newest town resident as his number one suspect. Willow must find out who wanted Ms. Delonda Posey dead before the good citizens of Turtle, OK run her Yankee bottom out of town.

*Contains NO swearing, sex scenes (maybe a kiss or two), or graphic violence

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I purchased this book because it was set in Oklahoma, a state I needed to fill for my Literary Escapes Challenge.

Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweeping down the plain, and Willow Crier comes when she inherits her grandfather’s ice cream shop. She also enters cook-offs with a pure drive to win. But the latest chili cook-off comes with a huge hitch. Willow has met one of the judges and that meeting did not end well. When that judge falls dead face down in Willows chili she becomes the police chief’s prime suspect. She becomes close to the chief as she strives to find more viable suspects.


I did not like the way this story began. No introduction, readers just drop in with Willow in an argument with another driver that quickly escalates and is recorded by others and appears on social media. Willow is not alone in her vehicle, a woman who we later learn is her daughter is also a witness to this bit of road rage. This intro leads up to an event in chapter two. Maybe had I had access to the prequel before I read this story instead of after I would have known the main players. I do blame the novella-length for the author not providing a better introduction of her protagonist.

Also due to the shorter length, Willow is quickly cleared of any wrong doing to set up a very friendly relationship with the police chief. We do get to know the characters a little better but I would have appreciated more of a backstory for Willow. There are also several other characters we get to meet as Willow ferrets out the real killer but not to the depth I would like.

What I really liked about this story was the relationship that was built between the Turtle police chief Steve Grier and Willow. He decided she needed a watch dog and knew just where to get her the perfect puppy and it also opened a way for her to meet more of his family. Then together they worked on finding the killer. It turns out the victim has plenty of enemies but I did tag someone quickly for the crime.

This book sorely needed better character development and the mystery was an easy solve but this series does show some promise. I do want to get to know these characters and see where Ms. York takes them.

Chili to Die For was a Satisfactory Excursion. The author did write 6 books in this series so I hope she adjusted to the novella length and provides more details about her characters and stronger mysteries.

 

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Lilly York? How about Lilly Belle; a mis-plant northerner, living in a southern world. Southern charm is lost among late nights with a two-year-old granddaughter, heat flashes competing with hell, copious re-runs of Murder She Wrote with Jessica Fletcher catching the bad guy and a vivid imagination keeping insanity at bay.

In both humor and mystery, Lilly draws inspiration from terrible twos, a 24-year-old daughter who questions her sanity, a son who constantly spews bad puns, and a husband who has selective hearing. Though, that’s perfectly alright with her, because what can you love more than a good laugh and a family so dysfunctional they almost seem functional?

Website

I am giving away 1 Kindle copy!
The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old

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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.

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Contest Will End September 3, 2021, at 11:59 PM CST
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This book is from my private collection. Amazon Purchase.