Feb 162019
 


I am pleased to shine the spotlight on David Swinson’s new Frank Marr Thriller today. 


Trigger (A Frank Marr Novel)
by David Swinson

About the Book

Trigger (A Frank Marr Novel)
Suspense/Thriller/ Private Investigator
3rd in Series
Mulholland Books (February 12, 2019)
Hardcover: 352 pages
ISBN-10: 0316264253
ISBN-13: 978-0316264259
Digital ASIN: B07DHKJ59Z

Frank Marr was a good cop, until his burgeoning addictions to alcohol and cocaine forced him into retirement from the D.C. Metro police. Now, he’s barely eking out a living as a private investigator for a defense attorney–also Frank’s ex-girlfriend.

Ostracized by his family after a botched case that led to the death of his baby cousin, Jeffrey, Frank was on a collision course with rock bottom. Now clean and clinging hard to sobriety, Frank passes the time–and tests himself–by robbing the houses of local dealers, taking their cash and flushing their drugs down the toilet. When an old friend from his police days needs Frank’s help to prove he didn’t shoot an unarmed civilian, Frank is drawn back into the world of dirty cops and suspicious drug busts, running in the same circles that enabled his addiction those years ago.

Never one to play by the rules, Frank recruits a young man he nearly executed years before. Together–a good man trying not to go bad and a bad man trying to do good–detective and criminal charge headfirst into the D.C. drug wars. Neither may make it out.

Praise for Trigger (A Frank Marr Novel)
by David Swinson

If this series had been set in Scotland instead of in D.C., I would compare it to the crime noir fiction of Stuart MacBride. That gives you the impression of what kind of full-bore noir author David Swinson delivers.
~Mallory Heart’s Cozies

Fast-paced and tense, this book ended up being a quick read for me. Fans of police procedurals and old noir novels should love this series.
~The Book’s the Thing

About the Author

David Swinson is a retired police detective, having served 16 years with the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department. He is the author of two previous novels featuring Frank Marr: The Second Girl and Crime Song. Swinson currently lives in Northern Virginia with his wife, daughter, bull mastiff, and bearded dragon.

Author Links – Website Twitter – Facebook –  GoodReads

Purchase Links – AmazonB&NKoboGoogle PlayIndieBound 

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS
February 11 – I’m Into Books – SPOTLIGHT
February 11 – Laura`s Interests – SPOTLIGHT
February 12 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
February 12 – Mysteries with Character – SPOTLIGHT
February 13 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW
February 14 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT
February 15 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW
February 16 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
February 17 – That’s What She’s Reading – REVIEW
February 18 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
February 19 – A Blue Million Books – SPOTLIGHT
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Feb 152019
 

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


The Killing at Kaldaire House

(The Milliner Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
New Series
Setting – England
Self-Published
Release Date – April 2, 2018
Paperback: 318 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0997663716
Digital ASIN: B079ZBJ935

A dying man. The painting within her reach. What’s a thief to do?

Talented London milliner Emily Gates creates amazing hats for Society ladies, but to collect from those who don’t pay her bill, she burglarizes their homes. She needs every penny to send her deaf brother to school. Late one night, she sneaks in to find Lord Kaldaire badly injured in his study. Unwilling to abandon him, she calls for help.

When Kaldaire dies without revealing who attacked him, his widow agrees to keep Emily’s secrets ― if Emily will help find her husband’s killer. A bigger danger is a Scotland Yard inspector who threatens to arrest Emily — unless she spies on her father’s family of swindlers and conmen. Worst of all are the attacks from an unknown assailant. What will Emily face first, jail or death?

This cozy mystery is set in the era of My Fair Lady and Mary Poppins, of early automobiles and aeroplanes, and of King Edward VII and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. If you enjoyed the Victorian Bookshop Mysteries, you’ll like Emily Gates and the collection of aristocrats and thieves in her world as they step into the 20th century.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Emily Gates learned to make fabulous hats as a girl from her Mum and she is now a top London milliner in London. Her hats are in demand by all the Society Ladies and she does enjoy running her shop with her uncle and her deaf brother. She is not happy when the ladies or their husbands fail to pay her for her work. She has learned a few tricks from the shadier side of her family and is not beyond burglarizing their homes and holding their prized possessions hostage until her bill is paid.

She has made some beautiful hats for Lady Kaldaire but Lord Kaldaire has not paid her. She knows there is a painting that hangs in his study that he holds very dear. She decides to sneak in late one night to abscond with the portrait but instead finds Lord Kildaire on the floor. When he moans she realizes he is still alive and she has to call for help. Unfortunately, his injuries were severe and he dies before naming his attacker. Emily gains the trust of Lady Kaldaire who vows to keep the break in a secret if Emily agrees to find the killer. That isn’t going to be easy especially with an inspector from Scotland on her tail with some demands of his own.

I am a big fan of Kate Parker. I have enjoyed both her Victorian Bookshop Mysteries and her Deadly Series, So I escaped right into this story and was taken back in time with Emily Gates. A commoner who is drawn into the world of Ladies and Lords, Princes and Princesses. To help Lady Kaldaire gets the answers she needs Emily finds herself rubbing elbows with the elite, riding in motorcars, and attending parties. Detective Inspector Russell knows her truth as well and thinks she may be working with her father and his family. The family he believes are responsible for many of the thefts on his docket.

Ms. Parker’s characters are quite dynamic. Very fleshed out with vivid detail. The clothing and especially the hats are thoroughly described as are the estates, Emily’s shop, home, and workshop, and the automobiles including the dusty roads they travel on. I could picture every place and person perfectly. Emily is a very strong independent woman, but she did bend to Lady Kaldaire’s elaborate schemes sometimes to her own peril. I enjoyed their interactions though very much. I also find Emily’s dedication to caring for her deaf brother heartwarming. Her main goal is to have enough money to send him to a special school and that is what drives her through the story.

The mystery is a bugger to solve. Emily finds herself going to her grandfather for help, something she has shunned before. She feels she is in danger of losing her business if she can’t put all the pieces together and find the killer all while trying to stay out of her family’s shenanigans. She literally travels far and wide to get answers.

As stated in the synopsis this story does have a My Fair Lady mashed with a little Mary Poppins with a dash of Sherlock Holmes feel. The author has great world building skills and has created very memorable characters.  I found the story to be delightfully entertaining and a perfect escape.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kate Parker has wanted to travel to 1930s England since she read her mother’s Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers mysteries when she was a schoolgirl. After many years of studying science, she decided a time travel machine was out of the question so she found herself limited to reading about the period and visiting historic sites. Her love of this fascinating and challenging period led her to the research from which the Deadly series grew. Eventually, she found it necessary to spend several days in the British Library reading old newspapers, which meant another trip to England. Near Christmas. A sacrifice she’d gladly make every year.

Author Links:

Website     Facebook    Twitter    Goodreads

Purchase Links – Amazon Kindle   Amazon Paperback  B&N    Kobo  BookBub


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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.”

Feb 132019
 

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

V.M. Burns has become one of my favorite authors.
I am so excited to share with you this second Dog Club Mystery today
as part of her Great Escapes Tour!

 

About the Book


The Puppy Who Knew Too Much (A Dog Club Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Lyrical Underground (February 12, 2019)
Paperback: 190 pages
ISBN-10: 1516107918
ISBN-13: 978-1516107919
Digital ASIN: B07D233MVK

Lilly Echosby and her toy poodle Aggie find a fresh start in Chattanooga, Tennessee, spoiled by the scent of murder . . .

Having solved the shooting death of her cheating husband, Lilly’s left behind the drama of Lighthouse Dunes, Indiana, to start over in the hometown of her best friend, Scarlett “Dixie” Jefferson. As she gets settled in her new rented house, Lilly gives Aggie, short for Agatha Christie, her own fresh start by enrolling her in the Eastern Tennessee Dog Club, where Dixie is a trainer.

But drama seems to hound Lilly like a persistent stray. Her cranky new neighbor appears unfamiliar with Southern hospitality and complains that Aggie barks too much and digs up his prized tulips. But what the poodle actually unearths is the buried body of a mysterious man who claimed ownership of the lost golden retriever Lilly recently rescued. Now it’s up to Lilly and Dixie to try to muzzle another murderer . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Lilly Echosby has left Indiana behind and followed her best friend Scarlett “Dixie” Jefferson to Tennessee. It took a while but a chance encounter helped Lilly finds not only a job but a house to rent that was in her budget and allowed her adorable toy poodle, Aggie. She is excited her daughter Stephanie is coming to visit to help her get settled. Lilly finds it refreshing how friendly everyone is until she meets her new neighbor. He is not happy about having another dog in the neighborhood. Her daughter also falls hard for a golden retriever found under Lilly’s deck. After rushing it to the vet and getting its injuries cared for she declares she won’t be giving it up without a fight.

When dear sweet Aggie digs up a body instead of a bone the neighbor is apoplectic and Lilly finds herself back on a suspect list. Stephanie calls in the cavalry, aka Joe, her new boyfriend, the one that helped clear her mom in Lighthouse Dunes. He, in turn, calls in a friend and they along with Dixie are all determined to find the real killer, especially after another body is found.

First, the cover is a little deceiving. The two standard poodles owned by Dixie and Lilly’s Aggie return in this story where they all make a new friend. Aggie does start obedience classes with Dixie where a variety of dogs come together.

Lilly can’t catch a break but she has the perseverance to keep moving forward. New house, new job, new people in her life, and another murderer on the loose. She quickly finds new friends at her job and they are so supportive. I loved her new boss, Linda Kay, and love that we have something in common. The author does such an excellent job with all the characters. They have depth and something about them that draws the reader in and pushes us to want to know them better. Even the cantankerous neighbor and the man that used to have Lilly’s job.

Moving Lilly to Tennessee adds a very interesting twist. She was used to the flatlands of Indiana and Dixie lives on a mountain top with a fantastic view. The road to get there was winding and narrow and made Lily very nervous with its huge dropoffs. She is also very unfamiliar with the area and dependent on her GPS. Each place was nicely described as we readers saw it through Lilly’s eyes for the first time right along with her.

The mystery was not easy to solve with the requisite twists and turns. What I love and what makes this story unique in the part the canines play in solving it all. The motives were very unclear and the clues weren’t falling into place either until the wonderful, surprising, and exciting ending.

Well-plotted and written this story was hard to put down. A complex mystery with its share of Southern charm and humor. Right in Chapter 1 Lilly experiences her first “Bless Your Heart” which she learned was “Southern-speak for “You’re an idiot.” I really enjoy the way V.M. Burns tells a story. The care she takes with her characters is commendable and her love of dogs glows within the pages.

I highly recommend this series. I can’t wait for book #3!

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Check out my review of In The Dog House here.

 

About the Author

V.M. Burns was born in Northwestern Indiana and spent many years in Southwestern Michigan on the Lake Michigan shoreline. She is a lover of dogs, British historic cozies, and scones with clotted cream. After many years in the Midwest, she went in search of milder winters and currently lives in Eastern Tennessee with her poodles. Her debut novel, The Plot is Murder was nominated for a 2017 Agatha Award for Best First Novel. Valerie is a member of Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and a lifetime member of  Sisters in Crime. Readers can learn more by visiting her website at vmburns.com

Author Links:  Website   Facebook  Twitter:  @vmburns

Purchase Links – Amazon –  Barnes & Noble – IndieBound:  – Books-A-Million – Kobo


Also by V.M. Burns

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS
February 11 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW
February 11 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT
February 12 – Mythical Books – GUEST POST
February 13 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
February 13 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT
February 14 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW
February 15 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW
February 15 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – GUEST POST
February 16 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
February 17 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
February 18 – Carla Loves to Read – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
February 19 – FUONLYKNEW – REVIEW
February 19 – Reading Is My SuperPower – GUEST POST
February 20 – Jane Reads – GUEST POST
February 20 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT  
February 21 – RUFF DRAFTS – GUEST POST  
February 21 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
February 22 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
February 22 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
February 23 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
February 24 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW

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

Feb 122019
 


Past Due for Murder:
A Blue Ridge Library Mystery
by Victoria Gilbert

About the Book 


Past Due for Murder: A Blue Ridge Library Mystery
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Virginia
Crooked Lane Books (February 12, 2019)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1683318749
ISBN-13: 978-1683318743
Digital ASIN: B07D2GYM25

Has a curse fallen on the small town of Taylorsford, Virginia? After a young woman goes missing during a spring bonfire, library director Amy Webber must wade through the web of lies only to find a truth that she may not want to untangle.

Spring has sprung in quaint Taylorsford, Virginia, and the mayor has revived the town’s long-defunct May Day celebration to boost tourism. As part of the festivities, library director Amy Webber is helping to organize a research project and presentation by a local folklore expert. All seems well at first—but spring takes on a sudden chill when a university student inexplicably vanishes during a bonfire.

The local police cast a wide net to find the missing woman, but in a shocking turn of events, Amy’s swoon-worthy neighbor Richard Muir becomes a person of interest in the case. Not only is Richard the woman’s dance instructor, he also doesn’t have an alibi for the night the student vanished—or at least not one he’ll divulge, even to Amy.

When the missing student is finally discovered lost in the mountains, with no memory of recent events—and a dead body lying nearby—an already disturbing mystery takes on a sinister new hue. Blessed with her innate curiosity and a librarian’s gift for research, Amy may be the only one who can learn the truth.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Past Due for Murder takes us to Taylorsford, Virginia just in time for Spring and the town’s May Day celebration. Our protagonist Amy Webber has opened up the library archives for a professor and her students to research the local folklore. The will be making a presentation at the celebration. One of these students disappears during a bonfire event and police have organized a search. They also question the man in Amy’s life, Richard Muir. He was the woman’s dance instructor and may have been the last person to see her before she went missing. The student is later found, next to a dead body. She is dazed and confused. Amy has been trying to use her talents first to find the student and now the murderer. She meets an elderly woman with stories to tell of the area that just may point her in the direction of the killer. It also could make her their next victim.

Ms. Gilbert has written a story that links the present to the past in a very interesting way. The area folklore includes a story of two missing women, but what parts of the story are true and which are pure fabrication and how does it pertain to the current event of a missing woman and a murder? It is a twisted journey that captivated me right away.

I loved the way the author brought in a woman who is basically a hermit now. I found this woman to be genuine and heartwarming. Having Amy visit to record her stories for the library’s archives was a brilliant idea. Many towns and libraries are doing this now. It makes me wish I had done the same with my parents and grandparents. Our history, our stories, fade due to poor memories and these records would be priceless. If these options are available to you jump on them while you can.

The author also brings a man into the story, a neighbor to the woman, also someone who shuns society for his own reasons. He has a wonderful gift that he has mostly kept to himself but could he be a murderer?

Sticking with new characters, Richard’s parents come to visit and it was quite the experience. No spoiler here, but answers to some of the questions I had about the man are answered.

With great characters and plenty of twists and turns, this story takes us on quite a ride. The blend of folklore with a smidgen of fairies and magic was a delight. The ending was an ultimate surprise. This story is a wonderful addition to this series!

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Read my review of Murder for the Books here.

Read my review of Shelved Under Murder here.

About  the Author

Raised in a historic small town in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Victoria Gilbert turned her early obsession with books into a dual career as an author and librarian.

Victoria’s first cozy mystery series, the Blue Ridge Library Mystery series, garnered her a three-book deal with Crooked Lane Books, which has since been expanded to five books. The first two books in the series have been optioned by Sony Pictures Television, and the first three were or will be produced in audiobook by Tantor Media.

Victoria also just inked a 2-book deal with Crooked Lane for a new cozy series, the Booklovers B & B series, set in historic Beaufort, NC.

A member of Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and Sisters in Crime, Victoria is represented by Frances Black at Literary Counsel.

Author Links:

Website/blog   Facebook author page    Twitter   Goodreads   Instagram 

Purchase Links:

Amazon     B&N    Kobo    Indie Bound   GooglePlay

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS
February 11 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW
February 11 – Jane Reads – GUEST POST
February 11 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT  
February 12 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
February 12 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW
February 12 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT
February 13 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW
February 13 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT
February 13 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
February 14 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
February 14 – Rae’s Books and Recipes – SPOTLIGHT
February 14 – The Montana Bookaholic – SPOTLIGHT
February 15 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
February 15 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW
February 15 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
February 16 – Laura`s Interests – REVIEW
February 16 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
February 16 – That’s What She’s Reading – REVIEW
February 17 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
February 17 – Curling Up by the Fire – REVIEW
February 18 – The Bookwyrm’s Hoard – REVIEW, GUEST POST
February 18 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
February 19 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW
February 19 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
February 20 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
February 20 – Here’s How It Happened – SPOTLIGHT
February 21 – View from the Birdhouse – REVIEW
February 21 – The Book Diva’s Reads – CHARACTER GUEST POST
February 22 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW
February 22 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT

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

Feb 092019
 


Running from Arrows
(A Running Store Mystery)
by T.C. Wescott

I am excited to shine the spotlight on this new book from
T.C. Wescott today!

 

About the Book


Running from Arrows (A Running Store Mystery)
Cozy Mystery/Romance/Humor
2nd in Series
Better Mousetrap Books (January 7, 2019)
Print Length: 192 pages
Digital ASIN: B07KDYFYKB

One of Lacy’s beaus has a bow. Unlike Cupid, his arrows kill. There’s more than romance in the air this Valentine’s Day!

Running from Arrows is the fun, twist-filled, romantic cozy mystery romp you’ve been waiting for!

Valentine’s Day is coming up and Lacy is single. If that’s not bad enough, she has a secret admirer. Is it the compassionate, haunted detective, the ruggedly handsome businessman, the suave maître de, the guy in her running group who likes to stare, or maybe someone who’s not on her radar? She’ll find out soon enough because he’s invited her to dinner. Now the question isn’t how long Lacy will remain single but how long she’ll remain alive.

During the Sweetheart Run through the town of Cedar Mill a fellow runner is murdered and a notorious burglar called the Black Cat is found dead with an arrow sticking out of him. Somehow these strange murders are connected to the ladies of Run For It – Lacy the divorcee, Stax the quirky bookseller, and Ruby the old-time mystery novelist. They’re back in a race against time to catch an invisible killer and exonerate an innocent man!

If you love a delicious mystery dripping with romance, humor, and chills – and a Valentine’s Day dinner no reader will ever forget – then buy Running from Arrows now and run it right to the top of your TBR pile!

You’ll want to tell all your friends about Running from Arrows, but whatever you do, DON’T TELL THE SECRET OF THE SECRET ADMIRER.

Running from Arrows is part two in a series but can be read as a stand-alone.

Praise for Running from Arrows
(A Running Store Mystery)
by T.C. Wescott

This book had several different components. Of course, the mystery…However, there was romance in the air too. The two balanced each other out perfectly. I also loved that it was a very modern mystery, yet had shades of Agatha Christie, with Ruby taking the lead. This was a great read perfect for Valentine’s Day!
~Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews

About the Author

T.C. Wescott was born in Missouri but has lived in Oklahoma most of his life. Like pretty much every author who has ever breathed, he is an avid reader. His favorites are classic mysteries from the Golden Age, as well as just before or just after that period (which is widely considered the period between the two World Wars). His first mystery novel, Running from Scissors, was published in July 2018 and will be the first of at least three books in the Running Store Mystery series.

The Christmas Village Mystery series was launched in November with the debut title Slay Bells. The formula for his books is simple – mixing the classic, traditional detective fiction standards with all the trappings of the modern cozy mystery.

Wescott is also (under another name) the author of two award-winning non-fiction books as well as a slew of essays and articles.

Purchase Link – Amazon

Also by this author:

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS
February 6 – Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews – REVIEW
February 6 – Mythical Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
February 7 – MJB Reviewers – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
February 8 – Readeropolis – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
February 9 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW
February 9 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT
February 10 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
February 11 – Laura`s Interests – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
February 12 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – GUEST POST
February 13 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST
February 13 – The Book Decoder – SPOTLIGHT
February 14 – Mysteries with Character – GUEST POST
February 14 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT
February 15 – The Book Decoder – REVIEW
February 15 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT
February 16 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
February 17 – Cozy Up With Kathy – CHARACTER GUEST POST
February 18 – Here’s How It Happened – REVIEW  
February 19 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

 

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Feb 082019
 

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.

Technically, this book was released last year but it was not screaming at me from my TBR shelf. It was screaming at me from Amazon and then my email inbox. The author had sent me a copy for review and I couldn’t get it to load on my Kindle. We recently straightened that out and I wanted to read/review it asap so I scheduled it for today.  😉


A Stew to a Kill (A Callie’s Kitchen Cozy Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Setting – Wisconsin
Independently published (October 11, 2018)
Paperback: 267 pages
ISBN-10: 1724191233
ISBN-13: 978-1724191236
Kindle ASIN: B07H74PRZX

The Halloween season is serving up more tricks than treats for thirty-something Greek-American foodie and business owner Calliope “Callie” Costas.

When a new employee at a neighboring business, Tea for Two, is found dead, Callie is drawn into a murky brew of motives and murder suspects. It turns out that the seemingly mild-mannered victim might have a few skeletons in his closet. What’s more, the timing of the murder, just a day before Crystal Bay’s first annual Halloween Walk, has threatened to derail the town’s festive fall events, including a Halloween Gala benefiting the local food pantry, one of Callie’s favorite causes.

Callie’s already full plate is set to overflowing with the return of an old boyfriend who has his eye on developing a mall that will compete with and possibly destroy Crystal Bay’s small business scene. Could there be a tie between the mall and the murder?

Somebody has been stewing. Will Callie help find the unsavory killer before things reach the boiling point?

Includes delicious recipes from Callie’s Kitchen!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Plans are underway for Crystal Bay’s first Halloween Walk. All sorts of fun activities are planned and they will wrap up with a huge gala all to support the local food pantry. The shop owners are excited to participate and have placed unique skeletons in their businesses for a #selfie challenge for prizes to bring more customers in. Callie has her hands full with Callie’s Kitchen, but she is also helping with the gala. Having an ex-boyfriend show up touting the idea of a shopping mall on the outskirts of town is the last thing she needed. But the entire town is thrown for a loop when Henry, who works at Tea for Two across the street is murdered. The tragic death is sure to dampen the festivities especially when the police start looking at the shop owners as suspects. With Sands out of the country, Callie tries to stay out of the investigation but again finds herself right in the middle of another murder case.

This is another delightful cozy mystery from Jenny Kales.

Callie is on her own this time. Detective Sands is away, Sam is buried in work, Hugh and Raine are expecting a baby. Her father steps in to help with 11-year-old Olivia when needed, but he and his lady friend seem to be getting serious. The wonderful thing about these characters is that they are relatable and believable. The Greek heritage shines within the pages. I love the relationship Callie has with her dad and how she has taken what he started and ran with it.

The mystery was intriguing. Henry was a quiet man and no one knew much about his past. Callie’s ex Ben is in town pushing hard for a new mall that scares all the business owners. Can the murder and the mall be connected? When another person is attacked more questions arise? The officer in charge of the case has not impressed Callie or the other merchants. I understood Callie’s need to keep asking questions and was really surprised when the real culprit was revealed. Ms. Kales really twisted my thinking with some great red herrings.

Of course, I love the Wisconsin setting, and it is truly portrayed. All the nuances and places felt like home. The author really brings out the small town life of Crystal Bay.

The bonus is the authentic Greek recipes at the end of the story. My mouth was watering throughout the whole book. The stews, the cookies, everything made in Callie’s Kitchen sounded good to me.

A terrific addition to this series!

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About the Author

Sign up for a FREE author newsletter filled with author news like upcoming releases and author events, exclusive recipes, giveaways, price events, author interviews and more: http://tinyurl.com/huv5pof

Jenny Kales is the author of The Callie’s Kitchen Mystery Series, featuring Greek-American Calliope Costas, feisty food business owner and amateur sleuth, who lives in a scenic Wisconsin town with colorful characters — and a high murder rate! Each book contains several delicious recipes, both Greek and American.

ON THE CHOPPING BLOCK is the debut book in the series, followed by SPICED AND ICED (A Christmas cozy mystery), SECRETS AND PIES, and a NEW BOXED SET. The Callie’s Kitchen Cozy Mystery Series Boxed Set, which includes Books 1 – 3, is now available and free to read on Kindle Unlimited!

LATEST RELEASE: A STEW TO A KILL, Book 4 in the Callie’s Kitchen Mystery series! This Halloween mystery is available for the Kindle and in paperback.

Jenny is an avid reader, cook, and baker and she’s addicted to reading and mystery TV, especially anything on Masterpiece Mystery or Acorn TV. She lives just outside of Chicago with her husband, two daughters and one cute but demanding Yorkshire terrier. She’s hard at work on additional writing projects including more Callie’s Kitchen Mysteries and a new series.

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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.”

Feb 072019
 


Death by Committee (An Abby McCree Mystery)
by Alexis Morgan

 

About the Book


Death by Committee (An Abby McCree Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Kensington (January 29, 2019)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1496719530
ISBN-13: 978-1496719539
Digital ASIN: B07CWF6QBL

When Abby McCree suddenly inherits her favorite relative’s property in small town Snowberry Creek, Washington, she soon realizes that the ramshackle home comes with strings attached—one of which is tied to a dead body!

After a rough divorce, Abby McCree only wants to stitch up her life and move on. But other loose ends appear after her elderly Aunt Sybil passes away, leaving Abby to tend to a rundown estate, complete with a slobbery Mastiff of questionable pedigree and a sexy tenant who growls more than the dog. As Abby gets drawn into a tight-knit quilting guild, she makes a twisted discovery—Aunt Sybil’s only known rival is buried in her backyard!

Despite what local detectives say, Abby refuses to accept that her beloved aunt had anything to do with the murder. While navigating a busy social calendar and rediscovering the art of quilting, she launches an investigation of her own to clear Aunt Sybil’s name and catch the true culprit. The incriminating clues roll in, yet Abby can’t help but wonder—can she survive her new responsibilities in Snowberry Creek and still manage to patch together a killer’s deadly pattern without becoming the next victim?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Abby McCree hasn’t spent much time in Snowberry Creek, Washington of late but she remembers all the good times she had with her Aunt Sybil as a child. She especially remembers a quilt they were working on. Aunt Sybil finished it by herself as Abby’s visits became shorter and less frequent. Now her aunt has passed away and left her home to Abby and her aunt’s friends have already volunteered her to take over some of the committees Sybil was leading including the quilting guild.

Her aunt also left her a couple of other surprises. a bull mastiff named Zeke and a cantankerous but very easy on the eyes tenant named Tripp Blackston. Abby also uncovers another surprise among the blueberries, Dolly Cayhill’s body. Dolly was a snowbird who usually takes flight during the winter months, so sadly no one even knew the woman was unaccounted for. Dolly and Sybil were rivals in almost everything they did. Finding her body in Sybil’s yard wrapped in one of Sybil’s quilts lands Sybil square at the top of the suspect list. Abby believes there is no way her aunt could have committed such a heinous crime but the rumors are flying and evidence is stacking up. Is there any way to clear her aunt’s good name? There may be if she can live long enough to stitch all the clues together.

I like Abby McCree, but she needs to learn to say no! Those elderly ladies really ran roughshod over her. By the end of the story, she was getting her bearings and getting stronger, which I was very happy to see. Those ladies reminded me so much of some of the older ladies I have known in my life. A little pushy, but with huge hearts and kind souls. Tripp Blackstone, on the other hand, was a tough nut to crack, ex-military tough, and a little closed off. He starts to soften as he finds himself in the role of protector to Abby as digs into Dolly’s death and right into the line of fire. Tripp and Abby grow a lot for this being the first book in the series. I liked the way the author has started them on their journey. My favorite character of all was Zeke. A big dog who is a gentle giant, at least most of the time. The only time he leaves Abby’s side is when he is with Tripp. He is truly my kind of canine, even with all the drool 🙂

The plot was complex with two real mysteries. The first, the murder, had its share of suspects, but one after another are eliminated and Abby becomes a target. The second deals with 13 missing quilts the quilt had hoped to use for a calendar fundraiser. Given to a new member to photograph who then abruptly leaves town without returning the quilts or the pictures to the guild. As the new president of the guild, Abby tries her best to locate them. I used to love to quilt so this subplot really interested me.  The two mysteries mesh together so well. The story had some really exciting events and I was on the edge of my seat for the nail-biting ending.

Ms. Morgan has taken the time to fully describe each person and place so clearly that I could picture every element of the story. The people came alive. Abby’s home, the yard, the garage, and all the places around town were easily pictured in my mind. I was in each moment right along with Abby.

What I love most about this story was that it is written for the long haul of a series. The main characters evolved a great deal in this book but there is still so much to know about them. I am definitely invested in their lives and want to know more about them. The secondary characters are fun and entertaining too and have plenty of room to grow.

Ms. Morgan has sewn together a wonderful treat for her readers. Death by Committee was a perfect escape for me and I know fans of this genre will enjoy it too!

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About the Author

USA Today Best-selling author Alexis Morgan has always loved reading and now spends her days imagining worlds filled with strong alpha heroes and gutsy heroines. She is the author of over forty-five novels, novellas, and short stories that span a variety of genres: American West historicals (as Pat Pritchard); paranormal and fantasy romances; and contemporary romances. She is excited to say that next year will also see the release of her first cozy mystery series. Alexis has been nominated for several industry awards, including the RITA, the top award in the romance genre.

Author Links –

Website     Facebook Twitter    Blog  

Purchase Links –

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Praise for Death by Committee (An Abby McCree Mystery)
by Alexis Morgan

Death by Committee was a charming debut and I absolutely adored Abby and her trusty sidekick, Zeke,
~Moonlight Rendezvous

Death by Committee is a light-hearted cozy mystery with a charming Victorian home, a cute mastiff mix, beautifully crafted quilts, three busy older ladies and killer on the loose.
~The Avid Reader

With likable protagonist and support characters both, gentle humor, a precious dog, and even a little romance, this story has all that I look for in a tradition cozy and I enjoyed it very much.
~The Power of Words

I enjoyed Abby’s reflections on who might have wanted to kill Dolly. Her interactions are realistic and humourous.
~Nadaness In Motion

Wow, just wow! What an amazing start to a new series!
~The Montana Bookaholic

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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.”

Feb 062019
 

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am so excited to share this book with you today! It will be released on February 26! 


No Good Tea Goes Unpunished (Seaside Café Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – North Carolina
Sourcebooks Landmark (February 26, 2019)
Hardcover: 288 pages
ISBN-10: 1492671576
ISBN-13: 978-1492671572
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
ISBN-10: 1492664782
ISBN-13: 978-1492664789
Kindle ASIN: B07HJRTJ7Q

Don’t marry into murder…

Catering her childhood friend’s beachfront wedding was a dream come true for Everly Swan—and, with hundreds of guests in attendance, great exposure for her new iced tea shop and café. But when the well-to-do groom is found floating facedown in the surf, the locals of Charm, North Carolina, turn their suspicions to his new bride. Could she have been so desperate to lay her hands on his fortune that she arranged for his murder before they even set off on their honeymoon?

Everly knows her love-struck friend couldn’t be behind the murder, but with clues pointing in several directions, she can’t decide which wedding guest is the most likely culprit. Meanwhile, the frustratingly handsome Detective Hays has made it clear that Everly should stay out of the investigation altogether. But with a killer on the loose and a feeling that someone is watching her café very closely, Everly knows that if she can’t solve this murder soon, her cake might be iced for good.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Everly Swan is back and catering the wedding a wedding right outside her new tea shop on the beach. The party is off to a great start until the groom goes missing. He is found dead bobbing in the surf. The first suspect is the new bride, a childhood friend of Everly’s. The groom had a very successful business and now what was his is now hers. When his business partner is attacked she comes under greater scrutiny. Everly sees many other suspects on and off the guest list, but she soon becomes the target of the killer who is sending her clear messages to butt out or she could be next. Hunky Detective Hays begs her to leave the investigating to him as he does everything he can to keep her safe. She just can’t help herself though, it seems each glass of tea comes with a little bit of snooping until the killer gets too close.

Another fine story from Bree Baker.

We escape to Charm, North Carolina. A town that has completely charmed me with its beach, sand, sun, iced tea, a bookstore, little libraries, and delightful residents. Bree is finding her place back in town running her own business. Her aunts are right down the beach at the Blessed Bee honey shop. They have enlisted Bree’s help to make a honey education video for an online contest and they have some extreme plans for the 3-minute piece. (Seriously Laugh Out Loud Funny.) She also has a blast from her past in cowboy boots hot on her flip-flops. All that on top of the wedding reception she is in charge of already had her glass already full to the brim and now she has a murder to investigate and a killer on her tail.

This was such a fun read. I loved traveling along the beach with Everly either on a nice stroll or tooling around in her golf cart. She opens her home to her friend in her grief, but all of the wedding guests have been detained in Charm until the killer is caught. Everly’s iced tea shop becomes the place to gather which gives readers a chance to know the most important visitors better. The author does an excellent job of bringing these characters to life. I really identified with the groom’s mother as she deals with the loss of her son. Losing a child is so hard. I really liked her plans for the memorial service even though the city council would not approve them.

The story has a rapid pace and I was totally captivated from start to finish. I loved the way the story was told, mayhem and humor in the exact right amounts. Twists and turns lead to a very exciting conclusion.

Wonderful characters with great dialogue and a well-plotted mystery come together to give readers a splendid story to enjoy. Just like when I finished book 1, Live and Let Chai, I want more!! More Bree, more Aunt Clara, and Aunt Fran, more Detective Hays, and more of the charming life in Charm, North Carolina! I can’t wait for my next trip.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

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

Find out more on her website here. 


I am giving away my paperback review copy!

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with a US or Canadian mailing address.

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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.”

Feb 052019
 


The Novel Art of Murder
(Mystery Bookshop)
by V.M. Burns

 

About the Book


The Novel Art of Murder (Mystery Bookshop)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Michigan
Kensington (November 27, 2018)
Paperback: 256 pages
ISBN-10: 1496711858
ISBN-13: 978-1496711854
Digital ASIN: B07B7B4C8Q

Mystery bookstore owner Samantha Washington is trying to keep her grandmother from spending her golden years in an orange jumpsuit . . .

The small town of North Harbor, Michigan, is just not big enough for the two of them: flamboyant phony Maria Romanov and feisty Nana Jo. The insufferable Maria claims she’s descended from Russian royalty and even had a fling with King Edward VIII back in the day. She’s not just a lousy liar, she’s a bad actress, so when she nabs the lead in the Shady Acres Senior Follies—a part Nana Jo plays every year in their retirement village production—Nana Jo blows a gasket and reads her the riot act in front of everyone.

Of course, when Maria is silenced with a bullet to the head, Nana Jo lands the leading role on the suspects list. Sam’s been writing her newest mystery, set in England between the wars, with her intrepid heroine Lady Daphne drawn into murder and scandal in the household of Winston Churchill. But now she has to prove that Nana Jo’s been framed. With help from her grandmother’s posse of rambunctious retirees, Sam shines a spotlight on Maria’s secrets, hoping to draw the real killer out of the shadow.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

We are back in North Harbor, Michigan just in time for Samantha Washington’s Nana Jo to become a murder suspect. It seems her usual part in the Shady Acres Senior Follies has been given to Maria Romanov, a woman of questionable character. Said to be descended from Russian Royalty and a great actress, Nana Jo knows the woman is a phony. As soon as others hear her sing, they know it too. Nana Jo tries to take the woman to task publically so when Maria ends up dead, Nana Jo’s fate as a murder suspect is sealed.

Not so fast, Sam is on the case. Using her current work in progress where Lady Daphne is in the middle of a murder in the home of Winston Churchill to settle her mind and draw parallels, she is sure to find who has framed her Nana. The crew from Shady Acres steps in to help too and soon real suspects are uncovered and clues start to fall into place.

That’s Oreo and Snickers on the cover, Oreo looks nothing like my Oreo but I love the author’s choice of pet names. The expression of the dog in the back cracks me up every time I look at the cover.

Okay, the cover is great, but the story/stories within are excellent. Ms. Burns gives us a present-day cozy mystery and her character Samantha Washington is an author and we get to read her latest work too. I love that we get two stories in each novel. It took some getting used to with the first book, but now with book 3, I hit the rhythm right away. I really enjoy how they work together.

Full of colorful characters the story sets a nice pace. Intrigue with a big dose of humor keeps the pages turning and both stories had wonderful surprise endings. Some parts are truly laugh out loud funny.

I loved this book and can’t wait for more! This is the first book of 2019 to receive my top Paradise rating and a place on my Best Reads of 2019 list. While the story can stand on its own I recommend starting at the beginning of the series for maximum enjoyment.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

V.M. Burns was born in Northwestern Indiana and spent many years in Southwestern Michigan on the Lake Michigan shoreline. She is a lover of dogs, British historic cozies, and scones with clotted cream. After many years in the Midwest, she went in search of milder winters and currently lives in Eastern Tennessee with her poodles. Her debut novel, The Plot is Murder was nominated for a 2017 Agatha Award for Best First Novel. Valerie is a member of Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and a lifetime member of  Sisters in Crime. Readers can learn more by visiting her website at vmburns.com

Author Links:     Website  Facebook   Twitter:  @vmburns

Purchase Links – Amazon –  Barnes & Noble – IndieBound
Books-A-Million –  Hudson Booksellers 


Coming April 30, 2019

Also by V.M. Burns

Praise for The Novel Art of Murder
(Mystery Bookshop)
by V.M. Burns

A well-written cozy mystery with charm and heart, The Novel Art of Murder is a truly enjoyable read from start to finish.
~Reading Is My SuperPower

I had a lot of fun reading this book . . . the wild characters keep Sam`s life interesting . . .
~Laura’s Interests

Lots of little twists and turns to keep you guessing wrapped around enough charm to really draw the reader in.
~Books a Plenty Book Reviews

V.M. Burns has taken the traditional, contemporary cozy mystery and added a twist . . . It had to be the funniest killer takedown I have seen! I highly recommend this one.
~Author, Teresa Trent

 

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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.”

Feb 022019
 


I am pleased to shine the spotlight on the latest A Lady and Lady’s Maid Mystery today!


A Murderous Marriage (A Lady and Lady’s Maid Mystery)
by Alyssa Maxwell

 

About the Book


A Murderous Marriage (A Lady and Lady’s Maid Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Kensington (January 29, 2019)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1496717392
ISBN-13: 978-1496717399
Kindle ASIN: B07CWDMR33

Lady Phoebe Renshaw and her lady’s maid, Eva Huntford, are preparing for a wedding, but it may not be the happy occasion everyone hopes for . . .

Since the Great War, some family fortunes have suffered, including those of the Renshaws. Despite being the granddaughter of an earl, Julia Renshaw is under pressure to marry for money—and has settled for Gilbert Townsend, a viscount and a wealthy industrialist. He is decades older than Julia, and it’s clear to her sister Phoebe—and to Eva, who has been like a surrogate mother to the girls—that this is not a love match. Nevertheless, the wedding takes place—and in a hurry.

At the reception aboard the groom’s yacht, there appears to be tension between Gil and several guests: his best man, a fellow veteran of the Boer War; his grouchy spinster sister; and his current heir, a nervous young cousin named Ernest. The bride is also less than pleased when she discovers that her honeymoon will be more crowded than expected—with Gil’s pretty secretary, among others, coming along.

That very night, Julia pounds on her sister’s door, brandishing a bandaged hand and reporting a hot-tempered outburst on her new husband’s part. Julia is feeling doubt and regret about her hasty decision, but returns to the boat. Then the next morning, before the yacht can depart the harbor, Gil’s body is found in the water below—and Phoebe and Eva must discover who pushed him over . . . before the Renshaws’ social standing is irreparably stained by Julia’s arrest for his murder . . .

Praise for A Murderous Marriage (A Lady and Lady’s Maid Mystery)
by Alyssa Maxwell

The atmospheric Isle of Wright setting, lords and ladies galore, impoverished estates, arranged marriages … these elements and more combine in a murder mystery by Alyssa Maxwell that I thoroughly enjoyed.
~The Power of Words

A MURDEROUS MARRIAGE is an engaging historical mystery that illustrates the importance of family and duty by both the upper and working classes in 1920 England.
~Cozy Up With Kathy

I am always inspired to read more historical mysteries after reading a Maxwell mystery. She has the talent to create lively characters, charming settings, and the mystery that takes the wedding cake.
~Bibliophile Reviews

I was pleasantly surprised to be immersed in the post World War I era. From the customs and clothing to the attitudes and actions, the story felt authentic and true.
~Mysteries With Character

About the Author

Alyssa Maxwell knew from an early age that she wanted to be a novelist. Growing up in New England and traveling to Great Britain fueled a passion for history, while a love of puzzles of all kinds drew her to the mystery genre. She and her husband reside in Florida, where she loves to watch BBC productions, sip tea in the afternoons, and delve into the past. You can learn more about Alyssa and her books at www.alyssamaxwell.com.

Author Links

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