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Die Die Blackbird (A Piney Woods Mystery) by Teresa Trent #GuestPost / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour

Die Die Blackbird (A Piney Woods Mystery)
by Teresa Trent

I am excited to welcome Teresa Trent back to Escape With Dollycas today!

Hi Everyone,

Like many of you, I read a lot of cozy mysteries. One thing that amazes me is all of the different places and times these mysteries take place. I recently read Egg Drop Dead by Vivien Chien that took place around a Chinese restaurant. Right now, I’m reading one that takes place in snowy Alaska. Last month I read A View to a Kilt that took place in Moosetookalook, Maine. Then you can head south to Louisiana for one of Sandra Bretting‘s mysteries in the historic houses of Louisiana, or up to Chicago for V.M. Burns character who runs a bookstore and spends time with her mother’s assisted living crowd. Like Doctor Seuss says, Oh, the places you will go! Each one of these locales brings with it the world of their sleuth, whether it be a knitting shop or someone working in the Congress like in Colleen Shogan‘s books.  And don’t forget about cozy historical mysteries. I’ve recently read several that use the backdrop of a regency romance, but instead of focusing on the viscount kissing the heroine, he helps her solve a mystery.

The secret of the cozy mystery is there is a close-knit group of friends and family, whether the main character is living in a big city or small one. They are often funny and caring, and they face everyday problems we all experience, except for murder, thank God.

I love that about these books. When I’m not writing mysteries, I’m a full-time caretaker for my son with Down syndrome. He’s been in the hospital for pneumonia three or four times now, and he is medically fragile. That can be a lot to deal with day-to-day. I think that’s why I enjoy writing my two mystery series, Piney Woods, and Pecan Bayou. Some days you just need to escape to Mayberry.

In Die Die Blackbird, Nora is a co-owner of the historic Tunie Hotel, and this time she’s checking in paranormal investigators Jack and Daisy Foley. They have her front desk clerk, Dominic Fazio, over the moon, being an amateur investigator himself.  Not only that, but they knock heads with Grace Howe, the leader of the Piney Woods quilting group, who doesn’t react well to having to share meeting rooms that were supposed to be for the quilters.  Jack and Daisy are attempting to speak to the ghost of Sam Houston to find out where the missing gold from the Battle of Santa Anna might be hidden. They think Sam visited a lady of the evening in Piney Woods, and if they can’t get Sam on the line, maybe they’ll get her.

Do you have a favorite cozy mystery locale? Please share it in the comments below.

~Teresa

Thank you for visiting today, Teresa!

About Die Die Blackbird


Die Die Blackbird (A Piney Woods Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Publisher: Camel Press (January 14, 2020)
Paperback: 210 pages
ISBN-10: 1603818480
ISBN-13: 978-1603818483
Digital Print Length: 159 pages
ASIN: B0842YC8ZF

Nora Alexander is finding her job exciting as she welcomes paranormal investigators Jack and Daisy Foley to the Tunie Hotel. They are trying to contact the ghost of Sam Houston not only for their internet production but because it is reported there is a stash of Santa Anna’s gold hidden somewhere. They are operating on the theory that Sam Houston visited a lady of the evening in Piney Woods and locate Red Ruth Inn where a parking lot now stands. Not only do these two stir the spirit world, but they also bother some of the town’s most established citizens including the town’s quilting group who doesn’t appreciate their overtaking of the hotel with ghost hunting equipment.

 

When a townsperson is murdered with suspected ties to the local gang, The Alamo Runners, Nora finds herself wanting to protect his wife and daughter all the while getting cryptic messages from beyond. Jack and Daisy aren’t the only ones with a connection to the other side.

 

About Teresa Trent

Teresa Trent writes cozy mysteries that take place in small towns in Texas. The Piney Woods Series came to be because her older brother worked in the hotel industry for over twenty years and would relate all the things and people he had experienced. Because Teresa loves history and a little bit of the paranormal, the Tunie Hotel was born! Teresa is also the author of the Pecan Bayou Cozy Mystery Series.

AUTHOR LINKS

FACEBOOK   –  TWITTER   – BLOG

WEBSITE   – GOODREADS – INSTAGRAM  

Purchase Links – AmazonB&N 

Also by Teresa Trent

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Great Escapes Praise for Die Die Blackbird (A Piney Woods Mystery)
by Teresa Trent

I enjoyed the plot in Die Die Blackbird because it involves a paranormal investigating team of husband and wife . . . These Texans won’t take no guff about their beloved Sam.
~CHRISTY’S COZY CORNERS

Die Die Blackbird by Teresa Trent has a well-plotted mystery, fabulous characters, and a sweet little town setting. I enjoy the humor the author adds to the plot and the family connections.
~Baroness’ Book Trove

A great addition to an adorable cozy series set in a small town in Texas. . . . a fun read full of quirky characters, lots of clues, and small town charm. Great for fans of cozies.
~Books a Plenty Book Reviews

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Posted in 2020 Reviews Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways Guest Posts New Release Challenge Purrfect Reading Challenge Read The Printed Word Challenge What's In A Name Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday with Jennifer J. Chow – Author of Mimi Lee Gets a Clue (A Sassy Cat Mystery) #GuestPost / #Review / #Giveaway @JenJChow

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am thrilled to welcome Jennifer J. Chow back to Escape With Dollycas!

Living in La La Land
By Jennifer J. Chow
Guest Post Provided by Publicist

            I’d never planned on living in Los Angeles. However, I ended up moving here in order to get my master’s degree at UCLA. At the time, I figured I’d flee the traffic-heavy, smog-infested area right after completing my required two years of study. Well, fast forward a few years, and I’d stayed put.

I ended up working in the area and had gotten married by then, so I chose to settle down. I started re-evaluating my initial (and sometimes faulty) impressions of Los Angeles and found many silver linings to staying.

Here are my top five fact vs. fiction insights:

    1. Lotsa traffic. Okay, this perception is true. I personally experienced the slow crawl of cars leaving downtown Los Angeles and trailing behind others’ taillights on the congested freeway. However, as a local, I’ve now discovered sneaky ways to bypass the traffic. I often switch to local roads to speed up my traveling. Also, by knowing the traffic patterns, I pick more optimal times for driving to avoid getting stuck.
    2. Smog city. Los Angeles is known for its air pollution. We do have unclean air, but at least on the American Lung Association’s website, we’re not number one for particle pollution—that distinction goes to the Central Valley. We are, though, tops for having high ozone levels. However, we’re aware of the problem, and officials are trying to brainstorm innovative solutions to improve the air quality here. As an aside, I actually appreciate how the smog creates prettier sunsets—those gorgeous reds and oranges are amazing to behold.
    3. Baywatch bodies. When I first got to L.A., I remember seeing (and hearing) advertisements about how I could create a more improved version of myself, whether by eating vitamins, exercising, or undergoing surgery. This fixation on appearance confounded me, but I thought, “Maybe it’s because we’re so close to Hollywood.” While I have seen some knockouts in L.A., what I’ve noticed more is the diversity of the people who live here. There are different ages, ethnicities, and body types, and I love this variety. Bonus: There’s a huge array of delicious cuisines to choose from because of the vast number of cultures represented in the area.
    4. Natural disasters. Yes, we’re prone to earthquakes (and it is common that people sometimes barely blink at a tremor, as depicted in A. Story—a movie others made me watch when I first arrived in Los Angeles). Beyond the disasters, though, we also have access to natural marvels. There are rugged mountains and verdant forests to the north, plus golden sand and glistening waves to the west. Even the stark beauty of the desert is nearby, like at Joshua Tree National Park.
    5. Hollywood glitz. In grad school, my roommate oohed over how she’d seen the ponytail of a celebrity. I’ve also known coworkers who would haunt Pink’s Hot Dogs just to get a glimpse of somebody famous. And out-of-town friends do enjoy purchasing a Star Map and spying on celebrity homes. I myself enjoyed the excitement of a red carpet event one time—okay, so I was only within googling distance. However, I have rubbed shoulders with a few better-known figures and up-and-coming creative individuals. What I appreciate about meeting them isn’t their glamour but their artistry and perseverance. I connect with them since I’m also pursuing my own passion of writing.

I hope both the fabulous and quirky atmosphere of Los Angeles comes through in my newest novel, Mimi Lee Gets a Clue. The first in the new Sassy Cat mystery series, it features an L.A. pet groomer whose dream career gets disrupted when she becomes a suspect in the murder of a dog breeder. But with the help of her snarky cat and a dreamy lawyer neighbor, maybe she can get back to living the LA dream and running her store, Hollywoof.

So, even if you can’t come and visit L.A., perhaps you can do some virtual traveling through my book. Wishing you lots of happy reading!

~Jennifer

Thank you, Jennifer, for visiting today!

Now let me give you my thoughts on Mimi Lee Gets A Clue


Mimi Lee Gets a Clue (A Sassy Cat Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – California
Publisher: Berkley (March 10, 2020)
Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-10: 1984804995
ISBN-13: 978-1984804990
Kindle – ASIN: B07VG4QTFQ

Mimi Lee is in over her head. There’s her new Los Angeles pet grooming shop to run, her matchmaking mother to thwart, her talking cat Marshmallow to tend to—oh, and the murder of a local breeder to solve…now if only Mimi hadn’t landed herself on top of the suspect list.

 

Mimi Lee hoped to give Los Angeles animal lovers something to talk about with her pet grooming shop, Hollywoof. She never imagined that the first cat she said hello to would talk back or be quite so, well, catty—especially about those disastrous dates Mimi’s mother keeps setting up.

 

When Marshmallow exposes local breeder Russ Nolan for mistreating Chihuahuas, Mimi steals some of her cat’s attitude to tell Russ off. The next day the police show up at Hollywoof. Russ has been found dead, and Mimi’s shouting match with him has secured her top billing as the main suspect.

 

Hoping to clear her name and save the pups Russ left behind, Mimi enlists help from her dreamy lawyer neighbor Josh. But even with Josh on board, it’ll take Mimi and Marshmallow a lot of sleuthing and more than a little sass to get back to the pet-grooming life—and off the murder scene.

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

Los Angeles has a new place to take your pets for grooming. Hollywoof is operated by Mimi Lee and she just hopes she gets enough customers to keep her business afloat.

The first day her sister drops by with a surprise, a fluffy white Persian cat with big blue eyes. Mimi does prefer dogs but she can’t say no. The cat is soon named Marshmallow, a name he clearly doesn’t like and let’s er know in a surprising way.

Mimi is single but her mother has a plan for that. Mimi plays along for the most part because she has other concerns. Several customers are bringing in Chihuahuas from various services and she notices they all have health issues. When she learns that all came from the same local breeder she decides to investigate. She gets into a war of words with the man, witnessed by one of his neighbors.  Mimi then reports the breeder to the proper authorities for violations. When a Police Detective Brown shows up a Hollywoof he is not there to talk about the mistreatment of animals. He is there to question her about the breeder’s murder. What!

In efforts to clear her name, Mimi starts rubbing elbows with her client’s well-to-do owners and she hires a lawyer, Josh, an easy on the eyes neighbor, she met while doing laundry. Marshmallow also becomes a key member of the investigation team.

______

I love Marshmallow! Haven’t you always wanted to know what your pet is thinking? The author created this fun character and explains how he learned everything he knows. So lighthearted and funny.

We get to know Mimi Lee pretty well in this first book of the series. She is petite, smart, mid-twenties, but you can tell she has led a bit of a sheltered life due to her upbringing. Her mother is Asian American and her father is caucasian. He’s pretty laid back. She is all in both her daughter’s business or forces one daughter, Mimi, the eldest to interfere in the younger sister’s business. Sometimes this goes unbelievably too far. Mimi has opened a new business without much of a plan and is running it with a seat of the pant’s attitude. Thankfully, she grows over the course of this book and so does her business.  Her mother’s efforts to find Mimi find a man are pretty comical though. The family dynamics are interesting.

I really enjoyed this fresh take for an amateur sleuth team, not your typical Sherlock and Watson.  The mystery was very well done and exceeded my expectations for the first book in a series. The actual detective on the case seemed to be glued to his initial thought even when Mimi tried to give me details she had uncovered. Breeders like the one in this story are a hot topic these days and Ms. Chow gives it a fantastic fictional spin. She plots a twisted up mystery to find who killed the awful man responsible for the poor puppies. Mimi got her clue well before I did. I was very entertained following along with her to clear her name and get justice for the lovable pooches and find them fur-ever homes.

Mimi Lee Gets A Clue gives readers an intriguing mystery with plenty of suspects and twists. I am curious to see how all the characters develop more. Mimi is more Nancy Drew than Jessica Fletcher, meaning she doesn’t have the sage experience needed the help solve complex mysteries, but her youth brings a real freshness to the cozy mystery genre. The rest of the characters need to be more fleshed out to support her and get readers engaged and invested in their lives. For me, Sassy Cat Marshmallow stole the show!

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About the Author

Jennifer J. Chow grew up reading Garfield comics and adores creating sassy kit lit. She also writes the Winston Wong mysteries, which feature a regular meowing cat. Her other Asian American novels include Dragonfly Dreams (a Teen Vogue pick) and The 228 Legacy.

She’s involved in Crime Writers of Color, Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters in Crime. Like her on Facebook and Follow her on GoodReads and Twitter. Connect on Instagram @jenjchow

Coming November 10, 2020

Also by this Author

Thanks to the publisher I have 1 copy to give away!
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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 2020 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Alphabet Soup A -Z Author Edition Challenge Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Guest Posts Literary Escapes New Release Challenge Purrfect Reading Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday with Tina Kashian – Author of On the Lamb (A Kebab Kitchen Mystery) #GuestPost / #Recipe / #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @KensingtonBooks @TinaKashian1


Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am thrilled to have Tina Kashian visit today!

Hi Tina!

Hi Lori!

Thank you for featuring me as a guest on the Escape with Dollycas Blog to celebrate the release of “On the Lamb”!

I love to cook all types of cuisine. I grew up in a family-owned restaurant in New Jersey, and my Kebab Kitchen Mystery Series is set in a Mediterranean restaurant at the Jersey shore.

In On the Lamb, Lucy Berberian is a recovering lawyer who returns to Ocean Crest, NJ and her family’s restaurant, Kebab Kitchen. When Lucy is invited to a beach bonfire with friends, she’s excited for a night out. But when a disliked, local landlord shows up on the beach and gets in a screaming match with one of Lucy’s friends, Melanie Haven, owner of Haven Candies on the boardwalk, a fun evening turns stressful. And when the same landlord is found dead on the beach after choking on a piece of saltwater taffy, Melanie is in a sticky mess of trouble. It’s up to Lucy to solve the case before her friend gets skewered for a crime she didn’t commit.

Winter is the perfect time to experiment with soups. One of my favorite soup recipes is lentil soup with swiss chard. As a parent, it can be difficult to get my kids to eat certain vegetables, like swiss chard. Surprisingly, if it’s incorporated into soup, they eat it and even like it. I’m sharing a recipe we served at my family’s restaurant.

 

on the lamb Swiss Chard and Lentil Soup by Tina Kashian

This Mediterranean soup is super healthy and full of fiber. The swiss chard adds flavor without overpowering the dish.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes to 1 hour

Ingredients:

½ lb dry Lentils

2 tbsp olive Oil

1 tbsp butter

1 small onion finely chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 carrot chopped

1stalk celery chopped

3 cups swiss chard, washed, stemmed and chopped.

4 cups chicken broth

1 cup water

1 tsp salt or to taste

1 tbsp lemon or to taste

Put dry lentils in a bowl and check for small stones that can naturally occur.

In a soup pot, heat oil, and butter. Add onion, garlic, celery, and carrots. Stir and sauté over medium heat for 15 minutes or until onions are transparent. Add chicken broth, water, and lentils. Simmer for ½ hour. Add swiss chard, salt, and lemon. Simmer for another fifteen minutes or until lentils and swiss chard are tender. Add hot water if you prefer a thinner soup.

Thank you again and enjoy the soup!

~Tina

Thank you, Tina, for dropping by. 

Keep reading for my thoughts on Tina’s new book, On The Lamb. 

 

About On The Lamb


On the Lamb (A Kebab Kitchen Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Setting – New Jersey
Publisher: Kensington (February 25, 2020)
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
ISBN-10: 1496726057
ISBN-13: 978-1496726056
Kindle ASIN: B07R8WVPMX

Lucy Berberian is busy preparing her family’s Mediterranean restaurant for Easter on the Jersey Shore—but a batch of sweets is to die for . . .

 

Bikers are thundering into the seaside town of Ocean Crest for the annual Bikers on the Beach gathering that raises funds for injured veterans. It’s a big boost for the Kebab Kitchen, as well as for local businesses like Melanie Haven’s candy shop. But Melanie is about to find herself in a sticky situation.

 

When Melanie and Lucy attend a beach bonfire, a local landlord is found dead after apparently choking on a piece of salt water taffy. Melanie, who was known to have a contentious relationship with the victim, is quickly skewered as the prime suspect. But Lucy is determined to prove her friend’s innocence before the real killer coasts free . . .

 

Recipes included!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

It’s almost Easter in Ocean Crest and Lucy is excited about getting her family together. She is also busy with the family restaurant and business has picked up for most of the businesses in town with the annual Bikers on the Beach event that raising money for injured vets. Part of the event is a huge bonfire on the beach. Lucy was invited by her friend Michael who is the manager of the bike shop next to her family’s restaurant. She takes along her BFF Katie and their friend Melanie.  Gilbert Lubinski, local landlord of many apartments and businesses tries to ruin the party when he barges in to remind Melanie that her rent is due and to remember it has been increased.

A short time later someone screams. People rush to the sound and find Melanie standing over Gilbert’s dead body. With the earlier public altercation, a piece of taffy found in the victim’s throat, and the one finding the body, Melanie finds herself at the top of the suspect list. Lucy knows her friend is innocent and she is going to prove it.


This is such an entertaining series!

Lucy’s parents have decided to take a step back from the family business, The Kebab Kitchen,  and leave the day to day management in her hands. Her mom still pops in to keep up with Lucy’s cooking lessons and to approve the head chef Azad Zakarian menus. Her dad likes to keep his hand in with the inventory and other office tasks. Lucy knows change is hard for them but she has had a few minor victories so she is fine with them taking their time. She also takes a big step within these pages that coincides nicely with the murder investigation she and Katie have got themselves wrapped up in.  Ms. Kashian has created such genuine characters. I am always excited to see what they are all up to.

Kashian has also introduced some great new characters this time which include Eloisa Lubinski and her Shih Tzu, Cupid. Eloisa stole my heart immediately. I wish I had half her spunk and energy. Her nephew Gilbert is our victim and with his death, all his secrets were revealed leading to many more suspects. including a couple of bikers, his business partner, and his almost ex-wife. A few more come out of the woodwork when Lucy uncovers his little side business. All these characters evolve as the story continues some in very meaningful ways.

Talk about red herrings, this story is full of them. I loved it even though I fell for most of them and was caught totally by surprise at the reveal.  I really enjoy the way Lucy and Katie sleuth together. When one drops the ball the other can pick it up and weave a tale like a pro. They also don’t give up. The author sets a brisk pace and gives us plenty of drama and action. There are also some truly funny moments too.

So much of the story takes place on the boardwalk. Lucy’s daily runs helped her sort through the clues and she also gets a little advice when she stops to visit psychic Madame Vega and learns something when she finds herself at the tattoo parlor. All this goes on with a loudspeaker blaring ” Watch the tramcar please!” as the tramcar goes up and down the boardwalk. Ms. Kashian really sets the scene wonderfully, not only on the boardwalk but at the Kebab Kitchen, the beach, Melanie’s candy shop, and all around Ocean Crest.

On The Lamb has everything I look for in a cozy mystery, engaging and entertaining characters, a mystery I can sink my teeth into, and just a little romance and humor to balance everything out.

Speaking of sinking my teeth into, there are several recipes in the back of the book. I have never eaten Armenian, Lebanese, or Greek food with the exception of a gyro back in my college days. The descriptions of the food in this series do make my mouth water. This small-town girl may have to step out of her comfort zone and give these recipes a try.

I am already looking forward to my next visit to the Jersey Shore because they are always some really great things happening there along with a little bit of murder.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

You can read my review of Hummus and Homicide here
and Stabbed in the Baklava here and One Feta In The Grave here

 

About Tina Kashian

Tina Kashian is a bestselling author, an attorney, and a mechanical engineer whose love of reading for pleasure helped her get through years of academia. Tina spent her childhood summers at the Jersey shore building sandcastles, boogie boarding, and riding the boardwalk Ferris wheel. She also grew up in the restaurant business, as her Armenian parents owned a restaurant for thirty years. Tina’s books have been Barnes & Noble top picks, and the first book in her Kebab Kitchen Mediterranean mystery series, Hummus and Homicide, spent six weeks on the B&N bestseller list. Please visit her website at www.tinakashian.com to join her newsletter, receive delicious recipes, enter contests, and more!

Author Links  Website   Facebook  Twitter  Instagram   Goodreads

Purchase Links

Amazon  –  Barnes & Noble –  Kobo –   Google BooksiBooks

Praise for On the Lamb (A Kebab Kitchen Mystery)
by Tina Kashian

An intricate mystery, an abundance of motives, a large dollop of intriguing characters, and a pinch of romance blended with a hint of salt from the Jersey Shore blend together to make ON THE LAMB a fun heartwarming story.
~Cozy Up With Kathy

Ms. Kashin did a fantastic job of stumping me that I just had to give this book five stars. I loved every minute of reading this book.
~Baroness’ Book Trove

On the Lamb is a charming cozy mystery that will have you wanting to visit the Jersey shore.
~The Avid Reader

A family-centric crime series with lots of delicious food and plenty of twists, turns, and red herrings.
~Laura’s Interests

Another great cozy with likable relatable to me characters but what I enjoyed most was the closeness of family and also that the “who did it” wasn’t so easily recognized because almost everybody was a suspect!
~Gimme the Scoop Reviews

Well plotted with many twists and turns, this strong, superbly written mystery gave me the run around as I tried in vain to help protagonist, Lucy Berberian, solve the case and clear her friend.
~Lisa Ks Book Reviews

The author combined the perfect amount of mystery, humor, and romance to create a great addition to the series. As always, I love the author’s personal touches, such as her family recipes and the fact that she took some of her favorite memories and included them in the book.
~Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews

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On the Lamb (A Kebab Kitchen Mystery)
by Tina Kashian

TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please Visit All the Stops. 
February 25 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW
February 25 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – SPOTLIGHT
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February 26 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW
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March 2 – Literary Gold – CHARACTER GUEST POST 
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March 3 – Ascroft, eh? – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
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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 Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Guest Posts

Bonbon Voyage (Adventures of Gladys) by Katherine H. Brown #GuestPost / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour

Bonbon Voyage (Adventures of Gladys)
by Katherine H. Brown


I am thrilled to welcome Katherine H. Brown to Escape With Dollycas today!

Hey there! Thanks for letting me come say hi today. My name is Katherine Brown and I live in Texas. I love words and weaving them together to create stories and books. I also love to read. I read fiction the majority of the time, with one or two non-fiction books thrown in every year or so. I read cozy mystery, chick-lit, paranormal, witchy and werewolves, you name it. My Kindle is running out of space and I’m constantly looking for new places to put bookshelves in my home. My husband built me several beautiful ones inset in the wall already.

Besides tons of books, my bedroom is cluttered with a ridiculous number of spiral and composition notebooks, big and small. I’m jotting down story ideas, random bits of dialogue that are witty but have no story to go with yet, poems, and about a million fun titles for books that I haven’t begun to write yet.

To answer the age-old question, yes, I’ve actually always wanted to write. Since childhood. My parents can vouch for that and they are still some of my biggest fans. My sister is only an email away and I bounce ideas off of her frequently. There are so many things I love about writing. I love telling stories that entertain people and keep them guessing. I enjoy the freedom of allowing words to flow onto the page; I don’t plan out my books down to the last detail. I barely plan the beginning, middle, and end. I do brainstorm and jot down a list of things that need to happen but then the characters take over and I am able to simply write, often being as surprised as the readers at what happens next. For example, Chef Fabio started speaking with a French accent in the book and I had no idea he would be French when I added him. It is fun, to make something come to life and rewarding when others tell me they enjoy it or ask when the next book will be completed.

One of the most difficult things about writing, for me, is deciding on the ending. I don’t even like to read blurbs because I want to be totally surprised. When I write, I find it difficult to “know” the end rather than just be surprised. I know. Weird. Still, I’ve found a happy medium of planning enough to create a good storyline while still leaving enough empty space to not know all of the details. I work through the problem with my characters as we go.

Just like reading, when writing I get to be all of the characters. I can make them familiar, or I can use them to vicariously experience new things and that is thrilling. All of the fun and adventure without any of the actual pain and danger to fear. When people tell me that they don’t like to read, it is the one thing I can’t imagine.

When Summer arrives and with it a pretty big disruption to my writing schedule because of all the things we have planned. Let me share a typical workday with you. The alarm for my husband to go to work blares between 4:45 and 5 in the morning. I get up alongside him and turn my laptop on as I head to brush my teeth. For the first hour or two, I check emails and maybe update my mailing list and do business operations. Plus check to see if I’ve earned another thirty-five cents or not. Then after taking our daughter to school, I settle in with water or green tea and a bowl of peanut butter/oats/honey/dark chocolate chips for a good three to a five-hour writing session. Twenty to thirty minutes of TV while I eat some lunch, then maybe mow the yard or do other outside things. I usually push for another hour of writing or editing before it is time to get my daughter from school. With that, I’m able to get around 50,000 words in a month MOST months, though not every time. Things come up. Life happens. For the most part, it is a system that works for me and that I can be productive with. I think that my favorite book to write in my Ooey Gooey Bakery Mystery series might be book 3 Bake, Eat, & Be Buried. One of the most fun scenes that had me laughing out loud was when Gladys shows up to the bakery with a bag of “supplies” for herself, Piper, and Sam. The things that woman found shopping online!

Thanks for letting me share a little about me today. I hope that. if you decide to check out the books, that you enjoy them. I love reader feedback.

~Katherine

About Bonbon Voyage

bonbon voyage
Bonbon Voyage (Adventures of Gladys)
Cozy Mystery Novella
1st in Series
Independently published (December 31, 2019)
Paperback: 213 pages
ISBN-10: 1653633166
ISBN-13: 978-1653633166
Digital Print Length: 129 pages
ASIN: B083BZLF22

Gladys gets more than she bargains for when she climbs aboard her first cruise and witnesses a murder. Armed with wigs and wits alone, she determines to get to the bottom of things.
This cozy mystery is a spinoff from the Ooey Gooey Bakery Mystery series.

About Katherine H. Brown

Katherine H. Brown is from the tiny community of New York, Texas. Booklover (some might say book addict) and weaver of words, Katherine desired to be a writer from childhood, embarked on her first publishing adventure in 2017, and in 2019 said audios to her cozy office job to leap into a career as an author full-time.

When not found between the pages of a book or tapping keys on her laptop, Katherine loves to watch baking shows with her stepdaughter or cuddle up with her husband Patrick. Katherine and family prepare to welcome a new baby girl into the family in March 2020.

Author Links – Facebook Author PageWebsiteInstagramGoodreadsBookBubAmazon Author Page

Purchase Link:  Amazon 
bonbon voyage
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Playing the Devil (A Bridge to Death Mystery) by R.J. Lee #CharacterGuestPost / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @KensingtonBooks

Playing the Devil (A Bridge to Death Mystery)
by R.J. Lee

Today I am pleased to welcome Wendy Winchester from the Bridge to Death Mysteries!

Hello readers!  My name is Wendy Winchester, amateur sleuth and investigative reporter in the Mississippi River port of Rosalie. Let me take a moment to catch my breath because the author who writes me, R.J.Lee, has put me in a doozy of a mystery this time. He’s called it PLAYING THE DEVIL, and it’s the second time he’s made me solve a murder in his BRIDGE TO DEATH MYSTERY series.

Fortunately for me, he’s endowed me with some ‘savant’-like cognitive skills. Perhaps I inherited them from my police chief father, Captain Bax Winchester. Daddy is always after me to join the police force, but the thing is, I don’t like guns, I just like puzzles. Imagine that! Someone with the last name of Winchester not liking guns. But I prefer to use my brain, and I used it quite well in solving the first mystery Mr. Lee devised for me—GRAND SLAM MURDERS. In that one, I had to work hard to discover who had poisoned the four wealthy widows who composed the venerable Rosalie Bridge Club with potassium cyanide during their bridge luncheon. Imagine the nerve of someone!

In this new mystery, I’ve gone ahead and formed by my very own bridge club at the Rosalie Country Club. I’ve managed to scrounge up one table of four for starters, and I’m one of the four. It’s just that I want to play bridge and play it well, in addition to solving crimes. At least, that’s the way Mr. Lee has created me.

So, what happens on the very first afternoon of the initial meeting of my Bridge Bunch? My nemesis at the Country Club, Brent Ogle, throws a wrench into the works. I never dreamed I’d encounter such a lout of a man out there. He’s a major contributor to the RCC and truly throws his weight around. He’s one of those ex-college quarterbacks who still wants everyone to cheer for his every move and every word out of his mouth. Plus, he’s one of those ‘personal injury’ lawyers who rubs it in every time he wins a settlement. Brent combines every reprehensible trait it’s possible for a man to have: he’s a sexist, a bully, a xenophobe and a homophobe and mistreats everyone equally out at the country club.

Here the four of us are trying to play our first game of bridge together when Brent and his two golfing partners roll into the Great Room where they proceed to get drunk across the way, then nearly get into a fistfight over something. After the country club’s first female golf pro breaks up the fight (I do love how Mr. Lee creates strong women, including myself haha!), Brent staggers back onto the outside deck to soak in the hot tub.

But wouldn’t you know it? A terrible thunderstorm crouches over Rosalie, and the club loses power for thirty minutes. We’re all plunged into darkness, and when Carly Ogle, Brent’s long-suffering wife, decides to check on her husband in that same darkness with her cell phone flashlight, she discovers him clubbed over the head and quite dead. The weapon turns out to be the pestle that the bartender uses to make his famous mint juleps, the same bartender that Brent has taunted endlessly about his Cuban heritage. But there were eight other people in the clubhouse during the blackout, including myself, and we are all suspects in the official investigation conducted by my father and detective boyfriend, Ross.

I’m not content to stand by idly, of course.  My wonderful new female editor insists I use my knowledge of the RCC to do an investigation for the paper, and what I uncover is mind-boggling. I’ll do no spoilers here, but let me just say that my author has outdone himself this time. He has both managed to make me look brilliant and also put me in harms’ way. Yikes! Be sure you grab a copy and see for yourself. Thanks, Wendy Winchester!

~R.J. Lee

About Playing the Devil

Playing the Devil (A Bridge to Death Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Publisher: Kensington (January 28, 2020)
Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1496719166
ISBN-13: 978-1496719164
Digital ASIN: B07R7M378R

Reporter and bridge player Wendy Winchester once again plays ace detective when a country club member is murdered in a hot tub . . .

 

Now an investigative reporter for the Rosalie Citizen in the Mississippi River port of Rosalie, Wendy still likes to unwind over a game of cards. Following the demise of the Rosalie Bridge Club, she’s started her own group at the Rosalie Country Club. During the first meeting of the Country Club Bridge Players, the dummy has barely been laid down when another dummy gets in a scuffle at the bar across the room. Bridge player Carly Ogle’s husband Brent is at it again.

 

After the club’s new female golf pro breaks up the fight, Brent storms off to soak in a hot tub. But Carey soon finds the bullying Brent dead in the water, clubbed over the head with the pestle the barkeep uses to crush leaves for mint juleps.

 

Racist, sexist, homophobic, and an all-around lout, Brent made enough enemies to fill a bridge tournament. So Wendy has to play her cards right to get the story—and stay out of hot water long enough to put the squeeze on the killer . . .

About the Author

R. J. Lee follows in the mystery-writing footsteps of his father, R. Keene Lee, who wrote fighter pilot and detective stories for Fiction House, publishers of WINGS Magazine and other ‘pulp fiction’ periodicals in the late ’40’s and ’50’s. Lee was born and grew up in the Mississippi River port of Natchez but also spent thirty years living in the Crescent City of New Orleans. A graduate of the University of the South (Sewanee) where he studied creative writing under Sewanee Review editor, Andrew Lytle, Lee now resides in Oxford, Mississippi.

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Black Cat and the Secret in Dewey’s Diary: A Tale of History, Mystery, Riddles and Gold. by Elaine Faber #CustomerGuestPost /#Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour

Black Cat and the Secret in Dewey’s Diary:
A Tale of History, Mystery, Riddles, and Gold.
by Elaine Faber

Today I am pleased to welcome Kimberlee from Black Cat and the Secret in Dewey’s Diary. 

 

Kimberlee Visits Salzburg
by Elaine Faber

My name is Kimberlee. I’m in Germany and Austria with my cousin, here to attend a convention. While we’re here, we plan to follow the clues to a lost treasure I found in a WWII soldier’s diary. Is there any chance it’s still hidden, and I can find it with the clues no one else has seen for over fifty years?

Today I’m in Salzburg. I see painted scenes on the exterior walls of the buildings, cobbled streets, roofs of clay tiles, and churches with steeples and bell towers. Many of the houses have leaded glass windows and flower boxes. An ancient ivy-covered building across the street has a sagging tile roof across the courtyard. A kitty who looks like my Black Cat sits atop a nearby rooftop, meowing, as tourists peer up and try to decide; is he hungry, or just bored and teasing the tourists? Church spires peek out above nearby houses with red tile rooftops. Dates carved into the bricks range from the year 1200-1400. One church is said to be 1000 years old.

The sky darkens with rain clouds over the city, which remains unchanged for hundreds of years. Yes, as modern times came, freeways and electric wires appeared, the merchandise sold in the stores has likely changed, and automobiles replaced the horse carriages, which once clip-clopped along the cobbled streets. The narrow lanes remain the same, the lovely churches, fortresses, palaces, and hillsides are unchanged.

I marvel at the timelessness of this beautiful country. Though there are industrial areas, much of the countryside is still in its wilderness state, as it was at the moment of creation, lush and green and seemingly immune to modern marvels. The city will tolerate progress but it will not give in to it. Here in the town square, on the church steps, a street musician plays Ave Maria on his violin. Pigeons fly from rooftop to rooftop, seeming mesmerized as the music echoes around the courtyard. I let my mind wander and it is easy to imagine people driving horse-drawn carts through the cobbled streets.

Another day, music might have filled this same courtyard, not from the musician’s violin, but from the window down the street where a thin, young boy named Mozart played the harpsichord and wrote melodies that made him famous, even hundreds of years later.

A horse cart clip-clops by, as the last beautiful strains of Ave Maria fade into the sky.

I return to my car, eyes filled with wonder and do not notice the strange man who followed me back to my car.

Tomorrow we will contact Dewey’s relatives. They may be able to explain the peculiar message written in his diary. Touch the feet of the babe who lies beneath the king…In the place where the storm clouds are frightened away by the ring.

What can it mean? What are the chances we can solve the puzzle and locate the treasure?


For the whole story, read Black Cat and the Secret in Dewey’s Diary, a dual story narrated by Black Cat in Fern Lake and Kimberlee in Austria as she follows the clues to a lost treasure.

About Black Cat and the Secret in Dewey’s Diary

Black Cat and the Secret in Dewey’s Diary:
A Tale of History, Mystery, Riddles and Gold.

Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Publisher: Elk Grove Publications (September 6, 2019)
Paperback: 264 pages
ISBN-10: 1940781256
ISBN-13: 978-1940781259
Digital ASIN: B07XSJQ5HF

In this dual tale of mystery, lost treasure, and riddles, while Black Cat narrates the exciting events in Fern Lake, Kimberlee discovers a cryptic clue in a diary about a hidden treasure, and heads to Austria to solve the puzzle.

When Kimberlee and Dorian arrive in Austria, they attract the attention of a stalker determined to steal the diary in hopes the clues will lead him to the treasure first. On a collision course, it is inevitable that Kimberlee and the stalker meet in Hopfgarten.

 

Black Cat and Angel’s lives are endangered with the arrival of Kimberlee’s grandmother in Fern Lake, and the return of a man presumed dead for twenty-five years. With both arrivals, emotional and financial difficulties loom for Kimberlee’s family. Since their return to Fern Lake, Angel seems reluctant or unable to adjust to her new home. Does she regret leaving Texas and Grandmother? And, when the opportunity arises, will she decide to leave Black Cat and Fern Lake?

Praise for Black Cat and the Secret in Dewey’s Diary:
A Tale of History, Mystery, Riddles, and Gold.
by Elaine Faber

The story was a fun puzzle and even contained a treasure hunt. The interplay between the two cats, Black Cat and Angel, was cute.
~Ruff Drafts

These are two unconnected stories, linked only in that Kimberlee, the main character, is in both . . . That said, the present-day murder mystery was a puzzle that kept me guessing, right to the surprise ending . . . The WWII treasure hunt also had an intriguing and satisfying tie-up of facts.
~Here’s How It Happened

About Elaine Faber

Elaine Faber lives in Northern California with her husband and feline companions. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, California Cat Writers, and Northern California Publishers and Artists. She volunteers with the American Cancer Society Discovery Shop. She enjoys speaking at public venues, sharing highlights of her novels. Her short stories have appeared in national magazines and multiple anthologies.

Black Cat’s Legacy, With the aid of his ancestors’ memories, Thumper helps pursue a cold case murder.

Black Cat and the Lethal Lawyer, Thumper accompanies his family to a Texas horse ranch where they confront wild horses, embezzling, false identities and attempted murder.

Black Cat and the Accidental Angel, Black Cat and his companion are left behind following an MVA. Taken in by a family facing personal and financial disaster, Black Cat and Angel encounter danger and a spiritual encounter.

Mrs. Odboddy-Hometown Patriot, Eccentric Mrs. Odboddy believes Nazi spies and conspiracies run amuck through her town.

Mrs. Odboddy-Undercover Courier, Mr. O carries a package by train to President Roosevelt that she presumes are secret war documents. She is equally sure Nazi spies are after her package and will to anything to deliver the package to the president.

Mrs. Odboddy-And Then There was a Tiger, Falsely accused of various crimes, Agnes sets about to restore her reputation and missing war bond money.

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Posted in Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Guest Posts Reviews 2019 You Read How Many Books Challenge

The Wipeout Affair (Red Frog Beach Mystery) by Rachel Neuburger Reynolds – Character Guest Post / #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour

The Wipeout Affair (Red Frog Beach Mystery)
by Rachel Neuburger Reynolds

Character Guest Post 

June 2

TO:                  Lexie Milano

FROM:            Lloyd Wilson, Ananke Laboratory

Isla Colon, Bocas del Toro

RE:                   I’ve heard about your relocation

PRIORITY:        High

VIA EMAIL

———————————————-

I was surprised and shockingly pleased to hear that you are relocating from New York to this Panamanian archipelago. Bold, as I thought, maybe you would be one day. After almost dying and solving an almost perfect crime, I can’t tell if your decision is madness or genius. Only time will tell.

I appreciate calculated spontaneity.

Which brings me to why I am getting in touch with you, not just laying out a welcome wagon. As you can see from the above paragraph, I have what one might call a filter missing when talking or corresponding with people.

Since the death of our mutual contact in April, I find the main source of investment in Lloyd Wilson Enterprises shriveled up like a past-its-prime carved pumpkin. I’m currently seeking venture capital for my newest endeavor, Ananke. I’m obviously not looking for investment from you, as I can with probability guess your financial state of affairs.

See? Filter missing. I can now identify it, but I can’t stop my train of thought. It has left the station.

The ladies love me. Lord knows why.

Though initial interest in the company was high, it seems that I am offending the people with the money. I’ve been called condescending, offensive, and often a downright [expletive] [expletive].

With your limited funds and from what I understand of nature of the part-time work you’ve lined up on the island, I’d surmise you’d needing some cash. Working at a surf camp on Bluff Beach won’t exactly keep you in mink bikinis.

I’d like to offer you part-time work at Ananke, working with me on correspondence with the potential investors. First, in written material to take what I’ve written and make it sound. Less. Like. Me. We’ll cross the in-person meeting bridge when we come to it.

One thing I recall is that you had was a way with words. I observed that people found you charming. Too humble for your own good, but likable.

My company is a medical research facility. Bocas del Toro being an almost unknown island chain, there is the potential for amazing exploration of plants and species that don’t exist in the rest of the world. We’ve also come across new and strange poisons in our quest to advance the world of medicine. Up your alley, I’d say.

This offer expires at the end of the month. You’ll find the salary more than generous. There will be a non-disclosure agreement to sign before you start, of course.

Benefits include one of the only places on the island with air conditioning. You don’t know how attractive that will be as summer carries on.

I look forward to working with you.

And as I always say to you, Lexie, you can run, but you can’t hide.

Warm personal regards,

Lloyd Wilson, Ph.D., MD, MBA

About The Wipeout Affair 


The Wipeout Affair (Red Frog Beach Mystery)
Cozy Mystery/ Chick-Lit
2nd in Series
Setting – Bocas del Toro
Jeepers Way Press (October 17, 2019)
Number of Pages: ~300
ASIN: B07TBGQFN4

There’s trouble in paradise, in the hilarious second book of the Red Frog Beach Mystery Series.

Ready to go back to the beach?

Lexie Milano left her heart in Bocas del Toro, and the new and improved New Yorker makes the big choice to move to the laid-back Caribbean island permanently. Piña coladas, white sand beaches, and a little cabin of her own on the edge of the rainforest complete her picture of the perfect tropical future awaiting her. But if it looks too good to be true, it usually is. . . .

When the body of a beautiful wealthy local is found at an isolated surf camp, the owner calls on Lexie to help him figure out who did it in this delicious whodunit. Reluctant sleuth Lexie first turns to the police, but her sudden access to a treasure-trove of island secrets convinces her it’s time to solve another murder on her own.

Favorite characters from Drowning Lessons return to grace the pages of this comedic mystery, including Migs, the handsome photographer; Lloyd, the genius with the cryptic past; and Lexie’s new best friend, Detective LaGuardia. Between old friends, new associates, and the added potential of shark attacks, The Wipeout Affair will leave you laughing and guessing until the very end.

This is the second in the series but can be read as a stand alone novel.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Alexandra ‘Lexie’ Martone’s first visit to Bocas del Toro was as maid of honor for her friend Olivia and let’s just say that wedding didn’t go as planned. She returned to New York but it isn’t long and she is back on the island and this time she is planning to stay. She rents a little cabin and gets not one but two jobs and makes herself at home.

But just like the last time, a murder mucks up her plans. She is shocked to learn her friend Jazz, was found dead at a local surf camp where Lexie works one of her jobs. The owner is pegged as the prime suspect and he begs Lexie to help him find the real killer. She agrees and she tries to keep the local police abreast of everything she learns but they aren’t very receptive until they find they need her to solve the case.

___

I was so excited to get ahold of this book and I was not disappointed. Rachel Neuburger Reynolds takes her readers right to Bocas del Toro. We proceed on a journey with Lexie that at one time or another takes us from one side of the island to the other and almost everywhere in between. Lexie does have a vehicle but there are very few roads and the ones that are marked are rough. There is a bus that Lexie takes occasionally but that ride sounds like a bucking bronco so for the most part, Lexie walks and the author describes everything so well we are able to walk right along with her.

Lexie has become very independent but she is still trying to conquer her fear of water. Jazz was working with her before her death to get past her fear. She was trying to get Lexie in and under the water telling her about all the undersea beauty, she would see if she would just “slide” into the Carribean. While I can swim I still can identify with Lexie. Several years ago I was on vacation in Mexico and we decided to go snorkeling. My husband and our friends all had a great time. I just couldn’t get the hang of it. It was so bad, the guide told me to get back in the boat because I was ruining it for everybody else. 🙂 I would love to try again someday maybe with a patient guide like Jazz.

Lexie’s fear of water doesn’t hold her back from her sleuthing. In fact, she puts herself in some crazy and sometimes dangerous predicaments. Like most amateur sleuths sometimes she leaps before she thinks things through. She has a few suspects on her list and follows the clues wherever they lead. In book one, I said Lexie had the patience of a saint and that helps this time because everyone seems to have a secret or two and things aren’t as they first appear and she doesn’t give up. What makes it hard is that some of the suspects are people she cares about and she realizes she doesn’t know who she can truly trust.

What I really enjoy is the humor the author weaves generously throughout the entire story. As with book one Drowning Lessons, the story is a dramedy, full of drama and comedy. Well-written, well-plotted, and well-developed characters. The Wipeout Affair is A Perfect Escape. Let Rachel Neuburger Reynolds’ story take you to the beach while the snow flies outside.

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You can read my review of Drowning Lessons here


Praise for Drowning Lessons, Book One in the Red Frog Beach Mystery Series:

This series is one that I will be watching.
~Baroness’ Book Trove

This story is much more than a cozy mystery. It is a dramedy where literally everything that can go wrong does. Twists, turns, craziness, and good old mayhem fill these pages all on an idyllic chain of islands . . . This was a fun book to read and a great start for this series.
~Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book

Drowning Lessons is filled with humor from beginning to end, not to mention several twists along the way. It’s the perfect beach read.
~Socrates’ Book Reviews

Great debut for this new series: a compelling plot, a spectacular setting, and bizarre characters, nothing is missing.
~LibriAmoriMiei

Praise for The Wipeout Affair, Book Two in the Red Frog Beach Mysteries Series: 

I have to comment that a cozy set in the Carribean is awesome. The islands in this setting are almost a character in themselves with such wonderful detail about the daily life of the locals strewn throughout the story.
~I Read What You Write

The author has a flair for mixing humor with mystery to create a story that kept me intrigued until the very last page. Not to mention that she did a wonderful job of transporting me to this beautiful island.
~Socrates’ Book Reviews…

About Rachel Neuburger Reynolds

Rachel Neuburger Reynolds is the author of the Red Frog Beach Mystery Series. Book 1, Drowning Lessons, was released on May 21, 2019, and the second in the series, The Wipeout Affair, was released on October 17, 2019. She’s also working on a separate series, The Evelyn Bay Murder Mystery series, and has written book one The Death Of A Classic. If all goes as planned you’ll be reading this in 2020. This is the first of book of seven in the series. Two of her plays have been produced in recent years. The Silencer, a cautionary tale about the perils of online dating, premiered at the Edinburgh Festival, followed by a run in New York. Nepenthe, a one-woman show about the 1960’s Hollywood-fication of the Holocaust had its premiere in London, and she is currently in talks about a film adaptation in 2021. Previous to her life of putting pen to paper, she produced theatre in New York City for fifteen years. Though she bounces back and forth between London in New York my headquarters is in Crowhurst on the South Coast of the UK. Please check out more at RachelNeuburger.com

Author Links

Webpage and Blog: RachelNeuburger.com

Twitter: @rainyday11 FaceBook

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November 14 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT
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November 15 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW, GUEST POST
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November 17 – The Book Diva’s Reads – SPOTLIGHT 
November 18 – My Reading Journeys – CHARACTER GUEST POST
November 19 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – GUEST POST
November 20 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT
November 21 – Socrates Book Reviews – REVIEW
November 22 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST
November 23 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
November 24 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
November 25 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW
November 26 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
November 26 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST  
November 27 – Cassidy’s Bookshelves – 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.”

Posted in Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Guest Posts Reviews 2019 You Read How Many Books Challenge

Turkey Basted to Death (The Cast Iron Skillet Mystery Series) by Jodi Rath #Review / #AuthorInterview / #Giveaway @jodirath

Turkey Basted to Death (The Cast Iron Skillet Mystery Series)
by Jodi Rath

About Turkey Basted to Death


Turkey Basted to Death (The Cast Iron Skillet Mystery Series)
Cozy Mystery
2.5 in the Series –  A Holiday Book
Setting – Ohio
MYS ED LLC (November 15, 2019)
Number of Pages 133 pages
Digital ASIN: B07WRJXBLX

Thanksgiving is here, and Jolie Tucker has had quite the year! She is ready to sit back and relax with family and friends. But this is Leavensport, OH—so get ready for intense therapy sessions, dysfunctional family holiday gatherings, uninvited guests, and an inner-city teen advocate found DEAD—stabbed in the ear with the turkey baster!

Welcome to Leavensport, OH, where DEATH takes a DELICIOUS turn!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Leavensport Ohio is planning a Thanksgiving event to celebrate Thanksgiving together. Jolie is working on turkey recipes to serve the masses when she is approached by the mayor about a problem that has come up. He needs to add a group of inner-city teens to the guest list. She handles the additions with ease until the big day arrives. Before dinner is even served the woman, a teen advocate working with the kids is found dead in the kitchen. The sight was gruesome, a turkey baster shoved in her ear.  Jolie is heartbroken as she really believed in what the woman was doing and knows they would have become good friends. She wants to be sure the killer is caught and will only be thankful when they are behind bars.

___

Again, Jodi Rath has packed these pages full of great characters and intrigue. At 133 pages Turkey Basted to Death sets a fast pace full of twists that can be read all in one sitting. She is excellent at working with a large cast of characters. The recurring characters continue to grow and the new characters are diverse and very well written. It is very easy to connect with all of them. The dialogue is believable and rings true.

Ms. Rath’s entire story embodies the theme of Thanksgiving too. Be grateful for what you have and be open to welcoming new people into your life at all times. She brought together people who may have never met if not for this event and the people of Leavensport didn’t disappoint.

I have enjoyed all three books in this series. Don’t be fooled by the novella length, they are all well-written and well-plotted with surprising reveals. They also have some great recipes to try.

The next book in the series, Blueberry Cobbler Blackmail is set to be released February 28, 2020, with Cast Iron Stake Through the Heart to follow at the end of May. I can’t wait!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

Author Interview

I am so excited to have Jodi stop by today!

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m an odd duck in that I am creative, but I’m also logical as well. So, I work from both my right and left brain. It can get chaotic in there at times—conflict and all! This is why I have a business that incorporates working in higher education as an online adjunct, writing on deadline for educational blogs, affiliations, and publishers, while also writing a culinary cozy mystery series—The Cast Iron Skillet Mystery Series.

What are three things most people don’t know about you?

  1. I practice Kenpo, which is a combination of kickboxing and martial arts.
  2. I have eight cats now, and over 17-years we’ve had 16 cats. All 16 will be on the cover of my books.
  3. I’ve been in race cars in CA at Laguna Seca.

What is the first book you remember reading?

A Choose-Your-Own-Adventure book.

What are you reading now?

Bailey Cates Cookies and Clairvoyance

What books have most inspired you?

In terms of mystery: Sara Paretsky, Agatha Christie, Amanda Flower, Heather Blake, Bailey Cates, Elaine Viets—these are all authors I love reading any and all their books. They help me in my writing.

What made you decide you wanted to write mysteries?

I love puzzles, and I feel all of life is a mystery.

Do you have a special place you like to write?

I write everywhere—on my deck, on my screened-in porch, in my family room, kitchen, bed, office, restaurant, at a family gathering—the oddest place I’ve ever written was one time I went to take recycling and the trucks were there dumping out the bins—so I parked and got my laptop out and wrote while they finished. I take journals and laptops everywhere. One time I wrote in a movie theater during the previews.

Where do the ideas for your books come from?

Life, I taught high school for twenty years. I take themes from everyday life—I taught that way as well. It’s important to me to create a world that has diversity in it where people struggle and are constantly trying to find ways to be better and find ways to effectively communicate.

Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

I said earlier I have cats—I use all my cats in my series. The ones that have passed away, remain alive in the series—it is difficult to write about them at times.

What do you think makes a good story?

I think it’s important as an author to be sure what you are writing allows for an escape—while still addressing universal topics that we all go through. As a reader, I read to escape from my life—but I find that part of that means being able to relate to topics and characters as well. It sounds like a contradiction but it’s really not.

Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you?

My protagonist, Jolie Tucker, is based off me. She’s not completely me, but a lot of her history and internal struggles come from my life.

What makes your books different from others out there in this genre?

There aren’t many cast iron skillet mystery series out there. Also, I do a two-minute mystery a month for those that subscribe to my newsletter for an opportunity to win things—I use my characters in those mysteries. I hit on topics like urban sprawl, gentrification, cultures, transgender, homosexuality, and I incorporate diversity into my series—with the hope that as the series progresses the people in the city/village of the series will continue to find solutions and ways to effectively communicate and make things work within their communities.

What’s next on the horizon for you?

In 2020, I have four more books in this series coming out. February 28th, Jolie and Ava head to Santa Domingo in Blueberry Cobbler Blackmail.

Thank you Jodi for visiting today! 

More About the Author

 

Moving into her second decade working in education, Jodi Rath has decided to begin a life of crime in her The Cast Iron Skillet Mystery Series. Her passion for both mysteries and education led her to combine the two to create her business MYS ED, where she splits her time between working as an adjunct for Ohio teachers and creating mischief in her fictional writing. She currently resides in a small, cozy village in Ohio with her husband and her seven cats.

Author Links:  Webpage FB Author Page: Author Jodi Rath Twitter @jodirathGoodreads   Bookbub    Pinterest

  • Monthly Newsletter Link: http://eepurl.com/dIfXdb Get  Short Story “Sweet Retreat” for free by subscribing to my monthly newsletter. Subscribe to my newsletter to receive free flash fiction, A Mystery a Month, serial scenes from series, and deleted scenes).

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please visit all the stops.
November 14 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – SPOTLIGHT
November 14 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY 
November 15 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
November 15 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW. CHARACTER INTERVIEW
November 16 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW, GUEST POST
November 17 – My Reading Journeys – SPOTLIGHT
November 18 – Read Your Writes Book Reviews – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
November 19 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
November 19 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW  
November 20 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
November 20 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT
November 21 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
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November 23 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW
November 24 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW
November 25 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
November 25 – StoreyBook Reviews – 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.”

Posted in Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways Guest Posts Read The Printed Word Challenge Reviews 2019 You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday with Kate Carlisle – Author of Shot Through the Hearth (A Fixer-Upper Mystery) #Guest Post / #Review / #Giveaway @BerkleyMystery

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am so happy to welcome Kate Carlisle back to Escape With Dollycas today!

The Twisty, Turny Research Journey to Kate Carlisle’s New Book

(Guest Post Provided by Publicist)

Kate Carlisle is the New York Times bestselling author of two ongoing series: the Bibliophile Mysteries featuring San Francisco bookbinder Brooklyn Wainwright, whose rare book restoration skills uncover old secrets, treachery and murder; and the Fixer-Upper Mysteries (as seen on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries), featuring Shannon Hammer, a home contractor who discovers not only skeletons in her neighbors’ closets, but murder victims, too.

Kate’s Latest Fixer-Upper Mystery is Shot Through the Hearth, available now.

As a writer, research can be a massive problem for me. Not because I dread it. Quite the opposite, in fact. I love it so much that I can all too easily be drawn down a circuitous path of wonderment that has no end. I’m curious about everything.

Everything.

I do my research in two stages: while plotting the story and while writing it. During the plotting stage I have more freedom to explore because the things I learn could take the story in exciting directions I never anticipated. At that stage, I don’t know what I don’t know, so every discovery has the potential to change the plot.

During the writing stage, my research has to be more focused on finding the answer to a specific question. I must discipline myself not to go off on any tangents, no matter how seductive they may be. Find the answer, get back to work.

My goal is to weave much of what I learn into a smart, funny murder mystery that keeps readers guessing and teaches them something at the same time. I want lots of those “Huh. I didn’t know that” moments.

My readers are insatiably curious, too. I think it’s one of the reasons they love my books.

To show you what a wide variety of research goes into my books, here’s a sampling of topics I studied while plotting and writing Shot Through the Hearth, my latest Fixer-Upper Mystery, and a random fact about each. You’ll have to read the book to see how these facts come together in one whodunit.

HOW MANY POUNDS DOES IT TAKE TO CRUSH A HUMAN CHEST?

Turns out, there’s no definitive answer—it depends on the strength of the person’s chest muscles. Which means, sadly, I’d go quickly, I’m afraid.

TRADITIONAL SCOTTISH STONE MASONRY TECHNIQUES (even though Shot Through the Hearth is set in Lighthouse Cove, California)

Scotland’s official website is gov.scot. The United States’ official website is usa.gov. Huh.

BARN RAISING

Historically, this was also called a raising bee. The only bees I’d heard of before were quilting bees and spelling bees. We need more bees! A cocktail party could be called a boozing bee. A city council meeting could be a sniping bee.

THE RANGE OF A RIFLE BULLET

Not only did I need to know how far the bullet could travel, but also whether it would have enough velocity at the end of its journey to do any damage. Imagine standing on the street and watching a bullet glance harmlessly off your stomach and roll to the ground.

CAN PLANTS BE SENTIENT?

Instead of sharing a fact here, I’ll share a snippet from Shot Through the Hearth. In this scene, contractor Shannon Hammer and her boyfriend Mac Sullivan, a thriller writer, explore the Ecosphere, an indoor vertical garden that’s hiding something that just may be sinister.

We stepped through the doorway and entered the tropical wonderland.

I hadn’t been inside since Julian and his team had installed small spotlights in various parts of the garden. It gave the space a wonderfully ethereal quality that I really loved.

“The air is cool,” Mac marveled. “I thought it would be warm.”

“No, the plants help clean the air and cool it down. And the louvers help.” I pointed to the nearest window and the wide horizontal blinds covering them. “They move with the sun in order to keep the interior from getting too hot at any time during the day.”

He continued to look around, taking in the verdant carpet of ferns that edged the pathway and the thick vines that draped the walls. Aloe vera plants thrived in every corner. Dozens of pothos plants, with the most abnormally large leaves I’d ever seen, cascaded down from the second- floor balcony. Succulent snake plants cast eerie, tongue-like shadows on the walls.

“I could set up a table and write in here.” Mac moved in a circle, studying the greenery all around us. “In fact . . .” He took out his phone and began taking photos. “I can see Jake Slater getting trapped in here.”

I had to smile. “That’s a great idea. And wait until you meet Stephanie.”

He began to walk up the ramp but stopped and turned. “Who’s Stephanie?”

“Let’s keep going up to the next level. I’ll show you.”

As we reached the second floor of the Ecosphere, the tendrils of the Stephanie vine brushed against Mac’s legs.

“What was that?” he demanded, jumping back.

“That’s Stephanie,” I said, laughing. “She’s a fast-growing vine and seems to move toward anything human.”

“That’s freaking weird.”

“Yeah, it’s weird. But it makes sense when Julian explains it. Something about its DNA causes the plant to react to human pheromones. Apparently it’s attracted to our breath, too. There’s a bunch of other details Julian talked about that I couldn’t begin to explain to you, but he’ll be giving Ecosphere tours starting tomorrow.”

“I’ll sign up for that. I want to hear all about Stephanie. And the rest of this place, too.”

I hope you’ll have as much fun reading Shot Through the Hearth as I had writing—and researching—it.  You can read chapter one for free at https://katecarlisle.com/shot-through-the-hearth.php. Please let me know what you think! You can reach me via my website or at www.facebook.com/katecarlislebooks

Thank you Kate for dropping by for a visit.

Keep reading for my thoughts on A Shot Through The Hearth.

Shot Through the Hearth (A Fixer-Upper Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
7th in Series
Setting – California
Publisher: Berkley (October 29, 2019)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1984804391
ISBN-13: 978-1984804396
Kindle ASIN: B07NCPRQ52

Contractor Shannon Hammer is measuring murder motives in the latest Fixer-Upper Mystery from the New York Times bestselling author of A Wrench in the Works and Eaves of Destruction

Shannon’s good friend and retired tech billionaire, Raphael Nash, is loving his new retired life but he can’t stay unoccupied for too long. He’s started the Marigold Foundation that helps fund small companies and individuals who do humanitarian work around the world. It’s an exciting time in Lighthouse Cove as Raphael hosts the first ever global conference inviting big thinkers from every area of industry to give presentations on eco-living.

Raphael’s old business partner arrives in town with a grudge and a plan to steal him away from his important new passion project. Shannon knows her friend has no intention of giving up Marigold and is proud of Raphael for sticking to his guns. But when his former associate winds up dead, all signs point to Raphael.

It’s up to Shannon to hammer out the details of the murder before her friend gets pinned for the crime…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Shannon  Hammer, contractor extraordinaire, knew her job for billionaire Raphael Nash was going to be a huge job but big thinking Rafe has expanded his plans for his project and Hammer’s construction crew and for Lighthouse Cove too. Not only does he want the home on his property renovated he adds a barn-raising and a garden tower all to be completed before a global conference about eco-living. He has a vast schedule of events with many guest speakers, including Mac, Lighthouse Cove’s resident author.  Rafe has also created the Marigold Foundation, named after his lady love, to award money for research and ecologic humanitarian work around the world. He hopes the conference will become an annual event.

While Rafe Nash is over the moon excited about the foundation and conference, his former partner Dillon Charles is not happy. He wants Rafe to come back to the company they built together and to do new projects together. Rafe tries hard to explain he has a new life in Lighthouse Cove and has no plans to leave it but Charles is not backing down.

Then as the barn-raising gets underway Dillion Charles is found dead and Rafe finds himself at the top of the suspect list. Shannon vows to help her friend. She plans to find the real killer before he gets screwed for a crime he didn’t commit

___

I am always excited when a book in this series is released. With a little home construction experience, I am always pulled into Shannon’s new project and all the drama that surrounds it. Because of this series, I look at every Victorian home that crosses my path in a new light. This time the project is huge and takes about 8 months to complete so we don’t get as many details of all the work completed but the author gives us plenty of information to visualize not only the house with its wonderful outside living space, but the grounds, the barn, the tower, and the unique pods Rafe Nash brings in for his conference.

Ms. Carlisle has also constructed a fantastic mystery. The victim was shady and unlikable. As the story continues information comes to light the pries the suspect list wide open. Many people have a motive, the key is the opportunity. A second death gives a little more focus to who did the deed and readers are taken right into the middle of the scary big reveal when all the clues fall into place. That wasn’t the only scary moment, there are a few that added to the suspense of the story. I was captivated by the process and each little twist and I was still totally surprised at the end.

I enjoy that Shannon is a woman in a male-dominated field who knows her job but isn’t afraid to admit when she doesn’t know something. Her field is Victorian restoration, not barn building, and she sent one of her crew to witness and help in an Amish barn raising and bring back what he learned to have their job go off without a hitch. Her crew, many of who worked with her dad, trust her and they work together like a well-oiled machine.

Shannon also has a strong man in her life and he is right there to help when she finds herself dealing with yet another dead body. Of course, Eric Jensen, the chief of police, is on the scene and kept in the loop on everything Shannon uncovers. Her father is not quite as involved this time but it is for a good reason. Her uncle also makes an appearance. All the characters have a purpose and the dialogue flows so well.

Engaging characters and another fine mystery. A great addition to this series. Each one has been A PERFECT ESCAPE foe me and I recommend them all.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

Read my Reviews for the whole series. 

Book 1 – A High End Finish here

Book 2 – This Old Homicide here.

Book 3 – Crowned and Moldering here.

Book 4 – Deck the Hallways here

Book 5 – Eaves of Destruction here

Book 6 – A Wrench in the Works here.

Read more about Kate and the Fixer-Upper Mysteries at www.KateCarlisle.com!


Also by Kate Carlisle



GIVEAWAY

Thanks to the publisher I have 1 copy to give away. 

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Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
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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 Giveaways Guest Posts

Cleo Coyle Serves Up a New Coffeehouse Mystery: Brewed Awakening + #Giveaway

Cleo Coyle Serves Up a New Coffeehouse Mystery: Brewed Awakening + #Giveaway

I am thrilled to host this guest post from Cleo Coyle today!

Brewed Awakening by Cleo Coyle

BREWED AWAKENING marks the 18th Coffeehouse Mystery that my husband and I have written. Like every entry in our long-running series, this story centers on the life of a divorced single mom in her forties named Clare Cosi.

Clare is a coffeehouse manager by day and a determined sleuth by night. She’s often assisted in her crime-solving adventures by her quirky staff of eager baristas, her beloved octogenarian employer, and her shop’s globetrotting rogue of a coffee hunter.

Our idea for Clare’s latest case began with a conversation over (you guessed it) coffee. As a married couple, Marc and I have been through decades of ups and down. But what if those years were wiped from our memories? Would we still be drawn to each other? If so, how exactly does “like” deepen into something more? When does love happen?

With Clare now on a path to be married to her longtime boyfriend, NYPD Detective Mike Quinn, we decided to explore those questions within the plotline of Brewed Awakening, and we agreed the fulcrum of our tale would be memory loss.

As the mystery opens, Clare awakens on a bench in New York’s Washington Square Park. She has no idea that she’s been missing for the past week, or that her friends and family have been frantic with worry. When she finds her way to the charming, landmark Village Blend coffeehouse, everyone is overjoyed to see her. No one is happier than the handsome NYPD detective who claims to be her fiancé. But to Mike Quinn’s crushing distress, Clare doesn’t remember him, or much of anything about the last fifteen years of her life.

Clare’s missing memory is tied to a crime she witnessed. An acquaintance of Clare’s elegant employer invited Clare to her posh hotel to sample gourmet wedding cakes. After their indulgent tasting, the pair headed to the parking garage, where a camera captured a masked figure confronting the hotel heiress at gunpoint with Clare looking on. Did the kidnapper take Clare, too? The camera went dark, just like Clare’s memory. Soon authorities grow suspicious. Is Clare really a victim? Or merely acting like one? Evidence is mounting that she set the woman up. To clear her name, Clare must find a way to reclaim her memories and rescue the heiress before this high-stakes crime ends in tragedy.

Although Clare’s struggle with her memory is fictional, Marc and I were inspired (through our research) by many true cases of amnesia, including a married woman whose traumatic accident resulted in forgetting her own husband and believing her teenage daughter was still a toddler. In another case, a young teacher disappeared after going for a jog, and then reappeared, floating in New York Harbor, with no memory of how she got there or the weeks she went missing. (We could go on, but you get the idea.)

If you’re a newcomer to our Coffeehouse Mysteries, don’t hesitate to pick up Brewed Awakening. Each of our books can be read as a stand-alone story. And, if you like one, you’ll have seventeen more to enjoy. But don’t miss our latest. We hope you’ll find this mystery about memory to be unforgettable.

Brewed Awakening by Cleo Coyle – Recipe Guide

CLEO’S FREE RECIPE GUIDE

Brewed Awakening is a culinary mystery with an appendix of delicious recipes. To receive Cleo’s illustrated guide to the book’s recipe section, sign up for her Free E-Newsletter and she’ll send you a link to the guide when Brewed Awakening is published December 3rd. To subscribe, send a “Sign me up” email to CoffeehouseMystery@gmail.com and be sure to open the auto-reply with links to some of her most popular bonus recipes, which you can enjoy now.

 

The Coffeehouse Mysteries Book Trailer

FREE CHECKLIST OF TITLES (Books in Order):

Get a title checklist, personally written by Cleo, with mini summaries of all 18 of her Coffeehouse Mysteries plus links to Cleo’s bonus web content and her published recipe guides. To download the list as a PDF document, click here.

Checklist of Cleo Coyle Coffeehouse Mystery Books
Cleo Coyle – Alice Alfonsi and Marc Cerasini

About the author

CLEO COYLE is a pseudonym for Alice Alfonsi, writing in collaboration with her husband, Marc Cerasini. Both are New York Times bestselling authors of the Coffeehouse Mysteries, now celebrating more than fifteen years in print. Alice has worked as a journalist in Washington, D.C., and New York City, and has written popular fiction for adults and children. A former magazine editor, Marc has authored espionage thrillers and nonfiction for adults and children. Alice and Marc are also bestselling media tie-in writers who have penned properties for Lucasfilm, NBC, Fox, Disney, Imagine, and MGM. They live in New York City, where they write independently and together, including the nationally bestselling Haunted Bookshop Mysteries, recently relaunched with the first new entry in nearly ten years, The Ghost and the Bogus Bestseller, honored as a Best Book of 2018 by Suspense Magazine.

Visit their website at www.coffeehousemystery.com.

You can also friend or follow Cleo on Facebook as well as Twitter and Pinterest

Click on covers for more book information or to order from Amazon.
CLEO COYLE’S
BREWED AWAKENING
PRIZE PACKAGE

Cleo Coyle Brewed Awakening Prize Package

* An autographed copy of Cleo Coyle’s BREWED AWAKENING

* A sturdy, canvas Coffeehouse Mystery tote bag

* A set of Cleo’s Coffeehouse recipe cards

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Advanced Praise for BREWED AWAKENING

“Amid the delightfully twisty mystery, Coyle poses an intriguing question: if you lost all memory of your beloved, would you fall for him all over again?”

Publishers Weekly

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent