Posted in 2020 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge E-Book Challenge Giveaways Literary Escapes New Release Challenge Read The Printed Word Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

The Evil Men Do (A P.T. Marsh Novel) by John McMahon #Review / #Giveaway


The Evil Men Do (A P.T. Marsh Novel)
Suspense/Thriller
Police Procedural
Setting – Georgia
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons (March 3, 2020)
Hardcover: 368 pages
ISBN-10: 052553556X
ISBN-13: 978-0525535560
Kindle ASIN: B07SZQP2C5

What if the one good thing you did in your life doomed you to die?

 

A hard-nosed real estate baron is dead, and detectives P.T. Marsh and Remy Morgan learn there’s a long list of suspects. Mason Falls, Georgia, may be a small town, but Ennis Fultz had filled it with professional rivals, angry neighbors, and a wronged ex-wife. And when Marsh realizes that this potential murder might be the least of his troubles, he begins to see what happens when ordinary people become capable of evil.

 

As Marsh and Morgan dig into the case, it becomes clear that Fultz’s death was not an isolated case of revenge. It may be part of a dark web of crimes connected to an accident that up-ended Marsh’s life a couple years earlier–and that now threatens the life of a young child. Marsh veers dangerously off track as his search for clues becomes personal..and brings him to a place where a man’s good deeds turn out to be more dangerous than his worst crimes.

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts

My first experience with P.T. Marsh was gripping and this one was even more so.

Swarmy Ennis Fultz is dead and he left plenty of suspects behind. A very observant little girl plays a major role and P.T. uncovers more evil than he ever could have imagined. The deeper he digs veers him in a direction that appears to be personal. A direction that could cost him his job and maybe even his life.


Mr. McMahon has created complicated characters and puts them in complex situations. I ended my review of The Good Detective saying John McMahon is now an author to watch, and I was right.  I thought P.T. Marsh had turned a corner. He did but as far as I thought. He is still hurting and raw. He is smart, determined, and flawed and still trying to come to grips with the loss of his wife and son in a freaky hit and run accident. P.T. is also embroiled in a civil suit along with the police department for excessive use of force on a previous case. He doesn’t believe he did anything wrong and that could come back to bite him financially. He is trying to stay sober and do his job but it isn’t easy. His partner, Detective Remy Morgan, an African American woman is getting frustrated with P.T. but hopes when push comes to shove he has her back. P.T. has started a relationship with Medical Examiner Sarah Raines but he is clearly still in mourning. He tries to hold tight to the relationship with his father-in-law but something always seems to get in the way.

So much happens within the covers of this book. The author has cleverly plotted this story with several tentacles all entwined together. The book opens with “The little girl knew things.” but transitions to P.T.’s life quickly in Chapter 2. We continue to have visits from the little girl between many of the chapters. This process really drew me in from the start. Soon, it truly became impossible to put the book down. P.T. was continually pulled in several directions. Sometimes he followed the clues in a logical manner but sometimes he goes off on tangents that were dangerous for both him and his partner.

McMahon has delivered a compelling story that will have readers glued to the pages. I wanted P.T. to succeed, get the answers he needs and catch the bad guys, but sometimes I wanted to reach into the pages and grab him to protect him from some of his risky decisions.

The Evil Men Do is a  riveting gritty suspense-filled thriller. P.T. Marsh is a character you become invested in quickly. His life is a wild ride that doesn’t let go. All the strings are not wrapped up at the conclusion of this book either so readers are left excitedly waiting for book #3. Well done, Mr. McMahon! This was a PERFECT ESCAPE!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

Read my review for The Good Detective here

About the Author

John McMahon studied Creative Writing at The University of Arizona. In his role as an ad agency creative director, his work has won a Gold Clio for Fiat, and he’s written a Superbowl spot for Alfa Romeo. He currently lives in Southern California with his family and two rescue animals. He’s hard at work on another P.T. Marsh book and dreams of splitting his time between Cabo San Lucas and Lake Lanier, Georgia.

I am giving away my review copy!
The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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something you like here and become a follower.

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

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

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If you share the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
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Contest Will End April 2, 2020, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

Posted in 2020 Reviews 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!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

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!
The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
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Leave a comment for the author for 5 Bonus Entries.

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

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

Contest Will End April 1, 2020, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

Posted in 2020 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours New Release Challenge Read The Printed Word Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Lavender Blue Murder (A Tea Shop Mystery) by Laura Childs #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour

Lavender Blue Murder (A Tea Shop Mystery)
by Laura Childs

About Lavender Blue Murder 


Lavender Blue Murder (A Tea Shop Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
21th in Series
Setting – South Carolina
Publisher: Berkley (March 3, 2020)
Hardcover: 336 pages
ISBN-10: 0451489667
ISBN-13: 978-0451489661
Digital ASIN: B07SSQ1X4R

Tea-Maven Theodosia Browning brews up trouble in the latest Tea Shop Mystery from New York Times bestselling author Laura Childs.

 

Tea maven Theodosia Browning and her tea sommelier Drayton Conneley are guests at a bird hunt styled in the precise manner of an English shooting party. Which means elevenses (sloe gin fizzes), gun loaders, the drawing of pegs, fine looking bird dogs, and shooting costumes of tweed, herringbone, and suede.

 

But as gunshots explode like a riff of Black Cat firecrackers, another shot sounds too close for comfort to Theodosia and Drayton. Intrigued but worried, Theodosia wanders into the neighbor’s lavender field where she discovers their host, Reginald Doyle, bleeding to death.

 

His wife, Meredith, is beside herself with grief and begs Theodosia and Drayton to stay the night. But Theodosia awakens at 2:00A.M. to find smoke in her room and the house on fire. As the fire department screams in and the investigating sheriff returns, Meredith again pleads with Theodosia for help.

 

As Theodosia investigates, fingers are pointed, secrets are uncovered, Reginald’s daughter-in-law goes missing presumed drowned, and Meredith is determined to find answers via a séance. All the while Theodosia worries if she’s made a mistake in inviting a prime suspect to her upscale Lavender Lady Tea.

 

INCLUDES DELICIOUS RECIPES AND TEA TIME TIPS!

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

Theodosia Browning and her tea sommelier Drayton Conneley are on a hunt, a bird hunt. They are guests at an English shooting party. Theo is having a great time and even bagged a quail. Drayton is mostly just along for her company. As they are sojourning across the field they hear shots ring out. Shots very close to them. Theo takes off to check things out and she finds their host Reginald Doyle, bleeding to death in the neighbor’s lavender field. By the time the ambulance arrives there is nothing they can do to save the man.

Reginald’s wife Meredith is distraught and begs Theo and Dayton to stay the night and they can’t refuse. In the middle of the night, Theo wakes up to find the mansion on fire and rushes to clear everyone out of the house. Not trusting the local Sheriff Meredith asks Theodosia to investigate too.

Shortly thereafter, Theo surprising meets Reginald’s daughter-in-law not far from Drayton’s house and she is clearly not herself. She then learns the young woman went missing shortly after their meeting. She was out on her husband’s sailboat and is thought to have drowned and the Coast Guard is searching for her body. Theo starts pressing harder in her investigation ruffling more than a few feathers.


What an awesome story! It starts with a bang and ends with a crash!! Loved it!

All the characters we love are back. Theo, Drayton, Haley, Riley, Miss Dimple, Detective Tidwell and of course Earl Grey fill these pages with drama, laughter, Southern charm, and some exciting action too. This is the 21st book in this series and these characters still are fresh and continue to evolve in fantastic ways. Theo never disappoints as she gets down and dirty smack dab in the middle of another murder investigation. Riley tries to reel her in but that is near impossible. Haley and Mrs. Dimple take care of the Indigo Tea Shop while Theo and Drayton chase down leads. But Theo is still front and center for all the special tea events put on at the shop, like the Lavender Lady Tea. She keeps her ears wide open because you never know who will provide a clue that catapults the case forward.

Ms. Childs has not only created a great group of core characters but she introduces a stellar group of new characters to fit this story. Most are suspects but they are all interesting in their own way. She describes them so vividly they are so easy to visualize.

The author’s vivid descriptions also bring each scene clearly into focus, from the field of lavender, the Doyle Mansion, Drayton’s home and Theo’s, which is undergoing a kitchen renovation, to the tea shop itself with each type of china, silverware, and candlestick used. The descriptions of the scones, soups, and sandwiches will make your mouth water. Ms. Childs has perfected the way to bring each scene alive, never going overboard or getting too wordy.

The mystery builds to a fast-pace with a plethora of suspects. Twists, turns, red herrings, this story has it all. Theo is so smart and thinks on her feet. She has so much experience she knows a crime scene must be protected. I was afraid this time she may have had to get physical to protect that scene. Talk about physical the ending had me breathing hard, my blood pressure rising and me sitting right up at the end of my seat.

Amongst this cozy mystery is all kinds of tidbits of information. I love lavender and have a spray I use on my pillow each night that helps me sleep like a baby. I loved all the lavender facts scattered through this book, I would love to live near a field of lavender. Readers are also treated to tea time tips, Drayton is a very knowledgeable tea sommelier and very creative with his blends. There are more tea tips at the end of the book along with several recipes for food served in the story.

I loved everything about this story. It is one of the best books I have read this year! It is so worth a Paradise Rating.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Laura Childs

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

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

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

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

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

Laura’s Links: Website – Facebook – 

Purchase Links

Amazon   B&N  Kobo   Google Play  IndieBound

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Great Escapes Praise for Lavender Blue Murder (A Tea Shop Mystery)
by Laura Childs

Lavender Blue Murder is an enchanting cozy mystery with a weeping widow, a surplus of suspects, tasty tea, loads of lavender, blaring bagpipes, and a spooky séance.
~The Avid Reader

The mystery was engaging and fun, oh and the teas and recipes! Oh my! I think I look forward to the recipes as much as I do the mysteries.
~A Chick Who Reads

Phew this was a humdinger of a story with a plethora of potential suspects for Theo and Drayton to deal with!
~A Wytch’s Book Review Blog

. . . a fun mystery that will have you guessing who did it mixed in between the tea and goodies. Makes for a great read. I totally loved it so I give it 5/5 stars.
~Books a Plenty Book Reviews

As always Laura does a good job of making you feel a part of the story. She also likes to put in just enough twists to keep you guessing until the end.
~A. Holland Reads

Lavender Blue Murder starts out with a bang, quite literally! . . . The mystery was intriguing and well planned, and there are lots of suspects to keep you second-guessing if you think you have it all figured out.
~The Book’s the Thing

LAVENDER BLUE MURDER is an intricately plotted mystery imbued with Southern grace, exemplary food, and fine tea. Sit back with a lavender scone and a cup of steaming Asaam and prepare for a delightful read.
~Cozy Up With Kathy

The writing pace is calming (in spite of the murder lol) and engaging, and you just want to immerse yourself into this world for a while. Especially if it involves lunch at the tea shop (hold the tea… sorry, Drayton) and the yummy food there!
~Reading Is My SuperPower

As I neared the end of this delightful collection of locale, character, and tastiness, I realized that I didn’t expect something different in this release. I expected my Indigo friends, familiar shop chatter, local characters, comfortable teatime, and an all-around good story. Just like all the others in this series. So settle in​ and expect both​.
~The Editing Pen

TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please visit all the stops.
March 2 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW
March 2 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW
March 3 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW
March 4 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
March 4 – My Journey Back – REVIEW (Coming Soon)
March 5 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – GUEST POST
March 5 – A Holland Reads – REVIEW
March 6 – I’m All About Books-SPOTLIGHT
March 6 – Here’s How It Happened – SPOTLIGHT
March 7 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW
March 8 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW
March 9 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW
March 9 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
March 10 – The Editing Pen – REVIEW
March 10 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – SPOTLIGHT
March 11 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT
March 12 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
March 13 – eBook Addicts – SPOTLIGHT
March 13 – The Book Diva’s Reads – GUEST POST
March 14 – Nadaness In Motion – REVIEW
March 14 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
March 15 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW
March 16 – I Read What You Write – GUEST POST
March 16 – This Is My Truth Now – SPOTLIGHT
March 17 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
March 17 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
March 18 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
March 19 – Laura`s Interests – REVIEW
March 19 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
March 20 – Cinnamon, Sugar, and a Little Bit of Murder – REVIEW
March 21 – Socrates Book Reviews – REVIEW

 

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Click Here Find Details and Sign Up Today!


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 My Reading Itinerary Monday

My Reading Itinerary Monday! – Week #12 – 2020

Welcome to My Reading Itinerary Monday!

Where are your books taking you this week?

I will be visiting England, Texas, and Pennsylvania!

Here’s what I read and what I have planned for this week.

Escapes Completed


Easter Hair Hunt (The Bad Hair Day Mysteries)
by Nancy J. Cohen
Release Date – March 10, 2020
Setting – Florida
My Review


Lavender Blue Murder (A Tea Shop Mystery)
by Laura Childs
Release Date – March 3, 2020
Setting – South Carolina
The Great Escapes Tour stops here tomorrow!


Mimi Lee Gets a Clue (A Sassy Cat Mystery)
by Jennifer J. Chow
Release Date – March 10, 2020
Setting – California
Jennifer Chow will be my guest this week for Cozy Wednesday!


The Evil Men Do (A P.T. Marsh Novel)
by John McMahon
Release Date – March 3, 2020
Setting – Georgia
My Review will be up Thursday!

Scheduled Escapes


Who Rescued Who
by Victoria Schade
Release Date – March 24, 2020
Setting – England
For Review

Revenge Is Sweet (Vintage Sweets Mysteries
by Kaye George
Release Date – March 10, 2020
Setting – Texas
I will feature this book next week for Cozy Wednesday!

Frozen Stiff Drink: A Kellan Ayrwick Cozy Mystery
(Braxton Campus Mysteries)
by James J. Cudney

Release Date – March 2, 2020
Setting – Pennsylvania
The Great Escapes Tour stops here next Thursday!

Future Escapes

March 16 – 22, 2020


Click Here to check out my Current Giveaways!

Please Share Your Reading Itinerary in the Comments below!
Happy Reading!!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

ki

Posted in Sunday Salon / Sunday Post

Sunday Salon / Sunday Post – Pandemic Proportions – 5 Years – Weekly Rewind – New Arrivals

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The Sunday Salon is a Facebook group that has become an
informal week in review gathering place for bloggers.

It is also a place to share our thoughts about things of a bookish nature.
You can also link up weekly on Readerbuzz.

SUNDAY POST The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by
Kimberly @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer
~ It’s a chance to share news~
A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

HAPPY SUNDAY EVERYONE!

Pandemic Proportions 

The world is so crazy now as everyone tries to deal with the Coronavirus, now labeled a Pandemic. Everything is being canceled or postponed. Businesses are closing and people are working from home. People are hoarding toilet paper, except in this house, we are almost out :).

Things don’t really change for me because I always work from home. Mr. Dollycas works for a mobile x-ray company so he is still sending techs into nursing homes properly garbed to protect them. Daughter #2 now works at a bank and they are taking all kinds of protections to stay open. Daughter #1’s family has been fighting the regular flu this past week. She will return to work when she feels better as her job definitely can’t be done from home. The same with son #2. Natalie’s mom works at a grocery store so she will continue to work taking all the precautions necessary. With all the schools in the state closing down on Wednesday grandparents may be called into service to watch the kids.

I think the biggest thing is not to panic. We need to wash our hands a lot, stay out of crowds, curtail travel and use common sense. Stop hoarding the toilet paper 😉 The U.S. is strong and we will get through this.

Today marks the 5th anniversary of
my son’s death by suicide.

5 Years – 60 Months – 1827 Days – 43847.5 Hours – 2,630,850 Minutes – 157, 851,000 Seconds

Since we were told you were gone. Our hearts broke and our lives were forever changed.

This year we are not getting together as we usually do to mark this date. The virus played into that but we had thought of transitioning to getting together later in the month around his birthday. We will have to play it by ear though to see what is happening in the world.

Over the years to deal with the pain and guilt that comes with a death like this I try to post here and on social media to raise suicide awareness. I wish I would have known more and been able to help Kris through his struggle to have a different outcome. I try to share what I have learned to help others so other families don’t have to go through the immense pain of losing a loved one to suicide. I wish I could do more.

I know too many people from all walks of life suffer from depression and feel the world would be better off without them. It is important to tune into your family and friends and watch for the Warning Signs.

Also if you are struggling yourself, please reach out. There are people that love and care about you and are willing to help. You are not alone!

If you are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741-741.

~Lori


Weekly Rewind – March 9 – 14, 2020

Monday – My Reading Itinerary Monday! – Week #11 – 2020

Tuesday – Dressed Up 4 Murder (Sophie Kimball Mystery) by J.C. Eaton #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @KensingtonBooks

Wednesday – Cozy Wednesday with Stephanie Cole – Author of Al Dente’s Inferno (A Tuscan Cooking School Mystery) #GuestPost / #Review / #Giveaway @BerkleyMystery

Thursday – Sleuth on Safari: A Traveler Cozy Mystery by A R Kennedy #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour

Friday – Easter Hair Hunt (The Bad Hair Day Mysteries) by Nancy J. Cohen – #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @nancyjcohen

Saturday – Saturday #Spotlight / #Giveaway – Queen Anne’s Lace (China Bayles Mystery) by Susan Wittig Albert @BerkleyMystery

Stay safe and have a great week!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

Posted in Giveaways Spotlights

Saturday #Spotlight / #Giveaway – Queen Anne’s Lace (China Bayles Mystery) by Susan Wittig Albert @BerkleyMystery


Clearing a book from my Giveaway Shelf today!

This book could fill the “Q” on your Alphabet Soup Challenge.


Queen Anne’s Lace (China Bayles Mystery)
Paranormal Cozy Mystery
26th in Series
Berkley (April 3, 2018)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425280058
Kindle ASIN: B073Z29PG7

A present day ghost leads China Bayles to a secret from Pecan Springs’s past in this haunting mystery from New York Times bestselling author Susan Wittig Albert.

 

While helping Ruby Wilcox clean up the loft above their shops, China comes upon a box of antique handcrafted lace and old photographs. Following the discovery, she hears a woman humming an old Scottish ballad and smells the delicate scent of lavender….

 

Soon, strange happenings start to occur in Thyme and Seasons: misplaced items, a ringing bell, and the appearance of lavender sprigs in odd places. When a customer mentions seeing a mysterious woman picking flowers nearby and then suddenly disappearing, China must finally admit what Ruby has always known–their building is haunted. But by whom?

 

As China investigates, the tragic story of a woman in one of the old photographs unfolds. Annie Laurie was a young widow who’d lost both her husband and her child in the same day. She manages to survive through her lace-making business and finds happiness again only to have a suspicious death overshadow her new life.

 

China delves into Annie’s century-old mystery and realizes that solving it could have unimaginable repercussions in the here and now.

 

About This Author

Susan Wittig Albert is the New York Times bestselling author of four Prime Crime series: China Bayles, The Darling Dahlias, The Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter, and (with her husband, Bill Albert) the Robin Paige Victorian Mysteries. She also writes historical fiction. Recent titles: Loving Eleanor and A Wilder Rose. Her website: www.susanalbert.com

Books in this Series

Thanks to the people at Penguin I have 1 Hardcover Copy to give away!
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and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

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Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

Posted in 2020 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Alphabet Soup A -Z Author Edition Challenge Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Literary Escapes New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Easter Hair Hunt (The Bad Hair Day Mysteries) by Nancy J. Cohen – #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @nancyjcohen

Easter Hair Hunt (The Bad Hair Day Mysteries)
by Nancy J. Cohen

About Easter Hair Hunt


Easter Hair Hunt (The Bad Hair Day Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
16th in Series
Setting – Florida
Publisher: Orange Grove Press (March 10, 2020)
Print Length: 233 pages
Digital ASIN: B083TZ78G1

Hare today, dead tomorrow… Can a stylish sleuth pull a rabbit out of her hat to solve an Easter murder in this to-dye-for cozy mystery?

 

When hairstylist Marla Vail attends an Easter egg hunt at historic Tremayne Manor, she’s only there to fix hair for a client, Bonnie “Blinky” Morris. But when she’s asked to comb the grounds for leftover goodies, Marla discovers more than just a few dyed eggs. The dead body in the bunny costume is definitely not having a good hare day. And Blinky seems to have disappeared down a rabbit hole.

 

When trying to solve a murder, everyone needs a friend who’s all ears. For Marla, that’s her husband, homicide detective Dalton Vail. They make an eggcellent team. Dalton isn’t the kind to leap to conclusions, but with his wife seven months pregnant, and knowing Marla finds crime-solving to be irresistible, he worries about her running off on another hare-raising adventure.

 

Marla’s peeps are hoping for a happy ending, but she may have found a basketful of trouble this time. Can she crack the case before Blinky becomes the next victim?

 

Recipes Included!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Who stabbed the Easter Bunny?? That is exactly what hairstylist and amateur sleuth Marla Vail intends to find out.

Marla was at an Easter event at Tremayne Manor to fix Bonnie “Blinky” Morris’ hair but while helping clear the grounds of any eggs missed by the searching children she finds a dead bunny, a human in a bunny suit. Seven months pregnant the last thing she needs is another murder investigation but hubby and homicide detective, Dalton Vail knows they make a great team because people open up to Marla. He just hopes all those baby kicks she is receiving help her to make careful choices. The case gets pretty egg-citing and she best “bee” careful or she may find herself just a “hare” out of the killer’s sights.

Oh, and while everyone is focused on the dead bunny, Blinky Morris has disappeared. Her car is still in the lot, but she is nowhere to be found, She can’t be the killer or can she???


I love the way these characters have grown over the course of this series. Marla is not letting this pregnancy hold her back from anything she wants to do. She is keeping normal hours at her salon and now she is delving into another murder. Baby things, like the nursery, name and numerous other things were getting put off until her family starts laying on the pressure. She is already a great mom to her stepdaughter Brianna, but a new baby is really going to change her life. Dalton is pretty laid back about the whole thing but their religious differences may add a little bit of drama. They are also going to be dealing with Brianna heading to college soon.

The setting for this story was unique. Tremayne Manor is an old family home filled with prized possessions including Faberge eggs, valuable stamps, Russian Matryoshka dolls, and many other historical artifacts. The estate has been opened for public tours and now has a gift shop, a cafe, and beehives. The author incorporates all these features and more into this story so well. All the little tidbits I learned were very interesting.

In Easter Hair Hunt, Ms. Cohen has written a complex mystery, hunting down this killer is far from easy. The motive is unclear but Marla has many theories. She doesn’t believe Blinky could commit murder so she is also on the hunt for her friend. There are plenty of twists and turns before any of the clues start to fall into place. I had an inkling about a major aspect of the mystery but was still surprised by the final reveal.

I have truly enjoyed the books in this series. The characters are well-developed and the dialogue is snappy. There is the perfect balance between family life and mystery along with a good dose of humor along the way. There is a big event coming soon for Marla and Dalton. I am excited to see how the author handles this in future books.

This book reads well on its own but to fully enjoy these characters you should start the series from the beginning.

Easter Hair Hunt is a fun holiday cozy. Hop on over and get your copy today.

 

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Nancy J. Cohen

Nancy J. Cohen writes the Bad Hair Day Mysteries featuring South Florida hairstylist Marla Vail. Titles in this series have been named Best Cozy Mystery by Suspense Magazine, won a Readers’ Favorite gold medal and a RONE Award, earned first place in the Chanticleer International Book Awards and third place in the Arizona Literary Awards. Nancy’s instructional guide, Writing the Cozy Mystery, was nominated for an Agatha Award, earned first place in the Royal Palm Literary Awards and the TopShelf Magazine Book Awards, and won a gold medal in the President’s Book Awards. A featured speaker at libraries, conferences, and community events, Nancy is a past president of  Florida Romance Writers and Mystery Writers of America Florida Chapter. She is listed in Contemporary Authors, Poets & Writers, and Who’s Who in U.S. Writers, Editors, & Poets. When not busy writing, she enjoys cooking, fine dining, cruising, and visiting Disney World.

Author Links:

Website Blog Twitter Facebook Goodreads Pinterest LinkedIn Instagram BookBub

Purchase Links – Amazon Kindle –  Amazon Print –  B&N –  KoboApple – Books2Read IndieBoundGoodreads BookBubWebsite



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Great Escapes Praise for Easter Hair Hunt (The Bad Hair Day Mysteries)
by Nancy J. Cohen

Nancy J. Cohen is on my “auto-buy” list. Her writing is crisp, fresh and captivating. This is one of my favorite series and I do hope it continues for a long time to come.
~Socrates’ Book Reviews…

This cozy mystery beautifully blends together important key elements – rich characterization, vivid setting, historical tidbits, and a mystery that keeps you guessing.
~The Power of Words

TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please visit all the stops. 
March 11 – Socrates Book Reviews – REVIEW
March 11 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
March 11 – This Is My Truth Now – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
March 12 – The Power of Words – REVIEW
March 12 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
March 12 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT
March 13 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
March 13 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT
March 13 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
March 14 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW
March 14 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT
March 14 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
March 15 – Cozy Up With Kathy – RECIPE POST
March 15 – Hearts & Scribbles – GUEST POST
March 15 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW
March 16 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
March 16 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – SPOTLIGHT
March 16 – eBook Addicts – SPOTLIGHT
March 17 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT
March 17 – Jane Reads – GUEST POST
March 18 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST
March 18 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – SPOTLIGHT
March 18 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – 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.”

Posted in 2020 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Great Escapes Book Tours Literary Escapes New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Sleuth on Safari: A Traveler Cozy Mystery by A R Kennedy #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour

This book will be released on March 24, 2020.

Sleuth on Safari: A Traveler Cozy Mystery
by A R Kennedy

 

About Sleuth on Safari


Sleuth on Safari: A Traveler Cozy Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Independently Published (March 24, 2020)
Print Length 267 Pages
Digital ASIN: B082XKK3TD

A bargain deal on a safari + one dead body = An adventure no one could plan for.

 

Naomi and her estranged sister are off on a trip of a lifetime—an African safari, a bucket list trip for Naomi on which she got a last-minute deal. Naomi thinks traveling with her sister will be the worst part of her African safari until she finds one of their fellow travelers, the unlikable Dr. Higgins, dead. She gets more adventure than she bargained for when she starts investigating what she thinks is murder but the luxury lodge says was a tragic accident. She only has a few vacation days, and a few game drives, to find the killer.

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

Pack your bags, we are escaping to Africa with Naomi and her sister Charlotte. Naomi has always wanted to go on a safari and she was able to get a great deal but with such short notice, she could only get her sister to go with her. The girls separated after their parent’s divorce. Naomi went with her dad while Charlotte went with her mom.

The girls arrive for their great adventure and meet the others in the group. Everyone seems nice except Dr. Higgens who is traveling by himself and as cantankerous as they come.

When Dr. Higgins fails to arrive for a game drive he is found dead in his room. It is a grisly scene that is quickly labeled a tragic animal attack, but Naomi doesn’t think there was anything accidental about it. She can’t convince even her sister that the man was murdered but she is going to use the rest of her vacation to prove it.

_________________

I really enjoyed this story.

Naomi and Charlotte are both in their mid-20s but are as different as night and day. Charlotte is studying to be doctor, very driven and organized. Naomi is laid back, still trying to find herself, thrilled to be on a Safari but tuned out during the orientation talk and really didn’t follow the list they were given about what to pack for this adventure. She knew Charlotte would have whatever they needed. Charlotte is the apple of her mother’s eye, Naomi is happy to have little to no contact with the woman.

The tour group is diverse with a woman with a teenager and another man about Charlotte’s age, a couple of senior citizens, a middle-aged couple, Dr. Higgns, and the sisters. Upon arrival at the lodge they meet the manager Leticia, Sonny, who had picked them up at the airport, is their guide, and Ray their tracker. All the characters are strangers and develop over the course of the story. I really liked the camaraderie between Sonny and Ray and all their knowledge.

The lodge they were staying out sounded spectacular and scary at the same time. Much of it is open-air and the rooms have windows looking out over the lush landscape. The group sees something amazing too. I will never be able to do anything like an African Safari so it was fun to go along through the pages of this book on the several game drives looking for “the Big Five” — African Elephant, Lion, Cape Buffalo, Leopard, and Rhinoceros plus many other animals. Naomi also has an experience by herself that is absolutely fantastic.

Now the mystery is an unusual one. Only Naomi believes a crime has been committed, except for the killer of course, so everyone is a suspect and there are no police involved. She quickly rules her sister out but really has to twist Charlotte’s arm the few times she needs her help to do a little investigating. Naomi was a little pushy at times but she was determined did not give up. I must say having no police involved was a true breath of fresh air. Naomi was really on her own and it showed what a strong woman she truly is. Most people on vacation would accept what they are told about the death and move on, Naomi just couldn’t.

Sleuth on Safari is a real treat. Ms. Kennedy takes readers right there, on the scene, for some spectacular sights. She also gives us a tricky mystery to solve with plenty of suspects. The story flows naturally and the reveal is surprising.

This series is off to an excellent start. I want to get to know Naomi and Charlotte better. I am excited to see what adventure they take us on next.



Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About A. R. Kennedy

A.R. KENNEDY

A. R. Kennedy lives in Long Beach, New York, with her two pups. She works hard to put food on the floor for them. As her favorite T-shirt says, ‘I work so my dog can have a better life’. She’s an avid traveler. But don’t worry. While she’s away, her parents dote on their grand-puppies even more than she does. Her writing is a combination of her love of travel, animals, and the journey we all take to find ourselves.

Author Links

Website Amazon Facebook –  Twitter –  GoodreadsBookBub

Purchase Link – Amazon 

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Great Escape Praise for Sleuth on Safari: A Traveler Cozy Mystery
by A R Kennedy

I do enjoy a cozy. We have plenty of suspects, and some danger and mystery. It was fun being along for the ride, seeing the sights, spending a night alone with Naomi in the treehouse, and meeting all the quirky characters.
~fundinmental

Great start to a new series! . . . A well written mystery with a balanced mix of characters, adventure, and mystery. I really liked it . . .
~Books a Plenty Book Reviews

Layers of tension combine with vividly-drawn landscapes and wildlife to create a story that’s fraught with danger and suspense. The writing style is smooth and engaging, and you’ll find yourself eagerly turning the pages to see how it all plays out.
~Reading Is My SuperPower

TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please visit all the stops. 
March 5 – I Read What You Write – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
March 5 – fundinmental – REVIEW 
March 6 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – CHARACTER GUEST POST
March 6 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
March 7 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW
March 8 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT
March 9 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
March 10 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
March 10 – My Journey Back-The-Journey Back – CHARACTER GUEST POST
March 11 – That’s What She’s Reading –  GUEST POST
March 11 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW
March 12 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW  
March 12 – Mysteries with Character – GUEST POST
March 13 – TBR Book Blog – REVIEW
March 13 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW
March 14 – This Is My Truth Now – REVIEW
March 15 – Here’s How It Happened – REVIEW
March 16 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
March 17 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST
March 17 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
March 18 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR 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 2020 Reviews Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways Literary Escapes New Release Challenge Read The Printed Word Challenge What's In A Name Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday with Stephanie Cole – Author of Al Dente’s Inferno (A Tuscan Cooking School Mystery) #GuestPost / #Review / #Giveaway @BerkleyMystery


Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am delighted to welcome Stephanie Cole to Escape With Dollycas today!

My Inspiration for the Tuscan Cooking School Mystery Series

by Stephanie Cole
Post provided by Publicist

            For some people, inspiration happens in one single, gobsmacking moment when your imagination is positively alight with The Idea. In those five or ten seconds, your life appears to you in a different guise: suddenly you have better clothes, funnier jokes, the kind of memorable laugh that others will want to imitate. The inspired Idea has brilliance and gravitas. Your whole life has moved inexorably to this moment and will never be the same. You go from having had — when you really strip it down — a pretty good idea about something (say, why the hero is wearing a Mets cap), to suddenly seeing yourself as She Who is Inspired. A kind of permanent, enviable state.

Poor inspiration. We have such unrealistic hopes for it!

In my own writing life, inspiration happens in stages. Some part of an idea arrives, and I sit with it — or, as I go about mixing darks and whites for the laundry and trying to track down the smell in the fridge, it sits with me. A casual comment from someone may turn out to be the first piece. In the case of the Tuscan Cooking School Mystery Series, my agent, John Talbot, and I were having a beer together at Malice Domestic two years ago, after I’d been through a long stretch of failed proposals for mystery series. John up and said something along the lines of “Gee, I wish you could get back to something like the Italian Restaurant series.” (Note: I’m not sure about the “gee.”) A casual comment, right? But I felt something happen inside, a little thrill of what I called rightness. There was something right and exciting about what he said. Suddenly I had a direction for my next attempt to scale the publishing fortress.

stephanie cole al dentes inferno When I returned home, I had my next puzzle piece of information that sharpened the beginnings of The Idea. All I had was Italian cooking. What I needed was the premise. In my mind, I tracked cozy mysteries’ travels from the U.S.A. to the U.K. Cozies were going a bit transatlantic, weren’t they? Popular series set in Scotland and Ireland were cropping up. Ahh, said Inspiration in my ear, how long will it be before they jump the Channel and turn up in Europe? For once, I felt like I was absolutely on to something, and that I was ahead of the curve.

But where, where, where, to set a new cozy series set in Europe? It didn’t take me long to choose Italy. I’ve been, I’m going, I’ve got family there, I’ve read Donna Leon, and I like Italian cooking. It didn’t take long to choose. . .not Tuscany at first, oh no. Here’s an important point about inspiration: sometimes it isn’t.  My original premise: I would set the series on the Italian Riviera (a sentimental nod to my family) and my heroine/sleuth would own an olive estate.

Excited, I wrote up my new proposal, which included a series overview and sample chapters, and sent it off to John.

He and his partner, Gail Fortune, discussed it and got back to me with a key change that might make the difference between success and failure.  Another truth about inspiration? Sometimes it’s someone else’s. What they told me was this: Move it to Tuscany and make it a cooking school. And this simple shift in the premise felt like a thunderbolt to me. I knew instantly that they were right. I made the changes, moving the villa to Cortona, where Under the Tuscan Sun was set.

And Nell and Pete and Chef and Annamaria and her sisters who are Sisters welcomed me to the Villa Orlandini Cooking School. These characters were so clear and interesting to me. The final puzzle piece fell into place: It’s a cooking school at the villa of a world-renowned Chef, and its classes are designed for American gastrotourists (yes, it’s a word). Just think, in every book I have a delicious vanload of American foodies turning up at the villa to be either killed, suspected, or homicidally inclined.

A final observation about inspiration. It can start small, it can come to you in pieces and over time and even from someone else’s inspiration. It all counts because however, it arrives — even if it slams you with one single, gobsmacking Idea full of brilliance and gravitas — it sets you on the path of new work that can fill you with creative joy.

~Stephanie

Thank you, Stephanie, for visiting today. 

Keep reading for my thoughts about Al Dente’s Inferno. 

stephanie cole al dente inferno
Al Dente’s Inferno (A Tuscan Cooking School Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Italy
Publisher: Berkley (February 25, 2020)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 0593097793
ISBN-13: 978-0593097793
Kindle ASIN: B07TQKN23G

An American chef will have to serve up more than good eats if she wants to establish a successful farm-to-table cooking school in Tuscany, in this charming first installment in a new cozy mystery series set in Italy.

 

When Nell Valenti is offered a chance to move to Tuscany to help transform an aging villa into a farm-to-table cooking school, she eagerly accepts. After all, both her job and her love life in America have been feeling stale. Plus, she’ll get the chance to work under the acclaimed Italian Chef Claudio Orlandini.

 

But Nell gets more than she bargained for when she arrives. With only a day to go until the launch dinner for the cooking school, the villa is in shambles, and Chef O is blissfully oblivious of the work that needs to be done before a group of local dignitaries arrive, along with a filmmaker sent to showcase and advertise the new school. The situation only worsens when Nell discovers that the filmmaker is an ex-boyfriend, and he’s found murdered later that night. Even worse, Chef O has disappeared, and accusations of murder could shut the school down for good.

 

As tensions reach a boiling point at the villa, Nell must throw her chef’s hat into the ring, and investigate the murder herself. Because if she fails to solve the case, her career, or even her life, could be next on the chopping block.

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts

American chef Nell Valenti needs a break from her family, job, and love life in the States so she jumps at the chance to set up a farm-to-table cooking school in Tuscany. The icing on the cake is that she will be working alongside acclaimed Italian Chef Claudio Orlandini.

Her arrival is a little bumpy but she is finally picked up and transported to the villa where the cooking school will be located and where she will be staying. It is nowhere near what she imagined and clearly sees she has her work cut out of her. Sadly, she seems to be the only one that sees the disorder around them and all the repairs and renovation needed to fulfill the needs of a cooking school. Chef Claudio is so excited he has invited a group of dignitaries for a launch dinner. There is also a filmmaker coming to film the school to use in future advertising.

As the guests arrive Nell is shaken to her core. The filmmaker is her ex-boyfriend that she left back in America. The dinner is filled with fits and starts but after it breaks up, the filmmaker is found dead and Claudio is nowhere to be found.

Nell knows her history with the deceased could make her a prime suspect so she decides to investigate the murder herself. An American in the country for only a few days she does her best to find the killer because even with the school in disarray she needs the job and hopes to stay. That is if she survives.


Stephanie Cole has introduced some interesting characters in this story. Nell is a character I could grow to love. She sees she has a mountain to climb in turning an old rundown villa into a cooking school and she doesn’t run off at her first chance, especially when everyone else seems to be wearing rose-colored glasses when they look at the place.  She also hides her shock when meeting Chef Claudio Orlandini. Her hero certainly does not look or act as she expected. Nell becomes attached to the Chef’s son as he gives her the tour of Villa Orlandini, introduces her to all the staff, and translates as needed. They do make a good sleuthing team. We also meet the staff but the author has left plenty of room for growth for all the characters in future stories.

I loved the Tuscan Cooking School theme of the book/series but it is not without a couple of pitfalls.

Setting the series in Tuscany does present a language problem. Most of the characters are going to speak Italian as their first language which means the book is full of translations. This really messed with the flow for me. Sometimes the translations immediately followed in the text, other times we were on our own. I wished I was reading it on my Kindle instead of in paperback because I would have been able to highlight the words and have them quickly translated.

As with most first books in a new cozy series, a great deal of time is spent introducing the characters and setting the scenes for the story, so the mystery is not too complex. There were twists and turns but I figured it out pretty early. I did enjoy the way Nell took on the case.

Ms. Cole’s descriptive talents were on her full display as her words illustrated the villa and everyplace Nell went masterfully.

I did enjoy the liberal use of humor throughout the story. A couple of times I caught myself laughing out loud.

The food descriptions were fantastic too. I wish there had been more recipes at the back of the book. Italian dishes are my faves.

This story had good bones and with a few tweaks, I can see this being a long-running series. Nell and Chef O. are characters I want to get to know better. I also can’t wait to see Villa Orlandini become all it can be. I hope the author takes her time developing a romance for Nell although we can see where it is headed. Nell has enough on her plate without taking on another man. If the filmmaker, Buford Kaplan is the typical man she gets involved with, the girl needs a good long break. 🙂


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About the Author

Stephanie Cole is an active member of the mystery writing community. Writing as Shelley Costa, she was nominated for both an Edgar and an Agatha award, and she co-founded the Northeast Ohio chapter of Sisters in Crime. She teaches creative writing workshops and lectures on American literature in the greater Cleveland area. For fun, she takes violin lessons, studies Art History—and eyes them both for murder plots.


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

Posted in 2020 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Literary Escapes New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Dressed Up 4 Murder (Sophie Kimball Mystery) by J.C. Eaton #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @KensingtonBooks

Dressed Up 4 Murder (Sophie Kimball Mystery)
by J.C. Eaton

About Dressed Up 4 Murder


Dressed Up 4 Murder (Sophie Kimball Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Setting – Arizona
Publisher: Kensington (February 25, 2020)
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 1496724550
ISBN-13: 978-1496724557
Digital ASIN: B07R8WYD83

Last one standing is the winner . . .

 

The holiday season has arrived and bookkeeper/amateur sleuth, Sophie “Phee” Kimball, would love nothing more than to enjoy the comforts of her new home with her detective boyfriend near Arizona’s Sun City West. Instead, her mother Harriet wants to showcase her chiweenie-chihuahua-dachshund Streetman in the Precious Pooches Holiday Extravaganza costume events. The festivities begin in October and end on St. Patrick’s Day—with the winner starring in the St. Pat’s Day parade. But things quickly turn an awful shade of green when Streetman uncovers a dead body under a tarp-covered grill in the neighbor’s yard.

 

The victim is Cameron Tully, a seafood distributor working out of Phoenix, who died from ingesting a toxic sago palm leaf. Before the police can even find a motive and suspect, another Precious Pooch owner nearly dies from the same poison. With Harriet believing someone’s targeting her and Streetman because of the costume contests, Phee will need a potful of Irish luck to sniff out a killer . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

There is always something happening at Sun City West. The new thing is the Precious Pooches Holiday Extravaganza and Harriet Plunkett plans to enter her chiweenie-chihuahua-dachshund Streetman in the event for each holiday starting with Halloween right through St. Patrick’s Day. Her friend Shirley is making his costumes and she knows he is going to win big. Streetman is not thrilled with the costumes at all, he is more concerned with a tarp in the neighbor’s yard.

When Sophie “Phee” Kimball arrives at her mother’s the dog is frantic to go outside. They open the backdoor and Streetman lunges out pulling the leash and Harriet right to the tarp-covered grill where they notice a pair of shoes. When Phee carefully pulls the tarp back they find a man attached to the shoes, but he won’t be grilling anytime soon. Neither woman recognizes the man. He is later identified as Cameron Tully from Phoenix. He is a seafood distributor and he was poisoned by a toxic sago palm leaf.

Police are having a hard time solving the murder but then a woman at a Precious Pooches event almost dies from the same thing. Harriet is afraid she and Streetman could be next. The police finally admit they need help and request Williams Investigations to assist on the case. This means Marshall and Phee are investigating but even they are having trouble. With Harriet nagging them at every move they know they need to solve this case and fast.


These characters are so much fun. You have Harriet and her friends and they are a hoot! You also have the team at Williams Investigations, Nate Williams is a retired detective from Mankato, Minnesota. Augusta keeps the office running and helps with cases too. Phee works for him as a bookkeeper but is turning out to be a great amateur sleuth. When business picked up he lured Marshall, another Mankato detective down to Arizona. Phee was thrilled because she had had a crush on him for years and now they are moving in together.  All these characters are so well developed, I can easily picture each one in my mind clearly. The places and events are described wonderfully too. It was so easy to imagine all the dogs and their owners parading around the park and all the chaos that erupts all around them.

Dog lover that I am Streetman does steal the show for me.

The mystery was a puzzler, with several red herrings. It took some serious digging for Phee to start bring things into focus and then the rest of the clues started to fall into place. I love the couple Marshall and Phee are becoming. They make a great team in all aspects of their life. I really enjoyed they worked together on this case, knowing each other’s strengths. It was a lot of fun following them step by step because I was completely in the dark right up to the reveal.

I have to take a moment to compliment the creativeness of the costumes the authors dreamed up for Shirley to create. Detailed and well-crafted and much more complicated than the one Streetman is wearing on the cover. Each described in vivid detail. The attention to detail the authors bring to these costumes and the whole book overall is what really makes this story and the others in this series must-reads for me.

Dressed Up 4 Murder is entertaining and captivating. The characters are strong and relatable and I can’t wait to see what they get themselves into next.

If you like your cozy mysteries to be filled with humor and a complex mystery that will have you really thinking, this is the perfect book for you.

 

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About J.C. Eaton

Meet Ann and Jim, Writing as J.C. Eaton

Ann I. Goldfarb

            New York native Ann I. Goldfarb spent most of her life in education, first as a classroom teacher and later as a middle school principal and professional staff developer. Writing as J. C. Eaton, along with her husband, James Clapp, they have authored the Sophie Kimball Mysteries (Kensington), The Wine Trail Mysteries (Kensington Lyrical Underground), and the Marcie Rayner Mysteries (Camel). In addition, Ann has nine published YA time travel mysteries under her own name. Visit us at:

James E. Clapp

            When James E. Clapp retired as the tasting room manager for a large upstate New York winery, he never imagined he’d be co-authoring cozy mysteries with his wife, Ann I. Goldfarb.  Non-fiction in the form of informational brochures and workshop materials treating the winery industry were his forte along with an extensive background and experience in construction that started with his service in the U.S. Navy and included vocational school classroom teaching. Visit the website at www.jceatonmysteries.com and the blog at www.jceatonauthor.com

Author Links – WebsiteBlogTime Travel MysteriesFacebook

Purchase Links – Amazon  –  B&N  – Kobo  – Google Books  – IndieBound


Also by J.C. Eaton

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Great Escapes Praise for Dressed Up 4 Murder (Sophie Kimball Mystery)
by J.C. Eaton

This mystery has everything mystery aficionados could want and more! A body in the yard, an adorable but smart dog, small-town secrets, and an amateur sleuth who has already made a name for herself as a nosy lady who seems to uncover the truth, no matter what.
~My Devotional Thoughts

Phee is a likable and smart character. I enjoy seeing her work to solve cases, especially alongside Marshall. Their relationship adds another layer to the story.
~View from the Birdhouse

TOUR PARTICIPANTS
March 2 – My Devotional Thoughts – REVIEW
March 2 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
March 3 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
March 3 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT
March 3 – Gimme The Scoop Reviews – REVIEW Coming Soon
March 4 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
March 4 – Carla Loves To Read – GUEST POST
March 4 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT
March 5 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT
March 5 – Literary Gold – CHARACTER GUEST POST
March 6 – View from the Birdhouse – REVIEW
March 6 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
March 7 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
March 7 – Diane Reviews Books – REVIEW
March 8 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
March 8 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
March 9 – Sneaky the Library Cat’s Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
March 9 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
March 10 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW  
March 10 – 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.”