Posted in 2021 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Literary Escapes New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Dead Man’s Hand (Victoria Square Mystery) by Lorraine Bartlett and Gayle Leeson #Review

Release Date – February 5, 2021


Dead Man’s Hand (Victoria Square Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
8th in Series
Setting – New York
Publisher: Polaris Press (February 5, 2021)
Paperback: 294 pages
ISBN-10: 1940801672
ISBN-13: 978-1940801674
Kindle – ASIN: B08NW5DJHW

Katie’s been dealt the Dead Man’s Hand …

It’s all fun and games when Katie Bonner and her friends play poker for chocolate-covered peanuts, but the very next day Jamie Seifert collapses and dies after visiting Katie’s tearoom on Victoria Square.

Katie’s business is on the line and she needs to prove Jamie wasn’t poisoned at Tealicious. Her first order of business is to locate the mysterious woman he was dining with, and her next step is to go undercover at a nearby poker club where Jamie won big just a week before. It seems everyone there might have had a motive to rub Jamie out…and if they learn Katie has been lying to them, she might be next!

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

Katie Bonner continues to get her life on track after her bad breakup with Andy. She has thrown herself into her work at Artisan’s Alley and Tealicious while also leading the committee investigating buildings near the Alley for sale. She is already feeling a bit overwhelmed when her friend Jamie Seifert keels over dead just after leaving her tea shop. Now her main job is saving her shop by proving nothing he ate or drank at Tealicious caused his death.

Jamie’s death wasn’t accidental. He was targeted and poisoned. Could his death be connected to his big poker win last week? Or is there another reason he was killed? Katie decides going undercover may be the only way to find out. It may also get her killed!


To say Katie’s life is in flux is a huge understatement. In addition to the recent murder of her friend, there are issues to be handled at the Alley, and her mother-in-law is coming to town to help save Tealicious but is the fact that her ex Andy seems to have a new woman in his life that really pushes her buttons. I am going to be frank, I didn’t like Katie’s deportment in this story. She has a short temper and is alienating people in her life that have stood by her through thick and thin. Friendships become strained and she may not be able to get them back. While I didn’t like her behavior it made her more real and true to life. We all have days when we say or do the wrong thing. We hurt people with words and actions and need to work hard to make up for it. I am glad the authors presented a less than perfect protagonist.

Another character exhibited some bad behavior too while many others were dealing with losing a friend or helping Jamie’s partner Seth and Jamie’s mother deal with their grief. It was heartwarming to see the group rally together to support where needed and assist in trying to find the killer. The authors also presented an eclectic group of suspects to investigate. All the characters in the story were well-crafted and the regulars continued to evolve in interesting ways.

The mystery was a puzzler to solve. Katie going undercover seemed a little off to me as she is a prominent member of the community and thinking she wouldn’t be recognized was pretty wishful thinking. It did set up some intriguing elements to the story. Combined with plenty of twists and turns it was difficult to truly pare down the suspects. I had my theories but when the real culprit was revealed I was totally wrong.

Ms. Bartlett and Ms. Leeson have dealt their readers a fast-paced mystery in Dead Man’s Hand. I applaud the realistic characters and situations. I enjoyed a lighthearted event that seemed to set everything back on the right track too. These authors are cozy pros and their stories never disappoint.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Authors

Lorraine Bartlett

The immensely popular Booktown Mystery series is what put Lorraine Bartlett‘s pen name Lorna Barrett on the New York Times Bestseller list, but it’s her talent — whether writing as Lorna, or L.L. Bartlett, or Lorraine Bartlett — that keeps her there. This multi-published, Agatha-nominated author pens the exciting Jeff Resnick Mysteries as well as the acclaimed Victoria Square Mystery series and has many short stories and novellas to her name(s). Check out the links to all her works here: http://www.lorrainebartlett.com

Gayle Leeson

Gayle Leeson is a pseudonym for Gayle Trent. Gayle has also written as Amanda Lee. She is currently writing the Kinsey Falls chick-lit/women’s fiction series, the Down South Cafe cozy mystery series, and the Ghostly Fashionista cozy mystery series. Her book KILLER WEDDING CAKE won the Bronze Medal in the 20th Anniversary IPPY Awards. Gayle lives in Southwest Virginia with her family and enjoys hearing from readers. Find her books on Amazon here.

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

Posted in 2021 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Interviews Literary Escapes New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday with Marc Jedel – Author of fISh OUt of WaTER – An Ozarks Lake Mystery #AuthorInterview / #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am delighted to welcome Marc Jedel to Escapes With Dollycas today!


Hi Marc, 

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

After years of working in high-tech marketing, I decided to try writing novels. I figured I had plenty of experience crafting fiction. It was just called emails, ads, and marketing collateral in my day job. Like my character, Marty, in the Silicon Valley Mystery series, I now live in Silicon Valley, work in high-tech, and enjoy bad puns. Like my characters Jonas and Elizabeth, in the Ozarks Lake Mystery series, I grew up in the South and spent plenty of time in and around Arkansas.

What are three things most people dont know about you?

1) Played professional soccer while completing my year as a Rhodes Scholar,

2) Nominated for both Pulitzer and Nobel prizes for my previous novels,

3) Likes to make up answers when asked questions for which he doesn’t have a good response. LOL, Good one.

What is the first book you remember reading?

I’d have to say it’s a tie between Go Dog Go and The Cat in the Hat. This might also explain my love for puns and entertaining word choices. What’s not to love about a story that has great wordplay and shows off awesome party hats?

What are you reading now?

I’m reading a variety of cozy mysteries to catch up on what’s popular as I try to avoid reading them while I’m in the middle of writing one. I tend to bounce back and forth between cozies, sci-fi, non-fiction history, and fantasy books.

What books have most inspired you?

I wasn’t originally planning to write mysteries. However, a few years ago, I picked up my wife’s copy of a Janet Evanovich novel. She got mad when I didn’t return it until I’d finished. My wife that is, not Janet. Janet would probably be happy because I’ve purchased a number of her other books and even consulted her How I Write book when I started my first book. I wouldn’t even mind if Janet decided to tell all her readers that they should try my books too (in case you’re reading this, Hi Janet!) Since then, I’ve read many other mysteries and cozy mysteries and enjoy the good ones for a light, humorous read.

What made you decide you wanted to write mysteries?

I’ve wanted to write a book since I was young. For the longest time, it seemed I couldn’t come up with a good plot. Yet, my writing research clearly demonstrated that having a plot is critical to a book’s success.

One day, I received this awesome birthday drawing from my nieces. And my kids, or nieces, or one of our friends’ kids had done some crazy things. Probably all of the above. One thing led to another and the idea formed to loosely base a mystery with a self-absorbed, fashion-backward software engineer, his sister, and his nieces on my life. It’s clearly fiction. I mean, I’m not a software engineer.

With my novel, Fish Out of Water, I started a completely different series with very different characters, different humor, and different style of sleuthing. This seemed to be a way to keep things fresh for me and my readers. But I’ll continue writing stories in both series.

Do you have a special place you like to write?

I guess my “special place” would be in front of my computer. I have been known to jot down ideas, fragments of conversations, and funny lines on my phone. Typically I write at a sit-stand desk with an extra wide monitor. The original concept was I would have my writing open on one side of the display and my notes or outline on the other. All too often, it seems like the writing is on one side but the other side has my internet browser or email open and distracting me.

 

Where do the ideas for your books come from?

Most of the ideas came initially from some strange news article that I stumble across. Unfortunately, I can’t explain this because these often wind up serving as inspiration for the ending of the story. For Fish Out of Water, I wanted to write a more typical cozy mystery but illustrate the different perspectives of someone new to an area versus someone who grew up there. As my wife had grandparents who owned a small ranch in Arkansas and I spent time in and around Arkansas growing up, I thought it would be interesting to show both sides.

 

Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

Figuring out new, interesting, and plausible ways to kill someone is actually way more challenging than one might think. Especially when you’re trying to do it in such a way that an amateur detective can figure it out without involving any help from the police and I don’t want the readers to guess whodunnit. I’m very gratified when readers tell me they couldn’t guess who was the killer and why until the reveal. Yet all this requires some very unusual internet searches. I’m just glad no law enforcement officer has knocked on my door yet to ask why I was looking up something unusual.

What do you think makes a good story?

1) Great characters that people will care about. 2) Interesting plot that excites them to turn the pages faster. 3) Reasonable actions. I hate stories where the entire thing could be resolved if only the characters would call each other or ask someone an obvious question.

 

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

Marty Golden, my protagonist in the Silicon Valley Mystery series, is the most like me. Family and friends would tell you that he isn’t much of a stretch of the imagination for me to write, but I’m comfortable with that. Of course, Marty is the younger, funnier, cooler, and more handsome version of myself that I imagine I see in the mirror each morning. But Elizabeth and Jonas Trout in Fish Out of Water also have a disturbing number of similarities to me. I don’t know that I could write a first-person point-of-view novel and not have at least some resemblance to the protagonist.

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

I’ve become bored by cozies where the protagonist runs a bakery, bookstore, or bed & breakfast and this supposedly amateur sleuth gets extensive help from the police. So I made sure my characters don’t work with the police and have different jobs. Having both a male and female protagonist with different point-of-view chapters in Fish Out of Water also allows me to show very different takes on suspects and other characters and go to different places.

My Silicon Valley Mystery series is especially unique with its male protagonist who’s not particularly competent, nor especially brave, as the amateur sleuth. Setting it in Silicon Valley is also unusual for cozies but worked well. Despite finding himself thrust into challenging situations, Marty isn’t exactly hero material. He has a wonderful combination of wit, irreverent humor, and sarcasm mixed in with nerdy insecurities, absent-mindedness, and fumbling but effective amateur sleuthing skills. He’s got an active inner voice and doesn’t do a lot of advance planning. Instead, he throws himself into solving problems. Sometimes, he even succeeds.

Whats next on the horizon for you?

I’m continuing to write in both series. My next two books will be book 2 in the Ozarks Lake Mystery series, titled: Swimming with the Fishes, and I’m also working on book 5 in the Silicon Valley Mystery series, titled: Huh? Why? and Punch (say it aloud fast a few times). More novels in both series are planned.

Thank you Marc for visiting today! I loved your answers!

More About Marc Jedel

 

For most of my life, I’ve been inventing stories. Living in many places around the United States, including a lot of time in the South, has given me a particularly keen appreciation for those who feel like a “fish out of water” sometimes.

My writing skills were honed in years of marketing leadership positions in Silicon Valley. While my high tech marketing roles involved crafting plenty of fiction, we called these marketing collateral, emails and ads.

The publication of my first novel, Uncle and Ants in the Silicon Valley Mystery series, gave me permission to claim “author” as my job. And achieving Amazon Best Seller status gave me even better adjectives to use in front of “author.” This has led to way more interesting discussions than answering “marketing.”

Telling the stories in the Ozarks Lake Mystery series has given me an enjoyable opportunity to spend time with characters that somewhat resemble people I’ve known. Writing alternating chapters from the perspective of each spouse of the newlywed Trout couple allowed me to experience multiple personalities without getting a visit from mental health professionals.

Author Links – Website    BookBub     FaceBook     LinkedIn    GoodReads 

About fISh OUt of WaTER


fISh OUt of WaTER – An Ozarks Lake Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Arkansas
Publisher: BGM Press (January 8, 2021)
Number of Pages: 275

A small-town homicide. A community swamped in secrets. Can married amateur sleuths bait and capture the killer before the truth slips away?

 

Elizabeth Trout had escaped her rural Arkansas hometown. Compelled to sort through her deceased grandmother’s belongings, she and her new husband Jonas make an unexpected trip to the family ranch. But when the property manager turns up dead, Elizabeth is rocked when her ex-boyfriend-turned-deputy arrests her for the murder.

 

With incriminating evidence and the sheriff convinced he’s got the right suspect, Elizabeth and Jonas must fish for clues on their own. But with a multitude of potential culprits and her husband’s contrasting personality, Elizabeth fears she may be left dangling on the hook for a crime she didn’t commit.

 

Can these newlyweds net the real killer before Elizabeth is jailed for murder?

 

Fish Out of Water is the charming first book in the Ozarks Lake Mystery series. If you like quirky characters, clever twists and turns, and puzzling whodunits, then you’ll love Marc Jedel’s humorous tale.

Buy Fish Out of Water to reel in a slippery catch today!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Elizabeth and Jonas Trout have traveled from Portland to her home town of Jenkins, Arkansas to deal with her inheritance from her grandmother. Along with her mother, a local doctor, they are sorting through furniture. artwork, photographs, and more to get ready for an estate sale and future sale of her grandmother’s home. Before they can even get started on the project Elizabeth is arrested by her former boyfriend, for the murder of Duncan Fowler. Fowler was a schoolteacher, and property manager hired to help Elizabeth’s grandmother with her ranch. Elizabeth did have a public altercation with the man over some property damage but she didn’t kill the man. The Sheriff thinks he has more than enough evidence to convict her of the crime so it’s time for the Trout’s to do a little fishing for some better suspects. There are not many secrets in this little town but they reel in a whopper that should catch the real killer and land them behind bars.


The Trout’s are a very likable couple with excellent taste in dogs and their names. The puppy on the cover looks just like our recently deceased dog and we have named our new 10-week old pup, Daisy Mae, so you know the canine character immediately stole my heart. Elizabeth’s mom is a doctor and sometimes the medical examiner. She seems to be in non-stop motion tending to her patients or another cause. Because of Elizabeth’s arrest, she can’t have anything to do with the body but that doesn’t mean she can’t get information to clear her child’s name. The victim, Duncan Fowler had a lot of irons in the fire and at one point or another, it seemed like the entire town of Jenkins had a reason to kill the man. I enjoyed the small-town atmosphere and all the residents we met in this first Ozarks Lake Mystery. The characters developed nicely over the course of the story but there is plenty of room for growth as the series continues.

Keeping with the fishy theme, the mystery was filled with red herrings. The Trouts needed a huge net to hold all the suspects and patience as they tried to weed out those with a motive but clearly not the killer. With some nice twists, I was in the dark as to who the guilty party was until near the very end. I did figure out some other aspects as to how the story would play out though. One part didn’t completely fall into place by the end of this story but probably will in the next installment. The ending was exciting and surprising as all the clues fell into place.

This is the first book I have read by Marc Jedel after seeing so many wonderful reviews of his Silicon Valley Mysteries. What always caught my attention was his liberal use of humor so I jumped at the chance to read and review Fish Out of Water. I was thrilled to see his sense of humor shined in this book as well. He also filled this story with plenty of Southern charm.

Fish Out of Water was a delightful whodunit with truly engaging characters and a complicated mystery that I found to be completely entertaining. I am anxious to read the next book in this series, Swimming with the Fishes, I have also added all the Silicon Valley Mysteries to my wish list.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

Purchase Links: Amazon

Also by Marc Jedel


TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please visit all the stops.
February 1 – Diane Reviews Books – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW
February 1 – My Journey Back – CHARACTER GUEST POST
February 2 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
February 2 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
February 3 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW   
February 3 – FUONLYKNEW – REVIEW
February 4 – Literary Gold  – CHARACTER GUEST POST
February 4 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
February 5 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author Blog – SPOTLIGHT
February 5 – Here’s How It Happened – SPOTLIGHT
February 6 – I Read What You Write – GUEST POST
February 7 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
February 8 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
February 8 – Adventures Of A Travelers Wife – GUEST POST
February 9 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
February 10 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
February 11 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT
February 12 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, GUEST POST
February 13 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
February 14 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST

 

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

Posted in 2021 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading 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

Egg Shooters (A Cackleberry Club Mystery) by Laura Childs #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @BerkleyMystery


Egg Shooters (A Cackleberry Club Mystery)
by Laura Childs

About Egg Shooters


Egg Shooters (A Cackleberry Club Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
9th in Series
Setting – Midwest (Minnesota)
Publisher: Berkley (January 26, 2021)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 0425281744
ISBN-13: 978-0425281741
Kindle ASIN: B085BVYLKY

A murder in the local hospital is raising everyone’s temperature in the latest book in the New York Times bestselling Cackleberry Club series.

 

Suzanne Dietz co-owner of the Cackleberry Club Café is visiting her fiancée, Dr. Sam Hazelet when a masked gunman bursts into the emergency room. He shoots two people and would probably have done more damage had Suzanne not brained him with a thermos full of chili. Still, the gunman manages to escape.

 

Now the ladies of the Cackleberry Club are determined to find the killer before he finds them.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Shots are fired in a hospital, no less, as this ninth Cackleberry Club Mystery gets underway. Cackleberry Club co-owner Suzanne Dietz was ducking for cover as two people fell struck by bullets. In a moment of pure genius, rage, and adrenalin, Suzanne stuns the shooter with a thermos full of chili meant to have been lunch for her fiancée, Dr. Sam Hazelet. Down but not out the shooter escapes with a duffle bag of drugs stolen from the hospital pharmacy. The gunman was dressed in military gear and wore a mask so Suzanne couldn’t give much info to identify the suspect but that doesn’t mean she, Toni, and Petra aren’t going to pull out all the stops to catch the shooter before they kill again.


I love Suzanne, Toni, and Petra and glad they are back after a bit of a break. These ladies are so genuine and have huge hearts. They are always ready to support a person or cause that comes into their orbit. They are exactly who you would expect to meet when you walk into a small-town Midwest cafe. They give a friendly welcome and try to add a smile to get your day off to a great start. The food they serve up is top-notch too. Supporting characters Dr. Sam, Junior, and Sheriff Dougie all bring diverse personalities to the story. These men couldn’t be more different from each other just like our leading ladies so they are a perfect fit for this series.

Ms. Childs really twisted things up this time. Suzanne is completed invested in finding the shooter so she doesn’t always make wise decisions and she jumped to a few conclusions without the evidence to back them up.  I had to stop and take a second to shake my head at one event that was crazy and downright unbelievable but centered myself with the point that the story is fiction, meant to entertain and it sure did that and the event did really move the story forward so I accepted the situation and moved on. The scene was exciting and it was fun to live vicariously through the adventure the characters were caught up in. The author does blend the subplots with the main plot with an expert hand. She brings the book to a conclusion in a thrilling way that I know raised my blood pressure.

Egg Shooters is an egg-traordinary addition to this series and I have enjoyed every one. We are also treated to tempting recipes that were mentioned in the story at the end of the book. I am very excited for the next installment of this series.



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 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.

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!

Laura’s Links:

Webpage – Facebook  

Purchase Links

Amazon   B&N  Kobo   Google Play  IndieBound
The Rest of the Series

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Great Escapes Praise for Egg Shooters (A Cackleberry Club Mystery)
by Laura Childs

This was well written and flowed well, as do most of Laura Childs books. I was kept entertained and curious as to who is behind the murder and the other break-ins. There were just enough twists and turns to keep me guessing, and I did not figure it out till the reveal.
~Melina’s Book Blog

This ninth book in the Cackleberry Club Mystery series is a fast-paced mystery fueled by food and friendship. EGG SHOOTERS is jam-packed with intrigue, adventure, and fun.
~Cozy Up With Kathy

Egg Shooters is another relaxing and engaging read from one of my favorite cozy mystery authors.
~Diane Reviews Book

TOUR PARTICIPANTS
January 26 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
January 26 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT
January 27 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
January 27 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW
January 28 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
January 29 – Cozy Up WIth Kathy – REVIEW
January 29 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
January 30 – I Read What You Write – GUEST POST
January 31 – Diane Reviews Books – REVIEW
January 31 – The Book Diva’s Reads – SPOTLIGHT
February 1 – Nadaness In Motion – REVIEW
February 2 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW  
February 2 – Christa Reads and Writes – SPOTLIGHT
February 3 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – SPOTLIGHT
February 3 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
February 4 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
February 4 – Carla Loves To Read – REVIEW
February 5 – View from the Birdhouse – SPOTLIGHT
February 5 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
February 6 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, GUEST POST
February 7 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW
February 7 – Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers – SPOTLIGHT
February 8 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT
February 8 – Brianne’s Book 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 2021 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

One Poison Pie (Kitchen Witch Mysteries) by Lynn Cahoon #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @KensingtonBooks @LynnCahoon

One Poison Pie (Kitchen Witch Mysteries)
by Lynn Cahoon

About One Poison Pie

One Poison Pie (Kitchen Witch Mysteries) by Lynn Cahoon
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Idaho
Publisher: Kensington (January 26, 2021)
Mass Market Paperback: 272 pages
ISBN-10: 1496730313
ISBN-13: 978-1496730312
Digital ASIN: B087YNC1B6

In the first in New York Times bestselling author Lynn Cahoon’s Kitchen Witch series, Mia Malone is starting over in Magic Springs, Idaho—where murder is on the menu . . .

 

What’s a kitchen witch to do when her almost-fiancé leaves her suddenly single and unemployed? For Mia Malone, the answer’s simple: move to her grandmother’s quirky Idaho hometown, where magic is an open secret and witches and warlocks are (mostly) welcome. With a new gourmet dinner delivery business—and a touch of magic in her recipes—Mia’s hopes are high. Even when her ex’s little sister, Christina, arrives looking for a place to stay, Mia takes it in stride.

 

But her first catering job takes a distasteful turn when her client’s body is found, stabbed and stuffed under the head table. Mia’s shocked to learn that she’s a suspect—and even more so when she realizes she’s next on a killer’s list. With Christina, along with Mia’s meddling grandma, in the mix, she’ll have to find out which of the town’s eccentric residents has an appetite for murder…before this fresh start comes to a sticky end. . . .

 

Includes Recipes!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

After reading Chili Cauldron Curse I dove right into One Poison Pie. Mia has broken up with her cheating boyfriend and returned to Magic Springs to restart her life by opening Mia’s Morsels in an old school building. She plans to do some catering but to also build a client list of people that would enjoy a gourmet dinner delivered to their home one or more times a week. While the school is being revamped for her business her grandmother pushes her to cater a friend’s birthday party. It ends up being harder than she thought when her client, Adele Simpson, changes the entire menu at the last minute but Mia rolls with the changes committed to make her first event a hit, hopefully gaining her several new customers.

Sadly the event takes a deadly turn when Adele’s body is found under the head table stabbed with a knife. When Mia is tapped as the prime suspect she can’t believe it. Adele was a difficult client but Mia wouldn’t kill her over a few changes. There has to be someone else the police should be questioning and Mia is going to do a little snooping to give them several options . . .  that is unless the killer murders her next.


Mia is a fantastic protagonist. She is smart, strong, and getting more independent every day. She has a great business plan along with the support she needs to get Mia’s Morsel’s up and running. We met her Gran and her ex-boyfriend’s sister Christina in Chili Cauldron Curse. They continue to immerge as important supporting characters. We are introduced to brothers Trent and Levi, and also Chef James. Trent has some romantic notions with Mia and Levi is just fun to be around. James allows Mia to use his kitchen to prepare the meal for Adele’s party. All the characters are very well crafted, some are more magical than others. Ms. Cahoon has fleshed them out pretty well but has left them plenty of room to grow over what I hope will be a long-running series. The relationships between the characters really drew my attention and the dialogues were true to life.

The mystery plot was complex with a lot of things happening. Someone definitely wants Mia off the case and out of the way. Physical attacks, threatening messages, chilling calls, and more show the danger Mia is in. I love that witches and warlocks are common in Magic Springs and they have a variety of talents. Some are more active in the craft than others but coexist easily. I enjoyed the ghost stories and an actual ghost appearance. The paranormal elements are all well placed and did not overtake the main mystery at all. That mystery has plenty of twists and turns and surprises. A subplot with Mia’s ex adds another interesting element to the story.

I find the author’s writing style very comfortable with clear descriptions without being too wordy. People and places are easily visualized and the characters really come to life. The pace was perfect and humor popped up in all the right places.

I found One Poison Pie to be totally entertaining and easy to escape right into. The characters are engaging and I can’t wait to visit them again in Two Wicked Desserts this summer.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Lynn Cahoon

Lynn Cahoon is the author of the NYT and USA Today best-selling Tourist Trap cozy mystery series. She also pens the Cat Latimer series, the Farm to Fork series, and the Kitchen Witch series. Small town setting, big time fun with a bit of murder to keep it interesting. Romance novels are published under the pen name, Lynn Collins. She lives in a small river town like Mark Twain with her husband and three fur kids..

Author Links

Goodreads – Twitter Facebook – Amazon Author Page Website

Purchase Links – Amazon – B&N – Kobo – Google Play 

Also by Lynn Cahoon

Find more books by Lynn Cahoon here.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

TOUR PARTICIPANTS
February 1 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT
February 1 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
February 2 – Literary Gold – REVIEW
February 2 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
February 3 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
February 3 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW
February 4 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
February 4 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
February 5 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
February 5 – Mochas, Mysteries and Meows – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
February 5 –  Novels Alive – GUEST POST
February 6 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – GUEST POST
February 6 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW, EXCERPT
February 7 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW  
February 7 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – REVIEW 
February 8 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT
February 8 – Author Elena Taylor’s Blog – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
February 9 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
February 9 – Novels Alive – REVIEW
February 10 – Wickedly Romance – REVIEW, EXCERPT
February 10 – Eskimo Princess Book Reviews -SPOTLIGHT
February 11 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW  
February 11 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW, RECIPE
February 12 – Cozy Up WIth Kathy – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
February 12 – Kaisy Daisy’s Corner – SPOTLIGHT
February 13 – Nadaness In Motion – REVIEW  
February 13 – Carla Loves To Read – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
February 14 – Christa Reads and Writes – SPOTLIGHT
February 14 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
February 15 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW
February 15 – Socrates Book 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 My Reading Itinerary Monday

My Reading Itinerary Monday! – Week #5 – 2021

Welcome to My Reading Itinerary Monday!

Where are your books taking you this week?

I will be traveling to Scotland, Washington, and Africa!

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

Escapes Completed


One Poison Pie (Kitchen Witch Mysteries)
by Lynn Cahoon
Release Date – January 26, 2021
Setting – Idaho
The Great Escapes Tour stops here today!


Egg Shooters (A Cackleberry Club Mystery)
by Laura Childs
Release Date – January 26, 2021
Setting – Minnesota
The Great Escapes Tour stops here tomorrow!


Fish Out of Water: An Ozarks Lake Mystery
by Marc Jedel
Release Date – January 8, 2021
Setting – Arkansas
The Great Escapes Tour stops her this week for Cozy Wednesday!


Dead Man’s Hand
by Lorraine Bartlett and Gayle Leeson
Release Date – February 5, 2021
Setting – New York
My review will be up on Thursday!

Scheduled Escapes


Death by Bagpipes: A Summer Murder in Edinburgh (Travel Can Be Murder Cozy Mystery Series)
by Jennifer S. Alderson
Release Date – September 18, 2020
Setting – Scotland
My Flashback Friday Read


Death by Intermission (An Abby McCree Mystery)
by Alexis Morgan
Release Date – January 26, 2021
Setting – Washington State
The Great Escapes Book Tour stops here next week for Cozy Wednesday!


Rhino Charge: A Gripping Cozy Murder Mystery (A Kenya Kanga Mystery)
by Victoria Tait
Release Date – February 5, 2021
Setting – Africa
The Great Escapes Tour stops here next Thursday.


The Cupid Caper (A Finley Goodhart Crime Caper)
by Larissa Reinhart
Release Date – April 16, 2018
Setting – ??
My Flashback Friday Read!
Alphabet Soup February Mini Challenge

Future Escapes

January 31 – February 6, 2021 


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

Posted in Sunday Salon / Sunday Post

Sunday Salon / Sunday Post – 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!


Daughter #1 dropped by for a short visit on Friday and she not only had Kaden and Remi with her but Charlotte and Thomas too. She had the day off and took Thomas shopping to pick out a birthday present. Of course, Miss Charlotte tagged along.

As soon as they were out the door, Miss Natalie arrived to spend the weekend with us. She spent her time playing with the puppy, watching movies with her aunt, playing with the puppy, baking brownies with Papa, giving the puppy a bath, hanging out with Nana, and oh yeah, playing with the puppy. I swear she has grown 6 inches since Christmas. It is always such a joy to have her in the house. We always have fun and the weekend passes too quickly.

Weekly Rewind – January 25 – 30, 2021

Monday – My Reading Itinerary Monday! – Week #4 – 2021

Tuesday – Mystery Bones Murders (Frankie Shep Suspense Novellas) by Karen Randau #GuestPost / #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour

Wednesday – Cozy Wednesday featuring Crime of the Ancient Marinara (A Tuscan Cooking School Mystery) by Stephanie Cole #Review /#Giveaway @BerkleyMystery

Thursday – Pursuit of the Truth (West Investigations) by K.D. Richards #AuthorInterview / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @kiadwrites

Friday – #FlashbackFriday – Death by Auction (An Abby McCree Mystery) by Alexis Morgan #Review / #Giveaway @Alexis_Morgan @KensingtonBooks

Plus – Grand Openings Can Be Murder (Bean to Bar Mysteries) by Amber Royer #AuthorInterview / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @amber_royer

Saturday – Chili Cauldron Curse: A Delightful Culinary Mystery with Magic (Kitchen Witch Mysteries) by Lynn Cahoon #Review @KensingtonBooks @LynnCahoon


I hope you have time to escape into a good book this week!
Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

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

Chili Cauldron Curse: A Delightful Culinary Mystery with Magic (Kitchen Witch Mysteries) by Lynn Cahoon #Review @KensingtonBooks @LynnCahoon


Chili Cauldron Curse: A Delightful Culinary Mystery with Magic
(Kitchen Witch Mysteries)
Paranormal Cozy Mystery
Prequel to Series
Publisher: Kensington Books (August 25, 2020)
Print Length: 102 pages
Kindle ASIN: B0851PV6HQ

Meet a new cozy star with her own special brand of culinary magic in this first story in the New York Times bestselling author Lynn Cahoon’s Kitchen Witch series.

When Mia Malone’s grandmother asks her to take a week away from her restaurant job and come to Magic Springs, Idaho, she’s happy to oblige. Like Mia, Grans has witchcraft running through her veins, and life with her is never boring. Plus, the cause is a good one—helping Grans get the local food bank up and running again. But there’s an unappetizing surprise in store. While Mia is knee-deep in boxes of donated produce, she encounters the body of Dorian Alexander.

Dorian was a warlock, leader of the local coven. He was also her Grans’ new beau. There’s no potion that’ll make this trouble disappear. But if Mia wants to keep her Grans—now a prime suspect—from serving a spell in prison, she’ll have to unearth the real killer fast. . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Chili Cauldron Curse introduces us to Mia Malone and her grandmother. Mia has come to Magic Springs for a week to help reorganize a local food pantry. Mia and Gran are witches like many other residents of Magic Springs. Like Dorian Alexander, a local warlock and special friend oF Mia’s grandmother. Sadly a weird odor at the food pantry leads to a very dead Dorian Alexander. Gran is the police’s prime suspect. It may take more than a little magic to find the killer but Mia is not going to let her Gran do the time when she didn’t do the crime.


I liked Mia right away but felt bad for all the changes she was going to have to adjust to before the story came to an end. I enjoyed the strong relationship she has with her grandmother and the way she took her boyfriend’s sister under her wing. Mia has a huge heart and it is her natural instinct to help people. I know part of that is because she is a kitchen witch but beyond that, she is a caring person.

The mystery was a little light but I love novellas like this because we can get to know enough about the characters before we dive into the first full-length mystery. It opens up time in the new story to give readers a more complex mystery. We get a peek into what time of sleuth Mia is going to be while still leaving room to explore what it means to be a kitchen witch.

I love the way Ms. Cahoon blends humor into her stories. This time Gran’s magic takes a surprising turn that had me giggling for several pages.

Chili Cauldron Curse was an engaging little story giving us a wonderful taste of what to expect from the Kitchen Witch Mysteries. I finished this book and escaped right into One Poison Pie. I will post my review of that next Monday.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

Lynn Cahoon is the author of the NYT and USA Today best-selling Tourist Trap cozy mystery series. She also pens the Cat Latimer series, the Farm to Fork series, and the Kitchen Witch series. Small town setting, big time fun with a bit of murder to keep it interesting. Romance novels are published under the pen name, Lynn Collins. She lives in a small river town like Mark Twain with her husband and three fur kids.

Author Links

Goodreads – Twitter Facebook – Amazon Author Page Website

Also by Lynn Cahoon

Find more books by Lynn Cahoon here.

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 Interviews

Grand Openings Can Be Murder (Bean to Bar Mysteries) by Amber Royer #AuthorInterview / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @amber_royer


Grand Openings Can Be Murder (Bean to Bar Mysteries)
by Amber Royer

I am excited to welcome Amber Royer to Escape With Dollycas today!

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m Amber Royer, author of the Bean to Bar Mysteries.  I’m also the author of the Chocoverse space opera trilogy, and the choc-centric cookbook There are Herbs in My Chocolate.  I fell into this whole chocolate thing by accident, when the local herb society I participated in asked me to do a presentation combining culinary herbs and chocolate.  Since chocolate has become my schtick, I’ve embraced it.  I’ve visited cacao plantations and craft chocolate factories, tried my hand at making chocolate in my kitchen, and started growing cacao trees indoors at my husband’s office (the tallest of our trees is now as tall as I am).   I’ve been a creative writing coach/writing instructor for going on a decade and a half.  I teach adult novelists, and aspiring teen writers.  My philosophy about books and writing is that you should go in with a plan, and understand the structure and desired meaning of what you are going to write, viewing fiction in a similar way to how a journalist approaches a news assignment: plan first, write second.  I started developing worksheets to use with my classes, and recently compiled those into a workbook: Story Like a Journalist.  I live just north of Dallas, where we have two excellent bean to bar chocolate companies, and a TON of chocolatiers, bakeries and restaurants that specialize in chocolate desserts.

What are three things most people dont know about you?

1—I enjoy flying stunt kites.

2—I’m left-handed.  (Just like the Man in Black in the Princess Bride.)

3—I have zero sense of direction and once made a map for someone that came out upside down.

What is the first book you remember reading?

Ramona Quimbly Age 8.  I know I participated in my local library’s summer reading program from a very early age, and I probably read picture books before that, but Ramona was the first one that made a real impact and made me want to read the rest of the related works.  I actually look like Ramona at that age, as she is drawn on some of the covers.  I loved her world, with Henry and Beezus and Ribsy.  It felt like discovering a whole group of friends.  Which, honestly, lays a pretty good groundwork for writing a cozy mystery, since they usually have a large cast of your protagonist’s friends, family and workmates that make up the community the book is set in.  And you hope the reader comes to think of them as friends.

What are you reading now?

The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris by Jenny Colgan.  I did a bit of research on how other authors are incorporating chocolate in their manuscripts before this year’s – virtual – Dallas Chocolate Festival, where I did an informal chocolate book meetup.  This one sounded so interesting I bought it.  There are two storylines, one in the present and the other in 1972, and both play out in Paris, centering around a chocolate shop and a lost love.  I just got to the point in the story where the modern-day protagonist has traveled from England to France and starts working at the chocolate shop.  She is realizing she’s going to be mopping floors, not designing recipes.  So far, it’s a fun read.

I always include at least hints of a romantic subplot in my own work (even the science fiction), so it shouldn’t be a surprise that I like stories that focus on friendships and romantic relationships.

What books have most inspired you?

Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island has always been a big influence on my overall writing style.  There’s the whole thing about adventure and plot twists, counterpointed by character relationships.  I love the dynamic created between Jim and Silver, who are on opposite sides, and yet emotionally are what the other is missing.  Silver’s the father figure Jim lost, and Jim represents the honor Silver wishes he could get back.  Another thing I love about Treasure Island is how nothing is ever wasted.  Every bit of foreshadowing comes back up, in unexpected and important ways.

Mysteries that have inspired me include:

Agatha Christie’s Poirot novels.

Dorothy Gilman’s Mrs. Pollifax series

Lillian Jackson Braun’s The Cat Who series.

Dorothy Cannell’s Ellie Haskell series.

Diane Mott Davidson’s Goldie Bear series.

What made you decide you wanted to write mysteries?

I’ve always found mysteries intriguing.  Some of my earliest literary influences were Hank the Cowdog and Encyclopedia Brown, and I never outgrew my enjoyment of that sense of adventure and puzzle solving.  I read a lot of cozies starting in my teens, and I’m also a fan of shows like Psych and Monk.  I devoured the BBC Agatha Raisin miniseries the minute I got my hands on the box set.

There are even some mystery-influenced elements to the plot of the Chocoverse books.

At the same time, I kind of fell into taking on the project: I do monthly presentations as the discussion leader for my writer’s group (the idea is to funnel people into taking my writing classes).  One of the presentation topics the group voted for was How to Write a Mystery Plot/Subplot.  So I did a bit of research, and found out there’s a standard for the emotional beats in a mystery.  And then a couple of months later, I had a coaching client who wanted help with the plot structure for his mystery.  Between the two projects, I got an itch to try my hand at a mystery myself, even though it was a departure from what I’ve written previously.

Mysteries are about justice and restoring order to the world.  In a way, they are the very essence of story.

Do you have a special place you like to write?

I write on my laptop, so my writing location is mobile.  Before COVID, I did a lot of writing in public spaces.  Sadly, at least one of the coffee shops I used to frequent has closed.

The writing group I lead, Saturday Night Write, used to meet for in-person write-ins at a local ramen and bubble tea place.  This year, we’ve been doing our write-ins over Zoom.  It’s good to at least see people’s faces.  And I invested in a home cappuccino machine, so I’m not missing out on my creativity fuel.  I am, however, missing the chicken karaage.  I could make it myself – but not and still get a writing session done.

Where do the ideas for your books come from?

The basic idea for all my books come from something I’ve learned or observed, combined with a series of What If questions.

There’s a good deal in Grand Openings Can Be Murder dealing with social media.  I have a love/hate relationship with my own social media, and I wanted a context in which to think about it.  So then I started asking what if’s about it.

The idea behind Felicity herself was a bit more straightforward.  I’d written a science fiction trilogy relating to chocolate, and in the course of researching and publicizing those books, I’d met a lot of craft chocolate makers and seen the passion behind what they do.  (Trust me, nobody gets into the bean to bar chocolate business to make a quick buck.)  I was at an event where I had paired with a local chocolatier to talk about food writing at a local writer’s group festival.  I made the offhand comment that there were cozy mysteries with chocolatiers, and ones showing chocolate making as a magical process – but nobody had done an honest-to-goodness craft chocolate maker, the kind who would go to origin to work with specific farmers in order to create a superior product.

After I went home, I thought about my favorite Toni Morrison quote: “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”  Grand Openings Can Be Murder was the book I desperately wanted to read.  Therefore, I had to write it.

When I did the Chocoverse books, I borrowed one of my best friend’s last name for my character, Bo Benitez, and another of my friends decided the character Chestla encapsulated her.  But I have another close friend who is more about Burn Notice than Guardians of the Galaxy.  I asked her if I could borrow her last name for Felicity Koerber.  When she said she was delighted by the idea, I started thinking about writing the book my friend would want to read, too.  So while Felicity’s got this whole Cajun aspect to her (like me), she’s a huge Jane Austen fan, like my friend (who used to be a bookseller).

Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

The hardest part for me is getting the story down to a reasonable wordcount.  My sci-fi novels come in at 130 -140 thousand words a pop – and I had to cut around 20K out of each one to get them there.  Grand Openings Can Be Murder is my first cozy mystery, and I went into it knowing the word count expectations for the genre – approximately half of one of my sci-fi novels.  Despite having an outline, I still had to cut several scenes in order to get it into the right range.

What do you think makes a good story?

A good story is driven by uncertainty.  If we believe we’ve figured out your plot ten pages in, we lose interest in reading – even if our guesses aren’t correct.  Which means that If you’re planning to fool us with a red herring or an obvious suspect, you still have to leave a level of doubt.  Without doubt, there’s no suspense.  There needs to be questions and little mysteries for us to figure out along with your characters in every chapter of the book – while never meandering away from your main conflict.  The minute you give us a stretch of manuscript without a conflict where the outcome is in question – well, that’s the kiss of death.

But in order for this uncertainty to matter to us, we have to be attached to your characters – and that doesn’t come automatically. The characters in a good story need to be fighting to achieve their goals.  Readers love an underdog, and we love people working hard to achieve great things despite improbable odds.  In a mystery, this means clues can’t just be handed to them.  They have to earn every bit of information, every big revelation, so that we can feel like we are earning the information as we read along with them.  This is one reason why I decided to write a cozy.  My amateur sleuth is a chocolate maker.  While she has a logical mind, she’s never solved a mystery before, and she doesn’t automatically know how to go about it.

Attachment also comes from the characters themselves being appealing – or at least sympathetic.  Because if bad things are happening to characters we don’t like, we probably won’t care enough to keep reading.

The last element you need for us to care about your story is for the events in it to be of a significant magnitude.  And we need a hint of that magnitude right away.  If the biggest thing at stake in the first two chapters of a book is whether or not the character gets the cheese sandwich she wants for lunch, we’re not likely to get to chapter three, even if there’s a murder in the sandwich shop.  The character also needs a reason to solve the particular murder at the heart of your story.  Maybe she cares about the person suspected, or is suspected herself, or somehow her reputation or her business is at stake.  In most cozies, the protagonist isn’t solving the mystery as part of her job.  So you need to manufacture a reason.  If the sleuth has nothing at risk, we won’t believe that she cares so much about solving a murder, when there are other people on hand with catching killers in their job descriptions.  I tried to tackle this head on by having the murder victim be one of Felicity’s employees, and having her suspected.

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

I think all my characters have a little of me in them – even the bad guys.  Demographically, Felicity is most like me.  I gave her a Cajun side to her background, because I wanted to get to pepper the series with food references and flavors of my childhood.  Felicity has a good heart, and she genuinely feels bad when she makes mistakes while investigating.  And like me, she loves books and reading and a good cup of coffee.  But unlike me, she’s good at chemistry, and has a medical background, while I was too squeamish to even do my own experiments in high school biology.  Which makes her strong and cool in a crisis, whereas I tend to go into panic mode.

Psychologically, I’m more like Autumn Ellis, Felicity’s best friend.  Autumn is a former mystery writer, who wanted to be a poet since she was a little girl.  She and Felicity met in eighth grade, when they were both doing UIL Poetry competitions.  She’s more intuitive than logical.  She speaks her mind – sometimes without regard for the consequences.  And like me, she’s an extrovert who works from home, which means she needs routines for social interaction – and she gets terribly excited when she gets invited to a party.

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

I have a chocolate maker who is concerned with working with farmers at origin for a protagonist – which allows for a wider scope of interests and secondary characters and a different feel than the other chocolate-themed culinary cozies I’ve read.  And rather than coming home broke and recently jobless as many recent cozy mystery heroines seem to do, Felicity is coming home to start a new venture by choice, because she’s passionate about it.  But more importantly than her occupation – Felicity is a widow.  A lot of recent cozies have been over-the-top with the humor.  Felicity is a somewhat more subdued character, because she is protagging from within her grief – and using the story to find a way forward.  There’s humor, but it’s a bit more subtle.  And a great deal of this story is about reinvention and self-discovery.

Felicity is also winding up connected to characters who come from a different world than she’s comfortable with.  Especially Logan, who used to be a bodyguard and has tragedy in his past.  He feels like he stepped in out of a different kind of story, and he’s going to bring in different type of conflicts as the series progresses and Felicity has to decide what she wants life to be.  There are hints of this already in the first book.

Whats next on the horizon for you?

I just finished the first draft of the second book in the Bean to Bar Mysteries, and I’ve already outlined several more.  So look forward to more adventures with Felicity, Logan, Arlo and the rest.

I’m also working on a manuscript involving time travel and Impressionist art.

 

More About Amber Royer

 

Amber Royer writes the CHOCOVERSE comic telenovela-style foodie-inspired space opera series, and the BEAN TO BAR MYSTERIES. She is also the author of STORY LIKE A JOURNALIST: A WORKBOOK FOR NOVELISTS, which boils down her writing knowledge into an actionable plan involving over 100 worksheets to build a comprehensive story plan for your novel. She blogs about creative writing techniques and all things chocolate at www.amberroyer.com. She also teaches creative writing for both UT Arlington Continuing Education and Writing Workshops Dallas. If you are very nice to her, she might make you cupcakes.

Author Links

Website   Instagram     Facebook     Youtube    Twitter      Amazon Author Page     Goodreads

About Grand Openings Can Be Murder 

Grand Openings Can Be Murder (Bean to Bar Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Publisher: Golden Tip Press (February 2, 2021)
Paperback: 266 pages
ISBN-10: 1952854083
ISBN-13: 978-1952854088
Digital ASIN: B08JLFHD7N

Felicity Koerber has had a rough year. She’s moving back to Galveston Island and opening a bean to bar chocolate factory, fulfilling a dream she and her late husband, Kevin, had shared. Craft chocolate means a chance to travel the world, meeting with farmers and bringing back beans she can turn into little blocks of happiness, right close to home and family.

 

She thinks trouble has walked into her carefully re-built world when puddle-jump pilot Logan Hanlon shows up at her grand opening to order custom chocolates. Then one of her employees drops dead at the party, and Felicity’s one-who-got-away ex-boyfriend – who’s now a cop – thinks Felicity is a suspect. As the murder victim’s life becomes more and more of a mystery, Felicity realizes that if she’s going to clear her name in time to save her business, she might need Logan’s help. Though she’s not sure if she’s ready to let anyone into her life – even if it is to protect her from being the killer’s next victim. For Felicity, Galveston is all about history, and a love-hate relationship with the ocean, which keeps threatening to deliver another hurricane – right into the middle of her investigation. Can she figure it out before all the clues get washed away?

 

Purchase Links

Amazon –  Barnes and Noble –  Kobo – Apple Books – Indie Bookshop

a Rafflecopter giveaway

TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please visit all the stops.
January 20 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
January 20 – My Journey Back – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
January 21 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
January 21 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
January 22 – Brooke Blogs – RECIPE WITH SPOTLIGHT
January 22 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
January 23 – I Read What You Write – CHARACTER GUEST POST
January 23 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
January 24 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
January 25 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
January 26 – Celticlady’s Review – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
January 27 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – CHARACTER GUEST POST
January 27 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
January 28 – Mysteries with Character – GUEST POST
January 29 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
January 30 – Diane Reviews Books – GUEST POST
January 30 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT
January 31 – Maureen’s Musings – RECIPE WITH SPOTLIGHT

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Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

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

#FlashbackFriday – Death by Auction (An Abby McCree Mystery) by Alexis Morgan #Review / #Giveaway @Alexis_Morgan @KensingtonBooks

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


Death by Auction (An Abby McCree Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Washington State
Publisher: Kensington (May 26, 2020)
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 1496719557
ISBN-13: 978-1496719553
Kindle ASIN: B07W7WKTBQ

Not only did Abby McCree inherit her aunt’s house in Snowberry Creek, Washington, she inherited a handsome tenant and a whole lot of trouble . . .

It’s hard to say no to Tripp Blackston. That’s how Abby found herself on yet another committee, organizing a bachelors’ auction to raise money for Tripp’s veteran’s group. The former Special Forces soldier is mortified when Abby enlists him to be one of the prizes, but she has a covert plan to bid on him herself. Before she can, she’s foiled by a sniper bid from a gorgeous stranger, who turns out to be Tripp’s ex-wife, Valerie.

Still reeling from the shock that Tripp was married and wondering what his ex is suddenly doing in town, Abby goes looking to pay the auction’s emcee, radio personality Bryce Cadigan. She finds him in the parking lot, dead in his car. Valerie appears to be the last one to have seen Bryce alive, so she’s the cops’ best bid for suspect. When she asks Tripp for help—and lodgings—it’s Abby’s turn to block by inviting Val to stay with her. But did she just open her home to a murderer?

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

Abby McCree’s new project is organizing a fundraiser for Tripp Blackston’s veteran’s group. She has planned a bachelors’ auction to followed by a dinner event 2 weeks later. It took a bit of convincing but Tripp will be one of the bachelors up for auction and Abby hopes to win with her bid. Her plan goes awry when a beautiful woman takes the prize with a astounding bid of her own. Afterward, she learns the woman is Tripp’s ex-wife Valerie. Say What!?

Okay, Tripp has some explaining to do but she needs to focus on her event. She needs to pay the emcee, Bryce Cadigan, a radio personality that grew up in Snowberry Creek. He has been spending time catching up with people he knows and the last time she saw him he was going outside with Tripp’s ex. She is back glued to Tripp’s side but Bryce is nowhere to be found. She heads to the parking lot hoping he hasn’t left without his check. She finds him in his car and he is going anywhere. He is dead and she has to tell the police she saw him go outside with Valerie. Is Tripp’s ex-wife a killer? Valerie begs Tripp for help and a place to stay now that she can’t leave town. His place is too small for overnight guests so he asks Abby “his landlord” to put Valerie up in one of her guest rooms while they try to track down the real killer. The scary thing is the real killer may be the person moving into her house.


Abby is much more comfortable in Snowberry Creek as she has gotten to know more and more people. Most were friends of her now-deceased aunt but she is finding her place in town in her own right. This time she meets some of Tripp’s military friends as she is working on a veteran’s fundraiser. They come in handy as she tries to find out who killed Bryce Cadigan. Her budding romance with Tripp hits a bump or two with his ex in town. Her friendship with Chief of Police Gage Logan gets stretched as she keeps butting into his case. Jean, Louise, and Glenda, friends of her Aunt Sybil are still pushing and shoving Abby around but she has learned how to deal with them. Jean’s infatuation with Tripp has tamed a bit, again, the ex, but she still is baking him her “famous tuna casseroles. And of course, the lovable mastiff Zeke is around to steal our hearts. I really am a fan of the way these characters continue to evolve. We learn new things about them in every book and I get further invested in their lives as this series continues.

Ms. Morgan has crafted another strong mystery with several suspects. Abby had to really dig deep to find all the connections and press people to reveal secrets or remember past events that would give people reasons to kill off Bryce. Her sleuthing took her to some interesting places. I had a great time following along with her. I had winnowed my list down to two as we headed into the home stretch.

Again the author focuses on helping veterans. I love that the theme continues from the last book which shows it is an important cause for her.

Death by Auction is another great addition to this series. I loved the abundance of humor included throughout the story. I had planned on reading this book when it came out but my breast cancer treatments were wreaking hell in my life last May. Now I am ready for book number 4 Death by Intermission. I will be reviewing it on February 10. I am very excited to visit these characters again so soon.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

You can read my review of Death by Committee here
and Death by Jack-o-Lantern here

About the Author

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

Author Links 

Website  Facebook Twitter   Blog  

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1/29/2021


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Pursuit of the Truth (West Investigations) by K.D. Richards #AuthorInterview / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @kiadwrites


Pursuit of the Truth (West Investigations)
by K.D. Richards


I am so happy K.D. took time out of her busy day to
answer my questions!


Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I was born and raised just outside of Washington, D.C. Although I’ve always written and enjoyed writing, I took a different path career-wise right out of school and earned a law degree. A job opportunity for my husband gave us the opportunity to move to the Toronto area where he is from so after working as an attorney and legal instructor for fifteen years we made the move to Canada and now spend summers and school breaks in the U.S. Of course, not recently due to the pandemic but I’m looking forward to getting back to the DC area this year.

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

  1. I took up playing violin at age 38. I’m horrible but I do love it and recently my son said “I actually recognize that song” so I must be getting better!
  2. I met one of my best friends in kindergarten and nearly forty years later we still text or talk almost every day.
  3. I prefer sour foods over sweets.

What is the first book you remember reading?

Green Eggs and Ham. I LOVED that book as a child and still have it memorized.

What are you reading now?

I’m just getting started reading They Never Learn by Layne Fargo. I’m only 10% in but it’s really good.

What books have most inspired you?

I’ve always liked mysteries. My mother bought a bunch of those 5-minute mystery books and I always devoured them.  One of my absolute favorite books to this day is The Westing Game by Ellen Raskins. I think it’s the first book I read with a real twist that made me immediately go back and start reading again to catch all the things I’d missed the first time.

What made you decide you wanted to write mysteries?

I think it would be The Westing Game and possibly the movie Clue. I watched that movie dozens of times as a teen. I’m naturally curious, some might even go so far as to say nosy! I want to know why things happened and what motivates people. And being a lawyer I do like to see the bad guy be brought to justice.

Do you have a special place you like to write?

I do have an office but I’ve also learned to write wherever and whenever. Especially when I worked outside the home, I’d write on the train during my commute. Dictate scenes to Siri while waiting to pick up my sons. If I waited for the perfect time and place, I’d have never completed a manuscript.

Where do the ideas for your books come from?

That is an awesome question and I wish I knew. For Pursuit of the Truth, I just knew I wanted to write a story about a woman that owned a hotel, had been through a series of recent hardships, and had a crush on the head of hotel security. I’m a plotter so for the rest of the story I sit down and simply daydream about what could happen until I find something I like.

Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

Revisions and editing! I’m usually so excited about a story when I’m writing the first draft, that’s where everything is new to me. By the second and third time through I’m thinking “not this again”! Of course the revision and editing stages are where the story really is so I power through. It’s all worth it in the end.

What do you think makes a good story?

Of course interesting, complex, believable, characters and a good juicy plot are necessary. But I do think “good” is subjective. I know we’ve all read books that got amazing reviews but just we just don’t connect with them.

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

Well, there are a lot of strong women in my family so I try to write strong women as well. Nadia Shelton, the heroine, in Pursuit of the Truth is a little like me in that as a child I did want to own a hotel and I lived in New York City years ago. But I think all of the ladies in the West Investigations series are great.

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

Pursuit of the Truth is a romantic suspense so the story does focus mostly on the romance and mystery but it is also a story about a family. The theme of the entire series is actually family. The four West brothers have taken over the private investigations firm that their father started and that changes their relationship toward each other and creates tensions between them. Nadia is also dealing with family issues in Pursuit of the Truth. I think seeing the characters dealing with relationships other than the core romantic relationship in their lives adds depth and complexity.

What’s next on the horizon for you?

Books two and three in the West Investigations series! Look for them in Fall/Winter 2021.

K. D. Richards is the pseudonym for Kia Dennis. Kia was born and raised in the Maryland suburbs just outside of Washington, D.C. A writer since a young age, after college she earned a law degree and worked as an attorney and legal instructor for fifteen years but never stopped writing fiction. She currently lives in the Toronto area with her husband and two sons. Sign up for her newsletter at kdrichardsbooks.com and follow her on Twitter @kiadwrites

Author Links:   Website    Facebook   Instagram    Amazon   Goodreads:

About The Pursuit of the Truth


Pursuit of the Truth (West Investigations)
Romantic Suspense
1st in Series
Publisher: Harlequin Intrigue (January 26, 2021)
Mass Market Paperback: 256 pages
ISBN-10: 1335401539
ISBN-13: 978-1335401533
Digital ASIN: B08CSRDVWK

His skills can keep her safe

 

Her secrets could get them killed…

 

Security expert Ryan West’s worst fears come to life when hotel CEO Nadia Shelton is pushed in front of a taxi and nearly killed. Someone will do whatever it takes to find the brother Nadia thought was dead, and the only way Ryan can protect her as they uncover the truth is to stay strictly professional. But the sparks igniting between them are nearly impossible to ignore.

 

From Harlequin Intrigue: Seek thrills. Solve crimes. Justice served.

Purchase Links:

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please visit all the stops.
January 25 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
January 26 – Bea’s Book Nook – REVIEW
January 27 – Literary Gold – CHARACTER GUEST POST
January 28 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
January 28 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
January 29 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
January 30 – The Book Diva’s Reads – GUEST POST
January 31 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
February 1 – I Read What You Write -GUEST POST
February 2 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
February 3 – Author Elena Taylor’s Blog – REVIEW
February 4 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT
February 5 – Socrates Book Reviews – REVIEW
February 6 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW
February 7 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

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