Posted in 2021 Reviews Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Finish The Series Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday featuring Peaches and Schemes: A Georgia B&B Mystery by Anna Gerard #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am excited to share my thoughts about
Peaches and Schemes by Anna Gerard today!

 

Peaches and Schemes: A Georgia B&B Mystery
by Anna Gerard

About Peaches and Schemes


Peaches and Schemes: A Georgia B&B Mystery
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Georgia
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books (May 11, 2021)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1643855840
ISBN-13: 978-1643855844
Digital ASIN: B08FZLH8HS

In Anna Gerard’s third delightful Georgia B&B mystery, Nina Fleet learns that despite the satin, lace, and buttercream trappings, weddings often prove to be anything but sweet…

Nina Fleet might be new to the innkeeping business, but she’s savvy enough to know that Cymbeline’s tourists aren’t enough to keep her fledgling bed and breakfast going. And so, Nina decides to tap into the destination wedding market by taking a booth at the Veils and Vanities Bridal Expo. The twice-yearly event is sponsored by the town’s two wedding pros: Virgie Hamilton, the sixtysomething owner of Virgie’s Formals, and Roxanna Quarry, a Gen X event planner and Nina’s new friend. But everything goes wrong during the expo’s fashion show when Roxanna comes tumbling out of an oversized prop wedding cake, strangled to death by her own scarf.

Virgie is arrested for the crime, thanks to Nina’s statement to the police about having overheard the woman accusing her partner of embezzlement. Meanwhile, the situation grows tense with her sometimes nemesis and current tenant, the dashing out-of-work actor Harry Westcott. Harry is concentrating on plugging his most recent side hustle …but he’s not too busy to break the news to Nina that her ex-husband is engaged to be married again.

Certain that Virgie’s only offense is a bad temper, Nina decides to do her own investigating. First, however, she and Harry retrieve Roxanna’s now ownerless dog, planning to foster him until a new home can be found. But local gossip soon convinces Nina that others besides Virgie might have had reason to murder Roxanna. As Nina gets close to the truth, she’s putting her own life in danger. And when Virgie vanishes after being bailed out of jail by an unknown benefactor, Nina fears that if she can’t find the dress shop owner in time, tying the knot will take on a whole new meaning for them both.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

To ensure the success of her Fleet House B&B Nina (Nine-A) has decided to add weddings and receptions to the services she will offer. She is hoping members are the wedding parties will want to stay at the B&B too. To get the word out she takes part in the semi-annual Veils and Vanities Bridal Expo sponsored by Virgie Hamilton, the sixtysomething owner of Virgie’s Formals, and Roxanna Quarry, a Gen X event planner. Her booth has been busy with brides-to-be asking for information. Nina is about to declare the event a success when the fashion show part of the event takes a deadly turn. During the big finale Nina’s new friend, Roxanna tumbles out of a prop wedding cake. She appears to have been strangled to death, the murder weapon, her own scarf.

There had been tension between the two event sponsors. Nina even overhears Virgie accuse Roxanna of stealing funds from their partnership. When she tells the police they believe that is enough motive to arrest Virgie for the murder.

Nina has a little stress in her life too as she learns her ex-husband is getting married again. Plus, Harry Wescott is still staying at her B&B and he seems to have a new money-making scheme he may soon come to regret. She has also decided to move Roxanna’s dog into the B&B until a new home is found. On top of all that she is of course digging into the murder investigation because while Virgie had the motive, means, and opportunity to kill her partner, Nina doesn’t think she is a killer. The trouble is she knows she is on the actual killer’s radar and that may prove to be a dangerous place to be.


Ms. Gerard has created some wonderful characters. I have enjoyed Nina from the start and in this third Georgia B&B Mystery Harry Westcott really surprised me and in a good way. He is still a schemer but he is really there for Nina this time. They are turning out to be a great team and maybe more . . . I don’t want to get ahead of myself or the author with this thinking. I do love their back and forth dialogue and his “Secret Squirrel” nickname for her. The new characters she introduced for this story are diverse and all brought something interesting to the mystery. As always the animal characters made my heart happy.

Again this author delivers a well-plotted and well-written mystery with multiple possibilities. I was very caught up in all the action and the actual guilty party never landed on my suspect list. The big reveal was full of surprise and suspense. Nina really didn’t know her friend Roxanna as well as she thought she did and that added some really intriguing twists including one that stuck very close to home. The ending was really a melancholy moment but by the final word, things seem to be looking up.

I have to say the author set a great pace with the entire story. There wasn’t a time I ever thought about putting the book down, except to sleep, and I couldn’t wait to get right back into the story the next evening and stay tuned in for a satisfying and exciting conclusion.

Peaches and Schemes was a Perfect Escape. Excellent characters, a captivating mystery, a wedding, a little romantic tension, and humor liberally placed throughout kept me entertained from beginning to end. I am so excited to see where Ms. Gerard takes her characters and her readers next.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Anna Gerard

DIANE A.S. STUCKART began her writing career in the 1990s as the critically acclaimed author of historical romance under the names Alexa Smart and Anna Gerard. She later switched to the mystery genre and is the NYT bestselling author of the Black Cat Bookshop Mysteries (written as Ali Brandon) and the award-winning Leonardo da Vinci historical mysteries. Her Tarot Cats Mystery series launched in 2018 with FOOL’S MOON. Her Georgia B&B Mystery series (also written as Anna Gerard) debuted in 2019 with PEACH CLOBBERED. Kirkus Reviews describes that book as “Filled with Southern charm and enough ditzy characters to keep readers guessing and laughing.” Book 3 in that series, PEACHES AND SCHEMES—her 17th published novel—now available.

Author Links – WebsiteFacebookBookLoversBench

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Written as Ali Brandon

Written as Diane A.S. Stuckart

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Great Escapes Praise for Peaches and Schemes: A Georgia B&B Mystery
by Anna Gerard

Part of the charm of this series – and it certainly is charming – is in the cast of characters and the setting the author has created to contain them and their murderous ways.
~Reading Reality

Author Anna Gerard gives the reader a light-hearted story filled with fun Characters and interesting relationships!
~My Reading Journeys

. . . a great read full of interesting characters that you will happy follow as the story progresses. The dogs are an added bonus I must say.
~Books a Plenty Book Reviews

In addition to the wonderful characters in Peaches and Schemes, the author delivers a charming setting and a dash of potential romance. Not to mention the intriguing plot that kept me guessing!
~Reading Is My SuperPower

Delightfully focused on the mystery, this cozy offers up plenty of suspects to keep armchair sleuths entertained. I also found that the relationship between Nina and her sidekick Harry kept the mystery light and fun.
~Mysteries With Character

Peaches and Schemes by Anna Gerard is a brilliant mystery with a perfectly plotted crime. The characters are so wonderfully flawed and yet wonderful.
~Baroness’ Book Trove

Wonderful characters, an interesting setting, and a B&B house I’d like to visit, make this a fun cozy to read, and puzzle out.
~Laura’s Interests

PEACHES AND SCHEMES is a delightful mystery that had me laughing, commiserating, and gasping in shock. Its characters have wormed their way into my heart and I feel their pain as well as their joy.
~Cozy Up With Kathy

Peaches and Schemes is a lighthearted, humorous cozy mystery with an eventful expo, a maimed mate, Gus the Goldendoodle, a tryophobia terror, a suspicious silver sedan, and a helpful Harry.
~The Avid Reader

A big goofy dog, a wedding expo, two hot romantic opportunities, and a murder to solve! What’s not to love about Peaches and Schemes? . . . If you like your cozy mysteries with some romantic tension, you should pick up this book.
~Diane Reviews Books

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

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

#FlashbackFriday – Peachy Scream: A Georgia B&B Mystery by Anna Gerard #Review / #Giveaway @crookedlanebks

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.


Peachy Scream: A Georgia B&B Mystery
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Georgia
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books (August 11, 2020)
Hardcover: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 1643853066
ISBN-13: 978-1643853062
Kindle ASIN: B07XXBK3CX

To die, or not to die? Georgia B&B proprietor Nina Fleet turns amateur thespian to bring the curtain down on a Shakespearean actor’s killer.

It’s nothing short of inevitable that Cymbeline, GA, hosts an annual Shakespeare festival. But stage-struck Nina Fleet is about to learn that putting on an amateur theatrical production can be murder. Nina’s anticipating showbiz glamour and glitz when a community Shakespearean troupe arrives for a two-week stay at her B&B. But the lights dim when she learns the company’s director is her nemesis, struggling actor Harry Westcott–who still claims to be the rightful heir to Nina’s elegant Queen Anne home.

Meanwhile, the troupe members are not content to leave the drama up on the stage. Accusations of infidelity and financial malfeasance make a shambles of rehearsals. And then, two days into the troupe’s stay, the lead actor is found dead in Nina’s formal Shakespeare garden. Natural causes…or murder most foul?

Nina uncovers evidence that something is indeed rotten in the town of Cymbeline. Too bad Harry is the only one who believes that she’s not going completely off-script. And exposing the truth isn’t easy when the remaining troupe members say the show must go on…particularly when all of them seemingly had a motive for wanting their fellow actor to permanently exit stage right. Determined to keep the killer from making a curtain call, Nina and her trusty Australian Shepherd, Matilda, join forces with Harry to sleuth out the murder plot. Will they succeed before someone else shuffles off this mortal coil? Find out in Anna Gerard’s delightful second Georgia B&B mystery.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Harry Westcott is back and he has brought a troupe of Shakespearean actors with him. They are booked into Nina Fleet’s Georgia B&B for the next two weeks to take part in Cymbeline’s annual Shakespeare festival. Nina is sure this is just part of Harry’s scheme to take her home away from her but with no other lodging available she can’t send the group away and be responsible for ruining the festival. The trouble with actors though is they always bring the drama. This crowd seems to snipe at each other constantly and are not beyond playing a prank or two. But did someone’s prank go too far? Just two days into their stay lead actor Len Marsh is found dead in Nina’s Shakespeare garden. Foul play? or natural causes?

Nina definitely believes there is murder afoot and shares her thinking with Harry. Soon Nina and her nemesis are teaming up with a little assistance from a certain Australian Shepherd to catch the killer before the curtain comes down on another B&B guest.


Nina (Nine-A) Fleet is a great protagonist and is learning the ropes of being a great innkeeper. She does her best to keep her guests happy and to tend to their needs. Even Harry Westcott. Harry does put his career first and agrees to put his feud with Nina on the backburner if she allows everyone to stay. Having them work together on the murder investigation really shows how much these characters have grown.

Readers are introduced to quite a group of thespians. They include lead actor, playing Hamlet, and victim Les Marsh and his trophy wife Susie, who will be playing Ophelia.  Earth Mother, Professor Tessa Benedict, and her hippy husband Bill, who will be playing Queen Gertrude and King Claudius. Bill will also be playing the ghost of Hamlet’s father. Radley Heller, a research and development bigwig, will be playing Laertes. Marvin Lasky who just sold his small electronics development company for a few million dollars, playing Polonius and Horatio. And Chris Boyd, the youngest and newest member of the group. He is quiet with his nose in his phone and earbuds in his ears. He will be playing a variety of minor roles, but really wants the major role of Hamlet. The author does a fine job of fleshing out these characters quickly. It seems they all had reasons to kill Marsh and with everyone staying together at the B&B they all had the opportunity too.

The mystery is well-plotted and I did like Harry and Nina working together but I did pick the culprit out early in the story. That being said I loved the way all was revealed on opening night. A little rewrite of the script and a few background images changed and the show must go on. And go on it does, allowing the killer to reveal themselves. It was entertaining to read and I bet it would have been delightful to watch.

Peachy Scream is a peachy keen addition to this series. I enjoy the realistic characters and the way Ms. Gerard injects humor in all the right places. The Shakespeare theme was fun too.

The next book in this series, Peaches and Schemes will be released on May 11.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

DIANE A.S. STUCKART began her writing career in the 1990s as the critically acclaimed author of historical romance under the names Alexa Smart and Anna Gerard. She later switched to the mystery genre and is the NYT bestselling author of the Black Cat Bookshop Mysteries (written as Ali Brandon) and the award-winning Leonardo da Vinci historical mysteries. Her Tarot Cats Mystery series launched in 2018 with FOOL’S MOON. Her Georgia B&B Mystery series (also written as Anna Gerard) debuted in 2019 with PEACH CLOBBERED. Kirkus Reviews describes that book as “Filled with Southern charm and enough ditzy characters to keep readers guessing and laughing.” Book 3 in that series, PEACHES AND SCHEMES—her 17th published novel—will be on the shelves in May 2021.

Author Links 

https://www.dianestuckart.com/

https://www.facebook.com/BlackCatMysteries

https://bookloversbench.com/

Written as Ali Brandon

Written as Diane A.S. Stuckart

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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.”

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Cozy Wednesday with Anna Gerard – Author of Peach Clobbered: A Georgia B&B Mystery – #AuthorInterview / #Review / #Giveaway @crookedlanebks


Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am happy to welcome Anna Gerard to Escape With Dollycas today! 

Peach Clobbered:
A Georgia B&B Mystery
by Anna Gerard

Hi Anna, 

Tell us a little bit about yourself.  

I’m the NYT bestselling author of the Black Cat Bookshop Mystery series (written as Ali Brandon) and have published two other series…the Tarot Cats Mystery series from Midnight Ink and the Leonardo da Vinci Mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime. I’ve also published five historical romances under the names Alexa Smart and Anna Gerard. PEACH CLOBBERED, first book in my upcoming Georgia B&B Mystery series (written as Anna Gerard) will be my 16th published novel. I live in South Florida, though I was born and raised in Texas.

What are three things most people dont know about you?

I’ve never snow-skied, I’m allergic to apples (and peaches!), and I have three tattoos.

What is the first book you remember reading?

I know I read books long before this, but the first title I remember is THE BOBBSEY TWINS IN VOLCANO LAND.

What are you reading now?  I have a huge TBR stack that I need to delve into once I’m off deadline. But I most recently finished reading an ARC for Maggie Toussaint’s DREAMED IT paranormal mystery, which should be published later this year (go pre-order it!).

What books have most inspired you?  Throughout high school, I read nothing but romantic suspense and gothic romances, which I’m sure have a bearing on my writing style today.

What made you decide you wanted to write mysteries? Because, although I started out publishing historical romances, all my books had dead bodies lying around. It seemed a natural progression to move into the mystery genre.

Do you have a special place you like to write? Nothing fancy. Either my desk in my home office; or, if I need a change, I move my laptop onto my back screened-in porch and let the cats help me write.

Where do the ideas for your books come from? Anywhere and everywhere – it’s rare I can pinpoint an actual inspiration.

Is there anything about writing you find most challenging? Giving it priority over the 999 other things I need to do (especially when I’m on deadline).

What do you think makes a good story? I want to see a distinct beginning/middle/end to the tale. And, the main characters (even if not entirely likable) must be fully developed and relatable. And at the end of the book, I want to see a goal reached, a lesson learned…basically, a payoff for having spent those hours reading. It never hurts to have a cute dog or cat as part of the story, either.

Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you?  Probably Nina Fleet, the B&B owner and amateur sleuth of my current Georgia B&B Mystery series. Although there is a lot of me in Darla Pettistone from my Black Cat Bookshop Mystery series.

What makes your books different from others out there in this genre?  Since there are so many great cozy mystery authors out there, I can’t claim to be a better writer or have more clever plots than anyone else. But I think my stories have heart as well as suspense and a bit of humor, plus I include felines and canines that aren’t just cozy window dressing but are fully realized characters. If you don’t cry at least once and laugh out loud at least twice when you read my books, then I’ve fallen down on the job.

Whats next on the horizon for you? I’m finishing up the manuscript for my next Georgia B&B Mystery, PEACHY SCREAM, and am waiting on word on hopefully reselling my Tarot Cats Mystery series to a new publisher.

Thank you, Anna, for visiting today!

Keep reading for my thoughts about Anna’s Peach Clobbered.

 

About the Book 


Peach Clobbered: A Georgia B&B Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Crooked Lane Books (July 9, 2019)
Hardcover
ISBN-10: 1643850067
ISBN-13: 978-1643850061
Digital ASIN: B07JMK2JRD

What’s black and white and dead all over? Georgia bed and breakfast proprietor Nina Fleet finds out when she comes across a corpse in a penguin costume.

Nina Fleet’s life ought to be as sweet as a Georgia peach. Awarded a tidy sum in her divorce, Nina retired at 41 to a historic Queen Anne house in quaint Cymbeline, GA. But Nina’s barely settled into her new B&B-to-be when a penguin shows up on her porch. Or, at least, a man wearing a penguin suit.

Harry Westcott is making ends meet as an ice cream shop’s mascot and has a letter from his great-aunt, pledging to leave him the house. Too bad that’s not what her will says. Meanwhile, the Sisters of Perpetual Poverty have lost their lease. Real estate developer Gregory Bainbridge intends to turn the convent into a golfing community, so Cymbeline’s mayor persuades Nina to take in the elderly nuns. And then Nina finds the “penguin” again, this time lying in an alley with a kitchen knife in his chest.

A peek under the beak tells Nina it’s not Harry inside the costume, but Bainbridge. What was he doing in Harry’s penguin suit? Was the developer really the intended victim, or did the culprit mean to kill Harry? Whoever is out to stop Harry from contesting the sale of his great-aunt’s house may also be after Nina, so she teams up with him to cage the killer before someone clips her wings in Peach Clobbered.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Welcome to Cymbeline Georgia. A place Nina Fleet and her Australian Sheepdog, Mattie now call home. She bought a historic Queen Anne house therwat the spur of the moment following her divorce and loves it.  Harry Wescott the great nephew of the previous owner believes the house should be his and shows up at her door to tell her so, dressed in a penguin suit. Seems he is working as a mascot for the local ice cream shop to make ends meet.

Nina had big hopes of opening it as a B&B but zoning regulations have held up her plans. That is until the Sisters of Perpetual Poverty were evicted from their convent when the landlord refused to renew their lease. The mayor came to Nina personally promising to cut through all the government’s red tape if she allows the sisters to stay with her until their new orders come through.

After the nuns are all settled they tell Nina of their plan to protest their former landlord’s business. Nina goes along hoping to keep the nuns out of trouble, but during a lunch break, she hears a scream. She rushes into an alley to find a man in a penguin suit has been stabbed. But it isn’t Harry Wescott in the suit this time, it is the sister’s landlord, Gregory Bainbridge! Could one of the nuns have done the deed or did the killer think it was Harry in the suit? Nina finds herself right in the middle of The Murder of the Man in the Penguin Suit! What a way to start her new life.

______________

Penguins, Nuns, and Murder, Oh My!

What a great start for this series! I loved Nina (Nine-ah) immediately. She is smart and savvy, ready to live life on her own terms. The nuns were fantastic, feisty, mostly elderly women who have been together for over 50 years. They become fast friends with Nina and enjoy checking out all the take-out meal options now available to them. Nina does her best to keep these vital and active women busy as they await to see what the future hold for them. Harry is a conundrum, an out of work actor who wants to take her house away who is not the most likable person. Nina’s dog Maddie is precious. She is empathetic when needed and a wonderful watch dog too.

Ms. Gerard has twisted together a terrific mystery plotline with very interesting subplots as we get to know our protagonist and the residents of Cymbeline. The pacing was perfect and each chapter drew me right into the next. I was engaged by the characters completely and was anxious to see how everything in this novel panned out. She brought in a surprise item that turned my thinking totally around but I was still taken aback by the big reveal.

The setting of the story was just peachy. A Georgia B&B is absolutely ripe for many more mysteries too. I am excited to see who checks in next!

This was a marvelous mystery and I highly recommend it for all cozy mystery fans!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

More About Anna Gerard

DIANE A.S. STUCKART is the New York Times bestselling author of the Black Cat Bookshop Mystery series (writing as Ali Brandon). She’s also the author of the award-winning Leonardo da Vinci historical mysteries, as well as several historical romances and numerous mystery, fantasy, and romance short stories. The first book in her Tarot Cats Mystery series is FOOL’S MOON, available in trade, large print, and Kindle versions. Her Georgia B&B Mystery series from Crooked Lane Books launched July 2019 with PEACH CLOBBERED, written as Anna Gerard.

Diane is a member of Mystery Writers of America and has served as the 2018 and 2019 Chapter President of the MWA Florida chapter. In addition to her mystery writing affiliations, she’s a member of the Cat Writers’ Association and belongs to the Palm Beach County Beekeepers Association. She’s a native Texan with a degree in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma, but has been living in the West Palm Beach FL area since 2006. She shares her “almost in the Everglades” home with her husband, dogs, cats, and a few beehives. Learn more about her books at www.dianestuckart.com

Author Links
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July 19 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”