Oct 242018
 

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am excited to feature Barbara Early’s new book, Death of a Russian Doll today! 

Death of a Russian Doll: A Vintage Toy Shop Mystery
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – New York
Crooked Lane Books (October 9, 2018)
ISBN-10: 9781683317029
ISBN-13: 978-1683317029
Kindle ASIN: B078M3KG1Q

It’s all fun and games with toyshop owner Liz McCall until deadly secrets are unwrapped upon the eve of the holidays.

Who knew? Liz McCall is not thrilled when her boyfriend Police Chief Ken Young introduces her to his estranged wife Marya. The model-quality Russian immigrant, back in East Aurora to rekindle their romance, will be working as a hairstylist at the barber shop next door to Well Played, the toyshop Liz manages for her dad. When Marya offers to help with the shop’s doll rehab project, Liz can’t help but offer up only a weak smile, but her secret hesitations are for naught when Marya’s body is discovered in the barber shop with a hair dryer cord wrapped around her neck.

Liz’s dad, retired from the police force, is asked to investigate since Ken is the prime suspect.The whole town is abuzz with the scandal and Liz has a few questions of her own, wanting nothing more than to forget the loud argument she overheard between Marya and Ken the night before. There could have been other motives… Was Marya going to cut into a competing hairstylist business? Who is the bumbling private investigator hanging around and why won’t he explain himself?

All eyes are on Liz, including those of an odd matryoshka doll in the shop which seems to move of its own accord, to unravel this entertaining riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma that is Death of a Russian Doll.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

So Liz McCalls’ and Ken Young’s romance hit the skids when his estranged wife Marya arrived in town. Liz has been dealing with the complete shock and the fact Ken lied to her. Then the Russian immigrant Marya starts working at the barbershop right next to Well Played and she even volunteers to help on a new project the shop has started repairing used dolls and sharing them with needy kids. Liz puts on a happy face and is on her best behavior during the meetings.

The Marya is found dead – in the barbershop – strangled with the cord from a hair dryer . . . and Police Chief Ken Young finds himself at the top of the suspect list. Removed from his position pending completion of the investigation Liz’s dad comes out of retirement to take his place. Liz did hear Ken and Marya arguing but she can’t see him killing her. There must be other suspects.  Liz decides that she needs to find out more about the woman she didn’t even know existed until about a year ago. She needs to get this case wrapped up so her dad can get back to his retirement and the toy shop before the holidays.

Barbara Early has penned a captivating cozy in this 3rd installment of this delightful series.

I really like Liz. She is a smart protagonist that thinks things through before she leaps into action. She works so well with her dad and he values her input. She also gets some assistance from a certain FBI accountant that would really like to move their relationship out of the friend zone. All the characters are realistic and I love the dialogue.

The toy shop Liz manages for her dad, Well Played, is more than a place to buy the toys of yesteryear. It is a gathering place with its weekly game nights and now with the restore doll project. You get a real sense of community from the people who enter the shop, especially during the holiday season. East Aurora has a real small town feel.

Ken’s wife being a Russian immigrant brings a current hot topic into play and it is hard not to feel for the woman. It also brings Ken’s sisters to town and they are two formidable women with the brother’s best interests at heart but their overbearing nature is a bit much for even Ken. Liz finally gets them to open up and gets information to move the investigation along.

The story is full of twists and some real surprises. At one point I think I screamed out at the exact time Liz did. It takes an extraordinary author to have a reader get that deep into a story. The plot came together with another surprise, I was totally wrong in my pick of the killer. The story finishes with another little twist that leaves me very excited about the next book in this series.

Drama, humor, a touch of romance come together with great characters to make this an excellent read. A perfect escape as we head into the holiday season!

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Read my review of Murder of the Toy Town Express here.

Read my review of Death of a Toy Soldier here.

About The Author

Barbara Early earned an engineering degree, but after four years of doing nothing but math, developed a sudden allergy to the subject and decided to choose another occupation. Before she settled on murdering fictional people, she was a secretary, a school teacher, a pastor’s wife, and an amateur puppeteer. After several years living elsewhere, she and her husband moved back to her native Western New York State, where she enjoys cooking, crafts, classic movies, and campy seventies television, board games, and posting pictures of her four cats on Facebook. She writes the Vintage Toyshop series and the Bridal Bouquet Shop Mysteries (as Beverly Allen).


Written as Beverly Allen

Thanks to the publisher I have 1 copy to give away!
The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

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

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End November 7, 2018, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

Share
Oct 172017
 

Murder on the Toy Town Express: A Vintage Toyshop Mystery
Cozy Mysterry
2nd in Series
Setting – New York
Crooked Lane Books (October 10, 2017)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1683313090
E-Book ASIN: B06XWDQYJW

 

 

Liz McCall has come to love running her father’s vintage toyshop back home in East Aurora, NY, so when the Train and Toy Show comes to town, she’s all aboard for a fun toy-filled weekend. The only hitch is that her childhood bully Craig McFadden, now local business rival, has set up a booth next to hers. But the fun and games are over when Craig falls from the ceiling in a publicity stunt gone wrong.

What was initially thought to be a fatal accident proves much more sinister. Pulled into the case by her feelings for both Ken, the police chief, and Jack, her high school sweetheart whose brother is one the prime suspects, Liz dives headfirst into the investigation. But as she digs deeper, she’s shocked to learn her father may have been the intended target.

The trouble train is barreling down and Liz may have just bought herself a first class ticket in Murder on the Toy Town Express, Barbara Early’s delightful second installment in her Vintage Toyshop mysteries.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Choo! Choo! All Aboard for another fun mystery from Barbara Early!!

The toy and train show has come to East Aurora, New York and Liz McCall and her family have a booth to sell their vintage toys.  Liz McCall is a little nervous because an awful blast from her past,  Craig McFadden, has the booth right next to hers selling his comic books. It is bad enough that he has a store across the street from their toy shop, Well Played, does she have to see him for the whole weekend. She quickly meets his clerk and learns she will be running the booth, because Craig has something special planned. I don’t think dying was what he had in mind, but that is what happened. Accident… publicity stunt… one moment he was on the catwalk, then he was in the air and then he laid among the rubble of the disaster he created to a model train town. Was it murder?? Her dad, the retired police chief finds himself in the middle of the investigation and so does Liz when her high school boyfriend’s brother becomes a prime suspect and she finds her dad may have been the original target.

All the characters I loved in the first story are back. The relationship between Liz and her dad is heartwarming and uplifting. The whole family pulls together to help with the shop and the booth. It is a true family business. They also have many loyal customers that show up for their nightly board game events. Well Played is a family gem in a day of the big box stores.

Now the victim, he was a bully from back in grade school right up until the day he died. He didn’t have any friends and Liz even questioned if he would be missed. He was the perfect victim and while I never wish anyone dead, I was not sorry to see him go.

Ms. Early has written quite a puzzling mystery and I may be off my “game” but she had me so twisted, turned, and off the “track” that I pulled in the station right along with Liz. I had an OMG moment when I read that final twist. The plot was very exciting but the author threw in some funny instances too. There is also a bit of a romantic triangle going on. Liz is dating her high school crush and the new police chief. Her dad is giving her more than a little nudge to finally decide between the two. The author had me on board from the first page to the last.

So we have wonderful characters, a fun theme, an excellent mystery, with humor and romance. For me that chugs this story right into the depot as an absolutely perfect escape. Climb aboard, this is a story you don’t want to miss.

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

About The Author

Barbara Early earned an engineering degree, but after four years of doing nothing but math, developed a sudden allergy to the subject and decided to choose another occupation. Before she settled on murdering fictional people, she was a secretary, a school teacher, a pastor’s wife, and an amateur puppeteer. After several years living elsewhere, she and her husband moved back to her native Western New York State, where she enjoys cooking, crafts, classic movies and campy seventies television, board games, and posting pictures of her four cats on Facebook. She writes the Vintage Toyshop series and the Bridal Bouquet Shop Mysteries (as Beverly Allen).

Praise for Murder on the Toy Town Express: A Vintage Toyshop Mystery
by Barbara Early

MURDER ON THE TOY TOWN EXPRESS was an exceptional mystery…when I finally reached the end of the line in this story, I couldn’t have been more surprised. Game well played, Ms. Early.
~Lisa Ks Book Reviews

The characters were well defined and developed. There was a whole cast of characters that added depth to the story…The mystery was well done and multi-faceted.
~Writing Pearls

The crazy investigation was a hoot with both her and her dad really getting into it which adds several layers to the overall story. This is an excellent cozy mystery that I highly recommend to fans of that genre.
~Books a Plenty Book Reviews

Murder on the Toy Town Express, #2 in Barbara Early’s Vintage Toyshop series, is a fun, relaxing mystery to curl up with – just that you’d expect in a traditional cozy mystery.
~The Power of Words

Charmingly delightful. The reader (at least this reader) can’t help but fall in love with the daddy daughter team of Lizzy and Hank.
~My Reading Journeys

Author Links – WebpageFacebook TwitterGoodReadsAuthor Newsletter – Cozy Café – Killer Characters

Purchase Links

Amazon     B&N   BAM    INDIEBOUND    Book Depository
Written as Beverly Allen

a Rafflecopter giveaway

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

October 9 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
October 9 – A Blue Million Books – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
October 10 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY
October 10 – Island Confidential – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
October 11 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – INTERVIEW, GIVEAWAY
October 11 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
October 11 – Writing Pearls – REVIEW
October 12 – The Power of Words – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY
October 12 – Blogger Nicole Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY
October 13 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST,  GIVEAWAY
October 13 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW, INTERVIEW, GIVEAWAY
October 13 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – GUEST POST
October 14 – A Holland Reads – GUEST POST, GIVEAWAY
October 14 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY
October 15 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW
October 15 – Sleuth Cafe – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY
October 16 – View from the Birdhouse – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY
October 16 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
October 17 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
October 17 – Brooke Blogs – CHARACTER GUEST POST, GIVEAWAY
October 18 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY
October 18 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY
October 18 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

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.”

Share
Dec 272016
 

Death of a Toy Soldier: A Vintage Toyshop Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – New York
Crooked Lane Books (October 11, 2016)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1629538389
E-Book ASIN: B01H082DM2

 

 

Death of a Toy Soldier by Barbara Early – Liz McCall grew up in a playful winter wonderland but it was never her dream to manage her father’s vintage toyshop. However, after he sank his entire police pension into the business, someone needed to help him turn his dreams into reality—and keep him from sneaking off to patrol the not-so-mean streets of East Aurora, NY.

The mood goes from nice to naughty when a nervous man, who was trying to have his antique toys appraised, is found in the shop with a lawn dart through his chest. Suddenly, Liz’s business plan is plunged into deep freeze, while she and her father find themselves toying with a cold-blooded killer who’s playing for keeps.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

A vintage toy shop, a perfect place for a little Christmas shopping. Liz McCall manages the place for her dad, a retired police chief, who just can’t leave his old job behind. But when a man is found dead inside the store in the middle of the night and the former chief becomes the prime suspect things are far from merry. With the store a crime scene Liz and her father need to find the real killer fast or this Christmas may be their last.

Liz McCall and my own daughter have something in common. They are both Elizabeth/Betsy/Liz. We named her after my mom and my Dad was the only one that called my mom Betsy so it was my dream for my daughter to have that nickname. It stuck until 4th grade when her homeroom teacher started calling her Liz. She will always be Betsy to family but out in the world she is Liz or Lizzie. Same with Liz in this story. She will always be Betsy to her dad.

Barbara Early really impressed me with this story. All the characters are cleverly crafted. A strong protagonist and equally strong supporting characters. I felt they were very fleshed out for the first book in a series but still have plenty of room to grow.

Setting the story in a vintage toy shop is brilliant. So many things will resonate with readers of all ages. I love that the shop was a gathering place for community game nights. Clue, Monopoly, Risk, and more, complete with old time candy. I wish the place was nearby because I would visit often.

The mystery was also so well written. Readers are drawn into the story and will find it very hard to put down. I tried to read it all in one sitting but my eyes just would not cooperate. I quickly finished it the next day. There were quite a few twists in this story and I was right there with Liz the entire way right up to the surprising ending.

A very enjoyable and entertaining read, perfect for the holiday season!

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

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.”

Share
For a Good Paws (A Barkery & Biscuits Mystery) by Linda O. JohnstonOrder Your Copy Today!
%d bloggers like this: