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

Sprinkles of Suspicion (Cupcake Catering Mystery Series) by Kim Davis – #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @Kookiesandbooks

Sprinkles of Suspicion (Cupcake Catering Mystery Series)
by Kim Davis

About Sprinkles of Suspicion

Sprinkles of Suspicion (Cupcake Catering Mystery Series)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – California
Publisher: Cinnamon & Sugar Press (June 2, 2020)
Print Length: 269 pages
Digital ASIN: B086XKRCJH

One glass of cheap California chardonnay cost Emory Gosser Martinez her husband, her job, and her best friend. Unfortunately, that was only the beginning of her troubles.

 

Distraught after discovering the betrayal by her husband and best friend, Tori, cupcake caterer Emory Martinez allows her temper to flare. Several people witness her very public altercation with her ex-friend. To make matters worse, Tori exacts her revenge by posting a fake photo of Emory in a compromising situation, which goes viral on social media. When Tori is found murdered, all signs point to Emory being the prime suspect.

 

With the police investigation focused on gathering evidence to convict her, Emory must prove her innocence while whipping up batches of cupcakes and buttercream. Delving into the past of her murdered ex-friend, she finds other people had reasons to want Tori dead, including Emory’s own husband. Can she find the killer, or will the clues sprinkled around the investigation point the police back to her?

 

Includes recipes!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

A night out with her best friend turns Emory Gosser Martinez entirely upside down including becoming the prime suspect in that friend’s murder. While trying to keep her mind on her cupcake catering business she also has to do everything she can to prove her innocence. The trouble is she doesn’t know who she can trust and maybe putting her faith in the wrong people. There is plenty of suspicion sprinkled around but is there enough to find the real killer or will Emory be baking behind bars?


Emory Gosser Martinez is an interesting protagonist and for the most part her own worst enemy. A far from perfect amateur sleuth, very naive, a bit of a doormat, and she makes horrible choices in husbands and best friends. I was happy to see that by the end of the story she was turning the corner on these traits and that the development of her character continues in a pleasing way.

We are introduced to several characters within these pages. Several are strong that I hope we see more of in future installments. Several deplorable that I am happy to see an end of in this installment. It takes a talent to write characters to invoke these emotions and Ms. Davis has this talent.

This story moves along at a great pace and doesn’t lag anywhere. There is always something happening, drama, twists, and yes, cupcakes. So well-plotted, I was totally taken in by the entire story and flabbergasted when the real killer was revealed. I also loved the way the story ended which has me so excited for the next book in this series.

Sprinkles of Suspicion has a shocking start and holds on tight. A little different than your typical cozy mystery at the beginning but is quickly reeled into the cozy realm. All the cupcake references will have your tastebuds popping and appreciating that several recipes are included at the end of the story.

An Entertaining Read! I can’t wait for more from this author!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Kim Davis

Kim Davis lives in Southern California with her husband. When she’s not spending time with her granddaughters she can be found either writing stories or working on her blog, Cinnamon, Sugar, and a Little Bit of Murder or in the kitchen baking up yummy treats.  She has published the suspense novel, A GAME OF DECEIT, and has had several children’s articles published in Cricket, Nature Friend, Skipping Stones, and the Seed of Truth magazines. Kim Davis is a member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime.

Author Links:   Website –   Facebook  –    Twitter  –   Goodreads  –  Pinterest  

Purchase Links:  Amazon
On Sale for 99 Cents!

Also by this Author

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Great Escapes Praise for Sprinkles of Suspicion (Cupcake Catering Mystery Series)
by Kim Davis

Once again, the writing is delightful and the characters are nicely and vividly fleshed out. They added ‘sprinkles of delight and flavor’ to this fun cozy-mystery and kept me hooked from the beginning to finish, for sure!
~Diary of a Book Fiend

Her (Emory) trusting nature definitely gets her into sticky situations and makes her an easy mark. The pace is steady and her cluelessness adds a touch of humor. An enjoyable read.
~Christa Reads and Writes

Sprinkles of Suspicion kept me on the edge of my seat. The revelations make you go “Say whaattt????” The identity of the killer was surprising.
~The Book Decoder

. . . .a fun debut. . . Sprinkles of Suspicion sets up a promising new series. You’ll enjoy meeting Emory here and be anxious to find out where cupcakes and murder take her next.
~Carstairs Considers….

Wow!! This book started off with a bang . . . This is a well-written, fun mystery and the reader is bound to have a good time with this one!! Highly recommend.
~Moonlight Rendezvous

TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please visit al the stops. 
June 1 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
June 1 – Diary of a Book Fiend – REVIEW
June 1 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW (no post)
June 2 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW
June 2 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT
June 2 – The Book Decoder – REVIEW  
June 3 – Carstairs Considers – REVIEW
June 3 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
June 3 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW
June 4 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW  
June 4 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – SPOTLIGHT
June 4 – Literary Gold – CHARACTER GUEST POST
June 5 – View from the Birdhouse – SPOTLIGHT
June 5 – Sneaky the Library Cat’s Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
June 6 – Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic– SPOTLIGHT
June 6 – La libreria di Beppe – SPOTLIGHT
June 7 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW
June 7 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
June 7 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – GUEST POST
June 8 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
June 8 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW
June 9 – Gimme The Scoop Reviews – REVIEW
June 9 – Dee-Scoveries – SPOTLIGHT
June 9 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
June 10 – Read Your Writes Book Reviews – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
June 10 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW
June 10 – Lisa Ks 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 Great Escapes Book Tours Spotlights

Murder in the Wine Country (A Kelly Jackson Mystery) by Janet Finsilver #Spotlight – Great Escapes Book Tour


I am pleased to shine my spotlight today on
Murder in the Wine Country!

Murder in the Wine Country (A Kelly Jackson Mystery)
by Janet Finsilver

This is another great mystery but as usual with this series, Kelly and the Silver Sentinels are my favorite part. Kelly is a clever sleuth who does what she needs to in order to track down the killer but is never too reckless. Her friends are all well-developed and unique, and they make a great team.
~The Book’s the Thing

Murder in the Wine Country by Janet Finsilver is a smooth, easy read with charming characters and a picturesque setting. From exotic plant poaching to murder and everything in between, the mysteries in this cozy keep Kelly & the Sentinels busy and readers on their toes too.
~Reading Is My SuperPower

Murder in the Wine Country is a diverting cozy mystery with foraging for flora, wonderful wines, succulent stealers, valiant veterans, and a perplexing puzzle.
~The Avid Reader

What a great addition to this book wonderful cozy mystery series! . . . a fantastic blend of food, wine tasting, clues, and a variety of characters that create a story readers can really love. A must read for fans of cozy mysteries. I totally loved it so I give it 5/5 stars.
~Books a Plenty Book Reviews

I really enjoy the characters in this series, especially The Silver Sentinels. They are amazing and I hope I can be like them when I read their age. The other secondary characters all play a role in the story and in Kelly’s life.
~Carla Loves To Read

About Murder in the Wine Country

Murder in the Wine Country (A Kelly Jackson Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Publisher: Lyrical Underground (April 28, 2020)
Paperback: 178 pages
ISBN-10: 1516104277
ISBN-13: 978-1516104277
Kindle ASIN: B07Z5PKHVW

Weeding out killers wasn’t part of the job description . . .

Kelly Jackson, manager of the Redwood Cove Bed and Breakfast, is excited to participate in an event to raise awareness for the plight of struggling veterans in their Northern California coastal community. Local wineries are sponsoring tastings, and to prepare for a culinary competition, professional chefs will forage for wild edible greens. Kelly plans to come along, despite a warning to beware of poachers, who have been stealing the highly valued succulent Dudleya farinosa. The senior sleuths who call themselves the Silver Sentinels join forces with environmental activists known as the Succulent Saviors to thwart the poaching operation. When a consultant for the sale of a local winery is murdered, the poachers are suspected—but so is a wine merchant, Kelly’s friend Phil. As Kelly and the Silver Sentinels attempt to root out the real killer, what she digs up might just put her permanently underground . . .

 

Janet Finsilver is the USA TODAY best-selling author of the Kelly Jackson mystery series. She worked in education for many years as a teacher, a program administrator, and a workshop presenter. Janet majored in English and earned a Master’s Degree in Education. She loves animals and has two dogs—Kylie and Ellie. Janet has ridden western style since she was a child and was a member of the National Ski Patrol. One of the highlights of her life was touching whales in the San Ignacio Lagoon. MURDER AT REDWOOD COVE, her debut mystery, was released on October 13, 2015. Five books followed with her most recent release on April 28, 2020, of book six,  MURDER IN THE WINE COUNTRY.

Janet Finsilver and her husband reside in the San Francisco Bay Area. She enjoys cooking, and a recent attempt to reduce the number of cookbooks in the cupboard wasn’t very successful. She’s an avid reader—of course!

Please feel free to visit and/or contact me on my author Facebook page and my website. https://www.facebook.com/janetfinsilverauthor/    http://janetfinsilver.com/

Author Links – Facebook  Twitter Pinterest Web

Purchase Links – Amazon  – B&N – 


TOUR PARTICIPANTS
May 20 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
May 20 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW
May 20 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW
May 21 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
May 21 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW
May 22 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT
May 22 – My Journey Back – CHARACTER GUEST POST
May 23 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT
May 23 – T’s Stuff – SPOTLIGHT
May 24 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST
May 24 – Gimme The Scoop Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST
May 25 – Christy’s Cozy Corners– GUEST POST
May 25 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW
May 26 – Cozy Up With Kathy – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
May 26 – Baroness’ Book Trove – SPOTLIGHT
May 27 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
May 27 – Literary Gold – CHARACTER GUEST POST
May 28 – Mysteries with Character – GUEST POST
May 28 – eBook Addicts – SPOTLIGHT
May 29 – Ascroft, eh? – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
May 29 – Carla Loves to Read – REVIEW
May 30 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
May 30 – Jane Reads – GUEST POST

 

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

The House That Vanity Built (A Misty Dawn Mystery) by Nancy Cole Silverman #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour

The House That Vanity Built (A Misty Dawn Mystery)
by Nancy Cole Silverman

About The House That Vanity Built 

Book 2 of the Misty Dawn Trilogy 

The House That Vanity Built (A Misty Dawn Mystery)
Paranormal Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Publisher: Henery Press (May 12, 2020)
Hardcover: 242 pages
ISBN-10: 1635115981
ISBN-13: 978-1635115987
Digital ASIN: B084BN2B37

Misty Dawn, a former Hollywood psychic to the stars, knows the dark and sometimes glamorous streets of Los Angeles are full of secrets, broken promises, and dashed hopes.

 

When a young woman comes to her door because she’s lost her engagement ring and is afraid to tell her fiancé (the son of one of the world’s biggest cosmetics empires), Misty senses it’s no accident.

 

Together Misty Dawn and her psychic charge, Wilson Thorne, must not only sneak behind the walls of the Conroy Estate (aka The House That Vanity Built), but go beyond the veil where the luminaries have laid plans to seek revenge.

 

Murder, lust, and a quest for a fountain of youth are hidden inside a family’s secret, one that threatens to upend the young woman’s life, and quite possibly, Misty’s as well.

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Hollywood psychic Misty Dawn meets a young woman upset because she has lost her engagement ring but Misty thinks there is more to the story. When the groom dies at his bachelor party she knows it was no accident. She has a lot of questions regarding the death of the son of the world’s biggest cosmetics empire. With her “shade” Wilson’s help, she is determined to find answers and the killer.


This second book in the Misty Dawn trilogy takes us to the House that Vanity Built current owed by Doctor Conroy who hasn’t always seen eye to eye with his son Jared but he thinks his son will settle down when he marries Amy. Again, the author takes time to develop these new characters throughout the entire book and allows the original cast to grow as well. Wilson makes some interesting new friends while Misty digs into those still living. The dialogue is crisp and at times will have you chuckling out loud.

The mystery is so well written and plotted out. She has created a real tangled mystery with twists, conflicts, and secrets. The lengths some people will go to for greed and vanity.

The author’s descriptive writing style really draws the reader into the story. While the book does have a serious tone, there is also plenty of humor within these pages, imagine the ethereal Wilson as Misty’s chauffeur and him flitting around unseen.

The vanity house does sound like an incredible estate making it a wonderful setting. It gives the book a real old-time cinema feel.

I found The House that Vanity Built to be captivating and entertaining. I am excited to read the third book in the trilogy to see where the author takes these characters and wraps up this very entertaining series.

 

 

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Nancy Cole Silverman

Nancy Cole Silverman spent nearly twenty-five in Los Angeles Talk Radio, beginning her career on the talent side as one for the first female voices on the air, and later on the business side, where she retired as one of two female general managers in the nation’s second-largest radio market. After a successful career in the radio industry, Silverman turned to writing fiction. Her crime-focused novels and short stories have attracted readers throughout America. Her Carol Childs Mysteries series (Henery Press) feature a single-mom whose “day job” as a reporter at a busy Los Angeles radio station often leads to long nights as a crime-solver. Her most recent series with Misty Dawn is centered on an aging Hollywood Psychic to the Stars, who supplements her day to day activities as a consultant to LAPD and the FBI. Silverman lives in Los Angeles with her husband and a thoroughly pampered standard poodle.

Author Links –
Facebook – GoodReads – Twitter: @NancyColeSilve1

Purchase Links – Amazon – B&N – Kobo 

Also by this Author

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Great Escapes Praise for The House That Vanity Built (A Misty Dawn Mystery)
by Nancy Cole Silverman

I love this cross between old Hollywood rumors, the here-and-natural, and our current time. Ms. Silverman does a fabulous job of adding humor to the story, and I enjoy this series immensely.
~Baroness’ Book Trove

The characters were wonderful, even the other spirits in the story. The writing was great and the plot well paced. I loved the ending of this one, and the final few pages had me sitting holding my breath.
~Carla Reads Loves to Read

The author is very talented in her descriptive writing and these descriptions pulled me into the story from the very beginning. The mystery had a lot of twists and turns and was not easily solved.
~MJB Reviewers

The House that Vanity Built is a humorous cozy mystery filled with great characters and a puzzling murder . . . is fast paced and easy to read.
~Christy’s Cozy Corners

I really like the themes at play in THE HOUSE THAT VANITY BUILT and the title really does say it all. Greed, glory, self involvement, and vanity can destroy everything.
~Cozy Up With Kathy

. . . with more than a handful of suspects from the bride to be herself to even Jared’s father I was busy piecing it all together right along side Misty and I was fully invested in solving this murder with her. This was another great book in the series. . .
~eBook addicts

TOUR PARTICIPANTS
May 11 – I’m Into Books – SPOTLIGHT
May 11 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW
May 12 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – SPOTLIGHT
May 12 – Carla Loves to Read – REVIEW
May 13 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – SPOTLIGHT
May 13 – Cassidy’s Bookshelves – SPOTLIGHT
May 14 – Mysteries with Character – SPOTLIGHT
May 14 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW
May 15 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW
May 15 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – SPOTLIGHT
May 16 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
May 17 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW
May 18 – eBook addicts – REVIEW
May 18 – Gimme The Scoop Reviews -SPOTLIGHT
May 19 – Laura’s Interests – SPOTLIGHT
May 19 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
May 20 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT
May 21 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
May 22 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW
May 23 – Socrates 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 2020 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday (Saturday Edition) – Living the Vida Lola (A Lola Cruz Mystery) by Melissa Bourbon #Review / #Giveaway

 

SATURDAY EDITION

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.

This week got away from me and I wasn’t able to prepare this post for yesterday. 


Living the Vida Lola (A Lola Cruz Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – California
Publisher: Henery Press (January 29, 2019)
Hardcover: 274 pages
ISBN-10: 1635114462
ISBN-13: 978-1635114461
Paperback: 274 pages
ISBN-10: 1635114438
ISBN-13: 978-1635114430
Kindle ASIN: B07K2CNDZQ

Meet Lola Cruz. After paying her dues as an intern, she’s now a full-fledged detective at Camacho and Associates. Her boss is Manny Camacho, a muy caliente former cop with a mysterious ex-wife, a Lara Croft look-alike girlfriend, and a sudden personal interest in Lola.

 

Her first big case? A missing mother who may not want to be found. And to make her already busy life even more complicated, Lola’s helping her cousin plan her quinceañera and battling her family and their old-fashioned views on women and careers. She’s also reunited with the gorgeous Jack Callaghan, her high school crush whom she shamelessly tailed years ago and photographed doing the horizontal salsa with some other lucky girl.

 

Lola takes it all in stride, but when the subject of her search ends up dead, she realizes she has a lot more to worry about. Soon she finds herself wrapped up in the possibly shady practices of a tattoo parlor, local politics, and someone with serious—maybe deadly—road rage. To top it all off, her treasured post-coital pictures of Jack are missing!

 

Still, Lola is well-equipped to handle these challenges. She’s a black-belt in kung fu, and her body isn’t her only weapon. She’s got smarts, sass, and more tenacity than her Mexican mafioso-wannabe grandfather. A few of her famous margaritas don’t hurt, either.

This book was published originally back in 2009 under the author name Misa Ramirez and has now been rereleased by Henery Press .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I have been looking forward to reading this series for a long time.  I thought this would be the perfect time to dive into them but after reading this first book I find myself conflicted. I really didn’t like Lola. I was expecting her to be more like Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum but she was more like a lovesick 28-year-old stuck in the past.  She is now a true Private Investigator with her first big case but seems more concentrated on the fact that her high school crush is now interested in her. She can’t get her mind off a risque picture she took of him several years ago that she still keeps under her pillow. She finally gets her mind on the case but if I didn’t know this was a series I would have thought she would be dead by the end of the book.

Jack was also pretty full of himself, Lola’s brother can be a real jerk, Lola’s parents while over the top sure don’t want their daughter to be a private eye, and the staff at the P.I. office just felt swarmy to me. All the characters are well defined I just had trouble finding rewarding characteristics within them.

The mystery was very overshadowed by everything else going on in the book but I was determined to finish the story to see how it came together. There were off the wall twists and truly unbelievable turns but I was somewhat surprised when all was revealed.

I absolutely love Melissa Bourbon’s Magical Dressmaking Series so I am truly disappointed to find the Lola series is just not for me. I am rounding up to 3 stars.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

I do have 1 Kindle copy to give away!
The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
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Contest Will End May 23, 2020, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

Posted in 2020 Reviews Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday featuring Secrets of the Treasure King (Seaside Cove Bed & Breakfast) by Terry Ambrose #Review / #Giveaway

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am so happy to share the lastest Seaside Cove Bed & Breakfast Mystery with you today!


Secrets of the Treasure King (Seaside Cove Bed & Breakfast)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Setting – California
Publisher: Satori (April 29, 2020)
Print Length: 261 pages
Digital ASIN: B085DC4ZVS

The Seaside Cove rumor mill is buzzing about the captain of The Treasure King. He claims to know the location of the San Manuel, a four-hundred-year-old sunken Spanish galleon with a cargo worth millions. And now, he’s dead, the victim of a speargun attack.

 

When the police ask B&B owner Rick Atwood to consult in the investigation, he has mixed feelings. Consulting for the police is not the problem. He’s done it before. The problem is his eleven-year-old daughter, Alex.

 

Alex is fearless, precocious, and fueled by a strong sense of girl power. She’s also convinced the cops will never find the killer without her help, so she launches her own investigation—and quickly becomes a candidate for Seaside Cove’s youngest felon.

 

Now, unless Rick can solve the case with the clues Alex found illegally, his daughter might face charges of breaking-and-entering, the treasure of the San Manuel will be lost to pirates, and a killer could get away with murder.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

A huge ship has pulled into Seaside Cove and the captain claims he knows the true location of the sunken ship San Manuel with a cargo said to be worth millions. After causing some dramas at The Crooked Mast the captain is found floating in the marina.

With a new officer on the force and several other cases, the police ask B&B owner Rick Atwood to assist with the case. He knows his 11-year-old daughter Alex is going to want to help too, as she has done with previous cases. He does his best to keep her focused on the less dangerous elements of the case, but headstrong Alex always seems to end up finding a key clue and getting herself trapped in a precarious situation.

Could she end up behind bars this time? Will the police be able to use the information she found? Will this be the final straw for the police and Rick? Will it ruin the relationship he is building with Marquetta?


There is so much in this story to love and one moment where I wanted to smack the author!

Let’s start with what I loved.

Marquetta and Rick go out in public as a couple, it doesn’t go as planned but that is a big step. She also learns something about her past that has been troubling her for years.

A new officer joins the force and she also has a past with Marquetta.

Alex’s journal entries show she is growing and starting to understand the consequences of her actions. I said starting, she still is impulsive and fearless but by the end of this story, I saw some awareness.

Alex and Marquetta are cupid’s helpers as they try to bring two elderly people staying at the B&B together.

The mystery is really well done. Key observations play a major role in solving the case. Several suspects have secrets and questionable alibis which keeps everyone including me guessing.

There is a major event that puts a smile on my face.

Now the part when I wanted to smack the author. 🙂

A harrowing event takes place at the end of a chapter near the end of the book featuring two beloved characters and it is not referenced again for two chapters. Those two chapters were filled with drama of their own but seriously it was hard to not skip ahead and come back. It really stole my focus as I tried to keep reading the pages in order.

I really love the characters in these books. Each new adventure with them is entertaining and fun. Mr. Ambrose always delivers a mystery that hooks me from the start and holds on tight.

If you haven’t read previous books in this series, Marquetta gave Alex a journal as soon as she arrived at the B&B. The story goes back and forth between Rick’s point of view and Alex’s along with her journal. I do suggest reading the series from the start for maximum enjoyment, but the author gives enough background for each to be read on their own.

Secrets of the Treasure King is a Perfect Escape!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Terry Ambrose

Terry Ambrose has written and published fourteen mysteries. His Seaside Cove Mystery series new releases have risen to the Amazon genre Top 100. In 2014, Con Game, Terry’s second thriller in the License to Lie series received the San Diego Book Awards Best Mystery/Thriller award. Terry also writes the McKenna Trouble in Paradise mysteries and organized an anthology written by bestselling mystery writers to benefit a literacy nonprofit in Hawaii.

Author Links:   Website   Facebook   Goodreads   LinkedIn    Twitter   Instagram 


I am giving away 2 Kindle Copies of Secrets of the Treasure King!

Books will be sent directly from Amazon!

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.

Leave a comment for the author for 5 Bonus Entries.

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

Sign Up for Terry’s Newsletter for 5 Bonus Entries!

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

Contest Will End May 13, 2020, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

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

Murder in the Secret Maze (A Tory Benning Mystery) by Judith Gonda #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @JudithGonda

murder in the secret maze

Murder in the Secret Maze (A Tory Benning Mystery)
by Judith Gonda

About Murder in the Secret Maze

nurder in the secret maze

Murder in the Secret Maze (A Tory Benning Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – California
Publisher: Beyond the Publishing (February 26, 2020)
Paperback: 273 pages
ISBN-10: 1950461386
ISBN-13: 978-1950461387
Digital ASIN: B084HNMVGV

First in a new series featuring California landscape architect Tory Benning!

 

Landscape architect Tory Benning knows the lay of the land, but she’ll have to dig through the clues to unearth a killer . . .

 

After a whirlwind romance and a glorious wedding at the luxurious Hotel Santa Sofia, Tory Benning is ready to let down her hair, slip into her dancing shoes, and celebrate—until she discovers that her newly minted husband has vanished. The police suspect cold feet and second thoughts are behind Milo’s disappearance, but Tory’s certain he’s met with foul play. And since she designed the plush resort, she knows every nook and cranny of the grounds and adjoining secret maze, and wastes no time delving into her search.

 

As clues begin to emerge that Milo may have taken his last breath in the maze, Tory steps up her sleuthing, even as she learns she’s the prime suspect of a cop with a chip on his shoulder and is squarely in the sights of a menacing stalker. And when a second body is found on the grounds, Tory fears she’s up against a killer determined to silence any and all who get in the way. .

 

Not to be deterred, Tory forges ahead, navigating a case with more twists and turns than the maze itself, until the labyrinth of clues leads her to shocking revelations about her husband, her family, and the identity of a killer who’s dead set on making her the next victim . . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Shortly after the wedding in the idyllic garden at the Hotel Santa Sofia that was designed by the bride, her groom goes missing. Many suspect the had second thoughts but bride Tory Benning knows it is something more nefarious. The wonderful garden grounds of the hotel also include a secret maze and that is where Tory begins her search. Clues appear to show her husband may have lost his life there. When a second body is found Tory knows she is on the right track but she may lose her own life as she continues down the deadly path.

_________

This story starts immediately with the missing groom and tells us Milo’s and Tory had a whirlwind romance. I really wish we could have gotten to know more about Milo in advance so we could have been more invested in his life. I had issues with Tory as well. Her reactions just seemed off to me. Yes, she was upset, but not upset in a way that she lost the love of her life. She didn’t rush into the reception and ask for help or even explain what was going on. Instead,  she grabs her best friend and starts her own investigation. She makes some scary discoveries and still hesitated to call the police. I wish it would have been her best friend as the lead sleuth, so I immediately had to suspend reality to continue reading because Tory’s actions and reactions were just so off for a woman’s who just lost her husband and her father just a couple of weeks earlier.

Ms. Gonda did offer a vast variety of suspects including Tory. There were plenty of twists with two officers running their own investigations. Sergeant Adrian Ramirez is working with Tory while Sergeant Ernie Gomez thinks Tory is the guilty party. There is also a Private Investigator involved which adds to the diversion and drama. Romantic tension between him and Tory was evident but also felt off to me, just too soon. The investigations play out over a longer period of time than I am used to but a push by Tory starts to things moving again.

I think Tory would be a great protagonist and I liked the way she teamed up with her friend Ashley. This time the case was just too close and too personal. Had they been guests at the wedding or bridesmaids I think this story would have worked much better.

I do love that Tory is a Landscape Architect and the garden she created at Hotel Santa Sofia sounds like a marvelous venue. She is very creative and smart which will play very well in upcoming stories and investigations. I also loved that Tory has a Pomeranian, Iris that was even included in her wedding.

This story, in my opinion, has a few missteps, but it has good bones and it is well written with a lot of good ideas, maybe just too many for the first book in the series. I am interested to see where Ms. Gorda takes her characters next.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Judith Gonda

murder in the secret maze jusdith gonda

Judith Gonda is a mystery writer and Ph.D. psychologist with a penchant for Pomeranians and puns, so it’s not surprising that psychology, Poms, and puns pop up in her amateur sleuth mysteries featuring California landscape architect Tory Benning.

Author Links:   Website Blog Facebook Twitter Instagram GoodReads Pinterest – 

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Great Escapes Praise for Murder in the Secret Maze (A Tory Benning Mystery)
by Judith Gonda

It doesn’t seem to take Tory long to get back on her feet and with help from her friend Ashley, to try to figure out what’s going on. The pair are great fun to read about, and they are actually cautious and careful in their sleuthing, which is something you don’t always find in mysteries.
~The Book’s the Thing

Murder in the Secret Maze is a multidimensional cozy mystery with wedding woes, a mysterious maze, curious clues, a perky Pomeranian, lush landscapes and a perplexing puzzle.
~The Avid Reader

This story is well developed with many twists that eventually come together in a believable, yet surprising, way.
~Christa Reads and Writes

Judith Gonda clearly knows how to write a story that is compelling, entertaining and fun, with characters that were not necessarily easy to love but fitted with the story really well.
~Brianne’s Book Reviews

“Murder in the Secret Maze” was ultimately entertaining and a good start to a new series.
~Bea’s Book Nook

Murder in the Secret Maze by Judith Gonda is a story filled with so much mystery that makes it seem like Tory’s life is a soap opera coming to life.
~Baroness’ Book Trove

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

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

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

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

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

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

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

Here are my top five fact vs. fiction insights:

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

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

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

~Jennifer

Thank you, Jennifer, for visiting today!

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


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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

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

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

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

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

______

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

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

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

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

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

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

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

Coming November 10, 2020

Also by this Author

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Click Here For Entry Form

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

Posted in 2020 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Cloak and Dagger Challenge E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Literary Escapes New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

In An Instant by Suzanne Redfearn #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @SuzanneRedfearn

In an Instant
by Suzanne Redfearn

About In An Instant

In An Instant
Thriller/Women’s Fiction
Setting – California
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (March 1, 2020)
Paperback: 331 pages
ISBN-10: 1542006589
ISBN-13: 978-1542006583
Digital ASIN: B07NVD1276

A deeply moving story of carrying on even when it seems impossible.

 

Life is over in an instant for sixteen-year-old Finn Miller when a devastating car accident tumbles her and ten others over the side of a mountain. Suspended between worlds, she watches helplessly as those she loves struggle to survive.

 

Impossible choices are made, decisions that leave the survivors tormented with grief and regret. Unable to let go, Finn keeps vigil as they struggle to reclaim their shattered lives. Jack, her father, who seeks vengeance against the one person he can blame other than himself; her best friend, Mo, who bravely searches for the truth as the story of their survival is rewritten; her sister Chloe, who knows Finn lingers and yearns to join her; and her mother, Ann, who saved them all but is haunted by her decisions. Finn needs to move on, but how can she with her family still in pieces?

 

Heartrending yet ultimately redemptive, In an Instant is a story about the power of love, the meaning of family, and carrying on…even when it seems impossible.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

As soon as I read the synopsis for this book I knew I had to read it and OMG I am glad I did.

A long weekend and the Miller family along with neighbors that are like family, Finn’s best friend Mo, Chloe’s boyfriend Vance and Bingo, the family dog all load into the Miller Mobile to go to Big Bear for skiing, snowboarding, and family fun.

They arrive at their cabin to unload and unpack but soon hit the road again to go to Grizzly Manor for dinner. The snow started falling while they were inside and quickly turns into a full-blown blizzard.

Along the way, they stop to pick up Kyle whose car is now stranded in a snowbank. It is slow going but then a buck in the road has Finn’s dad hitting the brakes and the camper starts to slide and tumble over the side of the mountain.

Finn doesn’t survive, but she can see and hear everything. She is trapped between heaven and hell on earth as she watches her family deal with her death and try to save themselves.

_____

The story is told from Finn’s point of view so readers are able to see and feel everything that unfolds. The depth of each character evolves as we see how they react to the horrendous tragedy. It is a very emotional tale and I was completely riveted to the pages. Powerful, gripping and revealing.

I think this story really hit me in the heart because I have lost a child. Different circumstances but I always feel like he is with me every day even after almost 5 years. I will say I dealt with my grief and still deal with my grief differently that the characters in this story but everyone handles loss in their own way.

When I reached the end of the book I wiped the tears from eyes and read the Author’s Note and learned this book is based on a true memory she had. Thankfully no one died then but my tears started flowing all over again. She told this story in such an amazing way. As a reader, I could feel the cold, my heart ached with the pain, and anger flared more than once.

Ms. Redfearn also included a special needs child in this story. Again, my emotions rolled by the way this child was treated. Heartwarming to fierce anger to heartbreaking. His part of the story has stuck with me almost more than Finn’s.

In An Instant is a story that will make you think and may even leave you breathless at times.

This quote is one I want to keep and maybe have it etched permanently somewhere:

“Reach for the stars or the moon or another universe altogether, and shine so bright you blind everyone around you, and though I am gone, carry me with you, but only as lightness and never as weight.”

I look forward to reading more books by this author.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Suzanne Redfearn

Suzanne Redfearn

Suzanne Redfearn is the award-winning author of three novels: Hush Little BabyNo Ordinary Life, and In an Instant. In addition to being an author, she’s also an architect specializing in residential and commercial design. She lives in Laguna Beach, California, where she and her husband own two restaurants: Lumberyard and Slice Pizza and Beer. You can find her at her website, SuzanneRedfearn.com, on Facebook at SuzanneRedfearnAuthor, or on Twitter @SuzanneRedfearn.

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

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

Ghosts of Painting Past (An Aurora Anderson Mystery) by Sybil Johnson #Review / #Giveaway @HeneryPress – Great Escapes Book Tour

Ghosts of Painting Past (An Aurora Anderson Mystery)
by Sybil Johnson

About Ghosts of Painting Past

Ghosts of Painting Past (An Aurora Anderson Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Henery Press (November 19, 2019)
Paperback: 264 pages
ISBN-10: 1635115590
ISBN-13: 978-1635115598
Digital ASIN: B07XC3DXGN

>

It’s Christmastime in the quiet Los Angeles County city of Vista Beach, home of computer programmer and tole-painting enthusiast Aurora (Rory) Anderson. The magic of the season fills the air as residents enjoy school concerts, a pier lighting ceremony and the annual sand-snowman contest.

During the weeks leading up to Christmas, Rory plans on painting ornaments to sell at the local craft fair and joining in on the holiday fun. But she finds the season anything but jolly after the house across the street is torn down, revealing a decades old crime. Past meets present when her father is implicated in the murder.

Fearing for her father’s future, Rory launches her own investigation, intent on discovering the truth and clearing his name.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Christmas in California should be bliss for Rory Anderson but all the holiday magic is sucked out of the atmosphere when a skeleton is found on the property across the street from her house and another is found on the beach. It appears the deaths are connected and Rory’s father is right in the middle of it. Rory is bound and determined to show her father is not involved. Clearing his name means digging up his past which he has always painted with a pretty broad brush. She learns a lot about her parents but knows her father is no killer.

____

This time Rory’s family, friends, and neighbors all get in on the investigation. There were a few funny moments as Rory and the rest of the nosy neighbors tried to see what the big discovery was on their street. When they found out it was a skeleton and again when the skeleton was identified the story took a more somber tone. The situation really tugged on this mother’s heartstrings.

Ms. Johnson has created a wonderful cast of characters. The recurring characters continue to grow while the new characters bring new energy to the story. I really enjoyed reading about how Rory’s parents met and their love story. Rory has the perfect job for an amateur sleuth, working from home, in charge of her own time, allowing her to drop everything at a moment’s notice to follow a lead.

The story was filled with twists and moved along nicely. I loved that the past and present were tied together in a top-notch mystery.

Celebrating Christmas without any snow would be hard for me but it was fun to read about all the festivities. The author does an excellent job of bringing the various scenes to life. The lighted trees lining the pier, the snowman contest on the beach and even the craft sale.

Ghosts of Painting Past is a great addition to this series. It checks all my cozy boxes and left me excited for the next book in the series.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

About Sybil Johnson

Sybil Johnson’s love affair with reading began in kindergarten with “The Three Little Pigs.” Visits to the library introduced her to Encyclopedia Brown, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle and a host of other characters. Fast forward to college where she continued reading while studying Computer Science. After a rewarding career in the computer industry, Sybil decided to try her hand at writing mysteries. Her short fiction has appeared in Mysterical-E and Spinetingler Magazine, among others. Originally from the Pacific Northwest, she now lives in Southern California where she enjoys tole painting, studying ancient languages and spending time with friends and family.

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

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

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

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

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

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

(Guest Post Provided by Publicist)

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

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

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

Everything.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BARN RAISING

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

THE RANGE OF A RIFLE BULLET

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

CAN PLANTS BE SENTIENT?

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

We stepped through the doorway and entered the tropical wonderland.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“That’s freaking weird.”

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

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

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

Thank you Kate for dropping by for a visit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dollycas’s Thoughts

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

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

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

___

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

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

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

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

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

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

Read my Reviews for the whole series. 

Book 1 – A High End Finish here

Book 2 – This Old Homicide here.

Book 3 – Crowned and Moldering here.

Book 4 – Deck the Hallways here

Book 5 – Eaves of Destruction here

Book 6 – A Wrench in the Works here.

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


Also by Kate Carlisle



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