Posted in 2022 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday featuring Peg and Rose Solve a Murder: (A Senior Sleuths Mystery) by Laurien Berenson #Review / #Giveaway @LaurienBerenson

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am delighted to share my thoughts on
Peg and Rose Solve a Murder today!


Peg and Rose Solve a Murder: (A Senior Sleuths Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Connecticut
Kensington (August 30, 2022)
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 288 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1496735781
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1496735782
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09MZS3F83

Murder, She Wrote meets The Golden Girls in the award-winning author’s brand-new series! Two cantankerous septuagenarians, opposites in every way, put aside their differences to stop a killer… if they don’t throttle each other first!

Rose Donovan looks for the good in everyone. With her sister-in-law, Peg, that sometimes requires a lot of searching. Even a sixty-something former nun like Rose has her limits, and gruff Peg Turnbull sure knows how to push them. But after forty years of bickering, they’re attempting to start over, partnering up to join the local bridge club.

Peg and Rose barely have a chance to celebrate their first win before one of the club’s most accomplished players is killed in his home. As the newest members, the sisters-in-law come under scrutiny and decide to start some digging of their own. Bridge is typically seen as a wholesome pastime, yet this group of senior citizens harbors a wealth of vices, including gambling, cheating, and adultery . . .

By comparison, Peg and Rose’s fractious relationship is starting to feel almost functional. But as their suspect list narrows, they’re unaware that their logic has a dangerous flaw. And they’ll have to hope that their teamwork holds steady when they’re confronted by a killer who’s through with playing games . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Sisters-in-law Peg Turnbull and Rose Donovan are complete opposites and have a rocky relationship but Rose decides to take the bull by the horns in hopes they can build a healthier less contentious connection. She asks Peg to join a local bridge club with her and be her partner. Peg has not played bridge in years and she questions Rose’s motives but finally agrees to give the group a try. They don’t fair too well on their first day which Rose blames Peg for and Peg counters that some of their opponents may have been cheating. Still, they agree to return the following week.

Sadly before they can get a rematch one of the group’s players is murdered in his home. All of the members of the tight-knit group are questioned but as the newest members, Rose and Peg are given extra attention. Peg knows the drill, to clear their names they need to do some investigating on their own.   An investigation that uncovers their new friends have some skeletons in their closets. Could one of those skeletons have stacked the cards against the newly deceased? Will Peg and Rose solve the murder before the killer turns the tables on them? Can the two septuagenarians’ new closer relationship trump everything and keep them safe?


We have met and gotten to know well Peg Turnbull in Laurien Berenson’s Melanie Travis Mystery Series. She is a treasure, set in her ways and not afraid to give her opinions and tell you what she thinks about almost any subject but her life revolves around her dogs. She is a breeder/owner of several standard poodles and also a judge of many breeds at dog shows near and far. Her usual sleuthing partner is her niece Melanie but Melanie is traveling across the country on a family vacation. So she takes what she has learned from her escapades with Melanie and teams up with Rose to solve the murder. Rose is a former nun who has traveled the world and fell in love with a priest who she married. They have recently returned to town and have opened a woman’s shelter. These women couldn’t be more different but that starts to change within the pages of this book. The author has these characters take some very interesting steps as they investigate and learn about what really happens in each other’s lives.

The murder mystery has several viable suspects and I enjoyed following along with Peg and Rose as they worked through each of them coming up as to why each had a motive to kill. The clues were cleverly dropped to keep the story moving at a nice pace leading up to a great reveal.

With the unique relationship between Rose and Peg, the story contains quite a few humourous moments. I also loved that Peg’s dogs were featured and that Peg even took on helping a new little pup. Ms. Berenson knows dogs and she crafts them so that each one has its own distinct personality. It really makes them as true to life as her human characters.

Peg and Rose Solve A Murder was a darling little read and has set this series off to a fine start. I am looking forward to seeing how this series moves forward knowing that Peg is a key character in the author’s other series.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About This Author

Laurien Berenson is an Agatha and Macavity Nominee, winner of the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, and four-time winner of the Maxwell Award, presented by the Dog Writers Association of America. She and her husband live on a farm in Kentucky surrounded by dogs and horses.

Find out more about her and her books on her webpage here. Find her on Facebook here and on Twitter here.


Also by this Author


Coming December 27, 2023

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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 Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Interviews

Dewey Decimated (A Haunted Library Mystery) by Allison Brook #AuthorInterview / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @AllisonBrookML


Dewey Decimated (A Haunted Library Mystery)
by Allison Brook

It is my pleasure to welcome Allison Brook to
Escape With Dollycas today.

Hi Allison,

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I was a Spanish high school teacher many years ago. I started out writing books for kids. AND DON’T BRING JEREMY, my first published novel, was published in 1985 and was a nominee for six state awards. About twenty years ago I started writing mysteries. My most recent series is the Haunted Library series. DEWEY DECIMATED is the sixth in the series.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

I do a lot of research, and I do it as I’m writing. Sometimes I’ll start a sentence and realize I need information. It could be something as simple as selecting various dishes because Carrie is serving dinner to company. Because the Clover Ridge Library where Carrie works has purchased the building next door to be converted into an addition, the building is undergoing construction, I’ve had to learn what’s involved when a building is stripped down to its exterior walls and renovated. And I’ve had to learn technical information about the stadium-seating auditorium that will be installed in the new wing of the library.

Do you ever suffer from Writer’s Block?

Not really. If I get stuck plot-wise, I reread what I’ve written. That usually sets me on the right track of what needs to come next.

What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?

Write regularly; join writer groups and take part in their list servs and Facebook pages. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Become part of a critique group that is supportive and helpful. Write regularly.

When you are not writing what do you like to do?

Spend time with friends; talk to my grandkids on FaceTime; read and listen to novels; eat out occasionally; do crossword puzzles and Sudoku.

Did the COVID pandemic affect you and your writing?

It really didn’t affect my writing since I spend so much time at home in front of my computer anyway. Though it has affected me in that I haven’t been traveling and it’s created a pall over my everyday life.

If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you go and why?

I’d like to go back to England. My husband and I used to go there often and I miss driving through the countryside and stopping at various towns and villages. I’d also like to go to Australia and China.

What is next on the horizon for you?

I’ll write the eighth and last book of the Haunted Library series and then I’ll start a new mystery series. I have a four-book contract for a children’s book series. The first book, RUFUS AND MAGIC RUN AMOK, was published some years ago and was a Children’s Choice. After it comes out in its new edition next year, a new Rufus book will be published the following three years.

About Dewey Decimated


Dewey Decimated (A Haunted Library Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Setting – Connecticut
Crooked Lane Books (September 6, 2022)
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 336 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1639100903
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1639100903
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09N6M1SNP

Librarian Carrie Singleton is back on the case, alongside library ghost Evelyn, in the sixth installment of Agatha Award nominee Allison Brook’s Haunted Library mysteries.

 

Carrie Singleton is just off a hot string of murder cases centered around the spooky local library in Clover Ridge, Connecticut. She could really use a break—but no such luck, as she; Smoky Joe, the resident cat; and Evelyn, the library’s ghost, are drawn into another tantalizing whodunit.

 

First, a dead body is found in the basement of the building attached to the library, and it turns out to be Carrie’s fiancé’s Uncle Alec, who Dylan hasn’t seen in years. But Alec has no intention of truly checking out, and his ghost makes itself at home in the library, greatly upsetting the patrons. Carrie and Evelyn work hard to keep Alec out of sight, but what was he doing in Clover Ridge to begin with? And why was he killed?

 

Meanwhile, the town council, of which Carrie is also a member, is embroiled in a hot-headed debate over the fate of the Seabrook Preserve, a lovely and valuable piece of property that runs along Long Island Sound. Turn it into an upscale park? Sell it to a condo developer? Or keep it as protected land?

 

As the dispute rages, there’s another murder, this time involving a council member. Could the two murders be connected? And could Carrie be next on the hit list?

More About Allison Brook

 

A former Spanish teacher, Marilyn Levinson writes mysteries, romantic suspense, and novels for kids. Her books have received many accolades. As Allison Brook, she writes the Haunted Library series. DEATH OVERDUE, the first in the series, was an Agatha nominee for Best Contemporary Novel in 2018. Other mysteries include the Golden Age of Mystery Book Club series and the Twin Lakes series.

Author Links

Website     Amazon Page     Facebook     Goodreads       Pinterest      BookBub
Twitter:  @MarilynLevinson@AllisonBrookML

Purchase Links

Amazon      Penguin Random House    B&N    Kobo    Google Play

The Rest of the Series

Great Escapes Praise for Dewey Decimated (A Haunted Library Mystery)
by Allison Brook

I am giving Dewey Decimated by Allison Brook five stars, recommending it to anyone who wants an excellent September read. You might want to enjoy a nice mug of apple cider while you are at it!
~Baroness’ Book Trove

I highly recommend Dewey Decimated and the Haunted Library series to fans of cozy mysteries, and especially for anyone who enjoys small-town settings, a gentle paranormal element, and cats
~View From The Birdhouse

DEWEY DECIMATED combines greed and family dynamics in a captivating ghostly mystery.
~Cozy Up With Kathy

Dewey Decimated is a fun and calming read from Allison Brook. Over all rating for Dewey Decimated by Allison Brook: 4 stars
~Nadenness In Motion

Cozy mystery lovers will enjoy Dewey Decimated for its realistic characters and well-plotted mystery. They’ll appreciate the little details that make this delightful cozy mystery book come to life. I highly recommend it!
~Christy’s Cozy Corners

Makes for a fabulously fun read that is sure to delight cozy fans. I totally loved it so I give it 5/5 stars.
~Books A Plenty Book Reviews

Bottom Line: I’ve come to expect smart plots, charming characters, and intriguing twists from this series, and Dewey Decimated fits right in.
~Reading is my Superpower

Dewey Decimated is a fun and calming read from Allison Brook.
~Nadaness In Motion

TOUR PARTICIPANTS
September 6 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT
September 6 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
September 6 – The Book Diva’s Reads – SPOTLIGHT
September 7 – Baroness Book Trove – REVIEW
September 7 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
September 7 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
September 8 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
September 8 – Angel’s Guilty Pleasures – SPOTLIGHT
September 8 – The Mystery Section – SPOTLIGHT
September 9 – View from the Birdhouse – REVIEW
September 9 – Read Your Writes Book Reviews – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
September 9 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW
September 10 – eBook Addicts – REVIEW
September 10 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
September 10 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT
September 11 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
September 12 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW
September 12 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
September 12 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
September 13 – Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers – SPOTLIGHT
September 13 – Ascroft, eh? – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
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September 14 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT
September 14 – Nadaness In Motion – REVIEW  
September 15 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW
September 15 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
September 15 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

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Posted in 2022 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies You Read How Many Books Challenge

Mint Chocolate Murder: An Ice Cream Shop Mystery by Meri Allen #Review @StMartinsPress


Mint Chocolate Murder: An Ice Cream Shop Mystery
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Connecticut
St. Martin’s Paperbacks (July 26, 2022)
Mass Market Paperback ‏ : ‎ 304 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1250267080
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1250267085
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09L6V4FWV

Riley Rhodes returns in the second delicious cozy set in a New England ice cream shop, Meri Allen’s Mint Chocolate Murder!

When Udderly Delightful Ice Cream shop manager Riley Rhodes is summoned to Penniman’s Moy Mull Castle, it’s the cherry on top of a successful summer season. The gothic pile built by an eccentric New England Gilded Age millionaire has been transformed into a premiere arts colony by Maud Monaco, a reclusive former supermodel. As part of Moy Mull’s Fall Arts Festival, Maud is throwing a fantasy ice cream social and hires Riley to whip up unique treats to celebrate the opening of an exhibit by Adam Blasco, a photographer as obnoxious as he is talented.

As Penniman fills up with Maud’s art-world friends arriving for the festival, gossip swirls around Blasco, who has a dark history of obsession with his models. Riley’s curiosity and instincts for sleuthing – she was a CIA librarian – are piqued, and she wonders at the hold the cold-hearted photographer has over the mistress of Moy Mull.

But when Adam is found dead behind the locked door of Moy Mull’s dungeon, Riley realizes there’s more than one suspect who’d wanted to put the malicious photographer on ice.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Riley Rhodes has been given a unique opportunity to provide ice cream treats for Moy Mull’s Fall Arts Festival at the medieval Penniman’s Moy Mull Castle. The castle has had its share of owners but Maud Monaco turned it into a premier arts colony. She has invited famous photographer Adam Blasco to be the first exhibit at the festival.

Maud is excited as all her art-world friends start to arrive but Riley hears plenty of gossip about Adam Blasco. Her CIA librarian skills kick in as she wonders what the truth is about the photographer. His history is pretty dark but then why would Maud have invited him to exhibit his art?

When Blasco goes missing Maud does her best to follow through on her programs. Then Adam Blasco is found dead in the castle dungeon. After all Riley’s heard she knows there is quite a list of people who could have done the deed including someone close to her. She just needs to follow the clues and get the scoop on the killer before they strike again.


First, I have to address the elephant in the room. That’s a really cool cover, right? Sadly, it has nothing to do with this story and neither does the title. I love cozy mysteries with punny titles and how they are woven into the story but this title is pretty straightforward –  Mint Chocolate Murder. Well, the word MINT is not found once in the text of this story and the word CHOCOLATE is just mentioned 6 times. But PUMPKIN SPICE is mentioned 29 times. Either the title should have been Pumpkin Spice Murder or everywhere “pumpkin spice” is used should have been changed to Mint Chocolate. I know sometimes the titles are out of the author’s control but this should have been fixed in editing. Even the recipe at the end of the book is for No Churn Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream! It truly looks like the wrong story was matched with the wrong cover.

Riley Rhodes is a great amateur sleuth, especially with her CIA librarian background. It feeds her need to research and investigate while handling her day job of managing the Udderly Delightful Ice Cream shop. There her creative juices can flow as she comes up with some fantastic ice cream flavors. Riley is surrounded by a wonderful group of family and friends who can all pitch in to help so she has time to do a little sleuthing. It is a large quirky cast and they all feel true to life.

I really enjoyed the castle setting. It almost became a character on its own. All its secrets, the nooks, crannies, staircases, dungeon, and hidden features made an excellent place for a cozy mystery to take place. I was entertained following along as Riley tried so hard to find what she was looking for and finding something she wasn’t looking for at all. I was working on a couple of theories of my own. I had the guilty party in my sights very early on but that sure did not take away from the big reveal that was compared to a Mission Impossible movie.

While Mint Chocolate Murder has nothing to do with mint or chocolate it was an appealing read. Terrific characters including two frisky felines, an intriguing setting, and a stirring mystery make this book a fine successor to Rocky Road to Ruin. I am looking for to the next book in this series.



Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

https://us.macmillan.com/author/sharirandall/

About the Author

MERI ALLEN/ SHARI RANDALL lives in a quiet corner of Connecticut, where she haunts libraries, used book stores, and vintage shops.

 

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 2022 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Purrfect Reading Challenge What An Animal Reading Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Killers of a Feather (Urban Tails Pet Shop Mysteries) by T. C. LoTempio #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @RoccoBlogger


Killers of a Feather (Urban Tails Pet Shop Mysteries)
by T. C. LoTempio

About Killers of a Feather

Killers of a Feather (Urban Tails Pet Shop Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Connecticut
Beyond the Page (June 21, 2022)
Print length ‏ : ‎ 299 pages
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09ZLV8ZS2

Shell McMillan and her feline friends must unravel a mystery where everyone’s a suspect and no one’s to blame . . .

With the grand re-opening of her Urban Tails Pet Shop just days away, Shell McMillan has her hands full planning entertainment for the festive event, including a fortune-telling parrot. But her jubilant mood is soon threatened by ominous rumors of the return of Johnny Draco, a former investment guru who swindled money from most of the residents of Fox Hollow and then vanished without a trace. And when the parrot predicts a dire future for Draco and his dead body is found just hours later, no one can say they’re surprised—but no one will say who did it.

With virtually everyone in town a suspect, the police turn their focus on a good friend of Shell’s who was seen arguing with the victim shortly before his death. Determined to clear her friend’s name, Shell begins investigating Draco’s past, his former employer, and everyone who lost money to him. And when the trail of clues suggests there may have been a completely different motive for the murder, Shell suddenly realizes she’s uncovered a secret someone would kill to keep hidden—and that if she’s not careful, the parrot may be predicting she has no future at all . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Shell McMillan has come up with a great plan for the grand reopening of Urban Tails Pet Shop a community event. Nearby vendors are setting up booths, food trucks are coming in, and a fortune telling parrot and so much more. Her Aunt would be so happy. The only thing that puts a damper on the festivities is the rumored return of former investment expert Johnny Draco. Shell met the man when he stopped by her shop but she had no idea he was the man that cheated several Fox Hollow residents out of a lot of money and then disappeared.

Shell’s big day arrives and Mr. Draco is seen talking/arguing with several people, but he is really put off when the fortune-telling parrot predicts an ominous future following his return to town. The parrot’s prediction is on the beak because it isn’t long before a very dead Johnny Draco is found in a nearby building. While anyone in the area could have done the deed the police are focused on Shell’s friend Rita who had an argument with the man shortly before his death.

In an effort to help her friend Shell starts sleuthing on her own. As she digs deeper she realizes she may have the motive all wrong and if she’s right she may have an ominous future of her own.


Shell is definitely making a home in Fox Hollow even though her mother still believes she will soon be back in Hollywood reigniting her acting career. For Shell, though everything is about the Urban Tails Pet Shop that was left to her by her aunt. She has her former co-star Gary by her side to help at the shop and help with the big Victorian she now calls home. Don’t get the wrong idea, they think of each other as a brother or sister. No romantic vibes there. He does make a good buffer when her mother comes for a visit. Her friends Rita and Olivia are also involved in the grand opening festivities. The highlight besides the store itself though is Adrian Arnold and his fortune-telling parrot Honey Belle. Ms. LoTempio has created a very strong cast of characters. Her Aunt’s cat Purrday and Shell’s cat Kahlua are great characters in their own right too. It has been a while since I read the first book in this series and these well-rounded characters quickly emerged from my memory like I had read The Time for Murder is Meow recently.

The suspect list for this mystery is a long one made stronger because Johnny Draco tried to reconnect with everyone he swindled. The killer seemed pretty straightforward at first, but then there was a twist, another twist, a couple of turns, and then a big clue that helped all the other clues fall into place. I had an absolute blast tagging along with Shell as proceeded with her “investigation”. I loved the way she didn’t give up and kept her head about her as the true cold-blooded killer is revealed. I was gobsmacked!

Killers of a Feather is a marvelous mystery! I was totally entertained from beginning to end. I am so excited about the next book in this series. I have a feeling Shell is going to be tested in a few ways and I will be thrilled to go on the ride with her.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About T.C. LoTempio

T. C. LoTempio is the award-winning, nationally bestselling author of the Nick and Nora Mysteries, the Urban Tails Pet Shop Mysteries, and the Cat Rescue Mysteries. For more information, check out her and her cat Rocco’s blog at www.catsbooksmorecats.blogspot.com and visit her website at www.tclotempio.net.

Purchase Links

Amazon  –   B&N  –  iBooks  –  Kobo –   Google Play  –  Smashwords 
Also by T.C. LoTempio



Great Escapes Praise for Killers of a Feather (Urban Tails Pet Shop Mysteries)
by T. C. LoTempio

I was shocked by the big reveal at the end. The author did a great job of keeping me guessing through the entire book. I guessed wrong. 😀
~Socrates’ Book Reviews…

A must-read for pet lovers as well as cozy fans. I totally loved it so I give it 5/5 stars.
~Books A Plenty Book Reviews

With sweet cats and a fortune-telling parrot to draw you in KILLERS OF A FEATHER provides a complex conundrum in a charming setting that is sure to delight.
~Cozy Up With Kathy

TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please visit all the stops. 
July 5 – The Mystery Section – GUEST POST
July 5 – fundinmental – SPOTLIGHT
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July 6 – Sneaky the Library Cat’s Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
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July 8 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT
July 8 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW
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July 9 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
July 10 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
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July 11 – Eskimo Princess Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
July 12 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT
July 12 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – GUEST POST
July 13 – I Read What You Write – CHARACTER GUEST POST
July 13 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
July 14 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
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July 15 – Mochas, Mysteries and Meows – CHARACTER GUEST POST
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Posted in 2022 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Flashback Friday Giveaways Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge TBR Pile Challenge What An Animal Reading Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – The Rocky Road to Ruin: An Ice Cream Shop Mystery by Meri Allen #Review / #Giveaway @StMartinsPress

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.


The Rocky Road to Ruin: An Ice Cream Shop Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Connecticut
St. Martin’s Paperbacks (July 27, 2021)
Mass Market Paperback ‏ : ‎ 352 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1250267064
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1250267061
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08FZ8M8X3

Justice will be swirled by amateur sleuth Riley Rhodes in the first in Meri Allen’s brand-new mystery series, The Rocky Road to Ruin!

Riley Rhodes, travel food blogger, and librarian at the CIA, makes a bittersweet return to her childhood home of Penniman, Connecticut – land of dairy farms and covered bridges – for a funeral. Despite the circumstances, Riley’s trip home is sprinkled with reunions with old friends, visits to her father’s cozy bookshop on the town green, and joyful hours behind the counter at the beloved Udderly Delicious Ice Cream Shop. It feels like a time to help her friend Caroline rebuild after her mother’s death, and for Riley to do a bit of her own reflecting after a botched undercover mission in Italy. After all, it’s always good to be home.

But Caroline and her brother Mike have to decide what to do with the assets they’ve inherited – the ice cream shop as well as the farm they grew up on – and they’ve never seen eye to eye. Trouble begins to swirl as Riley is spooked by reports of a stranger camping behind the farm and by the odd behavior of the shop’s mascot, Caroline’s snooty Persian, Sprinkles. When Mike turns up dead in the barn the morning after the funeral, the peace and quiet of Penniman seems upended for good. Can Riley find the killer before another body gets scooped?

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

In this first book from Meri Allen’s Ice Cream Shop Mystery Series, we meet Riley Rhodes. Riley has a cool job working as a CIA librarian using being a travel food blogger as her cover. Her last undercover mission was in Italy and it ended badly. She now has two reasons to return home to Penniman, Connecticut. She needs to regroup after what happened in Italy but also her friend Caroline’s mother has passed away. She has so many great memories of spending time with Caroline on her family’s farm and working at the Udderly Delicious Ice Cream Shop. She always ate her share of ice cream too.

Now she wants to help Caroline in any way she can as she and her brother Mike make plans regarding the farm’s and ice cream shop’s future. Those two rarely agree on anything so Riley is not surprised they have totally different ideas about what to do with their newly inherited assets. After a bit of a blow-up Mike takes off to a cabin on the property with his girlfriend vowing the hash things out with his sister another day.

But that day doesn’t come. Instead, the next day, Riley finds Mike’s dead body in the barn and his girlfriend is missing. Knowing the argument between the siblings is going to have Caroline on the hot seat with the police Riley delves into her own investigation. She hopes to get the scoop on the killer before someone else gets creamed.


Riley is a very likable protagonist. I love that she has a CIA connection and that she is a librarian. Librarians are so knowledgeable and know how to ask the right questions. I am sure her CIA training has built upon those skills. Skills a great amateur sleuth needs. I admire her dedication to her friend Caroline who has to deal with so much. First her mother’s passing and then her brother’s. She also has a regular job she just can’t drop to handle the farm and ice cream shop. Riley doesn’t think twice, she jumps right in and volunteers to help with no time limits.

Caroline’s mother was beloved by so many and revered for all she had accomplished. We learn this from a variety of supporting characters who work and volunteer on the farm and at Udderly Delicious. Riley’s dad and stepmom are also introduced. Her dad owns a bookstore. That is just so perfect. It is a large group but the characters are clearly defined and easy to keep straight. That being said the author has left plenty of room for growth. There are also a couple of feline characters. One who thinks her royal highness rules the roost and everything around her. The other is a little ragged but cute and is given a great name.

Ms. Allen has done a fine job of world-building. It’s almost time for the Sunflower Festival and all the fields around the farm are filled with sunflowers setting up some great photo ops. The ice cream shop even has sunflower ice cream. As the characters travel up and down Farm Lane there are two farmhouses face to face across the lane. One is the family home behind the ice cream shop where Caroline’s mother lived. The other is teamed up with a large barn where the farm manager and his family live.  Down the road, there is a cabin that was sometimes rented out called the Love Nest. Keep going and there are more sunflower fields, apple orchards, other neighbors’ homes, a cemetery, and a winery. I could picture everything so easily. I could almost taste the ice cream too.

The author has crafted a very intriguing mystery. I had a grand time following along with Riley as she split her time making ice cream and trying to put a killer on ice. She found herself in some heated and scary situations but she kept pressing on. With some marvelous twists, I was drawn deeper and deeper into the story. The final twist was perfect. I was so absorbed in the story I know I missed a clue or two but at least I was in the ballpark with my guess.

The Rock Road to Ruin is a twisty mystery with a leading character that I want to know better and follow wherever she goes. The ice cream theme is just plain sweet and the sunflower backdrop at the farm has me longing for all the sunflower fields close around me that will be blooming and picture-perfect soon.

I am looking forward to reading Mint Chocolate Murder next month! Mint Chocolate Chip! YES!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

https://us.macmillan.com/author/sharirandall/

About the Author

MERI ALLEN/ SHARI RANDALL lives in a quiet corner of Connecticut, where she haunts libraries, used book stores, and vintage shops.


Coming July 26, 2022


I am giving away 1 Kindle Copy of Rocky Road to Ruin!
The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old.

Book 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.

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

Contest Will End July 1, 2022, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
The Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For the 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 Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Interviews

Special Guest – Shelly Frome – Author of Shadow of the Gypsy #AuthorInterview / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @shellyFrome


Shadow of the Gypsy
by Shelly Frome

Hi Shelly,

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I grew up in Miami, Florida when it was just a sleepy little town as a member of what was known as the silent generation—always going along, making no waves, more or less accepting the status quo. That is, until my sophomore year at the University of Miami when I was introduced to the theater and began to realize my whimsical sensibility needed a much more creative outlet. This eventually led to a stint as a starving actor in New York, a career as a college professor at the University of Connecticut, playwriting and, more recently, novel writing.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

I find I have to learn a lot more about the world of the novel I’m delving in. So, for instance in “the Gypsy,” I read all the books I could get ahold of on Gypsies, Romany life, and the Red Mafia’s tactics in organized crime.

Do you ever suffer from Writer’s Block?

Just the opposite. I sometimes wish I could get writer’s block so that I could enjoy some restful sleep.

What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?

Read as many books as you can by your favorite authors until you’ve narrowed down the field, try your hand at it, and pass your effort on to a reputable editor for hire who will apprise you of your strong points as well as your shortcomings. Keep at it until you’ve steeled yourself against the inevitable rejections and take it from there even if you have to eventually resort to self-publishing. As long as you feel you have to write no matter what, the process instead of the results will see you through.

When you are not writing what do you like to do?

Take Baxter, my golden doodle for a walk or a ride, and mingle with my friends and acquaintances to keep from becoming a recluse after my wife suddenly passed away.

How has the COVID pandemic affected you and you’re writing?

It’s severely limited my interplay with the real world and thrown off my sense of balance and interplay.

If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you go and why?

I’d go to Europe and Spain and many non-tourist locales to expand my horizons and perspective on life.

What is next on the horizon for you?

I’m deep in a novel with the working title Fast Times / Big City to return to my sojourn in a Manhattan that no longer exists, where you could almost afford to be a starving actor and everything fills you with a sense of wonder and possibility.

Thank you Shelly so much for stopping by!

Now keep reading to find out about Shelly’s new book!

 

About Shadow of the Gypsy

Shadow of the Gypsy
A Novel
Crime – Thriller – Love Story
Setting – The Blue Ridge, The Litchfield Hills, and Waterbury, CT
BQB Publishing (May 3, 2022)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 340 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1952782570
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1952782572
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09HST8WP5
Print length ‏ : ‎ 280 pages

Josh Bartlett had figured all the angles, changed his name, holed up as a small-town features writer in the seclusion of the Blue Ridge. Only a few weeks more and he’d begin anew, return to the Litchfield Hills of Connecticut and Molly (if she’d have him) and, at long last, live a normal life.

 

After all, it was a matter of record that Zharko had been deported well over a year ago. The shadowy form John had glimpsed yesterday at the lake was only that — a hazy shadow under the eaves of the activities building. It stood to reason his old nemesis was still ensconced overseas in Bucharest or thereabouts well out of the way.

 

And no matter where he was, he wouldn’t travel south over eight hundred miles to track Josh down. Surely that couldn’t be, not now, not after all this.

Great Escapes Praise for Shadow of the Gypsy
by Shelly Frome

If you like mysteries with good versus evil, this may be a story you’d like. Shadow of the Gypsy is fast-paced and filled with characters you love to hate. There was intrigue and suspense throughout, and I’m ready for the next book!
~Novels Alive

Frome tosses the reader into the deep end almost immediately and you’ll be turning pages well past your bedtime to find out how it all turns out.
~Nellie’s Book Nook

More About Shelly Frome

Shelly Frome is a member of Mystery Writers of America, a professor of dramatic arts emeritus at UConn, a former professional actor, and a writer of crime novels and books on theater and film. He also is a features writer for Gannett Publications. His fiction includes Sun Dance for Andy Horn, Lilac Moon, Twilight of the Drifter, Tinseltown Riff, Murder Run, Moon Games and The Secluded Village Murders. Among his works of non-fiction are The Actors Studio: A History and a guide to playwriting and one on screenwriting, Miranda and the D-Day Caper is his latest foray into the world of crime and the amateur sleuth. He lives in Black Mountain, North Carolina.

Author Links 

Facebook   – Twitter   – GoodReads   – BookBub   – Instagram

Purchase Links –

Amazon
 

TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please visit all the stops. 
May 2 – The Mystery of Writing – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
May 3 – Ascroft, eh? – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
May 4 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT
May 5 – I Read What You Write – GUEST POST
May 6 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
May 7 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
May 8 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
May 9 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT
May 10 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – GUEST POST
May 11 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
May 12 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT
May 12 – Novels Alive – REVIEW
May 13 – Nellie’s Book Nook – REVIEW
May 14 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
May 15 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

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Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

Posted in 2022 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Alphabet Soup A -Z Author Edition Challenge Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge TBR Pile Challenge What An Animal Reading Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – Pup Fiction (A Melanie Travis Mystery) by Laurien Berenson #Review / #Giveaway #KensingtonCozies @KensingtonBooks

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

pup fiction
Pup Fiction (A Melanie Travis Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
27th in Series
Setting – Connecticut
Kensington Cozies (June 29, 2021)
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 304 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1496718380
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1496718389
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08KKYX1W6

With a new litter of Standard Poodles on the way, it’s shaping up to be a vibrant July in Greenwich, Connecticut, for Melanie Travis. Too bad there’s a killer in town who would love to drain the life out of her summer . . .
 
While usually protective, Melanie feels comfortable sending her sons to the Graceland School’s summer camp for two reasons: The institution is well-regarded and proprietor Emily Grace is a trusted friend. But Emily has been acting strange since three rambunctious Dalmatian puppies suddenly appeared on her doorstep. The unusual arrival marks the first of several mysterious happenings at camp, each more intense than the last. Emily’s rough streak takes a frightening turn with a discovery in the nearby woods—the body of her estranged ex-husband.

As suspicions rush in, proving that Emily didn’t murder her biggest mistake will be about as easy as raising prize-winning show dogs. Realizing she’s the only one who can prove her friend’s innocence and keep the Graceland School from shutting down, Melanie dives into an investigation on the victim’s whereabouts leading up to his demise. With a few spotty clues and Aunt Peg’s growing curiosity about the Dalmatian pups’ origins, Melanie must name the culprit before good intentions come back to bite!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Summer in Greenwich, Connecticut means summer camp at the Graceland School. This year Kevin will be a camper and Davey will be a counselor. Emily Grace, the owner of the school is a good friend of Melanie’s but she didn’t know her friend had been gifted 3 Dalmatian puppies. Puppies who somehow escaped from their outdoor enclosure and were running free. It is clear to Melanie that Emily doesn’t understand the training and care needed for the pups but Melanie is willing to help her learn.

As the first week of camp continues some strange things happen. Things that could have been quite dangerous. Then a neighbor makes a ghastly discovery in the woods near the school. A dead body that is quickly identified at Emily’s ex-husband. Could he have been responsible for the strange series of events? Of course, the police immediately cast Emily as the killer much to Melanie’s dismay. She knows she needs to help her friend and Aunt Peg feels she can help especially where the pups are concerned. They all just need to be careful not to become the killer’s next targets.


I love checking in with the Travis family. There is always a lot going on in their lives well before the dead body makes an appearance. I was so pleased to see that the poodle that Davey has been showing continues to do well and that his confidence has grown enough for him to stand up for his abilities to Aunt Peg and do it in a respectable way. I would expect no less from this young man that has grown up before our eyes. Melanie and Sam have done an excellent job raising their boys and the passel of loveable dogs in their care. Melanie has to juggle a lot as she tries to help Emily and Sam is a wonderful husband ready to pick up whatever slack that arises. The author has created a fantastic family unit. I always enjoy dropping by to see what they are up to.

Ms. Berenson has also penned an excellent mystery. Melanie’s life gets very entangled in her investigation even reaching into the dog show world. I loved all the twists and turns so much especially as we got closer to the big reveal. There were several viable suspects to work through. I had a little inkling toward the real guilty party but was still taken aback when everything was all spelled out.

Of course, again the settings were beautiful even though some were a little damp due to rain. The school grounds sounded idyllic and a great place for summer camp. It rained during a dog show and it was fun to see how much exhibitors went through to keep the dogs show-ready under those conditions. There was a funny moment when one dog wanted nothing to do with that rain at all. There were many other humorous passages as well.

One part that I love about every book in this series is Melanie’s relationship with her poodle Faith. She talks to her dog and Faith seems to understand. The dog’s feelings are portrayed so beautifully when she is left behind at home or when Melanie takes her along or on a walk. It sets each story in a delightfully believable way. Any true animal lover talks to their pets and is able to read their pet’s thoughts and wishes. The pure joy emitted by Faith when Melanie enters the house matches the joy all our dogs feel when they welcome us home. She is so lucky to be able to take Faith to so many places with her. She truly is a special pup.

Pup Fiction is a marvelous addition to this series. I just can’t get enough of Melanie and her family. I am now all caught up on the series and ready for Show Me the Bunny releasing later this month.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent  

 

About This Author

Laurien Berenson is an Agatha and Macavity Nominee, winner of the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, and four-time winner of the Maxwell Award, presented by the Dog Writers Association of America. She and her husband live on a farm in Kentucky surrounded by dogs and horses.

Find out more about her and her books on her webpage here. Find her on Facebook here and on Twitter here.

I am giving away 1 Kindle copy!
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
something you like here and become a follower.

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

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

Follow Kensington Books on Twitter for 2 Bonus Entries!

Follow Kensington Publishing on Facebook for 2 Bonus Entries!

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End February 4, 2022, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
The 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 2022 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Alphabet Soup A -Z Author Edition Challenge Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways Literary Escapes Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge TBR Pile Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – Belinda Blake and the Snake in the Grass (An Exotic Pet-Sitter Mystery) by Heather Day Gilbert #Review / #Giveaway @lyricalpress #CravingCozies

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.


Belinda Blake and the Snake in the Grass (An Exotic Pet-Sitter Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Connecticut
Lyrical Underground (June 25, 2019)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 192 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1516108841
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1516108848
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B07HVYQ9XZ

When exotic pet-sitter Belinda Blake moves into a carriage house in tony Greenwich, Connecticut, she’s hoping to find some new clients. Instead, she discovers a corpse in the garden—and a knack for solving murders . . .  
 
Pet-sitter Belinda Blake doesn’t rattle easily, but move-in day has been eventful, to say the least. The python in her care tried to slither to freedom—just as she met Stone Carrington V, her landlords’ disarmingly handsome son. With the constrictor back in its cage, she heads out to the garden, only to discover a designer shoe poking out of the boxwood hedge—attached to a woman’s dead body.

The victim, Margo Fenton, was a Carrington family friend, and no one in their circle seems above suspicion. Between client trips to Manhattan and visits to her family in upstate New York, Belinda begins to put the pieces together. But though she’s falling for Stone’s numerous charms, Belinda wonders if she’s cozying up to a killer. And soon, daily contact with a deadly reptile might be the least dangerous part of her life . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Exotic pet-sitter Belinda Blake has moved to Greenwich, Connecticut hoping to grow her business. She has rented a delightful little carriage house on the Carrington estate and has now moved in with her latest client’s pet in tow. A nice-sized python who she just happens to have out for a walk when her landlord’s hunky son, Stone comes to the door. After an interesting meeting and the snake back in its cage, Belinda decides to check out her backyard. While pulling a few weeds and admiring the flowers she makes a horrible discovery. A very pricy shoe still attached to a very dead lady.

Belinda learns that the woman was a friend of Stone’s and that should give her pause but then the man asks for her help to catch the killer and she just can’t say no. She is incredibly drawn to this man and until her family points out the obvious she never even seems to consider he may be the man responsible for his “friend’s” death. Now she suspects him and everyone else she meets and that could just end with her own demise.


I really enjoyed this story.

Belinda is a very interesting protagonist. Not only is she an exotic pet-sitter but she also reviews video games. She is an introvert, happy to spend time alone sometimes reading her fave Agatha Christie. A woman after my own heart. She is totally captivated by the handsome son of the landlord. He is quite charming but for me, she was just too trusting. These two main characters are surrounded by Stone’s family and their employees and their friends. It is quite an eclectic group. We also meet Belinda’s family. They are close-knit and each interesting in their own ways. All the characters have plenty of room for growth.

People that know me will be shocked to know that my favorite character followed closely by Belinda was the snake. His name is Rasputin and he almost stole the entire show. I am fine because he was in the book, had he been in my real life I probably wouldn’t even go in the room his cage was in.

The mystery was well-plotted and written with a nice amount of suspects and a vast number of twists and turns. The author did an excellent job of making so many people look guilty that my mini little investigation was going in circles. Then some sneaky little things start to fall into place but that final twist really surprised me. The ending was exciting and I was thrilled with how everything played out and who played a vital role.

I love that this story and the other two in the series are based on stories Ms. Gilbert’s father told her as a child. What a wonderful tribute to her father. Seems she has inherited a fantastic storyteller gene.

Readers are treated to a nice preview of the next book, Belinda Blake and the Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing, and had I not had other reading commitments I would have dove right into that one right away. That one and Belinda Blake and the Birds of a Feather are both cued up on my Kindle so I can squeeze them into my reading schedule soon. 

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

Award-winning novelist Heather Day Gilbert enjoys writing mysteries and Viking historicals. She brings authentic family relationships to the page, and she particularly delights in heroines who take a stand to protect those they love. Avid readers say Heather’s realistic characters—no matter what century—feel like best friends. When she’s not plotting stories, this native West Virginia gal can often be found hanging out with her husband and four children, playing video games, or reading Agatha Christie novels.

Author Links – Website – Facebook Author Page  – Bookbub  – Goodreads

Twitter@heatherdgilbert    Instagram: @heatherdaygilbert


Also by Heather Day Gilbert




I am giving away 1 Kindle Copy sent 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.

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 January 28, 2022, 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 2021 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – Howloween Murder (A Melanie Travis Mystery) by Laurien Berenson #Review / #Giveaway #KensingtonCozies @KensingtonBooks

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


Howloween Murder (A Melanie Travis Mystery)
Cozy Wednesday
26th in Series
Setting – Connecticut
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Kensington (August 25, 2020)
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 208 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1496730577
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1496730572
Paperback ‏(August 24, 2021) : ‎ 192 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1496730585
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1496730589
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B082WRWK5X

As the town of Greenwich, Connecticut, counts down to a spooky celebration on October 31st, a horrifying murder leaves Melanie Travis pawing for clues in a hair-raising game of trick-or-treat . . .

With just a few days left before Halloween, everyone at Howard Academy is anticipating the guaranteed sugar high they’ll experience from gorging on Harriet Bloom’s famous marshmallow puffs. The school’s annual costume party revolves around the headmaster’s assistant and her seemingly supernatural batches of gooey goodies. So, it’s a shock when Harriet’s elderly neighbor is suddenly found dead with the beloved dessert in his hand.

Melanie knows her tenured colleague would never intentionally serve cyanide-laced puffs to a defenseless old man. But as explosive neighborhood gossip reveals a potential culprit, it also brings her closer to sealing her own doom. Because on an evening ruled by masked revelers, Halloween might just be the perfect opportunity for a cold-hearted killer to get away with murder once again—this time sending a nosy, unsuspecting sleuth to an early grave!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Howard Academy is getting ready for their annual Halloween costume party complete with the headmaster’s secretary’s marshmallow puffs. Harriet Bloom has been providing the treats for years and she even shares them with her neighbors. Everyone looks forward to these delightful puffs of marshmallows. But this year the treats appear to be the vehicle used to poison her elderly neighbor, Ralph Penders. So while everyone knows Harriet wouldn’t poison anyone the police have confiscated all the puffs made for the party.

Melanie is worried Harriet may be convicted of a crime she didn’t commit so she agrees to collect the marshmallow puffs from Harriet’s neighbors while trying to find out more about Mr. Penders and who may have wanted him dead. But not everyone is anxious to answer her questions. She may have even put herself on the killer’s radar sealing her own howloween fate.


I do love visiting Melanie, Sam, Davey, Kevin, Aunt Peg, and all their dogs. Faith is truly a special poodle, I love her empathic nature and the way she helps with Melanie’s students. I also love the relationship between Sam and Melanie. They truly are a perfect match and their love just shines in every interaction. Aunt Peg played a smaller role in this story but she does play a huge role for a special family. Almost all the characters Ms. Berenson creates are genuine and true to life. Even the dogs each have their own personalities, strengths, and weaknesses. Of course, she has to create a few people as suspects with questionable traits but she gives them layers to work through to reach their motives. I will say my heart was touched by the elderly victim and his circumstances.

I really enjoyed the Halloween theme as a background to the mystery. While Kevin tries to decide on a Halloween costume and she continues to work with her students Melanie divides her time up to include questioning likely suspects. The author blends it all together with a balanced hand. She drops the clues and inserts twists like the pro she is. I found myself leaning toward a certain character but it sure was fun to follow Melanie along step by step as she honed in on the killer and proved me right.

You really can’t go wrong with any book in this series. All are well-plotted and written. The characters are easy to become invested in too. The author does write each book to be read on its own so you can jump in anywhere. Howloween Murder was a fun and entertaining read perfect for this time of year. It was a howling good time.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About This Author

Laurien Berenson is an Agatha and Macavity Nominee, winner of the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, and four-time winner of the Maxwell Award, presented by the Dog Writers Association of America. She and her husband live on a farm in Kentucky surrounded by dogs and horses.

Find out more about her and her books on her webpage here. Find her on Facebook here and on Twitter here.

THE REST OF THE SERIES

I am giving away 1 Kindle copy!
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
something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Following 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 share the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive 5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End October 29, 2021, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
The Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

*This was a book I purchased from Amazon / from my private collection.

Posted in 2021 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 Corpse in the Gazebo (A Food Blogger Mystery) by Debra Sennefelder #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour


The Corpse in the Gazebo (A Food Blogger Mystery)
by Debra Sennefelder

About The Corpse in the Gazebo


The Corpse in the Gazebo (A Food Blogger Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Setting – Connecticut
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Kensington (September 28, 2021)
Mass Market Paperback ‏ : ‎ 368 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1496728939
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1496728937
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08RWQYH54

Food blogging is turning Hope Early into a household name. But the dead body down the block makes her a #1 suspect . . .

It seems everyone loves Hope’s blog these days, and she’s busier than ever volunteering to help other women create their own paths to success. So she’s shocked when a neighbor petitions to run Hope right out of her small Connecticut town! Set in her ways, apparently, Birdie Donovan doesn’t like the chaos Hope’s sleuthing creates, the police activity and crime scenes, and it’s happening way too often lately. Eager to make amends, Hope bakes Birdie a batch of her best muffins. The delicious treats might have smoothed things over—until Hope discovers Birdie dead in her gazebo the very next day . . .

Now instead of worrying about holding on to her beloved home, Hope is trying to stay out of jail. Because suddenly she’s the lead suspect in the case. Not even her boyfriend, Police Chief Ethan Cahill, is promising he can clear her name, much less discuss the investigation with her. It’s up to Hope to get to bake new ground on the case before the lifestyle brand she’s created—and her whole life—crumbles . . .

Includes Recipes from Hope’s Kitchen!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Birdie Donovan loves to create chaos. She believes everything should be done her way or not at all. Her latest victim is our Hope Early. She has started a petition to move Hope right out of her own home. She has also brandished her trimmers to cut back a neighbor’s bush to the extreme for encroaching on her property, the bush probably won’t bloom again. She has caused havoc at the library and several other places around town. Hope hopes that bringing Birdie a peace offering of a batch of muffins will defuse the situation. Sadly, Birdie takes the muffins and slams the door in Hope’s face.

The next day Hope returns to Birdie’s house to try again. When Birdie doesn’t answer the door Hope ventures into the yard to see if Birdie is working in her beautiful garden. She does find Birdie but she is dead in her gazebo with Hope’s muffins beside her. Hope’s boyfriend Police Chief Ethan Cahill knows there is no way she could kill anyone but the evidence points directly at his girlfriend. He also can’t share any of the police’s investigation with her. She could lose everything she has worked so hard for. Her sponsors quickly put their funding on hold, even the new one that just signed on. If Ethan can’t save her she is going to have to save herself but may die trying.


These characters just keep getting better and better. Hope has become a very capable amateur sleuth. Birdie was a bully in need of an intervention but she didn’t have to die. Hope’s relationship with Ethan was moving along nicely until Hope was framed for a crime she didn’t commit. It caused a few tense moments for the couple. The relationship with her sister Claire is strong and Claire comes into contact with people Hope doesn’t so she learns more about Birdie’s reign of terror. I love the way Jane and Drew rallied to help Hope too in her investigation. An investigation that really pushed Hope to her limits and almost over the line. The animal characters always make me smile too.

I do enjoy the behind-the-scenes look at how Hope manages her blog and love that she is healing women by helping them to start blogs which can help them strike out in new directions the way it helped Hope turn her life around. She always has a tidbit or two that has me looking critically at my own blog and making tweaks here and there.

Ms. Sennefelder has written a very compelling mystery. Clues were dropped judiciously throughout the story and I definitely fell down the rabbit hole of this story. Hope tried so hard to narrow down the suspects and she may have lost a few friends with her leading questions. I tried hard to find the right recipe for the killer but I could not mix the clues together right at all. I was totally gobsmacked when the killer was actually revealed. I was holding my breath throughout the entire scene and still couldn’t believe what I was reading leading me to read it again and again. Wow, the author got me good.

The Corpse in the Gazebo is now my favorite book in this series. The author tempers the heavy dramatic moments with lighthearted times in a meaningful way. Awesome characters embroiled in a top-notch mystery made this story A Perfect Escape! I am really excited to see what Ms. Sennefelder has planned for her characters next.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

About Debra Sennefelder

Debra Sennefelder is an avid reader who reads across a range of genres, but mystery fiction is her obsession. Her interest in people and relationships is channeled into her novels against a backdrop of crime and mystery.

Her first novel, THE UNINVITED CORPSE (A Food Blogger mystery) was published in 2018.In addition to writing the Food Blogger mystery series, she writes the Resale Boutique Mystery series. When she’s not reading, she enjoys cooking and baking and as a former food blogger, she is constantly taking photographs of her food. Yeah, she’s that person.

Born and raised in New York City, where she majored in her hobby of fashion buying, she now lives and writes in Connecticut with her family. She’s worked in retail and publishing before becoming a full-time author. Her writing companion is her adorable and slightly spoiled Shih Tzu, Connie.

Author Links

Purchase Links – AMAZON – BARNES & NOBLE – KENSINGTONKOBOGOOGLEINDIEBOUND – 


Amazon – Barnes & Noble –  KensingtonKoboGoogle Play

Also by this Author

 

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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.”