Jun 202019
 

Little Beach Bungalow (The Seaside Saga)
Contemporary Women’s Fiction
9th in Series
Setting – Connecticut
Independently published (May 4, 2019)
Paperback: 332 pages
ISBN-10: 1090956851
ISBN-13: 978-1090956859
Kindle ASIN: B07PXT51LK

The cottage is nestled along winding Sea View Road, set back from the sandy street. Surrounded by swaying dune grass, it’s a shabby little beach bungalow with an open back porch overlooking a sparkling Long Island Sound. A sign propped in the front window says: For Rent.

Well, the cottage was For Rent … until one particular lobsterman booked a summer stay there. As Shane Bradford settles into the New England beach town of Stony Point, he unloads more than boxes and duffels. With his arrival, he unpacks secrets, and entwined histories, among his circle of beach friends. Old loves surface. New ones emerge, too.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

The Seaside Saga continues right where Night Beach leaves off. Kyle and Lauren off by themselves trying to get their relationship back on track after Kyle’s brother took almost everyone by surprise when he showed up for their vow renewal. The rest of the group assumes Shane has gone back to his lobster boat. Instead, he found a little bungalow for rent at the end of Sea View Road and decided to stay a while.

The group finds out basically one by one that the man is still in their midst when he basically releases hurricane strength issues that rocks the lives of many of the group I have come to love over the course of this series. One character seemed to have a breakthrough but my heart broke for all the others. This was a very emotional read. There are touches of humor but not enough to really lift my spirits.

I love the beach setting of this series and the characters. The author’s words take us right there, on the scene of everything that happens. With the use of flashbacks, we get another visit back to the beach friends history that this time makes an upheaval in the current times.

I am going to be frank, I really don’t like Shane. I was on the fence at the end of the last book but this time he really rubbed me the wrong way. I understand he was hurt by things in the past that kept him away for years, but there are better ways to deal with that pain. I have become invested in these characters and they have endured pains of their own. We still haven’t gotten the whole Shane/Kyle story. I hope that comes out soon, so the characters I love can heal.

Ms. DaMaio has a talent of getting her reader to feel deep emotions. She tests us and tempts us. She draws us in and holds us tight. While I don’t always like what is happening in the story I can’t put the book down. I need to know what happens next.

I don’t like that she leaves us with a cliffhanger either, but thankfully we never have to wait too long in between books.  There are some major things that need to be dealt with so I am anxiously awaiting the next book, Every Summer. I also can’t wait to get back to what hopefully will be a more tranquil time at the beach.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Joanne DeMaio is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary fiction. She enjoys writing about friendship, family, love, and choices while setting her stories in New England towns or by the sea. Currently, at work on her next book, Joanne lives with her family in Connecticut.

To learn more about the author, visit Joannedemaio.com. She also enjoys hearing from readers on her Facebook Page.

Check out my reviews of the previous books here.

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

 

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#Review – Night Beach (The Seaside Saga) by Joanne DeMaio

 2019 Reviews, E-Book Challenge, You Read How Many Books Challenge  Comments Off on #Review – Night Beach (The Seaside Saga) by Joanne DeMaio
Apr 162019
 

Night Beach
(The Seaside Saga)
Contemporary Women’s Fiction
8th in Series
Setting – Connecticut
Self Published (February 24, 2019)
Paperback: 273 pages
ISBN-10: 1790577071
ISBN-13: 978-1790577071
Kindle ASIN: B07MGB31QL

From the New York Times bestselling author of Castaway Cottage comes a novel as captivating as the moonlit sea.

Everything was in place for the perfect beachside gathering. Lace-wrapped jars hung from white chairs on the sand. Paper lanterns and tiki torches glimmered in the twilight evening. A rowboat draped with roses and vines waited in the wings. Love floated on the salt air.

Until the arrival of a mysterious guest named Shane Bradford, a lobsterman with a tangled past in this little New England beach town.

Like a sudden sea breeze, the special evening quickly turns. And the residents of Stony Point must tread the darker water Shane brings to their Night Beach.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

This story picks up immediately after the last story, Castaway Cottage ends when an unexpected guest arrives for Kyle and Lauren Bradford vow renewal and stops the event dead in its tracks. Kyle’s brother Shane has not been to Stony Point in years. He and Kyle had a huge fight and Shane left and the rest of the group vowed to have nothing to do with Shane ever again. And they didn’t until Lauren reached out to her brother-in-law and invited him to the upcoming ceremony. His arrival sent the entire group into a tizzy.

The author uses flashback moments to give us some history of these beloved characters and introduces us to Shane and his story. The story also shows the current times as Kyle and Lauren try to move forward after the turmoil left after their vow renewal falls apart. Their friends, especially Jason, do everything they can to get the couple back on track.

I have enjoyed every book by this author. These characters are like old friends and I am invested in seeing their journeys.

Ms. Demaio paints wonderful pictures with her words and they draw her readers in. I always feel like I am right there in Stony Point, on the beach getting a bird’s eye view of all the happenings. This time I could really feel Kyle’s pain but I see Shane’s side as well, I hope we get to know him better. It was heartwarming to see the lengths that Jason went to in trying to get Lauren and Kyle together. He exhaustion resonated with me at the end.

Readers again are left with a cliffhanger, so I am assuming The Little Beach Bungalow, out May 14 will start right where this one leaves off. I can’t wait for my next trip to the beach!

These books should be read in order for maximum enjoyment.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

joanne demaio

About the Author

Joanne DeMaio is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary fiction. She enjoys writing about friendship, family, love, and choices while setting her stories in New England towns or by the sea. Currently, at work on her next book, Joanne lives with her family in Connecticut.

To learn more about the author, visit Joannedemaio.com. She also enjoys hearing from readers on her Facebook Page.

Check out my reviews of the previous books here.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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Apr 032019
 

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am so happy to feature Debra Sennefelder’s new book today! 

 

About the Book


The Hidden Corpse (A Food Blogger Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Connecticut
Kensington (March 26, 2019)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1496715934
ISBN-13: 978-1496715937
Digital ASIN: B07F5YS5XR

Former reality TV baking show contestant and recent divorcée Hope Early is trying to find her recipe for success as a food blogger—but murder keeps getting in the mix . . .

When Hope’s elderly neighbor perishes in a home fire, she can’t help but feel somewhat responsible. Only the day before, Peggy Olson had called her over, having burned a pot on the stove while she was sleeping and filling the house with smoke. In fact, she couldn’t even remember cooking. Clearly, it was dangerous for the woman to live alone.

But it turns out she wasn’t alone. When a second body is discovered in the basement of the burned house, suddenly what appeared to be a tragic accident is beginning to look like premeditated murder. As rumors spread like wildfire, Hope is determined to sort out the facts and smoke out a killer, but she might be jumping from the frying pan straight into the fire . . .

Includes Recipes from Hope’s Kitchen!

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

Photos make up a huge part of every blog and food blogger Hope Early has enrolled in a class to up her photo game with Cal Barnhart. She was afraid the class would be canceled since Cal’s wife has gone missing and the police have all but arrested him while their investigation is pending. But the class is on and everyone can see the man is barely functioning without his wife.

Hope is also worried about her elderly neighbor, Peggy Olsen. After Peggy rushed to Hope’s home for help with a kitchen fire caused by food burning on the stove, food Peggy cannot even remember starting, she feels it is not safe for Peggy to live alone.

Before Hope can contact Peggy’s family there is another fire and Hope can’t save Peggy this time. A second body is found in the house and it appears they were dead before the fire even started. Was Peggy collateral damage of a killer trying to cover his tracks? Hope feels responsible for not getting Peggy out of that house. She decides she needs to focus and get a clear picture of the killer and get justice for her friend. That is unless she is the next one going up in flames.

___

Our protagonist Hope Early is juggling a lot of things in the air before she even adds this new murder mystery to her list. Her sister Claire is running for mayor while trying to keep the Planning and Zoning committee filled with people of her choosing. She ropes Hope into hosting a tea to garner support for Maretta Kingston to become its newest member. She also is trying to decide on 5 recipes she contractually has to submit for a cookbook after being on that baking show. Plus she is trying to train her lovable pup Bigelow, remodel her new home, keep her blog up to date and oh yeah, the photography class, which may be taught by a murderer.

Author Debra Sennefelder has put her lead character to the test but she has surrounded her with a fantastic supporting cast that helps her keeps all those balls in the air. Those characters include Ethan Cahill, longtime friend, and chief of police. They make a great team and it drives “just the facts” Detective Reid crazy and I absolutely loved it! Her best friend Drew is feeling the heat as he is up against a new hot-shot reporter at the finally struggling newspaper. He hopes Hope can help him get a scoop so he doesn’t lose his job. The characters are all very realistic. The interactions and dialogue are spot on, good for the occasional chuckle or serious when necessary.

Readers are treated to a wonderfully written mystery with a variety of suspects. After a plethora of twists and turns, a red herring or two, I was completely surprised by the killer reveal. I found the story to be very fast-paced with something always drawing my mind a little sideways away from my original task of sleuthing out the killer before Hope. I really enjoy when that happens because that means I did “escape” into the book.

A perfect escape, this story held me tight and I was entertained the whole way. I can’t wait to visit these characters again.

Three Widows and A Corpse will be out October 29, 2019.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Debra Sennefelder, the author of the Food Blogger Mystery series and the Resale Boutique Mystery series, 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. 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, she now lives and writes in Connecticut with her family. She’s worked in pre-hospital care, retail and publishing. Her writing companions are her adorable and slightly spoiled Shih-Tzus, Susie and Billy.

She is a member of Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, Women’s Fiction Writers Association and Romance Writers of America.

Author Links:

Website – Facebook – Goodreads 

Purchase Links – AmazonB&NKoboGoogle PlayIndieBound

Also by Debra Sennefelder

Praise forThe Hidden Corpse (A Food Blogger Mystery)
by Debra Sennefelder

I love the great cast of characters the author Sennefelder has created. She once again takes my emotions on a ride.
~Laura’s Interests

The Hidden Corpse is a humorous cozy mystery with an intriguing premise, a simmering whodunit, delectable recipes, political intrigue, and one adorable canine.
~The Avid Reader

It was fun to read as Hope cooked up possibilities to what happened.
~Community Bookstop

THE HIDDEN CORPSE was an incredibly well-done mystery.
~Lisa Ks Book Reviews

I found the story to be rather delightful, and it kept me guessing all along.
~Literary Gold

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

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Oct 182018
 

First Flurries
Women’s Fiction/Contemporary Women
Setting – Connecticut
Self Published
Paperback: 264 pages
ISBN-10: 1723467987
ISBN-13: 978-1723467981
Kindle ASIN: B07G23V8VR

From New York Times bestselling author Joanne DeMaio comes a novel snow-dusted with love and possibility.

Lindsey Haynes’ father once gave her a snow globe with the note: “Unsure where to go? Give a little shake … and your heart will always know.” On a whim, those words lead her to the quaint New England town of Addison. It’s a place straight out of a storybook with its twinkling town green, decorated Main Street, and secluded lakeside cabin community.

But an encounter with a dejected doctor named Greg Davis turns Lindsey’s days upside down, much like a snow globe in motion. With a little nudge from endearing townsfolk, and a few chance meetings of their own, a magical flurry of emotions suddenly swirls around them.

First Flurries is an enchanting story about finding love and home when you’re not even looking. So cozy up and settle in with a tale that will simply capture your holiday heart.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

We return to Addison and Snowflake Lake right before the holidays. Lindsey Haynes has just pulled into town with her unique little shop on wheels. Her Uncle Gus manages the cabins on SnowFlake Lake and he has the perfect spot to park her Tiny House/Shop when it isn’t parked on the square for the upcoming Christmas event. She is thrilled her snow globe directed her to this charming little town. The snow globe, a gift from her father came with a note – “Unsure where to go? Give a little shake … and your heart will always know.” It hasn’t steered her wrong yet.

Dr. Greg Davis has had some bad luck in the romance department so this year he has vowed to turn over a new leaf. He doesn’t need to be in a relationship to enjoy the holidays.

Greg and Lindsey happen to meet just when the first flurries start to fall in Addison. Their worlds get all shook up and it may never be the same, especially with a little nudge here and a little push there.

I know when I reach for a book by this author I am in for a delightful story so I plan accordingly. Looking at the cover I knew I was going to need a cup or two of hot cocoa and a blanket to snuggle in. The weather here had just turned chilly so it was cooperating as well.

Lindsey and her tiny house and snow globe grabbed me right away. I love tiny houses and I could easily imagine living in one myself, only stationary, not traveling the country on a trailer. I must say it is a fantastic idea for a person like Lindsay.

We met the Davis family before and this time it is Greg’s story. He decides to reinvent himself, not be so uptight. Changes the way he dresses, quits shaving and trades in his sensible car for a Mustang . . . in the winter . . . in Connecticut.

These two are destined for each other but it isn’t going to be easy.

I adore the way that Ms. DeMaio tells a story. Everything about her characters and their interactions is believable and genuine.  Lindsey’s positive free spirit attitude is refreshing juxtaposed against Greg’s somewhat curmudgeonly take on life. The story unfolds at a comfortable pace and is very well written. She has set this series in a charming locale. The snow globe brings a little magic to the wonderful holiday read. Every scene is described vividly painting delightful images in the mind.

Addison, Connecticut is a truly wondrous place to spend the holidays. Romance and Christmas cheer abound. This story will leave your heart warmed and a huge smile on your face.

While there are recurring characters all of the books in this series can be read on their own, but you will want to read them all! I highly recommend this snowy escape.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

You can read my review of Cardinal Cabin here.

About The Author

Joanne DeMaio is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary fiction. She enjoys writing about friendship, family, love, and choices while setting her stories in New England towns or by the sea. Currently, at work on her next book, Joanne lives with her family in Connecticut.

To learn more about the author, visit Joannedemaio.com. She also enjoys hearing from readers on her Facebook Page.

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

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Sep 272018
 


Final Roasting Place (A Cook-Off Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Connecticut
Kensington (September 25, 2018)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1496714458
ISBN-13: 978-1496714459
Kindle ASIN: B078QSJR3H

Sherry Frazzelle is back to being Sherry Oliveri, her divorce all but final and her new life in full swing. Her part-time job is helping her father with his hooked-rug business, and her full-time passion is competitive cooking. But murder is about to rock their little Connecticut town . . .

Erno Oliveri made sure to be on set for his daughter’s cook-off appearance on Sunny Side Up with Brett and Carmell. Or as it’s now known, Sunny Side Up with Carmell and Brett—since the ambitious young Carmell seems to have the producer and station owner eating out of her hand. But the important news is that Sherry has bested the competition with her Spicy Toasted Chickpea and Almond appetizer and clinched the spatula-shaped trophy. It’s her shining moment—until everything goes dark.

A quick-moving storm has knocked out power to the studio—and when the lights come back up, Carmell is at her desk with a sharp object lodged in her neck. The weapon is an unusual tool, used by craftsmen who make hooked rugs. Has someone taken corporate backstabbing to a new level, and framed Erno in the process? If Sherry’s going to protect her dad and their family name, she has to find out where he was when the lights went out . . .

Includes Recipes from Sherry’s Kitchen!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Sherry Oliveri formerly Sherry Frazzelle (divorce is almost final) has just won a cook-off at a local tv station on the Sunny Side Up with Brett and Carmell program. Her Spicy Toasted Chickpea and Almond appetizer won her the prize. She had her father along for moral support. But before they could leave the building a quick moving storm blows through and knocks out the station’s power. When the power is restored one of the show’s co-hosts is dead. Carmell was not well liked by many on the staff but seeing the implement she and her father use for hooking rugs protruding out of her neck was a huge shock. Sherry was around someone the whole time so she is not a suspect. The same can’t be said for her dad. She now has to create a recipe more important than any other . . . how to get her dad out of this mess.

Ms. Delaney’s core characters continue to evolve and impress. Sherry is a strong woman, a very type-A individual but she seems to control her panic attacks much better in this story. Erno does not handle being a prime suspect very well. In fact, he ends up in the hospital and is diagnosed with a panic attack all his own. Her friend Amber returns just in time to help with the shop. Erno has been ordered by doctor’s to take some time off. Amber has no trouble taking things over at the store or teaming up to help Sherry track down a killer. But Amber is sweet on one of Sherry’s suspects so that could make things chilly between friends.

The death at the television station brings readers a new group of characters to meet. They are all unique and any one of them could have killed their co-worker. A receptionist plays a very small part, not involved in any of the drama but really liked Sherry’s cookies and her attitude about the station’s dilemmas brought a smile to my face. The rest all seemed to be out for themselves. One cute new character is Bean, a puppy that becomes quick friends with Chutney and finds a new furever home.

The mystery was tightly connected to Sherry and her dad, due to his friends and the Founder’s Day celebration the town was planning. It was a real puzzler for Sherry and me as the reader. I was up in the air completely until the excellent way the killer was revealed. Twists, turns, red herrings, this story had them all. Detective Ray Bease showed up just in time to take the culprit away.

What I love most about this series is the father/daughter relationship. They are close but Erno still manages to keep a few secrets from Sherry. I have truly become invested in both of them and am excited for the next book in this series.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Check out my review of
Expiration Date here.

About the Author

Devon Delaney is a wife, mother of three, accomplished cooking contester and a recent empty nester. She taught computer education and Lego Robotics for over ten years prior to pursuing writing. Along the way, she has been handsomely rewarded for her recipe innovation over the last twenty-plus years. Among the many prizes she has won are a full kitchen of major appliances, six-figure top cash prizes and four trips to Disney World. She has also won the grand prize in a national writing contest for her ‘foodie’ poem “Ode to Pork Passion.” Combining her beloved cooking contesting with her enthusiasm for writing was inevitable.

Check out Devon’s website at: www.devonpdelaney.com

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

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Sep 202018
 

Read and Gone: A Haunted Library Mystery
by Allison Brook

About the Book


Read and Gone: A Haunted Library Mystery
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Connecticut
Crooked Lane Books (September 11, 2018)
Hardcover: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1683317340
Digital ASIN: B078M7MXGR

Twenty million dollars’ worth of missing gems bring Carrie Singleton’s long-lost and larcenous dad back into her life and it’s up to Carrie to clear his name.

A devoted dad is as precious as diamonds, but Carrie Singleton wouldn’t know since her dad Jim’s been on the lam most of her life. In an unusual family reunion, she finds Jim breaking into her cottage in the middle of the night. The fun really starts when he begs her to help him recover his half of a twenty-million-dollar gem heist he pulled off with the local jeweler, Benton Parr. When she refuses, Jim takes off again.

Carrie finds her father again behind bars for the recent murder of Benton Parr. Who made the connection? Unbeknownst to her, Carrie’s boyfriend Dylan, an insurance investigator, has been searching for the gems. Determined to find the jewels herself, she starts examining every facet of Parr’s life. She turns up a treasure trove of suspects, one of whom bashes her on the head as she’s searching the victim’s country cabin.

Retreating to the quiet confines of the library where she works, Carrie watches as Smokey Joe, the resident cat, paws at a hole in the wall. Is he after the library’s ghost Evelyn, or something shinier?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

The story starts out with a nice housewarming party with friends and lots of food, then everything goes crazy 🙂 Carrie wakes up to find an intruder in her house that turns out to be Jim, her father. He is only there for one thing, Carrie’s help to get back his share of gems from a heist from several years ago. His partner in crime, Benton Parr, a local jeweler, agreed to hide the loot until Jim came for it. Well, Jim wants it and hopes Carrie smooth the way. Carrie agrees to contact the man to get her dad out of her house.

But, the next time she hears from her dad it is to get him out of jail. Benton Parr was murdered and good ole’ dad was found standing over the body. If that isn’t enough, Carrie learns that the case her new boyfriend Dylan is working on is recovering the very same gems her father had stolen. Was he only leading her on to track down her father? Did he only rent to her in the hopes her dad would drop by? Bad enough, Dylan travels so much for his job, was he avoiding her or was he really working? Is anything about their relationship real?

Carrie’s whole life has been turned inside out. Thankfully she can escape to her job at the library with Smokey Joe. Maybe she will be able to track down the gems herself. What does that mean for her relationship with Dylan? What will that mean to the relationship with her dad? Does she want to have a relationship with her dad?

OMG! I started this book and I couldn’t put it down. I stayed up until early in the morning to finish it all in one sitting.

The first couple of chapters felt off, forced, not what I expected from this author. I was worried. But then the story started to flow and the author exceeded my expectations.

The characters in this series are so clearly written. Carrie, her aunt, and uncle are so genuine. They try to see the best in everyone and are truly there for each other. Her dad returning is quite a shock but his brother and his wife take him in for a while until he moves in with Carrie. Evelyn is a unique character in that, she is a ghost. A very well dressed and coiffed ghost, who appears in the most opportune moments and can only be seen by Carrie and one other person. She gives Carrie “food for thought” and adds a few laughs to the story. I had an aunt the was named Evelyn and the Evelyn in this story reminds me very much of her. She passed on several years ago and to my knowledge she doesn’t haunt anyone though. 🙂 Carrie’s cat Smokey Joe has become the library cat. The patrons love him. As for Dylan, he gets in some hot water with Carrie this time and in my mind, he deserves being there.

The author takes these wonderful characters and twists and turns them around in a marvelous mystery. There is a treasure trove of suspects, the man had enemies. His family and a few “friends” had means, motive, and opportunity. Carrie’s dad is the perfect suspect but she knows he is being set up. There is a very well embedded subplot to the story that adds interest too, how it ended both warmed and broke my heart.

Christmastime in Clover Ridge, Connecticut sounds absolutely delightful. There are plenty of programs at the library including carolers and choirs performing. Carrie is doing very well in her job as the head of programs and events and the town is very happy she decided to make her home in Clover Ridge.

This story reads very well on its own, but if you haven’t read Death Overdue, it has a Halloween theme and there is no time like the present to start this series from the beginning so you can get to know Carrie and the residents of Clover Ridge from the start.

I highly recommend this one. Be sure to plan accordingly, you may have a late night and a book hangover the next day, but it is so worth it!

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Allison Brook is the pseudonym for Marilyn Levinson, who writes mysteries, romantic suspense, and novels for kids. She lives on Long Island and enjoys traveling, reading, watching foreign films, doing Sudoku and dining out. She especially loves to visit with her grandchildren on FaceTime.

Author Links

Website  Amazon Page   Facebook     Goodreads    Twitter   Pinterest

Purchase Links

Amazon   B&N  BookBub

At the time I was creating this post I noticed Death Overdue was just #1.99 for Kindle. 

Praise for Read and Gone: A Haunted Library Mystery
by Allison Brook

If you are looking for an entertaining cozy mystery with friendly characters and an adorable cat, then look no further than Read and Gone.
~The Avid Reader

The author does an amazing job of bringing this small town to life. It was a quick read for me. The storyline is filled with mystery, adventure, and romance mixed into one captivating read.
~Socrates’ Book Reviews…

A charming small town with a copious cast of characters, a small-town library with a surprisingly robust staff list, a feisty library cat with his own plans and plots, and the former head librarian who is haunting her old digs (whom only Carrie and her young cousin can see).
~Reading Is My SuperPower

Enterprisingly plotted, the mystery certainly had me guessing throughout.
~Mallory Heart’s Cozies

The mystery was well plotted and was carried on well throughout the entire book. With numerous killings and twists and turns, it was not an easy mystery to solve.
~MJB Reviewers

Read and Gone the second in the Haunted Library Mystery series by Allison Brook was a quick entertaining read perfect for the busy holidays.
~Melissa’s Eclectic Bookshelf

I loved the holiday setting, as Carrie and the library staff prepared for Christmas.
~View from the Birdhouse

A perfect sit by the fire and Christmas tree read.
I enjoyed it. I think you will too.
~My Reading Journeys

I love the recurring characters (and the new cat!) and this is a series that I know I will be reading as soon as a new book comes out (pre-order is my friend for certain series and this is going to be added to that list!) 10/10
~A Wytch’s Book Review Blog

. . . it is entertaining for those who appreciate the cozy mystery genre, felines with their felonies, and amateur women sleuths. . .
~Rosepoint Publishing

A pleasurable read, READ AND GONE is a well-plotted enjoyable mystery focusing on family relations as well as murder!
~Cozy Up With Kathy

This book was a fast read, but it had so many twists and turns packed into it to keep you reading late into the night . . .
~The Montana Bookaholic

The author throws quite a few characters into the mix as suspects and when the real killer is revealed I was surprised. This person wasn’t really on my radar!
~Storeybook Reviews

I was absolutely hooked from page one unable to put it down as the story unfolded. The relatable characters, fabulous setting, and elaborate mystery all combine into this incredible novel with a library theme.
~Books a Plenty Book Reviews

With multiple mysteries to solve and a shady cast of secondary characters, this installment continues to showcase the upbeat and lighthearted nature of cozies. Even with an insightful ghost lurking around, very few clues are made available within this multilayered and well-plotted mystery.
~That’s What She’s Reading

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September 11 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW
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September 12 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – REVIEW
September 12 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW
September 12 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
September 13 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW
September 13 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
September 13 – Melissa’s Eclectic Bookshelf – REVIEW
September 14 – View from the Birdhouse – REVIEW
September 14 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
September 14 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – SPOTLIGHT
September 15 – Reading Authors – REVIEW
September 15 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW
September 15 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
September 16 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW
September 16 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW
September 17 – The Montana Bookaholic – REVIEW
September 17 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW
September 17 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW
September 18 – That’s What She’s Reading – REVIEW
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September 19 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
September 20 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW
September 20 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
September 20 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – 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.”

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Sep 182018
 


Hitting the Books (A Library Lover’s Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
9th in Series
Setting – Connecticut
Berkley (September 11, 2018)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 0451492676
ISBN-13: 978-0451492678
Kindle ASIN: B0782XS95T

When a stack of library materials is found at the scene of a hit and run, library director Lindsey Norris finds herself dragged into the investigation as the police try to link the driver of the stolen car to the person who borrowed the books. Before Lindsey can delve into the library’s records, the victim of the hit and run, Theresa Houston, suffers another “accident” and the investigation shifts from driver negligence to attempted homicide.

A clue surfaces in the confiscated library materials that could crack open the case and it is up to Lindsey to piece it all together. But things are not as they seem in the sleepy town of Briar Creek and when the driver of the stolen car turns up dead, Lindsey, her staff and her library friends have to hit the books before the murderer gets the last word…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Library Director Lindsey Norris finds herself in the middle of another murder investigation. While looking out a library window she witnesses a hit and run. The victim survives and there is a second attempt on her life. The car used is found and appears to be stolen. A clue found tells police that a library patron may be connected to the crime. Before Lindsey has time to “check out” the clue the driver who committed the hit and run is killed. Lindsey knows her research is now a top priority so the murderer can be caught before another Briar Creek resident is checked out permanently.

Book 9 in this series and it is still fresh and new. Lindsey has evolved so much since the beginning, She and Sully have even moved in together. There are still adjusting to the move, but it is presented very realistically. In fact, all the characters are well fleshed out and feel like old friends, even Ms. Cole.  Lindsey is a keen amateur sleuth and she Police Chief Emma Plewicki have built up a friendship and understanding that means they can work together. In this installment, Lindsey stands up for her patron’s rights and makes Emma get a warrant for the needed information. Friendship only goes so far 🙂

This story seemed to move at a faster pace than previous books. Starting with the hit and run that moved me to the edge of my seat and continuing on through subsequent scary moments and investigations the pages were flying. Seriously, I was reading a print copy, not a Kindle copy, my one working hand couldn’t flip those pages fast enough and yes, I read the whole thing in one sitting.

I love the way Jenn McKinlay writes. The mystery is superb, her characters shine, her humor sparkles in all the right places, the romance never overtakes the mystery, and its theme is set in a library. What more could a bibliophile ask for? The only thing I can think of is book #10 in this series!

This is my new favorite book in the series and will hold a place on my Best Reads of 2018 list! I absolutely loved it!

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

Find out all about Jenn McKinlay and her books on her webpage here.

Library Lover’s Mysteries

Cupcake Bakery Mysteries


Hat Shop Mysteries

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GIVEAWAY
Thanks to the publisher I have 1 hardcover copy to give away! 

My contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
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Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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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.”

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#Review – Castaway Cottage by Joanne DeMaio

 2018 Reviews, E-Book Challenge, You Read How Many Books Challenge  Comments Off on #Review – Castaway Cottage by Joanne DeMaio
Jul 132018
 

Castaway Cottage
Contemporary Women’s Fiction
Continuing Series
Setting – Connecticut
Self Published (May 12, 2018)
Paperback: 408 pages
ISBN-10: 1717066216
ISBN-13: 978-1717066213
Kindle ASIN: B07C726YJC

Every cottage tells a story. It’s a saying Jason Barlow returns to as an architect designing New England beach homes. The latest cottage story he hopes to tell rises from the Stony Point sand: the last-standing cottage on the beach. It’s the sole survivor–something Jason can relate to–as surrounding cottages washed out to sea in long-ago hurricanes.

The owners aren’t budging, though, keeping Jason’s proposed renovation at bay. But with some help from the beach friends, the tide turns for Jason’s new venture. Problem is, that weathered cottage on the beach? It holds secrets darker than its gray seaworn shingles. And secrets don’t stay buried in this little Connecticut beach town; they wash ashore or get dug up from the sand.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

We are back in Stony Point and Jason Barlow is trying to nail down his next project for his new cable show. The cottage he has picked out has quite a history, much more than he knew about the place. Now he just needs to get the owners to agree to his plans. Also, a typo on a marriage certificate turns one marriage topsy-turvy. Would a vow renewal ceremony get things back to normal?

This saga continues to draw me in with each new installment. We follow these characters through good times and bad. Through laughter and tears, their lives continue, at times jarring their friendships, and sometimes strengthening them. So much has happened over the course of these stories.

Again Elsa shines as she tries to mother the whole crew through everything. With her inn not yet open she has time to take on another event all while doing her best to help everyone and keep their lives on an even keel. I am anxious for the inn to open, but I don’t know how she is going to be able to handle it all even with Celia’s help.

This cast of characters has to live in one of the most beautiful locations I could ever imagine. I am so envious of the view they see each and every day when they wake up, go through their days and then settle in for the night. Joanne DeMaio’s words have painted every part of this place so clearly, my imagination doesn’t even have to work to virtually take me there.  The sea, the sky, the cottages, the diner, the flowers, just everything is crystal clear.

So much is left up in the air as this installment concludes I can hardly wait for the next book to be released. It will be pure joy to return to Stony Point. My virtual bags are already packed.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

joanne demaio

About the Author

Joanne DeMaio is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary fiction. She enjoys writing about friendship, family, love, and choices while setting her stories in New England towns or by the sea. Currently, at work on her next book, Joanne lives with her family in Connecticut.

To learn more about the author, visit Joannedemaio.com. She also enjoys hearing from readers on her Facebook Page.


Check out my reviews of the previous books here.

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

 

 

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Jun 272018
 


Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
I am so excited to have Laurien Berenson visit today!

What a Bright Idea
by Laurien Berenson

The question I’m asked most frequently is, where do you get your ideas? The short answer to that: everywhere. Ideas come from news segments and conversations, and from things that happen all around me. Something as small as a single phrase or a fragment of a description will often cause me to pause and think, But what if…?

Occasionally a great idea will present itself fully formed and demand to be written about. That was the case with my first cozy mystery. A PEDIGREE TO DIE FOR, the debut book in the Melanie Travis series, was published in the 1990’s. But long before I sat down to write it, I already had the germ of a plot in mind.

In those days I was breeding and showing Miniature Poodles. I was also writing occasional articles for The New York Times. So when a Toy Poodle breeder in Michigan announced that her top stud dog had been stolen–and that the FBI and her local police had laughed when she’d asked for their assistance in finding him–that certainly caught my attention. Jane Winne offered a $10,000 reward for any information leading to her dog’s return. I queried my editor, then called to interview her about the theft.

Champion Syntifny’s Piece of the Rock was an ice white Toy Poodle who stood just ten inches tall. He had been a star in the show ring and he was proving to be a standout sire as well. Rocky was producing offspring who possessed the conformation, the temperament, and the charisma to become champions like their sire.

Jane had been offered a large sum of money for her dog. When she turned it down, she was offered a blank check. A week after she declined the second offer, Rocky was stolen from her kennel in the middle of the night.

I wrote the story for The New York Times and subsequently, both the FBI and the Michigan police opened their own investigations. I followed all the developments avidly. Unfortunately, Jane Winne’s story did not have a happy ending. Rocky–who was believed to have been taken out of the country–was never found.

Although that tragic event served as the genesis for A PEDIGREE TO DIE FOR, my book was a work of fiction. It had a very different cast of characters. My plot veered off in a totally new direction. And I got to make sure that justice was served in the end.

Since then, there have been twenty-one new Melanie Travis mysteries including the just-released book, RUFF JUSTICE. This time the plot revolves around the death of a canine portrait artist and, once again, Melanie finds herself on the trail of a murderer. I love writing cozy mysteries because it’s important to me that all the animals in my books remain safe. And that my characters—both human and canine–find the happy ending that Jane and Rocky never did.

~Laurien

Thank you, Laurien, so much for being my guest today! My heart just breaks over the loss of that poodle. 

Now let me tell you what I thought of Ruff Justice!

Ruff Justice (Melanie Travis Canine Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
22nd in Series
Setting – Connecticut
Kensington (June 26, 2018)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1496703464
ISBN-13: 978-1496703460
Kindle ASIN: B07638WZN2

 

 

As the owner of prize-winning Poodles, Melanie Travis knows how to handle fierce competition. But when a conformation show turns deadly, it’ll take every trick in the book to outsmart a murderer who refuses to lose . . .

With the excitement of the spring dog show season sweeping Connecticut, Melanie is determined to help her son finally lead his Standard Poodle toward a championship title. Aunt Peg even skips the judging panel to exhibit a pup of her own, and she’s set on standing out from the pack with a handmade leash from Jasmine Crane, a talented canine portrait artist who also crafts stunning accessories for discriminating show-goers. Jasmine’s handiwork is to die for—but Aunt Peg didn’t expect to discover the woman murdered behind the concession booth, strangled by one of her dazzling custom creations . . .

Another shockwave ripples through the close-knit show community when Amanda, Aunt Peg’s longtime dog sitter and a renter on Jasmine’s property, ominously vanishes that same day. While nosing around for clues, Melanie suspects a dangerous connection between Amanda’s disappearance and the homicide case—a hunch that grows as her investigation reveals sketchy secrets about the late artist. Juggling a demanding teaching job, the pressures of the show ring, and a daunting suspect list, Melanie finds herself entangled in a mind-boggling murder mystery . . . and hot on the trail of a desperate killer . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Dog show competitions are a big part of Melanie Travis’ and her family’s life. Her Aunt Peg got the ball rolling and now their house is filled with 5 Standard Poodles and one spotted mutt. Four of the poodles are retired show champions and the poodle that belongs to her 13-year-old son Davey is just a few points away from his championship. Dog shows also include a lot of vendors who sell the wares to the attendees. Over time a close-knit community is formed. Aunt Peg had taken an interest in an artist, Jasmine Crane,  who had added accessories like collars and leashes to her custom canine portrait business. Peg had ordered a new leash for her new puppy. When she arrived at Jasmine’s booth to pick it up she found something most disturbing.  The artist was dead, a custom leash was around her neck, another murder.

Peg gets Melanie involved immediately. Then Peg learns her dog sitter and tenant of Jasmine Crane is missing. Is she missing because she killed her landlord? Or has the killer taken her life too? Or is she hiding because she is in danger? Melanie is searching for answers and is ready to deal out some Ruff Justice, that is even the killer doesn’t set their eyes on her first!

I first have to say that I absolutely envy Melanie Travis and her husband Sam and how they handle a household full of 2 sons, 13-year-old Davey and 4-year-old Kevin, the 5 poodles and a wonderful mutt named Bud, all while holding down jobs, weekends full of dog shows, and everything Aunt Peg throws at them. Even when you add a murder and missing person, they still manage to stay on top of everything. Their lives are far from easy can be full of drama, but there are so many moments that had me laughing out loud. Ms. Berenson has created a cast of loveable characters, both human and canine. Over the course of these series, they have become old friends.

She has also created a spectacular mystery. Everyone at the dog show is a suspect. The police seem to be stumped, but because Melanie knows the dog show world inside and out and Aunt Peg knows everybody in the dog show world, Melanie is quick to sort out who actually would have wanted Jasmine Crane dead. She also gets a good handle on why the dog sitter is missing. Now she just has to go through the paces and ask the right questions to collar the real culprit. It was so much fun to follow Melanie with each twist and each turn until the whole mystery comes together.

I found the subplot of the new student in Melanie’s school very interesting. She takes her Standard Poodle, Faith, to school with her every day. Faith has a way of getting the kids relaxed and ready to learn as Melanie tutors them. A new student opens up to Melanie about a problem she was having after just a couple of sessions. I loved the way she handled the issue head-on. and gave some really good advice.

My dogs are a little more low maintenance in the grooming department being Border Collie/Blue Heeler mixes, they had no dog shows to worry about. But their temperament reminds me a lot of Melanie’s dog Faith. They are my canine companions and read my emotions pretty easily. At almost 15 years old we have a lot of history, but they are slowing down a bit. Our vet told us to prepare ourselves because they are getting up there in age. I don’t even want to think about life without them. Like the dogs in this story and like dogs in most families they are an integral part of our lives. Laurien Berenson brings what I feel every day to life in her stories.

I always recommend reading a series from the start but this author’s writing style really makes each book stand on its own. Fans of this series are going to love this book, but cozy lovers and dog lovers, don’t hesitate to jump in here for a little Ruff Justice. Ms. Berenson has written a terrific story!

Your Escape With 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.


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

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

Click the Like Button at the top of this post for a Bonus Entry.

Leave a comment for the author for 5 Bonus Entries.

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

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

Click Here For Entry Form

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

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May 162018
 

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am so happy to welcome Devon Delaney to Escape With Dollycas today! 

In It To Win It

by Devon Delaney

Some have described the game of golf as a good walk spoiled. A similar sentiment could be applied to cooking competitions. Consider preparing a satisfying meal. The notion should conjure up a kitchen that fills the senses with pleasure and satisfaction. Listen to the crunch of the lettuce being chopped. Feel the fuzzy kiwi skin as you peel it. Smell the sizzling garlic as it dances in the hot olive oil at the bottom of an iron skillet. Roll the cookie dough in the palm of your hand, and note the texture of the chopped walnuts and dark chocolate chips that will be the crunchy gooey center of the sweet treat. Referring back to the golf saying, that’s the “good walk” part.

Now, add to the equation chaos, commotion, pressure, severe time restriction and fellow cooks aiming to outdo your efforts with any means available and you have the basis of a live cook-off. Some may think staging cooking as a battle that rewards the victor with cash and valuable prizes spoils time in the kitchen and that it should be left the wholesome activity it has been for centuries.  I’m not in that group.

I would never have guessed that years ago, as a thirty-something mother of three, it would only take one happenstance to transform the ages-old activity of preparing a flavorful recipe solely for a family’s health and well-being into a modern competitive obsession.

Let me explain. I began cooking in earnest when I was about eight years old. Back then, my mother wasn’t much of a cook and still isn’t. If I wanted to eat something besides oatmeal, boiled chicken breasts, or creamed onions, I was going to have to invade her aged and underutilized spice rack and figure out how to infuse flavor into her bland menu. Eventually, I took over dinner preparations completely.

Fast forward to my early years of motherhood. Not working outside the home at that point, and feeding a hungry husband and three active children, I gained a renewed sense of inspiration in the kitchen. Creating meals that pleased all manner of appetites became my focus at 5 pm each night and I was soundly rewarded for my efforts with loving accolades. But, while I was content in the kitchen, I wasn’t feeling totally fulfilled.

Oh, did I mention I’m a tiny bit competitive? I grew up with four siblings and we all competed for good grades, sports trophies, the last cookie in the cookie jar and my parent’s attention. Rewards were greatest for those who put limits to the test. To this day, I compete with other ladies on a tennis team, with neighbors as to who has the best-trained dog, and against family members for who knows the most answers on Jeopardy, (the answers are technically the questions if you are familiar with the game.)

With a baby, a near-toddler, and a toddler in constant motion, I was faced with the challenge of keeping myself sane throughout a severely icy stretch of winter, during which it was often unsafe to leave the house. On one of the few times, I made a journey to the grocery store, I picked up a handful of magazines to leaf through during naptime. In the back of was an advertisement for a recipe contest with the theme “What recipe can you create with a slice of bread.” I came up with Orange Dusted French Toast Fingers with Maple Dipping Sauce. After typing up the recipe for my concoction and snail-mailing it to the listed address, I forgot all about the contest. Six months later I received a two thousand dollar check in the mail as the grand prize winner. When I read I had beaten out hundreds of entries for the win I was hooked on cooking contesting. My appetite for the adrenaline rush I get when I compete had another source of supply.

Don’t get me wrong. I still am able to approach dinner preparations with calm serenity when I’m not gearing up for a cook-off or recipe contest. However, cook-offs are my escape to the world of like-minded cooks who have let their creativity flow as they turn a sweet potato into a savory biscotti or a cut of beef into a ranch steak bruschetta salad. Each of those ideas won me cash and valuable prizes. So, if its game on for, say, the National Mushroom Cook-off, the “good walk” is spoiled and I’m in it to win it. There will be time for a good walk after the judges choose the winner.

~Devon

Thank you so much, Devon, for visiting today!! 

 

Expiration Date (A Cook-Off Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Connecticut
Kensington (April 24, 2018)
Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1496714435
Kindle ASIN: B074DGNNYM

 

 

After a short-lived marriage, Sherry Frazzelle is living single life to the fullest in her little Connecticut town, accompanied by her Jack Russell terrier, Chutney. Her new passion is competitive cooking—but it turns out that murder is the surprise ingredient . . .

With contestants from Maine to California and a ten-thousand-dollar prize at stake, Sherry’s latest competition, hosted by the CEO of an organic food company, is sure to be heated. But she’s more than ready to step up to the stove. After all, she did win the award for Most Creative Cupcake back in high-school. Today, she’s hoping her flavorful pork tenderloin will sway the judges. Instead, it seems someone’s decided to slay one of the judges . . .

After Chef Birns falls face first into the Seafood Flatbread Pizza, Sherry’s dish is deemed suspicious. Now she’ll have to stir through a stew of rule-breaking, corruption, and gossip to get herself off the chopping block, and find out who turned this food fight fatal . . .

Includes Recipes from Sherry’s Kitchen!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Sherry Frazzelle and her sister Marla Barras have entered the OrgaNicks Corporation Cooking Competition against 4 other home cooks from across the nation. It is time for the celebrity chef judges to choose a winner. Sherry looks on as Chef Birns takes a bite of her pork tenderloin, but he immediately crumbles into another entry. She rushes to help but the man is dead and she is now the prime suspect in his murder. He was eating her food. Amber Sherman, another contestant, agrees to stay in town to help her find out what really happened or the home she could be cooking in be “the big house”.

Sherry Frazzelle is an interesting lead character. She and her Jack Russell terrier, Chutney are starting over after her marriage fell apart. She works part-time for her dad at his hooked rug shop, Oliveri’s Ruggery. She is also very into competitive cooking. She has a few quirks, a very Type A personality. She hates it when someone mispronounces her name, Frazzelle (rhyme with la belly) and hates to be called ma’am and she tends to panic when she is not in control. Her soon to be ex is still hanging around. She has a room full of his stuff that he refuses to pick up. She is close to her sister but Marla lives in Oklahoma. She was thrilled that they were both finalists in the OrgaNicks contest. There they meet Amber and become fast friends.

This is a humorous cozy that suffers a little bit of the first book in the series – itis. The author has to introduce readers to all the characters and give us a mystery we can sink our teeth into. Not an easy job.

I found Sherry a little off-putting at first but she grew on me by the end. I liked her sister Marla and their new friend Amber but since they both were from out of town I don’t know how much of them we will see in future installments. We did meet Sherry’s dad too. I hope he is featured more going forward. I found his hooked rugs shop very interesting. I was really into latch hook rugs back in the day. The dialogue between the characters was a little off and didn’t ring true for me especially when Sherry was talking to police.

The theme of a cooking competition was very enjoyable. There is a lot of emphasis on the food. It was easy to visualize every step of the way. It is also nice to have the recipes talked about in the back of the book.

The pacing of the book became a little stilted in places. The mystery unfolded with plenty of twists and turns but I did zero in on the killer very early in the story due to clues that were a little too on the nose. The murder weapon itself was quite unique. Something I would never have thought of.

Like I always say, the first book in a series is a heavy lift. There are a lot of good things in this story and plenty of room left to expand and grow as the series continues. I really did enjoy the main premise of the mystery and the cook-off theme. A little editing and tightening up would have made this a 5-star read. I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

Your Great Escapes Travel Agent

About the Author

Devon Delaney is a wife, mother of three, accomplished cooking contester and a recent empty nester. She taught computer education and Lego Robotics for over ten years prior to pursuing writing. Along the way, she has been handsomely rewarded for her recipe innovation over the last twenty-plus years. Among the many prizes she has won are a full kitchen of major appliances, six-figure top cash prizes and four trips to Disney World. She has also won the grand prize in a national writing contest for her ‘foodie’ poem “Ode to Pork Passion.” Combining her beloved cooking contesting with her enthusiasm for writing was inevitable.

Check out Devon’s website at: www.devonpdelaney.com


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

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

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.

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 May 30, 2018, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

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