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

#FlashbackFriday – A Scandal in Scarlet (A Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery) by Vicki Delany #Review / #Giveaway @vickidelany

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.


A Scandal in Scarlet (A Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Setting – Massachusetts
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books (November 13, 2018)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1683317904
ISBN-13: 978-1683317906
Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-10: 164385027X
ISBN-13: 978-1643850276
Kindle ASIN: B079DWNBV7

Gemma and Jayne donate their time to raise money for the rebuilding of a burned-out museum—but a killer wants a piece of the auction—in this fourth Sherlock Holmes Bookshop mystery.

Walking her dog Violet late one night, Gemma Doyle, owner of the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop, acts quickly when she smells smoke outside the West London Museum. Fortunately, no one is inside, but it’s too late to save the museum’s priceless collection of furniture, and damage to the historic house is extensive. Baker Street’s shop owners come together to hold an afternoon auction tea to raise funds to rebuild, and Great Uncle Arthur Doyle offers a signed first edition of The Valley of Fear.

Cape Cod’s cognoscenti files into Mrs. Hudson’s Tea Room, owned by Gemma’s best friend, Jayne Wilson. Excitement fills the air (along with the aromas of Jayne’s delightful scones, of course). But the auction never happens. Before the gavel can fall, museum board chair Kathy Lamb is found dead in the back room. Wrapped tightly around her neck is a long rope of decorative knotted tea cups—a gift item that Jayne sells at Mrs. Hudson’s. Gemma’s boyfriend in blue, Ryan Ashburton, arrives on the scene with Detective Louise Estrada. But the suspect list is long, and the case far from elementary. Does Kathy’s killing have any relation to a mysterious death of seven years ago?

Gemma has no intention of getting involved in the investigation, but when fellow shopkeeper Maureen finds herself the prime suspect she begs Gemma for her help. Ryan knows Gemma’s methods and he isn’t happy when she gets entangled in another mystery. But with so many suspects and so few clues, her deductive prowess will prove invaluable in A Scandal in Scarlet, Vicki Delany’s shrewdly plotted fourth Sherlock Holmes Bookshop mystery.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Gemma Doyle owns the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop on Baker Street in West London Massachusetts. While out walking her dog, Violet one evening outside of the West London Museum she smells smoke. The fire department arrives and saves most of the house but the furnishings and collectibles are destroyed. To rebuild and refurnish the Scarlet House an auction and tea is held at Mrs. Hudson’s Tea Room with prizes donated by the Baker’s Street shopkeepers and other friends of the museum.

After the tea service ends the auction is set to start everything comes to a halt when museum board chair and auctioneer Kathy Lamb is found dead in the storeroom. Police arrive to an entire room of suspects including the deceased ex-husband and his new wife. One of the shopkeepers, Maureen MacGregor, is pegged as the prime suspect though because of a verbal altercation with Kathy prior to the start of the tea that was witnessed by everyone. She has asked Gemma to help prove her innocence. This doesn’t make her boyfriend, Detective Ryan Ashburton, or his partner Detective Louise Estrada happy but with the vast array of suspects, her insights could be helpful.


Gemma Doyle is a fantastic protagonist. She has a keen sense of observation, is smart and independent, and speaks her mind, sometimes to her own detriment. She may be viewed as a little harsh but by this fourth book in the series, she is softening a bit.  I think we have the good detective to thank for that. He has learned she can be helpful in solving his cases because she sees and picks up on things other people don’t. Her friend Jayne is the perfect Watson to her Sherlock. Gemma sometimes forges ahead quickly while Jayne does her best to keep Gemma out of trouble. Gemma has a unique assistant in Ashleigh that frees her up and gives her plenty of time to sleuth out clue after clue.

The author has written a very complicated mystery. The deceased wasn’t well-liked and at times was as subtle as a bulldozer when it came to the changes she wanted to make at Scarlet House. Hence, the plethora of suspects. The investigation takes Gemma and Jayne from one end of Baker Street to the other and visiting not one but two yacht clubs. The current mystery may have ties to an old cold case which brings even more intrigue to the story. I was totally kept guessing until the very end and then wanted to kick myself. The K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid) theory totally applied in this case and I missed the clues completely.

The Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium and the attached Mrs. Hudson’s Tea Room sounds like a fabulous place to visit for Sherlock Holmes lovers. Gemma carries several book titles and all types of memorabilia related to all the versions that have evolved over the years. Someone is always taking a new twist on the famous fictional detective and his sidekick.

A Scandal in Scarlet is an excellent addition to this series. As a fan of the Basil Rathbone Holmes portrayal and a fan of Vicki Delany, I don’t know how I got so far behind on this series but I am working to rectify that now. I hope to read and review There’s A Murder Afoot and A Curious Incident soon.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

 

About the Author

Vicki Delany is a bestselling author of more than twenty novels/novellas in several mystery subgenres. Born in Manitoba and raised in Ontario, she is the former president of the Crime Writers of Canada, a member of Capital Crime Writers, and a member of Sisters in Crime.

Author Links

Website – Facebook – Twitter:  @vickidelany and@evagatesauthor – Instagramvickidelany


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

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

The Ghost and the Haunted Portrait (Haunted Bookshop Mystery) by Cleo Coyle #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @CleoCoyle


The Ghost and the Haunted Portrait (Haunted Bookshop Mystery)
by Cleo Coyle

About The Ghost and the Haunted Portrait


The Ghost and the Haunted Portrait (Haunted Bookshop Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
7th in Series
Setting – Rhode Island
Publisher: Berkley (May 4, 2021)
Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-10: 0425251861
ISBN-13: 978-0425251867
Digital ASIN: B08274WCLM

Bookshop owner Penelope Thornton-McClure and her gumshoe ghost team up to solve the stunning mystery at the heart of a madwoman’s self-portrait in this all new installment from New York Times bestselling author Cleo Coyle.

 

While gathering a collection of vintage book cover paintings for a special event in her quaint Rhode Island bookshop, Penelope discovers a spooky portrait of a beautiful woman, one who supposedly went mad, according to town gossip. Seymour, the local mailman, falls in love with the haunting image and buys the picture, refusing to part with it, even as fatal accidents befall those around it. Is the canvas cursed? Or is something more sinister at work?

 

For answers, Pen turns to an otherworldly source: Jack Shepard, PI. Back in the 1940s, Jack cracked a case of a killer cover artist, and (to Pen’s relief) his spirit is willing to help her solve this mystery, even if he and his license did expire decades ago.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Penelope Thornton-McClure and her Aunt Sadie are getting their bookshop, Buy the Book, ready for a big event. A book signing with the authors of a new book featuring Pulp Fiction covers from the past. As a bonus for the event, a local collector of the vintage covers is lending the shop some of his collection. Pen and her friends Seymour and Professor J. Brainert Parker travel to pick up the artwork. When they arrive Seymour becomes enamored with a portrait of a young Harriet McClure who just happens to have been related to Pen’s late husband. The painting is said to be cursed but that doesn’t stop Seymour from buying it. Strange events start to happen shortly after the purchase but are shaken off as coincidence. Then the previous owner is found dead and the ghostly private eye Jack Shepard tells Pen he has a history with one of the pieces of art and he offers to help her solve the current case.


If you love old movies you are going to love this story. Even the current mystery had an old-timey feel due to the theme of vintage cover art. As soon as we meet Walt Waverly and enter his  “sprawling Tudor home” and his library where he displays “a lot of” his art I felt we stepped back in time. The author describes everything in detail even the doorknobs “covered with a patina of green from age and neglect” and the “pristine condition” of his rare books and the Nathan Brock cover painting from 1948 that even got Jack’s attention.  The words put the readers right there on the scene observing each and every moment. I was captivated by the entire experience.

Then with the P.I.’s mysterious way we actually travel back in time to tackle one of his old cases that was linked to that Nathan Brock cover. Again I was intrigued by the whole process and how those experiences helped Pen solve the current mystery. The way Pen and Jack communicate is very interesting but eerie too.

The story sheds a light on corruption in publishing and scams. Authors and artists are both affected. While this was not a new concept to me I felt educated by what happened to a couple of characters in this story.  The old adage, “if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is” definitely applies.

I absolutely loved the ending. Yes, the killer was revealed but so much more happens to bring things full circle. I can’t say more, you need to read the book yourself.

The Ghost and the Haunted Portrait is an exciting addition to this great series.  I am looking forward to the next adventure with Pen and her ghost gumshoe detective.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Cleo Coyle

Cleo Coyle – Alice Alfonsi – Marc Cerasini

CLEO COYLE is a pseudonym for Alice Alfonsi, writing in collaboration with her husband, Marc Cerasini. Both are New York Times bestselling authors of the long-running Coffeehouse Mysteries—now celebrating eighteen years in print. They are also authors of the nationally bestselling Haunted Bookshop Mysteries, previously written under the pseudonym Alice Kimberly. Alice has worked as a journalist in Washington, D.C., and New York, and has written popular fiction for adults and children. A former magazine editor, Marc has authored espionage thrillers and nonfiction for adults and children. Alice and Marc are also both bestselling media tie-in writers who have penned properties for Lucasfilm, NBC, Fox, Disney, Imagine, and MGM. They live and work in New York City, where they write independently and together.

Author Links

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BookBub     Goodreads    Instagram

Purchase Links:

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The Rest of the Series!


Also by Cleo Coyle

Coming December 7, 2021

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

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

Treasure Most Deadly (A Seaside Cove Bed & Breakfast Mystery) by Terry Ambrose #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @terryawriterguy


Treasure Most Deadly (A Seaside Cove Bed & Breakfast Mystery)
by Terry Ambrose

About Treasure Most Deadly 


Treasure Most Deadly (A Seaside Cove Bed & Breakfast Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Setting – California
Satori (April 28, 2021)
Print Length: 265 pages
ASIN: B08ZJ4XQ89

Seaside Cove amateur sleuths Rick and Alexandra Atwood are back!

 

Seaside Cove Bed & Breakfast owner Rick Atwood is again called on to assist his friend, Chief of Police Adam Cunningham, with a murder investigation. The case seems straightforward enough. Clive Crabbe, who has a quick temper and a strong jealous streak, was found hunched over the victim after the man made advances toward Clive’s ex-wife.

 

A murder investigation is the last thing Rick wants right now. The B&B is booked solid. The town is inundated with tourists and news reporters chasing stories about treasure thieves. And Rick’s wedding to Marquetta Weiss is just weeks away. As if that wasn’t enough, Rick’s eleven-year-old daughter Alex is not only itching to help the cops solve another murder, but she’s forming an unhealthy friendship with a B&B guest.

 

As the murder investigation progresses, Rick realizes Alex’s new friend could be at the center of everything. The worst part is that Alex may be the one person capable of cracking the case.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Since the hidden treasure of San Manuel has been found Seaside Cove has been overtaken by tourists and reporters but a few thieves look to have arrived too. Rick and Marquetta have a full house at their B&B and Alex and Marquetta’s mother, Madeline, are pressuring them to choose a date and get their wedding planned. The last thing they need is another murder.

But soon Chief of Police Adam Cunningham calls on his good friend Rick when he finds a dead man in an alley. It appears to be an open and shut case though. Clive Crabbe is found next to the body. Clive and his wife are separated but he can’t handle anyone giving his ex and attention. According to reports she and the dead man had been flirting up a storm. But Clive claims he is innocent.

On top of that Alex is helping a “reporter” get the facts for a story while chasing down her own set of clues for the murder case. Is she going to solve this one before the chief and her dad? or is she going to find herself in a boatload of trouble she can’t handle?

_________

I am so happy to be visiting Seaside Cove again. You never know what is going to happen when you check in at Seaside Cove Bed & Breakfast. Marquetta makes sure all the guest’s needs are met with a little help from Alex and Rick, but it won’t be long before Rick is working a case and Alex is off on an adventure. I love the way these characters have grown quickly into a family and that Alex comes to really realize that in this story. The alternating points of view between Rick and Alex are great. Seeing things from an eleven-year-old POV is always fun. She does have some great insights. Alex’s dedication to Flynn was heartwarming. She will not abide anyone lying about her friend.

The author introduces a handful of new characters, some just tourists, some who seem to have a secret, one on a mystery mission, and another trying to heal from a harrowing experience. A few unsavory characters have arrived in town too. All of these new characters are cleverly crafted and develop nicely over the course of the story.

The mystery is very well-plotted with just the right amount of suspects. In addition to the murder, someone is stealing artifacts from the sunken ship. All the plotlines mesh together for an exciting and comprehensive mystery. I totally enjoyed following along with Alex and her antics. That girl can’t stop thinking about the case even at school. I do appreciate that Rick and Marquetta try to keep her to safe parts of the investigation but their best-laid plans don’t always work.

The subplot of Rick and Marquetta’s wedding planning was so realistic. How do you have the wedding of your dreams when you are in the hospitality business, taking care of other needs day in and day out? I think these two are starting to figure it out.

Each trip to Seaside Cove is unique and fun. Treasure Most Deadly is a fantastic addition to this series. Come for the sea, the sun, and the treasure. Just remember that treasure can be deadly.

I am already looking forward to my next visit!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Terry Ambrose

Once upon a time, in a life he’d rather forget, Terry Ambrose, tracked down deadbeats for a living. He also hired big guys with tow trucks to steal cars-but only when negotiations failed. Those years of chasing deadbeats taught him many valuable life lessons such as always keep your car in the garage. Today, Terry likes fast, funny mysteries and cool photography. He writes the Trouble in Paradise McKenna Mysteries and organized an anthology to benefit Read Aloud America. He fondly likens his efforts to those of a blind man herding cats.

Author Links:

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Purchase Link – Amazon – 


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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 Flashback Friday Giveaways

#FlashbackFriday – Cat Got Your Diamonds by Julie Chase #ReviewRewind #Giveaway

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.

During our recent move, I found my review copy of this book.
So today I am doing another Review Rewind and giving away my copy!

cat-got-your-diamonds-rgb
Cat Got Your Diamonds: A Kitty Couture Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Louisiana
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books (November 15, 2016)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1629538426
E-Book ASIN: B01H082DOU
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Synopsis

Grandeur and opulence are everything in the famed New Orleans Garden District where pets are family and no bling is too big. Opening Furry Godmother, pet boutique and organic treat bakery, is Lacy Marie Crocker’s dream come true–until the glitter gun used to make her Shih Tzu tutus becomes a murder weapon. And Lacy becomes public enemy #1.

Now Detective Jack Oliver is hounding Lacy, and her Furry Godmother investor wants out before his name is tarnished by association. To make matters worse, a string of jewel heists with suspicious ties to the murder case has New Orleans residents on edge. To save her dream, Lacy must take a stand, put her keen eyes to work, and unravel what really happened at her shop that night. But can Lacy sniff out the killer cat burglar in time to get her tail-raising designs on the catwalk?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

As soon as I saw the cover for this story I knew I had to read this book!

Lacy Marie Crocker owner of The Furry Godmother and she is ready to make couture garments to make your pet feel special and/or make any other pet lover green with envy. She bakes up tasty treats for pets too. She has the purrfect opportunity to show off her talents at the Animal Elegance Gala, but before that happens one of the tools of her trade connects with a man’s head. The man had broke into her shop but she didn’t deliver the deadly blow. Now she just has to prove it as she is Detective Jack Oliver prime suspect. Is the murder tied to a bunch of jewelry thefts in the Garden District? Lacy needs to find the real killer and try to figure out why she ended up in the middle of this crime spree. That puts her right in the cross-hairs of the killer.

The story takes place in New Orleans and pets of all types, dogs, cats, turtles and even llama seem to be pretty popular in the area. Not just normal curl up and pet animals either, several can perform,  and Lacy creates their costumes.

I love Lacy and the way she harnesses her creativity in her pet apparel. With a vet as a father she grew up around animals, but this is not the career he parents originally envisioned. I must say it seems to suit her to a tee even though her wealthy partner pulls his funding until she is cleared of the murder.

Detective Jack Oliver is a real pain when the story starts but by the end I was seeing him in a different light. We also meet Chase, a man from Lacy’s past, easy on the eyes and very interested in Lacy. I love a good romantic triangle. We meet several other characters in this first installment and many make good suspects. The dialogue between the characters is funny and realistic.

The story moves right along at a great pace. The author’s writing not only tells this cat – ivating mystery, her words create some vivid imagery too.  She also sets up a fantastic twist that caught me totally by surprise.

This is a wonderful start for this series. Do you pamper your pets? This is a cozy for you. Heck, if you like your cozies with an animal or two or more, you will love this story. I am already looking forward to book #2.

perfect 2016

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julieAbout The Author

Julie Chase is a mystery-loving pet enthusiast who hopes to make readers smile. She lives in rural Ohio with her husband and three small children.

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Purchase Links

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Written as Julie Anne Lindsey
Coming September 15, 2021



Coming July 27, 2021


Julie also writes as Bree Baker


Coming August 31, 2021

and Jacqueline Frost

Coming October 12, 2021


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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

Legally Blind Luck (Braxton Campus Mysteries) by James J. Cudney #Review / #Giveaway @jamescudney4 – Great Escapes Book Tour


Legally Blind Luck (Braxton Campus Mysteries)
by James J. Cudney

About Legally Blind Luck 


Legally Blind Luck (Braxton Campus Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
7th in Series
Gumshoe – A Next Chapter Imprint (April 15, 2021)
Paperback: 295 pages
ISBN-13: 979-8707757341
Digital ASIN: B08R347N84

Surprising new family members. A hidden talisman. Deadly curses. Murder. Months after tragically losing a loved one, Kellan learns his relative’s death wasn’t an accident.

 

Someone has discovered a cursed talisman, and a rogue government agent will stop at nothing to retrieve the heirloom. Unfortunately, it has already changed hands and found its way on campus. Moments before Braxton’s controversial art exhibition opens, Kellan stumbles upon another murder victim, and it appears he might be next on the avenger’s list.

 

Can Kellan protect the talisman’s true heir and prevent the killer’s nefarious plan? Given all the suspects have ties to prominent Braxton citizens, he’s uncertain whom to trust. Together, Kellan and Sheriff April are determined to solve the mystery – via legal means or blind luck.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Kellan has his hands full with his work at the college, preparing for the next term and helping to oversee that an exhibit of South African Art goes off without a hitch. An exhibit that connects to his recently deceased uncle and a hidden talisman and a curse. Before the event even starts another dead body is found on the Braxton Campus. People are starting to worry. There has been a great influx of murders since Kellan returned home. Especially because he gets so involved in their investigations. Being romantically involved with the Sheriff should help him get all the details but that isn’t always the case. This time it is going to take both of their intellect and prowess to solve this crime.


This one started a little slow for me. With the cliffhanger at the end of Frozen Stiff Drink, I expected this story to pick right up where that story left off but several months seem to have passed. I felt I had a lot of information to absorb before the story really got going. I also appreciated the cast list at the beginning of the book because we meet a lot of new characters and at times it was hard to keep all the characters and their connections straight.

As I read further into the story I found the James J. Cudney rhythm I am used to. The intricate plotlines evolved and again Kellan is in the middle of everything that happens. Because of the death of his uncle, we meet several characters connected to him and now connected to the college. They are brought together in search of a talisman many believe could now be at the college or with Kellan. The backstory of this artifact and its curse was very interesting but its entanglements did get a little confusing at times.

I really enjoyed the way Kellan and April’s romance is progressing buy I think they made a huge mistake when a key piece of evidence is found. Not handling its security immediately as most law enforcement professionals would have instigated did allow some future events but to me, this part was just not believable.

The mystery had several twists but I focused on one character almost from the moment they were introduced. I was still completed entertained with the way all was revealed.  While I wasn’t surprised most of the characters definitely were.

The uniqueness of Kellan’s family is what originally drew me into this series, the mob connections, protecting his daughter, and the formidable presence of Nana D. always kept my attention and the pages flying. With his ex-wife’s story basically wrapped the author had to move these characters in a new direction and he has done a great job at that. We are getting to know some other of the key characters better. Kellan has also opened his home and his heart. Sadly Nana D. had a much smaller role in this book and I really missed the humor she usually brings. There was some but I can never get enough of that lady. We were introduced to another over-the-top character but she couldn’t fill Nana D.’s shoes.

I was happy that the main mystery was wrapped and I wouldn’t say this book ended with Mr. Cudney’s typical cliffhanger. Instead, it looks like Kellan has several options in his future. It sets up what could be a very compelling plot.

Legally Blind Luck, boy that title really fits, was an intriguing read with captivating characters, old and new. It’s always exciting to see what this author has in store for his characters.



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About James J. Cudney

Background

James is my given name, but most folks call me Jay. I live in New York City, grew up on Long Island, and graduated from Moravian College, an historic but small liberal arts school in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, with a degree in English literature and minors in Education, Business and Spanish. After college, I accepted a technical writing position for a telecommunications company during Y2K and spent the last ~20 years building a career in technology & business operations in the retail, sports, media, hospitality, and entertainment industries. Throughout those years, I wrote short stories, poems, and various beginnings to the “Great American Novel,” but I was so focused on my career that writing became a hobby. In 2016, I committed to focusing my energies toward reinvigorating a second career in reading, writing, and publishing.

Author

Writing has been a part of my life as much as my heart, mind, and body. At some points, it was just a few poems or short stories; at others, it was full length novels and stories. My current focus is family drama fiction, cozy mystery novels, and suspense thrillers. I conjure characters and plots that I feel must be unwound. I think of situations people find themselves in and feel compelled to tell the story. It’s usually a convoluted plot with many surprise twists and turns. I feel it necessary to take that ride all over the course. My character is easily pictured in my head. I know what he is going to encounter or what she will feel. But I need to use the right words to make it clear.

Reader & Reviewer

Reading has also never left my side. Whether it was children’s books, young adult novels, college textbooks, biographies, or my ultimate love, fiction, it’s ever present in my day. I read two books per week and I’m on a quest to update every book I’ve ever read on Goodreads, write up a review, and post it on all my sites and platforms.

Blogger & Thinker

I have combined my passions into a single platform where I share reviews, write a blog and publish tons of content: TRUTH. I started my 365 Daily Challenge, where I post about a word that has some meaning to me and converse with everyone about life. There is humor, tears, love, friendship, advice, and bloopers. Lots of bloopers where I poke fun at myself all the time. Even my dogs have had weekly segments called “Ryder’s Rants” or “Baxter’s Barks,” where they complain about me. All these things make up who I am; none of them are very fancy or magnanimous, but they are real. And that’s why they are me.

Genealogist & Researcher

I love history and research, finding myself often reaching back into the past to understand why someone made the choice he or she did and what were the subsequent consequences. I enjoy studying the activities and culture from hundreds of years ago to trace the roots and find the puzzle of my own history. I wish I could watch my ancestors from a secret place to learn how they interacted with others, and maybe I’ll comprehend why I do things the way I do.

Author Links

Website    Blog

Amazon    Twitter    Author Facebook    Series Facebook

Bookbub    Instagram    Goodreads    LinkedIn    Pinterest

Braxton Campus Mysteries – Purchase Links 


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Great Escapes Praise for Legally Blind Luck (Braxton Campus Mysteries)
by James J. Cudney

The author writes cozies that are fun to read, and this one is no exception. Full of mystery, twists and turns… it keeps one guessing who the murderer is.
~Literary Gold

As always James is able to intertwine details, braiding them together flawlessly and revealing one shock after another . . . this is one of my absolute favorites! 5 stars, and I’ll be holding my breath for book 8!
~Author Didi Oviatt

I loved the storyline in this installment – the cursed object gives the story a slightly darker feel while managing to remain “cozy”, and it was a fun change.
~The Book’s the Thing

The mystery in this one was quite twisty and I enjoyed the history and story about the curse. It added a lot of enjoyment to the story, especially for this history buff.
~Carla Loves To Read

James Cudney has a talent for writing family/murder mysteries, with wonderfully engaging dialogue, great characters, (my favourite is Nana D!)
~M J MALLON AUTHOR – Kyrosmagica

TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please visit all the stops. 
April 21 – Literary Gold – REVIEW
April 21 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
April 21 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
April 22 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
April 22 – Didi Oviatt – Author – REVIEW
April 22 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
April 23 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – CHARACTER GUEST POST
April 23 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT
April 23 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW
April 24 – Carla Loves To Read – REVIEW
April 24 – Nesie’s Place – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
April 25 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
April 25 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
April 26 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
April 26 – Kyrosmagica – REVIEW
April 26 – Tea Book Blanket – SPOTLIGHT
April 26 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
April 27 – BookloverBlogs – SPOTLIGHT
April 27 – Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
April 28 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW
April 28 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
April 28 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
April 29 – Novels Alive – GUEST POST
April 29 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
April 29 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
April 30 – BookishKelly2020 – SPOTLIGHT  
April 30 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

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

Posted in 2021 Reviews Alphabet Soup A -Z Author Edition Challenge Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday – Southern Sass and a Battered Bride (A Marygene Brown Mystery) by Kate Young – #Review / #Giveaway @KAYoungBooks @KensingtonBooks – Great Escapes Book Tour

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am thrilled to share with you my thoughts today about
Southern Sass and a Battered Bride.


Southern Sass and a Battered Bride (A Marygene Brown Mystery)
by Kate Young

 

About Southern Sass and a Battered Bride


Southern Sass and a Battered Bride (A Marygene Brown Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Georgia
Publisher: Kensington (April 27, 2021)
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
ISBN-10: 1496721497
ISBN-13: 978-1496721495
Digital ASIN : B08F2WNNPQ

At a murder mystery–themed wedding reception on Georgia’s picturesque Peach Cove Island, the bride is doing an awfully good job playing dead . . .

 

Marygene Brown always figured she’d marry her childhood sweetheart, Alex Myers, not cater his wedding. But the Peach Diner could use the exposure. Most of the island is showing up—although more for the role-playing murder game at the reception than for the widely loathed bridezilla, Lucy Carmichael. Marygene may have to smile through the festivities, but Mama doesn’t have to hold her peace—especially since only Marygene can hear her mother’s ghost. Mama says she sees an aura of darkness around the wedding.

 

So when Marygene finds Lucy lying beside the wedding cake, buried in batter, with no pulse, it looks like Mama called it. This is no game. And when the bride’s body simply vanishes, it’s up to Marygene and her best friend Betsy (cousin to the groom and no fan of the bride) to solve a real-life mystery—with a little help from Mama’s sassy spirit . . .

 

Includes Seven Recipes from Marygene’s Kitchen!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Alex Myers is getting married but not to his childhood sweetheart Marygene Brown. No, he is marrying Lucy Carmichael and no one is really happy about it. Marygene has consented to cater the event because it is good business, especially because most of the island is attending. They aren’t really coming to support the nuptials, they are coming to take part in the murder mystery reception. Marygene is surprised the bridezilla has consented to be the victim but when she sees the woman on the ground covered in batter she realizes the woman will do anything to be the center of attention.

Looking closely Marygene thinks the woman is doing an excellent job, she really looks dead. OMG! She is dead! Her mama’s ghost had warned her to be careful because there is an aura of darkness around the wedding. Well, she was right and things get even eerier when Lucy’s body disappears. Was she really dead or was it all just an act? Who would have taken a dead body? and how did they do it without being seen? Marygene knows she has to find out because she and her best friend Betsy are high up on the suspect list. She just hopes her mother will be able to see something Marygene is missing because this is no longer a game, it’s murder and other lives are on the line.


Kate Young has created such strong characters with a fantastic family dynamic. Marygene has grown so much since this series began. She is Southern through and through always trying to see the best in everyone even when they are clearly at their worse. She will bend over backward to help, again when people don’t deserve it. This time we saw the worse of Alex and it really shakes Marygene to her core but she remains open to help him even when others have backed away. Betsy and her Aunt Vi are really hurt by his words and actions but they are still able to bring plenty of funny to this story. I just love Marygene’s mother. Her ghostly presence is always interesting. She is still learning about what she can and can’t do but she always shows up when Marygene needs her most. A tragic event within the story shows that even a ghost can grow and evolve. Marygene’s siblings also play a large role in the story. I became invested in these characters early in this series and they continue to warm my heart and surprise me too. This family is close and that is what drives this series.

The story starts out of the gate fast with so much going on. This author excels at blending real-life happenings with the murder mystery. Marygene is pulled in several directions it seems all at the same time. A complicated mystery unfolds with several twists and exciting moments. Marygene takes a wild ride literally this time and it had me holding my breath imagining what could have been and that was just the first time it happened. The pages were flying as each clue dropped and my theories took flight. I did have someone pretty well pinned to the top of my suspect list but there were twists that really surprised me and I was pretty shocked when all was revealed.

As I have said before, the books in this series are so much more than cozy mysteries. Kate Young gives her readers a story full of Southern charm and sass and characters that are realistic and true. The dialogues are cleverly written and the humor is spot-on.  Southern Sass and a Battered Bride is a very entertaining story. I definitely need more Marygene, Betsy, and Aunt Vi in my life. I hope to return to Peach Cove Island soon.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Kate Young

Kate Young writes Southern mystery novels. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and the Guppy Chapter. Kate lives in a small town in Georgia with her husband, three kids, and Shih Tzu. When she is not writing her own books, she’s reading or cooking.

Author Links – Website Facebook – Twitter  GoodReads BookBub

 Purchase Links  – Amazon – B&N – Kobo – IndieBound

Also by Kate Young

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please visit all the stops. 
April 26 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
April 26 – Cinnamon, Sugar, and a Little Bit of Murder – REVIEW, RECIPE
April 26 – Angel’s Guilty Pleasures – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
April 26 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
April 27 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW
April 27 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT, RECIPE
April 27 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
April 28 – Author Elena Taylor’s Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
April 28 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
April 28 – My Journey Back the Journey Back – CHARACTER GUEST POST
April 29 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
April 29 – Literary Gold – REVIEW
April 29 – Thoughts in Progress – SPOTLIGHT
April 29 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW
April 30 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW
April 30 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
April 30 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
April 30 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
May 1 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
May 1 – ebook addicts – SPOTLIGHT
May 1 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
May 2 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW
May 2 – Diane Reviews Books – REVIEW
May 2 – Tea Book Blanket – SPOTLIGHT

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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

Monkey Bread Business (The Cast Iron Skillet Mystery Series) by Jodi Rath #Interview / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour


Monkey Bread Business (The Cast Iron Skillet Mystery Series)
by Jodi Rath

I am thrilled to have Jodi Rath here for a visit today! 

Hi Jodi, 

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Thanks for having me here today! I’m Jodi Rath and I taught high school English for twenty-three years. Currently, I own a business, MYS ED LLC, where I teach seven online courses to Ohio educators, write for educational blogs, affiliations, and publishers, write Cast Iron Skillet Cozy Mystery Series, and recently I signed a contract to write a script for a psychological series. I write under different pen names and believe it or not, I also write kids and YA books too.

What are three things most people don’t know about you?

  1. I have a brown belt (one away from black) in Kenpo Kickboxing.
  2. I’ve raced a race car on Laguna Seca racetrack and did a racing school and I do auto-crossing.
  3. I’m EXTREMELY introverted and a homebody—like Emily Dickinson homebody.

What is the first book you remember reading?

Choose Your Own Adventure books and Nancy Drew books—but I know my mom read to me and I remember her getting the Seasame Street book of the month where I got a hardback book every month—I remember it feeling like I got Christmas once a month!

What are you reading now?

Kristen Lepionka’s The Last Place You Look, Engage the Brain: how to Design for Learning That Taps into the Power of Emotion by Allison Posey, Writing the Thriller by T. Macdonald Skillman and a textbook The Process of Investigation for the script. I’m normally reading anywhere from five to twelve books at once.

What books have most inspired you?

And She Was by Cindy Dyson, Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden, and everything by both Sara Paretsky and Agatha Christie.

What made you decide you wanted to write mysteries?

When I taught high school English,—I was also the high school Reading teacher for struggling readers with comprehension AND students that had dyslexia—I used to use two and five minute mysteries as bell ringers. I felt like Choose Your Own Adventure books were mysteries to solve too.

I’m a life-long learner and a child of trauma and a late teen—all of my twenties woman of trauma who is thankful for all the good and all the bad in my life. I am who I am because of every experience I’ve faced. Life is beautiful—even the ugliness can bring beauty. Life is a huge mystery. Many people think what they think or believe IS the only right answer but there are so many different races, religions, cultures, backgrounds, variables that make up each individual person in this world—with seven to eight BILLION people—no one will ever agree on everything. So being open-minded and tolerant and finding a way to be thankful is key. Figuring out how to that alone is a huge mystery to many of us. Yet, we persevere.

So, what was the question again? Oh yeah, all of that makes me want to continue to write all types of mysteries but also do all types of writing, too.

Do you have a special place you like to write?

Always at home—again, very Dickinson-like—but in my office is my main place—my office is on the second floor of our home overlooking our woods. Our deck overlooks the woods too—so in good weather, you’ll find me out there or in bed or in my fave chair with legs up on the rust-colored ottoman with episodes of Gilmore Girls, The Good Wife, Grey’s Anatomy, or NYPD Blue playing in the background.

Where do the ideas for your books come from?

Life. Teaching high school for all those years helps me with topics for some of the writing I do—including this cozy series. Most of my students and I are still friends and follow each other on social media and many of them read the series.

I’ve dealt with my own trauma in life but there’s so much I never experienced but saw my students struggle with things. News stories, TV shows, music, poetry, nature, literary writers (classics—I was an English Literature undergrad in college), research, pictures—oh yeah—I sketch and paint too—I find ideas everywhere—from many of my readers.

Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

Time. I love every single part of my business. As you see, I do a lot of writing and I’m diverse in all the types of writing I do—I want more time to write more.

What do you think makes a good story?

Universal themes that readers can connect to and reflect on as they read and walk away feeling they related to the characters and themes.

Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you?

The protagonist. This is my first cozy mystery series—so, I wrote in first person and created a character that has some similarities to myself. Jolie Tucker is in her late twenties now and is just starting to grow up. I grew up at a young age but had lots of friends in my twenties that were just starting to grow up in their mid to late twenties—many of the students I’ve taught—I see that they are figuring more out in their twenties too. So, I liked the idea of getting to be a person who got to grow up in my twenties through Jolie instead of Jodi—who had to grow up at age four.

What makes your books different from others out there in this genre?

It’s a cozy mystery but there is a lot of diversity in the series. There’s teens without homes, gentrification, urban sprawl, dysfunctional families, communities at war BUT also people learning how to accept each other along the way and be able to solve their own problems and take responsibility for themselves as adults, members of society, and a greater whole as well.

What’s next on the horizon for you?

I signed a contract to write this script on 2/1/21 and I wasn’t expecting that to happen while writing Monkey Bread Business. So, I’m learning scriptwriting software, film industry terms, and how to structure and write a script.

There are also two more books in the Cast Iron Skillet Mystery Series coming out in 2021 after Monkey  Bread Business in April of 2021, too.

Thank you for having me here today!

Thank you Jodi for stopping by today!

About Monkey Bread Business


Monkey Bread Business (The Cast Iron Skillet Mystery Series)
Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Publisher: MYS ED LLC; 1st edition (April 16, 2021)
Digital 222 Pages
ASIN: B08FGFK6G7

Nature breeds new life with the sign of Spring in the air in Leavensport, Ohio, and Jolie and Ava find their new families’ lives turned upside down! With properties in Leavensport beginning to sell, Nina Sanchez opened a bakery after purchasing the lot next to M&M’s Italian restaurant. She is new to town and swears to Ava and Jolie she has no connection to the Dominican Republic Sanchez mafia family. Yet, Ava is skeptical, and this sends Jolie and Ava off on yet another investigation looking at how organized crime connects to their little village and the politics that surround it.

 

Meanwhile, Nina Sanchez is not thrilled to feel obliged to cross-sell and become a full-fledged member of Leavensport, especially not with Jolie and Ava investigating her history. She has no choice when her son discovers a murdered homeless woman on the street on his way to deliver bread to the local shelter—it looks a lot like a mob hit and the reveal of who the homeless woman is will send all of Leavensport on alert making Jolie question the future of her town.

 

Welcome to Leavensport, Ohio, where DEATH takes a DELICIOUS turn!

 

More About Jodi Rath

 

Moving into her second decade working in education, Jodi Rath has decided to begin a life of crime in her Cast Iron Skillet Mystery Series. Her passion for both mysteries and education led her to combine the two to create her business MYS ED, where she splits her time between working as an adjunct for Ohio teachers and creating mischief in her fictional writing. She currently resides in a small, cozy village in Ohio with her husband and her nine cats.

Author Links:

Webpage    Facebook Facebook Author Page Twitter @jodirath     Goodreads   Bookbub    Pinterest

Monthly Newsletter Link: http://eepurl.com/dIfXdb

.

Purchase Link – Amazon 

Coming July 23, 2021

All other e-platforms:  https://books2read.com/u/mglk2R

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Great Escapes Praise for Monkey Bread Business (The Cast Iron Skillet Mystery Series)
by Jodi Rath

Monkey Bread Business by Jodi Rath is another book that I couldn’t put down. I loved reading every minute of it . . .
~Baroness’ Book Trove

The current case seems to tie into some stuff they have been researching though it does take a couple surprising turns along the way making for an entertaining mystery as these two try to figure things out. This fun adventure makes for a pleasant read as it all progresses that is sure to delight cozy fans.
~Books a Plenty Book Reviews

I loved that I was able to sit down and read this story in one sitting. Now that the crime has been solved, I wouldn’t mind moving to this little town.
~Literary Gold

. . . hard to put down what with fun quirky characters, some yummy food, and lots of crime to solve. A few twists and turns make for a fun and entertaining read.
~My Reading Journeys

TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please visit all the stops. 
April 16 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW
April 16 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
April 16 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
April 17 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT, RECIPE
April 17 – Tea Book Blanket – SPOTLIGHT
April 17 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
April 18 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
April 18 – Literary Gold – REVIEW
April 18 – Eskimo Princess Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
April 19 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
April 19 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – GUEST POST
April 19 – Christa Reads and Writes – SPOTLIGHT
April 20 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
April 20 – My Journey Back the Journey Back – CHARACTER GUEST POST
April 20 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT
April 21 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
April 21 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
April 21 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
April 22 – Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic – GUEST POST, INDIVIDUAL GIVEAWAY
April 22 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
April 23 – Cozy Up With Kathy – CHARACTER GUEST POST
April 23 – Ascroft, eh? – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
April 24 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT, INDIVIDUAL GIVEAWAY
April 24 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
April 25 – CelticLady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
April 25 – BookishKelly2020 – SPOTLIGHT
April 25 – eBook Addicts – REVIEW

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Dollycas’s Thoughts

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

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

Author Links 

https://www.dianestuckart.com/

https://www.facebook.com/BlackCatMysteries

https://bookloversbench.com/

Written as Ali Brandon

Written as Diane A.S. Stuckart

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

Posted in 2021 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Lemon Drop Dead (An Amish Candy Shop Mystery) by Amanda Flower #Review @KensingtonBooks @aflowerwriter


Lemon Drop Dead (An Amish Candy Shop Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Setting – Ohio
Publisher: Kensington (April 27, 2021)
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 1496722043
ISBN-13: 978-1496722041
Kindle ASIN: B08F2YHTTB

Murder always leaves a sour taste . . .
 
Although baby showers aren’t an Amish tradition, Bailey King wants to celebrate Emily Keim’s forthcoming bundle of joy. It’s the least she can do for her hardworking assistant at Swissmen Sweets, especially with Emily being estranged from her siblings. Everyone in Harvest, Ohio has gathered at the town gazebo—decked out in lemon-themed décor to add some of Emily’s favorite flavor to the festivities—including Juliet Brook, Jethro the Pig, and in a last-minute invite, Emily’s sister Esther Esh.

But Esther isn’t the only surprise guest. A mysterious Amish woman confronts Emily claiming to know about her secret shame—the child she had as a teenager who was given up for adoption. The stranger vanishes before Bailey could find out who she was and if she knew what happened to Emily’s first baby. Later that evening, the woman reappears—dead in Esh Family Pretzels, with a threatening letter written by Esther found on her body.

Emily knows her sister is not a murderer and convinces Bailey to help clear Esther’s name and put the squeeze on the real killer . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Margot Rawlings organizes most of the events that take place in Harvest, Ohio. Now she and the pastor’s new wife team up to throw Emily Keim a baby shower in an effort to bring the Amish and Englisher communities closer. They try to recruit Bailey King to plan the event but her cousin Charlotte steps up to take over the planning and does an excellent job. Emily agrees to the non-traditional Amish party but she has one request. She asks Bailey to personally invite her estranged sister Esther. While Esther doesn’t attend the party another Amish woman does. She is unknown to everyone but she does try to have a moment with Emily and makes a comment about a secret from Emily’s past.

Later Esther Esh shows up and begs Bailey for help. Esther takes Bailey back to the Esh family pretzel shop where she sees Esther’s problem. The mysterious woman from the shower is dead on the floor of the shop and she has a threatening letter from Esther. Bailey has to force Esther to call Aiden knowing he is going to see her a the main suspect. Emily begs Bailey to prove her sister’s innocence even though Aiden wishes she would just let him do his job.


There is so much to love about this story.

First, Emily’s baby is due soon but first, we learn about something from her past only a few people know, and that was only slightly mentioned in a previous story. Next, Charlotte really shines again in this story as her confidence grows and she makes a huge decision. Also, Aiden and Bailey’s life together may hit a roadblock when he receives an offer he may not be able to refuse.

The author has created several strong characters that continue to evolve more in each story but this book really focuses on Emily and we meet a new young character that not only shakes up Emily’s life but the lives of many people in Harvest. I love the people of Harvest and the way most of them rally to help when someone is in need. I hesitate to say too much because this is a powerful emotional story if readers are allowed to read the story without any pretense. The murder sets off a string of events and Bailey tries so hard to not only find the killer but take care of her friend and help her through what it means for her future. Surprisingly there were several suspects and twists before the story wraps up in a truly unexpected way.

I do enjoy the way the animals were involved in this book. Jethro the pig always seems to play a big part but it was nice to see Puff the rabbit and Nutmeg the kitten be featured as well.

Lemon Drop Dead was expertly crafted and written. Some loose ends are tied up and it sets up some changes coming in the future. One excites me and one concerns me but I trust this author. She has kept me successfully entertained for six full-length mysteries and three novellas so I expect she has a great plan for moving the wonderful characters in this series forward.

Everything I have read by this author is exceptional. She is a fantastic storyteller. I become invested in all her character lives and look forward to each and every story. I can’t wait to see where she takes the residents of Harvest next.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

About This Author

Amanda Flower, a two-time Agatha Award-nominated mystery author, started her writing career in elementary school when she read a story she wrote to her sixth-grade class and had the class in stitches with her description of being stuck on the top of a Ferris wheel. She knew at that moment she’d found her calling of making people laugh with her words. She also writes mysteries as national bestselling author Isabella Alan. In addition to being an author, Amanda is an academic librarian for a small college near Cleveland.

Author Links:

Website  Pen Name Website     Facebook    Twitter    Goodreads    Pinterest


Also by Amanda Flower


Coming November 30, 2021



Amish Quilt Shop Mystery Series (writing as Isabella Alan)

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

Cozy Wednesday with Maggie Toussaint – Author of Shrimply Dead (A Seafood Caper Mystery) #Interview / #Review / #Giveaway Great Escapes Book Tour


Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am thrilled to welcome Maggie Toussaint to Escape With Dollycas today!


Shrimply Dead (A Seafood Caper Mystery)
by Maggie Toussaint


Hi Maggie, 

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

Hi, everyone. So happy you’re here. I’m Maggie Toussaint, and I write cozy mysteries, though I first published in romantic suspense and took a slight detour through dystopian fiction. I come from a family of readers and for most of my life I’ve had my nose stuck in a book. Within the pages of a book I’ve traveled to new worlds, learned different customs, and lived vicariously through the characters. Reading and kind librarians who recommended books for my insatiable reading habit opened my eyes to new possibilities beyond what this small town gal ever imagined. It is my fervent hope that the books I write provide you with similar entertainment.

What are three things most people dont know about you?

First up, my angel collection. As a young family with growing children we lived too far away to come home for every family funeral for my very large family, and flying was out of our budget. So I bought angels for each aunt or uncle who died. At first they were scattered around the house, but I have most of them clustered in my office now.

Second, I adore sneakers. When the cushioning in them wears thin, I buy new ones and use the older ones for gardening or boating. I can’t bear to throw them away!

Third, I am a backyard bird watcher. I keep two feeders going year-round. We see local birds and migrating birds at our feeders and birdbath. Recently I had a few days of robins, and they had a crazy-good time splashing in the birdbath.

What is the first book you remember reading?

A Dick and Jane primer, as in See Dick. See Jane. See Spot. See Spot Run. Run, Spot, Run.

What are you reading now?

I am currently rereading Jayne Ann Krentz’s Lost and Found. Her books fall under romantic suspense as romance is the main plotline, but the mystery in her books is very much a cozy. She has two pen names, Amanda Quick and Jayne Castle, and I love all of her writing. When I have downtime, I can read a book a day, though that’s not so great for my eyes or body. I forget to eat or drink, and I don’t move unless I need a bathroom break. I read across all genres, but I enjoy fast-paced, entertaining writing. I guess that’s because I’m a book junkie.

What books have most inspired you?

Like many of us who are a certain age, I grew up reading books by Mary Stewart, Victoria Holt, and other suspense novelists. Other than mythology, I didn’t know there books about paranormal activities or space travel, so Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time opened the universe of possibilities to preteen me. The other huge influence on my early reading was our set of World Book Encyclopedias. Within those pages was so much information! I could learn about anything, or so it seemed. My father made a point of reading the entire set from A to Z. Fast forward 45 years to when we moved from Maryland back to Georgia and we couldn’t even give those encyclopedias away. The internet rendered home reference books obsolete, but I still collect reference books on topics of interest to me. You never know if the internet will disappear one day.

What made you decide you wanted to write mysteries?

There’s a part of me that likes to figure out how things go together. I can sit for hours with jigsaw puzzles, and I also enjoy word searches, Sudoku, and crossword puzzles. My strategy for puzzles is to work a small area at a time and expand out. If I think about the whole thing at once, it’s daunting. So I’m hypervigilant and observant about a small area. If you think about it, that’s one way to pattern a cozy. I often start with a death and work out from the people who were in contact with that victim. It is exciting to have the mystery story pieces fit together just right, and my puzzling love fed right into my creative desire to write novels.

Do you have a special place you like to write?

I can and have written anywhere. My special time for writing is morning. I can generally knock out my word count goal quickly in mornings, while the same amount of words will take hours longer in the afternoon. I have an office with a great desk and an ergonomic keyboard, but I also like to write in different chairs around the house and at the kitchen island. When I first began writing, I had to squeeze it in while my kids were at sports activities and I waited on the sidelines or in the car. Everything was longhand back then. Anyway, that training to work anywhere has certainly been a recipe for success for me.

Where do the ideas for your books come from?

Everywhere. Truly, I am a walking story sponge, and I get bits and pieces of ideas from conversations, observing nature, listening to the news, reading obituaries, and so much more. What’s most important to me is that the idea really matters because then I am all-in on the story.

Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

It’s hard to prioritize writing as third place after family and personal health. When I’m in the zone, I don’t want to be disturbed. I want to mine that conduit to the story ether for as much as I can before it goes away. But there’s this thing called life, and I am living it and required to do certain things. When life gets challenging (as in an illness, crowded schedule, or a pandemic), finding time to write and summoning the commitment to do it one way or another is hard. Once covid-head sets in, I stop and do something else in the creative field such as arts and crafts, gardening, sewing, or music. That recharges my muse and then I can double up next time I write because the ideas are more fully formed.

What do you think makes a good story?

Characters who are as real to me as living, breathing people. Settings that feel authentic. Jeopardy for the characters I love. And justice. Justice is important to me.

Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you?

It took me a long time to realize this. All of my protagonists have some quality of me in them. They are not me, and I am not them. They are braver, more outgoing, and more personable. However, I regard Cleopatra Jones, Baxley Powell Mayes, and River Holloway as friends.

What makes your books different from others out there in this genre?

There are so many great authors in this genre, sometimes it’s humbling to be in the mix. I would never say my books are better than other cozy authors, but they are different because my quirky personality is reflected in my writing voice. I write books that I love to read, and I blur the boundaries of genres a bit.

Whats next on the horizon for you?

I’m going to enjoy bringing Shrimply Dead out this spring and summer. I have loved writing about Shell Island and River Holloway, and I’d like to write more in this story world. It’s just that my muse pointed me to Savannah and a new story situation. It’s got a quirky family and a wonderful artisan co-op shop frequented by the city’s art students and more. There are two shop cats and a bit of paranormal interest for those who’ve wanted a return to that lane. Did you know Savannah is also known as the City of the Dead from much of the town being built atop cemeteries? It’s a true fact. Also, the city has earned the designation of the “Most Haunted City.” In any event, it’s the perfect location for my next series, the Two Sisters Apothecary Mysteries.

Thank you, Maggie, for visiting today!

Now keep reading for my thoughts about Shrimply Dead.

About Shrimply Dead


Shrimply Dead (A Seafood Caper Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Georgia
Publisher: Muddle House Publishing (April 12, 2021)
• Number of Pages 237 PAGES
Digital ASIN: B08V52RD4W

When veterinarian and amateur naturalist Jasmine Garr is shot in her yard, residents of Shell Island press caterer River Holloway into investigating the homicide. River dons her amateur sleuth cap and sets out to discover who killed her former catering customer.

 

Between Jasmine’s estranged cousin, a rival veterinarian, a wild animal trapper, the chicken lady, and a real estate broker, River has plenty of suspects to consider. As she peels back the layers of Jasmine’s life, dangerous secrets come to light.

 

Jasmine’s orphaned kitty, Iris, along with River’s cat Major, and her husband Pete help River sift through the evidence. At the same time, River recently expanded her catering business. She must service her regular catering clients, plus provide fresh baked goods for Pete’s ice cream shop.

 

The killer follows River’s every move relishing the thought of another victim. Time is running out. Will River solve the murder before she becomes a cold dish?

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts

River Holloway’s catering business is growing by leaps and bounds especially now that she is providing cookies and cakes for her husband’s ice cream shop, Island Creamery. Soon after catering an event for the Nature Coalition its volunteer of the year, veterinarian Jasmine Garr is shot in the back in her own yard. Gossip Central, also known as the Post Office is spreading news of the murder and led by Ola Mae Reed recruiting River to don her amateur sleuth cap and catch the killer before they strike again.

Soon River is juggling her catering clients, baking up a storm for Pete’s ice cream shop, and a murder investigation. It isn’t long before she has a variety of suspects. The chicken lady who found the body, Jasmine’s cousin and likely heir, two would-be suitors, and a rival veterinarian. River quickly sees Jasmine Garr was not the woman she thought she was and starts to uncover some secrets that could be deadly.  Definitely deadly for Jasmine Garr but they could also prove deadly for River.


River Holloway is such a strong protagonist. She is such a genuine person with a huge heart. It is almost impossible for her to say “no” to anyone. She has a full plate but still takes on delivering food to those in need. She also has a soft heart when it comes to animals. Her cat, Major certainly has River wrapped around her paw as do a couple of other animals before the story wraps.

Alligators, chickens, and an ancient tree, oh my! Ms. Toussaint has penned a marvelous mystery. Twists, turns, and secrets abound leading up to an edge of your seat reveal.  The story is well-written with a well-plotted mystery. The subplots are interesting and really add to the story. The pace is excellent building to a very suspenseful reveal and takedown. Wow! I was totally surprised when the killer was revealed.

Life on Shell Island is cleverly presented. A typical small town with eccentric residents where everyone needs to be in the know of everyone’s business.

Both Pete and River’s businesses had my mouth drooling. I have a huge sweet tooth so I would be a constant visitor to Island Creamery. That being said I would love to be at every event River caters. Her recipes tempt my tastebuds especially when they are described in delicious detail by the author.

Shrimply Dead is a super addition to this series. I hope we get to visit these characters again soon.


Your Great Escapes Travel Agent

More About Maggie Toussaint 

Southern author Maggie Toussaint writes cozy and paranormal mysteries, romantic suspense, and dystopian fiction, with more than twenty fiction novels published. A multi-year finalist for Georgia Author of the Year, she’s won Silver Falchions, the Readers’ Choice, and the EPIC Awards. She’s past president of Mystery Writers of America-Southeast chapter and an officer of LowCountry Sisters In Crime. She lives in coastal Georgia, where secrets, heritage, and ancient oaks cast long shadows. Visit her at https://maggietoussaint.com/

Author Links

Facebook | Twitter | Blog | Goodreads | LinkedIn | Pinterest | Booklover’s Bench |  Amazon Author Central | Website | Bookbub

Purchase Links
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Also by this Author

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Great Escapes Praise for Shrimply Dead (A Seafood Caper Mystery)
by Maggie Toussaint

From rampaging alligators to kidnapped chickens to a treasure hunt for an extinct Georgia tree, the reader is taken on a ride. As River begins unearthing clues to find out who killed the veterinarian, she finds the victim had her own secrets.
~Cinnamon, Sugar, and a Little Bit of Murder

There are surprises for River and the reader as clues and misdirections are scattered throughout. The pace is good, and the chickens, alligators, and cats add a whole new dimension. Shrimply Dead is an enjoyable cozy mystery.
~Christa Reads and Writes

Shrimply Dead was an interesting read. . . . I particularly enjoyed the way the various characters were portrayed . . .
~Literary Gold

TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please visit all the stops. 
April 13 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
April 13 – Cinnamon, Sugar, and a Little Bit of Murder – REVIEW, RECIPE
April 13 – Novels Alive – GUEST POST
April 13 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT
April 14 – Author Elena Taylor’s Blog – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
April 14 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
April 14 – Tea Book Blanket – SPOTLIGHT
April 15 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
April 15 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
April 16 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW
April 16 – Literary Gold – REVIEW
April 17 – Sneaky the Library Cat’s Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
April 17 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
April 17 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT
April 18 – I Read What You Write – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
April 18 – Cozy Up With Kathy – SPOTLIGHT
April 19 – StoreyBook Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST
April 19 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
April 20 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW
April 20 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
April 21 – Cassidy’s Bookshelves – GUEST POST
April 21 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
April 21 – My Journey Back The Journey Back – CHARACTER GUEST POST
April 22 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – CHARACTER GUEST POST
April 22 – Mysteries with Character – REVIEW
April 23 – BookishKelly2020 – SPOTLIGHT  
April 23 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
April 24 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT, RECIPE
April 24 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

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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.”