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

Four Cuts Too Many (A Sarah Blair Mystery) by Debra H. Goldstein #Review / #Giveaway Great Escapes Book Tour @KensingtonBooks


Four Cuts Too Many (A Sarah Blair Mystery)
by Debra H. Goldstein

About Four Cuts Too Many

Four Cuts Too Many (A Sarah Blair Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Setting – Alabama
Publisher: Kensington (May 25, 2021)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1496732219
ISBN-13: 978-1496732217
Digital ASIN: B08GY52GS6

Sarah Blair gets an education in slicing and dicing when someone in culinary school serves up a main corpse in Wheaton, Alabama . . .

 

Between working as a law firm receptionist, reluctantly pitching in as co-owner of her twin sister’s restaurant, and caretaking for her regal Siamese RahRah and rescue dog Fluffy, Sarah has no time to enjoy life’s finer things. Divorced and sort-of dating, she’s considering going back to school. But as a somewhat competent sleuth, Sarah’s more suited for criminal justice than learning how many ways she can burn a meal.

 

Although she wouldn’t mind learning some knife skills from her sous chef, Grace Winston. An adjunct instructor who teaches cutlery expertise in cooking college, Grace is considering accepting an executive chef’s position offered by Jane Clark, Sarah’s business rival—and her late ex-husband’s lover. But Grace’s future lands in hot water when the school’s director is found dead with one of her knives in his back. To clear her friend’s name, Sarah must sharpen her own skills at uncovering an elusive killer . . .

 

Includes quick and easy recipes!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Southwind’s sous chef Grace Winston is teaching a class on knives as part of the culinary program at the local college. The first class is going well until the program’s director interrupts the class leading to Grace getting hurt. The director and Grace have an argument heard by many witnesses until she walks out to meet Sarah and cool down. When Grace and Sarah return to the classroom to clean up and ready the room for the next instructor they are barred from the room. Inside the program director is dead and one of Grace’s knives is the murder weapon. Sarah immediately calls her boss to come to represent Grace and she sharpens her senses to learn what all the gawkers in the hallway are saying. She is going to need all the information she can get to clear her friend’s name and cut through every clue to catch the real killer.


So much happens within the pages of this book it is virtually impossible to put down. In addition to Sarah working her day job at Harlan’s legal office, walking dogs at the local animal shelter, and helping to organize their fundraisers, she helps out at the restaurants she owns with her twin sister, fends off whatever plans her nemesis and business rival, Jane Clark has to steal business from Southwinds, has dinner with at least once a week with her mother and her gentleman friend, tries to have a personal life that may include a date or two and still have time to spend with her rescue dog, Fluffy and Siamese cat RahRah. Add to that a murder investigation and maybe some college classes. I wish I had half her energy.

The character interactions and development are what draws me into these stories. Everything feels true to life and the dialogues are realistic. I was especially taken with Harlen this time and his selflessness, he has a huge heart.  I love the way the pets are presented in the story. They have real personalities and are important in the scenes.

The murder mystery is seamlessly blended with a variety of subplots. I was surprised by the number of suspects that were brought to light. Many were not even on my radar and I did not have anyone pinned down before Sarah revealed all. Her quest to prove her theory was dangerous and exciting to read. Some things really surprised me as the story was brought to a close.

Four Cuts Too Many is a Great Escape and wonderful addition to this character-driven series. The author crafted a clever whodunit that kept me guessing until the very end. I am very curious about where she plans to take her characters next. She never disappoints so I am excited for Five _______ Too Many.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Debra H. Goldstein

Judge Debra H. Goldstein writes Kensington’s Sarah Blair mystery series (Three Treats Too Many, Two Bites Too Many, One Taste Too Many). She also authored Should Have Played Poker and IPPY Award-winning Maze in Blue. Her short stories have been named Agatha, Anthony, Derringer finalists. Debra serves on the national boards of Mystery Writers of America and is president of SEMWA. She previously was on Sisters in Crime’s national board and president of SinC’s Guppy Chapter.

Author Links

Website    Blog    Facebook    Linked In

Twitter @DebraHGoldstein    GoodReads   BookBub

Purchase Links:

AmazonB&NKoboGoogle PlayIndieBound – 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Great Escapes Praise for Four Cuts Too Many (A Sarah Blair Mystery)
by Debra H. Goldstein

Another great character-driven smooth Southern cozy mystery. See if you can beat Sarah to solve the crime!
~Diane Reviews Books

I love this series! Author Debra H. Goldstein gives the reader wonderful characters, plots, and food!
~My Reading Journeys

There are positive relationships, conflicts, twists, and turns, and a surprise reveal of the killer. I really liked the relationship of Wanda with Kait and the way Kait’s mild dementia was handled.
~Christa Reads and Writes

FOUR CUTS TOO MANY is a delicious mystery dealing with ambition and greed delectable for both foodies and those inept, or at least not too adept, in the kitchen.
~Cozy Up With Kathy

Sarah is back and just and as fun as ever . . . a satisfying ending that will leave the reader happy. Makes for a great read for cozy fans. The adorable critters ate just an added bonus.
~Books a Plenty Book Reviews

I really liked this one and got pulled into the story right away . . . I loved every minute of this mystery.
~Moonlight Rendezvous

TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please visit all the stops.
May 23 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
May 23 – Diane Reviews Books – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
May 24 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
May 24 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
May 25 – Novels Alive – GUEST POST
May 25 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
May 26 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
May 26 – Mochas, Mysteries and Meows – CHARACTER GUEST POST
May 27 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW
May 27 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – GUEST POST
May 28 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, RECIPE
May 28 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
May 28 – View from the Birdhouse – SPOTLIGHT
May 29 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
May 29 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
May 30 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT
June 1 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT  
June 1 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW, GUEST POST
June 2 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW
June 2 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT
June 3 – Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic – SPOTLIGHT
June 3 – Mysteries with Character – REVIEW
June 3 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
June 4 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
June 5 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW
June 5 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
June 6 – BookishKelly2020 – SPOTLIGHT  
June 6 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – 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 Reading Challenges Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways Literary Escapes Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – Three Treats Too Many (A Sarah Blair Mystery) by Debra H. Goldstein #Review / #Giveaway @DebraHGoldstein

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.


Three Treats Too Many (A Sarah Blair Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Alabama
Publisher: Kensington (August 25, 2020)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1496719492
ISBN-13: 978-1496719492
Digital ASIN: B082WRV78G

When a romantic rival opens a competing restaurant in small-town Wheaton, Alabama, Sarah Blair discovers murder is the specialty of the house . . .

For someone whose greatest culinary skill is ordering takeout, Sarah never expected to be co-owner of a restaurant. Even her Siamese cat, RahRah, seems to be looking at her differently. But while Sarah and her twin sister, Chef Emily, are tangled up in red tape waiting for the building inspector to get around to them, an attention-stealing new establishment—run by none other than Sarah’s late ex-husband’s mistress, Jane—is having its grand opening across the street.

Jane’s new sous chef, Riley Miller, is the talk of Wheaton with her delicious vegan specialties. When Riley is found dead outside the restaurant with Sarah’s friend, Jacob, kneeling over her, the former line cook—whose infatuation with Riley was no secret—becomes the prime suspect. Now Sarah must turn up the heat on the real culprit, who has no reservations about committing cold-blooded murder . . .

Includes quick and easy recipes!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Things are tense in Wheaton, Alabama with two new restaurants opening. What’s funny is that Sarah Blair, whose cooking skills are pretty minimal is co-owner of one of the new places with her twin sister, Chef Emily. They are just waiting for the town building inspector to do the final inspection so they can have their grand opening.

The other new restaurant, Jane’s Place, is owned by Sarah’s late husband’s mistress who has hired vegan chef Riley Miller. Jane is hoping serving vegan dishes will set her restaurant apart from the others. Sarah and most of the town have turned out from the grand opening and if the food served is any indication Jane Place will be a worthy competitor for Sarah’s Southwinds Restaurant.

The night seems to be a rousing success until Chef Riley is found dead in the parking lot with her former boyfriend Jacob kneeling by her body. Jane wants the man arrested immediately. While he may be the prime suspect Sarah cannot believe he could have killed the young chef. Sarah’s boss agrees to defend Jacob but much to his dismay Sarah starts digging around to find more worthy suspects too. She may soon regret her actions as the killer has no reservations about killing again.


The author has penned a diverse group of characters from chefs to motorcycle riding vets to building contractors to two lovable fur-babies. Sarah is an excellent protagonist because she always seems to land right in the middle of whatever is happening in the small town of Wheaton. Being a small town most of the characters are connected in multiple ways which makes the story very interesting. The characters are all cleverly written and unique so it is easy to keep everyone straight. I do love the Blair family dynamics. Maybelle has become a real hoot! RahRah and Fluffy always make me smile and their closeness reminds me of some of the pets I have had over the years.

Because of all interpersonal connections, the mystery is a treat to solve as many of the characters become suspects in their own right. A second death turns up the heat as does a smelly discovery. Thankfully Sarah has the gift of gab or the ending could have taken a dire turn. The author serves up some really nice twists to keep people guessing. I was thrilled that I solved the whodunit before all was revealed but the ending was exciting and very entertaining.

Three Treats Too Many is a delightful addition to this series. Fun characters and a great mystery, this book doesn’t disappoint. I have enjoyed all three books in this series and recommend reading them in order to enjoy the character growth and fun mysteries. Four Cuts Too Many is impatiently waiting on my Kindle. I will be reading and reviewing soon.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Judge Debra H. Goldstein writes Kensington’s Sarah Blair mystery series (One Taste Too Many, Two Bites Too Many, Three Treats Too Many). She also wrote Should Have Played Poker and IPPY winning Maze in Blue. Her short stories, including Anthony and Agatha nominated The Night They Burned Ms. Dixie’s Place and Derringer Finalist Pig Lickin’ Good, have appeared in numerous publications. Debra serves on the national boards of SinC and MWA and is president of SEMWA.

Author Links

Website    Blog    Facebook    Linked In

Twitter @DebraHGoldstein    GoodReads        BookBub

Purchase Links

Coming Next Tuesday!

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

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

Special Guest – Debra H. Goldstein – Author of Two Bites Too Many (A Sarah Blair Mystery) #GuestPost #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @DebraHGoldstein

Two Bites Too Many
(A Sarah Blair Mystery)
by Debra H. Goldstein

I am so excited to welcome Debra Goldstein to Escape With Dollycas today!

My Favorite Shirt Has a Tear
by Debra H. Goldstein

 

My favorite shirt has a tear.

The minute the dryer buzzed, I stopped what I was doing and went to retrieve my shirt, so it wouldn’t wrinkle. I pulled it out, shook it, hung it, and saw the pinprick sized hole at the edge of the pocket. Perhaps it was a spot? No, a hole going all the way through the fabric at a location that makes patching or simply wearing it again in public impossible.

What will I do?

I wear that shirt when I don’t feel up to par, when I think the weather is going to be cold, when I write and things aren’t working, or when it is one of those days. It is my comfort shirt. Oversized, blue-green and white plaid, with sleeves that stay rolled up because it has little buttons and tabs to keep them in place, it would never be mistaken as high fashion. My shirt serves only two purposes:  it keeps me covered and makes me feel secure.

My writing is like my shirt. I write comfort books and short stories. Hopefully, readers feel embraced by the wealth of my words and for a moment forget whatever troubles them in the real world. Whether my tale is dark or light, the goal is for the plot, setting, and characters to wrap the reader in a manner that shuts out any other thoughts.

In One Taste Too Many and Two Bites Too Many, the first books in my new Sarah Blair cozy mystery series from Kensington, I address one of my biggest fears – being in the kitchen. As Sarah struggles to avoid making anything from scratch, I express her fears and actions in a fun way that readers can either identify with or laugh at. Whether a reader goes the extra step of making one of the recipes, like Jell-O in a Can, or is engaged by the charms of RahRah, Sarah’s Siamese cat, there should be a momentary sense of enjoyment. The language I use may not be highfaluting, but it always is understandable. Consequently, like my shirt, the purpose of this series is to provide comfort to readers.

Time changes everything. Hopefully, each of my written works has improved. It is an inevitable evolution, comparable to life. Tomorrow, I’ll mourn the loss of my shirt, but I’ll buy another. It will be different, but I bet in the long run it will be just as comfortable. My series won’t be the same as other ones you’ve tried and liked, but I’m hoping you discover, as I will with my new shirt, that different can entertain you and cover you with the security of joy.

Have you ever found giving up something old has led you to something you liked even better?

 

Thank you, Debra, for visiting today!

Okay folks, keep reading for my thoughts about Two Bites Too Many. 

About Two Bites Too Many


Two Bites Too Many (A Sarah Blair Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Alabama
Kensington (September 24, 2019)
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
ISBN-10: 1496719484
ISBN-13: 978-1496719485
Digital ASIN: B07MB4779P

Far from a domestic goddess, Sarah Blair would rather catch bad guys than slave over a hot stove. But when a dangerous murder boils over in Wheaton, Alabama, catching the killer means leaving her comfort zone . . .

Things are finally looking up for Sarah Blair following her unsavory divorce. Settled into a cozy carriage house with her sassy Siamese cat, RahRah, she has somehow managed to hang on to her modest law firm receptionist job and—if befriending flea-bitten strays at the local animal shelter counts—lead a thriving social life. For once, Sarah almost has it together more than her enterprising twin, Emily, a professional chef whose efforts to open a gourmet restaurant have hit a real dead end.

When the president of the town bank and city council is murdered after icing Emily’s business plans, all eyes are on the one person who left the scene with blood on her hands—the twins sharp-tongued mother, Maybelle. Determined to get her mom off the hook ASAP, Sarah must collect the ingredients of a deadly crime to bring the true culprit to justice. But as neighbors turn against her family, can she pare down the suspects before another victim lands on the chopping block?

Includes quick and easy recipes!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Sarah Blair doesn’t have to work but she enjoys her job at the law firm and is happy living in the carriage house with her cat RahRah. Her sister Emily along with Marcus have big plans for not just one restaurant but two! The one lost to a fire and one in the “big house” that Sarah inherited. When the bank turns down their loan request her the girl’s mother Maybelle drags Sarah to the bank to hash it out with the president of the bank. Apparently Sarah’s healthy bank account will remind the man who is dealing with.  Promising he’ll look over the paperwork, Sarah heads to a meeting but Maybelle has other plans. She waits a short time and then returns to the president’s office where instead of getting the answer she wanted she finds the man dead. She then finds herself the police’s prime suspect.

Sarah is surprised by how quickly people believe her mother is a murderer. Emily has her hands full working at a local hotel until she can get her restaurants open. Sarah is busy with a fundraiser too but knows she needs to help lawyer Harlan do everything she can to keep Maybelle out of jail.

___________

There is a lot happening in Wheaton, Alabama and Sarah Blair seems to be caught up in all of it. She can do many things now that she has received her inheritance but for right now she is content working for Harlan, helping her sister and staying involved with things around town, like the fundraiser. She and Emily are best friends, the yin to the other’s yang. Maybelle knows just how to push their buttons, but we see a different side of her this time. Emily is very driven and Sarah is still finding her way. The core characters are evolving at a realistic pace.  We learn more about Sarah’s neighbor George this time and because of that, we meet some new characters. Employees of the bank are also introduced. The author does an excellent job giving us characters to root for and those that could be villains/suspects. RahRah again stole my heart.

I did enjoy the way Ms. Goldstein sets the scene. The bank, the hotel, the carriage house and everything in between were all described so well. I could easily envision each place.

The mystery was murky for me but I latched onto the killer pretty early on. I just didn’t know the details of their motive until it was all laid out for me. There were several red herrings though that could have diverted my thinking but I held strong. Mini mysteries that eventually tied together to the murder were very interesting and pressed me to realize I was on the right track. The ending was pretty exciting.

Debra H. Goldstein has again given readers a fun and entertaining mystery filled with characters I wish I could know in person. Comfortable cozies, both books in this series so far have been Perfect Escapes. Once I started reading they were virtually impossible to put down.  Two Bites Too Many has whet my appetite for book #3. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

You can read my review of One Taste Too Many here.

About Debra H. Goldstein 

Judge Debra H. Goldstein is the author of Two Bites Too Many, as well as One Taste Too Many, the first of Kensington’s new Sarah Blair cozy mystery series. She also wrote Should Have Played Poker and IPPY Award-winning Maze in Blue. Her short stories, including Anthony and Agatha nominated “The Night They Burned Ms. Dixie’s Place,” have appeared in numerous periodicals and anthologies including Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, Black Cat Mystery Magazine, and Mystery Weekly. Debra serves on the national boards of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America and is president of the Southeast Chapter of MWA and past president of SinC’s Guppy Chapter.

Author Links

Website    Blog    Facebook    Linked In

Twitter @DebraHGoldstein    GoodReads

Purchase Links

Amazon  B&N  Kobo  Google Play 

Praise for Two Bites Too Many
(A Sarah Blair Mystery)
by Debra H. Goldstein

This was a good cozy mystery with all the things I enjoy about this genre: small town, great atmosphere, good food, animals, multi-age characters, a bit of romance, an interesting crime, and a great sleuth.
~Carla Loves To Read

Two Bites Too Many allows its readers to fall into a completely different, tightly-bound family for a few hours. And who doesn’t want to do that? Highly recommended for cozy fans.
~Diane Reviews Books

I have enjoyed this cozy series that is set in a small town and around the catering/restaurant that Sarah’s twin sister owns and operates.
~My Reading Journeys

What an adorable cozy this is! . . . Full of characters you can both hate and love mixed with surprises and good times. Makes for a great read that you won’t want to put down.
~Books a Plenty Book Reviews


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.

Follow Kensington Books on Twitter for 2 Bonus Entries!

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

Contest Will End October 7, 2019, 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

 

TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please visit all the stops! 

September 23 – Carla Loves To Read – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY
September 24 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT – Reading Is My SuperPower
September 24 – Diane Reviews Books – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY
September 25 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
September 25 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT
September 26 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
September 26 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
September 27 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT
September 27 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, GUEST POST
September 28 – Laura’s Interests – CHARACTER GUEST POST, GIVEAWAY
September 29 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
September 30 – My Journey Back-The Journey Back – CHARACTER GUEST POST
October 1 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
October 1 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
October 2 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW, RECIPE
October 2 – Mochas, Mysteries and Meows – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW
October 3 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW, GUEST POST, GIVEAWAY
October 3 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY  
October 4 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY
October 5 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW
October 6 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW

 

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

Posted in Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Guest Posts Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge Purrfect Reading Challenge Reviews 2018 You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday with Debra H. Goldstein – Author of One Taste Too Many (A Sarah Blair Mystery) – #GuestPost / #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @KensingtonBooks

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am so excited to have Debra H. Goldstein drop by for a visit!

Writers – Creatures of Habit or Not? by Debra H. Goldstein

Writers often claim to be creatures of habit. Their habits may be tied to the means of writing – on a computer, legal pad with special pens, or via dictation; the location where the writing takes place – at the beach, the mountains, in a dark room, or in a room with wide open windows; and, whether there is absolute silence or blaring music. Some writers, the planners, can’t produce a word until every nuance of a piece is outlined while others, known as pantsters, write strictly from the seat of their pants. I wish I could tell you that I am a creature of habit, but I’m not. I write like I cook. Differently, every time even if I am recreating the same dish.

One would think as a former litigator and judge, my writing habits would be unimaginative. That I would outline every word and idea, much like Jeffrey Deaver does. I outlined the beginning and ending of my first book, 2012 IPPY award-winning Maze in Blue, a mystery set on the University of Michigan in the 1970’s, but the middle flowed, like magic, through my fingers to the keys of a computer sitting on a desk in my home office. I attributed my writing to the character’s voices leading me through their story. The only thing necessary for the words to pour out of me was playing the soundtracks from 1776 and They’re Playing Our Song repetitively in the background.

The same songs and physical location didn’t work for my second book. To write Should Have Played Poker: a Carrie Martin and the Mah Jongg Players Mystery, I took my laptop and sat in an oversized chair in my living room. Century old furniture, which once belonged to my parents or grandparents, interspersed with modern cherry wood floors and an orange, gold, and blue carpet brought me a sense of peace that allowed me to bring new life to the characters from a short story published in 2010. I occasionally played folk songs and soft rock hits from the 60’s and 70’s, but for the most part, I wrote and rewrote in silence. It was the ambiance of the room that enabled me to find and contrast the voices of the Sunshine Village Retirement Home Mah Jongg players with the twenty-nine-year-old corporate attorney protagonist and her former lover, the detective assigned to her murdered mother’s case.

One Taste Too Many represents a hybrid of the habits that produced my first two books. Because the book is set in the present and the protagonist, Sarah Blair, is a twin, I drew on my experience as a mother of twins when I outlined the basic story premise. Unlike Poker, that I wrote and edited only on a laptop, One Taste Too Many was drafted and revised in two locations. For the first version, I sat in an easy chair in my bedroom with my laptop perched on my knees. When I finished the draft, I mailed it to myself and revised it upstairs in my office on my stand-alone computer. In both locations, I kept the score from Frozen playing constantly. Why Frozen for a book set in a small Southern town? I don’t know, but it worked. The music kept me typing at a nice even clip with a sunny disposition.

The other motivational trick I used for One Taste Too Many was keeping a picture of a friend’s Siamese cat where I could always see it. Growing up, we had dogs, but I knew bonding with a cat was different. That’s why I reached out to my friend and she was so helpful, I modeled RahRah after her cat, Suri. As you can see from the cover, RahRah and I successfully bonded.

For some, being a creature of habit is the only means to write. For me, a willingness to try different techniques and practices is what stimulates the muse and helps me avoid stale ruts. What about you? What does it take to prompt you to write effectively?

~Debra

Thank you, Debra, for visiting today!

Now keep reading for my thought about One Taste Too Many.

One Taste Too Many (A Sarah Blair Mystery)
by Debra H. Goldstein

 

About the Book


One Taste Too Many (A Sarah Blair Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Kensington (December 18, 2018)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1496719476
ISBN-13: 978-1496719478
Digital ASIN: B07CDCZXLP

For culinary challenged Sarah Blair, there’s only one thing scarier than cooking from scratch—murder!

Married at eighteen, divorced at twenty‑eight, Sarah Blair reluctantly swaps her luxury lifestyle for a cramped studio apartment and a law firm receptionist job in the tired hometown she never left. With nothing much to show for the last decade but her feisty Siamese cat, RahRah, and some clumsy domestic skills, she’s the polar opposite of her bubbly twin, Emily—an ambitious chef determined to take her culinary ambitions to the top at a local gourmet restaurant . . .

Sarah knew starting over would be messy. But things fall apart completely when her ex drops dead, seemingly poisoned by Emily’s award-winning rhubarb crisp. Now, with RahRah wanted by the woman who broke up her marriage and Emily wanted by the police for murder, Sarah needs to figure out the right recipe to crack the case before time runs out. Unfortunately, for a gal whose idea of good china is floral paper plates, catching the real killer and living to tell about it could mean facing a fate worse than death—being in the kitchen!

Includes quick and easy recipes!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Sarah and Emily Blair are twins and as different as night and day. Emily is a fabulous chef with plans to make it to the top of her field. Sarah married young and divorced 10 years later. She is starting over and has taken a receptionist job at a local law office and lives in a studio apartment with her cat, RahRah.

The restaurant where Emily works has a booth at the Food Expo and the staff will be giving demonstrations and sharing tasty treats. Emily will be making her special rhubarb crisp.

But tragedy strikes when Sarah’s ex is found dead at the convention center before the event even begins. Covered in rhubarb, it is quickly determined he was poisoned, by Emily! Also, with his death, it seems Sarah’s cat RahRah no longer belongs to her. A chef that works with Emily has laid claim to the feline.

As someone that hates to cook, Sarah knows she needs to hang around the expo to try to catch the real killer, even if it means filling in for her talented sister. That is if the killer doesn’t get to her first. She also needs to find a way to keep her cat.

This series is off to a stellar start and I am head over heels with the wonderful cat, RahRah. The cat was rescued during Hurricane Katrina my Sarah’s ex-mother-in-law who loved Sarah, so of course, she took the cat when the woman passed away. Her ex left out some key details about his mother’s will. Now, with him dead the secrets are revealed. Let’s just say he was a first-class a**, and I was happy he was the first victim. Yes, first, because the killing didn’t stop with him.

Ms. Goldstein has created a pair of sisters, twins, that are truly each other’s half. They are smart and fun. Best friends that take care of each other. Sarah is an interesting protagonist. I hope she continues to team up with her sister. I believe we have barely scratched the surface on when the author can take these sisters.

The story has a little bit more of an edge than a typical cozy but doesn’t go too far. It is exciting and fresh with plenty of twists and corkscrew turns. The author drops in the clues with such precision. I was up in the air about the killer right up until the big reveal. Someone on my radar but not at the top of my list. The motives were unclear until all the last clues slid into place.

This was a very entertaining story. A great mystery with characters I want to visit again. I am excited to see where the author takes this series. This one was A Perfect Escape!

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About the Author

 

Judge Debra H. Goldstein’s new Sarah Blair cozy mystery series debuts from Kensington Press with One Taste Too Many. She also is the author of Should Have Played Poker: a Carrie Martin and the Mah Jongg Players Mystery and the 2012 IPPY Award-winning Maze in Blue. Besides novels, Debra writes short stories. Her short story, The Night They Burned Ms. Dixie’s Place, Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine (May/June 2017) is an Agatha Award Short Story Nominee. In addition to being the Sisters in Crime Guppy President, Debra serves on the national Sisters in Crime board and is Vice-President of the Southeast Region of Mystery Writers of America.

Website    Blog    Facebook    Twitter @DebraHGoldstein      GoodReads

Purchase Links

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Praise for One Taste Too Many (A Sarah Blair Mystery)
by Debra H. Goldstein

ONE TASTE TOO MANY is a “different,” slightly edgy, cozy from an author with extensive knowledge of legal procedure.
~Mallory Heart’s Cozies

This one was a fun ride. A few twists that will keep you turning the pages may be a little slower to keep up.
~My Reading Journeys

What a fun engaging start to a new series!
~Cozy Up With Kathy

I kept changing who I suspected but when the real murderer is revealed, I was shocked! I did not see that one coming at all.
~Storeybook Reviews

The story was well-written and enjoyable to read.

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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.”