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

Cozy Wednesday – featuring Death By Baguette: A Valentine’s Day Murder in Paris (Travel Can Be Murder Cozy Mystery Series) by Jennifer S. Alderson – @JSAauthor – Great Escapes Book Tour

death by baguette

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am excited to share my thoughts on Death by Baguette by Jennifer S. Alderson today!

death by baguette

Death By Baguette: A Valentine’s Day Murder in Paris
(Travel Can Be Murder Cozy Mystery Series)
by Jennifer S. Alderson

About Death By Baguette:
A Valentine’s Day Murder in Paris

death by baguette
Death By Baguette: A Valentine’s Day Murder in Paris
(Travel Can Be Murder Cozy Mystery Series)

Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – France
Publisher: Traveling Life Press (February 7, 2020)
Print Length: 178 Pages
Digital ASIN: B0819YNSJL

Paris—the city of love, lights … and murder? Join tour guide Lana Hansen as she escorts five couples on an unforgettable Valentine-themed vacation to France! Unfortunately it will be the last trip for one passenger…

 

Lana Hansen’s future is looking bright. She has money in her bank account, a babysitter for her cat, and even a boyfriend. Regrettably she won’t get to celebrate Valentine’s Day with her new beau, Chad. Instead, she will be leading a lovers-only tour in France. Luckily for Lana, her best friend, Willow, and her partner, Jane, will be joining her.

 

Things go downhill when Lana’s new boyfriend shows up in Paris for her tour—with his wife. Chad is not the website developer he claimed to be, but a famous restaurant critic whose love of women rivals his passion for food.

After Chad drops dead during a picnic under the Eiffel Tower, a persistent French detective becomes convinced that he was poisoned. And the inspector’s sights are set on several members of the tour—including Lana!

 

While escorting her group through the cobblestone streets of Montmartre, the grand gardens of Versailles, and the historic Marché des Enfants Rouges market, Lana must figure out who really killed Chad before she has to say bonjour to prison and adieu to her freedom.

 

Introducing Lana Hansen, tour guide, reluctant amateur sleuth, and star of the Travel Can Be Murder Cozy Mystery Series. Join Lana as she leads tourists and readers to fascinating cities around the globe on intriguing adventures that, unfortunately for Lana, often turn deadly.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

What could be better than Valentine’s Day in Paris?

Lana Hansen has guided a few tours since New Year’s Day in Hungary. She is also dating again but Dotty Thompson, her landlord and the owner of Wanderlust Tours has scheduled her to take a group of five married couples to Paris for Valentine’s Day and train a new guide. Boyfriend Chad also has to be out of town on business anyway. She is thrilled that her friend Willow will be on the tour. Willow surprised her partner, Jane by booking them on the trip.

After the long flight, Lana can’t wait to see the sights. She is shocked though to see Chad in the hotel lobby . . . with his wife . . . and they are one of the couples on HER tour!

Cursing the online dating app she decides to let the other guide handle Chad but finds it is impossible to steer clear of him with such a small group. She also learns he is a restaurant critic, not a website developer as he had led her to believe, and has left a lot of women in his wake. He also quickly rubs many in the group the wrong way with his critiques and pronouncements.

Soon after the tour group sits down for a picnic near the Eiffel Tower, Chad keels over dead, poisoned. Texts on his phone reveal his relationship with Lana and land her at the lop of the suspect list. She is joined by a few other members of the group.

Until they try to lock her up, the tour must go on. While visiting some breathtaking museums and gardens Lana is on high alert to find the real killer . . . but the killer has her in their sights. Can she survive this trip to the city of lights or will this be her final Wanderlust tour?

____

Just like in the first book of this series the author takes her readers on a wonderful literary vacay with a great mystery to solve. She creates such imagery with her words. I have never been to Paris but I could easily visualize every step the characters took and every place they visited. Imagining the food was so easy too.

Lana is a terrific amateur sleuth, she is savvy and smart and has mastered the art of eavesdropping very well. She also doesn’t give up. Because she was an investigative reporter she has friends in the right places and the skills needed to ferret out a killer. She also has the trust of her boss to do the right thing, Dotty also has the right connections when trouble arises for her employees and guests.

Ms. Alderson also knows how to serve up a terrific story in less than 200 pages. Because the murder takes place later in the story we have time to get to know her characters. They are very well-developed for a novel of this length.  Sadly all the couples were dealing with something and had come on the trip for a chance to set things right. I really liked the way Lana tuned into each couple to make the experience special for each of them, especially after the murder with a killer in their midst.

Death By Baguette features a beautiful city, decadent meals, interesting characters, and a fun mystery. I was captivated by the entire story. With the “Travel Can Be Murder” theme, the possibilities are endless. I hope this series continues for a long time.

The third book in the series, Death by Windmill, will take readers to the Netherlands. It will be released on May 22, 2020. My virtual bags are already packed.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

You can read my review of Death on the Danube here

 

About Jennifer S. Alderson

death by baguette Jennifer S. Alderson

Jennifer S. Alderson was born in San Francisco, raised in Seattle, and currently lives in Amsterdam. After traveling extensively around Asia, Oceania, and Central America, she moved to Darwin, Australia, before settling in the Netherlands. Her background in journalism, multimedia development, and art history enriches her novels. When not writing, she can be found in a museum, biking around Amsterdam, or enjoying a coffee along the canal while planning her next research trip.

Jennifer’s love of travel, art, and culture inspires her award-winning mystery series—the Zelda Richardson Mysteries and Travel Can Be Murder Cozy Mysteries—and standalone stories.

Author Links

Website – Goodreads  –Facebook – Twitter  –LinkedIn – BookBub

Purchase Link – Amazon

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death by baguette
Praise for Death By Baguette: A Valentine’s Day Murder in Paris
(Travel Can Be Murder Cozy Mystery Series)
by Jennifer S. Alderson

This was such a great read and one I can see becoming cozy mystery movies.
~TBR Book Blog

Death By Baguette by Jennifer S. Alderson is a magnificent mystery. Ms. Alderson continually surprises me with motives and means of murder.
~Baroness’ Book Trove

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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 Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Cloak and Dagger Challenge E-Book Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways Literary Escapes Reviews 2019 TBR Pile Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – Queen of the Trailer Park (Rosie Maldonne’s World) by Alice Quinn #Review / #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.
Checking off the “Q” this week on my Alphabet Soup Challenge.


Queen of the Trailer Park (Rosie Maldonne’s World)
Amateur Sleuths/Humorous Fiction
1st in Series
Setting – France
Translated from French
Amazon Crossing (June 1, 2015)
Paperback: 334 pages
ISBN-10: 1477827560
ISBN-13: 978-1477827567
Kindle ASIN: B00Q74VXMC

Rosie Maldonne is outspoken and sexy. She’s also unemployed, and, with three children and a cat, life is a little tough. The four of them—well, five, if you count the cat—live in the South of France, in a run-down trailer near a vacant lot. They make do, living off her part-time waitressing job and a little help from the state.

Rosie thinks things are finally turning around when she meets handsome police officer Jérôme—until she realizes that his appearance coincides with her friend Véro’s disappearance. Then, something even stranger happens: Rosie finds a package with a crazy amount of money in the trash can of a fast-food joint. With so much going on, Rosie has some big questions: Where is Véro? Is Jérôme too good to be true? Who put all that cash in the trash? And what happens when they want it back?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Single mom Rosie Maldonne lives in a trailer that had seen better days with her three children and their cat. Mostly unemployed she depends on government assistance to keep food on the table.  She waitresses at a nearby restaurant and begs loans from friends when the money runs out. That is until she makes a bizarre discovery in a trash can on her way home – A huge amount of money in several envelopes.

During this time her friend Vero and her son go missing and the police come to Rosie for answers she just doesn’t have. One police officer Jérôme is particularly nice and starts to be around wherever she goes. She also meets a very nice older man that wants to take care of her and the children.

While Rosie tries to find her friend and tries to decide what to do with the found money, she also has to deal with a new development that would evict her from her home. Finding help in unique places she fights to keep what’s hers and save Vero and her son.

____

I was looking for a book to fill the “Q” spot for a reading challenge. The synopsis sounding interesting and felt close to the cozy genre I love so I quickly snapped it up.  I was a little nervous when I realized it was a French story translated to English, but after reading the first few pages I knew that was not going to be a problem at all. The book cannot be classified as a cozy though due to the explicit language used throughout the story.

The lead character Rosie, who would rather be called “CriCri” is a very interesting character. She is very open about her life and has a huge heart.  She takes in one child of a friend quickly and is ready to welcome in another even when she is as poor as can be. She doesn’t let it get her down. She gets her children to school each day and tries to have as much fun with them as possible. The kids are happy and well cared for. Rosie has a quick mind and can put anyone in their place immediately, even men who have come to hurt her. She is always one to two steps ahead of everyone and really can think on her feet. She also has a continuous inner dialogue that is absolutely priceless. She uses unique terminology, calling her children lovingly “crib lizards” and “chickadees” along with other phrases that may only be unique because of the translation from French. She also appears to be a very sexy woman.

The flow of the story has a few issues but I know that is due to the translations. There are a few mysteries to solve and some twist together while others don’t. While most are solved by the end of the book they are things unresolved that will have me reading the next book in the series.

The Queen of the Trailer Park is an entertaining/hilarious story.  Rosie’s antics will have you in stitches and shaking your head. I enjoyed following her exploits all around town. I am so glad I was looking for a “Q” book and found this author and this series. This was a great little escape to France.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Alice Quinn has worked many jobs, from theater hostess to waitress, and has traveled the world, often relying on her wits to make ends meet. After the success of her first novel, Queen of the Trailer Park, in her native French, she quit her day jobs and now makes her living writing full-time. She lives in the South of France with her two teenage children and several cats.


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Disclosure of Material Connection: I This book was from my private collection. 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 Literary Escapes Reviews 2015

Review – The Paris Key by Juliet Blackwell

the paris keyThe Paris Key
Published by New American Library (September 1, 2015)
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Women’s Fiction
Setting – Paris France
Trade Paperback: 384 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451473691
E-Book ASIN: B00SI027FA
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An American in Paris navigates her family’s secret past and unlocks her own future, in this emotionally evocative novel by New York Times bestselling author Juliet Blackwell.

As a girl, Genevieve Martin spent the happiest summer of her life in Paris, learning the delicate art of locksmithing at her uncle’s side. But since then, living back in the States, she has become more private, more subdued. She has been an observer of life rather than an active participant, holding herself back from those around her, including her soon-to-be-ex-husband.

Paris never really left Genevieve, and, as her marriage crumbles, she finds herself faced with an incredible opportunity: return to the magical city of her youth to take over her late uncle’s shop. But as she absorbs all that Parisian culture has to offer, she realizes the city also holds secrets about her family that could change her forever, and that locked doors can protect you or imprison you, depending on which side of them you stand.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Genevieve Martin returns to Paris after her uncle passes away to take over his locksmith shop. There is so much bureaucratic red tape for her to be able to work as a locksmith in Paris so she is unsure how long she will actually be able to stay, but she hopes things work out. Her aunt is in a nursing home with Alzheimer’s and her cousin has no desire to take over her father’s business. Before Genevieve has time to sleep off the jet lag she has customers at her door. The neighbors are friendly for the most part and take her under their wing.  She tries to settle in but then she starts to discover secrets about her mother that could change her entire life. What a story!!!

The story travels between Genevieve’s life now, and when she visited Paris in 1997, and her mother Angela’s life in the early 80’s. It does get a little confusing at times because so many people intersect over all three time periods but the chapters are clearly labeled which helps. These are rich characters and some things they go through are heartbreaking. They both have escaped to Paris, Angela questioning her life and her marriage, Genevieve after her mother dies and now as her divorce is close to final. It was so nice to see Paris through their eyes. The descriptions were vivid and easy to envision. How different things looked from Genevieve the child to Genevieve the adult. Love for Paris shines brightly.

The story itself was all about family, the journey, the good times and the bad, unlocking memories and secrets. This story has much more depth than I originally expected.  I found myself absolutely and totally escaping into this book.  I have enjoyed Juliet Blackwell’s mysteries so I knew I would enjoy the story but I was truly blown away. I hated to reach the last page.  I have never been to Paris but after reading this book I hope to travel there someday.

Thank you Ms. Blackwell for taking me on this amazing journey.

paradise5 STARFISH5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Find out more about Juliet Blackwell on her webpage here.

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

Posted in E-Book Challenge Great Escapes Book Tours Literary Escapes Reviews 2015 You Read How Many Books Challenge

The Glassblower’s Wife by Joanna Campbell Slan Great Escapes Book Tour – Giveaways

GLASSBLOWERS WIFE  large banner 640

THE GLASSBLOWER’S WIFE
by Joanna Campbell Slan

I am so thrilled so share this story with you today!!

GlassblowersWife_Final_LightenedTHE GLASSBLOWER’S WIFE
by JOANNA CAMPBELL SLAN
Historical Mystery – short story
Publisher: Spot On Publishing (March 20, 2015)
Print Length: 42 pages
ASIN: B00UI4UTJ0
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When Jewish glassmakers and their families flee the powerful Doge of Venice, the cost of their freedom is three hundred and fifty-seven mirrors—the creation of the magnificent Hall of Mirrors in Versailles. But the Doge sends assassins to pick off the artists, one by one. Can Ruth Telfin, the mute widow of the head glassmaker, save her people?

Dollycas’s Thoughts
This is an exquisite story. The Glassblower’s Wife, Ruth just grabbed hold of by heart and held on tight and wouldn’t let go.

I remember learning a bit about Versailles in a college class (always wanted to travel there and see for myself) and while I remember learning of the beauty of the building I had forgotten the story of the glassblowers until reading this story. The French convinced a number of Venetian artisans to defect and come to make the mirrors for the great hall. In response, the Venetian government ordered the assassination of the these artists to keep the secrets of how to make mirrors a secret from the French.

Joanna Campbell Slan uses her vivid imagination to give us a story the brings this part of history to life. Saul Telfin, was the head glassblower and Ruth was his wife. Due to her disability she was able to blend into the shadows and hear things. She remembered those things with great detail…very important things.

This really is a must read and as only 42 pages you will fly right through it. It will stick with you for much longer as you think of the sacrifices made and the way the story comes together at the end. I was truly moved.

paradise5 STARFISH5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

More Praise for The Glassblower’s Wife

There are three reasons I enjoyed this book: the setting of Venice, the glassblowers and the historical element. I love the art of glassblowing and I never realized that this fascinating back-story existed before. The Glassblower’s Wife is also well written and is a very interesting story.
~MysteriesEtc.

This is a short story that draws you right into the drama. I liked it and the only problem with the story was it was short story. I liked the characters and I wanted more of them.
~readalot

Joanna Campbell Slan weaves an intriguing short story around this little known nugget of history. Although the story is short, the she still manages to give us richly developed characters.
~Cozy Up With Kathy​

I was very impressed with the whole story being wrapped up in such a short format…If you like historical fiction and strong female characters, I strongly recommend you read this enchanting story.
~Booklady’s Booknotes

This is a short story about Jewish glassblowers who were being hunted and killed by the Doge in Venice. What is interesting is the back story about Saul’s wife, Ruth. She is really the key in all of this…
~Storeybook Reviews

This short story does a nice job of weaving historical fact with historical fiction and really presents the mystery nicely…
~Brooke Blogs

The story is beautifully told by Joanna Campbell Slan. It reminded me a bit of the fairytale-like stories of Isaac Bashevis Singer.
~View From The Birdhouse

joanna campbell slanAbout This Author

Joanna Campbell Slan is the award-winning author of the Kiki Lowenstein Mysteries (an Agatha Award Finalist) and two other mystery series. Her stories in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series has been read and loved by millions. Her books reviving the classic heroine Jane Eyre have won the prestigious Daphne du Maurier Award. In her past life, Joanna was a television talk show host, an adjunct professor of public relations, a sought-after motivational speaker, and a corporate speechwriter. She is married to David Slan, CEO of Steinway Piano Gallery-DC. The Slans make their home on Jupiter Island, Florida.

Author Links:

Website http://www.joannaslan.com

Blog http://www.joannaslan.blogspot.com

Facebook http://www.Facebook.com/joannacampbellslan

Twitter http://www.twitter.com/joannaslan

Goodreads http://www.goodreads.com/joannacampbellslan

Pinterest http://www.pinterest.com/joannaslan

 

 

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April 3 – Musings and Ramblings – Guest Post, E-Book Giveaway

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Posted in E-Book Challenge Literary Escapes Reviews 2013

Review: The Corpse With The Silver Tongue by Cathy Ace

corpse with the silver tongue

The Corpse with the Silver Tongue
(Cait Morgan Mystery) (Cait Morgan Mysteries)

1st in Series
Mystery
TouchWood Editions (April 3, 2012)
Paperback: 240 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1927129098
E-Book File Size: 554 KB
ASIN: B007NLCLXS

The Corpse with the Silver Tongue

Cait Morgan, a criminology professor in Canada, travels to France to present a paper for a colleague unable to attend  a conference. She happens to run into an old boss and can’t escape an invitation to his wife’s birthday party. She can’t stand the man but decides to attend anyway.  When the guy drops dead in the middle of dinner and the necklace he brought his wife as a birthday present disappears her quick trip to France turns into a real nightmare. Her French is not that good but knowing she is a main suspect is not lost in the translation. She wishes her friend Bud was there to help her out of this mess but he is back in Canada up to his neck in an investigation of his own.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
Ace’s first Cait Morgan mystery has that Agatha Christie feel and I was quickly caught up in the mystery. Plenty of suspects seated around the table but who would kill this pompous man and why?

I really enjoyed the location and the travels through the compound where many of the suspects resided. The gardens – beautiful, the underground tunnels – scary and revealing of secrets. The links to the past and the provenance of the necklace was so interesting.

The characters unique, from the gold digger wife to the American writer that lives upstairs. Even Bud back in Canada was easy to connect with through just the phone calls. Cait is an intriguing protagonist with her criminology background and her unusual observation skills. The detectives in France were not sure what to make of Cait Morgan but I thought they were excellent characters. Moreau did not speak much English so Bertrand had to translate. Both stayed as objective as possible until finally realizing Cait may be able to help them but by then it was almost too late. 

This was a captivating debut and look forward to reading more about Cait, Bud, and hopefully Bertrand in the future.

just you and a friend

4 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 About This Author
Born and raised in Wales, Cathy Ace worked for many years in marketing communications in London and across Europe, eventually moving to British Columbia, Canada in 2000. Her short story “Dear George” appeared on the UK’s O Level English Language syllabus and, together with another story, “Domestic Violence”, has been produced for BBC Radio 4. Cathy’s second Cait Morgan Mystery, “The Corpse with the Golden Nose”, will be available in March 2013.
 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author. 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.”

1st in a seriesreadalattechallenge_zps01d248d0mystery challenge2013where are you reading2013EbookChallenge

Posted in Literary Escapes Reviews 2012

Guilty Wives by James Patterson & David Ellis

Guilty Wives
Little, Brown and Company
Hachette Book Group
Available Now!

Four wives fly off in a helicopter no less for a Girl’s Weekend in Monte Carlo. Serena Schofield, a former U.S. Champion skier, she is the one footing the bill for this weekend. Her husband provides for her but it really is a loveless marriage. Bryah Gordon, born in Johannesburg under the oppression of apartheid, her husband is very controlling and at times physically abusive, so this is her first ever weekend away with just the girls. Winnie Brookes, an exotic Brit, beautiful inside as well as out. Her husband was in British Intelligence for years and now works at the British Embassy in Bern. Then there is Abbie Elliot, her husband is a diplomat at the U.S. Embassy in Bern. She can’t believe these women are her friends.

They are all having a fabulous time hitting the casinos and clubs, eating delicacies, drinking champagne, sitting by the pool, drawing the attention of many handsome men. Sounds like a wonderful weekend right?

When the “girls” wake up on a yacht surrounded by police they realize something awful has happened. They are arrested for a crime so unbelievable. The vacation of a lifetime becomes the fight of a lifetime.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
A few years ago I read that James Patterson has so many story ideas that he basically just writes about a 100 page outline for each idea and then passes off to a co-writer to complete. This formula has produced many bestsellers. I had read two books earlier this year by David Ellis and was very impressed with his work. 

The theme of this book is interesting but there are just a couple of things that are keeping me from loving this book and giving it 5 stars. I am really starting to hate the 2 or 3 chapters at the beginning of a book that tell us almost word for word something happening later and then the story moves back to where the events started. It ruins the flow when you get to that part of the book and you think, “I already read this/knew this”. Then early in the book the readers are given a huge clue to what really happened and we keep reading until the characters realize the truth and have that “aha moment”. It takes away from the suspense.

With that being said I did enjoy the story. The procedures followed by the French officials, detectives, prison guards and the ease of buying certain ones off really showed the French in a bad light. I have never been to France or in this situation but realize being in prison is no picnic. What these ladies experienced could very well be true. It does make for a fine piece of fiction.

Patterson and his co-writers do deliver good stories. After so many and releasing so many each year I feel like they are getting to be rushed out to rake in the cash. This book will still be a bestseller because of Patterson’s reputation but this really could of have been great with just a few changes. My recommendation when you read this book start on page 15 and only read the first paragraph on page 31. Then you will love this book!!!


Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent


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.”