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

Murder with Oolong Tea (A Daisy’s Tea Garden Mystery) by Karen Rose Smith #Review @karenrosemith @KensingtonBooks


Murder with Oolong Tea (A Daisy’s Tea Garden Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Setting – Pennsylvania
Publisher: Kensington (December 29, 2020)
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 1496723961
ISBN-13: 978-1496723963
Kindle ASIN: B086R9HPGJ

In Pennsylvania’s Amish country, Daisy Swanson finds herself going back to school expecting to serve tea–only to get a crash course in criminal justice . . .

The faculty of Willow Creek High School are having a get-together after the spring concert with refreshments provided, courtesy of Daisy’s Tea Garden. Oolong tea and chocolate biscuits are just what the staff needs to help them unwind from Althea Higgins’ demanding curriculum. Her lessons on such controversial subjects as school uniforms and underqualified substitute teachers are earning her an F from her colleagues.

But a failing grade was preferable to Althea falling victim to foul play. Daisy was there when her body was discovered in the school swimming pool, murdered by strangulation. Althea was certainly a strict, opinionated taskmaster, unliked by both teachers and students, but would any of them actually want to kill her? As Daisy starts asking questions, she gets a real education in Althea’s history, discovering more than enough enemies with more than enough motives to cancel her classes permanently . . .

Includes delicious recipes!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

It’s time for Daisy Swanson to go back to school. Willow Creek High School is having their spring concert and that will be followed get-together for the faculty that is being catered by Daisy’s Tea Garden. Daisy is surprised when one of her former teachers stops by the tea garden to discuss the menu because it had already been finalized, but then Althea Higgins has always been a force to be reckoned with. Students fear her and other teachers steer clear of her but when her dead body is found in the pool in the middle of the get-together no one is more shocked than Daisy. She vows not to get wrapped up in another murder case but several people ask her to get involved so she feels she has no choice. So she takes a dip into the pool of suspects in her attempt to uncover who strangled the life out of Althea Higgins.


Again this author impresses me with her ability to take on issues within her books that inform and pull you deeper into the story for more than just an excellent mystery. Relationships play a huge role in Murder with Oolong Tea. Daisy and Jonas, Jonas and Zeke,  Daisy and Zeke, Vi and Foster, Tessa and Trevor, Jazzie and her new friend Brielle, Brielle and her parents, Brielle and her grandmother, Althea, and her grandson, and more. All these characters are well-crafted and strong and their interactions are never dull. There is always something happening at the tea shop, Willow Creek, and the Amish countryside to keep people on their toes.

This story was so well-plotted. Tying all the subplots to the main mystery was not an easy task but Ms. Smith does an incredible job. Equipped with her curious nature and her ability to get people to open up to her Daisy sets up several twists and uncovers some unlikely suspects. The author brings suspense in all the right places. I really enjoyed the way the whole story unfolded. The pace was brisk and I was captivated completely following along with all the clues.

The food described within these pages made my mouth water. Daisy dished up a lot of Blueberry Coffee Cake both at work and at home. Thankfully the recipe is in the back of the book and would work with a variety of fruits.

Murder with Oolong Tea is filled with great characters and a first-rate mystery. It is a wonderful addition to the must-read cozy series. The next installment, Murder with Orange Pekoe Tea will be released on August 24, 2021. I can hardly wait. 

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

Karen Rose Smith About the Author

Karen Rose Smith is the author of the Daisy’s Tea Garden Mysteries and the Caprice De Luca home-staging mysteries. Married to her college sweetheart, Karen has convinced her husband that felines can make purr-fect housemates. They share their home in the Susquehanna Valley of Pennsylvania with their three rescued cats. You can find her on Facebook at KarenRoseSmithBooks and on Twitter @karenrosemith.  Find out more about her mysteries at https://www.karenrosesmithmysteries.com.


Also by this Author


Due to the COVID 19 Pandemic, the publisher can’t offer a giveaway at this time. 

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 My Reading Itinerary Monday

My Reading Itinerary Monday! – Week #1 – 2021

Welcome to My Reading Itinerary Monday!

The past few months have been fun, just grabbing a book from my shelf or choosing a book on my Kindle without any schedule. Now that my cancer treatments have concluded it is time to get back to a more regimented schedule to meet all my commitments.

Where are your books taking you this week?

I will be traveling to California, Michigan, and Oregon!

Here’s what I read and what I have planned for this week.

Escapes Completed


Better Off Read: A Bookmobile Mystery
by Nora Page
Release Date – May 8, 2018
Setting – Georgia
My Review will be up on Friday!


Chilled to the Cone: A Bakeshop Mystery
by Ellie Alexander
Release Date – December 29, 2020
Setting – Oregon
My Review will be up tomorrow.


Deep Dark Secrets (Deep Lakes Cozy Mystery Series)
by Joy Ann Ribar
Release Date – October 3, 2019
Setting – Wisconsin
My Review will be up on Wednesday.

Current Escape


Murder with Oolong Tea (A Daisy’s Tea Garden Mystery)
by Karen Rose Smith
Release Date – December 29, 2020
Setting – Pennsylvania
For Review

Scheduled Escapes


Hope, Faith, and a Corpse: A Faith Chapel Mystery
by Laura Jensen Walker
Release Date – January 12, 2021
Setting – California
For Review


Wedding Bear Blues (A Teddy Bear Mystery)
by Meg Macy
Release Date – December 29, 2020
Setting – Michigan
Great Escapes Book Tour


Bait and Witch (Witch Way Librarian Cozy Mysteries)
by Angela M. Sanders
Release Date – December 29, 2020
Setting – Oregon
Great Escapes Book Tour

Future Escapes

January 3 – 9, 2021 


Click Here to check out my Current Giveaways!

Please Share Your Reading Itinerary in the Comments below!
Happy Reading!!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

Posted in Giveaways

Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book is 12! – Blogoversary Giveaway – Day 3 – Happy New Year!

Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book
is 12!
Blogoversary Giveaway – Day 3
Happy New Year!

Welcome to Day 3 of my Blogoversary Giveaways!

Today I have a real treat!!


The Plot Is Murder (Mystery Bookshop)
by V.M. Burns
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series

The small town of North Harbor on the shores of Lake Michigan is about to have a new mystery bookshop. But before the first customer can browse, the owner becomes a real-life murder suspect . . .

Samantha Washington has long dreamed of owning a mystery bookstore. And as she prepares for the grand opening, she’s realizing another dream—penning a cozy mystery set in England between the wars. While Samantha hires employees and stocks her shelves, her imagination also gets to work as her heroine, Lady Penelope Marsh, long-overshadowed by her beautiful sister Daphne, refuses to lose the besotted Victor Carlston to her sibling’s charms. When one of Daphne’s suitors is murdered in a maze, Penelope steps in to solve the labyrinthine puzzle and win Victor.

In the meantime, however, the unimaginable happens in real life. A shady realtor turns up dead in Samantha’s backyard, and the police suspect her—after all, she might know a thing or two about murder. Aided by her feisty grandmother and an ensemble of enthusiastic retirees, Samantha is determined to close the case before she opens her store. But will she live to conclude her own story when the killer has a revised ending in mind?

I am giving away 10 PRINT Copies of The Plot is Murder

The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian 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.

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 January 8, 2021, 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

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

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

Absence of Alice (A Sarah W. Garage Sale Mystery) by Sherry Harris #Review @KensingtonBooks @SHarrisAuthor

Absence of Alice is Available Today!!!


Absence of Alice (A Sarah W. Garage Sale Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
9th in Series
Setting – Massachusetts
Publisher: Kensington (December 29, 2020)
Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN-10: 1496722531
ISBN-13: 978-1496722539
Kindle ASIN: B086R9N5JR

For bargain hunter extraordinaire Sarah Winston, starting life over in Ellington, Massachusetts, has been a true trash-to-treasure success story, except when there’s a run on dead bodies . . .

Sarah’s latest client, Alice Krandle, is sure she has a fortune in antiques on her hands. She’s already gotten a generous offer for the whole lot before her garage sale has even begun, but she thinks she can earn more with Sarah’s expert help. The problem is that while Sarah’s sorting through items from decades past, her landlady, Stella, faces a clear and present danger.

Stella’s kidnapper has contacted Sarah with a set of instructions, and “Don’t call the police” is at the top of the list.  But they didn’t say anything about Sarah’s friend Harriet—who happens to be a former FBI hostage negotiator . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Sarah Winston is busy with a huge sale, but that takes a backseat when she receives a very important phone call. A call where she learns her landlady and friend Stella Wild has been kidnapped. The caller informs her that she must follow their rules if she ever wants to see Stella again alive and well.

Rule #1 – You can’t go to the police, your friend Seth, or Mike “The Big Cheese” Titone for help.

Rule #2 – You have to go about your daily routine like nothing’s happened. And act natural.

Rule #3 – You’ll complete all the daily tasks I send you while following rules number one and two.

Thankful that the creepy kidnapper had not mentioned her friend Harriet because she just may need her help as a former FBI hostage negotiator to save Stella. The person seems to know all about her life, so now she just needs to figure out how. Keeping secrets from her friends could cost her in the end but she has to do everything she can to find Stella even if it means following the rules to the letter.


Sarah is a strong independent protagonist and she is going to need to be more alert than normal to catch every clue because the people she usually leans on are all off-limits if she wants to save her friend. All the characters were have come to love over the course of this story return but with the exception of Harriet, no one even knows Stella is missing. We do meet a new character too. His presence was questionable at times but I hope he sticks around. All these characters are well-crafted and while the depths of the friendships are tested all their interactions are realistic and believable.

Ms. Harris has written a very complicated mystery with a lot of moving parts. Twists and turns make this a challenging mystery to solve. It had an extra eerie feel as the kidnapper always knew everything. It was a true game of cat and mouse that leads up to an incredibly surprising and exciting reveal.

What I really like is the way the author infuses humor in all the right places to keep the story within the cozy realm. Without it, this could have been a dark heavy mystery.

Absence of Alice kept me totally entertained. I was amazed by how quickly the pages flipped. My visit with Sarah and her friends ended much too soon, I am anxiously awaiting book ten!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Sherry Harris

Sherry Harris is the Agatha Award-nominated author of the Sarah Winston Garage Sale Mystery series and the upcoming Chloe Jackson Sea Glass Saloon mysteries. She is a past president of Sisters in Crime, and a member of the Chesapeake Chapter of Sisters in Crime, the New England Chapter of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and International Thriller Writers.

In her spare time, Sherry loves reading and is a patent-holding inventor. Sherry, her husband, and guard dog Lily are living in northern Virginia until they figure out where they want to move to next.

Author Links – Kensington –  Website  – Facebook 


Also by Sherry Harris

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 Thoughts

Dollycas’s Best Reads of 2020

Dollycas’s Best Reads of 2020

There were so many great books this year and many were classified as “Perfect Escapes” by me, but this list contains the books that received a “Paradise Rating”, those that I enjoyed so much I thought they deserved more than 5 star-fish.

They are in no particular order. 

Congratulations to all the authors!

The Book of Candlelight (Secret, Book, & Scone Society)
3rd in Series
Setting – North Carolina
Publisher: Kensington (January 28, 2020)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1496712439
ISBN-13: 978-1496712431
Kindle ASIN: B07R4K4DMR

You can read my review here.

The Boy from the Woods
Suspense Thriller
Setting – New Jersey
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (March 17, 2020)
Hardcover: 384 pages
ISBN-10: 1538748142
ISBN-13: 978-1538748145
Kindle ASIN: B07TYBQJBM

You can read my review here.

Lavender Blue Murder (A Tea Shop Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
21th in Series
Setting – South Carolina
Publisher: Berkley (March 3, 2020)
Hardcover: 336 pages
ISBN-10: 0451489667
ISBN-13: 978-0451489661
Digital ASIN: B07SSQ1X4R

You can read my review here.

A Small Town Can Be #Murder (Whistle Stop Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Publisher: Skye Bridge Publishing (December 21, 2019)
Paperback: 196 pages
ISBN-10: 0578605481
ISBN-13: 978-0578605487
Digital ASIN: B082YLDW43

You can read my review here.

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Southern Sass and a Crispy Corpse (A Marygene Brown Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Georgia Coast
Publisher: Kensington (May 26, 2020)
Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-10: 1496721470
ISBN-13: 978-1496721471
Digital ASIN: B07W4MRDKR

You can read my review here.

A Deadly Inside Scoop (An Ice Cream Parlor Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Ohio
Publisher: Berkley (May 12, 2020)
Paperback: 384 pages
ISBN-10: 0593099664
ISBN-13: 978-0593099667
Digital ASIN: B07WJF48NC

You can read my review here.

The Key Lime Crime: A Key West Food Critic Mystery
Cozy Mystery
10th in Series
Setting – Florida
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books (August 11, 2020)
Hardcover: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 1643853082
ISBN-13: 978-1643853086
ASIN: B07Z2TR2Z2

You can read my review here.

Cake Popped Off (Cupcake Catering Mystery Series)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in the Series
Setting – California
Publisher: Cinnamon & Sugar Press (September 22, 2020)
Print Length: 295 pages
Digital ASIN: B08DZ7Z96H

You can read my review here.

Cold Wind: A Mystery (Alaska Wild Series)
Suspense/Mystery – Some Explicit Language
2nd in Series
Setting – Alaska
Publisher: Minotaur Books (December 8, 2020)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1250295319
ISBN-13: 978-1250295316
Kindle ASIN: B084M26ST6

You can read my review here.

Wine Tastings Are Murder (A Poppy McAllister Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Setting – New Jersey
Publisher: Kensington (December 1, 2020)
Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
ISBN-10: 1496723392
ISBN-13: 978-1496723390
Kindle ASIN: B085LTRQ3P

You can read my review here.

Fields’ Guide to Pharaohs (The Poppy Fields Adventures)
Mystery/Suspense
5th in Series
Setting – Egypt
Publisher: J & M Press (March 31, 2020)
Paperback: 238 pages
ISBN-13: 979-8632308649
Kindle ASIN: B082Z9FLFX

You can read my review here.

Fields’ Guide to Dirty Money (The Poppy Fields Adventures)
Mystery/Suspense
6th in Series
Setting – Cayman Islands
Publisher: Independently published (September 24, 2020)
Paperback: 218 pages
ISBN-13: 979-8690016531
Kindle ASIN: B0867JSW64

You can read my review here.

What were your favorite books this year? Please share them in the comment section below so we can all see them and add them to our wish lists!

I am so excited about the books being released in 2021.
There is no way I will be able to read them all.

I have started a list of 2021 Recommendations, they are mostly cozy mysteries. I will continue to add to the page all year through and announce future escapes on My Monday Reading Itinerary posts.

2021 Recommendations

I hope you have enjoyed my reviews, recommendations, and giveaways. It has been a pleasure to be your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent again this year.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

Posted in 2020 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge Read The Printed Word Challenge TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Banana Cream Pie Murder (A Hannah Swensen Mystery) by Joanne Fluke #Review | #Giveaway @KensingtonBooks @JoanneFluke

Banana Cream Pie Murder (A Hannah Swensen Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
21st in Series
Setting – Minnesota
Publisher: Kensington (February 28, 2017)
Hardcover: 368 pages
ISBN-10: 1617732206
ISBN-13: 978-1617732201
Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages
ISBN-10: 1617732222
ISBN-13: 978-1617732225
Kindle ASIN: B01GBAIXD8

New York Times Bestseller: After a glorious honeymoon, baker Hannah Swensen must deal with a ghastly homicide…

A romantic seven-day cruise is the perfect start to bakery owner Hannah Swensen’s marriage. However, with a murder mystery heating up back in Minnesota, it seems the newlywed’s homecoming won’t be as sweet as anticipated.

Hannah’s eager to settle down in Lake Eden and turn domestic daydreams into reality. But then her mother’s neighbor is discovered murdered in the condo downstairs. Victoria Bascomb, once a renowned stage actress, was active in the theater community during her brief appearance in town and made throngs of enemies along the way. Did a random intruder murder the woman as police claim, or was a deadlier scheme at play? As Hannah peels through countless suspects and some new troubles of her own, solving this crime—and living to tell about it—might prove trickier than mixing up the ultimate banana cream pie . . .

Features over a dozen cookie and dessert recipes from The Cookie Jar!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Hannah and Ross are back from their honeymoon cruise just in the nick of time. Her mother is caught up in a murder investigation when she finds her downstairs neighbor dead after hearing a ruckus below. Victoria Bascomb had been very active in the local theater community after her own acting career fizzled. The problem was that she really wasn’t well-liked in Lake Eden and may have had some other enemies before arriving in town. The police believe her death was a random act but Hannah nor her mother believe that is not the case. With a little help from her friends and family, Hannah starts to peel away at the clues and suspects but she may slip up and this could be the last we hear from Hannah Swenson.


I am still adjusting to Hannah choosing Ross over Mike or Norman. The decision has really changed the Hannah I have come to love over the course of this series. The relationship just doesn’t feel comfortable and seems to have zapped a lot of her confidence. At times, she just doesn’t seem happy. She also appears to have become technologically inept. Please, Hannah is a smart woman and would know how to use a smart phone. There are a few other instances where Hannah just comes off as a shell of the woman I have come to love. I hope we get the old Hannah back in future books.

I did like that Hannah’s sister Michelle is back in town. In fact, she is the one that does most of the baking in this book. Dishing up new ideas for breakfast for Hannah and Ross. She is their houseguest while she is visiting. Mike and Norman are also thankfully still around, dropping by to eat mostly but Norman does spend a little sleuthing time with the sisters. Dolores and Doc redecorated most of Ross and Hannah’s home while they were away on their honeymoon cruise. Another thing I don’t think the old Hannah would have been on board with. Dolores finding the body this time allowed her to be in the limelight for a lot of the book.

The mystery itself didn’t take shape until way past the halfway point and for me, it was an easy solve even with the variety of suspects. Hannah did find herself in some dicey situations, and the reveal was very entertaining. The ending of the book was the biggest surprise. A surprise that sets up a cliffhanger. A surprise that may be an answer to my prayers. The next book, Raspberry Danish Murder, is on my To-Be-Read Shelf and I hope to be reading it soon.

Banana Cream Pie is one of my favorites. I can wait to try Hannah’s recipe. There are also about 20 more recipes to try. The recipes are interspersed throughout the book, so my taste buds were tempted the entire way.

Banana Cream Pie Murder was a fun, lighthearted read with plenty of humor. I do enjoy catching up with these characters and am looking forward to another trip to Lake Eden.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

JOANNE FLUKE is the New York Times bestselling author of the Hannah Swensen mysteries, which include Double Fudge Brownie Murder, Blackberry Pie MurderCinnamon Roll Murder, and the book that started it all, Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder. That first installment in the series premiered as Murder, She Baked:  A Chocolate Chip Cookie Mystery on the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Channel. Like Hannah Swensen, Joanne Fluke was born and raised in a small town in rural Minnesota but now lives in Southern California. Please visit her online at www.JoanneFluke.com.



I am giving away 1 Kindle Copy!

The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

Follow Kensington Books on Twitter for 2 Bonus Entries!

LIKE Kensington Publishing on Facebook for 2 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 receive5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End January 9, 2021, 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

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

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

The Malt in Our Stars (A Literary Pub Mystery) by Sarah Fox #Review @KensingtonBooks @TheWriteFox

The Malt in Our Stars (A Literary Pub Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Vermont
Publisher: Kensington (November 24, 2020)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1496718704
ISBN-13: 978-1496718709
Kindle ASIN: B085LTJ164

There’s some shady business in Shady Creek, Vermont, this spring—in the third mystery by USA Today bestselling author Sarah Fox featuring pub owner and amateur sleuth Sadie Coleman . . .

Sadie is delighted to have booked famous romantic suspense novelist Linnea Bliss for an event at The Inkwell, her literary-themed pub, housed in a renovated grist mill. The author and her personal assistant Marcie are staying at Shady Creek Manor, a grand historical hotel that was once a private mansion and is rumored to still hold hidden treasure somewhere within its walls.

But the hotel’s storied past is nothing compared to its tragic present when Marcie plummets to her death from an open window on the third floor. After Sadie discovers signs of a struggle in the room, it’s clear that someone assisted the assistant out the window. But Marcie is new in town—who would have a motive to kill her?

In between pulling pints and naming literary-themed cocktails, Sadie takes it on herself to solve the case, wondering if the crime is connected to the vandalized vehicles of a film crew in town to do a feature on local brewer Grayson Blake, with whom Sadie shares a strong flirtation. Or could the poor woman’s defenestration have anything to do with the legendary treasure? As Shady Creek Manor prepares for a May Day masquerade ball, Sadie is determined to unmask the killer—but when she uncorks a whole lot of trouble, will she meet a bitter end?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Welcome to the Inkwell, a literary-themed pub owned by Sadie Coleman. Sadie is excited to host her first truly literary event, a book signing by famous romantic suspense novelist Linnea Bliss. The author and her assistant are staying nearby at Shady Creek Manor. The former private mansion has quite a history and some people believe there is a treasure hidden somewhere on the premises.

The book signing went great but the next day the author’s assistant falls to her death from a third-floor window at Shady Creek Manor. Sadie had been having lunch with Linnea Bliss and was leaving when she heard the young woman’s screams. Arriving at the scene just after she hits the pavement. Sadie puts on her sleuthing hat and decides to check out the room on the third floor before the police arrive. She knows immediately that fall was no accident. Linnea’s assistant was murdered. They were just visiting Shady Creek, why would anyone want to murder an author’s personal assistant? Sadie is determined to find out. Maybe it has something to do with the film crew from Craft Nation, a reality TV show, in town filming at Grayson Blake’s brewery. Maybe a fan of the author took things to the extreme. Or could it have been someone looking for the hidden treasure?


I love the setting of this series. A pub full of books, a menu full of literary-themed foods and drink, all reached by going over a little footbridge over Shady Creek. It would definitely be my happy place. Growing up my parents owned a tavern so I know the ins and outs. None of us kids wanted to take it over so it was sold but had I thought I could turn it into a place like the Inkwell, I may have changed my mind. Sadie has really taken her theme and ran with it. The food and drink all have names derived from popular books, like the Malt in My Stars.

Sadie is making herself right at home in Shady Creek and her pub appears to be a hit. She has found herself wrapped up in a few murder investigations. Her curious nature is well suited to her amateur sleuthing. The author has surrounded her protagonist with a strong supporting cast. Her Aunt Gilda owns a beauty shop and she keeps her ears open for any gossip that could help Sadie in her endeavors. Sadie leans heavily on her two employees, Damien and Melanie. They know the business and their presence lets Sadie run off to chase down any clues that pop up. Grayson Blake, owner of the Spirit Hill Brewery has really started to grow on Sadie. She gets all flustered around him because she can feel their relationship moving in what could be a romantic direction.

Ms. Fox has entwined two mysteries in this book. They may or may not be related but Sadie finds herself trying to solve both. They both had some nice twists and I enjoyed how they played out. I especially liked that the murder reveal happened at the annual Masquerade Party at the manor. It was the perfect place to unmask a killer. There were plenty of clues sparsed out throughout the book but I must have missed something because I was totally surprised when the killer was identified. Or more likely, Sarah Fox wrote a heck of a story that I escaped right into and let Sadie do the hard work. The story was very well-written and plotted and so interesting.

The Malt in Our Stars is a wonderful whodunit. Complex characters, an intriguing mystery, and a fun setting had me totally entertained from beginning to end. I am really looking forward to the next book in this series.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

You can read my review of Wine and Punishment here
and An Ale of Two Cities here

About the Author

Sarah Fox is the author of the Music Lover’s Mystery series and the USA Today bestselling Pancake House Mystery series. When not writing novels or working as a legal writer, she can often be found reading her way through a stack of books or spending time outdoors with her English Springer Spaniel. Sarah lives in British Columbia and is a member of Crime Writers of Canada. Visit her online at AuthorSarahFox.com.


Also by Sarah Fox

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 2020 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Candy Cane Crime (An Amish Candy Shop Mystery) by Amanda Flower #Review / #Giveaway @KensingtonBooks @aflowerwriter

CANDY CANE CRIME
Candy Cane Crime (An Amish Candy Shop Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
Short Story (Novella)
Setting – Ohio
Publisher: Kensington Books (October 27, 2020)
Print length: 84 pages
ASIN: B08C9DQJVV

A candy-striped caper . . .

Christmas is coming all too quickly for Harvest, Ohio’s famous chocolatier, Bailey King. Thanks to her new cable TV show, her shop has more candy orders than she can handle this holiday season. Fortunately, her beloved Cousin Charlotte is happy to take the Candy Cane Exchange off Bailey’s to-do list. After all, Charlotte has come to Harvest from her conservative home district to find her future outside of her family’s influence. What better way than by taking on the Englisch task of pairing the sweet notes everyone is exchanging with a peppermint treat, just in time for Christmas Eve delivery? But when Charlotte discovers some of those delicious missives are for her, suddenly she’s staking out the festive postbox, hoping to catch her secret admirer in his intriguing tracks . . .

When Charlotte sees something underhanded going on beneath the merrymaking, she enlists the help of Sheriff Deputy Luke Little to find out if her unknown correspondent is none other than the town’s biggest suspect. And the surprising truth about her suitor’s identity has her contemplating leaving her Amish roots behind forever . . .

Recipe Included!

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

Christmas at Swissmen Sweets is a busy time. Online orders are flooding in along with all the people stopping by to pick up goodies for the family celebrations. Chocolatier Bailey King is worried they won’t get all the orders filled especially because she needs to make a quick trip to New York to promote her new cable television show Bailey’s Amish Sweets. Then Margot Rawlings comes into the shop and wants Bailey to handle the Candy Cane Exchange fundraiser she has organized to raise money for new costumes for the Christmas pageant. For one dollar residents can arrange to have a candy cane with a personal note attached for the person of their choice. Swissmen Sweets had already donated a supply of candy canes and Bailey tells Margot she just can’t take on anything more. Margot is a pushy woman and doesn’t understand why Bailey can’t handle getting the notes from the dropbox and attach the notes to the candy canes. Seeing her cousin Bailey stressed out, Charlotte steps up to take on the tasks required.

Charlotte is excited about her new Christmas assignment and visits the dropbox several times a day to collect the notes and the money. She gets flustered when she sees someone, a secret admirer, wants to send her some candy canes. She goes a little crazy wondering who her secret admirer could be. So much so, with a little help, she sets up a stakeout to try to find out who it is. But what she sees is a crime being committed. She talks Sheriff Deputy Luke Little into helping her catch the candy cane criminal in the act. She also learns the identity of her secret admirer.


Another quick trip to Harvest and just in time for the holidays.

I love that Charlotte was featured again in this story. The shy conservative young lady who is still on her extended rumspringa is getting a little more independent each day. She has a huge decision to make and the events that take place in this book are not going to make her decision any easier. I enjoy reading a story from her point of view because she has a unique voice when it comes to the world around her. She has immerged as a very strong character in this series, and I like where the author has taken her. I am excited to see what Charlotte’s future holds for her too.

No murder in Harvest this time though. A crime is uncovered and the mystery of Charlotte’s secret admirer and that was more than enough to keep me totally entertained.

The short novellas that take place between the full-length books are a real treat. There is always something happening in Harvest and this holiday story is a great way to help get people in the Christmas spirit.

Candy Cane Crime is a delightfully lighthearted story fans of this series are sure to love. It also gives new readers of the series a taste of what they have been missing. I recommend the entire Amish Candy Shop Mystery Series highly.

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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


Coming April 27, 2021

Also by Amanda Flower
Coming February 23, 2021




Amish Quilt Shop Mystery Series (writing as Isabella Alan)

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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 2020 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Finish The Series Challenge New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Varnished without a Trace (A Tallie Graver Mystery) by Misty Simon #Review @KensingtonBooks


Varnished without a Trace (A Tallie Graver Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Setting – Pennsylvania
Publisher: Kensington (September 29, 2020)
Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN-10: 1496723767
ISBN-13: 978-1496723765
Kindle ASIN: B082WR62G8

This Christmas, Tallie Graver would like to take a break from running her cleaning business to be with her boyfriend, Max, and enjoy their first holiday together–alone. Instead, she’s stuck keeping her mother and grandmother from duking it out during the town’s annual Christmas Eve bingo game. As for the festive spirit, she’ll have to settle for her mean-spirited Aunt Ronda, whose mouth could use some soap.

The night only gets worse after Tallie discovers Ronda’s body. It seems someone cleaned her clock with a can of varnish. While all the evidence points to Ronda’s husband, Tallie doesn’t believe her beloved Uncle Hoagie could do such a dirty deed. Of course, his sudden disappearance doesn’t help his case. If Tallie hopes to clear his name, she’ll need to dig up some dirt to locate the real killer. Otherwise, someone else could get rubbed out . . .

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

Christmas, Bingo, and Bodies! Yes, it is another fun book from Misty Simon!

Tallie and Max are turning her little apartment above the funeral home into their own little penthouse just in time for the holidays. Max is trying to get his accountant practice up and running but he could be making a career change. Tallie is trying to take a little break from her cleaning business to run interference between her mother and grandmother who has come to town for the holidays. Her plans go a little awry when she is separated from her elders at the annual Christmas Eve bingo event at the fire station. She ends up sitting next to her Aunt Ronda, a bingo regular who is upset by all the holiday interlopers winning the prizes.

When Tallie wins the final game Ronda leaves in a huff. Tallie notices Ronda has left her bag behind tries to catch up with her outside. She does find her but Ronda won’t be playing bingo ever again as she is very dead with a can of varnish by her side. Boy, that happened quick.

Seeing that her Uncle Hoagie owns the local hardware store where the varnish came from the police want to talk to him immediately. One problem, Uncle Hoagie is nowhere to be found. Add to that, someone is setting fires around town. No one has been hurt yet but it appears the firebug is escalating.

Tallie isn’t sure if it’s the holiday spirit or if Police Chief Burton facing the inevitable but he asks for Tallie’s help in solving the murder case. Equally surprising, her Uncle Sherman, the fire chief, asks for Tallie’s assistance in solving the firebug case too. If Tallie wants to ring in a bright and shining new year she needs to wrap up both mysteries as soon as possible.


Wow, Ms. Simon packs a lot into these pages along with a generous supply of giggles.

I am so happy Max has moved in with Tallie. They compliment each other nicely and he has a way of handling her family in a way she never could. Tallie is getting stronger but hasn’t left behind all her insecurities.

We are introduced to two new characters in this story. Tallie’s grandmother and Burton’s father. Both strong characters and meeting them shines a light on the other characters they have touched over a lifetime. The author continues to allow her characters to grow in a realistic way.

The story has a nice twist in that not one but two people ask Tallie for her help realizing she has a talent for solving mysteries. She proves it when her observations turn the story in a different direction. Due to the murder, we meet Ronda and Hoagie’s children and again it prompts Tallie to ask key questions. Ms. Simon’s writing style takes her readers right into the ebbs and flows are Tallie’s life, like we are looking right over her shoulder as she follows the clues wherever they lead. This new partnership between Tallie and Burton gives a different dimension. I wonder if it will last.

I have enjoyed every book in this series but I feel Varnished without a Trace is the best one yet. I just can’t get enough of these characters. I strived this year to get caught up on this series and I am a little sad that I now have to wait for the next installment. Until next year, Tallie! I am not tapping my foot or anything. Okay, I am, but I know writing and publishing great stories take time. 🙂

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About the Author

Misty Simon is the author of the Tallie Graver Mystery series. She loves a good story and decided one day that she would try her hand at it. Eventually, she got it right. There’s nothing better in the world than making someone laugh, and she hopes everyone at least snickers in the right places when reading her books. She lives with her husband, daughter, and three insane dogs in Central Pennsylvania where she is hard at work on her next novel or three. She loves to hear from readers so drop her a line at misty@mistysimon.com You can find Misty Simon on Facebook here. and on her blog 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 2020 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge New Release Challenge Purrfect Reading Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Wine Tastings Are Murder (A Poppy McAllister Mystery) by Libby Klein #Review @KensingtonBooks @LibbyKleinBooks


Wine Tastings Are Murder (A Poppy McAllister Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Setting – New Jersey
Publisher: Kensington (December 1, 2020)
Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
ISBN-10: 1496723392
ISBN-13: 978-1496723390
Kindle ASIN: B085LTRQ3P

It’s vintage Poppy McAllister when the gluten-free baker and B&B owner tries to solve a murder at a Cape May winery . . .

 

When Poppy and Aunt Ginny agreed to host a Wine and Cheese Happy Hour for a tour group at their Butterfly House Bed and Breakfast on the Jersey Shore, they never anticipated such a sour bunch. Grumpy guest Vince Baker should be in a better mood—he’s filthy rich and on his honeymoon with his much younger wife Sunny, who seems to dote on him almost as much as her high-spirited teacup Pomeranian, Tammy Faye Baker.

 

But the honeymoon is over when Vince drops dead the next day touring the Laughing Gull Winery. Turns out he’s been poisoned, and it seems like everybody on the tour is hiding something. Now Poppy has to put her gluten-free baking on the back burner and bottle up her feelings for the two men in her life while she charges after a bitter killer with a lethal case of sour grapes . . .

 

Includes Seven Recipes from Poppy’s Kitchen!

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Poppy McAllister is back along with her Aunt Ginny. Their B&B is open and they are hosting a Wine and Cheese Happy Hour for a tour group. The members of the group are staying at various B&B’s, one couple is even staying at a campground in their RV. Vince and Sunny Baker along with her Pomeranian, Tammy Faye are staying at Poppy’s Butterfly House Bed and Breakfast. They are later joined by Vince’s daughter and her husband when they unexpectedly crash the party and join the tour. They are not happy with Vince’s new wife and make their displeasure clearly known.

The next day the tour group travels to the Laughing Gull Winery. In the middle of the tasting, Vince keels over dead. At first, everyone thinks he had a heart attack but the man was definitely poisoned and everyone in the room becomes a suspect. With one of her guests dead, Poppy adds catch a killer to her long to-do list. Wait! Could the killer be under her roof as well?


OMG! I laughed so hard several times while reading this book, One time I laughed so hard I had tears in my eyes. My funny bone was thoroughly tickled time and again.

Victory emerged from Aunt Ginny’s bedroom at the back of the kitchen wearing a low-cut French maid costume with thigh-high stockings. 

Sawyer came in just in time to see me choke on my coffee. “Whoa!” Sawyer giggled and had to cover her mouth. “Oh, Poppy. That is so much better than I imagined.”

Aunt Ginny emerged behind Victory with a genuine feather duster in her hand. “Look it fits her. What? Why are you making that face?”

and

“The Bible says: “With great power comes great responsibility.” Aunt Ginny folded her arms across her chest and tried to stare me down. 

“That’s not the Bible. That’s Spider-Man.”

Aunt Ginny narrowed her eyes. “Are you sure? I think it’s in the Bible.”

“Not unless there’s a chapter written by Stan Lee.” 

Those are just two of my favorite scenes. There are many more.

Beyond the humor, Ms. Klein serves us such wonderful characters. Libby and her Aunt Ginny are two of my favorite cozy personalities. You never know what is going to come out of Ginny’s mouth or the antics she and her friends are going to get into. Think Golden Girls on steroids!

Poppy is still trying to decide between Gia and Tim while baking for each of their restaurants, running the B&B, trying to keep Ginny in line, and now investigating another murder. She gets stronger in each story. Her sleuthing is improving too.

All the supporting characters are developing nicely. The new characters that are introduced are quite a crew. All seem to be hiding something. They were all very well-crafted. The pet characters are great too! Figuro may have met his match!

The mystery to solve was so much fun with a plethora of twists and turns. To avoid spoilers I won’t say more but the big reveal was epic and a total surprise. I loved it!!

This entire series is fantastic. I anxiously await each new book. Wine Tastings Are Murder is stellar, captivating, hilarious, and a must-read. The ending also sets up a huge cliffhanger! So now I am counting down the days until June 29, 2021. The day Beauty Expos Are Murder hits store shelves! 203 days! 

Wine Tastings Are Murder is definitely one of the best books I have read this year and receives my Paradise Rating!

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

You can read my review of Midnight Snacks Are Murder here. 

You can read my review of Restaurant Weeks Are Murder here

You can read my review of Theater Nights Are Murder here.

Libby Klein dabbles in the position of Vice President of a technology company which mostly involves bossing other people around, making spreadsheets, and taking out the trash. She writes culinary cozy mysteries from her Northern Virginia office while trying to keep her cat Figaro off her keyboard.
Author Links – Webpage – Facebook – Twitter – Pinterest  – Cozy Mystery Crew  – GoodReads –  BookBub – Instagram –  Amazon 

 


Coming June 29, 2021

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.”