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

Cozy Wednesday featuring Long Island Iced Tina (A Catering Hall Mystery) by Maria DiRico #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am excited to share my thought with you today about Long Island Iced Tina! 


Long Island Iced Tina (A Catering Hall Mystery)
by Maria DiRico

About Long Island Iced Tina 


Long Island Iced Tina (A Catering Hall Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – New York
Publisher: Kensington (February 23, 2021)
Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN-10: 1496725352
ISBN-13: 978-1496725356
Digital ASIN: B089NCJ9NS

Mia Carina is back in the borough of Queens—in charge of the family catering hall, Belle View Banquet Manor, and keeping her nonna company. But some events—like murder—are not the kind you can schedule . . .

 

Mia’s newly pregnant friend Nicole plans to hold a shower at Belle View—but Nicole also has to attend one that her competitive (and mysteriously rich) stepmother, Tina, is throwing at the fanciest place in Queens. It’s a good chance for Mia to snoop on a competitor, especially since doing a search for “how to run a catering hall” can get you only so far.

 

Mia tags along at the lavish party, but the ambience suffers at Nicole’s Belle View shower when a fight breaks out—and then, oddly, a long-missing and valuable stolen painting is unwrapped by the mom-to-be. Tina is clearly shocked to see it. But not as shocked as Mia is when, soon afterward, she spots the lifeless body of a party guest floating in the marina . . .

 

Italian recipes included!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Mia Carina manages Belle View Banquet Manor, a catering hall her father, former mob enforcer, Ravello Carina, acquired through interesting circumstances. She is excited that one of her upcoming events is a baby shower for her friend Nicole. But then she learns that this is not the only shower being held for the mother-to-be. Her stepmother, Tina has booked another shower at the ritzy Versailles on the Park. Nicole invites Mia to the other shower and she gladly accepts because it will give her the chance to check out the upscale competition. She also sees the very selfish style of Tina and understands how she was given the nickname of step-monster.

The shower at Belle View gets off to a great start, that is until Tina shows up unfashionably late and gets into a fight with the host, Nicole’s grandmother, Minnie. The event really gets even more crazy when one of the gifts appears to be a priceless stolen painting from the step-monster herself.  But Tina denies the gift is from her especially when the police arrive to investigate the artwork that has been missing for years. Thinking the worst is behind her Mia is ready to head home but then she sees the body, the body floating in the marina behind Belle View.


Ms. DiRico has created such wonderful characters. Our protagonist Mia Carina is trying so hard to make Belle View Banquet Manor a success while doing a little sleuthing on the side. She is surrounded by a wide-ranging group of supporting characters that will have you laughing out loud and shaking your head. Her Nonna is involved in many things throughout the story but one of her exploits had me laughing so hard I had tears running down my face. Mia is also trying to master a skill with her “friend” Jamie’s help which also generated some comedic moments. I know murder is a serious subject but this author knows how to bring the funny in all the right places. I loved the way she did this.

Okay, back to the serious murder. The author plotted a strong complex mystery with a variety of facets. We are introduced to several new characters/suspects as Mia chases down clues, sometimes with Jamie’s help. I really enjoyed following along with Mia for each twist and clue, and there were a lot. My suspect list shuffled several times. The big reveal was very surprising and exciting. In addition to the main mystery, the author blends in some memorable subplots.

I have so much fun visiting this Italian family for all the crazy exploits. There truly is never a dull moment when the Carina family is involved.

Long Island Iced Tina is a captivating cozy with a mystery that will test readers as they try to keep up with Mia. It was most definitely A Perfect Escape!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Maria DiRico

Maria DiRico

Maria DiRico is the pseudonym for Ellen Byron, author of the award-winning, USA Today bestselling Cajun Country Mysteries. Born in Queens, New York, she is a first-generation Italian-American on her mother’s side and the granddaughter of a low-level Jewish mobster on her father’s side. She grew up visiting the Astoria Manor and Grand Bay Marina catering halls, which were run by her Italian mother’s family in Queens, and have become the inspiration for her Catering Hall Mystery Series. DiRico has been a writer-producer for hit television series like Wings and Just Shoot Me, and her first play, Graceland, appears in the Best Short Plays collection. She’s a freelance journalist, with over 200 articles published in national magazines, and previously worked as a cater-waiter for Martha Stewart, a credit she never tires of sharing. A native New Yorker who attended Tulane University, Ellen lives in Los Angeles with her husband, daughter, and two rescue dogs.

Author Links – Website Chicks on the Case – Facebook  Twitter

Purchase Links –

Amazon – B&N – Kobo – Google Play – IndieBound

Coming October 26, 2021

Written as Ellen Byron

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Great Escapes Praise for Long Island Iced Tina (A Catering Hall Mystery)
by Maria DiRico

Ms. DiRico has an amazing imagination, and it shows throughout this book which transports the reader into the story so perfectly.
~Baroness’ Book Trove

LONG ISLAND ICED TINA is a thoroughly enjoyable laugh out loud mystery that kept me engaged from start to finish.
~Cozy Up With Kathy

Maria DiRico writes with such flair and an easy style. There were a plethora of suspects to choose from who might have had the motive to kill and I enjoyed the way in which Mia evaluated the information acquired from her poking around.
~Brianne’s Book Reviews

It took me about 10 to 15 % to get fully immersed back into the mob world, as sometimes it’s a little over the top… but once you settle in, it’s quite a hoot, and I found myself unwilling to put it down before bed.
~This Is My Truth Now

I love that Mia is so embroiled in her tight Italian family and speaks with her close relatives in Italian as easily as English. The family works hard together with obvious love and support for each other and the writing style weighs heavily in their inherited sense of humor, their love of the city, and their shared history.
~Rosepoint Publishing

Full of charm and surprise twists we get taken on an adventure as it all plays out making for a great addition to this series. Sure to delight cozy mystery fans. I totally loved it so I give it 5/5 stars.
~Books a Plenty Book Reviews

TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please visit all the stops. 
March 1 – Baroness Book Trove – REVIEW
March 1 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
March 1 – Novels Alive – SPOTLIGHT
March 2 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
March 2 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
March 2 – Brianne’s Book Reviews – REVIEW
March 3 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW, EXCERPT
March 3 – This Is My Truth Now – REVIEW, RECIPE, AUTHOR INTERVIEW 
March 3 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
March 4 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
March 4 – ebook addicts – SPOTLIGHT, RECIPE
March 5 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – GUEST POST
March 5 – Read Your Writes Book Reviews – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
March 5 – Cassidy’s Bookshelves – SPOTLIGHT
March 6 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT, RECIPE
March 6 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
March 7 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW
March 7 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, RECIPE
March 7 – I Read What You Write – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
March 8 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
March 8 – Literary Gold – CHARACTER GUEST POST
March 9 – Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
March 9 – Novels Alive – REVIEW
March 9 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
March 10 – Socrates Book Reviews – REVIEW
March 10 – Author Elena Taylor’s Blog – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
March 10 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
March 10 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

Have you signed up to be a Tour Host?

Click Here to Find Details and Sign Up Today!


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 Alphabet Soup A -Z Author Edition Challenge Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours New Release Challenge Purrfect Reading Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday – featuring – Here Comes the Body (A Catering Hall Mystery) by Maria DiRico #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour


Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am excited to share my thoughts with you today about
Here Comes the Body by Maria DiRico!

Note there are several recipes in this book and
you can find a few of them being shared on other tour stops! 

Here Comes the Body (A Catering Hall Mystery)
by Maria DiRico

About Here Comes the Body


Here Comes the Body (A Catering Hall Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – New York
Publisher: Kensington (February 25, 2020)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 page
ISBN-10: 1496725344
ISBN-13: 978-1496725349
Digital ASIN: B07R8WYLSC

After her philandering husband’s boat went down, newly single Mia Carina went back to Astoria, the bustling Queens neighborhood of her youth. Living with her Nonna and her oversized cat, Doorstop, she’s got a whole new life—including some amateur sleuthing . . .

 

Mia is starting work at Belle View, her father’s catering hall, a popular spot for weddings, office parties, and more—despite the planes that occasionally roar overhead on their way to LaGuardia and rattle the crystal chandelier. Soon she’s planning a bachelor party for a less-than-gentlemanly groom. But it goes awry when the gigantic cake is wheeled in and a deadly surprise is revealed . . .

 

Since some of her family’s associates are on the shady side, the NYPD wastes no time in casting suspicion on Mia’s father. Now, Mia’s going to have to use all her street smarts to keep him out of Rikers Island . . .

Italian recipes included!

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

Readers are introduced to Mia Carina and her family. She has come home to Queens after her being cleared in her husband’s suspicious death with her cat lovingly named Doorstop. They have moved into her Nonna’s upper apartment. She will be working with her father, former mob enforcer, Ravello Carina, at a business he recently acquired. Belle View is a hot spot for weddings, bachelor parties, and family reunions. Even local support groups meet there.

Mia’s first event is a bachelor party complete with a stripper popping out of a cake. But the woman inside the cake does not “pop” as planned, in fact, the woman inside the cake is not the woman hired for the party but someone who accused Ravello of not paying his debt to her the day before and she won’t be “popping” anywhere. Someone left her dead body along with a check for a million dollars signed by Ravello inside the cake.

The police think the case is a slam-dunk but Mia is determined to prove her dad’s innocence. When a second body is found behind Belle View Mia knows she has to pull out all the stops to keep her dad safe and the business running, even if she needs to reach out to her extended “family”.

______

The underlying theme of this series is the mob and its connections to Mia’s family. I thought this may be too heavy of a topic for a cozy mystery but Maria DiRico makes it work with a light tone and a lot of humor, although some of the innuendo does tip over the line just a bit.

The author brings us an Italian family with connections. Mia, glad to be home but not totally sure if her New York family took care of her creep of a husband, Adam Grosso, or not. She was cleared to leave Florida and she did. Working for her father isn’t going to be easy, not because of the mob, but because of the over the top clients and their loony requests. Mia showed more patience than I ever could. She comes up with some great ideas too.

Moving in with her grandmother Elisabetta feels right even though most of her furniture looks like it came from a bordello. Her dad has spent enough time behind bars and promises the Belle View is a legit business. Mia’s brother Posi, is still behind bars but is able to give her some advice as she investigates. She reconnects with her old friend Jamie and old feelings start to immerge until she learns he has a girlfriend. Jaime’s dad is high up in the “organization” though and she just may need his help.

Being the first book in a new series, we get to know the main characters pretty well, but there is a lot of room for growth. My favorite being Nonna Elisabetta. A true Italian believing food can solve any problem. She makes sure Mia is always well fed. She had me grinning ear to ear.

I was captivated by Mia and Jamie’s relationship and am looking forward to how it develops. Will, there be a real romance or will they commit to the “friend zone”? Jamie does remind me a little bit of my son, same name, different spelling 😉

Mia is a smart sleuth. It was fun to tag along with her as she dealt with twist after twist. Sometimes the debut book in a series has a less complex mystery to solve while taking time to fully introduce the cast of characters. That is not the case here at all. The mystery was complex. Every time I thought I had everything all figured out there was a twist that proved me wrong.

The subplots were blended wonderfully into the story. I really appreciated Mia’s huge heart as she dealt with a real estate predator. Nonna’s neighborhood sounded delightful and close-knit and the realtor was really ticking off both me and Mia. Some of Mia’s comebacks were just priceless.  The author descriptions of the area painted clear pictures of the homes, right down to the sculptures in the yards and their holiday decorations.

Here Comes the Body has this series off to a fine start. The characters are memorable and feel very true to life. The mystery was well-plotted and interesting with a large dose of humor. There are also some yummy sounding Italian recipes at the back of the book. It truly was an enjoyable getaway!


Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Maria DiRico

Maria DiRico

 

Maria DiRico was born in Queens, New York, and raised in Queens and Westchester County. She is a first-generation Italian-American on her mother’s side. On her father’s side, her grandfather was a low-level Jewish mobster who disappeared in 1933 under mysterious circumstances. She also writes the award-winning, bestselling Cajun Country Mystery series under the name Ellen Byron.

Author Links – WebsiteFacebook Twitter

Purchase Links – AmazonB&NKoboGoogle PlayIndieBound

a Rafflecopter giveaway

TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please visit all the stops. 
February 24 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW, EXCERPT
February 24 – This Is My Truth Now – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
February 24 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
February 25 – Socrates Book Reviews – REVIEW
February 25 – Ascroft, eh? – GUEST POST  
February 25 – Gimme The Scoop Reviews – REVIEW
February 26 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW
February 26 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
February 26 – Laura’s Interests – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
February 27 – The Power of Words – REVIEW
February 27 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
February 27 – Jane Reads– GUEST POST
February 28 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
February 28 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – SPOTLIGHT, RECIPE
February 29 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
February 29 – A Holland Reads – REVIEW  
March 1 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW
March 1 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT, RECIPE
March 2 – That’s What She’s Reading – SPOTLIGHT, RECIPE
March 2 – TBR Book Blog – REVIEW, EXCERPT
March 3 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, RECIPE
March 3 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW
March 4 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
March 4 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

 

Have you signed up to be a Tour Host?

Click Here Find Details and Sign Up Today!


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.”