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. 🙂

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

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 Finish The Series Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Carpet Diem (A Tallie Graver Mystery) by Misty Simon #Review / #Giveaway @KensingtonBooks

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.


Carpet Diem (A Tallie Graver Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Setting – Pennsylvania
Publisher: Kensington (September 24, 2019)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1496723740
ISBN-13: 978-1496723741
Kindle ASIN: B07P1NZC1N

Live and let dust . . .

 

Now that Tallie Graver’s cleaning business is starting to shine, she’s ready to go squeegee to squeegee against Audra McNeal for a major contract at the Astercromb mansion. Tallie’s not afraid of a little friendly competition from the new cleaner in town. In fact, Tallie likes Audra, though she wonders how her glamorous rival manages to clean house and maintain her fancy manicure. Tallie has her rubber-gloves full staying one step ahead of her nemesis. Until she finds a well-polished hand poking out of a rolled-up carpet, rendering her competition . . . dead.

 

Though it lands Tallie the big job, there’s nothing tidy about Audra’s death. So between polishing and scrubbing, Tallie’s determined to find the killer. Hopefully the police chief doesn’t mind her cluttering up his investigation with the filthy dealings she discovers. Turns out Audra was not as squeaky clean as she appeared. And confronting her killer could bring Tallie to a very foul end indeed . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Tallie Graver is vying for a big cleaning contract for Mrs. Petrovski at her Astercromb mansion. She is competing against Audra McNeal and they have each been assigned a room to clean to the owner’s specifications. Tallie and Audra have become friends but she is going to fight hard for this job so she has plenty of work for the women that work for her.

Tallie does get the contact but it isn’t because of her cleaning expertise. It is because she found her competitor dead, rolled up in a carpet, and tossed in a dumpster. Thankfully the police chief doesn’t have her as number 1 on his suspect list but that doesn’t mean she isn’t going dust and sweep together every clue to find out who killed Audra. She has to be careful though or she may end up using her family’s services instead of just helping with the family business.


Ms. Simon has really written a wonderful mystery. Twists and turns plus a red herring or two. I dove right into this story and didn’t look back. I read the book in two evenings but would have read it all in one if my eyes and brain would have cooperated. The ending was unexpected and satisfying too.

While a great mystery is important, this series shines because of its strong characters. Tallie has changed so much since book 1, Cremains of the Day. Her relationship with Max is getting more serious and she is pulling away from her ex-Mrs. Waldo status. Her relationship with the sheriff is evolving as well in an interesting way. I liked Tallie right away but it is great to see a character grow realistically as Tallie has. Making the story even more enjoyable is that the regular supporting cast is developing nicely too. Add to that the unique characters we meet like Mrs. Petrovski and her nephew and you have a story that is extremely hard to put down.

Wonderful characters and compelling mysteries keep me coming back for more of this series. Misty Simon is such a fine storyteller, she never disappoints. She entertains and tests my brain. Carpet Diem is a Perfect Escape and I recommend it highly.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Laughter and Love are two main components of any story I write. Laughter really is the best medicine and my heroines always figure that out at some point, though perhaps some later than others. I live in Central Pennsylvania with my family and two rambunctious dogs in a house that is about to celebrate its two hundredth birthday. You can find Misty Simon on Facebook here.


I am giving away 1 Kindle Copy!
Book will be sent directly from Amazon.

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 receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End December 4, 2020, 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

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 Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge Purrfect Reading Challenge TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Deceased and Desist (A Tallie Graver Mystery) by Misty Simon #Review / #Giveaway @KensingtonBooks

Deceased and Desist (A Tallie Graver Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Pennsylvania
Publisher: Kensington (November 27, 2018)
Mass Market Paperback: 272 pages
ISBN-10: 1496712250
ISBN-13: 978-1496712257
Kindle ASIN: B07B76MMJZ

Window of opportunity . . .

 

Most housecleaners don’t do windows, but Tallie Graver loves leaving a pane of glass streak-free and sparkling. After a dirty divorce from a filthy-rich jerk, she’s started her own cleaning business to make ends meet. On her latest job, prepping a renovated bed and breakfast for a grand re-opening, she’s standing outside on a ladder, wiping off a grimy pane, when she spies a man on a bed through the glass. But the B&B isn’t open for business yet—and the man’s not sleeping. Her family owns the Graver Funeral Home, so Tallie knows a corpse when she sees one.

 

The victim is a shady building inspector with a reputation for handing out passing grades for a greased palm. With the local police resistant, Tallie launches her own investigation, before she gets a rep as a town crank. But it’s going to take more than a squirt bottle and a squeegee to clean up this mess. With the help of her gal pal Gina, Tallie searches for a killer’s motive. But she’d better be careful, or it’ll be curtains for this window cleaner . . .

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Tallie Graver is doing her part to make the grand reopening of a local B&B a huge success in hopes the owners will hire her on for more cleaning duties. For now, she just needs to finish washing the windows. Up the ladder she goes but when she starts to squeegee down a window she notices a man on the bed inside. The B&B hasn’t opened yet so it can’t be a guest and the man is lying in a strange position. Tallie’s family owns the local funeral home so she has seen plenty of dead bodies and she knows now she is looking at another one.

The police don’t suspect foul play but Tallie does. She enlists the help of her bestie Gina to get a crystal clear picture of who killed the man and why. She also gets help from a surprising person. Together they bring down more than a killer.


I loved this story. So much happens within these pages.

The characters continue to evolve with Tallie growing stronger in her convictions, especially when her father wants her to a larger role in the family business. I love the way Max supports her through thick and thin. Gina and Tallie make a great team, but this time there is a third Muskateer and that adds to the fun. A new character pushed all buttons which is what I now know is exactly what the author intended.

The story has a slow build as clues are slow coming at first but the pace really picks up as things start to fall into place. The twists were perfectly placed. Like Tallie, who even ot her dad involved in her snooping this time, I thought I was on the right path when a plot twist proved me wrong. I am always entertained by a story that tests me.

Well written and plotted, with humor infused in all the right places Deceased and Desist was a captivating cozy and a stellar addition to this series. I can’t wait to visit these characters again. Carpet Diem is impatiently waiting on my Kindle.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Laughter and Love are two main components of any story I write. Laughter really is the best medicine and my heroines always figure that out at some point, though perhaps some later than others. I live in Central Pennsylvania with my family and two rambunctious dogs in a house that is about to celebrate its two hundredth birthday. You can find Misty Simon on Facebook here.


I am giving away 1 Kindle Copy!
Book will be sent directly from Amazon.

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 receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End October 16, 2020, 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

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 Flashback Friday Giveaways Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – Grounds for Remorse (A Tallie Graver Mystery) by Misty Simon #Review / #Giveaway @KensingtonBooks

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.


Grounds for Remorse (A Tallie Graver Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Pennsylvania
Publisher: Kensington (May 29, 2018)
Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN-10: 1496712234
ISBN-13: 978-1496712233
Kindle ASIN: B075C7ML55

No more cheating . . .

 

Best friends Tallie Graver and Gina Laudermilch both seem to spend a lot of time around urns. For Tallie, they’re part and parcel of the family business, Graver’s Funeral Home. Even though she’s traded ashes for dusting with her own cleaning business, she still works part-time for her folks and lives above the funeral parlor. For Gina, they’re the vessels that contain her heavenly brew at her coffee shop, Bean There, Done That. And both women are learning that owning a business can make finding time for romance challenging.

 

But when Gina’s new beau turns out to have a wife, who barges into the coffee shop to take him home, she can’t contain her bitterness and loudly threatens to poison his cup or boil him in a vat of coffee. So when Mr. Wrong turns up dead at the bottom of a staircase inside Gina’s locked home, she finds herself at the top of the police’s suspect list. Tallie needs to sweep in to save her friend. But she’ll need to watch her step, or she may go from being a funeral home employee to becoming their next client . . .

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Gina Laudermilch is head over heels about her new boyfriend, sharing with best friend, Tallie Graver, he may be the one. Then the man’s wife shows up at her coffee shop to stake her claim and take the man home. But Mr. So Wrong doesn’t back down and still tries to see Gina even though she has threatened to “boil him in a vat of coffee”,  he actually shows up at her door with flowers Max gets caught in the crossfire. Then the next day Gina finds the man at the bottom of her staircase dead behind a locked door she also finds herself the prime suspect. Tallie is ready to do anything to clear her friend’s name even going toe to toe with those high on her suspect list and against the police’s warnings to leave the case to them.


I really enjoyed this 2nd installment to this series because there was always something happening and the book had an excellent flow. Tallie’s boyfriend has come for a visit and gets totally involved in everything Tallie does from going to help her clean houses, helping out at the family funeral home, to investigating the murder of Casanova Craig. He truly is a special man and they make a great couple.

Tallie’s family continues to make me laugh. All the recurring characters continue to develop in meaningful ways. Tallie’s father is very serious about his business and its image and her mother butts into Tallie’s life as any normal mother would, okay she does get a little much at times but you have to love her for it. I just wish they would give Tallie a little more leeway and let her come into her own. Hopefully, that will happen soon. A new relationship is blooming between two characters as well that I find delightful even though it was also a complete surprise.

Ms. Simon also introduces some interesting characters for this story and puts them into some unique situations. Turns out Craig is a chronic cheater that opened the door to a vast number of suspects. There were plenty of twists and turns and while I thought I had everything all figured out before the big reveal I was only partially right. There was one last twist I didn’t see coming.

Grounds For Remorse is a well-crafted mystery with characters that are becoming more engaging as the series continues. I am looking forward to the next book in this series, Deceased and Desist is waiting on my To-Be-Read stack.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Laughter and Love are two main components of any story I write. Laughter really is the best medicine and my heroines always figure that out at some point, though perhaps some later than others. I live in Central Pennsylvania with my family and two rambunctious dogs in a house that is about to celebrate its two hundredth birthday. You can find Misty Simon on Facebook here.


I am giving away 1 Kindle Copy!
Book will be sent directly from Amazon.

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.

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 receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End July 3, 2020, 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

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

Posted in Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Reviews 2017 You Read How Many Books Challenge

#Review / #Giveaway – Cremains of the Day (A Tallie Graver Mystery) by Misty Simon @KensingtonBooks


Cremains of the Day (A Tallie Graver Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Pennsylvania
Kensington (October 31, 2017)
Mass Market Paperback: 293 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1496712219
Kindle ASIN: B01N4VUGWR

 

 

There’s no reverse on the hearse . . .

For Tallulah Graver, marrying wealthy Waldo Phillips seemed like the best way out of the family business, the Graver Funeral Home. But when her marriage falls apart and Tallie is left with next to nothing, she turns to cleaning houses to make ends meet. As humbling as it is to tidy the mansions of the snobby socialites she used to call friends, at least she doesn’t have to be around dead bodies. Until . . .

She discovers one of her employers lying in a closet with a knife sticking out of her chest. This unpleasant shock seems to be part of a web of weird experiences: Tallie’s friend Gina’s shop is broken into, her ex is stun-gunned where it hurts the most, and now she’s receiving flowers from the dead woman. Granted the deliveryman is handsome, but seriously, that’s enough to cast a pall over anyone’s day. Now Tallie needs to dig deep to clean up this mess—before she finds herself in a grave situation.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

The Graver family business is funerals, how appropriate, but Tallulah Graver wanted out so she married Waldo Phillips III. While staying married to him kept her in a nice lifestyle and away from dead people she could stand Waldo one more minute and left him with almost everything and moved into the apartment over her family’s funeral home. To survive on her own she works there part time and now cleans houses like the one she used to live in. That is until she finds one of her clients stabbed to death. Add to that she finds her ex tasered behind her friend Gina’s shop and there is a flower delivery man following her everywhere. Tallie has not had a good week. The bumbling police have her at the top of their suspect list for both Waldo’s attack and the murder. The only way to prove them wrong is sweep the clues together herself and hand them to the police on a silver platter or in an open casket, whichever works best.

Misty Simon has given readers a great mystery to start off this series. Tallulah Graver (Tallie) is a strong protagonist. She does her best to shake off her old life and get on with her new one. How she ever stayed with that jerk of a husband as long as she did is beyond me. He deserved to be tasered or worse. His actions put Tallie in a very precarious situation. A first class jackass! Yes, there is a bit of course language in the book and considering where Waldo was tasered an adult theme. It didn’t bother me a bit because the language fits the situations and the other added some timeless humor.

The primary and secondary characters were well written and there is plenty of room for growth in the main characters. The dialogue was realistic and engaging. The flower delivery man was such a clever twist to the story and I will not say more because I do not want to ruin the story for you. I really liked it.

The book sets a nice pace and the mystery unfolds very nicely with some exciting twists. There were several suspects and some very interesting discoveries. I was very entertained by the way it all played out.

For the first book in the series I was very impressed. I could easily picture the funeral home and Tallie’s apartment as well as the mansion where the murder took place. I hope to see more development in the setting, getting to know the town and more of its residents better in future installments. The ending left me very happy and looking forward to the next book in the series. Grounds of Remorse is “coming soon” according to the final page of my e-copy.

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Laughter and Love are two main components of any story I write. Laughter really is the best medicine and my heroines always figure that out at some point, though perhaps some later than others. I live in Central Pennsylvania with my family and two rambunctious dogs in a house that is about to celebrate its two hundredth birthday. You can find Misty Simon on Facebook here.

 


Thanks to the publisher I have 1 copy to give away!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US mailing address.
Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

Click the Like Button at the top of this post for a Bonus Entry.

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

Contest Will End November 30, 2017 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

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.”