Posted in 2022 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours You Read How Many Books Challenge

A Christmas Candy Killing (A Killer Chocolate Mystery) by Christina Romeril #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @romerilchris


A Christmas Candy Killing (A Killer Chocolate Mystery)
by Christina Romeril

About A Christmas Candy Killing


A Christmas Candy Killing (A Killer Chocolate Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
The book is set in a fictional town, Harriston, Montana.
Crooked Lane Books (October 11, 2022)
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 304 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1639101667
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1639101665
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09Q8JS9HV

Their chocolates are to die for—but things aren’t so sweet when a real killer comes to town, in this debut mystery perfect for fans of Joanne Fluke and Laura Childs.

Identical twin sisters Alex and Hanna are the owners of Murder and Mayhem, a mystery bookshop that sells their famous poison-themed Killer Chocolates. But now, there’s a real killer in their midst. Shortly before Christmas, their septuagenarian neighbor, Jane, confides to Alex that a murderer from a true-crime show has taken up residence in the village. Unfortunately, she’s also shared her suspicions with town gossip Netta. The next morning, Alex shows up at Jane’s house to watch the show, but instead discovers Jane’s body, with a box of Killer Chocolates nearby.

The sheriff quickly zeroes in on two suspects: Alex, a beneficiary in Jane’s will, and Zack, a handyman who was seen leaving the crime scene. But Alex maintains her innocence and sets out to draft a list of other potential suspects—townsfolk who’d recently been seen arguing with Jane.

When Alex gets hold of Jane’s journal, she begins to understand the truth. But a bearer of ill tidings is arriving early this year—and Alex just might not make it to Christmas.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Killer Chocolates and mysteries are what you will find at twin sisters Alex and Hanna’s Murder and Mayhem shop in Harriston, Montana. With names like Strychnine Strawberry, Ricin Raspberry Creams, Cotton Candy Coniine, and Veronal Vanilla Cream, the candies are flying out the door as Christmas approaches. While these poison theme candies have fun names, and no poison is used in the creations there may be a real killer nearby. Alex’s elderly friend Jane watches every true crime television show she can. She tells Alex that she knows one of the killers she has seen on television is living in Harriston. She confesses she also told her friend Nessa, who has never met a piece of gossip she hasn’t spread. Alex reluctantly agrees to visit Jane the next day to watch the program.

When Alex arrives at Jane’s house the next day she finds Jane dead  . . . with a box of Killer Chocolates too close for comfort.

Alex is beside herself when she is named as a suspect along with a handyman, Zach who did a lot of work for Jane. Hanna knows she is innocent and she believes Zach is too. She just needs to prove it and fast. She has no desire to spend the holiday behind bars.


This new series is off to a fabulous start.

I really like these twin sisters. Alex runs the book part of the shop and Hanna makes the chocolate creations, but they crossover to help each other and work with the customers because most usually leave the place with a least one book and a box of candy. Their relationship is comfortable and relatable. Alex has a real knack for getting people to open up to her especially if she is offering candy. These characters are well-developed for the first book in the series. Ms. Romeril has left plenty of room for them to continue to evolve as the series continues though.

The author took the first couple of chapters to introduce readers to Alex, Hanna, and their dog Miss Watson. We also meet their neighbor Pastor Tom Kennedy, Penelope Shaw, a divorcee, who lives across the street from Tom, and her sights on him as her next husband, Duncan Fletcher who dated Hanna for about 2 months and then he put her in the friend zone and Gary, owner of Harriston Bloom greenhouse. These characters as well as others we meet in the story are all cleverly crafted.

The mystery was very well-plotted. I really enjoyed the way Alex attacked her investigation. Her former career in banking for 20 years gave her the instincts and knowledge needed to be a pretty good amateur sleuth. I was delighted to follow along with her step by step as she worked through the clues. A key piece of evidence reveals the truth she was looking for and everything started to fall into place. The ending was exciting. I loved the way it played out with a surprising hero.

What more could you want? Candy and books are what this girl loves and to have them both in one place is Perfect!

A Christmas Candy Killing was such an entertaining cozy. With characters I can’t wait to visit again, a sweet mystery, a unique theme, a fun setting, and humor in all the right places, this book is A Perfect Escape. I am excited about the next Killer Chocolate Mystery.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Christina Romeril

Christina Romeril loves to plot murders, especially by poisoning. When she’s not plotting how to kill one of her characters she’s coming up with ways to dispose of the body. Since writing her debut novel her husband’s friends have been regularly checking on his well-being.

Christina also loves to read, eat chocolates, and travel when she’s not in her she shed writing. She grew up in Southern Ontario and spent most of her summers in Muskoka swimming, boating, and generally getting into mischief. She’s lived on both coasts of Canada and has a love of being near the water and close to a forest. Thus, it makes perfect sense that she moved to the prairies of Southern Alberta over twenty years ago.

During the warmer months, you’ll find her escaping to nearby Waterton Lakes National Park with her cooler stocked full of chocolate and pastries. Occasionally, the once avid hiker will even set out on one of the many hiking trails and hope she doesn’t run into a hungry bear.

Christina is a member of Sisters in Crime and enjoys interacting on social media.

Author Links:

Webpage   Blog      Facebook    Twitter    Instagram    GoodReads  

 Purchase Links –

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Great Escapes Praise for A Christmas Candy Killing (A Killer Chocolate Mystery)
by Christina Romeril

I found the storyline enjoyable with a solid mystery to solve, and the appealing characters whet my appetite to read more in the Killer Chocolate Mysteries.
~Cinnamon and Sugar and a little bit of Murder

A Christmas Candy Killing is an entertaining (and completely clean) debut to what promises to be a thoroughly enjoyable new cozy mystery series.
~Reading is my Superpower

A Christmas Candy Killing introduces us to a new setting and new characters I’m looking forward to visiting again. Grab some chocolate and settle down for a delicious debut!
~Carstairs Considers

A Christmas Candy Killing is a mouthwatering tale with winter weather, delectable chocolates, a mysterious murder, a stubborn sheriff, rampant rumors, a cold case, and Christmas cheer.
~The Avid Reader

For a debut novel, A Christmas Candy Killing was pretty well put together. I was pulled into the story, and I can’t wait to see what comes next in this small Montana town.
~Novels Alive

This is a fun new series because it contains several of my favorite things – chocolate, books, and murder. We enjoyed this book and look forward to future installments. We give it 4 paws up.!~Storeybook Reviews

This is a fabulous start to a new cozy series by a new to me author. We meet twins Alex and Hannah who own an adorable bookshop that they use to also sell their poison-themed Killer Chocolates. I must say this is an adorable idea that makes me wish this was a real store that I could visit as the chocolate sounds oh so yummy.
~Books A Plenty Book Reviews

With an engaging amateur sleuth and several plausible red herrings with excellent motives for mischief, I recommend A CHRISTMAS CANDY KILLING to cozy mystery readers who enjoy culinary-themed stores, settings in small-town Montana, or chocolate.
~Guatemala Paula Loves to Read

TOUR PARTICIPANTS
October 17 – Cinnamon, Sugar, and a Little Bit of Murder – REVIEW, RECIPE
October 17 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW
October 18 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW  
October 18 – Carstairs Considers – REVIEW
October 18 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT
October 19 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW
October 19 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
October 19 – Angel’s Guilty Pleasures – SPOTLIGHT
October 20 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT
October 20 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT
October 20 – Reading Authors Network – SPOTLIGHT
October 21 – Novels Alive – REVIEW – SPOTLIGHT
October 21 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – AUTHOR GUEST POST
October 21 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT
October 22 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW
October 22 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
October 22 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
October 23 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
October 23 – Lady Hawkeye – SPOTLIGHT  
October 23 – Cassidy’s Bookshelves – SPOTLIGHT
October 24 – Ascroft, eh? – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
October 24 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
October 24 – Guatemala Paula Loves to Read – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
October 25 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT
October 25 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
October 25 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
October 26 – BookishKelly2020 – SPOTLIGHT  
October 26 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW
October 26 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

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

Posted in 2022 Reviews Cloak and Dagger Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways Literary Escapes TBR Pile Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

A Death in Eden: A Novel (A Sean Stranahan Mystery) by Keith McCafferty #Review / #Giveaway @penguinusa

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.


A Death in Eden: A Novel (A Sean Stranahan Mystery)
Mystery
7th in Series
Setting – Montana
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Penguin Books (July 3, 2018)
Print length ‏ : ‎ 317 pages
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B077CTG2B5

When scarecrows appear in the cliffs above Montana’s famous Smith River and a little girl reports being chased by one in the night, state investigator Harold Little Feather is brought in to find the culprit.  Are the menacing effigies related to a copper-mining project that threatens the purity of the Smith? That’s Harold’s initial suspicion, but his investigation takes an ominous turn when a decapitated body is found in the river.

As Harold’s search leads him back in time through the canyon’s history, Sean Stranahan launches his raft upriver. He has been hired to guide a floating party that includes Clint McCaine, the manager of the mine project; Bart Trueblood, the president of “Save The Smith,” a grassroots organization devoted to stopping the project; and the documentarian filming their arguments. McCaine and Trueblood grew up on the Smith on neighboring ranches, and as they travel downstream, it’s revealed that the two share a past that runs much deeper and darker than their opposing viewpoints.

The currents of the seemingly unrelated trips will soon flow together, and Stranahan’s long-time love Sheriff Martha Ettinger will enter the fray as the boats hurtle toward a date with danger at a place called Table Rock.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

There is something strange happening along the Smith River in Montana. Several scarecrows have been erected on the cliffs above the endangered waterway. Is someone putting them up to protest the proposed copper-mining project or is there something else going on. After a little girl claims to have been chased by one of the scarecrows State Investigator Harold Little Feather is brought in to put the matter to rest. Instead, his investigation turns up a headless body floating in the river.

While Investigator Little Feather digs deep into the canyon’s history to find answers, our protagonist Sean Stranahan is hired to guide a floating party down the river. The party includes the manager of the mine project, Clint McCaine, and the president of “Save the Smith”, Bart Trueblood, his group is trying everything to stop the mine project. They are joined by a documentarian who is filming their journey down the river and their arguments about the project.

Soon Sean’s group and Harold Little Feather come together and Sheriff Martha Ettinger joins them as they set up for a dangerous showdown.


I have enjoyed this series from the start and am a huge fan of the author’s laid-back writing style. From casting a line in the water to the characters traversing up, down, and around the river and its cliffs everything just comes to life. You can almost hear the rush of the water, smell the smoke from the campfires, and reach out and touch the cliffs.  Mr. McCafferty does this better than many other authors that I have read. He really takes his readers on the journey.

This time our characters are a ways away from home and we meet several new characters with their own agendas. Harold Little Feather really shares the spotlight with Sean and Martha this time. He had expected a pretty low-key investigation so he invited the son he barely knows to meet up with him for the trip for a bit of bonding. I enjoyed getting to know him better and meeting his son very much. The acidic documentarian, Lillian Cartwright, brings her own drama to the situation. Anything to make a name for herself as she tees up “discussions” between McCaine and Trueblood. But there is a dark underbelly to this story. Someone has a score to settle and will go to any lengths to get what they want.

I was really drawn into this book by so many things. The fact that the scarecrows were located by ancient petroglyphs left by Native Americans. The history of it all was very captivating along with the mystery of Why? The Smith River itself and that people wait years for their names to be drawn in a lottery for the opportunity to float down the famous river. The dangers faced when you stop to camp like wild animals and rattlesnakes and other humans as well. All the character’s interactions were so enjoyable to observe.

The author’s keen wit can be felt throughout the story. Especially when it comes to Sean and Martha. Where will their relationship lead? I wonder if we will ever know but until then they do this unique dance throughout each story. One thing I do know is that they have each other’s back. When the bullets start to fly or a threatening menace arrives on the scene they will pull out all the stops to rescue each other and save the good people caught in the chaos. This time I was right up to the very edge of my seat and I am surprised there wasn’t smoke pouring out of my Kindle as everything came to a head.

A Death in Eden has become my favorite book in the series so far. Keith McCafferty is a superb storyteller. So much happens within the pages of this book it is almost impossible to put down while you are reading and it is a story that will stick with you long after you reach the end.

*Note the story does contain some explicit language.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About The Author

Keith McCafferty is the Survival and Outdoor Skills Editor of Field & Stream. He has written articles for publications as diverse as Fly Fisherman Magazine, Mother Earth News, Gray’s Sporting Journal, and the Chicago Tribune, and on subjects ranging from mosquitoes to wolves to mercenaries and exorcism. Based in Montana and working on assignment around the globe–he recently spent a month in India trekking the Himalayas, fishing for golden mahseer, and studying tigers–Keith has won numerous awards, including the Robert Traver Award for angling literature. He has twice been a finalist for a National Magazine Award. Find out more about Keith and his books on his webpage here.



I am giving away 1 Kindle Copy of A Death in Eden!
The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old.

Book will be sent directly from Amazon.

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.

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

Contest Will End July 15, 2022, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
The Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For the 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 Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday featuring The Glitter End: A Cozy Mystery (Stationery Shop Mystery) by Vivian Conroy #Review / #Giveaway

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

Today I am sharing my thoughts about The Glitter End today! 


The Glitter End: A Cozy Mystery (Stationery Shop Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Montana
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Poisoned Pen Press (September 28, 2021)
Mass Market Paperback ‏ : ‎ 384 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1492684090
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1492684091
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08VYFMP8L

Stationery shop owner Delta Douglas is finally settling into small-town life in Tundish, Montana. But with the tourist season drying up, she must find a way to draw in her stationery shop clientele. Well-known artist Tilly Tay is just the ticket—and her new miniature gold mining display is sure to be a hit attraction in town.

But on the day of the grand reveal, Delta discovers a tiny prospector dead in the exhibit. That’s when a body is found at the nearby motel, perfectly mirroring the miniature murder. Soon enough, Delta’s artist guest is suspected of the crime and her shop is suddenly cast under a cloud of bad press. With her faithful Paper Posse at her side, Delta must pull no paper punches to crack the case and save Wanted’s reputation before more trouble comes into the fold.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Trying to drum up business now that the tourist season is over Stationery shop co-owner Delta Douglas has arranged to host a new miniature gold mining display. The display was bigger than she imagined so it takes up most of the floor space in Wanted but it was quite interesting to watch the artist place each miniature creation perfectly into the grand scheme of the entire display.

When the display is revealed to the public Delta notices a tiny prospector appears dead. Later a man is found dead at a local hotel and the way his body is placed, it looks exactly like the dead prospector in the display. This leads the authorities to believe the artist is the killer. The death also hurts Wanted’s bottom line as the shop brought the artist to Tundish. So Delta lines up the members of the Paper Posse to help her track down the real killer to save her shop as quickly as possible.


Delta came to Tundish, Montana to be an asset to Hazel. She feels it is important to keep things fresh and inviting to have customers year-round. But this time her grand idea of inviting artist Tilly Tay to showcase her miniature gold rush exhibit may do more damage to the stationary shop instead of making it more of a success. Tilly appears to have a history in Tundish which Delta tries to figure out when she sees her arguing on the street with a man. These characters are surrounded by a great supporting cast. I really enjoyed the subplot about Delta’s grandmother and her new boyfriend. It has a nice twist that was unexpected and put a smile on my face. Sadly Hazel is lost in this story playing a very minor role. Jonas helps in Delta’s investigation but I was disappointed by some of Delta’s behavior and her thoughts. It really took away from the main plot. There is plenty of room to flesh out the supporting cast. I do want to get to know them better.

The mystery was interesting but it unfolded slowly and then ended abruptly for me. Tilly was what my mother would call an “odd duck”. She was very happy with her solitary life but that all blew up when she arrived in town. A relationship is revealed that shakes things up a bit but Delta seemed distracted. I wish there had been more depth to the mystery.

I like the Montana setting and the miniature theme was fun for me. I had a hard time bringing the display totally into focus but know I would be first in line to see an exhibit like the one in this book.

The Glitter End missed the mark for me at least as far as the main mystery goes. It didn’t have much glitter. I don’t think Hazel or the Paper Posse were utilized enough and Delta’s inner angst was off-putting. Delta’s independent grandmother and her new beau saved this book for me. The subplot was entertaining and could have ended two ways and I was curious about that right up until the end. That portion of the story has me adding an extra star.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

The Stationery Shop Mysteries are the latest addition to Vivian Conroy’s expanding mystery range. She also writes the contemporary Country Gift Shop Mysteries and the historical Murder Will Follow Mysteries, paying tribute to her favorite mystery author Agatha Christie. Away from the keyboard, Vivian loves to hike, craft, and hang out on Twitter where readers can connect with her via @VivWrites.


Also by this Author





I am giving my Advance Review Copy away!
The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

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 13, 2021, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
The 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 2021 Reviews Cloak and Dagger Challenge E-Book Challenge Literary Escapes New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Bitterroot Lake: A Novel by Alicia Beckman #Review @LeslieBudewitz


Bitterroot Lake: A Novel
Mystery/Suspense
Setting – Montana
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books (April 13, 2021)
Hardcover: 336 pages
ISBN-10: 1643855808
ISBN-13: 978-1643855806
Kindle ASIN: B08D8J49DP

When four women separated by tragedy reunite at a lakeside Montana lodge, murder forces them to confront everything they thought they knew about the terrifying accident that tore them apart, in Agatha Award-winning author Alicia Beckman’s suspense debut

Twenty-five years ago, during a celebratory weekend at historic Whitetail Lodge, Sarah McCaskill had a vision. A dream. A nightmare. When a young man was killed, Sarah’s guilt over having ignored the warning in her dreams devastated her. Her friendships with her closest friends, and her sister, fell apart as she worked to build a new life in a new city. But she never stopped loving Whitetail Lodge on the shores of Bitterroot Lake.

Now that she’s a young widow, her mother urges her to return to the lodge for healing. But when she arrives, she’s greeted by an old friend–and by news of a murder that’s clearly tied to that tragic day she’ll never forget.

And the dreams are back, too. What dangers are they warning of this time? As Sarah and her friends dig into the history of the lodge and the McCaskill family, they uncover a legacy of secrets and make a discovery that gives a chilling new meaning to the dreams. Now, they can no longer ignore the ominous portents from the past that point to a danger more present than any of them could know.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Sarah lost her husband to cancer and her mother encourages her to come home to the lodge to help her make some decisions. The lodge holds a lot of heartbreaking history. Twenty-five years ago a weekend turned deadly and ripped Sarah and her closest friends including her sister apart. The fact that Sarah had a dream that could have changed the weekend’s outcome still haunts her today.

Sarah does return to the lodge and the dreams along with her friends are back too. Another person connected to that weekend is killed and one of the friends becomes a prime suspect. While trying to prove her innocence the group of women delve into the history of the lodge and the family that owns it. What they uncover changes everything. Danger lurks nearby as they try to make sense of everything they learn.


What a fabulous cover, it drew me to the book before I ever read the synopsis of the story. Learning that the author was one of my cozy mystery faves made my desire to read it even stronger.

This is a very complex mystery with a lot of threads that entwine in and out with each other. I enjoyed the bit of paranormal included within the pages as it really enhanced the story and gave it some new depth. I liked the lodge setting and all the treasures found within.

Sarah is dealing with so much and this reunion truly tests her but she needs answers. She is grieving, counting the days since her husband’s death but her visions need to be explained along with learning what she may have missed all those years ago. I was drawn to Sarah, she was very relatable and felt genuine to me. All the characters she interacted with developed nicely over the course of the story too. They all have their flaws which make them believable.

This is a story you can not just plow through to find the killer, in fact, that turns out to be a minor part of the story. There is a lot of nuance in these pages. There are situations that could be called chilling and there are situations that really drive the story forward. I found the way the author blended history with modern-day incredible and the part secrets play through both periods very intriguing. From an attempted rape to the loss of a loved one and broken friendships this book will hit readers on many levels. There were a couple of areas where I thought the text needed to be tightened up because the flow seemed a little off but these instances were few and far between.

Bitterroot Lake lets the author explore a darker mystery than she can in the cozy realm and she excelled at it. As this is a stand-alone title we will not meet these characters again but I am very interested in where Ms. Beckman takes us in the future.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Alicia Beckman adored living in Seattle as a college student and young lawyer, but is happiest back home in her native Montana, where she lives with her husband, a musician, and doctor of natural medicine, and their full-figured gray tuxedo cat. As Leslie Budewitz, she’s the bestselling author of the Seattle Spice Shop and Food Lovers’ Village mysteries. A three-time Agatha Award winner, for Best Short Story (2018), Best First Novel (2013), and Best Nonfiction (2011), she is a past president of Sisters in Crime and a current board member of Mystery Writers of America.


Written as Leslie Budewitz

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 Giveaways New Release Challenge Read The Printed Word Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

For Letter or Worse (Stationery Shop Mystery) by Vivian Conroy #Review / #Giveaway


For Letter or Worse (Stationery Shop Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Montana
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press (September 29, 2020)
Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN-10: 1492684066
ISBN-13: 978-1492684060
Kindle ASIN: B0861BCV6Y

The second book in the Stationary Shop Mystery Series from Vivian Conroy! When a killer strikes, it becomes clear that this murder mystery has more dimensions than Delta Douglas and her Paper Posse could have ever imagined…

 

The scissors are sharpened and the cardstock stacked for Delta Douglas’ latest workshop: a 3D cardmaking event at socialite Lena Laroy’s birthday extravaganza. As co-owner of Wanted, the local stationery shop, Delta is ready to wow her guests with her one of a kind crafts. But, at this party, paper isn’t the only thing bent out of shape. When a threatening present is unwrapped and the guest of honor’s sister-in-law is discovered dead by the trees, Delta realizes another killer is loose in her small town.

 

Before the cake is even cut, suspects appear from the folds, and Delta and her Paper Posse must analyze the evidence to track the culprit down. But, with Lena’s list of enemies a mile long, Delta soon discovers this case has more dimensions than she bargained for.

 

In this new cozy mystery from Vivian Conroy, Delta and her team will have to get creative to catch a killer!

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Wanting to expand their client base, friends and co-owners of Wanted Stationery Shop, Delta, and Hazel agree to host a 3D cardmaking workshop at former model Lena Laroy’s over the top birthday bash. As the guest of honor opens her gifts, one clearly upsets her. The gift is clearly a threat and the police are alerted. Before the threat can even be addressed a scream rings out. Lena’s sister-in-law’s dead body has been found. Not again, the last thing Delta needs is to get caught up in another murder investigation but she agrees to help her friend Jonas Nord, a retired Detective, dig through the suspects and clues to find the killer.

______

In this second book of the Stationery Shop Mysteries, we are getting to know these characters better. Delta is emerging as a strong protagonist. She and Jonas make a great team. There are plenty of suspects so they have their work cut out for them. They do get some assistance from The Paper Posse, a group of women that know every little thing that happens in town and if they don’t they know someone who does. They communicate through text messages so readers are mostly in the dark about who they really are. I hope these characters are more fleshed out in future stories. I am also hoping Delta’s grandmother is featured prominently in the next book. She was my favorite this time and we just met her.

I am also getting a better picture of the stationery shop itself. A Wild West Sheriff’s Office complete with the cells and furnishings. Hazel has tried to keep the sheriff’s office intact as much as possible while displaying some artifacts to show the town’s history while also displaying all the goods for sale.  It sounds like an interesting place but every time they add new stock or talk about adding specialty items by mind starts to think how crowded the store must be. I just have to expand my imagination and make the shop as large as possible.

The mystery had a nice set of twists and turns. Everyone at the party is a suspect and there is the probability that someone ventured onto the property just to commit murder and left without anyone seeing. This is also not the first murder at this fancy estate and that adds extra intrigue to the story. I did enjoy the way Delta pushed her way into situations and the way mystery was wrapped up.

With characters that continue to evolve and a strong mystery For Letter or Worse is an enjoyable addition to this series. I look forward to book 3.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

The Stationery Shop Mysteries are the latest addition to Vivian Conroy’s expanding mystery range. She also writes the contemporary Country Gift Shop Mysteries and the historical Murder Will Follow Mysteries, paying tribute to her favorite mystery author Agatha Christie. Away from the keyboard, Vivian loves to hike, craft, and hang out on Twitter where readers can connect with her via @VivWrites.


Also by this Author





I am giving my Advance Review Copy away!
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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 Literary Escapes You Read How Many Books Challenge

Vangie Vale and the Larcenous Lava Cake (The Matchbaker Mysteries) by R.L. Syme #Review

Vangie Vale and the Larcenous Lava Cake (The Matchbaker Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Setting – Montana
Publisher: Hummingbird Books (June 16, 2020)
Number of Pages: 240
Digital ASIN: B0878RT482

I never thought Edward would come back…

 

When the court case against my ex was finished, I thought we were finished, too. But it turns out, it was only the beginning.

 

The Larcenous Lava Cake is book four in The Matchbaker Mysteries, a new cozy culinary mystery series from USA Today Bestselling Author, R.L. Syme.

 

RECIPE INCLUDED: The Larcenous Lava Cake

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

The past comes back to bite Vangie when Edward returns. She lost everything because of him and she hoped he was out of her life forever. How did he get out of jail? She is sure he is running another scheme and wrapped her up in it again, but she isn’t going down. Vangie is going to protect herself but getting to the bottom of everything before she finds herself behind bars.

____

This was an emotional book for Vangie. So many things are thrown at her within these pages in addition to figuring out the mystery. I felt we really got to know her in this story. She is a strong woman but anyone would feel overwhelmed by what she had to deal with. I liked the character before and love her now. She has real-life problems with real-life consequences just like us regular people and it is all not tied up with a nice bow at the end of the book. She did have a few moments that had me shaking my head when she did something she shouldn’t but those evened out the further you get into the story.

This book had a different feel than previous books in the series. Ms. Syme has baked up a complicated mystery with several characters involved. With plenty of twists and red herrings, I was kept guessing right up until the end. The author knows how to draw the reader in and hold our attention. She shook some things up which was a nice change.

I have enjoyed this whole series. This is my new favorite. While the mystery is wrapped up Vangie’s life is in flux at the end. I am anxious to see where the author takes her next.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About R. L. Syme

She is a writer of sleuths worth loving and villains worth hating. Lover of fancy cheese, binge-watching, strawberries, and hope. A foodie and baker of yummy delights, Becca grew up reading Nancy Drew mysteries passed on by her grandmother. A Tweeter and Pinner of things.

Click on covers to purchase.

Purchase Link

Amazon 

 

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

Posted in Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways Guest Posts Literary Escapes Read The Printed Word Challenge Reviews 2019 You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday – Last Pen Standing (Stationery Shop Mystery) by Vivian Conroy #GuestPost / #Review / #Giveaway @VivWrites

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am thrilled to welcome Vivian Conroy to Escape With Dollycas! 

Hi Vivian! 

Escape to Tundish, Montana: The Town with a Heart of Gold!

So nice to be on Escape with Dollycas to tell a bit about my brand-new mystery, Last Pen Standing, first in the Stationery Shop Mysteries.

Don’t you just love to explore a new place and discover its historic buildings, great food, and friendly locals? Let me take you to Tundish, my very own wild west town! If there was a leaflet promoting it, it would say something much like this:

In the Bitterroot Valley, home to crystal clear lakes and snowcapped mountains, there’s a little town with a heart of gold, called Tundish.

Famous for its gold-mining history, today it caters to tourists coming to explore the historic buildings and the great outdoors, especially during the leaf-peeping season when the trees turn a stunning golden, orange and red. If you’re dropping by to snap a few shots of the fall glory, don’t miss these four highlights:

1) The former sheriff’s office on Mattock Street, containing many original elements such as old cells, the sheriff’s desk, and hitching posts! Now a stationery shop, aptly called WANTED, it provides wrapping paper, notebooks, calligraphy sets and washi tape for all your crafting needs. You can also take a workshop to develop your hand lettering or paper crafting skills.

2) The restaurant Mine Forever, where everything refers back to Tundish’s history: from the mining equipment on top of the building to the gold-lump shaped doorknob. Their coffee has won lots of prizes and the waitresses are always there for a friendly chat.

3) The Lodge Hotel, located on the edge of a beautiful lake. You can go boating, horse riding, mountain biking, or bird watching with experienced guides. They offer regular live entertainment on weekends and a high tea on Sunday afternoons. Special tip: the annual gold miners’ party in the Golden Age style is famous in the region.

4) The gold mining museum where volunteers dressed up in authentic 19th-century clothing tell-all about the pull of that sparkly metal, cheating with claims and family life on the goldfields. Bring home a cute souvenir in the shape of a tiny mining cart filled with nuggets of what looks a lot like the real thing.

Eager for more detail on these lovely places? Come along with Delta Douglas, her friends from the Paper Posse and retired K9 officer Spud as they navigate new beginnings, smalltown gossip, and murder in Last Pen Standing, the start to an exciting crafting-themed series set against a charming western backdrop.

Thank you, Vivian, for stopping by today and introducing us to Tundish.

Keep reading for my thoughts about Last Pen Standing. 

 

Last Pen Standing (Stationery Shop Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Montana
Poisoned Pen Press (September 24, 2019)
Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN-10: 1492684031
ISBN-13: 978-1492684039
Kindle ASIN: B07PX3QYC9

Will this paper trail run cold?

As the new co-owner of Tundish Montana’s stationery shop WANTED, Delta Douglas knows how to organize a killer crafting event. Creativity and cardstock are all she needs to move one step closer to her ultimate dream: developing her own line of crafting products. But on the night of the workshop, at the swanky hotel venue, glitter isn’t the only thing found sprawled on the floor. A hotel guest is discovered dead in the bar, and amid the confusion, Delta’s best friend is suspected of the crime.

Enlisting the help of her Paper Posse and Spud, her canine sidekick, Delta dives into the investigation. But with many high-powered suspects on the line, Delta soon realizes her sleuthing may come with deadly consequences.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Delta Douglas has come to Tundish, Montana to follow her dreams. Her grandmother has gifted her inheritance early so she can go into business with her best friend Hazel as co-owner of a stationary store set up in an old sheriff’s office, complete with jail cells. Hazel has fittingly named the store WANTED. Delta’s plans include developing her own line of crafting supplies and products.

Delta arrives in town just in time to help Hazel host a workshop at The Lodge Hotel. The hotel is a busy place with a huge party in the ballroom while the WANTED workshop takes place in a large conference room. The hotel manager is adamant the two groups remain separate clearly favoring the well to do guests attending the party. One of the exclusive guests apparently didn’t get the memo because she wanders into the workshop clearly taken with the crafts especially some very special notebooks. She asks that they are set aside for her until she can return to pay for them.

The workshop ends without the woman returning so Delta and Hazel decide to leave the notebooks at the front desk. Before they can leave the building they learn someone has been murdered. Hazel and Delta find themselves wrapped up in the chaos and the crush of people as the police arrive. The police pay special attention to Hazel and her brother Finn, who is employed by the hotel and involved with the owner’s daughter. In fact, the siblings are quickly loaded into police cars and taken in for questioning.

Not sure what has really happened Delta enlists the help of the ladies from the workshop, also known as the Paper Posse. They are familiar with the town and its residents but she can get away with being the new girl in town to ask some pointed questions too. She knows she is on the right track when she receives her first threat.

___

Welcome to Tundish, Montana. The author introduces readers to a vast number of characters keeping each one unique and memorable. Delta Douglas in a talented artist ready to make her break into the world. She and Hazel were college roommates then quickly became best friends. Hazel was not fully truthful with Delta on a very important topic and that gave me pause. We also meet Jonas Nord, a retired Detective, and his dog Spud also retired from law enforcement. He seems to have a good head on his shoulders, the opposite of the police chief who just wants to arrest someone. There is a large number of supporting characters, mostly the owners, staff, and guests at the hotel. People with secrets make fabulous suspects.

I really didn’t have a favorite character in this story, they are just too new. But I am looking forward to the next book to get to know them better. I especially want to get to know that Paper Posse better, they seem to be a very interesting group.

I love where this story takes place. A wild-west town that tourists love to visit. I am not sure yet if I have a complete picture of the stationery store in my head yet. Hazel has tried to keep the sheriff’s office intact as much as possible while displaying some artifacts to show the town’s history while also displaying all the goods for sale in a way to draw her customer in and entice them to make a purchase. The hotel was easy for me to envision and I would love to visit the gold mining museum.

The mystery had its share of twists and turns to keep those pages turning. The flow dipped a few times though and some of the characters actions were a little out there, but the author pasted everything together for a satisfactory ending.

The first book in a series is always a heavy lift because readers need to meet the characters and learn their place, get to know the setting, and still demand a mystery we can tear apart and wrap back together all within a set number of pages. In my opinion, the author does a great job of that in this debut novel of this series.

Last Pen Standing gives this series a strong start. I am excited to see what Ms. Convoy comes up with next.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

The Stationery Shop Mysteries are the latest addition to Vivian Conroy’s expanding mystery range. She also writes the contemporary Country Gift Shop Mysteries and the historical Murder Will Follow Mysteries, paying tribute to her favorite mystery author Agatha Christie. Away from the keyboard, Vivian loves to hike, craft, and hang out on Twitter where readers can connect with her via @VivWrites.


Also by this Author





Thanks to the publisher I have 1 copy to give away!
The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

Leave a comment for the author for 5 Bonus Entries.

Add this book to your WANT TO READ shelf on GoodReads for 3 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End October 2, 2019, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

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

Cozy Wednesday with Leslie Budewitz – Author of As the Christmas Cookie Crumbles #Excerpt / #Review / #Giveaway


Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am happy to share an excerpt from Leslie’s new book and to kick off her Great Escapes Book Tour!

 

The Great Christmas Cookie Debate
By Leslie Budewitz

Excerpt from As the Christmas Cookie Crumbles (June 8, 2018, Midnight Ink)

In the dining room, we oohed and ahhed over the offerings. Date pinwheels, spritz cookies, bourbon balls. Candy cane cookies studded with crushed peppermint. Big, soft coconut macaroons dipped in chocolate. Jam thumbprints. Fudge ecstasies—crackle-topped cookies that make me ecstatic.

“No biscotti?” Heidi said. “Isn’t it a law that every Italian must make biscotti?”

“Everyone makes biscotti,” I said, “Italian or not. So what’s the point?”

“You brought peanut butter cookies?” Chiara asked Molly, who is not half Italian.

“They’re my favorite,” Molly answered. “Everyone loves peanut butter cookies. These are simple—six ingredients.”
“But they’re not Christmas cookies.”

When it comes to cookies, my sister and I were on the same page. Certain traditions must be followed.

As you might imagine, in anticipation of a book with cookies in the title and all over the cover, I’ve been talking cookies a lot lately. Christmas cookies. And I’ve been as surprised as Erin Murphy, my main character, to discover that not everyone agrees with her about Christmas cookies.

Don’t get us wrong. We both love peanut butter cookies, and the flourless version her young cousin Molly brings to the Murphys’ annual friends-and-family cookie exchange is both yummy and easy. We bow to no one in our love of a good chocolate chip cookie. And snickerdoodles? Joy, rolled in cinnamon sugar.

But they aren’t Christmas cookies.

What, to Erin, me, and both our mothers, makes a cookie a Christmas cookie? Some are clearly seasonal—only an author testing a recipe is likely to color dough red and twist it into candy canes in June. Christmas cookies feature an ingredient not used in an everyday cookie. Fruitcake has long been relegated to December—or in some households, to the trash bin, but I don’t hold with that either—so that’s when fruitcake cookies or bars surface. Candied fruit, dates, and nuts are holiday staples.
A gingerbread boy or girl served any other time of year? Just plain wrong. A sugar cookie in the shape of a star or a bell, trimmed with frosting or sprinkles? You know I’m right. And spritz? Case closed.

Quite a few readers mentioned jam thumbprints as holiday faves, and I can’t recall eating one any other time of year. Other cookies are holiday stars in certain European traditions—pfeffernusse, Berlinkranzer, lebkuchen, pizzelles.

Then there’s the snowball with its pseudonyms—Russian tea cakes or cookies, Mexican wedding cakes, and pecan sandies. So important to the holiday that they even play a role in the mystery. I can hardly wait to try the “Dirty Snowball” one reader created by adding cocoa powder added to the powdered sugar. But I will wait, until December 1.

And we haven’t even talked about fudge, divinity, or peppermint bark.

Now it has been brought to my attention that some cookbooks call the snickerdoodle a Christmas cookie. If it meets your criteria for special, and you only make it in December, then by all means, go ahead and give it that label. After all, traditions do vary. Frankly, I think you’d be unnecessarily depriving yourself the joy of those little balls of crackly dough wrapped in sugar and spice and everything nice the rest of the year.

Or maybe that just leaves more for me. And Erin. And you, if you stop by. Because no matter what the cookie, no matter what the season, cookies taste better when they’re shared.

As the Christmas Cookie Crumbles (A Food Lovers’ Village Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Setting – Montana
Midnight Ink (June 8, 2018)
Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0738752419
Digital ASIN: B075W25FNF

 

 

Erin is one smart cookie, but can she keep the holiday spirit—and herself—alive till Christmas?

In Jewel Bay, all is merry and bright. At Murphy’s Mercantile, AKA the Merc, manager Erin Murphy is ringing in the holiday season with food, drink, and a new friend: Merrily Thornton. A local girl gone wrong, Merrily has turned her life around. But her parents have publicly shunned her, and they nurse a bitterness that chills Erin.

When Merrily goes missing and her boss discovers he’s been robbed, fingers point to Merrily—until she’s found dead, a string of lights around her neck. The clues and danger snowball from there. Can Erin nab the killer—and keep herself in one piece—in time for a special Christmas Eve?

Includes delicious recipes!

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Time to celebrate Christmas and a wedding in Jewel Bay. Adam and Erin are getting married on Christmas Eve! That is after she gets Murphy’s Mercantile all ready for the holidays. The community has turned out for Decoration Day and Erin is surprised to see Merrily Thornton has returned to town. She is even more surprised about how Merrily’s family is treating her. She immediately invites Merrily to her cookie swap the following Sunday,

Merrily fails to show up at Erin’s house or at work the next day. Then her boss notices his bank deposit was short the cash Merrily was supposed to take to the bank. The woman is reported missing and sadly her boss is the one to find her dead eerily with a string of lights wrapped around her neck. Erin is rocked by her new friend’s death and decides she must find her killer. Hopefully, she doesn’t cross the killer or Adam may be left standing at the altar all by himself.

It was a lot of fun to read a story set at Christmas when the temperatures outside were climbing way past 90 degrees.  Decorating Day is Jewel Bay sounds like the perfect way to get in the Christmas Spirit.

The characters in this series are some of the most realistic I have ever read. It is very easy to get invested in their lives. Even though Merrily’s family wasn’t the nicest they still come across as real. I don’t agree with the way the handled things in their family, but we have all met people we don’t agree with.

The mystery this time really keep me guessing. Truthfully at one time or another, I suspected everyone the victim had come into contact with. Red herrings, there were a bunch. Several twists too. I was right about one part of it and totally surprised about everything else. I enjoyed how Erin jumped right into her investigation even with the holidays and her wedding coming up quick. I loved her method for keeping all the facts and suspects straight.

The story has an excellent pace. Many events take place within the 288 pages, but nothing is rushed or missed. The author describes people and places so clearly that pictures formed quickly in my mind. The dialogue was wonderfully written too.

A loving family and a family pulled apart come together in this terrific cozy mystery.

The author also includes recipes in the back of the book. The one I am excited to try is the Classic Italian Lasagna. Several differences from ours but without the Murphy’s sauce, it will probably be hard to duplicate.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries—and the first author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction. She lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician, and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat Ruff, a cover model, and avid bird-watcher.

Connect with her on her website, http://www.LeslieBudewitz.com, on Facebook, or on Twitter.

Purchase Links

Amazon  B&N  BookBub   Kobo

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS

June 6 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – COZY WEDNESDAY
June 7 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW
June 7 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW
June 7 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
June 8 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW
June 8 – The Montana Bookaholic – REVIEW
June 8 – Carole’s Book Corner – GUEST POST
June 9 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW
June 9 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW
June 10 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW
June 10 – Cozy Up With Kathy – GUEST POST
June 11 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
June 11 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT
June 11 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT
June 12 – The Power of Words – REVIEW
June 12 – Island Confidential – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
June 12 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST
June 13 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW
June 14 – cherylbbookblog – REVIEW
June 14 – My Reading Journeys – SPOTLIGHT
June 15 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW
June 15 – A Holland Reads – REVIEW
June 16 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW
June 17 –   Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
June 18 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
June 19 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW  
June 19 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW
June 19 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW
June 19 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – SPOTLIGHT
June 20 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW
June 20 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST

 

 

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

Cozy Wednesday with R.L. Syme – Author of Vangie Vale & the Strangled Strudel – #GuestPost / #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am so happy to have R. L. Syme drop by today! 


Guest Post
by R. L. Syme

One of the hotly contested issues in the Vangie Vale Fan Club (we call it Becca Nation, but the VVFC is really what it’s become) is the issue of who will Vangie end up with, romantically. Right now, she is dating a biker and mechanic named Derek, but he does not have the support of the majority in the VVFC. That honor goes to the local sheriff, Malcolm Dean.

My assistant said to me once that when she thinks of Malcolm, she imagines him like Walt Longmire from the show Longmire. Tall, strong and silent, obsessed with justice, and ruggedly handsome. While I tend to see Malcolm as Kevin McKidd (the actor), I would absolutely buy that description of the local sheriff in Saint Agnes, Montana.

Part of the argument about any good love triangle, of course, is about the person who has to choose between the two lovers. In this case, that person is Vangie Vale, the main character of these books. I always maintain that, in a love triangle, each of the choices represents something about the person who has to choose, and they’re really choosing between two sides of themselves when they’re making the choice about who to love.

Choosing between Derek Hobson and Malcolm Dean, for Vangie, is about choosing which version of herself she wants to be. I do think that she will, at some point, choose Malcolm as well, but I’m still not sure that he’s who she will end up with in the end of the series, and here’s why.

In the world of Vangie Vale, Derek represents adoration. He adores her. She is up on his pedestal, and he has no plans to bring her down off that pedestal anytime soon. Sure, he sees her flaws, but he loves her because of them. Not in spite of them. He is the president of her fan club. While still being annoyed when she runs into danger. But he’s not going to prevent her from investigating crimes. That’s one of the things he loves about her.

Malcolm, on the other hand, represents challenge. He respects her. He sees her as an equal, and he knows that she has the tools it takes to help find justice. But he is not giving her the easy way out. He wants to protect her, instead of send her off into danger. He would never say that he’s okay with her putting herself in danger.

So you have to decide, when you’re thinking about who Vangie will end up with, what kind of person is Vangie?

Is she the kind of woman who needs to be adored? Or is she the kind of woman who needs a challenge? Does she need complete loyalty? Or does she like to be protected? Does she want to be loved for who she is? Or who she could be?

Or… if I’m being really evil… is there a third option? Maybe a guy we haven’t even met yet?

I don’t know. We’ll have to wait and see…

~R. L. Syme

Thank you so much for visiting today!


Vangie Vale & the Strangled Strudel (The Matchbaker Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Montana
Hummingbird Books (January 4, 2018)
Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1983480997
Kindle ASIN: B077GK124B

 

 

You could call it the straw that broke the camel’s back but it was more like a Montana forest timber.

Just when Vangie Vale’s life was getting back to normal after a murder that rocked her little Rocky Mountain tourist town, she found herself in the middle of another murder… as the chief suspect.

Vangie stood shocked on the side of the curb as the sheriff stretched yellow crime scene tape around the front of her new bakery. Wouldn’t this make a lovely headline in next week’s paper: Local Baker Kills Parishioner With Pudding. Vangie’s road back to good graces as a part-time pastor was bumpy enough already. This would be a roadblock. Can’t have that.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Vangie has had a rough time making herself at home in Montana, being part of two police investigations, but she has been offered a contract by her church so some of the pressure is off. That is until a woman dies after eating at her bakery. Crime scene tape marks the spot across the door and that is not going to make the church council happy. She knows she didn’t kill anyone but someone with access to her place apparently did. Now she just needs to figure out who before the investigation puts her out of business and behind bars.

This third installment of this series is packed to the brim. In the last book, Vangie told the church council about what brought her to Montana. In this story, we learn much more as people from back in North Carolina are contacting Vangie. People she is not supposed to have contact with. She is also dealing with the death of a mother who looks to have died after eating at Vangie’s shop. Malcolm knows she isn’t responsible, but he has to find proof and find the person who is and that is not easy. He has to admit, that while he doesn’t want Vangie involved in the investigation, people do open up and talk to her in a way they never do with him. Maybe together they can get to the truth, that is if Vangie can survive long enough.

Vangie Vale & the Strangled Strudel is a roller coaster ride from start to finish with corkscrew twists and turns. Vangie is absolutely wonderful. She has such a big heart, wanting to help everyone she can and this time puts her in a lot of danger. While figuring out “the how” of the murder early on, “the who” and “the why” was really tough. I was clearly taken aback as they were revealed. I sure didn’t see the “WHY” at all.

This author has a talent for drawing readers in, holding on tight, and then giving us a shocking twist. She gives her characters many layers that are slowly pulled away. For Vangie, that means secrets she has been keeping from her friends in Montana. They are being revealed sparingly on top of trying to solve the murders. She also has two complicated men in her life. One that she is dating and one that she probably should be dating. Both have ways of making her a little nuts, but this triangle is so much fun to read and speculate about which one she will actually choose.

Well written, fast-paced, great characters, intriguing, relevant, fresh, entertaining, all words that can be used to describe this story. I was sad to see it end. I am anxiously awaiting Vangie Vale and the Larcenous Lava Cake.

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent


Rebecca Syme writes small town romance as Becca Boyd and cozy mystery as R.L. Syme. She is a long-time foodie and loves fancy cheese. Becca calls the mountains of Montana her home and draws inspiration from the beautiful vistas and heartwarming people. She is the USA Today bestselling author of the Line of Fire series of sweet romances and part of the Chick Tales series set in Somewhere, TX. You can find her on Twitter talking #fancycheese or #Chopped, and on Facebook with her fans in Becca Nation.

Click on covers to purchase.

Praise for Vangie Vale & the Strangled Strudel (The Matchbaker Mysteries)
by R.L. Syme

This is a terrific addition to a great series and I enjoy how Vangie’s compassion helps solve a crime and brings comfort to the town.
~Cinnamon, Sugar, and a Little Bit of Murder

The book is well-written and the plot line was great. I had no real ideas about who had done the crime until it was revealed at the end.
~Valerie’s Musings

VANGIE VALE AND THE STRANGLED STRUDEL drew me in with its fast-moving plot and interesting characters.
~Lisa Ks Book Reviews

I truly savored The Strangled Strudel! The fast-moving plot is captivating, with never a dull moment.
~Jane Reads

I found this book to be a very quick read that kept me guessing throughout the entire story and I must say, I was shocked by the whodunit, once the murderer was revealed.
~The Montana Bookaholic

. . . the main character Vangie is firmly established and I am quite hooked on her antics I must say. The combination of her being a part-time pastor and full-time baker makes for some interesting twists to this story. . .
~Books a Plenty Book Reviews

This is one cozy that you won’t be able to put down. Heck, the other two books were just as good, so go grab them as well.
~A Chick Who Reads

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS

January 29 – Cinnamon, Sugar, and a Little Bit of Murder – REVIEW
January 30 – A Blue Million Books – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
January 30 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW
January 31 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – INTERVIEW
February 1 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW, GUEST POST
February 1 – Jane Reads – CHARACTER GUEST POST
February 1 – Queen of All She Reads – GUEST POST  
February 2 – The Montana Bookaholic – REVIEW
February 3 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
February 3 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST
February 4 –A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT
February 5 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW
February 6 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
February 7 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW, GUEST POST
February 8 – My Reading Journeys – CHARACTER GUEST POST
February 9 – Island Confidential – CHARACTER INTERVIEW


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

Posted in Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways Literary Escapes Reviews 2018 You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – #Review / #Giveaway – Vangie Vale and the Corpseless Custard (The Matchbaker Mysteries) by R.L. Syme

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.


Vangie Vale and the Corpseless Custard (The Matchbaker Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Montana
Hummingbird Books (September 18, 2017)
Paperback: 364 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1977524669
Kindle ASIN: B074RP5CHZ

 

 

Mystery, murder, missing people, and Bunco. Who could ask for anything more? 

When Vangie brings a few fancy custard tarts to her Bunco group, she’s hoping to impress the guest of honor with her pastry skills. But when the guest of honor never shows up and her body is discovered, everyone at the Bunco group is a murder suspect. Wrong place at the wrong time.

Vangie Vale finds herself in another predicament trying to solve a murder in a neighboring small town before her mugshot shows up in the local anonymous gossip blog. And just when she hoped her Sherlocking days were done. No rest for the wicked…or the clergy.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Book 2 in the Matchbaker series finds Baker/Pastor Vangie Vale joining a Bunco group. She really wants to show off her baking skills to one of the members. Sadly that member missed the meeting, but she did learn how to play Bunco. Everyone gets a little worried when Fenna doesn’t show up to play but she did send a weird text message to everyone saying she is leaving town. Vangie thinks there is more to the story. Days later when a dead body is found the whole group of Bunco players finds themselves suspects in the murder. Sheriff Malcolm tells Vangie to stay out of the investigation because it is out of his jurisdiction and he can’t protect her, but again she finds herself right in the middle of it.  The church council is not going to like her involvement either especially with her review just a few days away.

The characters continue to evolve in this story. We find out more about the event that led Vangie to move to Montana from North Carolina. We get to know the good sheriff much better too. I was totally surprised by something very important in his life. Derek also returns and he and Vangie get closer. The romance and romantic tension ramps up and I loved it.

The mystery was so entertaining. Missing persons, murders, and mayhem as several suspects had motive and opportunity. A questionable police force also kept things very interesting. This book was impossible to put down. I had to know whodunit as soon as possible and the final twist caught me completely off guard.

R. L. Syme has created a cozy mystery chick lit mashup and she has done it so well. Mystery, romance, humor, delectable desserts, with characters that endearing and engaging. This was a “perfect escape”.

This is a fun series. I am reading the 3rd book, Vangie Vale and the Strangled Strudel, right now, so stay tuned for that review.

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

R.L. Syme will be my guest next week for Cozy Wednesday!
She is also touring
Vangie Vale and the Strangled Strudel
with Great Escapes Book Tours.

About The Author

Rebecca Syme writes small town romance as Becca Boyd and cozy mystery as R.L. Syme. She is a long-time foodie and loves fancy cheese. Becca calls the mountains of Montana her home and draws inspiration from the beautiful vistas and heartwarming people. She is the USA Today bestselling author of the Line of Fire series of sweet romances and part of the Chick Tales series set in Somewhere, TX. You can find her on Twitter talking #fancycheese or #Chopped, and on Facebook with her fans in Becca Nation.

I am giving away a Kindle copy!

Winner’s Choice of the 3 books in this series. 

Book will be sent directly from Amazon.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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Contest Will February 16, 2018, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
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and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

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*This book was from my private collection.