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!
The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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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 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

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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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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.

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

Contest Will February 16, 2018, 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

*This book was from my private collection.

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

#Review / #Giveaway – Vangie Vale and the Murdered Macaron by R. L. Syme – Great Escapes Book Tour

Vangie Vale and the Murdered Macaron (The Matchbaker Mysteries Book 1)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Montana
Hummingbird Books (July 21, 2017)
Paperback: 362 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1548024437
E-Book ASIN: B073ZLKBZT

 

 

Small towns and gossip go together like flaky crust and sweet pastry cream. Between the police scanners, social media, and the senior center, it’s like a zombie apocalypse where the undead consume people’s secrets instead of living flesh.

But Vangie Vale wants nothing more than to stay under the radar…especially the police radar.

So when her new bakery becomes linked to a murder investigation, nothing will stop the gossip mill from connecting her to the dead body. Can’t have that.

Forced into the role of investigator, this new-in-town bakery owner has to become the very thing she hates–a nosy, small-town gossip–in order to clear her good name, and keep her face off the front page. But when a dating debacle brings her face-to-face with the Sheriff, Vangie can’t ignore the fact that one of her macarons was involved in a murder. She has to find the who-dun-it.

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts

This series is off to a tasty start.

Evangeline (Vangie) Vail is a part time pastor and a full time baker. The issue that brought her to Montana is a little foggy yet but she is settling in nicely. Her Matchmaker Bakery is a really cute idea. She matches you to the perfect pastry and beverage not the man or the woman of your dreams. She’s an upbeat person and a good listener and she truly wants to help wherever she can. When one her pastry boxes is found at a crime scene she becomes one of the Sheriff’s top suspects.  She and the Sheriff have a very rocky relationship. They are neighbors and he just didn’t like her from the first time they met. The only place near her home that she can get cell phone service is at the corner of his property near a big bush and it just drives him crazy. He reports her trespassing to the parish and she is on thin ice already with them. He has even threatened to arrest her. Let’s just say all this trespassing and murder has not made Vangie’s life easy but she doesn’t give up. I really like her and want to get to know her much better.

The murder mystery is very well plotted out. It all comes down to a very small timeline, alibis for all of the suspects and motive. Vangie takes us down a prickly path until we finally get to the real killer. Vangie can now add sleuth to her resume. Some of the story goes a little off a cozy path, at the end of one chapter my breath was just taken away. The author quickly get us back on track in the cozy realm. It was simply a page turner that kept my attention from the beginning to the end.

I am excited about this series.  This first escape to Montana just gave us a taste of what to expect from this author and these characters. I am very happy to learn there are two more books in the series to be released soon.

**My review was of an Advance Review Copy and was informed that there were some adjustments made to the final edition.

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

*There is a tragic death that appears at first to be a suicide within this story.

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.

 

More Praise for Vangie Vale and the Murdered Macaron
by R. L. Syme

A new to me author and a book that will keep you turning the pages as fast as you can to see what happens.
~Babs Book Bistro

What I wouldn’t give to be in this story. It was fun, imaginative and full of yummy treats.
~Bibliophile Reviews

I liked the neighbourhood friendship all the characters have, they agree and of course disagree, and let me say I can’t wait to discover more characters and more delicacies from Vangie!
~Varietats

It might have been the book cover that drew me in.
But it was the story and plot that kept me and lured me all the way to the end.
~My Reading Journeys

Purchase Links 

Amazon B&N
Coming Soon

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Tour Participants

August 1 – Blogger Nicole Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
August 1 – Island Confidential – INTERVIEW
August 2 – Babs Book Bistro – REVIEW
August 2 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT
August 3 – Bibliophile Reviews –  REVIEW, GUEST POST
August 3 – Varietats2010 – REVIEW
August 4 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW, INTERVIEW
August 5 – Bookworm Cafe – REVIEW  
August 5 – My Funny View of Life – REVIEW
August 6 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW
August 6 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW, INTERVIEW
August 7 – Sleuth Cafe – CHARACTER GUEST POST
August 7 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW
August 8 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
August 8 – Teresa Trent Author Site – INTERVIEW
August 8 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
August 9 – The Power of Words – SPOTLIGHT
August 9 – A Blue Million Books – INTERVIEW
August 10 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – REVIEW
August 10 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT
August 11 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, INTERVIEW
August 11 – Book Babble – REVIEW
August 12 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST
August 12 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW
August 13 – Cinnamon, Sugar, and a Little Bit of Murder – REVIEW
August 13 – Girl with Book Lungs – CHARACTER GUEST POST
August 14 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW
August 14 – Jane Reads – REVIEW, GUEST POST

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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 Cloak and Dagger Challenge Giveaways Reviews 2017 You Read How Many Books Challenge

#Review / #Giveaway – Cold Hearted River: A Sean Stranahan Mystery by Keith McCafferty @VikingBooks


Cold Hearted River: A Sean Stranahan Mystery
Mystery
6th in Series
Setting Montana/Wyoming/Michigan
Viking (July 4, 2017)
Hardcover: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0525429609
Kindle ASIN: B01N3L0Z8U

 

 

When a woman goes missing in a spring snowstorm and is found dead in a bear’s den, Sheriff Martha Ettinger reunites with her once-again lover Sean Stranahan to investigate. In a pannier of the dead woman’s horse, they find a wallet of old trout flies, the leather engraved with the initials EH. Only a few days before, Patrick Willoughby, the president of the Madison River Liars and Fly Tiers Club, had been approached by a man selling fishing gear that he claimed once belonged to Ernest Hemingway. A coincidence? Sean doesn’t think so, and he soon finds himself on the trail of a stolen trunk rumored to contain not only the famous writer’s valuable fly fishing gear but priceless pages of unpublished work.

The investigation will take Sean through extraordinary chapters in Hemingway’s life. Inspired by a true story, Cold Hearted River is a thrilling adventure, moving from Montana to Michigan, where a woman grapples with the secrets in her heart, to a cabin in Wyoming under the Froze To Death Plateau, and finally to the ruins in Havana, where an old man struggles to complete his life’s mission one true sentence at a time.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Again the author draws on history for the theme of this story.  Apparently Ernest Hemingway was quite the fisherman and had a trunk of tackle go missing when traveling West. When a wallet of fishing flies with EH engraved on it is found near a suspicious death and the president of the Madison River Liars and Fly Tiers Club is contacted about fishing gear said to belong to Hemingway Sean seems to think the events are connected. He is then hired to track down the items rumored to belong to the author. This takes him not only around the Montana/Wyoming area but all the way to Michigan and beyond. All to find the truth.

I love these characters, they are very believable and have become like dear friends. Sean and Martha have found their way back to each other which doesn’t make his former girlfriend very happy. I think the relationship may continue to be in flux as they are both very independent people, with Martha being very opinionated and strong willed while Sean seems to go with the flow.  I love their dialogue with each other. I am anxious to see their story pan out.

The book starts with a heart-wrenching telling of 2 people trapped in a storm that brings a search party out. I was captivated immediately.  I really enjoyed this story and the way Mr. McCafferty weaves Hemingway’s history right into this current day story. It takes many twists and turns as each new clue is uncovered. I do love the way this author writes, his laid back style, he is a very descriptive writer. This time I felt we were covering the same places more than once with the same details so it dragged just a little bit for me in places but enough to ever stop reading. I was totally taken by surprise at the ending. Hook, Line, and Sinker, put me in the net. The last twist, priceless. I was right there with Martha as Sean told her what happened.

A mystery, some history, drama, and romance makes this an enjoyable escape.

Dollycas
Your Escape With 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.


Now Available

 

Thanks to the publisher I have 1 copy to give away!
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.

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

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

Contest Will End JULY 20, 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.”

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

Cozy Wednesday with Leslie Budewitz – Author of Treble at the Jam Fest – #GuestPost / #Review / #Giveaway


Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

It is always a pleasure to have Leslie drop by for a visit.
I am so happy that her Food Lover’s Mystery Series have found a new home at Midnight Ink!

Escape to a Music Festival, with Leslie Budewitz,
author of Treble at the Jam Fest, #4 in the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries.

Music is a big part of life here at Sanctuary Woods, the name Mr. Right long ago gave our sweet little hideaway in the northern Rockies, not far from Glacier National Park. I once studied the classical guitar, and he’s a singer-songwriter who put himself through nursing school playing and singing in bars. (Including a strip club, between acts!) From Bach to the Beatles, from Adele to Neil Young, you can hear just about any music you like at our house.

So a few years ago, when a group of locals started the Crown of the Continent Guitar Festival and Workshop, http://crownguitarfest.org/ we jumped right in. For a week, the sound of music fills the valley. (By  coincidence, the Von Trapp Family Singers, a delightful quartet of young adult siblings who are the Captain and Maria’s great-grandchildren, live in our valley. They were students one year and gave an impromptu concert outside. And yes, it sparkled.) Imagine the setting, a ninety-year-old log lodge on the shores of a magnificent mountain lake, surrounded by guest cabins and horse barns, log chairs to sit in and views to die for. It’s a real place, the model for Caldwell’s Eagle Lake Guest Lodge in my Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries. The lodge and environs show up in several books, but are featured most prominently in the second installment, Crime Rib.

I wish I could take you there at about seven of a summer evening, when the horses parade up a hillside trail to their evening pasture. Paints and pintos, chestnuts and bays, a sorel or two, and a big Appaloosa. Even if you don’t ride, the sight and sound will make you pause with wonder.

Every day, 100 students from across the globe, including quite a few locals, gather at the lodge and in charming spots around the village to study. Classes focus on a range of guitar styles—jazz, rock, blues, classical—or a songwriting class, and guest artists drop in. Mr. Right has attended for several years, and that week is hard work and bliss.

Every evening, the teachers, many internationally renowned artists themselves, and artists in residence put on concerts for the community in a giant tent on the lodge grounds. Pat Metheny, Alex De Grassi, Lee Ritenour, John Oates, Jim Messina, Patti Larkin, the LA Guitar Quartet—I could go on, but you can hear the music, can’t you?

It’s such a treat, for students, faculty, and locals. When I lived in Seattle, I loved the multi-stage festivals at Seattle Center—Folklife in early summer, Bumbershoot over Labor Day—and adored my treks north to the Vancouver Folk Festival. The small-town version is just as much fun, sprinkled with our mountain magic dust.

And it’s an economic boon, too, something every village craves. Visitors eat, stay, and shop local. They buy jewelry and pottery, fun kitchenware, kids’ clothes and toys. They hike and sail. Some buy real estate and become part of the community.

And to my delight, many buy books, too!

But what if something went wrong? What if one of those famed guest artists wasn’t so charming? What if an up-and-comer—an emerging artist, in the modern term—had an inflated sense of her talent? What if an organizer had another agenda, or a sponsor was playing a different tune? What if an old tension burst under new pressure, and the dischord led to murder?

I’ve changed the festival, of course. Made the focus jazz, set it over Memorial Day, moved most of the concerts into the village of Jewel Bay, with its historic Playhouse and outside amphitheater. Erin is busy getting the Merc ready for summer—she’s in desperate need of a new sales clerk, and juggling all the details of running a business in a tourist community.

And because no family is always harmonious, and the course of true love never did run smooth, Erin must deal with drama in the Murphy clan and a bit of a surprise in her own romance.

But along with a passion for pasta and a talent for retail, Erin’s discovered that her business skills also make her a good investigator. So when tragedy strikes, she steps in to help protect the community and keep the music playing.

I hope you’ll make the time to enjoy a little music yourself this summer, along with a good mystery!

~Leslie

Thank you Leslie for visiting today! 

 


Treble at the Jam Fest (A Food Lovers’ Village Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Midnight Ink (June 8, 2017)
Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0738752402
E-Book ASIN: B01M1FC4OK

Erin Murphy, manager of Murphy’s Mercantile (aka the Merc), is tuning up for Jewel Bay’s annual Jazz Festival. Between keeping the Merc’s shelves stocked with Montana’s tastiest local fare and hosting the festival’s kick-off concert, Erin has her hands full.

Discord erupts when jazz guitarist Gerry Martin is found dead on the rocks above the Jewel River. The one-time international sensation had fallen out of sync with festival organizers, students, and performers. Was his death an accident—or did someone even the score?

Despite the warning signs to not get involved, Erin investigates. And when the killer attacks, she orchestrates her efforts into one last crescendo, hoping to avoid a deadly finale.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

We arrive in Jewel Bay just in time for the Jazz Festival. To kick off the event a few of the musicians featured put on a mini preview concert in the event area behind Erin Murphy’s store The Merc. Tempers seem to flare between a few of the artists but Erin thinks the night went pretty well. When headliner Gerry Martin is found dead the next morning Erin finds herself smack dab in the middle of another murder investigation. She is trying to save the festival but she may end up getting herself all jammed up. Can she catch a killer before the last note is played?

All of our favorite characters return and many new ones arrive on the scene. Jewel Bay is a small town and the Merc is right in the center of all the actions. Erin’s mom is cooking up a storm in the Merc’s kitchen and she also takes a big step, Tracy helps Erin with the store and has her area full of chocolate and demand is growing, and Erin has hired Lou Mary to help at the store too. She is just training but I feel she will fit right in. Adam and Erin’s relationship is going strong. His friend Tanner has come to town with some news that could change that though. Also new in this story are the musicians and a new deputy sheriff. The cast is diverse and with those we love, those with secrets, and those that just rub everyone the wrong way. Very representative of life in a small town.

The story moves right along with many things that twist and connect leading up to the surprising reveal. The imagery created by the author’s words gives a clear picture of Jewel Bay and all its special places. The dialogue was real and flowed naturally.

I am so excited that this series is continuing. I have enjoyed every visit and can’t wait to return. I have become very invested in these characters.

If this series is new to you don’t worry. The author provides a cast list at the beginning of the book. I think after reading this one you will want to go back and read the series from the start.

Dollycas
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

Thanks to the author 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.

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

Contest Will End June 21, 2017 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
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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 Cloak and Dagger Challenge E-Book Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways Literary Escapes Reviews 2017 TBR Pile Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Flashback Friday – Buffalo Jump Blues by Keith McCafferty #Review / #Giveaway @VikingBooks


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.

I can’t believe I missed my trip to Montana last year courtesy of author Keith McCafferty.
So glad I was able to catch up before the next adventure with Sean Stranahan and Martha Ettinger.

Cold Hearted River will be released in July.

Buffalo Jump Blues: A Sean Stranahan Mystery
Mystery/Western/Crime
5th in Series
Setting – Montana
Viking (June 28, 2016)
Hardcover: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0525429593
Paperback: 336 pages (June 6, 2017)
ISBN-13: 978-0525429593
Kindle ASIN: B018RVBUHK

 

 

In the wake of Fourth of July fireworks in Montana’s Madison Valley, Hyalite County sheriff Martha Ettinger and Deputy Sheriff Harold Little Feather investigate a horrific scene at the Palisades cliffs, where a herd of bison have fallen to their deaths. Victims of blind panic caused by the pyrotechnics, or a ritualistic hunting practice dating back thousands of years? The person who would know is beyond asking, an Indian man found dead among the bison, his leg pierced by an arrow.

Farther up the valley, fly fisherman, painter, and sometime private detective Sean Stranahan has been hired by the beautiful Ida Evening Star, a Chippewa Cree woman who moonlights as a mermaid at the Trout Tails Bar & Grill, to find her old flame, John Running Boy. The cases seem unrelated—until Sean’s search leads him right to the brink of the buffalo jump.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Our visit to Montana starts right after the Independence Day celebration. Sheriff Martha Ettinger and Deputy Sheriff Harold Little Feather are called in to investigate a murder and massacre. A herd of buffalo have plummeted off the edge of a cliff and a man is found dead nearby. When they notice the man has an arrow in his leg they have to assume it wasn’t the fireworks that started the stampede.

We find Sean Stranahan taking it easy painting and finishing until he is approached to help Ida Evening Star find a man she hasn’t seen in years. While performing as a mermaid in the local tavern she noticed him watching her. Could it really have been her old boyfriend, John Running Boy? Sean agrees to help her and it isn’t long before his investigation runs right into Martha’s. They have parted ways but he is hoping they can still work together.

I have been a fan of Keith McCafferty since I read the first book in this series. I just love the way he writes. The main character, Sean Stranahan, is so genuine, laid back, calm, and easy going in almost everything he does. That is the way the author writes. He includes very graphic details of people, time and place. As with all the other books in this series I was hooked from page 1.

That is not to say the book is not full of suspense because it is. There are surprises around every turn of this complex mystery. Sean has his way of investigating and Martha has hers. Harold Little Feather helps out when they need to involve and talk to the people on the reservation. They do make a good team even though there is romantic tension now that Martha is no longer with Sean and seeing Harold. The modes of investigation are credible and the dialogue is stellar. The characters themselves and their relationships continue to evolve and remain engaging. The mystery ebbs and flows. The final twist was absolutely fantastic.

I did not know much about these “buffalo jumps” prior to reading this story. The author weaves the history of such feats into the story to give a reader like me plenty of background and understanding about the American buffalo and their dwindling numbers. The political spin and the public/private land quandary was very topical and interesting.  McCafferty takes on a serious issue in a fictional way that can create and raise awareness. I applaud him for doing this.

Mr. McCafferty is a true storyteller. I can picture a group of us all around a campfire and him telling us this story of Sean, Martha, the Native Americans, the law, and the buffalo. Escape west and enjoy. I truly did.

Dollycas
Your Escape With 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.


And Coming July 4, 2017


Thanks to the publisher I have 1 paperback copy to give 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.”