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Cozy Wednesday featuring Live, Local, and Dead (A Vermont Radio Mystery) by Nikki Knight #Review / #Giveaway @NikkiKnightVT

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

Today I am pleased to share my thought about Live, Local, and Dead by Nikki Knight!


Live, Local, and Dead (A Vermont Radio Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Vermont
Crooked Lane Books (February 8, 2022)
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 304 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1643859455
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1643859453
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B094GMSQ17

Death waits for snowman in Nikki Knight’s new Vermont-based cozy series, perfect for fans of Connie Archer and Mary Kennedy.

In a fit of anger, radio DJ Jaye Jordan blows a snowman’s head off with a Revolutionary War-style musket. But the corpse that tumbles out is all too human. Jaye thought life would be quieter when she left New York City and bought a tiny Vermont radio station. But now, Edwin Anger—the ranting and raving radio talk show host who Jaye recently fired—lies dead in the snow. And the Edwin Anger fans who protested his dismissal are sure she killed him.

To clear her name, Jaye must find the real killer, as if she doesn’t have her hands full running the radio station, DJing her all-request love song show, and shuttling tween daughter Ryan to and from school. It doesn’t make matters easier that the governor—Jaye’s old crush—arrived on the scene before the musket smoke cleared. Fortunately, Jaye has allies…if you count the flatulent moose that lives in the transmitter shack, and Neptune, the giant gray cat that lives at the station.

If Jaye can turn the tables on the devious killer, she and the governor may get to make some sweet, sweet music together. But if she can’t, she’ll be off the air…permanently.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Jaye Jordan has come home to take over the radio station where she got her start after a very tumultuous time. She and her husband have divorced following the survival of his cancer treatments. Their daughter Ryan spends the weekdays with Jaye and weekends with her dad, David.

Jaye has taken the station away from its talk format back to music and some of her listeners are not having it. In fact, they are staging a protest at the station. At the end of her rope, Jaye heads outside, grabs a Revolutionary style musket from one of the protesters, and turns and fires blowing the head off a 10-foot high snowman left over from the winter festival. As the rest of the snowman falls apart a body is discovered. Edwin Anger was a right-wing talk show host that had been fired by Jaye due to the new format and now people think she killed him and hid his body inside the snowman. She wants to clear her name but people convince her to leave the matter to the police.

As the police investigate someone turns up the dial and threatens Jaye and her daughter with everything from horrific graffiti to a pipe bomb. To bide her time Jaye spends more time rekindling a relationship with a man she had a huge crush on years ago. But the killer is not giving up and Jaye may find herself and her station down the tubes forever.


First, I am so thankful my cancer diagnosis and treatment did not destroy my marriage. My family was my rock. I was sad to see how easily Jaye and David’s marriage fell apart and how easily they just got on with their lives. I think this is the reason I had a hard time connecting with these characters. I wish we would have had more of a backstory with them because I hope there was more drama and feelings that led up to what to me would be a major event but came off as a minor one in this story, especially because she converted to Judaism for this man.

Next, the writing style/dialogues gave me some issues. Jaye just seemed all over the place. Her station is her focus along with her daughter. Then you throw in her budding relationship with the governor, and spending time with her friends next door and sometimes this all seems to happen within one page of the story. In a normal cozy mystery, finding a killer would be in the mix too but Jaye seems to have a real lackadaisical attitude about the murder even when trouble comes knocking right at her door.

What I did like about the book was the strong relationship Jaye and David have with their daughter. They come together each Friday evening for the ritual of Shabbat. They have moved to be far enough apart to have their own lives but close enough to be available to her for anything that comes up. And they have good honest conversations with her about anything she asks. Jaye and David have a great co-parenting system and they are going to need it as this series continues and the murder drama ensues.

I do wish Jaye would have had a more active part in the murder investigation and the mystery would have been harder to solve. A complex mystery is always hard in the first book of a series because it takes pages to introduce the characters and the setting leaving less room to develop a complicated plotline. Vermont is a fabulous place for a cozy mystery to take place. And we do meet some unique characters in this story including a wonderful wild moose with a sweet tooth but I feel the characters could have been more fleshed out in this book to start the series. It is clear the author knows the radio business and it has been an important part of her life but I need her protagonist to be a more well-rounded character with a more serious nature when called for.

I do love the radio station theme and Live, Local, and Dead has good bones. I think it just needs a little tweaking going forward with the series. Ms. Knight has the humor and small-town setting right for a cozy mystery series. I do think the romantic scenes played too big of a part in the story taking over where the mystery should have played the leading role. I hope to see more character development and a more complicated mystery with the main character more involved as the series continues. This story does have a political slant due to the victim and the governor being involved and that may be off-putting to some readers as would the explicit language used. All in all, I am holding out hope that the second book in the series will fall more into the cozy realm I am used to because I do want to give these characters another chance. I am rounding up to 4 stars.

 

 

About the Author 
Author. Anchor. Mom…not in that order.

Nikki Knight aka Kathleen Marple Kalb grew up in front of a microphone, and a keyboard.  She started her radio career as a teenage DJ at a small station in her hometown of Brookville, Pennsylvania, and despite a brief flirtation with advanced study in history before taking her B.A. at the University of Pittsburgh (her mother will never forgive her for turning down an assistantship at William and Mary), worked her way up through newsrooms in Pittsburgh, Vermont, and Connecticut, to New York. But she never wore her Phi Beta Kappa key again after her first day at KDKA, when she accidentally hung up on a U.S. Senator. Her broadcast career went significantly better after that, including a number of regional Edward R. Murrow awards in Vermont, and her current post as a weekend morning anchor at 1010 WINS, New York’s top all-news station.

At age sixteen, she wrote her first historical novel, which thankfully did not find a publisher, though a couple of editors did actually read it. Her Vermont story, “Bad Apples” was recently named an Honorable Mention in the 2021 Black Orchid Novella Award contest. She lives in Connecticut with her husband and son in a house owned by their cat.

Author Links
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Written as Kathleen Marple Kalb

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

Cozy Wednesday featuring A Dash of Death (A Cocktails and Catering Mystery) by Michelle Hillen Klump #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @mh_klump

A Dash of Death (A Cocktails and Catering Mystery)
by Michelle Hillen Klump

About A Dash of Death


A Dash of Death (A Cocktails and Catering Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Texas
Crooked Lane Books (February 8, 2022)
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 304 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1643859374
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1643859378
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B094GN846Y

A Houston reporter-turned-mixologist mixes it up with murder in this series debut from Michelle Hillen Klump, superbly catering to fans of Diane Mott Davidson and Lee Hollis.

Bad news for Samantha Warren: The plucky Houston, Texas, reporter lost her job and her fiancé in rapid succession. But Sam has a way of making lemonade out of the bitterest of lemons. At a meeting of the local historical-homes council, she serves up the homemade bitters that she made as gifts for her wedding party. She intends to use that as her “in” to become an in-demand party mixologist. But the party’s over for one of the council members, who keels over dead soon after he sips the bereft bride’s bitter brew.

It turns out that the victim, Mark, was poisoned—his drink spiked with oleander. Since Sam mixed the drink that Mark imbibed right before his demise, she finds herself at the front of the suspect line. Now, she’ll have to use all of her reporter’s wisdom and wiles to clear her name.

Who could have wanted Mark dead? His wife, Gabby? His girlfriend, Darcy? Someone who wanted his seat on the council? Or another citizen of this sweet Texas town that holds some seedy secrets?

Job hunting, building her mixology business, and fending off late-night phone calls from her nearly betrothed don’t leave much time for sleuthing. But if Sam can’t “pour” over the clues to find the killer, it may soon be last call for her.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Readers are introduced to former Houston reporter Samantha Warren and her friends Marisa and Beth. Samantha was supposed to be getting married but her fiancé decided to back out of his commitment leaving her with a ton of heartache. She does have a very interesting hobby of making unique bitters to add to drinks. She had made and bottled a huge batch to use as party favors for her wedding. Stuck with 300 bottles of cherry vanilla bitters Beth and Marisa talk her into being a last-minute replacement to serve cocktails at the Highland Historic Home Tour. She can get rid of her surplus and may find someone interested in buying her products and hiring her to be a party mixologist.

The historic homes party is very well attended and patrons are loving Sam’s drinks until one of the council members becomes ill and later dies. While cleaning up and emptying glasses as the party ends Beth finds a glass containing oleander, a deadly poisonous flower. While Sam would never even consider bringing that flower to any party she still becomes a prime suspect in the man’s death. She quickly realizes she needs to tap into her reporter talents to find out who would want the man dead and how they did it in the middle of a crowded event. She is also dealing with her ex’s phone calls and the feelings she still has for him. Add to that building her mixology business she has her hands full.


Growing up my parents owned a tavern and helping out behind the bar I learned that a dash of bitters was important in drinks like an Old Fashioned. Since then the bitters field has grown to now include several different flavors. In A Dash of Death Samantha is passionate about coming up with as many new and exciting flavors as she can and developing signature drinks to use them in. I was very intrigued by this new cozy mystery theme immediately. Samantha comes up with some crazy concoctions and most of them really work.

Samantha is an interesting protagonist. Losing her reporter job nine months prior to losing her fiancé really turned her life upside down and she really needs time to adjust. That may be why I had such a hard time connecting with her at first. She was starting to grow on me by the end of the story. As her life gets more on track I know she will be more identifiable. Thankfully the author surrounded her with a strong supporting cast. Her friends have her back and I really enjoyed any time the three of them were together. Samantha also meets someone new that could be pivotal in her life going forward.

The mystery was well-plotted. Samantha’s reporter skills come in handy as she tried to find the killer. A surprise lawsuit shakes things up a bit but my focus was continually drawn to one person. For the life of me though I couldn’t figure out their motive without a bunch more clues being revealed. I really did enjoy following along with Sam step by step until everything clicked into place. Ms. Klump did an excellent job of giving Samantha different theories to present to the police in hopes of drawing their attention away from herself. It is clear to see the author’s journalism background in the way her protagonist attacks her investigation. I really enjoyed the descriptive style of writing that brought the story to life in so many ways.

Ms. Klump has set this series off to a wonderful start. I really want to get to know Samantha better and to see her succeed and be happy. She and Beth seem to have a plan and I hope they can make it work because you know with a cozy mystery series they are going to face their share of dead bodies. I think this author and this series have a lot of promise and I am looking forward to wherever she takes her characters next.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Michelle Hillen Klump

Michelle Hillen Klump is a former newspaper reporter who covered government, courts, and crime throughout Arkansas and Central Texas. Still a working journalist, she is also a member of Sisters in Crime. Her short fiction has appeared in Crimson Streets and Tales of Texas, volume 2, a Houston short story anthology.

Author Links – My Webpage –   Facebook Author Page –  Twitter  –  Goodreads

Purchase Links –

AmazonPenguinRandomHouseBarnes & NobleIndieBoundKobo –  

 

Great Escapes Praise for A Dash of Death (A Cocktails and Catering Mystery)
by Michelle Hillen Klump

A Dash of Death shakes things up for Samantha with an overabundance of bitters, a fatal flower, a toxic cocktail, a bothersome ex-beau, a fatal flower, a troublesome lawsuit, and a resolute reporter.
~The Avid Reader

I am fascinated with the mixology theme. I am looking forward to more in this series.
~My Reading Journeys

There are quite a few twists, turns, and red herrings throughout this story. It kept me captivated and guessing from page one to the end. It’s a great start to a brand new cozy mystery series. I can’t wait to read more.
~Socrates’ Book Reviews

This was a great debut! This mystery was fun and exciting and I can’t wait to read more. Looking forward to reading book number two to see where it goes from here.
~Moonlight Rendevouz

 

TOUR PARTICIPANTS
February 8 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – SPOTLIGHT
February 8 – Read Your Writes Book Reviews – AUTHOR 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 2022 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Literary Escapes New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Hot and Sour Suspects: A Noodle Shop Mystery by Vivien Chien #Review @VivienChien


Hot and Sour Suspects: A Noodle Shop Mystery
Cozy Mystery
8th in Series
Setting – Ohio
St. Martin’s Paperbacks (January 25, 2022)
Mass Market Paperback ‏ : ‎ 320 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1250782619
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1250782618
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08R2KGSH6

Lana Lee returns for another delectable cozy set in a Chinese restaurant in Vivien Chien’s Hot and Sour Suspects.

At the Ho-Lee Noodle House, murder is on the menu.

When Lana Lee’s best friend, Megan Riley, asks her to help host a speed dating contest at Ho-Lee Noodle House, she doesn’t see the harm in lending a hand. The night goes better than anticipated, and both Lana and Megan are beyond thrilled with the results. But before they can break out the champagne, Rina Su, fellow Asia Village shop owner and speed dating participant, calls to inform Lana that the date she’s just matched with has been murdered. Under suspicion of foul play, Rina enlists Lana’s help in finding out what really happened that night.

Without hesitation, Lana begins to dig into the man in question. To her dismay, she quickly finds that Rina’s date has a rather unsavory past. There’s a long line of slighted women, angry neighbors, and perturbed co-workers—all of whom seem to have a motive.

As Lana continues to spiral down the treacherous path of scorned lovers and mistreated acquaintances, she can’t help but dwell on how quickly an innocent evening filled with hope and positivity could turn so sour. When the media gets in on the case, Lana must rush to find the killer before more dates turn deadly.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

What can be hotter than a speed dating event held at the Ho-Lee Noodle House? Men and women searching for love with tempting Chinese food should mean fun and an uptick in business for Lana Lee’s family restaurant. It’s great until things go sour. First, an ex shows up to cause a scene, and later one of speed dating men is found murdered. A murder that hits close to home for Lana because the fatal date started at her event but also because her friend, Rina Su was the victim’s new date. Lana’s boyfriend, Detective Adam Trudeau catches the case but that is not going to stop Lana, Megan, and Kimmy from doing a little sleuthing of their own. Before all is said and done Lana may find herself staring in the face of a murderer. Will she be able to get herself out of hot water and sour the killer’s day? Or will this be the last we see of the beautiful Lana Lee?


I loved the speed dating theme of this story. It was great for Lana and Megan to do something together. I am surprised Lana’s traditional mother allowed the event to take place though in her beloved restaurant but she seemed to give the whole thing her blessing except for Lana’s shoes. “You will break your neck this way, Lana.”

Ms. Chien’s strong characters all return. This time Lana’s sister Anna May get a bit of a starring role when her romantic relationship comes into question. I have had a few questions of my own I wanted to be answered so I was very happy the author put some focus there. Kimmy gets her dander up when she thinks she is being left out of the investigation but Lana and Megan quickly show her some appreciation and include her on a sleuthing night out. While they may not find a lot of evidence or answers there are always some funny moments when Kimmy is around. All these characters feel genuine and I really enjoyed tagging along to every place they went.

The mystery was complicated by the victim having a very checkered past. He had left a lot of women, friends, neighbors, and newly made enemies in his wake. There were several paths to travel but I feel the author set a nice pace as the girls worked their way through the clues. Some nicely plotted twists led up to a surprising suspenseful ending. Darn, that Lana can sure get herself in trouble.

Hot and Sour Suspects was a fantastic read. I enjoyed every minute of it!

I for one am so happy this book came to fruition. The author has been through and continues to go through a harrowing journey fighting cancer. I know from personal experience what a body has to go through to wage that fight and her journey has been twice as hard as mine. Chemo brain is real and for her to find the ability to string words together is a monumental task. I am in awe. She calls this book a “labor of love” that followed her through so much and through it all she didn’t give up.

Her Author’s Note at the end of the book has such an uplifting message for everyone that reads it. She truly is a Cancer Warrior and I keep her in my prayers and send her healing thoughts every day. She is an inspiration for anyone facing “stupid jerkface cancer” or really anything else that can knock a person down. I am so happy she gets to continue her gift of storytelling with all of us. Keep fighting Vivien! We can wait for Lana to come out and play again. WE want you to stare down Cancer and kick its butt!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

VIVIEN CHIEN was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio where she grew up in a mixed-race home, making for some very interesting cultural experiences. She found her love of books and the written word at an early age while writing short stories about her classmates in elementary school. Currently, she writes side-by-side with her toy fox terrier who refuses to sit anywhere else. When she’s not writing, Vivien enjoys frequenting local Asian restaurants, frolicking in the bookstore, and searching for her next donut. (From Amazon)


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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 Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge TBR Pile Challenge Wisconsin Author Wisconsin Setting You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – Stiff Competition (Mattie Winston Mysteries) by Annelise Ryan #Review / #Giveaway @ryan_annelise

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.


Stiff Competition (Mattie Winston Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
7th in Series
Setting – Wisconsin
Kensington (January 26, 2016)
Mass Market Paperback ‏ : ‎ 384 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1617734101
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1617734106
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B00X2EOZKC

A coroner must find a killer out to make a point in this hard-boiled mystery by the USA Today–bestselling author of Dead Even.

Every fall, hunting season in Sorenson, Wisconsin, leads to some accidental injuries. Deputy coroner Mattie Winston just hopes the hunters don’t bring any more business to her office. But somebody seems to have declared open season on land developers. One real estate developer who’s recently come to town has been found dead in the woods with an arrow through his neck. Now it’s up to Mattie to get to the bottom of the killing. That might be easier if she wasn’t also hunting for Detective Hurley’s teenage daughter, Emily, who has suddenly disappeared. With a homicidal William Tell out on the loose, Mattie is desperate to find Emily before the killer notches another arrow . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

The crisp autumn air in Wisconsin means there are deer hunters in the woods and fields first for bow hunting, later for gun hunting. Accidents are bound to happen but when a land developer is taken down with an arrow it turns out to be murder. Deputy Coroner Mattie Winston returns to work after the birth of her baby just in time to be put on the case. She starts working the case with her baby’s daddy, Detective Hurley but when Emily his teenage daughter goes missing he hands the case off to another detective to search for her. Mattie would love to help him but her relationship with the teenager is pretty icy. But soon she finds herself both on the trail for Emily and the killer.


Mattie’s life is full and complicated. She is trying to find a balance between work and motherhood. Thankfully she has a great babysitter in Dom but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t show up the first day back at work with baby puke in her hair and on her shirt. She is also hoping to bring her little family together but Hurley’s daughter isn’t having it. She is doing everything she can to keep Mattie and Hurley apart.

Maddie’s first days back at work are truly filled to the brim. Any mother can feel the strain of taking care of a newborn while trying to function through a workday. The author gives a true perspective. I identified with Mattie putting everyone and everything else first. Trying to squeeze in a haircut was a monumental task and then she made a poor decision.

Hurley is dealing with a lot as well.  He is in a high-pressure job that requires a lot of hours. His teenage daughter entering his life brings a whole new set of stressors and now he has the baby with Mattie. He is feeling guilty because he feels he is not doing any of the jobs well.

What really drives the books in this series are the many relationships between the characters. There is drama but there is an overwhelming feeling of love. The core characters all care about each other and make up a unique family situation. The characters continue to grow throughout each book and in Stiff Competition, one character has a wonderful awakening. It is so easy to get invested in these characters.

Ms. Ryan gives readers two mysteries to solve. The murder of a shady land developer and the disappearance of Hurley’s daughter. Maddie is up to her neck in both and the author twists both of them together with an expert hand. I was more caught up in Emily’s disappearance because she is a core character but it was fun following the clues to solve the other mystery too. I also enjoy the way humor is placed widely throughout the story. Real true-to-life events befall Mattie time and time again in a funny way.

Of course, this series taking place close to my home always brings extra enjoyment as landmarks and places I know are mentioned. It is easy to see in my mind right where everything is taking place.

Stiff Competition is a nice addition to this series. With the next book, we move out of the “Stiff” phase and into the “DEAD” phase. I am looking forward to continuing on Mattie’s journey with her family and friends. The ending of this book makes me excited to escape into Dead In The Water soon.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Annelise Ryan is the USA Today bestselling author of the popular Mattie Winston mystery series and a pseudonym for Beth Amos, who also writes the Mack’s Bar Mystery series under the pseudonym Allyson K. Abbott. Beth is a real-life emergency room RN living in Wisconsin. She believes laughter is the best medicine, and with the Mattie Winston series, she is hoping to “medicate” the masses.

For more Mattie Winston fun and to keep up with the latest news, visit www.mattiewinston.com

Also by this Author

Written as Allyson K. Abbott

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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 Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Show Me the Bunny (A Melanie Travis Mystery) by Laurien Berenson #Review / #Giveaway @KensingtonBooks @LaurienBerenson


Show Me the Bunny (A Melanie Travis Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
28th in Series
Setting – Connecticut
Kensington Cozies (January 25, 2022)
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 208 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1496735811
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1496735812
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B093XVRRJZ

Melanie Travis is gifted at raising prize-winning Standard Poodles, not standing in as the Easter Bunny. But when March in Connecticut brings daffodils and dead bodies, she’ll need to hop into action—and fast . . .

Aunt Rose already has a strike against her for not being too fond of dogs—or Aunt Peg. But Melanie still agrees to organize Easter festivities at Gallagher House, the new women’s shelter opened by the stern former nun, even if it takes all the jellybeans in Greenwich to sweeten the arrangement. No sooner does Melanie arrive to dye multicolor eggs and stuff baskets, than she learns devasting news about Beatrice Gallagher, the respected benefactor of the estate. Beatrice has fallen to her death, and the circumstances are shocking . . .

No one can say why or how charitable Beatrice got pushed into an early grave. Yet for a supposedly warm and generous philanthropist, rumors have her pinned as an overbearing manipulator who used money to control the unfortunate few trapped in her inner circle. Facing an uncertain future as danger lurks around Gallagher House, Melanie and Aunt Rose must tolerate each other’s company long enough to discover the truth about Beatrice’s true nature and identify a vengeful killer—before another person’s idyllic spring break becomes a serious nightmare . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Aunt Rose and her husband Peter have arrived back in town after completing their good works abroad. They have been asked to run Gallagher House, a new women’s shelter by its benefactor Bea Gallagher. With Easter right around the corner, Aunt Peg volunteers Melanie to organize an Easter egg hunt for the children at the shelter. Melanie can’t say no to Rose, the former nun, without feeling buried by guilt so she agrees to the task. While meeting with Rose to iron out the details they learn that Bea Gallagher is dead following a suspicious fall. Rose’s son has pointed to Rose as the most likely suspect. He has also informed Rose he is closing the shelter and they have just 30 days to get themselves and the women and children they are helping out of the house. Aunt Rose asks Melanie to help prove her innocence and try to pen up the real killer as quickly as possible.


What an egg-cellent story! This time the focus is not a dog show but an Easter event. The dogs are still present in the story, in fact, there is a new puppy named Plum in the Travis household. Their elderly poodle passed away a few months ago. Faith and Melanie’s closeness always warms my heart.

Sam, Melanie, and their boys were planning a low-key relaxing Spring Break but Aunt Peg has other ideas. As we have learned over the course of this series Aunt Peg is always busy with something and she thinks Melanie should be too. So volunteering Melanie to help Rose wasn’t a big surprise. It was nice to have Rose and Peter enter the core cast. They are an interesting couple being a former nun and former priest and still driven to help wherever and however they can. As with all the characters in this series, they are well crafted and true to life.

The mystery this time was different too because it really took Melanie to a place she wasn’t familiar with and people outside of her usual circles. I did enjoy the way she worked with Detective Sturgill and the way Sam continued to just go with the flow knowing he wanted to have more family time during the break. He also knows how to handle Peg. The man is a total saint. As for Melanie’s investigation, serious issues and dysfunction are revealed. I did solve the mystery before all was completely spelled out but that didn’t limit my enjoyment of the story at all.

Show Me The Bunny is an entertaining quick read. It is always fun to check in with Melanie, Sam, Kevin, Davey, Peg, and the pups. It is truly like visiting old friends.

This is not the last we are going to see of Rose either. Rose and her sister-in-law Peg are branching out in their own story, Peg and Rose Solve a Murder. I can only imagine what kind of trouble these two are going to get into. Look for their book to be released at the end of August. You can read a teaser chapter at the end of Show Me The Bunny.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About This Author

Laurien Berenson is an Agatha and Macavity Nominee, winner of the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, and four-time winner of the Maxwell Award, presented by the Dog Writers Association of America. She and her husband live on a farm in Kentucky surrounded by dogs and horses.

Find out more about her and her books on her webpage here. Find her on Facebook here and on Twitter here.

Thanks to the publisher I have 1 hardcover 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.”

Posted in 2022 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Literary Escapes New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday featuring A Killer Sundae (An Ice Cream Parlor Mystery) by Abby Collette #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour


Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
I am so happy to share my thoughts today about A Killer Sundae!

A Killer Sundae (An Ice Cream Parlor Mystery)
by Abby Collette

About A Killer Sundae


A Killer Sundae (An Ice Cream Parlor Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series

Setting – Chagrin Falls, Ohio
Berkley (January 4, 2022)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 352 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0593099702
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0593099704
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B091PHQ88M

Ice cream shop owner Bronwyn Crewse is in for two scoops of murder in this charming mystery from Abby Collette.

Chagrin Falls, Ohio, is gorgeous in the fall, and Bronwyn Crewse, owner of Crewse Creamery, knows just how to welcome the new season. At the annual Harvest Time Festival, residents will get a chance to enjoy hot-air balloons and hayrides, crown a new Harvest Time Festival Queen, and eat delicious frozen treats sold at Win’s freshly purchased ice cream truck. But she gets into a sprinkle of trouble when a festivalgoer is poisoned and Win is implicated.

Although the victim was a former Harvest Time Festival Queen, her once-sunny disposition had dimmed into bitterness, leaving no shortage of suspects at the festival. To clear her name before the chill of winter sets in, Win will have to investigate and hope that her detective skills won’t “dessert” her.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

It’s time for the annual Harvest Time Festival in Chagrin Falls, Ohio and Crewse Creamery owner Bronwyn Crewse is excited to put her new ice cream truck into service. She has loaded up the truck’s freezers with all kinds of treats and is dishing up sundaes too. Her beautiful new truck has even drawn the attention of the local television station. The reporter and Win were in school together. They were never really friends but Win is very aware of the woman’s nut allergy and took all the precautions when preparing her hot fudge sundae.

Later the woman collapses and dies right in the middle of the Hot Air Balloon Glow and her boyfriend accuses Win of serving her nuts to cause her death. Win knows she did no such thing.

It seems the reporter was still as abrasive in her adult life as she was back in school so there had to be more suspects out there.

In a strange twist, the boyfriend that accused Win now wants her help finding the real killer. She tells him she has no intention of investigating but he continues to come back every day trying to change her mind. Her friends Maisie and Riya are also pressuring Win to investigate for their own reasons. So Win bows to the pressure and starts trying to get the scoop on the killer.


Win continues to be one of my cozy faves. She is smart and funny with a huge heart. She has been through a lot since returning home to take over Crewse Creamery but is driven to make the family’s ice cream business a rousing success. Getting the food truck to take her ice cream on the road for all kinds of events has turned out to be a great idea even though it put her on the scene of the crime. Her updates to the shop have helped to increase business as well. I love the relationship she has with her grandfather. Their morning meetings are inspirational. She has his full support and he helps her in any way he can. He also has a new friend and that just warmed by heart.

This story had other members of her family stepping in too to be sure both the truck and the shop was fully staffed. Her brother Bobby definitely has issues that need to be addressed. Of course, Maisie and Riya play vital roles in the story too but Maisie started out really rubbing me the wrong way. Even the chickenpox couldn’t keep this woman in check. She was so bossy and pushy. I mean she is an “expert sleuth” because of all the television shows she watches but this time her antics were more grating than funny. I was intrigued by a new hire Win made. I hope he returns in the next book.

The author did whip up a very twisty mystery. There were a lot of dead ends and true clues were hard to pin down. Win makes a visit that took a lot of strength and that made me like her even more. That visit started to give her investigation a better focus and drove the story to a very exciting reveal that validated my theory. A theory I almost threw by the wayside a few chapters earlier.

While some of the characters really pushed my buttons A Killer Sundae was a very entertaining and enjoyable read. Ms. Collette making Win a reluctant sleuth this time made for a very captivating story.

I am very excited about the next book in this series. Win has been asked to participate in an event that in my neck of the woods is usually associated with wine, but let me tell you if it featured ice cream I would be pushing people out of the way to be first in line.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Abby Collette

Wall Street Journal bestselling author Abby Collette loves a good mystery. She was born and raised in Cleveland, and it’s a mystery even to her why she hasn’t yet moved to a warmer place. As Abby Collette, she is the author of the Ice Cream Parlor mystery series, about a millennial MBA-holding granddaughter running a family-owned ice cream shop in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, and the  Books & Biscuits mystery series, starring a set of fraternal twins who reunite and open a bookstore and soul food café. Writing as Abby L. Vandiver, she is the author of the Logan Dickerson Mysteries, featuring a second-generation archaeologist and a nonagenarian, as well as the Romaine Wilder Mysteries, pairing an East Texas medical examiner and her feisty, funeral-home-owning auntie as sleuths. Abby spends her time writing, facilitating writing workshops at local libraries and hanging out with her grandchildren, each of whom are her favorite.

Author Links – Facebook – Twitter – Instagram– Website – 

Purchase Links –

Also by Abby Collette

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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 Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Alphabet Soup A -Z Author Edition Challenge Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways Literary Escapes Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge TBR Pile Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – On Borrowed Crime: A Jane Doe Book Club Mystery by Kate Young #Review / #Giveaway @KAYoungBooks @crookedlanebks

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.


On Borrowed Crime: A Jane Doe Book Club Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Georgia
Crooked Lane Books (October 6, 2020)
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 320 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1643854623
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1643854625
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B083RZ3ZRR

The Jane Doe book club enjoys guessing whodunit, but when murder happens in their midst, they discover solving crimes isn’t fun and games…

Lyla Moody loves her sleepy little town of Sweet Mountain, Georgia. She likes her job as receptionist for her uncle’s private investigative firm, her fellow true crime obsessed Jane Doe members are the friends she’s always wanted, and her parents just celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary. But recently, with her best friend Melanie on vacation, and her ex-boyfriend and horrible cousin becoming an item and moving in next door to her, her idyllic life is on the fritz. The cherry on top of it all is finding Carol, a member of the club, dead and shoved into a suitcase, left at Lyla’s front door.

Unusual circumstances notwithstanding, with Carol’s heart condition, the coroner rules Carol’s death undetermined. But when they discover the suitcase belongs to Melanie, who had returned from her vacation the following morning, Sweet Mountain police begin to suspect Lyla’s best friend. Determined that police are following the wrong trail, to clear her friend’s name, and to not allow Carol become one of the club’s studied cold cases, Lyla begins to seek out the real killer. That is, until she becomes the one sought after. Now, finding the truth could turn her into the killer’s next plot twist, unless she wins the game of cat and mouse.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Much to her mother’s dismay Lyla Moody is very interested in solving crimes, especially cold cases, as do her friends. Together they have formed Jane Doe Book Club. She also loves working for her P.I. uncle as a receptionist but hopes her role will grow into her being more of a partner in his investigations. Her position there does give her an in when pursuing cold cases too.

Sadly the case the book club is now investigating is the death of one of their own. Lyla came home one day to find a suitcase on her porch. Thinking it was her BFF Melanie’s suitcase that must have been lost when she was coming home from vacation, she pulls it in the house and doesn’t give it another thought. That is until Melanie arrives and there is a terrible smell in the air. When they open the suitcase they make a gruesome discovery. Their friend Carol has been killed and unceremoniously folded up and stuffed in the suitcase. Of course, the police put Melanie at the top of their suspect list. With no faith in the police, Lyla enlists the help of the rest of the Jane Doe book club to clear Melanie’s name and find the person that murdered their friend. Soon the tables are turned and hunters become the hunted. Is the killer planning to kill off the book club members one by one? Not if Lyla can stop them!


Ms. Young has created some wonderful characters in this new series. Lyla is a very dynamic protagonist that I want to know better. Her interest in true crime and mysteries has driven her fine southern mother to distraction. Her mother’s total concentration is getting Lyla married to a fine man and providing her with grandchildren. Her father, a well-respected psychiatrist is more laid back. It is her grandmother though that became my favorite character. She is kind and funny and supports Lyla 100% in everything she does, including trying to catch a killer. Her Private Investigator uncle tries to keep Lyla safe and out of his cases but when one of those cases takes him out of town there is no holding Lyla back. We also meet Lyla’s cousin who is a real piece of work. She has been dating and has now moved in with Lyla’s ex. To really throw things in Lyla’s face they have moved in right next door. The book club ladies are an entertaining group and we have just scratched the surface getting to know them. Oh, and the police chief and Lyla have a past. That keeps things interesting.

The mystery was complex and very well-plotted. I liked the way it connected to another case that Carol was delving into. With all the twists and turns the author ramps up the suspense while still keeping the story within the cozy mystery realm. She finds a nice balance between drama and humor and just starts to approach the idea of romance near the end of this story. The ending was exciting. There is still a subplot mystery to be revealed yet as a bit of a cliffhanger drawing us to the next book in the series.

The sweet southern small town of Sweet Mountain, Georgia was an ideal setting. The descriptions painted a vivid picture of the locale but it was the dialogues and attitudes that really gave the story the true southern feel. Lyla’s mother made sure everyone knew what was expected of a young woman of the south even though Lyla bucked and kicked that notion day in and day out.

On Borrowed Crime was an excellent debut for this series. The mystery was first-rate and the characters were very intriguing. There is a lot of room for development as the series continues. I am looking forward to what I hope becomes a long-running series.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

Kate Young writes Southern mystery novels. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and the Guppy Chapter. Kate lives in a small town in Georgia with her husband, three kids, and Shih Tzu. When she is not writing her own books, she’s reading or cooking.

Author Links – Website Facebook – Twitter  GoodReads BookBub


Coming October 11, 2022

Also by Kate Young

I am giving away 1 Kindle Copy!
The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
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Add this book to your WANT TO READ shelf on GoodReads
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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 February 18, 2022, at 11:59 PM CST
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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 2022 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Alphabet Soup A -Z Author Edition Challenge Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Literary Escapes New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Bake, Borrow, and Steal: A Bakeshop Mystery by Ellie Alexander #Review

Bake, Borrow, and Steal: A Bakeshop Mystery
Cozy Mystery
14th in Series
Setting – Oregon
St. Martin’s Paperbacks (December 28, 2021)
Mass Market Paperback ‏ : ‎ 288 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1250789443
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1250789440
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B097L3YJ98

Ellie Alexander’s Bake, Borrow, and Steal, the most delicious installment yet in the Bakeshop Series set in Ashland, Oregon!

As the autumnal hues of November fall over the Shakespearean hamlet of Ashland, Oregon, Jules and her team at Torte are working on their biggest event ever. They’ve been invited to create chocolate showpieces for the gala opening of a new exhibit, Shakespeare’s Lost Pages at SOMA. The museum, located on the campus of Southern Oregon University, is getting ready to unveil the Bard’s lost manuscript, Double Falsehood, which is being touted as the greatest artistic discovery of modern times. In addition to molding luscious, silky chocolate into magnificent structures, Torte will be serving an authentic Elizabethan feast straight from the pages of a sixteenth-century cookbook featuring Lardy cakes, Frangipane tarts, and jellies with chestnut cream.

Jules has underestimated the amount of work required to pull off such a culinary feat. She finds herself in the strange position of feeling frazzled and stressed as the day of the gala approaches. However, her team rallies around her, and once the massive works of chocolate art are safely installed at the museum, she can finally let out a sigh of relief and revel in the excitement of the grand celebration. But her relief is short-lived. Right before the unveiling, news quickly begins to spread that Shakespeare’s lost manuscript is missing. Not only that, but the security guard tasked with keeping the priceless artifact safe has been killed. Is this a case of a heist gone terribly wrong? Or could it be that a killer is lurking in the museum archives?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

We return to Ashland, Oregon at what should be a slow time at Torte but Jules and the Torte team are preparing for a big event. The museum at the local college had landed the huge honor of unveiling Shakespeare’s lost manuscript, Double Falsehood to the public. Important people from up and down the west coast will be attending and Torte will be serving them a feast of food from the Elizabethan era. They are also making some amazing chocolate sculptures to add to the exhibit.

But the Shakespeare’s Lost Pages at SOMA reveal does not go as planned. Just before the doors are supposed to open an eagle eye noticed the pages on display are fake and the real lost manuscript has been stolen. A search is immediately started and a museum employee is found badly injured in the basement and a security guard is killed. Lance immediately decides he and Jules can find the missing artifact and the thief. The Professor also asks her to keep her eyes and ears open. She just hopes she doesn’t become the killer’s next missing artifact.


All my favorite characters are back and have time to shine within these pages. I am so happy that Juliet and Carlos are settling in their lives off the cruise ship. Carlos works so well with everyone and is such a great mentor. I think he brings out the best in Jules too giving her the confidence to take on big events like the one at the museum. Rosa plays a bigger role in this story because her uncle Javier is the director of the museum and is in charge of organizing the unveiling event. Every time I read a book in this series I enjoy the way everyone at Torte is like family. They support each other, cheer them on or pick them up depending on the situation. All are very well-developed with room to continue to evolve as the series continues.

Ms. Alexander also introduces readers to new characters with the museum staff. It is a small group but they all play vital places in the plot. Suspects all, we get to know them just well enough not trust any of them. The plot is filled with twists and turns but the true guilty party was evident to us much sooner than it was to those in the book. I really enjoyed the way the reveal played out. The author’s detailed descriptions put me right there in the moment.

Again, the food details had me drooling. I really wish Torte was a real place and I could just pop in to have one of Andy’s special coffees, a cup of Sterling’s soups, a slice of Marty’s bread, and one of Bethany’s brownies. Of course, anything Jules baked up would be wonderful too.

Bake, Borrow, and Steal is a marvelous addition to this series. It can be read as a stand-alone but I encourage you to read the series from the start to truly enjoy these remarkable characters.

Now the waiting begins, Donut Disturb will be released on June 28. I see love will be in bloom. I can’t wait!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Ellie Alexander (aka Kate Dyer-Seeley), author of the Bakeshop Mystery Series (St. Martin’s Press), is a Pacific Northwest native who spends ample time testing pastry recipes in her home kitchen or at one of the many famed coffeehouses nearby. When she’s not coated in flour, you’ll find her outside exploring hiking trails and trying to burn off calories consumed in the name of research.

Author Links –  Facebook     Twitter      Instagram    GoodReads

Also by Ellie Alexander

Written as Kate Dyer-Seeley

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 Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Alphabet Soup A -Z Author Edition Challenge Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge TBR Pile Challenge What An Animal Reading Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – Pup Fiction (A Melanie Travis Mystery) by Laurien Berenson #Review / #Giveaway #KensingtonCozies @KensingtonBooks

On Flashback Fridays I will share with you
the books I was not able to review
when they were first released that have been screaming at me
from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.

pup fiction
Pup Fiction (A Melanie Travis Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
27th in Series
Setting – Connecticut
Kensington Cozies (June 29, 2021)
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 304 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1496718380
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1496718389
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08KKYX1W6

With a new litter of Standard Poodles on the way, it’s shaping up to be a vibrant July in Greenwich, Connecticut, for Melanie Travis. Too bad there’s a killer in town who would love to drain the life out of her summer . . .
 
While usually protective, Melanie feels comfortable sending her sons to the Graceland School’s summer camp for two reasons: The institution is well-regarded and proprietor Emily Grace is a trusted friend. But Emily has been acting strange since three rambunctious Dalmatian puppies suddenly appeared on her doorstep. The unusual arrival marks the first of several mysterious happenings at camp, each more intense than the last. Emily’s rough streak takes a frightening turn with a discovery in the nearby woods—the body of her estranged ex-husband.

As suspicions rush in, proving that Emily didn’t murder her biggest mistake will be about as easy as raising prize-winning show dogs. Realizing she’s the only one who can prove her friend’s innocence and keep the Graceland School from shutting down, Melanie dives into an investigation on the victim’s whereabouts leading up to his demise. With a few spotty clues and Aunt Peg’s growing curiosity about the Dalmatian pups’ origins, Melanie must name the culprit before good intentions come back to bite!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Summer in Greenwich, Connecticut means summer camp at the Graceland School. This year Kevin will be a camper and Davey will be a counselor. Emily Grace, the owner of the school is a good friend of Melanie’s but she didn’t know her friend had been gifted 3 Dalmatian puppies. Puppies who somehow escaped from their outdoor enclosure and were running free. It is clear to Melanie that Emily doesn’t understand the training and care needed for the pups but Melanie is willing to help her learn.

As the first week of camp continues some strange things happen. Things that could have been quite dangerous. Then a neighbor makes a ghastly discovery in the woods near the school. A dead body that is quickly identified at Emily’s ex-husband. Could he have been responsible for the strange series of events? Of course, the police immediately cast Emily as the killer much to Melanie’s dismay. She knows she needs to help her friend and Aunt Peg feels she can help especially where the pups are concerned. They all just need to be careful not to become the killer’s next targets.


I love checking in with the Travis family. There is always a lot going on in their lives well before the dead body makes an appearance. I was so pleased to see that the poodle that Davey has been showing continues to do well and that his confidence has grown enough for him to stand up for his abilities to Aunt Peg and do it in a respectable way. I would expect no less from this young man that has grown up before our eyes. Melanie and Sam have done an excellent job raising their boys and the passel of loveable dogs in their care. Melanie has to juggle a lot as she tries to help Emily and Sam is a wonderful husband ready to pick up whatever slack that arises. The author has created a fantastic family unit. I always enjoy dropping by to see what they are up to.

Ms. Berenson has also penned an excellent mystery. Melanie’s life gets very entangled in her investigation even reaching into the dog show world. I loved all the twists and turns so much especially as we got closer to the big reveal. There were several viable suspects to work through. I had a little inkling toward the real guilty party but was still taken aback when everything was all spelled out.

Of course, again the settings were beautiful even though some were a little damp due to rain. The school grounds sounded idyllic and a great place for summer camp. It rained during a dog show and it was fun to see how much exhibitors went through to keep the dogs show-ready under those conditions. There was a funny moment when one dog wanted nothing to do with that rain at all. There were many other humorous passages as well.

One part that I love about every book in this series is Melanie’s relationship with her poodle Faith. She talks to her dog and Faith seems to understand. The dog’s feelings are portrayed so beautifully when she is left behind at home or when Melanie takes her along or on a walk. It sets each story in a delightfully believable way. Any true animal lover talks to their pets and is able to read their pet’s thoughts and wishes. The pure joy emitted by Faith when Melanie enters the house matches the joy all our dogs feel when they welcome us home. She is so lucky to be able to take Faith to so many places with her. She truly is a special pup.

Pup Fiction is a marvelous addition to this series. I just can’t get enough of Melanie and her family. I am now all caught up on the series and ready for Show Me the Bunny releasing later this month.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent  

 

About This Author

Laurien Berenson is an Agatha and Macavity Nominee, winner of the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, and four-time winner of the Maxwell Award, presented by the Dog Writers Association of America. She and her husband live on a farm in Kentucky surrounded by dogs and horses.

Find out more about her and her books on her webpage here. Find her on Facebook here and on Twitter here.

I am giving away 1 Kindle copy!
The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old.
Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

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Posted in 2022 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Alphabet Soup A -Z Author Edition Challenge Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways Literary Escapes Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge TBR Pile Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – Belinda Blake and the Snake in the Grass (An Exotic Pet-Sitter Mystery) by Heather Day Gilbert #Review / #Giveaway @lyricalpress #CravingCozies

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.


Belinda Blake and the Snake in the Grass (An Exotic Pet-Sitter Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Connecticut
Lyrical Underground (June 25, 2019)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 192 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1516108841
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1516108848
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B07HVYQ9XZ

When exotic pet-sitter Belinda Blake moves into a carriage house in tony Greenwich, Connecticut, she’s hoping to find some new clients. Instead, she discovers a corpse in the garden—and a knack for solving murders . . .  
 
Pet-sitter Belinda Blake doesn’t rattle easily, but move-in day has been eventful, to say the least. The python in her care tried to slither to freedom—just as she met Stone Carrington V, her landlords’ disarmingly handsome son. With the constrictor back in its cage, she heads out to the garden, only to discover a designer shoe poking out of the boxwood hedge—attached to a woman’s dead body.

The victim, Margo Fenton, was a Carrington family friend, and no one in their circle seems above suspicion. Between client trips to Manhattan and visits to her family in upstate New York, Belinda begins to put the pieces together. But though she’s falling for Stone’s numerous charms, Belinda wonders if she’s cozying up to a killer. And soon, daily contact with a deadly reptile might be the least dangerous part of her life . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Exotic pet-sitter Belinda Blake has moved to Greenwich, Connecticut hoping to grow her business. She has rented a delightful little carriage house on the Carrington estate and has now moved in with her latest client’s pet in tow. A nice-sized python who she just happens to have out for a walk when her landlord’s hunky son, Stone comes to the door. After an interesting meeting and the snake back in its cage, Belinda decides to check out her backyard. While pulling a few weeds and admiring the flowers she makes a horrible discovery. A very pricy shoe still attached to a very dead lady.

Belinda learns that the woman was a friend of Stone’s and that should give her pause but then the man asks for her help to catch the killer and she just can’t say no. She is incredibly drawn to this man and until her family points out the obvious she never even seems to consider he may be the man responsible for his “friend’s” death. Now she suspects him and everyone else she meets and that could just end with her own demise.


I really enjoyed this story.

Belinda is a very interesting protagonist. Not only is she an exotic pet-sitter but she also reviews video games. She is an introvert, happy to spend time alone sometimes reading her fave Agatha Christie. A woman after my own heart. She is totally captivated by the handsome son of the landlord. He is quite charming but for me, she was just too trusting. These two main characters are surrounded by Stone’s family and their employees and their friends. It is quite an eclectic group. We also meet Belinda’s family. They are close-knit and each interesting in their own ways. All the characters have plenty of room for growth.

People that know me will be shocked to know that my favorite character followed closely by Belinda was the snake. His name is Rasputin and he almost stole the entire show. I am fine because he was in the book, had he been in my real life I probably wouldn’t even go in the room his cage was in.

The mystery was well-plotted and written with a nice amount of suspects and a vast number of twists and turns. The author did an excellent job of making so many people look guilty that my mini little investigation was going in circles. Then some sneaky little things start to fall into place but that final twist really surprised me. The ending was exciting and I was thrilled with how everything played out and who played a vital role.

I love that this story and the other two in the series are based on stories Ms. Gilbert’s father told her as a child. What a wonderful tribute to her father. Seems she has inherited a fantastic storyteller gene.

Readers are treated to a nice preview of the next book, Belinda Blake and the Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing, and had I not had other reading commitments I would have dove right into that one right away. That one and Belinda Blake and the Birds of a Feather are both cued up on my Kindle so I can squeeze them into my reading schedule soon. 

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

Award-winning novelist Heather Day Gilbert enjoys writing mysteries and Viking historicals. She brings authentic family relationships to the page, and she particularly delights in heroines who take a stand to protect those they love. Avid readers say Heather’s realistic characters—no matter what century—feel like best friends. When she’s not plotting stories, this native West Virginia gal can often be found hanging out with her husband and four children, playing video games, or reading Agatha Christie novels.

Author Links – Website – Facebook Author Page  – Bookbub  – Goodreads

Twitter@heatherdgilbert    Instagram: @heatherdaygilbert


Also by Heather Day Gilbert




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Contest Will End January 28, 2022, at 11:59 PM CST
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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.”