Posted in 2021 Reviews Alphabet Soup A -Z Author Edition Challenge Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Finish The Series Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways Literary Escapes Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – Death by Auction (An Abby McCree Mystery) by Alexis Morgan #Review / #Giveaway @Alexis_Morgan @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.


Death by Auction (An Abby McCree Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Washington State
Publisher: Kensington (May 26, 2020)
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 1496719557
ISBN-13: 978-1496719553
Kindle ASIN: B07W7WKTBQ

Not only did Abby McCree inherit her aunt’s house in Snowberry Creek, Washington, she inherited a handsome tenant and a whole lot of trouble . . .

It’s hard to say no to Tripp Blackston. That’s how Abby found herself on yet another committee, organizing a bachelors’ auction to raise money for Tripp’s veteran’s group. The former Special Forces soldier is mortified when Abby enlists him to be one of the prizes, but she has a covert plan to bid on him herself. Before she can, she’s foiled by a sniper bid from a gorgeous stranger, who turns out to be Tripp’s ex-wife, Valerie.

Still reeling from the shock that Tripp was married and wondering what his ex is suddenly doing in town, Abby goes looking to pay the auction’s emcee, radio personality Bryce Cadigan. She finds him in the parking lot, dead in his car. Valerie appears to be the last one to have seen Bryce alive, so she’s the cops’ best bid for suspect. When she asks Tripp for help—and lodgings—it’s Abby’s turn to block by inviting Val to stay with her. But did she just open her home to a murderer?

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

Abby McCree’s new project is organizing a fundraiser for Tripp Blackston’s veteran’s group. She has planned a bachelors’ auction to followed by a dinner event 2 weeks later. It took a bit of convincing but Tripp will be one of the bachelors up for auction and Abby hopes to win with her bid. Her plan goes awry when a beautiful woman takes the prize with a astounding bid of her own. Afterward, she learns the woman is Tripp’s ex-wife Valerie. Say What!?

Okay, Tripp has some explaining to do but she needs to focus on her event. She needs to pay the emcee, Bryce Cadigan, a radio personality that grew up in Snowberry Creek. He has been spending time catching up with people he knows and the last time she saw him he was going outside with Tripp’s ex. She is back glued to Tripp’s side but Bryce is nowhere to be found. She heads to the parking lot hoping he hasn’t left without his check. She finds him in his car and he is going anywhere. He is dead and she has to tell the police she saw him go outside with Valerie. Is Tripp’s ex-wife a killer? Valerie begs Tripp for help and a place to stay now that she can’t leave town. His place is too small for overnight guests so he asks Abby “his landlord” to put Valerie up in one of her guest rooms while they try to track down the real killer. The scary thing is the real killer may be the person moving into her house.


Abby is much more comfortable in Snowberry Creek as she has gotten to know more and more people. Most were friends of her now-deceased aunt but she is finding her place in town in her own right. This time she meets some of Tripp’s military friends as she is working on a veteran’s fundraiser. They come in handy as she tries to find out who killed Bryce Cadigan. Her budding romance with Tripp hits a bump or two with his ex in town. Her friendship with Chief of Police Gage Logan gets stretched as she keeps butting into his case. Jean, Louise, and Glenda, friends of her Aunt Sybil are still pushing and shoving Abby around but she has learned how to deal with them. Jean’s infatuation with Tripp has tamed a bit, again, the ex, but she still is baking him her “famous tuna casseroles. And of course, the lovable mastiff Zeke is around to steal our hearts. I really am a fan of the way these characters continue to evolve. We learn new things about them in every book and I get further invested in their lives as this series continues.

Ms. Morgan has crafted another strong mystery with several suspects. Abby had to really dig deep to find all the connections and press people to reveal secrets or remember past events that would give people reasons to kill off Bryce. Her sleuthing took her to some interesting places. I had a great time following along with her. I had winnowed my list down to two as we headed into the home stretch.

Again the author focuses on helping veterans. I love that the theme continues from the last book which shows it is an important cause for her.

Death by Auction is another great addition to this series. I loved the abundance of humor included throughout the story. I had planned on reading this book when it came out but my breast cancer treatments were wreaking hell in my life last May. Now I am ready for book number 4 Death by Intermission. I will be reviewing it on February 10. I am very excited to visit these characters again so soon.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

You can read my review of Death by Committee here
and Death by Jack-o-Lantern here

About the Author

USA Today Best-selling author Alexis Morgan has always loved reading and now spends her days imagining worlds filled with strong alpha heroes and gutsy heroines. She is the author of over forty-five novels, novellas, and short stories that span a variety of genres: American West historicals (as Pat Pritchard); paranormal and fantasy romances; and contemporary romances. She is excited to say that next year will also see the release of her first cozy mystery series. Alexis has been nominated for several industry awards, including the RITA, the top award in the romance genre.

Author Links 

Website  Facebook Twitter   Blog  

The first three books are on sale for 99 cents right now.
1/29/2021


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

Posted in 2021 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Alphabet Soup A -Z Author Edition Challenge Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Literary Escapes New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday featuring Crime of the Ancient Marinara (A Tuscan Cooking School Mystery) by Stephanie Cole #Review /#Giveaway @BerkleyMystery

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

It is my pleasure to feature Crime of the Ancient Marinara
by Stephanie Cole today!


Crime of the Ancient Marinara (A Tuscan Cooking School Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Italy
Publisher: Berkley (January 26, 2021)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 0593097815
ISBN-13: 978-0593097816
Kindle ASIN: B087PLF2V6

American chef Nell Valenti’s high hopes for a successful Tuscan farm-to-table cooking school are in danger of withering on the vine in this delectable cozy mystery.

Nell Valenti is settling into her role of transforming the Villa Orlandini into a superb farm-to-table cooking school, and the time has finally come for a full taste test run. But when Chef Orlandini prepares to reveal his top secret marinara recipe for the first time to a group of American gastro-tourists, Nell realizes she might have bitten off more than she can chew.

Nell begins to suspect that one of the tourists is actually a private detective sent to spy on her by her overprotective father, and the fussy foodies are noisy and disrespectful from the very start of the Marinara Mysteriosa workshop. Even worse, when one visitor appears to be poisoned by the famous marinara recipe, Nell will have to work fast to uncover a killer and keep a lid on bad press before her fresh start is spoiled for good.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Plans are coming together at Villa Orlandini to open the farm-to-table cooking school. Their first weeklong class will bring a group of gastro-tourists from America to learn all about making marinara sauce and will include Chef Orlandini revealing his mystery ingredient in his famous marinara recipe. They hit a few bumps in the road with their plans as they work through the logistics of keeping their guests involved and happy. Nell has an inkling that one member of the group is a private detective sent by her father. Another member of the group is rude and is only there because his wife dragged him along. She is excited to be there and is determined not to let her husband ruin her trip. The rest of the group all have their flaws and are pretty disrespectful. When one of the group is rushed to the hospital and dies Nell realizes there is a killer in their midst. A murder is bad, but someone dying the first week they are open could seal the fate of the school forever. Nell knows she needs to find the killer and save the school but she could end up the killer’s next victim if she isn’t careful.


All the people we met at Villa Orlandini in the first book are back. Nell and Pete are getting closer. Chef O. is excited to teach but quickly becomes infatuated with one of his new students which causes some turmoil in the kitchen. The new characters all seem to have something to hide. The murder happens later in the story but the victim was not a surprise. I wanted to reach into the book and kill him myself. The language was still of bit of a problem but Nell is learning more Italian and is finding ways to communicate with people at the villa. It was still necessary to bring in a translator after the murder and Pete translated other times. The translations for us readers still messed with the flow of the story for me.

The murder mystery was very well-plotted and I was surprised with all the connections that were revealed. That being said I had a certain character in my sights almost immediately after the murder because I quickly eliminated the other suspects. I just needed the motive to connect my thinking and that wasn’t revealed until the end. I was a little put off by Nell’s investigation this time. Her snooping and theories were a little over the top at times.

I do enjoy Ms. Cole’s right style. She really knows how to set the scene and bring it to life, Every room at the villa was easily visualized. There was a huge flower delivery too and I could almost smell them from the descriptions. The author delivered up plenty of humor throughout the entire story. The Bari sisters are absolutely priceless.

All the talk of marinara did tempt my tastebuds. Thankfully we eat Italian inspired food often around here.

Crime of the Ancient Marinara was a nice little escape to Tuscany. The characters were entertaining and the mystery very interesting. The ending did leave me wanting to know what was going to happen next at Villa Orlandin, so I am looking forward to the next book in this series.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Stephanie Cole is an active member of the mystery writing community. Writing as Shelley Costa, she was nominated for both an Edgar and an Agatha award, and she co-founded the Northeast Ohio chapter of Sisters in Crime. She teaches creative writing workshops and lectures on American literature in the greater Cleveland area. For fun, she takes violin lessons, studies Art History—and eyes them both for murder plots.

Due to COVID-19, the publisher is not offering a giveaway,
so I will be giving away a $5.00 Amazon Gift Card.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
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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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If you share the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will
receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End February 10, 2021, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
The Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

Posted in 2021 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Alphabet Soup A -Z Author Edition Challenge Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Literary Escapes Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

A Cold Brew Killing (All-Day Breakfast Cafe Mystery) by Lena Gregory #Review / #Giveaway


A Cold Brew Killing (All-Day Breakfast Cafe Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Florida
Lyrical Underground (November 6, 2018)
Print Length Approximately 250 Pages
Digital ASIN: B079R5Y14L

When an ice cream vendor discovers a frozen stiff, Florida diner owner Gia Morelli has to serve up some just desserts . . .

 

Gia has become good friends with Trevor, a fun, flirtatious bachelor who owns the ice cream parlor down the street from her popular All-Day Breakfast Café. Trevor has the scoop on all sorts of local attractions and activities. But when he bursts into her diner, trembling and paler than a pint of French Vanilla, she can tell something’s very wrong. Trevor points her toward his shop then passes out cold. When Gia runs down to his shop, she discovers a chilling sight—a dead body in the open freezer. But the ice cream man’s troubles are just beginning. The police suspect him of this murder a la mode, especially when details of his questionable past surface. Gia believes in her friend and is determined to clear his name and find the real cold-blooded killer before someone else gets put on ice . . .

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts

It gets mighty chilly in Florida when a dead body is found in the freezer of the ice cream parlor of Gia’s new friend Trevor. She and Trevor had big plans for bringing cold brews to both their businesses but that is on ice for now. Of course, Trevor is the prime suspect of the police but Gia just knows in her heart the man is innocent. Now she just has to find the evidence to prove it.


It was so good to get back to these characters. I don’t know how I got behind on this series but I plan to rectify that very soon.

Gia, Savannah, Hunt, Leo, Willow, Earl, Harley, Cybil, Cole, and Thor all return and are joined by several new characters. Two mayoral candidates, although one doesn’t last long, ice cream shop owner, Trevor, Willow’s mom, Skyla, join the cast. Ms. Gregory’s characters are all realistic. People you would expect to find in Boggy Creek at Gia’s All-Day Breakfast Café. I enjoy Gia and Savannah’s friendship. This time it is tested just a bit but I really liked the way Savannah convinced Gia it was okay to take some time off. Their relationship is believable and steady. They have each other’s back even when things get downright crazy.

The new secondary characters along with Harley play key roles in the mystery. They have been Boggy Creek residents for a long time and while the murder maybe political it could also be something in their pasts that has gotten Ron Parker killed. There are several twists and turns, shots fired, and another death before all the clues align and secrets come out for the killer to be revealed. The author has plotted an intriguing mystery with many possibilities.

The book also has a message and a revelation for Gia regarding families. It is so true and heartwarming.

A Cold Brew Killing was so entertaining! Great characters, a wonderful mystery and don’t even get me started on the food. We did have breakfast for dinner during the time I was reading this book. Yummy!

Stay tuned, in my quest to get caught up on this series I will be reading A Waffle Lot of Murder soon so I am ready when Whole Latte Murder hits stores on April 27.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

Lena Gregory lives in a small town on the south shore of eastern Long Island with her husband and three children.

When she was growing up, she spent many lazy afternoons on the beach, in the yard, anywhere she could find to curl up with a good book. She loves reading as much now as she did then, but she now enjoys the added pleasure of creating her own stories.

Author Links – Newsletter – Website  –  Facebook – Facebook Page  – Twitter  –  Goodreads  – Pinterest

Purchase Links

Amazon   B&N  Kobo

Also by Lena Gregory

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 Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

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

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End February 6, 2021, 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 2021 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Alphabet Soup A -Z Author Edition 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 The Broken Spine (A Beloved Bookroom Mystery) by Dorothy St. James #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @BerkleyMystery @dorothywrites

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am super excited to share my thoughts about The Broken Spine today!


The Broken Spine (A Beloved Bookroom Mystery)
by Dorothy St. James

About The Broken Spine


The Broken Spine (A Beloved Bookroom Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – South Carolina
Publisher: Berkley (January 19, 2021)
Hardcover: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 0593098579
ISBN-13: 978-0593098578
Kindle ASIN: B086SCQ639

The first in an exciting new series featuring Trudell Becket, a spunky librarian who will stop at nothing to save her beloved books and catch a killer!

 

Trudell Becket, book-loving librarian, finds herself in a bind when the library where she works is turned into a state-of-the-art bookless library. In a rare move of rebellion, Trudell rescues hundreds of her library’s beloved books slated for the recycle center. She sets up a secret book room in the library’s basement and opens it to anyone who shares her love of the printed book.

 

When the town councilman, who was the vocal proponent of the library’s transformation into a “futuristic technological center,” is crushed under an overturned shelf of DVDs, Trudell becomes the police’s prime suspect for his murder. She was the only person in the library at the time of his death, or so the police believe. But that’s not true. For the past month, Trudell had been letting a few dozen residents into the building through the basement entrance so they could read and check out the printed books.

 

But if she tells the police about the backdoor patrons who were in the library at the time of the murder, she’d have to explain about the secret book room and risk losing the books. In order to protect herself from being arrested for a murder she didn’t commit, Trudell–with the help of a group of dedicated readers–decides to investigate. She quickly discovers you can’t always judge a book by its cover.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Like me, Trudell Becket loves books. Being a librarian brings her so much joy. But the Cypress city manager is on a mission to bring tech companies to town so he has decided the way to do that is to make everything computerized and digital. His first major project is to make the library completely digital and send all the print books to the landfill. Trudell just can’t accept that so she comes up with a plan to rescue as many books as she can. She pitches her idea to her friends and they agree to help her. While executing her plan she hears a loud crash. Rushing to the noise she finds the city manager crushed beneath a media shelf that was filled with DVDs. A shelf that had been tampered with. Because she is the one that found him Trudell becomes the prime suspect in the murder. Now with a little more help from her friends, she decides to find the real culprit before she is booked for the crime.


Stop, full stop! A library with no physical books! Yes, technology is great but libraries hold our history. They are a gathering place. A place where dreams are born and goals are set. There is nothing like that new book smell, except maybe that old book smell. The joy that is felt as you open a book and set off on a new adventure. Yes, stories can be read or listened to on devices and loved but there of many types of books that just need to be in print format. All formats can coexist together, there is no need to just trash books especially first editions of some classics. Okay, I will get off my soapbox and tell you more about this book but I must say the premise of the story just broke my heart. That does not mean I did enjoy the book. If the job of a book is to evoke emotions this story truly does that.

I found Trudell to be a very interesting protagonist, a girl after my own heart. She has a diverse group of friends and co-workers, one of who I identified with completely. One has me on the fence. I feel we have just scratched the surface on these key characters. I want to get to know them all better. Dewey, the cat, was a favorite of mine. I found him to be quite captivating.

The mystery had a nice pace with twists and turns. I did hone in on someone very early in the story, I just needed to suss out all the reasons why. Trudell worked her way through all the suspects and did come around eventually to my way of thinking as all the clues finally fell into place for her. It was fun to see her process everything. I think the theme of the story, a bookless library, grabbed all of my attention at first and I was thrilled that the city manager was the victim. Had I been a character in the story I may have topped the suspect list myself. The motive ended up being a bit of a surprise but my thinking was definitely on the right track.

The Broken Spine is a very pleasing start to the Beloved Bookroom Series. I am curious to see where the author takes these characters and how they will develop. I am still trying to wrap my head around the bookless library idea. Ms. St. James has sure piqued my interest. A Perfect Bind will be released on September 7, 2021.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Dorothy St. James

Mystery author Dorothy St. James was born in New York but raised in South Carolina. She makes her home on an artsy island community in South Carolina with her husband, a crazy dog, and fluffy cat. Though writing has always been a passion for her, she pursued an undergraduate degree in Wildlife Biology and a graduate degree in Public Administration and Urban Planning. She put her educational experience to use, having worked in all branches and all levels of government including local, regional, state, and federal. She even spent time during college working for a non-profit environmental watchdog organization.

Switching from government service and community planning to fiction writing wasn’t as big of a change as some might think. Her government work was all about the stories of the people and the places where they live. As an urban planner, Dorothy loved telling the stories of the people she met. And from that, her desire to tell the tales that were so alive in her heart grew until she could not ignore it any longer. In 2001, she took a leap of faith and pursued her dream of writing fiction full-time.

* Dorothy St. James is the alter-ego of award-winning multi-published author, Dorothy McFalls. She enjoys writing in several different genres. Her works have been nominated for many awards including: Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, Reviewers International Organization Award, National Reader’s Choice Award, CataRomance Reviewers’ Choice Award, and The Romance Reviews Today Perfect 10! Award. Reviewers have called her work: “amazing”, “perfect”, “filled with emotion”, and “lined with danger.”

Author Links – Website      Twitter     Facebook    Bookbub

Purchase Links

AmazonIndieBoundBookshopB&N – 

Also by Dorothy St. James


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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 2021 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Alphabet Soup A -Z Author Edition 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 – Wedding Bear Blues (A Teddy Bear Mystery) by Meg Macy #Review / # Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @megmims

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am so happy to share my thoughts about Wedding Bear Blues today! 

 


Wedding Bear Blues (A Teddy Bear Mystery)
by Meg Macy

About Wedding Bear Blues


Wedding Bear Blues (A Teddy Bear Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Setting – Michigan
Publisher: Kensington (December 29, 2020)
Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-10: 1496729153
ISBN-13: 978-1496729156
Digital ASIN: B086R75PC1

When a heartless killer ruins a Valentine’s Day wedding, teddy bear shop manager Sasha Silverman vows to solve the crime . . .

At the Silver Bear Shop and Factory, Sasha will be selling plenty of bride and groom teddy bears come springtime. But this Valentine’s Day weekend, she’d take any of those silent, stuffed couples over the real thing. Sasha and her sister Maddie are bridesmaids at Cissy Davidson’s upcoming wedding in Silver Hollow. Cissy is fuming over the worst choice of best man—the jerk who broke her sister Debbie’s heart—and the groom-to-be won’t budge in his decision. At the rehearsal dinner, you could cut the tension with a wedding cake knife.

That is, until best man Dylan is found dead, impaled with an ice pick. Although jilted Debbie is the most likely suspect—the blood on her dress doesn’t help her case—the bride begs Sasha to prove her sister’s innocence. If anyone’s going to walk down the aisle, Sasha will first need to find the cold-hearted killer who iced Dylan . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

It’s a beary interesting time in Silver Hollow. Bears are popular Valentine’s Day gifts but the Silver Bear Shop and Factory is planning ahead for Spring. With both Sasha and Maddie standing up in their friend’s Cissy Davidson’s Valentine’s wedding, marriage and anniversaries are on the girl’s minds. Bride and groom bears would be fantastic for spring. The could even be personalized. The girls are also excited about the Chocolate Bear Bar they are hosting for Chocolair, the new chocolate shop in town.

As Cissy’s wedding draws near, there are many plans coming up – a shower, complete with Botox treatments, the bachelor party poker game, the wedding rehearsal, and the following dinner, all before the big event. Bridezilla Cissy has a big problem with her groom’s choice for the best man. Dylan Campbell is a womanizer who broke her sister Debbie’s heart. By the time the rehearsal dinner rolls around more than just Debbie and Cissy have issues with Dylan. When he is found dead in the middle of the dinner in the women’s bathroom no less, Debbie may be at the top of the suspect list but there are several other names following hers. Cissy begs Sasha to prove Debbie didn’t do it but she also wants the case wrapped up quickly so she can get hitched as soon as possible.


It is always fun to catch up with the Silverman family. This time the author introduces a plethora of new characters. Family visiting from out of town, the wedding party and their families, along with one big dog, and some strange men coming into the shop looking for a certain type of teddy bear. The author does an excellent job at keeping each character unique which I really appreciated because it was so easy to keep everyone straight and how they connected to other characters. Sasha and Maddie put up with a lot from Cissy and they definitely had much more patience than I ever would have had with the woman.  I did enjoy that Jay and Sasha’s relationship was more present in the story and getting stronger. It was also nice to see Maddie with a man and that the four of them did things together and it felt very comfortable. Their aunt and uncle came to town with heavy hearts as a family member has a huge medical crisis. Without missing a beat, the girl’s come up with a great idea, and the family and the entire community gets on board.  I found that part of the story especially heartwarming.

The murder mystery was a twisted one. I knew there was some underlying secret that would blow the mystery wide open but until everything was revealed I just couldn’t piece the clues together in a sensical way. I eliminated suspects only to bring them back on to my personal list a chapter or two later. A few characters really pushed my buttons and I wanted them to be guilty. The bride’s dog plays an amusing role throughout the story. There are also a couple of subplots woven into the story that added a bit of intrigue. I thought they were kinda unnecessary but one was there to set up the start for the next book in the series.

Ms. Macy always gives her readers a fun and entertaining story with captivating characters. Well-written with an emphasis on family Wedding Bear Blues is a true testament to that. While the book reads well on its own, I recommend reading the series in order to get to know this beary lovable family from the start.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

You can read my review of Bearly Departed
and a guest post from Meg here.

You can read my review of Bear Witness to Murder
and a character guest post by Sasha Silverman here.

You can read my review of Have A Beary Little Murder here.

About Meg Macy

Award-winning mystery author Meg Macy lives in Southeast Michigan, close enough to Ann Arbor, Chelsea, and Dexter — the setting of her “Shamelessly Adorable Teddy Bear” cozy mysteries for Kensington. She is also one-half of the writing team of D.E. Ireland for the Eliza Doolittle & Henry Higgins mysteries; two books, Wouldn’t It Be Deadly and Get Me to the Grave On Time were Agatha Award finalists for Best Historical. Meg’s first published book, Double Crossing, won the 2012 Best First Novel Spur Award from Western Writers of America. Meg loves reading historical and cozy mysteries, gardening, crafts, and watercolor painting.

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Great Escapes Praise for Wedding Bear Blues (A Teddy Bear Mystery)
by Meg Macy

Wedding Bear Blues by Meg Macy is a fun-filled mystery with a lot of teddy bear humor.
~Baroness’ Book Trove

The author has a captivating writing style and has offered an array of colorful characters along with a genuinely interesting and suspenseful plot.
~I Read What You Write

I like Sasha and her whole family, especially as they pull together through good times and bad . . . With its shamelessly adorable teddy bears and a matrimonial murder WEDDING BEAR BLUES is a Valentine’s Day treat.
~Cozy Up With Kathy

I thought this charming cozy was well-written with developed characters and adorable teddy bears. I enjoyed all the cozy elements that make up this entertaining tale . . .
~The Avid Reader

 

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Posted in 2021 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

Hope, Faith, and a Corpse: A Faith Chapel Mystery by Laura Jensen Walker #Review @LauraJensenWal1


Hope, Faith, and a Corpse: A Faith Chapel Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – California
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books (January 12, 2021)
Hardcover: 298 pages
ISBN-10: 1643855042
ISBN-13: 978-1643855042
Kindle ASIN: B0871KRPKG

In the tradition of M. C. Beaton, Hope Taylor, pastor of a small-town California church, tries to find out who sent a church elder to Heaven.

Hope Taylor arrives in Apple Springs to start her new life as the first female pastor of Faith Chapel Episcopal Church. The northern California town’s quaint cottages, bungalows, and shops promise a fresh start for the 42-year-old widow and Bogie, her scruffy black Labrador. But where is Father Christopher? The kindly old rector who hired Pastor Hope was supposed to meet her upon her arrival, but he’s nowhere to be seen. Hope’s faith springs eternal, so she explores the little white church hoping to find Father Christopher. But when she enters the columbarium, she instead finds church elder Stanley King–his skull crushed by a fallen burial urn.

Hope had made Stanley’s acquaintance before and had struggled to take a charitable view of his character. Stanley was as wicked as he was wealthy, as petty as he was pious. His soul may have been holy, but his behavior was wholly rotten. The last time Hope had seen him, he had shouted drunkenly that she would preach at Faith Chapel over his dead body.

Many of the townsfolk witnessed the altercation, so Hope finds herself as the prime suspect in Stanley’s murder. With Bogie’s four-footed assistance, Hope is determined to find the real killer and clear her name…even if it will require a bit of divine intervention.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Oh my, Hope Taylor is a woman I would surely be friends with. We share our Wisconsin roots, we hear our mother’s voice in our heads – “a place for everything and everything in its place” all the time, our inner thoughts sometimes roll off our tongues and escape out our mouths, we both love old black and white movies and can quote lines perfectly if necessary. She even has a labrador named Bogie.

Hope in the new associate pastor at Faith Chapel Episcopal Church and her first day doesn’t get off to a good start. While trying to locate the lead pastor, Father Christopher, she finds church elder Stanley Kind instead. He just happens to be dead in the columbarium with a crushed skull and a bloody urn by his side. She had only met the man once and he was drunk and not very supportive. When two parishioners find her and the deceased that quickly jump to the conclusion that she killed the man. Being a murder suspect was not the fresh start she was hoping to have. Now she is going to have to prove herself to her new congregation and clear her name.


Laura Jensen Walker introduces some fantastic characters in this first Faith Chapel Mysteries. Not only do I love Hope but her sister-in-law Virginia too. She drops everything to come to Hope’s aid and she is a whole lot of fun. I also liked the technology-challenged Father Christopher. He reminded me of one of my former pastors.  There are several other characters that remind me of people in my life. Bogie also stole my heart immediately. All the characters are believable and some are very quirky. They were all very fleshed out for the first book in the series.

The life of a small-town church is accurately portrayed. While not a pastor, I worked for our small town church for several years in different capacities and everything from the fundraisers to the services rang true, as did the dealing with the variety of members’ attitudes and feelings.

The victim was truly a despicable man so there was no shortage of suspects. The more I learned about him I was surprised he lived as long as he did. Another mystery involves a skeleton found buried in Hope’s backyard. Both mysteries are well-plotted and interesting. I really enjoyed doing some armchair sleuthing of my own as Hope was trying to uncover all the facts she could. Several twists and a little legwork brought the real culprit to light. The author’s descriptive writing style made everything clear in my mind’s eye each and every step of the way. The final twist was quite a surprise.

Hope, Faith, and a Corpse was a heavenly read. I loved the way humor was woven liberally throughout the entire story. I truly didn’t want to reach the end. I am very excited about this series. I can’t wait for book two! I have hope and faith that this series is going to be a must-read for cozy lovers everywhere. A Perfect Escape!!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent  

 

 

About the Author

Laura Jensen Walker has loved mysteries ever since she read Trixie Belden in the fourth grade in her Danish-founded hometown of Racine, Wisconsin–America’s kringle capital. A former journalist and the author of several novels and humorous non-fiction books, including Murder Most Sweet and Thanks for the Mammogram! Laura is grateful to be a longtime breast cancer survivor. She lives in California with her Renaissance-man husband and their canine-daughter Mellie. (from Amazon)
Author Links – WebsiteFacebook – TwitterInstagram –  Newsletter – 


Also by Laura Jensen Walker

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

Posted in 2020 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – Better Off Read: A Bookmobile Mystery by Nora Page #Review / #Giveaway @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.


Better Off Read: A Bookmobile Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Georgia
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books (May 8, 2018)
Hardcover: 336 pages
ISBN-10: 1683316436
ISBN-13: 978-1683316435
Kindle ASIN: B075QJRD2J

When her best hope of saving her storm-damaged library is found murdered, senior librarian Cleo Watkins hits the road in her bookmobile in search of justice.

Septuagenarian librarian Cleo Watkins won’t be shushed when an upstart young mayor threatens to permanently shelve her tiny town’s storm-damaged library. She takes to her bookmobile, Words on Wheels, to collect allies and rally library support throughout Catalpa Springs, Georgia.

However, Cleo soon rolls into trouble. A major benefactor known for his eccentric DIY projects requests all available books on getting away with murder. He’s no Georgia peach, and Cleo wonders if she should worry about his plans. She knows she should when she discovers him bludgeoned and evidence points to her best friend, Mary-Rose Garland.

Sure of Mary-Rose’s innocence, Cleo applies her librarian’s sleuthing skills to the case, assisted by friends, family, and the dapper antiquarian bookseller everyone keeps calling her boyfriend. Evidence stacks up, but a killer is overdue to strike again. With lives and her library on the line, Cleo must shift into high gear to close the book on murder in Better Off Read, the charming Bookmobile series debut by Nora Page.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

In Better Off Read we meet Cleo Watkins. She is a Septuagenarian librarian trying to save her library after recent storm damage. While waiting on repairs she and her Persian cat Rhett Butler have pressed the library’s old bookmobile, Words on Wheels, into greater service to reach all her patrons. While delivering some questionable books to one of the library’s major benefactors, Buford Krandall, she finds him dead on the floor surrounded by books Cleo had delivered to him recently. She was really hoping he would help her convince the town’s mayor, Jebson Day, that the library was an important piece of the community. He has plans to shudder the library and invest the money to build an enormous fishing pier to draw professional fishermen to the area and she just can’t fathom her town without a library.

Cleo sees all the evidence and knows her grandson Ollie, and best friend, Mary-Rose Garland could be in trouble.  She enlists the help of antiquarian bookseller Henry Lafayette and his pug, Mr. Chaucer to help her check out other suspects and find the real killer and get them booked and behind bars. And oh, she is also going to do everything she can to save her library too.

____

I was a fan of Cleo Watkins before I had read the first quarter of the book. She is a smart spunky senior citizen with plenty of energy to do whatever she sets her mind to whether it be delivering books in the bookmobile, finding support to help her save her library, or tracking down a killer. Even when it looks like the murderer has set their sights on taking her down she doesn’t give up. It pushes her even more. She is driven to clear her grandson and her BFF. We meet several residents of Catalpa Springs as she travels around trying to hone in on who could have killed Buford. I enjoyed meeting her “gentleman friend” Henry. He is very supportive of her endeavors and a great help to her. His pug and Cleo’s cat also stole my heart quickly. All the characters were interesting but I think we just scratched the surface on their stories.

Ms. Page really twists things up in the plot of this mystery. My personal list of suspects was way off the mark. Following Cleo and her friends as they snoop out clues was fun and entertaining. At times it was laugh out loud funny. In the end, I was surprised by the conclusion of the story and that was absolutely great. The author had me fall for every little misdirection she had plotted.

Cleo Watkins is a treasure. Her passion for books just shines within these pages. She made this book a pure delight to read. Better Off Read is an excellent start for this series.  I will be reading book two in this series, Read On Arrival soon.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Nora Page enjoys rainy weather, the perfect biscuit, and quiet evenings in with her husband and cat. You can often find her in the company of books.

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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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 New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Absence of Alice (A Sarah W. Garage Sale Mystery) by Sherry Harris #Review @KensingtonBooks @SHarrisAuthor

Absence of Alice is Available Today!!!


Absence of Alice (A Sarah W. Garage Sale Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
9th in Series
Setting – Massachusetts
Publisher: Kensington (December 29, 2020)
Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN-10: 1496722531
ISBN-13: 978-1496722539
Kindle ASIN: B086R9N5JR

For bargain hunter extraordinaire Sarah Winston, starting life over in Ellington, Massachusetts, has been a true trash-to-treasure success story, except when there’s a run on dead bodies . . .

Sarah’s latest client, Alice Krandle, is sure she has a fortune in antiques on her hands. She’s already gotten a generous offer for the whole lot before her garage sale has even begun, but she thinks she can earn more with Sarah’s expert help. The problem is that while Sarah’s sorting through items from decades past, her landlady, Stella, faces a clear and present danger.

Stella’s kidnapper has contacted Sarah with a set of instructions, and “Don’t call the police” is at the top of the list.  But they didn’t say anything about Sarah’s friend Harriet—who happens to be a former FBI hostage negotiator . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Sarah Winston is busy with a huge sale, but that takes a backseat when she receives a very important phone call. A call where she learns her landlady and friend Stella Wild has been kidnapped. The caller informs her that she must follow their rules if she ever wants to see Stella again alive and well.

Rule #1 – You can’t go to the police, your friend Seth, or Mike “The Big Cheese” Titone for help.

Rule #2 – You have to go about your daily routine like nothing’s happened. And act natural.

Rule #3 – You’ll complete all the daily tasks I send you while following rules number one and two.

Thankful that the creepy kidnapper had not mentioned her friend Harriet because she just may need her help as a former FBI hostage negotiator to save Stella. The person seems to know all about her life, so now she just needs to figure out how. Keeping secrets from her friends could cost her in the end but she has to do everything she can to find Stella even if it means following the rules to the letter.


Sarah is a strong independent protagonist and she is going to need to be more alert than normal to catch every clue because the people she usually leans on are all off-limits if she wants to save her friend. All the characters were have come to love over the course of this story return but with the exception of Harriet, no one even knows Stella is missing. We do meet a new character too. His presence was questionable at times but I hope he sticks around. All these characters are well-crafted and while the depths of the friendships are tested all their interactions are realistic and believable.

Ms. Harris has written a very complicated mystery with a lot of moving parts. Twists and turns make this a challenging mystery to solve. It had an extra eerie feel as the kidnapper always knew everything. It was a true game of cat and mouse that leads up to an incredibly surprising and exciting reveal.

What I really like is the way the author infuses humor in all the right places to keep the story within the cozy realm. Without it, this could have been a dark heavy mystery.

Absence of Alice kept me totally entertained. I was amazed by how quickly the pages flipped. My visit with Sarah and her friends ended much too soon, I am anxiously awaiting book ten!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Sherry Harris

Sherry Harris is the Agatha Award-nominated author of the Sarah Winston Garage Sale Mystery series and the upcoming Chloe Jackson Sea Glass Saloon mysteries. She is a past president of Sisters in Crime, and a member of the Chesapeake Chapter of Sisters in Crime, the New England Chapter of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and International Thriller Writers.

In her spare time, Sherry loves reading and is a patent-holding inventor. Sherry, her husband, and guard dog Lily are living in northern Virginia until they figure out where they want to move to next.

Author Links – Kensington –  Website  – Facebook 


Also by Sherry Harris

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 Giveaways New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Candy Cane Crime (An Amish Candy Shop Mystery) by Amanda Flower #Review / #Giveaway @KensingtonBooks @aflowerwriter

CANDY CANE CRIME
Candy Cane Crime (An Amish Candy Shop Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
Short Story (Novella)
Setting – Ohio
Publisher: Kensington Books (October 27, 2020)
Print length: 84 pages
ASIN: B08C9DQJVV

A candy-striped caper . . .

Christmas is coming all too quickly for Harvest, Ohio’s famous chocolatier, Bailey King. Thanks to her new cable TV show, her shop has more candy orders than she can handle this holiday season. Fortunately, her beloved Cousin Charlotte is happy to take the Candy Cane Exchange off Bailey’s to-do list. After all, Charlotte has come to Harvest from her conservative home district to find her future outside of her family’s influence. What better way than by taking on the Englisch task of pairing the sweet notes everyone is exchanging with a peppermint treat, just in time for Christmas Eve delivery? But when Charlotte discovers some of those delicious missives are for her, suddenly she’s staking out the festive postbox, hoping to catch her secret admirer in his intriguing tracks . . .

When Charlotte sees something underhanded going on beneath the merrymaking, she enlists the help of Sheriff Deputy Luke Little to find out if her unknown correspondent is none other than the town’s biggest suspect. And the surprising truth about her suitor’s identity has her contemplating leaving her Amish roots behind forever . . .

Recipe Included!

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

Christmas at Swissmen Sweets is a busy time. Online orders are flooding in along with all the people stopping by to pick up goodies for the family celebrations. Chocolatier Bailey King is worried they won’t get all the orders filled especially because she needs to make a quick trip to New York to promote her new cable television show Bailey’s Amish Sweets. Then Margot Rawlings comes into the shop and wants Bailey to handle the Candy Cane Exchange fundraiser she has organized to raise money for new costumes for the Christmas pageant. For one dollar residents can arrange to have a candy cane with a personal note attached for the person of their choice. Swissmen Sweets had already donated a supply of candy canes and Bailey tells Margot she just can’t take on anything more. Margot is a pushy woman and doesn’t understand why Bailey can’t handle getting the notes from the dropbox and attach the notes to the candy canes. Seeing her cousin Bailey stressed out, Charlotte steps up to take on the tasks required.

Charlotte is excited about her new Christmas assignment and visits the dropbox several times a day to collect the notes and the money. She gets flustered when she sees someone, a secret admirer, wants to send her some candy canes. She goes a little crazy wondering who her secret admirer could be. So much so, with a little help, she sets up a stakeout to try to find out who it is. But what she sees is a crime being committed. She talks Sheriff Deputy Luke Little into helping her catch the candy cane criminal in the act. She also learns the identity of her secret admirer.


Another quick trip to Harvest and just in time for the holidays.

I love that Charlotte was featured again in this story. The shy conservative young lady who is still on her extended rumspringa is getting a little more independent each day. She has a huge decision to make and the events that take place in this book are not going to make her decision any easier. I enjoy reading a story from her point of view because she has a unique voice when it comes to the world around her. She has immerged as a very strong character in this series, and I like where the author has taken her. I am excited to see what Charlotte’s future holds for her too.

No murder in Harvest this time though. A crime is uncovered and the mystery of Charlotte’s secret admirer and that was more than enough to keep me totally entertained.

The short novellas that take place between the full-length books are a real treat. There is always something happening in Harvest and this holiday story is a great way to help get people in the Christmas spirit.

Candy Cane Crime is a delightfully lighthearted story fans of this series are sure to love. It also gives new readers of the series a taste of what they have been missing. I recommend the entire Amish Candy Shop Mystery Series highly.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About This Author

Amanda Flower, a two-time Agatha Award-nominated mystery author, started her writing career in elementary school when she read a story she wrote to her sixth-grade class and had the class in stitches with her description of being stuck on the top of a Ferris wheel. She knew at that moment she’d found her calling of making people laugh with her words. She also writes mysteries as national bestselling author Isabella Alan. In addition to being an author, Amanda is an academic librarian for a small college near Cleveland.

Author Links:

Website  Pen Name Website     Facebook    Twitter    Goodreads    Pinterest


Coming April 27, 2021

Also by Amanda Flower
Coming February 23, 2021




Amish Quilt Shop Mystery Series (writing as Isabella Alan)

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

The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
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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 January 5, 2021, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

Posted in 2020 Reviews Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Finish The Series Challenge Giveaways You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday featuring Mums and Mayhem: A Magic Garden Mystery by Amanda Flower #Review / #Giveaway @crookedlanebks @aflowerwriter

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am so happy to feature Mums and Mayhem today! 


Mums and Mayhem: A Magic Garden Mystery
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Scotland
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books (August 11, 2020)
Hardcover: 336 pages
ISBN-10: 1643852981
ISBN-13: 978-1643852980
Kindle ASIN: B07TW1XV6D

A famous fiddler has been kilt. A magic garden’s left to wilt. Does Fiona Knox’s father hold the guilt? Will florist Fiona’s blood be spilt?

World-famous fiddle player Barley McFee arrives in blustery Bellewick, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, for a grand homecoming concert organized by jeweler Bernice Brennan. Fiona Knox, the owner of the Climbing Rose Flower Shop, is starting to regret volunteering to help with the concert. Bernice is an exacting taskmaster, and Fiona has enough tension dealing with her parents, who have traveled from Tennessee to visit Fi and her younger sister, Isla, and to reveal a secret about Fi’s birth. But when Barley is found dead in his trailer during the concert’s intermission, and his death is shockingly tied to Fiona’s father, Fiona discovers there are more secrets surrounding her family than she realized.

Much to the chagrin of handsome Neil Craig, Chief Inspector of the County Aberdeen Police, Fiona delves into the case to clear her father’s name. To make matters worse, Fiona learns that Duncreigan, the magical garden that she inherited from her godfather, is dying. At some point during the concert, someone broke into the garden and cut the centuries-old climbing rose–the source of the garden’s magic–from the standing stone.

The stakes are higher than ever and Fiona could lose all that she’s grown unless she’s able to dispel this terrible curse and dig up the truth–fast.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Secrets on top of secrets are revealed within the pages of Mums and Mayhem.

Fiona’s parents arrive from the States for a visit while she has her hands full with her flower shop, her magic garden, and helping with a concert to welcome back Barley McFee. Barley is a fiddle player known around the world but calls Bellewick, Aberdeenshire, Scotland home. Sadly his concert comes to an abrupt halt when he is found dead. Fiona’s world is rocked when she learns her father is the prime suspect in his death.

To add to her troubles someone broke into her beloved Duncreigan, the magic garden she inherited along with her cottage from her godfather while she was at the concert. She has been entrusted with the garden’s care and some thief has taken the source of the magic and everything is dying.

Will Fiona be able to save her father and her garden? or will the killer come after her next?


I really enjoy these escapes to Scotland and while under dire straights I was happy the garden took more of a leading role in this story than the last. The author’s descriptive writing style clearly paints pictures of the whole area but especially Duncreigan. The turmoil of the dying garden brought tears to my eyes. Something so beautiful and magical struck down was truly heartbreaking. I felt so bad for Fiona.

Speaking of Fiona, she is an incredible protagonist. She continues to find her way in Scotland and learning about the precious gift she has been given. In this book, she has many things thrown at her at once but in the end, she perseveres. The relationship with her sister continues to immerge. They are as different as night and day. Fiona is the responsible one, Isla is more by the seats of her pants. I love the way they banter. Having their parents in town brings a new twist especially because they have a history in this town. Also, Fiona’s relationship with Chief Inspector Neil Craig continues to evolve but with her dad in the hot seat, romance could be pretty difficult.

To bring together all the many facets of this story the author has to be steadfast with a clear plan. Her plotting twists all the plotlines together in a way that grabs the reader right away and holds them in her grasp until the final word. She provides plenty of suspects and plants clues precisely making it so much fun to follow each seed right along with Fiona. I was kept guessing until the very end when all the clues come together to bloom.

Well-crafted characters and an exciting mystery make Mums and Mayhem a compelling cozy. One I thoroughly enjoyed. Mums, mystery, mayhem, and magic make for a marvelous read. A Perfect Escape!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

Read my review of Flowers and Foul Play here.

Read my review of Death and Daisies here. 

About This Author

Amanda Flower, a two-time Agatha Award-nominated mystery author, started her writing career in elementary school when she read a story she wrote to her sixth-grade class and had the class in stitches with her description of being stuck on the top of a Ferris wheel. She knew at that moment she’d found her calling of making people laugh with her words. She also writes mysteries as national bestselling author Isabella Alan. In addition to being an author, Amanda is an academic librarian for a small college near Cleveland.

Author Links:

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Also by Amanda Flower








Amish Quilt Shop Mystery Series (writing as Isabella Alan)

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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.”