Nov 052019
 

Cleo Coyle Serves Up a New Coffeehouse Mystery: Brewed Awakening + #Giveaway

I am thrilled to host this guest post from Cleo Coyle today!

Brewed Awakening by Cleo Coyle

BREWED AWAKENING marks the 18th Coffeehouse Mystery that my husband and I have written. Like every entry in our long-running series, this story centers on the life of a divorced single mom in her forties named Clare Cosi.

Clare is a coffeehouse manager by day and a determined sleuth by night. She’s often assisted in her crime-solving adventures by her quirky staff of eager baristas, her beloved octogenarian employer, and her shop’s globetrotting rogue of a coffee hunter.

Our idea for Clare’s latest case began with a conversation over (you guessed it) coffee. As a married couple, Marc and I have been through decades of ups and down. But what if those years were wiped from our memories? Would we still be drawn to each other? If so, how exactly does “like” deepen into something more? When does love happen?

With Clare now on a path to be married to her longtime boyfriend, NYPD Detective Mike Quinn, we decided to explore those questions within the plotline of Brewed Awakening, and we agreed the fulcrum of our tale would be memory loss.

As the mystery opens, Clare awakens on a bench in New York’s Washington Square Park. She has no idea that she’s been missing for the past week, or that her friends and family have been frantic with worry. When she finds her way to the charming, landmark Village Blend coffeehouse, everyone is overjoyed to see her. No one is happier than the handsome NYPD detective who claims to be her fiancé. But to Mike Quinn’s crushing distress, Clare doesn’t remember him, or much of anything about the last fifteen years of her life.

Clare’s missing memory is tied to a crime she witnessed. An acquaintance of Clare’s elegant employer invited Clare to her posh hotel to sample gourmet wedding cakes. After their indulgent tasting, the pair headed to the parking garage, where a camera captured a masked figure confronting the hotel heiress at gunpoint with Clare looking on. Did the kidnapper take Clare, too? The camera went dark, just like Clare’s memory. Soon authorities grow suspicious. Is Clare really a victim? Or merely acting like one? Evidence is mounting that she set the woman up. To clear her name, Clare must find a way to reclaim her memories and rescue the heiress before this high-stakes crime ends in tragedy.

Although Clare’s struggle with her memory is fictional, Marc and I were inspired (through our research) by many true cases of amnesia, including a married woman whose traumatic accident resulted in forgetting her own husband and believing her teenage daughter was still a toddler. In another case, a young teacher disappeared after going for a jog, and then reappeared, floating in New York Harbor, with no memory of how she got there or the weeks she went missing. (We could go on, but you get the idea.)

If you’re a newcomer to our Coffeehouse Mysteries, don’t hesitate to pick up Brewed Awakening. Each of our books can be read as a stand-alone story. And, if you like one, you’ll have seventeen more to enjoy. But don’t miss our latest. We hope you’ll find this mystery about memory to be unforgettable.

Brewed Awakening by Cleo Coyle – Recipe Guide

CLEO’S FREE RECIPE GUIDE

Brewed Awakening is a culinary mystery with an appendix of delicious recipes. To receive Cleo’s illustrated guide to the book’s recipe section, sign up for her Free E-Newsletter and she’ll send you a link to the guide when Brewed Awakening is published December 3rd. To subscribe, send a “Sign me up” email to CoffeehouseMystery@gmail.com and be sure to open the auto-reply with links to some of her most popular bonus recipes, which you can enjoy now.

 

The Coffeehouse Mysteries Book Trailer

FREE CHECKLIST OF TITLES (Books in Order):

Get a title checklist, personally written by Cleo, with mini summaries of all 18 of her Coffeehouse Mysteries plus links to Cleo’s bonus web content and her published recipe guides. To download the list as a PDF document, click here.

Checklist of Cleo Coyle Coffeehouse Mystery Books

Cleo Coyle – Alice Alfonsi and Marc Cerasini

About the author

CLEO COYLE is a pseudonym for Alice Alfonsi, writing in collaboration with her husband, Marc Cerasini. Both are New York Times bestselling authors of the Coffeehouse Mysteries, now celebrating more than fifteen years in print. Alice has worked as a journalist in Washington, D.C., and New York City, and has written popular fiction for adults and children. A former magazine editor, Marc has authored espionage thrillers and nonfiction for adults and children. Alice and Marc are also bestselling media tie-in writers who have penned properties for Lucasfilm, NBC, Fox, Disney, Imagine, and MGM. They live in New York City, where they write independently and together, including the nationally bestselling Haunted Bookshop Mysteries, recently relaunched with the first new entry in nearly ten years, The Ghost and the Bogus Bestseller, honored as a Best Book of 2018 by Suspense Magazine.

Visit their website at www.coffeehousemystery.com.

You can also friend or follow Cleo on Facebook as well as Twitter and Pinterest

Click on covers for more book information or to order from Amazon.
CLEO COYLE’S
BREWED AWAKENING
PRIZE PACKAGE

Cleo Coyle Brewed Awakening Prize Package

* An autographed copy of Cleo Coyle’s BREWED AWAKENING

* A sturdy, canvas Coffeehouse Mystery tote bag

* A set of Cleo’s Coffeehouse recipe cards

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Advanced Praise for BREWED AWAKENING

“Amid the delightfully twisty mystery, Coyle poses an intriguing question: if you lost all memory of your beloved, would you fall for him all over again?”

Publishers Weekly

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Nov 042019
 

Tell Me No Lies: A Lady Dunbridge Novel
by Shelley Noble


I am thrilled to kick this tour off today!!

About Tell Me No Lies


Tell Me No Lies: A Lady Dunbridge Novel
Historical Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Forge Books (November 5, 2019)
Hardcover: 368 pages
ISBN-10: 0765398745
ISBN-13: 978-0765398741
Kindle ASIN: B07LF6FR2L

Miss Fisher meets Downton Abbey in Tell Me No Lies, part of the critically acclaimed Lady Dunbridge Mystery series from New York Times bestselling author Shelley Noble.

Rise and shine, Countess, you’re about to have a visitor.

Lady Dunbridge was not about to let a little thing like the death of her husband ruin her social life. She’s come to New York City, ready to take the dazzling world of Gilded Age Manhattan by storm. The social events of the summer have been amusing but Lady Phil is searching for more excitement—and she finds it, when an early morning visitor arrives, begging for her help. After all, Lady Phil has been known to be useful in a crisis. Especially when the crisis involves the untimely death of a handsome young business tycoon.

His death could send another financial panic through Wall Street and beyond.

With the elegant Plaza Hotel, Metropolitan Museum of Art and the opulent mansions of Long Island’s Gold Coast as the backdrop, romance, murder, and scandals abound. Someone simply must do something. And Lady Dunbridge is happy to oblige.

About Shelley Noble

Shelley Noble is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary women’s fiction. (Beach Colors, Whisper Beach, Lighthouse Beach.) And the author of the Lady Dunbridge Gilded Age  Manhattan mysteries. Tell Me No Lies is the latest of the series.

She has written eighteen amateur sleuth and historical mystery novels and novellas as Shelley Freydont. (The Sudoku Murders,  Celebration Bay mysteries, The Gilded Age Newport mysteries.

A former professional dancer and choreographer, Shelley lives at the Jersey shore where she loves to discover new beaches and indulge her passion for lighthouses, vintage carousels, and the past.

Author Links – Website –  Facebook  –  Twitter – Instagram – Goodreads

Purchase Links – AmazonB&NKobo

Also by Shelley Noble

Written as Shelley Freydont

Find more books by Shelley Freydont Here.

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please visit all the stops 🙂
November 4 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT
November 4 – Reading Reality – REVIEW
November 5 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – SPOTLIGHT
November 5 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
November 6 – Here’s How It Happened – GUEST POST
November 6 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT
November 7 – View from the Birdhouse – REVIEW
November 7 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT – Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
November 7 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
November 8 – Reading Is My SuperPower – GUEST POST
November 8 – Diary of a Book Fiend – REVIEW
November 8 – Laura’s Interests – SPOTLIGHT
November 9 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
November 9 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
November 10 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW
November 10 – My Reading Journeys – SPOTLIGHT
November 11 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
November 11 – The Ninja Librarian – REVIEW
November 12 – Book Club Librarian – REVIEW  
November 12 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW
November 13 – I Read What You Write – CHARACTER GUEST POST
November 13 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

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Nov 012019
 


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


A Catered Murder (A Mystery With Recipes)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – New York
Publisher: Kensington (December 1, 2003)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 157566710X
ISBN-13: 978-1575667102
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1575667258
ISBN-13: 978-1575667256
Kindle ASIN: B00AEWIBK0

Bernadette Simmons wasn’t sure what to expect when she left L.A.–and her no-good, cheating boyfriend–to move back in with her family in New York. And her sister Libby had no idea what she was in for when she hired Bernie to work for her catering business. But in between cutting up canapés and dishing up desserts, the two find themselves in the midst of a mystery they can really sink their teeth into. . .

It’s only been a few days since Bernie and Libby started working together at A Little Taste of Heaven, and already they’ve got their hands full–baking cookies and slicing rare beef tenderloin to serve at a high school reunion. The dinner has a “Dracula” theme and a very strange guest of honor: Laird Wrenn, a New York Times bestselling author of vampire novels. Libby and Bernie know this will be an evening unlike any other. And they’re proven right when Laird pours a glass of water, takes a long sip–and drops stone-cold dead. . .

Now, with murder on the menu and Libby under suspicion, the sisters will have to put their heads together to figure out whodunit–in a mystery that promises to be deadly to the very last bite.

Includes 7 Delectable Recipes for You to Try!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Bernadette Simmons escaped from Los Angeles leaving her cheating ex behind along with most of her belongings to return home to New York. There she starts working with her sister Libby at A Little Taste of Heaven, a store and catering company. They have been hired to cater a high school reunion with a Dracula theme. The guest of honor, author Laird Wrenn, even arrives with his own coffin. Sadly, before the night ends he is going to need it because after a big drink of water he keels over dead. Since Libby provided the bottled water she becomes a prime suspect but everyone at the reunion had access to it so the suspect list is wide open and Bernie and Libby are going to find who sucked the life out of the popular vampire . . . author.

I found the family dynamic interesting in this first book of this series. The sisters are as different as night and day but both seem to attract jerks and deserve better. In addition to working together, they are also taking care of their father, Sean, the former police chief. He is in a wheelchair but no real story as to why as been revealed as yet. Truthfully the author has not given any of the core characters much depth so there is a lot to be revealed in subsequent books.  I did like the interactions between the sisters and with their father. They came across as realistic and true.

The girl’s investigation into the murder was fun to read. Taking along treats when visiting the suspects did loosen some tongues. In fact, the heat was soon off Libby and onto one of her friends. I also liked that they talked things over with their dad to get his expert opinion. His replacement at the police department is a real tool and needed to be put in his place.  I was able to pull all the clues together before Bernie and Libby and the police but enjoyed following along to the end.

This story was good but I wish the characters were more fleshed out so that I would feel more invested in them. I identified a bit with Sean because I too spend a vast amount of time in a wheelchair but want to know more of his story. We did learn Bernie has an eidetic memory which can be annoying and Libby is a really hard worker but again I wanted more.

For me, the book is A Satisfactory Excursion, but I am not writing the series off. I have book #2, A Catered Wedding on my Kindle so I will be giving this author another chance. It is a long-running series, book #15, A Catered New Year’s Eve was just released so I am assuming the flaws I found in this story have all be ironed out.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

ISIS CRAWFORD was born in Egypt to parents who were in the diplomatic corps. When she was five, her family returned to the States, where her mother opened a restaurant in Upper Westchester County and her father became a university professor. Since then Isis has combined her parents’ love of food and travel by running a catering service as well as penning numerous travel-related articles about places ranging from Omsk to Paraguay. Married, with twin boys, she presently resides in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, where she is working on the next Bernie and Libby culinary mystery.



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

The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

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

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

Contest Will End November 15, 2019, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

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Sep 032019
 

Silent Night, Deadly Night
(A Year-Round Christmas Mystery)
by Vicki Delany

 

About the Book

Silent Night, Deadly Night (A Year-Round Christmas Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Berkley (August 27, 2019)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 0440000300
ISBN-13: 978-0440000303
Digital ASIN: B07L7TWTZX

Residents of Rudolph keep the spirit of Christmas alive year-round—but their joy is threatened when a group of grinches visits the town, in the charming fourth installment of the Year-Round Christmas series.

It’s the week before Thanksgiving, and Merry Wilkinson, owner of Mrs. Claus’s Treasures, is preparing for a weekend reunion of her mother’s college friends. But when the group of women comes into Merry’s shop, Merry is met with frosty attitudes and cold hearts.

The women argue amongst themselves constantly, and the bickering only intensifies after one of the friends is poisoned. With her father’s role as Santa in danger due to his proximity to the crime, Merry will need to use all of her investigative gifts to wrap this mystery up and save Santa and her favorite holiday.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

We’re back in Rudolph, New York just before Thanksgiving and just in time for Aline’s college friends arrive for a little college reunion. When the group arrives at Mrs. Claus’s Treasures Merry is struck by how different her mother’s friends are. They all attended a performance college but is clear their lives have gone in different directions. They really don’t act like friends either as they throw barbs at each other left and right. Merry is happy her father is out of town because the house is going to be full of stress and bickering.

During a group dinner which included Merry one of the alumni dies from a cause to be determined, but Merry is pretty sure she knows what happened. She is just unclear of which college chum did the deed. And with the murder happening at the home of the town’s resident Santa, a Rudolph newcomer sets himself up to take over the job. Merry is not about to let that happen. She is going to check her suspect list twice and but the naughty murderer in their place.

I was thrilled to see this series return, it has been one of my favorites. Rudolph is full of Christmas spirit year-round and I have loved each visit.

Merry Wilkerson owns Mrs. Claus’s Treasures, her mother Aline is a retired opera diva and her Father Noel is the former mayor and performs all Santa Claus duties needed all year long. Jackie works for Merry, her best friend Vicki helps out when she can and also makes a great Watson to Merry’s Sherlock when there is murder afoot. Merry also has wonderful St, Bernard named Mattie. I love the way the Wilkerson family sticks together and sticks up for each other.

This time Ms. Daleny introduces not only Aline’s friends, Constance, Genevieve, Barbara, Karla, and Ruth, but a new couple in town Wayne and Norma Fitzroy who want to get very active around town.

Ms. Delany excels at character development. These characters are rich, those we love, those who rub the wrong way, and even those we come to absolutely hate by the end of the story.

She wraps those characters in a great mystery plot with fun subplot offshoots that keep a reader engaged until the final page. While the manner of death is evident immediately it is not easy to pin the crime on any suspect. Aline’s guests wear out their welcome quickly and to save her mother’s sanity Merry knows she needs to help solve the case as soon as possible. Clues are dropped liberally. I love Ruth, one of the “suspects” is an avid mystery reader and wanted to solve the case herself, just like me trying to beat the big reveal in the cozies I read.

Fun and Entertaining! This is a great addition to this series. You truly can’t go wrong with any title by Vicki Delany. This book stands well on its own but the entire series is fabulous. Treat yourself to the whole bunch!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

You can read my review of Rest Ye Murdered Gentlemen hereWe Wish You a Murderous Christmas here, Hark the Herald Angels Slay here,

About the Author

Made with Repix (http://repix.it)

Vicki Delany is one of Canada’s most prolific and varied crime writers and a national bestseller in the U.S. She has written more than thirty books:  clever cozies to Gothic thrillers to gritty police procedurals, to historical fiction and novellas for adult literacy. She is currently writing four cozy mystery series: the Tea By The Sea mysteries, the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop series, the Year Round Christmas mysteries and, as Eva Gates, the Lighthouse Library series.

Author Links

WebsiteFacebookTwitter:  @vickidelany and@evagatesauthorInstagram: vickidelany

Purchase Links – AmazonB&NKoboGoogle PlayIndieBound


Written as Eva Gates

Praise for Silent Night, Deadly Night
(A Year-Round Christmas Mystery)
by Vicki Delany

I always enjoy a holiday-themed mystery – it makes for a nice (although temporary) escape from the August heat . . . The Christmas themed town sounds so quaint and inviting, I would love to visit Rudolph for a little shopping and dinner.
~The Book’s the Thing

Silent Night, Deadly Night was a satisfying cozy mystery that will put you in the Christmas spirit . . . (it) has catty college chums, deadly delicacies, a sly Santa stealer, dangerous secrets, old-fashioned ornaments, and one elf investigator.
~The Avid Reader

From setting to characters and storyline, Silent Night, Deadly Night by Vicki Delany is a cozy mystery lover’s delight.
~The Power of Words

Silent Night, Deadly Night by Vicki Delany is marvelously written story with compelling characters, a stunning setting and a perfectly plotted mystery.
~Baroness’ Book Trove

I just love this series!! Delany has created an adorable town when it comes to Rudolph. A small town dedicated to Christmas year-round. The details are astounding really bringing everything to life as you read.
~Books a Plenty Book Reviews

Silent Night, Deadly Night by Vicki Delany is delightful and engaging from start to finish. Well-written and steadily paced, this story offers the reader an infusion of the holiday spirit as well as a layered plot that keeps you on alert.
~Reading Is My SuperPower

 

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS
August 26 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
August 26 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
August 26 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW, GUEST POST
August 27 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW
August 27 – The Power of Words – REVIEW
August 28 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW
August 28 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – SPOTLIGHT
August 28 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
August 29 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW
August 29 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
August 30 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – CHARACTER GUEST POST
August 30 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW  
August 30 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
August 31 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST
August 31 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT
September 1 – T’s Stuff – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
September 1 – Cozy Up With Kathy – GUEST POST
September 2 – eBook addicts – SPOTLIGHT
September 2 – Carla Loves To Read – REVIEW
September 3 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
September 3 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW
September 3 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
September 4 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT
September 4 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW
September 5 – CelticLady Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
September 6 – View from the Birdhouse – REVIEW
September 6 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT
September 7 – The Book Decoder – REVIEW  
September 7 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
September 8 – Melina’s Book Blog – CHARACTER GUEST POST
September 8 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW

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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.”

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Aug 092019
 


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.
Checking off the “U” this week to complete my Alphabet Soup Challenge.


Under My Skin
Psychological Thrillers
Setting – New York
Park Row (October 2, 2018)
Hardcover: 368 pages
ISBN-10: 9780778308409
ISBN-13: 978-0778308409
Mass Market Paperback – August 20, 2019
ISBN-10: 0778309568
ISBN-13: 978-0778309567
Kindle ASIN: B0777JZ62P

What if the nightmares are actually memories?

It’s been a year since Poppy’s husband, Jack, was brutally murdered during his morning run through Manhattan’s Riverside Park. In the immediate aftermath, Poppy spiraled into an oblivion of grief, disappearing for several days only to turn up ragged and confused wearing a tight red dress she didn’t recognize. What happened to Poppy during those lost days? And more importantly, what happened to Jack?

The case was never solved, and Poppy has finally begun to move on. But those lost days have never stopped haunting her. Poppy starts having nightmares and blackouts—there are periods of time she can’t remember, and she’s unable to tell the difference between what is real and what she’s imagining. When she begins to sense that someone is following her, Poppy is plunged into a game of cat and mouse, determined to unravel the mystery around her husband’s death. But can she handle the truth about what really happened?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Living in opulence or squalor, under the skin people are just the same. Everyone suffers. Everyone struggles. It just looks different from the outside.

Grief can be all-consuming and no one knows that better than Poppy Lang. Her husband, Jack was murdered in Manhattan’s Riverside Park a year ago. His death sent Poppy over the edge, she can’t account for several days after she received the shocking news. When she comes back to the land of the living she is wearing clothes she has never seen with very little memory of what happened. She is also devastated that Jack’s killer was never caught, the case is still open but stagnant.

Then she starts to have nightmares and blackouts. She feels like she is being followed and she is missing vast periods of time.  She needs to remember what happened to her because she thinks it will lead straight to Jack’s killer.  The question is – Can she survive her quest and handle what she finds?

___

The synopsis and prologue captured my interest. I wanted to know what happened to both Jack and Poppy, but there were a lot of confusing moments. I think that is just what the author intended. Poppy’s path certainly wasn’t a straight one so much so it was sometimes hard to know what was really real and what was not. There is also quite a bit of repetition that was oft putting at first until I noticed a minuscule change in the event.  Poppy’s fears are palpable and continued to pull me further into the story.

I really didn’t care for her therapist who seemed to be missing the big picture. Her goal seemed to be getting Poppy “a good night’s sleep” while not realizing her client was mixing pills with alcohol, mixing sleeping pills of different dosages with alcohol, mixing sleeping pills with other pills and alcohol, making her hallucinate, have nightmares and blackouts.

Poppy’s best friend Layla was a mother hen over her. She was so traumatized when her friend went missing she wants to be sure it doesn’t happen again. She comes across a very controlling person. The lead detective on her husband’s case is also very involved following up each little clue that is uncovered.

Ms. Unger takes us an emotional roller coaster with almost everyone Poppy interacts with a suspect. Through her words, we see what Poppy sees, and most of it is downright frightening. I am glad I don’t live in New York, I would probably never leave the house again. I was so engrossed in my reading that when a child entered the room and surprised me I actually jumped and my Kindle went flying into the air. This book has exciting twists and some terrifying turns. I did have a very hard time putting it down and stayed up late in the night to finish. Then I was too keyed up to sleep.

The story is so well written and immersed in this psychological mystery there is some food for thought regarding death and losing a loved one. I may have only caught this because I continue to grieve for a loved one myself.

This is the first book I have read by Lisa Unger but it won’t be my last.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Lisa Unger is a NYT and international bestselling, award-winning author. Her books are published in 26 languages worldwide, have sold millions of copies, and have been named “Best of the Year” or top picks by the Today show, Good Morning America, Entertainment Weekly, and the Sun-Sentinel, among others. Her essays have appeared in the NYT, the Wall Street Journal, NPR and Travel + Leisuremagazine. Lisa lives in the Tampa Bay area of Florida with her husband, daughter, and labradoodle.


Also by this Author


I am giving away 1 Kindle copy!
It will be sent directly from Amazon.
The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

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 August 23, 2019, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

This book was from my private collection.

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Jul 092019
 

This book will be released on July 30!! 


Penne Dreadful (Italian Chef Mysteries)
1st in Series
Setting – New York
Poisoned Pen Press (July 30, 2019)
Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
ISBN-10: 1492684252
ISBN-13: 978-1492684251
Kindle ASIN: B07NVT2Z56

Tomato sauce isn’t the only thing that runs red…

Local chef Tessa Esposito is struggling to get back on her feet following her husband’s fatal accident. And when the police knock on Tessa’s door, things just get worse. They’ve discovered Dylan’s death wasn’t an accident after all, and they need Tessa to start filling in the blanks. Who would want her beloved husband dead, and why?

With the investigation running cold, Tessa decides it’s time to save her sanity by reconnecting with her first love-cooking. And maybe the best way back into the kitchen is to infiltrate Dylan’s favorite local pizza parlor, which also happens to be the last place he was seen before he died. But the anchovies aren’t the only thing that stink inside the small family business, and with suspects around every corner, Tessa finds that her husband’s many secrets might land her in hot water.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Was local chef Tessa Esposito’s husband not the man she thought he was? A few weeks have passed since he was killed in a fatal accident and now police have decided he may have been murdered. Her cousin, Detective Gino Mancusi brings her the news and has an idea for her to help solve the case. He wants her to apply for a job at her husband’s favorite pizza place, a place he spent quite a bit of time,  and work undercover keeping her eyes and ears open. Tessa agrees but she does more than that. She starts asking questions and nosing around on her own. Her husband was a successful accountant, why would anyone what him dead?  She better be careful or she could be next.

I am shocked to see this is the first book I have read by this author. It sure won’t be the last.

Catherine Bruns has created wonderful three-dimensional characters. Tessa is a protagonist I get really get on board with. A chef with a dream of having her own Italian restaurant for families. She loves to cook for others. Her dream was shared by her husband Dylan and his death rocked her to her core. When she learns his death was not an accident she turns into a woman with such strength and courage to bring his killer down. She does make some poor decisions but she is hellbent on getting justice for her husband even as she learns the man had more secrets than she ever could ever imagine.

Her cousins Gino and Gabby play a major part in her life. Gino’s quest is to keep her safe and best friend Gabby is a great partner and sounding board. They stick together through thick and thin and scary.

The story the author has created has more of an edge than your typical cozy mystery. Right after one scene occurred I had to check to see if the story was actually classified as cozy. After that scene though we mostly get back to that cozier feel. I would rather have a scene like that in my cozy than the curse words that are seeming to pop up more and more these days in this genre.

Ms. Bruns does set a lively pace with plenty of action and twists. The closer we get to the end the pace accelerates more making it impossible to put this book down until the last page is reached. Tense moments prevail that truly did keep me right on the edge of my seat.

Oh my goodness, the food described throughout this mystery was absolutely mouthwatering. From pizzas to Tessa’s Tantalizing Tomato Sauce I was craving Italian food for days. Thankfully my husband has some great recipes up his sleeve. The author does include some recipes at the end of the story too.

I love the theme and these characters. I am beyond excited for the next book in this series.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Catherine Bruns

Catherine is the USA Today bestselling author of the Cookies & Chance mysteries. She lives in New York with her very patient husband, three sons, and several spoiled pets. Catherine has a B.A. in English and is a former newspaper reporter and press release writer. She also writes the Cindy York real estate and the Carrie Jorgenson (Aloha Lagoon) culinary mysteries. Penne Dreadful, the first book in her Italian Chef Mysteries, debuts in July 2019.

Follow Catherine on Facebook and Twitter and check out her Website too!

Also by Catherine Bruns



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

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

Follow Catherine Bruns on Twitter for 2 Bonus Entries!

Follow Catherine Bruns on Facebook for 2 Bonus Entries!

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

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End July 23, 2019, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

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Jun 182019
 


Clause & Effect (Deadly Edits)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – New York
Kensington (June 25, 2019)
Hardcover: 288 pages
ISBN-10: 1496712579
ISBN-13: 978-1496712578
Kindle ASIN: B07HVYPQH9

As a professional editor, Mikki Lincoln is used to crimes against the English language. As an amateur sleuth, she’s finding catching criminals a lot more dangerous than catching typos . . .

Nestled in the picturesque Catskills, the village of Lenape Hollow prepares to celebrate the 225th anniversary of its founding. Freelance book editor Mikki Lincoln has been drafted to update and correct the script, left over from the town’s bicentennial, which is housed at the historical society.

The building is being renovated for the first time since that last celebration. But when construction reveals a shocking discovery—human remains walled up in a fireplace—Mikki shifts focus from cold-reading to solving a cold case.

Just as her investigation seems to have hit a brick wall, a new murder rattles the townspeople. Clearly, someone is hiding a few skeletons in the closet. Now Mikki will need to go off script to make a connection between the bicentennial bones and the current homicide. But if this book editor isn’t careful, she may be the next one sentenced to death . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Mikki Lincoln finds herself reluctantly tasked with editing and basically rewriting the script for the play the was performed 25 years ago at the town’s bicentennial celebration so it can be performed for the Quasquicentennial this year. The problem is the old script is kept at the historical society and can’t be checked out. Mikki is forced to work in the archives room while construction on the building continues so it can be completed before the celebration.

While the contractor is working on the renovation one of the walls crumbles on top of him revealing an old fireplace. He has minor injuries but another body is found in the rubble. One that was murdered and closed up in the wall presumably during the last renovation before the bicentennial. Mikki can’t get the body out of her mind and finds herself spending more time trying to solve the cold case that her regular editing work or the Lenape Hollow founder’s day script. When a new murder is added to the mix, Mikki finds herself editing her time to do it all. She may be asking her last question, writing her last paragraph, final sentence, period, end of story, if she finds herself in the killer’s sights.

I love that Mikki Lincoln is an older lead character, retired teacher, set in her ways, working so that she can live in the house she grew up in. She wears hearing aids that come in handy for some stealth eavesdropping. Mikki is smart, a great multitasker, with keen insight. All qualities that make her a great amateur sleuth. We also continue to meet the residents of Lenape Hollow. Ms. Dunnett does a wonderful job fleshing out her characters and connecting them to Mikki is a believable way.

I enjoyed that a cold case connects to a new one. It allows readers to not only follow the clues but get to know about the village’s past. Much has changed in 25 years but many things remain the same. The mystery unfolds in a very intriguing and interesting way. There were plenty of twists and a wonderful moment when the last clue falls into place. I was so surprised when I realized where the story was leading. It is so much fun when that happens.

The subplots tangled within the mystery were great too. I was really drawn by the character researching their family history. They have a big secret and they learn something they wouldn’t have found out if they hadn’t made the trip to Lenape Hollow.

Another strong story for this series. Well-written, relatable characters, set in a place with a long history. An entertaining read! I hope to visit Mikki and her friends again soon.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

You can read my review of Crime and Punctuation here.

About the Author 

Kaitlyn Dunnett writes the Liss MacCrimmon Mystery Series and now the Deadly Edits Mystery Series. You can find out more about her and her books on her website here.

Also by Kaitlyn Dunnett


Coming in January 2020


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

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

Follow Kensington Books on Twitter for 2 Bonus Entries!

LIKE Kensington Publishing on Facebook for 2 Bonus Entries!

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

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

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

Click Here For Entry Form

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

 

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Jun 172019
 


Life After Suicide: Finding Courage, Comfort & Community After Unthinkable Loss
Happiness Self-Help/Suicide/Love & Loss
William Morrow (May 7, 2019)
Hardcover: 288 pages
ISBN-10: 0062906038
ISBN-13: 978-0062906038
Kindle ASIN: B07FSQ42H1

From the chief medical correspondent of ABC News, an eloquent, heartbreaking, yet hopeful memoir of surviving the suicide of a loved one, examining this dangerous epidemic and offering first-hand knowledge and advice to help family and friends find peace.

Jennifer Ashton, M.D., has witnessed firsthand the impact of a loved one’s suicide. When her ex-husband killed himself soon after their divorce, her world—and that of her children—was shattered. Though she held a very public position with one of the world’s largest media companies, she was hesitant to speak about the personal trauma that she and her family experienced following his death. A woman who addresses the public regularly on intimate health topics, she was uncertain of revealing her devastating loss—the most painful thing she’d ever experienced. But with the high-profile suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, Dr. Ashton recognized the importance of talking about her experience and the power of giving voice to her grief. She shared her story with her Good Morning America family on air—an honest, heartbreaking revelation that provided comfort and solace to others, like her and her family, who have been left behind.

In Life After Suicide, she opens up completely for the first time, hoping that her experience and words can inspire those faced with the unthinkable to persevere. Part memoir and part comforting guide that incorporates the latest insights from researchers and health professionals, Life After Suicide is both a call to arms against this dangerous, devastating epidemic, and an affecting story of personal grief and loss. In addition, Dr. Ashton includes stories from others who have survived the death of a loved one by their own hand, showing how they survived the unthinkable and demonstrating the vital roles that conversation and community play in recovering from the suicide of a loved one. The end result is a raw and revealing exploration of a subject that’s been taboo for far too long, providing support, information, and comfort for those attempting to make sense of their loss and find a way to heal.

*After seeing Dr. Ashton on several television programs I wrote to the publishers and requested a copy of this book to review. 

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Losing my eldest son to suicide on March 15, 2015, has been devastating for me, our family, and everyone that loved him. I thought enough time had passed that I could read this book to help me on my grief journey and help me see things more clearly with the help of a woman dealing with grief herself. It took me longer to finish this book than I had originally thought.  I found that I was not going to be able to read this book like any other book I have read. So, I challenged myself to read 1 chapter each day. Sometimes I needed more than 1 day in between. It actually took me 21 days to complete the book.

I could see right away that my experience was totally different than Dr. Ashton’s. First, because she lost a husband not a child, but it was more than that. Dr. Ashton had resources I never had and most people don’t. She is a wealthy woman and a celebrity for her work as an ABC News medical correspondent. She was easily able to find therapists for herself and her children. A therapist she could call at any time day or night. Where I live, grief therapists are few and you can wait weeks or months to even get an appointment if you find one accepting new patients. My family physician did his best. Being disabled and being unable to drive added roadblocks for me. Thankfully I found an online group that helped me so much.

A few chapters into the book I started to see things from a different point of view. My son’s ex-wife had much more in common with Dr. Ashton than I did. Divorced, was finally working out the co-parenting necessary to raise a happy and healthy child, and the devastation she now faces as the only parent in their child’s life. She has the added burden of finding the right balance of how to explain to her daughter her father’s death because she was just under 3 years old when her dad died. Each year explaining just so much and answering her daughter’s questions. My granddaughter is now 7 and the explanations get harder and harder. I plan to share this book with my daughter-in-law because while Dr. Ashton’s children were older she may glean some knowledge to help her with my granddaughter.

One thing I loved was the way Dr. Ashton’s daughter Chloe, 17 at the time of her father’s death saw signs of her father’s presence in her life. Once, a song that randomly played at one of her hockey games as the players took the ice to battle in overtime, a song they always played when he was taking her to hockey games. She knew it was a sign her dad was watching over her. Chloe’s team won the game. I have had a few things that most people would call coincidences, I just know it’s my son sending me a message.

The author does share 2 stories of women she has met that had lost their children. I identified with a lot of things one of the moms went through.  Knowing your child is struggling, happy when they reach out and agree to get help, thinking the help is working, and then getting that call or in my case the knock on the door and hearing that your child took his own life and was gone forever. The pain, the numbness, the tears, the darkness.

Like the mom in the book, I was moved by the funeral service and all the people that came, that loved Kris, were his friends, his classmates, his workmates and all the people that came that knew me, my husband, my 3 other children. If only our son’s had realized that while being released from their current pain they were leaving so much pain behind. Since my son’s death, I have used this quote often “Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem”.

Dr, Ashton is in a good place when the book ends but points out continued communication is necessary. Because of her status, she was able to write this book. She was able to give me more hope. While everyone’s grieving process is different, she understands what suicide survivors feel and think because she has been there. The important take away is YOU ARE NOT ALONE! I really learned this through my online support group, but it is something that needs to be reinforced every day. Some days are good, some are even great, but sometimes that grief raises up and smacks you in the face, even years after your loved one’s death. Together we can go on.

“Together we can put an end to the mental illness and suicide stigmas that have caused an obscene amount of undeserved pain. Together we can make a difference, in honor of those we have loved and lost.”

Myself, I use my online presence to try to raise awareness. People have told me my messages have helped them. I want to stop any other family for sharing the pain that suicide leaves behind. I have struggled and had dark days myself. I know I am not alone in those feelings either. Support from friends, family, and other moms who understand help me more than words can say.

If you are struggling with the loss of a loved one to suicide you may find comfort in reading this book. Just prepare head and your heart. I recommend reading it slowly as I did. Have a tissue handy and reach out to friends if you need to talk.

None of our stories are exactly the same. It is hard to share our stories with people we have known forever. I applaud Dr. Ashton for sharing hers and those of others she knew with the public. I am sure she will help a vast number of people.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

If you are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741-741.

About the Author

Dr. Jennifer Ashton is the two-time Emmy Award Winning Chief Medical Correspondent for ABC News and Good Morning America. A popular guest speaker and moderator, she is among the leading voices in the country on Women’s Health, and the only doctor with a national television platform who is also a nutritionist and double board certified in Ob-GYN and Obesity Medicine. Dr. Ashton received the prestigious Columbia Alfred I. Dupont Award for Excellence in Journalism, is the author of three books: Eat This Not That When Expecting, The Body Scoop for Girls, and Your Body Beautiful, in addition to a monthly column in Cosmopolitan Magazine and has finished her fourth book due out in early May. Dr. Ashton is a graduate of Columbia College, Columbia University, She received her medical degree from Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons and her Master of Science in Nutrition from Columbia’s Institute of Human Nutrition. Her private medical practice is located in Englewood, NJ. Dr. Ashton is committed to improving the lives of girls and women by increasing health literacy and busting myths that have spread through folklore with little medical or scientific basis.


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.”

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Apr 242019
 

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am so happy to share this book with you today as part of the book’s
Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour! 

 

About the Book


Magickal Mystery Lore (An Abracadabra Mystery)
Paranormal Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Setting – New York
Lyrical Underground (April 16, 2019)
Pages: 317 (including a sneak peek into book 5)
ASIN: B07FS2GCW3

This spells trouble . . .

The New Camel Day Fair is a fun-filled event for residents of this upstate New York town. Kailyn Wilde, a modern-day witch of ancient lineage, leaves her potion shop, Abracadabra—and her feline familiar, Sashkatu—to attend with her fortune-telling Aunt Tilly. Joining them is legendary wizard Merlin, who’s discovering new pleasures of time-traveling to the modern world, including curly fries and kettle corn—but the appeal of the Tilt-a-Wheel is beyond his mystical imagination.

The real wild ride begins later, when neighboring sweet shop owner Lolly rushes into Abracadabra with news about a dead body. The victim has one of Lolly’s fudge knives stuck in her back, but in spite of the sticky evidence, Lolly is only one of several suspects with ample motive and opportunity. Meanwhile, Merlin’s research into old family scrolls and electromagnetic ley lines is causing some unusual mix-ups. As the two investigations collide, Kailyn will have to do everything in her power to prevent disaster…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Kailyn, Tilly, Merlin, and Sashkatu are back and it’s time for the New Camel Day Fair. Kailyn and Tilly hope Merlin will be on his best behavior now that they are giving him a little more freedom. He is still pushing for a town name change but the Tilt-a-Wheel and all the tasty treats at the fair are keeping him occupied except for all my one little magical slip.

Kailyn agreed to open Abracadabra for just a couple of hours so customers in town for the fair could do a little shopping. Buy she barely arrives back to the shop when Lolly, owner of the nearby sweet shop, drags her out to show her the dead body. The dead body in the backyard of Lolly’s shop with one of Lolly’s fudge knives stabbed into it’s back. Kailyn will do her best to help Lolly but she also has to help Tilly keep track of Merlin. Through his research, he has found information about electromagnetic ley lines and he thinks that may be what is messing with Kailyn and Tilly’s powers. Soon both problems connect and attract deadly attention.

I absolutely love Merlin! His experiences at the fair were funny and heartwarming. Do you remember your first ride on the Tilt-a-Wheel? or the first time you had carnival food? Or the waiting in lines for samples? The way Merlin handled a stressful situation just cracked me up and was so unexpected. I know Kailyn and Tilly should own gold medals for taking care of him but he has become special to me, plus there could be no Abracadabra Mysteries without him. He sometimes steals the story 🙂

All the characters Ms. Pape has created for this series are terrific. I love that Kailyn’s deceased mother and grandmother “pop in” often and not always at the perfect time. They are there to encourage and remind her to hone all her powers so they are available when she needs them. And she is going to need them. I enjoy the relationship between Tilly and Kailyn. I also am so happy that Travis knows her secret and has met all of her family. In fact, he thinks it is time she meets his parents. I can’t forget the furry characters, Sashkatu, and a dog that Merlin introduces to the family, along with several others visit within these pages. They are all cleverly written.

The mystery was hard to solve and had some darker moments. The pace was quick but I had to slow down in some places to totally grasp how the pieces were fitting together. As everything fell into place it was quite exciting and had elements that would fit an investigative television show, without the magic, of course.

This was a very entertaining book. I love the way the author inserts the humor in the right amounts and in all the proper places never taking away from the feast of the mystery. Without that the story would be overly intense. Sharon Pape knows how to walk the like between cozy and thriller so well. A real mystery to sink our teeth into with characters that make us smile and sometimes laugh out loud. They are characters I am always excited to read and see what the author has in store for them.

This book can stand on its own, but reading them in order is a great way to spend a weekend.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Sharon Pape describes her writing career as having two stages. Back in the dark ages, before computers were in every household, she had three paranormal books published. The first one was condensed by Redbook Magazine, the first paperback original they had ever condensed. Around the same time, Redbook published her first short story.

Then life brought her an unexpected challenge that went by the name of breast cancer. When her treatment was over, she became a volunteer for the American Cancer Society’s Reach to Recovery Program and went on to be the program’s coordinator for Nassau and Suffolk Counties on Long Island. Several years later, with the help of her surgical oncologist and two other survivors, she started her own not-for-profit organization to provide information and peer support to newly diagnosed breast cancer patients.

Once the organization was running smoothly and didn’t require as much of her time, she returned to her first love – writing. During this second stage of her career, she’s been writing cozy mysteries with a paranormal twist and a splash of humor.

Author Links – Website – Facebook –  Pinterest – TwitterGoodReads

Praise for Magickal Mystery Lore (An Abracadabra Mystery)
by Sharon Pape

It’s a fun read that kept me emotionally engaged and open to the vast possibilities of the universe.
~Cozy Up With Kathy

The writing style flows smoothly and the book is a quick easy read. The author is very talented in her descriptive writing and these descriptions pulled me into the story from the first page.
~MJB Reviewers

Purchase Links – Amazon  –  B & N

Also by Sharon Pape


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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.”

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Mar 282019
 


Trouble on the Books: A Castle Bookshop Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – New York
Crooked Lane Books (March 12, 2019)
Hardcover: 336 pages
ISBN-10: 1683319818
ISBN-13: 978-1683319818
Kindle ASIN: B07H7R7GVP

Rookie bookstore owner Shelby Cox must hit the books to learn the ropes before she loses a killer in the stacks.

Shelby Cox never intended to become a bookseller, so when the former editor returns to her hometown of Alexandria Bay, nestled in upstate New York’s breathtaking Thousand Islands region, to take over her aunt’s bookstore, she has no idea what to expect. To her amazement, she discovers that she now owns a fifty-percent share in Bayside Books, and will also run the store’s second location in the majestic castle on nearby Blye Island.

But just as Shelby is gearing up for the start of the tourist season, the Castle volunteer coordinator is found murdered in the nearby Grotto. Castle caretaker Matthew Kessler is suspect number one, but Shelby thinks the killing may be connected to an earlier era, when violence among Prohibition-era smugglers was rampant in the region. As Shelby launches her own investigation, handsome and unnerving Special Agent Zack Griffin of the Coast Guard Investigative Services tries to quell her smuggling theory and keep her safe. But Shelby is determined to summon all her savvy as a book editor to plot the murder—and find the killer before he strikes again.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Her aunt has just had knee surgery so Shelby Cox arrives in Alexandria Bay to help manage her aunt’s bookstore and open a satellite store in the castle on Blye Island. She is surprised when her aunt informs her that she, in fact, owns fifty-percent of Bayside Books. She has a lot to learn but she is surrounded by a great staff. The island is a popular tourist attraction so her main focus is getting the castle bookshop open as before the tourists start arriving by the busload.

After a busy grand opening Shelby is excited about her new life as a bookseller. That is until she finds a dead body floating in the Grotto. She knows immediately that it is the prickly volunteer coordinator for the Castle. The police quickly peg Matthew Kessler, the Castle caretaker as their prime suspect. When the Coast Guard gets involved Shelby starts to think the murder may be linked to smuggling, something the island was used for during Prohibition. She can’t stop herself from sticking her nose into the investigation much to the dismay of Coast Guard Special Agent Zack Griffin. She is determined to solve the case and Zack is determined to keep her safe.

The setting of this story grabbed my attention right away. A bookshop in a castle on one island that is part of the Thousand Islands area off New York. A truly perfect setting for a cozy mystery series.

Shelby Cox is an interesting protagonist. She has her work cut out for her. She admits she isn’t a people person and knows that has to change if she is going to be a success in her new profession. She is curious, a trait every amateur must have. She is also intelligent and detail oriented so I know she is going to succeed in both of these endeavors. In addition to trying to solve a murder, Shelby hopes to learn more about her mother. She was quite young when she lost her and has so many questions.

Ms. Lang has surrounded Shelby with a great supporting cast. Aunt Edie was my fave. She is a strong woman too who hates being still and away from her shop. Her recovery is moving quickly and I am excited to get to know her better when she isn’t hindered at all.  Romance is two-fold in this story. Caretaker Matthew Kessler is very important to Edie and Agent Zack appears to be very interested in Shelby.

The murder happens early in the story. Shelby’s first investigation is a bit clunky as to be expected, it is her first, but it messed with the story flow in places. When she found her rhythm so did the story. Clues fell into her path and the twists and turns kept her and the reader guessing.

The subplot of Shelby’s mother blended in nicely, but I must confess I was almost more interested in it than murder. I feel this is a credit to the author because I was invested in her main character and cared about her and her feelings very early in this first book. She has left so much room for all the characters to grow.

This is a fine start for this series. Endearing characters drew me in and their lives and the mysteries thrown into their paths kept those pages turning. I am excited to learn more about these characters and to see what the author has in store for them next.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Essie Lang has been nominated for an Agatha Award for Best First Novel and has also been short-listed for an Arthur Ellis Award from Crime Writers of Canada for Best Short Story under other pen names. She is a former mystery bookstore owner and still loves reading all the mysteries she can get her hands on. She also loves choral singing, which is not always so pleasant for her Siamese cat, Keesha, who must endure hours of practice. This is her first Castle Bookshop mystery.

Written as Linda Wiken

Written as Erika Chase

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.”

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Have Yourself a Beary Little Murder (A Teddy Bear Mystery) by Meg Macy Get Your Copy Today!
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