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Cozy Wednesday – Deep Dark Secrets (Deep Lakes Cozy Mystery Series) by Joy Ann Ribar #Review / #Giveaway

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am pleased to share my thoughts about Deep Dark Secrets today by Wisconsin Author Joy Ann Ribar today!

Deep Dark Secrets (Deep Lakes Cozy Mystery Series)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Wisconsin
Publisher: Orange Hat Publishing (June 15, 2019)
Paperback: 328 pages
ISBN-10: 1645380343
ISBN-13: 978-1645380344
Kindle ASIN: B07YQ4CJM5

You’re invited to visit Deep Lakes, Wisconsin, and meet a new friend, Francine “Frankie” Champagne. The 40-something owner of Bubble and Bake — bakery by day, wine lounge by night — Frankie is a spitfire pastry maker, vintner, and budding journalist.

Frankie finds herself on the perimeter of a suspicious death that upends the peaceful winter slumber in Deep Lakes when the local pastor is found dead inside his fishing shanty on Lake Loki. Frankie sticks her curious nose into the investigation, despite warnings from the local sheriff to leave it alone. But she has something to prove, maybe to the newspaper editor who wouldn’t hire her as a reporter, maybe to herself as she searches for fulfillment. Regardless, her fierce independence won’t allow her to back down. Follow Frankie as she stumbles upon one discovery after another, trails potential suspects, and solves the case!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Welcome to the frozen tundra of Wisconsin where the lakes like Lake Loki are filled with ice fishing shanties and fundraisers, where cars are set on the ice and people guess when the lake will thaw enough to send the car to a watery grave. Unfortunately, a local pastor is the one being buried when he is found dead in his ice shanty covered in blood. Francine “Frankie” Champagne the owner of Bubble and Bake — bakery by day, wine lounge by night, inserts herself right in the middle of the investigation to get the scoop for a newspaper article she hopes to write. Short on clues, she just keeps digging until she breaks through the ice and uncovers some deep, dark, secrets and all the clues fall into place.

Frankie Champagne has a lot on her plate. Baking, wine-making, and bottling that wine, managing the Bubble and Bake, divorced with two daughters in college, a new romance or two on the horizon, all while trying to follow her dream of becoming a newspaper journalist.  Thankfully she has her best friend Carmen as a partner at the Bubble and Bake and a lot of good help, including her mother, because she is bound and determined to find out who killed the pastor and why. I liked Frankie but the woman is in non-stop motion. For me, it was almost too much as she traveled across a lot of Wisconsin and even to Iowa in her quest to solve the murder.  All the characters we meet, and there are a lot, are very fleshed out for the first book in a series.

The mystery itself was not quite as forthcoming. Yes, there are secrets and while the innuendo about the pastor was there, I wished the suspects had been more clearly spelled out. Frankie talks to several people but I never was able to form a real list or eliminate people as I usually do with a cozy mystery. It was a journey from having the method of death explained clearly to Frankie taking some risks until the final reveal. I did like that we did get to read Frankie’s article at the end, it wrapped the mystery up nicely.

Deep Dark Secrets has some good bones and is a nice start for this series. There are a few things I feel could have been omitted or pared down to help the story flow better. It had first in a series -itis, where the author has to introduce the characters and the setting along with a good mystery to hold our interest. The author does this satisfactorily but sometimes less detail is more conducive to a successful introduction.  As a Wisconite like the author, I can say she described the state very well and made Deep Lakes a place I would love to visit. The characters are engaging and I am looking forward to seeing where the author takes them next. Deep Bitter Roots is already downloaded to my Kindle. I hope to be reading and reviewing it soon.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author (from Amazon)

Joy Ann Ribar is a Wisconsin native who embraces her Scandinavian roots – wine-tasting and food-munching from every culture. A semi-retired English educator, Joy teaches writing classes at Madison College. She earned a Journalism degree from UW-Madison and a Master’s in Education from UW-Oshkosh. She and her husband, John, run a backyard buffet for winged creatures, plus the occasional furry critter. Someday, they plan to sell everything, buy an RV, and escape Wisconsin winters.


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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author. 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 My Reading Itinerary Monday

My Reading Itinerary Monday! – Week #1 – 2021

Welcome to My Reading Itinerary Monday!

The past few months have been fun, just grabbing a book from my shelf or choosing a book on my Kindle without any schedule. Now that my cancer treatments have concluded it is time to get back to a more regimented schedule to meet all my commitments.

Where are your books taking you this week?

I will be traveling to California, Michigan, and Oregon!

Here’s what I read and what I have planned for this week.

Escapes Completed

Better Off Read: A Bookmobile Mystery
by Nora Page
Release Date – May 8, 2018
Setting – Georgia
My Review will be up on Friday!

Chilled to the Cone: A Bakeshop Mystery
by Ellie Alexander
Release Date – December 29, 2020
Setting – Oregon
My Review will be up tomorrow.

Deep Dark Secrets (Deep Lakes Cozy Mystery Series)
by Joy Ann Ribar
Release Date – October 3, 2019
Setting – Wisconsin
My Review will be up on Wednesday.

Current Escape

Murder with Oolong Tea (A Daisy’s Tea Garden Mystery)
by Karen Rose Smith
Release Date – December 29, 2020
Setting – Pennsylvania
For Review

Scheduled Escapes

Hope, Faith, and a Corpse: A Faith Chapel Mystery
by Laura Jensen Walker
Release Date – January 12, 2021
Setting – California
For Review

Wedding Bear Blues (A Teddy Bear Mystery)
by Meg Macy
Release Date – December 29, 2020
Setting – Michigan
Great Escapes Book Tour

Bait and Witch (Witch Way Librarian Cozy Mysteries)
by Angela M. Sanders
Release Date – December 29, 2020
Setting – Oregon
Great Escapes Book Tour

Future Escapes

January 3 – 9, 2021 

Click Here to check out my Current Giveaways!

Please Share Your Reading Itinerary in the Comments below!
Happy Reading!!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent