Posted in 2021 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Guest Posts New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Playing Possum (The 2 Sisters Pet Valet Mysteries) by Dane McCaslin #GuestPost / #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour


Playing Possum (The 2 Sisters Pet Valet Mysteries)
by Dane McCaslin



I am very happy to welcome Dane McCaslin to Escape With Dollycas today!

Hi Dane, 

Hi Everyone! 

Books – and reading them – are among my favorite things to collect. My cozy mystery collection is still in a growth spurt, and the bookcase holding my poetry books is threatening to dump the double-layered shelves on the floor if I don’t get another bookshelf. It’s all my own fault, of course: I simply cannot pass up “just one more book” over and over. I blame it on my genetic makeup. We are collectors by nature and readers by choice, and the more books we have around us, the better we like it.

When I was young, I loved visiting my grandmother. Her book collection was amazing, and my favorite book in it was a collection of poems by James Whitcomb Riley. There were a couple that I always requested to hear, and one of them was a delightful poem called “Knee-deep in June”. The first stanza goes like this:

Tell you what I like the best —
‘Long about knee-deep in June,
‘Bout the time strawberries melts
On the vine, — some afternoon
Like to jes’ git out and rest,
And not work at nothin’ else!

The visuals in his words were magical to me, even at a young age. When I became an English teacher, I was absolutely delighted to introduce my students to Riley’s poetry. And yes, “Knee-deep in June” was always included. Not only was this the perfect way to show my high schoolers how to create imagery, it also exposed them to the vernacular of a place and time they’d never see.

And I loved every minute of it, of course.

Which brings me to this: Have you ever read anything that sticks in your mind simply because the words sang to you? If so, consider sharing them with those around you. You might just open a whole new world for them the way my grandmother did for me.

And you might just be the one to induct another devotee into the magnificent world of words.

~Dane

Thank you Dane so much for visiting today!

Keep reading for my thoughts about Playing Possum

About Playing Possum

Playing Possum (The 2 Sisters Pet Valet Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Oregon
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Lyrical Press (October 5, 2021)
Number of Pages: 300 (approx.)
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08SJ2VFHP

The 2 Sisters Pet Valet Service is purring along, thanks to the entrepreneurial talents of retired schoolteacher Gwen Franklin and her bestie and business partner, Nora Goldstein. But when the fur starts to fly, they become partners in crime detecting as well . . .

At Nora’s request, Gwen is happy to accompany her to a meeting with ex-hubby #3’s lawyer. Much to Nora’s surprise—and dismay—she’s been named executor of said ex’s will. The fact that the man has been missing for years and was just declared legally dead only makes an already complicated process more so. And besides, is he really dead? What’s not a surprise is that Nora’s twin ex-stepchildren are pressing for access to their father’s dry cleaning fortune . . .

With Gwen’s assist, it’s time for Nora to do a little digging. It turns out that the twins’ catering business is failing—and that their dad’s business was laundering more than clothing. Soon, Gwen and Nora are infiltrating a long list of dirty deeds, including fraud and illegal gains. And the perpetrators are all too close to home. The police may want Gwen and Nora to stick to their own line of work, but the pair are determined to make sure the truth comes out in the wash—before someone ends up in the discard bin . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Gwen Franklin and Nora Goldstein have turned 2 Sisters Pet Valet Service into a very successful small business but they need to leave their employees in charge when Nora is named executor of ex-hubby number 3’s will. Apparently, the man has been missing for years and his children have had him declared dead. That raises some red flags for Nora and Gwen. There is no love lost between Nora and her twin ex-stepchildren and she knows they may be up to something hinky. So she and Gwen hit the road and find out that their dad’s laundry business is laundering more than just clothes and surprise, surprise, the twins catering business is on its last legs.  She is also not sure if her ex is really dead? With no body, she wouldn’t be surprised if he was playing possum and laying low somewhere. The police would like them to just back off and leave the investigating to them but Nora and Gwen are not going to stop until all their questions are answered and all the truth comes out.


Okay, Nora has finally won me over and I love Gwen even more. Nora is still her pushy self but Gwen is really starting to hold her own. These women have been friends since childhood but now with Gwen’s retirement, they are together almost 24/7 so it took a little time for this closeness to evolve. They do make a great investigation team.  I also like the way Brent and Rachel’s relationship has grown. She really is the perfect match for him. I am also enjoying Gwen’s blooming relationship with Roger. She deserves to have a happy relationship. I am over the on again and off again relationship of Nora and Marcus. At times it is hard to tell who is using who. She seems to be wasting a lot of money backing his business as he continues to cheat on her. She doesn’t have a good track record with men. I wish she would find someone to really love and love her back even with all her faults.

The new characters introduced in this story run the gambit of swarmy to criminal. They really put Gwen and Nora through the wringer but these ladies are like dogs with bones, they keep going back again and again as they strive to find the truth but their luck may have run out. The mystery they are trying to solve is a twisted one, each clue drags them in deeper and deeper. They were treading very close to “too stupid to live territory” though with their persistence.

The author did temper the mystery with plenty of humor. Even in the direst straights, she knew when to bring the funny. She also cracked me up with Brent’s way to get into Gwen’s house. I knew what he was going to say when she asked him but it still gave me a good giggle. The road trip that included Brent, Rachel, and Marcus was pretty funny too. You can’t take Nora anywhere, she just has to make trouble.

Playing Possum is definitely my favorite book in this series. I was totally entertained following along with all the crazy chaos these characters brought to this story. I hope this series continues because I am anxious to see what the author has in store for them next.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Dana McCaslin

McCaslin began a life-long love of mysteries at a very young age. She bypassed Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden and went straight for Agatha Christie, thanks to her mother’s library books. Dane is retired from a twenty-plus-year career in teaching high school and college English, and she uses her newfound freedom to read for pleasure, write mysteries, and smell the roses.

Author Links

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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 Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Mocha, She Wrote: A Bakeshop Mystery by Ellie Alexander #Review


Mocha, She Wrote: A Bakeshop Mystery
Cozy Mystery
13th in Series
Setting – Oregon
Publisher ‏ : ‎ St. Martin’s Paperbacks (June 29, 2021)
Mass Market Paperback ‏ : ‎ 320 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1250789427
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1250789426
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08FZBWPYS

When a barista competition comes to town, Torte’s favorite pastry chef finds herself sleuthing once again—in the next installment of Ellie Alexander’s beloved Bakeshop Mystery Series, Mocha, She Wrote!

Summer has ushered in a new season in the charming hamlet of Ashland, Oregon. Torte is bustling with tourists taking in star-drenched shows at the Elizabethan, setting out to hike in the surrounding Siskiyou Mountains, and sampling the bakeshop’s summer lineup of raspberry lemon tarts and mint mojito cold brews. Jules and the team are buzzing with excitement when they learn that Andy, Torte’s head barista, has been selected to compete in the West Coast Barista Cup.

The prestigious competition draws coffee aficionados from up and down the coast to Ashland. The winner will not only claim to be best-in-brew, but also be awarded a hefty cash prize. Andy’s nervous about his chances, but Jules is confident that her star barista will shine. However, things take a grim turn when head judge Benson Vargas spits out Andy’s first offering, claiming it to be the worst thing to ever touch his lips—and hours later, is found dead clutching Andy’s creamy latte. Suddenly Torte’s favorite barista becomes the number one suspect. There’s no roast for the weary. Jules will have to sleuth out whodunit to clear Andy’s name and catch a killer before she ends up with one foot in the grounds.

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

It’s summertime and an exciting event is coming to Ashland, Oregon. The West Coast Barista Cup is about to start and Torte’s own Barista Extraordinaire Andy will be competing in the prestigious competition. The Best-in-Brew title is rewarding in itself but the winner also receives a nice cash prize too.  The entire Torte staff plans to take turns supporting Andy with Jules attending all the events to cheer him on.

Andy gets a bit of a rough start but quickly finds his footing right up until head judge Benson Vargas spits out Andy’s signature coffee creation. He rips into Andy saying it is the worst he has ever tasted. The head judge’s drink is clearly different from the other judge’s coffee. Determined to win the judge over he brews another latte and vows to get it to the judge. Hours later Benson Vargas is dead and it appears that he is holding Andy’s second effort. This means Andy is suspect #1 but he is allowed to continue to compete. Jules, with a little assistance from Lance, vows to find out what really happened and prove what she already knows, Andy is innocent and someone else is brewing up trouble.


I was so happy to see Andy featured in Mocha, She Wrote. This storyline has been building for a while because Andy is really a genius at blending up some truly terrific coffee drinks, He really knows his flavors and is well known in the area for his expertise. I hated to see him high on the suspect list but we all knew he was innocent of the crime. The camaraderie that has been built by the characters of the Bakeshop Mysteries is heartwarming. With the exception of one character who is such a sad sack, the people within these books really care about each other and that was clearly seen in this story. When I load these books up on my Kindle I feel like I am checking in on old friends and know it is time to get comfortable, and enjoy my visit.

I am a huge fan of cooking competition shows on television so I loved the barista cup theme of this story. The judges for the competition seemed true to life. You know there is always one boisterous judge with a differing opinion.  Benson Vargas truly fit that bill. He rubbed many people the wrong way and now pushed someone to kill.

Ms. Alexander has given readers a well-plotted mystery with a roomful of suspects. Everyone knew Andy was innocent but police including the Professor have to follow the evidence. But he is smart enough to trust Jules eyes and ears. Sabotage and twists run rampant and Jules gets a little diverted at one point. As she and Lance try to pare down the suspects they find it is not an easy task. I had a couple of theories of my own and one turned out to be correct as proven with a very exciting climax to the mystery.

The author’s descriptive voice continues to bring each location to life. There have been some changes to Torte that have been very well received. I love the new area and can easily picture myself enjoying a pastry and one of Andy’s concoctions and people watching. The people in the kitchen, and all the people who find their way into this amazing place. For Mocha, She Wrote, she had to create the perfect setup in a local space. Each contestant’s station, the judge’s table, and the audience, some contenders have their own groupies, were all clear in my mind.

Mocha, She Wrote is a delightful addition to this series. I really liked this story and can tell you it was A Perfect Escape. The next book in this series, Bake, Borrow, and Steal will be released on December 28. 

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

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

Author Links –  Facebook     Twitter      Instagram    GoodReads

Also by Ellie Alexander

Written as Kate Dyer-Seeley

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

Posted in 2021 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cat’s Meow (The 2 Sisters Pet Valet Mysteries) by Dane McCaslin #Review / #Giveaway


Cat’s Meow (The 2 Sisters Pet Valet Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Oregon
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Lyrical Underground (March 23, 2021)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 187 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1516110188
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1516110186
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08BXB523Z

Retired schoolteacher Gwen Franklin has a new pet project—and a sideline in sleuthing. But this new case has a dangerous sting in the tail . . .

Gwen’s calendar has been filling up ever since she was hounded by her best friend, Nora, into starting 2 Sisters Pet Valet Services. Now they’ve been invited to attend the annual Clear the Shelter event, hosted by Portland’s very own blonde bombshell newscaster, Babs Prescott. Babs is convinced she’s top dog among local celebrities, but it’s clear that someone disagrees when Babs’ body is found following a downtown press conference.

A story this juicy would be headline news at any time, but especially once local crime reporter Shelby Tucker is arrested for the murder. Gwen was Shelby’s high school teacher, and she’s sure her former pupil is innocent. But in that case, who was itching to take Babs out of the spotlight for good? As Nora and Gwen investigate, they find personal mysteries at odds with Babs’ public persona, all leading to a killer who’s not pussyfooting around . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

2 Sisters Pet Valet Services is surprisingly still up and running and gaining clients. So much so that Gwen and Nora have been invited to the annual Clear the Shelter event which will be hosted by Babs Prescott, a local newscaster with overwhelming assets. Sadly someone decided to cut Babs’ broadcasting career short. Her body is found in a parking garage following a press conference and local crime reporter and Nora and Gwen’s friend Shelby Tucker has been arrested for the crime. Shelby was one of Gwen’s best students and she knows the woman wouldn’t kill anyone. So again, the 2 Sisters insert themselves in another investigation this time to determine who took down the blonde bombshell.


Oh, my stars! The Friendly Bean is Nora and Gwen’s home away from home but Gwen likes her coffee “dark and black and hot”. She may be convinced to try a cappuccino or a mocha but the woman has her limits.

When Nora tried to press her into a healthier drink she had this response . . . “Not if it means drinking milk made from nuts. If God meant us to drink almond milk, he’d have given them little almond boobs”.

In the first book in this series, Doggone Dead, I really didn’t like Nora because of the way she ran roughshod over Gwen but this time Gwen gave as good she got a lot more often. Don’t get me wrong Nora is still as overbearing as ever and she did insert herself into one event that really made me want to tug on her leash and pull her right out of the book to allow Gwen to enjoy herself without Nora’s interference. I feel Gwen has grown quite a bit from the first book and still has plenty of room to grow. Nora has shown her true colors and I am not sure she has any desire to change or grow.

I did enjoy Shelby taking on a larger role but hated that she was the main suspect in Babs murder. Brent is a flawed character and could eat 24/7 if there was food in front of him. I do feel both Gwen and Nora have taken advantage of his child-like nature. I am glad he has found Rachel and that she cares for him just the way he is.

I loved that we met more canine characters. Sometimes the pets can steal the scene and that is just fine with me.

The mystery this time was interesting as the suspect list continued to grow. Several meetings were held to discuss the case and plenty of food was eaten and coffee drank. I was excited by the new additions to the group. The ladies get a big assist from a surprising source that seemed to fit seamlessly with the group too. There were a few nice twists and I was surprised when the whodunit was revealed.

The Pet Valet Service goes on hiatus during the investigation and I was sad to see this as a lot of humorous scenes stem from their canine, feline, and aviary clients. They did agree to take on one special case but that experience ended up being pretty short.

Cat’s Meow . . that title puzzles me a bit  . . . was a very entertaining read with amusing characters and a lighthearted mystery investigation. I am looking forward to the next book in the series, Playing Possum with be out on October 5.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Dana McCaslin

McCaslin began a life-long love of mysteries at a very young age. She bypassed Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden and went straight for Agatha Christie, thanks to her mother’s library books. Dane is retired from a twenty-plus-year career in teaching high school and college English, and she uses her newfound freedom to read for pleasure, write mysteries, and smell the roses.

Author Links

Website  Facebook – Twitter Instagram GoodReads BookBub


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 September 30, 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 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 – Doggone Dead (The 2 Sisters Pet Valet Mysteries) by Dane McCaslin #Review / #Giveaway

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.

Doggone Dead (The 2 Sisters Pet Valet Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Oregon
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Lyrical Underground (August 25, 2020)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 183 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 151611017X
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1516110179
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B07ZPL51NL

Retired high school teacher Gwen Franklin has a new pet valet business with her BFF, and a whole new leash on life. But a killer is about to come sniffing around . . .

Gwen Franklin is looking forward to spending her retirement drinking her favorite coffee and reading mystery novels. Those peaceful plans are brought to heel by her best friend, Nora. Sporting stiletto heels, leggings, and a “more is better” makeup routine, fifty-something Nora Goldstein has a penchant for marrying—and divorcing—rich men. Now that Gwen’s got free time, Nora figures they should start a dog-walking and pet-sitting service together.

But it’s far from a walk in the park when the corpse of Linda Fletcher is found in Nora’s kitchen. Linda was Nora’s nemesis, and the large knife protruding from her chest points to murder. With no doubt that her bestie’s being framed, Gwen puts her sleuthing skills—acquired from reading every Agatha Christie mystery—to the test as she digs through suspects, including four disgruntled ex-husbands, ten greedy ex-stepchildren, not to mention all her exes’ exes. But with death threats and another body surfacing, can Gwen curb a killer before her own (dog) days come to an end?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Gwen Franklin has retired from teaching and is looking forward to sleeping in and relaxing with some good mystery books and her favorite cup of coffee. But her best friend Nora Goldstein has other ideas. She calls and wakes Gwen up early with another harebrained scheme. She has summoned Gwen to The Friendly Bean to tell her all about it.

Nora has decided Gwen now has plenty of time on her hands so it is the perfect time for the two women to go into business together and her big idea is a pet-setting service that includes dog walking. She is excited about all the money they will be raking in even though Nora already has her own fortune collected from the several exes she has left behind. Gwen has to be careful, she can only earn so much money before it affects her pension and she is severely allergic to animals including dogs. But Nora doesn’t seem to care, they head back to Nora’s condo to firm up the details to promote the new business over a cup of tea.

But their plans are going to have to wait. The dead body of Nora’s neighbor and arch enemy Linda Fletcher is lying in a pool of blood on Nora’s kitchen floor with a knife protruding from her chest. Gwen knows her friend is pushy and can be overbearing but she wouldn’t kill someone, especially in her immaculate kitchen. Also, her reaction is not an act, her face goes pale and she is trembling like a leaf. That means someone is trying to frame her for the crime.

Nora’s extended family starts dropping in thinking Nora was the one killed and being sadly disappointed. Some are quickly dealt with but most want to know what they will inherit when Nora does kick the bucket and if there was any way they could get their inheritance now.

Gwen knows her retirement is going to include some amateur sleuthing to clear her friend. Sleuthing that could make her the killer’s next victim.


I really didn’t like Nora. A best friend would have allowed her friend to at least enjoy being retired for a few days. Plus she comes across as a very entitled woman with more money than sense. She is rude to everyone including Gwen. She has been married and divorced several times and comes out richer after each relationship. She also dresses like a 20-year old on high stiletto heels and wears make-up applied with a trowel instead of a gentle hand. But Gwen has known her since childhood and has stood by her and has let her bowl over her for years. I would expect a retired school teacher who has dealt with a room full of children would have more backbone.

We also meet Brent, a former student of Gwen’s who was a crazy uber driver.  They hire him to do most of the work for Nora’s new business scheme. The ladies try to do some pet sitting themselves but it doesn’t go well. It is kinda comical though.

The mystery does have several suspects but it is overshadowed by the craziness of the pet sitting business and all the stepchildren coming to call. The clues to the mystery are dropped haphazardly through the story until the big reveal of the killer. I am happy to say I did have the culprit as number one on my suspect list but I need more of the motive explained which happened at the end.

I did enjoy the ending very much with the two main characters in a happy place in very different ways. Gwen had some redeeming qualities that won me over but the verdict is still out on Nora.

Doggone Dead is an interesting start for this series. There are some very quirky characters and some endearing pets. There was a lot of madcap comedy which I really enjoyed. I would have liked a stronger mystery but for the first book in a series, the author did a great job of introducing the characters. I am looking forward to seeing what hijinks they get up to next.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Dana McCaslin

McCaslin began a life-long love of mysteries at a very young age. She bypassed Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden and went straight for Agatha Christie, thanks to her mother’s library books. Dane is retired from a twenty-plus-year career in teaching high school and college English, and she uses her newfound freedom to read for pleasure, write mysteries, and smell the roses.

Author Links

Website  Facebook – Twitter Instagram GoodReads BookBub


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 September 17, 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 Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

X Marks the Murder: A Wendy Grace Mystery by Pam Stucky #Review @pamstuckyauthor


X Marks the Murder: A Wendy Grace Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Oregon
Independently Published (April 2, 2021)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 273 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1940800285
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1940800288
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B091MQ9YR1

She went looking for buried treasure. What she found was far more sinister.

Discover your new favorite amateur sleuth!

Wendy Grace has just retired after thirty years of teaching grade school. She and her second husband, James, have moved to the tiny town of Wandering Cove on the idyllic Oregon coast and are looking forward to filling the second half of their lives with new adventures. But Wendy did not expect that those new adventures would include murder!

On a seemingly bucolic Saturday afternoon, Wendy heads out with a local metal detector and shipwreck historian to try her hand at metal detecting on the beach right by her new home. As the historian regales Wendy with stories of the local shipwreck and its legendary lost treasure, Wendy is prepared to find the ubiquitous bottle caps, dropped coins, and maybe a lost bit of jewelry. What she ultimately discovers, however, is far more sinister.

While working on the challenge of identifying the victim, Wendy quickly digs up more long-buried secrets than anyone expected.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Back in April this book was offered for free on Amazon and knowing I needed an “X” book for my Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge I snapped it up and I am so happy that I did.

In X Marks the Murder we meet retired schoolteacher, Wendy Grace and her husband documentary filmmaker, James. They have just moved to Wandering Cove on the Oregon Coast. James can work from anywhere and he just wanted Wendy to be happy, plus they are now closer to his children and Wendy hopes maybe her kids will visit and fall in love with the place too. As you can tell both have been married before.

They had just moved and have been getting settled but James needs to make a quick day trip to Los Angeles so Wendy decides to scope out the town herself and finds herself at the Community Center and attending a lecture about local shipwrecks. There she meets Chester Edwards. A very active elderly man who has a passion for metal detecting along the beach and in the caves and coves. Wendy admits she is looking for some new hobbies so he offers to take her metal detecting that afternoon. He brings her a top-of-the-line detector and has an even better one for himself. A quick lesson and both are methodically sweeping back on forth and as he shares with her some shipwreck stories. But after finding several pull tabs from cans of soda Wendy makes some deadly discoveries. First a bullet, then a metal bracelet still attached to a very dead body.


I really enjoyed this story. The characters were very well developed for the first book in a series. I got to know them quickly, their backstories, their children, several residents of Wandering Cove, and how they fit together. I was totally invested in their lives just halfway through the book. Ms. Stucky did a great job. All the characters are relatable and seem very genuine

I love Wendy’s confident independence. She struck out to get to know people, she kept her eyes and ears open and openly tried to get to the bottom of the murder. After teaching children for 30 years she has a keen sense about people.  She is an excellent protagonist.

The investigation was different because the small town of Wandering Cove does not have a police force. they have a Community Officer, Trish, who coordinates whatever services made be needed for any situation. Wendy got to know her very well as she kept uncovering relevant clues sometimes with an assist from James and his family. His sons’ have a unique business that ended up being all tangled up in the investigation. The mystery had some great twists and secrets revealed. I felt it was different from the customary cozy mystery where the amateur sleuth is always the ire of the local police.

The author does an excellent job of setting the scene. I could easily imagine every place Wendy Grace went from her beachside home, the local bar, the cove where the body was found, and Coveside Farm, “the family business”. It was a complete pleasure to travel all around Wandering Cove.

The story does have some typos and a few unusual passages where the wording just doesn’t work. I would love it if the author would just do one more read-through and clean up these issues so they don’t ruin the flow of the story.

I feel the main job of a book is to entertain and this story did that. It also tested my mind as I followed the clues with Wendy. I am very excited to see what the author has planned for these characters. I had planned to give this book a 4-star rating because of the errors I mentioned above but writing this review was really easy because I couldn’t wait to share my thoughts with you so I am not holding back. This book was a Perfect Escape and deserves this rating.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Once, when Pam was quite young, she went to the library looking for books on magic. The librarian directed her to a different kind of books than those she was used to. She was used to books with pictures, or at the very least with a drawing at the beginning of each chapter. (She was very, very young.) These books about magic had a lot of words, and were written in a very small font, compared to what she was used to. She was skeptical.

Nonetheless, she took the books home and started reading. Until, with disgust, she realized these books weren’t about *magic*; they were about magic *tricks*. She had wanted to do real magic. Disillusioned, she returned the books to the library.

Then one day, she realized it is booked themselves that are magic.

In books, everything is possible.

Find out more about Pam at www.pamstucky.com.


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 Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways New Release Challenge Read The Printed Word Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday featuring Pint of No Return: A Dessert Cozy Mystery (Shake Shop Mystery) by Dana Mentink #Review / #Giveaway

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am so happy to feature A Pint of No Return today!


Pint of No Return: A Dessert Cozy Mystery
(Shake Shop Mystery)

Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Oregon
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press (May 25, 2021)
Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN-10: 1728231558
ISBN-13: 978-1728231556
Kindle ASIN: B08GBPD3BR

The first in new dessert cozy mystery series! A murder in town is bound to shake things up…

After her divorce from her thrice-married embezzler husband, Trinidad Jones is finally ready for a fresh start. So when she’s left one of her ex’s businesses in Upper Sprocket, Oregon, she decides to pack up her dog, cash in her settlement, and open her dream business: the Shimmy and Shake Shop, introducing the world to her monster milkshakes. And even with a couple of sticky situations underway, namely that the other two ex-wives also call Sprocket home, Trinidad’s life seems to be churning along smoothly.

That is, until she discovers her neighbor, the Popcorn King, head down in his giant popcorn kettle. When one of Trinidad’s fellow ex-wives is accused of the murder and Upper Sprocket descends into mayhem, it’s going to take a supersized scoop of courage to flush out the killer.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream!

Newly divorced Trinidad Jones is getting a new start in Upper Sprocket, Oregon, by opening the Shimmy and Shake Shop in a building that used to house one of her embezzling ex-husband’s businesses. Opening a shop and serving monster “freak” milkshakes is a dream come true but Upper Spocket is a small town and it just happens to be where ex-wives 1 and 2 also reside. That is not really a problem for Trinidad until one of them is accused of murdering The Popcorn King. His shop is near the Shimmy and Shake and he and Trinidad were splitting an order of nuts. When she went to deliver his half she found him dead in his huge popcorn kettle. She doesn’t really know anything about Juliette but can’t imagine her being a murderer. So she is going to shake things up and do a little investigating with some of the other business owners to find who really popped The Popcorn King.


I was struck right away by the delightful characters the author brings us in this first Shake Shop Mystery. Trinidad is an interesting character with an interesting background. She is smart and does well on her first adventure as an amateur sleuth. She also has a wonderful sidekick, her dog Noodles. Noodles failed military training school but he still acquired some awesome skills.

Trinidad is also surrounded by some intriguing human characters. I loved that Trinidad had a young set of twins helping her get the shop ready to open and to be her taste testers. We also meet nut farmer Quinn and his brother Doug, and Stan who owns the local coffee shop and is a reluctant lawyer. Oh, and the local police chief, who just happens to be her ex’s sister.

Several other residents of Upper Spocket drop into the story as necessary and truly depict life in a small town. Gossip runs rampant and secrets are hard to keep when everyone is in each other’s business. All the characters felt very realistic and unique making them easy to keep straight.

The mystery was extremely well-plotted with different suspects and their motives coming to light. Twists on top of turns kept misdirecting my thinking. The author really scooped me this time. The actual criminal was not even on my personal suspect list. I was totally surprised and had to take a few moments to try to think of what clues I had missed. What I really liked was that when Trinidad had a solid theory the police chief actually listened to her and didn’t just brush her off. She had a plan and the reveal tied all the clues together nicely.

Ms. Mentink has given this series an excellent start in Pint of No Return. We have only met one of the two ex-wives and I am excited to meet the other one when she gets back from her trip. The shake/ice cream theme is fun and had my mouth watering for a freak shake all my own. Doesn’t the one on the cover look yummy? I can’t wait to visit these characters again.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About The Author

Dana Mentink lives in California where the weather is golden and the cheese is divine. Her family includes two teen girls (affectionately nicknamed Yogi and Boo Boo.) Papa Bear is retired from the fire department and he met Dana doing a dinner theater production of The Velveteen Rabbit. Ironically, their parts were husband and wife.

Dana is an American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year finalist for romantic suspense and a two-time ACFW Carol Award winner. Her suspense novel, Betrayal in the Badlands, earned a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award. She is honored to write for Harlequin’s Love Inspired, Harlequin Heartwarming, and Harvest House Publishers. Besides writing, she busies herself teaching third grade. Mostly, she loves to be home with Papa Bear, Yogi, Boo Boo, a dog with social anxiety problems, a chubby box turtle, and a feisty parakeet.

Author Links – WebsiteFacebookTwitterBookBub

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

                                  

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Cozy Wednesday featuring Fresh Brewed Murder (A Ground Rules Mystery) by Emmeline Duncan #Review / #Giveaway @DuncanEmmeline

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am happy to share with you my thoughts about
Fresh Brewed Murder today! 


Fresh Brewed Murder (A Ground Rules Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Oregon
Publisher: Kensington (March 30, 2021)
Paperback: 240 pages
ISBN-10: 1496733398
ISBN-13: 978-1496733399
Kindle ASIN: B08CBP43VZ

Master barista Sage Caplin is opening a new coffee cart in Portland, Oregon, but a killer is brewing up a world of trouble. . . .

Portland is famous for its rain, hipsters, craft beers . . . and coffee. Sage Caplin has high hopes for her coffee cart, Ground Rules, which she runs with her business partner, Harley—a genius at roasting beans and devising new blends. That’s essential in a city where locals have intensely strong opinions about cappuccino versus macchiato—especially in the case of one of Sage’s very first customers. . . .

Sage finds the man’s body in front of her cart, a fatal slash across his neck. There’s been plenty of anger in the air, from longtime vendors annoyed at Ground Rules taking a coveted spot in the food truck lot, to protesters demonstrating against a new high-rise. But who was mad enough to commit murder? Sage is already fending off trouble in the form of her estranged, con-artist mother, who’s trying to trickle back into her life. But when Sage’s very own box cutter is discovered to be the murder weapon, she needs to focus on finding the killer fast—before her business, and her life, come to a bitter end. . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Sage Caplin and her partner Harley have opened a coffee food truck in a local lot. Sage is a people person and Harley is a master coffee bean roaster. Together they are hoping their business takes off and that they will soon move from their food cart to a brick-and-mortar store. The food truck lot is not without drama. There are protestors walking in opposition to a new high rise and some of the other food truck vendors wonder how Sage and Harley got such a coveted spot especially when other vendors lost their spots due to the proposed construction of the high rise.

After just a couple of days serving coffee savvy customers, Sage finds one of those customers dead right in front of her cart and the murder weapon appears to be the box cutter she borrowed from one of the other vendors. The detective assigned to the case believes Sage is guilty especially when he finds out who her mother is. Strange this is happening right after her mother reaches out to her after years of absence. Sage doesn’t have time to worry about her mother, she needs to find the real killer now and get the detective off her back before she ends up behind bars.


In this first Ground Rules Mystery, we meet barista Sage Caplin. She has had a very interesting life which gives her a unique perspective regarding some of the people she meets over the course of this story. I was intrigued by the way she handled the homeless population camping out nearby. She was very empathic and willing to help even volunteering to hand out hygiene and food packages to them.  As this is the first book in the series I feel we have just scratched the surface of this character. We are also introduced to her partner Harley, her great uncle Jimmy, her police detective dad, her lawyer brother Jackson and her cousin Miles. Her mother makes an appearance via a phone call. All the characters are cleverly written with plenty of room left for growth.

The author sets the scene of Portland and everywhere Sage visits very well. I could easily see each location come to life. We are also given quite an education about coffee beans and their brewing. I am not much of a coffee drinker but thought I knew every way it could be brewed but I was wrong. I learned some new things from Sage. I loved the way they came up with original custom drinks, some with alcohol for one of their new customers.

This time the protagonist isn’t actively searching full boar for the killer. She keeps her eyes and ears open and has some keen observations. There are several suspects and surprising ties between the deceased and another character. I am pleased to say the guilty party was on my list of top three suspects early on in the story but I was still surprised at the big reveal as to the true motive. Ms. Duncan served up some nice twists to divert the reader’s attention but I held strong to my own theories.  I was concerned about the relaxed pacing of the book and while the ending was exciting I would have liked a faster pace. I was engaged by the characters and that did keep the pages turning.

The author has set off this series to a fine start with Fresh Brewed Murder. I am looking forward to the next installment to see these characters evolve and to get to know them better. Coffee connoisseurs will love the drink descriptions and may want to brew a cup or two to enjoy while reading the book.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Emmeline Duncan is a mystery writer based out of Portland, Oregon. Her novels include the Ground Rules series, starting with 2021’s Fresh Brewed Murder.

Emmeline also writes YA novels as Kelly Garrett. Her debut YA, The Last To Die, was an Oregon Book Awards finalist and was re-issued by Sourcebooks Fire in November 2019. Kelly is also a 2020 Oregon Literary Fellow.

Emmeline/Kelly is a board member of the Northwest Chapter of the Mystery Writers of America and co-organizes Friends of Mystery’s Bloody Thursday lecture series. She’s also a member of Sisters-In-Crime, Willamette Writers, and SCBWI.

WebsiteFacebookTwitterInstagram – 


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

I am giving away my 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 Following My Facebook Fan Page.

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

Follow Kensington Books on Twitter for 2 Bonus Entries!

LIKE Kensington Publishing on Facebook for 2 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 April 28, 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 Great Escapes Book Tours Literary Escapes New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Bait and Witch – A Witch Way Librarian Mystery by Angela M. Sanders #Review /#Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @AngelaMSanders


Bait and Witch – A Witch Way Librarian Mystery
by Angela M. Sanders

About Bait and Witch

Bait and Witch – A Witch Way Librarian Mystery
Paranormal Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Oregon
Publisher: Kensington (December 29, 2020)
Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-10: 1496728742
ISBN-13: 978-1496728746
Digital ASIN: B086R8VF2T

Librarian Josie Way moved to small-town Oregon to lay low. Instead, thanks to newfound magic abilities—and a killer on the loose—she’s leapt out of the frying pan and into a cauldron of trouble . . .

 

Josie Way loved working among the Library of Congress’s leather-scented stacks—until she uncovered corruption and made herself a target. As Wilfred, Oregon’s new librarian, Josie can stay undercover until the case goes to court. But life in this little town isn’t as subdued as she expected. The library, housed in a a Victorian mansion, is slated to be bulldozed. Still digesting the news that her safe haven is about to become scrap lumber, Josie discovers a body in the woods . . .

 

Almost as shocking, Josie learns that she’s descended from a long line of witches—and her powers have suddenly sprung to life. With help from a spoiled alley cat who just may be her familiar, Josie’s thumbing through a catalog of suspects, hoping she can conjure a way to save her library—and her life . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Working at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. was a dream come true for Josie Way until she overheard something that turned her into a whistleblower and put a target on her back. In fear for her life, she escaped to Wilfred, Oregon for a job as the small town’s lead librarian. She had hoped for a sleepy little town with no conflicts only to learn that the beautiful library’s fate may be dire. Someone is trying to buy it and tear it down to put up a retreat center. Worried about how long she will be able to stay in Wilfred without a job she comes up with a plan to try to thwart the sale. Then she finds a dead body in the woods behind the library and worries her fate may be dire as well.

As if that isn’t enough to scare the daylights over her, Josie finds she has a strange power regarding the books she has been entrusted to take care of. Unable to explain what is happening she calls her mother and learns she comes from a long line of witches. Her mother tells how she can curtail her witchy ways but soon after she does she realizes she may need those powers to save her life.

_____

I was a little nervous about reading this book because paranormal-themed stories are not always my cup of tea but the synopsis really made me want to know more about Josie Way and this Victorian mansion that had become a library. It was that unique library that drew me in. The author’s detailed description of the place brought the amazing building to life. Each room filled with books, the apartment Josie would inhabit, the paintings on the walls, and the amazing central atrium with its stained glass window set in the roof all felt magical to me before Josie realized she had powers.

I did enjoy the way Josie’s powers were introduced, a true gift for a librarian. The library also comes with a cat named Rodney who bonds with Josie right away. A witch and her familiar, a perfect pair. Josie is an intelligent and talented woman, comfortable in her knowledge, stepping into this new position in a new place. She is very likable and makes friends quickly with her coworker and library trustee/diner owner/pseudo mayor. We also meet several other residents of Wilfred, some thrilled by the demise of the library and others hoping the sale goes awry. We also meet a man whose family has a long history with the town and the local sheriff. The author does an excellent job introducing the characters and allowing them to evolve throughout the story while leaving them room to grow as the series continues.

I was totally entertained by the way the story played out with several secrets revealed and some nice twists and moments of suspense. I probably would have read the entire book in one sitting. I had to force myself to put the book down when the clock struck one and I needed to get to sleep.

Bait and Witch has gotten this series off to an extraordinary start. I wish the Wilfred Library was a real place. I would book my ticket for Oregon today. This paranormal story was a hit for me and I recommend it to everyone that loves a fun cozy mystery.  I am really looking forward to Seven Year Witch coming out on August 24.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Angela M. Sanders

Angela M. Sanders writes the Amazon bestselling Joanna Hayworth Vintage Clothing Mysteries and The Booster Club Capers. Under the pen name Clover Tate, she’s the author of the Kite Shop Mysteries (Berkley), which Romantic Times praised for their “well written wit and intrigue.” Angela’s articles on food, personalities, and perfume have appeared in a variety of magazines, and her monthly newsletters have nearly 2,000 subscribers. She interacts with readers on Facebook and Instagram and is a prominent blogger for Now Smell This, which garners 1.5 million monthly page views. Angela has two cats—one of whom is black of course—a witch’s freckle in her left eye and learned to read tarot cards from a pagan priestess.

Author Links

Website Facebook Instagram Twitter

Purchase Links – AmazonB&NKoboGoogle PlayIndieBound

Coming August 24, 2021

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Chilled to the Cone: A Bakeshop Mystery by Ellie Alexander #Review @StMartinsPress @BakeshopMystery


Chilled to the Cone: A Bakeshop Mystery
Cozy Mystery
12th in Series
Setting – Oregon
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks (December 29, 2020)
Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-10: 1250214386
ISBN-13: 978-1250214386
Kindle ASIN: B089RZS1NJ

Pastry chef and amateur sleuth Juliet Capshaw finds herself on thin ice as she attempts to solve her latest case of small-town murder in Ellie Alexander’s Chilled to the Cone: A Bakeshop Mystery.

The deep freeze has thawed in Ashland, Oregon and Torte is gearing up for a busy spring. When a surprise opportunity to launch a pop-up ice cream shop comes her way, Jules jumps at the chance to showcase Torte’s signature iced drinks and cold custards. But selling the desserts of her dreams comes at a price. . .and, before she knows it, Jules’s life swirls into a nightmare. One of the town’s most colorful characters, a street performer known for wearing capes and a cone-shaped hat, turns up dead just as Torte 2.0 is set to open its doors. Can Jules get the scoop on what happened to “The Wizard” of Ashland before her new business venture reaches a chilling conclusion?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Torte is growing again. This time across town in a pop-up space. Scoops will feature Torte’s signature iced drinks and frozen concrete custards as Andy and Sterling take their delicious creations to the new venue. The place needs some updating but the Torte crew is up to the task. That is until The Wizard, one of Ashland’s colorful characters known for his cape and cone-shaped hat, usually seen riding his bike is killed near the new pop-up shop.  The murder gives Jules the chills but with a little help, she is confident she can take the killer down.


I am so excited that I finally got all caught up on this series and was able to read this book the day it was released.

Chilled to the Cone takes us back to Ashland as the busy season is about to take off. All the characters I have come to love are back and Spring seems to be a time of romance for several. I was pleased to see Carlos in town and that he and Jules are working on their relationship. It has reached the time for them to make some hard decisions. I also enjoyed how Andy and Sterling are growing in their jobs at Torte. The way Jules and her mom encourage their employees is really satisfying. The staff truly is an extended family and each person is valued for their unique talents and personalities. Lance and Jules continue to lean on each other and join in a little sleuthing. They are a fun team. All the characters have really grown over the course of the series in realistic ways but there’s still room for future growth.

Ms. Alexander gives readers a nice mystery with plenty of suspects and twists and turns. Several characters were involved in trying to solve the murder. The killer was at the top of my personal suspect list but the motive didn’t completely lock in until the very end. They shared the spotlight with a couple of other viable individuals but this person never fell from my top spot. The way the mystery played out was very exciting and I was totally engaged from beginning to end.

The story was very well-plotted. The author takes on a theme of homelessness and mental illness in a way to bring awareness without detracting from the mystery.

As usual, the author tempts our taste buds with several food and drink descriptions. Thankfully we have a Culver’s here in town so I could satisfy my custard cravings with one of their concrete mixers. They have a wide variety of flavors but none as creative as Sterling’s.

Chilled to the Cone is a delightful addition to the Bakeshop Mystery Series. Ellie Alexander never disappoints. Her characters draw you in and the mysteries hold on tight.

The bad thing about being all caught up on this series is that I now have to wait for the next story to be released. Mocha, She Wrote will be released on June 29, 2021. But the author does have another series for me to investigate. The Sloan Krause Mysteries will be headed to my Kindle soon. 

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

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

Author Links –  Facebook     Twitter      Instagram    GoodReads


Coming June 29, 2021
Also by Ellie Alexander

Written as Kate Dyer-Seeley

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

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

Nothing Bundt Trouble: A Bakeshop Mystery by Ellie Alexander #Review @StMartinsPress @BakeshopMystery


Nothing Bundt Trouble: A Bakeshop Mystery
Cozy Mystery
11th in Series
Setting – Oregon
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks (June 30, 2020)
Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-10: 125021436X
ISBN-13: 978-1250214362
Kindle ASIN: B082RT7Z6S

This time, Torte’s pastry chef and amateur sleuth finds herself coming out of the oven and straight into the fire in Ellie Alexander’s Nothing Bundt Trouble: A Bakeshop Mystery.

Spring has sprung in Ashland, Oregon, and everything at Torte seems to be coming up buttercream roses. But just when Juliet Capshaw seems to have found her sweet spot—with her staff set to handle the influx of tourists for this year’s Shakespeare festival while she moves back into her childhood home—things take a dramatic turn. Jules discovers a long-forgotten dossier in her deceased father’s belongings that details one of the most controversial cases in Ashland’s history: a hit-and-run accident from the 1980s. Or was it?

Now it’s up to Jules to parse through a whole new world of details from another era, from unraveling cassette tapes to recipes for Bundt cakes, before an old enemy brings the Capshaw “pastry case” to a modern-day dead end.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Spring in Ashland means Juliet Capshaw is getting settled in her childhood home that was given to her by her mother and the Professor after they moved into their new home. While going through boxes in the basement she finds her father’s journal detailing a time in the ’80s when he assisted the Professor on his first case. A hit and run death of a young actor. Juliet’s parents had recently opened Torte and they had taken on a side job provided desserts for a new dinner theatre. This brings her dad into contact with all the players, one of which could be a killer.

Juliet is excited to read the journal after losing her dad all those years ago but is surprised the case had not been solved. After going over the case with her step-dad she decides to ask Lance to help her revisit the suspects and the evidence to try to solve the cold case.


After reading the first ten books in this series we have gotten to know Juliet and her mom quite well. Now we get to travel back in time to get to know Will Capshaw. We also see how much the city of Ashland has changed and the things that have stayed the same. With the journal, the author takes an interesting approach entwining the past and present with a focus on the same mystery.  I really liked the time Doug, aka The Professor, and Jules took reading the journal together. Her father’s words were not only focused on the murder case but expressed the love he had for his wife and their daughter. We learn that Jules is so much like her dad. She has always been inquisitive and curious about what happens around her. The apple did not fall far from the tree. For her to pick up the unsolved case made perfect sense.

In the present times, the staff at Torte are also planning a 1980’s themed dinner complete with costumes, a disco mirror ball, music, and recipes including the pineapple inside down cake that was served in many households including mine back in the day. All the ’80’s references brought back a ton of memories, like the mirror ball my graduating class purchased for our school prom, along with the crazy clothes and hairstyles. What a delightful trip back in time.

Nothing Bundt Trouble is a unique story that tugged on my heartstrings. This series features some of my favorite cozy characters. It was a real treat to get to know Helen, Jules, Doug, and finally Will’s stories from the past. It makes them more complete. The love story between Helen and Will just shines. Thank you, Ms. Alexander for writing this book. I loved it.



Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

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

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Chilled to the Cone
was released yesterday!

Coming June 29, 2021
Also by Ellie Alexander

Written as Kate Dyer-Seeley
*This book was from my private collection. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.