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Deceived (A Kelly Pruett Mystery) by Mary Keliikoa #Spotlight / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @mary_keliikoa


Deceived (A Kelly Pruett Mystery)
by Mary Keliikoa

It is my pleasure to shine my spotlights
on Mary Keliikoa’s new Kelly Pruett Mystery today!

About Deceived

Deceived (A Kelly Pruett Mystery)
Cozy Mystery – Woman Sleuths
3rd in Series
Setting – Oregon
Camel Press (May 10, 2022)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 218 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1603818650
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1603818650
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09Q7SG18K

In the third thrilling book in the Kelly Pruett mystery series–Her world was falling into place. Then women started dropping off the map.

 

PI Kelly Pruett finally feels like she’s coming into her own. With her personal life well on track, a gig uncovering what drove a client’s granddaughter underground could be good for business. But after her undercover operation at the homeless shelter reveals rampant drug dealing, she’s suddenly kicked off the case… just as another girl goes missing.

 

Vowing to expose the truth even if it means pro-bono work, Kelly is taken aback when her half-sister helps her hunt down answers in a tent city brimming with distrust. When her investigation doesn’t move quickly enough to save a second woman from a vicious murder, Kelly doubles her efforts unwilling to accept defeat.

About Mary Keliikoa 

Mary Keliikoa is the Shamus finalist and Lefty, Agatha and Anthony nominated author of the PI Kelly Pruett mystery series, and the Misty Pines mystery series featuring former Portland homicide detective turned small-town sheriff. Her short stories have appeared in Woman’s World and in the anthology Peace, Love and Crime.

A Pacific NW native, she spent years working around lawyers and admits to being that person who gets excited when called for jury duty. When not in Washington, you can find Mary on the beach in Hawaii. But even under the palm trees and blazing sun, she’s plotting her next murder—novel that is.

Author Links

Website       Facebook     Twitter      Instagram      Goodreads    BookBub

Purchase Links

SIGNED COPIES ARE AVAILABLE THRU VINTAGE BOOKS 
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Posted in 2022 Reviews Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday featuring Double Shot Death (A Ground Rules Mystery) by Emmeline Duncan #Review / #Giveaway @DuncanEmmeline

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am happy to share my thoughts about Double Shot Death today!


Double Shot Death (A Ground Rules Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Oregon
Kensington Cozies (April 26, 2022)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 240 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 149673341X
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1496733412
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09BKB73V7

Sage Caplin is taking her Portland coffee cart on the road to a sustainable music festival, but murder is an unwanted special guest . . .

At Campathon, an annual eco-friendly festival held on a farm outside of Portland, fans celebrate the Pacific Northwest’s music scene in quintessential PDX style—with gourmet food carts, reusable utensils . . . and lots of coffee. How else to get through three days of nonstop entertainment? Sage has scored a coveted place for her Ground Rules coffee cart thanks to her new-ish boyfriend, Bax, who’s friendly with Maya, one of the musicians performing.

The festivities begin with a stream of customers, friends, and acquaintances stopping by for Ground Rules’ world-class blends, expertly brewed by Sage and her newest barista. But there are tensions between Maya and her former bandmates, who are on the cusp of making it big, and with Ian, the band’s manager. When Sage stumbles upon Ian’s dead body in the nearby woods—his hand still clutching one of her coffee mugs—it’s clear that someone’s grudge boiled over into murder. Can Sage work out who’s responsible before another innocent life fades out, and the curtain falls on Campathon, and maybe her own future, for good?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Sage Caplin is thrilled to receive a prime spot for her Ground Rules coffee cart at Campathon, an annual eco-friendly music festival just outside of Portland. It is her chance to show they made the right decision buying the second cart as they wait for their brick-and-mortar shop to open. She is also looking forward to spending her downtime with her boyfriend Bax listening to the bands, who just happens to know one of the musicians performing.

While Sage is selling a lot of coffee in all varieties there is an undercurrent of tension between some of the performers. Bax’s friend Maya has started a new group of her own after splitting with another one. Band manager Ian does his best to keep civil control between all of his clients but he must have pushed someone too far. Sage finds his dead body at the edge of the nearby woods. Things get personal because he is holding one of her coffee mugs and the detective on the case decides that and her discovery of the body puts Sage at the top of the suspect list. One other vendor tries to use that information to their advantage by spreading that news to anyone that will listen.

Will Sage be able to clear her name and a profit before everybody packs up and goes home? Or will the killer strike again? even taking aim at Sage? She’s going to need a double shot or two as she chases the clues and pours the coffee. Hopefully, the next death won’t be her own.


I really enjoyed the music festival setting for this second Ground Rules Mystery. It draws in a wide variety of people like one woman who was going to get everything out of her VIP pass by drinking as much coffee as possible. Coming back every hour to try something different. We also meet a pushy blogger/podcaster that is willing to do almost anything to get a scoop. Then of course there are the singers, musicians, camp staff, and other vendors. Most end up visiting Sage’s coffee cart, many more than once.

And our protagonist Sage Caplin knows how to keep her eyes and ears open. While she does need to leave the cart to follow some of the clues she quickly realizes that she can learn a lot by doing what she does best, serving her customers. I really enjoyed her multitasking and keen observations. I also loved that Bax was there to support her. Their relationship is comfortable for the most part. Our amateur sleuth read some signals completely wrong and I was happy to see that the whole thing was straightened out quickly and wasn’t drawn out over several chapters. I also liked that her brother was at the festival trying to keep her safe while throwing in his own two cents whenever he could.

The mystery ended up having several suspects due to the sheer amount of people at the festival and another death adds even more twists. Detective Adams seemed hyperfocused on Sage but Sage just worked harder to give her other options. I will say I had a revolving group of my own suspects until all was revealed. I was in awe of the way Sage pulled everything together and loved the way the reveal played out. I was riveted like I was right there witnessing in person.

Double Shot Death was a captivating read. Sage is a very engaging protagonist and I appreciated the way she interacted with everyone. The dialogues were very well-written. I was sorry that Harley, Sage’s business partner, was working the other cart and only mentioned a few times in the story. Sage’s dad and Uncle Jimmy were also only involved through phone calls and text messages. I wish all three were more featured but it truly didn’t take away how much I was entertained by this story. I just hope they are all back in book three.

Pour yourself a nice cup of coffee and sit back and enjoy this latest story from Emmeline Duncan. I am excited to see where she takes her characters next!



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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 – 

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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 Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Interviews

House Edge: A Spotted Pony Casino Mystery by Paty Jager – #AuthorInterview / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour


House Edge: A Spotted Pony Casino Mystery
by Paty Jager

I am pleased to welcome Paty Jager to Escape With Dollycas today!

Hi Paty,

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Howdy. I’m Paty Jager. I’ve lived my whole life in rural areas. My husband and I currently live on 280 acres in SE Oregon. Our closest neighbor is half a mile away and the closest town to purchase groceries is 40 miles away. I enjoy living rural, raising cattle and hay. Being rural gives me time to write in between all the other chores. Currently, I’ve published 53 novels, 8 novellas, and I’ve had stories in numerous anthologies. I started out writing historical western romance, added contemporary western romance, and now am writing the genre I have enjoyed reading the most, murder mystery.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

The research all depends on how many things I plan to put in a book that I don’t know. Like an occupation, a unique murder method, or an area I’m unfamiliar with. The way I work, I’m writing one book, while mulling over a book or two that will be the next to be written. So, while I do look up things for coming books and as I write I add something and then think, “Do I know enough about this?” and take off to research it before I write any more, there is no set time limit for how much time I spend researching before beginning a book. I’m constantly reading and checking on things. Maybe for a book that won’t be written until next year.  For this book, House Edge, I read the stories in the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla newspaper, articles online from power companies and other newspapers, and saw a documentary about breaching the dams. Yet all the information I gleaned is barely touched on in the book because it is about the murder. But I hope what I didn’t write will make people who haven’t heard about it, stop and do their own research to see how it impacts everyone.

Do you ever suffer from Writer’s Block?

Writer’s Block? No. I have a list of books to be written in the two mystery series I’m writing. I have never been unable to write due to a block. I might write myself into a corner and it takes some time away from the computer and doing something completely unrelated for my brain to figure out how to fix what I did, but I always have two or three ideas cavorting around in my head ready to be brought forth and written.

What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?

The first thing you need to do is sit down and write every day. Don’t expect to have the first thing you write be the first thing that gets published. I had written 7 books before #8 was picked up by a publisher. It took me that long to hone my writing skills and perfect my storytelling. You never write a perfect book. You write the best book you can and make sure it is edited to the best of your ability. If you are self-publishing, you get other people to read your work and pay for an editor.

When you are not writing what do you like to do?

When I’m not writing I like to ride my horse, go for walks, and sew quilt tops.

How has the COVID pandemic affected you and you’re writing.

Honestly, because we live so rural, we haven’t been affected as much as people who live in populated areas. Sure, we put on masks when we go to the stores in town or when we visit friends in Central Oregon. I do dislike having to wear a mask while visiting with my dad in a senior living facility because he can’t hear what I’m saying half the time. As for my writing, it’s still perking along. I won’t write the pandemic into my stories because readers read to get away from the real world and by putting the pandemic in my books might be the facts of what is happening now, I feel the readers would prefer a few hours each day to forget it.

If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you go and why?

I went to Iceland a few years ago and would love to go back and see more of it. I also would love to go to England, Scotland, and Ireland. I’ve read so many books and watched so many shows set in those countries that I would like to see things for myself.

What is next on the horizon for you?

I am currently writing book 9, Owl’s Silent Strike, in the Gabriel Hawke Novels and will be working on a Spotted Pony Casino short story for an anthology I’m participating in, then book 3, Double Down, in the Spotted Pony Casino Mysteries. As I said, I am never at a loss for something to write!

Thank you for having me on your blog!

Thank you Paty for visiting today. 

Keep reading to learn about Paty’s new book.

 

About House Edge

House Edge: A Spotted Pony Casino Mystery
Murder Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Oregon
Windtree Press (February 18, 2022)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 294 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 195763801X
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1957638010
ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09QXZF12Z

Zealous Environmentalists
Greedy Power Companies
…and a body

 

A bitter dispute over the breaching of dams in Idaho sparks emotions at a summit held at the Spotted Pony Casino. When the keynote speaker is murdered, Dela Alvaro, head of security, teams up again with FBI Special Agent Quinn Pierce.

 

The suspects are many since it appears the victim was playing both sides of the controversial environmental issue. Did someone take advantage of a marital dispute… witnessed by a crowd of casino spectators? Or did an angry wife murder her husband?

 

Book 2 in the Spotted Pony Casino Mysteries has Dela Alvaro not only trying to keep her job by discovering the killer before word spreads about the murder, but she also has to deal with FBI Special Agent Quinn Peirce butting heads with her high school sweetheart who has returned to the reservation as a tribal policeman.

About Paty Jager

Paty Jager is an award-winning author of 53 novels, 8 novellas, and numerous anthologies of murder mystery and western romance. All her work has Western or Native American elements in them along with hints of humor and engaging characters. Paty and her husband raise alfalfa hay in rural eastern Oregon. Riding horses and battling rattlesnakes, she not only writes the western lifestyle, she lives it.

Author Links
Website    Blog     FB Page     Amazon     Pinterest     Twitter    Goodreads     Newsletter- Mystery    Newsletter- Western     BookBub

Purchase Link – Amazon 

Find more books by Paty Jager here.

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Posted in 2022 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Alphabet Soup A -Z Author Edition Challenge Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Literary Escapes New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

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

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

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

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

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

Dollycas’s Thoughts

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

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

Author Links –  Facebook     Twitter      Instagram    GoodReads

Also by Ellie Alexander

Written as Kate Dyer-Seeley

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

Posted in 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.

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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 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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 Contest Will End June 9, 2021, at 11:59 PM CST
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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.”