Jun 252019
 

Died in the Wool:
A Whisky Business Mystery
by Melinda Mullet

About the Book


Died in the Wool: A Whisky Business Mystery
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Setting – Scotland
Alibi (June 18, 2019)
Print Length ~300 pages
Digital ASIN: B07GN17SQJ

No good deed goes unpunished in the Whisky Business cozy mystery series as distillery owner Abigail Logan uncovers dark secrets—and murder—at a local charity.

Photojournalist Abi Logan is finally ready to put her hectic career on hold and set down roots in the heart of the Scottish countryside. Studying the business and art of distilling whisky at Abbey Glen and volunteering at the Shepherd’s Rest women’s shelter in her spare time seem a surefire way to find the peace and stability she craves. It’s also the logical way to take her mind off her personal life. Abi’s business partner, Grant MacEwan, is facing a career-threatening disability, and as much as Abi longs to be there for him, he seems to prefer the company of a rival.

But as Abi becomes more involved with Shepherd’s Rest, she discovers that their refuge is elusive. When the shelter is rocked by a murder/suicide, Abi is outraged by the police’s lack of attention to these already marginalized women. Increasingly confident in her own skills as an investigator, Abi steps in to find out what the police will not: who left one young woman dead and another missing. But when more deadly deeds come to light, Abi must race to unravel the connections between the shelter’s benefactors and the women they have pledged to protect—and expose the killer before he strikes again.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Abi Logan is getting much more comfortable in her role as a distillery owner. She is taking classes to enrich her knowledge especially with her partner recovering from an injury that could end his career.

She also is dealing with her ever-growing herd of rescued sheep who badly need to be sheered. When the local vet tells her not clipping their wool could be called animal abuse she promises to handle it right away but hates the thought of just throwing all the wool away. A reverend that was traveling with the vet tells her he knows someone who will take the wool, Amanda, the owner of a knitting shop who donates part of her profits to a shelter for abused woman. Abi sets up a meeting, she and Amanda hit it off right away. Abi is thrilled when she meets some of the women at the shelter and sees how the operation is run.  She thinks the shelter is a perfect match to work with her foundation.

Shortly after their meeting one of the women is found dead. The police feel the woman took her own life, but Amanda and Ali think otherwise. When another of the woman goes missing leaving her daughter behind, Abi finds herself embroiled in the middle of her own investigation. Time is of the essence because the killer could strike again and Abi could be the victim.

_____

I love the way Melinda Mullet tells a story. She continues to top herself.

Ms. Mullet quickly transports readers to Balfour and Edinburgh, Scotland and all their glory. Her words paint beautiful pictures in my mind of each place as we follow with Abi on her quest to catch a killer.

The human characters are well developed with lives that ebb and flow realistically. The sheep, who all have names, and Abi’s dog, Liam and their antics add a great touch to the story too. Abi finally starts to realize her true feelings for Grant but it may be too late.  Grant’s recovery is monitored by another woman who is doing all she can to become a permanent part of his life. A woman who may not only steal him from Abi but from Abbey Glen  Abi has grown so much over the course of this series. She is truly becoming a vital part of her business. I like all the positive steps she has taken to make herself at home.

The author has taken on an international issue – domestic abuse. Through this, we are introduced to several new characters, they are all connected to the Shepherd’s Rest Shelter. The women living there, one with her amazing daughter, members of the board, and Amanda the director. These characters are complex, some are really shady and downright corrupt.

I have to say many parts hit me emotionally. The storyline was gripping and held my interest tightly. I enjoyed the twists, they kept me guessing right up to the very end. I read the entire thing in almost one sitting. I took a short break for food and discussed the book at the table, then skipped dessert to get back to reading.

The characters draw you in, the story is very well-written, the location is ideal. Learning more about distilling whisky is always a fun bonus.

Every book in this series is top-notch. I highly recommend every one. The author is generous and gives enough history of previous books that they can each be read on their own but for maximum enjoyment, you will want to read them all in order. This book on my Best Reads of 2019 list!

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About the Author

Melinda Mullet was born in Dallas and attended school in Texas, Washington D.C., England, and Austria. She spent many years as a practicing attorney before pursuing a career as a writer. Author of the Whisky Business Mystery series, Mullet is a passionate supporter of childhood literacy. She works with numerous domestic and international charities striving to promote functional literacy for all children. She lives in Washington, D.C., with her family.

Author Links – Webpage – Facebook – Twitter 

Purchase Links – Amazon  B&N    Kobo   Google Play

Melinda Mullet’s delightful Whisky Business mysteries can be read together or separately. Enjoy responsibly:
SINGLE MALT MURDER | DEATH DISTILLED | DEADLY DRAM | DIED IN THE WOOL

You can read my reviews for Single Malt Murder hereDeath Distilled hereDeadly Dram here.

Praise for Died in the Wool: A Whisky Business Mystery
by Melinda Mullet

Mullet’s books are always easy to read and quite enjoyable . . . The author balances the perfect amount of details with subtle hints about the person’s appearance, just enough to picture it but also throw in your own ideas.
~ThisIsMyTruthNow

This cozy mystery series by Melinda Mullet is quickly becoming one of my very favorites and Died in the Wool is the best story yet . . . an outstanding novel that is a cut above other stories in this genre.
~The Power of Words

Died in Wool by Melinda Mullet is a thrilling book about whisky, raising sheep, and life in Scotland. Ms. Mullet has created a wonderful cast of characters in this series, and I enjoyed learning about them.
~Baroness’ Book Trove

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

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May 302019
 


A Daughter’s Truth
Women’s Fiction/Amish
Setting – Pennsylvania
Kensington (May 28, 2019)
Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN-10: 1496716485
ISBN-13: 978-1496716484
Kindle ASIN: B07H1ZQY11

Emma Lapp tries to be the perfect daughter, to earn the loving embrace of her family and her Amish community in Pennsylvania. Yet she can’t quite win her mother’s smile—or her forgiveness for a transgression Emma can’t quite place . . .

Emma knows she’s a reminder of her mother’s greatest sorrow, having been born on the same day Mamm lost her beloved sister. The one bright spot has been the odd trinkets anonymously left at her aunt’s grave each year on Emma’s birthday—gifts Emma secretly hides because they upset her parents. But the day she turns 22, a locket bears a surprise that sends her on an unexpected journey . . .

Searching for answers, Emma travels to the English world and finds a kinship as intriguing as it is forbidden. But is this newfound connection enough to leave behind the future she’d expected? The answers are as mysterious, and as devastating, as the truth that divides Emma from the only family, and the only life, she’s ever known . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Laura Bradford introduces us to Emma Lapp, a 22-year-old Amish woman whose whole life gets turned upside down. The oldest of six children, Emma’s birthday has always had a somber tone. Emma was born the same day her Aunt Ruby died. Emma’s mother mourns her sister’s death heavily. Losing a loved one takes a toll and Emma does her best to be sensitive to her mother’s feelings. But the woman’s attitude toward Emma has never been the same as her attitude toward the other children. Emma works so hard but nothing she does can bring a smile to her mother’s face the way the other children do.

Each year Emma’s birthday begins with a trip to the cemetery. Each year when they arrive there is a small gift left by someone on the grave. It makes her mother sad and her father angry. The gift is quickly tossed in the trash. When Emma turns 7 and every year after she wakes early to go to the cemetery by herself to take the gift and hide it away, both to ease her parent’s pain and because the trinkets bring her a little bit of joy. On the morning of her 22nd birthday, she finds a very special gift, a locket with a picture inside that has her questioning everything about her life. Her need to find answers takes her to forbidden places. The answers she finds are surprising and could come with a very high price. Her life could change in profound ways.

Like her story, A Portrait of a Sister, Ms. Bradford takes her readers and her characters on an emotional roller coaster. Emma’s struggle was real and affected so many people. My emotions clearly mirrored Emma’s. While Emma has led a sheltered life and was only educated through the 8th grade, we see a very determined, strong, and smart woman emerge as the story continues. She learns so much and gets some great advice to help her to make some hard decisions.

Again, you can see that the author has researched the ways of the Amish to paint a very rich detailed story for her readers. The story is so well written. The characters are portrayed realistically and the dialogue flows easily. From the hiding place in a tree to a new litter of kittens in the barn, from Emma’s special rock by the pond to the long country road she travels, I could easily picture everything. A bird’s eye view of Emma’s journey is both heartbreaking and heartwarming.  There is also a poignant lesson taught by the end of this novel. Something everyone should take to heart.

I loved this story and escaped right into it! The author has a way of making her readers truly care about her characters. I was invested in Emma’s Life from beginning to end. She is also a character I wouldn’t mind visiting again. The author leaves us in a great place but Emma has a lot more life ahead of her.

Like the first one, this story is a story that will stick with me. Also, like the one before, the book receives my Paradise Rating earning a spot on my Best Reads List for this year.

Fans of Amish fiction will love this story. If you are a fan of this author’s Amish Mystery series you really need to cross over and read this book and the one before it.

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About The Author

While spending a rainy afternoon at a friend’s house more than thirty years ago, Laura Bradford (a.k.a. Elizabeth Lynn Casey) fell in love with writing over a stack of blank paper, a box of crayons, and a freshly sharpened number two pencil. From that moment forward, she never wanted to do anything else.

Today, Laura is the national bestselling author of the Amish Mysteries, the Jenkins & Burns Mysteries, the Tobi Tobias Mystery Series, The Emergency Dessert Squad Mysteries and the Southern Sewing Circle Mysteries (written as Elizabeth Lynn Casey).

In June 2018, Laura debuted her first-ever women’s fiction novel, Portrait of a Sister.  Her second, A Daughter’s Truth was released on May 28, 2019.

Laura is a former Agatha nominee and the recipient of an RT Reviewer’s Choice Award in romance. In her free time, Laura enjoys making memories with her family, traveling, baking, and visiting the sea lions at the Central Park Zoo. For more information and all the latest book news, visit her website at www.laurabradford.com.

Author Links

Website     Facebook     Twitter   Pinterest

 

Also by Laura Bradford



Coming September 24, 2019


 


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

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Apr 302019
 

Wed, Read & Dead
(Mystery Bookshop)
by V.M. Burns

 

About the Book

 

Wed, Read & Dead (Mystery Bookshop)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Setting – Michigan
Kensington (April 30, 2019)
Paperback: 272 pages
ISBN-10: 1496718291
ISBN-13: 978-1496718297
Digital ASIN: B07G6RDBRV

Bookstore owner Samantha Washington sells and solves mysteries in North Harbor, Michigan—including the murder of her mother’s wedding planner . . .

Sam’s mother can’t wait to wed her wealthy beau, Harold Robertson. The big mystery is how they’re going to pull off a lavish wedding in three weeks. Harold’s snobby sister-in-law proposes a solution: engage flamboyant wedding planner Lydia Lighthouse. But their beacon of hope quickly sends everyone into a blind rage, most of all the groom-to-be. So when the maddening micromanager is strangled with her own scarf, it’s a shock, but not a surprise.

It’s a case of art imitating life as Sam pens her next historical mystery set in England between the wars. Lady Daphne Marsh insists on marrying Lord James Browning on Christmas Eve, three weeks hence. But when the fop planning their wedding ends up with a knife in his back, she vows to nab the backstabber before she walks down the aisle.

Meanwhile, when she’s not writing, Sam and her beloved and boisterous Nana Jo rush to shine a light on Lydia’s killer—so her mother’s new husband won’t spend his honeymoon behind bars . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Wedding bells will soon be ringing for Samantha’s mom Grace who is set to be married on Christmas Eve to Harold Robertson. With just 3 weeks to make all the arrangements including the dresses for the bride and her daughters who will be her bridesmaids. The family gets together to meet the groom’s family and go over details. That is when his sister-in-law reveals her gift of a wedding planner even as she degrades the bride feeling she is not good enough for her brother-in-law. The wedding planner makes her grand entrance. Lydia Lighthouse flaunts all the lavish wedding she has planned. But her ideas fall short of what the couple wants and come with huge price tags. The groom can certainly afford them but when the planner continues with her plan ignoring Grace, her betrothed becomes livid. Later when Lydia is found dead no one is really shocked but when Harold is named the main suspect, Sam, Nana Jo, and the Sleuthing Seniors gather and use all their resources to find the killer.

Sam also opens her home to some special guests and works on her next book which also features a wedding. It takes place in England in 1938 at the home of Lord William March. And it includes a murder too.

What a fabulous book!

The first chapter was so funny. I was laughing out loud. Things get serious after that but Ms. Burns laces her mysteries with humor and I love that.

The characters in this story are so well crafted. From the youngsters to the seniors and everyone in between. There is a real sense of family in this story. A family that is so inclusive of not just blood relatives but the people that have been brought together through life choices and chances. It warms my heart to witness how Sam and Nana Jo open their hearts to others and how it expounds from there. This group of people comes together for all occasions even to solve a murder. Some investigate, some keep the bookstore going so Sam can pursue leads, while others try to get the wedding plans under control.

Two characters that always steal my heart are Sam’s toy poodles, Snickers, and Oreo. I too have 2 dogs, not poodles, but border collie mixes, one who happens to be named Oreo. In this story, we learn how much Sam’s Oreo enjoyed playing in the snow. His snowful joy mirrored my Oreo perfectly. Snickers doesn’t like the snow much at all and that behavior mirrored my other dog Nerabelle too. It was almost as if Ms. Burns had visited us.

The story includes two mysteries and I love that Sam uses her writing to settle her mind to ponder the clues in her real-life mystery. Both are well-plotted with great twists and turns. New readers to this series will have to get used to the switching back and forth from present day to Sam’s historical mystery but now look forward to it. In fact, I can’t wait for the parallel storyline to start.

Engaging and fun characters, two intriguing mysteries, romance that doesn’t go too far, and great dialogue all make this story so entertaining. I love the bookshop setting too!

I have enjoyed every book in this series and in Ms. Burns Dog Club Mysteries too. So much so, the last book in this series, The Novel Art of Murder was the first book this year to have a place on my Best Reads List for 2019. This book will join it as it now is my favorite book in this series. I can’t wait for the next one!

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About the Author

V.M. Burns was born in Northwestern Indiana and spent many years in Southwestern Michigan on the Lake Michigan shoreline. She is a lover of dogs, British historic cozies, and scones with clotted cream. After many years in the Midwest, she went in search of milder winters and currently lives in Eastern Tennessee with her poodles. Her debut novel, The Plot is Murder was nominated for a 2017 Agatha Award for Best First Novel. Valerie is a member of Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and a lifetime member of  Sisters in Crime. Readers can learn more by visiting her website at vmburns.com

Author Links:     Website  Facebook   Twitter:  @vmburns

Purchase Links – Amazon –  Barnes & Noble – IndieBound  – Books-A-Million –  Hudson Booksellers 
Books-A-Million –  Hudson Booksellers

Also by V.M. Burns

Praise for Wed, Read & Dead (Mystery Bookshop)
by V.M. Burns

Smooth writing, engaging characters, wit, humor (Irma!) and a multi-layered mystery that kept me guessing until very close to the end!
~Reading Is My SuperPower

Wed, Read & Dead by V.M. Burns is an excellent book. Ms. Burns has a great series with these wonderfully developed characters, charming setting and adorable poodles . . .
~Baroness’ Book Trove

I love the local flavor in the books in this series. The characters are wonderful and relatable.
Nana Jo and her friends are such a treat.
~Laura’s Interests

The plot kept me hooked, but it is the characters that will keep me reading this series. So, two mysteries in one, humour, adorable kids that will break your heart, sassy seniors, the MC owns a bookstore and lots of food all add up to a wonderful cozy mystery that I can’t recommend enough.
~Carla Loves To Read

 

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

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Apr 052019
 


A Witch to Remember: A Wishcraft Mystery
Cozy Mystery
9th in Series
Setting – Massachusetts
Crooked Lane Books (April 9, 2019)
Hardcover: 288 pages
ISBN-10: 1683319788
ISBN-13: 978-1683319788
Kindle ASIN: B07H7QRV4R

Wishcrafter Darcy Merriweather’s enchanted wedding plans are put to the test when murder invites itself to her bridal luncheon…

The Enchanted Village always has a touch of magic about it, but the buzz of excitement over the wedding between wish-granting witch Darcy and Police Chief Nick Sawyer is positively electric. With every spellbinding detail planned to perfection all that’s left is to sit back and let wishes come true. But Darcy’s dream wedding is threatened when the Divinitea Cottage, the tea room hosting her bridal luncheon, goes up in flames, revealing the strangled body of the owner, Leyna Noble.

Making vows to solve the crime without delaying the nuptials, Darcy focuses on her prime suspect, and number one nemesis, wicked witch Dorothy Hansel Dewitt, a notorious firebug. But when a psychic vanishes without a trace, Darcy’s investigation shifts to Leyna’s mysteriously bewitching past. Darcy must sort through mystical claims and old, vengeful grudges to find a killer before she is forced to forever hold her peace.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Wedding bells will soon be ringing for wishcrafter Darcy Merriweather and Police Chief Nick Sawyer and almost everyone in the Enchanted Village is excited about it. Someone set fire to the Divinitea Cottage Tea Room minutes before Darcy arrived for her bridal luncheon. Sadly, the owner Leyna Noble did not make it out alive, but it wasn’t the smoke or fire that did her in. She was strangled!

Darcy’s prime suspect is Dorothy Hansel Dewitt, a truly wicked witch and fire is her modus operandi. Of course, Leyna is new to the village, so there may be other suspects. When a psychic who was part of Leyna’s past vanishes Darcy decides to broaden the investigation even though Dorothy’s behavior is not doing her any favors.

Secrets! That is the theme of this story. Secrets that will truly change lives.

Reading this story was truly bittersweet as it is the last book in the series. Author Heather Blake’s very memorable characters take readers on an enchanted final journey. All the characters we have come to love come together to celebrate Darcy and Nick’s wedding, solve a scary mystery, and share a magical moment.

I have enjoyed every book in this series but this one my favorite. The Wishcrafter theme is unique and fun and seeing Darcy’s wishes come true was so heartwarming. We are also treated to a fantastic whodunit. A suspicious death and fire, a missing person, along with what could be some world-ending mayhem.

Knowing this was the last time I would be visiting these characters I had allotted extra reading time so I could savor the time with them. But there was so much happening and the pace was so quick, I was shocked how fast I finished this book. There was a true edge of my seat moment too where the pages moved even faster. I am glad I was reading on my kindle, a paperback copy may have burst into flames 🙂

I am so happy with the way this series has ended and I want to thank Heather Blake for many hours of escaping into these GREAT books! I will never forget these magical characters or their wonderful village.

It is only fitting that this book will be on my Best Reads List for 2019.

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About the Author
Heather Blake is a pseudonym of Heather Webber, the bestselling author of more than a dozen novels, including the Nina Quinn Mysteries and the Lucy Valentine books. Blake has been nominated twice for an Agatha Award. She currently lives in the Cincinnati area with her family.

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Also by Heather Blake

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

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Apr 042019
 


The Loch Ness Papers (A Scottish Bookshop Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Setting – Scotland
Minotaur Books (April 2, 2019)
Hardcover: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 1250127815
ISBN-13: 978-1250127815
Kindle ASIN: B07H7CS993

Bookseller Delaney Nichols befriends a Loch Ness monster enthusiast; when he stands accused of murder she’ll do whatever it takes to learn who the killer is—and whether Nessie herself is really lurking in the Scottish waters.

Delaney Nichols is delighted with her life in Edinburgh, working at The Cracked Spine—a shop that specializes in hard-to-find books and artifacts. With a job she loves, and her fast approaching marriage to devastatingly handsome Scottish pub-owner Tom Shannon, Delaney’s life could be straight out of a fairy tale—at least it would be, if the pastor meant to perform the wedding ceremony hadn’t recently passed away. Outside the church where Delaney is searching for another reverend, she stumbles across Norval Fraser: an elderly man obsessed with the Loch Ness monster. Always attracted to the interesting and unusual, Delaney befriends Norval. But when his nephew is found dead, the police decide Norval’s obsession has moved from monsters to murder.

With a wedding to plan, her family arriving soon from Kansas, and the arrival of an over-the-top Texan with a wildly valuable book, Delaney’s plate is full to bursting, but she can’t abandon her new friend. Determined to help Norval, she sets out to learn the truth. The Loch Ness buries its secrets deeply, but Delaney is determined to dig them up—whether Nessie likes it or not.

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

Delaney and Tom’s wedding is just a couple of weeks away and they are in need of a new pastor to perform the ceremony after their original one passes away.  On her way into the church to meet a potential replacement, she meets Norval Fraser, a man who has researched the Loch Ness Monster his entire life. Delaney finds herself drawn into the man’s obsession and they become fast friends. He is very protective of all of his papers and wants to be sure someone will continue his work after he is gone. He had hoped his nephew would take the mantle but when the nephew is killed and police believe he is responsible he reaches out to Delaney for help to find the murderer and to protect his papers. Delaney already has her hands full with her upcoming wedding and her family arriving from Kansas but she can’t say no to this man. Believing the truth will set Nordal free she jumps in with both feet to find it. But she may be up against the beast itself before she can get there.

I loved absolutely everything about this story! A wedding, a priceless book, Americans visiting Scotland for the first time, and Nessie featured throughout it all.

Who has not heard the tale of the Loch Ness Monster? It was about time Delaney paid the creature a visit to see for herself if their really something residing in the Loch. Nordal’s vast amount of papers and his stories really pushed her desire to see if the monster really exists. The man is clearly haunted by his memories and Delaney realizes he needs someone to pay attention. It was heartwarming the way she took this man under her wing, especially because she herself is so new to Scotland. Her need to prove his innocence overtakes almost everything else, including her wedding but her hunky pub owner fiance completely understands.

That leads me to the romantic side of this story. Delaney has found the perfect mate in Tom and we see it abundantly in this story. He takes care of her but trusts her and gives her the freedom to pursue her endeavors. He is ready to step in when she needs him but knows when to back off. She supports him thoroughly too. I am excited about their future.

This installment brings her adopted Scotland family, the staff at the bookstore, her landlords, Tom and his father together with her biological Kansas family to celebrate their upcoming nuptials. Delaney gets sidetracked with the murder and her new friend, so I was so pleased the way the two families got along. Meeting her folks and her brother gave us a clearer picture of the protagonist I have grown to love over the course of this series.

Again, Paige Shelton’s words deliver her readers to Scotland. The town, the countryside, the rain, and the infamous loch. We follow Delaney each and every step of the way. Ms. Shelton paints such vivid imagery.

You will find myth, a rich history, mystery and love within these pages. The ending left me breathless. Such fantastic storytelling took me away. The reality around me seemed to disappear as I became immersed in a tale I couldn’t put down. In fact, I sad when the story ended. My virtual escape ended much too soon. I just was not ready to leave Scotland behind.

This book will be on my list of best reads of 2019 for so many reasons. It can be enjoyed on its own but to experience the character development and the passage of time I strongly encourage reading the series from the start. This story receives my Paradise Rating! 10 stars!

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About The Author

Paige Shelton is the New York Times Bestselling author of the Farmers’ Market Mysteries and the Country Cooking School Mysteries. She’s lived lots of places but currently resides in Arizona. Find out more at www.paigeshelton.com


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

 

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Feb 282019
 

This book is available TODAY!!


Fields’ Guide to Voodoo (The Poppy Fields Adventures)
Mystery/Suspense (Humorous)
3rd in Series
Setting – Louisiana
J & M Press (February 28, 2019)
Print Length: 248 pages
ASIN: B07N34V34S

Laissez les bon temps rouler!

The pleasure of your company is requested at the most over-the-top wedding New Orleans has ever seen…

When Poppy Fields, Hollywood IT girl and super-secret agent, agreed to be a bridesmaid, she anticipated gallons of Sazerac, memorable parties and handsome groomsmen. Instead, she’s dodging bullets.

Juggling wedding showers, exploding buildings, picnics, black magic, lunches in the Vieux Carré, and murder can be tough on a girl. Good thing Thor is there to escort her—until he disappears.

Poppy must outwit smugglers primed to flood the U.S. with a dangerous new drug (one Poppy knows all too well), save Thor, and get to the church on time. If she fails, she may end up dead. Or—worse—late to the wedding.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Poppy Fields is back and taking on New Orleans!

Our Hollywood It girl was set to relax at all the parties leading up to her college roommate Adele’s wedding before she headed off to her super-secret agent training, but while meeting at the Columns Hotel for drinks chaos erupts when a G-Wagon spins out of control. Behind it, a Range Rover stops and men with guns pile out and start shooting. Many are hit, some die, but Adele and Poppy are safe. Adele, a nurse, rushes to help. Poppy rushes to the first officer that arrives and shares all she can about what happened. And we are only midway through Chapter 1!

Poppy tries to attend to all her wedding commitments but she had to let her new secret agent boss know what happened especially what she did at the end of Chapter 1. He sends the cavalry in the form of Thor (not his real name/Chris Hemsworth’s doppelganger).  Good thing too, because we have just scratched the surface of Poppy’s time in NOLA, she is there for 2 weeks and danger seems to follow Poppy everywhere she goes!

I absolutely love this series! The first two books in this series made my Best Reads List of 2018 and this one is headed to this year’s list. Ms. Mulhern continues to top herself. She takes suspense and turns it inside out with antics that will have you laughing out loud.

While in New Orleans Poppy is staying in a house that appears to have a resident ghost. She meets a Voodoo priestess, gets in numerous shootouts and car chases, a building explodes, takes on drug smugglers, some who want her dead after what happened in Mexico, (book #1), has to search for Thor and Jake, of course, he’s in town too! All I can say is that I am so thankful she learned a few fantastic things from her father, like Krav Maga and amazing gun skills. She also learned a few things from her mother and looking so much like her celebrity mom doesn’t hurt either.

I have learned one thing about this series. When you start reading you will not be able to stop so plan accordingly. Lightning fast pace, characters that you want to root for, action, twists, turns, and fabulous dialogue that will have you in stitches. Poppy is a fantastic protagonist and when partnered with Mark (Thor) they are unstoppable.

Come for the wedding, watch out for those flying bullets, use all those luncheons and dinners to get information, and oh yeah, stay alive to see your friend say her I do’s. What an awesome time! I loved every minute!! I can’t wait for the next adventure!! and maybe a little training if she can squeeze it into her busy schedule. 🙂

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About the Author

Julie Mulhern is the USA Today bestselling author of The Country Club Murders and the Poppy Fields Adventures She is a Kansas City native who grew up on a steady diet of Agatha Christie. She spends her spare time whipping up gourmet meals for her family, working out at the gym and finding new ways to keep her house spotlessly clean–and she’s got an active imagination. Truth is–she’s an expert at calling for take-out, she grumbles about walking the dog and the dust bunnies under the bed have grown into dust lions.

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

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Feb 052019
 


The Novel Art of Murder
(Mystery Bookshop)
by V.M. Burns

 

About the Book


The Novel Art of Murder (Mystery Bookshop)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Michigan
Kensington (November 27, 2018)
Paperback: 256 pages
ISBN-10: 1496711858
ISBN-13: 978-1496711854
Digital ASIN: B07B7B4C8Q

Mystery bookstore owner Samantha Washington is trying to keep her grandmother from spending her golden years in an orange jumpsuit . . .

The small town of North Harbor, Michigan, is just not big enough for the two of them: flamboyant phony Maria Romanov and feisty Nana Jo. The insufferable Maria claims she’s descended from Russian royalty and even had a fling with King Edward VIII back in the day. She’s not just a lousy liar, she’s a bad actress, so when she nabs the lead in the Shady Acres Senior Follies—a part Nana Jo plays every year in their retirement village production—Nana Jo blows a gasket and reads her the riot act in front of everyone.

Of course, when Maria is silenced with a bullet to the head, Nana Jo lands the leading role on the suspects list. Sam’s been writing her newest mystery, set in England between the wars, with her intrepid heroine Lady Daphne drawn into murder and scandal in the household of Winston Churchill. But now she has to prove that Nana Jo’s been framed. With help from her grandmother’s posse of rambunctious retirees, Sam shines a spotlight on Maria’s secrets, hoping to draw the real killer out of the shadow.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

We are back in North Harbor, Michigan just in time for Samantha Washington’s Nana Jo to become a murder suspect. It seems her usual part in the Shady Acres Senior Follies has been given to Maria Romanov, a woman of questionable character. Said to be descended from Russian Royalty and a great actress, Nana Jo knows the woman is a phony. As soon as others hear her sing, they know it too. Nana Jo tries to take the woman to task publically so when Maria ends up dead, Nana Jo’s fate as a murder suspect is sealed.

Not so fast, Sam is on the case. Using her current work in progress where Lady Daphne is in the middle of a murder in the home of Winston Churchill to settle her mind and draw parallels, she is sure to find who has framed her Nana. The crew from Shady Acres steps in to help too and soon real suspects are uncovered and clues start to fall into place.

That’s Oreo and Snickers on the cover, Oreo looks nothing like my Oreo but I love the author’s choice of pet names. The expression of the dog in the back cracks me up every time I look at the cover.

Okay, the cover is great, but the story/stories within are excellent. Ms. Burns gives us a present-day cozy mystery and her character Samantha Washington is an author and we get to read her latest work too. I love that we get two stories in each novel. It took some getting used to with the first book, but now with book 3, I hit the rhythm right away. I really enjoy how they work together.

Full of colorful characters the story sets a nice pace. Intrigue with a big dose of humor keeps the pages turning and both stories had wonderful surprise endings. Some parts are truly laugh out loud funny.

I loved this book and can’t wait for more! This is the first book of 2019 to receive my top Paradise rating and a place on my Best Reads of 2019 list. While the story can stand on its own I recommend starting at the beginning of the series for maximum enjoyment.

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About the Author

V.M. Burns was born in Northwestern Indiana and spent many years in Southwestern Michigan on the Lake Michigan shoreline. She is a lover of dogs, British historic cozies, and scones with clotted cream. After many years in the Midwest, she went in search of milder winters and currently lives in Eastern Tennessee with her poodles. Her debut novel, The Plot is Murder was nominated for a 2017 Agatha Award for Best First Novel. Valerie is a member of Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and a lifetime member of  Sisters in Crime. Readers can learn more by visiting her website at vmburns.com

Author Links:     Website  Facebook   Twitter:  @vmburns

Purchase Links – Amazon –  Barnes & Noble – IndieBound
Books-A-Million –  Hudson Booksellers 


Coming April 30, 2019

Also by V.M. Burns

Praise for The Novel Art of Murder
(Mystery Bookshop)
by V.M. Burns

A well-written cozy mystery with charm and heart, The Novel Art of Murder is a truly enjoyable read from start to finish.
~Reading Is My SuperPower

I had a lot of fun reading this book . . . the wild characters keep Sam`s life interesting . . .
~Laura’s Interests

Lots of little twists and turns to keep you guessing wrapped around enough charm to really draw the reader in.
~Books a Plenty Book Reviews

V.M. Burns has taken the traditional, contemporary cozy mystery and added a twist . . . It had to be the funniest killer takedown I have seen! I highly recommend this one.
~Author, Teresa Trent

 

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

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Dec 182018
 

‘Twas the Knife Before Christmas (Christmas Tree Farm Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Maine
Crooked Lane Books (November 13, 2018)
Hardcover: 309 pages
ISBN-10: 168331803X
ISBN-13: 978-1683318033
Kindle ASIN: B078LZ5T7X

It’s out of the cupcake tin, into the fire for Holly White’s best friend, Caroline. Can Holly clear Caroline’s name in time to go caroling?

When a body turns up in a larger-than-life candy bowl filled with peppermints on the town square, Holly White is horrified to learn her best friend Caroline is the main suspect. Everyone in town, including Mistletoe, Maine’s sheriff, saw Caroline fighting with the victim on the night of his death. Worse, a custom kitchen knife, engraved with Caroline’s initials was found with him.

Now, just ten days before Christmas, Holly’s up to her jingle bells in holiday shenanigans and in desperate need of a miracle. Juggling extra shifts at her family’s Christmas tree farm and making enough gingerbread jewelry to satisfy the crowd is already more than she can handle―and now she has to find time to clear her best friend of murder. Add in her budding relationship with the sheriff, and a personal stalker dressed as Santa Claus, and Holly’s ready to fly south until springtime.

But her Sherpa-lined mittens come off when Caroline is taken into custody. Can Holly wrap up the case in time for Christmas…even after she gains the true killer’s attention?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Mistletoe, Maine, the perfect place to celebrate Christmas. Holly White’s family’s tree farm is a magical place this time of year with its Reindeer Games. All kinds of treats and festivities are planned and a contractor named Christopher has promised their new inn will be ready to open by Christmas Eve.

The first big Mistletoe event is the annual tree lighting. Everyone is gathered in the town square but when the big moment arrives the night turns from Merry to Scary. There, next to the tree is a huge candy dish full of peppermint candies and a dead body. The man was stabbed with a monogrammed custom made knife. A knife that belongs to Holly’s best friend Caroline. The deceased is the same man that got handsy with Caroline at a recent dinner and the whole town was witness to her dressing him down. With all the evidence it isn’t long before Caroline is behind bars. Holly knows her friend is no killer, she just has to prove it. But the killer is watching every move Holly makes and leaving her special warning gifts. When the gifts escalate to real harm Holly just hopes she will survive until the killer is caught.

I loved the first book in this series, Twelve Slays of Christmas last year, so I put this book on my reading calendar several months ago. I was so excited to start reading and the author exceeded all my expectations.

The White family are such wonderful characters. They make everyone feel right at home and try to make their tree farm experience as merry as possible. Holly hands her hands full as she has been put in charge of all the building choices for the new inn, in addition to helping her mother in the cafe and making her glass jewelry, a business that has really taken off.

I wanted to sit back with a couple of cups of hot chocolate and savor my visit to Mistletoe, but there is so much happening that was impossible. The author sets a brisk pace and fully draws the reader in. Chasing down clues, running from a creepy Claus, keeping up with the tourists, Holly takes us on a wild ride, at times literally! The pages were flying.

Ms. Frost’s descriptions really take us there. A sleigh ride around the tree farm was described in such vivid detail, I was enjoying the scenery and after a scary moment, I was feeling chilled to the bone and was pulling a blanket over myself. The blindfolded games played were also described so well. I easily pictured what was happening and was laughing at loud. Great ideas for family get-togethers too. I also enjoyed the details along the way as the inn neared completion and the entire subplot was heartwarming. I am ready to call in my reservation today.

This was an exciting holiday read, cozy mystery lovers will be overjoyed. It will also get you truly into the holiday spirit. Fun and entertaining, a book you will not want to put down. I loved it and I can’t wait for next year. I already have saved a date on my calendar and added this story to my Best Reads List for 2018.

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About the Author

Jacqueline Frost is a mystery-loving pet enthusiast who hopes to make readers smile. She lives in rural Ohio with her husband and three spunky children. Jacqueline is a member of the International Thriller Writers (ITW) and Sisters in Crime (SinC).

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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Nov 092018
 

The Skeleton Makes a Friend (A Family Skeleton Mystery)
by Leigh Perry

 

About the Book


The Skeleton Makes a Friend (A Family Skeleton Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Setting – New Hampshire (for Georgia’s Summer Job)
Diversion Books (November 6, 2018)
Paperback: 280 pages
ISBN-10: 1635764440
ISBN-13: 978-1635764444
Digital ASIN: B07GT39K2X

Georgia Thackery is feeling pretty good about her summer job teaching at prestigious Overfeld College, and she’s renting a rustic cabin right by a lake for herself, her daughter, Madison, and her best friend, Sid the Skeleton. Together again, the trio are enjoying the quiet when a teenager named Jen shows up looking for her friend. Georgia doesn’t recognize the name, but she learns that the person Jen was looking for is actually Sid.

Sid reveals that he and Jen are part of a regular online gaming group that formed locally, and one of their members has gone missing. Sid admits that he might have bragged about his investigative prowess, enough so that Jen wants him to find their missing player. Given that Sid doesn’t have many friends offline—none, really, unless you count the Thackery family—Georgia agrees to help him search. They manage to discreetly enlist Jen, who lives in town, and follow the clues to… a dead buddy.

Now they’ve got a killer on their hands. Probing the life of Sid’s friend, they realize a lot is wrong both on campus and in the seemingly quaint town, and someone doesn’t want them looking deeper.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I love this series and I loved this story.

The prestigious Overfeld College has hired Georgia Thackery for their summer program for high schoolers. She, her daughter Madison, and Sid, the skeleton have settled in nicely at a cabin of one of her parent’s former students. That it is right next to a lake makes taking this position almost like a vacation.  When a teenager shows up with her mother in tow looking for someone Georgia has never heard of things get very interesting. Especially when Georgia realizes the person the girl was looking for was Sid’s online gaming persona. She wanted his help in trying to locate a member of the online group who has missed some important events in the game. Georgia feels the player may have a good reason for not playing, vacation, work, school, you know something IRL (in real life). But since Sid and his new friend, of which he does have many, are clearly worried she consents to help track the guy down. Strangely their investigation leads them right back to Overfeld College and a dead body.

What I love best about these stories is that I clearly accept Sid as he is, a walking, talking skeleton with an invisible heart and a wonderful sense of humor, his own cell phone and set of lock pics. He stays up all night, skeletons don’t need to sleep, typing away on his laptop, investigating everything he can online so he can give Georgia a full report in the morning. Then she does some legwork, sometimes bringing him along in a very clever way. Sid also does stakeouts, again at night while Georgia grabs 40 winks. And he can go places and do things Georgia or frankly no other human could ever do. I want my own Sid! Everyone needs a best friend like Sid. Georgia is beyond lucky!

Ms. Perry has written a delightful mystery starring two of my all-time favorite characters. My youngest son and now my grandson are avid video game players. When my grandson arrives I get a hug and a few minutes with him before he signs into the Xbox and puts on his headset to check in with his online friends. (He doesn’t have an Xbox at home so this is a weekend treat.) Just listening to him converse with his friends makes me smile, so I completely understand Sid and his friend’s connection. It is so cool that the author brought this into the cozy mystery realm. Tracking down online friends isn’t easy because they have avatars and different names for each type of game they play. Sid really carried the ball for this part of the investigation. Then he and Georgia and now Madison pull out all the stops to find the killer.

The story takes so many fun twists and turns trying to find the right suspects, what was their motive and how they were benefitted by the death. I really enjoyed the whole process. A very dangerous event puts key characters in danger. It was so exciting and scary too. I was on the edge of my seat just trying to keep up.

Now you know with a cozy mystery there is going to be humor and with a character like Sid, you have to imagine there are going to be laugh out loud moments and there were. The puns, the skeleton’s facial expressions described so perfectly that they were easy to envision, and the predicaments he gets himself into. From beginning to end Sid stole my heart and tickled my funny bone.

If you haven’t read any books in this series you can start with this book because it reads well all on its own. Ms. Perry has done an excellent job in giving you plenty of background to enjoy this installment. You will probably want to then read all the rest.

Woo Hoo! I am excited to add this book to my Best Reads of 2018 list. I can’t wait for Sid and Georgia’s next story.

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About the Author

Leigh Perry is the author of the Family Skeleton Series: A Skeleton in the Family, The Skeleton Takes a Bow, The Skeleton Haunts a House, and The Skeleton Paints a Picture.

Author Links

Author Website    Sid’s Twitter    Leigh’s Facebook  

My Alter Ego   Toni L.P. Kelner

Purchase Links:
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Praise for The Skeleton Makes a Friend (A Family Skeleton Mystery)
by Leigh Perry

The Skeleton Makes a Friend is a humorous cozy mystery with delightful characters. Sid is one of those characters that you cannot help but love. He is a skeleton with a quirky personality and a zest for life.
~The Avid Reader

I love the inclusion of a paranormal element, and author Leigh Perry has demonstrated real creativity in creating an ambulatory, active, talking, will-power operating, texting, online gaming, online researching, skeleton. Yes, I kid you not. This is not the plastic skeleton you see at Halloween, nor the real type in Medical School Anatomy Labs. Sid is for real, and nearly perfect.
~Mallory Heart’s Cozies

 

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

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Oct 302018
 

Available Today!

Seances Are for Suckers (An Eleanor Wilde Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – England
Kensington (October 30, 2018)
Hardcover: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 149671962X
ISBN-13: 978-1496719621
Kindle ASIN: B079KSY8LN

When something goes bump in the night . . . it’s most likely a plumbing problem, or something equally mundane. But fake medium Eleanor Wilde is happy to investigate and cleanse your home of spectral presences—for a fee. Hey, it’s a living . . .

Ellie has an ailing sister to care for, and working as a ghost hunter who doesn’t believe in ghosts helps cover the bills for both of them. When she’s lucky, it also pays for the occasional tropical vacation. Her brother doesn’t exactly approve, but Ellie figures she’s providing a service. On her latest job, though, she may be in for some genuine scares.

The skeptical, reserved, and very rich Nicholas Hartford III has flown her all the way to his family’s ancestral estate in England—supposedly haunted by a phantom named Xavier. Nicholas thinks it’s all just as much a crock as Ellie’s business is, but the fact remains that something is causing the flashes of light, mysterious accidents, and other apparent pranks in the chilly, eerie castle. His mother is sure that Xavier is real, and he’s willing to employ Ellie if she can get to the bottom of it and put a stop to the nonsense.

While the food and accommodations are somewhat disappointing (dorm-room furniture? Really?), Ellie is finding it an adventure to get to know this eccentric family and their houseguests, and to poke around in the nearby village for clues. But when an actual dead body appears—and subsequently disappears—at Castle Hartford, she’ll have to apply her talent for trickery and psychological insight to solve a flesh-and-blood murder.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

In this 1st book of this series, we meet Eleanor Wilde, a self-proclaimed fake medium. She is a ghost hunter that doesn’t believe in ghosts. Eleanor is turning peoples fears into profits to help pay the bills for her sister in a long-term care facility. Her current job takes her to a musty old castle in England. Nicholas Hartford III doesn’t believe in ghosts either but he is hoping Ellie can convince his mother that her ghost, Xavier has left the building. Ellie is up for the job but the rest of the Hartford, staff, family and their guest takes crazy to a whole new level. She is surprised by her accommodations and the food served is horrible, but she needs the money and she is not a quitter. Even after she stumbles upon a real dead body she doesn’t give up. In fact, solving a real murder could be quite interesting . . . if she lives to tell about it.

I really enjoyed the twist of a ghost hunter that knows she is a fake even though her customers may not. I also enjoyed the way this character evolved throughout the story. We learn why she has this job. People will pay exorbitant amounts of money to have “ghosts” removed from their lives and she has a very good reason for needing the money. A strong woman with fantastic observation skills that has not had an easy life, but still has a great sense of humor. She also has a connection, a secret, something I truly appreciated.

Enter Nicholas Hartford III who has his own motives for employing Ellis’s services. This character made me feel a gambit of emotions as the story continued. His mother was a very interesting character and at times made me laugh out loud. The rest of the supporting characters are all cleverly created and help to take this mystery through many twists and turns.

The castle is a fun setting for the book. The staircases, hidden spaces, long hallways, rooms, and gardens all have a truly creepy feel.

The story unfolds at a perfect pace and like our protagonist has many layers. The story was much more than I expected and was full of surprises. Especially the very end. So much happens within the pages and I found myself slowing down to savor the story to be sure I did not miss a single thing. At points the word that popped into my head was mayhem. I learned quickly to really expect the unexpected. This time a cat plays a crucial role. A cat we didn’t even meet until we were well into this story.

I was surprised by how much I came to care about Ellie and her sister Winnie. Her brother played a part too, but I was very attuned to the sisters.

If you love mysteries cozy or traditional this is a fun read you really need to pick up today. It is really different from the usual cozies I read.

I am very excited about this series and where the author will take Ellie next after the way the book concluded. Potions Are for Pushovers will be released next December. I hate having to wait that long but if this story was any indication it will be well worth the wait.


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About the Author
Tamara Berry is a part-time author and part-time freelance writer/editor. She has a B.A. in English Literature from Eastern Washington University. In addition to books, she has mad love for all things TV, movies, and pop culture. Visit her at www.tamaraberry.com. FacebookTwitter

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

 

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