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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April 23 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW
April 23 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
April 24 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW
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April 27 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW
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April 28 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT
April 29 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
April 30 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
April 30 – Book Club Librarian – REVIEW
May 1 – LibriAmoriMiei – REVIEW
May 1 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
May 2 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT  
May 2 – Cozy Up With Kathy – SPOTLIGHT

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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 132019
 

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

V.M. Burns has become one of my favorite authors.
I am so excited to share with you this second Dog Club Mystery today
as part of her Great Escapes Tour!

 

About the Book


The Puppy Who Knew Too Much (A Dog Club Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Lyrical Underground (February 12, 2019)
Paperback: 190 pages
ISBN-10: 1516107918
ISBN-13: 978-1516107919
Digital ASIN: B07D233MVK

Lilly Echosby and her toy poodle Aggie find a fresh start in Chattanooga, Tennessee, spoiled by the scent of murder . . .

Having solved the shooting death of her cheating husband, Lilly’s left behind the drama of Lighthouse Dunes, Indiana, to start over in the hometown of her best friend, Scarlett “Dixie” Jefferson. As she gets settled in her new rented house, Lilly gives Aggie, short for Agatha Christie, her own fresh start by enrolling her in the Eastern Tennessee Dog Club, where Dixie is a trainer.

But drama seems to hound Lilly like a persistent stray. Her cranky new neighbor appears unfamiliar with Southern hospitality and complains that Aggie barks too much and digs up his prized tulips. But what the poodle actually unearths is the buried body of a mysterious man who claimed ownership of the lost golden retriever Lilly recently rescued. Now it’s up to Lilly and Dixie to try to muzzle another murderer . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Lilly Echosby has left Indiana behind and followed her best friend Scarlett “Dixie” Jefferson to Tennessee. It took a while but a chance encounter helped Lilly finds not only a job but a house to rent that was in her budget and allowed her adorable toy poodle, Aggie. She is excited her daughter Stephanie is coming to visit to help her get settled. Lilly finds it refreshing how friendly everyone is until she meets her new neighbor. He is not happy about having another dog in the neighborhood. Her daughter also falls hard for a golden retriever found under Lilly’s deck. After rushing it to the vet and getting its injuries cared for she declares she won’t be giving it up without a fight.

When dear sweet Aggie digs up a body instead of a bone the neighbor is apoplectic and Lilly finds herself back on a suspect list. Stephanie calls in the cavalry, aka Joe, her new boyfriend, the one that helped clear her mom in Lighthouse Dunes. He, in turn, calls in a friend and they along with Dixie are all determined to find the real killer, especially after another body is found.

First, the cover is a little deceiving. The two standard poodles owned by Dixie and Lilly’s Aggie return in this story where they all make a new friend. Aggie does start obedience classes with Dixie where a variety of dogs come together.

Lilly can’t catch a break but she has the perseverance to keep moving forward. New house, new job, new people in her life, and another murderer on the loose. She quickly finds new friends at her job and they are so supportive. I loved her new boss, Linda Kay, and love that we have something in common. The author does such an excellent job with all the characters. They have depth and something about them that draws the reader in and pushes us to want to know them better. Even the cantankerous neighbor and the man that used to have Lilly’s job.

Moving Lilly to Tennessee adds a very interesting twist. She was used to the flatlands of Indiana and Dixie lives on a mountain top with a fantastic view. The road to get there was winding and narrow and made Lily very nervous with its huge dropoffs. She is also very unfamiliar with the area and dependent on her GPS. Each place was nicely described as we readers saw it through Lilly’s eyes for the first time right along with her.

The mystery was not easy to solve with the requisite twists and turns. What I love and what makes this story unique in the part the canines play in solving it all. The motives were very unclear and the clues weren’t falling into place either until the wonderful, surprising, and exciting ending.

Well-plotted and written this story was hard to put down. A complex mystery with its share of Southern charm and humor. Right in Chapter 1 Lilly experiences her first “Bless Your Heart” which she learned was “Southern-speak for “You’re an idiot.” I really enjoy the way V.M. Burns tells a story. The care she takes with her characters is commendable and her love of dogs glows within the pages.

I highly recommend this series. I can’t wait for book #3!

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Check out my review of In The Dog House here.

 

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 – Kobo


Also by V.M. Burns

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February 11 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW
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February 13 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
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February 14 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW
February 15 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW
February 15 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – GUEST POST
February 16 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
February 17 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
February 18 – Carla Loves to Read – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
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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 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.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

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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TOUR PARTICIPANTS Please visit all the stops. 🙂
January 30 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW
January 30 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT
January 31 – Laura`s Interests – REVIEW, GUEST POST
January 31 – Cozy Up With Kathy – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
February 1 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
February 1 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT
February 1 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – REVIEW
February 2 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW
February 2 – Mythical Books – SPOTLIGHT
February 2 – The Editing Pen – GUEST POST
February 3 – Babs Book Bistro – GUEST POST
February 4 – The Layaway Dragon – REVIEW
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February 5 – Book Club Librarian – REVIEW  
February 5 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
February 5 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
February 6 – Rae’s Books and Recipes – SPOTLIGHT
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February 8 – Readeropolis – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
February 8 – The Book Decoder – REVIEW
February 9 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW
February 9 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT
February 10 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
February 10 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

 

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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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Jan 252019
 

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.


In the Dog House (A Dog Club Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Indiana
Lyrical Underground (August 21, 2018)
Paperback: 186 pages – Kindle Print Length: 244 pages
ISBN-10: 151610790X
ISBN-13: 978-1516107902
Kindle ASIN: B078LJNMN7

A killer wants Lilly Echosby to roll over and play dead . . .

Lilly may be losing a husband but she’s gaining a toy poodle. That could be seen as a win-win, since her new adopted pooch Aggie (named after Agatha Christie) is cute and adorable, and Lilly’s dirty dog of a spouse is cheating on her with a blond bimbo—except for one problem: Albert Echosby’s just been murdered, and Lilly is the number-one suspect.

With the cops barking up the wrong tree, it’s a good thing her best friend Scarlett “Dixie” Jefferson from Chattanooga, Tennessee, decided to take a break from the dog club circuit to pay a visit, along with her own prize pair of poodles. With help from Dixie, her defense attorney daughter, and a blue-eyed man in blue with a K-9 partner, Lilly is determined to collar the real killer. But when a second murder occurs, it’s clear they’re dealing with one sick puppy . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

First, I couldn’t resist that cover. That face, that face, that puppy dog face. I just had to find out what the poodle was up to.

It turns out that poodle belongs to Scarlett “Dixie” Jefferson from Chattanooga, Tennessee, best friend of our protagonist Lilly Echosby, and she owns not one but two show poodles. She also has a toy poodle with her that Lilly quickly adopts and names Aggie, a nod to Agatha Christie. Dixie has come to town, taking a break from the dog show circuit to be with Lilly as she deals with her pending divorce. Her husband has left her for a child, well a woman who could be his child. I would say Albert Echosby was a low down dirty dog but that would insult dogs more than him. He hasn’t told his family about the divorce and actually expects Lily to still host his grandmother’s birthday party. She agrees after some negotiations, but tempers run high at the party.

The next day Lilly continues to make plans for his life sans Albert. She is going to pack up and head to Tennessee with Dixie. Her plans come to a screeching halt when she learns Albert has been murdered and she is the prime suspect. That makes no doggone sense. She does have one member of the police force on her side because he has clearly fallen for Lilly’s defense attorney daughter. They both, along with Dixie and Lilly’s son are going to help Lilly do everything they can to put the real killer in a cage. When another murder occurs they must double their efforts but realize they could be putting themselves in the line of fire.

This series is off to an amazing start. I love Lilly, close to my age with two grown children, it was easy to identify with her. When she adopted Aggie so fast I loved her even more. I liked that the romantic entanglement had to do with her daughter as Lilly had enough on her plate with Albert and his bimbo, Bambi Love. Oh my stars, Bambi was truly a piece of work. The aspect of Dixie coming to Lighthouse Dunes after receiving an email from her friend was fantastic. Advice from a total stranger and Dixie helped Lilly make crucial decisions and also brought out her strength. The rest of the characters are also very well developed for a first book in a series and easy to envision. The dogs stole my heart and added so much to the story.

The plot flowed so well. Perfectly penned and full of humor, I loved every minute of it. The descriptive writing style took me right into the story and into these characters lives. It turned out there were plenty of suspects and a variety of clues to follow. An unexpected twist brings the story to a very entertaining conclusion.

Reading In the Dog House was a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon and I can’t wait to get my hands on The Puppy Who Knew Too Much. Lighthearted and Fun! This was a Perfect Escape! 

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

V.M. Burns was born and raised in the Midwestern United States. She received a Bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University, a Master’s degree from the University of Notre Dame and a Master of Fine Arts degree from Seton Hill University. She is a member of Mystery Writers of America and a lifetime member of Sisters in Crime. She currently resides in the warmer area of the U.S. with her two poodles. Readers can visit her website at http://www.vmburns.com


Also by V.M. Burns


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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 012018
 


Read Herring Hunt (Mystery Bookshop Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Michigan
Kensington (April 24, 2018)
Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1496711830
Kindle ASIN: B074DGF7LW

 

 

Mystery bookstore owner Samantha Washington is about to find out it’s not so easy to play Monday morning quarterback when it comes to murder. . . 
 
To the town of North Harbor, Michigan, MISU quarterback Dawson Alexander is a local hero. To Samantha Washington, owner of the Market Street Mysteries Bookstore, Dawson is more than a tenant—he’s like an adopted son. But to the police, he is their prime suspect after his ex-girlfriend is found murdered. It’s more than enough real-life drama for Sam to tackle, but her role as a mystery writer also calls. Returning to the English countryside between the wars, she finds Lady Daphne Marsh in quite the quandary. Someone has tried to murder the scandalous American divorcée Wallis Simpson, for whom Edward VIII so recently abdicated his throne. It seems finding a suspect is no small challenge when most of England has a motive . . .

While Sam’s lawyer sister Jenna rushes in to build Dawson’s defense, Sam and her lively grandmother, Nana Jo, huddle up to solve the mystery and blow the whistle on the real killer. With the tenacious members of the Sleuthing Senior Book Club eager to come off the sidelines, Sam and her team just might stop a killer from completing another deadly play . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Tenant, employee, and MISU quarterback Dawson Alexander finds himself in hot water when his ex-girlfriend is found dead. He is suspended from the football team but his boss/landlord Samantha Washington is committed to proving his innocence and her Sleuthing Senior Book Club, including her grandmother, Nana Jo are all on board to help. First Samantha gets Jenna, her sister/lawyer to represent Dawson, then she and the ladies start investigating.

Samantha Washington is also a budding author and her characters are dealing with a murder mystery of their own. During a hunt, a young woman is shot and killed. Lady Daphne Marsh is on the case because she knows one of her guests in a murderer. She hopes to pin down the killer before any more blood is shed.

V.M. Burns is unique because she gives her readers two completely separate mysteries in each book.

Samantha is a fantastic protagonist. She is still finding her way since her husband’s death but Market Street Mysteries Bookstore, a dream she ended up fulfilling on her own has had great success. Her nephews pitch in at the store when they can and while Dawson helps in the store but his main duty is baking up tasty treats for the customers to enjoy.

Her other dream to become a mystery writer is proceeding nicely too, as she pens her second story. She has yet to take the major step of finding an agent to get her books published.

Her Nana Jo has moved in with Samantha since she was involved in the murder in book one, The Plot is Murder. Nana Jo and her friends round out this clever cast. These senior ladies all remind me of my mother in one way or another and their antics had me in stitches.

I was happy to see Dawson in a key role. His mother/ son like relationship with Sam was heartwarming. Getting more of his backstory was very interesting.

The main mystery really had me guessing. The victim was not at all what she seemed and the more we found out about her the more suspects came into play. The police decided early on the Dawson was guilty so Sam and her senior sleuths really had to dig to get the evidence to convince them otherwise and by then they were almost too late. Twists, turns, and yes, Red Herrings kept the pages flying until the real murderer was revealed.

The second mystery, the one Samantha is writing was a type of closed room mystery. The guilty party had to have been part of the hunt. For me, this one was easier to solve but very entertaining. I will admit, it takes a while, to get into a rhythm with one story interrupting the other. I thought about skipping through and reading the main story first and then going back to read the second, but I didn’t do it. Samantha always finds time to write when she is stuck on the real drama in her life, late at night when she can’t sleep and I understand that. I read at night when I can’t sleep. So in recognizing her process I adjusted mine and read the book as it was written.

Both settings, the English countryside, and the Michigan college town of North Harbor come alive in the worlds V. M. Burns has created. The Marsh Manor and the Market Street Mysteries Bookstore are both places I would love to visit again and again.

Not one, but two well-written mysteries, a slew of interesting characters, and two vastly different settings make this book unique and enjoyable. I look forward to many more books in this series.

Your Great Escapes Travel Agent

About the Author

V.M. Burns was born and raised in South Bend, Indiana. She currently resides in Tennessee with her two poodles, Coco and Cash. Valerie is a member of Mystery Writers of America and a lifetime member of Sisters in Crime. Readers can visit her website at vmburns.com.

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

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

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

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End May 15, 2018, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

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Nov 302017
 

The Plot Is Murder (Mystery Bookshop)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Michigan
Kensington (November 28, 2017)
Paperback: 256 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1496711816
Kindle ASIN: B06XFBYLHC

 

 

The small town of North Harbor on the shores of Lake Michigan is about to have a new mystery bookstore. But before the first customer can browse its shelves, the store’s owner is suspected of her own murder plot . . . 
 
Samantha Washington has dreamed of owning her own mystery bookstore for as long as she can remember. And as she prepares for the store’s grand opening, she’s also realizing another dream—penning a cozy mystery set in England between the wars. While Samantha hires employees and fills the shelves with the latest mysteries, quick-witted Lady Penelope Marsh, long-overshadowed by her beautiful sister Daphne, refuses to lose the besotted Victor Carlston to her sibling’s charms. When one of Daphne’s suitors is murdered in a maze, Penelope steps in to solve the labyrinthine puzzle and win Victor.

But as Samantha indulges her imagination, the unimaginable happens in real life. A shady realtor turns up dead in her backyard, and the police suspect her—after all, the owner of a mystery bookstore might know a thing or two about murder. Aided by her feisty grandmother and an enthusiastic ensemble of colorful retirees, Samantha is determined to close the case before she opens her store. But will she live to conclude her own story when the killer has a revised ending in mind for her?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Who doesn’t love a mystery within a mystery?

Samantha Washington has lost her husband and she is a little apprehensive about following her dreams on her own. She has purchased an old warehouse and turned it not only into her home but the lower level is now her mystery bookstore. That was her first dream, the second is to become a cozy mystery author. She not sure if she will let anyone read it, but she has started a story set in England about two sisters, their suitors, and a murder. She can escape into her writing when the real world gets to be a little too much. That’s exactly what happens when her realtor is found dead in her backyard. She had hoped the only murders she would uncover would be within the pages of the books on her shelves or those she wrote about in her own mysteries. Now the police believe she killed someone in real life, especially after reading her manuscript. She now needs to solve both a fictional murder and a real murder? If she doesn’t, all her dreams could go up in smoke.

I really like Samantha. She is courageous enough to follow her dreams while still grieving for her husband. She has a warm and helpful attitude, both in the way she treats her customers but even more so by who she hires to work with her at the bookstore. She has a clever imagination that shines in her writing. And she is a strong woman, who I believe takes after her grandmother. She also has two lovable dogs.

Her grandmother, Nana Joe, moves right in when she fears Samantha may be in danger. She is a spunky woman and comes with a group of friends that will have you laughing out loud. Don’t take these Senior Sleuths for granted.  They have connections all over town and they try to help Samantha figure out who killed the wayward realtor. I wish I had half their energy.

Ms. Burns has created a very eclectic group of characters. I enjoyed getting to know all of them and their dialogue was top notch. She also created an interesting group of characters for Samantha’s cozy mystery.

Both mysteries are very well written and nicely plotted. At first, I was a little unsure about the second story interrupting the first, but it then hit a nice rhythm of back and forth and flowed naturally. I suppose each story could be called a novella by their length, but neither felt rushed or like anything was missing. I hope they both become long-running series.

Both the setting in Michigan and England were well presented. From the floor to the ceiling in the Market Street Mysteries Bookstore to the gardens outside Marsh estate, all were easily envisioned in my mind.

This is V.M. Burns first cozy mystery and she is off to a fantastic start. It is hard enough to write one story full of twists and turns but she gives us two. I want to get to know all these characters better and am excited to see what kind of trouble they get into next. Read Herring Hunt will be released April 24, 2018.

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

V.M. Burns was born and raised in South Bend, Indiana. She currently resides in Tennessee with her two poodles, Coco and Cash. Valerie is a member of Mystery Writers of America and a lifetime member of Sisters in Crime. Readers can visit her website at vmburns.com.

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

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

Click the Like Button at the top of this post for a Bonus Entry.

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

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End December 14, 2017, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

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