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

Big Little Spies (A Paws & Claws Mystery) by Krista Davis Early #Review @BerkleyMystery


Big Little Spies (A Paws & Claws Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
7th In Series
Setting – Virginia
Publisher: Berkley (April 6, 2021)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 045149170X
ISBN-13: 978-0451491701
Kindle ASIN: B0838KLBG1

A pet detective on the hunt for a prominent pooch is found dead, and inn owner Holly Miller has to sort through her guest list for suspects in this all new Paws & Claws mystery in the New York Times bestselling series.

The ladies of the Wagtail Animal Guardians, WAG for short, are in town for a pet adoption charity ball, and Holly is making sure to roll out the red carpet for her special guests. She and her furry best friend Trixie are busy keeping the WAG ladies happy and preparing for the ball when they learn that a retired judge has lost his prized pup.

The venerable citizen has hired a pet detective who has some personal ties to Holly’s new guests. His presence ruffles some feathers, and when the PI is found DOA not long before the ball, Holly wonders if one of the WAG ladies had a motive for murder. To make matters worse, some pet-loving guests of the ball nearly suffer the same deadly fate. Holly and Trixie will have to sniff out the clues and leash a callous killer before they strike again….

Dollycas’s Thoughts

We return to Wagtail, Virginia just in time for the  ‘There’s No Place Like Home’ Pet Adoption Ball being thrown by the Wagtail Animal Guardians or WAG for short. The ladies and their pets have all checked in at the Sugar Maple Inn and Holly, Oma Liesel, Zelda, Mr. Huckle, Gingersnap, Twinkletoes, and Trixie are making them all feel welcome. But they are concerned about another precious pup. The Geman Shepherd of a local retired recently widowed judge is missing. His housekeeper has called in a pet detective but before he can return the dog to the judge, Trixie, Holly’s rescue dog who has a habit of finding dead bodies, finds a dead pet detective. It seems the detective has connections to several WAG members.  There are also several strange things happening that put other lives in peril. It’s time for Holly and Trixie to find out what the heck is going on including who killed the pet detective.


I absolutely love the pet-friendly town of Wagtail. With a new puppy in the house, who we love to take everywhere with us, Wagtail would be a perfect vacation spot. Even a dead body or two is an issue because I love a good mystery and would do anything I could to help Holly crate a killer.

The core group of characters, human, canine, and feline, are so cleverly crafted. They all have huge hearts and love catering to their guest’s needs and having Wagtail become a great tourist destination. They are all engaging and genuine. I get such a kick of Holly jumping on a golf cart and being quickly followed by Trixie and sometimes Twinkletoes. The pets are not just window dressing they are vital to the story.

We are introduced to several new characters and their pets. I love that Ms. Davis knows this may be confusing at first so she graciously includes a complete list of characters before the story begins. The WAG ladies are a diverse group with their own issues and secrets. They spend a lot of time together and know each other’s quirks and how to work best together but even they don’t know all of each other’s secrets. The judge and his housekeeper also play prominent roles. They also have issues and secrets.

The story unfolds at a very fast pace with subplots tightly tangled with the main mystery/s. There is truly a plethora of suspects with a variety of motives. Twists and turns muddied my thinking several times and just when I thought I had the killer leashed another twist sent me off in another direction and still I was barking up the wrong tree. I was gobsmacked when everything was revealed. The author plotted out a fantastic mystery.

In addition to the marvelous characters and the mysteries they were wrapped in the Sugar Maple Inn serves up a menu of delicious food for its guests. The pet-friendly versions are really interesting and thought-provoking. We don’t prepare special meals for our pooch but there are some great easy-to-make options included in this book. I just may have to try some of them out. A pet cookbook with the recipes from this series would be fun.

Big Little Spies is a delightful addition to this series. The title truly fits. I do get a little melancholy when I reach the final page of books in this series because I really enjoy spending time with these characters. I can’t wait to return to Wagtail. This visit ended much too soon.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About The Author 

New York Times Bestselling author Krista Davis writes the Paws and Claws Mysteries set on fictional Wagtail Mountain, a resort where people vacation with their pets. The first book in the series is the New York Times Bestselling Murder, She Barked. Krista also writes the Domestic Diva Mysteries and the Pen & Ink Mysteries. Like her characters, Krista has a soft spot for cats, dogs, and sweets. She lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia with dogs, cats, and a hidden stash of chocolate.

Webpage  Facebook   Pinterest   Twitter



Coming May 25, 2021

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

Posted in Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday featuring Truffles and Tragedy: A Down South Cafe Mystery by Gayle Leeson #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @GayleTrent

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am thrilled to be part of Gayle’s tour today!


Truffles and Tragedy: A Down South Cafe Mystery Book
by Gayle Leeson

About Truffles and Tragedy


Truffles and Tragedy: A Down South Cafe Mystery
Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Setting – Virginia
Publisher: Grace Abraham Publishing (March 16, 2021)
Number of Pages: 295 (approximately)
Digital ASIN: B08VMM8F27

Down South Cafe owner Amy Flowers learns her chocolate truffles might not be the only things her patrons find “out of this world.”

 

When her cousin, Jackie, asks her to give a presentation to her online class, Amy thinks all she has to worry about is speaking before a group. But then the nitpicky professor collapses. He has been murdered, and hot-tempered Jackie is the prime suspect. Some online forums are even speculating that the professor was an extra-terrestrial, so Amy must sort out fact from fiction to get to the truth.

 

Certain the real killer is setting Jackie up, will Amy be able to outwit the killer and save her cousin?

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Amy and Jackie work side by side day in and day out and Amy is thrilled that Jackie has gone back to school. Jackie has been known to get her hackles up when she has been wronged which is why she was overheard arguing with her professor over a grade. The prof did not back down so Jackie hopes that her presentation with Amy in the next class boosts her grades.

Amy just begins her talk to the online class when the professor keels over dead with the whole class watching on their screens. Because of their argument, Jackie finds herself topping the suspect list. The professor seems to have a sketchy background, heck an online forum taunts that he just may be an extra-terrestrial. Jackie was clearly set up, Amy just has to find the killer or alternative suspects with motive, means, and opportunity. How hard can that be?


Another gorgeous cover for this book!

I do love these characters. Amy has a huge heart and with her cousin in trouble, she is pulling out all the stops to help her. It’s hard when the evidence is stacking up and her deputy sheriff boyfriend is caught between a rock and a hard place. Everyone is trying hard to not let Aunt Bess know what is going on with Jackie because her reaction could be volatile. You never know what that lady will do, but she always makes me giggle.  There’s also a surprise wedding reception in the works for two of the cafe’s regulars so Amy’s hands are full. All the characters are so relatable. They play well off each other and even with all the tragedy, there is time for truffles and humor. Some courtesy of a little bandit. Homer is still my favorite. His Heroes of the Day are always inspiring and uplifting.

The author introduces several new characters for this story. One is downright snooty. Poor Amy did her level best to hold her tongue as long as possible. Most of them played into the mystery. It was not an easy one to solve. There were some epic twists. I chased each clue right along with Amy and was still surprised as all was revealed. I did really enjoy the elopement subplot and what it entailed for Amy.

Of course, there was plenty of food talk.  It is A Down South Cafe Mystery and they serve up delicious faire all day long.

Truffles and Tragedy checks every cozy mystery box for me. It is an excellent addition to this series. I can’t wait to see what the gang at the Down South Cafe gets mixed up in next.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Gayle Leeson

Gayle Leeson is a pseudonym for Gayle Trent. Gayle has also written as Amanda Lee and Gayle Trent. Going forward, Gayle intends to keep her writing under the Gayle Leeson name. She lives with her beautiful family in the hills of Southwest Virginia.

Author Links 

Facebook    Amazon Author Page    BookBub    Goodreads    Twitter     Newsletter sign-up form

Purchase Link – Amazon 

Also by Gayle Leeson


Writing as Gayle Trent




Writing as Amanda Lee



Just click on covers for more book information or to order from Amazon.

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Great Escapes Praise for Truffles and Tragedy: A Down South Cafe Mystery Book
by Gayle Leeson

Author Gayle Leeson gives the reader some great characters and a great plot/storyline. I enjoyed meeting Amy. I love a book with likable characters and Amy is one.
~My Reading Journeys

Gayle Leeson grabs your imagination and whisks you away to the Down South Cafe before you can blink!
~A Wytch’s Book Review Blog

The author does a great job disguising the murderer and the motive along with everything else related to the mystery.
~Sapphyria’s Books

Full of tension and devious twists, maybe even some alien intervention, the whole story mixes into a delicious concoction.
~Laura’s Interests

TOUR PARTICIPANTS
March 16 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
March 16 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
March 16 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
March 17 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
March 17 – Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic – SPOTLIGHT
March 18 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – GUEST POST
March 18 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW
March 19 – Mochas, Mysteries and Meows – CHARACTER GUEST POST
March 19 – Maureen’s Musings -SPOTLIGHT
March 20 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW
March 20 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – REVIEW
March 20 – Baroness’ Book Trove – SPOTLIGHT
March 21 – Cozy Up With Kathy – SPOTLIGHT
March 21 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
March 22 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
March 22 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW
March 23 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW
March 23 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW
March 24 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
March 24 – Novels Alive – GUEST POST
March 25 – Lisa Ks Book Review – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
March 25 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
March 26 – Literary Gold – CHARACTER GUEST POST
March 26 – Ascroft, eh? – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
March 27 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW
March 27 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
March 27 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW

 

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

Posted in 2021 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways Literary Escapes TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – Fruit Baskets and Holiday Caskets: A Down South Cafe Mystery by Gayle Leeson #Review / #Giveaway

On Flashback Fridays I will share with you
the books I was not able to review
when they were first released that have been screaming at me
from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.

Fruit Baskets and Holiday Caskets: A Down South Cafe Mystery
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Setting – Virginia
Publisher: Grace Abraham Publishing (September 10, 2020)
Paperback: 263 pages
ISBN-10: 1732019533
ISBN-13: 978-1732019539
Kindle ASIN: B08HDMF8KL

Christmas comes with chaos—and a murder—in the fifth book in the Down South Café cozy mystery series!

Amy Flowers thinks her biggest problem is going to be creating an enormous cake dummy to mount atop her car for Winter Garden’s upcoming Christmas parade. But when one of Roger’s employees is murdered, making the float is the least of Amy’s worries. Her childhood friend is a prime suspect, Aunt Bess is making a new Pinterest board: Things That’ll Probably Kill Me, and her boyfriend’s mother is insisting on helping Amy make three-hundred-seventy-five sugar cookies to hand out along the parade route.

When Amy starts trying to clear Roger of the murder, she unexpectedly finds herself involved in international intrigue. How will our favorite café owner outwit sophisticated criminals who want to deck the halls with her head?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Winter Garden, Virginia is gearing up for the Christmas parade. With a little encouragement, a push, and a shove Amy Flowers decides to participate in the event. How hard can it be to make a huge dummy cake and attach it to the top of her VW Bug? A couple of people walking alongside giving out a treat or two and presto she’s in the parade. But a leak in the roof of “big house” where Amy’s mom and Aunt Bess reside and a dead workman push the parade float to the back burner. When a man she has known forever lands on the plate as the prime suspect Amy knows she has to help me. But this time Amy may no be able to serve up a new suspect, in fact, she may be putting herself on the chopping block.


First I have to say the cover of this book is GORGEOUS!

Second, this story had me laughing from the very first page where Henny Penny, I mean Aunt Bess is calling to say good-bye to all of friends and family. Thankfully rumors of her demise were very exaggerated. She is around to keep us giggling beyond the final page.

The characters in this series are some of my faves. Amy is the perfect protagonist because she is so nice and caring that people just open up to her and the good sheriff knows it as does her boyfriend Ryan. Ryan’s mother doesn’t seem to be a fan of Amy’s though but Amy is doing her best to change that. Aunt Bess is a hoot and Amy’s mother puts up with everything Bess dishes out. Amy’s cousin Jackie plays a big role this time and has a vested interest in catching the real culprit. Readers are also entertained by a variety of Winter Garden residents. Homer is a regular customer and I look forward to his arrival at the cafe each day as much as Amy and her crew. His Heroes quotes always seem to resonate with me.

“The events we bring upon ourselves, no matter how unpleasant, are necessary in order to learn what we have to learn, whatever steps we take, they’re necessary to reach the places we’ve chosen to go.”
~Novelist Richard Bach

I really enjoyed the mystery. There was a real backstory that took the case in a wild new direction. With nice twists and new suspects, Ms. Leeson has plotted an intriguing mystery.

As always when I read this series the yummy food descriptions start my stomach growling.

Fruit Baskets and Holiday Caskets was a real treat. It was funny, entertaining, and had a puzzling mystery to solve. Every book in this series are must-reads!

I am excited that the next book in this series is being released in just a few days on March 16. I will be featuring it on Cozy Wednesday, March 24.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

You can read my reviews of The Calamity Cafe here, of Silence of the Jams here, of Honey Baked Homicide here, and Apples and Alibis here.

About Gayle Leeson

About the Author

Gayle Leeson is a pseudonym for Gayle Trent. I also write as Amanda Lee. As Gayle Trent, I write the Daphne Martin Cake Mystery series and the Myrtle Crumb Mystery series. As Amanda Lee, I write the Embroidery Mystery series.

The Cake Decorating series features a heroine who is starting her life over in Southwest Virginia after a nasty divorce. The heroine, Daphne, has returned to her hometown of Brea Ridge to open a cake baking and decorating business and is wrestling with the question of whether or not one can go home again. She enjoys spending time with her sister, nephew, and niece, but she and her mother have a complicated relationship that isn’t always pleasant. Daphne has also reconnected with her high school sweetheart and is pursuing a rekindled romance while desperately trying to put her past behind her.

Kerry Vincent, Hall of Fame Sugar Artist, Oklahoma State Sugar Art Show Director, and Television Personality says the series is “a must read for cake bakers and anyone who has ever spent creative time in the kitchen!”

Says Dean Koontz, #1 New York Times bestselling author, “One day I found myself happily reading . . . mysteries by Gayle Trent. If she can win me over . . . she’s got a great future.”

The Embroidery Mystery series features a heroine who recently moved to the Oregon coast to open an embroidery specialty shop. Marcy Singer left her home in San Francisco, along with the humiliation of being left at the altar, in order to move to Tallulah Falls and realize her dream of owning her own shop. She takes along her faithful companion, a one-year-old Irish wolfhound named Angus O’Ruff. She makes many new friends in Tallulah Falls, but she also makes a few enemies. Thankfully, her best friend Sadie MacKenzie and her husband Blake run the coffeehouse right down the street from Marcy’s shop, the Seven-Year Stitch; and Detective Ted Nash always has her back.

Publishers Weekly says, “Fans of the genre will take kindly to Marcy, her Irish wolfhound, Angus O’Ruff, and Tallulah Falls. This is a fast, pleasant read with prose full of pop culture references and, of course, sharp needlework puns.”

Pat Cooper of RT Book Reviews says, “If her debut here is any indication, Lee’s new series is going to be fun, spunky and educational. She smoothly interweaves plot with her character’s personality and charm, while dropping tantalizing hints of stitching projects and their history. Marcy Singer is young, fun, sharp and likable. Readers will be looking forward to her future adventures.” (RT Book Reviews nominated The Quick and the Thread for a 2010 Book Reviewers’ Choice Award in the Amateur Sleuth category)

I live in Virginia with my family, which includes her own “Angus” who is not an Irish wolfhound but a Great Pyrenees who provides plenty of inspiration for the character of Mr. O’Ruff. I’m having a blast writing this new series!

Author Links – Webpage      Facebook      Twitter     Pinterest    Instagram

Also by Gayle Leeson


Writing as Gayle Trent



Writing as Amanda Lee



Just click on covers for more book information or to order from Amazon.

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

Posted in 2020 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

A Deadly Edition: A Blue Ridge Library Mystery by Victoria Gilbert #Review / #Giveaway – @VGilbertauthor @crookedlanebks Great Escapes Book Tour


A Deadly Edition: A Blue Ridge Library Mystery
by Victoria Gilbert

About A Deadly Edition


A Deadly Edition: A Blue Ridge Library Mystery
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Setting – Virginia
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books (December 8, 2020)
Hardcover: 368 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1643854762
Kindle ASIN: B085N3KN7L

‘Til death do us part” could be closer than the bride realizes in Victoria Gilbert’s tantalizing fifth Blue Ridge Library mystery.”

 

The pursuit to acquire a rare illustrated book turns deadly, and on the eve of her upcoming wedding, library director Amy Webber is drawn into a web of treachery and betrayal that could derail her happy day–and maybe just claim her life.

 

Planning a wedding can be murder–sometimes literally. At a party celebrating their upcoming nuptials, Taylorsford, Virginia library director Amy Webber and her fiancé Richard Muir discover the body of art dealer Oscar Selvaggio–a bitter rival of their host, Kurt Kendrick.

 

Both had been in a heated battle to purchase a rare illustrated volume created by William Morris’s Kelmscott Press, so suspicion immediately falls upon Kurt. Amy knows that Kurt has a closet-full of skeletons from his past–but she can’t believe he’s guilty of murder.

 

Amidst an avalanche of wedding preparations, Amy begins an investigation with the help of her aunt Lydia Talbot and the new mayor of Taylorsford, Sunshine “Sunny” Fields. Much to Lydia’s dismay, her boyfriend, art expert Hugh Chen, becomes convinced of Kurt’s guilt and launches an investigation of his own. As the case hits painfully close to home, the stakes become impossibly high–and the danger all too real.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

In just a month library director Amy Webber and her fiancé, Richard Muir will be walking down the garden aisle. Their friend,  Kurt Kendrick has brought family and friends together to celebrate the upcoming event. But the party is crashed by one of Kurt’s business associates. Oscar Selvaggio, an art dealer, and Kurt are both trying to purchase a rare edition of a book from William Morris’s Kelmscott Press. He allows the man to stay for the party and plans to discuss the book with him later. But before the gentlemen can meet Mr. Selvaggio is found dead and Kurt is the prime suspect in his murder. Amy wants the killer caught and Kurt’s name cleared before her wedding so she enlists the help of her BFF and new Taylorsford mayor, Sunshine “Sunny” Fields, along with her Aunt Lydia to find who killed the art dealer and why.


The wedding brings Amy’s parents to Taylorford along with her brother. Amy is surprised because her brother is usually wrapped up in his job and rarely visits but she is thrilled he is going to stay in town until the wedding. He does become a significant player in the story and it was great to get to know him. Amy and Richard keep working right up to their big day and Amy uses some of her time to research the deceased and his connections along with Sunny. Sunny and Amy’s friendship is so realistic and true to life. In fact, all of Ms. Gilbert’s characters are realistic as are their relationships.

The mystery this time was very complex with a lot of players and interactions and history. At times I was a little confused and had no idea how the author was going to bring everything she set up together. I was trusting and patient and was rewarded by several aha moments and an exciting climax. I will admit I was a little bit more excited by all the wedding plans and the dress shopping and actual wedding that solving the mystery at times. Ms. Gilbert did a great job entwining both plotlines. Her descriptions of the garden, the ceremony, and the fun reception made me feel like an invited guest.

Fun characters, a mystery that makes you think, and a beautiful wedding make A Deadly Edition a very solid addition to the series. I do recommend reading the series from the start because they do build on each other. A very enjoyable escape!


Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About Victoria Gilbert

Raised in a historic small town near the Blue Ridge Mountains, Victoria Gilbert turned her early obsession with books into a dual career as an author and librarian.

Victoria writes the Blue Ridge Library Mystery series, the Booklover’s B&B series, and the upcoming Hunter and Clewe traditional mystery series for Crooked Lane Books. She has also published fantasy with Snowy Wings Publishing.

A member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime, Victoria is represented by Frances Black at Literary Counsel. She lives near Winston-Salem, NC with her husband, son, and some very spoiled cats.

Author Links – Website (includes blog) – Facebook Author Page  – Twitter  – Amazon Author Page  – Instagram – Goodreads

Purchase Links – AmazonB&NKoboIndieBound

The Rest of the Series

Also by Victoria Gilbert

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Great Escapes Praise for A Deadly Edition: A Blue Ridge Library Mystery
by Victoria Gilbert

A Deadly Edition has mystery, romance, intrigue, and humor . . . The mystery was complex which I just loved and I enjoyed the dramatic reveal.
~The Avid Reader

Ms. Gilbert maintains a good balance between the mystery (or mysteries) and the details of Amy’s life, from her everyday work at the library to wedding prep, and the book concludes on a very happy note indeed. I read it when I was feeling a little blue about the upcoming holidays, and it was just the treat I needed.
~The Bookwyrm’s Hoard

TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please visit all the stops. 
December 6 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT
December 6 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW
December 6 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – SPOTLIGHT
December 7 – The Book Diva’s Reads – SPOTLIGHT
December 7 – CelticLady Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
December 7 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
December 8 – Dee-Scoveries – SPOTLIGHT
December 8 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
December 8 – The Bookwyrm’s Hoard – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW
December 9 – Diane Reviews Books – REVIEW
December 9 – Jane Reads – GUEST POST
December 9 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
December 10 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
December 10 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT
December 10 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW  
December 11 – Thoughts in Progress – SPOTLIGHT
December 11 – View from the Birdhouse – REVIEW
December 11 – Cassidy’s Bookshelves – SPOTLIGHT
December 12 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW
December 12 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
December 12 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
December 13 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
December 13 – Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic – SPOTLIGHT
December 13 – I Read What You Write – SPOTLIGHT

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Posted in 2020 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Read The Printed Word Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday – The Diva Spices It Up (Domestic Diva Mystery) by Krista Davis #Review / #Giveaway @KensingtonBooks @KristaDavis


Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am excited to share the newest Domestic Diva Mystery today!

It will be released next Tuesday, April 28, 2020!


The Diva Spices It Up (Domestic Diva Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
13th in Series
Setting – Virginia
Publisher: Kensington (April 28, 2020)
Hardcover: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 1496714741
ISBN-13: 978-1496714749
Kindle ASIN: B07TT3V8TZ

After a celebrity ghostwriter dies on the job, Old Town’s favorite entertaining expert and sporadic sleuth, Sophie Winston, whips up an impromptu investigation in the new Domestic Diva mystery from New York Times bestselling author, Krista Davis . . .

 

Sophie never considered ghostwriting as a side gig, until former actress and aspiring lifestyle guru, Tilly Stratford, trophy wife of Wesley Winthrope, needs someone to write her celebrity cookbook. Sophie agrees, hoping she’ll earn enough bread on this assignment to finish her bathroom renovations. But as it turns out, Sophie isn’t the first foodie to get a taste for recipe ghostwriting, and if the marginalia are any indication, this project could be a killer . . .

 

Wesley claims professional ghostwriter, Abby Bergeron, suddenly abandoned Tilly’s cookbook with no warning. But Sophie quickly discovers that Abby may be more ghost than writer now . . . and her disappearance was no accident. So Sophie cracks open a fresh investigation, but sifting the seasoned murderer from this sampling of salty suspects won’t be easy. Will Sophie savor another case closed or will the culprit simply melt away?

 

Includes delicious recipes and entertaining tips!

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts

In this 13th installment of this fun series, Mars hooks Sophie up with Tilly Stratford, a renowned lifestyle guru, to finish ghostwriting her celebrity cookbook. Sophie is already planning to renovate her bathroom with the money she will make. But first, she needs to find out what happened to the previous ghostwriter who quit without warning and disappeared.

Diva Natasha has some drama of her own as she finds she has a new relative through DNA testing. She better keep her eye her business though or someone may just snatch her dream job away from her while she is taking care of family matters.

__________

This is truly one of my favorite cozy series and not just because the author always serves readers a delightful mystery to solve. What I really love is the relationships that have evolved over the course of the series and continue to grow in each new story. Sophie and Mars really care about each other even knowing they just can’t work as a couple. Now that he has divorced Natasha the relationship is even more comfortable. The fact that Sophie is with Alex and that everyone coexists is so refreshing. Also while Natasha and Sophie will never be besties, Sophie is strong enough to be there when Natasha beckons. All the character development is marvelous and the dialogue is realistic.

Now this mystery was quite a twister. Many subplots roll around together leading to a compelling conclusion. Turns, misdirection, and a fair share of red herrings keep everyone on their toes. One body, then another, a suitcase caught by a fisherman, and it is still mystifying how everything fits into this puzzle. I was kept guessing the whole way.

As for spicing things up, I loved that Sophie took on ghostwriting a cookbook and the whole process she followed. From trying out the recipes and making them better to working with Tilly Stratford and the discovery Sophie made within the pages. The food and recipes were great but the way the cookbook played into the whole whodunit was brilliant.

The Diva Spices It Up is an excellent addition to this series. I recommend the whole batch but you can jump in anywhere as Ms. Davis always gives plenty of background on these fabulous characters. I truly can’t wait for the next Domestic Diva Mystery.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

Krista Davis is the New York Times bestselling author of the Domestic Diva Mysteries, the Paws & Claws Mysteries, and the Pen & Ink Mysteries. Several of her books have been nominated for the Agatha Award. Krista lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia with two cats and a brood of dogs. Her friends and family complain about being guinea pigs for her recipes, but she notices they keep coming back for more.

Author Links:
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The publisher is unable to give a book away at this time due to Covid 19
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Posted in 2020 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours You Read How Many Books Challenge

Old Friends and New, Another Murder (Sheridan Hendley Mystery) by Christa Nardi – #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @ChristaN7777

Old Friends and New, Another Murder
(Sheridan Hendley Mystery)
by Christa Nardi

About Old Friends and New, Another Murder


Old Friends and New, Another Murder (Sheridan Hendley Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Virginia
Independently published (December 12, 2019)
Paperback: 206 pages
ISBN-10: 1670487709
ISBN-13: 978-1670487704
Digital ASIN: B08276QVPR

A touch of nostalgia, a murder, and good friends.

When a former colleague is implicated in his neighbor’s demise, Sheridan Hendley returns to Cold Creek to prove his innocence. Annoying as Max can be, she can’t imagine the quirky professor is capable of murder. Unfortunately, not everyone shares her opinion. Of course, it doesn’t help that Max threatened his neighbor in a public place soon before the man was murdered. Or that the victim’s drug shipments had a habit of turning up on Max’s doorstep.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

This series is a spinoff of the author’s Cold Creek Series and the first book I have read in either series but I quickly caught on to Professor Sheridan Hendley going back to Cold Creek to help her colleague caught up in the murder investigation of his neighbor. Max did have a public argument with the victim but Sheridan knows there is no way this man would murder anyone. Annoying, yes! Over the top, you bet! but murder no way.

The mystery also seems to tie into an old case Sheridan and her husband, Detective Brett McMann investigated, so there are a lot of twists and backtracking to bring the cases together. Sheridan and Brett make a great team and work very well together. They have built a real trust between them that assume happened over all the previous stories. It was interesting to follow along with them step by step.

As a side note, I really enjoy that Sheridan volunteers at the Clover Hills Pets & Paws Animal Rescue. It makes her more believable and gives her character more depth. It is also something she can share with her step-daughter, Maddie.

A college town is always an interesting setting with many options for murders and mysteries. I found Sheridan’s place as a visiting professor at the small college intriguing on its own. In her position,  she is left out of some of the college politics but still must work jovially with all the staff, which brings a little extra drama.

I enjoyed Old Friends and New, Another Murder very much and hope to go back and read the first two books in this series.

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About Christa Nardi

Christa Nardi is an accomplished writer and an avid reader. Her favorite authors have shifted from Carolyn Keene and Earl Stanley Gardner to more contemporary mystery crime authors over time, but she still loves a good mystery. Christa has authored the Cold Creek Cozy Mystery Series, the spinoff Sheridan Hendley Mystery Series, and the Stacie Maroni Mystery Series.  She co-authors the Hannah and Tamar Mystery Series. When not reading or writing, Christa enjoys travel with her husband and playing with three dogs and three grand-daughters.

Author Links:  Amazon GoodReads Facebook  – Twitter BookBub – Pinterest – Website – 

Purchase Link – Amazon 

Also by Christa Nardi


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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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To Fetch a Scoundrel, Four Fun “Tails” of Scandal and Murder (Mutt Mysteries) by Heather Weidner, Jayne Ormerod, Rosemary Shomaker, Teresa Inge

To Fetch a Scoundrel, Four Fun “Tails” of Scandal and Murder (Mutt Mysteries)
by Heather Weidner, Jayne Ormerod, Rosemary Shomaker, Teresa Inge

 

About To Fetch a Scoundrel


To Fetch a Scoundrel,
Four Fun “Tails” of Scandal and Murder
(Mutt Mysteries)

Cozy Mysteries
2nd in Series
Setting – Virginia
Publisher: Bay Breeze Publishing, LLC (March 2, 2020)

Print Length: 232 pages
Digital ASIN: B085BY9GXS

The mystery-solving mutts are back! To Fetch a Scoundrel, the second in the Mutt Mysteries collection, features four tail-wagging novellas. Each story puts pups’ noses to the ground, as scandals are unleashed and killers are collared. Once you’ve finished reading these tall “tails,” you’ll no longer wonder, “Who let the dogs out?” You’ll just be glad somebody did!

 

“The Fast and the Furriest”

by Heather Weidner

Cassidy Green just wants to keep her racetrack business from crashing. When an altercation breaks out between two race teams at the driver meeting, it adds one more problem to her already full plate. Cassidy gets more than she bargains for when Oliver, her Rottweiler, finds one of the star drivers dead in her garage. She hopes her fuzzy director of security will help uncover clues to reveal the killer before the bad publicity drives business into the wall.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

This was a quick fast and entertaining read. I love the racetrack setting and that Rottweiler Oliver plays a key role.

I have enjoyed everything I have read by Ms. Weidner including her Delanie Fitzgerald Mysteries. She does both full length and short stories very well.

 

“Pawsitively Scandalous”

by Jayne Ormerod

Pilar Pruitt and her black Lab Natti live in a community that has not had so much of a whisper of a crime in over 60 years. So, it’s disconcerting when a neighbor is hauled off in handcuffs by the police for crimes unknown. But it’s downright alarming when another dear friend is found dead. Pilar and Natti start digging deeper into residents’ pasts, and the things they find are pawsitively scandalous!

 

 

“Ruff Goodbye”

by Rosemary Shomaker

Bar owner Len Hayes’ frenemy Perry Lambert brings misery to all. Len finds himself strong-armed into shady business dealing by Winks family human attack dog Rocco Moretti, compliments of Perry. Len’s grief over his best friend Curt’s cancer death imbalances him and everything unravels at Curt’s funeral home visitation. The bar’s stoic black Lab and Curt’s miniature poodle have Len’s back and resolve the mayhem.

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

This is my first time reading Ms. Shomaker’s work. She gives us a wonderfully detailed short story about how one man can really upset the applecart with his careless actions with a group. He pushes too far getting bar owner Len Hayes into something illegal. The final twist is so good and I love the parts dog’s play.

I look forward to reading more by this author.

“A Doggone Scandal”

by Teresa Inge

Catt Ramsey, owner of the Woof-Pack Dog Walkers, is back on the case when she receives a mysterious note in her pet supply order. Convinced the sender’s motive is scandalous, Catt packs up her SUV and heads to the Outer Banks with her sister Em, family friend Jonathan Ray, and pups Cagney and Lacey to solve the mystery. 

 

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

About the Authors

Heather Weidner

Originally from Virginia Beach, HEATHER WEIDNER has been a mystery fan since Scooby-Doo and Nancy Drew. She lives in Central Virginia with her husband and a pair of Jack Russell terriers. Her short stories appear in the Virginia is for Mysteries series, 50 Shades of Cabernet, and Deadly Southern Charm. Secret Lives and Private Eyes, The Tulip Shirt Murders, and Glitter, Glam, and Contraband are her novels in the Delanie Fitzgerald Mysteries, and her novellas appear in the Mutt Mysteries. She is a member of Sisters in Crime – Central Virginia, Guppies, James River Writers, and International Thriller Writers. Through the years, she has been a cop’s kid, technical writer, editor, college professor, software tester, and IT manager.

 

Jayne Ormerod

JAYNE ORMEROD grew up in a small Ohio town then went on to a small-town Ohio college. Upon earning her degree in accountancy, she became a CIA (that’s not a sexy spy thing, but a Certified Internal Auditor). She married a naval officer and off they sailed to see the world. After nineteen moves, they, along with their two rescue dogs Tiller and Scout, have settled into a cozy cottage by the sea. Jayne is the author of over a dozen published stories, from novel length to short-short.

Rosemary Shomaker

ROSEMARY SHOMAKER writes about the unexpected in everyday life. She’s the woman you don’t notice in the grocery store or at church but whom you do notice at estate sales and wandering vacant lots. In all these places she’s collecting story ideas. Rosemary writes mystery, women’s fiction, and paranormal short stories. Stay tuned as she takes her first steps toward longer fiction.

Teresa Inge

TERESA INGE grew up reading Nancy Drew mysteries. Combining her love of reading mysteries and writing professional articles led to writing short fiction and novellas. Today, she juggles assisting two busy executives and is the president of the Sisters in Crime, Mystery by the Sea chapter. Teresa is the author of the Virginia is Mysteries series, 50 Shades of Cabernet, and the Mutt Mysteries series.

MUTT MYSTERIES 

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

Posted in 2020 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Alphabet Soup A -Z Author Edition Challenge Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Bound for Murder: A Blue Ridge Library Mystery by Victoria Gilbert #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @crookedlanebks

Bound for Murder: A Blue Ridge Library Mystery
by Victoria Gilbert

 

About Bound for Murder 


Bound for Murder: A Blue Ridge Library Mystery
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Setting – Virginia
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books (January 7, 2020)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1643852434
ISBN-13: 978-1643852430
Digital ASIN: B07QGNNNXP

Blue Ridge library director Amy Webber learns it wasn’t all peace and love among the “flower children” when a corpse is unearthed on the grounds of a 1960s commune.

Taylorsford Public Library director Amy Webber’s friend “Sunny” Fields is running for mayor. But nothing puts a damper on a campaign like an actual skeleton in a candidate’s closet. Sunny’s grandparents ran a commune back in the 1960s on their organic farm. But these former hippies face criminal charges when human remains are found in their fields–and a forensic examination reveals that the death was neither natural nor accidental.

With Sunny’s mayoral hopes fading, Amy sets her wedding plans aside, says “not yet” to the dress, and uses her research skills to clear her best friend’s family. Any of the now-elderly commune members could have been the culprit. As former hippies perish one by one, Amy and her friends Richard, Aunt Lydia, and Hugh Chen pursue every lead. But if Amy can’t find whoever killed these “flower children,” someone may soon be placing flowers on her grave.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Library Director Amy Webber finds herself in the middle of another murder mystery, this time one that happened sometime in the 1960s.

Amy’s friend Sunny Fields needs her help. A skeleton has been found on her grandparent’s farm. A farm with a colorful past. Her grandparents,  Carol & P.J. Fields,  ran a commune there back in the days of free love and enlightenment. The skeleton is soon identified as a member of the commune who was thought to have followed his dream and headed West. The investigation also shows the man had been murdered. With Sunny running for mayor she needs to get to the truth as soon as possible. Amy uses her stellar research skills to track down and meet with former members of the commune knowing any one of them could be the killer.

Sheriff Investigator Brad Tucker asked her to help with the case by doing a little research. He isn’t happy when she actually starts pursuing leads on her own. He tries to rein her in when she receives several warnings to back off on her snooping, including vandalism at the library but she doesn’t back down.

Amy is also getting pressure on the homefront to start planning her wedding especially from her future mother-in-law Fiona, who has some grand plans.

___

Again, Victoria Gilbert has her characters digging into the past and through that, we meet an eclectic group of former “hippies” all to catch a killer.  In the guise of notifying them about the skeleton being found and “warning” them that the police may be contacting them as Sunny’s grandparents had asked, Amy gets up close and personal with the suspects. This approach was a nice twist. I really enjoyed the way Amy fulfilled her promise while still getting information.

All of Ms. Gilbert’s characters are well defined and easily visualized. The core character’s stories continue to evolve realistically. Amy is very dedicated to her job as is Richard when it comes to anything related to dance and movement. Sunny like Amy is very determined and independent. It is to see why they are friends and how well they work together. Fiona is over the top, turning her nose up at almost everything, but Amy and Richard are learning how to deal with her.  I like that Sheriff Investigator Brad Tucker knows what a great resource he has in Amy and that he is realizing she just can’t help but to get involved in his cases.

The mystery this time was a tricky one because of the amount of time that has passed since the death, the age of the suspects, another murder, and twist upon twist upon twist. I truly thought I was on the right course to solving this mystery then suddenly there was a twist that turned all my theories inside out but got Amy on the right track. There was some edge of seat moments to raise our blood pressure as we got close to the end of the book. Nicely done Ms. Gilbert, I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.

Bound for Murder has engaging characters paired with some shady ones that keep both readers and our protagonist on our toes. A very well-written mystery with a true romance and just a bit of humor to lighten things up. A strong addition to this series. I do recommend reading them in order but this one can stand on its own.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

Read my review of Murder for the Books here.

Read my review of Shelved Under Murder here.

Read my review of Past Due For Murder here. 

 

About Virginia Gilbert

Victoria Gilbert, raised in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains, turned her early obsession with reading into a dual career as an author and librarian. Victoria has worked as a reference librarian, research librarian, and library director. When not writing or reading, she likes to spend her time watching films, gardening, or traveling. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and International Thriller Writers and lives in North Carolina. This is her fourth Blue Ridge Library mystery.

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Praise for Bound for Murder: A Blue Ridge Library Mystery
by Victoria Gilbert

Victoria Gilbert writes entrancing and engrossing stories that pull you win and leave you wanting more!
~A Wytch’s Book Review Blog

Bound for Murder is the fourth book in the Blue Ridge Library Mystery series. I’ve read them all and they just keep getting better. Maybe it is because the characters feel like old friends.
~Diane Reviews Books

Bound for Murder is a charming cozy mystery with a dredging disaster, misplaced persons, a charismatic journalist, a hippie homicide, campaign commotion, and revealing research.
~The Avid Reader

Bound for Murder by Victoria Gilbert is an excellent story with a couple of murders that keep you guessing.
~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.”

Posted in 2020 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Alphabet Soup A -Z Author Edition Challenge Cloak and Dagger Challenge E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Literary Escapes You Read How Many Books Challenge

Glitter, Glam, and Contraband: A Delanie Fitzgerald Mystery by Heather Leigh Weidner #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @HeatherWeidner1

Glitter, Glam, and Contraband: A Delanie Fitzgerald Mystery
by Heather Leigh Weidner

About Glitter, Glam and Contraband


Glitter, Glam, and Contraband: A Delanie Fitzgerald Mystery
Traditional Mystery/Female Sleuth/Humorous Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Virginia
Publisher: Sandpiper Productions (November 19, 2019)
Paperback: 240 pages
ISBN-10: 099945983X
ISBN-13: 978-0999459836
ASIN: B081PGYR7T

Private investigator, Delanie Fitzgerald, and her computer hacker partner, Duncan Reynolds, are back for more sleuthing in Glitter, Glam and Contraband. In this fast-paced mystery, the Falcon Investigations team is hired to find out who is stealing from the talent at a local drag show. Delanie gets more than she bargains for and a few makeup tips in the process. Meanwhile, a mysterious sound in the ceiling of her office vexes Delanie. She uses her sleuthing skills to track down the source and uncover a creepy contraband operation.

Glitter, Glam, and Contraband features a strong female sleuth with a knack for getting herself in and out of humorous situations like helping sleezy strip club owner, Chaz Smith on his quest to become Richmond’s next mayor, tracking down missing reptiles, and uncovering hidden valuables from a 100-year-old crime with a Poe connection.

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

In this third Delanie Fitzgerald mystery, Delanie has her hands full with drag queens, a mayoral candidate, a snake or two, and some strange digging at the base of a statue, all as part of her normal everyday life as a private investigator.   Her partner, Duncan Reynolds, uses his mad computer skills to assist her in any way he can.  Office mascot/rug, Margaret, a bulldog, also shows what a great protector she can be.

Delanie Fitzgerald is a strong woman, not afraid to go undercover to solve her case but this time she comes up against something that even has her backing up quickly. She is the one that handles all the legwork for Falcon Investigations but this time danger lurks right in the office, except she is the only one that realizes something is up, literally.

Full of action and humor, Heather Weidner delivers another enjoyable story. The cases Falcon Investigations takes on are very realistic. Missing items, background information on persons of interests, a little digging into some mysterious digging and questioning the death of a nearby shop owner.

The pace is quick as Delaney goes from one case to another with Duncan available by phone to help her out. She does have some crazy clients but they are all realistically depicted. I loved the time she spent with the drag queens and how welcoming most of them were to her. One even gave her a couple of mini makeovers.

Ms. Weidner has created some truly great characters and fleshed them out nicely enabling the reader to easily “see” them for who they are. She also describes the situations in a way to bring the reader right on the scene. Weidner knows where to add the funny moments in all the right places too.

I was entertained trailing along with Delanie on all her mini-adventures and am looking forward to the next book in this series.

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Read my review of Secret Lives and Private Eyes here and  The Tulip Shirt Murders here.

About Heather Weidner

Glitter, Glam, and Contraband is Heather Weidner’s third novel in the Delanie Fitzgerald series. Her short stories appear in the Virginia is for Mysteries series, 50 Shades of Cabernet, and Deadly Southern Charm. Her novellas appear in The Mutt Mysteries series. She is a member of Sisters in Crime – Central Virginia, Guppies, International Thriller Writers, and James River Writers.

Originally from Virginia Beach, Heather has been a mystery fan since Scooby-Doo and Nancy Drew. She lives in Central Virginia with her husband and a pair of Jack Russell terriers.

Heather earned her BA in English from Virginia Wesleyan University and her MA in American literature from the University of Richmond. Through the years, she has been a technical writer, editor, college professor, software tester, and IT manager.

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

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Naughty But Nice: A Hamilton Christmas Novella by Donna Kauffman


Naughty But Nice: A Hamilton Christmas Novella
Holiday Romance
3rd in Series
Setting – Virginia
Publisher: Zebra Books (November 1, 2018)
Print Length: 102 pages
Kindle ASIN: B079R3JHTH

‘Tis the season for sweet surprises . . .

Businessman Griffin’s never believed in luck . . . until sassy-sweet small-town baker Melody turns his world around. Except there’s a catch: There’s no way he’ll be able to build his empire and hold on to her. This new love could destroy all his dreams—or make this Christmas better than he ever imagined possible . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

The third and final book in this series introduces bakery owner, Melody Duncastle, and businessman, Thomas Griffin Gallagher. Griffin has arrived in town to confirm he is the new heir to the Hamilton fortune and he has big plans to reenergize and update the good town of Hamilton. Melody voices her displeasure with his ideas loudly but he is determined to change her mind. He also realizes he has strong romantic feelings for her so he hopes to win her favor in more ways than one.

Of the three stories in this novella series, this was my least favorite one. I disliked Thomas Griffin Gallagher immediately. He was very pushy and had a superior air about him. He does have a backstory that formed the man he had become but I just couldn’t warm to him even after Melody shaved away some of his hard edges. Melody is such a caring individual. She came home to Hamilton to help a sick friend and it totally changed her life. Their first meeting was humorous but I think for two strangers the relationship that was quickly built just didn’t feel right to me, even with a heartwarming moment at the end.

I think as with book two, Lock, Stock, and Jingle Bells, the book was hurt by the novella length. Griffin and Melody are both very strong people with differing points of view and then suddenly they are in love. Where was the conflict? She stood up to him once and then after spending a few hours together, he gets everything he wants. I just wanted more development and some give and take, a little bit of a chase. I really enjoyed the first book in this series but after that, the books went downhill in my opinion. I do believe if the last two stories had been full-length novels it would have allowed for better character development and romantic tension to evolve I would have really enjoyed them.

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About the Author

Donna Kauffman is the USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of over 70 novels, translated and sold in more than 26 countries around the world. The recipient of multiple RT Book Awards, she is also a National Readers Choice Award and PRISM Award winner and a RITA finalist. Born into the maelstrom of Washington, D.C., politics, she now lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, where she is surrounded by a completely different kind of wildlife. A contributing blogger for USAToday.com, she is also a DIYer, a baker, a gardener and a volunteer transporter for the Wildlife Center of Virginia and Rockfish Sanctuary. Please visit her online at www.DonnaKauffman.com.

The Hamilton Christmas Novella Series

Find more books by Donna Kaufman here.
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.”