Posted in 2021 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Cloak and Dagger Challenge E-Book Challenge New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

The Question Is Murder by Mark Willen #Review


The Question Is Murder
Mystery
Setting – Washington D.C.
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Pen-L Publishing (May 14, 2021)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 322 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1683132246
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1683132240
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B091RNCRQ7

Washington D.C. newspaper columnist Sam Turner, known to his readers as Mr. Ethics, faces his toughest moral dilemma yet: Can murder ever be justified?

That’s the question posed to him by a mysterious young woman who says she is being stalked and harassed by an ex-lover too powerful to be stopped any other way. Sam knows that journalists should never get personally involved in a story, but he finds he is being drawn deeper and deeper into this one whether he wants it or not.

So when Senator Wade Morgan turns up murdered, Sam fears the worst. Worried about his own involvement, the man who normally has all the answers is now the one making questionable decisions.

As his investigation into the Senator’s death begins to spin out of control, Sam finds he can’t let go—even as the case grows more complicated and the threats against his life become more immediate. With the fate of a young woman at stake and his own life in jeopardy, Sam can’t back down until the killer—whoever that may be—is brought to justice.

But this is D.C., and justice can be in short supply.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Can murder ever be justified? That is the question Sam Turner aka Mr. Ethics, a Washington D.C. newspaper columnist is asked in an email from “Truly Desperate”. He feels compelled to learn the mystery woman’s story even though he shouldn’t get personally involved. She tells him the man harassing her is a powerful Washington insider and she believes the only way to stop him is to kill him. No names are revealed but when Senator Wade Morgan is murdered he has a bad feeling that he was the man referred to in the email and his involvement may come back to bite him big time. Instead of backing off, he jumps all in on his own investigation putting his job, his life, and the mysterious woman’s life in danger.


Sam Turner receives many emails for his Mr. Ethics newspaper column but this one draws him in and he makes some terrible decisions which he tries to justify throughout the entire story. Told from multiple points of view the author takes the reader on quite a journey as Sam gets deeper and deeper into the case. The suspect’s first-person accounts really give the story depth but there is some repetition that messed with the flow.

The author brings many ethical questions to light as his characters try to validate what was done. All the characters have flaws and I did have sympathy for their plight. Sam really is at a crossroads in his life and the email plus the suspects are a challenge to him.  Truly Desperate is also struggling but is she guilty?  Is the Senator’s wife involved? What other enemies did the Senator have? I did enjoy the chase. Sam involves his co-workers and other contacts to try to find answers but the entire investigation was a little fuzzy. For that reason, I felt the ending was a little abrupt. Questions were answered but after the ride we had been taken on I just expected more. I felt like the author noticed his word/page count and felt like he just needed to wrap things up.

The theme of The Question is Murder is fantastic, ethics in D.C. is always a slippery slope. I was just very disappointed in the ending. I am open to reading more by this author because this story had a great start but the author seems to have lost his way heading into the conclusion. For me, this is a 3-Star book which is a conundrum because my rating system states those are a Satisfactory Excursion but I was not satisfied with the way the story played out at all.



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About the Author

Mark Willen has been a reporter, editor, producer, columnist, and blogger at The Voice of America, National Public Radio, Congressional Quarterly, Bloomberg News, and Kiplinger. He has published and broadcast hundreds of nonfiction articles from datelines as varied as New York, Concord, N.H., Moscow, Jerusalem, Cairo, Beijing, Tokyo, Buenos Aires, and Cape Town, South Africa.

Mark retired from full-time journalism in December 2010 to devote his energies to writing fiction. His short stories have been published in The Rusty Nail, Corner Club Press, and The Boiler Review. The Question Is Murder is his fourth novel.

Mark also leads a writer’s workshop for teenagers and serves as a volunteer tax preparer for elderly and low-income clients. He lives in Silver Spring, Maryland, with his wife, Janet.

Visit Mark’s Website here.


Also by Mark Willen

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

Posted in 2021 Reviews Alphabet Soup A -Z Author Edition Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways Literary Escapes Read The Printed Word Challenge TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – Eighteen Acres: A Novel by Nicolle Wallace #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.

After our recent move, I took a hard look at my To-Be-Read bookshelves and moved this book way up. It is a book I have wanted to read for a long time. 


Eighteen Acres: A Novel
Political Fiction
1st in Series
Setting – Washinton D.C./Afghanistan
Atria Book (October 19, 2010)
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 336 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1439194823
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1439194829
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 336 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1439195935
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1439195932
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B003VPWYNC

From the former Communications Director for the White House and current political media strategist comes a suspenseful and smart commercial novel about the first female president and all dramas and deceptions she faces both in politics and in love.

Eighteen Acresa description used by political insiders when referring to the White House complex, follows the first female President of the United States, Charlotte Kramer, and her staff as they take on dangerous threats from abroad and within her very own cabinet.

Charlotte Kramer, the 45th US President, Melanie Kingston, the White House chief of staff, and Dale Smith, a White House correspondent for one of the networks are all working tirelessly on Charlotte’s campaign for re-election. At the very moment when they should have been securing success, though, Kramer’s White House implodes under rumors of her husband’s infidelity and grave errors of judgment on the part of her closest national security advisor.  In an upheaval that threatens not only the presidency but the safety of the American people, Charlotte must fight to regain her footing and protect the country she has given her life to serving.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

The 45th President of The United States, Charlotte Kramer, the first woman to hold the office is dealing with many issues while campaigning for reelection. Her Chief-of-Staff, Melanie Kingston, has worked a long time in D.C. and knows all the ins and outs to keep the office of the President running smoothly. When she receives a tip that the press is going to run a story about infidelity she knows she has to squash the rumor. At the same time, President Kramer travels to visit the Afghan region with her closest national security advisor. At a time of crisis that advisor makes a decision that could have been deadly and could cost Kramer the presidency. Melanie is juggling all the events to try to assure her boss’s success while protecting the country and its people. It just may be more than she can handle.


Written by a former White House insider, this story focuses on three women, Charlotte Kramer, the President of the United States, Melanie Kingston, the White House Chief of Staff, and Dale Smith, a White House Correspondent for one of the networks. Each chapter is from a different women’s point of view with a behind-the-scenes look at each of their jobs. All three are ambitious and put their jobs first above anything which means they either have no personal life to speak of or their personal lives are in trouble. These characters are very well developed and continue to grow over the course of the story.

The story is very well written with a very probable pretense. Written years before the 45th President was elected we did almost have a woman elected to that office. I felt the story depicted this part of Charlotte Kramer’s presidency realistically. Wallace’s history enabled her to give readers a true look at what can happen in The White House. The short chapters gave the book a comfortable flow and kept the focus on the character’s lives more than the political climate around them. This is not a heavy political novel, although there are some tense moments. It does shine a light on some of the double standards women face in a fictional and entertaining way. Written more than ten years ago it still stands up over time. I will say the Republican Party in this book is totally different than the Republican Party today and I loved the choice and decisions President Kramer made when it came to her reelection and her campaign. It was refreshing and civil and something we may never see in real life.

With the shakeups and the way this book ended I am very interested in book 2, It’s Classified. I hope I get a chance to read it soon.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

https://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/gossip/confidential/nicolle-wallace-write-stuff-women-white-house-article-1.2201105
Daily News

About Nicolle Wallace 

Nicolle Wallace is an American television host and author. She is known for her work as the anchor of the MSNBC news and politics program Deadline: White House and a former co-host of the ABC daytime talk show The View. As a political analyst for MSNBC and NBC News, she is a frequent on-air contributor to the programs TodayThe 11th Hour with Brian Williams, and Morning Joe.

In her former political career, Wallace served as the White House Communications Director during the presidency of George W. Bush and in his 2004 re-election campaign. Wallace also served as a senior advisor for John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign. In addition, she is the author of the contemporary political novels Eighteen AcresIt’s Classified, and Madam President.

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

Larceny at the Library (A Washington Whodunit) by Colleen Shogan #Review / #Giveaway

REVIEW NOW ADDED

Larceny at the Library (A Washington Whodunit)
by Colleen Shogan

About Larceny at the Library 


Larceny at the Library (A Washington Whodunit)
Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Publisher: Epicenter Press (July 14, 2020)
Print Length: 202 pages
ISBN-13: 9781603818353
ASIN: B0863MN6TP

Congressional staffer Kit Marshall is excited to attend a historic event displaying the contents of Abraham Lincoln’s pockets the night he was assassinated at the Library of Congress. The next day, a senior librarian is dead and several invaluable artifacts are missing. Kit’s husband Doug discovers the body and immediately becomes a suspect in the death and theft. Kit springs into action once again to figure out who is responsible for the crimes. Her sleuthing takes her to the DC Public Library, the National Portrait Gallery, Ford’s Theatre, and the most ornate, beautiful rooms at the Library of Congress. At the end, Kit must put her own life on the line to retrieve her most valuable possession, which goes unexpectedly missing as she hunts down the killer.

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

The thing I like best about this series is the author grabs from true events and her government experience as the basis of her stories. She worked as a Senior Executive at the Library of Congress and the contents of Abraham Lincoln’s pockets when he was killed were donated to the Library of Congress in 1937 where the box remained unopened until 1976. So an event like the one described in this book is very believable. An event that leads to a murder and a theft and puts Kit’s new husband Doug at the top of the suspect list. He was a recent hire and had knowledge that few had, he attended the event and then stayed late to catch up on some work, and he found the body the next morning. Kit would have jumped into the investigation no matter what but the Librarian of Congress and her boss who is the chair of the oversight of the Library give her the power she needs when they formally ask her to work with the police and keep them up to date on any developments. Little did she know her own life and that of her furbaby would be in danger as she hunts down the killer.


The characters in this story are so strong and well-developed. Kit and Doug are still working things out in their personal life. Doug is ready for a house in the burbs, Kit not so much. Kit’s brother is settling into his life in D.C. and we meet the reason why. There may be some changes for other characters as well both in jobs and romance. Ms. Shogan keeps all her characters fresh and evolving.

The book has a great flow and the dialogue is crisp. The mystery is full of twists and turns and kept me captivated from beginning to end. The real culprit was on my radar but I eliminated them early on so I was totally taken by surprise at the way things played out and I love when that happens.

I also enjoy all the places we travel around Washington D.C. throughout the story, places the public never see like the underground tunnels connecting so many of the buildings and the beautiful rooms like those in the Library of Congress.

Great characters, a wonderful setting, and an exciting mystery make Larceny at the Library another Perfect Escape from Colleen J. Shogan. I anxiously await the next installment of this series.

 

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

About Colleen J. Shogan

Colleen J. Shogan has been reading mysteries since the age of six. A political scientist by training, Colleen has taught American politics at several universities and previously worked on Capitol Hill as a legislative staffer in the United States Senate and as a senior executive at the Library of Congress. She is currently the Senior Vice President of the White House Historical Association.

Colleen is a member of Sisters in Crime. “Stabbing in the Senate” was awarded the Next Generation Indie prize for Best Mystery in 2016. “Homicide in the House” was a 2017 finalist for the RONE Award for Best Mystery. “Calamity at the Continental Club” was a 2018 finalist in the “best cozy mystery” at Killer Nashville. She lives in Arlington, Virginia with her husband Rob and their beagle mutt Conan.

Author Links – Webpage – Facebook – Twitter –  GoodReads 

Purchase Links – AmazonB&N

 

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Great Escapes Praise  for Larceny at the Library (A Washington Whodunit)
by Colleen Shogan

Excellent character portrayal, a mystery that keeps one guessing until the end, and a story that takes you on a virtual trip to the landmarks in Washington, Larceny in the Library is an engrossing and must-read cozy mystery.
~The Book Decoder

The plot is full of some twists you may not see coming & cozy mystery fans will find a lot to love in this latest Washington whodunnit!
~Reading Is My SuperPower

TOUR PARTICIPANTS
July 15 – The Book Decoder – REVIEW  
July 15 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
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July 17 – Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic – SPOTLIGHT
July 17 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT
July 18 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – SPOTLIGHT
July 18 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW
July 19 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST
July 20 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
July 20 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT
July 21 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
July 21 – Ruff Drafts – REVIEW
July 22 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
July 22 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW  
July 23 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
July 23 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT
July 24 – Ascroft, eh? – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
July 24 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW
July 25 – Here’s How It Happened – SPOTLIGHT
July 26 – Diane Reviews Books – GUEST POST
July 26 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
July 27 – I’m All About Books – 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.”

Posted in Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Interviews Literary Escapes Reviews 2019 You Read How Many Books Challenge

Special Guest – Colleen Shogan – Author of Gore in the Garden (A Washington Whodunit) – #Interview / #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour – @CamelPressBooks

Gore in the Garden
(A Washington Whodunit)
by Colleen Shogan

I am very excited to have Colleen Shogan visit today!! 

Hi Colleen, 

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m a political scientist and senior executive at the Library of Congress. I live outside Washington, D.C. with my husband and beagle mutt, Conan. My favorite pastime is reading by the pool.

What are three things most people don’t know about you?

  1. Most people think I’m an extrovert, but I also like spending time by myself.
  2. I’m a morning person and do my best work then.
  3.  I was the valedictorian of my high school.

What is the first book you remember reading?

An Encyclopedia Brown book.

What are you reading now?

There Will Be No Miracles Here” by Casey Gerald

What books have most inspired you?

Walter Isaacson’s “Steve Jobs” inspired me so much, I read it twice.

What made you decide you wanted to write mysteries?

I’ve always read mysteries for leisure and relaxation. One day, I took a walk in my neighborhood and came up with the plot for “Stabbing in the Senate,” the first book in my series. I decided to take a shot at writing my own mystery novel, and I haven’t stopped since.

Do you have a special place you like to write?

In the spring, summer, and fall, I write outside in my backyard on our deck next to our pool.

Where do the ideas for your books come from?

I work on Capitol Hill and there’s no shortage of intrigue. I’m observant and I pay attention to conflict, adversity, and behavior. Paying attention ensures that I have an unlimited supply of ideas for future books.

Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

It can be difficult finding the time to write. Since I have a full-time job that sometimes extends into the evening hours, it’s hard to squeeze in time each day for writing.

What do you think makes a good story?

I start with the characters and the setting. Once I have those ingredients, the plot comes together in support of them.

Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you?

Most people assume that my main character, Kit Marshall, is based on me. She’s really not. There may be similarities, but I would likely never take the risks that Kit does. In some ways, Kit is aspirational for me.

What makes your books different from others out there in this genre?

Most cozies are set in a small town, and my series takes place in Washington, D.C., an urban setting. My books aren’t about politics, but they do reveal some of the inner workings of our nation’s capital. That affords them a slightly higher level of seriousness than other amateur sleuth mysteries. I also think my characters are more modern in their mannerisms, conduct, and behavior than most other books in the genre.

What’s next on the horizon for you?

I’m currently writing the sixth book in the series, tentatively titled “Larceny at the Library.”  I think it will be a real fan favorite in 2020.

Thank you, Colleen, for dropping by today!

Keep reading for my thoughts about Colleen’s new book, Gore in the Garden.

About Gore in the Garden

Gore in the Garden (A Washington Whodunit)
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Camel Press (July 16, 2019)
Paperback: 224 pages
ISBN-10: 1603817239
ISBN-13: 978-1603817233
ASIN: B07S4F8XZZ

After her boss narrowly escaped political defeat, Kit Marshall is settling into life as a busy congressional staffer. While attending an evening reception at the United States Botanic Garden, Kit’s best friend stumbles upon the body of a high-ranking government official. The chairwoman of a congressional committee asks Kit to investigate, and she finds herself once again in the thick of a murder investigation. The complications keep coming with the unexpected arrival of Kit’s younger brother Sebastian, a hippie protestor who seems more concerned about corporate greed than the professional problems he causes for his sister. To make matters even worse, the romantic lives of Kit’s closest friends are driving her crazy, diverting her attention from the mystery she’s been tasked to solve. The search for the killer requires her to tussle with an investigative journalist right out of a noir novel, a congresswoman fixated on getting a statue of James Madison installed on the Capitol grounds and a bossy botanist who would do anything to protect the plants he loves. When the murderer sends a threatening message to Kit via a highly unusual delivery mechanism, Kit knows she must find the killer or risk the lives of her friends and loved ones.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Kit Marshall attends a reception with her boss, Congresswoman Maeve Dixon, best friend Meg, hubby Doug, and her brother Sebastian, at the United States Botanic Garden, just in time to witness the corpse flower bloom. As the group leaves the Garden Meg makes a quick stop to the bathroom. Her screams alert them back into the building where they find the Architect of the Capitol dead. Kit is quickly pegged to be the liaison between the police and Congress and conduct her own investigation. She also has to run interference when her brother becomes part of protests on the hill, reduce conflicts between her staff, and keep on top of her real job as Chief of Staff Dixon. All this plus she has to stay one step ahead of the killer or she will be their next victim.

________________________

This is another fabulous addition to this series. I loved the way the corpse flower played into the story. The University of Wisconsin had one and whenever it bloomed it was big news around here.

All the characters I have come to love return, including Kit’s pepperoni loving pup. We also meet Kit’s brother that was too busy along with her parents to attend Kit and Doug’s wedding. I have to say Kit is more forgiving than I would be but then again there is a murderer on the loose. I enjoyed that Doug is now working close enough that he can assist her in her investigation.

Because of Ms. Shogan’s experience, she gives what feels like a believable picture of life behind the scenes in a Congressperson’s office. With the current climate in Washington politics, a book like this is very current but not as divisive. The murder is Kit’s main focus and other things on her plate are the staff’s summer picnic, their love lives and trying to keep her brother out of trouble and may even stay in D.C. Shogan brings all the subplots together seamlessly and the story maintains a great flow until we get near the end, then the pace spikes as the killer is revealed. I was holding my breath for more than a few moments.

The author did an excellent job of describing Kit’s surroundings. It has been a long time since I have been to Washington and she introduced a few new sites I didn’t know existed but her words took me right where I needed to be.

While taking place in a big town, Colleen keeps things pretty cozy. Engaging characters, a captivating story, set in an awesome place, will have readers rapidly flipping the pages. The twists are exquisite and our protag has guts, knows how to think on her feet and doesn’t back down.

I highly recommend this entire series, but each book can be read on its own.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Colleen J. Shogan

Colleen J. Shogan has been reading mysteries since the age of six. She conceived of the plot of her first mystery, “Stabbing in the Senate,” one morning while taking a walk in her suburban Washington, D.C. neighborhood. A political scientist by training, Colleen has taught American politics at Yale, George Mason University, Georgetown, and Penn. She previously worked on Capitol Hill as a legislative staffer in the United States Senate and as the Deputy Director of the Congressional Research Service. She is currently a senior executive at the Library of Congress who works on great initiatives such as the National Book Festival. Colleen lives in Arlington, Virginia with her husband Rob and their beagle mutt Conan. Colleen’s first book won the Next Generation Indie Prize for Best Mystery. Her books have been RONE and Killer Nashville finalists in the mystery category.

Author Links – Webpage – Facebook – Twitter –  GoodReads 

Purchase Links
Amazon Paperback     Kindle   B&N         Kobo      Smashwords

More Books In This Series

 

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July 20 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
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July 21 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
July 22 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
July 23 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
July 24 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT
July 24 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
July 25 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
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July 27 – Here’s How It Happened – 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 Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Guest Posts Reviews 2019 You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday with Dana Dratch – Author of Seeing Red (A Red Herring Mystery) #GuestPost / #Review / #Giveaway @KensingtonBooks Great Escapes Book Tour

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am thrilled to have Dana Dratch stop by for a visit today
as part of her Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour!

Guest Post

Life Lessons from Murder Mysteries
by Dana Dratch

I have to confess a certain weakness for mystery stories.

I blame Nancy Drew. With her cool car, absent but well-heeled father and coterie of willing friends, she was always getting herself in and out of trouble and solving whatever mysteries life threw her way.

Not a bad motto for life.

As I grew up, I added the Sherlock Holmes stories to my bookshelf, along with Agatha Christie, Josephine Tey, and Dorothy Sayers. And they were joined by the likes of Gregory Mcdonald, Robert B. Parker, M.C. Beaton, G.K. Chesterton, and Louise Penny.

Turns out, there’s a lot of very valuable information in mystery stories. And I’m not just talking untraceable poisons and where to hide the body. They also contain, in the words of one of my former editors, “news you can use.”

Here are a few life lessons I’ve picked up after years of reading mysteries — and writing a few along the way:

1. Be open and skeptical. Miss Marple was famous for this. Sure, she’d sit there and enjoy whatever tea and scones were placed in front of her. Along with a nice helping of gossip. But she never took any of it at face value. She watched, listened and learned. Then filed it away for later.She’d have made a great reporter.

2. Societal politeness is highly overrated. Golden Age mystery writers were diabolical. They managed to glamorize polite society and manners, while simultaneously roasting them. Why didn’t the Countess spit out the wine when she noticed it tasted off? Too déclassé. How come Harold didn’t call out for help when the murder suspect followed him into the darkened garden? But he wasn’t certain, you see. It wouldn’t have been quite cricket.

Sometimes, it pays to act on instinct. Scream like a girl, Harold.

3,. Stop for a good meal now and then. Robert B. Parker’s Spenser is no stranger to fine dining. And M.C. Beaton’s Hamish Macbeth may live in a tiny hamlet in the middle of the Scottish Highlands, but the place is wired for great food.

Once in a while you have to stop, take time out and refuel. The villains can wait.

4. Stick with what you love. How many detectives are warned not to pursue the case? Pretty much all of them. Do they listen? Not on your life.

They just keep following those clues (and the trail of dead bodies), until they finally catch the bad guys. Lucky for us.

~Dana

Thank you so much for stopping by today, Dana! 

Keep reading for my thoughts on Dana’s new book, Seeing Red.

 

About the Book


Seeing Red (A Red Herring Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Washington D.C. / Virginia
Kensington (May 28, 2019)
Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
ISBN-10: 1496716582
ISBN-13: 978-1496716583
Digital ASIN: B07H1VFL64

If it wasn’t for art thieves, spies and killers, Alex Vlodnachek’s life would be bliss.

Her freelance career is catching fire. Her relationship with B&B owner Ian Sterling is flirty and fun. She’s even attending a glittering cocktail party at his sprawling Victorian inn.

But, to this ex-reporter, something seems “off.” And it’s not the canapés. When Ian’s father vanishes, the enigmatic innkeeper asks for her discretion. And her assistance.

Meanwhile, Alex is having the opposite problem at her tiny bungalow: People keep piling in uninvited. Including a mysterious intruder found sleeping in her kitchen. Her grandmother, Baba, who shows up “to help”—with Alex’s own mother hot on her heels.

When the intrepid redhead discovers a body in the B&B’s basement and a “reproduction” Renoir in the library, she begins to suspect that Ian is more than just a simple hotel owner.

With editor pal Trip, brother Nick, and rescue-pup Lucy riding shotgun, Alex scrambles to stay one step ahead of disaster—and some very nasty characters.

Can she find the missing man before it’s too late? Or will Alex be the next one to disappear?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

OMG, hold on to your funny bones! Dana Dratch has penned another fantastic mystery filled with humor that you will be unable to put down.

First, Ian’s father goes missing in the middle of a party. Then, unusual discovery is made in Alex’s kitchen, followed by an unusual discovery in the inn’s basement freezer, which quickly goes missing. Then while Alex is trying to find a clue about where the innkeeper’s father may have gone she makes yet another unusual discovery and it doesn’t stop there. She arrives home to find that her brother has brought Baba back to help with the kitchen discovery and it isn’t long before there another visitor camped out in her living room. As if her house is already bursting at the seams her mother arrives starting a rant as soon as she walks in the door.

Needing to get out of the house she calls her friend Trip and they along with her dog Lucy embark on a journey to get a whole list of answers. She hopes to find them all before finding any more bodies or someone finding hers.

These characters are fun and created with depth. Again Baba stole my heart. The woman still can’t cook but she whips Alex’s house and everyone in it into shape within minutes. The rest of the characters I came to love in the first book, Confessions of a Red Herring, all return making me love them even more. Alex is a strong protagonist with a huge heart. Nick, Alex’s brother is getting his new business off the ground and a big help to Alex. Ian is hiding something so Alex starts to waiver in her trust of him, especially with all the dead bodies. Trip is the perfect best friend for Alex especially because she truly has her hands full this time.

Ms. Dratch gives readers a perplexing mystery to try to solve. Twists on top of twists had me spinning. I figured out only one very minuscule part before everything was revealed. The pace is quick and the suspense and humor are blended together in a very entertaining way.

Great characters, laugh out loud moments, and a complex mystery make for a wonderful read. Another Perfect Escape from Dana Dratch.

If you haven’t read the first book in the series, don’t miss any of the fun. Read that one first.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

 

About the Author

Dana Dratch is a personal finance writer and the author of CONFESSIONS OF A RED HERRING and SEEING RED. She’s currently working on the third Alex Vlodnachek mystery adventure, RED HOT. Get updates at ConfessionsofaRedHerring.com.

Purchase Links

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS
May 27 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW
May 27 – Babs Book Bistro – GUEST POST
May 28 – Book Club Librarian – REVIEW
May 28 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
May 29 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW, GUEST POST  
May 29 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
May 30 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
May 30 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
May 31 – My Reading Journeys – CHARACTER GUEST POST
May 31 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
June 1 – LibriAmoriMiei – REVIEW
June 1 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT
June 2 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
June 2 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
June 3 – Readeropolis – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
June 3 – Cozy Up With Kathy – GUEST POST
June 4 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW
June 4 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
June 5 – Sneaky the Library Cat’s Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
June 5 – Island Confidential – 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.”

Posted in Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Flashback Friday Giveaways Literary Escapes Read The Printed Word Challenge Reviews 2019 TBR Pile Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – The Coloring Crook (Pen & Ink) by Krista Davis #Review / #Giveaway @KensingtonBooks @kristadavis


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.

The first book in this series received my Paradise Rating but
I made a huge mistake with this book and scheduled its release date on my calendar wrong.
My calendar was packed and I finally gave up trying to fit it into the regular schedule and scheduled it for the Flashback Friday feature so I could read the book that wasn’t
just screaming at me it was reaching out and hitting me over the head.

My apologies to Krista Davis for my delay in sharing this wonderful book with you. 


The Coloring Crook (Pen & Ink)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Washington D.C.
Kensington (November 27, 2018)
Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1496716426
ISBN-13: 978-1496716422
Kindle ASIN: B07B78THTP

Includes A Front and Back Cover for You to Color!

Life is looking rosy for Florrie Fox, manager of the Color Me Read bookstore in Georgetown, Washington D.C. She’s working on an adult coloring book of gardens, her romance with Sergeant Eric Jonquille has entered a new chapter, and the bookstore’s weekly coloring club is a source of friendship and entertainment. No member is more vibrant than Dolly Cavanaugh. Dolly likes to say she was blessed with beauty and cursed with lousy husbands, but at least she has a grown daughter and a stunning brownstone to show for it!

When Dolly’s love of garage sales results in her showing up at Color Me Read with a rare book in hand, Florrie is astounded. The Florist, the earliest known coloring book, was first published in 1760. An original copy would be worth a fortune—and someone else knows it. That same evening, Florrie finds Dolly dead on the floor of her apartment, a corner of a coloring book page clutched in her hand. As Florrie delves into Dolly’s past and her personal effects, she discovers a skeleton in the closet—literally—and a whole lot of shady suspects. One of them is an expert in the fine art of murder, but can Florrie draw the right conclusion?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Florrie Fox is happy. She is working a Color Me Read where she has started a coloring book club. She looks over and sees coloring books she has created on the shelves. She is working on one now featuring beautiful gardens. Her relationship with Sergeant Eric Jonquille is entering a new phase, and she has settled in nicely to her boss John Maxwell’s guest house.

In The Coloring Crook, Dolly Cavanaugh, a member of the coloring book group, takes Florrie to an estate sale. Later Dolly comes into the bookstore showing off one of her purchases. A very rare coloring book, which Florrie does her best to authenticate. This book could be worth a fortune. Dolly makes a HUGE mistake by touting her amazing purchase on social media. People start coming out of the woodwork wanting to buy this book, including the woman who sold the book at the estate sale.

Florrie stops by Dolly’s home after work and finds poor Dolly on the floor dead with a piece of a page of the 1760 coloring book in her hand. The rest of the book is missing. The police believe she died of natural causes but Florrie believes it was clearly murder. She feels responsible for not warning Dolly to keep her prize safe and secret until it could be sold through a reputable party. She decides to do a little sleuthing on her own and she makes some surprising discoveries.  She also has compiled a good list of suspects. When the police finally get on board she thinks their suspect is being set up. She must be right because now she has a target on her back.

Because we share a name, this Dolly immediately had a soft spot for Dolly Cavanaugh. We have a few things in common but I am very close to my children and have one wonderful husband. I do like a good garage sale find and am enjoying the adult coloring book craze. I was sorry she had to be the victim but I loved that story the evolved from her death.

The book had a perfect pace and was well-written. The characters were very engaging and developed. The author has taken the core characters in a very pleasing direction. The story was complex with more than one mystery to solve. Ms. Davis did take a few legal sidesteps with no will being produced or read while Dolly’s daughter started disposing of her mother’s belongings and was giving tenants notice because she was selling the house very quickly. The case was still open and one new discovery should have stopped her actions in their tracks. That aside I truly enjoyed the story and am looking forward to the next book.

The author informs readers that the coloring book referenced in her story, The Florist is real and that one of the copies is at the Peter F. Raven Library/Missouri Botanical Gardens. So short of a lengthy road trip I just had to look the book up online and found several pages. You can check out pictures here. I love reading fiction stories where I can learn something too.

This book can be read on its own but I recommend starting with Color Me Murder. Both books have covers ready for you to color.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

You can read my review of Color Me Murder here.

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:
Website   Facebook   Pinterest Mystery Lovers Kitchen    Twitter    Killer Characters

 


GIVEAWAY

 Thanks to the publisher I have 1 Kindle copy to give away!
Book with be sent directly from Amazon.

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.

Sign Up for Krista’s Newsletter for 5 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 31, 2019, 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.”

Posted in Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Reviews 2018 You Read How Many Books Challenge

#Review / #Giveaway – K Street Killing (Washington Whodunit) by Colleen Shogan – Great Escapes Book Tour @CamelPressBooks

About the Book

K Street Killing (Washington Whodunit)

Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Setting – Washington D.C.
Camel Press (July 15, 2018)
Paperback: 242 pages
ISBN-10: 1603816135
ISBN-13: 978-1603816137

It’s the height of campaign season, and instead of relishing newlywed bliss with her husband Doug Hollingsworth, Capitol Hill staffer Kit Marshall is busy with a tough reelection fight for her boss, member of Congress Maeve Dixon. Before Maeve and her staff–Kit included–leave Washington, D.C. to campaign full time in North Carolina, they have one last fundraising engagement.

On the iconic rooftop of a restaurant overlooking the Capitol and the Washington monument, Kit and her best pal Meg do their best to woo wealthy lobbyists for sizable campaign donations. Everyone’s enjoying the evening soiree until a powerful K Street tycoon mysteriously tumbles off the rooftop. Even with claims, the fall must be suicide, Detective Maggie Glass and Kit aren’t so easily convinced foul play isn’t at work. While balancing Doug’s mid-life career crisis, Kit must spring into action to discover who killed the notorious Van Parker before Dixon’s candidacy sputters, even if it means investigating Meg’s handsome new beau, the victim’s conniving widow, and a bicycle advocate hell-bent on settling a long-standing grudge. When a threatening note is left on Kit’s car, warning her to back off the investigation, she knows she’s closing in on the true story of what happened.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Things in Washington D.C. these days are crazier than ever so there is no more perfect time for author Colleen J. Shogan to take us behind the scenes right before an election and to a fundraiser attended by a bunch of wealthy lobbyists held on the rooftop with a spectacular view. Congresswoman Maeve Dixon is on the committee in charge of the big transportation bill and lobbyists for trucks, trains, and yes, even bicycles want to speak to her so that they get want they want included in the bill. That’s why that have made generous donations to her campaign to attend this dinner.

The candidate has to leave early for one last vote on the hill before she heads home to campaign. She leaves Kit Marshall, her chief of staff, and her best friend Meg to stay at the event to entice the guests to give more to the campaign. Kit decides to sneak out early and when she reaches the street outside she hears screams and rushes to see what happened. It appears that one of the lobbyists has taken a nosedive from the rooftop locale. Everyone immediately thinks suicide, except for Kit and Detective Maggie Glass. They think it is murder. Everyone still at the party becomes a suspect and Meg and Kit are stuck in D.C. instead of following their boss to North Carolina. This death could send the congresswoman’s campaign into a tailspin. Kit finds herself again up to her eyeballs in a murder investigation. If the threatening note she finds on her car is any indication she is on the right track.

Newlywed Kit Marshall is a smart protagonist that doesn’t back down to a challenge and in this story, she has her hands full. A reelection campaign, a murder investigation, and a husband that has just been offered a plum job, but it is not in Washington. She keeps putting her husband off for the time being because if her boss doesn’t win reelection she will need to find a new job. She has never thought about a job outside the beltway. Right now, who pushed Van Parker to his death is her number one priority. I really enjoyed myself following along with her every step of the way. When it is time for the big killer reveal, Kit handles it in a truly classic way.

Ms. Shogan has written another fantastic story that is hard to put down. The characters are well developed and the plot is edgy with plenty of twists. The character’s dialogue is believable and at times pretty funny. We get a wonderful peek at the life of a congressional staffer. Her descriptive writing style brings Washington D.C. to life, from the rooftop restaurant to the congressional office and everything in between.

While this is the 4th book in the series, it can easily be read on its own. Of course, to really get to know Kit Marshall you have to start at the beginning.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

About the Author

Colleen J. Shogan has been reading mysteries since the age of six. She conceived of the plot of her first mystery one morning while taking a walk in her suburban Washington, D.C. neighborhood. A political scientist, she previously worked on Capitol Hill as a legislative staffer in the United States Senate and as the Deputy Director of the Congressional Research Service. She is currently a senior executive at the Library of Congress who works on great initiatives such as the National Book Festival. Colleen lives in Arlington, Virginia with her husband Rob and their beagle mutt Conan. She is the recipient of the Next Generation Indie Prize for Best Mystery.

Author Links – Webpage – Facebook – Twitter –  GoodReads 

Purchase Links
Amazon  B&N

Praise for K Street Killing (Washington Whodunit)
by Colleen Shogan

I enjoyed the references to Agatha Christie’s mysteries and her various sleuths. I can see where the author obtained her inspiration for the crime in K Street Killing . . .
~The Avid Reader

It was interesting how they solve the murder, putting everything together to uncover what really happened and discover the truth . . .
~Varietats

For me, the strength of K Street Killing is the glimpse we get into the world of political lobbyists. The author has considerable personal experience in Washington, which gives authenticity to all that goes on and the characters have a realistic feel.
~The Power of Words

Kit and Meg are unstoppable amateur sleuths who refuse to be turned aside in their pursuit of justice.
~Mallory Heart’s Cozies

The characters are well-developed and jump right off the pages. The author’s descriptions of Washington are very vivid and transported me right into the center of DC without ever leaving my seat.
~Socrates’ Book Reviews…

I love reading about the world of politics and Shogun does a good job of letting the reader see this world of competition and negotiation.
~Teresa Trent, Author

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Tour Participants
September 3 –  Varietats – REVIEW
September 3 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT
September 4 – The Power of Words – REVIEW
September 4 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW
September 4 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT
September 5 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW
September 5 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – REVIEW
September 6 – A Blue Million Books – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
September 6 – Jane Reads – GUEST POST
September 7 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – REVIEW
September 7 – MJB Reviewers – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
September 8 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW
September 8 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
September 9 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW, GUEST POST  
September 9 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
September 10 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
September 10 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
September 11 – Cassidy’s Bookshelves – REVIEW
September 11 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT
September 11 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
September 12 – Mysteries with Character – REVIEW
September 12 – Ruff Drafts – 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.”

Posted in Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Reviews 2018 You Read How Many Books Challenge

#Review / #Giveaway – Killer Reputation (Adina Donati, Accidental Sleuth) by Cassidy Salem – Great Escapes Book Tour

 

About the Book

Killer Reputation (Adina Donati, Accidental Sleuth)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Washington D.C.
Self Published (June 15, 2018)
Paperback: 182 pages
ISBN-10: 1718753357
ISBN-13: 978-1718753358
Digital ASIN: B07DKB8WCH

Adina can’t resist snooping when someone she knows turns up dead. Again.

When a colleague at a prestigious think tank meets a violent death, Adina’s not convinced any of the obvious suspects disliked him enough to want him dead. Can the young research assistant, a quirky neighbor, and a lovable rescue pup help the police put together the pieces of the puzzle?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Adina Donati is back and she is involved in solving another murder. A work colleague who also lives nearby has been killed and her detective boyfriend is away for training so his boss is in charge. Adina thinks he is may not be getting the full picture. As she uncovers info she tries to share with him but he is not happy about her interference. A key clue is found that brings everything into focus and again Adina is on the scene.

Adina is a grand protagonist, works for a D.C. think tank and volunteers at an animal rescue. I love that she now has a dog and has convinced her neighbor to foster a fantastic dog too. She now has two housemates and I was delighted to meet them. Her neighbor is an elderly man that watches over the neighborhood. Cassidy gets to know him better with a tragic event and the following murder. I enjoy the friendship they are building.

Cassidy Salem has wrapped her characters in a very interesting mystery, it could have gone in several directions. The twists were great and I loved the way it played out.  She packs so much into just 182 pages and it is easily read in an afternoon.

Even though this is the 3rd story in this series it can be read on its own. I also believe we have just scratched the surface on these characters. I am excited about the next installment.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Praise for Killer Reputation (Adina Donati, Accidental Sleuth)
by Cassidy Salem

Author Cassidy Salem has penned a clever whodunit with a twist I never saw coming.
~ Lisa Ks Book Reviews

I quickly grew to bond with several of the characters. Adina and her policeman boyfriend, Jonathan, were adorable.
~FUONLYKNEW

Csalem

About the Author

Cassidy Salem has always been an avid reader. She is especially fond of mysteries (both cozy and traditional) and police procedurals.  Cassidy also enjoys reading historical fiction focused on American and world history, as well as the classics.  When she’s not reading, she enjoys music and spending time with family and friends, and travels with her husband and son whenever possible. Her travels have taken her to destinations throughout the United States, Europe, and Scandinavia.

Author Links

Blog – Twitter: @csalem11

Facebook: Adina Donati, Accidental Sleuth

 Purchase links:  

Amazon

Also by this Author

 

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS

July 17 – Cozy Up With Kathy – GUEST POST
July 17 – Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
July 18 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT
July 19 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT
July 19 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT
July 20 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
July 20 – Handcrafted Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
July 21 – MJB Reviewers – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
July 22 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST
July 23 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW
July 24 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
July 25 – FUONLYKNEW – REVIEW
July 26 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
July 27 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
July 28 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW
July 28 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
July 29 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
July 30 – Ruff Drafts – 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.”

Posted in Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Literary Escapes Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge Reviews 2018 You Read How Many Books Challenge

#Review / #Giveaway – Confessions of a Red Herring (A Red Herring Mystery) by Dana Dratch – Great Escapes Book Tour @KensingtonBooks

Confessions of a Red Herring (A Red Herring Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Washington D.C. / Virginia
Kensington (May 29, 2018)
Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1496716569
Digital ASIN: B075C8FDT5

 

 

As a reporter, she’s used to covering the news. Now she’s the headline.

Alex Vlodnachek has been a reporter for 12 years, a P.R. rep for three months, and a murder suspect for all of 24 hours. When her agency’s double-dealing CEO is stabbed, scheming co-workers cast the new redhead as a compelling red herring. The story is media catnip—especially her salacious nickname: Vlod the Impaler.

Even Alex has to admit she looks guilty.

Out of a job and under suspicion, Alex is running low on cash, when she’s visited by a second disaster: her family. Soon her tiny bungalow is bursting with her nearest and not-so-dearest. To keep herself out of jail—and save what’s left of her sanity—Alex returns to her reporting roots. She goes undercover to reclaim her life, break the story, and unmask a murderer. Pretty much in that order.

What she doesn’t know: The killer also has a to-do list. And Alex is on it.

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

Alex Vlodnachek’s life is a mess, she left a job she had for years that she loved for a job that pays extremely well that she hates. She can’t believe her boss tried to get her to entertain a client in his hotel room. She turned her boss down flat and walked away. She even called in sick to work on Monday to try to wrap her head around the insanity and plot a new future. That was until the police knocked on her door to tell her that her boss had been killed and she was their prime suspect. Say What??

She tries to return to the office to find out what the heck is going on but she is escorted out by security. How is she going to clear her name when she doesn’t even know the whole story? She decides to use what she learned as a reporter and start doing her own investigation. Even going undercover in the building where she was unceremoniously booted out.

If being out of a job and being a murder suspect isn’t enough she has to deal with family members that have come to visit unannounced. Her tiny little house is exploding at the seams but what’s a girl to do. Maybe they will be able to help. She just hopes she doesn’t get them killed in the process.

What a great start for this series.  First of all, I absolutely love Alex and her grandmother, Baba. Don’t ask me to choose, they are both wonderful characters. In fact, the entire cast is fantastic including dog Lucy. Alex’s best friend “Trip” is the perfect best friend. We all need a Trip in our lives. Her brother, Nick, a former emu farmer, has also come to town, hoping Alex can help him smooth something over with their family. The last person they expected to arrive on the doorstep was Baba. She takes over the house, cleaning and “cooking” and she takes the job of protecting her granddaughter very seriously. Alex is a strong woman but Baba can bring her to her knees. These are strong characters and very well developed for the first book in a series.

So much happens in this story. At times, I felt my head was spinning, but the author brought everything together for one fantastic ending. I was drawn deeply into the story following leads with Alex.  What was happening at that P.R. firm was just crazy, but Alex stuck with it, trying to show police there were many other suspects. She was also dealing with her old firm messing up her life in unbelievable ways. There was drama at home to stay on top of too. Alex was a real superwoman to keep juggling all those balls in the air.

This book was suspenseful and also funny. The title really fits the story. The characters were engaging and eclectic. The dialogue was realistic, there was a bit of explicit language, minimal. I really enjoyed this book start to finish. I am more than excited to see where the author takes this series.

If you are looking for a new cozy series with a fun protagonist, look no further. The one is a perfect escape!

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

About the Author

Dana Dratch is a former newspaper reporter and current personal finance writer. When she’s not finishing Seeing Red—the next Alex Vlodnachek mystery—you’ll spot her byline on a host of top news sites. You can learn more about her mysteries at ConfessionsofaRedHerring.com.

Praise for Confessions of a Red Herring (A Red Herring Mystery)
by Dana Dratch

Well written with an intricate plot, CONFESSIONS OF A RED HERRING is a good debut book for author Dana Dratch.
~Lisa Ks Book Reviews

While a red-headed Vlodnachek might not be the full attraction here, Alexandra’s family and close-knit support group provide a lively and fun romp through the storyline.
~Rosepoint Publishing

 

Purchase Links

Amazon    B&N   Kobo   Google Play    BookBub

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please visit all the stops. 

May 28 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW, GUEST POST
May 29 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
May 29 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW
May 30 – The Ninja Librarian – REVIEW, GUEST POST
May 30 – A Holland Reads – REVIEW
May 31 – Sneaky the Library Cat’s Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
May 31 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
June 1 – Cozy Up With Kathy – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
June 1 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – SPOTLIGHT
June 2 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
June 2 – The Montana Bookaholic – CHARACTER GUEST POST
June 3 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
June 3 –  Babs Book Bistro – REVIEW
June 4 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
June 4 – Sinfully Wicked Book Reviews – REVIEW
June 5 – The Self-Rescue Princess – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
June 5 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
June 5 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT
June 6 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
June 7 – Book Club Librarian – REVIEW
June 7 – Mysteries with Character – REVIEW
June 8 – A Blue Million Books – GUEST POST
June 8 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW
June 9 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW
June 9 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW
June 10 – The Mysterious Inkspot – REVIEW
June 10 – Laura’s Interests – CHARACTER GUEST POST

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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 Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Guest Posts Literary Escapes Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge Read The Printed Word Challenge Reviews 2018 You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday with Krista Davis – Author of Color Me Murder (Pen & Ink) #GuestPost / #Review / #Giveaway @KensingtonBooks

 

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am so excited to welcome Krista Davis to Escape With Dollycas today to
tell us about her new book/series!

I love starting a new series. There’s nothing that’s more fun than imagining the location and bringing new characters to life.

When I started working on Color Me Murder, I knew that Florrie Fox would be an adult coloring book artist. I borrowed the name Florrie, which I heard recently and loved immediately. Doesn’t a Florrie sound like a kind and quiet person? But also someone who is fun! Then I gave her the day job of managing a bookstore. Originally, I thought she might own it with her grandfather, but when I started writing, that was just plain wrong. I scrapped the first thirty pages and started over!

Once I had a handle on her boss, the owner of the bookstore, things fell into place. John Maxwell is the ultimate absent-minded professor. He loathes confrontation and is a lousy manager but a great guy. He’s always searching for answers to historic mysteries. And he’s a well-known adventurer with an office full of interesting artifacts from his exotic travels.

Of course, Florrie had to have a boyfriend. But wait, maybe she wasn’t crazy about him. Maybe he would be a pain in the neck. As it turned out, he got her into some hot water with her mom. Not to worry, though, someone much more interesting would turn up soon.

But where to set this story? I seriously considered a small university town. Those still exist, don’t they? But the more I thought about it, the more I saw the bookstore in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, DC. It’s quaint, it’s very cool and chic, and the streets have that lovely neighborly feeling. Plus it’s full of diplomats and intellectuals who would provide fodder for future books.

The character of Mr. DuBois popped up out of nowhere. He’s a wizened old fellow and very proper. As John Maxwell’s butler, he takes care of the mansion and keeps track of the details that John forgets—like breakfast. Mr. DuBois is a bit agoraphobic, and he watches entirely too many true crime programs on TV. He’s an armchair amateur sleuth. Once in a while, he does something that is completely out of character and delights in it.

One of the things I love about the Pen & Ink Mysteries is that some of the clues are on the cover. If you look at the center of the cover, you’ll notice a cat, a plume, martini glasses, a stunning necklace, and more in an oval around the title. Every one of those is a clue to the mystery!

Oh! Did I mention that the front and back covers can be colored? I can’t wait to see how readers color the covers. In fact, I’m having a contest with prizes for the top three colored covers, to be chosen by a panel of your favorite authors! Stay tuned to my Facebook page and website for more information on the contest.

~Krista

Thank you, Krista, for being my guest today! This book is fantastic! 

Now, let me tell you all about it.


Color Me Murder (Pen & Ink)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Washington
Kensington (February 27, 2018)
Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1496716408
Kindle ASIN: B0719VDGJ6

 

 

Includes A Front and Back Cover for You to Color!
 
By day, Florrie Fox manages Color Me Read bookstore in Georgetown, Washington D.C. By night, she creates her own intricately detailed coloring books for adults, filling the pages with objects that catch her eye. There’s plenty of inspiration in her new apartment—a beautiful carriage house belonging to Professor John Maxwell, Florrie’s boss. He offers the property to Florrie rent-free with one condition—she must move in immediately to prevent his covetous sister and nephew from trying to claim it.

When the professor’s nephew, Delbert, arrives, he proves just as sketchy as Florrie feared. But the following morning, Delbert has vanished. It’s not until she visits the third floor of the store that Florrie makes a tragic discovery—there’s a trap door in the landing, and a dead Delbert inside. The esteemed Professor Maxwell is an obvious suspect, but Florrie is certain this case isn’t so black and white. Doodling clues, she begins to consider other colorful characters on the scene, all with a motive for murder. With a killer drawing closer, Florrie will need to think outside the lines . . . before death makes his mark again.

Digital edition contains a link to the downloadable color-it-yourself cover art!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

What a unique cover idea. Adult coloring books are huge right now. I gave away quite a few to my family for Christmas with sets of colored pencils. This book brings two favorite things together, a fantastic cozy mystery and color-it-yourself cover art.

When you venture beyond the cover you do find a fantastic mystery. We meet Florrie Fox, manager of the Color Me Read bookstore in Georgetown, Washington D.C. The cool thing, she doesn’t just sell adult coloring books in the store, she has also published several herself. Florrie is quite a doodler and the pictures she creates are truly art. Professor John Maxwell owns the store. He is a traveler, his adventures take him all around the world. His office is full of treasures from his travels. He lives on a huge estate with a butler, Mr. DuBois, who runs the household and keep his friend Maxwell on track. There is a guest house on the estate and Professor Maxwell offers the place to Florrie. She is unhappy in her small apartment and Maxwell would rather have her for a tenant than his unsavory nephew Delbert.

Delbert shows up at the bookstore and Florrie dislikes him instantly. She understands why his uncle doesn’t want him around. When she arrives that next day a wrinkle in the carpet catches her attention, she discovers the carpeting in covering a trap door, but when she lifts it she is shocked to find a very dead Delbert. There is no way to color this picture any other way but tragic and gruesome.

I want to shout about this book from the rooftops!

Krista Davis is a great writer, but she has topped herself with this series debut!

The characters are so smart, engaging, witty, charming, interesting and fun. I love them already and want to know them better. Heck, I want to move into Professor Maxwell’s guest house so I can be a part of their lives every day.

I have only visited Washington D.C. once, but with the author’s descriptions of the area and the bookstore, I could transport myself so easily. All the little details were wonderful. I would love to get lost in all the Color Me Read bookstore has to offer.

The plot was rich and flowed at the perfect pace. I found myself so immersed in the story that I realized I didn’t highlight any parts or make any little notes like I do with most books to help me solve the mystery and write my reviews. I sat down and started reading and didn’t put it down until I reached the final word. Well written and well plotted this book has everything I look for in a story and more.

A charming and compelling read with an ending that surprised me. A perfect escape, no this one was a trip to Paradise. It deserves more than 5 stars!

Your Great Escapes 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. Her 4th Paws and Claws Mystery is MISSION IMPAWSIBLE, which releases on February 7th. Krista also writes the Domestic Diva Mysteries. Like her characters, Krista has a soft spot for cats, dogs, and sweets. She lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia with three dogs and two cats.

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Coming November 27

Coming May 29, 2018

GIVEAWAY
 Thanks to the people at Kensington I have 4 ARC copies to give away!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US  mailing address.

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Contest Will End April 11, 2017, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
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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.”