Posted in Giveaways Spotlights

The Body in the Beaver Pond: A Keri Isles Event Planner Mystery by Cathy Perkins #Spotlight / #Giveaway


The Body in the Beaver Pond: A Keri Isles Event Planner Mystery
by Cathy Perkins

Author Cathy Perkins brings the reader a fun plot and some great characters. I am a cover junkie and love covers that give a few clues.
~My Reading Journeys

The Body in the Beaver Pond was interesting, getting to know the characters and learn their depth. The story takes many twists and turns, and there are tangents not having to do with the mystery to be solved.
~JoAnne – Novels Alive

About The Body in the Beaver Pond

The Body in the Beaver Pond: A Keri Isles Event Planner Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Publisher: Red Mountain Publishing (May 15, 2021)
Number of Pages: 325
Digital ASIN : B08ZYWWSY4

Even an event planner doesn’t plan on murder . . . 

 

Keri Isles desperately needs to sell the Christmas Tree farm her cheating, rotten ex convinced his buddy, the judge, to saddle her with in the divorce settlement. Stuck in the Cascade Mountains, she’s lost her Seattle-based job and local job prospects are as scarce as internet service. When she finds the arrogant professor in charge of the local archeology dig floating face down in her beaver pond, however, unloading the property becomes secondary to staying out of prison.

 

A savvy—and scheming—attorney may be able to keep her head above water, but the personal price of his retainer may be too high. It’s up to Keri to use her mad networking skills and deploy a team of archaeology students, a bad boy photographer, and assorted eccentric neighbors to find the killer and clear her name.

 

About Cathy Perkins

Cathy Perkins’s suspense writing lurks behind a financial day-job, where she learned firsthand the camouflage, hide-in-plain-sight skills employed by her villains. A member of Sisters in Crime and International Thriller Writers, she has coordinated conferences, contests and debut author programs, and is a contributing editor for The Big Thrill.

When not writing, she can be found doing battle with the beavers over the pond height or setting off on another travel adventure. Born and raised in South Carolina, she now lives in Washington with her husband, children, several dogs and the resident deer herd.

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Also by this Author

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS
May 14 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
May 14 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT
May 15 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
May 15 – Author Elena Taylor’s Blog – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
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May 16 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
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May 19 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
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May 20 – Novels Alive – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
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May 21 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
May 22 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
May 23 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT
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Posted in 2021 Reviews Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Finish The Series Challenge Giveaways Interviews New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday with Alexis Morgan – Author of Death by Intermission (An Abby McCree Mystery) #Interview / #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @Alexis_Morgan @KensingtonBooks

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am so happy to welcome Alexis Morgan
to Escape With Dollycas today!

Hi Alexis,

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I grew up near St. Louis and attended college there. My husband and I decided we would like to live near the mountains and jumped at the chance when a job offer made it possible for us to move to the Pacific Northwest. That where we’ve made our home for the past forty-plus years. I’ve published close to fifty

books, novellas, and short stories across different varieties of romances and most recently I’ve been writing cozy mysteries.

What are three things most people dont know about you?

I’ve always been interested in dinosaurs and once took my family all the way to Bozeman, Montana, to visit the paleontology museum there.

When I was in high school, I got to interview movie director Otto Preminger (Exodus, Anatomy of a Murder) for my school paper.

My favorite musical is The Lion King.

What is the first book you remember reading?

I’m sure I read other books before this one, but I loved BLACK BEAUTY and read it numerous times when I was a young reader.

What are you reading now?

Molly Harper’s ALWAYS BE MY BANSHEE.

What books have most inspired you?

I read across multiple genres and have learned a lot from a wide variety of authors. Early in my career, Linda Howard’s MIDNIGHT RAINBOW brought into sharp focus what kind of heroes I wanted to write in my own books. In WRITTEN IN RED, Anne Bishop amazes me with her complex world building. It makes me more conscious of how the setting in my books needs to be three dimensional and real enough to thoroughly ground the reader in the story.

What made you decide you wanted to write mysteries?

I’ve always loved reading mysteries—Agatha Christie, Mary Roberts Rinehart, Dick Francis, Ellis Peters, and so many more. I found myself wanting to create my own amateur sleuth and watch her adventures solving murders.

Do you have a special place you like to write?

Yes, I love to write in my office especially since I need to have music on to concentrate. I go into my office close the door, and crank up the volume while I get lost in the flow of whatever story I’m working on.

 Where do the ideas for your books come from?

Most often, my stories start with a specific image and the story spins out from there. For example, my newest release, DEATH BY INTERMISSION, all started with me “seeing” someone sitting on a lawn chair just inside the tree line in a park. He appears to have simply dozed off, but he’s actually a murder victim. From that single image, I had to figure what he was doing there in the first place and who would have risked killing him in such a public place.

Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

I think threading in all the clues, red herrings, and possible suspects in just the right mix to draw the reader along for the ride without revealing too much too soon.

What do you think makes a good story?

For me, it’s all the elements in the story that come together to make me as the reader really care about the characters and what happens to them. I can always tell I’m reading a great book when I reach the end and I really wish I could spend more time in that world and with the people in it.

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

I’d like to think there’s a little of me in Abby McCree, the amateur sleuth in my cozy series. While I don’t really want to solve murders myself, I like how she does her best to take care of the people she cares about. I also love her relationship with Zeke, her mastiff-mix roommate. He’s loosely based on the two bulldogs in my life.

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

Since moving to Snowberry Creek, Abby McCree gets drawn into serving on various committees and community projects around town. This allows me to have Abby encounter people from all different walks of life—the quilting guild, the veterans group, bikers, bar owners, local police, homicide detectives, etc.

What’s next on the horizon for you?

The fifth Abby McCree Mystery, DEATH BY THE FINISH LINE, will be out later this year. In the meantime, I’m working on possible new adventures for Abby to see what other kind of trouble she can get into.

More About Alexis Morgan

Alexis Morgan is the USA Today bestselling author of over forty-five novels, novellas, and short stories that span a variety of genres: American West historicals (as Pat Pritchard); paranormal and fantasy romances; contemporary romances; and cozy mysteries. A RITA® Award-finalist, Alexis Morgan is a member of RWA and Sisters in Crime. She lives in Washington State and can be found online at AlexisMorgan.com.

Author Links –Website –  Facebook – Twitter –   Blog

About Death by Intermission 


Death by Intermission (An Abby McCree Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Publisher: Kensington (January 26, 2021)
Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-10: 1496731255
ISBN-13: 978-1496731258
Digital ASIN: B087Z9CVW8

Abby McCree spends a summer showing family films under the stars—only to end the season with an unexpected slasher flick . . .

 

Ushered once again onto another committee by the mayor of Snowberry Creek, Washington, Abby is tasked with keeping the box office receipts of the town’s Movies in the Park nights. Cut to the director’s chair from where she’s suddenly organizing the summer’s last feature. From the opening scene through the final credits, Abby feels she’s earned nominations for best volunteer, best movie date with her tenant Tripp Blackston—and best daughter for ignoring her mother Phoebe’s own movie date with Owen Quinn.

 

Unfortunately, Abby and the others are treated to a post-credits scene: the body of local insurance agent Mitchell Anders. This discovery is followed by a plot twist revealing that the murder weapon comes from Owen’s food truck. With her mother’s boyfriend suspected of murder, Abby starts her own investigation determined to shine a spotlight on the real killer . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Abby McCree finds herself in charge of another Snowberry Creek event. This time it’s a family film in the park. Everyone seems to have enjoyed the movie, especially Abby who took in the movie with Tripp Blackston, and Abby’s mother, Phoebe who attended the show with her new boyfriend, restauranteur, and food truck owner, Owen Quinn but they didn’t watch most of the movie because they were making out like teenagers and making Abby cringe.

When the movie was over and the park cleared out Abby, Phoebe, Tripp, and Owen took on the tasks of putting equipment and tables away and picking up any litter left behind. They also found a man who appears to have had too many adult beverages and is sleeping it off. But as Abby gets closer she realizes the man isn’t sleeping, he’s dead. He is identified as Mitchell Anders, the new insurance agent in town, and we quickly learn that he has been stabbed. Stabbed with a chef knife belonging to Owen.  Abby doesn’t know much about Owen but when her mother asks her to help clear his name she can’t say no. She also sees the tension between Phoebe and police chief Gage Logan so to keep the peace she needs to get involved. Hopefully, she isn’t making a huge mistake.


The characters I have come to love return, and they are joined by Abby’s mother Phoebe visiting from Seattle, Owen Quinn, who has come to town to open a restaurant and food truck, and his employee, Jada. Abby and Tripp’s relationship is moving along nicely. I love the two of them together but her mother doesn’t. In fact, her mother found issue with almost everything Abby did and all of her friends. She was a cantankerous woman throughout most of the story and Abby really did try to keep her cool but finally blew. I found Abby’s reactions to be very realistic. Her mother’s attitude and actions were a little over the top but the relationship challenges did add a unique slant to the book. Again the lovable mastiff Zeke stole my heart.

The mystery was very well constructed. Owen is holding something back and there are a wide variety of clues that open up the suspect pool. One glaring clue was found in an intriguing place and when discovered broke the case wide open. I really enjoyed this twist and the manner in which it was handled. The way all the subplots entwined with the main plot really kept those pages turning.

Death by Intermission is a superb addition to this series. Ms. Morgan knows how to give her readers a stellar mystery to solve laced with a nice amount of humor and the perfect amount of romance. She has placed her characters in an interesting small town that always has an event or two for them to get believably involved in.

I was smiling as the book drew to a close. I can’t wait to see what these characters are up to next.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

You can read my review of Death by Committee here
and Death by Jack-o-Lantern here and Death by Auction here


Purchase Links – Amazon – B&N –  Kobo – GooglePlay  –  IndieBound 

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Great Escapes Parise for Death by Intermission (An Abby McCree Mystery)
by Alexis Morgan

The combination of the murder mystery, the family dynamics, and small town interactions keep the story moving and the reader engaged. Cozy mystery fans will not be disappointed with this one.
~Christa Reads and Writes

I liked the protagonist and her approach to the crime. Dialogue felt realistic. Her motivation for investigating was also believable.
~Mysteries With Character

Intelligent, well-developed characters, a smart well-plotted mystery, a spark of romance, a sweet big dog, and laugh out loud moments make DEATH BY INTERMISSION a fantastic book that shouldn’t be missed.
~Cozy Up With Kathy

This was a fun, fast-paced cozy mystery. I liked the small-town setting, the characters (especially Abby and her boyfriend/tenant, Tripp), and her lovable, protective Mastiff dog, Zeke.
~View from the Birdhouse

TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please visit all the stops. 
February 1 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
February 1 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
February 2 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – CHARACTER GUEST POST
February 2 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW
February 2 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
February 3 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
February 3 – Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic – GUEST POST
February 4 – Mysteries with Character – REVIEW
February 4 – Baroness’ Book Trove – SPOTLIGHT
February 5 – Cozy Up WIth Kathy – REVIEW
February 5 – View from the Birdhouse – REVIEW
February 5 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
February 6 – Ascroft, eh? – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
February 7 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
February 8 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
February 8 – I Read What You Write – SPOTLIGHT
February 9 – Cassidy’s Bookshelves – GUEST POST
February 9 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
February 10 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
February 10 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Posted in 2021 Reviews Alphabet Soup A -Z Author Edition Challenge Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Finish The Series Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways Literary Escapes Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – Death by Auction (An Abby McCree Mystery) by Alexis Morgan #Review / #Giveaway @Alexis_Morgan @KensingtonBooks

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.


Death by Auction (An Abby McCree Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Washington State
Publisher: Kensington (May 26, 2020)
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 1496719557
ISBN-13: 978-1496719553
Kindle ASIN: B07W7WKTBQ

Not only did Abby McCree inherit her aunt’s house in Snowberry Creek, Washington, she inherited a handsome tenant and a whole lot of trouble . . .

It’s hard to say no to Tripp Blackston. That’s how Abby found herself on yet another committee, organizing a bachelors’ auction to raise money for Tripp’s veteran’s group. The former Special Forces soldier is mortified when Abby enlists him to be one of the prizes, but she has a covert plan to bid on him herself. Before she can, she’s foiled by a sniper bid from a gorgeous stranger, who turns out to be Tripp’s ex-wife, Valerie.

Still reeling from the shock that Tripp was married and wondering what his ex is suddenly doing in town, Abby goes looking to pay the auction’s emcee, radio personality Bryce Cadigan. She finds him in the parking lot, dead in his car. Valerie appears to be the last one to have seen Bryce alive, so she’s the cops’ best bid for suspect. When she asks Tripp for help—and lodgings—it’s Abby’s turn to block by inviting Val to stay with her. But did she just open her home to a murderer?

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

Abby McCree’s new project is organizing a fundraiser for Tripp Blackston’s veteran’s group. She has planned a bachelors’ auction to followed by a dinner event 2 weeks later. It took a bit of convincing but Tripp will be one of the bachelors up for auction and Abby hopes to win with her bid. Her plan goes awry when a beautiful woman takes the prize with a astounding bid of her own. Afterward, she learns the woman is Tripp’s ex-wife Valerie. Say What!?

Okay, Tripp has some explaining to do but she needs to focus on her event. She needs to pay the emcee, Bryce Cadigan, a radio personality that grew up in Snowberry Creek. He has been spending time catching up with people he knows and the last time she saw him he was going outside with Tripp’s ex. She is back glued to Tripp’s side but Bryce is nowhere to be found. She heads to the parking lot hoping he hasn’t left without his check. She finds him in his car and he is going anywhere. He is dead and she has to tell the police she saw him go outside with Valerie. Is Tripp’s ex-wife a killer? Valerie begs Tripp for help and a place to stay now that she can’t leave town. His place is too small for overnight guests so he asks Abby “his landlord” to put Valerie up in one of her guest rooms while they try to track down the real killer. The scary thing is the real killer may be the person moving into her house.


Abby is much more comfortable in Snowberry Creek as she has gotten to know more and more people. Most were friends of her now-deceased aunt but she is finding her place in town in her own right. This time she meets some of Tripp’s military friends as she is working on a veteran’s fundraiser. They come in handy as she tries to find out who killed Bryce Cadigan. Her budding romance with Tripp hits a bump or two with his ex in town. Her friendship with Chief of Police Gage Logan gets stretched as she keeps butting into his case. Jean, Louise, and Glenda, friends of her Aunt Sybil are still pushing and shoving Abby around but she has learned how to deal with them. Jean’s infatuation with Tripp has tamed a bit, again, the ex, but she still is baking him her “famous tuna casseroles. And of course, the lovable mastiff Zeke is around to steal our hearts. I really am a fan of the way these characters continue to evolve. We learn new things about them in every book and I get further invested in their lives as this series continues.

Ms. Morgan has crafted another strong mystery with several suspects. Abby had to really dig deep to find all the connections and press people to reveal secrets or remember past events that would give people reasons to kill off Bryce. Her sleuthing took her to some interesting places. I had a great time following along with her. I had winnowed my list down to two as we headed into the home stretch.

Again the author focuses on helping veterans. I love that the theme continues from the last book which shows it is an important cause for her.

Death by Auction is another great addition to this series. I loved the abundance of humor included throughout the story. I had planned on reading this book when it came out but my breast cancer treatments were wreaking hell in my life last May. Now I am ready for book number 4 Death by Intermission. I will be reviewing it on February 10. I am very excited to visit these characters again so soon.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

You can read my review of Death by Committee here
and Death by Jack-o-Lantern here

About the Author

USA Today Best-selling author Alexis Morgan has always loved reading and now spends her days imagining worlds filled with strong alpha heroes and gutsy heroines. She is the author of over forty-five novels, novellas, and short stories that span a variety of genres: American West historicals (as Pat Pritchard); paranormal and fantasy romances; and contemporary romances. She is excited to say that next year will also see the release of her first cozy mystery series. Alexis has been nominated for several industry awards, including the RITA, the top award in the romance genre.

Author Links 

Website  Facebook Twitter   Blog  

The first three books are on sale for 99 cents right now.
1/29/2021


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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 Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways New Release Challenge Read The Printed Word Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday with Leslie Budewitz – Author of The Solace of Bay Leaves #GuestPost / #Review / #Giveaway


Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am thrilled to welcome Leslie Budewitz back to Escape With Dollycas!

Armchair Travel

by Leslie Budewitz

Whoever first called reading “armchair travel” was brilliant.

Or, to quote another brilliant mind, though Dr. Seuss wasn’t talking about books, “Oh, the places you’ll go.”

I’ve always loved exploring new places by reading, and when I first started writing fiction, I knew one of my goals was to take people to times and places they might not visit themselves. page. My Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries are set in a lakeside town Montana on the road to Glacier National Park, inspired by the village where I live. It’s truly a cozy community, though a Montana mountain valley is not a typical location for a cozy mystery. My Spice Shop series is an urban cozy, set in a community within a community, Seattle’s famed Pike Place Market.

Why the Market? I fell in love with it as a college freshman and made it my life’s mission to eat my way through it. Since it’s constantly changing, and I only get to visit once a year or so, it’s an on-going challenge. But I’m up for it!

It’s a vibrant place, full of sounds, sights, and smells. And the food! The Market is the heart and soul—and stomach—of the city. You can eat just about anything there. Start with a slice of pizza at DeLaurenti’s Italian grocery. Sample spice tea at Market Spice. The Persian food at Farvahar. Dolmatas and falafel from The Falafel King. Dim sum, Vietnamese coffee, baklava, piroshky. Clam chowder, oysters, barbecue. Bagels, crumpets, crepes and cheesecake. Grab coffee at the original Starbucks. Sip wine, beer, ginger beer.

Have I made you hungry? Good! (Me, too.)

The Market transports you to a time gone by, with its cobblestone streets and the jumble of early 20th century buildings jammed against each other. Pillars topped with Victorian capitals. Buckets of fresh flowers. Street-corner musicians. Ghosts who preen and pirouette in the windows of the old ballroom, and other ghosts who reorganize beads in jewelry displays and drink the good whiskey. Bridges to nowhere and windows overlooking nothing. But there are a few modern twists, uniquely Seattle: The Gum Wall outside the Market Theater, a bit of psycho-grunge regularly ranked one of the germiest places in the world. Grown men throwing fish. Visitors from all across the globe.

In The Solace of Bay Leaves, Pepper Reece is about to celebrate her second anniversary as owner of the Spice Shop. Halloween is approaching, and she and Cayenne, one of her employees, have been prowling Market stalls for warty gourds, goblins’ eggs, and other seasonal decors. Through her investigation into the shooting of an old friend and an unsolved murder takes her to the Lake Union houseboat community, some of the city’s older residential neighborhoods, and the hospital district, it’s the Market and its merchants, bakers, craftspeople, and residents who ground Pepper and our story. An observant artist, new to the Market, sees something critical, and Pepper meets a young immigrant woman and her daughter who provide additional clues.

The Market, and the Spice Shop, are Pepper’s happy place. They’re mine, too—even if the Spice Shop exists only in my imagination, and I hope, yours. Pour a cup of something you enjoy, curl up in your comfy chair, and take a trip to Seattle with me, on the page.

Thank you Leslie for dropping by today! 

Keep reading for my thoughts about The Solace of Bay Leaves.

 

The Solace of Bay Leaves (Spice Shop Mysteries)
by Leslie Budewitz
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Setting – Washington
Publisher: Seventh Street Books (October 20, 2020)
Paperback: 248 pages
ISBN-10: 1645060179
Kindle ASIN: B084G9S89T

Pepper Reece never expected to find solace in bay leaves.

 

But when her life fell apart at forty and she bought the venerable-but-rundown Spice Shop in Seattle’s Pike Place Market, her days took a tasty turn. Now she’s savoring the prospect of a flavorful fall and a busy holiday cooking season, until danger bubbles to the surface . . .

 

Between managing her shop, worrying about her staff, and navigating a delicious new relationship, Pepper’s firing on all burners. But when her childhood friend Maddie is shot and gravely wounded, the incident is quickly tied to an unsolved murder that left another close friend a widow.

 

Convinced that the secret to both crimes lies in the history of a once-beloved building, Pepper uses her local-girl contacts and her talent for asking questions to unearth startling links between the past and present—links that suggest her childhood friend may not have been the Golden Girl she appeared to be. Pepper is forced to face her own regrets and unsavory emotions, if she wants to save Maddie’s life—and her own.

 

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Pepper Reece and her boyfriend Nate are out for a night on the town with her BBF Kristen Gardner and her husband Eric when she receives a text message from mutual friend Laurel Halloran . . .

Detective Tracy is in my living room   . . . FBI on the way.

After a little confab, the foursome heads to Laurel’s houseboat where they learn another friend of the girls has been shot and is in the hospital. Then Detective Tracy drops the bomb, their friend Maddie was shot with the same gun as another case that had gone cold. Pat Halloran, Laurel’s husband was murdered about 3 years ago. Is this a new lead? Tracy tells Pepper to stay out of his investigation and that is echoed by the FBI agent. Pepper knows that is not going to happen. She has helped solve other cases, why not this one? or two?

____

Pepper Reece knows her spices and she is a grand amateur sleuth. Her life is on an upswing with a successful and growing business, a new romance with Nate, and her lovable companion Arf, who she adopted when his owner moved away. She is surrounded by a great supporting cast of friends and employees. All the characters are written very realistically. Ms. Budewitz all gives readers a nice group of suspects. Some as sketchy as can be.

The murder mystery is complex and requires a lot of digging. If the shootings are related Pepper needs to finds out how. The author has plotted many twists and turns to keep everyone guessing. There is also a subplot mystery involving the spice shop and a special blend. This mixes in with the main mystery nicely along with the daily routine of running the shop and Pepper’s personal life. The story has a nice pace and builds to an exciting conclusion.

Seattle’s famed Pike Place Market is an ideal setting for this series. Each story we learn more about the place and discover new shops and vendors. I really hope to visit there someday.

The Solace of Bay Leaves is a fine addition to this series. I am looking forward to the next installment.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

You can read my review of Assault and Pepper here, Guilty as Cinnamon here, and Killing Thyme here and Chai Another Day here

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Leslie Budewitz blends her passion for food, great mysteries, and the Northwest in two cozy mystery series. CHAI ANOTHER DAY, her fourth Spice Shop Mystery, set in Seattle’s Pike Place Market, will be published on June 11. DEATH AL DENTE, first in the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries, set in Jewel Bay, Montana, won the 2013 Agatha Award for Best First Novel. She also won the 2011 Agatha Award for Best Nonfiction. “All God’s Sparrows,” her first historical fiction, won the 2018 Agatha Award for Best Short Story. A past president of Sisters in Crime and a current board member of Mystery Writers of America, she lives and cooks in NW Montana.

Find her online at www.LeslieBudewitz.com and on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/LeslieBudewitzAuthor More about CHAI ANOTHER DAY, including an excerpt here: http://www.lesliebudewitz.com/spice-shop-mystery-series/

Also by this Author


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Posted in Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Guest Posts

All We Buried: A Sheriff Bet Rivers Mystery by Elena Taylor – #AuthorGuestPost / #Giveaway @Elena_TaylorAut

All We Buried: A Sheriff Bet Rivers Mystery
by Elena Taylor

About All We Buried


All We Buried: A Sheriff Bet Rivers Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books (April 7, 2020)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1643852914
ISBN-13: 978-1643852911
Digital ASIN: B07RQH353V

For fans of Julia Keller and Sheena Kamal, All We Buried disturbs the long-sleeping secrets of a small Washington State mountain town.

 

Interim sheriff Elizabeth “Bet” Rivers has always had one repeat nightmare: a shadowy figure throwing a suspicious object into her hometown lake in Collier, Washington. For the longest time, she chalked it up to an overactive imagination as a kid. Then the report arrives. In the woods of the Cascade mountain range, right in her jurisdiction, a body floats to the surface of Lake Collier. When the body is extricated and revealed, no one can identify Jane Doe. But someone must know the woman, so why aren’t they coming forward?

 

Bet has been sitting as the interim sheriff of this tiny town in the ill-fitting shoes of her late father and predecessor. With the nightmare on her heels, Bet decided to build a life for herself in Los Angeles, but now it’s time to confront the tragic history of Collier. The more she learns, the more Bet realizes she doesn’t know the townspeople of Collier as well as she thought, and nothing can prepare her for what she is about to discover.

 


I am thrilled to host Elena and this guest post today!! 

A Crime Writer’s Take on Character Development and Grey’s Anatomy

 

I watch a lot of crime dramas on television. From the terrific adaptations of British novels to the long-running Law & Order, I enjoy a lot of the shows the reflect the genre I write in.

But I also watch the medical shows from St. Elsewhere to ER to Grey’s Anatomy.

For both genres, I fully realize I’m watching fiction. I know DNA doesn’t come back in an hour, that Crime Scene Technicians don’t chase suspects, and that interns can’t break protocol over and over and still continue working at their hospital, or even staying out of jail.

But it’s so much fun and the characters matter, so I suspend my disbelief and relish the drama.

So why am I bothered by a character choice on a recent episode of Grey’s Anatomy?

The simple answer? Creating unrealistic situations in a fictional context can be forgiven, but I’m not sure creating an unrealistic aspect of character development can.

When I teach writing workshops about character development, I often say “characters can—and should—surprise us, but those surprises should still be in character.”

In other words, after a character has done something I don’t expect, I should be able to look back and say, “of course that’s how they behaved. The clues are all there that this is what they would do.”

This might include the lengths that they would go to achieve something or their unwillingness to break an ethical rule. It could cover their ability to overcome a fear or their inability to help a friend.

What it can’t do, is reverse the forward development of a character that we’ve watched for sixteen years into a less ethical character. Because that makes the character a lie and that, dear reader, is unforgivable.

The internet exploded with comments about the exit of Justin Chambers’ character, Alex Karev from Grey’s Anatomy’s sixteenth season.

The loss of the character is understandable. Actors are human beings with complex lives. Chambers moved on for whatever reason and his character’s absence had to be dealt with, but the decision made by the show’s writers on how to do that may have missed the mark.

Here’s the scenario for those of you who don’t watch Grey’s Anatomy.

Alex started as a total jerk.

Throughout the first season, he became less of a jerk.

Over the next decade and a half, he continued to develop and evolve and became a thoughtful, conscientious, loving adult.

He ended the series as a total jerk.

See the problem there?

In mid-November, Alex Karev disappeared from the show. No explanation. Just vanished.

His wife, Jo, worried. She called. She emailed. She panicked. She mourned. She suffered. She got no response.

Then on March 5, all of Alex’s closest friends got letters explaining his disappearance.

Letters.

He leaves his wife over a letter.

The letters describe how he reconnected with his first wife and learned they had two children together, which she’d birthed five years ago through embryos they’d created during her cancer treatment.

Ignoring all of the potential plot problems with that scenario, let’s go back to the fundamental problem with character development.

Alex left his wife—the woman who grew up in the foster system just as Alex did, who finally overcame her fear of trusting another human being through her time with Alex—through a letter.

After letting her wonder for months where he was and why he walked out.

This is beyond cruel. It’s epic in its cruelty. It’s also bizarre in its cruelty. It’s more than just “who does that?” It’s why, why, why would Alex Karev do that?

There is NOTHING in his character development to back up that kind of behavior. Even at Alex’s worst, even when he behaved like a jerk, he was never cruel.

There are no clues in place to justify this kind of action on his part.

Will this kill Grey’s Anatomy? Probably not. It’s a wildly successful show and Meredith Grey remains alive and well and she’s the main character. But there’s an emotional impact here that may matter more to fans, even if they keep watching.

A lot of longtime viewers feel duped.

It takes away some of the pleasure of feeling like we “know” these characters. That our investment in years of watching the show, sometimes following characters we didn’t care for and scenarios we found tedious just to stay with a program for which we felt intense loyalty, has been cheapened.

Alex Karev didn’t just leave his wife, or his person, Meredith, or the hospital he was trying to save. He left his fans.

And we didn’t even get a letter.

~Elena

Oh, Girl, I so, agree, I was steaming over this for days! 

About the Author

CREDIT MARK PERLSTEIN

Elena Taylor spent several years working in theater as a playwright, director, designer, and educator before turning her storytelling skills to fiction. Her first series, the Eddie Shoes Mysteries, written under the name Elena Hartwell, introduced a quirky mother/daughter crime-fighting duo. With All We Buried, Elena returns to her dramatic roots and brings readers a much more serious and atmospheric novel. Located in her beloved Washington State, Elena uses her connection to the environment to produce a forbidding story of small-town secrets and things that won’t stay buried. Elena is also a senior editor with Allegory Editing, a developmental editing house, where she works one-on-one with writers to shape and polish manuscripts, short stories, and plays. If you’d like to work with Elena, visit www.allegoryediting.com.When she’s not writing or coaching writing, her favorite place to be is at the farm with her horses, Jasper and Radar, or at her home, on the middle fork of the Snoqualmie River in North Bend, Washington, with her husband, their dog, Polar, and their cats, Coal Train and Cocoa. Elena holds a B.A. from the University of San Diego, a M.Ed. from the University of Washington, Tacoma, and a Ph.D. from the University of Georgia.

Author Links

Website –  Blog – Facebook –  Twitter – Goodreads  – Instagram

Purchase Links:

Amazon:   Barnes& Noble  Books-A-Million  IndieBound

Written as Elena Hartwell

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Great Escapes Praise for All We Buried: A Sheriff Bet Rivers Mystery
by Elena Taylor

I absolutely loved All We Buried: A Sheriff Bet Rivers Mystery! If you love a good suspenseful mystery, you’ll love it too!
~CHRISTY’S COZY CORNERS

I haven’t read Elena Taylor before but after being thoroughly captivated by Bet Rivers, this is definitely not the last!
~TBR Book Blog

All We Buried by Elena Taylor was an exciting tale of mystery, crime, and carrying a family legacy.
~Baroness’ Book Trove

The story was well thought out, executed and gripping, I loved the small town setting and the characters and can’t wait to read from this series and author.
~eBook addicts

Taylor skillfully sets the pace to allow us to become acquainted with the town, the people, and the deep-rooted mysteries coming to the surface. A fabulous read from start to finish!
~Reading Is My SuperPower

A twisty little thriller set in the dark environs of Washington state with a lake that is so dead that fish can’t even live there.
~Diane Reviews Books

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

April 7 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
April 7 – Ascroft, eh? – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
April 8 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
April 8 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT
April 9 – The Power of Words – REVIEW
April 9 – Gimme The Scoop Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST
April 10 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW
April 10 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
April 11 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
April 11 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
April 12 – TBR Book Blog – REVIEW
April 13 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW
April 13 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – CHARACTER GUEST POST
April 14 – eBook addicts – REVIEW
April 14 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
April 15 – My Reading Journeys – SPOTLIGHT
April 15 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW
April 16 – The Book Diva’s Reads – GUEST POST
April 16 – fundinmental – SPOTLIGHT
April 17 – Diane Reviews Books – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW
April 18 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST
April 18 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – GUEST POST  
April 19 – That’s What She’s Reading – REVIEW
April 19 – Brooke Blogs – CHARACTER GUEST POST
April 20 – Here’s How It Happened – SPOTLIGHT

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

Bitter Alpine: An Emma Lord Mystery (Emma Lord Returns) by Mary Daheim – #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @readalibi

Bitter Alpine: An Emma Lord Mystery
(Emma Lord Returns)
by Mary Daheim

About Bitter Alpine 


Bitter Alpine: An Emma Lord Mystery (Emma Lord Returns)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Washington
Publisher: Alibi (February 4, 2020)
~Print Length: 235 pages
ASIN: B01LZU2W7N

New year, new murder . . . Emma Lord is on the case when death finds its way back to the wintry mountain town of Alpine.

After a relatively calm and cozy holiday season, neither Emma Lord, editor and publisher of The Alpine Advocate, nor her husband, Sheriff Milo Dodge, are surprised when their new year gets off to a rocky start. A woman’s body has been found in a squalid motel. Her driver’s license shows that Dawn Purvis was in her late thirties and lived in Weaverville, California—and the only connection between that town and Alpine is their gold-mining and logging origins. When they discover that Dawn’s room reservation was open-ended, Emma, Milo, and the ever-inquisitive Advocate receptionist, Alison Lindahl, are more than mildly curious. And never mind that the youthful Alison is a bit distracted by the new county extension agent’s virile good looks. She can still sleuth while she stalks her newest crush.

But that’s not all the news that’s unfit to print. There’s something strange about the older couple who have moved into the cabin down the road that was once owned by a murder victim. The elderly wife seems anti-social. There’s got to be a reason, which Emma, Milo, and Alison intend to find out—even if it puts them in deadly danger.’

Dollycas’ Thoughts

This series continues as we enter 2007. The Alpine Advocate editor Emma Lord and her new husband Sheriff Milo Dodge ring in the new year only to find themselves embroiled in another investigation. A women’s body is found in a local hotel and they can’t find any connection between her and Alpine. The new Advocate receptionist even does a little sleuthing. All three are also concerned about an older couple the have moved in down the road. Needless to say, all their snooping could be dangerous.

I have enjoyed all the previous 27 books in the series. This time Emma and Milo are even more cantankerous than usual and I felt Emma has lost some of her conviction and that detracted from the joy I usually feel when visiting Alpine. Emma also uses a derogatory term to describe her son that almost had me putting the book down for good. I know the story is set 13 years ago and the author probably used it as a reference for the time, but it is a term I believe was even seldom used even then. I was also taken aback by the way domestic abuse was handled. In fact, that word, that abuse, and some of Emma’s actions ring more from the ’50s instead of the early 2000s. As I kept reading I understood why the author handled the abuse as she did, but it was hard to read in places. Vida also has her share of troubles within these pages.

The mysteries were hit and miss for me. One of the problems with a long-running series is giving new readers background on the town and its inhabitants. It is important to learn the small-town dynamics like everyone is related to Scene Around Town columnist, Vida Runkel and that Ed Bronsky is going to drop by the Advocate office with some new scheme. Ms. Daheim did that almost too much this time. The asides messed with the flow at times. Emma seemed to be off her game with these investigations. I did think it was hilarious near the end of the book when Milo locked Emma in the car and warned her not to try to get any closer. What was sad was that she actually did it.  Not all the loose ends are tied up at the end. Emma’s son Adam has been transferred from Alaska to Michigan and Vida’s replacement as she retires looks to be ad man Leo’s wife Liza.

The author continues to capture the weather and atmosphere of Alpine, Washington. January there can be brutal.

I am hoping the stumbles in this story are just a blip in the life of this series. Writing 28 books featuring the same characters and keeping things new and fresh has to be incredibly hard. I will be looking forward to the next installment because I do want to see what happens next for the residents of Alpine.


Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Mary Daheim

About the Author

Mary Daheim is the author of the Alpine mystery series. A Seattle native with a degree in communication from the University of Washington, she realized at an early age that getting a book published might elude her for years, so she began her writing career working on daily newspapers. The mother of three daughters, she lives in a century-old house in her hometown.
Purchase Links – Amazon  –   B&N   –   Kobo

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Praise for Bitter Alpine: An Emma Lord Mystery
(Emma Lord Returns)
by Mary Daheim

I’m not sure how I missed this series, but I am glad to have found it now (and as there is a recap at various points you are not left sidelined for information!)
~A Wytch’s Book Review Blog

Milo is called out to the apparent murder of a woman at the motel on the fringe of town and sets off the investigation leading to some red herrings which will definitely throw you off track in this cold, heavily snow-laden mountain community.
~Rosepoint Publishing

. . . it was a fun read and I enjoyed the wintry feel of it.
~Gimme The Scoop Reviews

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February 3 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW
February 3 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
February 4 – Diane Reviews Books – SPOTLIGHT
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February 10 – Reading Authors Network – 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 Reviews 2019 You Read How Many Books Challenge

Death by Jack-o’-Lantern (An Abby McCree Mystery) by Alexis Morgan #Review / #Giveaway @Alexis_Morgan @KensingtonBooks


Death by Jack-o’-Lantern (An Abby McCree Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Washington State
Kensington (August 27, 2019)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1496719549
ISBN-13: 978-1496719546
Kindle ASIN: B07L2G18F8

Overcommitted committee member Abby McCree gets in a patch of trouble trying to solve the murder of a pumpkin farmer …

The small town of Snowberry Creek, Washington, is gearing up for the Halloween Festival, and naturally Abby is on the planning committee. As part of her duties, she’s picking up a pumpkin order from ornery farmer Ronald Minter. But what she finds instead is the farmer in the middle of his corn maze with a knife in his back.

The police suspect a homeless veteran named Kevin Montgomery, who was seen arguing with Minter when the farmer accused him of trespassing and stealing pumpkins. Abby’s tenant Tripp Blackston, a veteran himself who’s been helping Kevin, is sure he’s innocent. Together, Abby and Tripp follow the twists and turns of the case to corner the corn maze killer—before someone else meets a dead end …

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Abby McCree just doesn’t know how or get the chance to say “NO!”. Still filling in for her deceased Aunt Sybil, she is also part of the planning committee for the Halloween Festival and soon will be volunteered by her tenant Tripp to help with another event. With one of the Halloween committee down sick Abby is recruited to pick up the pumpkin order from Ronald Minter’s farm. While searching the farm for its owner she comes upon his corn maze. Thinking he must be in there getting ready for the expected crowds from the festival, she ventures in. She finds the man, but with that knife in his back, he will be of no help with those pumpkins. The prime suspect becomes Kevin Montgomery, a homeless vet that has been living in the woods. Tripp also a veteran has been trying to help the man acclimate and knows he didn’t kill Minter, in fact, he would stake his freedom on it.

There are also some unique creations showing up around town that may tie into the case. Abby along with her sidekick Zeke, for the most part, a Bull Mastiff, a gentle giant, at least most of the time set out to find the real killer. Her friend Police Chief Gage tries to keep her safe knowing she will not back down.

__________

I liked Abby right away in the first book of this series, Death by Committee, I love her now. Check out the way she takes a new detective down on notch with just her words.

Please let me finish. What I was going to say was that I really don’t care who you are, Detective Whatever-Your-Name-Is, or why you’re here. As I’m sure Deputy Chapin told you, I have permission to be here and to stay as long as I like. I’m sure if you want time to talk to Mr. Blackston, Chief Logan will be glad to schedule you an appointment. This particular time slot, however, is already taken.”

She wasn’t sure what her smile looked like at that moment, but Deputy Chapin backpedaled a few feet. “Now, if you’ll excuse us, Mr. Blackston and I were talking. I’m sure you can find something to occupy yourself until we’re done. I’m betting if you kick some money into the kitty in the bullpen, they’ll even let you have a cup of coffee. If not, there’s a nice coffee shop right down the street.” By that point, all three men were looking at her as if they hadn’t understood a single word she’d said. “I’m sorry, do you need me to repeat that, maybe slower this time?”

Strong, smart, sassy, I laughed out loud and gave Abby a “You Go Girl!” Now if only she could stand up to that group of her aunt’s friends that keep volunteering her for everything under the sun. She is getting there but her kind nature I believe she will always be a soft touch especially when she feels is honoring her aunt.

Ms. Morgan has surrounded Abby with a great supporting cast. We are getting to know Tripp Blackston a little better and the connection between him and Abby is getting stronger.  He already has a big strong relationship with the lovable Zeke 🙂 Abby has a true friendship with Gage Logan and they are getting to understand each other. The ladies from the quilting group are always there to help, advise or butt in as needed.

The author has written a strong mystery too. I was pulled in many different directions over the course of the novel. I knew in my heart who it couldn’t be but I would be lying if I didn’t tell you I was totally surprised by the big reveal. Alexis Morgan expertly pens a slow build the rachets up at a delightful pace all leading up a dramatic ending. She describes everything so clearly readers can feel like they are right there on the spot.

I really have to applaud the author for the way she addressed homeless veterans and veterans, in general, dealing with veterans with PTSD and finding their way back in the world after surviving horrendous things can be a rough road. Many in Snowberry Creek were on the wrong side of this issue but thankfully there were those willing to help, some veterans themselves. Putting a hot topic issue like this into a work of fiction makes it more real and relevant.

Death by Jack-o’-Lantern is a marvelous addition to this series.  I loved the Halloween theme and was totally entertained beginning to end. Bring on Book #3!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

You can read my review of Death by Committee here

About the Author

USA Today Best-selling author Alexis Morgan has always loved reading and now spends her days imagining worlds filled with strong alpha heroes and gutsy heroines. She is the author of over forty-five novels, novellas, and short stories that span a variety of genres: American West historicals (as Pat Pritchard); paranormal and fantasy romances; and contemporary romances. She is excited to say that next year will also see the release of her first cozy mystery series. Alexis has been nominated for several industry awards, including the RITA, the top award in the romance genre.

Author Links –

Website  Facebook Twitter   Blog  

Purchase Links –


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

Posted in Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Finish The Series Challenge Giveaways Guest Posts Reviews 2019 You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday with Leslie Budewitz – Author of Chai Another Day (Spice Shop Mysteries) #GuestPost / #Review / #Giveaway @SeventhStBooks @LeslieBudewitz

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am delighted to welcome Leslie Budewitz back to Escape with Dollycas with a new Spice Shop Mystery that will be released next Tuesday!

Researching Fiction
by Leslie Budewitz

 

It’s fiction, readers say. What is there to research?

Plenty. Okay, so writing a novel is like spending all day, every day, with my imaginary friends. I’ve often said I’m a happier, healthier person because I spend much of my time with people who only exist because I made them up.

But what makes these people so interesting is that they bring into my life new experiences. New perspectives. New problems and strange objects, unfamiliar takes on familiar places. Dead bodies and the search for a killer.

In my Spice Shop series, Pepper Reece runs Seattle Spice in the famed Pike Place Market. Founded in 1907, Pike Place is the oldest continuously operating public market in the country. I fell in love with the Market as a college freshman, not long after the city’s voters saved it from urban removal. Later, as a young lawyer working in downtown Seattle, I shopped in the Market regularly and made it my mission to eat my way through. Easy to do, since it’s constantly changing. Research!

When I’m working on a Spice Shop book, I keep a map of the Market and a current list of shops, restaurants, services, and other tenants close. Though I’d long heard tales of hauntings in the old buildings, Market Ghost Stories by Mercedes Yeager, who grew up in the Market where her parents ran an artists’ stall and who now runs a coffee shop and conducts tours of the Market, gave me a new view of the place. Turns out that over time, doors and windows in various buildings were closed off, creating hidden rooms and passageways, which I used in Assault and Pepper, the first in the series.

Both Mr. Right and my best friend from college, who still lives in the area and whom I’ve dubbed my unofficial research assistant, have spent countless hours poking around the Market and environs with me. A friend who works at Seattle Center, site of the 1962 World’s Fair, gave Mr. Right and me a behind-the-scenes tour, which helped enormously in writing a pair of scenes in Guilty as Cinnamon.

On another visit, Mr. Right and I prowled through the Lake Union houseboat district, where Pepper’s good friend Laurel lives. We snapped pictures, ate breakfast, and walked past a tiny antique shop that, years later, gave me the idea for Rainy Day Vintage, featured in Chai Another Day. A book on the “floating home” community, newspaper articles, and blog posts gave me an insider’s view—and even prompted me to give Laurel and her son a white cat who roams the docks. Research!

For Chai Another Day, naturally, I drank lots of tea. Read articles on chai and its fascinating history, and played in the kitchen to come up with a tea blend and a baking blend that Pepper sells; both recipes are included in the book.

Of course, a mystery needs a crime, usually a murder, and a murder needs a weapon. I won’t say much about that—no spoilers—but I will say that for Chai, I got to learn some fun facts about an antique my husband inherited from his mother. And as is often the case in cozies, Pepper fends off the killer with an innovative use of a familiar item, prompting more research.

Mysteries have a serious side, too. I’ve plowed through photos of Seattle crime scene investigations and stared a little too closely at street cops to make sure I know what they wear and drive. The Seattle Police Department’s public information officers have helped me pin down a few details. For Chai, I dug into immigration statistics from the 1950s, pored over blogs written by young women of South Asian (Indian) ancestry, and read about treatment for opioid addiction.

And of course, I cooked and ate. When you read a recipe in one of my books, I want you to know you can make it without much trouble and it will turn out well. Research!

Fiction works when it feels real. That means melding imagination with investigation, putting the facts to work in service of the tale. And it’s so much fun.

~Leslie

Thank you, Leslie, for visiting today! 

Keep reading to for my review of Chai Another Day.

 


Chai Another Day (Spice Shop Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series – First with this Publisher
Setting – Washington State
Seventh Street Books (June 11, 2019)
Paperback: 240 pages
ISBN-10: 1633885364
ISBN-13: 978-1633885363
Kindle ASIN: B07FC1J6ZG

Seattle Spice Shop owner Pepper Reece probes murder while juggling a troubled employee, her mother’s house hunt, and a fisherman who’s set his hook for her.

As owner of the Spice Shop in Seattle’s famed Pike Place Market, Pepper Reece is always on the go. Between conjuring up new spice blends and serving iced spice tea to customers looking to beat the summer heat, she finally takes a break for a massage. But the Zen moment is shattered when she overhears an argument in her friend Aimee’s vintage home decor shop that ends in murder.

Wracked by guilt over her failure to intervene, Pepper investigates, only to discover a web of deadly connections that could ensnare a friend – and Pepper herself.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Again, Pepper has a lot on her plate and the last thing she needs is another murder, but that is exactly what she finds when she tries to take a little time for herself. She heard an argument erupting from the vintage shop as she climbed the steps for a relaxing massage. Before she gets any of the benefits the massage ends when her massage therapist, Seetha is summoned downstairs for a medical emergency. The emergency was murder! Aimee McGillvray, the owner of Rainy Day Vintage, found her employee Joelle bleeding on the floor of the store but she died before help could arrive.

Pepper is distraught, if only she had ventured into the store before going upstairs she may have saved Joelle’s life. Warned by Detective Tracy to stay out of the investigation, she feels responsible and can’t help but to do her own inquiries.

_____

I am so happy this series has new life with a new publisher. If you missed the prior books, no fear, the author provides a cast list at the front of the book and provides plenty of background within these pages.

The author has created a strong protagonist in Pepper Reece. She is smart and caring with a background in human relations. Pepper has learned a lot about spices since this series began. She is a wonderful cook and has developed a great palate which helps her create some fantastic blends with the help of her staff. She has also developed a palate for sleuthing and that could be her downfall as sometimes she leaps into the fray without regard for her own safety.

Thankfully there is a great supporting cast who has saved her bacon time and time again. The supporting cast is her mother, friends, employees, a certain fisherman, and Detectives Tracy, Spencer, and new in this book Armstrong. Also, usually by her side is her lovable dog, Arf, who has great instincts. All are genuine and relatable. They each have a purpose and add to the story as a whole.

I do enjoy that Ms. Budewitz doesn’t back away from social issues. Pepper’s family has always been involved in helping people and doing the right thing and she lives her life the same way.

The story does blend the happenings of real life with the mystery of murder seamlessly. Readers will find a well-written and very well-plotted mystery. There are plenty of suspects and plenty of twists. Surprisingly I honed in on the right guilty party this time but didn’t understand the full motivation until it was spelled out for me. The author did her best to give up on my suspect in favor of another but I held tight to my choice.

The setting of this series, Seattle’s famed Pike Place Market, is such a unique place and a treasure trove for this series. With each visit, we find new shops, nooks, and places I would love to visit.  The author’s descriptive style really brings the place alive. Someday, I hope to see it in person.

This is an excellent addition to this series. The characters are like old friends and they are wrapped up in a fine mystery. There are also mouth-watering recipes and spice notes at the back of the book I can’t wait to try. I will be anxiously awaiting book #5 and another trip to the Seattle Market. I hope we don’t have to wait too long.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

You can read my review of Assault and Pepper here, Guilty as Cinnamon here,
and Killing Thyme here

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Leslie Budewitz blends her passion for food, great mysteries, and the Northwest in two cozy mystery series. CHAI ANOTHER DAY, her fourth Spice Shop Mystery, set in Seattle’s Pike Place Market, will be published on June 11. DEATH AL DENTE, first in the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries, set in Jewel Bay, Montana, won the 2013 Agatha Award for Best First Novel. She also won the 2011 Agatha Award for Best Nonfiction. “All God’s Sparrows,” her first historical fiction, won the 2018 Agatha Award for Best Short Story. A past president of Sisters in Crime and a current board member of Mystery Writers of America, she lives and cooks in NW Montana.

Find her online at www.LeslieBudewitz.com and on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/LeslieBudewitzAuthor More about CHAI ANOTHER DAY, including an excerpt here: http://www.lesliebudewitz.com/spice-shop-mystery-series/

 

Also by this Author


Thanks to the author I have 1 copy to give away!

The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

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

Follow the Author on Twitter for 2 Bonus Entries @LeslieBudewitz 

Follow Leslie Budewitz on Facebook for 2 Bonus Entries! 

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End June 19, 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 Finish The Series Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways Read The Printed Word Challenge Reviews 2019 TBR Pile Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – Killing Thyme (A Spice Shop Mystery) by Leslie Budewitz #Review / #Giveaway #FF


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.

I have been working hard to get caught up on this series before the 4th book in the series comes out on July 11.
Mission Accomplished!


Killing Thyme (A Spice Shop Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Washington State
Berkley (October 4, 2016)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 0425271803
ISBN-13: 978-0425271803
Kindle ASIN: B01AHKXJ0K

In Seattle’s Pike Place Market, Spice Shop owner Pepper Reece is savoring her business success, but soon finds her plans disrupted by a killer in the latest from the national bestselling author of Guilty as Cinnamon.

Pepper Reece’s to-do list is longer than the shopping list for a five-course dinner, as she conjures up spice blends bursting with seasonal flavor, soothes nervous brides fretting over the gift registry, and crosses her fingers for a rave review from a sharp-tongued food critic. Add to the mix a welcome visit from her mother, Lena, and she’s got the perfect recipe for a busy summer garnished with a dash of fun.

While browsing in the artists’ stalls, Pepper and Lena drool over stunning pottery made by a Market newcomer. But when Lena recognizes the potter, Bonnie Clay, as an old friend who disappeared years ago, the afternoon turns sour. To Pepper’s surprise, Bonnie seems intimately connected to her family’s past. After Bonnie is murdered only days later, Pepper is determined to uncover the truth. But as Pepper roots out long-buried secrets, will she be digging her own grave?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

We are back in Seattle again. Just in time for a visit from Spice Shop owner Pepper Reece’s mother, Lena. Pepper also has a lot on her plate at work. Grabbing a few minutes with her mom they take a tour around the Market. Pepper wanted to connect with a new pottery vendor and was surprised when her mom recognized the potter from their past. She has thought the woman was dead. Sadly a few days later she was murdered in her studio. Pepper does remember some snippets of the woman and is afraid that her mother is going to be at the top of the suspect list. She also knows that her friend Kristen’s family could be implicated. The more she digs in the more secrets she seems to uncover. At first, she may just have been Killing Thyme but as her investigation continues she needs to worry about someone killing her.

Ms. Budewitz has created a wonderful cast of characters. Pepper has hired two new employees, Matt Kemp, and Cayenne Cooper. Matt has retail experience and with a name like Cayenne, this has to be the perfect job. Pepper’s mom also arrives from South America, her dad is nearby too, off on a fishing trip with Kristen’s dad. We also meet the woman who becomes the victim, Bonnie Clay. A woman with a lot of secrets. Secrets that may have led to her death. A couple of characters have moved on but all my favorites are back, including Detectives Spencer and Tracy, but they are joined by a cold case detective, John Washington. Pepper’s dog Arf is back too.

The mystery is very intriguing and could harken back to the 1980s when Bonnie and several others including Pepper, Kristen, and their families lived communally in the house where Kristen now lives. A house that has just had major renovations and where Kristen made a wonderful discovery.  A discovery that may have played a big part in Bonnie’s death. A discovery that could play a part in a cold case. The author plotted everything out so well. I was kept guessing right up to the very end.

I really enjoyed getting to know about Pepper’s past and her mother’s too. I think her mom and I would be fast friends. We also find out Pepper’s real name!!!

Another shining visit to Seattle’s Pike Place Market.  This is my favorite book in this series so far. Chai Another Day comes out soon and I can’t wait!

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

You can read my review of Assault and Pepper here and Guilty as Cinnamon here.

 

About the Author

Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries—and the first author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction. She lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician, and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat Ruff, a cover model, and avid bird-watcher.

Connect with her on her website, http://www.LeslieBudewitz.com, on Facebook, or on Twitter.


Also by this Author


I am giving away my review copy!

The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

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

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End June 7, 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 Finish The Series Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways Read The Printed Word Challenge Reviews 2019 TBR Pile Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – Guilty as Cinnamon (A Spice Shop Mystery) by Leslie Budewitz #Review / #Giveaway #FF


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.


Guilty as Cinnamon (A Spice Shop Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Washington State
Berkley (December 1, 2015)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 042527179X
ISBN-13: 978-0425271797
Kindle ASIN: B00U5L7UDY

Murder heats up Seattle’s Pike Place Market in the next Spice Shop mystery from the national bestselling author of Assault and Pepper.

Springtime in Seattle’s Pike Place Market means tasty foods and wide-eyed tourists, and Pepper’s Spice Shop is ready for the crowds. With flavorful combinations and a fresh approach, she’s sure to win over the public. Even better, she’s working with several local restaurants as their chief herb and spice supplier. Business is cooking, until one of Pepper’s potential clients, a young chef named Tamara Langston, is found dead, her life extinguished by the dangerously hot ghost chili—a spice Pepper carries in her shop.

Now stuck in the middle of a heated police investigation, Pepper must use all her senses to find out who wanted to keep Tamara’s new café from opening—before someone else gets burned…

INCLUDES DELICIOUS RECIPES!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Overdose by a ghost pepper? Say it isn’t so!  Oh! But it more than an overdose, It’s MURDER!

Someone really turned up the heat on Chef Tamara Langston. She was currently working for Pepper’s ex, but he fires her when he learns she is close to opening a restaurant of her own. He also blows up at Pepper too because she knew and didn’t tell him. When Pepper discovers Tamara dead in her new restaurant space Alex quickly lands at the top of the suspect list and behind bars. He asks Pepper to find the real killer. She agrees but not only to help him, she realizes the pepper/murder weapon may have come from her shop and she wants to be sure for herself.

Meanwhile, there are some strange things happening at the Pike Place Market. Rumors of ghosts surface as strange electrical outages seem to be the main complaint. Pepper even loses a prized possession and almost loses her shop as the weird happenings continue. Adding to her stress are one employee that needs to go and one that is sadly leaving.

I was delighted to be back in Seattle at the Pike Place Market. I love all the author’s descriptions, they truly bring the place to life. It is a perfect setting for a cozy mystery series.

All the characters I enjoyed in the first book return. Pepper is super busy trying to expand the shop and its client base, get approval for a new sign for the front of the shop, dealing with her staff and all the other things involved in owning a spice shop. She really didn’t need another murder to solve but I enjoyed the way she takes in on even knowing she is going to have to listen to her policeman ex-husband telling her daily to back off. Pepper came across stronger in this story but she hasn’t lost her huge heart. Most of her staff totally have her back too and are willing to hold down the shop while she is off investigating. These characters really play well off each other and as the cast list grows they each are memorable and people I want to get to know better and see if future stories.

The plot of this story has a lot of moving parts and the murder mystery part is very complex. The victim has a secret that is not revealed until late in the book and that gives the case a unique turn. Certain clues were delivered in unexpected ways. A very interesting individual helps move things along and Pepper gets an amazing assist as everything fell into place. I was kept guessing right to the end.

This story was a marvelous mystery to read and try to solve.  Great characters tangled in a captivating story set in a place I would love to visit. I am excited that book #3, Killing Thyme is waiting for me on my To-Be-Read shelf.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

You can read my review of Assault and Pepper here.

 

About the Author

Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries—and the first author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction. She lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician, and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat Ruff, a cover model, and avid bird-watcher.

Connect with her on her website, http://www.LeslieBudewitz.com, on Facebook, or on Twitter.


Also by this Author


I am giving away my review copy!

The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

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

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End April 26, 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.”