The Angels’ Share: A Wine Country Mystery Book 10 by Ellen Crosby – a #BookReview #historymystery

Rosepoint Publishing:  Five of Five Stars 5-stars

“The angels’ share was the amount of alcohol or spirits lost to evaporation…anything that aged in barrels or casks.”

The Angels' Share by Ellen CrosbyBook Blurb:

Ellen Crosby pours up another corking mystery with The Angels’ Share, an intriguing blend of secret societies, Prohibition bootleg wine, and potentially scandalous documents hidden by the Founding Fathers, all of which yield a vintage murder.

When Lucie Montgomery attends a Thanksgiving weekend party for friends and neighbors at Hawthorne Castle, an honest-to-goodness castle owned by the Avery family, the last great newspaper dynasty in America and owner of the Washington Tribune, she doesn’t expect the festive occasion to end in death.

During the party, Prescott Avery, the 95-year old family patriarch, invites Lucie to his fabulous wine cellar where he offers to pay any price for a cache of 200-year-old Madeira that her great-great-uncle, a Prohibition bootlegger, discovered hidden in the US Capitol in the 1920s. Lucie knows nothing about the valuable wine, believing her late father, a notorious gambler and spendthrift, probably sold or drank it. By the end of the party Lucie and her fiancé, winemaker Quinn Santori, discover Prescott’s body lying in his wine cellar. Is one of the guests a murderer?

As Lucie searches for the lost Madeira, which she believes links Prescott’s death to a cryptic letter her father owned, she learns about Prescott’s affiliation with the Freemasons. More investigating hints at a mysterious vault supposedly containing documents hidden by the Founding Fathers and a possible tie to William Shakespeare. If Lucie finds the long-lost documents, the explosive revelations could change history. But will she uncover a three hundred-year-old secret before a determined killer finds her?

 My Review:

Yes, thrilled that I was given a download for The Angels’ s Share as I’d come late to the party (again) getting in at Book 9, Harvest of Secrets last November. (See that review here.) It was my first introduction to the wine country of Virginia. I still have a soft spot in my heart for the wine country of Napa, California, but this series has given me a burning desire to beat a hasty exit from Indiana to experience that special area around Jamestown. Mercy, the history!

The Angels' Share by Ellen CrosbyInterest was hooked immediately and, although a series, can work well as a standalone. So easy to become engaged with the characters, the locale, and the description of the wine. Protagonist Lucie Montgomery and fiancé Quinn Santori go back to the plush wine cellar to retrieve the cell phone left after a private discussion with Prescott Avery. There they discover the 95-year old patriarch and owner of Hawthorne Castle dead. His death is not the result of age or a fall, however, and the discussion she and Prescott held in private quickly sends her on a quest for three-hundred-year-old Madeira, possibly hidden in her own winery.

The Madeira though is only the top layer of the complex well-drawn plot, delving into the history of the area and the local Freemasons including their connection with the Founding Fathers. Lucie begins to notice the subtle hints of Shakespearean phrase referenced to centuries old documents and artifacts. In order to find the precious wine, she’ll have to correctly interpret the materials left in her father’s secret safety deposit box.

Concentrating on the mystery of the documents, the reader is immersed in fascinating and detailed early American history of the Jamestown triangle. I love the way the author ties ancient mythology to her stories, and indeed, this entry to the series had a great deal more to do with the history mystery than that of the winery getting ready for Christmas.

So much intriguing information, aways a lot going on, the storyline never slows and keeps the reader flipping pages, each one leaving another lesson or plot point in one of the layers. It is an immersive book you don’t want to put down and delivers the implied promise of the cover. Perhaps Shakespeare didn’t write his own plays? There is so much you don’t know that you don’t know.

I‘m looking forward to visiting again soon and heartily recommend this entry in the well-developed series to anyone who enjoys a high-speed romp into one of our country’s most beautiful and history-laden areas. I received this uncorrected digital galley from the publisher (thank you, Minotaur!!) and NetGalley and appreciate the opportunity to read and review.

Book Details:

Genre: Cozy Culinary Mystery, Amateur Sleuths
Publisher: Minotaur Books

  • ISBN-10:1250164850
  • ISBN-13:978-1250164858
  • ASIN: B07PBP8BVX

Print Length: 362 pages
Publication Date: Happy Publication Day November 5, 2019
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: The Angels’ Share
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Ellen Crosby - authorThe Author: Ellen Crosby is the author of the Virginia wine country mysteries and two mysteries featuring international photojournalist Sophie Medina. In 2019, Minotaur Books will publish THE ANGELS’ SHARE, the 10th wine country mystery. Before writing fiction, Crosby worked as a freelance reporter for The Washington Post, an economist at the US Senate, and Moscow reporter for ABC Radio News. Visit her website at http://www.ellencrosby.com and follow her on Facebook at EllenCrosbyBooks, Twitter at @ellencrosby & Instagram at ellencrosbyauthor.

©2019 V Williams V Williams

The Lost Traveller by Sheila Connolly – a #BookReview

The Lost Traveller by Sheila ConnollyTitle: The Lost Traveller (County Cork Mystery Book 7) by Sheila Connolly

Genre: Mystery, Amateur Sleuths

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Publication Date: January 8, 2019

  • ISBN-10:1683318900
  • ISBN-13:978-1683318903
  • ASIN: B07D2J14S8

Print Length: 336 pages

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title and Cover: The Lost TravellerNice cover, title is misleading

My Review:

It’s amazing how often I manage to bumble into two books in a row that not only deal with (sorta) the same subject, but use many of the same names or locations as well. My last two books dealt with the Irish and particularly the last one with Travellers. I’d read Furlong’s first book, my introduction to the subject, and didn’t realize this one also used that spelling, indicating that particular group of Irish citizens who set themselves apart many generations ago. But I saw “County Cork.” YES! I was in.

No, I wasn’t.

This promised to be a great read. I was enthused, excited. Look at the cover. Pretty, huh? But that is also misleading, certainly doesn’t bear accurately the description of the bridge in the book. And this is the seventh in the series. Hopefully, there was lots of character development in the previous six. In this one, not so much.

The Lost Traveller by Sheila ConnollyProtagonist Maura (popular name) Donovan inherited old, established Sullivan’s pub in the little village of Leap, Ireland (West Cork). She is from Boston, possibly middle-twenties. She neither knows how to cook, peruse the internet, or craft an attractive setting. She also inherited a small cottage with the pub and except for getting her own mattress, has done little else to remodel or decorate.

The first portion of the narrative looked to be making good on the implied promise. She discovers a body, the mystery begins. We get to learn somewhat of the main characters, Rose, a seventeen-year-old student, and Mick, resident bar-keep. I think he is supposed to be a romantic interest, but wouldn’t have my interest, Irish brogue or not. The support characters, some old time bar patrons such as Billy, or friends such as Bridget and Gillian add interest, and there is Garda Sean Murphy who sounds far more appealing than Mick. Dialogue is stilted, meant to convey an Irish accent.

But Maura, poor Maura, descends into a muddled, befuddled American mess. She is actually a little embarrassing. Let Rose do it. Rose will know what to do. Let Rose run the pub. Let Rose create a website and set up the internet. (Rose is 17 going on 34.) Maura needs to figure out who was the victim, why he was dumped on her property, and where oh where can she find more employees to help with all that beautiful June summery tourist traffic. Should she create a kitchen and let Rose cook? (Cause she can’t.) Can she keep Rose long enough to turn her into the pub cook? No problem, she has rooms upstairs. Rose will want to live above the pub for convenience–easier to get to school and work.

The Travellers? They play a very small part in the overall plotline (and they are not lost). Maura is busy jumping from one theory to another regarding the murder, working herself into a dither when she isn’t wringing her hands over the employee/kitchen situation. The whole situation is recited over and over. The conclusion comes in as confirmation of her theories, quietly and rather as an anticlimax. Not all ends are tied, but oh well.

I received this ebook download from the publisher and NetGalley and appreciate the opportunity to read and review. I did enjoy to an extent, but would also suggest obtaining a better editor. These are just my impressions–you may have an entirely different view. Many do. 😘

Rosepoint Publishing:  Two point Three of Five Stars Two point Five of Five Stars

Book Blurb:

Boston expat Maura Donovan came to Ireland to honor her grandmother’s last wish, but she never expected to stay in provincial County Cork—much less to inherit a house and a pub, Sullivan’s, in the small village of Leap. After a year-long struggle to stay in the black, Sullivan’s is finally thriving, and Maura has even brought back traditional Irish music to the pub. With a crop of new friends and a budding relationship with handsome Mick Nolan, Maura’s life seems rosier than ever—but even in Ireland, you can’t always trust your luck. 

It begins with Maura’s discovery of a body in the ravine behind the pub. And then, the Irish gardaí reveal that the victim’s face has been battered beyond recognition. Who is the faceless victim? Who wanted him dead? And why was his body dumped in the backyard of Sullivan’s Pub? Even after the dead man is finally given a name, nobody admits to knowing him. In the tight-knit world of Leap, no one is talking—and now it’s up to Maura to uncover the dark secrets that lurk beneath the seemingly quiet town.

Laced with warm Irish charm, a delightful small-town setting, and a colorful cast of characters, New York Times bestselling author Sheila Connolly’s seventh County Cork mystery, The Lost Traveller, conspires to delight.

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Sheila Connolly - authorThe Author: After collecting too many degrees and exploring careers ranging from art historian to investment banker to professional genealogist, Sheila Connolly began writing in 2001, and has now published over thirty traditional mysteries, including several New York Times bestsellers.

Her series include the Orchard Mysteries (Berkley Prime Crime), the Museum Mysteries (Berkley Prime Crime), The County Cork Mysteries (Crooked Lane Books), the Relatively Dead Mysteries (Beyond the Page Press), and beginning in 2018, The Victorian Village Mysteries from St. Martin’s Press. Her first full-length, standalone ebook, Once She Knew, was published in October 2012.

Connolly has also published a variety of short stories: “Size Matters” appeared in the 2010 Level Best Anthology, Thin Ice; “Called Home,” a short prequel to the Orchard series, was published by Beyond the Page in 2011; and “Dead Letters,” an e-story featuring the main characters from the Museum series, will be published by Berkley Prime Crime in February 2012. Beyond the Page also published “The Rising of the Moon,” and another Level Best anthology includes “Kept in the Dark,” which was nominated for both an Agatha award and an Anthony award for 2013.

She is passionate about genealogy, both American and Irish, and is a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Society of Mayflower Descendants. She is also an Irish citizen and owns a cottage in West Cork. She lives in a too-big Victorian in southeastern Massachusetts with her husband and three cats. Find out more about her at her website, http://www.sheilaconnolly.com

©2019 V Williams V Williams

Live and Let Pie by Ellie Alexander – a #BookReview

Title: Live and Let Pie (A Bakeshop Mystery Book 9 ) by Ellie Alexander

Genre: Cozy, Culinary, Mystery, Amateur Sleuth

Publisher: St Martin’s Paperbacks

Printed pages: 304

Publication Date: Happy Publication Day, New Year’s Eve, December 31, 2018

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

  • ISBN-10:1250159393
  • ISBN-13:978-1250159397
  • ASIN: B07DNBH26W

Title and Cover: Live and Let Pie – Pie theme cover

Book Blurb:

Live and Let Pie by Ellie AlexanderLife is sweet once you step into Torte, everybody’s favorite small-town bakeshop. But what happens when it becomes the scene of a crime?

The heat is on for pastry chef, family business operator, and unlikely sleuth Jules Capshaw. Just when she thought she could enjoy some time away from the kitchen, Jules manages to discover a skull during a picnic by the lake. As if unearthing remains that may be connected to a missing-persons case from the 1960s isn’t enough on her plate, Jules must contend with the unsolved matter of her own marriage while her estranged husband Carlos sails the open seas, awaiting a verdict. Then there’s Jules’s bitter landlord Edgar, who is intent on making a sweet deal on a vacant lot down the block from Torte—until he turns up dead. If only Jules could find a recipe that would let her bake her cake and eat it, too… Continue reading “Live and Let Pie by Ellie Alexander – a #BookReview”

Knot My Sister’s Keeper by Mary Marks #BookTour #BookReview #Giveaway

Knot My Sister's Keeper by Mary Marks

I am over the top delighted today to provide a review for you at my blog stop for Knot My Sister’s Keeper by Mary Marks on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour. Scroll down to register for your chance to win the Giveaway!

Book Details

Knot My Sister’s Keeper (A Quilting Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Kensington (July 31, 2018)
Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1496701848
Digital ASIN: B0776GV62J

Book Blurb

In tracing her ancestry, quilter Martha Rose discovers a ritzy half-sister, a stash of family secrets, and a decades-old mystery that only she can unravel . . .

Martha Rose is shocked to find she has a half-sister, especially one so different from her. Giselle Cole is wealthy, widowed, and lives a glamorous life in West Los Angeles. At least her grandmother was a quilter! But Giselle can’t answer Martha’s many questions about their father—he disappeared when she was only a child and the few clues left behind indicate he may have been murdered. So Martha and Giselle team up on an investigation that weaves them through the streets of L.A., their father’s hidden love affairs, and into some mysterious unfinished Cole family business . . .

My Review

Absolutely delightful cozy mystery that seamlessly integrates the love, history, and function of quilting with an unusual premise that sets this cozy far apart.

Daughter Dearest sends off for a DNA test for her mother and the results knock her socks off. Martha Rose is surprised to discover she has a half-sister she never knew existed. What’s more, Martha’s sister, Giselle Cole, is rich. Really rich. Stinkin’ rich. (Wouldn’t we ALL love to get that kind of DNA surprise!) But there are even more surprises. Giselle is an acquired taste, having been rich enough that she’s never had to apply a filter to her mouth and they clash pretty quickly. It is Giselle’s grandmother who also shares a common interest in quilting and provides a familial link.

However, it was Giselle who actually knew their father, until he disappeared when she was eight years old. Martha, of course, is not a total stranger to sleuthing and it’s not long before she off to figure out what happened to daddy dearest, an acclaimed artist. Daddy apparently had a host of secrets–and he was artistically adept at keeping them.

Martha is no spring chicken and opts for comfort over chic and has a fiancé as well as a close circle of friends. Her daughter Quincy informs her mom she has a big announcement. (uh oh! She has been seeing Detective Noah Kaplan with whom Martha has had a previous run in.)

Martha is Jewish; Giselle is not.  Martha’s financé, Yossi, or “Crusher,” is an undercover agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, and Tobacco and has connections which will prove useful since this constitutes a really cold case. Her dad disappeared more than thirty years ago.

This book is such a hoot! I really enjoyed the author’s writing style, that terrific sense of humor that came through. Loved that the protagonist is a middle-aged woman with a few pounds and is involved in a hobby she is good at. Her days are busy! Her romantic interest is cleverly done with a mature view and few stars in the eyes. Very down to earth and believable! Giselle, while a widow, is 180 degrees from the sensibilities of Martha and their contrast makes for some hilarious dialogue. The support characters are well fleshed and contribute to a sense of tight kinship, even given the southern California location.

The more they learn of their mysterious and erstwhile father, the less they want to know, then absolutely MUST know what happened to him. Though the suspicions are there early on, the red herrings or twists send them in all directions and they eventually learn to work with each other.  It doesn’t take long either before the reader is invested enough that he/she must learn the truth as well.

This is the sixth in the series, but absolutely functions as a standalone and at this point, I’m such a fan, my difficulty will only be in waiting for the next book. These characters become real, want-to-know-them-better friends. The story was well-plotted and progressed smoothly, never lagged, and the conclusion most satisfying. You don’t have to be a quilter or Jewish to love this most-absorbing tale, just a person who reaps the pleasure of a well-written novel. This really is one you won’t want to put down and are sorry to see it end, even if it does end well.

I received this ebook download from the publisher and NetGalley through Great Escapes Book Tours and greatly appreciate the opportunity to read and review. Totally my pleasure. Recommended to all; push your cozy mystery boundaries.

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Giveaway

Be sure to sign up for your chance to win one of two print copies of Knot My Sister’s Keeper in this Rafflecopter giveaway 

Rosepoint Publishing:  Five of Five Stars Five Stars of Five Rating

About the Author

Mary Marks - authorBorn and raised in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area, Mary Marks earned a B.A. in Anthropology from UCLA and an M.A. in Public Administration from the American Jewish University in Los Angeles. In 2004 she enrolled in the UCLA Extension Writers Program. Her first novel, Forget Me Knot, was a finalist in a national writing competition in 2011. She is currently a reviewer of cozy mysteries for The New York Journal of Books at www.nyjournalofbooks.com.

Readers can visit her at www.marymarksmysteries.com and https://www.facebook.com/mmarks2013

Purchase Links

Amazon – B&N   Google Play     kobo      BookBub

Tour Participants:

July 31 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

July 31 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – SPOTLIGHT

August 1 – Ruff Drafts – GUEST POST

August 2 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

August 2 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

August 3 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

August 3 – Handcrafted Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

August 4 – The Power of Words – REVIEW

August 4 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT  

August 5 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

August 6 – Sapphyria’s Books – REVIEW

August 6 – Cozy Up With Kathy – GUEST POST

August 7 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

August 7 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

August 8 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

August 9 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

August 9 – Mysteries with Character – GUEST POST

August 10 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT

August 11 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

August 12 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

August 13 – Maureen’s Musings – REVIEW

August 13 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW Great Escapes Book Tours

Thanks to Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours for the opportunity to read and review this cozy mystery!

©2018 V Williams V Williams