Death on the Menu by Lucy Burdette #BlogTour #BookReview

Death on the Menu by Lucy Burdette

I am so delighted today to provide a review for you at my blog stop for Death on the Menu by Lucy Burdette on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours.

Book Details

Death on the Menu: A Key West Food Critic Mystery
Cozy Mystery
8th in Series
Crooked Lane Books (August 7, 2018)
Hardcover: 295 Pages
ISBN-13: 978-1683317463
Digital ASIN: B078MBKH95

Book Blurb

When a killer strikes just before flan time, beloved food critic Hayley Snow is forced to sniff out the killer before someone else bites the dust.

Hayley Snow, fiery food critic for Key Zest magazine, has just landed a ticket to one of the most prestigious events in Key West: a high-brow three-day conference at the Harry Truman Little White House. Even though she’ll be working the event helping her mother’s fledgling catering business, there’s plenty of spicy gossip to go around. But just before her mother’s decadent flan is put to the test, Key West’s most prized possession, Hemingway’s Nobel prize gold medal for The Old Man and the Sea, is discovered stolen from its case.

Unsavory suspicions point to Gabriel, a family friend and one of the new busboys working the event, who mysteriously goes missing moments later. Anxious to clear his name, Gabriel’s family enlists Hayley to help find him, but right as they begin their search, his body is found stabbed to death in the storeroom.

Hayley has no shortage of suspects to interrogate and very little time before the killer adds another victim to the menu in national bestselling author Lucy Burdette’s delectable eighth Key West Food Critic mystery, Death on the Menu.

My Review

Hayley Snow is a food critic writer for the local Key Zest Magazine in Key West, Florida, but has been caught up in her mom’s huge catering opportunity for the lavish and historic Key West/Havana conference to be held at the Harry Truman Little White House on the island. Her mother is over-the-top thrilled for the catering opportunity thinking the success of which would mean solid future success for her fledgling catering business. She has hired additional local personnel to help with the menu and set up.

The unusual event has been orchestrated to bring both the Cuban dignitaries and the American officials together hopefully to quiet tensions between the two countries. Hayley has been asked, politely, by her detective boyfriend (Nathan) bordering on serious suitor, to please stay out of it as with the officials involved, promised protests, and security tight but nervous, the event could turn nasty.

The event has invited some major guests, set up displays, and scheduled tours, including that of Ernest Hemingway’s Key West home. Hemingway’s Nobel Prize gold medal has been loaned especially for the momentous occasion for display, but almost immediately goes missing during the first dinner at the Little White House. It is the son of one of her local assistants that is an immediate POI, but then he is found stabbed in a kitchen storage room. His family asks Hayley to please help with the investigation.

This is apparently the eighth installment of the Key West Food Critic Mystery series but my introduction to both the series and the author. I’ve read of Key West before, but the author really gets you onto the surface streets to the real town, the flavor, the sights, smells, and the people. I loved her description of the architecture and the colors, the ethnic mix of people and the food. And the history–loved it–not only the stories about the Truman Little White House–I never knew–and it also played host to Taft, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Carter, and Clinton. (Truman felt that the “white house” was wherever the president was.)

And Hemingway, his stories are larger than life, as was he. All of them true. He wrote To Have and Have Not during his (1930’s) years in Key West. And he loved cats? Seriously? Not just cats–five-toed cats–polydactyls.

But back to the plot:

It’s a cozy.

I’ve often mentioned that for me a cozy mystery seems to dawdle. There is always a reason, reprising the protagonist for those new to the series. Bringing in the support characters, in this case, her beloved roomie, Miss Gloria, is up in years but not old. (Also recruited to help with the festivities.) She lives on Houseboat Row, which sounds ducky, until you try to figure out how the black tank is emptied. Otherwise, I got such a mental picture of her life on the island, I wanted to get the fish scale scraper.

The food. Not so much into the food–especially spicy–but “ropa vieja” sounded interesting and definitely got my attention with flan. Did someone say Flan? I love flan! (Almost every version of it!) However, the recipe presented at the back of the book prepared enough to feed an army. You’d definitely have to cut it down, but then reading the directions, it sounds like too much trouble. Next time I’ll understand why it’s one of the more expensive desserts on the menu.

Hayley is from the “interview the suspects” school of thought. Unfortunately, everyone at the event becomes a suspect and because of the tight security, only those vetted allowed to attend. How to narrow it down? Interview.

Bottom line: I thoroughly enjoyed the storyline, the descriptions, and most of the writing. Hayley is devoted to her mother and Miss Gloria, though her mother is not as well fleshed here as Miss Gloria, and I couldn’t get into Hayley’s boots (did she ever wear a helmet on that scooter?). Nathan? Meh. But he does seem devoted and fortunately, the romance aspect didn’t logue down the plot line. The conclusion didn’t feel wholly gratifying. The narrative might function well for others as a standalone and worked okay for me, though Hayley may be better developed in previous installments.

I was given the download by the publisher and NetGalley through Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours. Recommended for anyone interested in the history of chugs, Cuba/Key West relations, popular Key West tourist sites, and cozy mysteries. (What is a chug? You don’t want to know.)

Add to Goodreads 

Rosepoint Publishing:  Four point Five of Five Stars 4.5 of five stars

About the Author

Lucky Burdette - author Clinical psychologist Lucy Burdette (aka Roberta Isleib) has published 16 mysteries, including the latest in the Key West food critic series, DEATH ON THE MENU (Crooked Lane Books, August 2018.) Her books and stories have been short-listed for Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity awards. She’s a member of Mystery Writers of America and a past president of Sisters in Crime. She blogs at Jungle Red Writers and shares her love for food with the culinary writers at Mystery Lovers Kitchen She lives in Madison CT and Key West FL. Read more at www.lucyburdette.com.

​Author Links:

Facebook: WWW.facebook.com/lucyburdette

Twitter: www.twitter.com/lucyburdette

Instagram: www.instagram.com/lucyburdette

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/robertaisleib

GoodReadshttps://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4781149.Lucy_Burdette

Purchase Links:

Amazon  B&N  IndieBound BookBub Kobo

Thank you for visiting my stop on the tour and please visit the other stops listed below!

Tour Participants:

August 1 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

August 1 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

August 2 – Mystery Lovers Kitchen – RECIPE

August 2 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

August 2 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

August 3 – Killer Characters – CHARACTER GUEST POST

August 3 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

August 4 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

August 4 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

August 5 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

August 6 – Map Your Mystery – INTERVIEW

August 6 – The Montana Bookaholic – REVIEW

August 6 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT

August 7 – Jungle Red Writers – GUEST POST

August 7 – Cinnamon, Sugar, and a Little Bit of Murder – RECIPE, REVIEW

August 7 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – SPOTLIGHT

August 8 – The Conscious Cat – GUEST POST

August 8 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

August 9 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

August 9 – Mystery Lovers Kitchen #2 – RECIPE

August 10 – Wicked Cozy Authors – GUEST POST

August 10 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW

August 11 – Book Babble – REVIEW

August 12 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT

August 13 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW

August 13 – Mallory Heart Reviews – REVIEW

August 14 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

August 14 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

August 15 – Fabulous Florida Writers​ – GUEST POST

August 15 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW

August 15 – Varietats – REVIEW 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

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Midnight Snacks are Murder by Libby Klein (A Poppy McAllister Mystery) #BookTour #BookReview #Giveaway

Midnight Snacks are Murder by Libby Klein

I am so delighted today to provide a review for you at my blog stop for Midnight Snacks are Murder by Libby Klein on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour. Scroll down to enter for your chance to win the Giveaway!

Book Details

Midnight Snacks are Murder (A Poppy McAllister Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Kensington (July 31, 2018)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1496713056
Digital ASIN: B0776HFC8V

Book Blurb

When her sleepwalking aunt is accused of committing murder, Poppy McAllister finds out there’s no rest for the weary . . .

Between trying to get her gluten-free baking business off the ground and helping her aunt remodel her old Victorian into the Butterfly House Bed and Breakfast in Cape May, New Jersey, Poppy is ready to call, “Mayday!” And now Aunt Ginny—who’s a handful wide-awake—is sleepwalking on her new sleeping pill prescription and helping herself to neighbors’ snacks and knickknacks.

Even more alarming, a local humanitarian who worked with troubled teens is found murdered, and the police suspect the “Snack Bandit.” Other than a bad case of midnight munchies and some mild knickknack kleptomania, Aunt Ginny is harmless. Someone’s trying to frame her. Poppy will need to work tirelessly to uncover the killer and put the case to rest—before Aunt Ginny has to trade in her B & B for a bunk bed behind bars . . .

Includes Seven Recipes from Poppy’s Kitchen!

My Review

Midnight Snacks are MurderI love that this cozy mystery includes a plus-sized widow of middle age trying valiantly to get on with life! She has discovered a Paleo niché for herself with the local gorgeous Italian barista. Her gluten-free desserts are finding a market along with a new possible love interest, but is that just one more complication she doesn’t need?

Poppy McAllister is a 40ish protagonist who has moved into her Aunt Ginny’s old Victorian they are trying to convert into the Butterfly House B&B in Cape May, NJ. But as anyone with a cantankerous but healthy octogenarian in tow will tell you, that isn’t easy, even less so when former mother-in-law Georgina comes to help with the renovation with investment money and more than a little opinion about how the rooms should be finished.

Unfortunately, about this time, Aunt Ginny begins sleepwalking and helping herself to her neighbors’ cupboards in their kitchens and knick-knacks in general. By the time they’ve gotten to the bottom of her sleep-aid medications, there has been a homicide down the block and it doesn’t look good for feisty Aunt Ginny, the “Snack Bandit.”

Unfortunately, the victim was a recent recipient of the local Humanitarian Award for working tirelessly with at-risk teens. His fervor and every dime went into the Teen Center and he had made great strides with many of his wards. It doesn’t seem possible he could have an enemy at that level of passion.

As Poppy discovers, since Amber apparently had history with Poppy before, she is determined this time she has her (wo)man and won’t be working hard to find another suspect. This one appears just too easy.

In the meantime, this well-plotted cozy mystery starts uncovering all the twists and turns you’ve come to expect in a cozy mystery. The protagonist has been well developed in the first of the series and continues to flesh in #2. She has a BFF in Sawyer and old schoolmate Tim, who is trying for a second chance now that she is looking at the end of her mourning period. Red herrings are thrown in when Poppy feels she has a strong person of interest, but in going about gathering evidence appears to open more of Pandora’s boxes.

Sassy, snappy dialogue borders at times on being a bit juvenile or trying too hard (possibly) for a younger age group and Aunt Ginny’s antics push the patience button. Still, there are a number of humorous passages, scenes that include the resident cat Figaro, and confrontations with the independent contractor/handyman and Georgina to lighten the plot and keep a steady pace throughout the narrative. It’s easy to tear through to the end and in the end included a culprit that could not have been guessed earlier. A satisfying conclusion that ties all loose ends and proceeds to Epilogue.

I was given this ebook download by the publisher and NetGalley for the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour and greatly appreciated the opportunity to read and review. This is definitely a fun book, looking to be a great series and an author to keep an eye on. Recommended to all cozy mystery fans. (And yes, gluten-free recipes to try at the back of the book. Even I found one of interest!)

Add to Goodreads 

Giveaway

Don’t forget to sign up for your chance to win one of two print copies of Midnight Snacks Are Murder in this Rafflecopter giveaway

Rosepoint Publishing:  Four point Five of Five Stars 4.5 of five stars

About the Author

Libby Klein - authorLibby Klein dabbles in the position of Vice President of a technology company which mostly involves bossing other people around, making spreadsheets, and taking out the trash. She writes culinary cozy mysteries from her Northern Virginia office while trying to keep her cat Figaro off her keyboard.

(From Amazon Author page) Libby Klein graduated Lower Cape May Regional High School sometime in the ’80s. Her classes revolved mostly around the culinary sciences and theater, with the occasional nap in Chemistry. A few years ago, she was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that forced her to remove gluten from her kitchen and adopt a Paleo Diet. Now her life revolves around coffee and bacon. When she’s not feeling sorry for herself that she can’t eat bread, she writes from her Northern Virginia office…  Most of her hobbies revolve around eating, and travel, and eating while traveling.

Author Links

Website – https://libbykleinbooks.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/libbykleinbooks/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/LibbyKleinBooks

Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/libbykleinbooks/

Purchase Links

Amazon    B&N    Kobo   Google Play  BookBub

Thank you for visiting my stop on the tour and please visit the other stops listed below!

Tour Participants:

July 31 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

July 31 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

August 1 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – GUEST POST

August 1 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

August 2 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

August 2 – The Power of Words – REVIEW

August 3 – A Blue Million Books – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

August 3 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

August 4 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW

August 5 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

August 5 – Cozy Up With Kathy – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

August 6 – The Montana Bookaholic – REVIEW  

August 6 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT

August 7 – Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews – REVIEW

August 7 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

August 8 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW

August 8 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW, GUEST POST

August 9 – Maureen’s Musings – REVIEW

August 9 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

August 10 – The Cozy Pages – REVIEW

August 10 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW

August 11 – Bookworm Cafe – REVIEW

August 11 – Book Club Librarian – REVIEW

August 12 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

August 12 – Readeropolis – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

August 13 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

August 13 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW 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

Death Over Easy (A Country Store Mystery #5) by Maddie Day #BlogTour #BookReview #Giveaway

Death Over Easy by Maddie Day

I am so delighted today to provide a review for you at my blog stop for Death Over Easy by Maddie Day on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours. Scroll down to enter your chance to win the Giveaway!

Book Details

Death Over Easy (A Country Store Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Kensington (July 31, 2018)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1496711236
Digital ASIN: B0776H5T7B

Book Blurb

Restaurateur Robbie Jordan is ready for the boost in business a local music festival brings to South Lick, Indiana, but the beloved event strikes a sour note when one of the musicians is murdered . . .

June’s annual Brown County Bluegrass Festival at the Bill Monroe Music Park in neighboring Beanblossom is always a hit for Robbie’s country store and café, Pans ‘N Pancakes. This year, Robbie is even more excited, because she’s launching a new bed and breakfast above her shop. A few festival musicians will be among Robbie’s first guests, along with her father, Roberto, and his wife, Maria. But the celebration is cut short when a performer is found choked to death by a banjo string. Now all the banjo players are featured in a different kind of lineup. To clear their names, Robbie must pair up with an unexpected partner to pick at the clues and find the plucky killer before he can conduct an encore performance . . .

Includes Recipes for You to Try!

My Review

Death Over Easy by Maddie DayRobbie Jordan has added several renovated rooms above her Pans ‘N Pancakes restaurant and turned the Country Store slash cafe into a B&B in South Lick, Indiana. She’s excited about the annual music bluegrass festival in Beanblossom, and will be hosting a few of the festival musicians as well as her Italian father, Roberto, and his wife.

It doesn’t take long, however, for things to turn a sour note when one of the musicians is found dead. Robbie’s boyfriend Abe played a trial set with the victim and it would seem she was a person you either loved or loved to hate, which helps to generate a multitude of suspects. Robbie hadn’t gotten to know the victim well, but as she was in her puzzle group (definitely a new one for me!), she knew of her. Pia was definitely on a rant prior to death, owing money and arguing about it, unhappy with the music set she was playing with Abe, and unhappy with the event coordinator. It would seem that Pia has her fingers on more than her banjo, however, being a music student at UI, connected with Phil, immigrant from Italy, and known to her dad. With the way she was boosting tension though, I’d have strangled her myself!

Lieutenant Buck Bird of the local South Lick Police Department and Detective Anne Henderson coordinate handling the case as it’s outside the jurisdiction of South Lick. These are small rural communities where everyone knows everyone and their business, and if they don’t, make it their business to know. It doesn’t take long for Robbie to begin working on the crossword puzzle, trying to make sense of the drama, when another homicide occurs that would appear connected by a musical string.

Part of Robbie’s staff includes Danna, who has a boyfriend Isaac who exhibits PTSD periodically and seems he is suspect by default. Danna is a big part of the cafe, often suggests and implements daily specials. She is worth far more than she is paid, I’m sure. The hours are crazy, the work non-stop, and especially with an event close by, requires solid, heads-up 24/7 attention. I enjoy bluegrass music and that attracted my attention, as well as the location in Indiana. Just love that cover! The dialect in some of the dialogue, however, sounded more like uneducated backwoods than Indiana. (HOPE we don’t sound like that!) Reading the description of the management of the cafe had me very glad it was one business I was never interested in.

There are twists and turns, characters perhaps fully fleshed in previous series installments somewhat lacking here, and a protagonist with a very nosy attitude but fairly keen sense of business. (That’s why she’s the sleuth and I’m not!) Perhaps reading previous installments would have led me deeper into empathy. The storyline progresses well and maintains interest, just that I couldn’t develop an invested interest in the protagonist and never really did get to know her boyfriend, or her aunt Adele.

I was given this ebook download by the publisher and NetGalley through Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours and appreciated the opportunity to read and review this cozy mystery. Recommended for all familiar with the author, the series, and those who enjoy cozy mysteries with a crossword puzzle flavor and good southern Indiana recipes.

Add to Goodreads

Giveaway

Don’t miss your opportunity to win one of two print copies of Death Over Easy in this Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author

Maddie Day - authorMaddie Day is a talented amateur chef and holds a Ph.D. in linguistics from Indiana University. An Agatha Award-nominated author, she is a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America and also writes award-winning short crime fiction. She lives with her beau and three cats in Massachusetts.

As Edith Maxwell, she writes the Local Foods Mysteries (Kensington Publishing) and the Quaker Midwife Mysteries (Midnight Ink).

You can find all Maddie’s/Edith’s identities at http://www.edithmaxwell.com. She blogs every weekday with the other Wicked Cozy Authors at wickedcozyauthors.com. Look for her as Edith M. Maxwell and Maddie Day on Facebook and @edithmaxwell and @maddiedayauthor on Twitter.

Purchase Links:

Amazon  B&N   kobo

Google Play BookBub

Tour Participants:

August 1 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW  

August 1 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT

August 2 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW

August 2 – Babs Book Bistro – REVIEW

August 3 – Sapphyria’s Books – REVIEW

August 3 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT

August 4 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

August 5 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

August 6 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

August 7 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

August 8 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW

August 9 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

August 10 – The Montana Bookaholic – REVIEW

August 10 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – SPOTLIGHT

August 11 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT

August 12 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

August 13 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW  

August 14 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW 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

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.

Add to Goodreads

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

#ThrowbackThursday – The Dying Hour by Rick Mofina – a #BookReview

#ThrowbackThursday - The Dying Hour by Rick Mofina

Renee began the #ThrowbackThursday meme on her blog, It’s Book Talk to share some of her old favorites as well as sharing books published over a year ago. Hopefully, you’ll find either a story or author that interests you and you’ll check them out. And, if you’d like to join the fun, you’re welcome to use Renee’s pic from her website. Just provide the link back to her please).

This week I am highlighting Rick Mofina, another terrific, prolific author who wrote The Dying Hour. Today’s review is written by the C.E., my intrepid associate reviewer. I love that he is usually up for a variety of genre and this one took him by surprise. Yeah, knew it would! 😏   (This was his first Mofina.) I’ve read several before and last posted a review of Cold Fear for Throwback Thursday on February 8, 2018. This novel was published by Carrick Publishing on April 8, 2015. Mofina consistently runs approximately 4.5-5 stars for any of his books sold on Amazon.

Book Blurb:

The Dying Hour introduces Jason Wade, a rookie crime reporter with The Seattle Mirror, a loner who grew up in the shadow of a brewery in one of the city’s blue-collar neighborhoods. At The Seattle Mirror, he is competing for the single full-time job being offered through the paper’s intense intern program. But unlike the program’s other young reporters, who attended big name schools and worked at other big metro dailies, Wade put himself through community college, and lacked the same experience. 

Wade struggles with his haunting past as he pursues the story of Karen Harding, a college student whose car was found abandoned on a lonely stretch of highway in the Pacific Northwest. How could this beloved young woman with the altruistic nature simply vanish?

Wade battles mounting odds and cut-throat competition to unearth the truth behind Karen Harding’s disturbing case. Her disappearance is a story he cannot give up, never realizing the toll it could exact from him. The Dying Hour is a bone-chilling, mesmerizing page-turner that introduces readers to an all-too-human young hero who journeys into the darkest regions of the human heart to confront a nightmare. 

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Continue reading “#ThrowbackThursday – The Dying Hour by Rick Mofina – a #BookReview”

See You Soon, Afton – a #BookReview

See You Soon, Afton by Brent JonesTitle: See You Soon, Afton (Afton Morrison Book 2) by Brent Jones

Genre: Currently #3787 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Literature & Fiction, Action & Adventure, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Suspense

Publication Date: August 7, 2018

Source: Direct author request

Title and Cover: See You Soon, AftonAfton Morrison, Book 2 (The Afton Morrison Series) by Brent Jones

Holy smokes! Book 2 literally sets the plot on fire with the dark and desperate attempt by Afton to find and save little Kim. The despot in Afton takes a back seat as she must act on that soft spot for the sweet and innocent volunteer library assistant who looks on her as a mentor. After all, she has yet to prove her psychopathic vigilante assassin status! If Afton ravaged your senses in Book 1 with her first-person account of her twisted, deep vigilante desires and her comprehensive search for the perfect victim to stem the Animus within her, Book 2 slams what you thought you knew about where this was going against a very hot, blackened wall. Continue reading “See You Soon, Afton – a #BookReview”

The Other Vietnam War by Marc Cullison #BlogTour #BookReview

I am so delighted today to provide a review for you by the C.E.  at my blog stop for The Other Vietnam War: A Helicopter Pilot’s Life in Vietnam by Marc Cullison on Sage’s Blog Tours.

Book Details

  • Print Length: 290 pages
  • Publisher: Imzadi Publishing, LLC
  • Publication Date: May 10, 2015
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • ISBN-10: 0990846539
  • ISBN-13: 978-0990846536
  • ASIN: B00XI1T7F2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank – #242 in Kindle eBooks, Biographies & Memoirs, Historical, Military & Wars, Vietnam War

Book Blurb

The Other Vietnam WarEach of us who served in Vietnam was the guy next door, the average Joe, not a hero. The boy who might date your daughter or sister. The young man who might mow your yard. In Vietnam, we weren’t out to be heroes. We just did our jobs.

For a helicopter pilot, each day was like all the others. You flew the mission and never stopped to think that it might be your last. You didn’t think about the bullet holes in the helicopter, the cracks in the tail boom, or about any of it until night, lying in bed when you couldn’t think of anything else.

The Other Vietnam War is the story of the introduction to a new country, a backward culture, the perils of a combat zone, and the effects on a young lieutenant fresh out of flight school. It does not labor the reader with pages of white-knuckle adventures, as so many other fine books about the Vietnam War do. It instead focuses on the internal battle each soldier fought with himself to make sense of where he was, why he was there, and if he was good enough.

The administrative duties of Commissioned officers, while tame compared to the exploits of valiant pilots who wrote about them, caused a deep introspection into life and its value in an enigmatic place like Vietnam. Aside from the fear, excitement, deliverance, and denial that each pilot faced, the inner battle he fought with himself took its toll. Some of us thought we’d find glory. But many of us discovered there is no glory in war.

My Review

The talk in the lunch room was of a place called Bietnam or some such. Never heard of it. However, the US Congress in its infinite wisdom was getting us involved and nobody knew why.

The draft was reinstated and the young son’s of WW II veterans were on the chopping block. Some ran and some stayed. The author spells out the calamity facing a generation that did not endorse or embrace a “conflict” halfway around the world. Marc Cullison faced many of the same conflicted reactions that most of us felt. Why do I want to join the military and fight in a place that has no direct impact on my country? Mr. Cullison explains, “the Vietnam war was a tragedy, a shallow and profane act of war as any war is.”  We were not threatened nor did we have anything to fear from Southeast Asia!  Why did we have to get involved and escalate into that part of the world?

Four years of being a helicopter pilot in Vietnam was what his pledge to honor and serve elicited, and Marc examines his thoughts and feelings as he served his tour. This memoir does not describe so much of the actual air battles as it does the result of war on the men who served. As I read his account I was reminded of some of my own service-related experiences during the same time. Away from home for the better part of four years, I served in countries that I had never aspired to visit. But orders were cut, oaths were taken, and we were sent into the melee.

Like Marc, I served because I had promised to uphold and defend our Constitution and way of life. After boot camp, it was painfully obvious that the orders from “my superiors” were not necessarily superior. My specialty did not send me “in country” to face the trials that Marc witnessed, but the periphery.

Marc says, “when you sign up for military service, you are supposed to be ready to defend your country and even die for it.” It’s a time of terror in equal portions of boredom and excessive moments of retrospection and the author shares his insights in equal measure. (One of my orders was to return to a base in the mountains of Taiwan in a stage two typhoon alert as the mountain roared with the sound of a hundred freight trains and downed electrical lines crossed the roadway.) The futility of the experience upon our return to the states with people spitting on us and calling us baby killers really pissed me off.  There were people in wheelchairs with missing body parts and blind and deaf who had had no choice in their deployment and our citizens waited at the airports to shame us.) I can understand where Marc is coming from. However, living in the orient taught me one thing. Most people simply want to live their lives and go about raising their families.

The book is often graphically profane, but I agree with the author that it frankly reflects an honest look at the legions of men sent to defend their spot in the jungle. It may also serve as a valuable education, particularly for those who are considering joining the military. The services are a valid way to serve our country; contribution seals loyalty and provides a window into the wheels of management. (Avoiding the draft was not then an option, but neither is it the responsibility of the young citizens of our nation to help bolster the coffers of the corporations that profit and proliferate the development of weapons of war.)

I highly recommend this book as a means of understanding the conflict that persons of that generation faced during that extremely divisive time. Certainly, I would serve again, and after 9/11 tried to re-enlist because our country had been attacked. Read this book and experience the futility that most wars can be.

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

About the Author

Marc CullisonMarc Cullison is a baby-boomer who grew up in an era when education was everything and duty to country was a responsibility. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in architectural engineering at Oklahoma State University, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Army Reserve Corps of Engineers through the ROTC program. During his four-year tour of duty, he served as helicopter pilot with the 129th Assault Helicopter Company in II Corps, Vietnam, in 1971. He returned from overseas to an assignment as a military assistant to the resident engineer at Kaw Dam and Reservoir near Ponca City, Oklahoma, where he met the woman he would marry there. After two years in Ponca City, he was honorably discharged and returned to Oklahoma State where he received a master’s degree in architectural engineering and honed his technical skills as a professional structural engineer. Then into quality control at a manufacturing plant which led him into computer programming. His most recent career was a math and science instructor at Connors State College in Warner and Muskogee, Oklahoma, from which he retired in 2014. He lives with his wife in a self-built log house near Sallisaw. Sage's Blog Tours

Thank you for visiting my stop on the tour and thanks to Sage’s Blog Tours for the opportunity to read and review this novel!

©2018 C.E. Williams the CE

A Soufflé of Suspicion by Daryl Wood Gerber #BlogTour #BookReview #Giveaway

A Souffle of Suspicion by Daryl Wood Gerber

I am so delighted today to provide a review for you at my blog stop for A Soufflé of Suspicion: A French Bistro Mystery by Daryl Wood Gerber on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour. Don’t miss this unusual PRIZE package giveaway. Scroll down to Giveaway link.

Book Details  

A Soufflé of Suspicion: A French Bistro Mystery
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Crooked Lane Books (July 10, 2018)
Hardcover 296 Pages
ISBN-13: 978-1683315865
Digital ASIN: B075QMR44B

Book Blurb

The buoyant mood at Bistro Rousseau deflates when Chef Camille’s sister, Renee, turns up dead in the chef’s kitchen, and Mimi Rousseau must tease the real killer out of a mélange of menacing characters.

Crush Week in Nouvelle Vie is a madhouse—in a good way. Tourists pour into town for the pressing of the Napa Valley’s world-renowned grapes and all the town’s businesses get a nice lift, including Bistro and Maison Rousseau. Mimi is raising the ante this year with a Sweet Treats Festival, a wonderland of croissants, cakes, tarts, and soufflés crafted with expert care by the area’s top talents.

Chef Camille’s sister Renee is managing the festival with a cast-iron fist, upsetting everyone, including her sister. Which is bad for Camille when Renee turns up dead in the chef’s kitchen. Mimi is still building her business, so her first course of action is to whip up answers and catch the unsavory perpetrator before Camille takes a dusting and gets burned.

My Review

A Souffle of Suspicion by Daryl Wood GerberI love the locale of the Napa Valley wineries and all the picturesque little villages that comprise the famous California vineyards. Those quaint and charming little towns boast everything from prize-winning wines to delicious local mustards, hot springs, and wonderful boutique cafes.

So the setting of this second offering of the series caught my attention as the fictional town of Nouvelle Vie explodes with (more) tourists than usual for Crush Week. Protagonist Mimi Rousseau has dialed up the tannins with her participation in the Sweet Treats Festival in which the local cafe’s, restaurants, and bakeries offer up their exclusive sweets and pair with the appropriate red or white. (They will offer cakes, pastries, and soufflés as well as competitions.) Her own Bistro Rousseau boasts Chef C (Camille) and an array of accomplished personnel all catering to an exclusive French dining cuisine. (Fortunately for me, the recipes follow the conclusion of the novel and doesn’t interrupt the steady progression of the plot.)

As the second in the series, Mimi is not wholly fleshed, although some backstory is offered to bring the reader up to speed. Her support characters provide a solid well-rounded venue, including pets, and a possible romantic interest (so soon, my dear?) for the recently widowed MC. Her mother is a local vintner and besides her own employees, Mimi has a strong network of locals to provide validation.

Unfortunately, Renee, the sister of Chef C, is found murdered in the kitchen. Renee was organizing and managing the festival with an iron fist. Mimi becomes fully involved in protecting and watching over Chef Camille as well as providing some investigation on her own–not the first time she’s performed sleuthing as well as haute cuisine duties. The well-developed mystery proceeds through red herrings, misdirection, and plot twists offering up several suspects and the arguments for or against each possible person of interest.

In the meantime, aspects regarding the management of an exclusive restaurant run rampant, as well as menu suggestions replete with flowery French names. As Mimi struggles with the detailed services of her sister business, the Maison Rousseau, as well as the Bistro, the Festival, and the local cafes involved, the reader gets a peek into the local European styled architectural castles boasting vast wine cellars and elite varietal wines as well as their own to-die-for desserts.

The protagonist begins to experience strange little “accidents,” and although reluctant to share concerns with the local gendarme, appears to confirm she’s making progress with her own investigation. Her relentless pursuit of the truth helps to clear her chef as a suspect.

I had a little problem with the limited fleshing of Mimi coming into the second of the series. Although she appears to be a strong and independent figure, she didn’t feel three-dimensional to me. She is textbook capable of not only owning and running a French cafe, but employing a decent sized support group. Mimi has obviously attained a successful following and possesses a smart sense of organization. She can allow her support staff as well as the chef she brings in temporarily to cover for her absences when she’s busy following leads and juggling cafe critics.

Recommended for foodies and fans of cozy mysteries in a particularly beautiful and unique setting. So, for me, this was more of a locale-driven plot than that of character and it was easy to be swept up in the excitement of the exquisite wine and food industry.

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Giveaway

One Prize Package (U.S. only) in the Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author

Daryl Wood Gerber - authorAgatha Award-winning Daryl Wood Gerber is best known for her nationally bestselling Cookbook Nook Mysteries and CHEESE SHOP MYSTERIES, which she pens as Avery Aames. She will soon debut the new French Bistro Mysteries. Daryl also writes stand-alone suspense: DAYS OF SECRETS and GIRL ON THE RUN. Fun tidbit: as an actress, Daryl appeared in “Murder, She Wrote.” She loves to cook, and she has a frisky Goldendoodle named Sparky who keeps her in line!

Author Links:

Visit Daryl or Avery at www.darylwoodgerber.com.

Daryl’s Blog – Avery’s Blog – Mystery Lover’s Kitchen – Killer Characters –

Facebook:   Daryl      Avery 

Twitter: @AveryAames @DarylWoodGerber

Goodreads:    Daryl Wood Gerber     Avery Aames

Purchase Links:

Amazon  B&N   BookBub  Kobo

Thank you for visiting my stop on the tour and please visit the other stops listed below!

Tour Participants:

July 6 – The Book Diva’s Reads – SPOTLIGHT
July 6 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW
July 6 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT
July 7 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW
July 7 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
July 8 – The Power of Words – REVIEW
July 8 – A Blue Million Books – GUEST POST
July 9 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW
July 9 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
July 10 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
July 10 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
July 11 – cherylbbookblog  – REVIEW
July 12 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW, GUEST POST
July 12 – Mysteries with Character – GUEST POST
July 13 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW
July 13 – Jane Reads – GUEST POST
July 14 – The Montana Bookaholic – REVIEW
July 14 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT
July 15 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW
July 15 – Lisa Ks Book Review – REVIEW, GUEST POST
July 16 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
July 16 – That’s What She’s Reading – GUEST POST
July 17 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW
July 17 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW
July 18 – A Holland Reads – REVIEW*
July 18 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
July 19 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW
July 19 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW, GUEST POST 

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

©2018 V Williams V Williams

Lion on Fire – a #BookReview

Lion on Fire by Ted Galdi

Title: Lion on Fire: a Casino-Heist Thriller by Ted Galdi

Genre: Currently #13 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle ebooks, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Crime Fiction, Heist, and #25 in Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Crime Fiction, Organized Crime

Publisher: Precipice Books

Publication Date: December 12, 2017

Source: Direct author request

Title and Cover: Lion on FireCover carries the title theme

Little brothers can be a real trial! (Mine kept our entire family hopping.) Brian Rolson, the protagonist/hero in this novel has the same problem that many of us have faced with younger siblings. Brian’s younger brother Kip has gotten himself into a world of trouble–this time selling illegal drugs. Having extra money made him loose and careless and now he is in a world of hurt. Continue reading “Lion on Fire – a #BookReview”

Shelved Under Murder #BlogTour #BookReview #Giveaway

Shelved Under Murder by Victoria Gilbert

I am super-excited today to provide a review at my blog stop for Shelved Under Murder by Victoria Gilbert on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour. Scroll down to enter the Giveaway!

Book Details

Shelved Under Murder: A Blue Ridge Library Mystery
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Crooked Lane Books (July 10, 2018) (Happy Release Day!)
Hardcover: 300 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1683315957
Digital: ASIN: B075QJHPR9

Autumn leaves aren’t the only things falling in the historic Virginia village of Taylorsford—so are some cherished memories, and a few bodies.

October in Taylorsford, Virginia means it’s leaf peeping season, with bright colorful foliage and a delightful fresh crew of tourists attending the annual Heritage Festival which celebrates local history and arts and crafts. Library director Amy Webber, though, is slightly dreading having to spend two days running a yard sale fundraiser for her library. But during these preparations, when she and her assistant Sunny stumble across a dead body, Amy finds a real reason to be worried.

The body belonged to a renowned artist who was murdered with her own pallet knife. A search of the artist’s studio uncovers a cache of forged paintings, and when the sheriff’s chief deputy Brad Tucker realizes Amy is skilled in art history research, she’s recruited to aid the investigation. It doesn’t seem to be an easy task, but when the state’s art expert uncovers a possible connection between Amy’s deceased uncle and the murder case, Amy must champion her Aunt Lydia to clear her late husband’s name.

That’s when another killing shakes the quiet town, and danger sweeps in like an autumn wind. Now, with her swoon-inducing neighbor Richard Muir, Amy must scour their resources to once again close the books on murder.

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My Review 

Shelved Under Murder by Victoria GilbertThis is the second of the Blue Ridge Library Mystery series and continues with Amy Webber as the Library Director of the Taylorsford, Virginia library. The library is gearing up for the big annual Heritage Festival which celebrates their local history as well as showcasing residents arts and crafts. Amy is living with her Aunt Lydia and still seeing Richard Muir, who was introduced as a romantic interest in book 1. Richard is a classical dancer, choreographer, and a neighbor, having inherited the house next door.

In conjunction with the upcoming festival, the library will assist in fundraising by offering books as well as local artists’ canvases. Unfortunately, when she and Sunny Fields, her assistant, travels out to the artist’s home to pick up the promised donations, she finds the artist has been murdered and her husband in absentia. As Amy also studied art history, she is recruited to help in the investigation after they discover a hidden cache of forged paintings. Of course, there is a connection–to Amy’s deceased uncle. Now starts a road rutted with misdirection, twists, and turns.

With the exception of the art expert brought in to assess the hidden treasure, most support characters were introduced in book 1 and are not developed more widely in this offering. Amy as a protagonist is not wholly sympathetic, exhibits some insecure issues especially where it concerns Richard and is prone to chewing her “pinkie” nail. The well-plotted story slowly unwinds with Sunny and her beau, Chief Deputy Brad Tucker, the local gendarme charged with investigation. When a second body turns up, all bets are off, and you might be back to guessing the whodidit in the whodunit. Perhaps Kurt Kendrick is of most interest in the plot-driven book, as he cannot be easily pegged. A new addition to the storyline is almost of immediate suspicion.

I felt the original subject, that of the library fundraising took a third chair behind the art history lesson, which quickly took over as the main focus, and the romance. I can definitely do without the romance, and it’s not the first time I’ve found Richard to be a bit creepy. The subject of the art masters and the forgeries they’ve generated is an interesting discussion, however, as well as the formula for divining original artists, paints, and materials.

Still, between the lengthy exploration of forged canvases and the romances, my attention not only sagged somewhat but dropped out completely and I found it difficult to maintain any engagement, making the read longer than it should have. Attention returned somewhat as it progressed to conclusion, but then it waffled again with an unnecessary wrap-up party. Perhaps the plot was just a bit too slow for me.

I was given this ebook download by the publisher and NetGalley through the blog tour and greatly appreciated the opportunity to read and review. Recommended for those who enjoy an intelligent cozy mystery sans recipes, women and amateur sleuths.

Giveaway

Don’t forget to enter the Giveaway for your chance to win One (1) signed hardcover copy of Shelved Under Murder “with some swag” on the Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author

Victoria GilbertVictoria Gilbert, raised in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains, turned her early obsession with reading into a dual career as an author and librarian. She has worked as a reference librarian, research librarian, and library director.

When not writing or reading, Victoria likes to spend her time watching films, gardening, or traveling. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and International Thriller Writers, and is represented by Frances Black at Literary Council, NY, NY.

Victoria lives in North Carolina with her husband and some very spoiled cats. This is her first Blue Ridge Library mystery.

Author Links:

Website/blog: http://victoriagilbertmysteries.com/

Facebook author page:  https://www.facebook.com/VictoriaGilbertMysteryAuthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/VGilbertauthor

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/VictoriaGilbert

Purchase Links:

Amazon     B&N         Books-A-Million      Indie Bound 

Thank you for visiting my stop on the tour and please visit the other stops listed below!

Tour Participants:

July 9 – The Ninja Librarian – REVIEW, GUEST POST

July 9 – Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews – REVIEW

July 9 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

July 10 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

July 10 – Curling Up by the Fire – REVIEW

July 10 – A Blue Million Books – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

July 11 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

July 11 – Jane Reads – GUEST POST

July 11 – Varietats – SPOTLIGHT

July 12 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW

July 13 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

July 13 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

July 14 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

July 14 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

July 15 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW

July 15 – 3 Partners in Shopping Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT

July 16 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW

July 16 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

July 16 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT

July 17 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

July 17 – That’s What She’s Reading – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

July 17 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

July 18 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW

July 18 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

July 19 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

July 19 – The Montana Bookaholic – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

July 19 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

July 20 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW

July 20 – Island Confidential – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

July 20 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST 

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

©2018 V Williams V Williams

Murder Made to Order by Lena Gregory #BlogTour #BookReview #Giveaway

Murder Made to Order by Lena Gregory

I am super-excited today to provide a review at my blog stop for Murder Made to Order by Lena Gregory on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour. Scroll down to enter your chance at the Giveaway!

Book Details

Murder Made to Order (All-Day Breakfast Cafe Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Lyrical Underground (June 19, 2018)
Paperback: 196 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1516104666
Digital ASIN: B075WBZH6L  

Book Blurb

To save her cozy Florida diner, Gia Morelli must choke down a heaping helping of murder.

New York native Gia Morelli is just getting used to life in Florida when she gets word that the town government wants to shut down her pride and joy: the charming little diner known as the All-Day Breakfast Café. A forgotten zoning regulation means that the café was opened illegally, and hardboiled council president Marcia Steers refuses to budge. Gia is considering hanging up her apron and going back to New York, but before she gives up on her dream, she discovers something shocking in the local swamp: Marcia Steers, dead in the water. There’s a secret buried in the books at town hall, and someone killed to keep it hidden. To save her café and bring a killer to justice, Gia and her friends will have to figure out a killer’s recipe for murder . . .

My Review

Murder Made to Order by Lena GregoryAnyone knows a New Yorker can’t make grits like a true Southerner would have their grits. Nevertheless, Gia Morelli is making real progress with her All Day Breakfast Cafe and has a growing number of true and loyal diners. That’s one of the things that makes this second installment of her mystery series so appealing, the support characters.

Unfortunately, her success may have spurred the city council to recall an old zoning regulation and now the local council president is spearheading the drive to shut her down.

Gia has been wrestling with the changes to her life anyway, from the bears and alligators to the bugs and snakes, and she’s been freaking out over the differences the small town of Boggy Creek offers compared to her former NYC life. But then, there was a reason she left the big city behind. Still, she can’t believe she’d be forced to close just when it appears to be taking hold and she’d require some additional help.

Her friend Savannah (perfect name, huh?) is there to interpret everything southern and Gia has managed to make a number of friends along with a possible romantic interest in Tall, Dark, and Compelling. But then as she’s taking Thor, a Bernese Mountain dog who doesn’t walk so much as bound through the tick-infested brush, for a walk she stumbles across Marcia Steers, half in, half-out of the swampy bog and it’s obvious she won’t ever move to try to oust Gia from her restaurant again. She was supposed to have met with Marcia to discuss a private matter. Oh well…

I’ve gotta say, I’ve been plunked into Florida before, and it is definitely an eye-opening experience. I’m not sure why a city girl would choose to live at the edge of bear territory instead of closer to her diner, but she does. And then she takes on a mountain of a puppy, who having walked into the brush would definitely come out with more ticks than Gia, but she does. But who doesn’t love a dog in a cozy mystery and Thor definitely is given some appealing traits. I really enjoyed BFF Savannah as well as Earl, the cafe’s early and first very loyal customer. Reading about him and the characters that comprise her patrons, I’m reminded of a welcome breakfast stop we took when moving to Idaho and overheard the conversation of a group of good ole boys in coveralls at the next table:

“Whar’s Homewood?” “Wahl, it’s out aways.” “How far?” “Wahl, if you get to the river, you’ve gone too far.”

(It still cracks us up.) Well, anyway, the author does a great job fleshing out her characters and you quickly learn to appreciate them all–there is a reason they are in the story.

The protagonist, Gia, follows the breadcrumbs from the murder and thankfully doesn’t sit down with possible suspects and skewer them with questions. She does, however, give us a close-in kitchen account for whipping up breakfasts for groups of eight or more (the last thing I’d ever try), and she seems to have a fine handle on being a short-order cook until she can find one.

This series entry could function as a standalone as details carried forward from the debut answer most questions. Strong character-driven book gives an affectionate look into a small southern town with all the flavors of the season. I might have done without all the short-order lessons, but enjoyed the side-trips into the hinterlands, and the sleuthing is very subtle. Red herrings aside, the conclusion is smooth and not wholly unexpected but was fun to see played out. The plot is well-paced and satisfying and is highly recommended. If you enjoy cozies, you will enjoy this one.

Rosepoint Publishing:  Four point Five of Five Stars 4.5 of five stars

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Giveaway

You MUST hurry (like today!) to get in on this one (1) chance to win a $25.00 Amazon Gift Card in the Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author

Lena Gregory - authorLena lives in a small town on the south shore of eastern Long Island with her husband and three children.

When she was growing up, she spent many lazy afternoons on the beach, in the yard, anywhere she could find to curl up with a good book. She loves reading as much now as she did then, but she now enjoys the added pleasure of creating her own stories.

Author Links:

Website:  http://www.lenagregory.com/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/lena.gregory.986

Facebook Page:  https://www.facebook.com/Lena.Gregory.Author/?fref=ts

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/LenaGregory03

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14956514.Lena_Gregory?from_search=true

Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/lenagregoryauth/

Purchase Links:

Thank you for visiting my stop on the tour and please visit the other stops listed below!

Tour Participants:

June 20 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

June 20 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – REVIEW

June 20 – The Self-Rescue Princess – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

June 21 – The Montana Bookaholic – REVIEW

June 21 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

June 22 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

June 22 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW

June 22 – Read Your Writes Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

June 23 – Queen of All She Reads – REVIEW

June 23 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

June 24 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW

June 24 – Ruff Drafts – GUEST POST

June 25 – Varietats – REVIEW, GUEST POST

June 25 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – SPOTLIGHT

June 26 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

June 26 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

June 27 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – GUEST POST

June 27 – Readeropolis – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

June 27 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

June 28 – MJB Reviewers – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

June 28 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT

June 29 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

June 29 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW

June 30 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW

June 30 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

July 1 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW

July 1 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

July 2 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW

July 2 – A Blue Million Books –  AUTHOR INTERVIEW

July 3 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW

July 3 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

Great Escapes Book ToursThanks to Lena Gregory, the publisher, NetGalley AND Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours for the opportunity to read and review this cozy mystery!

©2018 V Williams V Williams

I’ve Been Watching You – a #BookReview

I've Been Watching You by K A Richardson

Title: I’ve Been Watching You by K A Richardson

Genre: Currently #2960 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Mystery, Police Procedurals

Publisher: Bloodhound Books

Publication Date: June 23, 2016

Source: Bloodhound Books and NetGalley

Title and Cover: I’ve Been Watching You (The Forensic Files Book 1) – Appropriate setting for subject

Ben Cassidy is a CSI with Sunderland City who is raising four-year-old daughter Grace by herself. She lives with Aunt Aoife who took her in as a child when her parents died in an accident. She has moved back home after living in Dunham and brings with her baggage she is yet to completely resolve. She must wrestle with the lingering psychological and physical damage while Aunt Aoife has a secret of her own.

Jacob Tully is ex-military with experience in combat and physical and mental trauma, but is coping by lecturing in Digital Forensics when Ben attends a class as part of her continuing education. He still wrestles with an occasional flashback or bout of PTSD, though has been making progress. The IUD damage to his leg will continue to cause him pain. Both are damaged individuals and seem destined to find each other. Continue reading “I’ve Been Watching You – a #BookReview”

Tail of the Dragon (A Zodiac Mystery) by Connie di Marco #BookTour #BookReview #Giveaway

Tail of the Dragon by Connie di Marco

I am super-excited today to provide a review at my blog stop for Tail of the Dragon by Connie di Marco on her Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour.

Book Details

Tail of the Dragon (A Zodiac Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Midnight Ink (August 8, 2018)
Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0738751061
Digital ASIN: B075W42GWP

Book Blurb

San Francisco astrologer Julia Bonatti never thought murder would be part of her practice, but when her former boss and current client asks for help she agrees to go undercover at his law firm. Three people have received death threats and the only common denominator between them is a case long settled–the infamous Bank of San Francisco fire. Julia’s astrological expertise provides clues but no one wants to listen. Before she can solve the mystery, two people are dead and her own life is in danger. Julia must unmask the killer before he, or she, takes another life. Continue reading “Tail of the Dragon (A Zodiac Mystery) by Connie di Marco #BookTour #BookReview #Giveaway”

American on Purpose – a #BookReview

american-on-purpose-cell

Title: American on Purpose: The Improbable Adventures of an Unlikely Patriot

Genre: Currently #27 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Humor & Entertainment, Humor, Political

Publisher: Harper Collins Publishers

Publication Date: September 22, 2009

Source: BookBub

Title and Cover: American on PurposeCraig Ferguson mixing metaphors

It’s true–I’ve had this one on my TBR for so long I don’t actually remember how I got it. It’s embarrassing, but suffice it to say, it must have been a (free?) BookBub offering, as I can’t usually be spending a lot on something I can’t eat or that keeps the electricity on.

And, just a head’s up, this is vintage Craig Ferguson. (You know Craig Ferguson, and what that means!) If you’ve ever had the misfortune of insomnia or are just a natural late night person, then unless you are 12, you no doubt watched Craig Ferguson on his late night show. (The show ended abruptly December 2014.)

Craig Ferguson - Talk show host, author

He is Scottish

     Profane

            Compelling Continue reading “American on Purpose – a #BookReview”

Confound It by Maggie Toussaint – a #BlogTour #BookReview and #Giveaway

Confound It - a Dreamwalker Mystery by Maggie Toussaint

I am super-excited today to provide a review for my blog stop for Confound It by Maggie Toussaint on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour.

Confound It (Dreamwalker Mystery #5)

Book Details

Cozy Mystery – Paranormal

  • Series: A Dreamwalker Mystery (Book 5)
  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Camel Press (June 1, 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10:1603815953
  • ISBN-13:978-1603815956

Book Blurb

Confound It by Maggie ToussaintWhile hosting out-of-town guests at her Georgia home, Dreamwalker Baxley Powell is called upon to help investigate a suspicious fire. One of her guests, close friend and fellow dreamwalker Deputy Sam Mayes, accompanies her to the scene. A meth cook is dead, and when Baxley visits her beyond the Veil of Life, she determines that the woman was murdered. Baxley pities Mandy Patterson, a single mother with aspirations for her teenage son Doodle. Unconcerned about the death of a criminal, the authorities pursue the drug-supply chain angle. Baxley worries about Doodle and vows to find out who killed his mother. As the case grows more baffling, Baxley struggles against her attraction to Sam. Although her husband is missing and declared dead, she does not feel free to love again until she is sure of his fate. Two suspects have the strongest motive, but Baxley has reason to believe they are pawns in a deeper game. And unless she can stop them, the world will never be the same. Book 5 in the Dreamwalker Mystery series. Continue reading “Confound It by Maggie Toussaint – a #BlogTour #BookReview and #Giveaway”

As the Christmas Cookie Crumbles by Leslie Budewitz – a #BlogTour #BookReview and #Giveaway

As the Christmas Cookie Crumbles by Leslie Budewitz

As the Christmas Cookie Crumbles (A Food Lovers’ Village Mystery)
Book Details:

Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Midnight Ink (June 8, 2018)
Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0738752419
Digital ASIN: B075W25FNF

I am super-excited today to provide a review at my blog stop for As the Christmas Cookie Crumbles by Leslie Budewitz on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour.

Book Blurb

Erin is one smart cookie, but can she keep the holiday spirit—and herself—alive till Christmas?

In Jewel Bay, all is merry and bright. At Murphy’s Mercantile, AKA the Merc, manager Erin Murphy is ringing in the holiday season with food, drink, and a new friend: Merrily Thornton. A local girl gone wrong, Merrily has turned her life around. But her parents have publicly shunned her, and they nurse a bitterness that chills Erin.

When Merrily goes missing and her boss discovers he’s been robbed, fingers point to Merrily—until she’s found dead, a string of lights around her neck. The clues and danger snowball from there. Can Erin nab the killer—and keep herself in one piece—in time for a special Christmas Eve?

Includes delicious recipes! Continue reading “As the Christmas Cookie Crumbles by Leslie Budewitz – a #BlogTour #BookReview and #Giveaway”

A Steep Price – a #BookReview

A Steep Price by Robert Dugoni

Title: A Steep Price (Tracy Crosswhite #6) by Robert Dugoni

Genre: Currently #57 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Crime Fiction, Murder

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Publication Date: June 26, 2018

Source: Thomas & Mercer and NetGalley

Title and Cover: A Steep PriceCover hints dark plot

I found Robert Dugoni with number five of the Tracy Crosswhite series, Close to Home, and enjoyed enough that when I saw this offering, jumped on it. Dugoni delivers an intelligent police procedural, explaining certain courses of action that might otherwise give pause. This plot, as well as the last, is multi-layered with parallel investigations dividing the Violent Crimes A-Team, Seattle, Washington.

Tracy is finishing up a trial when she gets a call from a colleague with whom she has previously worked regarding missing person Kavita Mukherjee. While the missing person Detective Katie Pryor referred to her may not appropriately be in her department or jurisdiction, she agrees that the missing student doesn’t fit the normal profile and she calls in her partner, Kinsington Rowe, for some support knowing the window of time with which they are dealing is acutely short. But it is Tracy and Pryor who find Kavita’s body and that investigation escalates with Kins. Continue reading “A Steep Price – a #BookReview”

#ThrowbackThursday – Two Rivers (The Great Peacemaker Series #1) by Zoe Saadia

#ThrowbackThursday - spring

Renee began the #ThrowbackThursday meme on her blog, It’s Book Talk to share some of her old favorites as well as sharing books published over a year ago. Hopefully, you’ll find either a story or author that interests you and you’ll check them out. And, if you’d like to join the fun, you’re welcome to use Renee’s pic from her website. Just provide the link back to her please).

Two Rivers - The Peacemaker series by Zoe SaadiaThis week I am highlighting Zoe Saadia, another terrific, prolific author who wrote several series, this one Two Rivers of the Peacemaker series number one of four, which I reviewed on Goodreads. This historical fiction novel was published in 2013. She consistently runs approximately 4.5 stars for any of her books sold on Amazon.

Originally posted October 15, 2015

Book Blurb:

Having survived the failed raid on the enemy lands, Tekeni had no illusions. He was nothing but an enemy cub, adopted into one of the clans, but not accepted, never for real. To fit in was difficult, to run away – impossible. To get into trouble, more often than not, was the only available option. They did not expect anything else from him, anyway.

However, when a meaningless row during a ballgame grew out of proportion, resulting in a fight, Tekeni has found himself in a truly grave trouble. Neither he nor anyone else could have foreseen the chain of events the consequences of this fight would release, when the highly esteemed but controversial Two Rivers decided to help Tekeni out.

Two Rivers was a strange person with unacceptable notions and ideas. He maintained that to war on and on was a mistake of disastrous consequences. He went as far as suggesting a negotiation of peace with some of the neighboring nations. Even Tekeni, the despised enemy, thought such ideas to be far-fetched and wild. And yet…

With their trouble mounting and the revengefulness of some people around them growing, both Tekeni and Two Rivers find themselves pushed beyond limits. Continue reading “#ThrowbackThursday – Two Rivers (The Great Peacemaker Series #1) by Zoe Saadia”

Confessions of a Red Herring by Dana Dratch – a #BlogTour #BookReview and #Giveaway

Confessions of a Red Herring by Dana Dratch

Title: Confessions of a Red Herring (A Red Herring Mystery #1) by Dana Dratch

Genre: Mystery, Cozy, Amateur Sleuths

Publisher: Kensington Books

Publication Date: HAPPY RELEASE DAY – May 29, 2018

Great Escapes Book ToursSource: Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours and NetGalley

Pages: 336 pages

ISBN-13: 978-1496716569

ASIN: B075C8FDT5

I am super-excited today to participate in the Publication Day for Confessions of a Red Herring by Dana Dratch on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour.

Book Blurb:

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

Even Alex has to admit she looks guilty.

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

What she doesn’t know: The killer also has a to-do list.
And Alex is on it. Continue reading “Confessions of a Red Herring by Dana Dratch – a #BlogTour #BookReview and #Giveaway”

Ray vs the Meaning of Life – a #BookReview

Ray vs the Meaning of LifeTitle: Ray vs the Meaning of Life by Michael F. Stewart

Genre: Currently # 147 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Literature & Fiction, Genre Fiction, Metaphysical

Publisher: The Publishing House

Publication Date: May 15, 2018

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title and Cover: Ray vs the Meaning of Life – Fantastic cover–totally gets the subject

When I read the review by Nicole over at The BookWorm Drinketh for Ray vs the Meaning of Life, I knew I had to get my hands on a copy. (TY, Nicole, you nailed it!) Fortunately, it was still available (now archived) on NetGalley, though it was termed Humor, Teens, and YA. What?! Heaven knows I’ve violated several of my rules recently, why not this one? Well, I’m so glad, once again, that I stepped beyond my own comfortable genres to sample this “YA” novel. But really, YA? Amazon classifies the genre as Metaphysical and Visionary (oh, and Coming of Age).

Too bad.

It should have just stopped at Brilliant Literature. Continue reading “Ray vs the Meaning of Life – a #BookReview”