Murder in the Reading Room by Ellery Adams – a #BookReview

Murder in the Reading Room by Ellery AdamsTitle: Murder in the Reading Room (A Book Retreat Mystery Book 5) by Ellery Adams

Genre: Amateur Sleuths, Cozy Mystery

Publisher: Kensington

  • ISBN-10:1496715659
  • ISBN-13:978-1496715654
  • ASIN: B07G6NJK5W

Print Length: 320 pages

Publication Date: Released April 30, 2019-Happy Publication Day!

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link: Murder in the Reading Room

Book Blurb:

Storyton Hall, Virginia, is a paradise for book lovers who come from all over for literary getaways. But manager Jane Steward is temporarily leaving for another renowned resort—in hopes of solving a twist-filled mystery . . .

Jane’s boyfriend is missing, and she thinks she may find him at North Carolina’s historic Biltmore Estate. Officially, she’s there to learn about luxury hotel management, but she’s also prowling around the breathtaking buildings and grounds looking for secret passageways and clues. One of the staff gardeners promises to be helpful . . . that is, until his body turns up in the reading room of his cottage, a book on his lap.

When she finally locates the kidnapped Edwin, his captor insists that she lead him back to Storyton Hall, convinced that it houses Ernest Hemingway’s lost suitcase, stolen from a Paris train station in 1922. But before they can turn up the treasure, the bell may toll for another victim . . .

My Review:

Murder in the Reading Room by Ellery AdamsDefinitely a book lovers paradise, the author knows her books and has created a beautiful picturesque setting in Storyton Hall, aptly named for it’s multiple private, cozy settings.

This being the fifth in the series and yes, of course, my first with the author and the series, I seem to have missed a well-developed fleshing of the protagonist and the storyline leading to this last(?) of the series. This is one series where you might do well to begin with number one. I greatly enjoyed the author’s writing style, very subtle, full of prose, and so descriptive of the idyllic venue that you want to start packing for your bags.

Apparently in the Book 4, Jane Steward’s boyfriend went missing. Jane is a widow with two young precocious boys. She is the manager of Storyton Hall, a pseudo-resort, with a strong literary style that includes a number of themed rooms/ libraries; i.e., Henry James Library, Daphne du Maurier Morning Room, and William Faulkner Conference Room. In her role as manager, she has joined a luxury hotel management seminar that is taking place at North Carolina’s historic Biltmore Estate–specifically because she believes that is where her Edwin Alcott is being hidden. The seminar will give her access sufficient to haunt the halls and grounds in an effort to find Edwin. The first, very shocking problem, however, manifests when she and Landon successfully discover him–and confront despot rogue Templar Ramsey Parrish as well.

Storyton itself has been in the Steward family for generations and is home to a wide variety of beautiful arts and treasures, not the least of which is possibly the Secret Library which may hide a suitcase stolen from Ernest Hemingway, lost in 1922. With the rumor that the Stewards are holding the suitcase and its priceless content comes many a problem, including the one that is currently the target of the Templar Ramsey, current manager of the behemoth Biltmore Estate. He will apparently stop at nothing to get to the secret library and the suitcase, including kidnapping. Jane’s own Landon Lachlan (head of Storyton Hall’s Recreation Department), is part of an elite group called “the Fins” also their first line of defense. In addition, she has a ladies group called “the Cover Girls” a literature club. Eloise is her best buddy, sister of Edwin. (She might have gone too far, however, when she named her boys Fitzgerald and Hemingway.)

The characters are all complex, literate, and deep in the bookish world, upper-class society, and southern history with associated activities. More twists are incorporated into the well-plotted mystery, dripping with charm, nostalgic quotes from many famous and classic authors. (Test yourself on how many you recognize!)

There are just too many secrets associated with the theme resort, hidden society, however, and push come to shove, Jane is tired. While there are casualties, they happen “off page.” I really enjoyed the wide variety of support characters, so appropriately named, the location so visual, the atmosphere cerebral. The pace works well right into a downplayed climax almost smoothed over in the blurred conclusion which forms part of the reason for the epilogue.

I was given this ebook download by the publisher and NetGalley and totally appreciated the opportunity to read and review this unique and captivating novel. Recommended for any bibliophile who can quote from the classics or book lovers in general, as well as cozy mystery lovers. There is something here for everyone–including that touch of romance!

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Four point Five of Five Stars Four point Five of Five Stars

Ellery Adams - authorThe Author: Ellery Adams, a USA Today and New York Times bestselling author, has written over thirty-five mystery novels. She shares her North Carolina home with her husband, two trolls, and three keyboard-hogging felines. Ellery loves coffee, bubbly, boxing, jigsaw puzzles, baking, and black jelly beans.

Her traditionally published series include The Secret, Book, and Scone Society Mysteries, The Book Retreat Mysteries, The Books By the Bay Mysteries, and The Charmed Pie Shoppe Mysteries.

Her Indie series include The Supper Club Series, The Hope Street Series, and The Molly Appleby Collectible Series.

For discussion questions and more, visit http://www.elleryadamsmysteries.com

©2019 V Williams Blog author

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Murder at the Marina by Janet Finsilver #BlogTour #BookReview

I am so delighted today to provide a review for you at my blog stop for Murder at the Marina by Janet Finsilver on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour.

Murder at the Marina

Book Details

Murder at the Marina (A Kelly Jackson Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Lyrical Underground (April 2, 2019)
Print Length: ~200 Pages
ASIN: B07FC2C3BH

Book Blurb

She’s got to solve this—or her friends are sunk . . .

Kelly Jackson, manager of the Redwood Cove Bed and Breakfast, is fond of the Doblinsky brothers, Ivan and Rudy, members of the Silver Sentinels, a crew of crime-solving senior citizens in their Northern California seaside hamlet. After she discovers a jewel-encrusted dagger—with what appears to be dried blood on the blade—on their fishing boat, they share their family history with Kelly, and she learns that the knife may be part of a set from their long-ago childhood in Russia. Its sudden reappearance is eerie, but the mystery grows much more serious when a body is found on the boat. The victim was staying at Kelly’s inn, in town for a Russian Heritage Festival, and some of the organizers were clearly harboring some bitterness. But the story behind this murder seems as layered as a nesting doll—and Kelly’s feeling completely at sea . . .

My Review

Murder at the Marina by Janet FinsilverThe fifth installment in the Kelly Jackson mystery series brings back Kelly Jackson, new manager and new to the area in Redwood Cove at her bed and breakfast. (Isn’t that a gorgeous Victorian on the cover?) Returning secondary characters include the Silver Sentinels, who have become instrumental in providing support for Kelly in her sleuthing missions in the remote northern California area. She and Helen, her main staff member providing meals and snacks, are preparing for the Russian Heritage Festival. Ivan and Rudy, two of her Silver Sentinels, are part of the local Russian community. They have been trying to get Kelly down to the marina to see their fishing vessel but when she arrives before they do, she notices something inside the galley that appears to be a bloodied jewel-encrusted dagger.

After bringing in her burgeoning romantic interest, the local deputy sheriff Bill Stanton, events begin to escalate and soon a body is found on the boat as well, leading suspicions to the boat owners, the Russian brothers. Apparently, the brothers have quite the history of fleeing Russian with what treasures they could grab on the run and the large (aristocratic) family splits, hoping to reconnect after arriving in San Francisco. The knife is part of a set, and two other members each hold one, but the dagger found on their boat is not from their holdings, which is obviously larger than the invaluable daggers.

With two of their own under suspicion, the crime-solving seniors, along with Kelly will proceed to investigate and discover a wealth of Russian history, valuables, and links back to San Francisco. Helen takes up the slack and fills in with foods, snacks, and desserts as they meet at the Redwood Cove B&B to lay out their groundwork. Thank heaven, as Kelly can’t boil water, though Scott would love to teach her.

“I figured al dente was a fancy phrase for chewy and not completely cooked.”

I really enjoyed the Russian history as well as the festival highlights, foods (baklava–yum!), dancing, and the Cossack riding team, imagining their magnificent costumes and precision equestrian presentation. The author has a good knowledge base as well as an affinity for horses and dogs!

This is a fun well-paced cozy, with compelling characters, and the scenic location of northern California. I was given the ebook download by the publisher and NetGalley for this blog tour and appreciate the opportunity to read and review.

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About the Author

Janet Finsilver - authorJanet Finsilver is the USA TODAY bestselling author of the Kelly Jackson mystery series. She worked in education for many years as a teacher, a program administrator, and a workshop presenter. Janet majored in English and earned a Master’s Degree in Education. She loves animals and has two dogs–Kylie and Ellie. Janet has ridden western style since she was a child and was a member of the National Ski Patrol. One of the highlights of her life was touching whales in the San Ignacio Lagoon. MURDER AT REDWOOD COVE, her debut mystery, was released on October 13, 2015. Her second book, MURDER AT THE MANSION, was released on June 7, 2016. Book 3, MURDER AT THE FORTUNE TELLER’S TABLE was released on March 14, 2017.

Author Links

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/janetfinsilverauthor/?fref=ts

Twitter – https://twitter.com/JanetFinsilver

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

Web – http://janetfinsilver.com/

Purchase Links – Amazon  – B&N – Kobo – Google Play

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

Tour Participants:

April 9 – The Montana Bookaholic – REVIEW

April 9 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

April 9 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT

April 10 – I’m All About Books – GUEST POST

April 10 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

April 10 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

April 11 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT

April 11 – Reading Is My SuperPower – CHARACTER GUEST POST

April 11 – Community Bookstop – REVIEW  

April 12 – View from the Birdhouse – SPOTLIGHT

April 12 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

April 12 – MJB Reviewers – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

April 13 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

April 13 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

April 13 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

April 14 – Cozy Up With Kathy – CHARACTER GUEST POST

April 14 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

April 15 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW

April 15 – Books Direct – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

April 16 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

April 16 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT

April 16 – Defining Ways – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

April 17 – Ascroft, eh? – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

April 17 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW, EXCERPT

April 18 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

April 18 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW, GUEST POST Great Escapes Book Tours

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

©2019 V Williams Blog author

Pinot Red or Dead? By J C Eaton #BlogTour #BookReview #Giveaway

I am so delighted today to provide a review for you at my blog stop for Pinot Read or Dead? by Ann I. Goldfarb and James E. Clapp on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour. Scroll down to enter your chance to win the Giveaway!

Book Details

Pinot Red or Dead? (The Wine Trail Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Lyrical Underground (March 26, 2019)
Paperback: 206 pages
ISBN-10: 1516108035
ISBN-13: 978-1516108039
Digital ASIN: B07F5XDH41

Book Blurb

There’s a lot of noir surrounding this rare pinot.

As the vineyards in Seneca Lake, New York, prepare for the seasonal “Deck the Halls Around the Lake” festivities, someone is determined to keep pinot noir off the wine list. Hijacked trucks and sabotaged ingredients have made it a hard-to-acquire vintage for the six local wineries—including Norrie Ellington’s Two Witches Winery.

The case of the stolen and spoiled wines gets stranger when Arnold Mowen, owner of the company distributing the wine, is found dead, the apparent victim of a hunting accident. As Norrie tries to find the connections between the pinot’s problems and Arnold’s death, she uncovers a conspiracy among many locals whose hatred for the wine distributor was bottled up for far too long . . .

My Review
Pinot Red or Dead? by J C Eaton

Norrie Ellington is subbing for her sister and brother-in-law when he gets calls out of the country on a bug-hunting mission. The Two Witches Winery has a talented and independent, capable crew and for the year her sister was to be gone, she figured she could continue her work as a screenwriter just as well in Penn Yan as New York City. Norrie was to oversee the operations temporarily as a legal, if often absentee, co-owner, but circumstances seem to interrupt intentions.

The area wineries are gearing up for the annual “Deck the Halls Around the Lake” celebration as the season turns to late autumn and Thanksgiving is around the corner. Unfortunately, Norrie has discovered more than her share of bodies around the vineyards and dabbled in the crime investigations. Now, there is a highjacking of the distribution truck delivering area Pinot Noirs. Then, their own barrel of Pinot Noir is discovered to have been tampered with and destroyed. If that isn’t enough, Norrie’s Plott Hound, Charlie, finds a wallet that Norrie discovers leads to the body of the Lake-to-Lake Wine Distributors owner, Arnold Mowen. He is actually face down in a ditch separating their vineyard from the Grey Egret Winery.

As they prepare for the flood of holiday shoppers on the wine tour, Norrie is busy ferreting out clues. Apparently Mowen was not observed as a beloved boss and few who was stuck with his distribution service were thrilled with his tactics, so there becomes a long list of suspects, each heading to the forefront as Norrie examines their motive and opportunity. And there is no lack of well-developed characters, filling in a well-plotted device with humor, first person observations and discoveries. Norrie makes for a fun, flawed, and slightly neurotic protagonist, who is bound and determined to flush out the felon, as usual against local law enforcement advice.

Mowen had instructed his attorney to read his will at Two Witches Winery at midnight twenty-nine days following his death. Tension builds toward the big reveal with more than one thinking they would inherit Mowen’s money. With all the twists, all loose threads are tied very neatly, but is it possible that Norrie decided on the culprit too soon?

The third in the series but satisfying and could well function as a standalone.

I was given this ebook download by the publisher and NetGalley for this blog tour and greatly appreciated the opportunity to read and review. Recommended for all who enjoy a well-paced cozy with a spritz of red wine.

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Giveaway

Here is your chance to sign up to win (1) Print Copy – Pinot Red or Dead? (The Wine Trail Mysteries) by J.C. Eaton (U.S. Only) in this Rafflecopter giveaway


About the Author(s): J C Eaton

Ann I. Goldfarb

New York native Ann I. Goldfarb spent most of her life in education, first as a classroom teacher and later as a middle school principal and professional staff developer. Writing as J. C. Eaton, along with her husband, James Clapp, she has authored the Sophie Kimball Mysteries (Kensington) set for release in June 2017. In addition, Ann has nine published YA time travel mysteries under her own name. Visit the websites at www.jceatonauthor.com and www.timetravelmysteries.com

James E. Clapp

When James E. Clapp retired as the tasting room manager for a large upstate New York winery, he never imagined he’d be co-authoring cozy mysteries with his wife, Ann I. Goldfarb. His first novel, Booked 4 Murder (Kensington) is set for release in June 2017. Non-fiction in the form of informational brochures and workshop materials treating the winery industry were his forte along with an extensive background and experience in construction that started with his service in the U.S. Navy and included vocational school classroom teaching.

Visit their website at www.jceatonauthor.com and Like and Follow on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/JCEatonauthor/

Purchase Links
Amazon    B&N    Kobo   Google Play IndieBound

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

Tour Participants:

March 25 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

March 25 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

March 25 – fundinmental – REVIEW

March 26 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

March 26 – Reading Is My SuperPower – GUEST POST

March 26 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT

March 26 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

March 26 – Ruff Drafts – GUEST POST  

March 27 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW

March 27 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

March 27 – I’m All About Books – CHARACTER GUEST POST 

March 28 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

March 28 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW

March 29 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

March 29 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

March 29 – StoreyBook Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST

March 29 – MJB Reviewers – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

March 30 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

March 30 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT

March 30 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

March 31 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW

March 31 – Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

March 31 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

Great Escapes Book Tours

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

2019 V Williams

Blog author

S’more Murders by Maya Corrigan #BlogTour #BookReview #Giveaway

S'more Murders by Maya Corrigan

I am so delighted today to provide a review for you at my blog stop for S’more Murders by Maya Corrigan on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour. Scroll down to register for your chance to win the Giveaway!

Book Details

S’more Murders (A Five-Ingredient Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Kensington (July 31, 2018) Happy Release Day!
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1496709196
Digital ASIN: B0776HN51M

Book Blurb

S'more Murders by Maya CorriganManaging a fitness club café and collaborating on a cookbook with her grandfather are Val Deniston’s usual specialties, but she’s about to set sail into nearby Chesapeake Bay—straight into a murder case . . .

Since catering themed events is a good way to make extra cash, Val agrees to board the Titanic—or at least cater a re-creation of the doomed journey on a yacht. The owner of the yacht, who collects memorabilia related to the disaster, wants Val to serve the last meal the Titanic passengers ate . . . while his guests play a murder-mystery game. But it is the final feast for one passenger who disappears from the ship. And that’s only the tip of the iceberg.

Now Val has to reel in a killer before s’more murders go down . . .

Includes delicious five-ingredient recipes!

My Review

Definitely a different and unique premise, I believe, to write a cozy mystery about the last meal of the special guests on the Titanic! In this case, it is Val Deniston, who manages the Cool Down Café at the Bayport Racket and Fitness Club. She has reluctantly agreed to cater a ten-course meal of the famous last meal of the Titanic passengers for yacht owner Otto Warbeck. She has catered other theme events with success, but this one entails preparation and service on a yacht as it motors out of Chesapeake Bay with an unusual cadre of guests.

Val moved in with her grandfather who is throwing her some catering jobs and taking an online PI course, but tries to talk her out of this one feeling it’s over the top creepy and inviting of disaster. To add to the creepy factor, Otto has scheduled the voyage for the anniversary of the sinking. Val’s BFF and assistant at the Café is Bethany, who agrees to work with her in this different and unusual onboard experience. Val has a boyfriend, Gunnar, who is rather a dud and not a good match. (He may be moving–goodbye and good luck.)

Otto has designed a murder mystery game to entertain his guests while on board during the course of the elaborate meal. The theme party goes awry when there is an obvious disappearance and the kid piloting the craft is found to be under the influence.

As this is the fifth installment of the series and my first experience with this author, I did not find the protagonist fully fleshed, although there is sufficient backstory to allow viewing this as a standalone novel. Her grandfather can be a bit strong, but contributes to the investigation with Val on the mystery to help clear the young man who was acting as captain.

Red herrings are flying over the bow, twists and turns, and it would seem most on board had a motive. Still, the scenario worked out in my mind turned out to be darned close, but didn’t address a few aspects of the whodunit that was ironed out well in conclusion. For some reason, I couldn’t fully engage with the protagonist and Gunnar was just a clink. Grandpa was a forceful personality as was Otto, whose trophy wife was sympathetic. I enjoyed references and tidbits about the Titanic and had no idea there was such a large cult following collection of all things Titanic, the tragic circumstances apparently stirring limitless fascination even 106 years later. The storyline moves along at cozy pace and the foodie stuff will be of interest.

I received this ebook download from the publisher and NetGalley through Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours and greatly appreciated the opportunity to read and review. Recommended as a cozy with an unusual premise for those who enjoy a Five Ingredient Mystery, culinary thrillers, and clean suspense novels.

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Giveaway

Be sure to sign up for your chance to win one of two print copies of S’More Murders in this Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author

Maya Corrigan - authorMaya Corrigan blends her love of food and detective stories in her Five-Ingredient Mystery series set in a fictional historic town on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The first book in the series, By Cook or by Crook, was published in 2014. It was followed by Scam Chowder in 2015, Final Fondue in 2016, and The Tell-Tale Tarte in 2017.

Before taking up a life of crime (on the page), she taught university courses in writing, detective fiction, American literature, and drama. She won the 2013 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Unpublished Mainstream Mystery / Suspense. Her short stories, written under the name of Mary Ann Corrigan, have been published in anthologies.

When not reading and writing, she enjoys theater, tennis, trivia, cooking, and crosswords. Her website features trivia about food and mysteries.

Author Links:

WebPage: mayacorrigan.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Maya-CorriganBooks/305167769636032

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 30 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

July 31 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

July 31 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

August 1 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

August 1 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW

August 2 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

August 2 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

August 3 – Cozy Up With Kathy – GUEST POST

August 3 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

August 4 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

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

August 5 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT

August 6 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

August 6 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW

August 7 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

August 8 – Readeropolis – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

August 9 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

August 9 – Mysteries with Character – SPOTLIGHT

August 10 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW  

August 10 – Queen of All She Reads – REVIEW

August 11 – A Blue Million Books – GUEST POST

August 12 – The Montana Bookaholic – 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