The Ghost and the Bogus Bestseller by Cleo Coyle #BlogTour #BookReview #Giveaway

The Ghost and the Bogus Bestseller

I am super-excited today to provide a review at my blog stop for The Ghost and the Bogus Bestseller by Cleo Coyle on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour. Please scroll down to sign up for this very special Giveaway!

Book Details

The Ghost and the Bogus Bestseller (Haunted Bookshop Mystery)
Paranormal Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Berkley (September 25, 2018)
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 0425237451
ISBN-13: 978-0425237458
Digital ASIN: B078VX9SNF  

Book Blurb

Penelope Thornton-McClure and her bookshop’s ghost-in-residence Jack Shepard are back on a new case in this delightful paranormal mystery from New York Times bestselling author Cleo Coyle.

A big bestseller leads to small town trouble.

Bookshop owner Penelope Thornton-McClure didn’t believe in ghosts, until she was haunted by the hard-boiled spirit of 1940s private investigator Jack Shepard. Now Jack is back on the job, and Pen is eternally grateful…

After an elegant new customer has a breakdown in her shop, Penelope suspects there is something bogus behind the biggest bestseller of the year. This popular potboiler is so hot that folks in her tiny Rhode Island town are dying to read it–literally. First one customer turns up dead, followed by another mysterious fatality connected to the book, which Pen discovers is more than just fiction. Now, with the help of her gumshoe ghost, Pen must solve the real-life cold case behind the bogus bestseller before the killer closes the book on her.

My Review

The Ghost and the Bogus Bestseller by Cleo CoyleWhat a delightful and unique cozy mystery! Of course, I always enjoy a paranormal twist to the plot and this one proved a distinctive one at that. Apparently a 1940’s PI Jack Shepard was killed in the very bookstore in which the widowed protagonist Penelope Thornton-McClure joined her Aunt Sadie as co-owner. Jack Shepard totally exudes the part of a “hard-boiled” private investigator replete with period vernacular. I’ve discussed the “hard-boiled” genre previously that incorporates the noir element to novels popular in the late forties and fifties. It’s easy to conjure Humphrey Bogart in the part, though perhaps Jack has been tempered just a tad by Penelope (Pen) as she introduces her modern-day sensitivities to Jack.

A customer abruptly gasps at the back jacket of their current bestseller and flees the store with the book but without paying. Pen later finds her gloves and with the help of Jack secures the lady’s name and address. She was able to track down the lady but discovers her body, an apparent suicide. Pen doesn’t think so. She and Jack appear to have frequent conversations and this distracted me at first but not for long, as it is disclosed how Jack manifests himself; an interesting idea that!

I particularly enjoyed the appropriately named chapter titles and the little quotes to kick off the chapter. Not all from authors, the quotes ranged from George Burns to Marilyn Monroe and set a tone for the chapter, increasing expectation.

“Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip. Will Rogers”

“Sincerity. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made. George Burns”

“Today’s gossip is tomorrow’s headline. Walter Winchell”

“We didn’t lose the game; we just ran out of time. Vince Lombardi”

Besides well-known name quotes, the author(s) manages a few pearls of their own, several of which produced a chuckle. I also enjoyed the knowledge (or the thorough and effective research) imparted regarding classic books and authors, some of which I’d forgotten but produced an “oh, yeah…” There were also a couple racy innuendos and tongue-in-cheek puns, intended.

The setting is a little town in Rhode Island and although this is #6 in the series has no problem standing alone. It’s apparently been ten years since the last. The main characters from the previous series entries are back along with popular support members and each provide a rich component to the well-plotted mystery. The writing style is fun and the pace steady. The flashback dreams where Jack takes Pen back to 1947 with him to experience one of his cases has you wondering briefly about the interruption to the storyline until you see how it’s incorporated into the main plot. You may think you know who is behind the deed, but you won’t guess the entire story or motive. The story has a lot of personality and delivers a satisfying conclusion.

I was given the download by the publisher and NetGalley for this book tour and greatly appreciated the opportunity to read and review. I’ll be looking forward to #7 in the series! Recommended for readers who enjoy a different and intelligent cozy mystery with a super-natural bent in their amateur sleuths.

Add to Goodreads

Giveaway

Sign up for your chance to win one (1) signed copy of The Ghost and the Bogus Bestseller (A Haunted Bookshop Mystery) by Cleo Coyle + Ghost Tote Bag and $15 gift card! Rafflecopter giveaway 

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

About the Author

Cleo Coyle is a pseudonym for Alice Alfonsi, writing in collaboration with her husband, Marc Cerasini. Both are New York Times bestselling authors of the Coffeehouse Mysteries–now celebrating nearly fifteen years in print. They also write the nationally bestselling Haunted Bookshop Mysteries, which were originally published under their second pseudonym, Alice Kimberly (The Ghost and Mrs. McClureThe Ghost and the Dead DebThe Ghost and the Dead Man’s LibraryThe Ghost and the Femme FataleThe Ghost and the Haunted Mansion). Alice has worked as a journalist in Washington, DC, and New York, and has written popular fiction for adults and children. A former magazine editor, Marc has authored espionage thrillers and nonfiction for adults and children. Alice and Marc are also bestselling media tie-in writers who have penned properties for Lucasfilm, NBC, Fox, Disney, Imagine, and MGM. They live and work in New York City, where they write independently and together. You can learn more about Cleo, her husband, and the books they write by visiting www.CoffeehouseMystery.com.

Author Links:

Visit Cleo online: www.coffeehousemystery.com

Friend Cleo on Facebook:www.Facebook.com/CleoCoyle

Follow Cleo on Twitterhttps://twitter.com/cleocoyle/

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:

October 1 – Babs Book Bistro

October 1 – Community Bookstop

October 2 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies

October 2 – The Montana Bookaholic

October 3 – Socrates’ Book Reviews

October 3 – MJB Reviewers

October 4 – The Avid Reader

October 4 – Mysteries with Character

October 5 – Teresa Trent Author Blog

October 5 – Reading Authors

October 6 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews

October 7 – Cozy Up With Kathy

October 8 – Laura’s Interests

October 8 – My Reading Journeys

October 9 – Rosepoint Publishing

October 9 – A Holland Reads

October 10 – Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews

October 10 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews

October 11 – The Book’s the Thing

October 12 – Brooke Blogs

October 13 – Bookworm Cafe

October 13 – The Editing Pen

October 14 – Moonlight Rendezvous

October 15 – Curling Up by the Fire  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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Glitter Bomb by Laura Childs #BlogTour #BookReview #Giveaway

Glitter Bomb by Laura Childs with Terrie Farley Moran

I am so delighted today to provide a review for you at my blog stop for Glitter Bomb (A Scrapbooking Mystery #15) by Laura Childs with Terri Farley Moran on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour. Scroll down to enter your chance to win the Giveaway!

Book Details

Glitter Bomb (A Scrapbooking Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
15th in Series
Berkley (October 2, 2018)
Hardcover: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 0451489543
ISBN-13: 978-0451489548
Digital ASIN: B078VVDSQT

Book Blurb

An exploding Mardi Gras float has got to be the strangest murder weapon scrappy sleuth Carmela Bertrand has ever encountered in this latest Scrapbooking Mystery from the New York Times bestselling author.

It’s Mardi Gras in New Orleans and scrapbook shop owner Carmela Bertrand is excited to be attending the Pluvius Parade along with her best friend Ava. Carmela’s ex-husband Shamus rides by the duo on his float at the head of the parade, when suddenly the revelry turns to disaster. Shamus’ float crashes and explodes, and although Shamus escapes unhurt, a member of his krewe is killed.

Carmela and Ava plunge into an investigation of the krewe member’s death, but as they dig deeper it starts to look less like an accident and more like a murder….and Shamus seems less like a victim, and more like a suspect.

Add to Goodreads

 My Review

Glitter Bomb by Laura ChildsCarmela Bertrand and her bff Ava Gruiex are watching the Pluvius parade when the King Neptune float suddenly goes wonky and explodes almost in front of them. Among the krewe members on the float are her ex-hubby, Shamus Meechum, who is thrown clear but survives. One of the members who did not is krewe captain Hughes Wilder. He was close to the blast and also ingests glitter–not a good thing and no one was able to save him. It doesn’t take long before Carmela’s possibly betrothed Detective First Grade Edgar Babcock arrives on the scene and takes over, cautioning Carmela to stay out of it. Of course, knowing this is a cozy, there is no way for that to happen, especially since now it’s perceived Shamus may be a person of interest. Shamus pushes for her to clear his name while Babcock is adamant she not get involved.

Okay, I must admit the writing style, snarky and slightly immature dialogue had me flipping pages to see if it would serious up a tad. Granted, the well-plotted cozy mystery throws out a hook and ensures you’ll read far enough to engage deeply enough to see it through to the whodunit. No, it doesn’t (get serious), not really. But the back-and-forth between Carmela and Ava definitely defines their personas. Ava, the opposite of Carmela, obviously complements the friendship in a way that offsets Carmela’s shier shortcomings. While Ava, ever the bon vivant, sets a style well above the more tasteful and demure Carmela. Ava is also single, promised more, and strongly rethinking him. While both go fishing, Carmela sets small bait, Ava brings a bat.

Trying not to upset Babcock with her quiet sleuthing, Carmela goes about her business, which is a scrapbooking store (Memory Mine) cum graphic shop. She is apparently loaded with equipment and knows how to use it–and not just for photo albums. Ava is likewise self-employed. Both ladies enjoy New Orleans society and with upcoming Mardi Gras, a wealth of activities and week-long parties. Carmela gently chips away at discoveries, a few of which she shares with Babcock and gradually gains additional persons of interest.

Mardi Gras traditions, the wild and crazy jazz and zydeco atmosphere, are shared along with hints of decorating crafts (masks), and all manner of craft materials and ideas. Red herrings in the guise of unrelated pursuits take you 90 degrees out of the main plot, either putting the sleuthing on minor hold or as a way of gleaning additional tidbits about their suspects. Carmela continues to interact with Shamus while getting more and more “keep out” instructions from Babcock. (I hope he’s worth it.) Both ladies seem to have the freedom from their shops to go play (Carmela a loyal and capable assistant) and party they do. The antagonist is guessed at, not a complete surprise, but neither a #1 choice.

The author includes scrapbooking hints at the end, along with some recipes, and surprise!! A recipe for dog treats that I absolutely will try. Not my first book with this author (using another name), but with this series, I found this fairly evenly paced plot and characters could function just fine as a standalone. A fast and fun cozy that I downloaded from the publisher through NetGalley for this book tour for a read and review. Recommended for fans of Laura Child, cozy mysteries, crafts and hobbies, and women sleuths.

Giveaway

Please sign up here for your chance to win one of two (2) Print Copies of Glitter Bomb (A Scrapbooking Mystery) by Laura Childs with Terrie Farley Moran (U.S. Only). Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author

Laura Childs - authorLaura Childs is the New York Times bestselling author of the Tea Shop MysteriesScrapbook Mysteries, and Cackleberry Club Mysteries. In her previous life she was CEO/Creative Director of her own marketing firm and authored several screenplays. She is married to a professor of Chinese art history, loves to travel, rides horses, enjoys fundraising for various non-profits, and has two Chinese Shar-Pei dogs.

Laura specializes in cozy mysteries that have the pace of a thriller (a thrillzy!) Her three series are:

The Tea Shop Mysteries – set in the historic district of Charleston and featuring Theodosia Browning, owner of the Indigo Tea Shop. Theodosia is a savvy entrepreneur, and pet mom to service dog Earl Grey. She’s also an intelligent, focused amateur sleuth who doesn’t rely on coincidences or inept police work to solve crimes. This charming series is highly atmospheric and rife with the history and mystery that is Charleston.

The Scrapbooking Mysteries – a slightly edgier series that take place in New Orleans. The main character, Carmela, owns Memory Mine scrapbooking shop in the French Quarter and is forever getting into trouble with her friend, Ava, who owns the Juju Voodoo shop. New Orleans’ spooky above-ground cemeteries, jazz clubs, bayous, and Mardi Gras madness make their presence known here!

The Cackleberry Club Mysteries – set in Kindred, a fictional town in the Midwest. In a rehabbed Spur station, Suzanne, Toni, and Petra, three semi-desperate, forty-plus women have launched the Cackleberry Club. Eggs are the morning specialty here and this cozy cafe even offers a book nook and yarn shop. Business is good but murder could lead to the cafe’s undoing! This series offers recipes, knitting, cake decorating, and a dash of spirituality.

Laura’s Links:

Webpage – http://www.laurachilds.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/laura.childs.31

Short-listed twice for The Best American Mystery Stories, Terrie Farley Moran is delighted to introduce mystery fans to the Read ’Em and Eat café and bookstore, which debuted with Well Read, Then Dead. followed by Caught Read-Handed and Read to Death released in July of this year.  The only thing Terrie enjoys more than wrangling mystery plots into submission is playing games and reading stories with any or all of her grandchildren.

Terrie’s Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/terrie.moran.9

Blog:  www.womenofmystery.net

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/23186092-terrie-moran

Purchase Links:

      Amazon    B&N    Google Books    IndieBound   Kobo  BookBub 

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

Tour Participants:

October 1 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

October 1 – Island Confidential – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

October 2 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW

October 2 – Valerie’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

October 3 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – GUEST POST

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

October 4 – Community Bookstop – REVIEW

October 4 – MJB Reviewers – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

October 5 – View from the Birdhouse – REVIEW

October 5 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

October 6 – Cinnamon, Sugar and a Little Bit of Murder – REVIEW

October 6 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

October 7 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

October 7 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

October 8 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW

October 9 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – REVIEW

October 9 – A Blue Million Books – CHARACTER GUEST POST

October 10 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

October 10 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

October 11 – Mysteries with Character – GUEST POST

October 11 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT

October 12 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW

October 12 – The Montana Bookaholic – SPOTLIGHT

October 13 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

October 13 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT

October 14 – Readeropolis – CHARACTER GUEST POST

October 14 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT 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

Assault and Beadery by Mollie Cox Bryan #BookTour #BookReview #Giveaway

Assault and Beadery

I am so delighted today to provide a review for you at my blog stop for Assault and Beadery by Mollie Cox Bryan on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour. Scroll down the page to enter this exclusive Giveaway!

Book Details

Assault and Beadery (A Cora Crafts Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Kensington (September 25, 2018)
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 1496716442
ISBN-13: 978-1496716446
Digital ASIN: B078QM4V66  

Book Blurb

All of Cora Chevalier’s dreams are coming true. Since moving to Indigo Gap, North Carolina, the busy crafting maven has been blessed with a great boyfriend, a lovely home, and a booming craft retreat business. But on the eve of her first Crafty Mom’s Escape Weekend, tragedy strikes again in Indigo Gap. This time, it’s curtains for Stan Herald, the disagreeable director of the local theater group, who’s murdered on the opening night of their new production. Worse, Cora’s friend Zee is accused of the crime.

Cora is determined to prove her friend’s innocence, but Zee’s mysterious past is making that difficult. And with a list of suspects longer than a double spool of satin cording, getting a bead on the real culprit won’t be easy. With her friends Jane and Ruby at her side, Cora must string together the clues and solve Stan’s murder before the killer gives an encore performance.

Includes crafting tips!

My Review

Once again, my first experience with the author and the series. This being the fourth in the series, however, is not a real problem as it could easily function as a standalone, characters and location are well developed.

Indigo Gap is described as a small mountain community and tourist destination offering beautiful scenery, quaint B&B’s, cafes, and streets all named in exotic blue colors. As I viewed Cora, Jane, and Ruby, partners in the Kildare House in Indigo Gap, NC, it seems to me Jane is the stronger and would be prime protagonist, although it appears that Cora is supposed to be primary lead. Cora lives in the attic apartment of the historic Victorian home of Irish immigrants and former forest barons with her cat, Luna. Jane and her young daughter, London, live in the carriage house adjacent, although for this special retreat weekend, their third, the little girl is away visiting grandparents.

They fill their investment by holding specialized retreats, this one with special guest leader, Lena, who will introduce projects in beading (including French beads, clay beads, and rose beads) along with other crafting ideas involving felting and author cards. The home is apparently enormous and in addition to the bedrooms have rooms specifically designed and dedicated for specific crafts. The description of the home had me wishing I could take a tour! That is, until you get to the kitchen, which in their rehab process was put on the back-burner (a serious no-no in rehabbing). The retreat has invited moms to a special after-summer getaway and respite from their children and they’ve ended up with an eclectic group of women, some preferring to knit. (I’d love to know how much they paid and what it included!)

In addition to preparing to receive their guests, they got involved with the local community playhouse and helped to paint backgrounds for the production slated to open. Unfortunately, the director is found deceased on the stage and their B&B neighbor and friend Zee found beside him with a bloody knife. They know Zee couldn’t have done it, but how well do they know her–really?

I had these observations: I appreciated the atmosphere of the little town, the pride of the locals in their community, and even some of the (over) descriptive instructions of the projects. The protagonists had made major changes in their lives and appear to be conquering difficult histories. The projects, many with detailed instructions given at the back of the book, take up a lot of the narrative. However, Cora emerges as a rather weak-kneed protagonist fighting panic attacks, revisiting situations, and conversations once too often. They tended to call their officer friend, Detective Brodsky–a lot–no secrets–nothing held back there! He’s married, but Cora has a boyfriend who is always among the missing except for one sneaky night (huh?). The weekend retreat seemed to last more than a Saturday/Sunday, there was a lot of free time where the girls could go sleuthing, and no one ever fixed a meal. (Lots of restaurant referrals.)

It is cozy paced and well-plotted, just a little slow for me. Red herrings are thrown in, then dissed, and the antagonist was not a surprise. The craft moms are all aware of what is going on and no one seems to slow their attendance in the next class or appear concerned over whether or not the antagonist is someone in their midst.

I was given this download by the publisher and NetGalley for this book tour and greatly appreciated the opportunity to read and review. Recommended for any heavy into crafting, particularly beading, or for someone you know would appreciate those hints and ideas–a little mystery with the craft projects!

Giveaway

Enter here for your chance at winning one of three (3) print copies of Assault and Beadery (U.S. only). Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author

Mollie Cox Bryan - authorMollie Cox Bryan is the author of the Cumberland Creek Scrapbooking mystery series and the Cora Crafts mystery series. She is also author of two cookbooks, the regional bestseller Mrs. Rowe’s Little Book of Southern Pies and Mrs. Rowe’s Restaurant Cookbook: A Lifetime of Recipes from the Shenandoah Valley. An award-winning journalist and poet, she currently blogs, cooks, and scrapbooks in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia with her husband and two daughters. Scrapbook of Secrets was nominated for an Agatha Award for Best First Novel. Visit her on the web at molliecoxbryan.com.

Author Links:

Website – http://molliecoxbryan.com/

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

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

Twitter – https://twitter.com/molliecoxbryan?lang=en

Purchase Links – Amazon   B&N   IndieBound   Kobo   BookBub

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

Tour Participants:

September 25 – The Power of Words = REVIEW

September 25 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – GUEST POST

September 25 – Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers -SPOTLIGHT

September 26 – Read Your Writes Book Reviews – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

September 26 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT

September 26 – Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews – REVIEW

September 27 – The Self-Rescue Princess – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

September 27 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

September 28 – T’s Stuff – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

September 28 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

September 29 – A Holland Reads – REVIEW

September 29 – MJB Reviewers – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

September 30 – cherylbbookblog – REVIEW, RECIPE

September 30 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW

October 1 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

October 1 – Varietats – GUEST POST

October 2 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

October 2 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

October 3 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

October 3 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW  

October 4 – Valerie’s Musings – GUEST POST

October 4 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT  

October 5 – A Blue Million Books – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

October 5 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

October 6 – Community Bookstop – REVIEW

October 6 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

October 7 – The Montana Bookaholic – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

October 7 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

October 8 – Here’s How It Happened – SPOTLIGHT

October 8 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT/RECIPE 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

In Cold Chocolate by Dorothy St. James #BlogTour #BookReview #Giveaway

In Cold Chocolate

I am so delighted today to provide a review for you at my blog stop for In Cold Chocolate: A Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery by Dorothy St. James on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour. Scroll down the page to enter the Giveaway for your chance to win this delectable treat!

Book Details

In Cold Chocolate: A Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Crooked Lane Books (September 11, 2018)
Hardcover: 350 Pages
ISBN-10: 1683317432
ISBN-13: 978-1683317432
Digital ASIN: B078M3N9TC

Book Blurb

In Dorothy St. James’s third delectable Southern Chocolate Shop mystery, a new batch of chocolate and troubles of the heart cause a string of disasters for the Chocolate Box’s new owner, Charity Penn.

The vintage seaside town of Camellia Beach, South Carolina seems like the perfect place for romance with its quiet beach and its decadent chocolate shop that serves the world’s richest dark chocolates. The Chocolate Box’s owner, Charity Penn, falls even further under the island’s moonlit spell as she joins Althea Bays and the rest of the turtle watch team to witness a new generation of baby sea turtles hatch and make their way into the wide ocean.

Before the babies arrive, gunshots ring out in the night. Cassidy Jones, the local Casanova, is found dead in the sand with his lover Jody Dalton—the same woman who has vowed to destroy the Chocolate Box—holding the gun. It’s an obvious crime of passion, or so everyone believes. But when Jody’s young son pleads with Penn to bring his mother back to him, she can’t say no. She dives headfirst into a chocolate swirl of truth and lies and must pick through an assortment of likely (and sometimes unsavory) suspects before it’s too late for Penn and for those she loves in Dorothy St. James’s third rich installment of the Southern Chocolate Shop mysteries, In Cold Chocolate.

My Review

In Cold Chocolate by Dorothy St. JamesCamellia Beach, SC is definitely heating up. It’s August and the baby sea turtle nests are set to start hatching under the watchful eyes of the local sea turtle rescue volunteers. Charity Penn, owner of the Chocolate Box, is excited to join her best buddy, Althea, to watch for the hatching. Unfortunately, they end up in the crossfire of some deadly shooting, wounding Penn, and sending Jody Dalton to jail for the murder of Cassidy Jones. Jody is caught, dead to rights (so to speak) with not one but two smoking guns. Open and shut case, right? Sure looks that way, but Jody is the mother of Gavin, the son of her new heartthrob, Harley Dalton, and she promises Gavin she’ll have her mother out of jail before school starts. Uh oh…

Okay, this is the third in the series but could be viewed as a standalone as there was enough fleshing of the protagonist to learn who she is. Harley just a little less so. It’s one of those small towns where everyone knows everyone else’s business and not all the townspeople are strong supporters of Ms. Penn. Her heritage has been called to question and she is currently in a legal fight to settle once and for all the inheritance from her grandmother(?) Mabel which included the Chocolate Box.

In the meantime, Penn has poured her heart and soul into learning the business and remodeling, rehabbing, the building. She is building a strong and faithful customer base and has introduced a few new ideas to the shop, which apparently also allows coffee drinks. Her grandmother (if she is truly that) had a partner,  Bertie Bays, Althea’s mother and Penns roommate, who is valiantly trying to teach Penn the recipes for the exceptional Amar chocolate beans they use for their delicious dark confections.

Granted, there is a lot going on in this narrative, and some of it slows the well-plotted mystery. The victim is someone so despised that most of the town is probably happy to see him gone and doesn’t really care who is responsible. Harley and his son share the apartment upstairs next door to Penn and Bertie and Harley is also the attorney representing Penn.

There are a number of minor or support characters who round out the population of this small coastal town with a proximity to Charleston. The scenes are described well-enabling visions of the seaside community and the information on the sea turtles interesting. There is a sub-subplot going on with her little insecure five-pound black, brown, and white snappy papillon she was given by her ex that needs a LOT of training and all the training seems to include a box load of treats. (Seems to me half the time the dog is being rewarded for bad behavior, but he does make some successful progress through the novel.)

What appeared to be annoying on the surface, that of a 37-year-old woman abandoned as a child, damaged and flawed protagonist, raised by uncaring and abusive adults, who is constantly battling negative thoughts serves as an epiphany when you finally get inside her head for that ah ha comprehending moment. Maybe she is justified in being who she is! There were sympathetic characters and nasty relatives. Lots of little hints and it wasn’t too hard to figure out the antagonist. As the twists hit, as they inevitably must, they fly in the face of what you expected and actually were a surprise, including the big one at the conclusion–most satisfying.

There is some lag in the middle, and a surprising number of edit misses including missing words (or duplicates) and sentence structure problems. I was given this download by the publisher and NetGalley for this book tour and greatly appreciate the opportunity to read and review. Recommended for any who love small town southern-based cozies, chocolates (including recipes), dogs, and the saga of the sea turtles.

 Giveaway

Click on the link to sign up for your chance to win one (1) Delicious 12-piece Godiva Patisserie Truffle Chocolate Flight (US Only) in this special  Rafflecopter giveaway 

Rosepoint Publishing:  Four of Five Stars Four of Five Stars

Dorothy St. James - author

Mystery author Dorothy St. James was raised in South Carolina. She makes her home on the outskirts of Charleston, South Carolina with her husband, a neurotic dog, and a fluffy cat. Though writing has always been a passion for her, she pursued an undergraduate degree in Wildlife Biology and a graduate degree in Public Administration and Urban Planning. She put her educational experience to use, having worked in all branches and all levels of government including local, regional, state, and federal. She even spent time during college working for a non-profit environmental watchdog organization.

Switching from government service and community planning to fiction writing wasn’t as big of a change as some might think. Her government work was all about the stories of the people and the places where they live. As an urban planner, Dorothy loved telling the stories of the people she met. And from that, her desire to tell the tales that were so alive in her heart grew until she could not ignore it any longer. In 2001, she took a leap of faith and pursued her dream of writing fiction full-time.

* Dorothy St. James is the alter-ego of award-winning multi-published author, Dorothy McFalls. She enjoys writing in several different genres. Her works have been nominated for many awards including Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, Reviewers International Organization Award, National Reader’s Choice Award, CataRomance Reviewers’ Choice Award, and The Romance Reviews Today Perfect 10! Award. Reviewers have called her work: “amazing”, “perfect”, “filled with emotion”, and “lined with danger.”

Author Links:

Website: www.dorothystjames.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/dorothystjames

Twitter: www.twitter.com/dorothymcfalls

Purchase Links:

Indie Bound    Amazon      Kobo      Google Play      Barnes & Noble      BookBub

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

Tour Participants:

September 12 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW

September 12 – A Holland Reads – CHARACTER GUEST POST

September 12 – Writing Pearls – REVIEW

September 13 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

September 13 – Island Confidential – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

September 14 – The Power of Words – REVIEW

September 14 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

September 15 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

September 15 – Community Bookstop – SPOTLIGHT

September 16 – Readeropolis – RECIPE

September 16 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW

September 17 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

September 17 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – RECIPE

September 18 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

September 18 – T’s Stuff – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

September 19 – Jane Reads – GUEST POST

September 19 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – CHARACTER GUEST POST

September 20 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

September 20 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

September 20 – Mysteries with Character – RECIPE

September 21 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

September 21 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

September 21 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW

September 22 – Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews – REVIEW

September 22 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

September 23 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

September 23 – Handcrafted Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

September 24 – The Montana Bookaholic – REVIEW

September 24 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

September 24 – Sneaky the Library Cat’s Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

September 24 – Here’s How It Happened – SPOTLIGHT

September 25 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW

September 25 – View from the Birdhouse – REVIEW

September 25 – fundinmental – SPOTLIGHT Great Escapes Book Tours 

Thanks to the publisher, NetGalley, and Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours for the opportunity to read and review this cozy mystery! ©2018 V Williams V Williams

Read and Gone – a #BookReview #BookTour #Giveaway

Read and Gone by Allison Brook

 

I am delighted today to present a review at my blog stop for Read and Gone, A Haunted Library Mystery by Allison Brook on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour. Scroll down the page to find and enter the Giveaway!

Book Details

Title: Read and Gone (A Haunted Library Mystery) by Allison Brooke

Read and Gone: A Haunted Library Mystery
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Crooked Lane Books (September 11, 2018)

Hardcover: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1683317340
Digital ASIN: B078M7MXGR

Book Blurb

Twenty million dollars’ worth of missing gems bring Carrie Singleton’s long-lost and larcenous dad back into her life and it’s up to Carrie to clear his name.

A devoted dad is as precious as diamonds, but Carrie Singleton wouldn’t know since her dad Jim’s been on the lam most of her life. In an unusual family reunion, she finds Jim breaking into her cottage in the middle of the night. The fun really starts when he begs her to help him recover his half of a twenty-million-dollar gem heist he pulled off with the local jeweler, Benton Parr. When she refuses, Jim takes off again.

Carrie finds her father again behind bars for the recent murder of Benton Parr. Who made the connection? Unbeknownst to her, Carrie’s boyfriend Dylan, an insurance investigator, has been searching for the gems. Determined to find the jewels herself, she starts examining every facet of Parr’s life. She turns up a treasure trove of suspects, one of whom bashes her on the head as she’s searching the victim’s country cabin.

Retreating to the quiet confines of the library where she works, Carrie watches as Smokey Joe, the resident cat, paws at a hole in the wall. Is he after the library’s ghost Evelyn, or something shinier?

Add to Goodreads

My Review

Read and Gone by Allison BrookCarrie Singleton just celebrated her 30th birthday and is feeling pretty good about herself being back in a small town near her favorite great-aunt Harriet and uncle, a boyfriend, Dylan, who also functions as her landlord for her comfortable little cottage, and a peach of a new job with the local Clover Ridge CT Library where she is now head of Programs and Events. She has a kitty, Smoky Joe, who adopted her and a ghost named Evelyn Havers, who haunts the library and is only visible to herself and her young cousin. It’s that time before Christmas when the grey skies turn to snow and the streets and storefronts are decorated with lights and themes, and joyous Christmas jingles emanate from public speaker systems.

However, as she is often heard to think–it can’t last forever–and doesn’t with the return of her erstwhile, long-absent father, Jim, last in line to ever receive a father-of-the-year award. The man, a thief who has spent a stint in the slammer, would like his daughter to help him retrieve the jewels he and an accomplice stole some time back. Who wouldn’t welcome him back? Almost immediately, he is found beaten and ends up in the hospital, creating a conundrum for Carrie, aka Carolinda, aka Caro. She agrees to let him stay at her cottage until he is on his feet again (while looking for the jewels of course).

There were a number of things I enjoyed about this book. The library, the small town feel with the happy Christmas spirit, her loving relationship with her aunt and uncle and boyfriend. Smoky Joe, the kitty, who became a self-proclaimed library cat that functioned much the same as a therapy dog, especially with the older patrons. The paranormal inclusion of Evelyn, the ghost with the never-ending wardrobe and personal hair stylist was fun and bounced in and out of the story adding interest. The search is on (sorta) for the gems and meanwhile the first victim shows up. At least it shouldn’t be too difficult to prove it wasn’t her daddy–he was likewise occupied.

However, there were some rubs. First, I didn’t see a well-developed protagonist. Assumed she was fleshed in book 1–this one wasn’t, nor the boyfriend, who was one hour being a sleaze being noisily denounced, the next loverboy. There were times when the 30-year-old reverted to 15. The library sounds more like a city library with lots of employees and all kinds of events and programs (that had me wondering what kind of budget they had) then small town stacks. The cat? Smoky Joe scratches on her office door to be allowed in to eat–and that is where his litter box is also located. Then she grabs her lunch meal break of the day. (Did she open some windows? Why is the litter box in her office(?)–gag.) And the library coffee shop has mice? Where is the local health department?

The plot moves along at a typical cozy pace and does keep engagement. I liked most of the characters but couldn’t get into Carrie’s shoes and the mystery, the antagonist, was pretty obvious early on. Still, it is entertaining for those who appreciate the cozy mystery genre, felines with their felonies, and amateur women sleuths and I appreciated the opportunity to read and review.

 Giveaway

Click on the link to sign up for your chance to win one (1) Print Copy of Read and Gone: A Haunted Library Mystery by Allison Brook Rafflecopter giveaway

Allison Brook - author

Allison Brook is the pseudonym for Marilyn Levinson, who writes mysteries, romantic suspense and novels for kids. She lives on Long Island and enjoys traveling, reading, watching foreign films, doing Sudoku and dining out. She especially loves to visit with her grandchildren on FaceTime.

Author Links:

Website: http://www.marilynlevinson.com

My Amazon page: http://amzn.to/K6Md1O

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marilyn.levinson.10?ref=ts&fref=ts

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/161602.Marilyn_Levinson

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MarilynLevinson

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/marilev/

Purchase Links:

Amazon   B&N  BookBub

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

Tour Participants:

September 11 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

September 11 – Varietats – SPOTLIGHT

September 11 – The Self-Rescue Princess – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

September 12 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – REVIEW

September 12 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

September 12 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

September 13 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW

September 13 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

September 13 – Melissa’s Eclectic Bookshelf – REVIEW

September 14 – View from the Birdhouse – REVIEW

September 14 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

September 14 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – SPOTLIGHT

September 15 – Reading Authors – REVIEW

September 15 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

September 15 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

September 16 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

September 16 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW

September 17 – The Montana Bookaholic – REVIEW

September 17 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

September 17 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

September 18 – That’s What She’s Reading – REVIEW

September 18 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

September 18 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

September 19 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

September 19 – Readeropolis – AUTHOR INTERVIEW  

September 19 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

September 20 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW

September 20 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

September 20 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW Great Escapes Book Tours

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

©2018 V Williams V Williams

Deadly Dram: A Whisky Business Mystery by Melinda Mullet #BookTour #BookReview #Giveaway

Deadly Dram by Melinda Mullet

I am thrilled today to provide a review at my blog stop for Deadly Dram: A Whisky Business Mystery by Melinda Mullet on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour. Scroll down the page to find and enter the Giveaway!

Book Details

Deadly Dram: A Whisky Business Mystery
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Alibi (September 4, 2018)
Print Length 300 pages
ASIN: B079R3PW46

Book Blurb

Distillery owner Abigail Logan discovers that high spirits are no match for a cold-blooded killer as the Whisky Business Mystery series puts a fatal twist on stiff competition.

It’s been a year since globe-trotting photojournalist Abi Logan inherited Abbey Glen, a whisky distillery in the heart of the Scottish countryside. To her surprise, the village of Balfour already feels like home, and her new business partner, Grant MacEwan, continues to be too charming to resist. But Abi has a history of relationship disasters, so she struggles to avoid an ill-fated romance with Grant. Steering clear is hard enough on a day-to-day basis, but when the two head off to a whisky industry competition together, Abi panics. Five-star resort, four glorious days of nonstop whisky tasting, and a fatally attractive Scotsman—what could possibly go wrong?

The night before the award presentations, with foreign and domestic whisky makers at one anothers’ throats, two judges are found dead under mysterious circumstances. What started with three dream-come-true nominations for Abby Glen’s whisky soon turns into a nightmare for Abi. With a killer on the loose, she must call on her investigative skills to stop another murder—before she gets taken out of the running herself.

My Review

I love it when I get to be introduced into a whole new exotic industry in a lovely country, beautiful setting, and some hardy but oft-times inebriated characters! Blame all that whisky tasting! deadly dram-cover

Ex-photojournalist Abigail Logan inherited Abbey Glen, a Scottish whisky distillery, just a year ago but is beginning to feel right at home in Balfour and a solid part of the team that includes Cam Lewis, the distiller, and her handsome co-owner/partner, Grant MacEwen. Although she finds Grant enormously attractive, Abi has tried to keep the relationship strictly professional, as she has not been real successful in the romance department and fortunately, the romance aspect is kept low-key. The duo must have been successful somewhere, however, as they’ve just enjoyed nominations for the annual Golden Quaich Awards, including possibly the top award. Even better, the competition and judging takes place at a huge posh Scottish five-star resort, and in addition to Grant and Cam, she will be allowed to include her Wheaton terrier, Liam, as it is a dog-friendly hotel. Additionally, she’ll room with her best friend from university days, Patrick Cooke.

It becomes obvious at the outset that there is a rift at the Scottish Whisky competition having been diluted with distiller entrants outside of Scotland. She’s a lone woman (for awhile) in a male-dominated industry, whom she calls “the Barley Boys,” and it doesn’t take long before it’s obvious the camp is divided between the nationalists and the globalists. So when the first victim, a judge who openly welcomed the foreign competition is found dead of poisoning, the immediate red herring becomes those who would oppose competition outside of Scotland. Enter Detective Inspector Ian Michaelson with whom she has apparently clashed in previous series entries. This time he is short on manpower and enlists her unofficial aid.

Here is an author who labels her characters in triplets as well as detailed descriptions…”melancholy, speculative, and independent,” “intense, calculating, and sturdy,” “pliable, shortsighted, and impressionable,” “fiery, flamboyant, and intractable,” and so on. The problem I had was the pace of the mystery, only increasing somewhat following the second murder. (As in…. slowww) Abi is not a character that kept me engaged and Grant just seemed–remote and one-dimensional. While Liam was an occasional fresh breath (or doggy breath) of air, breaking up the narrative occasionally with undisciplined canine antics, I decried the offer so often to allow him tasting the whisky along with the humans who should have known better. (And to her credit, the author offers a dedicated pet-alcohol warning disclosure following the conclusion. And plates of sausage? No, no, and just no.) The well-developed plot eventually escalates into a possible warning to Abi putting Grant in the hospital.

Following the hand-wringing bouts of evaluation, re-evaluation, theory–more theory, and possible scenarios, the plot gains some speed and blindsides you with a conclusion you may only have suspicioned. (But in my defense, thought she had her culprit; mystery solved.) So the unsuspected twist was fun. (And that’ll teach me/you for becoming complacent!)

Overall, an interesting romp in Scotland with a truly Scottish world renown libation. I enjoyed getting to know the industry better. Third in the Whisky Business Mystery series, perhaps my lack of empathy for the characters was that it was my first experience with the author and the series. It might help if you start with the first in the series and not treat this one as a standalone.

Add to Goodreads

Giveaway

Click this link for your chance to win one of two (2) eCopies of Deadly Dram: A Whisky Business Mystery by Melinda Mullet in this Rafflecopter Giveaway and good Luck! 

About the Author

Melinda Mullet - authorMelinda Mullet was born in Dallas and attended school in Texas, Washington D.C., England, and Austria. She spent many years as a practicing attorney before pursuing a career as a writer. Author of the Whisky Business Mystery series, Mullet is a passionate supporter of childhood literacy. She works with numerous domestic and international charities striving to promote functional literacy for all children. She lives in Washington, D.C., with her family.

Author Links: 

Webpage – http://melindamullet.com/

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

Twitter – https://twitter.com/mulletmysteries

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:

September 4 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

September 4 – Handcrafted Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

September 5 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

September 5 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

September 6 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

September 6 – Readeropolis – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

September 7 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

September 7 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

September 8 – MJB Reviewers – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

September 8 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

September 9 – The Power of Words – REVIEW

September 9 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT

September 10 – The Bookwyrm’s Hoard – REVIEW, GUEST POST

September 10 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

September 11 – T’s Stuff – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

September 11 – Christa Reads and Writes – SPOTLIGHT  

September 12 – MysteriesEtc – REVIEW

September 13 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

September 13 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW

September 14 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW

September 14 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT

September 15 – Varietats – REVIEW

September 16 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW  

September 16 – Mysteries with Character – REVIEW

September 17 – The Montana Bookaholic – REVIEW, GUEST POST  

September 17 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – REVIEW Great Escapes Book Tours

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

©2018 V Williams V Williams

Samhain Secrets – a #BookReview

Samhain Secrets by Jennifer David Hesse

Title: Samhain Secrets (A Wiccan Wheel Mystery) Book 4 by Jennifer David Hesse

Genre: Currently #1202 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Literature & Fiction, Genre Fiction, Holidays

Publisher: Kensington

Publication Date: Happy release date! August 28, 2018

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title and Cover: Samhain Secrets – Love that book cover and the requisite black cat

Here is your chance to peek into the life of a modern day witch, or in this case a Wiccan, and learn something about this spiritual culture practice in a delightful cozy mystery setting. Protagonist Keli Milanni is a serious practitioner. There is only one problem: She was raised Catholic and has not divulged that split to family.

Spells, incantations, calls to spirits, tarot cards, and sisterhood. Keli weaves the practice into the quest to find the person who murdered her aunt, Josephine O’Malley, an estranged free spirit of the family who chose to leave the nest early, only tapping connections inconsistently with no notice and disappearing just as quickly. It’s a fun romp into the paranormal side of life that strikes a few of those loosely held superstitions many of us are loathe to admit. Continue reading “Samhain Secrets – a #BookReview”

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

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

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

Tied Up With Strings by Madeline McEwen #BlogTour #Spotlight #Giveaway

Tied Up With Strings by Madeline McEwen

I am super-excited today to provide a spotlight at my blog stop for Tied Up With Strings by Madeline McEwen on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour. Scroll down to this a VERY unique Giveaway!

Book Details

Tied Up with Strings (A Serebral Seniors Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Imajin Qwickies, An imprint of Imajin Books (December 11, 2017)
Print Length: 85 pages
ASIN: B077PLNWY9

Book Blurb

Tied Up With Strings - by Madeline McEwenAn Imajin Qwickies® Mystery/Crime Novella

Big mysteries often come in small packages…

When curmudgeonly private detective Betty Grape visits a young friend, who is housesitting in a remote village in England for Christmas vacation, something seems out of place. Her friend, Catia, is visibly nervous. Is she worried about the young men in the decrepit caravan in next door’s back garden? Or is Catia involved in the disappearance of the homeowner’s invalid wife?

As an American, Betty discovers the locals are full of friendly gossip but taciturn about solid facts. Though they are determined to keep Betty from butting in on their territory, she blunders through the social morass of narrow-minded foreigners and their broad Dorset accents. Can she unravel the tight knots of this mystery? Will she find the perpetrator under thickly thatched rooves or behind floral chintz curtains?

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 Giveaway
Enter for your chance to win a packet of British tea bags and step-by-step instructions on how to make this delicious beverage in the  Rafflecopter giveaway

Madeline McEwen - author

Madeline McEwen is an ex-pat from the UK, bi-focaled and technically challenged. She and her Significant Other manage their four offspring, one major and three minors, two autistic, two neurotypical, plus a time-share with Alzheimer’s. In her free time, she walks the canines and chases the felines with her nose in a book and her fingers on a keyboard.

Author Links:

Website  http://www.madelinemcewen.c

Amazon   http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00Q41VUFI

Pinterest  https://www.pinterest.com/macmaddy/pins/

Twitter https://twitter.com/#!/MadMcEwen

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/madeline.mcewenasker

GoodReads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9886841.Madeline_McEwen

Blog http://whittereronautism.com/

Purchase Link

http://getbook.at/TiedUpwStrings

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

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

July 9 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW

July 9 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT

July 10 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

July 10 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT

July 11 – Island Confidential – GUEST POST

July 11 – My Reading Journeys – SPOTLIGHT

July 12 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

July 12 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

July 13 – Carole’s Book Corner – REVIEW

July 13 – MJB Reviewers – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

July 14 – A Blue Million Books – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

July 14 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

July 15 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW

July 15 – Rosepoint Publishing – SPOTLIGHT

July 16 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

July 16 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – GUEST POST

July 17 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

July 17 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

July 18 – Babs Book Bistro – GUEST POST

Great Escapes Book ToursThanks to Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours for the opportunity to share the spotlight on this cozy mystery!

©2018 V Williams V Williams

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

Home Is Where the Bark Is – #BookBlitz

I am super-excited today to provide a #BookBlitz stop for Home Is Where the Bark Is by Stella St. Clair on Sage’s Blog Tours blog blitz.

Sage's Blog Tours - Book Blitz

Book Details 

Home Is Where the Bark Is (Paws Fur Play Mysteries Book 1)

Cozy Mystery
First in Series
Published July 2, 2018
Digital ASIN: B07F7KQ7WY  

Purchase Link: http://mybook.to/PawsFurPlay1

Book BlurbHome is Where the Bark is

All Willow Wells wanted was a fresh start. After a divorce that left her a dog trainer with no dogs to train, inheriting her Aunt’s property (complete with a downtrodden dog gym) seemed like the answer to her prayers. That is until the first day of excavation uncovers a dead local real estate mogul, and pins her current contractor as the lead suspect. 

With his funds frozen, and with no way to return Willow’s money, contractor Griffin Maynard has no choice but to join forces with his high school crush who also happens to be his current client—new arrival Willow Wells. Together they must find the real murderer and get construction back underway before both of their businesses go bottom up.

But as they follow the trail of town gossip, Willow and Griffin discover more buried secrets than they first thought, and time is running out to solve this murder before they lose everything.

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About the Author

Stella St. Claire - author(From Goodreads Author page) Stella lives and breathes cozy mysteries! With her head always buried inside these books, it’s no wonder that she would put pen to paper to bring her own cozy mysteries to life. The words flew onto the page, and she’s already teeming with ideas for the next series.

With her trusted canine by her side, it seemed only natural to be inspired by her beautiful beagle Doogle and the many hours they spent walking through scenic New England villages. When Stella’s not reading books, she’s off on road trips, exploring every nook and cranny in neighboring towns, seeking inspiration for her next book.

She’s keen to see what her fellow cozy critics think of her “The Happy Tails Dog Walking Mysteries,” so leave a review and share your thought at http://www.StellaStClaire.com or her Facebook http://www.facebook.com/stellastclaire and her Newsletter: http://stellastclaire.com/newsletter

Thank you for visiting my stop on the Book Blitz! Sage's Blog Tours

And thanks to Sage’s Blog Tours for the opportunity to share the happiness!

©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

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”

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”

A Spook in the Stacks by Eva Gates #BlogTour #Spotlight #Giveaway

The Spook in the Stacks Lighthouse Library Mystery by Eva Gates

The Spook in the Stacks: A Lighthouse Library Mystery
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Crooked Lane Books (Happy Publication Day!! June 12, 2018)
Hardcover: 250 Pages
ISBN-13: 978-1683315803
Digital ASIN: B075QJ59PX

I am super-excited today to provide a spotlight at my blog stop for The Spook in the Stacks by Eva Gates on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour.

Book Blurb

The Spook in the Stacks by Eva GatesHalloween in North Carolina’s Outer Banks becomes seriously tricky when librarian Lucy Richardson stumbles across something extra unusual in the rare books section: a dead body.

Wealthy businessman Jay Ruddle is considering donating his extensive collection of North Carolina historical documents to the Bodie Island Lighthouse Library, but the competition for the collection is fierce. Unfortunately, while the library is hosting a lecture on ghostly legends, Jay becomes one of the dearly departed in the rare books section. Now, it’s up to Lucy Richardson and her fellow librarians to bone up on their detective skills and discover who is responsible for this wicked Halloween homicide.

Meanwhile, very strange things are happening at the library―haunted horses are materializing in the marsh, the lights seem to have an eerie life of their own, and the tiny crew of a model ship appears to move around when no one is watching. Is Lucy at her wit’s end? Or can it be that the Bodie Island Lighthouse really is haunted?

With The Legend of Sleepy Hollow on everyone’s minds and ghoulish gossip on everyone’s lips, Lucy will need to separate the clues from the boos if she wants to crack this case without losing her head in The Spook in the Stacks, the delightful fourth in national bestseller Eva Gates’ Lighthouse Library mysteries.

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Giveaway

The author will be giving away one (1) print copy of her book (US only) in this Rafflecopter giveaway!

About the Author

ava gatesVicki Delany is one of Canada’s most prolific and varied crime writers and a national bestseller in the U.S. She has written more than twenty-five books:  clever cozies to Gothic thrillers to gritty police procedurals, to historical fiction and novellas for adult literacy. She is currently writing three cozy mystery series: the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop series for Crooked Lane, the Year Round Christmas mysteries for Penguin Random House and, under the pen name of Eva Gates, the Lighthouse Library series, for Crooked Lane Books.

Vicki lives and writes in bucolic Prince Edward County, Ontario. She is the past president of the Crime Writers of Canada.  Her work has been nominated for the Derringer, the Bony Blithe, the Ontario Library Association Golden Oak, and the Arthur Ellis Awards.

Visit Vicki at www.vickidelany.com. On Facebook at www.facebook.com/evagatesauthor. Twitter @vickidelany @evagatesauthor

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

June 10 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW

June 10 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW

June 10 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

June 11 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW, GUEST POST

June 11 – Mochas, Mysteries and Meows – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

June 12 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW

June 12 – Varietats – REVIEW, GUEST POST

June 12 – Rosepoint Publishing – SPOTLIGHT

June 13 – Sapphyria’s Books – REVIEW

June 13 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

June 13 – The Power of Words – REVIEW

June 14 – Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

June 14 – Readeropolis – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

June 15 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

June 15 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – SPOTLIGHT

June 15 – Cozy Up With Kathy – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

June 16 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

June 16 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST

June 17 –  Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

June 17 –  A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT

June 18 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW

June 18 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

June 18 – The Book Diva’s Reads – CHARACTER GUEST POST

June 19 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

June 19 – Curling up by the Fire – REVIEW

June 19 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

June 20 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW

June 20 – A Blue Million Books – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

June 20 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

June 21 – That’s What She’s Reading – REVIEW, GUEST POST 

June 21 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

June 21 – Sneaky the Library Cat’s Blog –  CHARACTER INTERVIEW

June 22 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

June 22 – The Montana Bookaholic – CHARACTER GUEST POST

June 22 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

June 23 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

June 23 – Island Confidential – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

I was granted a spotlight date of The Spook in the Stacks by Eva Gates through tour host Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours–thank you!

©2018 V Williams V Williams

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”

Reading on the #Cozy Side with a Little #Sci-Fi, #K-9, or #HistFic for Spice

#TBR - #Cozies

It’s not true that I’ve gone to the Cozy side, but sometimes it does appear that way, huh.

Take for instance these five on my current #TBR pile. It would appear at least four are cozy, and you’d be part right. Obviously, however, Bad Time to be In It by David Burnsworth is a Blu Carraway mystery, actually classified by Amazon as “hard-boiled.” You may remember I used that term in the discussion on Family Noir.

A Souffle of Suspicion by Daryl Wood GerberThat would leave three with the cozy, women sleuth, and amateur sleuth designation, because (**surprise**) Soufflé of Suspicion by Daryl Wood Gerber has the additional distinction of also being classified as culinary. (Do you see more recipes in my future? The cover even SAYS “Includes Recipes.” But Nope!)

I really do enjoy a cozy mystery or two, particularly between heavier genres, such as the Irish historical fiction I recently reviewed or the sci-fi, or even the hysterically funny, campy, and definitely unique Ray vs the Meaning of Life by Michael F Stewart. If you missed it, see my review here.

At most, there may be a conceived pattern. If you detect the upcoming pattern is filled with food or decadent desserts, it would appear that food or desserts are a necessary ingredient for the genre. But please, no more recipes for me, unless it includes a pleasing classic cocktail.

©2018 V Williams V Williams

Pick and Chews – a #BookReview

Pick and Chews by Linda O JohnstonTitle: Pick and Chews (Barkery and Biscuits Mystery #4) by Linda O. Johnston

Genre: Currently #695 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Cozy, Animals

Publisher: Midnight Ink

Publication Date: Release date: May 8, 2018 Happy Publication Day!

Source: Midnight Ink and NetGalley

Title and Cover: Pick and Chews – Beautiful cozy cover complete with dogs and kitty

First, let me thank the publisher and NetGalley for granting me an ARC of this book. I was thrilled to receive the download and went into the book with high expectations, happy with checking out a new author (to me) and her series that promised to be amazing. And, of course, it features dogs. How could you go wrong? Well, ***spoiler*** alert, something went very wrong. First, I’ll quickly list what I did appreciate here in the “upper fold.”  

Looking at the cover (and there I go again…must repeat mantra…cannot judge a book, blah, blah, blah). Absolutely too cute. Appeals to both dog and cat lovers. And the blurb? Well, okay, it sounded interesting. A woman who owns two howlingly successful businesses? Could happen. Her also being a part-time vet tech. Hmmm, now we may be stretching things a bit.

The Barkery and Biscuit is definitely a unique name for a bakery catering to healthy food and treats for animals. Also appreciated that she wrote about holding rescue animal adoption events. Super.

However, you should be warned that I periodically invoke my rule not to note less than three stars and, therefore, will not rate the book on this blog, although I’m compelled to leave a short review for Goodreads and the publisher.

So what set up the hackles? Continue reading “Pick and Chews – a #BookReview”