House of Ashes by Loretta Marion #BlogTour #BookReview #Giveaway

House of Ashes by Loretta Marion

I am so delighted today to provide a review for you at my blog stop for House of Ashes: A Haunted Bluffs Mystery by Loretta Marion on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour. Scroll down to enter your chance to win this super Giveaway!

Book Details

House of Ashes: A Haunted Bluffs Mystery
Supernatural Mystery
1st in Series
Crooked Lane Books (November 13, 2018)

Hardcover, 336 pages
ISBN-10: 1683318439
ISBN-13: 978-1683318439

Book Blurb

A family patriarch’s dying proclamation, an enigmatic disappearance, and a century-old curse converge in the shadows of a majestic home on Cape Cod’s craggy coast.

Thirty-seven-year-old painter Cassandra Mitchell is fourth-generation to live in the majestic Battersea Bluffs, a brooding Queen Anne home originally built by her great-grandparents, Percy and Celeste Mitchell, and still standing despite tragedies that have swept the generations. Local lore has it that there was a curse placed on the family and the house is haunted, though opinions are divided on whether it’s by malicious or benevolent spirits. Cassie believes the latter―but now she stands to lose her beloved home to mounting debt and the machinations of her dream-weaving ex-husband.

Salvation seems to arrive when a nomadic young couple wanders onto the property with the promise of companionship and much-needed help―until they vanish without a trace, leaving behind no clue to their identities. Cassie is devastated, but determined to discover what’s happened to the young couple…even as digging into their disappearance starts to uncover family secrets of her own. Despite warnings from her childhood friend, now the local Chief of Police―as well as an FBI agent who pushes the boundaries of professionalism―Cassie can’t help following the trail of clues (and eerie signals from the old house itself) to unravel the mystery. But can she do so before her family’s dark curse destroys everything in its path?

Add to Goodreads

My Review

House of Ashes by Loretta MarionCassandra Mitchell is the great-granddaughter of Percy and Celeste Mitchell who built the gorgeous Battersea Bluffs mansion in Whale Rock, Massachusetts, Cape Cod where she now lives alone. She is 37 years old and tenaciously clings to the family Victorian despite its history, local folklore, and apparent supernatural experiences.

The author sets up a time warp storyline that begins with the events that set the stage for the tragic deaths of her great-grandparents. There is an apparent curse that has followed them from England and has followed generations of their male descendants. Cassie has weathered a disastrous marriage and impending divorce and her scoundrel ex pretty much spent every dime he could lay his hands on before he split. She is presently facing foreclosure and looking at the possibility of having to ask her older and geographically estranged sister for another loan. She refuses the idea of selling.

Not without some form of income, she does what she can to bring in food money though she inherited an artistic gift from her mother which she has been too depressed to exercise. Sinking deeper into the funk that has enveloped her in the situation, she meets a young couple, Ashley and Vince, on her property, accompanied by a German Shepherd, and impressed with them and taken by the moment invite them to stay with her for a while in exchange for their work on the carriage house.

Ms. Marion flips both chronological timelines as she brings in further details of Cassie’s family, both current and 80 years ago. Chapter headings clearly tell in which timeline the narrative is heading and it doesn’t take long to get into the rhythm. It is Cassie’s belief that her great-grandparents frequently visit her, signaling their presence by a distinctly pleasant odor, depending on the situation.

The couple suddenly disappears without explanation which sets off a chain of investigations that begins with local law enforcement and extends to the FBI. There is an attraction to the FBI agent, and Cassie appears to be in full rebound mode. The romance of Cassie and her suitors weaves in and out of the well-plotted story adding tension to the already increasing pressure to find the kids and confirm their well-being.

She is consumed with the problem of figuring out what happened to the kids after they’ve nearly completed the remodel of her carriage house and made a place in her heart. She flits between responsible and irresponsible as she gleans little clues to follow and discovers she didn’t know them, really at all. Not where they came from, not where they may have gone or what happened to them. Happy with having the couple around, they had created in her the urge to paint again and she is facing a large gallery showing by a friend and local art gallery owner who had previously handled some of her mother’s paintings.

I had a little difficulty getting into the well-developed protagonist’s shoes. She has that artist’s aura about her, tormented but talented. Headstrong and smart, she seemed to make less than informed decisions, while craftily planning her next move toward solving the mystery of the couple. The dog, Whistler, has become as much a part of her life as did his owners and she is happy to care for him, as he is now protecting her.

I received this ebook download from the publisher and NetGalley for this book tour and greatly appreciated the opportunity to read and review. Recommended for any who enjoy a mystery, supernatural or paranormal qualities, thriller and suspense, and strong women sleuths.

Giveaway

Sign up for  your chance to win (1) GRAND PRIZE – One $50 Barnes & Noble gift card Two signed hardcover copies of House of Ashes (one for the winner and one for a friend) Two signed paperback copies of The Fool’s Truth (one for the winner and one for a friend) Plus two book bags (one for the winner and one for the friend) (U.S. Only) in this  Rafflecopter giveaway 

About the Author

Loretta Marion - authorAn author of fiction, Loretta Marion’s writing bridges the genres of mystery and suspense and women’s fiction, always with hints of romance and humor, sometimes delving into the psychological and paranormal. She creates strong but flawed and struggling characters as appealing as the rich atmospheric settings in which the stories take place.

Loretta is a true bibliophile and has loved reading and creating with words since she was a young girl. And that affection for the written word followed her like a shadow throughout her life as she put pen to paper crafting marketing and advertising copy, educational brochures and newsletters. But her passion for writing fiction evolved from the unlikely world of hospice. As a volunteer, she set out to establish a Legacy Story program to honor and preserve the rich heritage of the fascinating people who were soon to leave this world. The meaningful experience inspired her to create her own interesting characters and stories. Her debut novel, The Fool’s Truth, was a twisty and suspenseful mystery with whispers of romance. Her newest novel, HOUSE OF ASHES – A Haunted Bluffs Mystery, is the first in a series published by Crooked Lane Books.

Though born and raised in the Midwest, Loretta fell in love with New England and has made it the setting for much of her writing. When not whipping out words on her laptop, she is traveling, enjoying outdoor pursuits, or is curled up with a delicious new book. Loretta lives in Rhode Island with her husband, Geoffrey, and their beloved Mr. Peabody, a sweet, devoted and amusing “Corgador” (Corgi-Labrador cross).  (www.LorettaMarion.com)

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

Tour Participants:

November 1 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

November 1 – Readeropolis – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

November 2 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW

November 2 –  A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

November 3 – fundinmental – REVIEW

November 3 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

November 4 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW, GUEST POST 

November 5 – That’s What She’s Reading – REVIEW, GUEST POST 

November 5 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – SPOTLIGHT

November 6 – Valerie’s Musings – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

November 6 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

November 7 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

November 7 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

November 8 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

November 8 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT  

November 8 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

November 9 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

November 9 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

November 10 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW

November 10 – Curling Up by the Fire – REVIEW Great Escapes Book Tours 

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

©2018 V Williams V Williams

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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

Burning Ridge – a #BookReview

Burning Ridge - a Timber Creek K-9 Mystery by Margaret Mizushima

Title: Burning Ridge (A Timber Creek K-9 Mystery) by Margaret Mizushima

Genre: Currently #204 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Mystery, Traditional

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Publication Date: To be released September 11, 2018

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title and Cover: Burning Ridge – Cover depicts K-9 major character

Burning Ridge comprises #4 in the Timber Creek K-9 Mystery series and the second I’ve had the privilege to receive through download from the publisher and NetGalley. Protagonist Deputy Mattie Cobb is a handler for regal German Shepherd police K-9 Robo who has been trained for specialty assignments in search and rescue in the remote and rugged Colorado mountains. Continue reading “Burning Ridge – 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

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

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

Better Off Read – a #BookReview

Better Off Read by Nora PageTitle: Better Off Read: A Bookmobile Mystery

Genre: Currently #2790 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Books, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Mystery, Amateur Sleuths

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Publication Date: To be Released June 12, 2018

Source: Crooked Lane Books and NetGalley

Title and Cover: Better Off Read – Beautiful cozy cover

Pretty hard to resist any cozy mystery with that cover! Okay, the cover and the premise. The blurb describes a septuagenarian librarian who is forced to race around in a converted school bus now bookmobile after her Catalpa Springs, Georgia library suffers major storm damage. (And she tends to speed. Who pays for her tickets?)  Continue reading “Better Off Read – a #BookReview”

A Murder for the Books – a Book Review

A Murder for the Books by Victoria GilbertTitle: A Murder for the Books: A Blue Ridge Library Mystery

Genre: Currently #2672 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Books, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Amateur Sleuths

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Publication Date: To be released December 12, 2017

Source: Crooked Lane Books and NetGalley

Title and Cover: A Murder for the Books – Cozy Mystery cover hints at library setting

Seems like this is the third book I’ve read recently with a library setting. I had no idea that libraries could be such a hotbed of intrigue!

This particular plot centers around Amy Webber who has moved in with her aunt in rural, historic Taylorsford, Virginia where she becomes the library director. She is escaping a disastrous affair. She’s found a good friend at the library in Sunny, and is introduced to the new man in town, choreographer Richard Muir, who inherited the farmhouse next door. He’s on a quest to uncover some old history involving his great-uncle, Paul Dassin, from whom he inherited the old house. He engages Amy to help with research and she soon realizes some of the history may include her family history as well. Together, they shortly discover a murder victim in the archive section of the library. Continue reading “A Murder for the Books – a Book Review”

#AmReading – A Murder for the Books by Victoria Gilbert

Welcome to my #AmReading feature! I am highlighting an author and their book currently visible in the “Fair Weather” widget celebrating blue skies, following seas, and my Goodreads (currently reading) list.

#AmReading-A Murder for the Books by Victoria Gilbert

This week I am presenting Victoria Gilbert and her book A Murder for the Books: A Blue Ridge Library Mystery. I received an ARC from the publisher Crooked Lane Books and NetGalley. The book will be released on December 12, 2017. Amazon classifies the novel as a cozy mystery, thriller & suspense, and women sleuths and is 336 pages.

I will be presenting my review on Sunday, but in the meantime, here is the

Book Blurb: (Blurb from Amazon)

Fleeing a disastrous love affair, university librarian Amy Webber moves in with her aunt in a quiet, historic mountain town in Virginia. She quickly busies herself with managing a charming public library that requires all her attention with its severe lack of funds and overabundance of eccentric patrons. The last thing she needs is a new, available neighbor whose charm lures her into trouble.

Victoria GilbertAbout the Author: (From the Amazon Author page)

“Victoria 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 holds a B.A. in Theatre, a M.A. in Library Science, a second M.A. in Liberal Studies, and is a member of Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, and Mystery Writers of America. When not writing or reading, she likes to spend her time watching films, gardening, or traveling. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and some very spoiled cats.” ©2017 Virginia Williams I Love Likes and Comments--Please Share!

Bury the Past – a Book Review

Bury the Past by James L'EtoileTitle: Bury the Past: A Detective Penley Mystery by James L’Etoile

Genre: Currently #6197 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Mystery, Police Procedurals

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Publication Date: To be released December 12, 2017

Source: Crooked Lane Books and NetGalley

Title and Cover: Bury the Past – Cover hints jail cell block behind title letters

I admit that the setting of Sacramento, California (unusual venue) caught my eye and drew me into downloading this offering from the author and Crooked Lane Books as we lived there almost 45 years. When we moved to Sacramento, it was a low key state capital with Sac State (where hubby was to graduate), and had two active air bases that became important to me after he joined the Navy rather than be inducted into the Army in the middle of Viet Nam. It was a quiet, unpresupposing little town; certainly not the wild, graft-riddled hub of degradation depicted here. (Yes, I suppose we were young and naive.)

Bury the Past follows Sacramento Police Detectives John Penley and Paula Newberry as they investigate stolen street drugs and a homicide that appears connected. The first chapter begins the investigation into the homicide and quickly leads to a conspiracy that includes dirty cops and an old takedown. Continue reading “Bury the Past – a Book Review”

#AmReading – Bury the Past by James L’Etoile

Bury the Past by James L'Etoile

Welcome to my #AmReading feature! I am highlighting an author and their book currently visible in the “Fair Weather” widget celebrating blue skies, following seas, and my Goodreads (currently reading) list.

This week I am presenting James L’Etoile and his book Bury the Past: A Detective Penley Mystery. I received an ARC from the publisher Crooked Lane Books and NetGalley. The book will be released on December 12, 2017. Amazon classifies the novel as a police procedural, thriller & suspense, and crime and is 320 pages.

I will be presenting my review in the next couple of days, but in the meantime, here is the Continue reading “#AmReading – Bury the Past by James L’Etoile”

Cat Got Your Secrets-A Kitty Couture Mystery – a Book Review

Cat Got Your SecretsTitle: Cat Got Your Secrets-Kitty Couture Mystery by Julie Chase

Genre: Currently #5056 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Books, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Mystery, Amateur Sleuths

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Publication Date: To be published September 12, 2017

Source: Crooked Lane Books and NetGalley

Title and Cover: Cat Got Your Secrets–Neat cover–definitely draws you in

This being the third in the Kitty Couture Mysteries, Cat Got Your Secrets cover again features a darling little kitty with a striking boutique store front in the background–enough to capture any pet lover’s fancy. However, the book begins a little slowly with the introduction of the protagonist, Lacy Marie Crocker, and her situation. Then Lacy discovers a body when she tries to deliver an order; apparently not the first time she’s been privvy to a murder scene. Unfortunately, this time her father appears implicated having been the last person to see the victim alive. Lacy can’t help herself–she’s nosy–and if her dad may be involved, she’s rabid to prove him innocent, despite the warnings of both her mother and Detective Jack Oliver to stay out of it. Continue reading “Cat Got Your Secrets-A Kitty Couture Mystery – a Book Review”