Long Island Iced Tina (A Catering Hall Mystery Book 2) by Maria DiRico #BlogTour #BookReview #cozymystery #Giveaway

I am so delighted today to provide a review for you at my blog stop for Long Island Iced Tina by Maria DiRico on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour. Scroll down to enter your chance to win the Giveaway!

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Book Details

Long Island Iced Tina (A Catering Hall Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Publisher: Kensington (February 23, 2021)
Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN-10: 1496725352
ISBN-13: 978-1496725356
Digital ASIN: B089NCJ9NS

Book Blurb

Mia Carina is back in the borough of Queens—in charge of the family catering hall, Belle View Banquet Manor, and keeping her nonna company. But some events—like murder—are not the kind you can schedule . . .

Mia’s newly pregnant friend Nicole plans to hold a shower at Belle View—but Nicole also has to attend one that her competitive (and mysteriously rich) stepmother, Tina, is throwing at the fanciest place in Queens. It’s a good chance for Mia to snoop on a competitor, especially since doing a search for “how to run a catering hall” can get you only so far. 

Mia tags along at the lavish party, but the ambience suffers at Nicole’s Belle View shower when a fight breaks out—and then, oddly, a long-missing and valuable stolen painting is unwrapped by the mom-to-be. Tina is clearly shocked to see it. But not as shocked as Mia is when, soon afterward, she spots the lifeless body of a party guest floating in the marina . . . 

Italian recipes included!

My Review

The second in the Catering Hall Mystery series, Long Island Iced Tina again sees main character Mia Carina striving the save her friend and family from a very suspicious murder and a complex storyline embroiled in a decades old art theft. Mia is no ordinary manager of a catering hall in Queens, however, as she is a daughter of a mob lieutenant trying to go straight with his work in this legitimate business. Mia has grown up in the “Family” and with her dad, still maintains connections.

Long Island Iced Tina by Maria DiRicoA lot going on in Book 2 with the main plot, the murder of Tina, while Mia continues to wrestle with the remaining question of her ex, as well as keeping friendship with Jaimie who she values as possibly proceeding from their early high school romance to friendship and back again to romance. The problem is that he has found a girl possibly suited more closely to his needs and goals.

Mia is living with her grandmother while retaining close ties to her Italian family, the business, the food, and the support. Her grandmother is embroiled in her own wacky goals employing Mia by plying her with food.

“…Italian funeral…’They’re just like your WASPy ones but with more crying and better food.’”

Mia has a ginger Abyssinian cat she named Doorstop (perfect!) and a parakeet. Her father hired the grandson of a mob family to help at the banquet manor in a subtle exchange of favors, but Benjy is not the enthusiastic staff member of their dreams. Her very pregnant friend Nicole has managed to whittle her showers down to two, the first being Tina’s excessive show at the Versailles and the unhappy ending of Tina at Mia’s shower in the Belle View Banquet Manor in Queens.

I love that Mia is so embroiled in her tight Italian family and speaks with her close relatives in Italian as easily as English. The family works hard together with obvious love and support for each other and the writing style weighs heavily in their inherited sense of humor, their love of the city, and their shared history. Mia has never learned to drive, so her mode of travel if not her ten speed is cabs and rides and maybe she should stick to those.

Nice to have a bit of backstory to bring the reader up to speed, but this could be read as a standalone as bits and pieces of history are dropped into the investigation and Mia’s interviews that she’s really quite adept at, gleaning little clues that lead to further gains.

The conclusion is probably where you’d expect it to go and leads to the introduction of a possible new romance (thumbs down on that one). I feel that eventually we’ll get the story of what really happened to the ex as I’ve thought all along he didn’t die. The well-plotted and paced mystery settles in to a fun read and curiosity over where the author will take us next. I read Book 1, Here Comes the Body, and I’ll be looking for Book 3.

 

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Giveaway

Sign up for your chance to win one of three print copies of Long Island Iced Tina by Maria DiRico—US only—on this Rafflecopter giveaway 

Rosepoint Publishing: Four point Five Stars 4 1/2 stars

About the Author

Maria DiRico - author Maria DiRico is the pseudonym for Ellen Byron, author of the award winning, USA Today bestselling Cajun Country Mysteries. Born in Queens, New York, she is first-generation Italian-American on her mother’s side and the granddaughter of a low-level Jewish mobster on her father’s side. She grew up visiting the Astoria Manor and Grand Bay Marina catering halls, which were run by her Italian mother’s family in Queens and have become the inspiration for her Catering Hall Mystery Series. DiRico has been a writer-producer for hit television series like Wings and Just Shoot Me, and her first play, Graceland, appears in the Best Short Plays collection. She’s a freelance journalist, with over 200 articles published in national magazines, and previously worked as a cater-waiter for Martha Stewart, a credit she never tires of sharing. A native New Yorker who attended Tulane University, Ellen lives in Los Angeles with her husband, daughter, and two rescue dogs.

Website – https://www.ellenbyron.com/catering-hall-mysteries

Chicks on the Case – http://chicksonthecase.net/

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

Twitter – https://twitter.com/ellenbyronla

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

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

Tour Participants:

March 1 – Baroness Book Trove – REVIEW

March 1 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT

March 1 – Novel Alive – SPOTLIGHT

March 2 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

March 2 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

March 2 – Brianne’s Book Reviews – REVIEW

March 3 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW, EXCERPT

March 3 – This Is My Truth Now – REVIEW, RECIPE

March 3 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

March 4 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

March 4 – ebook addicts – SPOTLIGHT, RECIPE

March 5 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – GUEST POST

March 5 – Read Your Writes Book Reviews – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

March 5 – Cassidy’s Bookshelves – SPOTLIGHT

March 6 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT, RECIPE

March 6 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

March 7 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

March 7 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, RECIPE

March 7 – I Read What You Write – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

March 8 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

March 8 – Literary Gold – CHARACTER GUEST POST

March 9 – Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

March 9 – Novels Alive – REVIEW

March 9 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

March 10 – Socrates Book Reviews – REVIEW

March 10 – Author Elena Taylor’s Blog – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

March 10 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

March 10 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT Great Escapes Book Tours

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

©2021 V Williams

Irish Parade Murder (A Lucy Stone Murder Book 27) by Leslie Meier – a #BookReview – #cozymystery

“’If you haven’t got anything nice to say about anybody, come sit by me.’ Alice Roosevelt Longworth, (Teddy’s daughter)”

Book Blurb:

Lucy Stone’s late-winter blues usually vanish by the time Tinker’s Cove goes green for its annual St. Patrick’s Day celebration. There’s just one wee problem that not even the luck of the Irish can fix—murder!

Irish Parade Murder by Leslie MeierAfter returning from her father-in-law’s funeral in Florida, Lucy can almost hear the death knell of her part-time reporter job the instant she meets new hire Rob Callahan. He’s young, ambitious, and positioning himself to become the Pennysaver’s next star reporter. Adding insult to injury, Lucy only gets assigned the local St. Patrick’s Day parade once Rob passes on the story. But before beer flows and bagpipes sound, Rob becomes suspected of destroying more than other people’s careers . . .

It’s a shock when Rob is suddenly charged with sending a corrections officer from town to a fiery death. Contrary to the evidence, Lucy seriously doubts her office rival committed murder, and she’s willing to follow that nagging hunch into the darkest corners of the community if it means shedding light on the truth . . .

As an unnerving mystery unfolds, a strange woman reveals news that could change everything for Lucy and her family. Troubles in her personal and professional life are colliding, and Lucy comes to realize that she’ll sooner discover a four-leaf clover than confront a killer with the gift of the gab and live to tell about it . . .

My Review:

Yikes! There have already been twenty-six books in this series, and this is my first experience with either the author or the series. Well, I know you’ve heard that before, not often I have the chance to start a series with Book 1.

Irish Parade Murder by Leslie MeierThis one, however, regards a small town journalist with the local weekly. Just when the few others in the office assume the owner is going to throw in the towel, they are astounded to learn the owner has partnered with the adjacent town’s paper and they will now cover twice the territory. And, icing on the cake, the owner has brought in a whiz-bang kid to really “get the story.”

And, somehow, I thought the novel would be about Lucy writing her stories, discovering a murder victim and she would go investigating.

Nope.

This cozy mystery centers on family. Protagonist Lucy Stone is married (also unusual for a cozy mystery) with four children. Two events occur about the same time—her father-in-law has passed away and Grandma Edna will come to live with them (her husband being an only child). About the same time, they get a letter proclaiming shared DNA by a woman they know nothing about.

St. Patrick’s Day is coming and Tinkers Cove is gearing up for their big annual parade followed by a newly instituted festival in adjacent Gilead. AND, Lucy is assigned to getting the school budget and parade master stories. In the meantime, she is fielding family matters, including her daughter’s “step-dancing” with which history I found interesting.

It’s not until about 50% into the book that an accident occurs deemed not to be an accident, and not unusually, the new kid on the paper is blamed for the murder. This sets off an interesting search into the possible corruption of the local sheriff’s department.       

I don’t know whether it was because I was coming into the series at Book 27 and finding more of a family drama than a cozy that was off-putting, but I had a problem becoming engaged in the narrative and couldn’t connect with the characters—which, at this point, character development has pretty much ended. Her husband Bill is wonderfully supportive, but the storyline just dragged for me. I didn’t really care what the school board was going to vote for or against. The conclusion only mildly increased attention—at that point, just happy for the conclusion. More focus on the murder investigation, contact with more appropriate individuals, interviews, something…would have added some tension. On pre-order now.

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author. These are my honest thoughts.

Rosepoint Rating: Three of Five Stars three stars

Add to Goodreads

Book Details:

Genre: Cozy Mystery, Amateur Sleuth
Publisher: Kensington Books

  • ASIN : B087YSPKVC

Print Length: 283 pages
Publication Date: To be released January 26, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley 

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

Leslie Meier - authorThe Author: [Leslie Meier] I started writing in the late ’80s when I was attending graduate classes at Bridgewater State College. I wanted to become certified to teach high school English and one of the required courses was Writing and the Teaching of Writing. My professor suggested that one of the papers I wrote for that course was good enough to be published and I sent it off to Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine’s Department of First Stories. I got $100 for the story and I’ve been writing ever since. The teaching, however, didn’t work out.

My books draw heavily on my experience as a mother of three and my work as a reporter for various weekly newspapers on Cape Cod. My heroine, Lucy Stone, is a reporter in the fictional town of Tinker’s Cove, Maine, where she lives in an old farmhouse (quite similar to mine on Cape Cod!) with her restoration carpenter husband Bill and four children. As the series has progressed the kids have grown older, roughly paralleling my own family. We seem to have reached a point beyond which Lucy cannot age — my editor seems to want her to remain forty-something forever — though I have to admit I am dying to write “Menopause is Murder”!

I usually write one Lucy Stone mystery every year and as you can see, my editor likes me to feature the holidays in my books. Of course Christmas is one of my favorite times of year and my newest mystery {released September 2013} is called “Christmas Carol Murder.” I have always loved the Alistair Sims movie version of Charles Dicken’s ,”The Christmas Carol,” so I was excited to be able to have Lucy encounter some modern day versions of Dicken’s classic characters. In addition to the recent holiday mysteries I have written such as “Chocolate Covered Murder” {Valentine’s Day} and “Easter Bunny Murder”, I have written one travel mystery in which Lucy and her friends ,travel to London,”English Tea Murder”. Since I love to travel I can only hope that Lucy will be able to solve some mysteries in some other cities and countries also. My husband and I did stay in an apartment in Paris this past year {big hint!}

My books are classified as cozies but a good friend insists they are really “comedies of manners” and I do enjoy expressing my view of contemporary American life.

Now that the kids are grown — I now have four grandchildren — my husband and I are enjoying our empty nest on Cape Cod which we share with our new very frisky kitty, Sylvester. I am busy writing the next Lucy Stone Mystery which is due out this Spring. I do hope you will enjoy it!

©2020 V Williams V Williams