Fatal Solutions (A Crossword Puzzle Mystery Book 3) by Becky Clark – #BookReview – #cozycrafts

Rosepoint Rating: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

1 ACROSS: HUMAN REMAINS

Fatal Solutions by Becky ClarkCreating crossword puzzles for the Chestnut Station Chronicle won’t allow Quinn Carr to quit her diner waitress job any time soon. But it does provide an outlet for her organizational OCD, and also lets her leave subtle hints for police chief Myron Chestnut, an avid puzzler, when his investigations need some direction. Some mysteries, though, leave even Quinn stumped—like the property deed she finds in her grandfather’s old desk. The document lists Quinn’s mother as the owner of some land on the outskirts of Chestnut Station, but Georgeanne refuses to discuss it.

8 LETTERS, STARTS WITH “S”

Quinn visits the site, located near a World War II Japanese internment camp that’s since been turned into a museum. There she unearths a weathered Japanese doll…and a skeleton. Before she can uncover a killer, she has to identify the victim. Was it an inmate trying to escape? A guard? Or someone closer to home? As Quinn fills in the blanks, she finds an unexpected link between her family and Chief Chestnut’s—one that could spell more deadly trouble…

My Review:

The third in the Crossword Puzzle Mystery series and these just keep getting better.

Fatal Solutions by Becky ClarkQuinn and her best friend Loma find an old skull on a piece of property that Quinn was checking out. The property is by a WWII Japanese Internment Camp in Colorado turned museum.

The author has created fully developed and very unique individuals and we get an additional perspective of the support characters as Quinn go about quietly trying to solve several puzzling problems. Who did the skull belong to? Why was it there? And what of the Daruma doll found nearby? Why does her mother deny the property?

I get a kick out of the imaginative, quirky characters Ms Clark has crafted—so real, including her mother with the outrageous food recipes, police chief Chestnut, and the old boys at the diner where Quinn waits tables. Now there’s a bunch to draw to!

Quinn struggles with several problems. First, she has OCD. Not just the kind where you straighten objects, or check something twice. I’m talking real, classic, debilitating OCD and she creates crossword puzzles for the local paper on the QT. Once she’s given a puzzle, such as the bones on the property her mother is denying, and the Daruma doll she is beyond compelled to answer the questions. The sessions with her therapist are always fun as well.

There is a strongly connected sense between she and the support characters. They know one another, like, appreciate, and enjoy each other. I enjoy the author’s wacky sense of humor and turn of phrase.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley and these are my honest thoughts. (Crossword puzzles and her mom’s crazy recipes at the back.) I was also given the opportunity to read the first two and thoroughly enjoyed Punning With Scissors as well. Currently on pre-order and I recommend you do so.

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Book Details:

Genre: Cozy Crafts & Hobbies Mystery, Cozy Craft & Hobby Mysteries, Amateur Sleuth Mysteries
Publisher: Lyrical Press
ASIN: B08Z65YYV3
Print Length: 208 pages
Publication Date:  November 9, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley 

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo

 

Becky Clark - authorThe Author: Becky Clark is the seventh of eight kids, which explains both her insatiable need for attention and her atrocious table manners. She likes to read funny books so it felt natural to write them too. She surrounds herself with quirky people and pets who end up as characters in her books. Her stout-hearted dog keeps her safe from menacing squirrels, leaves, and deer, but not plastic bags. Those things are terrifying.

Readers say her books are “fast and thoroughly entertaining” with “witty humor and tight writing” and “humor laced with engaging characters” so you should “grab a cocktail and enjoy the ride.” They also say “Warning: You will laugh out loud. I’m not kidding,” and “If you like Janet Evanovich, you will like Becky Clark.”

Becky won the 1st place “Best in Category” Mystery & Mayhem Award from the Chanticleer International Book Awards for Fiction Can Be Murder, book one in the Mystery Writer’s Mystery series.

Visit http://www.BeckyClarkBooks.com for all kinds of fun. While you’re there, be sure to subscribe to her “So Seldom It’s Shameful” newsletter. You’ll hear about new releases, get the chance to win fabulous prizes, find out about book promotions from her and others, read interviews from new-to-you authors, and more. (As you might have gleaned from the title, she won’t inundate your inbox, either.)

If you want to connect more often, join Becky’s Book Buddies on Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/groups/beckysbookbuddies/

Follow Becky Clark here on Amazon, on BookBub, and at Goodreads. If you enjoy her books, she’d swoon if you left a review. Yes, swoon.

©2021 V Williams V Williams

Punning with Scissors (A Crossword Puzzle Mystery Book by Becky Clark – #BookReview – #cozymystery – #TuesdayBookBlog

“Don’t bring problems, bring solutions.” 

Book Blurb:

1 DOWN: A PERSON OF INTEREST
 
Punning with Scissors by Becky ClarkQuinn Carr has been quietly creating crosswords for the Chestnut Station Chronicle in her small Colorado town since she was in high school, but she has yet to solve the puzzle of how to make a living from her passion. So she lives with her parents and works at the local diner, catering to regulars like The Retireds, a charming if cantankerous crew of elderly men. The most recent member to join the group is a recently retired tailor, the unfortunately named Hugh Pugh.
 
4-LETTER WORD FOR “IMPALE”
 
But Hugh’s misfortune dramatically increases when he’s arrested for stabbing his husband with a pair of fabric shears. With a cryptic crossword clue left at the crime scene, Quinn seems tailor-made for solving this murder. The local police may be determined to pin the crime on the kindly tailor, but Quinn will use her penchant for puzzles and what her therapist calls her “obsessive coping mechanism” to get the clues to line up and catch the real culprit—before the killer boxes her in. . . .

My Review:

An OCD breakdown is responsible for Quinn Carr returning to her parents home in rural Colorado, where she has established herself as a waitress at the local diner owned by Jake. There she caters to an eclectic group of patrons, one of whom is “The Retireds.”

“How many vegans does it take to eat a piece of bacon?” Without waiting for an answer, he said, “Just one, if nobody’s looking.”

Punning with Scissors by Becky ClarkHer position there gives her ample opportunity to exercise her OCD proclivities, arranging condiments, cleaning, and straightening objects. Her form of OCD is serious, an anxiety disorder, and she is seeing a therapist to help her tame the OCD monster.

Quinn is also a professional, albeit closet, cruciverbalist—creating puzzles for the local Chestnut Station Chronicle–something she prefers kept quiet. She has used this skill in the past to send subliminal messages to the local police captain of Chestnut Station when she becomes involved in the murder that has the newest member of the Retireds landed in the slammer.

Following the arrest of Hugh, she has taken on the care of Virginia Wolf, his dog also known as Gin, and her care almost sends her into overload. The police chief, of course, is sure he has his man and, of course, Quinn knows he didn’t do it and takes on the investigation as well as the care of his home.

I started this series with Book 1, unusual for me I know, but was left scratching my head a few times. First, creating a puzzle requires an extremely clever word smith and second, I had no idea how serious OCD could be, often referring to my straightening things as my OCD. Not even close. But I did enjoy this book for the mystery and the characters whether or not I could really connect with Quinn. Also, loved the wit and sense of humor encased in this cozy.

“Don’t meddle in the affairs of dragons for you are crunchy and delicious with ketchup.”

“…people food is for people, not dogs who think they’re people.”

I like the support characters—all are well developed (her mother’s recipes a hoot) including her boyfriend Rico (her police connection), the mystery (cloaked within the mysteries of the OCD), the clues, investigation, and puzzling scenes. Gees! Sounded like a lot of mathematics were involved and, no surprise there, also not one of my strong suits!

In Book 2, Quinn has graduated into a slightly more astute woman sleuth, tending to be more methodical while obsessive. The narrative is a well-plotted and paced mystery. While I found Book 1 a bit disjointed, novel two of the series was smoother and I could get into the puzzling aspect, unique to a cozy mystery, I’m sure. If you didn’t start with Book 1, no prob—Book 2 could be read as a standalone. Don’t read by rote; don’t read while watching TV or knitting; this cozy requires a thinking cap. Come prepared with yours.

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley and these are my unbiased opinions. Pre-order is now available.

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

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Book Details:

Genre: Amateur Sleuth Mysteries, Cozy Mystery, Women Sleuths
Publisher: Lyrical Press

  • ASIN : B08FXTDJST

Print Length: 205 pages
Publication Date: To be released May 11, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley 

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

Becky Clark - authorThe Author: Becky Clark is the seventh of eight kids, which explains both her insatiable need for attention and her atrocious table manners. She likes to read funny books so it felt natural to write them too. She surrounds herself with quirky people and pets who end up as characters in her books. Her stout-hearted dog keeps her safe from menacing squirrels, leaves, and deer, but not plastic bags. Those things are terrifying.

Readers say her books are “fast and thoroughly entertaining” with “witty humor and tight writing” and “humor laced with engaging characters” so you should “grab a cocktail and enjoy the ride.” They also say “Warning: You will laugh out loud. I’m not kidding,” and “If you like Janet Evanovich, you will like Becky Clark.”

Becky won the 1st place “Best in Category” Mystery & Mayhem Award from the Chanticleer International Book Awards for Fiction Can Be Murder, book one in the Mystery Writer’s Mystery series.

Visit http://www.BeckyClarkBooks.com for all kinds of fun. While you’re there, be sure to subscribe to her “So Seldom It’s Shameful” newsletter. You’ll hear about new releases, get the chance to win fabulous prizes, find out about book promotions from her and others, read interviews from new-to-you authors, and more. (As you might have gleaned from the title, she won’t inundate your inbox, either.)

If you want to connect more often, join Becky’s Book Buddies on Facebook … https://www.facebook.com/groups/beckysbookbuddies/

Follow Becky Clark here on Amazon, on BookBub, and at Goodreads. If you enjoy her books, she’d swoon if you left a review. Yes, swoon.

©2021 V Williams

Open for Murder (A Happy Camper Mystery Book 1) by Mary Angela #BlogTour #BookReview #Giveaway

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

Open for Murder by Mary Angela blog tour

Book Details

Open for Murder (A Happy Camper Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Publisher: Lyrical Press (November 24, 2020)
Paperback: 207 pages
ISBN-10: 1516110722
ISBN-13: 978-1516110728
Digital ASIN: B085LTP1XH

Book Blurb

Deep in the heart of touristy small-town Spirit Canyon, South Dakota, former journalist Zo Jones runs the Happy Camper gift shop, where she sells everything from locally made souvenirs to memorabilia. She even rents out mountain bikes, and dabbles in the adventure industry—and sleuthing . . . 

It’s Memorial Day weekend in Spirit Canyon, and for Zo that means the return of summer shoppers. It also means the return of her good friend Beth, who’s moved back to the area to reopen her family’s premier hotel, Spirit Canyon Lodge. Beth and Zo spent many childhood summers there and Zo can’t wait to reconnect and celebrate the Grand Opening. But the festivities go from bad to worse when a power outage knocks out the lights—and morning reveals a competitor’s dead body found on the premises . . . 

Soon enough, Beth is the prime suspect in the suspicious death. Fortunately, Zo isn’t afraid to put her investigative skills to work and prove her friend’s innocence. To start digging for information, she appeals to Max Harrington, a local Forest Ranger and unlikely ally. Though they’ve argued about Happy Camper’s tours, in this case they agree on one thing: Beth isn’t a murderer. Stranger things have happened than their collaboration. After all, this is Spirit Canyon. But as the list of suspects grows, Zo will have to keep her guard up if she doesn’t want to be the next lodge guest to check out . . .

 

My Thoughts

Memorial Day weekend in Spirit Canyon, deep in the heart of South Dakota, state of Mt. Rushmore National Memorial. Zo Jones owns a small touristy gift shop she named the Happy Camper and, being one very smart cookie, sells everything a tourist might want from souvenirs to memorabilia. She also rents out mountain bikes and hosts an occasional hike.

Open for Murder by Mary AngelaThis year, her childhood friend Beth is returning to help her celebrate her opening celebration of the Spirit Canyon Lodge. Unfortunately, the old crone who owns a spa and another lodge isn’t happy to see any competition and generally makes that publicly clear. It’s Beth who will eventually be numero uno suspect when she is found murdered in the morning.

I really enjoyed the atmospheric aura the author sets up for the area—so much history—so much beauty—small town, limited year-round residents. You can smell the pine, see the beauty and OMG, I WANT that deck! I could so appreciate that warming retreat, mountain air, and TDC (that darned cat), the Maine Coon. (You gotta get him neutered, Zo!)

Knowing her old friend could NOT have killed the old viper, she enlists some help from a local studly forest ranger who feels the same way. Zo is a very subtle investigator, however, and in the meantime, she describes her little(?) gift shop and her adjacent residence to a tee. (If it weren’t for those deadly winters—yes—even worse than where I live, I’d be moving.) And, the ideas she has for decorating, promoting her shop—amazing. If she weren’t relying on tourist money three months out of the year to sustain her the other nine, she’d be rich. Sweet, unique ideas.

I enjoyed the characters, Zo has the beginning of being a well developed personality, the support characters will need to be filled in. It was well-plotted and paced. The romance angle is introduced and usually I’d balk but I liked this guy, so let’s see where that one goes. Zo has a Kawi (Kawasaki motorcycle—that has to be good—love riding), and a helmet, but I’d love to know more about her riding (not driving). “…the motorcycle ride made her long for a road trip.” (Yes, they do that.)

AND, lastly, I loved the way Ms. Angela slips in bits of information unique to the state (besides the monument) like Black Hills Gold (totally unique and gorgeous) and that the “most complete T-rex ever found” was discovered on a ranch within the state and later named Sue.

I received this fun and distinctive book as part of the book tour. It’s a great start for a new series and I’m looking forward to seeing where the author will take us next.

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Giveaway

Sign up for your chance to win a very special Giveaway in a Rafflecopter giveaway here.

 

About the Author

Mary Angela is the author of the Professor Prather and Happy Camper cozy mystery series. When Mary isn’t penning heartwarming whodunits, she’s teaching, reading, traveling, or spending time with her family. She lives in South Dakota with her husband, daughters, and spoiled pets. You can find out more about her loves, including her writing, at MaryAngelaBooks.com.

Author Links

Websitewww.maryangelabooks.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/maryangelabooks

Twitter: @maryangelabooks

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15342425.Mary_Angela

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/maryangelabooks/

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

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

Tour Participants:

November 24 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
November 24 – I Read What You Write – GUEST POST
November 25 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
November 25 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
November 26 – U.S. Thanksgiving
November 27 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW
November 27 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT
November 28 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author Blog – SPOTLIGHT
November 28 – Author Elena Taylor’s Blog – SPOTLIGHT
November 29 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
November 29 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
November 30 – Diane Reviews Books – REVIEW
November 30 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW  
December 1 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
December 1 – Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic – SPOTLIGHT
December 2 – Cassidy’s Bookshelves – SPOTLIGHT
December 2 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
December 3 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW
December 3 – Sneaky the Library Cat’s Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
December 4 – The Editing Pen – REVIEW
December 4 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT
December 5 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW
December 5 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
December 6 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW
December 7 – This Is My Truth Now – CHARACTER GUEST POST Great Escapes Book Tours

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

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Penned In (A Farm-to-Fork Mystery) by Lynn Cahoon a #BookReview #cozymystery

“’Should we wake up the others?’ Felicia glanced around the table. The remaining guards looked shell shocked.”

Book Blurb:

Angie Turner, chef at Idaho’s finest farm-to-table restaurant, has organized a team-building event at a haunted prison, only to find a real-life murderer in their midst. . . .
 
Contented employees make for a successful restaurant, which is why the County Seat’s crew goes on a quarterly out-of-office meeting. This time, the location is the Old Idaho Penitentiary near the Boise Foothills, a prison brimming with ghostly lore. The lock-in features actors role-playing as guards, fascinating prison stories . . . and an unscripted murder.
 
Who sentenced one of the faux guards to a very authentic death? Angie, her boyfriend, and the County Seat gang are locked in with a killer—excellent motivation for a little sleuthing. Between ghostly apparitions and flesh-and-blood suspects, Angie’s plate is full, but will her luck, and her life, hold out until the gates reopen at dawn?

My Review:

Yes, I love when a book location is one of my old stomping grounds and in particular this spine-chilling old penitentiary in the foothills of Boise. My WOW® motobuddies and I took the years’ ride-in-mascot to the prison for some very special shots of the facility with the mascot (and us in prison stripes).

In this Halloween themed novella, Angie Turner and her County Seat restaurant crew have scheduled a 24 hr stay in the haunted prison as a team-building exercise. (Sorry—no way would I want to be locked in that place overnight, particularly with no cell phone. So many stories about that place and it does give off creepy vibes.)

Anyway, in addition to the team, there are four “guards” (actors) as well as other guests. Angie is allowed to include Dom, her trusty St Bernard. It’s a cozy. Someone is gonna die. And it’s a prison after all…

I’m not sure how much team building actually got done, although we got to be privy to some support character personalities and their work together as they solved the whodunit. The fun part (for me) was the paranormal element—that of the story of a female ghost (so many stories there). The ghost and Angie communed and Angie (with the help of her crew) followed the clues. There can’t be that many suspects—right? But it won’t be as easy as you think to solve.

This is a great setting for a Halloween mystery. It’s has some interesting characters and the mystery moves along. A fast read and fun cozy.

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

Book Details:

Genre: Two-Hour Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Short Reads, Fiction Short Reads

Publisher: Lyrical Press

ASIN: B07ZPKM799

Print Length: 92 pages

Publication Date: August 4, 2020

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

Rosepoint Publishing: Four of Five Stars

The Author: Get a free story at http://www.lynncahoon.com.

Lynn Cahoon is the author of the NYT and USA Today best-selling Tourist Trap cozy mystery series. She also pens the Cat Latimer series available in mass https://www.amazon.com/Lynn-Cahoon/e/B0082PWOAO/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0market paperback. And, because she can’t help telling stories, she also writes the Farm to Fork series. Romance novels are published under the pen name, Lynn Collins. She lives in a small town like the ones she loves to write about with her husband and three fur kids. Sign up for her newsletter at http://www.lynncahoon.com

(C) 2020 V Williams

NB: This is the first post using WP’s new block editor. I voted it down last time. Apparently, I do not have that choice this time. So, it being rather crude, it’s obvious there’s a learning curve and not easy for this old dog. Please forgive.

Paw and Order (A Dog Club Mystery Book 4) by V M Burns – a #BookReview #cozymystery

Book Blurb:

Dog-loving divorcée and amateur sleuth Lilly Echosby is not the only one who wants her new foster poodle. Some are willing to kill to have him . . .
Paws and Order by V M Burns
Lilly’s best pal Scarlett “Dixie” Jefferson has done it again! She’s convinced eccentric poodle-loving billionaire Archibald Lowry to sponsor a grand fundraiser for the Eastern Tennessee Poodle Rescue. Tragically, it’s too late to rescue Lowry, who is murdered at the event. His pet poodle is now orphaned, so Dixie begs Lilly to foster the adorable pup. Of course, she already has a poodle—her beloved Aggie, named after Agatha Christie. Fortunately, Aggie seems to like the new addition to the family, whom Lilly renames Rex, after her second favorite mystery author, Rex Stout.

But she’s barely welcomed Rex into her home when there’s an attempted poodle-nabbing, foiled with Aggie’s help. As desperate characters try to get their hands on the canine cutie, Lilly turns to Dixie’s dog training class to help her sort through a litter of suspects. Ultimately, she may have to unleash Rex as bait to collar the killer . . .

My Review:

Paws and Order by V M BurnsLillie Ann Echosby moved from Indiana to a new life in Chattanooga,TN. She became involved in a local poodle rescue having one of her own she calls Aggie (after Agatha Christie). She’s a little thing but feisty and full of heart and personality. Lillie is thrilled to be hosting an event for the local poodle rescue at the museum where she’s employed when a tiny poodle shuts down the event after he leads the curious back to his murdered owner, who it turns out is the billionaire sponsor for the event. Lillie is asked to foster the little thing until they can square away the details of the deceased. Of course, Lillie falls in love with him and promptly renames him Rex (after Rex Stout).

The two canines get along just fine but there are ensuing attempts to dognap Rex. In the meantime, Lillie’s daughter Stephanie comes for an impromptu visit. Lillie has a cadre of great friends and support that lend a sleuthing effort to solve the canine caper, and the reader is introduced to both Stephanie and Lillie’s romantic interest, Joe and Red, both in law enforcement.

Lillie is a great character surrounded by additional strong support characters, including Dixie, dog show judge and trainer and owner of a dog castle RV, and there are interesting tidbits of dog speak, which I always enjoy.

My first experience with this series, albeit not the author, and the storyline moves at a cozy pace while including the mystery with the appealing friend associates. There are details that bother me, including whipping around  in an RV for errands (at 6-7 mpg) and the conclusion that I found a bit contrived wrapping up a few loose threads but not all.

Receiving this digital ARC download from the publisher and NetGalley did not affect my opinion of the book or the content and this is my honest opinion. Recommended for all who enjoy cozy mysteries, especially including dogs.

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Book Details:

Genre: Cozy Culinary, Cozy Craft and Hobby Mysteries
Publisher: Lyrical Press
ASIN: B07ZPK3DCJ
Print Length: 225 pages
Publication Date: To be released August 11, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo 

Rosepoint Publishing: Four of Five Stars 4 stars

The Author: V.M. Burns was born and raise in the Midwestern United States. She received a Bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University, a Master’s degree from the University of Notre Dame and a Master of Fine Arts degree from Seton Hill University. She is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Dog Writers Association of America, Thriller Writers International and a lifetime member of Sisters in Crime. She is the secretary of her local chapter of Sisters in Crime (The East Tennessee Smoking Guns) and the Education Grants Coordinator for the national Sisters in Crime. She currently resides in the warmer area of the U.S. with her two poodles. Readers can visit her website at http://www.vmburns.com

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Snowed Under (A Maggie McDonald Mystery Book 6) by Mary Feliz – a #BookReview – #cozymystery

Happy Release Day!

Book Blurb:

Snowed Under by Mary FelizWhen professional organizer Maggie McDonald finds a body in a snowdrift outside her friend’s ski cabin, she must plow through the clues to find a cold-blooded killer . . .

Lake Tahoe in February is beautiful, but Maggie can’t see a thing as she drives through a blinding blizzard with her friend Tess Olmos and their dogs, golden retriever Belle and German shepherd Mozart.Maggie has offered her professional decluttering skills to help Tess tidy up her late husband’s cabin in preparation to sell. She also plans to get in some skiing when her husband Max and their boys join them later in the week.

What she doesn’t plan on is finding a boot in a snowdrift attached to a corpse. The frozen stiff turns out to be Tess’s neighbor, Dev Bailey, who disappeared two months ago. His widow Leslie expresses grief, but Maggie can’t help but wonder if it’s a snow job. As more suspects start to pile up, things go downhill fast, and Maggie must keep her cool to solve the murder before the killer takes a powder . .

My Review:

My first experience with the author and the series included dogs (and if you follow my blog, you know I can’t resist a book with doggy characters) and gorgeous Lake Tahoe–such a soft spot in my heart for Lake Tahoe–so many happy memories there. But winter in Tahoe? Oh yes, can be extremely treacherous.

Snowed Under by Mary FelizThis entry to the series has protagonist Maggie making a trip to Tahoe with her good friend Tess Olmos in February as Maggie will take on years of accumulation in Tess’s family cabin in preparation for a future sale to finance Tess’s son’s college expenses and her change of profession. Maggie is a professional organizer and this will be a getaway trip for her with her family following later for a ski vacation. Should be perfect! But, oops! The weather can turn on a dime in the High Sierras. The blizzard from hell hits them on their way over Donner Summit (no doubt you’ve heard that well-know story before–the Donner Party?) and it’s all they can do to make it to the cabin safely.

Leaving the car where it doesn’t belong in the turnaround, the first trip out of the cabin in the morning to trek back to the car has Maggie discovering a DB (that’s dead body in cop-speak). Unfortunately, the husband of one of Tess’s neighbors took his dog out just after Christmas and never returned. It sends Tess reeling as she lost her husband just 18 months previous and is part of the reason she’s selling. Between the weather and the unnerving discovery, organizing, cleaning, and clearing gets put on the back burner.

Maggie begins to meet the neighbors from the cul-de-sac snoop to the family of the deceased, all just struggling to survive the latest spate of storms crippling the mountains and their lives. The conditions are extreme, between the loss of power and heat, high winds, and plummeting temperatures, everyone hunkers down. Descriptions of the mountains and hillside homes create an appropriate frigid scene. Maggie’s dog, Belle, and Tess’s dog, Mozart, along with neighbors dogs lend added dimension to the cozy, if not freezing atmosphere.

Perhaps this is one of those series in which you should have started with Book 1. I found myself lost, especially in the first third of the book understanding the characters. There seemed contradictions in description, causing a stumble, awkward scenes, and dialogue. Maggie begins her surreptitious interviews of the neighbors and discovers there may have been more than one possible suspect. Chief Quinn Petit seems to welcome the help even as the plot takes some twists which will have you suspending disbelief. Visit from friends back home (under extreme conditions?) and a sudden introduction to the perp in the conclusion was rather contrived and somewhat a disappointment for me.

I received this digital download from the publisher and NetGalley and appreciated the opportunity to read for a review. If you’ve followed the series, you may very well appreciate this entry, enjoy the cozy mystery.

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Book Details:

Genre: Amateur Sleuth Mysteries, Cozy Animal Mysteries
Publisher: Lyrical Press

  • ISBN-10:1516105311
  • ISBN-13:978-1516105311
  • ASIN: B07WBY669T

Print Length: 227 pages
Publication Date: June 9, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link(s): Snowed Under

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

 Rosepoint Publishing: Three-point Five of Five Stars 3.5-stars

Mary Feliz - authorThe Author: Mary Feliz writes the Maggie McDonald Mysteries featuring a Silicon Valley professional organizer and her sidekick golden retriever. She attends organizing conferences in her character’s stead, but Maggie’s skills leave her in the dust. Her first book, ADDRESS TO DIE FOR, received a Kirkus Star and was named a Best Book of 2017 by Kirkus Reviews. Suspense Magazine selected CLIFF HANGER as a Best Book of 2019. A Certified California Naturalist, Mary enjoys sharing the beauty of her state’s natural world with readers.

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Killing Time by Suzanne Trauth #BlogTour #Excerpt #BookReview #Giveaway

I am so delighted today to provide a review for you at my blog stop for Killing Time by Suzanne Trauth on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour. Scroll down to enter your chance to win the Giveaway!

Killing Time by Suzanne Trauth

Book Details

Killing Time (A Dodie O’Dell Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Publisher: Lyrical Press (June 2, 2020)
Number of Pages: 215
Digital ASIN: B07W8ZX8JV

Book Blurb

With Halloween just around the corner, Dodie O’Dell is making preparations to transform the Windjammer Restaurant on the Jersey Shore into a haunted house, while the Etonville Little Theatre is staging Dracula. But casting the titular Transylvanian is proving challenging. The amateur actors in the company are not shy about chewing the scenery, but who among them can convincingly sink their fangs into a victim’s neck? When a mysterious newcomer with a transfixing Eastern European accent lands the part, rumors that he might be an actual vampire start to take flight—not unlike the bat who’s recently been spotted in the town park.

But everyone’s blood really runs cold when a stranger is found in the cemetery with a real stake in his heart. Dodie decides to put her Halloween theme menu on the back burner and stick her neck out to bring the killer into the light of day. She’d better keep her wits about her, though—or Dodie may be the next one to go down for the Count . . .

Excerpt

“It sure looks haunted,” Edna murmured to no one in particular, to the cast of Dracula in general. They were grouped around her on the sidewalk that ran past the old Hanratty place that Carlos and Bella had rented. I’d never been inside though once I’d driven by it when I first moved to Etonville on my way out of town. The house stood on half an acre of scruffy lawn with patches of dried dirt, surrounded by a few straggly trees—minus leaves at this time of the year—and no neighbors. The nearest houses were on a side street some distance away. The three-story building looked as if it might collapse at any moment, its outer walls covered with weathered, gray shakes, the steps to the front door supported by concrete building blocks. There was no handrail. Light leaked out of windows on the first floor. Curtains covering small, circular panes on the third story—an attic room?—quivered. Was someone up there watching us? I shivered. A turret rose upward from the right side of the structure, giving the house a smidge of outdated dignity. A drain pipe dangled loosely from the gutter.

“Let’s go.” Penny corralled actors and nudged everyone forward to the front door. There were six company members, Renfield saying he’d be along later, plus Penny, Lola, Pauli, and me. Strength in numbers.

We crept across the porch cautiously, aware of the creaking beneath us as the flooring shifted with each individual’s footsteps. Penny put out a hand to knock on the door. Before she could hit knuckles to wood, it flew open. “Welcome everyone!” Bella stood in the doorway, a silhouette backlit by muted foyer lighting.

Behind her Carlos stood silently, observing the group huddled in his entryway, like deer caught in headlights.

Lola took the lead, moving graciously into the house. “Thank you. So nice of you to invite us to your home.”

I’m not sure what the members of the Etonville Little Theatre were expecting. Given the exterior and location of the Hanratty homestead, I anticipated something out of a late-night classic horror film.

My Review

Fall is closing in, Halloween is upon the town of Etonville and the Etonville Little Theatre has decided on running with Dracula. They have a great new actor who is playing Dracula as if he is one–his wife and the cast party at their old, creepy home part of the mystique. Problem is, someone in a Grim Reaper costume is found in the local cemetery with what appears to be a stake through his heart. This definitely carries the whole Halloween production too far.

Dodie O’Dell is manager of the Windjammer Restaurant on the Jersey Shore. Because of the season and the scheduled play, they are very busy in the restaurant promoting a theme menu. She definitely has a capable chef in the kitchen and bar and restaurant staff are more friends than employees. But this one strikes too close for comfort and she’ll have to “look into it.” Not the first time she’s taken on sleuthing duties.

Dodie is also engaged to the local police chief, Bill, and while not having reservations about him, is dragging her feet getting into the whole wedding planning thing with BFF Lola. So distracting herself with the current mystery is not too difficult.

In the meantime, we are introduced to the restaurant regulars, the town’s recurring characters, and some description of the area and contiguous small villages.

It’s a cozy mystery. They do tend to begin a bit slow for me. I’m as bad as the next mystery reader waiting anxiously for something to happen. Dodie has a fine way, however, of handling the restaurant while beginning with questions surrounding the details of the victim’s death then zeroing in on the weirdly perceived Dracula actor.

As Dodie begins sifting through clues and building on instinct, the reader is treated with the eccentricities of some of her closest buddies, Edna the police dispatcher who speaks in code–police code–and Penny who enjoys famous quotes, but always gets them wrong.

“What doesn’t kill you makes you live longer.”

Not character-driven really, as Dodie makes steady progress with her investigation and interviews, but the characters really start growing on you. The description of the restaurant setting is easy to imagine and becomes warm and comfortable with the smells of the kitchen wafting into the dining area.

Dodie’s quandary regarding Bill isn’t really hammered out until the conclusion (but then very satisfactorily), and the climax ramps up the excitement considerably with a real surprise you probably didn’t see coming. (Well, okay, I didn’t.) The sixth in the Dodie O’Dell mystery series, this can function fine as a standalone, and is certainly a series with premise and characters you’ll enjoy.

I received this digital download from the publisher through NetGalley for this book tour and greatly enjoyed the opportunity to read and review. Recommended cozy mystery.

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Four-point Five of Five Stars 4.5-stars

Suzanne Trauth
Suzanne Trauth, Harvard Studio, Montclair, NJ. 06/27/2014 Photo by Steve Hockstein/HarvardStudio.com

About The Author: Suzanne Trauth is a novelist, playwright, screenwriter, and a former theatre professor at a university. She is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, the Dramatists Guild, and League of Professional Theatre Women. When she is not writing, Suzanne coaches actors and serves as a celebrant performing wedding ceremonies. She lives in Woodland Park, New Jersey.

Author Links 

Webpagewww.suzannetrauth.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/SuzanneTrauth/

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/SuzanneMTrauth

GoodReadshttps://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6187623.Suzanne_M_Trauth

Purchase Links

Amazon – B&N – Kobo

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

Tour Participants:

May 19 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – SPOTLIGHT

May 19 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

May 20 – StoreyBook Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST

May 20 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW

May 21 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT

May 22 – Laura’s Interests– CHARACTER GUEST POST

May 22 – View from the Birdhouse – REVIEW

May 22 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

May 23 – Christy’s Cozy Corners– CHARACTER INTERVIEW

May 23 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT

May 24 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW

May 25 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

May 25 – fundinmental – SPOTLIGHT

May 26 – Dee-Scoveries – SPOTLIGHT

May 26 – Reading Is My SuperPower – GUEST POST

May 27 – Ascroft, eh? – GUEST POST

May 28 – eBook Addicts – REVIEW

May 29 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

May 30 – Gimme The Scoop Reviews – REVIEW

May 31 – Diane Reviews Books – REVIEW

May 31 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – AUTHOR INTERVIEW  

June 1 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW Great Escapes Book Tours

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

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