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

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Death Over Easy (A Country Store Mystery #5) by Maddie Day #BlogTour #BookReview #Giveaway

Death Over Easy by Maddie Day

I am so delighted today to provide a review for you at my blog stop for Death Over Easy by Maddie Day on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours. Scroll down to enter your chance to win the Giveaway!

Book Details

Death Over Easy (A Country Store Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Kensington (July 31, 2018)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1496711236
Digital ASIN: B0776H5T7B

Book Blurb

Restaurateur Robbie Jordan is ready for the boost in business a local music festival brings to South Lick, Indiana, but the beloved event strikes a sour note when one of the musicians is murdered . . .

June’s annual Brown County Bluegrass Festival at the Bill Monroe Music Park in neighboring Beanblossom is always a hit for Robbie’s country store and café, Pans ‘N Pancakes. This year, Robbie is even more excited, because she’s launching a new bed and breakfast above her shop. A few festival musicians will be among Robbie’s first guests, along with her father, Roberto, and his wife, Maria. But the celebration is cut short when a performer is found choked to death by a banjo string. Now all the banjo players are featured in a different kind of lineup. To clear their names, Robbie must pair up with an unexpected partner to pick at the clues and find the plucky killer before he can conduct an encore performance . . .

Includes Recipes for You to Try!

My Review

Death Over Easy by Maddie DayRobbie Jordan has added several renovated rooms above her Pans ‘N Pancakes restaurant and turned the Country Store slash cafe into a B&B in South Lick, Indiana. She’s excited about the annual music bluegrass festival in Beanblossom, and will be hosting a few of the festival musicians as well as her Italian father, Roberto, and his wife.

It doesn’t take long, however, for things to turn a sour note when one of the musicians is found dead. Robbie’s boyfriend Abe played a trial set with the victim and it would seem she was a person you either loved or loved to hate, which helps to generate a multitude of suspects. Robbie hadn’t gotten to know the victim well, but as she was in her puzzle group (definitely a new one for me!), she knew of her. Pia was definitely on a rant prior to death, owing money and arguing about it, unhappy with the music set she was playing with Abe, and unhappy with the event coordinator. It would seem that Pia has her fingers on more than her banjo, however, being a music student at UI, connected with Phil, immigrant from Italy, and known to her dad. With the way she was boosting tension though, I’d have strangled her myself!

Lieutenant Buck Bird of the local South Lick Police Department and Detective Anne Henderson coordinate handling the case as it’s outside the jurisdiction of South Lick. These are small rural communities where everyone knows everyone and their business, and if they don’t, make it their business to know. It doesn’t take long for Robbie to begin working on the crossword puzzle, trying to make sense of the drama, when another homicide occurs that would appear connected by a musical string.

Part of Robbie’s staff includes Danna, who has a boyfriend Isaac who exhibits PTSD periodically and seems he is suspect by default. Danna is a big part of the cafe, often suggests and implements daily specials. She is worth far more than she is paid, I’m sure. The hours are crazy, the work non-stop, and especially with an event close by, requires solid, heads-up 24/7 attention. I enjoy bluegrass music and that attracted my attention, as well as the location in Indiana. Just love that cover! The dialect in some of the dialogue, however, sounded more like uneducated backwoods than Indiana. (HOPE we don’t sound like that!) Reading the description of the management of the cafe had me very glad it was one business I was never interested in.

There are twists and turns, characters perhaps fully fleshed in previous series installments somewhat lacking here, and a protagonist with a very nosy attitude but fairly keen sense of business. (That’s why she’s the sleuth and I’m not!) Perhaps reading previous installments would have led me deeper into empathy. The storyline progresses well and maintains interest, just that I couldn’t develop an invested interest in the protagonist and never really did get to know her boyfriend, or her aunt Adele.

I was given this ebook download by the publisher and NetGalley through Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours and appreciated the opportunity to read and review this cozy mystery. Recommended for all familiar with the author, the series, and those who enjoy cozy mysteries with a crossword puzzle flavor and good southern Indiana recipes.

Add to Goodreads

Giveaway

Don’t miss your opportunity to win one of two print copies of Death Over Easy in this Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author

Maddie Day - authorMaddie Day is a talented amateur chef and holds a Ph.D. in linguistics from Indiana University. An Agatha Award-nominated author, she is a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America and also writes award-winning short crime fiction. She lives with her beau and three cats in Massachusetts.

As Edith Maxwell, she writes the Local Foods Mysteries (Kensington Publishing) and the Quaker Midwife Mysteries (Midnight Ink).

You can find all Maddie’s/Edith’s identities at http://www.edithmaxwell.com. She blogs every weekday with the other Wicked Cozy Authors at wickedcozyauthors.com. Look for her as Edith M. Maxwell and Maddie Day on Facebook and @edithmaxwell and @maddiedayauthor on Twitter.

Purchase Links:

Amazon  B&N   kobo

Google Play BookBub

Tour Participants:

August 1 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW  

August 1 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT

August 2 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW

August 2 – Babs Book Bistro – REVIEW

August 3 – Sapphyria’s Books – REVIEW

August 3 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT

August 4 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

August 5 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

August 6 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

August 7 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

August 8 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW

August 9 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

August 10 – The Montana Bookaholic – REVIEW

August 10 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – SPOTLIGHT

August 11 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT

August 12 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

August 13 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW  

August 14 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – 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

Tail of the Dragon (A Zodiac Mystery) by Connie di Marco #BookTour #BookReview #Giveaway

Tail of the Dragon by Connie di Marco

I am super-excited today to provide a review at my blog stop for Tail of the Dragon by Connie di Marco on her Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour.

Book Details

Tail of the Dragon (A Zodiac Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Midnight Ink (August 8, 2018)
Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0738751061
Digital ASIN: B075W42GWP

Book Blurb

San Francisco astrologer Julia Bonatti never thought murder would be part of her practice, but when her former boss and current client asks for help she agrees to go undercover at his law firm. Three people have received death threats and the only common denominator between them is a case long settled–the infamous Bank of San Francisco fire. Julia’s astrological expertise provides clues but no one wants to listen. Before she can solve the mystery, two people are dead and her own life is in danger. Julia must unmask the killer before he, or she, takes another life. Continue reading “Tail of the Dragon (A Zodiac Mystery) by Connie di Marco #BookTour #BookReview #Giveaway”

Pick and Chews – a #BookReview

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

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

Publisher: Midnight Ink

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

Source: Midnight Ink and NetGalley

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

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

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

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

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

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

#CursesBoiledAgain – a #BookReview

Curses, Boiled Again! by Shari RandallTitle: Curses, Boiled Again!: A Lobster Shack Mystery by Shari Randall

Genre: Currently # 507 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Mystery, Cozy, Culinary, amateur sleuths

Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks

Publication Date: To be released January 30, 2018

Source: St. Martin’s Paperbacks and NetGalley

Title and Cover: Curses, Boiled Again! – Cute cozy mystery cover

Welcome to Mystic Bay and the Lazy Mermaid Lobster Shack where the proprietor, Aunt Gully, is a combination of your favorite aunt and feisty grandmother (my favorite character)–and her lobster rolls are to die for. Protagonist Allegra (Allie) Larkin has returned to this small New England hamlet to help Gully Fontana with the Memorial Day Lobster Roll contest and to rest an ankle now in a boot from a ballet dance injury. Her Aunt Gully recently opened her lobster shack to accolades with her lobster roll with secret sauce and was invited to participate in the contest covered by the YUM Food Network. Winning the contest would more than boost her little endeavor. Unfortunately, one of the four judges doesn’t make it alive to the next contestant. Continue reading “#CursesBoiledAgain – a #BookReview”

#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!