Posted in 4 paws, Cozy, Giveaway, mystery, Review on November 24, 2017

Synopsis

Between a booming art scene and elaborate Independence Day festivities, July in lakeshore Oriole Point, Michigan, is always a blast. Especially when an explosive murder case crashes the fun . . .

As owner of The Berry Basket, Marlee Jacob has learned a thing or two about surviving the summer tourist season in Oriole Point. So she gladly agrees to help run the annual road rally in honor of the local Blackberry Art School’s centenary celebration. While alumni arrive from around the country, Marlee hopes the expansive Sanderling farm will make an appropriate starting point for the race–despite rumors that the land is cursed . . .

But when Marlee surveys the property, she stumbles upon a long-dead body hidden in the bramble. It’s a horrifying mystery to everyone except her baker, who’s convinced the skeletal remains belong to a former student who had gone missing twenty years earlier. As the Fourth of July activities heat up, Marlee must rush to catch an elusive murderer–before the next ‘blackberry victim’ is ripe for the picking!

Includes Berry Recipes!

Review

The second in the series and just as good as the first book, Dying for Strawberries!

This book takes place on the heels of the first book and this time no one is murdered. Instead, Marlee finds the bones of someone that went missing 20 years ago. Of course it is tied to the town and the event that is getting ready to happen for the art camp that many attend growing up.

What I like about this series – there is food (and recipes!) and while I knew you could do a lot with all sorts of berries, I learned several new ways to enjoy them. The characters are engaging and add depth to the story. Yes there are some wacky characters and some that you love to hate, but they meld well together. The mystery portion – I didn’t guess who was responsible for what happened 20 years ago. You are able to narrow it down based on some clues that are revealed throughout the story, and you might be able to decipher who is responsible, but there isn’t anything that flat out points you to this person. i like this because I don’t want to guess too soon in the book.

There is some romance but I’m thinking Ryan (Marlee’s fiance) isn’t long for this relationship. I thought that in the first book too. There are too many red flags that hopefully Marlee sees them before they tie the knot. There is a potential new love interest and it seems like he might be a better match for Marlee.

Check out this series!  We give it 4 paws up

About the Author

Sharon Farrow is the latest pen name of award winning author Sharon Pisacreta. Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Sharon has been a freelance writer since her twenties. Published in mystery, fantasy, and romance, Sharon currently writes The Berry Basket cozy mystery series, which debuted October 2016 with Dying For Strawberries. She is also one half of the writing team D.E. Ireland, who co-author the Agatha nominated Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins mysteries.

Website * FacebookTwitter

Giveaway

The author was kind enough to send me the first two books in this series.  The second is an ARC, but both are signed by Sharon!

Open to US residents only due to shipping costs

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Posted in 4 paws, Cozy, mystery, Review on November 22, 2017

Synopsis

With seasonal crowds flocking to its sandy beaches, lively downtown shops, and the Berry Basket, a berry emporium with something for everyone, the lakeshore village of Oriole Point is ripe for summer fun—and murder.
 
Much has changed for Marlee Jacob since she returned to Oriole Point, Michigan, three years ago. Between running the Berry Basket, dodging local gossip, and whipping up strawberry muffins, smoothies, and margaritas to celebrate the town’s first annual Strawberry Moon Bash, the twenty-nine-year-old hardly has time for her fiancé, let alone grim memories of her old life in New York . . .

But unfortunately for Marlee, Oriole Point is muddled with secrets of its own. First her friend Natasha disappears after an ominous dream. Next the seediest man in town threatens to crush her business. Then an unknown person nearly kills her on the night of the Bash. When she discovers a dead body while searching for Natasha, Marlee realizes she’ll have to foil a killer’s plot herself—before the past permanently stains her future.

Review

New cozy series that has a berry theme (yum!) and set in Michigan what could possibly be wrong with that? Nothing!

I think this series has some great potential! The small town with close knit neighbors, possible love triangle, berries (if there is food I already like it) and intrigue.

Fair warning, the murder doesn’t happen until about 1/3 of the way into the book. I kept waiting for someone to end up dead but was surprised it took that long. But once it did you understand why because the scene needed to be set. Thankfully it was a character I didn’t like so I was glad to see him gone.

Marlee does a lot of pushing and prodding to get to the bottom of the murder because she believes she was the first target and was just lucky that she was fished out of the lake in time. She is on the right path and it is very surprising (to me) who is revealed as the killer because the author does a great job of playing down all of the suspects.

There is a lot of information presented at the beginning of the book and some of it takes time before it is truly explained. This did leave me a little confused until the whole story was revealed.

Then there is the fiance, Ryan. While he sounds nice, things are revealed about him that makes me wonder how long he is going to be the fiance. His attitude and thought process would not have worked with me and he would have been in the dust. Plus if he so allergic to bees, why does he not carry an epi-pen? Seems kinda odd especially considering his career field!

I still enjoyed this book and can’t wait to read the next book.

We give this 4 paws up.

 

The next book in this series is Blackberry Burial so watch for it in the next few days as I will be giving away the first 2 books in this series!

About the Author

Sharon Farrow is the latest pen name of award winning author Sharon Pisacreta. Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Sharon has been a freelance writer since her twenties. Published in mystery, fantasy, and romance, Sharon currently writes The Berry Basket cozy mystery series, which debuted October 2016 with Dying For Strawberries. She is also one half of the writing team D.E. Ireland, who co-author the Agatha nominated Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins mysteries.

Website * FacebookTwitter

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Posted in 4 paws, Cozy, Giveaway, Monday, mystery, paranormal, Review on November 20, 2017

That Olde White Magick (An Abracadabra Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Lyrical Underground (November 7, 2017)
Paperback: 240 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1516100583
E-Book ASIN: B06X3TLCLH

It’s time to work her crime-solving magic again . . .

Kailyn Wilde enjoys running her shop, Abracadabra, in the quaint New York hamlet of New Camel, where she lives with her six cats. Her family’s been here for centuries, and she’d like to keep up the tradition. But the place may never be the same if a big hotel gets built, so she does her civic duty and attends a town meeting along with her aunt Tilly . . . and Merlin. Yes, that Merlin—though he gets introduced to folks as her “distant English cousin.” The wizard is pretty grumpy about being transported here, but there are things about the modern world he doesn’t mind—like pizza.

Kailyn was prepared for a heated debate about the hotel, but she wasn’t expecting murder. When Tilly finds the body of a board member outside the schoolhouse, Kailyn doesn’t want any suspicion cast on the wrong person. She plans to crack this case, even if she has to talk to every living soul in town—plus a few departed ones . . .

Review

I think what I like the best about this series so far is Merlin – a sorcerer from the past that somehow ended up in today’s world and seeing how he handles new experiences each day. But all of the characters are interesting and all interact well with each other….even the killer until (s)he is caught red handed! The author does a good job of narrowing down the suspects for the reader, but even then I didn’t suspect the killer until it was revealed.

You don’t have to believe in magick to enjoy these books but I find that aspect intriguing. I’m not sure if I believe in it or not, but I am always open to discovering new things. If nothing else it makes for enjoyable reading.

Since this is the 2nd in the series, I would recommend reading book 1 first. It helps set up some of the back story and the relationship with various characters. You could read this but you might feel a little lost when it comes to the various relationships

We give it 4 paws up

About the Author

Sharon describes her writing career as having two stages. Back in the dark ages, before computers were in every household, she had three paranormal books published. The first one was condensed by Redbook Magazine, the first paperback original they ever condensed. Then life brought her an unexpected challenge, by the name of breast cancer. After treatment she and her oncologist started a not-for-profit to provide information and peer support to breast cancer patients. With the organization up and running, she returned to her first love – writing. This time around she’s been writing cozy mysteries with a paranormal twist. That Olde White Magick is the second book in her Abracadabra Mysteries.

Website * Twitter * Facebook * Goodreads

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Posted in 4 paws, paranormal, Review, Short Story on November 19, 2017

Synopsis

A short 25 page true story to read waiting for a bus or any other event where you have about 15 minutes.

INCLUDES RECIPE from my evening meal with a British Seventh Daughter.

“The fire sparked loudly, and spit a burning ember onto the rug. It scared my Heinz57 dog (British for not a purebred) and she ran into the next room. Was it a premonition? Just then someone appeared behind the couch. There was just Auntie and me there.

Who was it and why did it visit us?

You might not believe in spirits but this is a true account….believe it, or not. I saw what I saw and so did my dog.

The Seventh Daughter saw nothing. I tell you, friendly ghosts are real.”

Review

This is a short story but quite an interesting one. The author pulls us into a true retelling of an event from years ago that reveals second sight ability just might be real if you want to believe.

I felt like I was sitting there at the table with Jessie and her Aunt as she shared what happened to her as a young child and that evening and the apparition that she saw and who it might be and why he might appear to her.

This is a very short read but very enjoyable and I do hope that she does put more of these stories into print. They are fascinating especially if you are intrigued by the paranormal.

We give it 4 paws up

 

Posted in 4 paws, Review, romance on November 15, 2017

Synopsis

Ever since Emma Pierce read Pride and Prejudice, she’s been in love with Mr. Darcy and has regarded Jane Austen as the expert on all things romantic. So when it turns out that what her boyfriend Blake wants is more of a hook-up than a honeymoon, Emma is hurt, betrayed, and furious. She throws herself deeper into her work as CMO of Kinetics, only to find her job threatened when her boss brings in a consultant to help her expand the business to the East Coast. Her frustration turns to shock when that consultant turns out to be Blake’s younger brother, Lucas.

Emma is determined not to fall for Lucas, but as she gets to know him, she realizes that Lucas is nothing like his brother. He is kind and attentive and spends his time and money caring for the less fortunate. But as perfect as Lucas seems, he clearly has his secrets. After all, there’s an angry woman demanding money from him and a little girl who Lucas feels responsible for.

Realizing that her love life is as complicated as anything Jane Austen could have dreamed up, Emma must figure out the truth—and soon—if she wants any hope of writing her own “happily ever after” ending.

Review

I’ve not really read many of the Jane Austen books but know just enough abut them in passing to be dangerous! The title is a little misleading if you think that her books were about finding a husband so you could settle down and become a wife and mother. In reality (as we find out in the book), she is teaching women to speak their minds and be independent, but you really have to dig for that.

But overall this is a romance novel and one that I enjoyed. While you can figure out how it is going to end up, there are a few twists that I didn’t see coming and you are left hanging wondering about a few characters until much later in the book. I liked Emma being torn between two men and trying to figure out who really was best for her in the long term.

The only thing I didn’t like was trying to figure out what CMO meant – Chief Marketing Officer. Usually authors will not shorten to the abbreviation until they have at least spelled it out once and I don’t recall seeing it spelled out.

We give it 4 paws up

About the Author

Julie Wright started her first book when she was fifteen. She’s written over a dozen books since then, is a Whitney Award winner, and feels she’s finally getting the hang of this writing gig. She enjoys speaking to writing groups, youth groups, and schools. She loves reading, eating writing, hiking, playing on the beach with her kids, and snuggling with her husband to watch movies. Julie’s favorite thing to do is watch her husband make dinner. She hates mayonnaise, but has a healthy respect for ice cream.

Blog * Twitter * Amazon

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Posted in 4 paws, Cozy, Giveaway, Monday, mystery, Review on November 13, 2017

Canal Days Calamity (A Dog Days Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Midnight Ink (November 8, 2017)
Paperback: 240 pages

Synopsis

Cameron Cripps-Hayman is taken aback when she stumbles upon another murdered neighbor, this time behind her sister’s shop, Dog Diggity. The timing couldn’t be worse, as there’s only a week left before the store’s grand opening during Canal Days, the biggest festival of the year.

When the police arrest her handyman, Cameron knows they’ve got the wrong suspect, so the Metamora Action Agency sets their sights on cracking the case. With one solved murder under their belts, how hard could a second be?

With a flood warning and a murderer on the loose threatening the start of Canal Days, can Cameron and her crew save the town’s annual dog and pony show from being canceled?

Review

I remember reading the first book and thinking this was going to be a good series…and I was right! The second book was a little better than the first (in my opinion), the characters a little more fleshed out and a continuing story line with Cam, her husband Ben, her sister Monica, her stepdaughter Mia and a few other wacky characters.

Part of what I like about this book are all the dogs…but in this particular book there is Mike the Duck that steals the spotlight. I think he is trying to become a part of the pack!

There is murder, romance and even some fortune telling! And let’s not forget the dog treat recipes at the end of the book. I must try these sometime for my dog, I know she would love them.

I also really liked that after the mystery was solved there was quite a bit more that happened in relation to Canal Days and the town. Sometimes books stop soon after the mystery is solved but this one tied up some loose ends.

We give it 4 paws up.

jamie-blairAbout the Author

Jamie Blair (Ohio) is the award-winning author of young adult and romance books, including Leap of Faith (Simon & Schuster, 2013) and Lost to Me.

Website * Twitter

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out the other blogs on the tour

 

November 8 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT

November 9 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW

November 9 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

November 10 – T’s Stuff – SPOTLIGHT

November 10 – Mythical Books – GUEST POST

November 11 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT

November 11 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

November 12 – The Montana Bookaholic – SPOTLIGHT

November 13 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

November 13 – View from the Birdhouse – SPOTLIGHT

November 13 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

November 14 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

November 14 – Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers – SPOTLIGHT

November 15 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT

November 16 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

November 16 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT

November 17 – A Blue Million Books – INTERVIEW

November 17 – Books a Plenty Book Review – REVIEW

November 18 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW

November 18 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

November 19 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW

November 19 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

November 20 – Valerie’s Musings – INTERVIEW

November 21 – Cozy Up With Kathy – GUEST POST

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Posted in 4 paws, Review, Romantic Comedy, women on November 7, 2017

Synopsis

Is Christmas really the most wonderful time of the year? New Yorkers Robyn Lane and Sidney Bellows aren’t so sure.

Robyn has always dated struggling creative types. For once, her parents would love her to bring someone with health insurance and a 401(k) to their Chrismukkah celebration. Her actor boyfriend doesn’t qualify. While across town, Sidney’s professional life already belongs to her parents. She’s an attorney at her father’s law firm and she works tirelessly to keep her love life private. If she brings her lawyer boyfriend to their annual Christmas extravaganza, her parents will have the wedding planned by New Year’s Eve.

A mutual friend playfully suggests they trade boyfriends for the holidays. The women share a laugh, but after copious amounts of wine, decide The Boyfriend Swap could be the perfect solution. This way, Robyn can show off her stable attorney boyfriend and Sidney’s high-society family will take no interest in her flakey actor beau.

It’s a brilliant plan—in theory. In practice—not so much. When Will turns out to be the boy-next-door Robyn crushed on hard throughout her teenage years, and Sidney’s family fawns all over Perry like he’s an Oscar-winner rather than a D-list wannabe, one thing is certain: The Boyfriend Swap might just change their lives forever.

Review

What do you do when you don’t want your parents involved in your personal life? You take a pretend boyfriend home for the holidays….because we all know that is going to work, right? Wrong! Even worse? It might be your childhood crush dating the woman who has proposed swapping boyfriends.

I’m not sure that I would have ever thought to do something like this, but then I don’t have the family situations that Sidney and Robyn have that they think that swapping boyfriends is a good idea. The funny thing is that maybe this was a good idea and perhaps neither was dating the right person.

I identified with both Sidney and Robyn. Sidney for her controlling manner and hiding her feelings and protecting her heart. And Robyn, for her crazy creative side with a heart of gold. Then there are the guys – Perry (Robyn’s boyfriend) who is a wannabe actor but not serious about anything in life; and Will, Sidney’s boyfriend but Robyn’s childhood crush and is that crush dead or will it come back while spending several days together? You will find out when you read the book!

This story made me laugh, shake my head and even get a little misty at the end. It was a great culmination of everything that I like to see in a book. This author writes some great romantic comedies and I can’t wait to see what comes next.

We give it 4 paws up

About the Author

A born and bred New Yorker, Meredith Schorr discovered her passion for writing when she began to enjoy drafting work-related e-mails way more than she was probably supposed to. After trying her hand penning children’s stories and blogging her personal experiences, Meredith found her calling write chick lit and contemporary women’s fiction. She secures much inspiration from her day job as a hardworking trademark paralegal and her still-single status. Meredith is also the co-founder of Bookbuzz, a live author/reader event held annually. She is a loyal New York Yankees fan and an avid runner.

Website * Twitter * Facebook * Amazon

Posted in 5 paws, Cozy, Guest Post, Monday, mystery, Review on November 6, 2017

A Deadly Éclair: A French Bistro Mystery
Cozy Mystery
New Series
Crooked Lane Books (November 7, 2017)
Hardcover: 320 pages

Synopsis

It’s always been Mimi Rousseau’s dream to open her own bistro, but it seems beyond her grasp since she’s been chased back home to Nouvelle Vie in Napa Valley by her late husband’s tremendous debt. Until her best friend Jorianne James introduces her to entrepreneur Bryan Baker who invests in promising prospects. Now, working the bistro and inn until she’s able to pay it off and call it her own, Mimi is throwing the inn’s first wedding ever.

The wedding will be the talk of the town, as famous talk show host Angelica Edmonton, daughter of Bryan’s half-brother, Edison, has chosen the inn as her perfect venue. Anxious, Mimi is sure things are going to turn south, especially when Edison gets drunk and rowdy at the out-of-towners’ dinner, but by the evening, things begin to look up again. That is until six AM rolls around, and Bryan is found dead at the bistro with an éclair stuffed in his mouth. And the fingers point at Mimi, whose entire loan is forgiven in Bryan’s will.

Now it’s up to Mimi to clear her name and get to the bottom of things before the killer turns up the heat again in A Deadly Éclair, the scrumptious series debut by Agatha Award-winning author Daryl Wood Gerber.

Review

If it is possible to gain weight by reading a book then this might be the book that could make it happen! The restaurant is a French bistro and the food is inspired by the French so you know it has to be good. The descriptions had my mouth watering and imaging the dishes being served.

The story flows along quite well and the cast of characters seems to be well fleshed out and adds depth and dimension to the mystery plot. I think my favorite character might be Jo, she is a force to be reckoned with as Mimi’s manager and all around go to woman. She is a woman with a plan and doesn’t stop to question what might go wrong.

The mystery itself has multiple layers and many moving parts. There were many people to suspect for various reasons and the how and why that was revealed at the end was a surprise (to me at least).

I think this is going to be a great new series and especially since there are many recipes at the end of the book for us to try.

We give it 5 paws up.

Recipe

Traveling Meal

Madeleine cookies

For A Deadly Éclair, I wanted to include a cookie recipe that was simple to make yet pretty. I think cookies are always a bestseller at any party, don’t you?

I was reading up on French classics, and Madeleine cookies came to mind. They are cakelike cookies that are baked in special molds. I found my mold at William Sonoma—12 to a tin. The mold gives the cookie a delicate shell shape.

Now, according to one “account” (we know not all accounts are true), Louis XV named the cookie Madeleine to honor his father-in-law’s cook Madeleine Paulmier. He first tasted them in Lorraine in 1755 and introduced them to court, and they became the rage. True or not true? Do you care?

They are a perfect ending to a perfectly French meal.

FYI, this is our last stop on the traveling meal. Indulge yourselves! I’ve provided a regular and a gluten-free recipe. It’s also in the book! You have an exclusive first-look.

Last but not least, what is cardamom? I discovered that is a spice made from the seed pods of various plants in the ginger family. It has a strong, pungent flavor.  A substitute for cardamom is equal parts cinnamon and nutmeg.

Orange Cardamom Madeleines

(Makes 12)

For the cookies:

  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon good-quality honey
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs

For the glaze:

  • ¾ cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest

Directions

Brush molds of a madeleine pan with butter; set aside.

Make the batter:

  • Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat, and stir in honey and vanilla. Let cool 10 minutes.
  • In a small bowl whisk flour, baking powder, cardamom, and salt; set aside.
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees, setting the rack in the center.
  • In a medium bowl, stir together sugar and eggs. Gently fold in the flour mixture until combined. Add the butter mixture and fold until combined. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes.
  • Spoon the batter into the prepared madeleine pan, filling each mold halfway. Tap pan on work surface to eliminate air bubbles. If necessary, use moistened fingers to press the batter into the mold.
  • Bake until cookies have puffed and the edges are golden, 7 to 8 minutes.
  • Transfer the madeleine pan to a wire rack; let the cookies cool slightly. Unmold the cookies onto a rack, and let cool completely.

Make the orange glaze:

In a small bowl, stir together sugar and orange zest and juice until the glaze is smooth and thick. Using a small pastry brush, paint the ridged side of each cookie with the glaze. Let set 15 minutes.

Cookies can be stored in a single layer in an airtight container up to 3 days.

 

Orange Cardamom Madeleines

Gluten-free Version

(Makes 12)

For the cookies:

  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon good-quality honey
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup sweet rice flour (or a gluten-free blend you enjoy)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon xanthan gum

For the glaze:

  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¾ cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest

Directions

Brush molds of a madeleine pan with butter; set aside.

Make the batter:

  • Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat, and stir in honey and vanilla. Let cool 10 minutes.
  • In a small bowl whisk gluten-free flour, baking powder, cardamom, salt, and xanthan gum; set aside.
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees, setting the rack in the center.
  • In a medium bowl, stir together sugar and eggs. Gently fold in the gluten-free flour mixture until combined. Add the butter mixture and fold until combined. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes.
  • Spoon the batter into the prepared madeleine pan, filling each mold halfway. Tap pan on work surface to eliminate air bubbles. If necessary, use moistened fingers to press the batter into the mold.
  • Bake until cookies have puffed and the edges are golden, 7 to 8 minutes.
  • Transfer the madeleine pan to a wire rack; let the cookies cool slightly. Unmold the cookies onto a rack, and let cool completely.

Make the orange glaze:

In a small bowl, stir together sugar and orange zest and juice until the glaze is smooth and thick. Using a small pastry brush, paint the ridged side of each cookie with the glaze. Let set 15 minutes.

Cookies can be stored in a single layer in an airtight container up to 3 days.

Facebook Giveaway

From Daryl:

I’m offering a book giveaway (winner’s choice of 1 from my published paperbacks) every day of this traveling feast. To enter today, tell me what is your favorite cookie?

BY THE WAY, don’t miss out on the French Bistro-themed BOX I’m giving away on my Facebook Author page.

About the Author

DARYL WOOD GERBER writes the nationally bestselling Cookbook Nook Mystery series featuring a cookbook store owner who is an avid reader and admitted foodie, set on the coast of California. As AVERY AAMES, she pens the Agatha Award-winning, nationally bestselling Cheese Shop Mystery series featuring a cheese shop owner amateur sleuth, set in the fictional town of Providence, Ohio. Daryl’s short stories have been nominated for the Agatha, Anthony, and other awards. Daryl also writes stand-alone suspense: Days of Secrets and Girl On the Run. Fun tidbit: as an actress, Daryl has appeared in “Murder, She Wrote” and more.

Find Daryl here: Website * Blog * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads

Find Avery here: Website * Blog * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads

 

Tour Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out the other blogs for the recipes featured there

November 1 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews

November 2 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book

November 3 – Brooke Blogs

November 4 – A Holland Reads

November 5 – Jane Reads

November 6 – StoreyBook Reviews

November 7 – Back Porchervations

Posted in 5 paws, Cozy, Giveaway, mystery, Review on November 4, 2017

Seashells, Spells & Caramels by Erin Johnson
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Self Published
Release Date – October 29, 2017
286 Pages

Synopsis

Imogen’s spent her twenties in Seattle, saving every penny and missing every party, to follow her dream of opening her own bakery.

When that dream goes up in flames, she accepts a spot in a mysterious baking contest—one she doesn’t remember entering. She travels to a bustling, medieval village off the coast of France and discovers an enchanting world of magic and mystery, and learns that she, too, possesses powers.

Unable to so much as cast a spell, Imogen struggles to keep up with the other witches and wizards who have come from all over the magical world to the Water Kingdom’s big competition. She juggles relationships with a sweet new friend, a snarky baking fire, and a brooding, handsome baker. As Imogen falls for this bewitching world, she fears she won’t master her magic in time to win the job of Royal Head Baker, and will be forced to return to the shambles of her non magical life.

It only gets worse, when a competitor drops dead in the middle of the big white baking tent, and Imogen’s the prime suspect. Now, she’ll not only have to survive the vampire and psychic judges, but also clear her name by finding the real murderer, before they strike again.

With a killer on the loose, a missing prince, and the Summer Solstice Festival fast approaching, Imogen will have to bake like her life depends on it- because it just might.

Review

I really enjoyed this first book in a new series. It is whimsical and intriguing at the same time. Plus it didn’t hurt that it was a easy and fast read. I didn’t want to put it down at night!

I can’t imagine going through life being adopted but not feeling really connected to anyone. That is the position Imogen is in…and then she meets some interesting people that convince her to enter a baking contest. Doesn’t matter that she has never heard of the country, she creates a delectable dessert and manages to win a spot. Of course it is one issue after another before she actually reaches where she needs to be for the contest. I don’t want to spoil anything so am not sharing too many details there. In a way it is like Imogen’s life is a mess but this could be a fresh start.

Imogen is definitely going through a discovery place in her life and ending up at the Water Kingdom is just a small part of it. There are mythical creatures and people that add character, so if you like paranormal you will probably enjoy this book. Imogen learns a lot about herself but not too much…I am hoping that perhaps her parents are from this Kingdom/world and she will find out more in upcoming books.

We give it 5 paws up!

Recipe

Erin was kind enough to share one of the recipes from the book with me to share with you!  These look delicious and I need to try them soon.

About the Author

A native of Tempe, Arizona, Erin spends her time crafting mysterious, magical, romance-filled stories that’ll hopefully make you laugh.

In between, she’s traveling, napping with her dogs, eating with her friends and family, and teaching Pilates (to allow her to eat more).

Website * Facebook * Twitter

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Check out the other blogs on this tour

October 29 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

October 29 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW

October 29 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

October 30 – Melissa’s Eclectic Bookshelf – INTERVIEW

October 30 – Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers – SPOTLIGHT

October 30 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW

October 31 – Readsalot – RECIPE, SPOTLIGHT

October 31 – A Blue Million Books – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

October 31 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

November 1 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

November 1 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW

November 1 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW

November 1 – Celebrating Authors – SPOTLIGHT

November 2 –  The Montana Bookaholic – REVIEW

November 2 –  Varietats – REVIEW

November 2 –  Queen of All She Reads – REVIEW

November 3 – Sapphyria’s Books – REVIEW

November 3 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – RECIPE

November 3 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

November 4 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW, RECIPE

November 4 – A Holland Reads – RECIPE, SPOTLIGHT

November 4 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT

Posted in 5 paws, Anthology, Cozy, Giveaway, Review on October 28, 2017

Sleuthing Women II: 10 Mystery Novellas
Cozy Mysteries
Self Published
Publication Date: September 5, 2017
Print Length: 675 pages
ASIN: B074TVL3HG

Synopsis

Sleuthing Women II: 10 Mystery Novellas is a collection of ten mysteries featuring murder and assorted mayhem by ten critically acclaimed, award-winning, and bestselling authors. Each novella is a tie-in to an established multi-book series—a total of over 800 pages of reading pleasure for lovers of amateur sleuth, caper, cozy, and female P.I. mysteries.

Frosted, A Moreno & Hart Novella by Allison Brennan & Laura Griffin—Three years ago LAPD Detective Scarlet Moreno and rookie cop Krista Hart were nearly killed during a botched sting operation. Now, they’re best friends and partners in the Orange County private investigation firm of Moreno & Hart. But their routine assignments are anything but safe.

Crewel Intentions, An Anastasia Pollack Crafting Novella by Lois Winston—Craft editor Anastasia Pollack receives a desperate call for help from former fashion editor Erica Milano, now in Witness Protection. Erica is being stalked and is afraid to notify the authorities. She once saved Anastasia’s life. Will Anastasia be able to return the favor before the stalker strikes?

No Quarter, A Cleopatra Jones Novella by Maggie Toussaint—Amnesia, the doctor says when accountant Cleopatra Jones wakes in a distant hospital. Hours later most of her memory returns. Detective Jack Martinez visits Cleo’s nearby wealthy client, only she’s dead and broke. To Cleo’s horror, she’s a murder suspect. Will she totally recover her memory before the killer returns?

What the Widow Knew, A Kali-O’Brien Novella by Jonnie Jacobs—Attorney Kali O’Brien takes on the case of a young woman accused of murdering her much older, very rich husband. As evidence mounts and other possible suspects are eliminated, Kali’s doubts about her client’s innocence grow. Meanwhile, Kali is also grappling with her feelings for longtime boyfriend Detective Bryce Keating.

The Magnesium Murder, A Periodic Table Mystery by Camille Minichino—While freelance embalmer Anastasia Brent prepares the body of a young bride-to-be, she learns the girl’s mother suspects foul play. Once again Anastasia is pressed into service as a sleuth, following a trail of clues in search of a murderer and justice.

Honeymoons Can Be Murder, A Lee Alvarez Novella by Heather Haven— When PI Lee Alvarez goes on her honeymoon with bridegroom, Gurn Hanson, they find a dead woman practically on their doorstep. Kauai breezes may be soft, but there are gale force winds of accusation against Gurn. Will Lee find the real killer before her new hubby gets sent to a Hawaiian hoosegow?

Smoked Meat, A Carol Sabala Novella by Vinnie Hansen—Baker and wannabe sleuth Carol Sabala visits her mother for a family Christmas get-together. It’s murder, in more ways than one.

A Deadly Fundraiser, A Talk Radio Novella by Mary Kennedy—When radio talk show host Dr. Maggie Walsh and her pals start digging up clues in a scavenger hunt at a glitzy fundraiser, the game suddenly turns deadly. Will Maggie and her team be able to crack the case and solve the crime?

The Color of Fear. A Kelly O’Connell Novella by Judy Alter—Kelly receives a written kidnap threat targeting her infant daughter, Gracie. Kelly’s assistant Keisha narrates as Kelly and her family plot their precautions, but as time passes and the threat still looms, fear takes a toll on the family…and on Keisha.

Papa’s Ghost, A Gladdy Gold Mystery Novella by Rita Lakin—Gladdy and her girls accept an assignment iat a famous resort in Key West, thinking it will combine business with pleasure. Once they arrive, Gladdy suspects something is strange. Not only is their client an unexpected shock, but so is the case of murder they are expected to solve. Can they succeed when a whole city is against them?

Some explicit language in a few of the stories.

Review

I decided to read a few of the stories by authors that were new to me.  I think one of them I had read one of their short stories in the other Sleuthing Women, but not the full series.  I read Frosted, Honeymoons Can Be Murder, What the Widow Knew and Smoked Meat.

All were great shorter stories (some shorter than others!) and I was led around all the characters until the killer was revealed and it was usually someone I didn’t suspect!  All authors are ones that I plan to check out whenever I can whittle down my TBR pile.  I think they all have something great to offer and I can’t wait to read the other stories.

We give this 5 paws up.

 

About Lois Winston

USA Today bestselling and award-winning author Lois Winston writes mystery, romance, romantic suspense, chick lit, women’s fiction, children’s chapter books, and nonfiction under her own name and her Emma Carlyle pen name. Kirkus Reviews dubbed her critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series, “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum.” In addition, Lois is an award-winning craft and needlework designer who often draws much of her source material for both her characters and plots from her experiences in the crafts industry.

Website * Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers blog * Twitter * Pinterest * Newsletter signup

 

 

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