BLOG TOUR – Vangie Vale & the Strangled Strudel – REVIEW, GUEST POST

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Welcome to another day and another tour! I love doing these Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours! They expose me to great authors and new series. Today’s tour is for Vangie Vale and the Strangled Strudel, the third book in the The Matchbaker Mysteries by R.L. Syme. I had mixed feelings about this book, which I’ll share below the guest post that R. L. Syme generously provided me! Enjoy!

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R.L. Syme’s Guest Post

On Facebook, I have a wonderful group of Vangie’s friends who all congregate with me to talk about the books and our lives. We occasionally talk about Vangie, and as I was preparing for this book tour, I asked them if they had any topics for me to talk about in my guest posts. I borrowed some of their questions to write about. Here are some of the ones they posted.

* Why can’t Vangie and the sheriff get along…?

I wondered if this would be a popular question, among the fans of the books. Vangie and Malcolm have sort of a love/hate relationship in the first three books, but there are definitely a swath of fans who are rooting for them to get past their differences and start a romantic relationship.

And I don’t blame them one bit. Malcolm is a hottie.

But of course, so is Derek. Her current boyfriend.

But let me take a serious stab at answering this question. I want to be honest in that Malcolm’s issues are just as much at play here as Vangie’s. In fact, maybe even more so. I think Vangie is curious about her neighbor, the Sheriff, and she finds him interesting. She finally feels like they are friends. But Malcolm is not a church guy, and he specifically has issues with pastors. You’ll find out more about those issues later. For Vangie’s part, though, she’s dating Derek.

* Where did she get her quirky charm?

That is a great question. I feel like it’s a combination of using sarcasm to deal with the difficult things in her life, and her personality making her different. She has a quick mind, too, so she does find herself speaking quickly, because she’s thinking quickly. That’s probably what I would attribute it to.

* What was her relationship with her mother like?

This is a great question. She lost her mother when she was a teenager, so she did have several years with her. But she had a solid relationship with her mom. She and Priscilla were both close with their mother, and it was part of what made the girls so close as they got older. She’s not very close with Laura—the woman her father married a few years after her mother died—and she doesn’t consider Laura to really be her stepmother, since Laura didn’t really raise her. But she’s glad her dad is happy.

These were great questions. It was a lot of fun seeing what Vangie’s fans wanted to know about her.

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Thank you to R.L. Syme for providing me with the guest post for today! Here’s information about the book followed by my review!


Vangie Vale & the Strangled Strudel (The Matchbaker Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Montana
Hummingbird Books (January 4, 2018)
Print Length: 330 pages
E-Book ASIN: B077GK124B

Purchase Links: AmazonB&NKobo

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You could call it the straw that broke the camel’s back but it was more like a Montana forest timber.

Just when Vangie Vale’s life was getting back to normal after a murder that rocked her little Rocky Mountain tourist town, she found herself in the middle of another murder… as the chief suspect.

Vangie stood shocked on the side of the curb as the sheriff stretched yellow crime scene tape around the front of her new bakery. Wouldn’t this make a lovely headline in next week’s paper: Local Baker Kills Parishioner With Pudding. Vangie’s road back to good graces as a part-time pastor was bumpy enough already. This would be a roadblock. Can’t have that.

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Review

4.0 out of 5 stars.

As I said above, I had mixed feelings about this book. I like Vangie as a character. I like Derek and I really love Malcolm. But Vangie’s tendency to be impulsive and not THINK when she goes to investigate drives me batty. I’ve read through all three books in this series hoping that over time she’d learn to at least stop to THINK before she rushes headfirst into danger, but so far she hasn’t.

The book is well-written and the plot line was great. I had no real ideas about who had done the crime until it was revealed at the end. Ms. Syme did a really great job with the villain. I don’t want to give anything away, but it’s not easy to write the type of villain that she had in this story and Ms. Syme did a fantastic job with it.

I haven’t decided if I’m going to continue with the series at this point. But I don’t want to dissuade my readers from it because it IS well-written and the characters are great. I just hate heroines who don’t think before rushing into danger. That’s my personal preference and has no bearing on my rating of the writing. If that type of heroine doesn’t bother you, then I recommend this series highly!

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Thanks for joining me today! If you wish to visit other sites on the tour, please click on the banner below to visit the main tour page!

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BLOG TOUR – Survival of the Fritters – REVIEW

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4 out of 5 stars.

Today, I’m hosting a spot on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour for Survival of the Fritters, the first in the new Deputy Donut series by Ginger Bolton. It was a pretty good book and I’ll definitely going to be reading more in the series!

Survival of the Fritters (A Deputy Donut Mystery)
by Ginger Bolton


Survival of the Fritters (A Deputy Donut Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Kensington (January 30, 2018)
Paperback: 256 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1496711878
E-Book ASIN: B071HKMK38

Purchase Links: AmazonB&NKobo

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Synopsis

Emily Westhill runs the best donut shop in Fallingbrook, Wisconsin, alongside her retired police chief father-in-law and her tabby Deputy Donut. But after murder claims a favorite customer, Emily can’t rely on a sidekick to solve the crime—or stay alive.

If Emily has learned anything from her past as a 911 operator, it’s to stay calm during stressful situations. But that’s a tall order when one of her regulars, Georgia Treetor, goes missing. Georgia never skips morning cappuccinos with her knitting circle. Her pals fear the worst—especially Lois, a close friend who recently moved to town. As evening creeps in, Emily and the ladies search for Georgia at home. And they find her—murdered among a scattering of stale donuts . . .

Disturbingly, Georgia’s demise coincides with the five-year anniversary of her son’s murder, a case Emily’s late detective husband failed to solve before his own sudden death. With Lois hiding secrets and an innocent man’s life at stake, Emily’s forced to revisit painful memories on her quest for answers. Though someone’s alibi is full of holes, only a sprinkling of clues have been left behind. And if Emily can’t trace them back to a killer in time, her donut shop will end up permanently closed for business . . .

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Review

*** Please forgive me but this is going to be shorter than usual. I have a pretty nasty migraine tonight and am writing this quickly before going back to bed. ***

I enjoyed this book. The characters are interesting. I enjoyed Emily, Brent, Lois, Tom and the rest.  They’re well-developed and well-written.

The plot line was good. There were enough red herrings to keep me guessing as to who the villain was. I didn’t put it together before it was revealed. It was very well done.

I’m definitely looking forward to more in the series!

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About the Author

Ginger-BoltonGinger Bolton writes the Deputy Donut mystery series–cops, crime, coffee, donuts and one curious cat. When Ginger isn’t writing or reading, she’s crocheting, knitting, sewing, walking her two rescue dogs and generally causing trouble. She’s also fond of donuts, coffee, and cafes were folks gather to enjoy those tasty treats and one another’s company.

 

Author Links

Webpage: http://gingerbolton.com/

Ginger has joined Killer Characters! http://www.killercharacters.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorGingerBolton/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ginger_bolton

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16834862.Ginger_Bolton

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BOOK REVIEW – Eaves of Destruction

4 out of 5 stars.

Eaves of Destruction is the fifth book in the Fixer-Upper Mystery series by Kate Carlisle. I enjoyed this book, but I think the fourth book, Deck the Hallways is still my favorite.

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Purchase Links: AmazonB&NKobo

Synopsis

At the annual Victorian Home and Garden Tour, Lighthouse Cove, California’s premier contractor, Shannon Hammer, realizes that the competition is about to turn deadly….

Shannon is in high demand among rival homeowners, who will do anything to win Best in Show. One-upmanship and even espionage break out among neighbors, construction crews, decorators, and landscapers. Thanks to several new hires, Shannon is sure she can handle the extra load–until murder throws a wrench in the works.

The small town’s corrupt building inspector is found dead on one of Shannon’s jobsites, and soon plenty of suspects are coming out of the woodwork. When another body is discovered, Shannon calls on her team of close friends and devilishly astute thriller writer Mac to help her nail down the details and build a case against the killer before the door shuts on someone else–for good.

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Review

Generally, when you think of a Home and Garden tour, murder is NOT the first thing that comes to mind, but we’ve got plenty of it in Lighthouse Cove this time around! It’ll take serious sleuthing by Shannon, Mac, and their friends to find the culprit this time around. Villains abound where you least expect them.

Well-written, interesting characters are what keep me reading a series and the characters in this series are great. I enjoy Shannon and Mac tremendously. Shannon’s crew are also great. I’m looking forward to getting to know the newest member more as well.

While I had wondered about the actual villain, I really didn’t focus on them until closer to the end. There were plenty of red herrings in this book to keep you guessing on who the villain really was. However, the book still moved along at a decent pace and wasn’t too slow, even with all those extra misleading clues.

I can’t wait for the next one in the series next year! I do recommend starting at the beginning of the series if you want to read the series. Each book can be read as a stand-alone but you’ll understand the interpersonal dynamics a little better if you read from the beginning, starting with A High-End Finish.

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BLOG TOUR – A Murder for the Books – REVIEW

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4.5 out of 5 stars.

Greetings! Today I’m hosting another Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour stop. This tour is for A Murder for the Books, the first in a new series by Victoria Gilbert. I absolutely loved the book. It didn’t quite have the pizzazz that put it up to a 5-star read for me, but it is definitely a solid 4.5!

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Synopsis

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.

Dancer-turned-teacher and choreographer Richard Muir inherited the farmhouse next door from his great-uncle, Paul Dassin. But town folklore claims the house’s original owner was poisoned by his wife, who was an outsider. It quickly became water under the bridge, until she vanished after her sensational 1925 murder trial. Determined to clear the name of the woman his great-uncle loved, Richard implores Amy to help him investigate the case. Amy is skeptical until their research raises questions about the culpability of the town’s leading families… including her own.

When inexplicable murders plunge the quiet town into chaos, Amy and Richard must crack open the books to reveal a cruel conspiracy and lay a turbulent past to rest in A Murder for the Books, the first installment of Victoria Gilbert’s Blue Ridge Library mysteries.

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Review

As I stated above, I absolutely loved this book!  A book that makes me laugh from the very first sentence is definitely worth my time to read. I’m a librarian so I’m interested in all cozy mysteries with a library setting and this one did not disappoint!

I really enjoyed our two main characters, Amy and Richard. They’re both well-rounded, developed characters. Their chemistry together is amazing. I’m looking forward to learning more about them and seeing their relationship blossom in further books in the series.

The setting descriptions were just right – not too little, but not too much either. I could easily imagine the town, the buildings we were in, the surrounding countryside, all of it. I like the setting. The town sits close enough to various larger towns/cities so there are all types of people who are included in the town. It’s a nice variety.

This plot moved along at a pretty steady pace. There were lots of subplots that were entangled with the main plot, but I was able to keep everything straight in my head so the subplots were a nice addition. I wondered briefly about the villain, but I really didn’t think it was them until it was revealed. It’s amazing the motives that make people kill. This was one motive I just couldn’t wrap my head around. I mean, I understood what the author meant, it just seemed like a not-so-good reason to commit murder!

I highly recommend this book if you like cozy mysteries! It’s a great start to a new series!

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Thanks for joining me today for the latest Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour. If you wish to visit other stops on the tour, please click on the banner below. It will take you to the main tour page where there is a list of participants.

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BLOG TOUR – The Discombobulated Decipherers – GUEST POST & REVIEW

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4 out of 5 stars.

Good morning!  Today’s Great Escape Virtual Book Tour stop is for The Discombobulated Decipherers, the 2nd book in Julie Seedorf’s Brilliant, Minnesota Mystery series.

I’m not quite done with the book, but should finish today. I’ll post the review portion of my post a little later. But I wanted to get the guest post up and out there for you to see! Thank you to Ms. Seedorf for providing today’s guest post!

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File Oct 11, 9 56 39 AMThank you for having me today. I love connecting with my readers and letting them know a little more about me and my books.

The Discombobulated Decipherers is the second book in the Brilliant, Minnesota Series. The Brilliant Series features a fictional community in Minnesota with a neighborhood of amateur sleuths led by Jezabelle Jingle.

It is Christmas in Brilliant and Jezabelle is busy in the Brilliant Bistro. She recently bought the bistro and brought her baking talents along with her. Cozy mysteries always have good food as one of the staples of the mystery. This is the first book where I have added some recipes.

I am not a cook or a baker. I can get by and occasionally I can fool people into thinking I am good at it. Perhaps that is why my main character is a baking whiz. Through her, I can fulfill my dreams of becoming a baker extraordinaire. Adding recipes to the back of the book was my challenge. I called on my talented thirteen-year-old granddaughter, Maggie. Maggie makes cupcakes from scratch which melt in your mouth and uses her imagination to create delicious concoctions.

Maggie and I decided to try and come up with a recipe for one of the names I gave Jezabelle’s baking temptations. Unfortunately, our time together was limited and we only one day to perfect a recipe. We tried to find another time to finish what we started but after trying to coordinate our schedules over a six month period we decided instead to give you a recipe of one of our almost successes. The flavor was good but it was too moist and it didn’t rise. In light of not having any more time, I chose to put the recipe in the book and throw it out to my readers as a challenge to perfect it. The name of the recipe is Work In Progress Cupcakes.

 Recently my high school girlfriend’s mother turned 100 years old. Gladys fed a family of fourteen children. She made everything from scratch. When I interviewed her for a newspaper article she shared a recipe with me, giving me permission to put it in my new book. Lemon Love Notes is a Gladys Johanson recipe with 100 years of love.

I do like to bake cheesecakes and I have been told they are the best cheesecakes ever. I usually use Taste of Home magazine for my cheesecakes and they gave me permission to share their Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake recipe. I love this recipe and use it often. I was elated to connect with them and to be able to put my favorite recipe of theirs in my book.

My goal for my readers is for them to come away feeling better after they have read my book. I want them to laugh, to feel the depth of my characters which develop through the series, and I want to take my readers away from reality for a short time. I hope the puzzle and the mystery in the Discombobulated Decipherers do that, but I also hope Gladys recipe and the Taste of Home recipe tweak your taste buds. I also hope you accept our challenge for our Work In Progress Cupcakes. Won’t it be fun to see the many different versions my readers create? Happy reading and happy baking.

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Review

This was an interesting book. I enjoyed a lot of it. The characters are fascinating, the plot interesting and some great puzzles besides the main mystery.

When I started the book, I wasn’t all that certain I was going to like it. I didn’t really enjoy the first one in the series, but I figured it was a new book and I’d give it a fair chance. I was happily surprised by it.

I like the characters a lot, though the overuse of alliteration with their names grates a little on my nerves. But I like Jezzy, Lizzy, Hank, and the rest. Their personalities are quirky and fun. The characters are well-rounded, complex characters as well.

The plot line moved along at a decent pace. The main mystery was interesting, but the subplot was even more interesting to me. It was fascinating. The Brilliant brothers were puzzle creators and very imaginative!

All in all it was a fun book and I do recommend it! You’ll need to start with the first book in order to understand a few things, but it’s a fascinating book and I recommend you check it out!

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Thanks for joining me today! I’ll have my review up a little later if you wish to drop back by. 🙂 If you wish to visit other stops on the tour, click on the banner below. That will take you to the main tour page with a list of other participants!

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