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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BLOG TOUR – Honey-Baked Homicide – GUEST POST

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Welcome to another day and another blog tour! Today I’m hosting a stop on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour for Honey-Baked Homicide, the newest book in Gayle Leeson’s Down South Cafe Mystery series!

Gail has prepared a guest post for today so that will be first followed by information about the book itself (purchase links, synopsis, etc.). Enjoy!

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What’s So Special About Honey? – Gayle Leeson

Other than knowing it tastes good, I knew very little about honey until I began researching Honey-Baked Homicide. In fact, until talking with a local beekeeper, I didn’t even realize that bees harvested honey from trees—I thought honey only came from flowers and clover.

According to Organic Facts (organicfacts.net), honey has been used worldwide for over 2.500 years. Honey typically contains iron, calcium, vitamin C, and may have other vitamins and minerals depending on the plants from which the honey is derived. It has antibacterial and antifungal properties, which is why Stu Landon advised Amy to put some honey on her cut finger in Silence of the Jams. Honey is also believed to boost our bodies’ immune systems because it contains nutraceuticals, which help to remove free radicals from our bodies. The Organic Facts site cautions that the benefits of honey is dependent on its quality. The type of flowers, blending process, storage, and filtration methods all affect the honey’s quality. Light colored honey is more valuable than dark, since honey darkens during storage and heating.

Be aware that as recently as October 5, 2017, it was reported by BBC News that pesticides are found in most honey samples. Traces of neonicotinoid chemicals, pesticides linked to bee death, have been found in 75% of honey samples from around the world. However, scientists say the levels found are far below the maximum permitted levels in food for humans.

Of course, if you’re concerned about pesticides but still want to reap all the benefits of honey, you might want to consider creating your own hives. There are plenty of websites and video tutorials to help you get started.

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Thank you, Gayle for educating us all a bit more on honey. I love honey – I use it instead of syrup, in my tea instead of sugar, sometimes to dip things in, etc. I’m a fan of both raw and processed (i.e. light and darker) honey. How about any of you out there reading this? Do you prefer raw honey or the more processed honey?

As promised, here is more information about the book featured in today’s post.

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Synopsis

It’s fall in Winter Garden, Virginia, and business at Amy Flowers’ Down South Cafe has never been better. So when struggling beekeeper Stuart Landon asks Amy to sell some of his honey, she’s happy to help. The jars of honey are a sweet success, but their partnership is cut short when Amy discovers Landon’s body outside the cafe early one morning.
As Amy tries to figure out who could possibly have wanted to harm the unassuming beekeeper, she discovers an ever-expanding list of suspects–and they’re all buzzing mad. She’ll have to use all of her skills–and her Southern charm–to find her way out of this sticky situation…

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

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BLOG TOUR – Margaritas, Mayhem, & Murder – GUEST POST

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Welcome! Today I’m hosting a guest post by Mary Cunningham as part of the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour for Margaritas, Mayhem & Murder. Purchase links are down below. A Rafflecopter Giveaway can be found HERE.

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A Writer’s Life – Author, Mary Cunningham

I’ve written most my life, but until the ripe old age of fifty, I’d never ventured beyond family memoirs and very bad poetry. Then five crazy broads got together and formed WOOF: Women Only Over Fifty. All of us had reached that magical milestone, or were about to, and weren’t all that thrilled with the ramifications. Hormones, hot flashes, hair loss, and weight gain were just a few of the complaints.

We decided we could either continue to bitch, or become proactive bitches and write a book that not only made light of our fate, but would honor our love of dogs, too. We embarked on the WOOF adventure including contributions, Hormones and Harmonies, Are We Barking up the Wrong Tree, The Hair of the Dog, and Old Dog/New Tricks.

Really, if we’re going to gain weight, lose hair, and feel like we’re sitting in a pre-bake oven half the night, why not laugh at it?

From there, I moved on to middle-grade fantasy. Huh? Not a natural transition you say? When you have a recurring dream about a friend’s attic that served as your clubhouse on rainy days, you have to write about it. Write? Er…right? Cynthia’s Attic, all five books featuring best friends, ancestors, family stories, and time travel, sprang to life.

I’ve now jumped into a totally different genre. A cozy mystery series about an inept travel agent whose real talent is amateur sleuthing. One of the first “writerly” pieces of advice I got was “Write what you know.” I was that inept travel agent in North Miami Beach. (Won’t mention the agency in case there are pending lawsuits against me) Seriously, I was awful. And hated it. I’m hoping this new series will give me some sense of redemption and exorcise a ghost or two.

Andi Anna Jones (to find out how she got her unusual name you’ll just have to read the book!) never suspected the promise to “watch over” her late father’s wife, would involve a cruise ship murder. When her dad said he’d met a “Firecracker Redhead” at the Hialeah Bingo Palace, she should’ve known they were all in for trouble.

If you have as much fun reading Margaritas, Mayhem, & Murder: An Andi Anna Jones Mystery (# 1) as I had writing it, we’ll all be winners! Oh, and in case you’re wondering, Andi Anna Jones, # 2 is in process!

Synopsis:

 Andi’s step-mother is a real piece of work! But is Ruby a murderer?

Andi Anna Jones, so-so travel agent/amateur sleuth, puts aside her resentment of her father’s widow and books a 60th birthday cruise to Cancun for Ruby and three friends. Never does Andi imagine the cruise will lead to the murder of a has-been lounge singer—or that Ruby will be the main suspect.

Flirting with more than danger after arriving in Mexico, Andi connects with the charming local sheriff, Manual Rodriquez. After an embarrassing night involving the sheriff, too many margaritas, and a Mariachi band, a chance to check out an eyewitness to the murder leads her to Las Vegas.

In Vegas, a mysterious meeting in the Bodies Exhibition, a body preserving in the prep-room, and an evasive owner of a dance studio, give Andi clues to help Ruby. But when Andi is mercilessly drugged and locked in a storage room, she realizes dear old step-mom isn’t the only one in jeopardy.

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Purchase Margaritas, Mayhem & Murder:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B076N6KBM3

B & N Nook: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/margaritas-mayhem-murder-mary-cunningham/1127355519?type=eBook

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/756600

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Mary_Cunningham_Margaritas_Mayhem_Murder?id=0jU8DwAAQBAJ

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/margaritas-mayhem-murder

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Find Mary on Social Media:

 Website: https://www.marycunninghambooks.com

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/marycunninghambooks/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/MaryCunningham

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/gus65/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/marycunningham1/

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/367223.Mary_Cunningham

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B002BLNEK4

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Mary Cunningham – Author Bio

BROKEN-PROMISES-large-banner640Author, Mary Cunningham, grew on the northern side of the Ohio River in Corydon, Indiana. Her first memories are of her dad’s original bedtime stories that no doubt inspired her imagination and love of a well-spun “yarn”.

Childhood experiences, and a recurring dream about a mysterious attic, inspired characters, Cynthia and Augusta Lee, for her award-winning middle-grade series, Cynthia’s Attic. The setting is in her childhood home in Southern Indiana. Family stories and ancestors comprise the storylines. There are currently five books in the series: The Missing Locket, The Magic Medallion, Curse of the Bayou, The Magician’s Castle, and Legend of Lupin Woods.

Through a horrifying stint as a travel agent and more rewarding experience teaching travel and tourism, the character, Andi Anna Jones, travel agent/amateur sleuth, inspired her latest adult mystery series. She’s currently writing Book # 2 of the series, along with another middle-grade series, The Adventures of Max and Maddie, a historical time-travel.

Cunningham is a member of The Georgia Reading Association, and the Carrollton Writers Guild.

When she gives her fingers a break from the keyboard, she enjoys golf, swimming and exploring the mountains of West Georgia where she makes her home with her husband and adopted, four-legged, furry daughter, Lucy.

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Praise for Margaritas, Mayhem & Murder!

 “If Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum were a travel agent, she’d fit right in working this case alongside Andi, a wanna-be detective readers are sure to love.” —Regan Black, USA Today bestselling author of the Escape Club Heroes and Knight Traveler novels.

Margaritas, Mayhem & Murder…WOW. Snappy dialog, quirky characters, opens with a curious bang and yanked me through the pages. A fun, fantastic read. —Jean Rabe, USA Today Bestselling author, Piper Blackwell Mysteries.

“Grab a margarita and hold on tight; you’re in for a wild ride.”—Karen MacInerney, Agatha Award nominee and author of the Dewberry Farms Mysteries

“An intoxicating mix of laughter, kooky characters, and a yummy setting.”  —Joanna Campbell Slan, bestselling/award-winning author of the Kiki Lowenstein Mystery Series

 “A zany murder mystery with a touch of romance and a handful of humor.” —Nancy J. Cohen, author of the Bad Hair Day Mysteries

“Charming, lively, and unpredictable, Margaritas, Mayhem & Murder excels in a vivid story mystery fans will relish.”—Diane Donovan, Senior Editor Midwest Book Review

“Margaritas, Mayhem, and Murder is a madcap comedy mystery, rich with colorful characters and snappy one-liners. A heroine named Andi Anna Jones is destined for exotic misadventure.” —Dana Taylor, author and winner of Golden Quill Awards Best First Book (Ain’t Love Grand)

A strong start to a new cozy mystery series by author Mary Cunningham. Andi Anna is one crazy and clever sleuth.” —Cheryl C. Malandrinos, The Book Connection

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Thanks for joining me today! If you wish to visit other sites on the tour (I’m one of the last stops), please click on the banner below. It will take you to the main tour page where there’s a list of participants!

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BLOG TOUR – 16 Millimeters – GUEST POST

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Hello!  Welcome to another Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour. This time I’m featuring a stop on the 16 Millimeters tour. The author, Larissa Reinhart has provided a guest post for today’s stop. Purchase links, Goodreads link, and Rafflecopter Giveaway will be below the guest post! Enjoy!

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Keeping the Southern Drawl While Living in Japan

Both of my humorous mystery series are set in small-town Georgia. The Maizie Albright series was conceived in Georgia, although the first book, 15 MINUTES, was published while I lived in Japan, and the second 16 MILLIMETERS, was mostly written in Japan. My Cherry Tucker series was conceived in Japan, books two through five written in Georgia, and half of six written in Japan.

Confused? Me, too. I don’t know if I should drink green tea or sweet tea most of the time. How do I keep the Southern drawl while living in the land of the Rising Sun?

We eat Southern. Which is easy to do in Japan. Lots of chicken and pork. Corn, okra, and greens (although their greens are not the same, greens are greens). My husband brought his smoker with him so that we could have homemade BBQ. I made macaroni and cheese. I missed pimento cheese, but we brought North Georgia grits with us (and had some sent to us by the wonderful Gretchen Archer). Fried apple pie was hard to come by, but fried anything else is not.

Country music, y’all. And bluegrass. That’s where I find a great turn of phrase. I love the humor, storytelling, and poetic phrasing in country music. But I’d listen to country and bluegrass whether I was writing country or not.

I watch reality shows like Southern Charm (both Charleston and Savannah) and Welcome to Myrtle Manor (which is sadly over) where the lives of Southerners may be ridiculous and seemingly unrealistic, but at least their accents are real. And I love a good reality show. I miss that Myrtle Manor.

Of course, I peruse the magazines like Southern Writers Magazine, Southern Living, and Garden & Gun, and follow Southern blogs like The Bitter Southerner. And I love to read Southern Fiction, particularly by authors like Joshilyn Jackson and Sally Kilpatrick. Plus all my Southern mystery friends like Gretchen Archer and Tonya Kappes.

So in my Japanese home, I can steep like sweet tea in Southern comfort.

Here’s my question for y’all. In what ways would you keep your home fires burning while living overseas? What shows would you watch? What would you recommend to a Southern writer overseas?

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Thank you, Ms. Reinhart, for providing such a great guest post for today! If you’re interested in visiting other stops on the tour for 16 Millimeters, please click on the banner at the end of this post. That will take you to the main tour page with links to other participants!

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