CHARLESTON CONUNDRUM by Stacy Wilder – Book Blog Tour: Review and Giveaway


CHARLESTON CONUNDRUM

A Liz Adams Mystery
by
STACY WILDER
Cozy Mystery / Female Sleuth / Cozy Animal
Publisher: Wild Hawk Press
Series: A Liz Adams Mystery
Date of Publication: January 15, 2022
Number of Pages: 235 pages 
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A Cozy Mystery with a Twist…
Liz Adams never imagined when she moved to Charleston with her truth sniffing Labrador retriever, Duke, that she would use her skills as a private investigator to avoid winding up on Death Row.

Liz’s life is upended when her best friend, Peg, is murdered and she becomes a suspect. Liz’s gun was the murder weapon. Tensions flare between Liz and the cops as she rises to the top of their suspect list.

At the request of Peg’s father, Liz agrees to take on the investigation. Riding a roller coaster of emotions, Liz uncovers many secrets Peg kept from her despite being best friends. The suspects include a cast of characters: the ex-husband, the boyfriend, a coworker, several neighbors, and family members.

Charleston Conundrum takes the reader from Charleston, South Carolina to Paris and back in the emotional unraveling of Peg’s life and death to a killer ending. It is the first book in the Conundrum series.

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Methodical and surprising, Stacy Wilder’s debut cozy mystery Charleston Conundrum shows enormous potential for a long, successful run.

20220502_030139554_iOSMs. Wilder thoroughly immerses the reader in the detailed process of Liz Adams’s investigation of her best friend’s murder where she is also the prime suspect. Along with the main character, we scrutinize various suspects and get informed of their probable innocence or guilt all the while experiencing daily life in the fascinating city of Charleston, South Carolina. The city totally comes alive through Ms. Wilder’s extensive description of the food, the weather, the fashion, and the establishments. The same marvelous sense of place is showcased in the scenes that take place in Paris. I may have said oh là là a couple of times while reading.

The cast of named characters is numerous but they’re distinct and recognizable. At no time did I get confused about who is who and I admire Ms. Wilder for that. I also admire the author’s skill in keeping the identity of the killer hidden until the end. I had a suspicion about the why but not the who. The double tragedy of the answers to those questions saddened me greatly.

20220501_053906324_iOSOverall, I like the procedural aspect of the storytelling. I also like the diversity of characters and expect the inclusion of more underrepresented groups in future books. It could use a bit more build-up of tension, fewer mentions of brand names, expansion of Liz’s lab Duke’s role in the investigation, and less telling of deep emotions. Finally, I hope to see a progression of the romance introduced in this first book.

It’s a promising start.

Thanks to Lone Star Lit for giving me the opportunity to read and review Charleston Conundrum. I appreciate the gift of a paperback copy for my growing library.

4 out of 5 stars



Stacy writes mysteries, children’s stories, short stories, and poetry. Her debut novel, Charleston Conundrum, is the first in the Conundrum mystery series.

Stacy’s mission is to deliver a delightful story to readers of all ages while benefiting a larger community. She donates a portion of the proceeds from the sales of her books to causes that support wildlife conservation, and the homeless, both people and pets. A portion of the proceeds from Charleston Conundrum is donated to National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

As well as writing, Stacy is passionate about her faith, family, Labradors, the causes that she supports, the beach, art, and reading books.

She and her husband live in Houston, Texas, with a totally spoiled Labrador retriever, Eve.
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OUT OF TEMPER by Amber Royer – Book Blog Tour: Review and Giveaway

OUT OF TEMPER

Bean to Bar Mysteries, Book 3
by
AMBER ROYER
Categories: Cozy Mystery / Women Sleuth / Romance 
Publisher: Golden Tip Press
Date of Publication: February 1, 2022
Number of Pages: 264 pages 
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Felicity Koerber’s bean to bar chocolate shop on Galveston’s historic Strand has been the scene of two murders – both of which she has been instrumental in helping solve. So when she gets invited to demo her chocolate skills aboard a cruise ship sailing out of the local port, she’s excited at the chance to get away from the shop long enough to regain her equilibrium. She even brings her best friend along, and makes plans for time at the spa. But when she gets on board, she finds out that she’s been booked for a mystery-themed cruise, and said best friend, Autumn, has to finally deal with the real reasons she quit writing mysteries. Only – if that wasn’t stressful enough – it doesn’t take long before there’s a real murder on the cruise, and someone Felicity knows becomes the prime suspect. When said suspect asks her for help, she can’t exactly say no, can she?
Felicity finds herself surrounded by cruise goers who all had connections to the victim – and finds that both Logan (her business partner, whom she recently kissed) and Arlo (the cop who was once Felicity’s first boyfriend, before she moved away from Galveston) are dealing with the case until more official help can arrive. How will Felicity survive the ensuing awkwardness?
One thing that helps: the retired police dog turned therapy dog she meets on board. Satchmo helps Felicity deal with being back on the water after tragedy in her past – and also helps her uncover a vital clue to the case. Can Felicity unmask the killer and keep a friend from being framed before all the suspects leave the ship?

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In times of overwhelming stress, there is no better escape for me than losing myself within the pages of a great book. I almost always take refuge in Romance books because of their promise of happy-ever-after or at least happy-for-now, but I also seek comfort in cozy mysteries with their assurance that whodunit will be revealed and villains will get their comeuppance. When the cozy involves chocolates, an adorable dog, and romantic elements, it immediately gets taken out of my Mount TBR and into the Read and Reviewed Library.
Out of Temper is the third book in the Bean to Bar Mysteries series but the first work of fiction by Amber Royer that I’ve read. It exceeded my expectations of being well-written, properly researched, and suitably paced. While there were numerous minor characters introduced, it never got confusing or overwhelming. They added to the list of suspects and provided the necessary red herrings and misdirections required to make the story exciting and move the plot along. Ms. Royer cleverly maneuvered each of Felicity’s interactions with the suspects in such a way that convinced me I knew who did it and then immediately change my mind the second another character appears. I pretty much suspected everyone except for Satchmo. I loved him. I now want to adopt a beagle.
I like Felicity. As far as reluctant amateur sleuths go, she’s a believable and relatable one. I also like both Logan and Arlo. They’re handsome and capable. At this stage in the series, their little love triangle is fine. I just hope Ms. Royer doesn’t stretch it too long that it gets tiresome and starts to turn off readers. Maybe have Felicity decide which one to have a relationship with after a couple more books. It shouldn’t take twenty-five books. For what’s it worth, I’m Team Arlo. Second-chance romance for the win.
If love is real, you don’t want to let it go. You never know how much time you really have.”
I love me a good competence porn and that scene with Felicity doing the demonstration on chocolate tempering deserves all the stars I can give. Ms. Royer’s description of the process, the special pieces of equipment, and the products–basil-infused brownies! bread pudding-inspired truffle!–had me dog-earing pages and pages of the book for reference and re-reading. It also made my mouth water so much, I had to grab a bar of chocolate to enjoy along with the rest of the exciting story.
Thanks to Ms. Royer and Lone Star Lit for providing me with a paperback copy of Out of Temper to review and the opportunity to get away from the real world for a few entertaining hours.
4 Four-half-stars

Amber Royer writes the Chocoverse comic telenovela-style foodie-inspired space opera series, and the Bean to Bar Mysteries. She is also the author of Story Like a Journalist: a Workbook for Novelists, which boils down her writing knowledge into an actionable plan involving over 100 worksheets to build a comprehensive story plan for your novel. She also teaches creative writing and is an author coach. Amber and her husband live in the DFW Area, where you can often find them hiking or taking landscape/architecture/wildlife photographs. If you are very nice to Amber, she might make you cupcakes. Chocolate cupcakes, of course! Amber blogs about creative writing technique and all things chocolate.
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SAVING IRENE by Judy Alter – Book Blitz

SAVING IRENE

A Culinary Mystery

By JUDY ALTER

Cozy Mystery / Women Sleuths 
Publisher: Alter Ego Press
Date of Publication: September 10, 2020
Number of Pages: 208

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Irene Foxglove wishes she were a French chef. Henrietta James, her assistant, knows she is nothing more than a small-time TV chef on a local Chicago channel. And yet when Irene is threatened, Henny tries desperately to save her, wishing always that “Madame” would tell her the truth—about her marriage, her spoiled daughter, her days in France, the man who threatens her. Henny’s best friend, the gay guy who lives next door, teases her, encourages her—and maybe loves her from afar. Murder, kidnapping, and some French gossip complicate this mystery, set in Chicago and redolent with the aroma of fine food. Recipes included. 

PRAISE FOR SAVING IRENE

“A nicely convoluted murder mystery and a glorification of America’s diverse cuisines, played out against the attractions of a lovingly drawn Chicago.”—Fred Erisman, In Their Own Words: Forgotten Women Pilots of Early Aviation 

“You’ll find yourself cheering for Henny James as she works beyond her job description as prep assistant to save her boss, Irene Foxglove, glamorous local French-ish TV chef.”—Kaye George, Deadly Sweet Tooth (Vintage Sweets Mysteries Book 2)

“Get lost in the beauty of Chicago and the intrigue of a Texas girl making her way in the world . . . You won’t see the end coming.”—Mary Dulle, avid cozy fan

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After an award-winning career writing historical fiction about women of the nineteenth-century American West, Judy Alter turned her attention to contemporary cozy mysteries: the Kelly O’Connell Mysteries and Blue Plate Café Mysteries. Her avocation is cooking, and she is the author of Cooking My Way Through Life with Kids and BooksGourmet on a Hot Plate, and Texas is Chili Country

Born in Chicago, she has made her home in Fort Worth for over fifty years. Judy is also a proud Scot, a member of Clan MacBean. One trip to the Highlands convinced her that is where her heart is, and she longs to write a novel set in Scotland.

Judy is an active member of Sisters in Crime, Guppies, Story Circle Network, Women Writing the West, and the Texas Institute of Letters. When she is not writing, she is busy with seven grandchildren and a lively poodle/border collie cross.

Facebook ║ Twitter ║ Goodreads ║ Amazon ║ Website

BookBub ║Blogs: Judy’s Stew & Gourmet on a Hot Plate

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THREE WINNERS: Autographed paperback copies of Saving Irene. 
October 9-16, 2020
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WILDFLOWER WEDDING by Becki Willis – Book Blog Tour: Review and Giveaway

The Sisters Texas

WILDFLOWER WEDDING

With a Killer Reception
The Sisters, Texas Book 8

by

BECKI WILLIS

Genre: Cozy Mystery / Romance / Women Sleuths
Publisher: Clear Creek Publishing
Date of Publication: June 1, 2019
Number of Pages: 284

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Synopsis

Wildflower Wedding

It’s the most anticipated wedding of the year in The Sisters, when Madison Reynolds and Brash deCordova finally tie the knot!

Wedding preparations are underway, but the aisle to the altar gets rockier by the minute.

Their support is humbling, but the community’s enthusiasm soon threatens to hijack the wedding. Squeeze in a suspicious death during a Texas Independence Day celebration, the needy new widow Madison befriends, and an unscrupulous politician trying to unseat Brash as chief of police, and the path seems littered with obstacles.

Madison will move mountains, however, to marry the man of her dreams. All they really need is each other, their children by their side, and a preacher to make it official. In an effort to please everyone, the couple opts for a private ceremony followed by a public celebration. It’s the perfect Wildflower Wedding, but who knew it would end in a killer reception?

Cantankerous Nigel Barrett hired In a Pinch Professional Services to find his estranged family, but it takes more than a home DNA test to locate his next of kin. Madison suspects he was searching for an heir, but when the wealthy rancher is killed at their reception, she’ll settle for finding someone to attend his funeral.

From the author of Forgotten Boxes, Plain Roots, and the Spirits of Texas Cozy Mysteries, enjoy book eight of the award-winning reader favorite The Sisters, Texas Series.

For maximum enjoyment, follow the series from the beginning. Readers say, “It’s like visiting with old friends!”

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Wildflower Wedding (2)

I can’t believe I’m only reading this series now. A rollicking fun of a whodunit, Wildflower Wedding, Book 8 of The Sisters Texas, is a wonderfully entertaining read.  I enjoyed it so much I immediately downloaded the seven books before this even though Wedding can be read as a standalone. I want to see Brash and Madison’s journey into love from the beginning. I can tell from their kids’ speeches during the rehearsal dinner and the vows they wrote themselves that the road has been adventure-filled and the tales quite possibly as hilarious as this one, if not more so.

The Sisters meme

Ms. Willis is a fantastic storyteller. She obviously knows Texas incredibly well and had me agog with all the trivia (“It’s against the law in Texas to curse in front of a corpse.”) and factoids on Texians, mineral rights, DNA testing, and royalty rights, among others. I learned so many new things about my residence state, I can recommend this as a reference book.

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The characters in Wildflower Wedding are many and varied and all of them managed to capture my interest. Aside from the leads, the secondary characters are well-developed with involving, if not engaging personalities. Even though I suspected the identity of the murderer early, I still had a good time reading about their motivations and the actions they undertook to achieve their goal.

Like the characters, the subplots are many: Bobby Ray’s death and his widow’s neediness, a challenger for Brash’s position as Chief of Police, Maddy’s search for Nigel Barrett’s next of kin, and solving the mystery of his sudden death during their wedding reception. But none of them distracted from the main story – the wedding of Brash and Maddison. The vows were beautifully written and prove why this book is categorized as a romance.

For all the things I mentioned above, I give Wildflower Wedding four-and-a-half stars. I highly recommend checking out the other books in the series, reading the reviews by my colleagues at LSBBT, and joining the giveaway. Happy reading and good luck!

4 Four-half-stars

 

AboutTheAuthor

Becki Willis

Becki Willis, best known for her popular The Sisters, Texas Mystery Series and Forgotten Boxes, always dreamed of being an author. In November of ’13, that dream became a reality.

Since that time, she has published numerous books, won first place honors for Best Mystery Series, Best Suspense Fiction, Best Women’s Detective Fiction, and Best Audio Book, won the 2018 RONE Award for Paranormal Fiction, and has introduced her imaginary friends to readers around the world.

An avid history buff, Becki likes to poke around in old places and learn about the past. Other addictions include reading, writing, junking, unraveling a good mystery, and coffee. She loves to travel but believes coming home to her family and her Texas ranch is the best part of any trip. Becki is a member of the Association of Texas Authors, Writer’s League of Texas, Sisters in Crime, the National Association of Professional Women, and the Brazos Writers organization. She attended Texas A&M University and majored in Journalism.

Connect with Becki below. She loves to hear from readers and encourages feedback!

WebsiteTwitterGoodreads ║ Email
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LinkedInBookBubAmazon Author Page

 

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GRAND PRIZE: Signed Copy of Wildflower Wedding + $20 Amazon Gift Card
2nd Prize: $10 Amazon Gift Card
June 20-30, 2019
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VISIT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:

6/20/19 	Chicken Scratch, #1 		StoreyBook Reviews 
6/20/19 	When the Stars Fall, #2 	Tangled in Text 
6/21/19 	Stipulations & Complications,#3 Max Knight 
6/22/19 	Home Again: Starting Over, #4 	Reading by Moonlight 
6/23/19 	Genny’s Ballad, #5 		Bibliotica 
6/24/19 	Christmas in The Sisters, #6 	The Clueless Gent 
6/25/19 	The Lilac Code, #7 		Hall Ways Blog 
6/26/19 	Wildflower Wedding, #8 		Book Fidelity 
6/26/19 	Wildflower Wedding, #8 		Carpe Diem Chronicles 
6/27/19 	Wildflower Wedding, #8 		Chapter Break Book Blog 
6/27/19 	Wildflower Wedding, #8 		The Librarian Talks 
6/28/19 	Wildflower Wedding, #8 		Forgotten Winds 
6/28/19 	Wildflower Wedding, #8 		Nerd Narration 
6/29/19 	Wildflower Wedding, #8 		That's What She's Reading 
6/29/19 	Wildflower Wedding, #8 		Sydney Young, Stories

 

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