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As Directed (A Maggie O’Malley Mystery #3) by Kathleen Valenti Blog Tour with Guest Post

6 Mar

As Directed
(A Maggie O’Malley Mystery)
by Kathleen Valenti

About the Book


As Directed (A Maggie O’Malley Mystery)
Mystery
3rd in Series
Henery Press (March 12, 2019)
Hardcover: 286 pages
ISBN-10: 1635114705
ISBN-13: 978-1635114706
Digital ASIN: B07LB6N22B

In the shadow of a past fraught with danger and tainted by loss, former pharmaceutical researcher Maggie O’Malley is rebuilding her life, trading test tubes for pill bottles as she embarks on a new career at the corner drugstore.

But as she spreads her wings, things begin to go terribly wrong. A customer falls ill in the store. Followed by another. And then more.

The specter of poisoning arises, conjuring old grudges, past sins, buried secrets and new suspicions from which no one is immune.

As Maggie and her best friend Constantine begin to investigate, they discover that some of the deadliest doses come from the most unexpected places.




Guest Post

 From Big Pharma to small-town pharmacy.

Cozies, like real estate agents, are known for their adherence to the adage “Location, location, location.” Because I write traditional mysteries rather than cozies per se, I thought I was exempt from this focus on locale.

My books do have a have a strong sense of setting, of course. Maggie’s rooted in the Midwest. Depending on the book, she’s nestled in a small town or making her mark in a thriving metropolis. The series’ most important location, however, isn’t bordered by city limits or announced by a “Welcome to ___________!” sign. It’s in Maggie’s workplace.

In Protocol, my Agatha-nominated debut, Maggie finds a home in the shelter of a laboratory at Rxcellance, an up-and-coming pharmaceutical development firm. Big Pharma plays an important role not only in the book’s plot but in her life as she goes from fledgling scientist to full-fledged hero.

Unfortunately, the constancy of her work home doesn’t last. In 39 Winks, the series’ second book, Maggie transitions out of a job and into a new town. By the time As Directed (releasing March 12) gets underway, she finds herself working behind the counter at the corner drugstore.

It’s this change of employment locale in which Maggie undergoes the greatest transformation. No longer defined by the work that she had prepared for her entire life, she must figure out where she belongs not just in the workspace but in the world at large.

Fate is there to challenge her, every step of the way.

Just as she begins to feel comfortable in her new lab coat and stretch her professional wings, things go terribly wrong. Customers she’d helped fall ill and die. The specter of poisoning arises. No one is exempt from suspicion, especially Maggie who’s recovering from a head injury and can’t quite remember who she helped or if she mated the right label to the right bottle.

Hailed as “A gripping tale of malice and deceit” by Liv Constantine, bestselling author of The Last Mrs. Parrish, As Directed is about more than solving a string of murders. It’s about uncovering the mystery of where we’re going. As Maggie struggles and grows and learns, she discovers that where she belongs is less about addresses and more about being with the people she loves. And who love her right back.




About the Author

Kathleen Valenti is the author of the Maggie O’Malley Mystery Series, which includes her Agatha- and Lefty-nominated debut novel, Protocol. When Kathleen isn’t writing page-turning mysteries that combine humor and suspense, she works as a nationally award-winning advertising copywriter. She lives in Oregon with her family where she pretends to enjoy running. Learn more at www.kathleenvalenti.com.

 

Author Links

https://www.kathleenvalenti.com/

https://www.facebook.com/kathleenvalentiauthor/

https://twitter.com/KathyValenti1

https://www.instagram.com/kathleen_valenti/

https://www.goodreads.com/goodreadscomkathleenvalenti

https://www.bookbub.com/profile/kathleen-valenti

 

Purchase Links

Amazon Barnes & Noble iTunes Kobo

 

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

March 1 – Babs Book Bistro – GUEST POST

March 1 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT

March 2 – Mythical Books – SPOTLIGHT

March 3 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

March 4 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

March 5 – Cozy Up With Kathy – CHARACTER GUEST POST

March 6 – Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews – GUEST POST

March 7 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

March 7 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

March 8 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

March 9 – T’s Stuff – SPOTLIGHT

March 10 – The Book Diva’s Reads – CHARACTER GUEST POST

March 10 – Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews – REVIEW

March 11 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW

March 11 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

March 12 – Cassidy’s Bookshelves – REVIEW

March 12 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

March 12 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

March 13 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

March 14 – Maureen’s Musings – REVIEW

March 15 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

March 15 – The Montana Bookaholic – SPOTLIGHT

Have you signed up to be a Tour Host?

Click Here Find Details and Sign Up Today!

 

 

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French Letters Children of a Good War by Jack Woodville London

19 Jan

elizabeth and richard (1)

Synopsis:

Eleanor Hastings knew from experience that some bombs lie buried for decades before blowing up to hurt someone. Now, forty years after World War II, a cache of faded wartime letters is discovered in a cellar, causing Eleanor’s husband, Frank, to understand that he really was a bastard and sending him on a quest to find out who he really is — and to uncover his family’s long-buried secrets.

“Children of a Good War is like a giant puzzle you think you’ve solved, then find more unsettling pieces. Intelligent and engrossing, hard to put down, London’s best novel to date lingers in your thoughts long after you close it and turn out the lights.”
— Author Joyce Faulkner, winner of the Howard-Johnson Prize for Historical Fiction

Best Novel of the Year — Military Writers Society of America
Best Novel of the South — Willie Morris, Finalist
Best Novel with a Romantic Element — Dear Author, Finalist

 

Purchase Links

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Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/French-Letters-Children-Good-War/dp/099061218X/ref=sr_1_fkmr3_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1541876953&sr=8-1-fkmr3&keywords=french+letters+children+of+a+god+war

B&N:https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/french-letters-jack-woodville-london/1129542078?ean=9780990612186

 




EXCERPT

 

Chapter Ten

i.

When Frank was nine years old he watched Peter shoot a BB gun at birds on a highline wire and wondered, Why don’t they just fly away? and then, Why doesn’t the electricity shock them?

Frank wondered a lot of things.  He wondered why Hercules liked to play fetch with him but not with Peter.  He wondered why he had a used bike but Tog had a new one.  He wondered why there were different churches for just one Bible, and why Tog seemed reasonably happy about not going to any of them.  He wondered why he was invisible whenever Peter was present (Sunday school class, junior high band, school cafeteria and assemblies, Saturday night at the movie theater, any time they went to The Corral), and why he had a learning disability (I’m retarded…), a concern raised by the requirement of Bridle High School that all students had to take trigonometry and chemistry, neither of which he intended to use in his grown-up life.

               He also wondered why he took little interest in the very things that Peter was so good at, such as football, basketball, track, girls, and Mother’s 1962 Chevrolet.  He wondered why he wasn’t kicked off the football team after mooning Peter at the Homecoming game, suspecting (rightly) that the coach knew that Tog depended on Frank to help him pass English and history during the football season. He next wondered why he was disinvited from the school sports banquet after the season was over, suspecting (rightly) that it had to do with mooning Peter at the Homecoming game. 

Frank once wondered, on a very cold and cloudless night one week after the sports banquet, why water does not freeze inside a town’s water tower, but when that same water is filled into the bed of Marshall’s pickup and then laid down in sheets on Main Street by driving the pickup back and forth as the water seeps out from the tailgate, it freezes on pavement like ice on a skating rink. 

He also wondered why a couple of gallons of very wet chicken manure added to a gallon of gasoline didn’t burn well but when fifteen pounds of dried manure, plus a box of saltpeter from the school cafeteria pantry, were added to gasoline, the mixture would scorch grass, chalk yard lines, dirt, subsoil, and everything beneath it in the shape of the letter ‘S,’ and continue to burn for quite a long time while the coach and superintendent slid around on the ice on Main Street before getting to the school football field to see what that  odd glow was, visible in the night sky.

The following Sunday, while squeezed onto a pew between Virginia and Will, listening to a sermon on the fires of Hell, Frank wondered why no one preached the chapter in Luke where Jesus told the multitudes that he had come to bring fire to the earth and wished it already were kindled or, about the Prince of Peace telling the Twelve Apostles in the book of Matthew that he came not to bring peace but a sword.  That Jesus sounded like someone interesting.

               In his last few months at home, before graduation, Frank wondered whether Tog would ever come back to him.  In his first few months at college he wondered why he had to take math and science, which he intended to never use in his grown-up life. 

As a sophomore, he wondered why they seemed to be having so much trouble beating Vietnam and, later, after graduation, whythey assigned to his birthday the very first number drawn in the draft lottery, the only lottery that Frank ever won.  He soon wondered why he was sent to infantry training and then why he was so bad at it.  He wondered if he would live to drive the used Volkswagen that Will had given him for college graduation and, when he did, whether going to graduate school and writing for a newspaper in Austin would give him the skill he

needed to write about what he really saw in Vietnam.  Frank soon came to wonder also why no one had told him sooner about live music, the Soap Creek Saloon, Willie Nelson’s Fourth of July picnics, or longneck beers. 

               Frank’s curiosity was not purely inward looking.  He asked why, whenever anyone believed that if something could be separate but equal, they always wanted it to be separate.  He asked his editor why a highway divided East Austin from rich Austin and why Mexican laborers were paid less to roof houses and pour cement than scruffy white guys who didn’t work as hard or do as good a job; his editor said they were good questions.  He asked why farmers who depended on government subsidy checks always voted for the candidate who would cut the farm budget, and why anyone thought that it was Ronald Reagan rather than Ayatollah Khomeini and the Fedayeen who really had defeated Jimmy Carter in the 1980 election.  Pat C. Oh said they were rhetorical questions.  He genuinely wanted to know why President Reagan thought that death squads for democracy were more likely to work in El Salvador than they had in Vietnam and why a coup in once-British Grenada was an American problem; no one wanted to talk about those questions. 

Some of these wonders became files of clippings for stories that were never written.  When Frank pitched them, Mr. Burnam said that Frank needed to focus on city council meetings and school board hearings.

               Frank was not aware of everything, not even everything that mattered.  He was unaware of interest rates, unaware that plastic is not biodegradable, and unaware that security investment regulations usually were enacted after some investment firm had figured out a new way to cheat its investors. 

He was completely unaware when, during a graduate seminar on “Reporting Foreign Political Events,” in which he asked why Margaret Thatcher thought that putting huge swaths of coal workers and shipbuilders out of work would make England a better place for them to live on unemployment benefits, that a young woman was passing by the open doorway.  He didn’t know for a long time that she heard him question whether the rousing use of a crushing military action against a third-world banana republic would restore dignity to unemployed coal miners in Yorkshire and, hearing no answer to his question, that she stood in the doorway long enough to figure out which one of the people in the room had asked the very point she had read in a three-week-old copy of the Manchester Guardian, which she had stumbled across in the graduate school library reading room.  Of course, she was unaware that he had noticed her reading theGuardian and had wanted to find out for himself what interested a person who looked like her. 

               In short, like younger brothers everywhere, Frank grew up largely invisible but observant, standing out from the crowd more often by doing something that upset someone’s expectations rather by doing something that met them

Frank Hastings had no clear understanding that the purpose of his life was to be the person who asked why as a means to making the world a more open place, if not a better one.  Indeed, the only two people who clearly knew that were Eleanor, who for several weeks after hearing his voice in the seminar room had followed Frank at a discrete distance until he finally discovered her, and his father, Will, who now was dead.

 

About the Author:

 

jack w london headshot

Honored as Author of the Year, MWSA 2011-2012, and winner, Indie Excellence Award, 2013, is the author of the award-winning French Letters fiction series.  His novels are praised for their meticulous historical research and ability to capture the language, attitudes, and moral culture of their setting in prose described by reviewers as ‘beautiful, but not pretentious.’

The World War II-era novel Virginia’s War was a Finalist for Best Novel of the South and the Dear Author ‘Novel with a Romantic Element’ contests. His ‘parallel-quel’ novel Engaged in War won the silver medal at the London Book Festival for General Fiction and the Silver prize in the Stars and Flags Historical Fiction competition.  It was the Book of the Month by both Good Reads and the Military Writers Society of America and was the book for which the Indie Excellence Award was given to Jack in 2013.

The third volume in the series, Children of a Good War,  is on track for publication in 2018.  One pre-publication reader wrote “Intelligent and engrossing, it’s hard to put down, (his) best novel to date lingers in your thoughts long after you close it and put out the lights.”  Look for pre-order information in the near future.

And, Jack’s non-fiction book on the craft of writing, A Novel Approach, won the e-Lit gold medal for non-fiction books in 2014-2015.  It is now the standard work for use by veterans in classes presented by the Military Writers Society of America on the craft of writing fiction.

He has published some thirty literary articles and fifty book reviews, all in addition to a lengthy career as a courtroom lawyer and a forty year writing career as the author of technical legal articles, beginning with his appointment as managing editor during law school of the University of Texas International Law Journal.

Jack shares his love of writing with presentations and lectures at writing conferences throughout the United States and abroad.  He has in the past presented at the Historical Novel Society Annual Convention; Military Writers Society of America; Historical Novel Society; Southwest Writers; Writers League of Texas; Central Texas Authors; University of Texas, San Diego State, Stanford, Herriott-Watt University in Edinburg, Scotland, and University of Padua, Italy, as well as US DOD schools and Navy bases in Europe.  He teaches writing classes to veterans who want to learn the conventions and devices of fiction writing so that they, too, can write their stories.

And, apart from literature, Jack also is the co-author of two of the most widely published and essential books for trial lawyers, the Pattern Jury Charge series for Business and Deceptive Practices and for Professional Negligence, Products Liability, and Premises.

Jack is a reader as well as a writer.   His cheeky, much-loved series of book reviews, ‘On the Nightstand,’ is on this website.  Jack reviews the books we all read, from New York Times best sellers to under-the-radar releases and the classics and rates them based on how well they keep him awake — a 100 watt book is a real page-turner and a 20 watt book helps Jack sleep by conking him out pretty quickly.   Click on the the tab for On the Nightstand and find some great reads.

And, Jack still is a student.  He is learning more of the craft of creative writing student at Rewley College, Oxford University, under his tutor, Dr. Jonathan Miles, who also is a critically acclaimed author.

Jack grew up in small town Texas before earning degrees at the University of Texas and West Texas State University and earning certificates at the Fiction Academy, St. Céré, France and Ecole Francaise, Trois Ponts, France.    He lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife, Alice, and Junebug the writing cat.

 

Social Media 

Website: https://jwlbooks.com/

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

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/JackWoodvilleLondon




Author Guest Post

 

Share the first sentence (or first three sentences) of the book and comment on it

There was a minor commotion in the street and she realized that she had no choice but to follow him outside. It was a relief, she felt, although she knew it was only a postponement. Miss Herald had gone to Faversham to tell Eldred Potts that she would no longer walk out with him, as it then was called.”

I set out to create a world for a woman named ‘Miss Herald.’ Who is she? She lived somewhere close to Faversham, which is an ancient village in England, ten miles or so from Canterbury and on the Roman road where the pilgrims of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales spent their last night before arriving in Canterbury proper. And, since she didn’t live in Faversham, where did she live? We soon learn that she lives in Canterbury where she attends the local ‘new’ university and studies archaeology. We also learn that Faversham is the site of a mostly-demolished ruin where in the 1100’s an English queen and king were patrons of the church and were buried; Miss Herald has undergraduate fantasies of fame from discovering their remains or unearthing some other hidden relic of the past.

So, what was she doing in Faversham when the book begins? Rather than an archaeological dig at the monastery, she was there to tell her boyfriend that she was through with him. I tried to infuse a bit of ‘bygonese’ into the paragraph by using the term ‘walk out’ as both a British term for dating and as a term that is now out of fashion.

Their names are clues. A ‘Herald’ is someone who brings news or is the sign that something is about to happen. I added another clue to the fact something was about to happen by saying her following Potts into the street because of a minor commotion was a ‘postponement.’ Potts is a reference to what most archaeological digs yield, shards of pottery.

What is it that she heralds? Her presence heralds that buried bombs can explode to injure people long after they’ve been forgotten. That is one of the major themes of the novel. And, before long, Potts is no longer with us, the victim of a cow that stepped on a buried bomb from World War II and landed on him. And, on a more intimate scale, she is not invited to Potts’ funeral; the locals said that his unfortunate demise was what might be expected as Potts should not have been trying to court Miss Herald in the first place, but should have stayed with ‘his own kind.’”

Miss Herald is indeed different, and things are about to happen.




Author Q & A

 

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to race sports cars until I was about 14, then wanted to be a basketball player. Then I wanted to be a history professor. I always wanted to be a writer.

What is your education/career background?

Groom High School; BA in History and Foreign Relations at West Texas State University; jurisdoctor of law degree at the University of Texas; Certificat at Academy of Fiction, St. Séré, France; presently in graduate school in creative writing at Rewley College, Oxford.

When you are struggling to write/have writer’s block, what are some ways that help you find your creative muse again?

I dig out one of several novels that just light my fires. Larry McMurtry teaches creative writing with every sentence. I read almost anything by Evelyn Waugh or Anthony Powell. John Lanchester and Hilary Mantel are creative and inspiring.

What do you think makes a good story?

A flawed protagonist, a conflict, a solution, then disaster.

Do you have any interesting writing habits or superstitions?

Probably not. I believe that when working on fiction, you should attempt 1000 words a day. I also believe that you should begin by reading what you wrote yesterday, edit and revise it, then move on to a fresh 1000 words. Repeat tomorrow.

Let Her Go (A Lillian Dove Mystery #3) by D.J. Adamson Blog Tour with Giveaway (Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card) & Guest Post

12 Nov

LET HER GO: Lillian Dove Mystery
by D. J. Adamson

About the Book


LET HER GO: Lillian Dove Mystery
Suspense Mystery
3rd in Series
Horatio Press (November 6, 2018)
Paperback: 448 pages
ISBN-10: 1732672210
ISBN-13: 978-1732672215
Digital ASIN: B07G9TTMZ5

Murder. Betrayal. Love Gone Wrong

With her ability to present clues without giving away the endings and offering surprising twists encouraging the reader to the next page, D. J. Adamson delves into a family tragedy ending up in murder and a teenage daughter missing. When Lillian Dove finds herself involved in the police investigation, she realizes the daughter holds the key to unravel who killed her mother.

It is three days before Christmas when Lillian Dove comes across Dr. Conrad standing out in front of his house, covered in blood. When going inside the house to help other members of his family, she finds his wife killed, his son seriously injured, and his teenage daughter, Peyton Clayton, missing. Even more shocking, the police suspect Dr. Conrad. Understanding how emotional dilemmas have strained the family emboldens Lillian to help Detective Jacque Leveque, Major Crimes Detective for the Frytown Police Department, find the prime witness to the Conrad truths.

Let Her Go is a nerve-wracking exploration into a family lost, and the extent love elicits both the good and the bad. In this Third Step in Personal Recovery Lillian works to find Peyton Clayton, while battling the worse arctic freeze in Frytown’s history, untangling human frailties, and confronting the ghosts of Christmas.

About the Author

D. J. Adamson is an award-winning author for both her mystery novels and her science fiction novel. She is the editor of Le Coeur de l’Artiste, a newsletter which reviews books, and a blog, L’Artiste with offers authors the venue to write on craft, marketing, and the creative mind. D.J. teaches writing and literature, and to keep busy when she is not writing or teaching, she has been a board member of Sisters in Crime Los Angeles and Sisters in Crime Central Coast, a member of the Southern California Mystery Writers Organization, California Writers Club and Greater Los Angeles Writer’s Society. Her books can be found and purchased in bookstores and on Amazon. To find her, her blog L’Artiste, or newsletter go to http://www.djadamson.com.

Author Links

Website: http://djadamson.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/adamson_dj

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8511075.D_J_Adamson

 

Purchase Link

Amazon

 

Giveaway

(1) $25 Amazon Gift Card

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 




Guest Post

If Nothing Else…There’s Always the Weather.

    My Iowa family always says, “When there is nothing else to talk about, there’s always the weather.”

Not so much for me. I live in California. But in the Lillian Dove series, set in Frytown, Iowa, I use weather for a great many metaphors:  struggle, change, awakening, rebirth, letting go.

 “I looked again at the magical view outside. Pure, white, slick, and as glassy as a photograph. Hiding all the mud and muck beneath that would eventually show itself once the weather warmed.”

There is always the weather to talk about…or there is always life to take on. And Lillian takes on life as she would a hard day outside:  one day at a time, one clue after another, until she comes back into where it is warm and dry. Let Her Go offers a happy ending of sorts. Lillian ends up where it is safe and warm…but as in life…she realizes the next day can bring on a blizzard.




TOUR PARTICIPANTS

November 7 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW

November 8 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

November 8 – Readeropolis – CHARACTER INTERVIEW  

November 9 – Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews – GUEST POST

November 10 – StoreyBook Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST

November 10 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT

November 11 – Varietats – GUEST POST, GIVEAWAY

November 12 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – CHARACTER GUEST POST

November 13 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

November 14 – The Book’s the Thing – SPOTLIGHT

November 15 – Babs Book Bistro – GUEST POST, GIVEAWAY

November 16 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

November 17 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY

November 18 – Brooke Blogs – CHARACTER GUEST POST

November 19 – That’s What She’s Reading – REVIEW, GUEST POST GIVEAWAY

November 20 – Ruff Drafts – GUEST POST

Have you signed up to be a Tour Host?

Click Here Find Details and Sign Up Today!

 

 

A Deadly Eclair (A French Bistro Mystery~Trade Paperback Edition) by Daryl Wood Gerber Tour with 5 Star Review, Guest Post, Recipe, & Giveaway!

6 Jun

A Deadly Éclair: A French Bistro Mystery
by Daryl Wood Gerber

About the Book

A Deadly Éclair: A French Bistro Mystery
Cozy Mystery
New Series
Crooked Lane Books (June 12, 2018)
Paperback: 368 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1683316046
Kindle ASIN: B06XWDWRLF

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.

 

Christie’s Review

5 STARS

Great cozy mystery filled with all the things I love…great characters, great storyline, great food, and a dash of romance!

Mimi Rousseau is returning home in hopes of achieving her dream…opening her own little bistro. She isn’t quite sure that is in the cards for her until her best friend finds her an investor, Bryan Baker. She is finally on the right path when Bryan is murdered. All clues point to her. She will have to work hard to clear her name if she wants her freedom and before all her dreams go up in smoke.

The murder mystery itself has a cast of suspects, and the author kept me guessing throughout the entire book. The heroine, Mimi, was a great character. I admired her independence and intelligence. She needed both of those things to get her out of the predicament she was in. I am also looking forward to seeing where her potential romance with Nash will lead her.

This was an enjoyable, witty, cozy mystery. The fabulous scenery of the beautiful Napa Valley was an added bonus. Throw in a great cast of secondary characters and an AMAZING collection of recipes, and you have yourself a wonderful beginning to what promises to be a wonderful series!!!

***************************************************


About the Author

Agatha Award-winning Daryl Wood Gerber is best known for her nationally bestselling Cookbook Nook Mysteries and CHEESE SHOP MYSTERIES, which she pens as Avery Aames. She will soon debut the new French Bistro Mysteries. Daryl also writes stand-alone suspense: DAYS OF SECRETS and GIRL ON THE RUN. Fun tidbit: as an actress, Daryl appeared in “Murder, She Wrote.” She loves to cook, and she has a frisky Goldendoodle named Sparky who keeps her in line!

Author Links

Visit Daryl or Avery at www.darylwoodgerber.com.

Daryl’s Blog Avery’s Blog Mystery Lover’s Kitchen Killer Characters

Facebook: Daryl Avery

Twitter: @AveryAames @DarylWoodGerber

Goodreads: Daryl Wood Gerber Avery Aames

Purchase Links

Amazon B&N Kobo BookBub

Giveaway below!  Don’t miss out.

1 PRIZE PACKAGE~ US ONLY!

(A chance to win books, tote bag, recipe cards, playing cards, tea towel, etc.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Participants

June 6 – Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews – REVIEW, RECIPE – GUEST POST

June 6 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews– REVIEW

June 7 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

June 7 – Ruff Drafts – RECIPE – GUEST POST

June 7 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – SPOTLIGHT

June 8 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

June 8 – Cozy Up WIth Kathy – REVIEW*, RECIPE – GUEST POST

June 9 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW

June 9 – The Power of Words – REVIEW*

June 10 – Community Bookstop – REVIEW

June 11 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW*, RECIPE – GUEST POST

June 11 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW*

June 12 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

June 12 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW*

June 13 – Mysteries with Character – REVIEW

June 14 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW*, RECIPE – GUEST POST

June 14 – That’s What She’s Reading – REVIEW*

June 15 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

June 16 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW

June 16 – Lisa Ks Book Review – REVIEW*

June 17 – The Cozy Pages – REVIEW

June 18 – The Montana Bookaholic – REVIEW, RECIPE – GUEST POST

June 18 – Sapphyria’s Books – REVIEW*

June 19 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW

June 19 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW*

*Review Repost from Hardcover tour.

Have you signed up to be a Tour Host?

Click Here Find Details and Sign Up Today!

GUEST POST

Hi, all! I’m so happy to be on the Great Escapes Tour. I’d like to share some of my favorite recipes from A Deadly Éclair, the 1st French Bistro Mystery. It came out in  hardcover in November, but I’m excited to say it’s out in trade paperback as of June 12. And the second in the series, A Soufflé of Suspicion, comes out July 10!

Of course, with a title like A Deadly Éclair, I had to try my hand at making one, right? I used to love them as a girl. I remember riding my bicycle to a place called The Barn and buying one nearly every two weeks. I loved the combo of chocolate on top and cream on the inside.

Forewarning: éclairs are not easy to make. They take patience. They require cold butter. You should have everything ready on the counter as you get started. The result is divine! Do not worry if you are not a pro. You are looking for flavor, not beauty.

However:  I have shared a mock custard recipe at the end that is SO EASY to make! No cooking involved. And so delicious.

Enjoy both recipes, and please tell a friend about A Deadly Éclair and the giveaway for this tour!

 

RECIPE FOR CHOCOLATE ECLAIR

CHOCOLATE ÉCLAIR

(Makes 8-10)

Custard Filling:

2 cups whole milk

1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

6 egg yolks

2/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter

Pastry:

1 cup water

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

1 cup all-purpose flour

4 eggs

Chocolate Glaze:

2 tablespoons butter

3 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped – use the best brand, like Ghirardelli

To make the filling:

In a medium saucepan, heat the milk and vanilla bean to a boil over medium heat. Turn off the heat and set the pan aside to let the vanilla’s richness infuse the milk.

In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the cornstarch and whisk vigorously until no lumps remain.

Add in 1/4 cup of the hot milk mixture and whisk until incorporated. Add in the remaining hot milk mixture and whisk.  Reserve the saucepan (don’t wash).

Pour the mixture through a strainer back into the saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly. Slowly boil until it thickens up.

Remove from the heat and stir in the cold unsalted butter. Let the mixture cool slightly. Cover with plastic wrap. Lightly press the plastic against the surface so a skin won’t form.

Chill the custard at least 2 hours or until ready to serve. You can make this a day ahead. Remove from refrigerator for about an hour before using.

To make the pastry:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper.

In a large saucepan, bring the water, butter, salt and sugar to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. When it boils, immediately take the pan off the heat. It will be frothy.

Stirring with a non-metal spoon, add all the flour at once and stir fast until all the flour is incorporated, about 1 minute. It will become sleek and glossy.

Pour the mixture into a standing mixer (or use a hand mixer). Mix at medium speed. With the mixer running, add the 4 eggs, one at a time. Let each egg absorb fully before adding the next. The dough should fall easily from the beaters.

Now here is the messy part. The mixture is gooey! Put the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip. Pipe fat lengths of dough (about the size and shape of a hot dog bun) onto the lined baking sheet, leaving 2 inches of space between them. This will make about 8-10 éclairs. Again, do not worry if you are not a pro. This takes practice.

Bake 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 325 degrees and bake until puffed up and light golden brown, about 20 minutes more. Don’t open the oven door during the baking.

Remove from oven and let cool on the baking sheet. Prick the éclairs to let out steam. Let cool at least 10 minutes.

To make the glaze:

Set the chocolate in a small bowl. Melt the chocolate in the microwave on medium for 30 seconds. Stir then melt again on medium for 15 seconds. Repeat until it is melted completely. Do not overcook!

Add in the butter and stir until butter is melted.

To assemble:

Cut the pastry shells in half, lengthwise. I prefer to use pastry scissors for this.

Pour chocolate mixture onto a flat plate. Dip the top of the shell in the warm chocolate glaze. Use the back of a spoon if you need to spread the chocolate evenly. Set the shell, chocolate-side up, on a sheet pan. Chill, uncovered, at least 1 hour to set the glaze.

When ready, spoon the custard into the bottom half of the shell and place the chocolate shell on top.

Enjoy!  If you like, you can wrap each individually, tightly in plastic wrap, insert into a freezer bag, and freeze. Defrost by letting them stand at room temperature.

FYI, if you’d like my recipe for a gluten-free éclair — yes I made it! — email me at daryl@darylwoodgerber.com and I’ll send it to you.

ALSO, here is the easy or “mock” custard – no cooking! It’s a little looser and creamier than the one in the éclair recipe. Enjoy.

MOCK CUSTARD

 (Serves 4-8, depending on dessert dish size)

5-ounce box instant vanilla pudding (make sure it’s gluten-free)

2 1/2 cups milk

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1/4 cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon gluten-free vanilla extract

In a small bowl, make vanilla pudding by combining pudding mix and milk. Let it firm up in the refrigerator for about 5 minutes. 

Place heavy whipping cream in stand mixer (or a regular bowl, which is what I did) and whip it at medium-high speed until soft peaks form. This takes about 2-3 minutes. Don’t over whip or it will turn into butter.

Mix in powdered sugar and vanilla with the whipped cream.  Now fold in the chilled vanilla pudding.

That’s it!

Pour into 4- or 6-ounce ramekins or dessert dishes. Cover with plastic wrap. Chill. 

This keeps for about 4-5 days.