Review: Finlay Donovan Jumps the Gun (Finlay Donovan #3) by Elle Cosimano

Finlay Donovan Jumps the Gun (Finlay Donovan, #3)Finlay Donovan Jumps the Gun by Elle Cosimano
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another thrilling, fun-filled, action packed, over-the-top adventure with my favorite gal pals, Finlay and Vero!!

In this 3rd-installment of the beloved Finlay Donovan Mystery series, Finlay and Vero pack their bags and head to a recently developed Citizen’s Police Academy.

Nick, Finlay’s potential love interest, is the cop in charge of the program and many of his departmental friends are there acting as instructors. Finlay is under the guise of researching her next book, but we all know how true that is.

She’s actually there to try to find the mysterious character, Easy Clean. But like, yeah, she does actually need to finish that book. Will her protagonist get together with the cop?

As you can imagine, Finlay and Vero’s time living in dorms, attending classes where they get put through police training along with Finlay’s elderly neighbor, some over-enthusiastic podcasters and others, will not be without its hijinks.

There’s so much going on in this one. Finlay’s ex-husband is circling around, trying to make amends, which Finlay wants no part of. Vero’s past gets brought up in a big way and mob boss, Feliks isn’t quite done with the ladies yet.

The Finlay Donovan series is one of my favorite Cozy Mystery series ever. The main reasons for that are the characters and the humor.

Finlay has such a dry sense of humor. I absolutely love the way she describes everything going on around her and her feelings about it. I’m seriously in stitches half the time.

I have listened to the entire series on audio and definitely recommend that medium. At this point, the narrator, Angela Dawe, is Finlay Donovan to me. Her voice-work in that role is top notch!

The relationship between Finlay and Vero is perfect as well. They’re so in deep together at this point. I love how even though, they are pretty different when you think about it, they are fully committed to one another and their friendship benefits them both equally.

The ending of this leads me to believe there will absolutely be a fourth installment. I’m not sure how many books are slated to be in this series, but I will be reading them all. Each and every one. Happily and with excitement.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Minotaur Books and Macmillan Audio, for providing me with copies to read and review. I have been so excited for this release and it definitely didn’t disappoint.

Finlay Donovan Jumps the Gun is available now!!!

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Review: Murder, She Wrote: Death on the Emerald Isle by Terrie Farley Moran

Murder, She Wrote: Death on the Emerald Isle (Murder She Wrote Book 56)Murder, She Wrote: Death on the Emerald Isle by Jessica Fletcher
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

When Jessica is asked to fill-in for a friend who is unable to attend a book conference at which she was set to speak, Jess graciously accepts, because that’s the type of woman Jessica Fletcher is. She’s helpful to her friends.

That’s why where her long-time Cabot Cove neighbor, Maeve O’Bannon, asks her to do her a favor while attending said conference, Jess agrees to that too.

The conference is in Belfast, Northern Ireland, very close to the village Maeve’s family hails from, Bushmills.

Maeve has in her possession some beautiful landscapes her Grandfather painted of Bushmills. As Maeve nears the final chapter of her life, and with no family stateside to bequeath the paintings to, she asks Jessica to take them and present them to her remaining family members in Bushmills.

In Belfast, Jessica attends the book event, then is picked-up by an O’Bannon family friend and escorted the rest of the way to Bushmills.

The O’Bannon family is well-known and well-off as owners of a very successful skincare/cosmetics line. Their company is currently in negotiations to merge with a similar French company. They have a lot going on.

The friendly family greets Jessica with kindness and welcomes her whole-heartedly, inviting her along to parties and other family gatherings.

The morning after one of these gatherings, as Jessica is taking a solo-tour of the village via bicycle, she comes across a vehicle, parked in a strange location with a man slumped over the steering wheel.

It turns out it is Michael O’Bannon, one of Maeve’s cousins, a local doctor. He is dead!

Of course this is before Jessica has had a chance to present the paintings to the family and now it would be in ill-taste to do so. They’ve got more important things to worry about now, having just lost a loved one.

Jessica agrees to stay on in Bushmills until the matter is settled. While she’s there, she might as well solve the murder. This is Book #56, people. You know how Jessica is.

Y’all, this was exactly the kind of cozy, simple, nostalgic mystery I needed right now. The holidays can get stressful. It felt so nice sitting and getting swept into this story.

It was comforting to be reunited with Jessica and I loved going along with her as she explored the beautiful countryside of Northern Ireland.

While this wasn’t the most captivating Murder, She Wrote mystery that I have ever read, I still really enjoyed it.

I loved the setting and the idea of the O’Bannon family and their business. It was also pleasing to see Jessica get along with and aiding local law enforcement.

Additionally, Jessica met a bit of a protege in this one. A girl named Maggie, who worked at the Inn where Jessica stayed in Bushmills.

I loved Maggie. She was gungho to help Jessica look into Michael’s death and she was good at it. I would love to see her again in a future installment. That would be so fun!

I’m really pleased with this series in the hands of Terrie Farley Moran. I think she has done a great job channeling the original tone of the series. I hope she continues on with it for a long time to come.

Murder, She Wrote is my number one comfort series and I will continue to pick them up as long as they are published! Thank you so much to the publisher, Berkley, for providing me with a copy to read and review.

Murder, She Wrote: Death on the Emerald Isle is releasing on Tuesday, January 3, 2023.

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Review: The Man Who Died Twice (Thursday Murder Club #2) by Richard Osman

The Man Who Died Twice (Thursday Murder Club, #2)The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


After reading The Thursday Murder Club last month, I knew I needed to continue with this series right away.

I fell in love with the characters, the retirement community setting and the compelling mystery that played out.

The Man Who Died Twice is the second book of the series and dare I say, I enjoyed it even more than the first, which I loved. It seems the more time I spend with these characters, the more invested I become.

In this story we are reunited with Elizabeth, Joyce, Ron and Ibrahim, shortly after the events of Book 1. The impetus to this adventure is Elizabeth receiving a letter from an old colleague/flame, who finds himself in a bit of a bind and is hoping for her assistance.

There’s $20,000,000 in diamonds and mobsters involved, of course, because what fun would it be otherwise?

We meet Douglas, the old flame, along with his partner Poppy. Ibrahim has a scary run in outside of Cooper’s Chase that makes him reevaluate everything. Donna and Chris are actively trying to nab a local drug lord.

There’s a lot going on, but all of the varying plot-lines blended together perfectly. Osman made it comfortable to read and engaging throughout.

I never had times were I was in one perspective wishing to get back to another, which can happen with stories that switch perspectives frequently.

Elizabeth, Joyce and their friendship were again the stars of the show for me, although I do really love everyone.

Additionally, I feel like we got to know Donna and Chris, the local detectives who have befriended the Murder Club, a bit more. I really enjoy both of their characters. Donna is struggling a bit with her place in life and Chris’s new relationship with Donna’s mother, Patrice.

I actually felt it was important for us to hear her struggles. I liked to see that vulnerability from her. It made her relationships with the people in the Murder Club seem that much more important now. I get it, Donna. I see you.

It was also so fun having more Bogdan. Bogdan, a Polish man of many useful talents, helps around Cooper’s Chase and in this one, is particularly helpful to Elizabeth. Their relationship is so special.

I guess you can probably spot the theme here. Even though this is a super fun mystery, at it’s heart this is a story of people making their way in the world and the special bonds they’ve formed with one another.

It has filled my heart reading both of these books and I’m so looking forward to picking up the third!

I definitely recommend this series and highly recommend the audiobooks. The narration is fabulously done and overall, it’s just a super engaging listening experience!!

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Review: Death at the Auction by E.C. Bateman

Death at the AuctionDeath at the Auction by E.C. Bateman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Death at the Auction is the first book in what I am hoping will be a long-running Cozy Mystery series.

This story follows Felicia Grant. Felicia’s family owns a popular Auction House in her home village of Stamford. After a falling out with her father over the direction of the business, Felicia left the auction-life behind and moved to London, along with her son, Algernon.

When Felicia gets an early-morning call from her best friend, Cassie, back in Stamford, she knows it can’t be good news and it’s not.

Her father has had a fall. He’s okay, but pretty banged up and he’ll be unable to auctioneer at the auction set for that very day. Felicia is the only one with the knowledge and expertise to successfully fill in. There’s a lot on the line; a lot of money they can’t afford to lose.

Can she come right away?

Felicia agrees, packs Algie and off they go. She’s full of competing emotions as she heads to Stamford. It’s been a while. There’s estranged relationships to consider.

Additionally, she’s been out of the business for quite some time. Will her auctioneering skills have suffered?

Once the auction begins, Felicia slips into her old role with ease. It’s actually nice to see so many familiar faces and the buzz of the sale is contagious.

All is going swimmingly right up until the final lot. As it is open for bids, Felicia’s exuberant ex-husband Dexter bursts in, interrupting the entire process and then a body falls out of a large antique cupboard set at the back of the room.

The very dead body of one of her Dad’s greatest rivals.

As investigators begin to look into the crime, Felicia, Dexter and a whole-host of locals find themselves as suspects. Felicia, unable to leave well-enough alone, decides to do a little digging of her own. She’s determined to clear her name and lift the cloud from over the auction house.

Death at the Auction was a ton of fun. I loved the setting and the characters. It’s definitely a great start to a new series. I can’t wait to get to know them more.

Felicia was so great as a main. She’s extremely likable and I found her feelings and motivations easy to understand and relate to. The other characters were interesting as well.

Dexter, her ex, is quite the minx, adding a bit of humor to the story. Their son is sweet, precocious and wise beyond his years. There’s also Detective Pettifer, the intrepid investigator trying to get to the bottom of this mess.

One of the highlights for me was the relationship that develops between Felicia and Pettifer. He seems to take a bit of a shine to her and the two interact fairly frequently over the course of the investigation.

There’s definitely a budding friendship and I could totally see him consulting her on future cases. I loved their back-and-forth and the trust that started to build between them.

I also really enjoyed Felicia’s relationships with all of her family members. Her son is such a sweetheart. He’s very quiet, yet inquisitive. He sort of does what he likes, but I feel like it’s because Felicia has the confidence in him to give him a bit of independence.

Dexter and Felicia also have great banter and it was fun watching her interact with her grumpy Dad after such a long time. I want more!

Some of the extraneous variables of the mystery I found a little hard to track, but overall I had so much fun with this. It’s a great foundation to build many more mysteries from. I am certainly looking forward to being reunited with Felicia and friends.

Thank you so much to the publisher, One More Chapter, for providing me with a copy to read and review. If you love a solid Cozy, with a fun group of characters and compelling mystery, you should absolutely give this one a shot!

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Review: The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

The Thursday Murder ClubThe Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Thursday Murder Club is a bloody brilliant start to a Cozy Mystery series. I’m in, hook, line and sinker.

This one features an interesting mystery, fantastic characters and the audibook narration was perfection.

I feel like one of the last remaining people on Earth to have read this delightful Mystery, but I’m so happy to be joining the party, late or not.

I really wanted to listen to the audio, because I had heard great things about the narration by Marian Keyes and Lesley Manville. They weren’t wrong. It was well worth the over year wait for my library hold to come through.

If you aren’t aware, this book follows a charming group of septuagenarians, mainly Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron, who live in a retirement village known as Cooper’s Chase.

This fearsome-foursome meet up once a week to discuss and dig into cold cases. They also have a local DS they befriend and consult regarding their cases of interest.

In this book specifically, a property developer involved in the creation of Cooper’s Chase is found murdered. A case of utmost interest to our friends.

The mystery was cleverly-plotted. I enjoyed the many people of interest we came across along the way. There’s a lot of drama going on surrounding this little community.

The members of the Murder Club all got on so well. I loved their moments together and witty dialogue. The narration had me giggling many times, picturing everything perfectly.

There were some great suspects and lots of motives for potentially killing our victim. Not much got past the Murder Club though. They were on it.

In addition to the great mystery, there was also some thoughtful and emotional moments reflecting on aging and issues that may arise later in life.

In fact, there was one scene that had me in tears. It took me by surprise how much I was moved by many of these characters personal journeys.

I’m really looking forward to continuing on with this series. I’ve heard it just keeps getting better and better.

I’m already attached to these characters and am so excited to join in the investigations and solve some more cases!

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Review: Blackmail and Bibingka (Tita Rosie’s Kitchen Mystery #3) by Mia P. Manansala

Blackmail and Bibingka (Tita Rosie's Kitchen Mystery #3)Blackmail and Bibingka by Mia P. Manansala
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

When her estranged cousin, Tita Rosie’s son, Ronnie, returns to town, Lila anticipates that trouble will be close behind. It’s shocking how right she is in that assessment.

Ronnie has purchased the local Shady Grove Winery along with a his best friends, Izzy and Pete, and some other investors, most notable being, Denise Sutton.

It literally feels like Ronnie has been back in Shady Grove for mere moments before the first body suspiciously drops.

Then the blackmail begins, stating that they know what Ronnie did in Florida and that he’s up to his old tricks again. The blackmailer threatens to bring evidence against him unless they are paid a large sum of money by Tita Rosie.

This threatening message coinciding with Ronnie now being suspected of murder does not shine a positive light on her cousin, but Lila feels like she has to do whatever she can to clear Ronnie’s name.

This requires Lila putting her mistrust of Ronnie behind her, at least temporarily, in order to help him. Family is complicated after all, but Lila feels obligated to help.

As Lila digs into Ronnie’s partners and investors, she discovers they’ve actually woven themselves quite a twisted web. The dynamics amongst them are all over the place.

Will Lila be able to figure out the who done it before it’s too late? And what if it actually is her cousin? How does this play out for her family?

Blackmail and Bibingka is the third installment of the Tita Rosie’s Kitchen Mystery series. I had so much fun with the first two books in this series and this one was no different.

I have loved getting to know the Macapagal family over the course of these books. I was also stoked when Manansala mentioned in her Author’s Note at the conclusion of this, that we will be getting three more books in the series.

Personally, I never want them to end!

These books are full of food and family. If you aren’t hungry by the time you are done one these of books, you have no soul. I’m sort of kidding, but not really.

I love Lila as a character and her friend group. She has surrounded herself with a great group of women and I love how supportive they are of one another. We love to see those types of strong female friendships in our stories.

This book is marketed as taking place during Christmas time, but honestly, if it wasn’t for the food, I would have no clue this was supposed to be set during the holiday season.

It didn’t bother me as such, I only mention it because I know how strongly people feel about their holiday stories and I don’t want anyone to be disappointed.

Overall, I found this to be an engaging mystery. At times, I did get a little confused trying to keep track of all the bad actors Ronnie had surrounded himself with, but that totally could have been my headspace at the time of reading and not the story itself.

I think if you have enjoyed other books in this series, or if you enjoy Cozy Mysteries that incorporate a solid food element, you should definitely check this one out.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Berkley Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I’m very excited to continue on with this series!!

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The Ghost and Mrs. Fletcher (Murder, She Wrote #44) by Jessica Fletcher and Donald Bain

Murder, She Wrote: The Ghost and Mrs. FletcherMurder, She Wrote: The Ghost and Mrs. Fletcher by Jessica Fletcher
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


The Ghost and Mrs. Fletcher is the 44th-book in the long-running and very beloved Murder, She Wrote mystery series.

Incidentally, this is the 40th-book that I have read from this series and with the 56th-book set to release in January of 2023, I still have quite a few more to go!

Suffice it to say, a lot of people love solving mysteries with Jessica Fletcher. These books are such a comforting place for me. I have been reading these books since I was kid, when I also watched the television program with my parents.

Angela Lansbury is a goddess.

In this installment, set completely in Jessica’s hometown of Cabot Cove we have a large, recently vacated home with a potential ghost and a thousand books. Are you intrigued yet?

When fellow Cabot Cover, Cliff Cooper, passes away, Jessica agrees to help local realtor, Eve Simpson, prepare his former home, the historic Spencer Perry house, to sell.

According to Cliff’s final wishes, relayed to Jessica herself, the proceeds of the sale are then to go to his last remaining heir, his grandson, Elliot.

Cliff raised Elliot on his own after the mysterious disappearance of Elliot’s parents, Cliff’s son and daughter-in-law. It’s rumored the couple left their newborn baby with the elder Mr. Cooper so they could travel to South America on an anthropological expedition.

Jessica’s main contribution will be sorting through Cliff’s thousands of books to prepare them for sale. Her motivation is that the proceeds will be donated to the Cabot Cove library.

The house is literally packed to the gills with stuff. Jessica can hardly believe the state of it, but she promptly gets to work even amidst the circling rumors that the house is haunted. The rumors are so prevalent that Eve has had a hard time finding people to work at the property.

Therefore she resorts to hiring an unknown handyman, an apparent drifter to handle the repairs, as well as a medium to help chase away the ghosts.

Jessica just wants to quietly sort books, but the chaos Eve has created with all these unknown people makes the whole process completely uncomfortable for her. The last thing she needs is some medium including her on a ghost hunters YouTube series.

When it turns out that the late Cliff Cooper didn’t die of natural causes, however, Jessica can hardly extricate herself from the scene. She can’t help but dive into a mystery.

Thus, Jessica begins an investigation into the Cooper family, their home and who could have possibly wanted Mr. Cooper dead. It’s a real puzzle and the deeper she digs, the more confounding it gets.

As with all MSW mysteries, I had a lot of fun with this. It’s always so nostalgic to crack a spine of another Jessica Fletcher story.

Since this one is set in Cabot Cove, all Jessica’s friends and regular acquaintances make an appearance here. I will say, just for me, I tend to enjoy the stories where Jessica is traveling just a little bit more, but that is 100% personal taste.

Either way, this is a solid, fun mystery, with great twists, turns and reveals. I am so happy that I finally got a chance to read this one and look forward to my next Murder, She Wrote story.

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Review: A Cornish Recipe for Murder (Nosey Parker #5) by Fiona Leitch

A Cornish Recipe for Murder (The Nosey Parker Mysteries #5)A Cornish Recipe for Murder by Fiona Leitch
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A Cornish Recipe for Murder is the 5th-book in the Nosey Parker Mystery series.

I had so much fun with Murder on the Menu and A Cornish Christmas Murder, Books 1 and 4 in this series, and was super pumped to return to this setting, as well as this fabulous group of characters!!

In this installment, thanks to a nomination from her family, Jodie finds herself competing on the hugely popular The Best of British Baking Roadshow.

The show is currently running their regional competitions and Jodie will be going up against some of the most talented bakers in all of Cornwall.

As to be expected, there’s a bit of drama on set, including a spat between one of the long-time hosts, a well-loved drag queen, and a new man on the crew. That’s not all though, it is a competition after all. Tensions run high.

When a body is found on the grounds where the filming is taking place, the Roadshow becomes an active crime scene, allowing Jodie to combine her two favorite pastimes: cooking and homicide investigation.

Along with her now boyfriend, DCI Nathan Withers, Jodie dives deep into the backgrounds of everyone involved in the show. Is the killer still lurking amongst them?

Somehow Jodie is able to keep it all straight, perfectly executing her bakes while also compiling and scrutinizing a long-list of suspects.

After being initially unsure with this one, it turned out to be so much fun. As with the earlier books in the series, I loved Jodie and following along with her investigation.

Jodie is not your typical amateur sleuth. In fact, she’s not an amateur at all. Jodie worked for the Met in London for decades. Thus, she does have the experience to back up all her poking around.

The conclusion of this was fantastic. I was left squealing with delight over the ending and CANNOT wait to continue on with the series.

I adore it. A true Cozy, full of humor, drama-filled crimes and lovable characters. Before the release of the next installment, I definitely plan to read books 2 and 3.

Thank you so much to the publisher, One More Chapter, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I’m definitely in for the long haul with this series. Keep ’em coming!

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Review: Murder, She Wrote: Killer on the Court by Terrie Farley Moran

Killer on the Court (Murder She Wrote, #55)Killer on the Court by Jessica Fletcher
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

Another successful, murdery romp with Jessica Fletcher!

Killer on the Court is the 55th-installment of the long-running and much loved Murder, She Wrote series.

To say I am huge fan of this series would not be an exaggeration. This is actually the 39th-book that I have read in this series and I don’t plan on stopping any time soon.

Jessica Fletcher and Murder, She Wrote both are super nostalgic for me; bringing back great memories from my childhood. It makes me happy every time I pick up one up.

Terrie Farley Moran, the latest author to contribute to this series, has absolutely nailed the tone and feel of what comprises a MSW story.

In this latest mystery, Jessica travels from Cabot Cove to Rockaway Beach in New York for a holiday with her nephew, Grady, his wife, Donna and their son, Frank.

The Fletchers secured their beachside bungalow through Donna’s work, as her boss’s family owns multiple properties in the area.

On the very first full day of Jessica’s stay, as is known to happen, Donna discovers the dead body of her boss on the property’s tennis court.

The local police initially believe it was some sort of accident, a malfunctioning ball machine to blame, but Jessica’s not buying it.

She can’t help it. Her mind doesn’t like inconsistencies, so of course she gets involved. Jessica will get to the bottom of it.

I enjoyed this. I always love when Jessica travels and the beachside setting of this was rather relaxing, even with the murder.

I also always enjoy Grady and Donna. Frank on the other hand drives me a bit batty and I found his dialogue in this one a little far-fetched, but I digress.

Learning about the company that Donna works for and the family at the helm of that company was interesting. There were quite a few red herrings and I think Farley Moran did a great job building up the suspense.

I am really loving Farley Moran at the helm of this series and hoping she continues on for further installments. If you haven’t read any of the books in this series before, and love a Cozy Mystery, you can start anywhere, they do not need to be read in order.

If you see a synopsis that jumps out at you, give it a go. If you enjoy it, you have 54 more to try after that. Who knows, maybe you’ll catch up with me!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Berkley, for providing me with a copy to read and review. Keep ’em coming please!!!

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Review: The Marlow Murder Club (Marlow Murder Club #1) by Robert Thorogood

The Marlow Murder Club (Marlow Murder Club #1)The Marlow Murder Club by Robert Thorogood
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Marlow Murder Club follows 77-year old Judith Potts, a crossword setter, who lives in a slightly fading mansion on the banks of the river Thames.

Judith’s mansion lies on the outskirts of the little town of Marlow and one thing her prestigious property offers is plenty of privacy. Therefore, Judith skinny dipping on a hot summer night generally goes unnoticed.

On one particular evening, as Judith is quietly swimming and enjoying the beauty of nature surrounding her, she hears a gunshot and sounds of distress come from her neighbor’s property across the river.

She’s stunned and has no idea how to react. Did someone just murder Stefan Dunwoody? Judith alerts the police and watches their hasty search of the property. Rolling her eyes, Judith knows they’ll find nothing.

So, she decides she needs to take matters into her own hands. As you do.

Along the way she teams up with the vicar’s wife, Becks Starling, as well as a free-wheeling local dog walker, Suzie Harris. Together the trio digs into not just Stefan’s murder, but others that pop up along the way. Does Marlow have a real life serial killer on their hands?

The Marlow Murder Club gave me all the Cozy Mystery vibes I cherish, with a charming group of main characters to follow. I had so much fun reading this.

This group of characters, Judith, Becks and Suzie, were well fleshed out, relatable and likable as heck. They’re the type of people you can root for no matter how crazy their hijinks get. I am so looking forward to more in this series!!

There’s not much more I can say about this. It’s a ton of fun. It’s a book that doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s a breath of fresh air.

Seriously, when can I expect more?

Thank you so much to the publisher, Poisoned Pen Press, for providing me with a copy to read and review.

I had an absolute blast. Judith Potts is definitely a new favorite heroine for me. I basically want to be her when I grow up; whiskey, skinny dipping, a mansion to herself and amateur murder investigation…sign me up!!!

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