Cinco de Murder – My Review

 
CINCO DE MURDER
A Taste of Texas Mystery, #3
by
Rebecca Adler
Genre:  Texas Cozy Mystery
Date of Publication: April 3, 2018
Publisher: Berkley
Number of Pages: 304Scroll down for the giveaway!

Tex-Mex waitress and part-time reporter Josie Callahan serves up more Lone Star justice in this spicy mystery from the author of The Good, the Bad, and the Guacamole.

 

It’s fiesta time in Broken Boot, Texas, and tourists are pouring into town faster than free beer at a bull roping for the mouthwatering Cinco de Mayo festivities. Tex-Mex waitress Josie Callahan, her feisty abuela, and even her spunky Chihuahua Lenny are polishing their folklórico dances for Saturday’s big parade, while Uncle Eddie is adding his own spicy event to the fiesta menu: Broken Boot’s First Annual Charity Chili Cook-off.

But Uncle Eddie’s hopes of impressing the town council go up in smoke when cantankerous chili cook Lucky Straw is found dead in his tent. And when Josie’s beloved uncle is accused of fatal negligence, she, Lenny, and the steadfast Detective Lightfoot must uncover who ended the ambitious chilihead’s life–before another cook kicks the bucket.

 

PRAISE FOR CINCO DE MURDER:
“I enjoyed every minute of this high fa looting Texas escapade. The authentic Texas sayings had me rolling on the floor. I’m a Texan and boy did I relate to the towns and chili cook-off so well.”
Texas Book-aholic

 

“I enjoy the Texas flair and touch while all the food talk just makes me hungry. If you enjoy a good cozy mystery that features an adorable dog and a culinary touch then this is the book/series for you.”~Books a Plenty Book Reviews

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My

Cinco de Murder – My Review

“The problem was the tourists in front of us. They kept pulling onto the shoulder to take photos of the desert in bloom, dramatic claret cups and bright firewheel blanket flowers, with the rugged Chisos Mountains in the back ground.”

I seriously thought about taking this book with me on my recent trip to Missouri. After reading the first couple of chapters, I decided no, because I might start craving a margarita and Missouri would be the last place to get one. Well – I was wrong on margarita’s being in Missouri, but I was not wrong that the book would make me want margaritas – in a good way!

Lenny, the tiny Chi almost takes center stage in this cozy little murder mystery set in the Big Bend region of Texas. While Broken Boot, Texas may not exist in real life, it can parallel so many small Texas towns where family is always a rock and there is always a highly recommended local restaurant to eat at.

Josie Callahan is a local reporter and part-time waitress who has a desire to become a crime reporter. Lenny is her dog and is always by her side. In the midst of celebrating Cinco de Mayo, a murder occurs before the big chili cook-off. Solving the crime puts Lenny’s life in peril. What’s so cool is throughout the book you get glimpses of small-town Texas life and how it would be nice if the council people of towns did ride in parades because it would make them seem more human.

“Senora Mari was right. Again. I whispered a prayer of thanks for the constant love of my kooky family, and then entered our restaurant ready to serve not only our hungry customers, but my family and their needs, with an open heart.”

What I wished more of was Lenny’s Little Dog Blog. It’s a fresh take on writing from a dog’s perspective. Plus, I wish Lenny did say more than just “Yip.”

My only regret while reading Cinco de Murder was the lack of the proper refreshments. It would definitely be best with salt-rimmed margaritas and a bowl of warm chips and salsa. I like how Rebecca Adler added authentic touches of the bison herd at Caprock Canyons and mentioning how cell service is very spotty in rural areas of Texas, just to name a few. As a side note – the bison herd at Caprock Canyons is a must-see for any Texan or visitor to Texas.

If you’ve got a knack for cooking, there are some pretty authentic recipes in the back of the book if you’d like to try your at hand them. I think I need to try Josie’s Baked Jalapeno Poppers. I may be off to the store.

Cinco de Murder was a perfect little summer mystery book with twists and turns, plus it has a dog. I’m always a sucker for a dog in a book.

Thanks, Rebecca for making a memorable story.

 

Rebecca Adler grew up on the sugar beaches of the Florida Gulf Coast. Drawn to the Big Apple by the sweet smell of wishful thinking, she studied acting on Broadway until a dark-eyed cowboy flung her over his saddle and hightailed it to the Southwest.
She’s currently content to pour her melodramatic tendencies into writing the Taste of Texas culinary mysteries from Berkley Prime Crime: Here Today, Gone Tamale; The Good, the Bad, and the Guacamole; and Cinco de Murder. Set in far West Texas, her humorous stories are filled with delicious suspense and scrumptious Tex-Mex recipes. Her alter ego, Gina Lee Nelson, writes contemporary romance with a sweet, Southern-fried flavor. 
A former president of North Texas Romance Writers, Rebecca is currently a member of Sisters in Crime and Romance Writers of America. When not writing, she spends a great deal of time on her other favorite pastime, directing high school theatre. 
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The Widow’s Watcher – My Review

 
THE WIDOW’S WATCHER
by
ELIZA MAXWELL
Genre: Literary Fiction
Publisher: Lake Union Press
Date of Publication: March 29, 2018
Number of Pages: 286Scroll down for the giveaway!

From Eliza Maxwell, the bestselling author of The Unremembered Girl, comes a gripping novel about the mysteries that haunt us and the twists of fate that can unravel them…
Living in the shadow of a decades-old crime that stole his children from him, reclusive Lars Jorgensen is an unlikely savior. But when a stranger walks onto the ice of a frozen Minnesota lake, her intentions are brutally clear, and the old man isn’t about to let her follow through.
Jenna Shaw didn’t ask for Lars’s help, nor does she want it. After he pulls her from the brink, however, Jenna finds her desire to give up challenged by their unlikely friendship. In Jenna, Lars recognizes his last chance for redemption. And in her quest to solve the mysteries of Lars’s past and bring him closure, Jenna may find the way out of her own darkness. 
But the truth that waits threatens to shatter it all. When secrets are surrendered and lies are laid bare, Jenna and Lars may find that accepting the past isn’t their greatest challenge. Can they afford the heartbreaking price of forgiveness?
PRAISE FOR THE WIDOW’S WATCHER:
“There was a moment I had to tell myself that this is just a book…”
Goodreads reviewer
“A well-paced story of healing, forgiveness and tragedy, with enough unexpected twists to keep readers guessing.”
— Amber Cowie, author of Rapid Falls

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My

 file-5 (1)

The Widow’s Watcher – My Review

Note: May contain spoilers 

 

“The world would always be less for that choice. But I guess the world deserves that, after what it’s done to you. Whether I like it or not doesn’t make me qualified to judge.”

First – this is the third book I’ve read and reviewed by Eliza Maxwell.

Second – I started to hate the story immediately because of the dog and then was crying at the end because of the dog.

Third – this will be always be fondly remembered by me as the Old Man’s story.

Fourth – How many of us have dreamed of simply walking away and winding up someplace else, being taken in by strangers, and creating a new life?

Fifth – always admire an author who includes a note with their book, as well as autographing it.

THIS book!

Author Eliza Maxwell can really craft a story that envelops me as a reader into the story where I care about the characters. Maxwell has a talented gift of making me wonder how the story will end. I make a guess and just when I think about in the middle of the book where she is leading the story, I’m completely blown away at the end of the book. You don’t see it coming.

The Widow’s Watcher is now fondly known by me as the Old Man’s story, because of my past experiences with a lady named Sycily. I made friends with her while working on a grant project. She was in her eighties when I met her. She taught me so much about life. In this book, it’s an Old Man who teaches about life.

Maxwell opens the story with a very distraught Jenna who has lost her entire family. She left behind the only living family member, Becket, the dog, so she could end her life in some unknown location. What transpires is Lars, the Old Man, saving her life before she stepped into the frozen water.

As the story unfolds you see that all the characters have a past they either forgot or is revealed. All to a certain degree have major pain they have dealt with. Lars lost his wife and two of his children. Owen, Lars remaining son, has his own forgotten secret. Lars’s housekeeper is not whom she seems. Basically, everyone has secrets in this book!

While Jenna’s past is very tragic you find out that life can play a tragic fate giving you what you dreamed and contemplated about. Lars tries his best to show Jenna that life is worth living no matter what’s been dealt you. The story evolves quickly after Jenna is asked by Lars to investigate his children’s disappearance.

As an odd side part of the story – Jenna’s subconscious comes through as her oldest daughter, Cassie. Often times it was disconcerting to me, but the voice of Cassie is what subtly reveals Jenna’s character and heart.

The ending pages had me in tears, mainly because of the return of Becket. Becket was all forgiving of Jenna for leaving him behind. If only people had the hearts of dogs – forgiving and all loving. In the end, The Widow’s Watcher shows us that if characters can forgive then why cannot we forgive in our real world lives.

Once again Maxwell left me emotional but in a fantastic way. It’s another unforgettable story. Isn’t that what books are supposed to do, leave readers remembering the story long after the book becomes apart of your book collection?

 

 

Eliza Maxwell lives in Texas with her ever-patient husband and two kids. She’s an artist and writer, an introvert and a British cop drama addict. She loves nothing more than to hear from readers.
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3RD PRIZE: Signed Copy
MAY 22-31, 2018
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