Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Drop Dead Ornaments by Lois Winston | Blog Tour with Review, Guest Post, and Giveaway

The Blurb

Anastasia Pollack’s son Alex is dating Sophie Lambert, the new kid in town. For their community service project, the high school seniors have chosen to raise money for the county food bank. Anastasia taps her craft industry contacts to donate materials for the students to make Christmas ornaments they’ll sell at the town’s annual Holiday Crafts Fair.

At the fair Anastasia meets Sophie’s father, Shane Lambert, who strikes her as a man with secrets. She also notices a woman eavesdropping on their conversation. Later that evening when the woman turns up dead, Sophie’s father is arrested for her murder.

Alex and Sophie beg Anastasia to find the real killer, but Anastasia has had her fill of dead bodies. She’s also not convinced of Shane’s innocence. Besides, she’s promised younger son Nick she’ll stop risking her life. But how can she say no to Alex?

Drop Dead Ornaments by Lois Winston
Series: An Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery, #7
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publication Date: 
October 22, 2018
Self Published
Paperback: 278 pages
ISBN-10: 1940795443
ISBN-13: 978-1940795447
E-Book File Size: 2641 KB
 Add to Goodreads

The Review

Drop Dead Ornaments is such a fantastic book, y'all! It's just like having a wonderful visit with Anastasia, her BF Zack, and her sons Alex and Nick. (Luckily, her mother-in-law Lucille is gone most of the time. You won't believe where, and why!) 

I adore Anastasia! She's clever, likable, fun to read about, and easy to root for. She's holding it together quite well, considering everything her author has put her through, over seven books and three novellas. (See the Guest Post for details.) She and Zack make a cute couple. It's nice to see a lot of Nick and Alex, and to meet Alex's girlfriend Sophie and her dad Shane. I like how Anastasia keeps wanting to believe in Shane's innocence.

Following the book's Epilogue is "Anastasia's No-Crafting-Talent-Required Glass Ball Christmas Ornaments," with instructions for five ornaments. These are the same ornaments that Anastasia taught Alex's senior class to make, for their fundraiser.

Some of my favorite passages in Drop Dead Ornaments include Ralph, Anastasia's African Grey parrot. For example:
• "But that's not the case," said Shane. "Apparently Tammy racked up quite a rap sheet over the years, mostly petty crimes like shoplifting, but she was also convicted of embezzlement and spent three years in federal prison."
"To prison with her!" squawked Ralph, flying into the kitchen and coming to roost on his favorite spot atop of the refrigerator. "Measure for Measure, Act Five, Scene One."
The color drained from Shane's face as he stared wide-eyed  and mouth agape at Ralph. "That bird... he—"
"Quotes Shakespeare," I said....

• Zack joined me a few minutes later. Ralph sat perched on his shoulder.
"You can't ever leave me," I said eyeing the bird nuzzling his beak against Zack's jaw. "You'd break Ralph's heart."
"That's the only reason I stay."
"Nice to know where I stand in the pecking order."

• Zack ... placed him in his cage. Ralph protested with a flap of his wings and an angry squawk. "Sorry, Ralph. The restaurant doesn't allow parrots. We'll bring you a doggie bag. I promise."
I raised an eyebrow. "A doggie bag?"
Zack bowed to the bird. "Pardon me, Ralph. I stand corrected. A parrot bag."
Ralph answered with a second squawk before adding, "Then here's a man stands, that has brought his pardon. All's Well That Ends Well, Act Two, Scene One."
"I hope that means he's accepted my apology," said Zack.
I eyed Ralph. He offered me a blank stare in return. "I'd say it depends on the contents of the parrot bag."

As I said above, Anastasia wants to believe Shane is innocent, despite the information uncovered by the police. She discovers several other persons who may have had motives for the murder. She also discovers a possible second mystery that she and Zack investigate. The two mysteries make the plot fast-moving and can't-put-down-able. The climax is riveting, when Anastasia saves the day as "Wonder Woman." Author Lois Winston kept me guessing as to whodunit. The ending is sensational — I can't wait until Book 8 to find out what happens next! I will definitely continue with the Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries.

I love Drop Dead Ornaments, and recommend it to all fans of cozy mysteries. I think it will have special appeal to fans of the Empty Nest Mystery Series, previous books in the Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery Series, and other books by Lois Winston / Emma Carlyle. I hereby bestow upon Drop Dead Ornaments my highest rating of Five Kitties!

Five out of five kitties
Note: I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of Drop Dead Ornaments.
All opinions shared are 100% my own.

The Guest Post

Tomorrow is Halloween. I hope by now you’ve purchased your costumes and stocked up on candy corn and other treats for the little tykes who will be ringing your doorbell, looking for sweet handouts. If not, you may be out of luck. By now the store shelves are pretty much devoid of Halloween items. In two days those shelves will be filled with Christmas and Hanukkah decorations and treats, as well as ugly sweaters and displays of gift items. When it comes to retail, if you snooze, you lose. (Ever try buying a bathing suit in August or a winter coat in February?)

Many readers also like to choose their books based on the seasons and holidays. Few people read “beach books” by the fire during a winter blizzard or Christmas-themed books while bikini-clad on a blanket by a sandy shoreline. If you’re one of those readers who looks forward to Christmas-themed books, you’ll be happy to know that the newest book in my Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery Series takes place at Christmastime.

For those of you unfamiliar with Anastasia, she’s had a rough year. Twelve months ago this craft editor for a women’s magazine was living a comfortable middle-class life with her salesman husband Karl, two teenage sons, and a Shakespeare-quoting parrot she inherited from her great-aunt. Then I entered her life and turned it upside down by killing off Karl, who had a secret gambling addiction, and leaving her with no money, massive debts, and a communist mother-in-law as a permanent and unwelcome house guest. You’d think that would be enough, but I wasn’t satisfied. I threw poor Anastasia into the middle of not one, not two, but countless murders and mayhem, forcing her to become a reluctant amateur sleuth. (Needless to say, she’s not a member of my fan club.)

Fast-forward one year and seven books later, and Anastasia is slowly working her way out of debt. She’s also found love again, but she’s still stuck with her mother-in-law, and the dead bodies haven’t stopped piling up. What can I do, though? I’m writing an amateur sleuth mystery series. I’ve got to have some mysteries for her to solve, don’t I? And although it’s the time of year for peace on earth and goodwill toward men (and women), not all is peaceful and full of goodwill in Anastasia’s world. There’s a killer on the loose, and as far as Anastasia is concerned, the police are looking at the wrong man as their prime suspect.

The Author

About Lois Winston

USA Today bestselling and award-winning author Lois Winston writes mystery, romance, romantic suspense, chick lit, women’s fiction, children’s chapter books, and nonfiction under her own name and her Emma Carlyle pen name. Kirkus Reviews dubbed her critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series, “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum.” 

In addition, Lois is an award-winning craft and needlework designer who often draws much of her source material for both her characters and plots from her experiences in the crafts industry.

Visit Lois on the web at these locations:

The Giveaway


October 22 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

October 22 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews - REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

October 22 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

October 23 – Mallory Heart's Cozies – REVIEW

October 23 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

October 23 – Christa Reads and Writes – SPOTLIGHT

October 24 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT

October 24 – The Ninja Librarian - REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW


October 25 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW

October 26 – Laura's Interests - REVIEW

October 26 – A Wytch's Book Review Blog - REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

October 27 – T's Stuff – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

October 27 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews - SPOTLIGHT

October 28 – Readeropolis – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

October 28 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

October 29 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT

October 29 – Cozy Up With Kathy - AUTHOR INTERVIEW

October 30 – Jane Reads - REVIEW, GUEST POST

October 30 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

October 31 – StoreyBook Reviews – CRAFT POST

November 1 - Celticlady's Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

November 1 - The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – GUEST POST

November 1 - I'm All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

November 2 - The Montana Bookaholic - CHARACTER GUEST POST

November 2 - The Book's the Thing – REVIEW

November 2 - Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

November 3 – My Reading Journeys - CHARACTER GUEST POST

November 3 – The Self-Rescue Princess – REVIEW

November 3 – Here's How It Happened – REVIEW

November 4 – My Devotional Thoughts – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

November 4 – Melina's Book BlogREVIEW

November 4 – Curling Up by the Fire – REVIEW

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