Death By Vanilla Latte (Bookstore Cafe Mystery 4) By Alex Erickson [Book Review]

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Death By Vanilla Latte by Alex Erickson | Book Review | Cozy Mystery | Mystery Month | Mystery | Fiction | Book Blogger | RachelPoli.comEver since café owner Krissy Hancock settled into a relationship and—mostly—forgot about old flames, life has become surprisingly serene. Too bad her father, famed mystery writer James Hancock, had to pay an unexpected visit to Death by Coffee and brew up a batch of trouble…

While caught off-guard by her dad’s presence, Krissy never dreamed he’d become the biggest murder suspect in town. But that’s exactly what happens when James’s boorish agent—a man he allegedly fired just hours earlier—is found cold and lifeless, a still-warm vanilla latte resting by his hand…

With Pine Hills divided over her father’s innocence and a fanatical fan keen on locking the author away for safe keeping, Krissy must end the madness and identify the real criminal—even if that means meeting an ex or two along the way. But as her social life becomes increasingly chaotic, Krissy may be caught in a case that’s far too hot to handle…

Author: Alex Erickson
Genre: Cozy Mystery, Fiction
Series: Bookstore Cafe Mystery
Publisher: Kensington
Published Date: May 30, 2017
How I got the book: I got a paperback copy as a gift from my parents for Christmas.

Book Cover | RachelPoli.comAs always, I enjoy the book cover. It sticks with the theme for the rest of the series and I always love seeing a cat on the front.

First Thoughts | RachelPoli.comI’ve read and reviewed the first three books of the series and I’ve wanted to keep going, so here we are with book number four.

Plot | RachelPoli.comKrissy isn’t in so much hot water this time around, but her father is. When her best-selling author dad’s agrent kicks the bucket, Krissy’s dad is a suspect. Now it’s up to Krissy to find the real killer and save her father’s reputation.

I think this plot is my favorite so far of the series. All the characters are well established and familiar. It was nice to see more of Krissy’s dad in this one as well. Plus, the plot was interesting as it was more personal than the rest.

Characters | RachelPoli.comI’ve always liked Krissy’s dad from what we’ve heard of him through phone calls on Krissy’s part. I was glad for him to play a major role in this one. Overall, I still enjoy the characters. Krissy still isn’t my favorite protagonist, but she’s eased up througout the series.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

Like the rest of the books in the series, this is an easy to read. The book is a decent length, the ending is wrapped up nicely, and it’s fun to follow along the characters and figure out the mystery yourself.

Overall | RachelPoli.comAs I said earlier, I think this was my favorite of the series so far. I don’t suggest starting at this particular book so you can get a feel for the characters, but it’s a great one to read nonetheless.

Death By Vanilla Latte (Bookstore Cafe Mystery 4) by Alex Erickson gets…
Book Review Rating System | 5 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com5 out of 5 cups

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Assaulted Caramel (Amish Candy Shop Mystery 1) By Amanda Flower [Book Review]

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Sometimes you need a sweet tooth to take a bite out of crime…

Bailey King is living the sweet life as assistant chocolatier at world-famous JP Chocolates in New York City. But just when Bailey’s up for a life-changing promotion, her grandmother calls with news that her grandfather’s heart condition has worsened. Bailey rushes to Harvest, Ohio, where her grandparents still run Swissmen Sweets, the Amish candy shop where she was first introduced to delicious fudge, truffles, and other assorted delights.

She finds her grandfather is doing better than she feared. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for a local Englisch developer, whom Bailey finds dead in the candy shop kitchen—with Jebediah King’s chocolate knife buried in his chest. Now the police are sweet on her grandfather as the prime suspect. Despite the sincere efforts of a yummy deputy with chocolate-brown eyes, Bailey takes it on herself to clear Jebediah. But as a cunning killer tries to fudge the truth, Bailey may be headed straight into a whole batch of trouble…

Author: Amanda Flower
Genre: Cozy Mystery, Fiction
Series: Amish Candy Shop
Publisher: Kensington
Published Date: August 29, 2017
How I got the book: I bought a paperback copy of this book at Barnes & Noble.

Book Cover | RachelPoli.comThe book cover is nice. It shows the shop where the setting takes place, as well as the murder. However, looking at the cover, it doesn’t tell us too much about the book. It looks nice, though.

First Thoughts | RachelPoli.comI searched the entire wall of cozy mysteries at my local Barnes & Noble. This was the first in a series I haven’t read before, so I decided to give it a try.

Plot | RachelPoli.comThis plot follows Bailey King, a chocolatier who is just about to get a promotion at work when her grandfather becomes ill. She visits her grandparents, possibly messing up her promotion, and ends up staying longer than intended – her grandfather is fine, but a murder occurs in their candy shop.

Thus, begins Bailey attempting to figure out the murder. This book is like more cozies where the protagonist, who is not a detective, plays as one and sticks their nose in other people’s business. Needless to say, the plot is similar to what I’ve seen before. But it was well done nonetheless.

Characters | RachelPoli.comBailey and her grandparents were great. I enjoyed going through the motions of the murder with them. Bailey’s boss wasn’t too bad of a character, though I didn’t care too much for her friend. These characters, overall, weren’t too bad to read from.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

This is an easy book to follow along with. The chapters are on the shorter side and the evidence, setting, and characters are all laid out for the reader. It was a tough case to crack, but it was enjoyable all the same.

Overall | RachelPoli.comThis was a nice introduction to a new series. I think I’ll be getting the next book.

Assaulted Caramel (Amish Candy Shop Mystery 1) by Amanda Flower gets…
Book Review Rating System | 4 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com4 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

I didn’t see anything wrong with hoping for kindness in the world.Amanda Flower, Assaulted Caramel (Amish Candy Shop Mystery 1)

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Goals [May 2019]

Goals May 2019 | Creative Writing | Reading | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

Reading

It’s Mystery Month again! I’ll be reading four mystery novels this month in celebration. You can keep an eye on my Goodreads to see what I’ll be reading.

Writing

In addition to Mystery Month, it’s also an editing month! Following the 85K90 Writing Challenge calendar, I’ll be editing three different projects – George Florence & The Perfect Alibi (2020), Sunday Morning Volume 2 (2020), and Crossroads (Wattpad, June 2019).

I’ll be on the second draft for two of those projects and the other will be on its “final” draft. At least, final for me until I can find an editor.

Blogging

It’s Mystery Month, which means the majority of my blog posts will be about the mystery genre. My book reviews will be mystery books as will my writing prompts. Short Story Sunday will have a four-part mystery short story. So, I hope you’re all looking forward to that.

If there’s anything about the mystery genre you’re interested to know, let me know in the comments and I’ll try to do a post about it.

Overall

I’m looking forward to May. I feel like I have my head on straight again and I have a lot of good things planned. Plus, the warmer weather should be here to stay! I can’t wait to get started on my edits and work on some new side projects.

What are your goals for the month? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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April 2019 [Wrap Up]

Wrap Up April 2019 | Creative Writing | Reading | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

Reading

I read a good amount during the month. I went into a bit of a slump toward the end and even skipped a book review. I’m not too worried though. I have the rest of the year to reach my 52-book goal. Slow and steady.

Writing

The writing was plentiful between the 85K90 challenge and Camp NaNoWriMo. I also self-published Sunday Morning: A Collection of 52 Flash Fiction (finally!) so please do go check that out if you haven’t already.

Blogging

I got behind in blogging. Like, way behind. So much happened this month and there weren’t enough hours in the day. I’m getting a good chunk of May done though. I’ll catch up soon enough.

Overall

April was crazy. I self-published my first book, participated in Camp NaNoWriMo, finished the writing part of the 85K90 Writing Challenge, so much happened at my church, it was Easter, there were a couple of birthdays, and, toward the end, my grandfather went into the hospital. It’s been a lot, obviously. I’m drained mentally and physically, despite most of the happenings in April were good.

I even skipped a couple of days of blogging, that’s how drained I was. My OCD will drive me nuts later, but whatever – I don’t want to post for the sake of posting and I needed a break.

I’m looking forward to May, though. Things should calm down a bit and hopefully, all will be well with my grandfather.

Posts To Remember

1. All About Worry Stones [Mental Health Monday]
2. Taking Breaks [Healthy Writer]
3. Sunday Morning Cover Reveal

How did April treat you? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Death By Pumpkin Spice (Bookstore Cafe Mystery 3) By Alex Erickson [Book Review]

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Book Review: Death By Pumpkin Spice by Alex Erickson | Cozy Mystery | Fiction | Book Blogger | Reading | RachelPoli.com

I bought it at Barnes & Noble.

Summary:

Bookstore café owner Krissy Hancock would rather spend Halloween serving pumpkin goodies than wearing costumes with Pine Hills’ wealthiest at Yarborough mansion, especially when the soiree shapes up to be more trick than treat . . .

As if a run-in with an old flame and a failed marriage proposal weren’t enough to horrify Krissy for one night, a woman is found strangled to death in a room filled with ominous jack-o’-lanterns. All signs suggest a crime of passion—but when the hostess’s jewelry disappears, malevolent intentions seem way more likely . . .

With the estate on lockdown and a killer roaming the halls, Krissy must help Officer Paul Dalton investigate each nook, cranny, and guest for answers—while also confronting a few demons of her own. Someone has lots of skeletons in the closet, and Krissy better tread lightly to expose them . . .

My Review:

Plot | RachelPoli.comKrissy finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation. However, this time, it’s not due to her cafe or the coffee she makes. This book has a Clue feel to it and I enjoyed it. A murder happens at a part and the entire mansion goes into lock-down as they discover who it is. I thought it was a good choice for a setting, even though it’s a bit over-done for a cozy mystery. I enjoyed it nonetheless.

Characters | RachelPoli.comAll the characters are still the same. Krissy is sticking her nose into everyone’s business, though she tries not to. She’s also torn in her love life between Detective Paul and her rich date. I’m still not a fan of Krissy as a character, but I enjoy everyone else in the book, especially her friend and co-owner of the cafe.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

This book, like the rest of the series, is an easy read. It’s not long at about 300 pages and the mystery is easy enough to follow along and try to figure it out yourself.

Overall | RachelPoli.comDeath by Pumpkin Spice was a good read. I would have enjoyed it more if I could get along with Krissy, but she did get a little better in this one. Still, I plan on reading the rest of the series.

Death by Pumpkin Spice (Bookstore Cafe Mystery 3) by Alex Erickson gets…
Book Review Rating System | 4 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com4 out of 5 cups

Buy the book:

Amazon

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around!

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Warriors: The Raging Storm (A Vision Of Shadows 6) By Erin Hunter [Book Review]

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Book Review: Warriors: The Raging Storm (A Vision of Shadows 6) by Erin Hunter | Reading | Book Blogger | Middle Grade | Books | Fantasy | Creative Writing | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

I got a hardcover copy for my birthday.

Summary:

ShadowClan has returned under the leadership of a new Tigerstar, but their renewed strength has brought the tensions around the lake to an explosive breaking point. SkyClan’s place among the Clans is about to be decided once and for all.

My Review:

Plot | RachelPoli.comAll the Clans are back to normal – for the most part. ShadowClan is under new leadership in Tigerstar and as they try to rebuild, all the Clans try to get used to being one of five instead of one in four. SkyClan has it harder as they battle with ShadowClan over territory and eventually they decide to leave the lake as they feel unwelcome.

StarClan prophecizes that all five Clans must remain by the lake and they all aid one another or else a great storm will come. Of course, that’s what happens, except the storm doesn’t really begin until about the last third of the book. I felt it took a while for it to get to that point and, when it did, the rest of the plot went by quickly.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

The Raging Storm is about the same length as the rest of the books in the A Vision of Shadows series. It’s an easy, quick read. The writing is simple, the characters are awesome, and the dialogue and description are great. Of course, I’m this point, I’m well emersed in the world.

Overall | RachelPoli.comThis was a strange series in the Warriors books. I absolutely loved the arc with Darktail and the rogues in books one through three, but books four through six felt a bit out of place. They were good and I enjoyed them, but it was odd to see basically two plots in six books instead of one. Granted, they had SkyClan in common, but the first three books were so intense and the ending of book three was fabulous. Book six had a happy ending and was satisfying, but not so much compared to the high stakes from early on in the series.

Warriors: The Raging Storm (A Vision of Shadows 6) by Erin Hunter gets…
Book Review Rating System | 4 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com4 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“She was following her Clan away from the two cats she loved best.” -Erin Hunter, Warriors: The Raging Storm (A Vision of Shadows 6)

Buy the book:

Amazon

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around!

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Would You Rather Book Edition

I haven’t done a Would You Rather game in a while. I figured, why not do another one?

Would You Rather Book Tag | Creative Writing | Reading | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

Would You Rather Have The Ability To Buy Unlimited eBooks Or Have a $10,000 Gift Card To Any Bookstore?

Give me that money! I enjoy both physical books and my Kindle, but I love being able to hold the actual book in my hand. Books may not be cheap, but I could still buy a ton with $10,000. My only issue would be that the Barnes & Noble near me also sells puzzles, board games, and Pokemon cards… I could buy a lot of Pokemon cards with $10,000.

Would You Rather Attend Hogwarts Or Live In The Shire?

I mean, this is a super tough one. I would love to go to Hogwarts and be a wizard but also the Shire calls to me. Hobbits sing the song of my people. They eat all day, they live in peace and harmony, and they look like me… minus all the hair. So, I think I would have to go with the Shire.

Would You Rather Write The World’s Number One Best-Seller Or Live Inside Your Favorite Book?

Even though most books have a happy ending and my favorites do, I think I would like to write a best seller. If I lived in my favorite book I’d go on one adventure. But if I could write many books – even if only one is a best seller – I could go on many adventures.

What are your answers to these questions? Let me know in the comments below. If you enjoyed this post, please share it around!

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Battle Scars By Jordan Corley [Book Review]

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Book Review: Battle Scars by Jordan Corley | Poetry | Memoir | Book Blogger | Book Reviewer | RachelPoli.com

I received an eARC from the author.

Summary:

battle scars is a tribute to the pain and suffering that happens beneath the surface of a smile. A smile we so cautiously adorn to mask the truth, but sometimes life just isn’t going the way you want it to, sometimes life is hard. This collection of poetry explores life through Jordan’s eyes, with the hope that someone, somewhere, might be able to relate to the meaning of her words and find solace in the comfort of knowing that they are not alone.

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.comThe cover is simple enough. It’s dark, rightfully so given the poetry inside. The triangles feel as though they’re out of place, but I like that symbolism.

First Thoughts | RachelPoli.comPoetry isn’t something I read too often, but I do enjoy it. When I author asked if I was interested in giving this a read, I was more than happy to.

Plot | RachelPoli.comAs the summary says, this book is a collection of poetry through the author’s eyes as she goes through some tough times in life. The messages were well done and received. I think there are many people out there who can relate to the author’s words.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

This book is as described – a collection of poetry. Each poem is written well with deep thoughts. I didn’t resonate with all of them though there were some words that stuck out in my mind. Some of the poems were bland. One poem repeated “sorry” over and over again which seemed to drag on for me. However, most of the poems are beautifully crafted and worded well.

Overall | RachelPoli.comBeing poetry, this is a quick read and worth the time if you’re interested in memoirs and poetry.

Battle Scars by Jordan Corley gets…
Book Review Rating System | 4 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com4 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“i do not want to run anymore / i want to stop / and feel the breeze / breathe in the scents of / grass and dirt / and just be / in the moment / for / a / second.” -Jordan Corley, Battle Scars

Buy the book:

Amazon

About Jordan Corley:

Jordan Corley | Author | Poet | Battle Scars | Book Review | RachelPoli.comJordan released her debut poetry collection, battle scars, at age 19 after maintaining a WordPress poetry blog for a year. She currently attends Penn State University where she is attempting a degree in Biomedical and Mechanical engineering and writes for their school newspaper. Her biggest writing accomplishment would undeniably have to be her piece on Jesse McCartney because it has (hopefully) set her one step closer to meeting Justin Bieber.

Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around!

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Goals [April 2019]

Goals April 2019 | Creative Writing | Reading | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

Reading

I plan on reading four books this month:

1. Battle Scars by Jordan Corley
2. Warriors: The Raging Storm (A Vision of Shadows 6) by Erin Hunter
3. Crookedstar’s Promise by Erin Hunter
4. Death By Pumpkin Spice (Bookstore Cafe Mystery 3) by Alex Erickson

If I can read an extra book or two in addition to those, that’d be great.

Writing

It’s Camp NaNoWriMo time! I’ll be working on two different projects aiming for 50,000 words total. I’m also hoping to get a few other things written as well just for fun.

Also, Sunday Morning is finally being released this month! I know, I’ve been promising it for a while, but it’s finally here. There will be more details on that soon.

Blogging

Once I finish my April posts, which I’m almost done with, I’ll be working on admin stuff all the while trying to get a headstart on May – Mystery Month!

Overall

April is going to be a busy month, but I’m ready!

What are your goals for the month? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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March 2019 [Wrap Up]

Wrap Up March 2019 | Creative Writing | Blogging | Reading | RachelPoli.com

Reading

This was kind of a slow reading month for me. I read what I wanted to and what I had planned to, but I didn’t read a little bit each day. Most of the books I read within a day or two right before the end of the week. Still, I enjoyed most of what I read and haven’t gotten behind in my reading goal.

Writing

Slow and steady wins the race, right? I’ve been writing, I’ve been prepping and outlining. I planned out my writing for April and am in good shape for Sunday Morning and the other projects I’ll be working on. Aside from making progress on Sunday Morning, I outlined my next Wattpad novella and worked out some timeline stuff for my mystery series. Overall, it was a decent writing month. Not in terms of words but I still made progress.

Blogging

Blogging is still going strong. I’ve been slowly writing blog posts for 2019. Most of my features (with the exception of the wrap-ups and contests and such) I’m able to write in bulk. So, that’s what I’ve been doing. This will save me so much time as the months go by and I only have to worry about writing the day to day content, which I usually write at the beginning of the month. Once I’m done with all of this, I’ll be able to spend more time gabbing on social media as well as writing!

Overall

March was busy. Aside from work, I picked up some extra babysitting jobs and got a new nephew! It was a good month and I’m looking forward to April.

Posts To Remember

1. March & April 2019 Writing Submissions
2. My Diagnosis Story [Mental Health Monday]
3. How Many Drafts Does It Take?

How did March treat you? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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