Review | Violet Tendencies by Kate Dyer-Seeley

Britta Johnston and her aunt Elin are delighted that their Portland floral boutique is part of the city’s Rose Festival, which draws thousands to the Pacific Northwest for dragon boat races, fireworks, and other attractions–capped off by a big parade. They’re building a float that’s sure to rock the judge’s boat . . . until a gang of angry protestors shows up. The group, who call themselves Dark Fusion, are decidedly not into flower power, and they want to take down the system . . . including the upcoming extravaganza.

Then their leader is strangled with a garland of violets–and Britta finds the body. With tensions running high and so much at stake, there are plenty of suspects, from the Grand Marshal to a longtime volunteer to a former Rose Queen. But before Britta and Elin can stem the violence, the case is going to get even more explosive . . .

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I love the Rose City Mystery series for a number of reasons, but firstly because of how Dyer-Seeley describes Portland and flowers. I really enjoyed this installment in the series, as we follow Britta and Elin as they create a float for the Rose Festival Parade as well as deal with a group of anarchist protesters who are focusing on the parade and making sure it doesn’t go to plan. Britta, as always, is a strong woman who wants to find out the truth, though that often ends up in her getting into sticky situations. I loved the further depth that Tomo had in this book and would have loved even more about Pete as he and Britta continued their will they/won’t they relationship. Also, learning more about Elin’s past was a great interjection and really filled out her character even more. All in all a great mystery that will leave you changing your mind on how the killer is just as much as Britta.

Happy reading!

Event Recap: A Cup of Holiday Fear Release Party

I love hearing about book events that are close enough for me to go to them, but that’s sometimes a challenge as the closest events are usually hours away; however, when I heard that Ellie Alexander was having a release party for the 10th book in her Bakeshop Mystery series in Ashland where the books are set, I had to go. Not only is Ellie on my list of favorite authors, but Ashland is one of my favorite places and is only about an hour from where I live.

Winchester Inn, Ashland, Oregon

The release party was held at the beautiful Winchester Inn which also happens to be the setting for the book that we were celebrating, A Cup of Holiday Fear. It was the perfect cozy and historic location for this gathering and I can only imagine it being an amazing backdrop for the mystery in the book.

Everything was decked out in Christmas decorations and touches and we were treated to delicious treats and custom made drinks. Ellie took some time to discuss the genesis of her writing this book and we also heard from the owner of the inn regarding how the Winchester Inn came to be. We also learned the story of the Dickens Feast, which is an event at the inn every year that plays a part in the book.

It was amazing hearing Ellie talk about her books (as always) she is so personable and passionate about her characters and stories. Many of her characters are based on actual people in real life. For example her father is the inspiration for The Professor in the books and we were treated to meeting him at this event. While all of her books are able to be read as stand alones, I definitely recommend starting at the beginning so you get to know the characters over time.

After the discussion everyone was able to explore a few different areas including buying Torte merchandise, taking a selfie with Santa, getting some of the treats and of course getting books signed by Ellie. It was an amazing time and it was wonderful to see Ellie again! I love being able to support a local author and it’s even better when it’s an author whose books I love.

Be sure to check out Ellie’s books, they are enchanting, hilarious and so enjoyable. Though I’m not completely caught up, I have loved everything I have read from her. Happy reading!

Author Spotlight: Ellie Alexander

Earlier this year while browsing Booktube I was introduced to the Bakeshop Mystery series by Ellie Alexander.  I was instantly intrigued as this series was set in Ashland, Oregon, which is a place near and dear to my heart.  I have many fond memories of Ashland and the Oregon Shakespeare festival throughout my life, going to the Shakespeare Festival was a tradition for my dad and I. Needless to say, I was both excited and cautious when I picked up the first book in the series, Meet Your Baker.

meet your baker

This series centers around Juliet, who has recently returned home to Ashland, Oregon to help her mother at their bake shop, Torte.  Obviously murder and mayhem ensues and soon Jules is knee deep in the mystery.

I was pleasantly surprised by how vividly Ellie Alexander painted Ashland and how accurate the descriptions of this section of the city were.  After reading this first book I was completely hooked.  Her writing is descriptive and rich, with humor and playfulness woven in. While reading this book I was completely immersed, not just because of the story but because of how perfectly she painted the atmosphere of Ashland itself. It’s one of my favorite places so I readily admit I’m biased, but that may have also made me a harsher critic if it wasn’t as perfect as it is.

I immediately started collecting the next couple books in the series but as of yet hadn’t had a chance to continue (the TBR struggle is real). I added not only the books from the Bakeshop series to my wish list, but also her other series both under Ellie Alexander, but her other name Kate Dyer-Seeley.

This past week I got an email from my favorite local bookstore, Oregon Books, notifying me of an author event they were having. Imagine my surprise (and delight) when it was Ellie Alexander.  My internal fangirl did a little dance and I immediately put it on my calendar. I didn’t know what to expect, but was just excited that I would get to meet a local author whose work I truly enjoy.  The event was amazing, the intimate setting allowed us to have a great discussion about her different series, how they came to be, her writing process and more. If I didn’t already want to read everything she had written, this would have definitely made me want to. It was obvious that she puts some of herself into each story she writes and that serves to make her work more inviting and full of depth.  Listening to her talk about the places she writes about (all of which she has visited) made me want to visit them all, even those I’ve been to many times throughout my life. I was able to get books from a couple of her other series which I can’t wait to pick up.

I would have recommended her books before meeting her, but after meeting her and getting to spend time with her I want to recommend her even more.  If you are looking for a new cozy mystery, definitely check her out.  If a bakeshop/food centered mystery isn’t your thing, she has three other series available that focus on other themes.  There’s the Pacific Northwest Mysteries (her first series) which center around Meg, who wants to be a serious investigative reporter but ends up working for an outdoor magazine – even though she doesn’t know much about outdoor activities. Her Rose City mystery series centers around a floral shop in Portland, Oregon where our main character Britta works with her aunt Elin.  Last (but definitely not least) is the Sloan Krause Mystery series, set in Leavenworth, Washington with a theme of brewing craft beers.
scene of the climbnatural thorn killerdeath on tap

(All cover images link to the Amazon pages for the books)

Be sure to also check out Ellie on her website and her new youtube channel.

Happy Reading!