Cover Image: Beyond a Reasonable Stout

Beyond a Reasonable Stout

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This is a fun mystery. At first, the information about beer making seemed a little too much, but once I got into the book, it became really interesting and it fit into the story much better. I will definitely be reading more books in this series.
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Beyond a Reasonable Stout by Ellie Alexander welcomes us to Leavenworth, Washington.  Sloan Krause is enjoying the quiet of the town now that Oktoberfest has ended, but it is to be short lived.  City Councilman, Kristopher Cooper is running for re-election with a platform of turning Leavenworth into a dry town which would lead to a town without tourists.  The next day, Sloan enters April Ablin’s office to find Kristopher dead on the floor and April being arrested by Chief Meyers.  While Sloan is a not a fan of the town’s self-appointed ambassador, she knows that April needs her help.  Beyond a Reasonable Stout can be read alone for those new to A Sloan Krause Mystery series.  The story has Ellie Alexander’s casual writing style which makes the story easy to read.  Sloan is preparing for the next stage of her life now that she is divorcing Mac.  She has her job at Nitro with Garrett Strong where she gets a voice in creating new brews and now, she needs to decide where to live.  Sloan and Garrett are experimenting with new holiday brews and training Kat on their stock so she can handle barkeep duties.  The town is in an uproar over Kristopher Cooper and his plan to turn Leavenworth into a dry town.  Without the beer, the town will lose its tourists which doesn’t seem to faze Kristopher.  It is no surprise when Kristopher ends up murdered.  However, Sloan is shocked when April Ablin is arrested for the crime.  She knows that April did commit the crime and, reluctantly, Sloan sets out to prove it.  Readers will have no problem solving this whodunit long before the reveal.  I kept hoping for a twist because I thought the solution too simple.  There are multiple suspects since Kristopher managed to antagonize the majority of the town’s residents.  The mystery is nicely wrapped up at the end of the book.  The secondary mystery of Sloan’s birth parents began in Death on Tap and is still playing out.  Sloan is determined to find answers and she may have gotten her best clue yet.  I enjoy the descriptions of Leavenworth with its Bavarian style architecture, shops and food.  It reminds me of where I grew up (German Village in Columbus, Ohio).  A Sloan Krause Mystery series is a character focused series.  The characters and their lives are the main focus of the story.  They chat, eat and drink plenty of beer.  If you enjoy Ellie Alexander’s A Bakeshop Mystery series, you will like reading A Sloane Krause Mystery series (switch out pastry for beer).  Beyond a Reasonable Stout is a lighthearted cozy mystery with petty politics, brewing beer, wrestling with wallpaper, barkeep basics, nutty nutcrackers, and an aggrieved April.
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I am overwhelmed by the amount of microbrewery information that just flows from this story. I have always been a fan of craft beer and love a venue that offers local brew and great snacks. I would have REALLY liked it if there were a couple of recipes in the back of the book but cannot rave enough about the character development or plot line. This was my first Ellie Alexander book and I really like Sloan. You don't need to know the back story to be able to appreciate this most recent novel and it is a cliff hanger to be sure! Not that I wouldn't have wanted to read about Mac's attempts to win Sloan back or what new information her former social worker Sally has as to Sloan's MIA parents. As for this current installment, plenty of people were not sad that the Councilman met his end but only one of them was truly guilty. Chances are the Sloan would not have even gotten involved if not for the Chief insisting that self appointed town Ambassador April was in need of a friend. Or rather a frenemy, which what Sloan considered herself. With winter batches to make, a teenager to mother, an impending divorce to figure out, and the need for a new homestead, Sloan is a busy bar keep.
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"Beyond a Reasonable Stout" brings us to the German-inspired town on Leavenworth, WA, known for its many famous celebrations, including Oktoberfest, that has made the town famous among tourists and party-goers.  However, just after the town's recent Oktoberfest celebration, as they are getting ready for the upcoming Twinkling Lights celebration, and just prior to the town's political elections, one of the candidates, Kristopher Cooper, is found murdered.  Kristopher, one of the city's current councilmen who is up for re-election, has decided to base his platform on making Leavenworth an alcohol-free town, leaving many in the town's tourist industry upset with him, predicting the financial downfall of their businesses if he is elected and his campaign platform comes to fruitition.  Sloan Krause, one of the brewers at the craft brewery Nitro, becomes involved in the search for who killed Kristopher, and the list of possibilities includes many in their small town, at the request of the town's self-proclaimed ambassador April Ablin, in whose office Kristopher was found dead, killed with her ribbon-cutting ceremony scissors.  

"Beyond a Reasonable Stout" is the third book in the Sloan Krause mystery series, though it reads perfectly well as a stand-alone book.  It was a quick, light read, and gives an interesting look into some of what it takes to make craft beer.  Looking forward to reading the first two books in the series and any that follow!

Thanks to St. Martin's Press, Minotaur Books, and NetGalley for providing me with an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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I  received a free digital copy of this book from Netgalley for an honest review.

Finally! I've been waiting for the third book in this series for a year! I honestly love this series (and author) and can't wait for it to continue. This book definitely will get you into the Oktoberfest spirit!
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Beyond a Reasonable Stout is the third book in the Sloan Krause cozy mystery series by Ellie Alexander. Released 1st Oct 2019 by Macmillan on their Minotaur imprint, it's 284 pages and available in paperback and ebook formats.

This series has been a fun and diverting read. There is a lot of beer and brewing information woven into the narrative and the ensemble cast of returning characters are mostly appealingly quirky and fun (except for April, her I want to smack). The small town politics and interactions provide a lot of color and atmosphere.

The mystery part of the story was a lot more linear and straightforward than the other books in the series. The denouement felt a little rushed to me and almost tacked on. There's also a multi-story plot arc concerning Sloan's biological parents and her background in the foster care system which had a different, more serious vibe and didn't mesh with the story as well for me. Despite those two details, the story as a whole is a fun and informative read.

The language is clean, the murder is off-scene, there's no sexual content, and this is a mostly light cozy in a consistently well written series. There is enough back story interwoven into this one, that it does work fine as a standalone. I have enjoyed the rest of the series, so it is probably worth picking up the earlier books.

Four stars.
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Cascade Mountains Nano-Brewery Based Cozy Mystery
This story is equal parts women's fiction and cozy mystery. The author did a great job on both aspects. The women's fiction is an ongoing storyline. The cozy mystery is completed in each book. It makes me want to come back for more while sipping a pint. I received this ARC book for free from Net Galley and this is my honest review.
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I’m not a beer drinker, but my husband and our friends are, so I hear a lot of beer talk. Fall is his favorite time of year for beer, and I think that was part of the reason I was attracted to Beyond a Reasonable Stout. I enjoyed learning a bit more about the brewing process; it’s interesting and while I realized a lot had to go into it, I’ve never really read anything about the process. Oktoberfest is over and Sloan and Garrett are starting to work on their winter beers. Leavenworth is a town whose livelihood is the tourist industry and that centers around their craft breweries and their Bavarian-style town. It actually sounds like it would be a fun place to visit.

And then Kristopher Cooper gets killed. Granted, just about everyone in town was angry at the anti-alcohol platform he was running on for re-election to city council, but who took it all the way to murder? The annoying local real estate agent is arrested for the crime, but even the police chief doesn’t seem to think she’s guilty. Now, this is the first Sloan Krause mystery I’ve read, but Sloane and Garrett must have helped the Chief solve a previous murder because she encourages Sloan to listen and pay attention and maybe do a little digging. It’s nice when the amateur sleuth and the cops get along, even if that’s not how it would work in real life.

Sloan is dedicated to her son, her job and her town. She makes a good sleuth and I liked that as she did her detecting we met several of the townsfolk. They’re a quirky bunch, but I guess what can you expect from people who live and work in such a kitschy town. The whodunnit was a little obvious, but it was still enjoyable.

The one detraction for me is what I guess is a continuing arc revolving around the mystery of who Sloan’s parents were. I could have done without that bit and I didn’t like that it strained her relationship with her (soon to be ex-) in-laws. Just give me a good sleuth, a decent mystery, solid secondary characters and a good setting. I’d really rather skip the mysterious past.
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Beyond a Reasonable Stout is the third book in Ellie Alexander’s Sloan Krause mystery series. It is fall and the city council election is fast approaching.  City council member Kristopher Cooper is running for re-election but he has a brand new platform. He is pledging to outlaw alcohol and curb the many festivals that the merchants of the small town depend upon. In a town that is home to not only a major west coast German brewery but also many craft breweries, this platform making it a dry county would be a death knell for their businesses.

Sloan Krause, who is a brewer at Nitro craft brewery and relation to the Krauses of the major Der Keller brewery, is actively supporting Kristopher’s opponent Valerie Hedy, as are most of the merchants and townsfolk.  Kristopher has rubbed many the wrong way and the night of Valerie’s big rally at Der Keller he is seen arguing with several people at the brew house and on the streets after the rally.  In fact, no one seems terribly upset when he is found murdered the following morning except for realtor April Ablin. It is in her realty office where his body is found and the circumstantial evidence points toward her.

Secrets are divulged. Relationships are formed and broken. In the midst of a freak snowstorm a murderer is discovered. In a very interesting series set in the northern Cascade range an eclectic group of people form the cast for the enjoyable stories.  I did enjoy this book and I do recommend it.
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Beyond a Reasonable Stout is a very well written cozy mystery.  Well crafted plot and characters.  This is an entertaining series and I look forward to reading more books in the series.  Mystery fans will love this book.  Thanks to the publisher for my advance ebook  This is my unbiased review.
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Its finally the slow season after Octoberfest in Leavenworth, Washington and Sloan is adjusting  to her new life and ready to make some new holiday beers at Nitro. An election puts the beer haven at risk when a councilman decides that alcohol needs to be banned-- until he is found murdered. Sloan finds herself needing to investigate and find the real killer, but it's never that easy. 

I absolutely LOVE how Ellie Alexander composes her cozy mysteries. I am constantly drawn in by the red herrings until the final twist of the who the real killer is. I love how there are many parts to the backstory and ever growing characters. I'm ready for her to give me more about the past between Garrett and Sloan, Or Mac (how does she really feel about him), OR the jaw dropping news with Sloan's in-laws. Because she draws together such beautiful stories between characters, I am completely invested in learning more and cannot wait for the next edition of this mystery  series. 

Thanks to NetGalley and Minotaur Books for the advance copy of this book.
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Beyond a Reasonable Stout
(Sloan Krause #3)
by Ellie Alexander

Hardcover, 288 pages
Published October 1st 2019 by Minotaur Books


Goodreads synopsis:
Amateur sleuth Sloan Krause delves into the murderous political world in another delightful mystery from popular cozy writer Ellie Alexander.

It's the dead season in Leavenworth, Washington. The throngs of Oktoberfest crowds have headed home, and the charming Bavarian streets are quiet and calm--momentarily. Villagers use the reprieve to drink in the crisp fall mountain air and prepare for the upcoming winter light festival. Soon the German-inspired shops and restaurants will be aglow with thousands of twinkling lights. Visitors will return to the northern Cascades to drink warm mulled cider and peruse the holiday markets. Brewer, Sloan Krause and her partner in crime Garrett Strong are using the slowdown to stock up on a new line of their signature craft beers at Nitro. They're experimenting with a hoppy holiday pine and a chocolate hazelnut stout. The small brewery is alive with delicious scents and bubbling batches of brew.

Sloan is in her element. She loves the creativity and lowkey atmosphere at Nitro. Only that is soon threatened by the incumbent city councilmember Kristopher Cooper. Kristopher is running for re-election on a platform of making Leavenworth dry. Everyone in beertopia is fuming. Leavenworth's economy relies on keeping the kegs flowing. Kristopher wants to banish beer, a policy that might just bankrupt the entire village. However, Kristopher turns up dead days before election night. Sloan quickly realizes that his murder isn't the work of a stranger. Friends, family, and every other business owner had a motive to kill him, including none other than April Ablin, Leavenworth's self-described ambassador of all things German. Sloan finds herself defending April and trying to sleuth out a killer amongst a group of familiar faces. 


***

4.75 Stars

This is the third book in the Sloane Krause series by Ellie Alexander.

I read the first book in this series, DEATH ON TAP, back in March. I  bought the paperback from my local grocery store. I don’t drink so I wasn’t sure what to expect. My cousin had been dabbling in micro-brewing soI thought  I’d give it a try. And I am so glad I did. 

This series just sucks you in. Sloane is still having Mac problems (Mac is her ex-hubby) in book three and I can’t quite figure where she stands romantically with any man, but that’s okay. All the sleuthing takes your mind off of it. The dead body of a man running for office ends up the centerpiece in a city council race. And apparently everybody and their  brother has a motive to do him in. The man is buying stakes in many local businesses and plans to make this beer haven a dry gulch. Even the ever German clad Heidi is accused of the crime. When I started reading this series she was not my favorite character. So, the fact that I felt a little bad for her when she  lost her mind and her German accent during this book is telling. She is growing on me….like a fungus, but it is indeed a nice fungus. I would have liked to see more of her in this book even though I think she is a little (okay a lot) crazy. Sometimes crazy keep them coming back to read a series.

I wish there had been more with Garrett and the possible connection between him and Sloan. Not to mention more Nitro. I feel like she needs a haven in the storm that is her life and right now I don’t see her security being too strong. Oh, she plays a good game of making it seem like all is okay, that is for sure.

As the mystery developed I was wracking my brain as to who could possibly have done it. I skipped book two so I wasn’t certain who the mainstay characters were in order to take them out of my equation. Once the culprit was named I was like… who is that? That name didn’t stick with me for some reason. And that whole bombshell with Mac’s parents at the end? Wow. What was that? Definitely cliffhanger  there.  I can’t wait the next installment of Sloane on Tap and see how  all the details that were left hanging washes out.

This is definitely a cozy mystery author to watch and put on your must read list. She never disappoints.

Highly recommended.

I received this as an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) in return for an honest review. I thank NetGalley, the publisher and the author for allowing me to read this title.
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Beyond A Reasonable Stout  by Ellie Alexander is the 3rd book in A Sloan Krause Mystery series, and it was great. I love all of Ms. Alexander books and series, and this one is no exception. The craziness of Oktoberfest is finally over in Leavenworth, Washington, and Sloan and Garrett are ready for some down time to brew new flavors.  Unfortunately and mayor is running a reelection and wants alcohol outlawed in the town.   The town that is full of brewers, and tourist events.  When the mayor is found murdered, the mystery begins.  Can't wait to read the next book in the series. I strongly recommend this book/series. Please keep them coming Ms. Alexander.

I reviewed a digital arc provided by NetGalley and St. Martin's Press.  Thank you.
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It's been over a year since I read the second book in this series, so I was really ready to go back to Leavenworth, WA and see what Sloan and her friends were up to. An incumbent city council member was going around saying that when he got re-elected, the town was going to become dry. Everyone was up in arms at that, because beer was their livelihood, so they were happy that a woman named Valerie was running against him and from the looks of popular opinion, would win. When the town's most pesky woman, real estate agent April, was arrested for the murder, Sloan couldn't believe that April could murder anyone. Pester them to death maybe, but not literally kill someone. Before she knew it, she was involved with another case, but like before, Chief Meyers asked for her input. I like the chief and that she has been recognizing that Sloan's people skills can be useful.

I had a sneaky feeling early on that I knew who the culprit was going to be, but I didn't know why of course, so I had fun reading along and letting myself be pulled in by the red herrings. The showdown and take down were quick, but it was definitely satisfying to see the killer in custody. Sloan's own little mystery about her birth parents intensified some more, and there is a bit of a cliff hanger on that subject, so I'm very anxious for the next book. Each of these books has had a little something similar at the end, and it reminds me a lot of the ongoing side mystery that was in the Pacific Northwest series that this author wrote under another name.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book provided by the publisher via NetGalley, and my opinions are my own.
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I really like this series - it is just so interesting to learn about beer and the process it takes to make it. I had no idea and with each book, I am learning more and more [I unfortunately do not like beer and cannot drink it due to having Celiac Disease, but the process is still fascinating to learn about] and when you add that with some great characters and a very quirky town, it makes for an excellent read. 

This one took longer than normal to read and I am unsure why. I was invested from the beginning, but for some reason, I just couldn't get through it as fast as I normally do a cozy mystery - perhaps it is Sloan's side story of finding her family and the drama of her impending divorce; that does make for slower reading to be sure. And even though I had the murderer pegged pretty early, the red herrings did keep me guessing. The only negative thing I have to say about this one is the ending. I despise cliffhangers [almost as much as I do love triangles, which this thankfully does not have] and to be left with one now is very annoying and smacks of lazy writing in my opinion. These are really good books and we don't need a gimmick to keep us reading. I hope this is not a trend. 

Still a great read and a really fun series. 

Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin Press/Minotaur Books for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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This is the third book in the Sloan Krause cozy series. Over the past couple of weeks, I've enjoyed the first two books in the series which, like many cozies, provides the reader with the requisite quaint setting, small town feel and a light mystery. The books also give readers interesting tidbits on the world of craft brewing.

This was an entertaining, lighter mystery. There are a few red herrings but the hints to the identity of the culprit were fairly obvious making the ending less surprisingly than expected. Still enjoyable, just not shocking. The beer info and, particularly, the mystery of Sloan's murky past are what have kept me coming back to this series but the plot about Sloan's unknown past is beginning to feel dragged out. My interest is still piqued but I'm hoping to quench my thirst for closure to that part of the story.

Overall, this is an entertaining addition to this light mystery series that is a perfect pick as we begin to get in the spirit of Oktoberfest (at least in my neck of the woods). 

Disclaimer: My sincere thanks to the publisher for providing me with a complimentary digital copy of this title, via NetGalley, in exchange for my honest review.
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This series is getting good!  I love reading about the small town activities and all the brewing and cooking details.  Beyond a Reasonable Stout also dove more into Sloan's mysterious past so I'm intrigued to see where that story goes in the next book.  A fairly good mystery, entertaining characters, and a charming small town makes for an all around enjoyable cozy read
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Sloan Krause is taking advantage of the slow season in Leavenworth, Washington to prepare for the upcoming Winter Light Festival. Election day is coming up and city councilman Kristopher Cooper is running for reelection and even though the town's economy relies of the sales of beer, Kristopher wants to make it a dry town. When the politician is murdered before the citizens can go to the polls, Sloan is convinced by the prime suspect to dig into the investigation and find the true killer.

This is the third book in this series and although I've read other books by this author, this is the first book featuring Sloan Krause I have read. It didn't take me long to catch up on who the main characters are and I enjoyed getting to know Sloan. The characters are likable and I loved the setting. The Bavarian-themed village made me miss the small towns with German heritage that I have visited. There weren't any big surprises when the identity of the murderer was revealed, but I still enjoyed the story.

From the description of the book, I didn't realize there was an over-arching mystery surrounding Sloane that carries over from book to book. That was intriguing and made me wonder what will be revealed in future installments. The book has a lot to offer in terms of characters and setting and the information about beer is an added bonus. Readers following this series will enjoy the book, as will fans of Melinda Mullet's Whisky Business Mysteries.

I received this book from NetGalley through the courtesy of Minotaur Books. The book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review.
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Beyond a Reasonable Stout by Ellie Alexander is the second in the Sloan Krause mystery series. The story takes place in a small faux Bavarian town in the Pacific Northwest known a Leavenworth. Sloan is the 45ish, almost divorced partner in a microbrewery, Nitro, and small bed and breakfast on the second floor. Oktoberfest has just ended and it is almost time for the city council election, a hotly contested race between Kristopher Cooper and Valery Hedy. Valery appears to have a strong lead since Kristopher's platform is to make Leavenworth dry, which obviously would do the economy and most of the citizens no good at all. There is a murder. Sloan doesn't mean to get involved; she just does, between negotiating her divorce, taking care of her teenage son, and doing her job. Sloan is the kind of person people talk to, mostly because she doesn't repeat the things she hears and people know that. 

The setting is fabulous and learning about brewing is even better! Sloan is a terrific character, strongly negotiating all her problems with grace and positivity. There are some characters living in Leavenworth, which make it interesting, and there is also the ongoing mystery of which Sloan's real parents are, having been raised in foster homes. The relationship with her soon-to-be-ex husband is realistic and wrenching. Alex, her son, is a good kid...she is lucky. Her partner, Garrett, is a good friend and interesting man who started life as an engineer before becoming a brew master. An interesting little series, which I will be excited to explore further as time progresses. I recommend it. It is an excellent example of a prime cozy mystery. I recommend it. 

I received a free ARC of Beyond a Reasonable Stout from Netgalley. All opinions and interpretations contained herein are solely my own. #netgalley  #beyondareasonablestout
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Another great installation to the series.  I love how the characters are developing.  I am always up for a trip to the Pacific Northwest and Leavenworth is a quaint town to visit.
The author does a wonderful job of weaving the main and subplots throughout the story.  Sloan is a strong woman dealing with the day to day of life.  She’s a mother to a 15-year-old boy, soon to be ex-wife, and business partner in a nanobrewery called Nitro.

The town mayor is up for reelection and wants to change the town to a dry town.  This will not be good for the town of Leavenworth or the business owners.  She what happens and the secrets revealed.
I liked the reveal and the aftermath.  We learn more of what may be in store for Sloan.  I am eagerly anticipating the next book.

This may be read as a standalone but I would read them all to understand the nuisances s of the characters.

Thank-you Netgalley for allowing me to read this book.  I am not required to leave a positive review.
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