Cover Image: Death by a Thousand Sips

Death by a Thousand Sips

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Member Reviews

This is book two of two and I hope it will not be the last in this wonderful fun cozy series. Thank you to the publisher , to Net Galley and to the author for the opportunity. My review opinion is my own.

I loved the first book and this one surpassed my expectations with a exciting well crafted sleuth and great characters. The author has all the perfect elements in this series that cozy readers enjoy.

Phoebe Winchester is the owner of The Earl's Study, a book and teashop in Ravens Creek, Washington. She loves her business and the small town where she has many friends. Her Aunt Eudora left her the business and her Victorian home along with a familiar cat. Phoebe is a witch learning her craft and blending of special teas her Aunt created. Her Aunt was a witch and used special magic on many of her teas to help the townspeople. She left a inventory of herbs, teas and spells that Phoebe is learning on her own now that her Aunt Eudora is passed on.

Phoebe is attending a auction to bid on books she wants for her store. While at the auction she discovers a dead body. She is the primary suspect and ask her friend a PI to help clear her name. She must clear her name to save her life and her business that she loves.

I loved this next in series. the sleuth was so well crafted it kept me guessing to conclusion. The characters all add to the series and the protagnist is smart, savvy and a fun witch to read about. I look forward to further books in this series.

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I loved this one more than the first one in the series. Phoebe is quickly becoming a favorite cozy character. And it also doesn't hurt that this one gives me slight Practical Magic vibes.

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Phoebe Winchester has been the proud owner of The Earl's Study, a book and teashop in Ravens Creek, Washington, since the death of her Aunt Eudora, the previous year. She's now getting the hang of most things, although hasn't yet been brave enough to replicate her Aunt’s special blends of tea. Eudora, unbeknownst to most people, was a practising witch as is Phoebe, with both very good at keeping that quiet.

When a nearby house clearance auction is advertised, Phoebe knows she has to go check it out. After finding a fabulous selection of books to bid on, things start to go downhill as she also discovers a dead body. With the police considering her a suspect Phoebe begins her own investigation but, even with the help of longtime friend and local PI, Rich Lofting, she soon finds herself in far greater danger than either of them could have imagined.

Book two in Gretchen Rue's Witches Brew Mystery Series is a fabulous read, and I loved it. There is everything you could want in a cosy crime story, an idyllic setting, new business, an interesting feline friend, and a will they/won't they romance, alongside a main protagonist who is a witch!  All of this is added to a murder mystery, which was fun to unravel and had both likeable and unlikeable potential suspects throughout.

I was able to read an advanced copy of this book thanks to NetGalley and the publishers, Crooked Lane Books, but the opinions expressed are my own.  This is a great read that is easy to recommend.
4.5 rounded up to 5.

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This is the second book in the series. I did not enjoy it as much as the first book, but it was still enjoyable and I look forward to reading more books in this series.

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This is book 2 in the Witches Brew series by Gretchen Rue. According to Amazon it is book 2 of 2. I really hope the author writes more books in this one, and that this isn't the last one. .

It is a well written cozy mystery for those who like cozies. Two of the characters are witches. The main character Phoebe, found out about her abilities later in life; her main power is the ability to stop time; although, it comes about when she is in danger and she hasn't learned how to make it happen--it just does.

So far, I have enjoyed how the author carefully weaves the plots together and has fleshed out some interesting characters.

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Phoebe Winchester moved back to Raven's Creek Washington after inheriting her Aunt Eudora's house and Tea & Shop. She has been settling into the small town and trying to work on her witchy powers that she also inherited.

Phoebe attends a local estate auction to help bolster her used book inventory. Her cat, Bob, is making his way past the doorway of the auction room and heading upstairs. Phoebe is in pursuit, and they find the body of Madeline, who works for the auction house. Afraid that she is a suspect, she decides to try to find the killer herself. She does enlist the help of Rich Lofting, local PI and former police officer. I thought the mystery was solid, the pacing good and it kept me reading and wanting more. This is a mystery with just a touch of paranormal.

I enjoyed this book a lot. I loved all the characters and will be looking forward to visiting with them again soon. Also, how can you not love Bob the cat? This is a second book of a series. I had not read the first one but did not find that a problem.

Thank you NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for the chance to read this story.

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Love this story. It’s great story for those like paranormal cozies and ones involving cats. Plenty of info on teas and great recipes. Looking forward to more to come.

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Before it gets lost in the midst of a review, I must mention the recipes, particularly the one for a sourdough starter. To be honest, I'm one of those who, while I appreciate that others love them, rarely does more than glance at recipes included at the end of a book. In this case, the fact it was for a sourdough starter, a staple here in Alaska, however, meant I couldn't resist. I liked not only the recipe but that the author made it seem more like she was right beside you guiding you through the process rather than simply listing stark directions. It made me grin when she tossed in stuff not to fret over as it was normal. As for the recipe itself, loved the comment that "Sourdough feels like kitchen witchcraft". A nice tie-in to the book itself although Phoebe's witch/magic powers were largely sidelined in this episode. Loved the book cover, tho', which is what drew me to the book in the first place.

In any case, I found the mystery interesting although found myself skimming along at points when it seemed like an overload of seemingly unrelated info being dumped on us. Don't get me wrong. I appreciate a nice description of the setting and people involved but, well, I also honestly don't care what they're wearing unless it's relevant to the plot. Nor do I really care to read a lengthy description on the preparation of burgers unless it's vital to the plot. In other words, the mystery kept me reading but too much extraneous stuff.

That said, I found myself rather liking Phoebe and her friends and associates. And, oh, let's not forget Bob the cat. He came with the lovely home she inherited from her aunt but definitely has a fan club of his own. One of Bob's favorite customers is Mr. Loughery, who you'll definitely find yourself warming to instantly. He, among many others, supports Phoebe's efforts to help find homes for the many unwanted cats in the area by showcasing them within her business. Of course, all can't be smooth sailing as Diedra Miller is, well, let's just say not a Phoebe fan.

Phoebe has the misfortune of discovering one of the estate sale company's workers dead when she attends to hopefully buy a large lot of salable books. Although I didn't get the vibe that Phoebe was a serious suspect, she feels the need to look into the case herself to help prove her innocence. Will this get her into trouble? Oh, you already know the answer to that one. I liked that she was largely smart about always having a back-up, however, and even in the end cleverly uses her own wits to help bring the guilty to justice. She even finds time for a budding romance in-between all the asking of questions and pondering over clues.

So, who killed ambitious estate sale organizer Madeline? There are more than a few suspects but, nope, not telling. It's an easy, relatively quick read, that I enjoyed. Thanks #NetGalley and #CrookedLaneBooks for inviting me to Raven Creek for a taste of Phoebe's sourdough and, yikes, murder. Hope to be invited back next time to see what's going on with Rich. Fun read.

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Death by a Thousand Sips is the second book in the Witches Brew Mysteries series set in Raven Creek, Washington. Phoebe Winchester inherited her aunt's Victorian home, tea shop, bookstore, and tabby cat, Bob.
She heads to a nearby estate sale in hopes of acquiring a large lot of fiction and paperback books to sell in her shop.. But while here, Phoebe, led by her cat, find a dead body. Determined to ensure she isn't a suspect, Phoebe works to find the killer, before they hurt her.

I was a bit leary of this book, due to the "witch" reference. However, I was pleasantly surprised that it only adds a small bit of uniqueness and works with the wonderful personality of Phoebe. I enjoyed the setting and characters in his new series and that the mystery moveed at a nice pace.

Thank you to NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for an advance copy.

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A half year since Phoebe moved to the scenic town of Raven’s Creek to take over running her late aunt’s bookstore and tea shop. Phoebe always looks for new stock and attends an estate sale in a neighboring town. That’s where she finds the body of the person in charge of the sale and auction. Phoebe must clear her name with rumors of her involvement going around town. But, the deeper she digs, the more stranger this case gets. Enlisting the help of her PI friend, Rich, Phoebe hopes to find answers. But will the answers solve the mystery, or will they deepen it?

I am a sucker for cozy mysteries that feature animals, mainly cats, on the cover. I either shelve them as “Want to Read” on Goodreads or buy them outright. So, it wasn’t even a thought when I saw Death by a Thousand Sips on Crooked Lane Books NetGalley page as a Read Now. I am glad I downloaded this book because it was a great read.

Death by a Thousand Sips is the second book in the Witches’ Brew Mystery series. I was on the fence with this book. This book can easily be read as a stand-alone book. But there are enough references to book one that I recommend reading first. So, I leave it up to the reader to make their choice.

Death by a Thousand Sips’ plotline alternates between medium and fast-paced. I liked that the author did that. The plotline slowed down during the major parts of the book (mainly at the end and several critical points during the book) but was fast during the rest of the book.

The plotline of Death by a Thousand Sips centers around Phoebe, the murder of Madeline Morrow, and Phoebe’s investigation into it. This well-written storyline kept me on my toes while reading the book. I liked seeing how Phoebe’s investigation uncovered clues to who was behind Madeline’s killing. But I also loved seeing how her investigation uncovered a bigger mystery, and I also liked seeing how it affected her personal life. It made for a great read.

Several minor storylines centered around Phoebe, Bob the cat, the shop, and Phoebe’s magic. While some of these storylines made no sense to me at the beginning of the book, and I wondered where they were going, I was happy with how they were either absorbed into the main storyline or remained open-ended. The one storyline I am very interested in (and I can’t wait to see what it will be like in book three) is the addition of the cat cafe to the tea/book store.

I liked Phoebe and had an almost instant connection with her. She was a devoted cat mom to Bob (which I can relate to), and she was slowly learning about her magical powers. I also want to add that she was stubborn. Oh man, she was stubborn. She refused to let go of Madeline’s murder. I do think that she got more leads than the police, to be honest.

The mystery angle of Death by a Thousand Sips was well written. The author had so many plot twists and turns that I was sometimes turned around while reading. There were layers to the mystery angle. I figured out one layer of the mystery (who was behind Madeline’s murder), but I wasn’t prepared for what the other layers revealed. The motive was a big twist, which wasn’t what I thought.

The magic angle was barely there. I understand Phoebe is learning about her powers, but I would have loved to see more of her using them. There was a lot of talk about her aunt’s magic powers and how she infused her tea mixtures. There was one scene where Phoebe used her magic power (stopping time) and another where she successfully used a recipe from her aunt and infused it with magical powers.

There was a slight romance angle, but it confused me. The author is setting Phoebe up for a love triangle (between Rich and Leo). But, later in the book, Phoebe seems enamored with Rich. So, it’s all up in the air.

The end of Death by a Thousand Sips was interesting. I loved how the author solved Madeline’s murder and what Phoebe’s investigation stirred up. There was also an exciting twist to the cat cafe, which surprised me. Overall, I can’t wait to read book three.

I recommend Death by a Thousand Sips to anyone over 16. There is mild violence, mild language, and no sexual situations.

Many thanks to Crooked Lane Books, NetGalley, and Gretchen Rue for allowing me to read and review Death by a Thousand Sips. All opinions stated in this review are mine.

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I was excited to see this book on netgalley. I read and reviewed the first one. I was iffy about the first book. I liked so many things about it but, there were certain things I didn't like.

Overall, this was a good book. I still don't like Rich (he is so blah & snotty/cocky & if he raised his eyebrows at me as many times as he does in the book, I would have to shave them off) . I was really happy when it said they weren't together in this book. However, it looks like they might be getting together at some point and that might ruin the series for me. I liked the plot, even though I figured out who the killer was easily. It was still fun and exciting. I love the other characters in the book. The setting is fabulous - I would love to go and visit Raven Creek! I can't really say anything too negative about the book other than the fact that I don't like Rich - I would prefer to see her with Leo to be honest.

The author did sneak a little politics in there, but it was light enough I will let it slide (politics/social justice in books is usually and automatic no go for me.)

This also had some recipes in the back!

perfect setting
tea show/book shop
phoebe is really likeable as a character
Bob is adorable
there are a lot of likeable characters
Leo seems so sweet

like the first one, the ending is pretty anticlimactic.
Rich sucks, sorry not sorry.
Rue likes to set up one way to end the story then does something different to end the plot - it's about phoebe as a character but sometimes it seems weird.

If you like Cozies with a bit of magic, you will probably like this book. The characters (most of them) are likeable, and the setting is perfection.

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Rumors of Phoebe’s involvement force her to take action; she needs to find the killer and clear her own name, once again. She enlists Rich Lofting, the handsome private detective and her childhood friend, in her investigation, all while she sorts out her unresolved feelings for him. Is there something more sinister lurking in the shadows of this small tight-knit town? And does Phoebe really want to find out?
This is such a cute and quirky little cozy and it includes books and tea! What could be better? Phoebe is just trying to get more books for the shop she never dreams she will be mixed up in a murder. Things will take you on so many turns you will not believe it. Her lovely sidekick jumps in and causes chaos but in the end, she gets the killer.

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Gretchen LaRue has quickly become one of my favorite mystery authors. Her first in the series was amazing and Death by a Thousand Sips was a brilliant sequel. I need more!

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I love to see a cozy mystery filled with fun, quirky characters. Add in the bookstore, cats, and a bit of magic and Death By A Thousand sips becomes an entertaining romp that keeps those pages turning. The pace was nice, and there was a lot of details (maybe too many?) to really bring everything to life. I love that there were included recipes: what a great way to immerse yourself in a story. The characters were great, Bob especially. I think with a little less "smirking" this book could be a 5 star read.

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I really enjoy books by Gretchen Rue. This was a very entertaing read. I look forward to Ms. Rue's next book.

I received an ARC and this is my honest review.

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Love the second installment of Gretchen Rue's cozy mystery series! The same cozy town and familiar faces of the first book with a new mystery! I love Phoebe as the main sleuth, and getting to know Eudora and more about her life makes me happy! And of course who can forget about Bob! While this book feels far more slow paced to the first, it all pays off in the end. So excited for even more in this series!

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Phoebe Winchester owns and runs a book/tea shop she inherited from her Aunt Eudora. To replenish the store's book stock, she attends an estate sale with her cat Bob as an unexpected stowaway.
After making a successful bid on the book lot, she sees Bob walking by the open door. Determined to get him back in the car before he can do any harm, she follows Bob who has discovered the body of the estate sale manager of the auction. While not a suspect, Phoebe's curiosity leads her to investigate
the people involved with the auction. A delightful cozy.
 #DeathbyaThousandsips #NetGalley

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Death by a Thousand Sips
(Witches Brew 2)
Gretchen Rue

Gretchen Rue is better known as author Sierra Dean. Her first book in the Witch’s Brew series is Steeped to Death, under her pen name Gretchen Rue for Crooked Lane Books released in 2022. Book three release information has not yet been released.

Phoebe runs the Earl’s Study, her deceased aunt Eudora's store in Raven Creek, Washington. She has been attempting to make changes to her store to allow for a cat adoption space, but Dierdre has been making things difficult for the last seven months. She goes to her first estate sale in Barneswood with an unexpected companion. There she meets Madelaine, who takes her to the library to view the bundle of books being auctioned. After winning her lot of books, she notices Bob creeping down the hall. Following him leads her to a deceased Madelaine!

They return home with the admonishment to come to the police station for printing and follow-up questions. After a porch accident, Phoebe rounds up Rich and Leo to help her replace the porch steps. Later after receiving a text warning, an SUV attempts to murder Phoebe on a rain-slick road.

I didn’t figure out the killer until chapter 33, so excellent mystery more than 3/4th through before I even had a guess. There are 41 chapters in total and four recipes at the end.

I liked Death by a Thousand Sips and would recommend it. 4****

*I was able to figure out that part of my problem with this series is the miss match of content, title, and cover. First off I love these covers! Someone is doing an amazing job as they catch my eye and entice me to just give it one more try. Sadly, the storyline just doesn’t in any way match the title. Which for me is a problem, because I really like the story! The series name better describes these books than the titles. I mention this because my reviews are based on all parts of the book. Keeping these issues separate the story is 5*****.

Good book but tea was in no way involved in the murder, a tea & bookseller but not tea.

Thank you to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for the ARC.
#Netgalley #DeathbyaThousandSips #GretchenRue #Bookstore #Teashop #Mystery

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I adored this book! A wonderful cozy mystery with a hint of magic; what could be better? This is the second installment in the series, but you can go in without reading the first (but you should go back and read the first as its a delight as well!)

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I always enjoy a good cozy and not only is this a good cozy but it blends a magical touch that makes this book stand out from others in the genre. An incredible second installment in the series and leaves me excited to see what is next. If you love cozies, magic, humor, and mysteries, this is definitely the book for you.

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