Cover Image: Death by a Thousand Sips

Death by a Thousand Sips

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Death by a Thousand Sips is the 2nd book in Gretchen Rue’s Witches’ Brew series. Phoebe Winchester inherited a Victorian mansion and a tea shop/bookstore from her beloved Aunt Eudora. Phoebe was not aware that Eudora was a witch. After learning about Eudora, Phoebe discovers she has powers of her own.

This second book did not disappoint. This is an easy read, with a good pace, and kept me engaged from beginning to end. Small town Raven’s Creek is an idyllic setting. Characters are well developed and relatable. It’s rare for the lead character to be my favorite character in a book, but Phoebe makes the cut. The mystery is expertly plotted with plenty of twists to keep the reader guessing. Anxious for the next installment.

Thanks to Netgalley and Crooked Lane Books for providing a digital advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

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We are back in Raven Creek, WA with Phoebe Winchester in the second installment in the Witches’ Brew mystery series. Phoebe is slowly finding her footing in her new hometown with running her bookstore and tea shop, upkeep on the manor she’s living in, and harnessing her newfound magical abilities. Phoebe heads out on an estate sale in neighboring town hoping to add to her book inventory only to find herself once again in the middle of a murder investigation. With help from her eclectic group of friends Phoebe is once again on the case.
I really enjoyed the first book in this series, so my expectations were high, I was not disappointed. Phoebe and the residents of Raven Creek are a delightful group of characters. As the pieces of the puzzle were uncovered it was interesting to see where Phoebe would go next. Gretchen Rue also does a wonderful job of balancing the sleuthing with everyday living so we never forget that Phoebe is also still settling into her new life while solving this massive mystery. My one concern is that Phoebe’s magical ability can start to feel like an easy get out of jail free card when things get tense, while I’m happy that it’s keeping her around to sleuth it’s starting to feel a little too easy for Phoebe to get out of life threating situations which unfortunately ends up cheapening that tension. Overall, another delightful mystery in a series that I look forward to continuing.
Thank you NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for early access to this book in exchange for an honest review.

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I received this book for free from netgalley for an honest review.

Such a cute cozy I wish I would have caught up in the beginning. I know I'll get the other books in Missouri because I love this one so much.

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It was fun going back to Raven Creek, Washington to spend time with Phoebe Winchester and her friends. Gretchen Rue does a very good job of building her characters and the story line. I really enjoy getting to know more about the characters and watching the friendships grow and develop. In this book, Phoebe has been in Raven Creek for six months and has made some real friends. She goes to an estate sale and auction to bid on some books for the book store. During the auction, she discovers a dead body. She vows not to get involved in the investigation of the murder, but the police are acting like she is a suspect. She wants to prove that she didn't do it. Can she solve the murder before the killer gets to her?

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A top notch witchy cozy. Great characters and well crafted story will keep you entertained.
I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy of this book.

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This was a cute story. There were some references to the first book but it was a good read without reading the first one. I mean a bookstore, a cat, and a witch, how could you go wrong.

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I am really into cozy paranormals, and I was happy to see this second book in the series. Phoebe is a delightful character, and I love how she’s trying to do such good in her adopted hometown with rescue cats. I love how the author provides so many details about everything, but sometimes I wish it was a tiny bit less. This is a wonderful cozy mystery with a few paranormal elements, and it is sure to please cozy mystery fans. This series is such fun, and I can’t wait to see how Phoebe is going to discover another murder in this next book. LOL! Recommend. I was provided a complimentary copy which I voluntarily reviewed.

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While I enjoy the Witches’ Brew cozy mystery series by Gretchen Rue, amateur sleuth Phoebe Winchester irritated me at times in the second book, Death by a Thousand Sips. I can accept an amateur sleuth who is a suspect, and wants to clear her name, so she investigates. But, even when Phoebe knows she’s in danger, and the police and a PI friend warn her, she’s too nosy to quit. “What had once been about clearing my name was now about protecting my life.” Yes, because she wouldn’t let go.

When Phoebe’s Aunt Eudora died, she inherited a bookstore and tea shop, The Earl’s Study, along with an orange tabby named Bob, and half the businesses on Main Street. What a difference. Seven months earlier, she was divorced without a home or sense of direction. Now, she has a home, a business she loves, and friends. She’s also trying to develop her recently discovered talents as a witch who can stop time when she’s in danger.

One of her employees sends Phoebe to an estate sale because there’s one lot of books to be auctioned. She’s on the way when Bob pops up in the back seat, and she realizes he snuck into her car. Now, she’ll have to work her plans around the cat. At the estate sale, she’s not impressed with the hoity-toity estate sale coordinator, Madeline Morrow, especially after she sees Madeline’s assistant flee from the house in tears. But, she just managed to buy the lot of books when Bob appears in the room. She hastily follows him, only to find he’s stepped in blood. Bob leads her to the body of Madeline Morrow.

Phoebe recognizes Police Detective Patsy Martin who works out of several small towns in the area. When Martin warns Phoebe not to take any trips, she worries she’s a suspect. She also fears she’ll have to investigate if she wants to prove she didn’t kill a woman she only just met.

Phoebe’s warned. Her PI neighbor, Rich, warns her not to go to the victim’s funeral. She receives a warning note, and her car is sideswiped. The police warn her not to investigate. But, Phoebe Winchester is determined to prove she isn’t a killer. So, she ignores all the warnings until it’s almost too late.

When I read Steeped to Death, I commented that Phoebe was one of the best amateur sleuths I’d read about lately. I even said, “My biggest complaint with amateur sleuths is their determination to investigate, ignoring the police at every turn. Phoebe not only admits she lacks the knowledge and skill set to investigate a murder, she worries that she’s calling the police too often. But, what do you do when you overhear a plot to break into your house? Phoebe does her best to keep Detective Patricia Martin in the loop, and she tries to consult her aunt’s attorneys with her questions. Sometimes, things just go wrong despite the best efforts of the sleuth, and the warnings of a cat.”

The excellent supporting cast is still there. I enjoy the setting and background. But, this time, Phoebe ignored all the advice she received. I was disappointed in her in Death by a Thousand Sips.

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This review of Death by a Thousand Sips by Gretchen Rue is courtesy of NetGalley
Rating 3/5 #DeathbyaThousandSips #NetGalley #CozyMystery

As I started reading, it was clear that this was not the first book in the cozy mystery series. Indeed the book description shown to NetGalley reviewers indicated it was the second book in the series. I noticed that tidbits of the info from the past book were naturally woven into the existing narrative and appreciated that it wasn't just a massive infodump all at once. In chapter 2, there were enough similarities to a previous book I read, it made me wonder if concepts were copied from that book. Checking, I discovered, oops, this was the sequel to Steeped to Death which I reviewed last year ( and given a rating of 5/5.

This book takes place about 7 months later. The build up of the mystery is solid and I figured out parts before the main character. For those who like "cute animal moments", there was a good amount of focus on the cat Bob. The foodies might enjoy descriptions of the sandwiches prepared by Phoebe's shop. What I hated though was Phoebe's stubbornness forcing the investigation (and the story along). For the previous book I'd mentioned how I liked that it wasn't a competition between Phoebe or local law enforcement. In this though, she repeatedly says she trusts them to do their job but then finds "reasons" for her to investigate despite others telling her not to. As for the magic, it's there but felt a bit "deus ex machina"-ish that allows Phoebe to do stupid things without repercussions.

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Death by a Thousand Sips by Gretchen Rue is an intriguing mystery bogged down and lost in minutiae.
I was intrigued by the description provided for this book and looked forward to reading it, but found myself continually skipping pages because of the extremely detailed descriptions of situations and things that had absolutely no bearing on the mystery itself. Whether it was a long, drawn out description of a hamburger (the recipe for which is redundantly included at the end of the book), or a five-paragraph detailed description of the downtown area of the town, or long, drawn-out details of what everyone was wearing in each of their appearances, the descriptions in this book effectively obscured the actual mystery, the reason for reading in the first place.
I like the characters, the slight supernatural bent, the budding romance, and Bob the cat; the writing is well-done, and the mystery draws you along, but the book itself is a chore to read.
I'm also puzzled as to what someone who was murdered in a bloody manner has to do with death by a thousand sips. Perhaps I missed the connection when I was just scanning the plethora of descriptions. The cover is lovely, though.
I received an ARC of #DeathbyaThousandSips from #NetGalley.

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Death by a Thousand Sips by Gretchen Rue is a quirky mystery set in the Pacific Northwest.

Will Phoebe figure out who and why Madeline was killed before the culprit comes after her?

Phoebe Winchester
Our sleuth and the main character is Phoebe Winchester. She inherited her aunt Endora's estate, which includes a lovely house, a local book store, a tea room, and some other real estate. However, she also inherited a somewhat bossy ginger tabby cat named Bob. Phoebe brings Bob to work with her each day.

I like Phoebe. She is growing as a person and a witch. With the help of her new friends, she is finding happiness. Honey helps her with her magic and garden, and Imogen helps her run the business. Rick and Leo help protect her and are there for occasional home projects. I enjoyed seeing the flirtation between her and Rick. Talk about needing to work on their communication. Another thing that I like is the way Phoebe tries to help others find happiness with cats, as she did with Bob.

The Mystery
Well, I saw the initial spotlight on the actual killer, but then the culprit disappeared, except for a few times. However, the who and why blew me away. I was so off on the whole motive and everything. It was fun to see the way that Phoebe followed clues and investigated. Sometimes motive can be as simple as greed.

I will say that the deceased, Mr. Weatherly, was a jerk. The way he disinherited his daughters and their children was wrong. Hopefully, his karma was received at some point, even if it was in the afterlife. His life could have been whole and filled with lots of family time.

Five Stars
I was thoroughly entertained and enjoyed being with Phoebe and her friends. My rating for Death by a Thousand Sips by Gretchen Rue is five stars. I recommend this book to all of you paranormal cozy readers.

Some recipes included: Easiest Sourdough Starter, Cheddar-Jalapeno Sourdough Bread, Homemade Ricotta Cheese, Amy's Breakfast Hand Pies, and Peach's Signature Butter Smash Burger.

Thank you for dropping by! I hope you enjoyed this review of Death by a Thousand Sips by Gretchen Rue.

Until the next time,

If you would like to see other reviews like this one, check out Baroness Book Trove.

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I really loved this book in a new to my series and author. I can't wait to read the next one. The characters and location really add to the plot. This book keeps you guessing until the end

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Phoebe Winchester inherited a nice bookstore and tea shop—the Earl’s Study—from her Aunt Eudora. Phoebe also inherited Bob, the bookstore tabby cat, who travels back and forth from the Victorian home they share with Phoebe. Eudora was a witch who could make special tea blends for customers, and her niece is worried about whether she can carry on her Aunt’s work. Attending an auction at a large estate to bid on a huge lot of popular fiction books, Phoebe is horrified when Bob’s bloody paw prints lead to an upstairs library with a dead body in a pool of blood! Who killed the auction coordinator?

This story moves at a nice pace, and characters from book one return. Amy, the baker; Rich, a P.I. and possible romantic interest; and Honey, a fellow witch are the ones I like. There is humor, and the Washington State setting seems peaceful. The plot is plausible, and the story is entertaining, although I liked the first book better. There didn’t seem to be as much mystery in this one. I noted the overuse of the word, “smirk” which was annoying. I like that Phoebe is going to have cats in the bookstore area that are up for adoption, and I enjoy lovable Mr. Loughery, an elderly man who comes every day to read, drink tea, and pet Bob.

The author drops clues throughout the plot line as to the killer, and once all the puzzle pieces are connected, the reader can see that greed was the motive. A nice, entertaining witch cozy mystery.

I honestly reviewed an unedited digital arc provided by NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books. All opinions are my own. Thank you.

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This was a fun, suspenseful, quick read. Phoebe is such a fun character for me— I just loved her energy and perspective on things. Can’t quite explain it, but I just loved her. I loved the dedication she had to her reputation and inheritance and life she’s built for herself, and I love her relationship with Rich as she works to clear her name. I loved Bob the cat (he’s the reason I picked up this book, I’ll read any book involving a cat lol) and reading how Phoebe clears her name and developed a relationship with Rich. It was a little obvious to me as the story went along, but I appreciated that as I enjoy more feel-good stories, less suspense. I really enjoyed this book, thanks for the ARC!!!

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Through NetGalley, I received a free copy of DEATH BY A THOUSANDS SIPS (Book 2 of the Witch's Brew mysteries) by Gretchen Rue in exchange for an honest review. Phoebe Winchester's book stock is getting low, so she attends an estate sale to look for new stock. Phoebe is nonplussed when her cat tags along to the sale. After making sure the puss is safely stowed in the car, Phoebe attends the auction, but has to dart out when she notices the kitty casually sauntering by the open door. Phoebe is then on the chase. When she finally corners the cat, it's in a room with a bloody corpse. Oops! Once again, Phoebe finds herself involved in a murder investigation.

I recommend this book to fans of cozy murder mysteries featuring cats, books, teashops, estate sales, and magic.

#DeathbyaThousandSips #NetGalley

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I had loved the first installment in this cozy mystery series “A Witches’ Brew”, and I was really looking forward to book 2. My expectations were high, and I must say it did not disappoint. 🙂 I enjoyed immersing myself again in the smalltown atmosphere of Raven Creek infused with Gilmore Girls vibes. The mixture between the investigation, the magic component and local life is ideal. I really love the author’s writing style. Looking forward to more books from her!

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Death By a Thousand Sips is the second book in the Witch’s Brew series and Phoebe Winchester is back mixing up her magic tea and stumbling upon dead bodies. An estate sale with a large collection of modern novels seems like the perfect way to add to her shop’s inventory for Phoebe until her tabby cat finds trouble. Bob not only sneaks into the car and the estate sale, he leaves a track of bloody footprints right to a dead body. The last to talk to the victim and the one to discover the body puts Phoebe at the top of the suspect list. Determined to clear her name, Phoebe dives head first into danger while things in her personal life are starting to be on the rise. Suspenseful and fun with just a sip of romance, book two is an entertaining addition to the cozy series and will have you coming back for more. My voluntary, unbiased review is based upon a review copy from NetGalley.

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Setting the Scene: Phoebe Winchester is settling into Raven Creek, her late Aunt Eudora's home, her tea and book shop, Earl Gray's, and her secret role as landlord to most if the downtown properties. The magic is taking a bit more work, but there is progress. Phoebe also has friends she treasures, and there might even be a slow burn romance in her future. For now, she is excited to go on a short road trip to an estate sale/auction to replenish the shop's used book supply. The last thing she expects to find is a dead body, specifically, the body of the woman in charge of the sale and auction. Does Phoebe's recurring presence at murder scenes place her at the top of the police suspect list? Fearing that will be the case, Phoebe enlists the assistance of her childhood friend, former cop and current PI. At the same time, her meddling may put her at the top of the murderer's list.

What I Thought: I enjoyed this book. I like Phoebe, and the characters are well developed. The light paranormal touch is interesting without overwhelming the story. At the same time, the description of the estate sale/auction and the work around Eudora's house are details that ground the story and characters in reality. The mystery is solid, and there were enough suspects and red herrings to keep me guessing. My one complaint is that there really was no reason for Phoebe to interject herself into the investigation. The police investigator knew her. She was never a serious suspect in anyone's mind but her own. The police are competent, and Phoebe had a major TSTL moment. I stand by my initial statement that I enjoyed the book, but Phoebe needs better reasons to insert herself into future investigations, not to mention better decisions.

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Phoebe inherits her late aunt’s book and tea shop and mansion in the quaint town of Raven Creek. Though I haven’t yet read the first installment of A Witches’ Brew Mystery, I didn’t feel I missed need to know information from the first. However, Death by a Thousand Sips was so fantastically written that I can’t wait to get my hands on the first.

I’m not usually one to read books with witches in the mix, but I thoroughly enjoyed following along as Phoebe set out to create her own special teas. Though Phoebe is a fictional character, I was quite proud of her for creating an identity for herself separate from her late aunt. I love every time a character comes into their own and it was certainly inspirational.

I just loved how large of a glimpse I got of Phoebe’s business, her town and herself. I love when cozy mysteries are rich with meaty descriptions; this book did not disappoint. There was an absolute perfect balance of dialogue and description. I couldn’t be happier with this read. It made me feel cozy, it really just brought me to that feeling good spot. I can’t wait to read more from this author.

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Phoebe Winchester moved to Raven Creek, Washington, about seven months ago to live in her deceased aunt's house and take over the running of her café/bookstore. Much to her surprise, Phoebe has discovered that she's a witch! But despite all of the changes and strange things that have happened over the past year, Phoebe has a business to run. When she finds out about an estate auction coming up that offers a huge collection of used books, Phoebe decides to go but she ends up finding a lot more than old paperbacks.

I really enjoyed this book. There was quite a bit of investigation, which involved her putting herself into some exciting situations but never into the TDTL category. We also get to know Rich a bit better, he seems like a good guy so hopefully they can work things out. Rich seems to be the main love interest, though Phoebe observes early on that she would go out with Leo if he asked so I hope that this doesn't become a weird love triangle.

There were a few things I was disappointed with in this book. Phoebe seems to have lost a bit of her spunk. In the first book she was a bit snarky and sassy and while she had her charm in this book, she seemed a bit more watered down. I also felt the murder happening outside of Raven Creek took a little something from the atmosphere of the story and I missed the shop employees, though they're in this book we don't see much of them.

Overall this is a series definitely worth reading, especially if you like paranormal cozies (and even if you don't, because the paranormal angle is not emphasized and isn't used as a crutch to solve the murders).

Thank you to the author, publisher, and to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC.

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