"A Sew Deadly Cruise" By Lois Winston: Review/Giveaway

 Review by Kathleen Costa 

Details on how to win an ebook copy of this book at the end of the review and a link to purchase it.

Crafty Cozy Creates Conundrums! 

A year ago Anastasia Pollack thought life was fine, until her husband gambled them into debt with dubious, albeit dangerous, people leaving her to pick up the pieces. Now a widow, she is a single mother of two teenage boys, and after her husband’s demise, she got custody of her octogenarian mother in-law whose questionable political views cause nothing but conflicts...communists will do that. Added to this often frustrating family dynamic is Anastasia’s own “married six times” mom, an inherited Shakespeare-quoting African Grey, her mother-in-law’s French Bulldog, and annoying half-brother-in-law with a trio of just plain annoying kids. She is engaged, though, like just now, to a wonderful man, Zackary Barnes, and that’s a bright spot, but there are niggling feelings about his possible connections to one or more of the “alphabet agencies.” Outside of a complicated life, she works as crafts editor at American Woman magazine and gets into loads of trouble with dead bodies, murder investigations, and close scrutiny by local law enforcement, especially from Detective Spader. Whew! Perfect mixture for a cozy delight!

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A Sew Deadly Cruise earns 5/5 Upgraded Cabins...Engaging Drama!

As a Christmas present, Ira arranged for everyone to enjoy a week-long cruise sailing south to the Bahamas. It is during Valentine’s Day and would be a great way to celebrate Anastasia and Zack’s engagement, and her boys, Alex and Nick, are excited, but traveling with Ira’s spoiled kids and her antagonistic mother-in-law seems a deal breaker. But, Commie G’Mommie refuses the offer and Ira and his hellion offspring are also a no-show due to Ira’s appendicitis emergency, so adding Alex’s girlfriend Sophie and her father Shane, maybe it will turn out to be a nice respite from thoughts of debt, conflicts, and dead bodies. [Cue snickering from a few “sadistic deities.”]

Welcome aboard the Gemstone Empress with four-thousand passengers and fifteen hundred crew members...just a quiet, intimate family cruise. It’s a nice surprise, though, with Ira’s absence, Anastasia, Zack, her mother, and her teens get a luxurious upgrade. The biggest worries are the all you-can-eat buffets, loaded umbrella drinks, and her mother’s hunt for a possible husband number seven. However between Anastasia’s Spidey sense and those giggling deities, danger abounds on the high sea! The mysterious man from lunch, overly interested in Anastasia’s antique engagement ring, pops up again, and Sophie, Alex’s girlfriend, seems to think the man is familiar. Is everyone just paranoid? Not when the familiar face turns into someone Zack wished he’d never see again. And when a dead body shows up, Zack has only one suspect...his father!

Brilliant! Lois Winston has “crafted” another clever drama with exciting surprises along with again being in the wrong place place at the wrong time and discovering a dead body, then another, then..., making this cruise one from father south than the Bahamas [Insert giggle]. However, the twist that highlights more of Zack’s background and his family dynamics added well to the drama. You don’t know which family is the most dysfunctional. But, Anastasia supports Zack, as he has done for her making their relationship admirable. Motives fly with the suspicious deaths, suspects aplenty, a cover-up in full swing, and weeding through it all put my inner Sherlock on overdrive. The investigation is engagingly hampered by people who won’t talk, are told not to talk, and a whole ocean exists to hide clues, evidence, and dead bodies. The final conclusion, reveal of motive and killer, and a bit of personal peril was exciting! Winston’s witty first-person narrative and banter keeps me a fan. Loved it!

“Waste Not, Want Not” As Anastasia’s great-aunt Penelope Periwinkle said and with Anastasia’s limited funds bank account saving scraps of material and ribbons and repurposing items is great for Anastasia’s Simple Sewing Crafts: Scented Felt Hot Pad and Felt Heart Pocket. For additional ideas check out Anastasia’s Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers blog, the blog of Anastasia Pollack, crafts editor, and reluctant amateur sleuth.

KRL Reviews

Drop Dead Ornaments (Issue 11/2018)

Handmade Ho Ho Homicide (Issue 11/2019)

Be a Big Lois Winston Fan!

USA Today bestselling author Lois Winston is quite the accomplished writer. Along with her cozy crafted now nine-book Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series, she pens a three-book Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mini-Mysteries and a two-book Empty Nest Mystery series. She also writes five romantic suspense, romance, and Chick Lit books under the name Emma Carlyle along with three novellas and short story collections, a children’s chapter book, four non-fiction books, and has joined in four multi-author Romance Super Bundle boxed sets. But writing is not all. She is also an award winning designer of needlework and craft projects for various publications and craft kit manufacturers. She channeled Anastasia Pollack for several years as a crafts editor and uses her art and design background as source material in her fiction. Her writing style and creative “crafty” eye makes her Anastasia Pollack Mystery series a Top Ten favorite of mine!

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Lois Winston’s website

Pinterest – Lois Winton

Twitter @Anasleuth

To enter to win an ebook copy of A Sew Deadly Cruise, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line "cruise,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen November 7, 2020. US residents only and you must be 18 or older to enter. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section in Kings River Life and in our mystery category here on KRL News & Reviews. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. And check out our new mystery podcast which features mystery short stories and first chapters read by local actors! A new episode went up this week.

You can use this link to purchase the book. If you have adblocker on you may not be able to see the Amazon link:

Kathleen Costa is a long-time resident of the Central Valley, and although born in Idaho, she considers herself a “California Girl.” Graduating from CSU-Sacramento, she is a 35+ year veteran teacher having taught in grades 1-8 in schools from Sacramento to Los Angeles to Stockton to Lodi. Currently Kathleen is enjoying her retirement revitalizing hobbies along with exploring writing, reading for pleasure, and spending 24/7 with her husband.


  1. Love handicraft books. With the
    Covid, I've gotten back to doing
    needlepoint. This book will be
    fun to read in-between projects.

  2. This sounds like a wonderful series. Thanks for the article. ckmbeg (at) gmail (dot) com

  3. New author to me. Sounds like a great book.

    1. I'd love to have you get to know Anastasia, Dianne.

  4. I really enjoyed Sew Deadly Cruise. Lois is a gifted storyteller.

  5. Kathleen, so glad you enjoyed Anastasia's latest adventure. Thanks for the great review!

  6. Thank you for the great review. A new series for me so thank you so much for the chance to win!

  7. This sounds really good. Legallyblonde1961@yahoo.com


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