Monday, June 29, 2015

Review: NUN OF THAT (A Deadly Habit Cozy Mystery Book 1) by Morgana Best

I am finally taking time to work on the TBR list...  so reviews will abound starting with NUN OF THAT by Morgana Best!

Synopsis (from Amazon)
Rose Taylor is struggling to keep her furniture store afloat, but her financial problems soon become the least of her worries when her neighbor is murdered, with Rose as the only witness. The problem is, nobody will believe that she saw a nun fleeing the scene. The population of her small Australian country town increases with the arrival of Adam Bowen, an investigative journalist writing a book on an infamous gang of bank robbers, and Bunny, the murder victim’s estranged and colorful wife. Are these things connected, and if so, how? Rose plans to find out – because in her town, she’s having Nun of That.

Amidst police officers laughing at her report of an athletic nun about knocking her over as she fled the scene, Rose is determined to figure out what happened to the one elderly nun at the local convent. While the Mother Superior is no where to be found and the convent is being used for a training mission, Rose is still skeptical. Someone murdered her neighbor, and the flakey wife he never mentioned doesn't seem to have a clue or motive. But the why of the murder is unclear.  Adam is a distraction to Rose's sleuthing, mostly because she finds him attractive. But he is at least willing to go along with her in case the murder somehow connects up with the bank robber gang. Afterall, he is only in town because his leads on his story ended in this town. 

Rose has a lot going on - her business that she needs to keep going, her interest in Adam, and her need to resolve the issue of the athletic nun and her neighbor's death.  Best does a good job of tying in clues, and a bit of the Australian landscape, with nun sightings and enough danger to keep the story moving.  There is a bit of humor and a touch of romance, as well as some conflict among friends.  

This is the first in a new series by Best and is light and quick reading. The second, NUN THE WISER, is indicated as "out soon" and will hopefully fill in some more of the details on Rose and her friends, including Bunny.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

SPOTLIGHT: Sunny Side Up! by Maureen K. Howard

It's my pleasure to have Maureen Kovach here today to talk about SUNNY SIDE UP!  Maureen is this week's SPOTLIGHT AUTHOR of the Rave Reviews Book Club!

“The Story Behind the Story”
~by Maureen Kovach

Sunny Side Up, the first book in our Lake Erie Mysteries series, is set on Kelleys Island in Lake Erie, Ohio. It is a real place, and one of our favorite destinations for an afternoon visit or a week-long stay.

My husband, John, and best friends and boating companions, Lynn and Greg Wagner, often skim the short distance across the lake from our homeport in Marblehead to the quaint, 4.41 square mile village that makes up the entire island.

The first stop Lynn and I make nearly every trip is the gift shop, Vi’s Island Treasures. Behind the signature purple door, we are always happy to discover new nautical-themed gifts, a fine line of clothing, and beautiful sterling silver and 14kt. gold jewelry. Vi (short for Violet) always makes sure we leave with a little purple bag engraved in gold script containing just the right something.

Readers will recognize many similarities between my friend, Vi, and Ruby Burns, a central character in Sunny Side Up, proprietor of the fictitious Ruby’s Treasure Chest. One similarity that cannot be ignored is the fact that both boutiques, the real and the fictional, are destroyed by fire.

Here’s where it gets interesting. On August 19, 2010, Vi’s original shop on Division Street was demolished. On the morning of August 20, the four of us vacationing boaters were having coffee, enjoying the cool, early morning breeze from our docks in Huron, Ohio, the second stop on our planned week-long summer trip. The noise of police helicopters interrupted our peace and quiet. Rescue boats with flashing lights zipped across the water heading straight for Kelleys Island. Greg commented in his dry, offhand manner, “Maybe my dream has come true. Maybe Vi’s burned down.”

Gulp. No sooner had he said that, than Lynn’s cell phone rang. On the other end, her son asked, “Mom, are you guys okay? I just heard the news.”

“What news? What are you talking about?”

“There’s a big fire on Kelleys Island. Vi’s was burnt to the ground.”

Double Gulp. Yesterday, Lynn and I were chatting with Vi as she rang up our purchases. Our husbands were waiting not-so-patiently a few doors down at the Caddyshack, our favorite sports bar with the best pizza on the planet. “You know, Vi, our husbands are outside plotting night maneuvers to come back and burn your store down so we will stop spending so much money in here.” Seriously. Those words were spoken just hours before the fire. And now, there we sat, watching smoke waft across the lake and wondering when the cops would be contacting us.

Lucky for us, we learned over the course of the next few days that the fire had originated in the attic of a neighboring store. The fire quickly spread and destroyed the entire strip of attached businesses. Ohio state fire marshall later ruled the blaze had started after a work lamp was left on in the attic of one of the buildings. But still. The seed of a murder mystery was planted. Ideas sprouted and bloomed wildly in my mind. Finally, my daughter, Brigette, who was getting tired of hearing me talk about it, suggested we write a novel together. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Unlike the historical facts, however, in the novel, there is a victim in the fire. The book’s mystery revolves around a charred corpse discovered in the attic of Ruby’s Treasure Chest after it is destroyed in a suspicious fire.

The main characters, best friends Francie and June, visit many of the real-life mainstay attractions of the island as they try to figure out the identity of the mystery corpse, and clear the name of Francie’s husband, Hammond, who seems to have disappeared while circumstantial evidence keeps piling up against him, pointing the finger of guilt in his direction.

Our first book-signing of Sunny Side Up by Maureen K. Howard (the collaborative pen name of Maureen Kovach (me) and Brigette Howard (my daughter) was held at the new location of Vi’s Island Treasures, which by the way, is housed in a historic former convent built entirely of stone.

Author Bio:
Maureen K. Howard is the pen name of mother/daughter 
writing partners, Maureen Kovach and Brigette Howard. They both live in Findlay, Ohio. Maureen recently retired from a long career as a high school English teacher and now focuses her time on spoiling her three granddaughters, spending long weekends at the lake with her husband and their golden doodle, and making friends with fellow mystery writers and readers across the globe via social media. Oh yeah, she also writes books. Brigette works full time managing multiple national restaurant franchises. She enjoys taking her charcoal lab on running adventures and spends her free time reading, gardening with her husband, cooking, and planning the perfect murder.

Maureen Online:
Twitter: @mhowardbooks

Book Synopsis:
"Drink in one hand, credit card in the other, and everything else will sort itself out."
The school year is over and the article deadlines have been met, so best friends, Francie and June, ditch their business attire, grab their flip flops, and head to the lake for some fun in the sun. 

Instead of enjoying a relaxing Memorial Day weekend at Kelleys Island on Lake Erie, this dynamic duo finds themselves in the middle of a murder investigation. They need to find out who burned down their friend's store, discover the identity of the charred corpse found in the wreckage, and clear Francie's husband, Hamm, before he is charged with the crime. 

Fueled up with their favorite snacks of wine and cheese, these adventure-loving ladies manage to keep their eyes open for a bargain, come up with a plan, and even indulge in a bit of romance, all while dodging increasingly dangerous attempts to silence them for good.
Grab your sunglasses, your favorite cocktail, a copy of Sunny Side Up, and head to the lake with them for an unforgettable weekend adventure.

Book Links:



Did I leave my vibrator on? Oh wait, I don’t own a vibrator, so what was causing the riotous pile of clothes on my bedroom floor to buzz with such urgency? The mundane truth was that I’d switched my cell phone ringer off so I wouldn’t lose focus while trying to assemble my weekend wardrobe. Obviously that wasn’t working out so well for me.

I located the gyrating devil under some discarded tank tops and swiped the answer button on the screen just before the call was switched over to voicemail. “Hello?”

“Francie! Is it a go? Did you get the hubby to agree to run us over to the island in the boat this weekend?”

“It’s good to hear from you, too, June. And no, I haven’t even gotten around to asking him yet. He’s downstairs whipping up one of his gourmet meals, and I sure don’t want to distract him from that. I was trying to figure out what I should pack. How do you prepare for freezing cold mornings, balmy afternoons, torrential downpours and high winds—and fit everything into one suitcase? At least I don’t have to worry about bathing suits. After the winter we’ve just had, the lake probably won’t warm up until August.”

“Sorry. I’m just anxious to get to the island. My editor is jumping down my throat to get this story in before the official start of the season.”

June’s passion was hard to resist. She was like that about everything she did—she took off running and didn’t look back. I could feel myself being lured in to the promise of fun and adventure. It wouldn’t be the first time.

My best friend was a freelance writer. She worked for a consortium of specialty magazines running the gamut from Fruit Aficionado to The Neighborhood Cigar, to my favorite, Lady Sings the Tools. Two years ago she gave up her high-profile job as an investigative reporter for WCLV, the major network news channel in Cleveland. After her divorce, she bagged up all her corporate outfits, chopped off her hair, and set off on a new career path that didn’t hamper her free spirit. Her new job now requires her to spend time with all kinds of interesting people from every walk of life instead of digging up dirt on the lowest of low-life criminals.

Recently, I even got to meet Christie Browne, the beautiful model, while June was working on a story about the latest beauty product the star was endorsing. In our enthusiasm to prove our support for the much-touted self-tanning lotion, we doubled the recommended amount as well as the recommended usage time. Our skin turned a frightening shade of burnt pumpkin, and wouldn’t you know it, I had to accompany Hammond to a formal dinner party given by his firm that same evening. June, on the other hand, was able to postpone her face-to-face interview, and by the time we met Christie, we both looked sweetly sun-kissed. She got rave reviews on her piece. I got put on a prayer list.

“I get that you’re under a deadline, but if I don’t approach Hamm in just the right way, I’m fried. Let me call you back in a little while.”

“Okay, but let me know soon. If I don’t take this assignment, I’ll be stuck documenting the mating behaviors of ferrets for the next two weeks.”

 Great read! Thank you Maureen for stopping by today!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Blog Tour: FOOTPRINTS IN THE FROSTING by Laura Pauling


Cheesecake, Love, and Murder!

It’s the Grand Opening for Holly Hart’s new business, Just Cheesecake. When footprints in the frosting lead to a body facedown in one of her cheesecakes, Holly becomes a prime suspect.

With her opening day delayed, Holly deals with a nosy no-good reporter and the local cop, the handsome Officer Trinket, as she puts her sleuthing skills to the test to save her business and her name. With the help of her dog, Muffins, she needs to find the real murderer, before the killer looks to frost someone else.


Holly Hart has definitely met Murphy's Law as she tries to start over and open "Just Cheesecake" using the secret recipe she perfected in her mother's kitchen. The day her new venture is to kick off, her dog is missing and she runs out to find him in her cute jammies, and meets sophisticated Mason. Embarrassment plus. Muffin is crying over a dead body in her shop and she's Officer Trinket's prime suspect. Then there's crazy Charlene with her love of mystery and the reporter who keeps printing half-truths and painting Holly as the killer. Holly is determined to find the killer and instead stumbles on another dead body.

This is a quick read, just right for the beach. Characters are interesting and easy to keep straight -  my favorite is crazy Charlene and her conniving ways of helping with the mystery and matchmaking. I'm more than a little curious about the frequent mentions of the past life Holly's running away from. Hopefully more of the backstory will be revealed in the next installment.   

About the Author:

Laura Pauling writes about spies, murder and mystery. She’s the author of the young adult Circle of Spies Series, the Prom Impossible Series, the time travel mysteries, Heist and A Royal Heist, and the Holly Hart Cozy Mystery Series: FOOTPRINTS IN THE FROSTING and DEADLY INDEPENDENCE with more coming.

She lives the cover of a suburban mom/author perfectly, from the minivan to the home-baked snickerdoodles, while hiding her secret missions and covert operations. But shh. Don’t tell anyone. And she may or may not actually bake cookies. You decide.

Visit Laura at to sign up for her newsletter and receive a free Holly Hart cozy mystery novella.

Purchase Links:
Footprints in the Frosting
: Holly Hart Cozy Mystery 1
Deadly Independence: Holly Hart Cozy Mystery 2 ~ coming soon ~

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Monday, June 8, 2015

Guest Post: Morgan St. James - Author of Silver Sisters Mystery Series with Phyllice Bradner

Today, I'm happy to have Morgan St. James, author of Silver Sisters Mysteries Series , as my guest.  She is sharing her ideas about mystery and humor!

Or, How the Silver Sisters Mysteries Series Was Born

My sister Phyllice Bradner moved from Los Angeles California to Alaska when she was only twenty—just about the time we probably would have become friends. I’m five-and-a-half years older, so when we were kids she was always the “tag-along” little sister. Anyway, while she chalked up marks in the New Frontier, I remained in Los Angeles. Our mother became the link, telling each of us what the other was doing, so we rarely communicated directly and barely knew each other until we wrote our first book together. We might have spoken to each other two or three times a year on the phone—long distance calls were very expensive back then—and we only saw each other the occasional times she visited L.A. I don’t do cold, and wasn’t about to travel to the frozen North, although after we began to write together I made many trips to Juneau, Alaska.

When Mom had mini-strokes, Phyllice traveled to L.A. to help deal with Mom’s health and getting her settled in assisted living. Wonder of all wonders, during those two weeks while she stayed at my house, we discovered we had three loves in common--Mom, each other and funny mysteries. We were both published writers and during that visit conceived idea of writing the award-winning Silver Sisters Mysteries. 

We’d grown up in a zany family and were able to translate that humor to our books. Every book draws from some of the crazy situations of real-life events.

The Silver Sisters are identical twins loosely based upon the our own diverse personalities. Goldie Silver, an over-the-hill flower child who owns an antique store in Juneau, Alaska is the "salt of the earth” is much like my sister. She would give someone the coat off their back as the cliché goes, then ask if she could get them a coat. At this point, I must say that the other twin, Godiva Olivia DuBois--a wealthy, manipulative widow who is a syndicated advice columnist to the lovelorn and lives on an estate in Beverly Hills, is somewhat patterned after me although I’m not syndicated but have written over 600 columns about the craft and business of writing, I admit to being manipulative but don't live on an estate in Beverly Hills. I did live two houses outside of Beverly Hills at one time, though. The street changed names at our corner. I’m far from a millionaire and I’m not a widow. But Godiva has many of my traits as Goldie has many of Phyllice’s. That’s a definite plus, because we always know how each twin will react in a given situation.

The fiesty 80-year-old mother Flossie and Uncle Sterling, former vaudeville magicians who love to go undercover dressed in disguise, are inspired by Mom, our beloved Aunt Edna and Uncle Sol, plus one of our father’s characteristics—he loved to dress in costumes, and that has carried over to our kids. Other supporting characters are composites of our relatives, kooky friends or pure imagination. As we write, we love to relive and use some of the funny situations we have experienced, and that only tightens our bond. As we’ve written through the years now, we have become best friends, and that is worth everything.

The 3rd fast-moving funny Silver Sisters whodunit, “Vanishing Act in Vegas,” featuring the zany identical silver-haired Mae West lookalikes, was recently released and is available from most online booksellers or can be ordered at your favorite local bookstore. In this escapade, the twins and their mother and uncle visit Las Vegas when Godiva's son moves there and falls in love with a beautiful magician. But there is more to Mara the Magnificent than meets the eye, and a string of murders follow. Twists, turns and a surprise ending will delight whodunit fans.

About Morgan St. James:

A frequent panelist, moderator, speaker and radio talk show host, Morgan St. James also presents a variety of workshops and has written over 600 published articles for the Los Angeles and Las Vegas editions of She publishes the free bi-monthly eZine “Writers’ Tricks of the Trade.” 

With 14 books to her credit, in addition to writing her own novels like “Betrayed” and “Confessions of a Cougar,” as well as “Writers’ Tricks of the Trade: 39 Things You Need to Know About the ABCs of Writing Fiction,” a handbook for writers at all stages of their careers, Morgan and her sister Phyllice Bradner co-author the award-winning Silver Sisters Mystery series. “A Corpse in the Soup” was named Best Mystery Audio Book in 2007 by USA Book News, the 3rd book, “Vanishing Act in Vegas,” recently released, and they are currently working on the 4th book in the series, “Diamonds in the Dumpster.”

She collaborated with true crime writer Dennis N. Griffin to write “La Bella Mafia,” the shocking but inspirational true story as told by Bella Capo, and the just released funny crime fiction “Bumping Off Fat Vinny.” 

Many of Morgan’s award-winning short stories appear in her single author anthology, “The MAFIA FUNERAL and Other Short Stories” available as an audio book in addition to the paperback and Kindle editions. She has also contributed stories to various anthologies featuring multiple authors including two Chicken Soup for the Soul books. 

Memberships include Greater Los Angeles Writers Society, Sisters in Crime, Henderson Writers Group and Las Vegas Writers Group and she is on the board of Southern Nevada Writers.

For more information visit:,  and

Amazon Links:

Sunday, June 7, 2015


Writing contest for Mystery / Thriller stories “Fated Paradox” Inkitt's latest contest is open for submissions!

What is Inkitt?

Inkitt is a free writing platform that helps authors reach their full potential. Users collaborate with fellow writers and readers to give each other feedback and improve their work. Inkitt's vision is to help writers get the exposure they deserve and the publishing deals they covet, without having to jump through the fiery hoops of traditional publishing or wade in the shark-infested waters of self-publishing. They are opening a new writing contest for entries in June.

Mystery and Thriller - Fated Paradox

The theme for the contest is “Fated Paradox: Tales of gripping suspense”. They want you to keep them on the edge of their seats with your best mystery and thriller stories. Submit accounts of murders and red herrings, or have them biting their nails over stories full of adrenaline and espionage. Leave them breathless with your tales of unmatched suspense.

What are the guidelines?

They accept original fiction stories of any length. Entries must be posted on the Inkitt contest page to be considered eligible. The contest opens on June 4th and closes on July 4th. The contest is completely free to enter, and authors will retain all rights to any and all works submitted in the contest. The top 10% based on reader votes get the chance to be picked by the Inkitt staff for 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize.

What are the prizes? 

1st Prize: $50 cash, 5 printed copies of the winning story with custom Typography (created by Inkitt’s designer).

2nd Prize: $40 cash

3rd Prize: $20 cash

All entrants will have the chance to show their work to a rapidly growing community of authors and readers hungry for high-quality fiction.

Get more information:

Contest URL:
Twitter Handle: @Inkitt
Hashtag: #FatedParadox

Friday, June 5, 2015


Today I'm pleased to have Franky A. Brown visiting and talking about her new release, PRIDE AND BUTTERFLIES:

Announcing Franky A. Brown's New Release, Pride and Butterflies!


When their first impressions go wrong...neither one will be the same.

Caralyn Sharp has a demanding job and a love life that just walked out the door. She barely has time to be her best friend’s Maid of Honor. Right when she thinks things can’t get any worse, she brakes hard to avoid a turtle and is rear-ended by Alex Garrison. He’s a military officer with an attitude and the owner of the most amazing pair of blue eyes she’s ever encountered. As they continue to cross paths, she can’t decide what she wants more: to scream at him or stare into his dreamy eyes.


Franky A. Brown is from Sumter, South Carolina and has a degree in English Literature from the University of South Carolina. Writing has always been her passion and she loves to journal. She is the author of clean chick lit and women's fiction. She also writes a gluten-free recipe blog, "Julia and Me, Gluten-free",, and is currently at work on her next book. She currently lives in Alabama with her husband and son. Visit her website and subscribe for email updates