Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Book Review: CRIME OF RETRIBUTION (An Austin and Archer Mystery Book 2) by Rayan Morgan

About the Book (from Amazon)

A murdered migrant farm worker. A cold-blooded assassin taking shots at Dan Archer. While trying to protect her partner will Lea become the victim?  

Are you fascinated with fast-paced clean mystery books that keep you guessing to the end? The captivating action begins with an executioner trying to kill Dan. Will Dan’s relationship with a local jazz singer turn out to be more deadly than just a broken heart? 

Lea looks forward to working with Dan Archer, her new partner at the Conley Austin Detective Agency. But will she be caught in the crossfire of the cold-blooded assassin trying to kill him? 

Their first big case together involves a client accused of killing a migrant farm worker. During their investigation, they discover a local produce farm illegally shipping cocaine in crates of avocadoes. 

Can you figure out who's behind all the devious treachery - and who is trying to murder Dan? Join Lea and the former Texas Ranger as they work together to unravel these latest evils. 

Review

Lea Austin, a sister sleuth from Morgan's other series, is now working at her father's  agency with ex-Texas Ranger/Special forces detective, Dan Archer. The intent of pairing Dan and Lea is for Dan to protect Lea, only someone is after Dan. The case they're working deals with immigrants on a nearby ranch with one killed, one missing, and questionable treatment of immigrants. 

The story is well-paced with the investigation and the threats to Dan keeping things interesting. Add to that the tension between Lea and Dan. Morgan weaves the political and social issues related to immigration and drugs into the story, but not to the point of being preachy. 

The story is well-written and kept my interest. The characters were likable and had some depth. It will be interesting to see how Lea and Dan's relationship changes in future books. While this book is part of a series, it can easily be read as a stand-alone. I haven't read the first one in the series and that was not a problem. I also hadn't read any of the sister sleuths mysteries, so Lea was a new main character for me. After reading this one by Morgan, I added a few of her other books to my TBR list.

Purchase Link: AMAZON

About the Author (from Amazon)

Rayna has written two mystery series. The first involves two women whose desire for adventure and knack for solving mysteries leads them to intrigue, suspense, and danger in their small beachside community. Meet the Sister Sleuths who are strong yet vulnerable, tough but compassionate, and loving yet feisty in their relationship with each other. Included in their adventures are their father Warren Conley, a retired police chief who joins forces with them to open a detective agency, Tom Elliot, who heads the Major Crimes Department for the local police, and Lea's two dogs, Gracie and Spirit. In the Austin and Archer Mysteries, a former Texas Rangers law enforcement officer brings a high octane burst of excitement to the mix! 

The author has lived in various places, including a beachside town like the one used as the setting for her stories, with her husband, son, two dogs and three cats, all adopted from shelters (the animals, that is.) Each novel is based on a theme of social or personal injustice about which she is passionate, and contains a message about the meaning of our journey and the discovery of who we are. Rayna loves books, movies, and television series related to mysteries and crime, yoga, exercise, travel, and animals. She and her husband are actively involved fostering dogs to help them find forever homes.  

Author contact information:
Website: www.raynamorgan.info
Facebook: www.facebook.com/AuthorRaynaMorgan
Twitter: @raynamorgan22

To get your FREE book from Rayna and be the first to know about her New Releases, just cut and paste: http://www.raynamorgan.info/newsletter 






Wednesday, November 23, 2022

GIVING THANKS

 


For those of us in the US and Canada, today is the celebration of Thanksgiving. While the way it is observed varies from place to place, the idea of giving thanks comes through. With increased conflict in the world and day-to-day stresses, it's easy to focus on the negative. To balance that out, I think of the things I'm thankful for:
 *The health and well-being of my family, friends, and colleagues, providing support and laughs as we all deal with bumps in the road 
 *As always, I give thanks to my fellow authors for their encouragement, and, of course, to my readers 
*The ability to put food on the table, access medical care, have heat and AC when needed, and other comforts of life, along with routinely contributing and giving back to the community and those who are not so lucky

What are you thankful for? BEST WISHES FOR A HAPPY THANKSGIVING! (or a happy Thursday if you don't celebrate Thanksgiving)

Thanksgiving also is about Black Friday sales and the official start of the holiday season for people of many faiths. My curiosity got the better of me, and I looked up the history of "Black Friday" and was quite surprised that the term dated back to September 1869 when the stock market crashed. Years later, the term was used by retailers who's accounting showed them to be in the red before Thanksgiving, and with all the sales and buying in advance of Thanksgiving, would report being in the "black" the Friday after. You can read about the history HERE.


Monday, November 21, 2022

Book Review: MAMBO AND MURDER (Fiona Quinn Mysteries #6) by C S McDonald

About the Book

Three ballroom dancers had been murdered over forty-years ago. Wow, that’s one old cold case. What’s more, the murderer, thought to have been killed during a police chase, has resurfaced in Pittsburgh. Yikes! How can that be?

Worse, ballroom dancing simply isn’t Detective Nathan Landry’s forte. After weeks of practice, Nathan still has two left-feet. Can Fiona step in to guide Nathan through this dancing debacle or will it take forty-years for the detective to find his footing? Double yikes! Join Fiona and Detective Landry in this high-stepping whodunit. 

Review

Another enjoyable Fiona Quinn Mystery. When fingerprints of a man believed to be dead are found at a crime scene, an old case is reopened. The killer targeted ballroom dancers and Detective Landry (Nathan) tries to learn ballroom dance. With injuries to his partner, Fiona steps in and are entered into the ballroom dance competition. At the same time, Fiona is trying to help her grandmother who is getting strange letters. 

This was well written with two mysteries. What made this most enjoyable was the interaction among the characters. Many laughs and it's hard to imagine how Nathan, with two left feet, will be make it through the competition. The story was, at times, laugh out loud funny. The plot moves quickly and there is a positive resolution, and a few more laughs at the end. 

I've only read a few of the Fiona Quinn mysteries and this was easily read as a standalone. That said, I always suggest readers start at the beginning to appreciate how the relationships evolve.


About the Author

C.S. McDonald taught dance and choreographed shows for twenty-six years. Nowadays, she resides with her husband, Bill, and her poorly behaved Cocker Spaniel, Allister, on their Thoroughbred farm, Fly-by-Night Stables, near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. George the Pony is a real pony who lives among the tall Thoroughbreds on their farm. 

In 2016, Ms. McDonald decided to write a cozy mystery series. The Fiona Quinn Mysteries are quick clean reads for anyone 10 to 110! You'll love Fiona and the quirky, but oh so charming, Detective Landry. Fiona is a kindergarten teacher and an unlikely sleuth from Pittsburgh. If you've never been to Pittsburgh, welcome to this wonderful city! If you live in Pittsburgh, you're sure to recognize many of the venues featured in the books. Ms. McDonald has even sprinkled a little Pittsburghese into her stories just for fun.

Friday, November 18, 2022

Blog Tour and Book Review: DEATH ON A DEADLINE (A Homefront News Mystery Book 2) by Joyce St. Anthony

 


Synopsis

As World War II rages in Europe and the Pacific, the small town of Progress is doing its part for the soldiers in the field with a war bond drive at the annual county fair. Town gossip Ava Dempsey rumors that Clark Gable will be among the participating stars. Instead of Gable, the headliner is Freddie Harrison, a B-movie star. When Freddie turns up dead in the dunk tank, Irene Ingram, editor-in-chief of The Progress Herald, starts chasing the real headline.

There are plenty of suspects and little evidence. Ava’s sister Angel, who was married to the dead actor, is the most obvious. The couple had argued about his affair with the young starlet Belinda Fox, and Angel was the last person to see Freddie alive.

Irene discovers there’s more than one person who might have wanted Freddie dead. As Irene draws on her well-honed reporter’s instincts to find the killer—nothing is what it seems in Progress, and now her own deadline could be right around the corner.

Review

This is the second in A Homefront News Mystery series, featuring Irene Ingram as editor of the Progress, PA newspaper. It's time for the town fair and the goal this time is to sell war bonds to support the war effort. To add a push to the effort, celebrities are expected. Only instead of Clark Gable, it's a B-movie actor, who's married to one of Progress' own, Angel. When Freddie is killed, Angel is the prime suspect. Irene investigates and passes on the information she gathers to the Chief of police, her father-in-law. 

As with the first in the series, St. Anthony infuses the historical context into the mystery with references to the issues facing those who remain at home and those fighting the battles overseas. Her depiction of her characters is true to form, with Irene a strong lead at a time when women took on jobs previously reserved for men. Although the second in the series, this can easily be read as a stand alone.

For those who enjoy historical cozy mysteries, this should be a "must read." With engaging characters, the historical backdrop, and the home town feel, this will appeal to cozy mystery fans.

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in the hopes that I would post an honest review. This has not affected the content of my review in any way. 

About the Author

Joyce St. Anthony was a police secretary for ten years and more than once envisioned the demise of certain co-workers, but settled on writing as a way to keep herself out of jail. In addition to the Homefront News Mysteries, she is the author of the Brewing Trouble Mysteries and the upcoming Cider House Mysteries written under her own name, Joyce Tremel. She lives in the beautiful Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania with her husband.

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Thursday, November 17, 2022

Book Review: THE SONG OF JACKASS CREEK (A Mountain Mystery) by Darby Patterson

About the Book

Relocating from big city fame as an award winning reporter to a small town newspaper was a matter of life and death for Jesse Kilgore. And, although he left his dangerous past behind he didn’t escape from serious crime. 

When a battered body is discovered in Jackass Creek, Jesse uses skills he honed as an investigative reporter to help the town of Redbud come to grips with a brutal murder that’s fed animosities between the local timber operation and environmental activists.

The future of a young Native American accused of the murder hangs in the balance. Redbud’s colorful locals consider how the politically charged killing might threaten their cherished mountain lifestyle and traditions.

Review

Jesse left his job, and hopefully, danger behind him when he moved to this woodsy lumber town of Redbud. When protesters show up to save the trees and one ends up dead, Jesse gets involved, if only for Andy, the young man who found the body. The sheriff, for reasons of his own arrests one of the lumberman for the murder. Then he meets the older Native American women who doesn't think her nephew is a saint, but also doesn't think he killed anyone. Add in Deputy Rose and Jesse's hooked. 

This story was well-written with mini-subplots and action that may or may not be relevant, clues that may or may not be red herrings. Characters are well-developed and Patterson unravels their personalities as layers come off in the course of the story, with Rose being one of the more complicated. All of it comes together nicely in the end with a surprise or two. You get fresh air, mountains, and conflict on many levels in this cozy mystery. An interesting read, with some unique feels.



 

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Book Blast: BODY SNATCHED by Ana Diamond

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Ana Diamond will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

What’s worse than losing a body from a funeral home? Losing two. But mortician and amatuer sleuth, Lily Reynolds has a hunch. The new visitor in town, Rick Drakon, may have charmed his way into her life but she’s not fooled by his smooth talking ways. Problem is, Rick is a long-time friend of Lily’s new husband, Detective James Rivers. While James is busy convincing her to look elsewhere, Lily embarks on a dangerous path toward uncovering the truth. Will this case come between the couple or will Lily find herself closer to evil than ever before?

Review

Two sisters, a brother, and funeral home, only bodies are going missing. Lily is an amateur sleuth, almost detective, and married to one. Shanna is dating her brother-in-laws boss. Zachary is the youngest and his love life is on the rocks. Aside from missing bodies, James (Lily's husband) invited his old friend and detective, Rick, to visit and watch over the funeral home while he and Lily go on a honeymoon. Important, as they all live at the funeral home, except Shanna. Secrets abound and Lily and James discover they don't really know some people.

An interesting setting to be sure, this was a well-paced story with mostly likable characters, many with emotional baggage that will likely play out in later books. This is the second in the Body Conscious series, but can easily be read as a stand alone. (I haven't read the first one, but it's now on my TBR list.). If you like cozy mysteries with a touch of romance, you'll enjoy this book.

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in the hopes that I would post an honest review. This has not affected the content of my review in any way.

Read an Excerpt

She sprinted toward the ambulance with James inside. Her heart leaped into her throat. She didn’t want to alarm the others, but she didn’t really know if he was going to make it. Antonio had not. And what would she do if he didn’t? Images of her life with James flashed before her eyes.

From the moment when she’d first laid eyes on his silky black hair and tattooed biceps in the basement of her funeral home to their wedding day when he told her they would be together forever, this could not be the end. She would not want to go on. Tears flooded her eyes, clouding her vision as she ran toward the ambulance James had been loaded into. Yanking the back door open wide, she propelled herself inside.

His eyes were closed but his body had been hooked up to monitors that beeped incessantly. Intravenous fluids ran down the tubing and into James’s arms. And there was blood—lots of blood on the floor of the truck and on the linens of the stretcher. She willed herself into tunnel vision to avoid seeing nothing but red. The paramedics sat on opposite sides of the ambulance monitoring the machines hooked up to him.

She stood at the foot of the stretcher watching for any movement. Was he unconscious? Had he slipped into a coma? Was he only minutes from death? She’d stopped breathing altogether until she touched his leg and his eyes popped open.

“You know, this is the first time I’ve ever been shot.” His eyes sparkled with mischief.

She released the air from her lungs and chuckled at him. Her heart could beat again. “Congratulations. I’ll tell you what you’ve won later. Now work on not dying.”

He smiled and laid his head back on the pillow. “Yes, ma’am.”

About the Author


When Ana Diamond isn't writing about tough gals finding love in unexpected places, she’s at work by day in the medical field. She writes romantic cozy mystery novels with feisty strong women and alluring men who can’t resist them. Her books are fast paced, entertaining and heartfelt all at once.

Ana is a 2020 Tara Contest Finalist for Body Conscious and 2015 Melody of Love contest finalist. She lives in New York with her husband, two children and two needy but wildly entertaining kitty cats.

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FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in the hopes that I would post an honest review. This has not affected the content of my review in any way.

Monday, October 31, 2022

Book Review: STOLEN MEMORIES - Sidekicks Mystery Series by Diane Rapp

About the Book

Madison Thompson was working a summer job in a brokerage firm to save enough money to finish her history degree the following year. Unaware that she walked into danger after closing the office, Madison carried a night deposit bag to the bank across a busy parking lot. A van suddenly blocked her path. One robber dragged her inside the van at knifepoint, and the other drove away. The next day Madison woke in the hospital. Her face and hand were slashed and all memories from the past four years were gone—stolen. 

Can Madison recover precious memories of her college studies, falling in love, and becoming engaged? She desperately needs to get her life back on track and help the police capture those robbers, but every night she experiences night terrors that block knowledge of the attack. 

Learning about the attack on her daughter, Goldie Thompson rushed home from her job in California. She works as an animal handler for Pinkertons, a popular television show, and her dog Mikka Bella is the star. Bella had been trained as an emotional support dog before she became an actor, and she now travels everywhere with Goldie in a specially designed carpetbag. 

Goldie hopes Bella can help Madison overcome night terrors and get well enough to leave the hospital. The idea worked, but Bella was under contract and couldn’t remain in Williamsburg. Goldie knew it was important to train a new dog quickly, and clever little Kenzy Pederick proved to be the perfect companion for Madison. 

Six months later, Madison and Kenzy work several jobs in Virginia’s Historic Triangle—Colonial Williamsburg, Historic Jamestown, and the Yorktown Battlefield. Her family hoped that exposing Madison to familiar historic sites might prompt a quick recovery, but nothing worked. One day everything changed. She met an English woman who was searching for the grave of an ancestor and glimpses of the past started to break through the memory blockage. Madison and Kenzy soon followed a trail of clues that could fill in the blanks. 

Recovering those memories might prove dangerous. Bonds worth $2 million are still missing after the robbery, and a gang of crooks believe that Madison can lead them to the hiding place. Can two feisty dogs protect Madison from dangerous villains? Will she learn how and why she suppressed her memories and help the police capture the robbers? 

Review

Goldie and Mikka Bella are completing a shoot for a movie when she gets the news of her daughter's assault. Although Mikka Bella is her therapy dog as well as an accomplished "actress," Goldie hopes that Mikka Bella can also help Madison heal. Soon it's apparent that Madison needs her own therapy dog to help her with her night terrors - the only glimpse into her assault and any memory of the last four years of her life. 

As Madison remembers more details, there's hope of her reclaiming her memory. Unfortunately, there were some bearer bonds that have disappeared and the person responsible for her assault is sure Madison is the key. In the meantime, Goldie has to train Mikka Bella for her next appearance and Madison's new dog, Kenzy, catches on quickly. 

There are twists and turns with a bit of humor, especially related to the two dogs and their antics. Madison's memories come back in bits and pieces. Goldie, her husband, and Trevor, the man Madison was engaged to and now doesn't remember were warned not to force her memories. Only someone's after Madison... 

The story is well-written and the pace is steady. Goldie and Trevor search for clues and try to jar Madison's memory with surprising consequences. I liked Goldie, her husband, Madison and Trevor and I expect they'll be recurring characters in the series. If you enjoy dog mysteries, with the dogs having both a supportive and active role in solving the mystery, you'll enjoy this one. I look forward to the next in the series, with the newest dog, but hope to see more of Mikka Bella and Kenzie as well.

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in the hopes that I would post an honest review. This has not affected the content of my review in any way.

AMAZON   Psst. Only 99cents through 11/1!

About the Author

Diane Rapp became an entrepreneur when she started her own dog grooming salon in Santa Barbara, California. She spent the next thirty years as a small business owner; she sold real estate, started an office supply/copy center, and performed free-lance advertising design. During all those years Diane wrote stories as a cure for insomnia. 

After writing a tour guide book to the Caribbean together, Diane’s daughter gave her the idea of writing a mystery set on cruise ships in the Caribbean. "Murder Caribbean-Style" and "Murder on a Ghost Ship" are the first two novels of a High Seas Mystery series. Readers meet the main characters of the series and learn about life aboard a ship while solving murders. There is danger and romance mixed in with the action. 

"The Alphas" is the prequel to  “Howl of the Wolf,” book 1 of the Heirs to the Throne trilogy. The novel introduces the dogs and wolves that eventually formed a pack that travels through space to inhabit Drako. The story is also a mystery. The heroine solves the murder of an old friend and discovers why her beloved German Shepherd was stolen. "

“Golden Legacy” blends historical adventure with modern-day mystery in two time lines. Embarking on a harrowing treasure hunt, two daring heroines tackle the hazards of gold country more than a century apart. 

Visit www.quicksilvernovels.com to learn more about all of Diane's books. Contact Diane from the website or find Diane's posts at https://www.facebook.com/quicksilvernovels and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/DianeRapp to make friends.