Sunday, July 14, 2024

Book Review: ESCAPE FROM DEVIL'S DEN (Harlequin Romantic Suspense) by Bonnie Vanak

Romantic Suspense 
Setting – Florida and North Carolina 
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Harlequin Romantic Suspense (July 23, 2024) 
Mass Market Paperback ‏ : ‎ 272 pages 


She’s found the perfect disguise… Until he uncovers the truth! 

FBI agent Jace Beckett goes undercover to infiltrate the motorcycle gang Devil’s Patrol. But he never expected to encounter his stunning former fiancée, Kara Wilmington, hanging around the criminal organization. 

The gorgeous businesswoman is determined to protect her property—and her family—when she finds out that her cousin is involved with the DP. But as Kara and Jace relentlessly pursue the DP’s ruthless jewel-theft ring, it’s not only Jace’s cover that’s at risk. It’s their lives… 


Jace Beckett has gone to a great deal of trouble to be accepted by the DP. He's FBI with a military background. Cold and calculating in his quest to gain access to the mystery man, Marcus, who is a domestic terrorist and using the outlaw motorcycle gang to get what he needs. Only this job gets personal when he discovers his ex-fiancée, Kara, may be the next victim of the DP.

The story behind Kara and Jace is revealed in bits and pieces - the secrets they both withheld - as the tension rises in the DP. The story moves at a steady pace, with twists and turns, and suspicion abounds as to who they can trust. It kept my interest as I tried to figure out who was behind the threat and the target. It's well written and the characters, especially Kara and Jace, are well-developed. One or two surprises pop up. There is sexual content (limited, but there),so readers beware.

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. 


Bonnie Vanak is a multi-published author of paranormal, historical, and suspense romance novels. After a career in journalism, she became a writer for an international charity, traveling to poor countries like Haiti to write about issues affecting the poor. 

When the strain of her job demanded a diversion, she turned to her childhood dream of writing books. Bonnie lives in Florida with her husband and rescue dogs. 

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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

GROUNDS FOR MURDER : Coffee & Cream Café Mysteries by Lena Gregory, Read by Eleanor McCormick

Audio Book Book Blast 

Grounds for Murder: Coffee & Cream Café Mysteries Cozy Mystery 2nd in Series 
Setting – Watchogue, Long Island, New York 
Audiobook (May 21, 2024) 
Publisher – Tantor Audio 
Listening Length – 6 hours and 55 minutes 
ASIN : B0D324Q1S7 
Audio CD ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0CZ2KWM4M 
Gemma Halliday Publishing (November 21, 2023) 
About the Book

From author Lena Gregory comes a tasty new mystery with a killer twist… 

Danika Delaney is thrilled to have taken over her uncle Jimmie’s old fashioned malt shop on eastern Long Island and is working hard to make it her own. In an effort to increase business, Danika invites a mystery writer to the Coffee & Cream Café for a discussion and book signing. Things seem to be going well, until a guest shows up and confronts the author, accusing him of plagiarizing his work. 

Embarrassed by the incident, Danika goes to the inn where the writer is staying the following morning, hoping to apologize and offer him another chance to return. What she finds instead is his dead body—beside a cup of poisoned coffee! Now it’s up to Danika to find out who wanted to silence the author… before the killer decides to write Danika a not-so-happy ending! 

About the Author

Lena grew up in a small town on the south shore of eastern Long Island, but she recently traded in cold, damp, gray winters for the warmth and sunshine of central Florida, where she now lives with her husband, three kids, son-in-law, and four dogs. Her hobbies include spending time with family, reading, and walking. 

Her love for writing developed when her youngest son was born and didn’t sleep through the night. She works full time as a writer and a freelance editor and is a member of Sisters in Crime.

Author Links 

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Audiobook Coming Soon!

Release Date June 25, 2024

Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Book Review: MY SISTER'S GRAVE (Tracy Crosswhite Book 1) by Robert Dugoni

About the Book:

Tracy Crosswhite has spent twenty years questioning the facts surrounding her sister Sarah’s disappearance and the murder trial that followed. She doesn’t believe that Edmund House—a convicted rapist and the man condemned for Sarah’s murder—is the guilty party. 

Motivated by the opportunity to obtain real justice, Tracy became a homicide detective with the Seattle PD and dedicated her life to tracking down killers. When Sarah’s remains are finally discovered near their hometown in the northern Cascade mountains of Washington State, Tracy is determined to get the answers she’s been seeking. 

As she searches for the real killer, she unearths dark, long-kept secrets that will forever change her relationship to her past—and open the door to deadly danger.


This was an intriguing story, with conflict and tension around every corner. Tracy is determined to reopen the case surrounding her sister's disappearance. She's reviewed all the evidence and with so many inconsistencies, she believes the man was framed. She enlists the help of a high school friend, now an attorney, to help. The case is reopened and the tension only increases. 

Dugoni has weaved a tale that keeps you guessing and wondering who the bad guy is. The pace is steady and then picks up after all the other surprises and twists that pop up. The ending makes sense. This is the first in the Tracy Crosswhite and the first in this series of 10 I've read. I'm looking forward to the second and hoping to get to know Tracy better now that she has closure and can move forward.

My Sister's Grave
Her Final Breath
In the Clearing
The Trapped Girl
Close to Home
A Steep Price
A Cold Trail
In her Tracks
What She Found
One Last Kill

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

New Release: JEALOUSY, JITTERBUG & MURDER (A Stacie Maroni Mystery, Book 10)

About the Book: 

A bungled kidnapping, three young women - one killed, and a dance studio

When Stacie Maroni is mistakenly abducted, she fears for the life of the intended victim. The young woman, who worked at the same company as Stacie, soon turns up dead. With the kidnappers afraid Stacie can identify them, threats lurk around every corner. 

Add in the victim’s two friends and a tech company with a dance-oriented employee program. A quick lesson in the jitterbug provides more clues as Stacie navigates the twists and turns of the murder. 

New Release special price, this week only: $0.99 

Read an excerpt from Chapter 1:

Wherever I was, it was dark, cold, and damp, making my skin crawl and my head ache. That might work for mushrooms, not for me. I couldn’t see anything, but sensed someone had blindfolded me. When I tried to remove the blindfold, I realized my hands were tied and for some reason I couldn’t lift them to my face. 

I closed my eyes and visualized my day. It had been a workday and a busy one at that. With our relationship deepening, Detective Michael O’Hare and I traveled to New York to see my dad and his wife, get away from work, and go skiing. Unfortunately, that meant three days of work to catch up on. Nothing out of the ordinary. 

 I remembered talking to Rosie, my administrative assistant, as I left our area and the shock of the cold wind as I ventured outside. I could tell I still had on my puffy coat. I had only the vaguest memory of someone covering my nose and me fighting back. Obviously, I didn’t win that fight. My dog, Jasper, came to mind, and I hoped somebody figured out I was missing. 

A door slammed and I froze. 

Excerpt from Jealousy, Jitterbug & Murder. Copyright © 2024. All rights reserved.

Today only, the first in the Stacie Maroni Mysteries, Prestige, Privilege & Murder, is FREE!

Prestige, Privilege & Murder  
Foundations, Funny Business & Murder Deception, Denial, & Murder  Connections, Conflict, & Murder 
Holidays, Hijinks & Murder  
Temptation, Trouble & Murder  
Keepsakes, Karma & Murder  
Marriage, Malice & Murder  
Bitterness, Betrayal & Murder  
Jealousy, Jitterbug & Murder 

About the Author

Christa Nardi is an avid reader with her love of mysteries beginning with Nancy Drew and other teen mysteries. She’s shifted to more contemporary mystery and crime authors over time, along with cozy and traditional mysteries. She especially enjoys cozy mysteries with less gore and no graphic violence. She is a member of Sisters in Crime. 

Christa supports animal rescue and other charities. When not reading or writing, Christa enjoys travel, playing with her dog, and spending time with her granddaughters. 

You can find Christa Nardi at: Amazon, Goodreads, X/Twitter, BookBub, Pinterest, and Facebook. You can contact her at  

Would you like a free cozy mystery or more? Here’s over 150 free cozies (at least in the US) for your reading pleasure, including Prestige, Privilege & Murder. One day only – today April 25th – a great opportunity to fill your eReader. 

Sunday, April 21, 2024

Book Review: DEADLY GAMBLE - A World War II Mystery by Kate Parker

Deadly Gamble: A World War II Mystery Historical Cozy Mystery 
11th in Series 
Setting – Lisbon, Portugal in 1941 
Publisher ‏ : ‎ JDP Press (April 16, 2024)

About the Book  

In 1940s Portugal, everyone is willing to trade secrets if the price is right. 

Britain stands alone against the forces of Nazi Germany. Livvy Redmond is a young newspaperwoman determined to serve Britain’s spymaster in the face of danger. When she arrives in neutral Lisbon, she discovers a city full of spies, refugees, and the secret police. 

At an elegant party to meet a double agent, Livvy witnesses him fall to his death from a balcony and must now determine what secrets he wanted to pass her. Further complicating matters, she must guard the man’s young daughter from sinister people trying to kidnap the girl. 

Gambling on the assistance of British embassy staff, Livvy commits to uncovering the truth while keeping the orphan safe. With spies and traitors lurking around every corner, Livvy must race against time to learn the secret someone has already killed to keep hidden – and is willing to murder again to protect. 

Book Review 

Livvy is doing her best to connect with the man who insists he has information the Allies will pay dearly for. She gets close enough to get his blood all over her, while the killer stole the ledger. With the man gone, Livvy realizes why he requested a woman to receive the information - his 4 year old daughter, Anna. Livvy arranges to take care of Anna, until someone can find her mother in England. 

This is a slice of what might have been happening as Portugal tried to remain neutral while Germany breathed down their throat. Stewart is a great help and Livvy figures out what Anna is singing - in English - and a disaster is averted. Only the Portuguese government wants someone to blame and Livvy (and Stewart) have to figure out the real killer, and fast, so Livvy can return home.

Historical fiction, murder, and lovely characters. Parker provides the backdrop and her characters are well-developed. For anyone who likes cozy mysteries or WW II fiction, will 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. 

Purchase Links

About the Author 

Kate Parker grew up inside the Beltway, when DC was a sleepy southern city and you could walk along the sidewalk directly in front of the White House. Now you can’t get within a block of the White House, and it takes Foggy Bottom and the Pentagon to house even part of what the Old State, War and Navy building held. All this fed Kate’s love of history.

With retirement, Kate moved to North Carolina and took up writing historical mysteries. Now with a career spanning over a decade, Kate is a USA Today bestselling author and the Deadly Series is her longest-running series. She lives with her daughter and a 110-pound puppy. 

Author Links 

Monday, April 1, 2024

Book Review: PERIL IN PINK (Hudson Valley B&B Mysteries) by Sydney Leigh

Peril in Pink (Hudson Valley B&B Mysteries) 
Cozy Mystery 
1st in Series 
Setting – Hudson Valley, New York 
Publisher: ‎Crooked Lane Books (March 19, 2024) 

Everything is coming up rosé for innkeeper Jess Byrne until a murder on opening weekend gives her B&B’s killer vibe a whole new meaning. 

Schitt’s Creek meets Only Murders in the Building in this sparkling debut mystery. 

It’s the grand opening of The Pearl B&B in Hudson Valley, and owner Jess Byrne has prepared the ultimate, Insta-worthy welcome, complete with her ex-boyfriend—reality singing sensation Lars Armstrong—performing live. 

As guests check in and mimosas are poured, Lars arrives with his stepdad-turned-manager Bob in tow. But things go south when Bob is found dead, and Lars is the prime suspect. 

After a desperate plea from Lars, and knowing the reputation of her B&B is at stake, Jess agrees to help clear Lars’ name, but the more she digs, the less sure she is that he’s innocent. Especially when he’s found at the scene of another murder. 

With the guests under lockdown, the B&B in the press for all the wrong reasons, and a killer on the loose, Jess is in over her head. With the help of her best friend and business partner Kat, Jess is determined to uncover the truth before Lars is put behind bars and The Pearl is permanently cancelled. 

Jess, Kat, her brother Nate, and his wife Sara have their hands full with the grand opening of the Pearl B&B, decorated in pink. The Pearl is full and thaat should mean success and a celebration for Jess with a detective on the police force. Only, the man who broke her heart, Lars, volunteered to give a free concert as part of the opening. Hence, the place is packed and busy. 

Along with Lars and his step-father Bob, who nobody likes, two of the girls (now women) who picked on Jess in high school and made her life miserable arrive as well. Kit tries to help, Sara is a bit odd, and everyone is telling Jess not to fall for Lars again. Then Bob is killed and Lars is the primary suspect. Jess has mixed emotions but doesn't believe he's the killer. 

With all the conflict, the roadie, the sister-in-law, the bullies from high school, a second musician who actually does perform, and a myriad of other characters, there's something around every corner to keep the story going and keep the reader guessing as to the killer and the real motive is. Definitely a great start to a series, and a B&B should provide fertile ground for more to come.

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. 

Purchase Links


Sydney Leigh spent several years running a seasonal business, working in the summer so she could spend cold months in cool places. Now she writes modern cozy mysteries and thinks about murder. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, and served on the board of Crime Writers of Canada from 2018-2021. She 
does a blog post once a month on The Stiletto Gang. 

Author Links 

Sunday, March 24, 2024

Book Spotlight; THE WITLESS PROTECTION PROGRAM (A Catering Hall Mystery) by Maria DiRico

About the Book 

Mia Carina has steered her Italian-American family’s Astoria, Queens, catering hall, Belle View Banquet Manor, into becoming the borough’s premiere party site, and nothing could make her happier—except her boyfriend proposing. There’s just one presumed-dead obstacle in the way . . . 

A strong, independent woman and respected entrepreneur, Mia never imagined she’d pine for a marriage proposal. Yet lately, with her beloved Shane, she’s on tenterhooks. It’s especially surprising, considering Mia’s first husband, Adam, was a philandering grifter, assumed lost-at-sea after a boating disaster. But everyone knows what happens when you assume . . . 

While working a huge wedding expo in Manhattan, Mia is shocked to spot the man who nearly destroyed her life. The one who’s supposed to be sleeping with the fishes. But she loses him in the crowd. And when it happens again the next day, it’s time for an emergency meeting with the family—and the Family. Because if Adam is alive, Mia is still married . . . 

Everyone wants Adam dead. Everyone except Mia. She’s dealt with enough police for a lifetime. Mia needs to be a divorcée, not a widow. But someone out there disagrees, and if Mia doesn’t discover who, she may never be free to marry Shane—or anyone else . . . 

Italian recipes included! 

Purchase Links 

Here Comes the Body (Book 1)
Long Island Iced Tina (Book 2)
It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Murder (Book 3)
Four Parties and a Funeral (Book 4)
The Witless Protection Program (Book 5)

About the Author 

Maria DiRico is the pseudonym for Ellen Byron, author of the award-winning, USA Today bestselling Cajun Country Mysteries. Born in Queens, New York, she is a first-generation Italian-American on her mother’s side and the granddaughter of a low-level Jewish mobster on her father’s side. She grew up visiting the Astoria Manor and Grand Bay Marina catering halls, which were run by her Italian mother’s family in Queens and have become the inspiration for her Catering Hall Mystery Series. 

DiRico has been a writer-producer for hit television series like Wings and Just Shoot Me, and her first play, Graceland, appears in the Best Short Plays collection. She’s a freelance journalist, with over 200 articles published in national magazines, and previously worked as a cater-waiter for Martha Stewart, a credit she never tires of sharing. 

A native New Yorker who attended Tulane University, Ellen lives in Los Angeles with her husband, daughter, and two rescue dogs. 

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