Sunday, January 19, 2020

SPOTLIGHT : FIT FOR MURDER Adina Donati, Accidental Sleuth #4 by Cassidy Salem


Exercise is good for you, or so they said. So why is the Pilates instructor dead?
Adina signed up for Pilates because she wanted to get some exercise, not to find another body. Initially ruled an accidental death, the victim’s business partner has her doubts, which are soon reinforced by a series of suspicious incidents. With no obvious motives or suspects, Adina sets out to identify the killer – with or without help from her favorite detective.

This relatively  is the fourth in the Adina Donati, Accidental Sleuth Series, and on sale 1/15-22 for $0.99 or always FREE with Kindle Unlimited. Here are some of the reviews so far (on Amazon):

"Exercise is good for you, or so they said. So why is the Pilates instructor dead?
Adina signed up for Pilates because she wanted to get some exercise, not to find another body. Initially ruled an accidental death, the victim’s business partner has her doubts, which are soon reinforced by a series of suspicious incidents. With no obvious motives or suspects, Adina sets out to identify the killer – with or without help from her favorite detective."

"Fit for Murder is the fourth book in the Adina Donati series and these books must be read in order. Seriously, start at the beginning of the series! These books are everything I could want in a cozy mystery series! If you’ve read the previous books in the series, you know Adina has a “gift” of being drawn into murders and then solving them. What I love is that this isn’t a forced situation, it really does just seem to be her lucky/unlucky gift. The author does a great job of writing these situations, and she has created a fantastic character in Adina.

Adina is a strong female character with strong female friendships. I absolutely love this in a book! She is dating someone but he was a very minor part of the book this time. And, if you want to know my feelings about this guy, check out my previous reviews! Of all the books in the series, this one really felt like a strong woman book. There were so many great, diverse female characters and their interactions were just real-life interactions. Well, with a little murder thrown in, but you know, it’s Adina’s gift!"

Other books in the series:

Friday, January 17, 2020

Blog tour and Review: SILENCED IN SEQUINS : A Resale Boutique Mystery #2) by Debra Sennenfelder

Former Manhattan fashion buyer Kelly Quinn is turning her grandmother’s outdated consignment shop into her quaint hometown’s hot spot for upscale style—until her second-hand couture makes the scene of an ice-cold crime . . .

With her bottom line looking a little threadbare, Kelly is going all out to promote the Lucky Cove Resale Boutique. She’s counting on Black Friday to recover her start-up expenses—including a website and an advertising blitz. But the publicity is overkill when two warring divas, and one sparkly evening dress, thrust Kelly and her fledgling business into a scandal she can’t afford.

The gorgeous garment came to Kelly from the walk-in closets of Wendy Johnson, one of reality TV’s Long Island Ladies. When Wendy’s former co-star, Diana Delacourte, graces a Christmas gala in the dress that was once her rival’s, a very public catfight ensues. But is Wendy to blame when sequin-clad Diana turns up dead? Dodging the show’s ever-present cameras—and a detective’s stern warnings—Kelly hunts for a killer before the powerful celebrity-suspect makes good on her threats and rips her to shreds . . .


Kelly is more than curious about Diana Delacourte's murder, but the last thing she wants is to become part of the reality tv hostile community. She doesn't exactly listen to Gabe or Detective Wolman when they warn her. All she wants is to make her grandma proud. Lots of complications and obstacles, possibly a love interest, and a good mix of tension. 

This is my first in this series, though this is the second. The characters are likable or not, as intended.  The story can be read as a stand-alone mystery. There's enough back story to Kelly's friends Liv, Ariel, Pepper, and Gabe for the interactions to make sense. 

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 Debra Sennefender

Debra Sennefelder, the author of the Food Blogger Mystery series and the Resale Boutique Mystery series, is an avid reader who reads across a range of genres, but mystery fiction is her obsession. Her interest in people and relationships is channeled into her novels against a backdrop of crime and mystery. When she’s not reading, she enjoys cooking and baking and as a former food blogger, she is constantly taking photographs of her food. Yeah, she’s that person. 

Born and raised in New York City, she now lives and writes in Connecticut with her family. She’s worked in pre-hospital care, retail and publishing. Her writing companions are her adorable and slightly spoiled Shih-Tzus, Susie and Billy.

She is a member of Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, Women’s Fiction Writers Association and Romance Writers of America.

Author Links 


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Sunday, January 12, 2020

Book Review: FINAL ARRANGEMENTS : A Ginger Barnes Main Line Cozy Mystery by Donna Huston Murray

Synopsis (from Amazon)

Fierce competitor Iffy Bigelow gets herself strangled at the world-famous Philadelphia Flower Show, and if she ever wants to hear the end of it, Ginger Barnes must unearth whoever killed her mother’s dear old friend.


Ginger's mother is quick to agree to do things and then enlist Ginger (Gin) to help her. Amidst the stress of hosting a fund-raiser for the private school where Ginger's husband, Rip, is headmaster, Ginger is tasked with chauffeuring her mother, Iffy Bigelow, and her niece to the floral show. Iffy plans to place 1st in the show, is a bit outspoken and full of herself, and ends up dead, strangled by her own scarf. Now Ginger has no choice but figure out who killed Iffy.

The story has a good pace and mix of down-to-earth people like Ginger, Rip, and their two kids balanced out by the potential donors to sustain Bryn Derwyn, some of whom were also competing in the same floral show. Ginger comes up with many possible solutions despite, or leading to, vandalism at the school, red paint thrown at her car, and an effigy on their lawn. This is a solid cozy mystery. It is the second in the series, but can be easily read as a stand alone.

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.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020


Synopsis (from Amazon)

In this dual tale of mystery, lost treasure, and riddles, while Black Cat narrates the exciting events in Fern Lake, Kimberlee discovers a cryptic clue in a diary about a hidden treasure, and heads to Austria to solve the puzzle.

When Kimberlee and Dorian arrive in Austria, they attract the attention of a stalker determined to steal the diary in hopes the clues will lead him to the treasure first. On a collision course, it is inevitable that Kimberlee and the stalker meet in Hopfgarten.

Black Cat and Angel’s lives are endangered with the arrival of Kimberlee’s grandmother in Fern Lake, and the return of a man presumed dead for twenty-five years. With both arrivals, emotional and financial difficulties loom for Kimberlee's family. Since their return to Fern Lake, Angel seems reluctant or unable to adjust to her new home. Does she regret leaving Texas and Grandmother? And, when the opportunity arises, will she decide to leave Black Cat and Fern Lake?


Black Cat is back home with Kimberlee, along with his love, Angel. Between them (each taking the credit), they prompt Kimberlee to read Dewey's Diary - a manuscript she bought. This takes her down a rabbit hole in search of a treasure. It's all complicated though by the murder of her neighbor, who surprisingly has left her half of her lodge, and further complicated by the return of the neighbor's husband after 25 years. 

Faber created a story of two mysteries - the murder and the treasure. There is a steady pace with Kimberlee's husband, Brett (a mystery writer by trade), left to keep house and take care of their baby while she goes to Austria to find the treasure. With historical references to the troops at Normandy and World War II, Faber effectively wove mystery with history. Fans of Faber's other books will not be disappointed.

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.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020


It's that time of the year once again - a time to reflect on the good and the not-so-good. Overall, 2019 was a good year on all work levels - the day job and the writing. Lots of accomplishments for sure and hopefully more to come in 2020.   

On the plus side, publications in 2019 included: 

Dogs and More Dogs, Another Murder (Sheridan Hendley Mystery #2)

Old Friends and New, Another Murder (Sheridan Hendley Mystery #3)

Deception, Denial & Murder (Stacie Maroni Mystery #3)

Plans for 2020 include the next in each of those series... I suspect that will keep me busy (and out of trouble)!  Planned at least is the next in the Hannah & Tamar Series for tweens, teens, & YA, as well as a holiday - themed book for each of the other series...  

I also now have a website!  Check it out!

At a more global level, the frequency of hate, violence, and terrorism hasn't improved. It is sad to see the world and at home so filled with negativity. I am reminded of my high school years and the chant "Give Peace a Chance" often. At the very least, I suggest "Give Kindness a Chance" and pay it forward. As with a year ago, with all the turmoil here at home and abroad, I will strive to:

Be more positive and thoughtful of others
Be an advocate and help out others as best I can
Remember to engage in random acts of kindness
Be respectful of others and their opinions, even when I disagree 

On a personal level, I can't avoid the tried and true: Eat better, exercise more, lose weight... I'll add in there, take some time to relax. And since I'm behind, catching up on the books I've read, but not yet reviewed. The promise for 2020 is huge, as I step out of full-time employment and into semi-retirement (translation = more time to read and write). I'm excited for what is ahead.

What about you? What will you be working on in 2020?


Wednesday, December 25, 2019

HAPPY HOLIDAYS! Happy Hannukah! Merry Christmas! Happy Kwanzaa!

Holiday-themed Books 

It is definitely the time of the year for people of different cultures and faiths. To me, the "sentiment" I most embrace is that of "Peace on Earth" and kindness and good will to others. Unlike many, my home has both a menorah and a Christmas tree, reflecting different faiths of my family members. Each year, I enjoy the holiday-themed cozies and romances - yup, I do watch the Hallmark Channel!  Here are just a few of the holiday cozies I've read in the last month ... feel free to share your favorites of the season in the comments!

Yuletide Murder: A Deadline Cozy Mystery #10 by Sonia Parin

The bridge to the mainland is down, and Eve and her guests are all stranded. So much for her quiet Christmas holiday in her Inn with friends and family. Especially when Todd Emerson is found dead. She's determined to make it the best Christmas ever, complete with tiny marshmallows, and a certain police man right after she figures out who the killer is. Lots of holiday spirit and a good pace. Quick read.

Hoppy Holiday Homicides :Pet Whisperer PI #9 by Molly Fitz

Angie and her new found cousin Mags are all set to enjoy the annual Holiday Spectacular in Glendale, when they discover two bodies in the ice garden. Then Mags is kidnapped. It's up to Octo-Cat, Paisley the chihuahua, and EB bunny along with a few humans to help Angie figure out the killer. This is the 9th  in the Pet Whisperer PI series with a holiday theme and Angie the PI Pet Whisperer. If you like family, pets, and a bit of romance, add this one to your holiday TBR pile. 

17.5 Cartridges in a Pear Tree : A Maize Albright Star Detective "Between Cases" Holiday Novella by Larissa Reinhart

Maizie is all set for New Years Eve in Black Pine, Georgia when she is spooked by someone who comes to Nash Investigations in search of the Death Necklace from one of Maizie's movies. She gave the movie prop to her dad and now people are after her to get the necklace. Between Maizie and her sister, Remi, a lot can go wrong as they try to save the necklace and catch the bad guys. As always, the characters are great and the plot includes a bit of humor as well as tension. What a way to start the New Year.


Sunday, December 15, 2019

RELEASE DAY: OLD FRIENDS AND NEW, ANOTHER MURDER A Sheridan Hendley Mystery #3 by Christa Nardi



A touch of nostalgia, a murder, and good friends.

When a former colleague is implicated in his neighbor’s demise, Sheridan Hendley returns to Cold Creek to prove his innocence. Annoying as Max can be, she can’t imagine the quirky professor is capable of murder. Unfortunately, not everyone shares her opinion. Of course, it doesn’t help that Max threatened his neighbor in a public place soon before the man was murdered. Or that the victim’s drug shipments had a habit of turning up on Max’s doorstep.

Read an excerpt:

Charlie and Bella’s barking and pawing woke me up.  Even a little disgruntled, I couldn’t help but smile at the antics of my older Sheltie and the young lab mix. The smell of coffee helped, too.
A glance at the clock and I groaned. I overslept. Again. The weekend and languishing a bit in bed over. Work beckoned, at least three days a week at my continuing temporary job at Millicent College. That and the joys of getting one teenager up and ready for high school.
Grumbling to myself, I checked Maddie’s room on my way to the kitchen. She didn’t answer the knock on her door, so I opened it and shooed the dogs inside. She screeched and I chuckled. Definitely not a morning person. Her typical teen concern for her appearance slowed her down even more whenever she had to leave the house.
“Come on, Maddie. You need to get a move on.”
In the kitchen, Brett intent on his tablet. Although we were no longer newlyweds, nothing was better than waking up to this man, with his hazel eyes, dark curly hair, contagious smile, and dimples. A six-foot teddy bear unless on the job as a State Police detective or in protective mode.
He quickly shifted the screen on the tablet and smiled.
“Work already? Anything interesting?”
“Not really.”
Maddie stumbled into the kitchen. At fifteen, she portrayed a feminine version of her father, with long, dark hair and hazel eyes. With her last growth spurt, she was almost as tall as me. To her dismay, that made her taller than most of the boys in her grade, including her friend, Alex.
“Maddie, stand up straight. You look great. Got all your homework?” Brett handed her a glass of orange juice as he spoke and kissed her forehead.
“Thanks.” A quick glance at her watch and she emptied the glass. “Gotta run.” She grabbed her coat and raced out the door, her backpack slung over her shoulder.
Brett shook his head and smiled. “She’s grown up so fast.”
“For sure, and that learner’s permit is burning a hole in her wallet. In no time, she’ll be driving.”
His jaw dropped and his eyes widened. “I’m not ready for that. Or boys who drive.”
The ring tone of his phone halted his realizations. Work. I bustled around the kitchen and made myself a bagel. I waved one at him and he shook his head as he stashed his phone and grabbed his tablet.
“Fabry. We need to go to North Shore. Something’s come up and we need to check it out.” He leaned over, kissed me, and stole a bite of my bagel. “Later.”
I nodded. Detective James Fabry was his partner when something bigger than the ordinary assignments locally came up. That “something” often translated to a dead body or major drug bust or similar. Assigned to Division III in Appomattox, Brett and Fabry often caught the situations outside of the immediate area. Like Brett, Fabry had been with the State Police for many years, though he was the older and more cynical of the two. 
Brett’s assignment to the murder of one of my colleagues in Cold Creek was how we had met. I smiled as I recalled my time in Cold Creek, meeting Brett, and our friends. Cold Creek wasn’t that far away from Clover Hill where we lived now. Kim Pennzel was my close friend from Cold Creek. We’d worked together for almost six years and stayed in touch when I’d married Brett and moved to Clover Hill. A few years younger than me, we shared backgrounds – both psychologists, both divorced. Kim always had a lot more energy than me and sometimes acted on impulse. We talked a lot and often she and Marty would come to Clover Hill or we would go there.
Charlie’s nose nudged me out of my dreams. Brett had already fed both dogs and I let them out. The temperature had dropped, not unexpected for a fall day. A quick glance at the thermometer of our weather station assured me it was chilly, but not yet cold. I poured myself another cup of coffee, settled the dogs in, and, as usual, was the last to leave the house.
Like Maddie, with everything I needed in my backpack. A quick stop at the Starbucks® drive through and I was on my way. The ride through the hills from Clover Hill to the college was beautiful, the leaves on the trees beginning to turn. In the winter, the drive got a little tricky with possible black ice, especially on the two bridges. For now, I enjoyed the kaleidoscope of color and sunlight.
Millicent College was a small liberal arts college like Cold Creek College. Originally it was a women’s college, hence the name. That changed in the 70s though and no one at the college remembered that earlier time at all. Least not that I had met. This was my second year as a Visiting Assistant Professor and it suited me.
Unlike my position at Cold Creek College, my only responsibility was to teach assigned classes and attend a meeting or two. Like semi-retirement, though I still had a few years before I reached fifty. This schedule fit my new life style with plenty of time for Brett and Maddie, as well as to volunteer at the local dog rescue, Clover Hill Pets & Paws.
I arrived early for a change, walking in with Dr. Addison, the Psychology Department Head. About my age, he had reddish blonde hair and a moustache, set off with blue eyes. His wool trench coat in deference to the weather reminded me of old westerns and made me smile.
“Good morning, Dr. Hendley. You seem in a good mood this brisk morning.”
“I am. How are you this morning?”
“Good. Busy. Meetings and paperwork. Semester seems to be going well. Enrollment is up and the trustees are happy.” He hesitated and added, “Hopefully, the faculty and staff are as well.”
I smiled as we reached the hall with his suite of offices. He nodded and disappeared, and I ducked into the large lounge area and refilled my coffee from the Keurig machine. Coffee in hand, I stopped at my office to drop things off and then was in teaching mode.
I smiled at colleagues and students as I made my way back to my friend, Keurig, after class. As usual, the lounge was bustling with activity and noise, students, staff, and faculty alike. It was lunch time and the fast food venues had long lines. I got in line and watched the big screen as I waited.
Mostly national news, but then the running announcements on the bottom indicated “Breaking News: State Police make discovery in North Shore, VA.” And then sports news. Frustrating. I checked my phone and no message from Brett. It was a given he and Fabry were involved in whatever was discovered and my curiosity peaked..

Excerpt from Old Friends and New, Another Murder. Copyright © 2019. All rights reserved.

The Sheridan Hendley Mysteries
A New Place, Another Murder
Dogs and More Dogs, Another Murder
Old Friends and New, Another Murder

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