Sunday, September 15, 2019

Blog Tour & Book Review: A TANGLE IN THE VINES : A Calla Lily Mystery by Anna Celeste Burke


The curtain may fall on the Calla Lily Players' first season unless Lily and Austin can find a killer on the loose in California's wine country. Torrential rains threaten to put a damper on The Calla Lily Players’ first outdoor theater production. When the ground suddenly shifts, buried secrets revealed amid the tangled vines put the spotlight on murder. As Lily and Austin dig deeper into the mystery, the drama unfolds onstage and off. The race is on to find a killer before opening night.

Grab your copy of the second book in the Calla Lily Mystery series by USA Today and Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author, Anna Celeste Burke and join the race! Recipes Included. Free to read in Kindle Unlimited.


The Calla Lily Players provide plenty of entertainment with their personalities and amateur sleuthing along with Lily. The discovery of the place where some one has been burying bodies, and indications that Lily may be next, has the police taking Lily and the young boy trying to catch the "Numbers Man" seriously - although they are a bit resistant. There are a lot of connections to be made and they unravel along with solving the disappearance of a teen years ago. 

Burke has put together a unique combination of characters, from the Players to the various enforcement types. And not to be forgotten, some young people, and a fire victim.  Usually in a mystery, there are too many suspects - this time it's been too many years and many people have died. Yet, the threat is in the present time. A puzzle with an interesting ending. If you like mysteries with not so obvious killers, you'll like this one. And then there is the romance growing between Lily and Austin. I can't wait for the next in the series. 
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 Anna Celeste Burke

An award-winning, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author, I hope you’ll join me snooping into life's mysteries with fun, fiction, and food—California style!

Life is an extravaganza! Figuring out how to hang tough and make the most of the wild ride is the challenge. On my way to Oahu, to join the rock musician and high school drop-out I had married in Tijuana, I was nabbed as a runaway. Eventually, the police let me go, but the rock band broke up.

Retired now, I’m still married to the same sweet guy and live with him near Palm Springs, California. I write the Jessica Huntington Desert Cities Mystery series set here in the Coachella Valley, the Corsario Cove Cozy Mystery Series set along California’s Central Coast, The Georgie Shaw Mystery series set in the OC, The Seaview Cottages Cozy Mystery Series set on the so-called American Riviera, just north of Santa Barbara, and The Calla Lily Mystery series where the murder and mayhem take place in California’s Wine Country. Won’t you join me? Sign up at:

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Thursday, September 5, 2019

Book Review: THE ZOMBIE BALL : An Eli Marks Mystery #6 by John Gaspard


A Blast From the Past

Eli’s asked to perform his magic act at a swanky charity gala, The Zombie Ball– a former zombie pub crawl which has grown into an annual high-class social event. What begins as a typical stage show for Eli turns deadly when two of the evening’s sponsors are found murdered under truly unusual circumstances. Compounding this drama is the presence of Eli’s ex-wife and her new husband, Homicide Detective Fred Hutton. Under pressure to solve the crime before the 800 guests depart, Eli and his detective nemesis go head-to-head to uncover the bizarre clues that will unravel this macabre mystery.


I'm not particularly keen on zombies, but other than some of the high class guests doing their best to dress like a zombie, there's no paranormal or undead. The Zombie Ball is a charity event to support research on children's diseases and has emerged as an annual fundraising event. And an opportunity for the CEO of Finley Pharmaceuticals to take a bow as the highest contributor. Only this year, his original partner, now rival and CEO of Harper Pharmaceuticals, is the highest contributor. That in itself creates tension as Stella and Roxanne work to make sure neither is  slighted. Their green rooms - fancy waiting rooms - have to be exactly furnished and stocked, same attention and ego massaging.

Eli Marks is a magician as was his father. He's divorced and still reeling from that, but like anyone in the business, you take the paying gig when it comes in. When the original magician bails on the Zombie Ball, Eli gets the call. This is an opportunity for him and hopefully will lead to additional hires in the future. He doesn't have the same clout as the two CEOs - Dave and Leo, or the other entertainer, Joey Dee an iconic comic and entertainer. Eli's green room is simple and not well stocked. Still he is thrilled to be the warm up for Joey, and excited to be there - until he runs into his ex-wife and her new husband. And then both CEOs are dead.

This was an engaging read from the magic to the tensions between characters, not the least of which are Deidre and her Homicide Detective husband. The pace is good, the suspects are all there, and then there is the finale and the killer. Eli nailed it - I didn't. Unknowingly, I started at the newest (6th) in the series. The good news? It is easily read as a stand alone. The bad news? I will have to go back and read the other five - I enjoyed it that much!  If you like soft-boiled or cozy mysteries, you'll enjoy this one, and a male sleuth was a nice change. But beware of filberts.

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.

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The Ambitious Card

Friday, August 30, 2019

Blog Tour & Review: NUMBER'S UP A Barrow Bay Mystery by Annabelle Hunter


Jennifer Ward’s To Do List:
1) Turn in my business partner and his lying, cheating, law-breaking client to the SEC for insider trading.

2)Cooperate with the FBI. Do not kiss - scratch that. Do not yell at Special Agent Nicholas Kelly, the FBI agent leading said investigation.

3) Discover a dead body...

Jennifer Ward, MBA, CPA, and business consultant, likes a nice, orderly lifestyle. Schedules and To Do Lists are what gets her through the day. So when the by-the-numbers fashionista finds her business partner was breaking the law, she turned him in to the SEC. Which brought the FBI to her door, and her ordered world to an end.

But that was three weeks ago. Things couldn’t possibly get worse. Right?
Until Jen discovers her business partner dead in his hotel room. With Nic the handsome FBI agent dogging her every step, Jen must use her skills to discover the truth. Who killed Henry? And will she be next?


This book in the Barrow Bay Series focuses on Jen - and Nic, the handsome but oh, so bothersome FBI agent. The FBI and agents continue to harass her and search her home. Jen tries to be angry, but they are so neat about it and she doesn't have anything to hide. She's innocent. Then she finds Henry's body and all is a mess. It's apparent Henry was covering for someone and the question is who. 

While trying to figure out which of the likely candidates killed Henry and was behind the insider trading to begin with, Jen has becomes a partner in the grand plan to have Lark and her Detective get together - after all Barrow Bay needs a new police chief, badly. What sneaks up on her is that there's also a need for someone to take over as head of security. She's single, and Nic's a possible candidate - matchmaking is in the works.

This is a fun, cute read, particularly if you like cozy mysteries with busybody's meddling and matchmaking. Filling the needed positions is almost as important as solving the murder in this small town. Conspiracy on multiple levels.

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 Annabelle Hunter

Annabelle Hunter is a stay-at-home mom and an avid fan of classic mystery shows and dressage. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two children, and too many animals.
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Twitter: @cozycrazyfun



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Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Blog tour and review: I DREAMED IT


Justice for the dead and solace for the living is Baxley Powell’s creed, but she faces uncharted territory in this sixth book of the Dreamwalker Mystery Series. The Suitcase Killer has struck again, only this big city menace is now a problem for Baxley’s hometown. As that investigation heats up, a local woman is reported missing. The sheriff orders Baxley to work the missing person’s case.

Listening to the dead is familiar ground for Baxley but finding a missing young lady isn’t in her skill set. Besides, her dreams rarely follow a timeline. With the clock ticking, can this crime consultant discover a way to reach the living?

Her main source of help in the afterlife, a mentor named Rose, is unavailable. Instead, Baxley must rely on her wits and her Native American boyfriend, Deputy Sam Mayes, to find leads. Each shared dreamwalk and energy transfer binds them closer together, creating another issue. Mayes wants to marry Baxley but it isn’t that easy. They’re hampered by their community roles in opposite ends of the state.

Baxley juggles the pressure of two high-profile cases, a determined suitor, and expanding her limits. One thing is certain. Without her extrasensory sleuthing, the missing woman will die.


Baxley and Sam continue to work together to help others in law enforcement in this next book in the series. Only somehow, they both lost a period of time when they should have been asleep. Neither has any recollection and both have a need to know who used them somehow and for what. 

In the meantime, the Sheriff is very possessive and attracted to Baxley, and not too thrilled that Sam always seems to show up. The case they're called in on is of a missing girl. With a new twist, the girl's pleas for help reach Baxley and provide a different kind of threat. Despite the risk, Baxley wants to find her before she's dead.

The final layer of tension centers on the relationship between Baxley and Sam. He's about to be offered a position in the northern part of the state and he's looking for some indication from Baxley she'd rather he hung around. 

All together, the tension and action move the story. The characters are unique and well-developed. The sense of community among Baxley's family and friends provides balance. Although the fourth in the series, this can be read as a stand-alone mystery. That said, I think to get the full effect of the dreamwalking component, it would be best to start with the first one. All have been highly enjoyable, with me staying up to get to end and find out how Toussaint managed to pull all the loose strings together.

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 Maggie Toussaint

Southern author Maggie Toussaint evolved into a mystery author after getting her feet damp in romantic suspense and dystopian fiction, with twenty fiction novels and two nonfiction novels to her credit. Her work won two Silver Falchions, the Readers’ Choice, and the EPIC Awards. She’s a past president of Southeast chapter of Mystery Writers of America and an officer of Lowcountry Sisters In Crime. She lives in coastal Georgia, where secrets, heritage, and ancient oaks cast long shadows. Visit her at

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Saturday, August 17, 2019

Blog tour and Review: STIR UP A Lark Davis Mystery by Annabelle Hunter


Peace and quiet is underrated.

After her last brush with murder, Larklyn Davis is relieved to be spending her time with the talented new horse at her stables instead of tripping over body parts. While she’s trying to figure out why her newest horse has lost his mojo, she’s also puzzling over her relationship with the brooding, uncommunicative Detective Brecken Wilson.

But then, disaster strikes, and both Lark’s reputation and business are on the line. Once again she finds herself pulled into a murder case and in close proximity to the handsome Detective. Throw in a dashing veterinarian plus a matchmaking town and Lark’s life spins out of control. As clues pile up and all evidence leads back to her barn, Lark gets saddled up to solve another mystery.

Who knew life in Barrow Bay would stir up so much trouble?


Lark is already wondering what's going on with Bon, the great horse she'd just been hired to take care of, train, and show - preferably to the top of the field. All the videos show his promise, but his previous trainer, Emily, hasn't had the best of luck lately and Abby, Bon's owner, moves Bon without telling her. Bon comes with his own charming vet who surprises Lark with a "house visit" to check out how Bon's doing. 

Barrow Bay is small town with gossip and second guessing traveling fast, and Lark's possible romances - first with Brecken and now with the vet, Connor has bets flying. Somehow this seems perfectly normal to the Barrow Bay residents. Only this time it's in the midst of an investigation of insider trading and Bon's untimely death on Lark's watch. 

This is the second Lark Davis Mystery, and my first dose of Lark. She's strong, speaks her mind, and a single mom, with her own insecurities. She's not perfect and that makes her even more likable. Brecken is a mess in his own way as well, but I hope he becomes a regular. 

This was a fun read, easily a stand-alone, though I'll go back and read the first one now. It is well-written, with a stead pace and the not swearing ("shittake mushrooms" for example) and some of Lark's other comments made me laugh. But hey, she takes having a seven-year-old to heart. If you like cozy mysteries, horses, and handsome detectives, you'll enjoy Stir Up.

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

Annabelle Hunter is a stay-at-home mom and an avid fan of classic mystery shows and dressage. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two children, and too many animals.

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Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Book Review: THE STINK ON RACOON CREEK A Roy Martin Mystery by John Rose Putnam


In book three of his Roy Martin Mysteries, bestselling author John Rose Putnam takes on a very troubling problem and comes out smelling like a rose.

Summer doldrums and a severe heat wave combine to cause a slump in business for the Laurel County Sheriff, leaving Roy Martin free to investigate the complaint of a terrible odor along the remote and once idyllic Raccoon Creek. What Roy finds there is a sinister conspiracy to force Ernestine Walden, a charming elderly woman, to leave her lifelong home so that they can develop the land along the stream for a handsome profit. The plotters have already shown a ruthless determination to get what they want, including at least one cold-blooded murder.


Sheriff Roy Martin wouldn't usually investigate a complaint about a smelly creek, but there's not much else to do and that's just who he is. Mrs. Walden isn't kidding and he immediately smells more than just bad air. The tension rises as he starts to ask questions about the way sewage is diverted - it's not supposed to end up in the creek. Before long he's asking more questions and is very concerned that Mrs. Walden may be in danger.

I like Roy Martin a lot and Putnam's writing style. The story is well-written, with enough detail to give you a sense of the time and place, with twists and tension to keep the story moving. This is the third in the series, and it can be read as a stand-alone mystery. As with the other two, I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes mystery, small towns, and historic bent. I'm hoping there's a number 4.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Book Review: RESORT TO HOMICIDE: A Merrifield Mystery Novella by Christine Chianti


Vacations can be Murder

After the loss of her husband, ex-homicide detective turned mystery writer, Laura Merrifield turns to her family. Giving in to her brother's request, she goes to visit his new island resort during a special weekend for the investors. Spending time at Rim Runners should have been the perfect prescription to help rebuild her life, but the mood at the resort is like the weather-stormy. As hurricane Anna cuts them off from the mainland, tempers flare resulting in threats and sabotage. When the body of one of the guests is found, Laura is forced to rely on her training to find the killer before the storm lets up and they can slip away.


Laura Merrifield is a likable character, smart and not particularly thrilled to be in the position of solving a murder. In fact, she's rather write them than live them. Only there she is, in the middle of a storm and no way to for law enforcement to get over the bridge to them or for them to get to the mainland with a dead guest and a murderer. A quick read to be sure, but well-written. I haven't read others by Christine Chianti, but will look for more in the future.