Monday, December 5, 2022

CHRISTMAS MYSTERIES: Fiona Quinn Mysteries by C.S. McDonald / Mac Faraday Mysteries by Lauren Carr

Happy to share these great books with by two authors I enjoy reading: 


Book Details: 
Book Title: Merry Murder: A Fiona Quinn Mystery #2
Author: C. S. McDonald
Category: YA Fiction, 219 pages
Run Time: 4 hours, 51 minutes
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publisher: McWriter Books
Release Date: September 16, 2016

Content Rating: G (The Fiona Quinn Mysteries are for everyone-- adults love the books and they are appropriate for teens and tweens, too!)

Enjoy and early Christmas gift!

MERRY MURDER

will be at a reduced price of 99 cents
 until January 1st

Book Description:

The cookies are baked. The tree is trimmed. The shopping? Well, it's almost done, and Fiona's parents have returned home for a holiday visit - along with some unexpected unruly friends. Yep, Fiona's perfectly planned Christmas is coming together, but how could've she planned for her favorite uncle's murder?                                      Who could possibly kill a sweet old man who's played Santa at the local mall every year without fail? Fiona's boyfriend, Detective Nathan Landry, is determined to find out - before Christmas day arrives. There's only one problem: Nancy Quinn. Fiona's mom is just as determined as the detective to catch the murderer, and she isn't shy about getting the job done - even if it includes breaking a few pesky laws! 
Will Fiona and her mother find the killer first or will the killer find them?
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Book Details: 
Book Title: The Christmas Cameo: A Fiona Quinn Quick Mystery
Author: C. S. McDonald
Category: YA Fiction, 32 pages
Run Time: 1 hours, 16 minutes
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publisher: McWriter Books
Release Date: November 13, 2019

Content Rating: G (The Fiona Quinn Mysteries are for everyone-- adults love the books and they are appropriate for teens and tweens, too!)

Book Description:

A lovely cameo brooch is discovered in Fiona's late Uncle Wilbur's house two days before Christmas. the pin bears a romantic Christmas message from Wilbur for his new wife with the initials, D.A.S. How very strange! To the family's knowledge, Uncle Wilbur had never been married. So, who is this mysterious woman? Now, Fiona is on a holiday mission to locate D.A.S. and deliver the belated gift. Question is, what happened to the marriage? Is D.A.S. still alive after all these years? And if so, can Fiona find her before Christmas?
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Meet the Author

For twenty-six years, C. S. McDonald's life whirled around a song and a dance. Classically trained at Pittsburgh Ballet Theater School, The Pittsburgh Dance Alloy, and many others, she became a professional dancer and choreographer. During that time, she choreographed many musicals and an opera for the Pittsburgh Savoyards. Under her real name, Cindy McDonald, she writes murder-suspense and romantic suspense novels. In 2014, she added the pen name, C. S. McDonald, to write children's books for her grandchildren. In 2016, she added the Fiona Quinn Mysteries to that expansion. She decided to write the cozy mystery series that everyone, including teens and tweens, can read and enjoy. Presently the Fiona Quinn Mysteries includes eleven books. The books are available on audio, narrated by Maren Swenson Waxenberg.

Cindy's newest venture is The Owl's Nest Mysteries. Once again, she has set her cozy mystery in Pittsburgh and the female protagonist, Alexa Owl, is much different from Fiona Quinn. the Owl's Nest Mysteries has a little grit, a little time travel, a little romance, and a whole lot of cozy!

Ms. McDonald resides on her thoroughbred farm known as Fly by Night Stables near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with her husband, Bill, and her poorly behaved Cocker Spaniel, Allister.

Connect with the Author:

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Book Details:

Book Title: Spring Thaw by Lauren Carr
Category: Adult Fiction, 237 pages
Genre: Murder Mystery, Short Stories
Publisher: Acorn Book Services
Release Date: August 12, 2018
Content Rating: PG (mild violence and sexual suggestion)

Book Description:

Gnarly, the rambunctious German Shepherd, is featured in Lauren Carr's best-selling Christmas short story, A Gnarly Christmas. It is Christmas day and Gnarly has been up to his old tricks again. Now he's in the dog house - or rather the boathouse - after stealing the Christmas feast! Moments after Archie and Mac leave Spencer Manor, Gnarly hears a call for help from Rocky, the Maltese down the street. Four assassins for hire have invaded the home of Rocky's elderly owners. While the home invaders wait for instructions from a mysterious caller, Gnarly must plot to stop them. Can Gnarly save Christmas with only the help of an 8-pound Maltese dressed in an elf suit? (Previously published as a single short story by the same name.)

This anthology also includes other treats for mystery lovers on your Christmas list.

In today's hectic world, many whodunit fans don't have time to get their mystery fix diving into a whole novel. Lauren Carr's Spring Thaw and Other Mystery Short Stories is for these fans - but that doesn't man whodunit fans who have time can't dive in as well. 
                    
A novella, Spring Thaw features retired federal agent Chris Matheson from Lauren Carr's newest best selling cold case series. When his late father's former friend is indicted for the seven year old murder of a church bishop, Chris renews old broken friendships to thaw out a cold case.                                                                          Featuring Mac Faraday from Lauren Carr's popular Mac Faraday Mysteries, an estate auction turns into a deadly affair after Gnarly's antics cause Mac to purchase a gem of a dress, which isn't his color in Killing Bid. (Previously published in Lauren Carr's Beauty to Die For.)

Beauty to Die For features the Lovers in Crime, Joshua Thornton and Cameron Gates in a race against the Angel of Death to clear the name of a dying woman's son, who was framed for murdering Miss Pennsylvania. (Previously published in Lauren Carr's Beauty to Die For.)

Countdown to Murder returns to the Lovers in Crime where Cameron and Joshua try to solve the murder of a young pregnant widow before it happens. Previously published in Lauren Carr's Beauty to Die For.)

Mystery fans will see that every dog has his day, especially if that dog is Gnarly. In Lucky Dog, Gnarly helps Mac Faraday to solve the murder of a wealthy society girl. (Previously published in Lauren Carr's Beauty to Die For.)

Dog loving mystery fans will get a special treat when they read The Gnarly Rehabilitation Program. In this Gnarly Mystery Short, Bert and Ernie learn the hard way that crime does not pay when they dog nap Gnarly. (Previously published in Lauren Carr's Beauty to Die For.)

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Book Details:

Book Title: Three Days to Forever by Lauren Carr
Series: A Mac Faraday Mystery (Volume 9)
Category: Adult Fiction (18+), 366 pages
Genre: Murder Mystery
Publisher: Acorn Book Services
Release Date: January 19, 2014
Content Rating: PG-13  - Lauren Carr's mysteries are murder mysteries. Sometimes, the murder does happen on-stage. There is no graphic violence of explicit sex. There is some very mild language (hell or damn, very few and far between). No F-Bombs!

Book Description:

In this critically acclaimed Mac Faraday Mystery from best-selling mystery author Lauren Carr, readers will embark on a rollercoaster adventure with old friends (including the Lovers in Crime team of Prosecutor Joshua Thornton and Homicide Detective Cameron Gates), but also meet new ones as Mac Faraday's daughter Jessica Faraday and Joshua Thornton's son Murphy Thornton join the team in the race to the love birds to the altar!

Days after Christmas, three years before the start of a new year, Deep Creek Lake is hopping with holiday vacationers and wedding guests pouring into the Spencer Inn for Mac Faraday and Archie Monday's huge wedding ceremony which is being touted as the social event of the year. 

But droopy flowers and guests who failed to RSVP are the least of Mac and Archie's problems when a professional hit squad hits Spencer Manor to send the groom, Joshua Thornton, Archie's mother, and Gnarly running for their lives.

With time running out to the big day, Mac Faraday and Spencer's small police force have to sort through the clues to figure out not only who has been targeted for assassination, but also who is determined to stop everything... FOREVER!

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Meet the Author:

Selling over half a million books worldwide, Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, Thorny Rose, Chris Matheson Cold Case Mysteries, and Nikki Bryant Cozy Mysteries - thirty titles across five fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!
Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, crime fiction, police procedurals, romance, and humor.

The owner of Acorn Book Services and iRead Book Tours, Lauren is also a publishing manager, consultant, and virtual book tour coordinator for independent authors.

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions.

She lives with her husband, and two spoiled rotten German shepherds on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Connect with the Author





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.

Author Links 

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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.