Saturday, November 30, 2013

Review: Christie Craig's The Cop Who Stole Christmas (Tall, Hot, and Texan)


The Cop Who Stole Christmas (Tall, Hot, and Texan) by Christie Craig was only released on November 22, 2013.  Not your typical “home for the holidays” Christmas story, there is definitely something between Mark, the homicide detective, and Savannah, the florist, even before they meet.  They’ve scoped each other out for some time before Savannah finally runs across the street to see if her cop neighbor can intervene and keep “Santa” from towing her car.  Unfortunately, Santa’s paperwork is all in order and Mark can’t help much.  He also explains to Savannah that he is homicide so to let him know if she finds a body.  Little does he dream that she’ll be back screaming when she finds her ex-husband dead in her kitchen.  Mark has lots of rules, a meddlesome mother, and Savannah is causing havoc with his nice, quiet, boring life. Savannah, on the other hand, is having trouble believing that any of her friends could possibly have killed her ex and isn't too sure about starting a relationship with Mark.  Cute, and funny, along with a steamy romance.

Now, back to my very high TBR pile...  

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Blog Tour Spotlight: Tis the Season to be Tempted by Aimee Carson

Synopsis: After the worst year ever, free-spirited Evie Lee rings in the New Year alone, swearing off men forever. So when her brother’s childhood friend, the perfect man with the perfect life, winds up on the same plane home, she’s determined to ignore him. Wes is determined not to take her seriously. Unfortunately a snowstorm traps them at the airport with no way to finish their commute, and his perfect body is tempting her to break her vow—if only for one hot night!
CEO Wes Campbell is famous for always doing the right thing, and running into Evie again is torture. He’s determined to continue his hands-off attitude. But he wasn’t counting on the little hellion’s infectious smile, her killer body, or the vulnerability in her eyes. For the first time in his life, Wes is tempted to do the wrong thing…

This short read (about 70 pages) is a story of two people who meet up by chance on a flight home after not seeing each other for many years.  They were attracted as adolescents and that attraction is still there, but both have reservations...

Author:  The summer she turned eleven Aimee left the children’s section of the library, entered an aisle full of Harlequin Mills and Boon, and pulled out a book.  That story sparked a love affair that has followed her from her life in Florida to Alaska, Seattle, and finally South Dakota.
Armed with a fantastic job working part-time as a physician in the Alaskan Bush (imagine a combo of Northern Exposure and E.R., minus the beautiful mountains and George Clooney), she enjoys being home in the gorgeous Black Hills, riding her dirt bike with her three wonderful kids and beyond-patient husband.  But every morning she gets to play God and flirt vicariously through her characters, who all just happen to reside in one of her favorite vacation destinations . . . South Beach, Miami. Her motto? Life is too short to do anything less than what you absolutely love.

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Sunday, November 24, 2013

Updates on Murder at Cold Creek College

In the past 2 weeks, first, a great review (5-star) was posted, and I want to share an excerpt from that : 

"The pace of the story is excellent throughout; the writing crisp and clear. Small College life in a small town setting is a very good one for this cosy mystery....There is a large cast of characters in the story and all are well defined-good points and less good. Sheridan is a strong and feisty female, yet not overtly so. Her strength is quiet, her nature one that it’s easy to empathise with – she would be the person in real life that you would turn to for a shoulder to cry on, or someone who would lend an ear while you vented some frustration on some topic or other. Her colleagues are nicely rounded and are a good mix of the sensible and more colourful..."

On the 19th, Murder at Cold Creek College was featured on KBoards Discovery Day!  And a 4-star review was posted!  (and hopefully more will be coming!)

Murder at Cold Creek College was spotlighted on 11/22/13 on Book Highlights with Tina Marie  with review forthcoming...

All in all, a few more things to add to the list of things to be thankful for as we head into Thanksgiving!  And I will be hosting Tis the Season to be Tempted (Entangled Indulgence), a romance by Aimee Carson on Thanksgiving Day -- just a quick change from cozy mysteries.  Next blog tour after that will be Sketcher in the Rye (A Portrait in Crime Mystery) by Sharon Pape on 12/15...  In the meantime, I am reading and reading and reading...  so stay tuned...  

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Blog Tour: Bart J Gilbertson's Deathbed and Breakfast

Richard Forester, a retired CEO for a major software company, and his granddaughter Penny show up at the Pookotz Bed & Breakfast one evening and find themselves in some rather unpleasant company. All the guests somehow seem to be connected to Richard’s past and when he is found dead the next morning, everyone is suspect. However, there are a few wrinkles that the inn’s owners Edna and Mildred Pookotz need to iron out as the investigation unfolds. Not only was Richard deathly ill, but he was also accused of embezzling $750,000 which is still unaccounted for. The local Sheriff suspects that this victim’s death is not a natural one, so he–and the sisters–set forth to discover who the murderer is.


It is only by chance, and the recommendation of the sheriff, that Penny and Richard end up at the Pookotz Bed & Breakfast. They are on their way for a potential cure or to at least ease Richard's suffering.  The Bed & Breakfast is booked and the various guests have their own stories from the newlyweds to the insurance salesman to the photographer to the father and son. A full house and all the guests have some investment in finding the money that Richard is accused of embezzling.  When Richard is found dead, the Pookotz sisters do their best to deal with a full house of suspects.  Although only one person killed Richard, they share the guilt. Gilbertson artfully weaves a combination of clues to the final conclusion.  The Pookotz sisters, Felix, and the Sheriff all have unique personalities and I look forward to seeing more of them in the future.

About This Author

Bart J. Gilbertson is the author of the Pookotz Sisters Mystery Series. Although he was born in Wisconsin, he spent most of his youth and later years in the rocky mountain state of Idaho. He has been all over the northwest and it is his love for the lush green state of Oregon that inspired the setting for Pleasant Lake and its inhabitants. He attended ITT Technical Institute in Boise, ID and received an Associate in Applied Science Degree for Computer Networking Systems and graduated with honors. Bart has worn many hats over his lifetime career, but the one he is most proud of is that of being a writer. He currently resides in O’Neill, NE. He has two children.


Christa: Hi Bart! Glad to have a chance to ask you a few begin, how did you go from running computer networking to writing mysteries? 

Bart: Well, truth be known, I have always been writing stories.  However, my background is a technical one.  I spent about 2 years working for Intel, Fab 7 in Rio Rancho, NM back in the early 90’s.  I then spent another couple of years with a pharmaceutical company called TheraTech running one of their packaging machines.  After that, I spent approximately 7 years with another semi-conductor fabrication company called Zilog.  When Zilog closed its doors, I went to school for a couple of years at ITT Technical Institute and got my Associates in Computer Networking Systems, graduating with honors.  But the one constant in all that time was my story writing.  So, I wouldn’t say I went from running computer networks to writing mysteries.  The jobs I’ve had over the years, along with my degree, were my “day job”.  Writing is my true vocation.

Christa: When did you first start writing fiction?

Bart: I started writing at a very young age.  Even before I knew I wanted to be a writer, in fact.  I remember my Mom sharing with me a short story I had written when I was about 7 or 8 years old.  It was about a man who worked at a museum, and late at night, everything inside came to life.  (I know – this sounds like the Ben Stiller movie, “Night at the Museum”, but this story was written YEARS before that even came out).  There was this one part, where a menacing gorilla came to life and went up to the man, growling, howling, and beating his fists on the floor.  The man was afraid.  The gorilla stopped and looked at the man and said, “Why didn’t you come to visit me last night?”  Haha!  Yes, creative writing was in full effect in that story.

Christa: I’m also a fan of Terry Brooks and Piers Anthony (from your Goodreads bio).  How did they influence you? 

Bart: Up until that point, all the books I’d read were Young Adult books.  Reading Terry Brooks and Piers Anthony was my first foray into the adult world, so to speak.  “The Sword of Shannara” by Terry Brooks was well over 700 pages long.  I’d never tackled a book that size before, but I was determined to read it based on two things: my friend’s recommendation, and the front cover.  (Yes, front covers DO sell).  It was the first real, epic fantasy I’d ever read and it had a big impact on me.  So much so, that I began to write a fantasy of my own, “The Diadems of Wanoka”.  I actually still have plans for a fantasy series roughly based on this early idea.  With Piers Anthony, it was a little different.  He incorporates a lot of humor into his novels, and I loved that aspect of his writing.  Can you imagine waking up only to discover you have been sleeping on top of carnivorous grass?  Imagine trying to stand up!  Piers Anthony has a wonderful, imaginative mind.

Christa: Is there a sleuth that just got you hooked on mysteries?

Bart: To be fair, there were two.  Frank and Joe Hardy, the Hardy Boys.  I absolutely adored those books growing up.  I always had a Hardy Boys mystery with me wherever I went.  They certainly had a huge influence on me with ideas of my own mysteries.  Back in those days, when I was a kid, we didn’t have video games or the internet.  We lived 3 miles outside of a small town in the rural areas, so we didn’t have cable television either.  My Dad had fastened a large antenna at the top of a post he’d set up by the house, and we got 4 channels; ABC, CBS, NBC and PBS on a black and white TV…that was it.  Books were my best friend.  I read a lot of the Hardy Boys, and I also wrote a lot of stories.

Christa: Your bio indicates that it was your love of Oregon that inspired the setting for Deathbed and Breakfast.  What (or who) inspired the Pookotz sisters?

Bart: Believe it or not, nobody did.  They were just an idea that came from the minds of my sister, Billie, and I late one night.  We sat around coming up with our own ideas for a possible cozy mystery series, and they were born.  The name “Pookotz” was our Grandmother’s (on our father’s side of the family) maiden name.  We knew we wanted the two sisters to be opposites, yet complement each other.  Edna is the stern one, the organizer, the “heavy”.  Mildred, on the other hand, is the warmhearted and caring one.  Together, they give the reader a great balance and some humorous situations.

Christa: How would you complete this sentence:  Readers who like ________  will love Deathbed & Breakfast and the Pookotz Sisters?

Bart: “Readers who like the television show, ‘Murder, She Wrote’, will love ‘Deathbed & Breakfast’ and the Pookotz Sisters.”

Christa: Since this is the first in the Pookotz Sister Mysteries, when can readers expect the next one?  

Bart: Well, now that Edna and Mildred have solved their first mystery, they will find in the next book that they have a knack for it.  They will become even more involved than they were in the first book.  Felix will be up to his usual shenanigans (I’ve always loved that word….”shenanigans”).  And you will get to meet some more of the locals too.

Christa: Care to give the readers any hints or a brief synopsis?

Bart: Hmmmm….well, I will say that it will take place against the background of an annual town festival and class reunion.  There will be more fun waiting for fans of the Pookotz Sisters!

Christa: As we close the interview, what message or additional information do you want to share?

Bart: I just want to thank the many of you who’ve supported me these last few months.  I’ve met and made new friends along the way, and have received continued support from others who’ve been with me from the very start of my new journey.  I value and appreciate all of you!  Thank you again.

Christa: I certainly enjoyed Deathbed and Breakfast and learning more about you!  Thank you!

Deathbed and Breakfast is available at Amazon

Follow Bart J Gilbertson on Facebook and Goodreads

Monday, November 18, 2013

Granny Hooks A Crook Blog Tour! Review and Giveaway!

Granny leads a secret life in the small, unique community of Fuschia, Minnesota. It’s not just her all junk food diet, multiplying pets, or her shocking bedtime attire that makes Granny one in a million. No, Granny is an undercover cop, charged by “the Big Guy” (the town’s police chief) of preventing theft in local stores. Granny takes her job seriously and daily foils many shoplifters using her trusty spiked umbrella and amazing acting skills. When some startlingly brazen burglaries begin to occur that Granny can’t solve, along with mysteriously appearing bad guys, disappearing clerks, and misplaced Corvettes, Granny begins to wonder if she isn’t ready for the wrinkle farm. Maybe, it’s fortuitous when she accidentally-on-purpose falls in the lap of an attractive older gentleman who is soon roped into her wild adventures, as they try to figure out what’s happening in their little town.


Julie Seedorf has a great imagination.  The characters, from their names to their personality and physical characteristics, are very unique and quirky, including their names.  In fact, as I read this, I visualized a cartoon or caricatured version obviously with lots of fuchsia detail.  Granny is not the stereotyped grandmother although at times she is convinced she might be ready for the wrinkle farm.  She’s also having some difficulty with remembering where she left her bright red 1957 Corvette and her cat bringing home another friend every day.  It’s not immediately apparent why or how someone is emulating her, but it is quite clear that somehow her house is where objects missing from each of several burglaries show up, included a small forest in her back yard.  Her adult children appear to be clueless except for her son.  Her comrade, The Big Guy, is suspicious and only the distinguished man with strong arms seems determined to help her, whether she likes it or not.  If you like cute and fun reads, you'll like Granny Hooks a Crook.

About the Author:
Julie Seedorf owns her own computer repair business, but her secret undercover job is writing. Her column “Something About Nothing” for a Minnesota newspaper is about nothing, which is what we talk about most of the time, always with something underneath the conversation. Julie has been a wife, mother, grandmother, housewife, barmaid, salesperson, activity director, full time volunteer and more. Her motto is, “If you dream it, you can do it.” Her Fuchsia Minnesota, published by Cozy Cat Press is her first journey in her undercover career. Having lived in small communities in Minnesota all her life, she knows the richness and uniqueness that only a small town can bring and with a little humor and imagination, she transforms those experiences into her imaginary Fuchsia community.  Keep up with Julie:

Goodreads Author Page

Post a comment with your email for a chance to win an e-copy or paperback (Winner’s Choice) Paperback  - U.S. Mailing Addresses only!  The winner will be selected at the end of the tour!!!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Review: Topaz Eyes by Nancy Jardine

Review: Topaz Eyes

Topaz Eyes is a romantic suspense at its best.  Motivated by the find of an exquisite ring, a jeweler in Heidelberg does research and comes to believe this is one of twenty pieces of the Tiru collection that somehow came into his family generations before.  Jensen then commissions a family history, contacts distant family members and a woman who was close enough to one of the women in the family to potentially be a recipient of some of the pieces.  The quest set forth at the mysterious meeting in Heidelberg, with Zaan, Teun, and Keira taking the lead roles to complete the quest, is to find all the pieces and exhibit them.  The search covers multiple cities in the US, Amsterdam, Edinburg, and of course Heidelberg.  The stakes are high and as Keira and Teun both become aware they are being followed separately, as well as when they are together, and trust is not high between the cousins.  Multiple homes across the continents are broken in to, businesses are burglarized, and individuals are assaulted.  It’s not obvious who is behind the mischief.  The pieces come together slowly as none of the cousins wants to share all they know.  Jardine spins an intricate plot with cultural overtones and all that makes discovering family history a little risky.

Coming up in the next week:
November 18th: Review of Granny Hooks a Crook

November 19th:    Murder at Cold Creek College featured on Kindle Board Discovery Day!!!!

November 20th: Review of Deathbed & Breakfast and Interview of Bart J. Gilbertson

Monday, November 11, 2013

Honoring our Veterans

Today is Veteran's Day and an opportunity to once again honor the men and women who have given their lives and fought for our freedom, and those who still fight to protect that freedom.  As noted by so many, "freedom is not free".  For whatever reason, this year there seems to be more outpouring locally in terms of restaurants honoring (and feeding) veterans and active military, as well as additional recognition at sports events and other venues including various cozy mystery blogs (including and among others).  

My father was served in the Army Air Corps and was a POW in World War II.  He strongly believed in the US and serving in the military.  As a POW, he didn't have an easy time and carried the scars (inside and out) for the rest of his life, but when he talked about his service he always had positive things to say about the men he served with.  Many years later, he got in touch with many of these same men.  

Today, we have men and women choosing to serve across the globe, some opting to re-enlist and return to Afghanistan or Iraq or some other location.  Where ever they serve, whichever branch, whatever their MOS, we all need to remember thank each of them - not only today but every day.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Blog Tour: Knowing Vera by Rachelle Ayala

Today it is a pleasure to be part of the blog tour for Knowing Vera by Rachelle Ayala!  See more at:

About Rachelle Ayala

Rachelle Ayala was a software engineer until she discovered storytelling works better in fiction than real code. She enjoys writing love stories and has always lived in a multi-cultural environment. The tapestry of characters in her books reflect that diversity. She is an active member of online critique group, Critique Circle, and a volunteer for the World Literary Cafe. Check out her four romantic novels. Michal’s Window is a powerful, emotional journey as lived through the eyes of Princess Michal, King David’s first wife. Broken Build is a story of healing where a man learns to love and trust the woman who destroyed his life. Hidden Under Her Heart is a heartfelt love story combined with controversy over difficult decisions, and Knowing Vera is a suspenseful, cross-cultural romance mixing an unsolved murder, adventure, and hot, steamy love scenes. 

See more at:

Visit Rachelle at: Website: Blog: or follow @AyalaRachelle on Twitter.

Knowing Vera (Chance for Love #3) -Synopsis

Some secrets are best untold. Vera Custodio has never fallen in love, though she has strong feelings for her friend and sometimes lover, Zach Spencer. Long-forgotten memories resurface when Vera discovers Zach’s mother was the woman her father supposedly murdered many years ago. After losing his leg, former triathlete Zach Spencer reevaluates his life—and realizes he’s falling in love with Vera. When she ends their relationship, Zach is determined to prove his love and follows her to Australia in search of the killer. Caught between a web of family secrets and a deranged adversary, Vera and Zach must depend on each other for survival. Love blossoms, but the truth explodes everything Vera knows about herself. Will she close her heart forever or risk it all for a shot at happily-ever-after? 

Vera Custodio has spent most of her life avoiding getting close to anyone.  She is haunted by memories from when she was 7 of seeing a woman murdered and her father taking her from the scene.  He tells her to forget what she saw and never to tell anyone, and then he jumps off the Golden Gate bridge. Years later, she becomes friends with Zach Spencer, not remembering him as the little boy she played with or making any connection to the woman it is believed her father murdered.  Then Zach is injured and his family comes to visit him in the hospital and Vera makes the connection; she is also sure Zach's father makes the connection. But what about Zach? Does he know?  What about the strange emails she's getting from the dead woman and then from her father?  How are Cliff and her Uncle involved?  Just how tangled is the web of secrets and deceit?  The story has multiple twists and turns, embedded in cultures, exposing the insensitivity of others toward individuals with prosthetics, and depicting the impact of loss of limb on even the strongest of individuals.  

This is the third in the series.  It might be helpful to read to the first two in order to know the back story, but it can stand alone.  On the other hand, once you read Knowing Vera, you know how the first two end.  Although categorized as "Family Drama", as noted in the synopsis, Knowing Vera includes steamy and somewhat explicit scenes.  

I received a copy of this book in return for an honest review.  

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Cozy Mystery Review: The Strange Situation at Emlee by MaryJo Dawson

Review of : The Strange Situation at Emlee (MaryJo Dawson)

This is the third of the Sally Nimitz mysteries.  After Sally’s previous experiences with solving mysteries, her friend Emma asks Sally to visit the family homestead of Emlee after a burglary and a poisoned cat upset Emma’s mother, Emmaline.  Sally convinces another friend, Anne to come along as an old college friend of Emmaline’s.  As with so many families, there are any number of family secrets that could explain the burglary and missing papers; not so many to explain a poisoned cat.  Then the illegitimate son of the patriarch Bradshaw is murdered and family secrets become oh so important.  As in the previous Sally Nimitz stories, Sally’s inquisitive mind and ability to get people to share their thoughts and feelings help to solve the mystery behind the burglary and the murder.  Dawson’s handling of sensitive subjects along with well developed characters and plot make for a good read.  After reading this third one in the series, I've added the first two to my TBR stack.


Be sure to check back on November 7th for the blog tour stop of Rachelle Ayala's Knowing Vera!

In the meantime, just a quick update on happenings in Cold Creek.  I'm working hard at marketing Murder at Cold Creek College and will share reviews as they come in.  In the meantime, I've started, slowly but surely, on the second in the series... as of yesterday 20,000 words...  I can safely say that chapters 1-3 are solid!  I'm hoping for a spring release, but life (and reading) have a habit of getting in the way.