Friday, August 17, 2018

Book Review: GONE AND DONE IT (A Dreamwalker Mystery) by Maggie Toussaint

Synopsis:

While planting a cherry tree, landscaper Baxley Powell discovers a human skull buried in the sand. After calling the sheriff, Baxley uses her dreamwalking abilities to get a jump-start on identifying the victim. Then deputies arrive, and, believing she’s tampering with evidence, taser her. Emotions flare, but the sheriff agrees to hire her as a consultant. With a daughter to support and bills she can’t pay, Baxley is motivated to succeed.

Things get dicey when she unearths a murder victim on the same jobsite, planting Baxley in the suspect pool. For calling unwanted attention to her private retreat, Baxley’s landscaping client fires her, stiffing her for the plants and labor.

Meanwhile, her father retires as county dreamwalker, passing the community service responsibility along to her.

Baxley’s dreamwalking sideline competes for her time with her day jobs of landscaping and pet-sitting. Folks show up on her doorstep at all hours to pass messages to the departed. Though her money problems persist, food randomly appears at her door, and her hair develops a telltale white streak in the forelock overnight.

Just what every young woman wants, a permanent bad hair day.
Threats to her safety mount as Baxley delves into the victim’s life—in both worlds. With a killer dogging her heels and spirits nipping at her mind, Baxley follows her dreams to find the truth.

Review:

A while ago, as part of a blog tour, I read and reviewed CONFOUND IT - the fifth in the Dreamwalker Mysteries, and I loved it. So, of course I had to go back to the beginning. Happy to say, I wasn't disappointed. 

In GONE AND DONE IT, Baxley is just coming to terms with her dreamwalking abilities and can't help but see if she can assist the sheriff after discovering a body in the ornate garden of a very particular and grouchy client. What she doesn't realize is that she can't keep her abilities a secret no matter how hard she tries. No more hats and suddenly food is showing up at her front door. She goes from police consultant to suspect to possible next victim. Once again, Toussaint writes a fascinating tale with great characters, much angst, and more than a touch of humanity. It looks like I have to add the rest of the series to my TBR list.

Books in the series:

GONE AND DONE IT (A Dreamwalker Mystery)
BUBBA DONE IT (A Dreamwalker Mystery)
DOGGONE IT (A Dreamwalker Mystery)
DADGUMMIT (A Dreamwalker Mystery #4)
CONFOUND IT (A Dreamwalker Mystery #5)

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Book Review: BURNED TO A CRISP (Cookies & Chance Mysteries Book 3) by Catherine Bruns

Synopsis

Just when things appear to be going well for baker and sometime sleuth, Sally Muccio, life turns up the heat again.

It’s summertime, and the living is easy for the Muccio clan. Sal’s wedding to her beloved fiancĂ© is rapidly approaching, Mom’s won a beauty contest, and sister Gianna is now a licensed public defender. But when the bakery Sal’s worked so hard for goes up in smoke—along with her dreams!—she’s not sure how much more she can stand. Even worse, the man found dead in the bakery’s back room is none other than Gianna’s latest client, Bernardo Napoli.

The dough really hits the fan for Sal and Josie when they’re forced to temporarily relocate their bakery to the crazy Muccio home. Trouble is quickly stirred up as the best friend team must now contend with Sal’s father and his new mortuary business “undertakings,” a middle aged mother parading around customers in bikinis, and an Italian family hell bent on revenge. For Sal, several questions demand answers. Where has Gianna disappeared to? What role did she play in Bernardo’s death? What secret is Sal’s fiancĂ© hiding from her? Sal is determined to find answers...before she gets burned once again!


Review

When the bakery burns down with Bernado Napoli dead, Sally and Josie have to come up with a way to meet the orders they have, and Sally is forced to move home with her parents. Aside from the murder, Sally’s sister, Gianna is missing and a suspect. Sally’s parents, not to mention the neighbor lady and her obsession with the fortune cookies, are unique and add humor to the story. The characters are well rounded and well developed. There is drama, humor, romance, and mystery.

The story is well-paced and flows smoothly; the book is a quick easy read.  Although 3rd in a series of 6 in the Cookies & Chance Mystery series, this was easily read as a stand alone. If you like cozy mysteries, I'd recommend this book - as always, it's probably a good idea to start at the beginning of the series though.


AMAZON


Tastes Like Murder (Book 1)
Baked to Death (Book 2)

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Blog Tour and Review: MURDER, SHE REPORTED by Peg Cochran


Synopsis

Manhattan, 1938. Tired of being trapped in the gilded cage of her family’s expectations, Elizabeth Adams has done what no self-respecting socialite would think to do: She’s gotten herself a job. Although Elizabeth’s dream is to one day see her photographs on the front page of the Daily Trumpet, for now she’s working her way up as the newsroom’s gal Friday.


But fetching coffee isn’t exactly her idea of fun. So when veteran reporter Ralph Kaminsky needs a photographer to fill in for a last-minute assignment, Elizabeth jumps at the chance. At the Waldorf Hotel, Elizabeth is tasked with tracking down the season’s “It girl,” Gloria DeWitt, who will be making her society debut. Working her own connections to New York’s upper crust, Elizabeth manages to land an exclusive interview with Gloria.


Then Gloria’s stepmother is shot dead in a Waldorf bathroom, placing Elizabeth at the scene of a headline-worthy scandal: “Murder of a Society Dame.” Now Elizabeth will have to get the scoop on the killer before her good name gets dragged through the gossip columns—or worse. . . .


Review


Murder She Reported is well-written and an enjoyable read. With debutantes and high society of 1938, the main character of Elizabeth captures the conflict of women of any means in the thirties, when women didn't work outside the home. For women like Elizabeth, raised in the life of luxury, going to work - especially taking photographs of crime scenes and dead bodies - is far from the norm. High society pressures and her parents war with her desire to be independent. The longer it takes for the killer to be caught, the more precarious her predicament and potential negative effects on her social standing.

Elizabeth isn't perfect - she has doubts and wants to live in both worlds, but definitely not with the flat, boring men being paraded for her. She's a likable young woman - even the curmudgeon crime reporter, Ralph Kaminsky, appreciates her talent and sense, and gives her a different perspective as he drags her into dark, sleezy bars. I also liked the detective on the case. Anyone who enjoys mysteries set in this time period, will enjoy Murder, She Reported.


As with other mysteries by Cochran, this was an enjoyable read back in time. The pace is steady and the murder has enough twists and turns to maintain interest. Consistent with the era, the story highlights some of the issues of the time from post-depression to the beginnings of women's rights and outcomes of those affected by polio, as well as the sights and sounds of the time. This is a new release; however, I understand there is a second in the works, Murder, She Uncovered, and I'm looking forward to reading it.

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in the hopes that I would post an honest review. This has not affected he content of my review in any way.

About the Author
Mystery writing lets Peg indulge her curiosity under the guise of “work” (aka research). As a kid, she read the entire set of children’s encyclopedias her parents gave her and has been known to read the dictionary. She put pen to paper at age seven when she wrote plays and forced her cousins to perform them at Christmas dinner. She switched to mysteries when she discovered the perfect hiding place for a body down the street from her house.

When she’s not writing, she spends her time reading, cooking, spoiling her granddaughter and checking her books’ stats on Amazon.

A former Jersey girl, Peg now resides in Michigan with her husband and West Highland white terrier, Reg. She is the author of the Sweet Nothings Lingerie series (written as Meg London), the Gourmet De-Lite series, the Lucille series, the Cranberry Cove series, and the Farmer’s Daughter series.

Author Links

Website – http://www.pegcochran.com/

Newsletter Sign Up – http://www.pegcochran.com/newsletter-signup.html

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/pegcochran

Twitter – https://twitter.com/@pegcochran

GoodReads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5352603.Peg_Cochran

BookBub – https://www.bookbub.com/authors/peg-cochran

Purchase Links:

Amazon B&N Kobo Google Play BookBub

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

July 30 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

July 30 – The Power of Words – REVIEW

July 31 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – INTERVIEW

July 31 – Queen of All She Reads – REVIEW

August 1 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT

August 1 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

August 2 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

August 2 – Bibliophile Reviews – INTERVIEW

August 3 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW

August 3 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW

August 4 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW

August 4 – MJB Reviewers – INTERVIEW

August 5 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT

August 6 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW

August 7 – Mysteries with Character – INTERVIEW

August 7 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

August 8 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

August 8 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT

August 9 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

August 10 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

August 11 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

August 11 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT

August 12 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW


Friday, August 3, 2018

Book Review: SIX EASY POCKETS : A Humorous and Romantic Mystery (Cue Ball Mysteries Book 6) by Cindy Blackburn

Synopsis

Pool shark Jessie Hewitt likes to call the shots. But apparently her two best friends didn’t get that memo. Candy Poppe has taken up with the wrong man. And Karen Sembler? She’s been kidnapped! Jessie’s no-nonsense husband, Wilson Rye the cop guy, suggests she leave the crime-solving to the experts and the love lives to those involved. Does Jessie listen? Take a guess.

Six Easy Pockets is loaded with all the humor, mayhem, and mystery Cindy Blackburn’s fans have come to expect. But this one also includes a millionaire, a mansion, and a princess! Enjoy!

“I laugh, giggle, snort, and generally have a high old time with the Cue Ball Mysteries.”
Nancy Haddock, author of The Silver Six Crafting Mysteries

“If you want to laugh, delve into a good mystery, and enjoy some likable characters, Ms. Blackburn has the formula.”
Roy Murry, Murry Reviews and Interviews

“Oh the hilarity!”
Dru Ann Love, Dru’s Book Musings, Raven Award Winner

“I so enjoy Cindy Blackburn’s fun and twisted mind. Her stories are so enjoyable!”
Mar Mar, Amazon reader

“I’ll buy anything by this author. Very entertaining. Easy read. Funny!”
Kit-ten, Amazon reader

“This series is so funny. I love the characters and their humor. More please!”
Pooh1250, Amazon reader

"Cindy Blackburn is now one of my favorite authors. I'm kind of addicted”
Searching for Truth, Amazon reader

Christa's Review:

Consistent with the first five Cue Ball Mysteries, Six Easy Pockets has just the right mix of romance, mystery and humor. Jesse Hewitt isn't your usual romance author - or your everyday pool shark - or your typical amateur sleuth. In Six Easy Pockets, her friends are in danger and Jesse begins to suspect everyone. 

It's fun to watch as Jesse tries out hypotheses with her romance story, and the mansion where her best friend disappears becomes a castle in her story of the princess. Needless to say, Wilson Rye is quick to point out the gap between reality and her story. That doesn't stop Jesse at all.  

Well-written, with definite laugh-out-loud moments, Six Easy Pockets continues to entertain with a mystery with a not too obvious solution. Hopefully, Jesse will have more stories to tell in the future.

The Cue Ball Mysteries with Amazon Buy Links:



Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Book Review: NAILED: Resort to Murder Mystery II by Avery Daniels

Synopsis

Julienne is snow bound in the middle of the Rocky Mountains with a killer striking at will.

Julienne LaMere gets to attend a Resort Management conference at a prestigious ski resort in the Colorado Mountains. What should be an enjoyable getaway attending workshops by day and shopping and enjoying the resort by night comes to a screeching halt when a loud-mouthed guest is murdered plus the roads and town shut down for an epic blizzard.


In addition to attending the conference, dodging a smitten teen boy, and seeking clues among the gossiping - and increasingly tense - guests, her best friend’s heart has warmed to an unlikely man and may get broken. As if her mind isn’t already fully occupied, Julienne and her new boyfriend Mason are skiing down troubled slopes in their relationship. Will Julienne put the scant clues together and unveil the culprit before a murderer gets away?

Review

Julienne is at a prestigious, German style ski resort, as part of her training in management. A heated argument in the dining room, another argument in the lobby, and Kara Caine is found dead in the snow - and the snow keeps falling and falling. Roads closed and they're all trapped in the resort - with the killer.

Along with her friend, Porsche, Julienne brings together her own cadre of irregulars to collect information and help identify the killer. The lead detective, Johan Larson, is stretched thin and doesn't discourage her collecting information. Things get a bit more dicey -both with Mason and Julienne avoiding his calls - and the killer. Some how, Julienne manages to be in the wrong place more than once. 

I enjoyed the characters - especially the teen with a crush on Julienne, Porsche, and Johan. Certainly, the victim was not likable and that's a good thing. It's not obvious just who the killer is until the end; however, it makes sense. This is the second in the series, only released in March 2018, but can easily be read as a stand alone mystery. Can Porsche's sudden love survive? Mason? I guess we have to wait for Book III.


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.



Saturday, July 28, 2018

Spotlight: KILLER REPUTATION

Synopsis

Adina can’t resist snooping when someone she knows turns up dead. Again.

When a colleague at a prestigious think tank meets a violent death, Adina’s not convinced any of the obvious suspects disliked him enough to want him dead. Can the young research assistant, her quirky neighbor, and a lovable rescue pup help the police put together the pieces of the puzzle?

Killer Reputation is the third mystery in the Adina Donati, Accidental Sleuth Series by Cassidy Salem. The books are standalone reads and can be read in any order.



Read an Excerpt


Bonzo’s insistent barking woke me out of a sound sleep. The glowing digital display on my clock radio showed it was 1:35 in the morning. Perched at the window, paws up on the sill, the dog focused his attention on the great outdoors.
I dragged myself out of bed, hoping to quiet him before he woke up my housemates. Tail wagging, he gave my hand a quick lick before returning to his vigil at the window. My bedroom was at the back of the house, overlooking a small fenced yard. I looked outside but neither saw nor heard anything out of the ordinary.
I called my loveable mutt back to his doggie bed, gave him a quick tummy rub, and went back to sleep.

I was in the kitchen when Lynda, my housemate, returned from her early morning run. Instead of heading straight for the shower, she burst into the kitchen. “Something must have happened down the street at Patrick’s place. An ambulance and a police car are out front.”
“Bonzo, I think it’s time for a walk.” I grabbed his leash and he sprinted to the front door. More often than not, I didn’t have time to take him for a proper walk in the morning. Instead, he had to make do with a quick romp in the backyard and do his business while I got ready for work. He was happy to reap the benefits of my curiosity.
A police cruiser was parked in front of the pale yellow house on the corner. The ambulance was nowhere in sight. We hadn’t even reached the curb when our next-door neighbor, Mr. Crockett, waved me over. A retired policeman in his eighties, Bartholomew Crockett lived alone and spent most of his time on the front porch.
He met me halfway down his flagstone path, an oversized, dark grey cardigan buttoned up to his neck and hanging over his pants. “A lot of excitement this morning. Something happened at the house where those two young guys live. Always having wild parties and such. You girls know them, don’t you?”
“Sure, we know them. Patrick works at the DIPPeR and Jared invited us to a party over there last month. Do you have any idea what happened over there? Or who was hurt?”
“One of the guys, I think. Couldn’t tell which one from here, and I didn’t want to get in the way – I’ll see what I can find out when the officers come back out.”
“And you’ll let me in on what you find out, I hope.”
“Of course.”
I took Bonzo for a short stroll in the opposite direction before returning home. By then, Lynda had showered and was enjoying a steaming cup of java. She looked up when I came in.
“Find out anything?”
“Not much. I’ll tell you on the way to work.”
Lynda gulped down the last of her coffee, and we headed out to catch the Metro.
Lynda Lowell worked in the Publications Department at the Drake Institute for Public Policy Research – what we insiders refer to as the DIPPeR. That’s how we ended up as housemates. Lynda Lowell, Shari Moss, and I had been sharing a three-bedroom house in the northwest section of Washington, D.C. since February. So far, it was working out great, and a major improvement over the basement studio apartment where I had spent my first two years in the city. Especially since it meant I could have a dog.
“So, what did Crockett tell you? If anyone knows what happened, it’d be him.”
When we first moved in, it felt like he was always watching us. It was almost creepy. That is, until I started talking to him and realized he’s a kind-hearted, lonely old man.
“He doesn’t know much. Not yet, anyway. He said they took someone out on a stretcher. Thinks it was one of the guys who live there, meaning Patrick or Jared. He couldn’t tell who.”
“His eyes are probably not so good at his age.”
“In all fairness, from a distance, lying on a stretcher, would you be able to tell who was injured?”
“Maybe not.”
“Anyway, Mr. Crockett did say he’ll try to wheedle some intel out of the police officers before they leave. I think he misses being a cop. Did you see Shari this morning?”
“Nope. She was gone before I went out for my run. She probably just had an early shift this morning.” A nurse at a hospital in Silver Spring, it wasn’t unusual for our housemate to be up and out of the house before we surfaced.
“She’s been spending a lot of time over there. I hope she’s okay.”
“I heard her come in late last night, so I’m sure she’s fine.”


Excerpt from Killer Reputation by Cassidy Salem © 2018 All rights reserved.



About the Author

Cassidy Salem has always been an avid reader. She is especially fond of mysteries (both cozy and traditional) and police procedurals. Cassidy also enjoys reading historical fiction focused on American and world history, as well as the classics. When she’s not reading, she enjoys music and spending time with family and friends, and travels with her husband and son whenever possible. Her travels have taken her to destinations throughout the United States, Europe, and Scandinavia.



Author Links

Twitter: @csalem11

Facebook: Adina Donati, Accidental Sleuth

Blog: https://cassidysalem.wordpress.com/

Purchase link:

Amazon

Monday, July 23, 2018

Book Blast: SCORNFUL SCONES by Mildred Abbott

Title: SCORNFUL SCONES
Author: Mildred Abbott
Publisher: Wings of Ink Publications, LLC
Pages: 300
Genre: Cozy Mystery

BOOK BLURB:
With summer approaching, Estes Park is abuzz with flowers, baking, tourists, and… murder. 

Tourist season is about to begin, and the lovely weather has Winifred Page and her corgi sidekick, Watson, leaving the comfort of the Cozy Corgi Bookshop and Bakery to reluctantly attend a celebration at the Black Bear Roaster coffee shop. But a chill of uncertainty settles over Fred when a choking death doesn’t seem so accidental—despite the dry, hazardous scones.

As Fred and Police Sergeant Branson Wexler rekindle a possible romance, Fred shares her suspicions. But is she seeing murder at every turn? Learning to trust her gut feelings, Fred risks the ire of the coffee shop owner to investigate not one, but two, deaths.

As suspects and motives abound, old resentments are uncovered, and Fred and Watson build new friendships even as they follow the crumbs to find clues to a killer.   

ORDER YOUR COPY:

READ AN EXCERPT:

A piercing scream shattered the peaceful ambience of the bookshop. We’d closed the store ten minutes before, and I’d stolen a moment to curl up and read on the Victorian divan. At the sound, I let out a yelp and flung the book from me. Luckily it landed a few feet from the fireplace.
A clatter of claws came from the other room.
I looked over to find Watson scrambling to a standing position as quickly as his little corgi legs would allow. He glared at me as if I was the one who’d disrupted his nap in the sunshine.
Before I could make sense of a scream coming from the bookshop—it had to have come from there, as loud and clear as it had been—there was a pounding above my head followed by a squeal.
Katie?
Must be. Though I’d never heard my best friend and business partner make such a sound before.
Leaving the book on the floor of the mystery room, I hurried to the main portion of the bookshop and rushed up the stairs to the bakery two at a time, having to hike my pea-green broomstick skirt slightly to keep from tripping.
Nails still clicking on the hardwood floor, despite his slow start, Watson passed me on the staircase and entered the Cozy Corgi bakery a few strides ahead of me.
I found Katie instantly, standing behind the marble-topped bakery counter, and the mystery of the pounding was solved as she clenched her fists over her chest, performed a little jig, and let out another squeal.
Okay, apparently she wasn’t in danger of dying. Although, perhaps she was possessed.
Katie caught me watching, and though a blush rose to her round cheeks, she didn’t seem able to stop from giving another excited jig. With her brown curly hair bouncing around her face, she was like a little kid walking in on a surprise birthday party.
I cast a quick glance around the bakery. Atypically, the randomly arranged antique tables, rustic chairs, and overstuffed couches were unoccupied in front of the wall of windows overlooking the downtown of Estes Park. Oh, right, not that atypical, I had to remind myself; we’d closed the shop in the middle of the day.
“I’d accuse you of trying to scare away the customers, if we had any. I know we’ve been slammed and it’s nice to have a break, but I’m pretty sure people probably heard you on the street.”
“Good!” Katie squealed a third time. She literally seemed like she might be on the verge of a seizure. “I want them all to hear. And after this, we’ll have a whole new definition to the word slammed. We’re going to be so packed they’ll be lining up all the way down the block.” Another squeal.
“Katie.” I crossed the bakery and took her hand over the counter. “You screamed like you just discovered zombies were real, and now you’ve squealed four times.” I cocked an eyebrow at her but wasn’t quite able to hold back the grin. “Who are you and what have you done to my best friend?”

She whipped her hand free, grasped the laptop, and spun it in my direction. “Check this out!”

Excerpt from SCORNFUL SCONES. Copyright © 2018. All rights reserved.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Reading the Cozy Corgi series is pretty much all you need to know about Mildred. In real life, she’s obsessed with everything she writes about: Corgis, Books, Cozy Mountain Towns, and Baked Goods.  She’s not obsessed with murder, however. At least not at her own hands (nor paid for… no contract killing here). But since childhood, starting with Nancy Drew, trying to figure out who-dun-it has played a formative role in her personality. Having Fred and Watson stroll into her mind was a touch of kismet.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM

GIVEAWAY!

Mildred Abbott is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!
Terms & Conditions:By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.

One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter.This giveaway ends midnight July 27.
Winner will be contacted via email on July 28.
Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!
ENTER TO WIN!