Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Blog Tour and Review: BISCUITS AND SLASHED BROWNS (A Country Store Mystery) by Maddie Day

Biscuits and Slashed Browns (A Country Store Mystery)
by Maddie Day

For country-store owner Robbie Jordan, the National Maple Syrup Festival is a sweet escape from late-winter in South Lick, Indiana—until murder saps the life out of the celebration . . . 
As Robbie arranges a breakfast-themed cook-off at Pans ‘N Pancakes, visitors pour into Brown County for the annual maple extravaganza. Unfortunately, that includes Professor Connolly, a know-it-all academic from Boston who makes enemies everywhere he goes—and this time, bad manners prove deadly. Soon after clashing with several scientists at a maple tree panel, the professor is found dead outside a sugar shack, stabbed to death by a local restaurateur’s knife. When an innocent woman gets dragged into the investigation and a biologist mysteriously disappears, Robbie drops her winning maple biscuits to search for answers. But can she help police crack the case before another victim is caught in a sticky situation with a killer?

Robbie has her hands full getting ready for the Maple Syrup Festival. Her helper is out injured and there's conflict with the recently hired helper, Turner.  Sticky situation when the father, also a professor, is the main suspect and disappears. When he reappears, he is arrested. Robbie's interference leads to increased tension for Turner and his family. Mona steps in to help as best she can.

The mystery is solid and there are unexpected turns - the killer isn't obvious until the end. There are tensions in relationships and surprises there as well. I liked Robbie as a main character and she handles situations in ways that are realistic. I also liked Turner as he navigates who he is. This is the fourth in the Country Store Mystery series, but it can easily be read as a stand-alone.

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

About the Author

Maddie Day is a talented amateur chef and holds a Ph.D. in linguistics from Indiana University. An Agatha Award-nominated author, she is a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America and also writes award-winning short crime fiction. She lives with her beau and three cats in Massachusetts.

As Edith Maxwell, she writes the Local Foods Mysteries (Kensington Publishing) and the Quaker Midwife Mysteries (Midnight Ink). You can find all Maddie's/Edith's identities at www.edithmaxwell.com. She blogs every weekday with the other Wicked Cozy Authors at wickedcozyauthors.com. Look for her as Edith M. Maxwell and Maddie Day on Facebook and @edithmaxwell and @maddiedayauthor on Twitter.

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January 29 – The Ninja Librarian – REVIEW, GUEST POST

January 29 – The Power of Words – REVIEW

January 30 – A Holland Reads - CHARACTER GUEST POST

January 30 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW

January 31 – Sapphyria's Books – REVIEW

February 1 – Readeropolis – INTERVIEW

February 1 –Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

February 2 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

February 2 – Book Babble – REVIEW

February 3 – Queen of All She Reads – REVIEW

February 3 – Laura's Interests – REVIEW

February 4 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW

February 5 – My Reading Journeys - REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

February 5 – Read Your Writes Book Reviews - REVIEW, GUEST POST

February 6 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – SPOTLIGHT

February 6 – A Blue Million Books - CHARACTER INTERVIEW

February 7 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews - REVIEW, INTERVIEW

February 7 – Melina's Book Blog – REVIEW

February 8 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – INTERVIEW

February 8 – Carstairs Considers – REVIEW

February 9 – Varietats - REVIEW, GUEST POST

February 9 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW

February 10 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW

February 10 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST

February 11 – Island Confidential – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

February 11 – The Montana Bookaholic – REVIEW

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

BOOK BLAST: NATURAL THORN KILLER A Rose City Mystery by Kate Dyer-Seeley

About the Book

Cut down among the flowers . . .

Britta Johnston might be a late bloomer, but after leaving her deadbeat husband and dead-end job, she’s finally pursuing her artistic passion at her aunt Elin’s floral boutique, Blooma, in Portland, Oregon. It’s on the banks of the Willamette, in a quaint district of cobblestone paths and cherry trees. The wine bar featuring Pacific Northwest vintages is a tasty bonus, offering another kind of bouquet to enjoy. But things aren’t as peaceful as they look.

For one thing, someone’s been leaving dead roses around—and a sleazy real estate developer who wants the waterfront property has put a big-money offer on the table. Then, after a contentious meeting of local business owners, he’s found on the floor of the shop, with Elin’s garden shears planted in his chest. And before the police decide to pin the crime on her beloved aunt, Britta will have to find out who arranged this murder . . .

About the Author

Kate Dyer-Seeley aka Ellie Alexander writes multiple mystery series, all with a Pacific Northwest touch. She lives in the PNW with her husband and son, where you can find her hitting the trail, at an artisan coffee shop, or at her favorite pub. Better yet—at all three.

Author Links

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Friday, January 19, 2018

Spotlight: MURDER OF THE MAESTRO by Anna Celeste Burke


Marvelous Marley World’s legendary maestro is murdered.

In good spirits at a gala marking his retirement, Dave Rollins disappears later that night. His beautiful home overlooking the Pacific Ocean is trashed—not just searched, but vandalized, too. The maestro’s old friend and boss, Max Marley, wants answers!

At the crack of dawn, Max calls Georgie Shaw and Detective Jack Wheeler distraught, demanding that they help solve the mystery of the missing maestro. When Dave Rollins’ body is found on the rocks below his Malibu cliffside estate, Georgie and Jack are pulled into another whodunit.

Who killed Dave Rollins? Did a secret from the maestro's youth catch up with him decades later? Or did a scorned woman, a jealous rival, a disturbed fan or someone else murder the maestro?
Grab your copy! Join Georgie and Jack as they solve the Murder of the Maestro by USA Today bestselling author, Anna Celeste Burke.


Other books in the Georgie Shaw Cozy Mystery Series:

Monday, January 15, 2018

Guest Post: Soak Up the Awesome Vortex Vibe by Gilian Baker

Today, it's my pleasure to have Gillian Baker, author of MURDER OVER MEDIUM, as my guest to talk about vortexes and her book:

No one who’s visited Sedona, Arizona can forget it. Its local art, its jeep tours, its majestic beauty, its vortexes. 


My protagonist, Jade Blackwell, responds the same way when her old friend and colleague, Gwendolyn Hexby informs her she moved to Sedona to be close to the spiritual energy of the vortexes. You see, Gwendolyn is no longer a religious studies professor, as Jade supposes. Instead, she’s found a “higher calling” as a psychic medium.

So, what the heck is a vortex?

A vortex is a place where large amounts of energy spirals, enveloping everything nearby. It's believed these locations having an energy flow that exists on multiple dimensions, which is why so many seekers visit them each year. Many believe the vortexes intensify meditation, rituals, inner spiritual work, and healing. People flock to Sedona every year, not only to enjoy the beauty of the red rocks and vistas, but to soak up the transformational energy at the various vortexes in the area. Oh, yeah, and to go on a rugged jeep tour.

Sedona has long been a hub of New Age activity. And with four of the most powerful vortexes in the United States within the city limits, it’s not hard to understand why. There are fourteen more within a 10-mile radius of the city also. That’s some powerful spiritual mojo!

Now, depending on who you ask, there are different theories about what causes this spiraling energy. And not just in Sedona, but also surrounding The Great Pyramids, Machu Picchu and Stonehenge.

Here’s a very rudimentary scientific explanation: Vortexes all over the globe exist where there are robust concentrations of gravitational irregularities. Geologists believe the environmental features of Sedona, which transition from mountains to flatland, plays a part in creating the swirling energy centers. The plentiful faults full of magnetized basalt deposits found there are also believed to alter the earth’s gravitational field.
Visitors of the vortexes in Sedona can witness the spiraling energy themselves, even if they don’t believe in any of the woo-woo theories surrounding them. The trees near the different vortexes have had their trunks twisted due to the constant swirling energy under them. Cool, huh?

What better town for my psychic medium character to inhibit than Sedona? Gwendolyn, like many before her, felt the vortexes magical pull and was unable to resist. She also understands the old adage, “location, location, location.” More than four million people visit the small town every year, and many of them are looking for higher guidance and an enlightened spiritual journey. Sedona is a great place to be a medium!

When Jade finally gets Gwendolyn to tell the story of her move from professor to medium, this is what she hears:

“One day I met a psychic healer who used this vortex energy to enhance her past life and cellular vibrational healings—some of the deepest soul work possible. She offered me a full weekend of healings so that I could experience them for myself.”

Her broad smile told me this experience had been the catalyst of her transformation even before she put it into words.

“Well, of course, as any researcher would, I took her up on it, and …well, it changed my life. I suddenly had clarity about why I was here on Earth during this lifetime. My fascination with archaic, nature-based religions suddenly made sense. For the first time in my life, I had more than a passing, intellectual understanding of the Sacred. I had experienced and knew beyond any shadow of a doubt that it was Truth. Oh, what a magical time it was! I contacted the university and resigned, never returning from sabbatical.”

“Don’t you miss academia? The research? The intellectual stimulation? I know that’s the part I miss most—there’s always something to learn, analyze and deconstruct.”

“Oh, my dear Jade. Once you experience the Sacred, nothing else can compare. You come alive inside, knowing you are interconnected with all beings. My work now is part of the planetary healing we are currently going through. That’s far more important than writing more scholarly articles on topics only other religious scholars will read. Intellectual stimulation pales in comparison to spiritual stimulation. Everything does.”

Excerpt from MURDER OVER MEDIUM. Copyright © 2017. All rights reserved.

You may ask, do I believe in the magic of the vortex energy? You bet I do! I've experienced it for myself. Totally amazing!

But everyone has to experience it for themselves. If you prefer, you can see the vortex energy as a geological anomaly that you enjoy—people report feeling joyful and at peace while in Sedona. Or, you can go all New Age and soak up the awesome vibe. Regardless, Sedona is a enchanted place everyone should visit. And while you’re there, don’t forget to get a reading with Gwendolyn!

About the Book MURDER OVER MEDIUM - A Jade Blackwell Mystery

Former English professor turned blogger, Jade Blackwell, is enjoying her predictable routine when trouble comes knocking in the form of an old friend and colleague. Unbeknownst to Jade, Gwendolyn Hexby is no longer the successful academic she once knew and trusted—she is now following a new calling as a psychic medium, a contentious career that flies in the face of the logic and deductive reasoning Jade values.

At first, Jade welcomes the visit, but things soon turn bizarre as Gwendolyn brings only disorder danger and disruption. When a murder is prophesied, and a beloved pillar of the Aspen Falls’ community winds up dead, Gwendolyn becomes Sheriff Ross Lawson’s prime suspect.

To get Gwendolyn out of hot water, and more importantly, out of her house, Jade attempts to prove her friend’s innocence. Jade believes she’s finally discovered the truth, but is soon brought back to reality when she learns all is not as it seems in the realm of the metaphysical. Not even murder.

Return to the Jade Blackwell Cozy Mystery Series in Murder Over Medium as Jade jumps into the fray of a territory not governed by logic or reason—in either this world or the next.

About the Author

Gilian Baker is a former English professor who has gone on to forge a life outside of academia by adding blogger, ghostwriter and cozy mystery author to her C.V. She currently uses her geeky superpowers only for good to entertain murder mystery readers the world over. When she’s not plotting murder for her Jade Blackwell cozy mystery series, you can find her puttering in her vegetable garden, knitting in front of the fire, snuggling with her husband watching British TV or discussing literary theory with her daughter.

Gilian lives in Flagstaff, Arizona with her family and their three pampered felines. In her next life, she fervently hopes to come back as a cat, though she understands that would be going down the karmic ladder.

Author Links

Webpage – http://gilianbaker.com/blogging-murder-first-chapter/

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

Amazon – http://amazon.com/author/gilian-baker

GoodReads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16252646.Gilian_Baker

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January 15 – Christa Reads and Writes – GUEST POST

January 16 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – REVIEW

January 16 – Queen of All She Reads – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY

January 16 – Island Confidential – INTERVIEW

January 17 – Dee-Scoveries – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY

January 17 – Readsalot – SPOTLIGHT

January 18 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST, GIVEAWAY

January 18 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

January 19 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY

January 20 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST, GIVEAWAY

January 20 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY

January 21 – Readeropolis – INTERVIEW, GIVEAWAY

January 21 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY

January 22 – Pulp and Mystery Shelf – CHARACTER GUEST POST

January 23 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY

January 24 – A Blue Million Books – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

Monday, January 1, 2018


It's that time of the year once again - a time to reflect on the good and the not-so-good.  Overall, 2017 was a good year on all work levels - the day job and the writing. Lots of accomplishments for sure and hopefully more to come in 2018. 

I commented last New Years on the world situation. The frequency of hate, violence and terrorism hasn't improved. As a year ago, with all the turmoil here at home and abroad, I will strive to:
  • Be more positive and thoughtful of others
  • Be an advocate and help out others as best I can
  • Remember to engage in random acts of kindness
  • Be respectful of others and their opinions, even when I disagree 
As always, I can't avoid the tried and true - eat better, exercise more, lose weight... I'll add in there, take some time to relax.  And since I'm behind, catching up the books I've read, but not yet reviewed.  

What about you? What will you be working on in 2018?

Wishing you a happy and healthy New Year!