Friday, May 3, 2019

Book Review: SHOOTING THE BULL: A Roy Martin Mystery by John Rose Putnam


A western noir classic mystery by bestselling author John Rose Putnam that will leave you teetering on the edge of your seat until the very last word.

When a popular high school senior, the daughter of powerful Laurel big shot, is found dead from a gunshot to the heart on the property of a cantankerous dairyman, suspicion falls heavily on the farmer and his football star son.


This is the second in the Roy Martin Mysteries, with Roy Martin, the Sheriff, having to deal with the murder of the daughter of one of the more powerful families in the county. The body is dumped just over the line and on the property of a cantankerous old farmer who responds to Roy's visit with his shotgun. Roy tells the farmer his bull may have had a run in with someone and is limping and then asks questions regarding the young woman.  Small towns and such, it comes out that Raelynn and the farmer's son, Will, may have been an item, much to the dismay of her parents. The son's not any more receptive to Roy than his father and things get a bit testy. Then there's the   disabled Marine who gets along with the cows and the bull. 

Roy is a no-nonsense Sheriff and somehow manages to thwart the irate father's attempt to take the law into his own hands. How it all turns out is a bit of a surprise and the bull gets even. The pace is good and the characters are well-developed, although most are new to this book. This can easily be read as a stand alone. If you like westerns and mystery, you'll like this one. The third in the series, The Stink on Racoon Creek, released in March and is on my TBR list.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Blog Tour: THE BODY IN THE WETLANDS (A Jazzi Zanders Mystery #2) by Judi Lynn


High summer in River Bluffs, Indiana, is always sweltering and sweet. But the heat is really on when a decidedly dead body turns up in the neighborhood.

When established house flippers Jazzi Zanders and her cousin Jerod donate a week’s worth of remodeling work to Jazzi’s sister Olivia, they’re expecting nothing more than back-breaking roofing work and cold beers at the end of each long, hot day. With Jazzi’s live-in boyfriend and partner Ansel on the team, it promises to be a quick break before starting their next big project—until Leo, an elderly neighbor of Olivia’s, unexpectedly goes missing . . .

When the friendly senior’s dog tugs Jazzi and the guys toward the wetlands beyond Olivia’s neighborhood, they stumble across a decomposing corpse—and a lot of questions. With Jazzi’s pal Detective Gaff along to investigate, Jazzi finds her hands full of a whole new mystery instead of the usual hammer and nails. And this time it will take some sophisticated sleuthing to track down the culprit of the deadly crime—before the killer turns on her next . . .


This was an interesting read from the interactions between Jazzi, Ansel, Olivia and Jerod as they flip the house Olivia and Jerod will live in, to the missing teen, the old man with his dog and all their family dynamics. There is a lot going on, and Detective Gaff needs Jazzi's personality and logical thinking. Not to mention the dog who drags her to evidence. The story is well-paced with enough tension and the occasional twists and turns. There are a couple of suspects, including the creepy pizza delivery guy, and the killer isn't obvious. Well-written, if you like a solid cozy mystery with a strong female lead, and a touch of romance, you'll enjoy this book.

This is the second in the series. Although there is some reference to the story in the first book, The Body in the Attic, this can easily be read as a stand alone. The third book, The Body in the Gravel, is also available. That one's going on my TBR list for sure.

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

Judi Lynn received a Master’s Degree from Indiana University as an elementary school teacher after attending the IPFW campus. She taught 1st, 2nd, and 4th grades for six years before having her two daughters. She loves gardening, cooking and trying new recipes.
Readers can visit her website at and her blog

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Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Book Review: WHATEVER IT TAKES by MJ Markovski


Regan Argent inadvertently uncovered a dark conspiracy that has her on the run. Forcing her to return to her childhood home, a small town just outside of Dallas, to seek refuge. Unexpectedly, she bumps into Hunter Grainger, a man she never saw coming. An Air Force pararescueman, on leave, with only one person who is supposed to know of his return home. Their unexpected meeting ignites a chain of events where they will be forced to help each other or be executed.


Regan Argent has a degree in law, but after uncovering some unsavory activities at the firm and getting mugged, she returns home to her family of four brothers.  She hasn't been home in five years and still remembers the boy who was supposed to meet her after high school graduation - Hunter Grainger.  Enlisted and home on leave, Hunter has his fair share of problems, sees shadows, and remembers his best friend's sister - the one he's sworn not to get involved with. 

There's the usual questions of Regan as to why she's back and why didn't she stay in touch, and each of her brothers has his perspective. One perspective they all seem to share is that she should stay far away from Grainger. Her mother wants her married and tries to fix her up with someone from her own hometown, who also worked at the same law firm. Someone seems to be after her to make sure she doesn't tell anyone what she discovered. Given his hidden talents, Grainger is the perfect person to guard her and keep her safe.

Romantic suspense, with lots of twists and turns, and a quick pace. If you enjoy a good suspense, you'll enjoy WHATEVER IT TAKES.  Cautionary note - adult content.

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.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Blog Tour and Book Review: PINOT RED OR DEAD? The Wine Trail Msyteries by J.C. Eaton


There’s a lot of noir surrounding this rare pinot. 

As the vineyards in Seneca Lake, New York, prepare for the seasonal “Deck the Halls Around the Lake” festivities, someone is determined to keep pinot noir off the wine list. Hijacked trucks and sabotaged ingredients have made it a hard-to-acquire vintage for the six local wineries—including Norrie Ellington’s Two Witches Winery. 

The case of the stolen and spoiled wines gets stranger when Arnold Mowen, owner of the company distributing the wine, is found dead, the apparent victim of a hunting accident. As Norrie tries to find the connections between the pinot’s problems and Arnold’s death, she uncovers a conspiracy among many locals whose hatred for the wine distributor was bottled up for far too long . . .


If asked, all Norrie wants to do is finish the screen play her publisher is nagging about. Somehow, though, in the short time since she has taken over at the winery for her sister and brother-in-law, this is the second body - but at least this one is more on the neighboring vineyard's property. Not to mention that someone has vandalized the anticipated batches of pinot noir all along the wine trail. 

Norrie uses all the tricks from her screen plays to prove her hunches, with the help, and a few words of caution from her friends. The winery staff have their own idiosyncracies, including the new assistant winemaker. The pace is good, with a bit of seasonal cheer and humor. If you like winery settings (I do!), then you'll enjoy a jaunt down the wine trail to catch the killer of the wine distributor. 

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 Authors

J. C. Eaton is actually two people - Ann I.  Goldfarb and James E. Clapp.
Ann I. Goldfarb

New York native Ann I. Goldfarb spent most of her life in education, first as a classroom teacher and later as a middle school principal and professional staff developer. Writing as J. C. Eaton, along with her husband, James Clapp, she has authored the Sophie Kimball Mysteries (Kensington) set for release in June 2017. In addition, Ann has nine published YA time travel mysteries under her own name. Visit the websites at and

James E. Clapp

When James E. Clapp retired as the tasting room manager for a large upstate New York winery, he never imagined he’d be co-authoring cozy mysteries with his wife, Ann I. Goldfarb. His first novel, Booked 4 Murder (Kensington) is set for release in June 2017. Non-fiction in the form of informational brochures and workshop materials treating the winery industry were his forte along with an extensive background and experience in construction that started with his service in the U.S. Navy and included vocational school classroom teaching.

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Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Book Review: DESIGNS ON MURDER : A Ghostly Fashionista Mystery Book 1 by Gayle Leeson


What if you discovered your lively new friend wasn't really...alive?

Amanda Tucker is excited about opening her fashion design studio in Shops On Main, a charming old building in historic Abingdon, Virginia. She didn't realize a ghost came with the property! But soon Maxine "Max" Englebright, a young woman who died in 1930, isn't the only dead person at the retail complex. Mark Tinsley, a web designer with a know-it-all attitude who also rented space at Shops On Main, is shot in his office.

Amanda is afraid that one of her new "friends" and fellow small business owners is his killer, and Max is encouraging her to solve Mark's murder a la Nancy Drew. Easy for Max to want to investigate--the ghostly 
fashionista can't end up the killer's next victim!


This is a fun read. Somehow Amanda is able to see an converse with Max - who is long dead, but oh, so much fun. Then there's the dead body and the handsome guy who moves into the dead guy's space. Max does have capabilities the average sleuth is missing though. She gains information and pushes Amanda to solve the murder. Amanda's fashion is all very retro style. Not that I have the occasion to wear retro-gowns, seeing Amanda's creations might be fun.

The story moves along at a good pace and all the characters renting space in this house for their small businesses have their own quirks and secrets. Why would a collector of old books have books that aren't books at all, but designed to hide something? Along with the twists and turns, the reader also gets a glimpse at Amanda's relationship with her grandfather - who also sees Max - as well as her less than supportive parents. If you like cozy mysteries and don't mind a helpful ghost, you'll enjoy this latest from Gayle Leeson.

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.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Book Review - New Release: MANN IN THE CROSSFIRE : A Jarvis Mann Detective Novel by Randy Weir


Is this the end for PI Jarvis Mann?

A surprising murder of an associate sends Jarvis on a trip to San Diego to investigate. A trail of clues direct him to a gang member who wants him eliminated, while a local detective agency is hot on his tail with nefarious plans of their own. Battered and beaten, Jarvis battles to forge on, tracking the evidence and directing him to a dangerous discovery that he may not be able to fight his way out of. Desperate for backup, with nowhere else to turn, he enlists lethal foes to render essential aid. Will these illicit associations spell the end of his career and possibly his life… 

For Jarvis is truly a Mann in the Crossfire.


Jarvis has calmed down some, with nightmares still from the Front Range Butcher. His attorney and friend Barry has him checking out a cheating husband and Jarvis gets the goods and then some. Then out to San Diego to finish what his friend Rocky couldn't do - killed in a boat bombing like his wife and son. The plan is find out who put out the hits on Rocky and his family, when Rocky decided to try for a more "legal" and safe lifestyle. Somehow, as he recovers from one beating, the idea of a safer lifestyle resonates with Jarvis.

As with the others in the series, Jarvis Mann's sense of humor and sarcasm add to the story line. The pace of the story keeps time with the tensions and revelations, and the wait time for the key players to come forward. There are lots of pieces that need to come together to determine who ordered the hit on Rocky and his family, with drugs and gun running, and a few political comments as well. Throughout it all, Jarvis is a bit nostalgic, recalling his previous actions. Is there a future for Jarvis Mann? Not for me to say.

If you've liked the others in the series, you'll like this one. I dare say, I liked it better than the Front Range Butcher. First Jarvis Mann? It is a stand-alone mystery, but you'll like it better if you read at least some of the others, for context, first. For those of you who prefer clean reads and cozies? Pass on this one. This is a hard-boiled mystery with adult content.

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.


Check out the rest of the Jarvis Mann Detective series:

The Case of the Missing Bubble Gum Card
Tracking A Shadow
Twice As Fatal
Blood Brothers
Dead Man Code
The Case of the Invisible Souls
The Front Range Butcher
Mann in the Crossfire

Sunday, March 24, 2019

NEW RELEASE: DOGS AND MORE DOGS, ANOTHER MURDER : A Sheridan Hendley Mystery #2 by Christa Nardi


An abandoned house, an abundance of dogs. And a dead body or two.

Sheridan Hendley’s volunteer position at Pets and Paws takes a new turn when more than twenty malnourished dogs are found at a rundown house on the outskirts of town. When the body of an elderly woman is found amidst mountains of clutter in the house, a search of the property leads to startling revelations. And another body. While Herman Stoneham’s death is deemed natural causes, his wife’s is not. Where did all the dogs come from and who’s responsible for Justine’s untimely death? Are the two connected? With dogs and murder at stake, Sheridan can't help but get involved in the investigation.

Chapter 1

The holiday decorations were packed away, the house no longer festive. I’d procrastinated much longer than any other year and now even New Year’s was a memory. Married to State Police Detective Brett McMann and stepmom to his teenaged daughter, Maddie, about six months now, it was sad to put our first Christmas as a family behind us. Still, I was truly relieved the hustle and bustle was over. Juggling two families had been stressful, though time with my parents and sibs, Kaylie and Kevin, was good. Drinking my never empty coffee, I relished the quiet and uncluttered living area.
“Sheridan, can I go skating with Nedra and Willie? Miss Melina is taking us.”
“Is your room clean? And what time will you be home?” Melina and I both volunteered at the local dog shelter, and her daughter, Nedra was in Maddie’s eight grade class. Little did Maddie know, Melina had texted me already about taking them skating. She knew I was volunteering at Pets and Paws today and this would give Maddie something to do. Winter break is great for a few days and then it gets old.
“Yes, my room is clean. I’ll be home before dinner.”
“Okay. Let’s make sure you have everything and you’re ready when they get here to pick you up.”
I followed her to her room, Charlie and Bella padding behind us. Sometimes Maddie’s teen version of a clean room and mine didn’t quite look the same. At least on the surface, this time we were on the same page. Even Bella’s toys were all assembled in her bed.
“Heavy socks so you don’t get blisters? Extra layers or a coat? It can get cold out there with the wind.” The weather had been pretty mild for Virginia in January so far, with only a few nights of frost, and mostly in the 40s.
The eighth grader made a face. “Jeesh, I’m not a child. Besides extra layers make me look fat.”
“But you’ll be warm. What about the thermals? They’re thin and help retain heat and then you might get by without a jacket.”
“Okay. Okay. Can you get my skates?”
“On it. Skates, gloves, scarf and hat coming up.” I ignored her eye roll and gathered everything together as Melina pulled up.
“Hurry up. They’re here.” She bustled out of the room, grabbed everything and was out the door. I waved to Melina from the door.
Only a few more days and Maddie would be back at school and I’d be back to work at Millicent College teaching on Wednesdays and Fridays. I finished my coffee and cleaned up. After letting Charlie and Bella out, I headed for Pets and Paws.
Smiling, I remembered the way Mrs. Chantilly had all the dogs decked out in bells, bows, and bowties before Christmas. Pets and Paws was in an old colonial home. Mrs. Chantilly lived upstairs and the dogs were downstairs. With Luke’s help, she’d decorated the house, inside and out. She’d always reminded me of Mrs. Claus and for two weeks she dressed the part and bounced around with abundant enthusiasm. More than one of the dogs managed to destroy her holiday trappings around the place from time to time, but she took it in stride.
The house was on the news and people came from all over to view it. She’d go out and invite them in to see the rest of the decorations – and the dogs. Not unintentional by any means, she managed to get many dogs adopted.
I chuckled to myself, recalling when she’d tried singing traditional holiday songs. Unlike me, she had a beautiful voice. The problem was some of the dogs. They tried to sing, too, only the howling was not quite in tune. Sure enough, as I pulled up in front of the house I noticed the decorations were gone from Pets and Paws now, too.
Luke was moving boxes and grunted hello as I arrived. A high school student with some bad habits, like the stray and rescue dogs Mrs. Chantilly collected, Luke was a restoration project. His legal issues led to his “volunteering” at Pets and Paws. When he first started his community service there, he scowled a lot and made me nervous. He was still an entitled beachboy type.
He’d made some attitude adjustments in the past few months and I was glad to see it. I still didn’t quite trust him despite Mrs. Chantilly always singing his praises. Mrs. Chantilly met me at the door, grandmotherly, soft, and light, only without the Mrs. Claus attire. I also noted the bounce in her step was gone. Even though she had to be in her sixties, she always seemed to have energy and a happy face.
“Isn’t this weather just delightful? Sunny, not too, too cold. I heard it’s going to freeze tonight and maybe snow. Those abandoned dogs wouldn’t survive if that happened.”
Now used to her manner of speech, I simply asked, “What abandoned dogs?”
“Over at the Stoneham place of course, near Blake Buchanan’s. Have you ever been to his home? It is beautiful. A mansion fit for a king. His wife, Ava, studied interior decorating you know.”
“No, I didn’t know. Did they find dogs at the Stoneham’s?”
“That’s what I said. Nobody ever bothered the Stoneham’s for many years. Older couple and all, their children grown and gone, they kept to themselves. Justine and Herman didn’t live there when I was growing up here. Someone else did though. Never knew who they were.”
Mrs. Dora Chantilly had left Clover Hill after high school and she’d only returned when her grandmother died and left her the house, now Clover Hill Pets and Paws.  Her grandmother had taken in strays and the place was a mess. I was about to ask again about the dogs, and an SUV pulled up.
“Here they are with more of the dogs. Poor things. Luke and I already fed and bathed the first group Blake brought over. I’m sure glad you’re here to help.”
I followed her as she hurried to the car and greeted Blake Buchanan, former mayor of Clover Hill. He took her in his arms and then seemed to realize I was there. He and Mrs. Chantilly had been an item in high school and they renewed their friendship when she returned.
“Dora, we uncovered a mama and pups.” He shook his head. “One of them didn’t make it. Dane mix. Where’s Luke? Even malnourished, it’ll take two of us to get her and her pups inside.” Mrs. Chantilly rushed to open the door and see to the animals.
“Mr. Buchanan, can you fill me in? Mrs. Chantilly hasn’t had a chance yet.”
He smiled and his eyes twinkled. We both understood that sometimes she was a bit hard to follow. Almost like putting a puzzle together. Me, I prefer things to be in order when someone is telling me a story.
“Last night, I was sitting on the deck and my dog, Bridgit, showed up with a puppy, not in good shape. As soon as I took the pup, she darted in the direction of the Stoneham place. I called to my wife, put the pup in a blanket, and took off after her.”
He paused for effect.
 “The house was dark but Bridgit stood at the front porch and dug to get further underneath. I knocked at the door and no one answered. I called Chief Peabody and then with my flashlight got a look at dogs huddled together from the cold under the porch. With help, we extracted six dogs and two more puppies and brought them here.”
He shuddered. “Such bad shape. Bridgit still wasn’t happy, but that was all we could do last night. Four of us have been on the property this morning. Brought four more dogs earlier. Butch and Bridgit, my best dogs, are helping us wade through it.”
“Huh? What do you mean ‘wade through it’ – is the house that much of a mess?”
“That’s a mild description. Stuff stacked on top of stuff on top of stuff, and the smell.” He shuddered again. “This mama and pups were in the kitchen. We could hear yelping from other parts of the house.”
“Here comes Luke. We need to get these dogs  inside. Sheridan, can you start some formula going? These pups are near starved to death. And we’ll have to keep them isolated until the vet can check them out.”
Luke lumbered up and his eyes about popped out as he looked from Blake to the Dane and pups. “Where are we going to put all these dogs?”
Mrs. Chantilly’s face fell. “Mama and pups in the house. The side room on the right is empty now with all the adoptions. We put the first bunch in the room on the left. You were just in the garage. Is there room in there? Grandpa used to work out there so I think there’s electric heat if we need it and a bathroom, too. Blake, how many more dogs?”
He pulled her close. “Remember, we need to keep these dogs separate from your other dogs. Let me check out the garage. We can always pull your car out. Work on getting them some food and water. Luke, come with me.”
They disappeared. I turned to Mrs. Chantilly, “You stay with them. I’ll go get water and start the bottles going.”
As I walked in to the house, I glanced down at the concrete floor, painted blue slate and sealed. At least if the dogs made a mess, there wouldn’t be any damage. It was about an hour later when we finished relocating the Pets and Paws residents to the larger back room. The two new mamas and pups were situated on one side of the kitchen. They’d been bathed and fed and each family rested on a palette.
That left space in the other side room for any smaller dogs that might come in. If the new arrivals were medium to large sized dogs we moved them to the unattached garage. They’d been fed and some had been bathed, now settled into crates. The heat was on and that at least took the chill off. Not exactly warm, but the dogs would all be out of the wind.
Blake hinted there still would be more dogs coming. With Mrs. Chantilly’s blessing, I sent an email out to all the volunteers with a short note about the dogs coming in and needing assistance if they were available. Whatever supplies were needed, starting with towels and blankets, I was confident Blake would take care of them.

Excerpt from Dogs and More Dogs, Another Murder : Sheridan Hendley #2. Copyright © 2019. All rights reserved.


Still priced at $0.99 until April 1st - then $3.99
FREE with Kindle Unlimited

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Book Review: SHARPE NOTE SOUR GRAPES OF WRATH : (Maycroft Mysteries #7) by Lisa B. Thomas



As Deena and Gary Sharpe celebrate their anniversary, things are not all wine and roses. Gary is restless at his job while Deena just wishes she still had one.

To make matters worse, one of Gary’s clients, a local vineyard owner, commits suicide. However, the victim’s sister thinks he was murdered, and her suspicions lead Deena and Gary to team up to unearth the truth.

Can Deena impress the local newspaper editor enough to get her old job back? Will Gary quit his firm and risk everything he’s worked for on a new business venture?


Maybe not too old, but the "maybe not a suicide" distracts both Deena and Gary from their doubts and melancholy. Deena's changed jobs a few times, and maybe Gary needs a change. In the meantime, they set out to determine if the local vineyard owner really killed himself. Deena is smart and she doesn't do anything stupid or reckless. The pace of the story is good, with clues and red herrings to a makes sense end. And the end made sense. I liked the winery setting and consistently find Deena and Gary likable characters. Although this is the 7th in the series, it is a stand-alone mystery as are the previous six. This is an enjoyable series and this one didn't disappoint.


Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Book Review: CHRISTMAS BIZARRE: Mina Kitchen Cozy Comedy Series #2 by Lizz Lund

Synopsis (sort of) from Amazon


What do Santa’s Sidekick, a dead lawyer and a geriatric vampire have in common? Meet Mina Kitchen--a forty-something single who finds trouble quicker than she can whip up a batch of breakfast breads. Plural. Her catering disorder runs neck-and-neck with her weird luck, and her cat’s weirder tendency toward gnawing elf gear. Okay, and getting kidnapped a couple of times in one week is a little strange, too.

Her next door neighbor Vito's past as ex-leader of the Moils, the Jewish-Polish Family from Bumville, New Jersey, comes to light and throws a dollop of dilemmas into an already simmering plot.

Top it all off with a counterfeiting ring, a county-wide dearth of holiday wrapping tape, and a mass of pets running loose at the local mall, and what do you have? A recipe for disaster that Mina whips to a froth.

If you're looking for funny novels for women, packed with humor, cozy animals (in the guise of pets) -- and recipes -- look no further. The second book in the hilarious Mina Kitchen Comedies, Christmas Bizarre will keep you smiling when you’re not shouting up a belly laugh. It delivers a LOL tour of Lancaster, “Pee-Ay”, where you’ll discover a lively cast of characters, funny dialogue and lots of twists and turns.


This was a cute fun read, with or without the Christmas theme and elf-shoe eating cat or the sudden panic when there is no tape for wrapping the presents (duct tape, anyone?).  Mina manages, once again, to find a body and all her cooking and baking takes a while to simmer and unravel all the moving parts. It doesn't have to be the holiday season to enjoy the silliness and unique characters Lizz Lund has created.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Blog tour and Review: FINAL EXAM : A Witch City Mystery by Carol J. Perry


A cold case update in Salem, Massachusetts . . .

Life at the house on Winter Street is abuzz with preparations for Aunt Ibby’s 45th high school reunion, and Lee Barrett is happy to pitch in, tracking down addresses and licking envelopes. But as a field reporter for Salem’s WICH-TV, her priority is to be on top of the town’s latest news before anyone else.

When the local police dredge up a vintage sports car containing human remains, Lee is thrilled to be the first reporter on the scene. Once she learns the car is connected to the cold case her boyfriend Pete happens to be working on, her powers of investigation are quickly alerted. But it’s her Aunt Ibby’s emotional reaction to Lee’s TV report that puts her on the case. With the help of O’Ryan, her psychic feline sidekick, she’ll have to unravel a tangled past of secrets and promises to stop a killer from making history again . . .


Lee Barrett is a field reporter for the local television station, and along with her sidekick camera person, Francine, get the story of a lifetime. Only the story also involves Lee's Aunt Ibby and her 45th high school reunion. Lee and police boyfriend Pete work the cold case from different perspectives. Neither of them, nor Aunt Ibby, really understand her visions - actually her cat, O'Ryan, seems to the have the best handle on their importance, but they eventually lead Lee or Pete to look at things differently.

This was an interesting combination of cold case, love lost, and secrets leading to more potentially more killing. There are complications and twists and turns that keep the story moving. Perry also entwines emotions and reactions of the characters that gives them personality or leaves them flat and unknown like Penelope. The ending makes sense, but I didn't have the mastermind nailed. If you like a good cozy mystery with a hint of the paranormal, you'll enjoy this one.

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

Carol J. Perry knew as a child that she wanted to be a writer. A voracious reader, whose list for Santa consisted mostly of book titles, she never lost sight of that goal. While living in Florida, Carol was on assignment for Southern Travel Magazine, preparing an article on the world’s largest sand castle which was being built near her home. That combination of events inspired her first young adult novel, Sand Castle Summer. That book was soon followed by half a dozen more.

Carol has always been an avid reader of mysteries. Her debut mystery novel is set in Salem and involves O’Ryan, a most mysterious cat, several witches and some strange Halloween happenings. Appropriately enough, this Salem-born author celebrates her birthday on Halloween Eve! Carol and her husband Dan live in the Tampa Bay area of Florida with two cats and a Black Lab. Visit her at

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March 4 – The Montana Bookaholic – CHARACTER GUEST POST

March 4 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT

March 4 – Carla Loves To Read – REVIEW

March 5 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW, RECIPE

March 5 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

March 5 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

March 6 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

March 6 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

March 6 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

March 7 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

March 7 – I’m Into Books – SPOTLIGHT

March 7 – Sneaky the Library Cat’s Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

March 8 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW, RECIPE

March 8 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

March 8 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW

March 9 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

March 9 – MJB Reviewers – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

March 9 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

March 10 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW

March 10 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

March 10 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

Friday, March 1, 2019

Guest Post by Tina Kashian, Author of One Feta in the Grave

Today, it's my pleasure to have Tina Kashion as my guest. Not only do we get to find out about her book, but she shares a cookie recipe, too.

Thank you for featuring me as a guest today!

I love to cook all types of cuisine. I grew up in a family-owned restaurant in New Jersey, and my Kebab Kitchen Mystery Series is set in a Mediterranean restaurant at the Jersey shore.

In One Feta in the Grave, Lucy Berberian is a recovering lawyer who returns to Ocean Crest, NJ and her family’s restaurant, Kebab Kitchen. To celebrate a successful summer season, the town plans a beach festival. But things soon take a turn for the worse when an arrogant businessman gets in a screaming match with Lucy’s best friend, Katie, over a sand castle contest. And when the same businessman is found shot dead under the boardwalk, things don’t look good for Katie. It’s up to Lucy to investigate before the wrong person gets skewered.

One of the recipes featured in the book is for date stuffed cookies. I have two girls who won’t touch a date, but when I made this Armenian recipe, then actually thought it was chocolate and loved it. Now, I admit, I didn’t confess the cookies were stuffed with dates until after they had their second cookie. I used this funny experience when writing One Feta in the Grave. Lucy, my sleuth, makes this recipe and gives a cookie to her ten-year-old niece who bites into a cookie and believes it’s filled with chocolate. When she’s told it’s not chocolate, but dates, her eyes widen and her mouth forms an O. It made for a great scene.

I’m happy to share my family’s recipe.

Tina Kashian’s Date Stuffed Cookies 

For the dough:

½ pound unsalted, softened butter
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons sugar
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ cup warm water

For the filling:

1 ½ to 2 pounds pitted and chopped dates
1 tablespoon unsalted, softened butter
1 cup hot water
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

For the egg wash:

1 egg, slightly beaten
Powdered sugar to sprinkle on cookies after they are baked

        Use an electric mixer on medium speed to mix butter, oil and sugar. Add flour, baking powder, and water and mix on medium speed. The dough should be a soft, pliable consistency. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and set it aside for thirty to forty-five minutes at room temperature.

        Now you are ready to prepare the date filling. Combine dates, butter, hot water, sugar and cinnamon in a separate bowl and mix on medium speed until well combined.
Flour a work surface to prevent the dough from sticking. Roll out dough until about 1/8 inch thick. Use a two-inch round cookie cutter or a water glass to cut out a circle shape. Place one rounded teaspoonful of date filling in the center of each circle shape. Fold into a half-circle shape. Using a fork, gently press the edges together to seal.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray baking sheets with cooking spray. Place cookies on baking sheets. Brush each cookie with egg wash. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Cookies should be golden, not brown. 
Lift cookies with a spatula and place them on cooling racks. Sprinkle with powdered sugar Makes about two dozen cookies. 

Thank you again and enjoy the cookies!


As summer comes to an end in her Jersey Shore town, Lucy Berberian continues to manage her family’s Mediterranean restaurant. The Kebab Kitchen also has a food tent at this year’s beach festival. But now a local businessman is under the boardwalk—dead by the sea . . .

With a sand castle contest and live music, Ocean Crest bids a bittersweet farewell to tourist season. Summer will return next year . . . but Archie Kincaid won’t. The full-of-himself store owner has been fatally shot, soon after a screaming match with Lucy’s best friend. Katie’s far from the only suspect, though, since Archie had some bitter rivals—as well as some relationships no one knew about. It’s up to Lucy to look into some seedy characters and solve the case before the wrong person gets skewered . . .

Recipes included!

“A delectable read.”

—Bestselling author Shelley Freydont



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Tina Kashian is an attorney and a former mechanical engineer whose love of reading for pleasure helped her get through years of academia. Tina spent her childhood summers at the Jersey shore building sandcastles, boogie boarding, and riding the boardwalk Ferris wheel. She also grew up in the restaurant business, as her Armenian parents owned a restaurant for thirty years. Tina still lives in New Jersey with her supportive husband and two daughters. Please visit her website at to join her newsletter, receive delicious recipes, enter contests, and more!
You can also connect with Tina at:





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Thursday, February 28, 2019

Hallmark Movies & Mysteries: "Chronicle Mysteries: Vines That Bind"

Something a little different today...

Hallmark Movies & Mysteries: "Chronicle Mysteries: Vines That Bind"
Premiering this Sunday, March 3rd at 9pm/8c

Stars: Alison Sweeney and Benjamin Ayres 

The latest edition of Alex McPherson’s true crime podcast leads her and the Chronicle staff to nearby Macklin, where they investigate a death ruled as an accident by the local police. Before Alex can get to the bottom of what she feels was a murder, another member of the family is felled by a bullet. She and her colleagues soon amass a formidable roster of suspects, all of whom had the motive and opportunity to commit the crimes.  

Catch your interest? For more information...

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Book Review: FOREVER DEVOTED: Forever Bluegrass #8 by Kathleen Brooks

I needed a change of pace - so not a cozy mystery today, but romantic suspense...


Layne Davies needed a break—a break from the busy bodies in her small town of Keeneston, Kentucky and a break from dating men who turned into scared little boys upon meeting her father. That’s why she was so excited to have been invited to speak at a medical conference in Charleston, South Carolina. Never did she think her whole life would change the second she stepped on that stage.

Walker Greene can’t talk about his job. He can’t talk about what happened that one night off the coast of Nigeria when his team was ambushed. No one would believe him even if he could talk about it. But his training kept him alive until he was able to sneak back into his small hometown of Shadows Landing, South Carolina. But when people show up looking for Walker, he has no choice but to listen to his best friend, Dr. Gavin Faulkner, and turn to a total stranger for help.

Layne may be Gavin Faulkner’s estranged cousin, but that doesn’t mean she’ll drop everything to work with someone who Gavin refuses to tell her anything about . . . until she sees Walker Greene. All her protective instincts come alive upon seeing the wounded soldier and Layne knows there’s only one place to keep him safe—Keeneston. Walker becomes a hunted man, and Layne is determined to keep him safe as she finds herself drawn to him more and more each day.


It's been a while since I indulged in a "bluegrass" romantic suspense by Kathleen Brooks, and this one did not disappoint. 

Layne is a physical therapist getting hit on at a medical conference and isn't interested.  She already knows that Luke will whimper and run if he ever were to meet her family back in Kenneston, KY.  She is no wilting or weak female - she can take on most men, intellectually and in hand-to-hand combat. Her passion is working to rehab injured vets. In Charleston, a cousin she doesn't know - Gavin Faulkner - is a physician and at the same conference. When Gavin's good friend, Walker shows up injured and on the run - betrayed by a comrade in arms - Gavin knows that Layne is Walker's best shot at optimal recovery. Walker's a SEAL in a special unit, and the only other survivor of his team besides the one who killed his brothers and shot him. He's a threat to Jed and Jed wants him dead. Next thing Gavin knows he's spirited away by Layne to Kenneston, KY and her very large, very military connected family and the Rose sisters. Amidst the romance, the reconnection of a grandmother with her brothers and all their collective kids, and the tension of being hunted, there are some laugh out loud moments. 

This is the 8th in the 3rd "bluegrass" series... the story is a stand alone mystery and the first I've read in this series. Brooks' writing is engaging and the plotline is easy to follow. Even though you know the good guys will win out, she pulls you into the story and you want to finish reading it (even if it is after midnight and you have to get up early). That said, I'd strongly suggest you start at the beginning with the Bluegrass Series (BLUEGRASS STATE OF MIND) and ease into the family and characters.  Then you can move on to the Bluegrass Brothers, and Forever Bluegrass. The newest one is Shadows Landing and is Gavin's story. I'm going to have to go back and read all the ones I missed in Kenneston first. I'm only sorry that there is no real place of Kenneston, KY - I want to visit and meet the Rose sisters!  Great book, great three-tiered series.  Definitely not a cozy and some scenes will either offend your senses or make you laugh.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Book Review: END OF THE LANE :A Dear Abby Cozy Mystery Book 1 by Sonia Parin


Abby Maguire’s first day in a new town and new job could be her last. Instead of writing about the weekend bake sale, she has to give a statement to the police. It seems the small town of Eden is not the idyllic place she'd imagined it to be. There's a killer on the loose but the finger of suspicion is pointed at Abby.

Clean read: no graphic violence, sex, or strong language but lots of fun, quirky dialogue & characters.


Abby Maguire needs a new life and a new job. She's all set to start a job on the small town newspaper in Eden.  On her way to the Eden, she rescues a pup and then sets off to meet her new boss, only he's dead. Abby is already set up with a room above the pub, but with Dermot Cavendish's demise it's not clear what will happen with the paper. Although a stranger and a suspect, the people in the pub and bookstore, support Abby and the pup she doesn't have. 

Eden isn't quite Eden, and the first hint might be the roads that intersect at Edgar Allen Poe. The crew at the pub make up a quirky bunch for sure, but also a friendly warm group. The story is well written, with a steady pace, and not an obvious ending. This is the first in the series. Be Still My Heart will be on my TBR list. Psst. At least as of this posting, End of the Lane is only $0.99.

Other books in the series:
Be Still My Heart
The Last Ride

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Blog Tour & Review: GRAND SLAM MURDERS A Bridge to Death Mystery by R. J. Lee


After four bridge players are poisoned, newspaper reporter Wendy Winchester sets out to catch a killer who’s not playing with a full deck . . .

When the four wealthy widows who make up the venerable Rosalie Bridge Club never get up from their card table, this quiet Mississippi town has its first quadruple homicide. Who put cyanide in their sugar bowl? An aspiring member and kibitzer with the exclusive club, Wendy takes a personal interest in finding justice for the ladies.

She also has a professional motivation. A frustrated society columnist for the Rosalie Citizen, she’s ready to deal herself a better hand as an investigative reporter. This could be her big break. Plus, she has a card or two up her sleeve: her sometimes boyfriend is a detective and her dad is the local chief of police.

Partnering up with the men in her life, Wendy starts shuffling through suspects and turning over secrets long held close to the chest by the ladies. But when a wild card tries to take her out of the game, Wendy decides it’s time to up the ante before she’s the next one to go down . . .


Wendy is following her dream to be an investigative reporter, with the help of her maybe boyfriend Ross and her father. She herself was on her way to being admitted to the very selective Bridge Club and even observed some of the Gin Girls bridge games to learn the rules. And of course, now there is no chance for the Gin Girls to win the grand slam bridge title. 

Wendy's first task is to find out as much as she can about the four women by talking to their families and getting as much history and dirt as she can. The four women and their adult children are all very unique and although revered in some ways, not the most likable of women.

There are multiple layers to this mystery set in Mississippi with a young society-columnist striving to become much more. The relationships of the four women are complex and motives are not apparent. The more information Wendy uncovers, the closer she gets and the solution comes to her. An interesting read with a twist on high society women and their behaviors. The layers are unraveled in due time at a steady pace. 

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

R. J. Lee follows in the mystery-writing footsteps of his father, R. Keene Lee, who wrote fighter pilot and detective stories for Fiction House, publishers of WINGS Magazine and other ‘pulp fiction’ periodicals in the late ’40’s and ’50’s. Lee was born and grew up in the Mississippi River port of Natchez but also spent thirty years living in the Crescent City of New Orleans. A graduate of the University of the South (Sewanee) where he studied creative writing under Sewanee Review editor, Andrew Lytle, Lee now resides in Oxford, Mississippi.

Author Link – Facebook –

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