Friday, June 28, 2019

Book Review: GRANNY BRICKS A BANDIT A Fuchsia Minnesota Mystery #6 by Julie Seedorf


Granny and her cohorts are at it again! When Granny and her neighbor Mavis, go water-skiing and discover a dead body, Granny’s sleuthing instincts take over! She is determined to identify the corpse and find the killer. But wait! No sooner are Granny and her cohorts on the murderer’s trail, then Mavis’ husband George suddenly disappears! Could he be the killer’s next victim? Or could he be the killer? When the gals take a side trip to the Mall of America, they find a man fell to his death on a climbing wall––and Mavis is certain she spots George nearby! What does it all mean? Will Granny get to the bottom of it, with the help of her entourage of buddies and pets?


Visiting Fuchsia Minnesota is always a fun trip, and this 'visit' doesn't disappoint. No surprise Granny and Mavis find the body. The twist here is that Mavis’ gentleman friend, George, may be the killer though no one seems to be able to identify a clear motive and he's disappeared. 

There's laughs and mysteries from the shenanigans at the Mall of American with Granny’s sister Amelia, to the town’s push for Granny to run for Mayor – against her very straight-laced brother who wants all the nonsense to stop. And, of course, that includes Granny and her friends sleuthing. And then there’s Angel, Granny’s little granddaughter, 6 years old, who helps to solve cues and find bricks with messages on them. 

As usual, the pace is good, the writing is good. Angel is a great addition. I tried to visualize Granny on water skis and that made me laugh. Then again, the contrast between Granny and her brother, and Amelia is pretty extreme and the antics, as always, bring a smile. A fun read.


Sunday, June 23, 2019

Blog Tour and Review: LOVE LIES AND AZURE EYES


Elated by Annie’s response, Johnny caved to his impulse and pressed his mouth to her sweet lips, sparking a surge of electricity that ricocheted through his entire body, and for one glorious moment swept him up in a wave of emotion that meteorically whisked him to the edge of the universe, past swirling spirals of brightly burning stars — white dwarfs, red giants, entire galaxies. Caught in the rapture, he shed his cocoon of darkness and experienced the light — the wonderful, warm, life-affirming light. He reveled in it, felt alive. He almost believed he was. Almost.

* * *

West Coast journalist Annie Sinclair’s career, not to mention her love life, has been on the skids far too long, when she returns to Logan Point, her small, Indiana hometown. She’s back to make amends with her elderly father, and to delve into the 25-year-old, unsolved murder of her high school classmate for a writing gig with a national tabloid.

Annie’s plans soon go awry, and her mettle is tested — first when her father warns her against digging into the past; and again, when she meets the Logan Point Ledger’s handsome, but exasperating, new editor; and again still, when she reconnects with her first love, who clearly wants to rekindle what once was.

But Annie’s most arduous test appears in the form of the earthbound spirit of a boy she once knew — the boy with the azure eyes accused of the murder she is looking into. He needs her to prove his innocence, so he can break the ties that bind him to the darkness. In exchange, he will set Annie free to realize that the love she yearns for is just within her reach … if only she will open her heart.


I'm not a big fan of paranormal, but you can't help but to hope for Johnny - the boy who loved Annie, was belittled by the town hero, killed in an accident and blamed for that, and then finally blamed for the death of a classmate. What starts out for Annie as nothing more than a way for her to regain some recognition as a journalist, quickly becomes more personal. Annie's not too keen on Johnny's visits, sends him away, and soon realizes he is the only one she can trust. 

The story is well-written, and other than Johnny as the innocent, it's not easy to eliminate suspects.  There are old wounds re-opened, old loves re-visited, and the surprise ending isn't just about the murder. Fast paced, with lots of personalities, if you like cozy mystery and small town drama, you'll enjoy this - even if paranormal isn't on the top of your list.

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

Janis Thornton is the author of a true crime/oral history/memoir, Too Good a Girl, as well as two cozy mysteries, Dust Bunnies & Dead Bodies and Dead Air & Double Dares. She also is the author of two local history books and contributor to Undeniably Indiana. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, the Authors Guild, and the Indianapolis Writers Center. She lives in her Indiana hometown in the same house where she grew up.

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Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Book Review: BAGELS AND BLACKMAIL Maple Lane Mysteries #2 by C.A. Phipps


Maddie’s cat is missing!
Why would someone steal Big Red?
More than a pet…
… so much more, it turns out that he’s not the only one taken. It’s a catastrophe for the owners who, like Maddie, considers them family members.
Where are they being hidden?

While the Sheriff, who happens to be her ex-boyfriend, is doing what he can to solve the mystery, Maddie can’t sit by and watch.
Going against her darling Gran’s wishes, she once again decides to do her own detective work—with a little help from her friends.


Settled back in to her hometown and her best girl friends, otherwise referred to as the Girlz, Maddie doesn’t miss New York. So what if people think she’s a little weird because has a fairly large Maine Coon cat, Red. Only now Red is missing, he has been the only comfort she had during some rough times. And other pets are missing and then the mayor is killed. In the meantime, the evil wheeler dealer Findlay is back and Maddie is sure he is up to no good. Police chief Ethan warns Maddie to stay out of the investigations – and we all know that doesn’t happen.

The mystery moves along at a good pace and I liked the plot, characters and writing. If you have pets – even if you aren’t a cat person – you can easily relate to Maddie’s anxiety when Red is missing. And his role in the story’s end. The romance between Maddie and Ethan? It has to move forward or fade away – guess I’ll have to read the next one to find out. This is the second in the series, and there are a few references, mostly related to Findlay, but they don’t interfere with this story. This can easily be read as a stand alone. If you like a good cozy mystery, you'll enjoy this one.

Maple Lane Mysteries
Book 1: Apple Pie and Arsenic
Book 2: Bagels and Blackmail
Book 3: Cookies and Chaos
Book 4: Doughnuts and Disaster

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Blog Tour and Review: THE CORPSE WORE STILLETTOS by MJ O'Neill


Since Kat Waters’s father took a trip to the slammer on what she’s sure are trumped-up racketeering charges, life’s been tough. All their assets are frozen, and she’s down to the last few pairs of Jimmy Choos she can swap for rent. To keep her family out of the homeless shelter, the former socialite took a job at the local morgue—a job she’s about to lose when the body of a murder victim goes missing on her watch.


While Kat’s processing the latest victim in the prostitute serial killings, ex-Special Forces soldier Burns McPhee strolls in with an air of confidence, expecting access to the Jane Doe. While Burns tries to flirt his way into examining the latest victim, whom he thinks is connected to the death of his best friend, someone else steals the body right out from under them.


Dodging questions from the cops and kidnapping attempts from a body-snatching psycho, Kat and Burns forge a deal. He’ll clear her name and keep her safe if she gets him information on her peculiar coworkers, one of whom he’s certain is involved with the body heist. But digging up secrets can lead to a lower life expectancy. The unlikely team will need all their talents not to end up as the morgue’s next clients while they hunt for a murderer, the missing corpse, and a pair of diamond-studded stilettos.


Kat is doing her best to deal - or not deal - with her father's imprisonment and the betrayal of her wealthy friends when she, her grandmother, and mother have to move to a not-so-great neighborhood. She needs to get a job to keep the basic bills paid. She's definitely a "shoe fashionista" and she is slowly selling off shoes to some local "women" who specialize in male entertainment. The only job she can get is in the morgue, and she even turns that into a plus, getting past the blood and guts to treating them with respect. That is until McPhee and Flint show up and the Russian steals the corpse, and of course it is all Kat's fault. Her friend DC, the reporter, and Neutron round out the characters - well, except for the Russians and the detective.

This is well-written, and the characters you're supposed to like are multi-dimensional and likable. Although Kat at times seems younger than her age, that is balanced by her wits and problem-solving. If nothing else, her habit of quoting trivial facts when stressed confuses the bad guys. Things get complicated when it appears that somehow the 'misunderstanding' that landed her father in jail is connected to the death of a journalist and the missing corpse. Lots of suspects and tension keep the reader's attention. Personally, I can't wait for the sequel.
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

As the owner of a boutique chocolate factory in Atlanta, MJ O’Neill loves to write lighthearted, romantic mysteries with a sweet twist. She has a degree in business communications from North Carolina State University. When she’s not spinning a sweet yarn or creating delicious confections, she spends time with her husband, their kids, a hyperactive cocker spaniel named Devo (after the band), a princess tabby cat named Twilight (before the book stole her name) and a collection of stray fish. The whole gang can be found tooling around the back roads of the South in their RV where MJ uses the downtime to hatch her next sweet plot.

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