Wednesday, December 25, 2019

HAPPY HOLIDAYS! Happy Hannukah! Merry Christmas! Happy Kwanzaa!

Holiday-themed Books 

It is definitely the time of the year for people of different cultures and faiths. To me, the "sentiment" I most embrace is that of "Peace on Earth" and kindness and good will to others. Unlike many, my home has both a menorah and a Christmas tree, reflecting different faiths of my family members. Each year, I enjoy the holiday-themed cozies and romances - yup, I do watch the Hallmark Channel!  Here are just a few of the holiday cozies I've read in the last month ... feel free to share your favorites of the season in the comments!

Yuletide Murder: A Deadline Cozy Mystery #10 by Sonia Parin

The bridge to the mainland is down, and Eve and her guests are all stranded. So much for her quiet Christmas holiday in her Inn with friends and family. Especially when Todd Emerson is found dead. She's determined to make it the best Christmas ever, complete with tiny marshmallows, and a certain police man right after she figures out who the killer is. Lots of holiday spirit and a good pace. Quick read.

Hoppy Holiday Homicides :Pet Whisperer PI #9 by Molly Fitz

Angie and her new found cousin Mags are all set to enjoy the annual Holiday Spectacular in Glendale, when they discover two bodies in the ice garden. Then Mags is kidnapped. It's up to Octo-Cat, Paisley the chihuahua, and EB bunny along with a few humans to help Angie figure out the killer. This is the 9th  in the Pet Whisperer PI series with a holiday theme and Angie the PI Pet Whisperer. If you like family, pets, and a bit of romance, add this one to your holiday TBR pile. 

17.5 Cartridges in a Pear Tree : A Maize Albright Star Detective "Between Cases" Holiday Novella by Larissa Reinhart

Maizie is all set for New Years Eve in Black Pine, Georgia when she is spooked by someone who comes to Nash Investigations in search of the Death Necklace from one of Maizie's movies. She gave the movie prop to her dad and now people are after her to get the necklace. Between Maizie and her sister, Remi, a lot can go wrong as they try to save the necklace and catch the bad guys. As always, the characters are great and the plot includes a bit of humor as well as tension. What a way to start the New Year.


Sunday, December 15, 2019

RELEASE DAY: OLD FRIENDS AND NEW, ANOTHER MURDER A Sheridan Hendley Mystery #3 by Christa Nardi



A touch of nostalgia, a murder, and good friends.

When a former colleague is implicated in his neighbor’s demise, Sheridan Hendley returns to Cold Creek to prove his innocence. Annoying as Max can be, she can’t imagine the quirky professor is capable of murder. Unfortunately, not everyone shares her opinion. Of course, it doesn’t help that Max threatened his neighbor in a public place soon before the man was murdered. Or that the victim’s drug shipments had a habit of turning up on Max’s doorstep.

Read an excerpt:

Charlie and Bella’s barking and pawing woke me up.  Even a little disgruntled, I couldn’t help but smile at the antics of my older Sheltie and the young lab mix. The smell of coffee helped, too.
A glance at the clock and I groaned. I overslept. Again. The weekend and languishing a bit in bed over. Work beckoned, at least three days a week at my continuing temporary job at Millicent College. That and the joys of getting one teenager up and ready for high school.
Grumbling to myself, I checked Maddie’s room on my way to the kitchen. She didn’t answer the knock on her door, so I opened it and shooed the dogs inside. She screeched and I chuckled. Definitely not a morning person. Her typical teen concern for her appearance slowed her down even more whenever she had to leave the house.
“Come on, Maddie. You need to get a move on.”
In the kitchen, Brett intent on his tablet. Although we were no longer newlyweds, nothing was better than waking up to this man, with his hazel eyes, dark curly hair, contagious smile, and dimples. A six-foot teddy bear unless on the job as a State Police detective or in protective mode.
He quickly shifted the screen on the tablet and smiled.
“Work already? Anything interesting?”
“Not really.”
Maddie stumbled into the kitchen. At fifteen, she portrayed a feminine version of her father, with long, dark hair and hazel eyes. With her last growth spurt, she was almost as tall as me. To her dismay, that made her taller than most of the boys in her grade, including her friend, Alex.
“Maddie, stand up straight. You look great. Got all your homework?” Brett handed her a glass of orange juice as he spoke and kissed her forehead.
“Thanks.” A quick glance at her watch and she emptied the glass. “Gotta run.” She grabbed her coat and raced out the door, her backpack slung over her shoulder.
Brett shook his head and smiled. “She’s grown up so fast.”
“For sure, and that learner’s permit is burning a hole in her wallet. In no time, she’ll be driving.”
His jaw dropped and his eyes widened. “I’m not ready for that. Or boys who drive.”
The ring tone of his phone halted his realizations. Work. I bustled around the kitchen and made myself a bagel. I waved one at him and he shook his head as he stashed his phone and grabbed his tablet.
“Fabry. We need to go to North Shore. Something’s come up and we need to check it out.” He leaned over, kissed me, and stole a bite of my bagel. “Later.”
I nodded. Detective James Fabry was his partner when something bigger than the ordinary assignments locally came up. That “something” often translated to a dead body or major drug bust or similar. Assigned to Division III in Appomattox, Brett and Fabry often caught the situations outside of the immediate area. Like Brett, Fabry had been with the State Police for many years, though he was the older and more cynical of the two. 
Brett’s assignment to the murder of one of my colleagues in Cold Creek was how we had met. I smiled as I recalled my time in Cold Creek, meeting Brett, and our friends. Cold Creek wasn’t that far away from Clover Hill where we lived now. Kim Pennzel was my close friend from Cold Creek. We’d worked together for almost six years and stayed in touch when I’d married Brett and moved to Clover Hill. A few years younger than me, we shared backgrounds – both psychologists, both divorced. Kim always had a lot more energy than me and sometimes acted on impulse. We talked a lot and often she and Marty would come to Clover Hill or we would go there.
Charlie’s nose nudged me out of my dreams. Brett had already fed both dogs and I let them out. The temperature had dropped, not unexpected for a fall day. A quick glance at the thermometer of our weather station assured me it was chilly, but not yet cold. I poured myself another cup of coffee, settled the dogs in, and, as usual, was the last to leave the house.
Like Maddie, with everything I needed in my backpack. A quick stop at the Starbucks® drive through and I was on my way. The ride through the hills from Clover Hill to the college was beautiful, the leaves on the trees beginning to turn. In the winter, the drive got a little tricky with possible black ice, especially on the two bridges. For now, I enjoyed the kaleidoscope of color and sunlight.
Millicent College was a small liberal arts college like Cold Creek College. Originally it was a women’s college, hence the name. That changed in the 70s though and no one at the college remembered that earlier time at all. Least not that I had met. This was my second year as a Visiting Assistant Professor and it suited me.
Unlike my position at Cold Creek College, my only responsibility was to teach assigned classes and attend a meeting or two. Like semi-retirement, though I still had a few years before I reached fifty. This schedule fit my new life style with plenty of time for Brett and Maddie, as well as to volunteer at the local dog rescue, Clover Hill Pets & Paws.
I arrived early for a change, walking in with Dr. Addison, the Psychology Department Head. About my age, he had reddish blonde hair and a moustache, set off with blue eyes. His wool trench coat in deference to the weather reminded me of old westerns and made me smile.
“Good morning, Dr. Hendley. You seem in a good mood this brisk morning.”
“I am. How are you this morning?”
“Good. Busy. Meetings and paperwork. Semester seems to be going well. Enrollment is up and the trustees are happy.” He hesitated and added, “Hopefully, the faculty and staff are as well.”
I smiled as we reached the hall with his suite of offices. He nodded and disappeared, and I ducked into the large lounge area and refilled my coffee from the Keurig machine. Coffee in hand, I stopped at my office to drop things off and then was in teaching mode.
I smiled at colleagues and students as I made my way back to my friend, Keurig, after class. As usual, the lounge was bustling with activity and noise, students, staff, and faculty alike. It was lunch time and the fast food venues had long lines. I got in line and watched the big screen as I waited.
Mostly national news, but then the running announcements on the bottom indicated “Breaking News: State Police make discovery in North Shore, VA.” And then sports news. Frustrating. I checked my phone and no message from Brett. It was a given he and Fabry were involved in whatever was discovered and my curiosity peaked..

Excerpt from Old Friends and New, Another Murder. Copyright © 2019. All rights reserved.

The Sheridan Hendley Mysteries
A New Place, Another Murder
Dogs and More Dogs, Another Murder
Old Friends and New, Another Murder

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Friday, December 6, 2019

Book Review: A CHRISTMAS QUICK SKETCH: A Cherry Tucker Holiday Prequel Caper (A Cherry Tucker Mystery Book) by Larissa Reinhart


Sassy Southern artist Cherry Tucker and her poker-loving boyfriend, Todd, pop into Memphis to help Todd’s cousin who’s been hustled out of his savings, right before Christmas. Staying at the shady Heartache Motel, Cherry can’t tell a shill from a mark and fears everyone is playing them for chumps. Cherry and Todd quickly find themselves in a dangerous sting that could send them to the slammer or mark them as pigeons from cons looking for an even bigger score.

For a fun-filled romp through a gritty gambler's view of Memphis, grab Cherry's Christmas caper today!


Cherry and Todd are on their way to a VIP Poker match in Vegas, but stop off in Memphis to help out Todd's cousin, Barry. He managed to lose everything in a poker game and now his kids and wife won't have a merry Christmas. Todd decides it's time for a sting operation and connects with some shady characters, flashing a lot of money around and losing. Add in an Elvis or two, and a few other 'unusual' characters, and this is a fun, quick read. The bigger question: Is Cherry able to let go of her lifetime love and make things work with Todd? 

If you're looking for a quick, light read, with a few surprises along the way, you will enjoy this one. 


A Cherry Tucker Mystery Series


Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Blog Tour: SECRETS AND LIES A Claire Callahan Mystery by P. H. Turner


Shot to death in his home, Morgan Tutwiler leaves behind a multimillion-dollar business and a daughter who hasn’t spoken to him in years. And she isn’t alone in wanting him dead. Plenty of people wanted the most hated man in Denver dead in P. H. Turner’s latest novel in the Claire Callahan series.

Reminiscent of the finest gumshoe storytelling, Secrets and Lies, would not be complete without Turner’s signature quirky characters and inventive plot.


Claire Callahan is a PI for a law firm, and doesn't always like her job, though she does like her boss, Marsh, and a detective, Rafe. Morgan Tutwiler is a large account and the man managed to make many enemies. He had one daughter, who would inherit when he was killed and she'd moved away and had no contact with her father for some time. Claire's job was to 'babysit' Amanda and get her through the ordeal without being blamed for her father's death. The problem is, Amanda - and her adoring boyfriend - have the greatest motive of all. And the boyfriend, James? True to the title, almost all the suspects have secrets and lies. Aside from Amanda herself and James, there's the family he caused so much grief to, the father committing suicide. His son is trying to re-invent the company and make a go of it, only he has his own secrets. Claire is chasing down all the possibles and at each turn, there is another lie or secret. In between, she's dealing with her father, who she's only had minimal contact with since she was 6 years old. And he has secrets too.

The story is well-paced and well-crafted. The reader knows who the killer is from the start, though not why he's killed Tutwiler or how he's connected. That's the mystery that Claire has to unravel to uncover his existence. There are twists and turns, with connections being made at a steady pace. Claire knows there's something under the surface she's missing. She doesn't give up until she finds the link. This was a good read, more classic mystery than cozy, and looks to be the first in a new series. I liked Claire and will be looking for the next in this series. 

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.

Purchase Link – Amazon

About P.H. Turner

P.H. Turner writes mystery and suspense novels set in the mountains and canyons of the West where she grew up and spent most of her working life. Pat worked in broadcast journalism on both coasts, the Midwest, and the Rocky Mountains. With roots to a Texas farm homesteaded in the 1850s, she’s returned to live within miles of the old farm.

Pat is a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America.

Author Links
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December 2 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

December 3 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW

December 4 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

December 5 – Mysteries with Character – GUEST POST

December 5 – My Reading Journeys – CHARACTER GUEST POST

December 6 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

December 7 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

December 8 – Baroness” Book Trove – REVIEW

December 9 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

December 10 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW, GUEST POST

December 10 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

December 11 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

December 12 – Diane Reviews Books – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

December 12 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

December 13 – StoreyBook Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST

December 14 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

December 15 – Readeropolis – CHARACTER INTERVIEW