Friday, January 31, 2020

Book Review: CHOSEN FOR POWER Women in Power Book 1 by Kathleen Brooks


Somebody is out to destroy Elle Simpson and everything in her life.

Elle has always depended on family to make her business run strong, but long work hours have left her without much of a private life. Just as Elle thinks she has met the potential man of her dreams, she also discovers an imposter determined to destroy her business and life. Can she trust this "Prince Charming" to help her defend everything she holds dear, or will she only leave herself vulnerable at the worst possible time?

Drake Charles’s work in the fast-growing mobile technology field made him a wealthy, powerful man. But he quickly sheds the fame and publicity for a more private life that earns him the label as a man of mystery. Drake adds to that mystery every year when he hosts a masquerade ball for charity. It’s also his best chance to find the one thing he really wants . . . true love.

Having met behind masks of anonymity, Elle and Drake enjoy a whirlwind night of romance that leaves them both wanting more. Elle's heart tells her to trust Drake, but years of fighting off business foes has taught her that anyone could be a potential threat. Will this new romance give them both a fairy tale ending, or spiral into a nightmare for the whole Simpson family?


Elle has worked hard to salvage her father's business and expand it with each of her sisters now having a branch. She has fought a male dominated business world and shown that she can quickly and effectively turn it around before. No surprise, she's independent, strong, and not very trusting. Then she attends the masquerade ball and meets Drake. He's a recluse tired of people after him for the money he's made with technology. They click only their relationship becomes a media issue, then it appears someone is trying to destroy Elle and all she's built up. 

As with Brooks' other series, the characters have depth and personality, experience a range of emotions and conflicts. The pace is steady and the way Elle "wins" the day is from strength and strategy. She demonstrates the ability to succeed with perseverance. She does this with help of her best friend, Mallory, her sisters, Bree and Allegra, and her mother. 

This is the first in a series of four featuring the other three young women. I look forward to reading them all as these women take on their respective worlds.

Women in Power
Chosen for Power
Built for Power
Fashioned for Power
Destined for Power

Monday, January 27, 2020


"Steps up several levels into an exciting category all its own. It's thriller, cold case, mystery suspense, and police procedural, all rolled into one exciting novel. Set amidst the political drama that comes with Washington DC and the Pentagon, a current multiple murder becomes a search years in the past. With a young, hot lieutenant assigned to NCIS, and his beautiful new wife, you have all the makings of a bestseller.  Nicely done, Ms. Carr!" - Review by Merry Citarella, Mystery Suspense Reviews

A Thorny Rose Mystery #4

Scheduled for Release January 30, 2020! 

Category:  Adult Fiction (18 +),  388 pages
Genre:  Mystery
Publisher:  Acorn Book Services
Release date:   January 30, 2020
Content Rating:  PG-13 (Lauren Carr's books are murder mysteries, so there are murders involved. Occasionally, a murder will happen on stage. There is sexual content, but always behind closed doors. Some mild swearing (a hell or a damn few and far between). No F-bombs!

Book Description:

Three years ago, the nation gasped in horror when the President of the United States barely escaped an assassination attempt that left two dead—the vice president’s wife and the attempted assassin.  Even after numerous investigations proved otherwise, conspiracy theorists argue that the assassin was acting on orders from the CIA, FBI, and every federal agency within a hundred miles of the capital.

Aspiring Author Dean Conway is the last person Lieutenant Commander Murphy Thornton wants to spend his Saturday afternoon when they end up at the same wedding reception table. While their wives tend to bridesmaid duties, Murphy is trapped listening to Dean’s latest work-in-project—completing the manuscript of an investigative journalist who’d disappeared months earlier.

“She was number twelve,” Dean says.
“Twelve?” Murphy asks.
“Twelve witnesses connected to or investigating The Nutcracker shooting have died either in an accident or suicide.”
Two days later, Dean dies suddenly―but not before sending a text message to Murphy:  “13”


Dean Conway is not well-liked and barely tolerated at the social gathering with friends of Murphy Thornton, his wife, Jessica Farraday,  Dean's wife, Amy, and long time friend, Kenneth among others. As Jessica observes Amy and her husband, she has to question why Amy stays in such a miserable relationship. He doesn't work, he doesn't respect her, and he's a bore. Nobody quite believes his story of a conspiracy surrounding an assassination attempt at the production of the Nutcracker years before. Only then his car is tampered with, he's getting threats, and he dies when a bomb is left on his front step right after texting Murphy "13" as he is now the 13th dead in the conspiracy. 

With all their connections to various government agencies, Murphy keeps getting the same message. The shooter was taken down and the wife of the Vice President died as his gun fired. No conspiracy. When Amy is implicated as the person with the greatest motive and much circumstantial evidence, Jessica and Murphy try to sort out the deaths following the Nutcracker performance. There are many false starts and conflicting information, but as they become targets, it seems Dean may have been on to something.

True to form, Carr has spun quite the tale with great characters and enough action and tension to keep the reader guessing. It all makes sense in the end. This is the fourth in the Thorny Rose Mysteries and some of the characters have history in previous series. No worries. This can easily be read as a stand alone. Fans of Lauren Carr will like this book - I certainly did. 

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.

Pre-Order Your Copy Today!
Scheduled release date is Jan 30, 2020! 

Add to Goodreads

A Thorny Rose Mystery #3

"Murder by Perfection is a wonderful read and a perfect to escape from the challenges of a busy day. Danger, intrigue, humor, and love all take their turn in this tale which will keep you reading into the wee hours." Review by Marilyn R. Wilson, Olio by Marilyn

Book Description:

Beware: Perfection has a dark side!

Frustrated with their busy schedules, Murphy Thornton and Jessica Faraday attempt to find togetherness by scheduling a weekly date night. The last thing Jessica Faraday expected for her date night was to take a couple’s gourmet cooking course at the Stepford Kitchen Studio, owned by Chef Natalie Stepford―the model of perfection in looks, home, and

When Natalie ends up dead and Murphy goes missing, the Thorny Rose detectives must peel back the layers of Natalie Stepford’s life to
discover that the pursuit of perfection can be deadly.


Murphy connects with an old friend from his navy academy days, Lt. Cromwell, who tells him a friend thinks there's something fishy going down somewhere. Lt. Cromwell ends up dead and Murphy wonders if it's related to the "something fishy." He and Jessica take a cooking class with a local chef, who has videos online, not just of cooking. Natalie Stepford is married and living in a beautiful home with her rich husband. She's the next victim, soon after she gives Murphy some information. He disappears, his motorcycle left on the side of the road. His father and twin, JJ, come to help find him, along with the government agencies already involved. 

There are twists and turns with paths intertwining, some with historical routes, some with Kitty Kat and her playfulness, and of course there is Lt. Cromwell's family. All the dogs and Ollie add a bit of lightness as does JJ's panic and avoidance when it comes to his feelings. Another great read by Carr with inventive scenarios and a quick paced plot. 

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 These Other Thorny Rose Mysteries:

"The plot was original, fresh and fast paced in spite of the "traditional elements" employed which can normally be found in any other thriller of this genre. The USP of this story would be its unpredictability. When you think you have it all guessed up, the plot would change its course keeping you hooked. There were a lot of suspense twists and turns that kept the momentum up. Needless to say, the writing was simply perfect. One thing that writer needs to be lauded for is the humor she inculcated in the book. Minus those humorous parts, the book would have been one serious read." - Reviewer: Book and Ink

Book Description:
Five women with seemingly nothing in common are found brutally murdered in a townhome outside Washington, DC. Among the many questions surrounding the massacre is what had brought these apparent strangers together only to be killed.

Taking on his first official murder case, Lieutenant Murphy Thornton, USN, believes that if he can uncover the thread connecting the victims, then he can find their murderer.

The case takes an unexpected turn when Murphy discovers that one of the victims has a connection to his stepmother, Homicide Detective Cameron Gates. One wintry night, over a dozen years before, her first husband, a Pennsylvania State trooper, had been run down while working a night
shift on the turnpike.

In this first installment of the Thorny Rose Mysteries, the Lovers in
Crime join newlyweds Murphy Thornton and Jessica Faraday to shift
through a web of lies and cover-ups. Together, can the detectives of the
Thorny Rose uncover the truth without falling victim to a cunning

"Mysteries, murder, danger, and memories that threatens their lives keeps the action and suspense at a high level and even when the

answers are found, it left me wanting more." - Review by Sherry Fundin of Fundinmental

Book Description:

After ten months of marital bliss, Jessica Faraday and Murphy Thornton are still discovering and adjusting to their life together. Settled in their new home, everything appears to be perfect … except in the middle of the night when, in the darkest shadows of her subconscious, a deep secret from Jessica’s past creeps to the surface to make her strike out
at Murphy.

When investigative journalist Dallas Walker tells the couple about her latest case, known as the Pine Bridge Massacre, they realize Jessica may have witnessed the murder of a family while visiting family at the winery near-by, and suppressed the memory.

Determined to uncover the truth and find justice for the murder victims, Jessica and Murphy return to the scene of the crime with Dallas Walker, a spunky bull-headed Texan. Can this family reunion bring closure for a community touched by tragedy or will this prickly get-together bring an end to the Thorny Rose couple?
 Buy the Book:
Amazon ~ Audible
Add to Goodreads

Meet the Author:

Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, Chris Matheson 

Cold Case, and Thorny Rose Mysteries—over twenty-five titles across three fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!

Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr’s seamlessly crosses genres to include 

mystery, suspense, crime fiction, police procedurals, romance, and humor.

A popular speaker, Lauren is also the owner of Acorn Book Service, the umbrella under which falls iRead 

Book Tours. She lives with her husband and two spoiled rotten German Shepherds on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Connect with the author: 
Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook  ~  Instagram

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Thursday, January 23, 2020

Book Review: YOM KILLER by Rabbi Ilene Schneider


No time is ever good 
for a family emergency,
but for a rabbi the period just before Yom Kippur is especially difficult. Yet even though the Holy Day is approaching, Rabbi Aviva Cohen rushes off to Boston to be at the bedside of her mother, who was found unconscious in her apartment at an assisted living facility. The big question is: was it an accident or an attack? The search for the truth uncovers everything from old grudges to family secrets to fraud - and possibly murder.


New owners of the assisted living setting and a growing concern with the rash of elderly who are dying. Natural causes? Rabbi Aviva Cohen and her ex-husband detective drive after the call that her mother is unconscious. As you might expect, things don't seem to add up. Another resident tells Aviva that her mother was typing up notes on something and she is looking for them, and then her mother's room is ransacked. Add in the niece hacker who now works for the FBI and taught the woman how to hide her files and back them up on thumb drives, the realization that the resident trying to find the notes is the same woman with a shady past with the family, and the pieces start to fall together. 

What makes this a cozy mystery worth reading isn't that there are elderly people with no family members dying with unknown causes. What makes the story is the characters. Rabbi Aviva Cohen is a no-nonsense, and not the most religious, woman. She's a strong character, yet has issues - especially with her ex-husband wanting to get back together. There is family conflict, secrets revealed among family members, and, of course, the mystery. The twists and turns as Aviva searches for answers with the occasional miss-step keep the pace steady and yield a few laughs. There isn't a lot of religion and you don't have to understand Judaism to appreciate the story. Yom Killer is the first in a series of three.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

SPOTLIGHT : FIT FOR MURDER Adina Donati, Accidental Sleuth #4 by Cassidy Salem


Exercise is good for you, or so they said. So why is the Pilates instructor dead?
Adina signed up for Pilates because she wanted to get some exercise, not to find another body. Initially ruled an accidental death, the victim’s business partner has her doubts, which are soon reinforced by a series of suspicious incidents. With no obvious motives or suspects, Adina sets out to identify the killer – with or without help from her favorite detective.

This relatively  is the fourth in the Adina Donati, Accidental Sleuth Series, and on sale 1/15-22 for $0.99 or always FREE with Kindle Unlimited. Here are some of the reviews so far (on Amazon):

"Exercise is good for you, or so they said. So why is the Pilates instructor dead?
Adina signed up for Pilates because she wanted to get some exercise, not to find another body. Initially ruled an accidental death, the victim’s business partner has her doubts, which are soon reinforced by a series of suspicious incidents. With no obvious motives or suspects, Adina sets out to identify the killer – with or without help from her favorite detective."

"Fit for Murder is the fourth book in the Adina Donati series and these books must be read in order. Seriously, start at the beginning of the series! These books are everything I could want in a cozy mystery series! If you’ve read the previous books in the series, you know Adina has a “gift” of being drawn into murders and then solving them. What I love is that this isn’t a forced situation, it really does just seem to be her lucky/unlucky gift. The author does a great job of writing these situations, and she has created a fantastic character in Adina.

Adina is a strong female character with strong female friendships. I absolutely love this in a book! She is dating someone but he was a very minor part of the book this time. And, if you want to know my feelings about this guy, check out my previous reviews! Of all the books in the series, this one really felt like a strong woman book. There were so many great, diverse female characters and their interactions were just real-life interactions. Well, with a little murder thrown in, but you know, it’s Adina’s gift!"

Other books in the series:

Friday, January 17, 2020

Blog tour and Review: SILENCED IN SEQUINS : A Resale Boutique Mystery #2) by Debra Sennenfelder

Former Manhattan fashion buyer Kelly Quinn is turning her grandmother’s outdated consignment shop into her quaint hometown’s hot spot for upscale style—until her second-hand couture makes the scene of an ice-cold crime . . .

With her bottom line looking a little threadbare, Kelly is going all out to promote the Lucky Cove Resale Boutique. She’s counting on Black Friday to recover her start-up expenses—including a website and an advertising blitz. But the publicity is overkill when two warring divas, and one sparkly evening dress, thrust Kelly and her fledgling business into a scandal she can’t afford.

The gorgeous garment came to Kelly from the walk-in closets of Wendy Johnson, one of reality TV’s Long Island Ladies. When Wendy’s former co-star, Diana Delacourte, graces a Christmas gala in the dress that was once her rival’s, a very public catfight ensues. But is Wendy to blame when sequin-clad Diana turns up dead? Dodging the show’s ever-present cameras—and a detective’s stern warnings—Kelly hunts for a killer before the powerful celebrity-suspect makes good on her threats and rips her to shreds . . .


Kelly is more than curious about Diana Delacourte's murder, but the last thing she wants is to become part of the reality tv hostile community. She doesn't exactly listen to Gabe or Detective Wolman when they warn her. All she wants is to make her grandma proud. Lots of complications and obstacles, possibly a love interest, and a good mix of tension. 

This is my first in this series, though this is the second in the series.  The characters are likable or not, as intended.  The story can be read as a stand-alone mystery. There's enough back story to Kelly's friends Liv, Ariel, Pepper, and Gabe for the interactions to make sense. If you like cozy mysteries, you'll like 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 Debra Sennefender

Debra Sennefelder, the author of the Food Blogger Mystery series and the Resale Boutique Mystery series, is an avid reader who reads across a range of genres, but mystery fiction is her obsession. Her interest in people and relationships is channeled into her novels against a backdrop of crime and mystery. When she’s not reading, she enjoys cooking and baking and as a former food blogger, she is constantly taking photographs of her food. Yeah, she’s that person. 

Born and raised in New York City, she now lives and writes in Connecticut with her family. She’s worked in pre-hospital care, retail and publishing. Her writing companions are her adorable and slightly spoiled Shih-Tzus, Susie and Billy.

She is a member of Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, Women’s Fiction Writers Association and Romance Writers of America.

Author Links 


Purchase Links
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Sunday, January 12, 2020

Book Review: FINAL ARRANGEMENTS : A Ginger Barnes Main Line Cozy Mystery by Donna Huston Murray

Synopsis (from Amazon)

Fierce competitor Iffy Bigelow gets herself strangled at the world-famous Philadelphia Flower Show, and if she ever wants to hear the end of it, Ginger Barnes must unearth whoever killed her mother’s dear old friend.


Ginger's mother is quick to agree to do things and then enlist Ginger (Gin) to help her. Amidst the stress of hosting a fund-raiser for the private school where Ginger's husband, Rip, is headmaster, Ginger is tasked with chauffeuring her mother, Iffy Bigelow, and her niece to the floral show. Iffy plans to place 1st in the show, is a bit outspoken and full of herself, and ends up dead, strangled by her own scarf. Now Ginger has no choice but figure out who killed Iffy.

The story has a good pace and mix of down-to-earth people like Ginger, Rip, and their two kids balanced out by the potential donors to sustain Bryn Derwyn, some of whom were also competing in the same floral show. Ginger comes up with many possible solutions despite, or leading to, vandalism at the school, red paint thrown at her car, and an effigy on their lawn. This is a solid cozy mystery. It is the second in the series, but can be easily 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. This has not affected the content of my review in any way.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020


Synopsis (from Amazon)

In this dual tale of mystery, lost treasure, and riddles, while Black Cat narrates the exciting events in Fern Lake, Kimberlee discovers a cryptic clue in a diary about a hidden treasure, and heads to Austria to solve the puzzle.

When Kimberlee and Dorian arrive in Austria, they attract the attention of a stalker determined to steal the diary in hopes the clues will lead him to the treasure first. On a collision course, it is inevitable that Kimberlee and the stalker meet in Hopfgarten.

Black Cat and Angel’s lives are endangered with the arrival of Kimberlee’s grandmother in Fern Lake, and the return of a man presumed dead for twenty-five years. With both arrivals, emotional and financial difficulties loom for Kimberlee's family. Since their return to Fern Lake, Angel seems reluctant or unable to adjust to her new home. Does she regret leaving Texas and Grandmother? And, when the opportunity arises, will she decide to leave Black Cat and Fern Lake?


Black Cat is back home with Kimberlee, along with his love, Angel. Between them (each taking the credit), they prompt Kimberlee to read Dewey's Diary - a manuscript she bought. This takes her down a rabbit hole in search of a treasure. It's all complicated though by the murder of her neighbor, who surprisingly has left her half of her lodge, and further complicated by the return of the neighbor's husband after 25 years. 

Faber created a story of two mysteries - the murder and the treasure. There is a steady pace with Kimberlee's husband, Brett (a mystery writer by trade), left to keep house and take care of their baby while she goes to Austria to find the treasure. With historical references to the troops at Normandy and World War II, Faber effectively wove mystery with history. Fans of Faber's other books will not be disappointed.

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.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020


It's that time of the year once again - a time to reflect on the good and the not-so-good. Overall, 2019 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 2020.   

On the plus side, publications in 2019 included: 

Dogs and More Dogs, Another Murder (Sheridan Hendley Mystery #2)

Old Friends and New, Another Murder (Sheridan Hendley Mystery #3)

Deception, Denial & Murder (Stacie Maroni Mystery #3)

Plans for 2020 include the next in each of those series... I suspect that will keep me busy (and out of trouble)!  Planned at least is the next in the Hannah & Tamar Series for tweens, teens, & YA, as well as a holiday - themed book for each of the other series...  

I also now have a website!  Check it out!

At a more global level, the frequency of hate, violence, and terrorism hasn't improved. It is sad to see the world and at home so filled with negativity. I am reminded of my high school years and the chant "Give Peace a Chance" often. At the very least, I suggest "Give Kindness a Chance" and pay it forward. As with 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 

On a personal level, 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 on the books I've read, but not yet reviewed. The promise for 2020 is huge, as I step out of full-time employment and into semi-retirement (translation = more time to read and write). I'm excited for what is ahead.

What about you? What will you be working on in 2020?