Saturday, November 28, 2020

Blog Tour and Review: ON DEADLY TIDES : A Penny Brannigan Mystery by Elizabeth J. Duncan

About On Deadly Tides

With a picturesque black and white lighthouse, pebble beaches and stunning views of sea and mountains, the island of Anglesey off the coast of North Wales is the perfect place for an idyllic mid-summer painting holiday. 
And watercolour artist, businesswoman, and amateur sleuth Penny Brannigan is enjoying the retreat enormously - until she discovers the body of a New Zealand journalist on a secluded beach just as the tide is going out, threatening to take the body with it. 

The post mortem reveals the victim died from injuries "consistent with a fall from a great height," and the death is ruled accidental. But Penny thinks there's more to the story. Curious how the victim came to such an untimely end at this most inhospitable spot, she uncovers a link to a mysterious disappearance several years earlier. 

And as her holiday romance with a wildlife photographer turns to love, she learns some truths about herself, too, that surprise her. 

As the winds of change blow through Penny's own life, she sets sail on a friendly tide for a future she never dreamed possible, in a beautiful place she never imagined. 


A quaint Welsh village, artists, and a murder. Penny normally is a businesswoman, partner in a spa in her home town. She and a friend travel to Anglesy to paint and get feedback from an actor turned artist. Their first night in town, they meet Colin, a wildlife photographer, and a young journalist from New Zealand who's there to interview the famous actor, get some good photos, and look into a possible murder. Penny stumbles on the dead body the next morning. That, her curiosity, and her existing relationship with Bethan, the detective for the area, lead her to disentangling the relationships and hostilities that resulted in this person's death.

The characters are well developed and there is sufficient back story of Penny's prior experiences with murder and Bethan to give her credence without being excessive. The island village of Anglesy sounds lovely, a place I'd like to visit some day. The pace is steady with unexpected discoveries that keep the story moving. If you're a fan of British cozy mysteries, you'll enjoy Penny 
Brannigan's latest adventure. Although part of a series, this is 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.

About Elizabeth J. Duncan

A two-time winner of the Bloody Words (Bony Blithe) Award for Canada’s best light mystery, Elizabeth J. Duncan is the author of two series: the Penny Brannigan mysteries set in North Wales and Shakespeare in the Catskills featuring costume designer Charlotte Fairfax. A former journalist, public relations practioner, and college professor, Elizabeth is a faculty member of the Humber School for Writers. She divides her time between Toronto, Canada and Llandudno, North Wales.

Author Links 
Twitter: @elizabethduncan 

Purchase Links 


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Wednesday, November 25, 2020


For those of us in the US and Canada, today is the celebration of Thanksgiving. It is a time to celebrate the harvest and the blessings of the past year. Americans traditionally model the festivities based on historical descriptions of a harvest feast shared by the pilgrims who settled in Plymouth and Wampanoag people who lived there before the pilgrims. Although not sharing a language, these two groups of people shared food and friendship.

I'm not sure if the pilgrims and Wampanoag people truly ate turkey and dressing, cranberry sauce, and potatoes. Having lived in different regions of the US, I've discovered that what constitutes the Thanksgiving meal, aside from the turkey, varies considerably, handed down within families and then blended with other family's traditions. But one thing stays the same. The idea of giving thanks.

This year has been a stressful one, not just here, but worldwide. A pandemic, weather systems that have broken records, massive fires, economic upheaval, and unrest. Yet, there are still things to be thankful for:

  • The continued efforts and dedication of our first responders and health care workers who have given so much
  • The resilience and adaptability of people and businesses, including schools and colleges, to come up with innovative means to meet needs from telehealth to shipping and delivery
  • The scientists and the volunteers who are working hard on developing a vaccine and better approaches to reduce the spread of COVID-19
  • The health and well-being of my family, friends, and colleagues, providing support and laughs as we all deal with cabin fever
  • As always, I give thanks to my fellow authors for their encouragement, and, of course, to my readers. What are you thankful for?


(or a happy Thursday if you don't celebrate Thanksgiving)

Ever wonder about the tradition of Black Friday? Check it out here:

In the spirit of the holiday season... 

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Blog Tour and Book Review: THE LIGHT CATCHER MURDERS A Kate Atherton Mystery by Jo Cassie McRae


About The Light Catcher Murders


Kate Atherton’s idyllic retirement is going well…if you don’t count the two murders, the mysterious drone, and her photographer friend who manages to poke a hornet’s nest of criminal activity, that is.Nestled in the scenic Texas Hill Country, the cozy town of Wheaton Creek seemed to Kate Atherton an idyllic place to escape the world’s harsh realities. And then there was the first murder.

Kate once enjoyed a long, successful career with a specialized, highly secret federal intelligence agency. Crises in both her personal and professional life drove her to early retirement and, ultimately, to Wheaton Creek, the perfect place for her and her former-military husband to escape what had come to feel like a world made up of wars, hatred, fear, and untimely death. And, at first, the escape was all Kate had hoped for. Then murder came to Wheaton Creek—a crime that a corrupt county sheriff seems determined to pin on Kate’s photographer friend, Lucy Celek. 

Lucy’s work has been chosen to appear at a prestigious photography festival, a festival that could take her from amateur to professional standing. All goes well until the gallery displaying her work is broken into, and one of Lucy’s photographs is vandalized. A week later, the man Lucy suspected of destroying her photograph—a fellow photographer who was angry that his own work was not chosen by the festival committee—is murdered. Faced with a sheriff who shows little interest in expanding his list of suspects beyond Lucy, Kate feels she must dust off her puzzle-solving skills to find the real killer. Murder is just the beginning, though, as Kate’s amateur sleuthing begins to reveal a tangled web of crimes that go beyond anything she could have imagined.


This was an interesting read with potentially two related mysteries, an artist (Lucy) who managed to photograph something worth ruining her showcase photograph, Kate's sleuthing, a potentially corrupt sheriff, and a deputy Kate trusts. She and her husband get involved to find additional suspects in a competitor's death. As the story unfolds, the accidentally photographed activity and use of a drone to gain more information take on growing importance. Time is of the essence. 

Like most cozy mysteries, this book revolves around friends in a small town. The characters are well-developed, with unique personalities that fit their role in the story. Kate may be retired and many may not know her background, but I suspect she will continue to find mysteries to solve. The pace speeds up quickly and maintains the quicker pace to the resolution. If you like cozy mystery with twists and turns, 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 Jo Cassie McRae

Jo Cassie McRae is a native Texan who has lived near Austin on the edge of the Texas Hill country for over 30 years. In addition to writing, McRae loves to read, garden, and cook. Like Kate Atherton (The Light Catcher Murders), McRae’s bookshelves overflow with history books, biographies, historical fiction, and mystery novels. Unlike Kate, McRae does not have a mysterious, secret former career, having worked instead as a rather ordinary legal assistant at an Austin law firm.

Author Links
Purchase Link - Amazon 

November 17 – I Read What You Write- SPOTLIGHT WITH EXCERPT 
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Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Blog Tour Spotlight : DEAD OF WINTER BREAK A Cassandra Sato Mystery by Kelly Brakenhoff

About Dead of Winter Break
It's beginning to look a lot like murder . . . And Cassandra is knee deep in . . . 

Suspects. Her boss is dead, and the police are calling it burglary gone wrong. But when the killer comes after her, it's going to take more than a pair of furry boots to keep the smart, witty Morton College administrator, Cassandra Sato, out of the deep. . . 
Snow. Her first Christmas in Nebraska could be her last unless her friends help unravel the mystery and housebreak her dog. 

Buy now for a fast-paced, holiday themed whodunit. 

Dead of Winter Break is the third book in Kelly Brakenhoff's popular Cassandra Sato Mystery Series. Death by Dissertation was a 2020 RONE Award Finalist. Publishers Weekly called Dead Week, "a diverting whodunit."

About Kelly Brakenhoff
KELLY BRAKENHOFF writes the Cassandra Sato Mystery series including DEATH BY DISSERTATION, a 2020 RONE Award Mystery Finalist, DEAD WEEK, "a diverting whodunit," (Publishers Weekly), and DEAD OF WINTER BREAK available in November 2020.   Kelly is an American Sign Language Interpreter whose motivation for learning ASL began in high school when she wanted to converse with her deaf friends. NEVER MIND and FARTS MAKE NOISE, her children’s picture books featuring Duke the Deaf Dog and illustrated by her sister, Theresa Murray, have quickly become popular with children, parents, and educators for promoting inclusive conversations about children with differences.   The mother of four young adults and a German Wirehair Pointer, Kelly and her husband call Nebraska home. 

Author Links:

Purchase Link 


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Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Book Review: IT'S STEELE CHRISTMAS : A Lacy Steele Christmas Novella by Vanessa Gray Bartal


Christmas is fast approaching and Lacy Steele is nowhere near ready. Not only does she not have a gift for Jason, despite several failed attempts to make one, but she volunteered to host a Christmas party she accidentally forgot to plan. As she's distracted trying to find the perfect gift for him, Jason is meanwhile immersed in a baffling mystery of his own. All over town, ugly little handmade dolls have popped up in the unlikeliest of places. No one knows if the dolls are supposed to be lovable or creepy. Worse, they all look like they were made by someone who has no idea how to knit, someone a lot like Lacy Steele. Investigating her has never been fun, and she doesn't make it easier with her cryptic hints and frequent disappearances. When the truth is finally revealed, will Jason have to make an arrest or will Christmas finally soften his law-loving heart?


This is a blast of Christmas cheer with a mystery to boot. Between Lacy and her brother, and a few friends, she manages to stay in trouble. All the while working to keep Jason from losing it as she steps a little over the legal line. Characters are great with a quirk or two. There are several "mysteries" and lots of laughs. This is one to get and read when you need a good laugh!

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Blog Tour and Spotlight: SAVING GRACE A Psychological Thriller by D. M. Barr

Saving Grace by D.M. Barr Banner 

Saving Grace 
A Psychological Thriller 
by D.M. Barr 
on Tour October 12 - November 13, 2020


Saving Grace by D.M. Barr

Grace Pierrepoint Rendell, the only child of an ailing billionaire, has been treated for paranoia since childhood. When she secretly quits her meds, she begins to suspect that once her father passes, her husband will murder her for her inheritance. Realizing that no one will believe the ravings of a supposed psychotic, she devises a creative way to save herself – she will write herself out of danger, authoring a novel with the heroine in exactly the same circumstances, thus subtly exposing her husband's scheme to the world. She hires acclaimed author Lynn Andrews to help edit her literary insurance policy, but when Lynn is murdered, Grace is discovered standing over the bloody remains. The clock is ticking: can she write and publish her manuscript before she is strapped into a straitjacket, accused of homicide, or lowered six feet under?

With a cast of secondary characters whose challenges mirror Grace's own, Saving Grace is, at it's core, an allegory for the struggle of the marginalized to be heard and live life on their own terms.

"A psychological thriller with more than enough twists, turns, and misdirection to keep even the most jaded reader turning pages all night long." Lori Robbins, author of the Silver Falchion Award-winning novel, Lesson Plan for Murder

Book Details: 
Genre: Psychological Thriller, Domestic Suspense
Published by: Black Rose Writing
Publication Date: October 15th 2020
Number of Pages: 255
ISBN: 978-1684335565
Purchase Links:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BlackRose Writing | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

One felony was all it took to convince Andrea Lin she was better suited to committing crime on paper than in person. As renowned mystery author Lynn Andrews, she understood conflict equaled good drama. Like her readers, she should have expected the hiccups, even relished them. What she hadn’t counted on was the accompanying agita, especially while sitting in her Bergen County kitchen, far from the action at the Bitcoin Teller Machine.

Her one job had been to place a single phone call when the money hit and tell the hacker to lift the encryption on Grace’s computer. Trouble was, her dozen calls remained unanswered until a few minutes ago, throwing their meticulous plan off schedule.

Andrea stroked the blue-gray Nebulung purring on her lap and tried to ignore the churning in her stomach. “Denver, the next time I consider helping a sibling with some crazy scheme, you have my permission to use my leg as a scratching post until I come to my senses. Agreed?”

Denver looked up, his green eyes filled with innocence, and answered with a single meow before leaping onto the table toward her plate of shortbread cookies.

“I’ll take that as a yes.” She sipped her tea, willing the sugar to sweeten the acrid taste in her mouth. The phone interrupted her meditation. No doubt a check-in from her brother, the extorter-in-chief.

“I figured you’d have called by now. Everything on track?” Joe’s strained voice conveyed his own jangled nerves. They’d agreed to be vague when communicating. In these days of Siri and Alexa, anyone could be listening.

“Finally. Took forever to get through to our friend, but she said she’d take care of ‘our project’ as soon as her meetings wrapped up. From here on out though, I’m sticking to fiction. Real-life intrigue is too stressful.”

Andrea missed Joe’s response, instead perplexed by her cats’ sudden change of behavior. Denver had tilted his head and leapt from the table; Vail and Aspen sat frozen, ears perked, staring toward the foyer. Then she heard it too, the sound of papers shuffling in the living room. She leaned forward, muscles taut, hackles raised, ready to pounce. “Joe, hold on a sec. I think someone’s in the house. I’ll call you back later.”


“Wait, what? Andrea??” Silence. The connection was dead.

After twenty minutes of weaving in and out of rush-hour traffic to travel one mile, Joe “Hack” Hackford pulled up outside his sister’s Ridgewood home. Adrenaline pumping on overdrive, he jumped from his car and sprinted toward the house. Door wide open—not an encouraging sign. He steeled his nerves and hastened inside. The living room looked like a hurricane’s aftermath, with furniture overturned and papers littering the carpets and floor.

“Andrea? Are you here?” He rushed into the kitchen, which lacked any signs of their celebratory dinner—no spaghetti boiling on the stove, no cake rising in the oven. Only the door to the backyard ajar and a shriek emanating from the next room, piercing the eerie silence. Hair stiffening at the back of his neck, he raced into the dining room where a redheaded woman stood frozen, staring across the room.

“Who the hell are you?” he growled.

The stranger remained wide-eyed and unresponsive. He followed her gaze to the floor, where he witnessed the unthinkable. His beloved sister lay in the corner, surrounded by a pool of blood, a kitchen knife stuck in her chest. Her eyes remained fixed on the ceiling. A trio of feline guards circled her lifeless body.

Hack’s knees turned to jelly, and he grabbed onto a chair for support, forcing back the remains of the snack he’d consumed only minutes earlier. Once the initial shock waned, he reverted his attention back to the intruder. At second glance, she did look somewhat familiar, though the woman he’d met a few weeks back—the missing heiress whose computer they’d just hacked—was brunette. Had she uncovered their con? With a bolt of fury, he reached forward and pulled the wig from her head. A thousand questions zigzagged in his brain, but only one forced its way past his lips:

“Oh my God. Grace. Oh my God. What the hell have you done?”


Excerpt from Saving Grace by D.M. Barr. Copyright 2020 by D.M. Barr. Reproduced with permission from D.M. Barr. All rights reserved.

 Author Bio:

D.M. Barr

By day, a mild-mannered salesperson, wife, mother, rescuer of senior shelter dogs, competitive trivia player and author groupie, happily living just north of New York City. By night, an author of sex, suspense and satire.

My background includes stints in travel marketing, travel journalism, meeting planning, public relations and real estate. I was, for a long and happy time, an award-winning magazine writer and editor. Then kids happened. And I needed to actually make money. Now they're off doing whatever it is they do (of which I have no idea since they won't friend me on Facebook) and I can spend my spare time weaving tales of debauchery and whatever else tickles my fancy.

The main thing to remember about my work is that I am NOT one of my characters. For example, as a real estate broker, I've never played Bondage Bingo in one of my empty listings or offed anyone at my local diet clinic. And I haven't run away from home in fear that my husband was planning to off me.

But that's not to say that I haven't wanted to…

Catch Up With Our Author On:, Goodreads, BookBub, Instagram, Twitter, & Facebook!


Enter To Win!:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for D.M. Barr. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Gift Card. The giveaway begins on October 12, 2020 and runs through November 15, 2020. Void where prohibited.

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Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Book Review: TAKE THE BODY AND RUN : Macey Malloy Mysteries with a Chick-Lit Twist by Jada Ryker


"TAKE THE BODY AND RUN is a fast-paced ride with a sparkling character and written in a new, original voice. This is a don't-miss debut." -Carolyn Haines, USA Today bestselling author of Pluto's Snitch and Sarah Booth Delaney 

Macey Malloy Mysteries with a Chick-Lit Twist Series Sassy Macey Malloy and her grumpy cat Wikket debuted in Take the Body and Run. The Kindle Scout winner is about a hunted woman, a handsome lawman, a have fart machine-will travel doctor, and a crime-solving cat. The series is fun to read in any order. Here's the list in chronological order. #0 - Prequel: Two Tickets to Paradise Macey risks her life when she's embroiled in a brutal murder, and meets her feline, crime-solving partner. The novelette appears in the Kindle Scout winners' anthology, Winter Solstice. The story is also included in Gone Cat and Other Stories. #1 - Take the Body and Run The Kindle Scout winner is a "goofy thriller" about a hunted woman, a handsome lawman, a have fart machine-will travel doctor, and a crime-solving cat.


Macey Malloy is no nonsense and a strong woman. Not everyone likes that and her first day on the job, she is begins to wonder at how she was selected about the time someone pulls a knife. Macey discovers several "odd" things including clerks still typing on a typewriter and doing reports on paper. Aside from their dislike of her insistence the ancient typewriter go, there are a few other characters, including the man from the morgue and the detective. 

There are two plot lines that take twists and turns and overlap, with fart bags and a great cat, Wikket. The story is well paced, with humor and surprises. The characters are well-developed. I look forward to reading more of Macey Malloy.