Thursday, July 22, 2021

Blog Tour and Review: SILENCE IN THE LIBRARY (Lily Adler Mystery #2) by Katharine Schellman

About the Book

Regency widow Lily Adler didn't expect to find a corpse when visiting a family friend. Now it's up to her to discover the killer in the charming second installment in the Lily Adler mysteries.

Regency widow Lily Adler has finally settled into her new London life when her semi-estranged father arrives unexpectedly, intending to stay with her while he recovers from an illness. Hounded by his disapproval, Lily is drawn into spending time with Lady Wyatt, the new wife of an old family friend. Lily barely knows Lady Wyatt. But she and her husband, Sir Charles, seem as happy as any newly married couple until the morning Lily arrives to find the house in an uproar and Sir Charles dead. 

All signs indicate that he tripped and struck his head late at night. But when Bow Street constable Simon Page is called to the scene, he suspects foul play. And it isn't long before Lily stumbles on evidence that Sir Charles was, indeed, murdered. 

Mr. Page was there when Lily caught her first murderer, and he trusts her insight into the world of London's upper class. With the help of Captain Jack Hartley, they piece together the reasons that Sir Charles's family might have wanted him dead. But anyone who might have profited from the old man's death seems to have an alibi... until Lily receives a mysterious summons to speak with one of the Wyatts' maids, only to find the young woman dead when she arrives. 

Mr. Page believes the surviving family members are hiding the key to the death of both Sir Charles and the maid. To uncover the truth, Lily must convince the father who doesn't trust or respect her to help catch his friend's killer before anyone else in the Wyatt household dies. 

Praise for Silence in the Library: 

“Schellman’s gracefully written whodunit is equally a tale of 19th-century female empowerment and societal conventions…More than a clever murder puzzle, this is an immersion in a bygone era.” —Kirkus Reviews 

“The fast-paced, engrossing story has a climactic confrontation worthy of Rex Stout or Agatha Christie.” —Library Journal, starred review ** 

Book Details

Historical Mystery Published by: Crooked Lane Books 
Publication Date: July 13th 2021 
Number of Pages: 352 
ISBN: 1643857045 (ISBN13: 9781643857046) 
Series: Lily Adler Mystery #2 | The Lily Adler series are stand alone mysteries but even more fabulous if read in sequence 
Purchase Links: Amazon     Barnes & Noble     BookShop    Goodreads 

Review

Lily is a tenacious sleuth and with Captain Hartley by her side, she is invincible. Even when it comes to her father. When Sir Charles is murdered, Lady Wyatt is the obvious suspect and the son and his cousin have no doubts she's guilty. Lily isn't as sure and pursues clues and connections. 

This is a well-written, historical cosy with deference to males on matters of the world. Only Mr. Page has no problem listening to Lily and that encourages her to help Lady Wyatt even when her doubts grow. Aside from the murders and attitudes of Sir Charles' son and his cousin, there's the tension between Lily and her father, his disapproval of her behavior and of Captain Hartley evident. The pace is steady and kept me engaged to the very end. If you like historical fiction that captures the plight of women, you'l enjoy this story. It is the second in the series, but can easily be read as a standalone.  

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.

Author Bio

Katharine Schellman is a former actor, one-time political consultant, and currently the author of the Lily Adler Mysteries. A graduate of the College of William & Mary, Katharine currently lives and writes in the mountains of Virginia in the company of her family and the many houseplants she keeps accidentally murdering. 

Find her online


GIVEAWAY 

This is a Rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Heather Redmond. There will be 1 winner of one (1) BookShop.org Gift Card (U.S. ONLY). The giveaway runs July 12 through August 8, 2021. Void where prohibited. 



 

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Guest Post: AUDIO BOOKS AND THE AUTHOR'S PERSPECTIVE by Diane Weiner

Today, in a second guest post on the audiobook process, my guest is Diane Weiner, author of three cozy mysteries, to share her experiences with creating audiobooks. I'm discovering it's definitely an interesting process.

My New Year’s resolution: Get all twenty-one of my cozy mysteries into audiobook format. I’d been hearing about, thinking about, and planning to do this “one day,” and decided 2021 would be my “one day.” 

So what has the process been like from an author’s point of view? I started the process by listening to an author speak on the subject at a local Mystery Writers of America luncheon. I took careful notes, spoke to a few authors who had been through the process, and checked out ACX.com. The first step was to “claim my books” on the dashboard. To produce an audio book, you must own the rights to your book and upload a square cover. 

Once the book is listed, the author has choices to make. First, you must either upload an audio version you have already created, or select a narrator. I needed a narrator, in fact, I needed several narrators, in order to accomplish my goal. This was a fun part of the process. I uploaded a few pages from the book I wanted to produce as an audition script. I chose the first few pages, but if you have several characters in your book, it might be better to select a section with multiple characters. You select what type of voice you’re seeking: male/female, young/old, accent (if any), and style (engaging, exciting, storytelling…). The producer also has an option to write notes to further clarify. 

Then, the fun begins. I received between 12 and 20 auditions for each book that I posted. The first time through, I weeded out the voices that weren’t a good fit; then listened multiple times to those that were. It was difficult to choose. Some narrators made me laugh with their quirky portrayals; others simply had beautiful voices. I wound up choosing both styles. 


After selecting a narrator, the producer makes an offer to the narrator. This states a time frame for completing the project and details as to how the narrator will be paid. Narrators are either paid per hour, or royalties are shared. If the project is exclusive, the royalty rate is higher, but the platforms are limited and the book can’t be sold to libraries. 

After the project is completed, the producer either request changes or approves it. Then, it goes to ACX for approval, and if the quality is acceptable, it is posted for sale. More than halfway through the year, I am more than halfway finished and plan to meet my goal. Of course, I have a new release coming out soon, and am almost finished writing another, so the process will be continuing past 2021 and well into the future! 

About Diane Weiner

Diane Weiner resides in South Florida and is the author of three cozy mystery series: The Susan Wiles Schoolhouse Mysteries, The Sugarbury Falls Mysteries, and The Sara Baron Tuned-in Mysteries. 

Interested in getting promo codes? Contact her at dianeweinerauthor@gmail.com. Be sure to tell her if you want US or UK promo codes. 

To learn more about the author, visit her website www.dianeweinerauthor.com, or follow her on Facebook, Amazon, Goodreads, and Bookbub


Narrators for Diane's books include:

The Susan Wiles Schoolhouse Mysteries - some are narrated by Emma Speer and some by Sandra Churchill 

The Sugarbury Falls Mysteries are narrated by Rhonda Krachmer

The Sara Baron Tuned-in Mysteries are narrated by Naomi Rose-Mock

Thanks so much, Diane, for sharing with us today. You are way ahead of me in this process. If you're interested in accessing promo codes (US and UK) or audiobook reviews, here are some sites where you can find them.

Cozy Mystery Audiobook Lovers  


If you missed it, check out the guest post by Shaina Summerville, a narrator from last month for a narrator's perspective.

Not so sure if audiobooks are for you? Most books on Amazon with audiobooks have a short sample to preview on the product page.

Note. My goal is to catch up with Diane sometime in 2022. Two done, two in production, and many to go... 

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Blog Tour and Book Review: MUSIC IS MURDER (A Musical Murder Mystery) by B J Bowen


About the Book

When a symphony musician is murdered—bashed with her own bassoon—flute player Emily Wilson becomes the prime suspect. To save herself and secure justice for her murdered friend, she must find the killer. 

In the close-knit, unforgiving environment of the symphony orchestra Emily makes her way through the tender egos and warped relationships of her fellow musicians to find tantalizing clues. Blackmail, the victim’s abusive ex-boyfriend, an angry neighbor, and a shifty Symphony Board member all lead her to feel she is on the right track. 

With the dogged Lieutenant Gordon on her trail, she must flee from the police so she can continue her search. She unexpectedly finds a loyal female friend and the possibility of a new man in her life. But she must learn to trust again after her failed and abusive marriage. With time running out, will she be able to evade the lieutenant, face her personal demons, and clear her name? 

Review

Emily is beside herself, first that a friend is murdered and then that the detective thinks she's the killer. She denies the latter but with the advise of a friend calls Barry and asks him to defend her. Barry is more than willing to defend her and keeps her up to date on the investigation via a friend in the police department. And it doesn't look good for Emily. 

With the help of a retired "escort" in need of a place to live, Emily panics when the stubborn detective comes to arrest her. On the run, she meets up with the last few possible suspects, hoping to discover something that doesn't fit. 

This was an interesting read with unique characters. It was well written and the plot moved along with a few surprises for the reader - and for Emily. Who knew everyone would like her as a blonde? This is a light, enjoyable mystery.

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 

Barbara Bowen is a freelance writer. She was a finalist and Honorable Mention in the 2018 Focus: Eddy Awards for her article, “Letting Go with Grace,” published in Unity Magazine. Ms. Bowen is also an accomplished professional oboist who played with the Colorado Springs Symphony for nineteen years. 

Drawing on her quirky fellow musicians and orchestral experiences, she created the mystery series, “Musical Murders.” The first is “Music is Murder” (Release date, 6-9-21). The second is “Ballistics at the Ballet” (Release date TBA) The third is “Fireworks on the Fourth” (Release date TBA). 

She is a member of Sisters in Crime, lives in Colorado with two canine friends, and has a stock of musical puns and a song for any occasion. 

Contact Barbara at: 

Author Links

Website   

Purchase Links 

Amazon     B&N     Bookshop     Target 




Sunday, July 11, 2021

Blog Tour and Review: MOUNTAIN VIEW MURDER - A Wintergreen Mystery by Patrick Kelly


About the Book

Guess who cried at Lou Thorpe’s funeral 

No one. His wife, grown children, and best friends all attended the service, but no one shed a single tear. Poor Lou. He was out for his morning walk when a crazed driver knocked him out of life. Crazed? With no car, no driver, and no witnesses, it’s difficult to say. Was it an accident or intentional? 

Until that morning, Bill O’Shea was living the dream. After a career of fighting crime in the big city, Bill bought a condo in the beautiful mountain resort community of Wintergreen, Virginia. When he met his attractive new neighbor, Bill knew his retirement was off to a great start. But then the short-staffed police department asked Bill to help them investigate Thorpe’s death. 

Soon, Bill fell into an old routine. Interviewing suspects. Checking alibis. Everyone had a secret to hide, but Bill lacked evidence to tie any of the suspects to the crime. He was missing something–like he had an itch he couldn’t reach to scratch. 

Will Bill and his new friends solve the case, or will the murder of Lou Thorpe remain a mystery forever? If you love beautiful mountain settings, a charming cast, and intriguing plot twists, you’re going to love this new series! Clean read: no graphic violence, sex, or strong language. 

Review 

As reluctant as Bill was to get involved, the pull was still there and he had to find the answers. With little information to start, he pursues any and all possibilities. In the process, he got in a lot of hiking and trying to figure out who could have killed Lou and gotten home unseen and he isn't buying the idea that it was a hiker who just decided to take Lou out or killed him accidentally and took off. It didn't help that Lou was not liked by anyone.

The plot moves along steadily, with the expected dead ends, a bit of humor, and a budding romance between Bill and Cindy. The characters were likable, even the killer, and I'm guessing Bill will be staying in Wintergreen for some time. If you like a good mystery and characters who have genuine feelings, you will like this one. 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. 

About the Author 

Pat Kelly was raised in the idyllic suburb of Yorktown, Virginia, where children ran barefoot through the grass and fished in the York River. After graduating from UVA, he left the state to pursue a career in finance. He settled in Texas, married a wonderful woman (Susie), and together they raised two daughters in Austin. 

With the girls now grown and gone, Pat has pursued a lifelong love of writing stories. Countless hours at the keyboard have produced the Joe Robbins Thriller Series, two book awards, and four standalone novels. A few years ago, Pat and Susie bought a summer home in the bucolic mountaintop resort of Wintergreen, Virginia. The beautiful vistas there inspired Pat to write a cozy mystery series featuring the reluctant detective Bill O’Shea. 

Join Pat’s newsletter to follow Bill’s adventures as he dodges irrepressible bears, pursues romance, and solves mysteries. 

Author Links 


Purchase Links 

Amazon Paperback – Amazon Kindle – Coming Soon





Thursday, July 8, 2021

Book Review - WHISPERED LIES (Web of Lies #1) by Kathleen Brooks

Another romantic suspense...

Synopsis 

When danger lurks in the shadows… Government secrets are being sold and the newly sworn in President of the United States already feels out of options. Without knowing the full scope of the scandal, the president decides to turn to the one person he knows he can trust—former FBI Agent, Elizabeth James. Her deep distrust of the system is rooted in her unfair discharge from service. Now she sees a chance to restore her reputation and send a message to those that would use their power to destroy others' lives. 

Elizabeth James is ordered to do whatever it takes to end a criminal organization pulling the strings of the worlds’ governments to do their bidding. She's also been told that this is completely off the books. If caught, the government will deny all knowledge of her and the mission. Elizabeth was ready to go it alone until a man with a chip on his shoulder mysteriously helps her when she’s under fire. 

Dalton Cage had led his small group of elite Air Force Pararescuemen into the most dangerous parts of the world to rescue civilians and soldiers alike. He thought his time spent evading enemy fire was over after he was booted for ignoring an order he believed to be wrong. But enemy fire was nothing compared to the dangers he faced when he was offered a chance at redemption. All he had to do was provide back up to an undercover agent and he’d get a chance to rejoin his pararescue team. Danger strikes early and often as Elizabeth and Dalton begin their mission and find their hearts becoming involved. Now every decision could cost them their freedom . . . or their lives. 

Review

Elizabeth has an ulterior motive - a desire to set the record straight. Off the books, she undertakes the mission, only to be aided by Dalton, who also was removed from service for ignoring an order. Both of them want to address the President's concern and restore their positions. Only they need to keep themselves alive.

This was an engaging read and, as with many of Brooks' books, I had a hard time forcing myself to stop reading, even in the wee hours of the morning. I liked both Elizabeth and Dalton - they weren't perfect, had secrets and ulterior motives, but were committed to the mission. The ending was satisfying. This was my first in this series by Brooks, but I will definitely be reading the rest - when I have plenty of time and no need to sleep.

Web of Lies

Rogue Lies
Shattered Lies


Monday, June 28, 2021

Book Review: SPRING CLEANING MURDERS (An Ellie Haskell Mystery) by Dorothy Cannell

Synopsis 

When the ever-scrupulous and ever-caustic Mrs. Roxie Malloy leaves her employ in tears, Ellie Haskell—busy mother of twins—is forced to find another cleaning person. As she searches for someone who can at least aspire to taking Mrs. Malloy’s place, Ellie turns the household topsy-turvy, overcome with spring-cleaning fever. But when members of the Chitterton Fells Charwomen’s Association (C.F.C.W.A.) start biting the dust, Ellie swaps scrubbing for sleuthing to find out what dark secrets have been swept under the rug. 

With the help of her husband, Ben, her feckless cousin Freddy, and an assortment of homemade cleaning solutions, Ellie joins the C.F.C.W.A.’s roster and embarks on a brief stint as a mercenary maid—just long enough to snoop through her neighbors’ things and find out which one has more than dust bunnies and dirty dishes to hide. 

Review 

An English cozy, Ellie and Ben Haskell take care of their own, including their hired help. This becomes more evident with the murder murders. Ellie jumps right in with the ladies to find the killer, including going undercover. 

Readers get a slice of English culture, with its mannerisms and everyday comings and goings. The characters are likable and funny, especially Roxie. 

This is seventh in a series of at least twelve books by Cannell. It was an enjoyable escape and can be read as a stand-alone mystery. It might be even better though if you started with the first one. At a time when travel is somewhat testy, take a trip to England with Ellie and Ben and forget the daily stressors.

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.

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Book Review: MURDER WITH STRINGS ATTACHED by Mark Reutlinger

Synopsis (from Amazon)

Sometimes even the most carefully conceived burglary can take an unexpected turn. Florence Palmer has her eye on concert violinist Aaron Levy's priceless violin.

Unfortunately, she finds it's already been stolen. Her surprise doubles when the virtuoso she'd planned to burgle offers to hire her to help him steal it back. 

But they're not the only ones looking for the missing violin. When Flo inadvertently becomes the prime suspect in a case of murder, she and Aaron need to clear her name. Will they find the real killer and get the violin back to its rightful owner without anyone else, especially themselves, being killed? 

Review 

This was a fun read with a twist. First, there's Flo, previously a domestic worker who discovered it was more profitable to be a thief. Then you have Aaron Levy, famous violinist, who plays a priceless Stradivarius. Flo does her homework, maps out his habits, and is set to steal the priceless violin. Only the one in his hotel room is a fake and she's caught in the act. Aaron surprises Flo by hiring her to steal back his precious violin and replace it with the fake. Then the fun begins.

This was an enjoyable read with great characters, humor, a steady pace and surprises to keep my interest. I'll be looking for more books from Reutlinger.

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.

Monday, June 21, 2021

Review: WHISKEY SECRETS (Whiskey Lies Book 1) by Carrie Anne Ryan

A bit of romantic suspense today... need to change things up some times....

Synopsis from Amazon 

Sparks fly between a former cop-turned-bartender and his new innkeeper in the first installment of a Montgomery Ink spin-off series from NYT Bestselling Author Carrie Ann Ryan. 

Dare Collins is a man who knows his whiskey and women—or at least that’s what he tells himself. When his family decides to hire on a new innkeeper for the inn above his bar and restaurant, he’s more than reluctant. Especially when he meets the new hire. But he’ll soon find that he has no choice but to work with this city girl and accept her new ideas and the burning attraction between them.  

Kenzie Owens left her old life and an abusive relationship behind her—or so she thought. She figures she’ll be safe in Whiskey, Pennsylvania but after one look at her new boss, Dare Collins, she might still be in danger, or at least her heart. And when her past catches up with her despite her attempts to avoid it, it’s more than her heart on the line. This time, it might mean her life. 

Review 

Dare Collins took over the bar and restaurant when he retired from the police force, and he's quite happy running the whole enterprise. His family has other feelings and the next thing he knows, they've hired Kenzie Owens. She not only invades his space but threatens his heart. By the time her past catches up, his protective instinct doesn't have a chance.

This was a good read and kept me interested. It is a "spin-off" of another series, but I never read that series. This is my first read by Ryan and easily could be read as a stand-a-lone. It is well-paced and the push and pull of Dare and Kenzie, on both sides, for similar but different reasons, is well orchestrated. A word of warning to my cozy/clean read readers, there is adult content.

Whiskey Secrets is the first of three in the Whiskey Lies Series. Although I can attest to being able to follow this one without reading the previous series, I always recommend you start with the first book in a series. 

The Whiskey and Lies Series 

Book 2: Whiskey Reveals 
Book 3: Whiskey Undone

Friday, June 18, 2021

Guest Post: AUDIOBOOKS - FROM A NARRATOR'S PERSPECTIVE by Shaina Summerville


There's an increasing demand for audiobooks and many questions about the process. Today Shaina Summerville is my guest to fill us in on the process from the perspective of the narrator. 


Greetings! My name is Shaina Summerville and I am an audiobook narrator with 50+ audiobooks available on Audible. I have narrated for indie authors in addition to publishers such as Simon and Schuster, Harper Audio, Houghton Mifflin, Tantor Media, and Hachette. You will often find me narrating YA and middle grade fiction…but I also adore narrating (and reading) cozy mysteries! 

Thus far I have narrated cozy mysteries for three different authors: The Taylor Quinn Quilt Shop Mysteries by Tess Rothery, Asbury High and the Thief’s Gamble by Kelly Brady Channick, and the Paige Mackenzie Mystery Series by Deborah Garner (soon to be released!). 


When I asked members of a cozy mystery audiobook group what they want to know, many questions came up about the audiobook creation process, so that is what I will address today. 


What does the audiobook creation process look like? 
The first thing to keep in mind is that one hour of audio takes many hours of work. The general estimate bandied about in the narration world is that one finished hour of audio can take up to six hours of work. This includes: 
• Prep: I pre-read the book prior to recording, taking notes of important events, words or names I need to get pronunciations for, and character or vocal descriptions in order to prepare my character voices. 
 • Preproduction sample: I record a small portion of the book for approval by the author. This is also where we will collaborate on character voices. 
 • Narration: Once my sample has been approved, I begin narrating the book. It typically takes about two hours to record one single hour. 
 • Post Production: This includes the proofing, editing, and mastering process. During this point the audio is compared to the manuscript for errors and corrections are made. The audio is also “prettied up” to make it sound its absolute best. While some narrators perform their own post production, many outsource this to a professional sound engineer as it a) guarantees the best possible sound and b) frees us up to spend more time on narration. 

How do I get chosen as a narrator? 
Typically, the first thing I do is record an audition sample for the authors to make sure my voice fits the vision in their heads of the character. Assuming that’s a go, we come to an agreement on our terms, sign a contract, and off we go!  

How do you handle character voices? 
Character voices are one of the first things I nail down with my authors. I’ll typically ask them to describe their characters for me—preferably describing vocal qualities rather than looks. I can often glean a lot about a character from what is written in the text, but sometimes an author will have a specific idea. I ask them to describe all of their characters, but often I’ve found that an author will want to nail down a small number of key characters who will appear throughout the series and they give me free reign on smaller characters.

As a female narrator with a higher pitched voice, male voices can be a bit of a challenge at times! However, the important things about male voices is to note that they don’t have to be low and deep! Many times, male voices are not all that different in pitch from many females but there are other characteristics of their voice to consider. Men typically use a smaller range of pitches when they speak. They are often more staccato in rhythm. The placement of their voice in their mouths is different as is their diction. 

As with my female characters I will take a large number of vocal qualities and combine them to create differing characters. I love cozy mysteries because there is such a large range of characters and I can sometimes make slightly larger choices on character voices than I might in say a typical romance. 


And that’s the narration process in a nutshell. I hope this has provided answers to questions you may have had about audiobooks. You can always feel free to reach out to me on social media or contact me at my website www.shainasummervillenarration.com if there is anything else you would like to know!

Thank you, Shaina, for demystifying a process that is new to me and, I suspect, to other authors and readers. 

An important thing to note is that when audiobooks are released, authors and narrators usually get free promo codes for the new audiobook in hopes of garnering reviews quickly. Interested? Here are some sites where available promo codes may be posted, and possibly reviews as well:

Cozy Mystery Audiobook Lovers  

Stay tuned. . . Next month (7/19) Diane Weiner will share perspectives on the process from the author's perspective.

Here's some other cozy audiobooks available from your favorite authors:




Monday, June 14, 2021

New Release! LOVE AND MONEY, ANOTHER MURDER (Sheridan Hendley Mystery Book 6) by Christa Nardi

Synopsis

No one wants to believe murder can happen in their neighborhood. 

Murder is nothing new for Sheridan Hendley, amateur sleuth, or her husband, Detective Brett McMann. Still, shots fired add a layer of tension to babysitting and being neighborly. This time the murder is too close for comfort. There are no witnesses and no verified identification of the victim, not to mention the car accident prompting Sheridan to be next door. Questions are raised about an investment company and business practices. Could a kitten have the key to the motive and killer? 

As Sheridan works with the police to identify the murdered victim, she discovers investment scams that target the elderly with fake promises and visits a towering conglomerate in the middle of nowhere. What kind of company requires employees to sign a nondisclosure agreement, arranges for them to live in a designated subdivision, and plants listening devices in their homes? Was the victim killed because of what she discovered? As more information is revealed, Sheridan may be in danger.


It's always best to start a series at the beginning. The Sheridan Hendley Mystery series is a spin-off from the Cold Creek Cozy Mysteries. And the most exciting news is that the first in the Sheridan Hendley series is now available through Audible. Soon, the rest of the series will be as well.

Read an excerpt from Love and Money, Another Murder:

As I got ready to meet my colleague and friend, Leah Buxbaum, at the mall, my step-daughter, Maddie, came into the kitchen. Her nose wrinkled, brows knit.      

“What’s up? Something wrong?” She wrung her hands. “Mrs. Hamilton called just now and asked if I could babysit for Holly. I said yes and she hung up. I think she wants me to babysit now, but I’m not sure.” 

I opened my mouth and closed it, opting to go with a solution instead of chastising her for not getting the details. “Get your stuff and we’ll walk down to their house and find out what she wants.” 

She grabbed her backpack and phone. “Let’s go.” 

Nodding, I grabbed my stuff and we went outside. The Hamiltons lived in the same subdivision we did, four houses down. Maddie had babysat for them before, usually in the evening so the two young parents could enjoy a night out. 

The last minute request in the morning concerned me. I hoped everything was all right. “Did Heather say why she needed you today?” 

“No. She asked if I was available and then hung up. Something’s wrong, isn’t it?” 

We walked up to the door and Maddie didn’t even get to knock when the door opened. 

“Hi, Maddie. I’m so glad you were available.” She turned and walked into the house, Maddie and I following. She stopped, turned around, and stared at me. “Sheridan?” 

“Everything all right, Heather? I was worried with the short notice and Maddie didn’t get any information on how long you expected to need her.” 

She teared up and Holly decided to provide the background music. I moved closer and touched Heather’s arm. “Maddie, please try to calm Holly while I talk to Heather.” Maddie followed my directions. 

Between sobs, Heather blurted out, “The hospital called. Hank was in an accident. I need to get there. Please let Maddie watch Holly. I’ll call and let her know what’s happening….” Her sentence was cut off by what sounded like a gunshot. 

Maddie grabbed Holly and moved away from the windows. I stopped Heather as she moved toward the front picture window. There was another shot and I spotted somebody in baggy sweats and a hoodie running out of the house next door. “I’m calling 9-1-1.” 

I tapped on my phone. “Hello. Shots fired next door and someone is running down the street.” I gave them the address and ducked out the door, hiding behind Heather’s car in the driveway. She joined me and I relayed the message from the dispatcher. “Police are on their way. It looks like the front door is wide open.” 

Heather started for the house and I pulled her back. I peeked over the hood as sirens approached. Whoever it was had gotten away. As the sirens grew louder and the first police vehicle arrived, doors opened and our neighbors stepped out onto their porches or steps. And my phone pinged. It was my husband, Brett McMann, Detective with the Virginia State Police. 

“Hi. You calling about the shooting?” 

“How’d you know about it?” 

“I called it in, Brett. Maddie and I are at the Hamilton’s. I was about to leave to meet Leah and Heather needs to get to the hospital. Hank was in an accident.” 

“He all right?” 

“She got a call from the hospital. She’s not sure. Officers have arrived. I’ll check in later.” 

I yelled in to Maddie to stay in the house with Holly. Pulling Heather with me, I approached the officers as they got out of their car. 

“You the lady who called this in?” I nodded. “We heard shots fired and then saw someone run out of the house.” 

“Stay here.” He signaled to his partner and they approached the house. Although the door was open, he yelled, “Anyone home? Everything okay in here?” 

More officers arrived while we waited by the car. The newcomers worked to set up a perimeter, keeping the gawking neighbors at a distance. I recognized some of them, but not all. We stayed by the first car on the scene and waited. Paramedics arrived and disappeared into the house. Heather kept bouncing on her feet.

Excerpt from Love and Money, Another Murder. Copyright © 2021. All rights reserved.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Blog Tour and Review MURDER IN THE FAMILY : A Eve Appel Mystery by Lesley A. Diehl


About the Book

The past comes back seeking vengeance. To save her family and friends, Novice PI Eve Appel, pregnant with her second child, must outwit the bad guys in a final act of desperation, risking her life and that of the man she’s asked to help her, her mob boss friend, Nappi. 

Someone is targeting the friends and family of Eve Appel Egret, owner of a rural Florida high-end consignment shop and part-time private investigator. The intimidation includes stealing the horse of one of Eve’s rancher friends, forcing her car off the road, attempting to kidnap her daughter and leaving messages on her phone threatening more dreadful acts to come. Eve almost succumbs to gas inhalation when someone enters the consignment shop and cuts the gas line while she is in the shop. And just when Eve could use the help of her mob boss friend, Nappi, with his far-reaching resources, she discovers he has gone into hiding, himself a target. By the time she finds him, he has lost all his financial assets and his influence, but not his determination to help Eve. 

It’s clear to Eve that someone from the past has returned to seek vengeance on her and those she loves. Her hunches lead her to believe she can bring the person responsible for the threats into the open by setting a clever and desperate trap. She knows the bad guy will come with reinforcements, but she never counted on who they would be. 

Review

Initially concerned with Nappi's disappearance, Eve's propelled into action when she receives threats and those close to her are in danger. It's obvious to her that the motive is revenge and that prompts her and Nappi to revisit previous involvements in crime. 

There are twists and turns as threats escalates and possible people behind the problems are eliminated. Family dynamics threaten to get in the way of the investigation and add an extra level of tension. The plot is quick and the characters are vibrant with realistic tensions, especially as Eve tries to both run a consignment shop and be and apprentice PI. 

There are several other books in this series, and the details needed as Eve and her friends try to identify the person behind the threats are provided. It can easily be read as a stand-alone mystery. Another engaging ready by Lesley Diehl.

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 

Cows, Lesley learned growing up on a farm, have a twisted sense of humor. They chased her when she went to the field to herd them in for milking, and one ate the lovely red mitten her grandmother knitted for her. Determining that agriculture wasn’t a good career choice, instead she uses her country roots and her training as a psychologist to concoct stories designed to make people laugh in the face of murder. “A good chuckle,” says Lesley,” keeps us emotionally well-oiled long into our old age.” She is the author of several cozy mystery series and numerous short stories. 

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Monday, May 31, 2021

Blog Tour and Spotlight: FLEA MARKET FELONY The Mattie & Mo Mysteries by Tricia L. Sanders


About the Book

These new retirees have just hit the road. Will their first campsite’s shenanigans land them both in handcuffs? 

Mattie Modesky’s been hankering to start retirement right. Even if it’s in an RV. The sassy senior believes there’s no time like the present after her policeman husband hangs up his badge and they hit the road. 

When they reach their first RV park, the yoga instructor hitting on Mattie’s man turns her peaceful vacation sour. In an effort to stand her ground and confront the sneaky resident, Mattie finds a new friend, a stiff corpse, and her husband as the prime suspect. 

She is shocked to her core when her man’s newly purchased pocketknife is the murder weapon. But when the real killer makes the fatal mistake of dognapping her beloved pooch, the silver-haired sleuth sets her sights on solving the crime herself and proving her lawman’s innocence. 

Can Mattie clear her hubby’s name and reclaim their pup before the villain turns their golden years into iron bars? Or will the killer roll away in a motor home with Mattie’s dog in the passenger seat? 

Flea Market Felony is the adventure-packed first book in The Mattie and Mo Mysteries series. If you like irresistible characters, fun surprises, and captivating whodunits, then you’ll love Tricia L. Sanders’s clever read. Buy Flea Market Felony to catch a dastardly devil today! 

About the Author

Tricia L. Sanders lives in the Austin, Texas area and writes about women with class, sass, and a touch of kickass. A former instructional designer and corporate trainer, she traded in curriculum writing for novel writing, because she hates bullet points and loves to make stuff up. And fiction is more fun than training guides and lesson plans. 

When she isn’t writing, Tricia is busy crossing dreams off her bucket list. With all 50 states checked, she’s concentrating on foreign interests. She’s an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan, so don’t get between her and the television when a game is on. 

Currently, she is working on a mystery series set in the fictional town of Wickford, Missouri. Another project in the works is a women’s fiction road trip adventure. Her essays have appeared in Sasee, ByLine, The Cuivre River Anthology, and Great American Outhouse Stories; The Whole Truth and Nothing Butt. She is a proud member of The Lit Ladies, six women writing their truths into fiction. 

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Sunday, May 30, 2021

Book Review: HARD LANDING (Hope Landing Romantic Suspense Book 1) by

Another romantic suspense for you...

About the Book (from Amazon)

Two wary souls get a second chance at love…if a killer doesn’t find them first. 

When a stalker turns to murder, pilot Kelli Spencer needs protection. What she doesn’t need is her old love Jack Reese returning to stir things up, but the former Navy SEAL and his team of protection specialists are the best of the best. Trust him with her life? If she has to. Trust him with her heart? No way. The last time Jack left, he made it clear married life held no appeal. Ten years later, he wastes no time letting her know he hasn’t changed. 

Not that she’d be fool enough to hope. As the commander of Knight Tactical, Jack jumps at the chance to protect Kelli and take down a killer, but as soon as she’s safe, he plans to shake the dust of the small mountain town off his feet again…until he realizes he never should have left the first time. Can he convince Kelli to give him another chance, or will a devious killer destroy his plans for a happily ever after?

Welcome to Hope Landing, a small town full of big secrets…and deadly lies. Join the action as the former SEALs of Knight Tactical Protection battle danger and tests of faith on the road to lasting love. A series of clean, inspirational action adventure romances, each guaranteed to lift your heart.

Review

This first in the series, introduces the reader to the former SEALs of Knight Tactical Protection and Hope Landing. As expected, the small town of Hope Landing has its secrets and lies, and a stalker. Kelli Spencer has tried to ignore the stalker but the stakes are getting higher and she needs protection. Her father makes the call to Jack Reese. Jack may not be safe for her heart, but she trusts him with her life. In order to neutralize the stalker, Jack and Kelli need to look deeper into the people of Hope Landing, people they thought they knew.

Well-written, the tension surrounding the stalker continues to build throughout, competing only with the tension between Kelli and Jack. It is fast-paced, with twists and turns. Unlike many series featuring former SEALS, this is a clean read with an occasional Christian sentiment, and HEA. If you like suspense, romance, and small towns, and like to keep it clean, you'll enjoy this book, and likely the rest of the series.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Blog tour and Review: FOUR CUTS TOO MANY - A Sarah Blair Mystery by Debra H. Goldstein


About the Book

Sarah Blair gets an education in slicing and dicing when someone in culinary school serves up a main corpse in Wheaton, Alabama 

Between working as a law firm receptionist, reluctantly pitching in as co-owner of her twin sister’s restaurant, and caretaking for her regal Siamese RahRah and rescue dog Fluffy, Sarah has no time to enjoy life’s finer things. Divorced and sort-of dating, she’s considering going back to school. But as a somewhat competent sleuth, Sarah’s more suited for criminal justice than learning how many ways she can burn a meal. 

Although she wouldn’t mind learning some knife skills from her sous chef, Grace Winston. An adjunct instructor who teaches cutlery expertise in cooking college, Grace is considering accepting an executive chef’s position offered by Jane Clark, Sarah’s business rival—and her late ex-husband’s lover. But Grace’s future lands in hot water when the school’s director is found dead with one of her knives in his back. To clear her friend’s name, Sarah must sharpen her own skills at uncovering an elusive killer . . . 

Includes quick and easy recipes! 

Review

When it comes down to it, not many people were fond of Dr. Martin, the victim. Sarah wants to believe Grace is innocent and works to sort out other possibilities with Rahrah, Fluffy, and her twin sister, Emily.  The most obvious motive is with the least likable character, Jane, who is trying to save her business by establishing a partnership with the college and Dr. Martin is the only one admitting he's not in favor. As Sarah finds out more, though, Jane is not the only one and the suspect list grows. 

There are positive relationships, conflicts, twists and turns, and a surprise reveal of the killer. I really liked the relationship of Wanda with Kait and the way Kait's mild dementia was handled. The jello activity was very creative.

The pace was steady and kept my interest. This is the fourth in the series, but can be read as a stand-alone. As always, I recommend you start at the beginning, though. If you like the others in the series, you are sure to 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

Judge Debra H. Goldstein writes Kensington’s Sarah Blair mystery series (Three Treats Too Many, Two Bites Too Many, One Taste Too Many). She also authored Should Have Played Poker and IPPY Award-winning Maze in Blue. Her short stories have been named Agatha, Anthony, Derringer finalists. Debra serves on the national boards of Mystery Writers of America and is president of SEMWA. She previously was on Sisters in Crime’s national board and president of SinC’s Guppy Chapter. 

Find out more about Debra and sign up for her newsletter at https://www.DebraHGoldstein.com
Follow her on Twitter (@DebraHGoldstein), Bookbub, and Facebook 

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