Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Book Review: MULLED TO DEATH (A Colorado Wine Mystery #3) by Kate Lansing

Synopsis

A Valentine's Day getaway is on the rocks when a young winemaker discovers a body at an alpine resort in this delightful cozy mystery. 

When Parker Valentine decides to take a weekend getaway with her boyfriend Reid, a ski trip seems like the perfect choice. Between hitting the slopes and persuading the resort's wine director to sell her mulled wine, Parker is eager to mix business with pleasure. But her plans are muddled when she finds the resort owner's body on a treacherous portion of ski trail near the resort. 

As a result, not only is Parker's romantic weekend thrown into chaos, but now that the owner has died, her business deal is due for a frosty reception, and her life might be in danger as well. After a series of unfortunate mishaps befall Parker, she realizes that whoever killed the resort owner might want to tie up loose ends. Parker's going to need all of the investigative skills at her disposal to catch a killer before they put her on ice.


Review 

As Parker tries to salvage her pitch for the resort to try her new mulled wine and remember how to ski, she finds herself the only witness to a shadow in the trees exactly where Akira was killed.  There are multiple suspects and with "accidents," Reid supports her efforts to find out who is behind the murder and a threat to her. An extra layer of tension, her brother, Liam, is not so supportive and, is very vocal in trying to stop her efforts to solve the murder. 

The story is well-written and the pace is steady, with enough tension to keep me reading one more chapter, multiple times. The core characters are well-developed and Parker is smart and likable, as are Reid and Sage. The rest of the characters (suspects) develop over the course of the study with some first impressions proved wrong. 

This is the first in the Colorado Wine Mysteries I've read and it can easily be read as a standalone. I always suggest readers start with the first in the series, though, and I've added the first two to my very long TBR list. This is a new release with a special bonus of wine pairings and recipes at the end.

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 Kate Lansing

Kate Lansing is an award-winning short-story author. Her work has appeared in the Brave New Girls anthology and the Crossing Colfax anthology. She lives in Denver, Colorado, with her husband, daughter, and a chair-napping tabby cat named Maple.




Tuesday, October 19, 2021

NEW RELEASE: KEEPSAKES, KARMA & MURDER (A Stacie Maroni Mystery #7) by Christa Nardi

Synopsis

The perfect first date. Good food, a romantic setting, good vibes. Until a woman screams and a shot is fired. 

As a trauma counselor, Stacie Maroni, doesn’t hesitate to barge through the fray. Nor does her date, Detective O'Hare. With the case falling outside his jurisdiction, O’Hare and Stacie should simply be witnesses. Emphasis on should. As contradictory information emerges, things get complicated and Stacie’s involved whether she likes it or not. Good thing O’Hare has her back.

AMAZON  - On sale for 99cents!
  
Read an excerpt:

From Chapter 1

The security system pinged and Jasper, my Maltese, alerted me I had company as I put the finishing touches on my makeup. Brush in hand, I greeted O’Hare – Michael – at the door. Getting used to calling him “Michael” would take some time. 

“Come on in. I just need to take care of Jasper…” I rambled and he put a finger on my lips. 

“Relax. You look beautiful.” He removed his finger and replaced it with his lips for a light kiss. “Let’s take care of Jasper and then get some food. I’m starving.” “You look nice, too.” 

At six foot, with brown hair and gray eyes, all muscle, O’Hare, or O’Hunk as my good friend Trina called him, easily turned heads. In the three years or so I’d known him, he’d always looked haggard, in need of a haircut, and always with the same sports coat. Not tonight. 

Jasper jumped around and we let him out. While we waited, O’Hare rubbed my shoulders and I shivered. Jasper fed and everything locked up, we left. He’d told me we were eating at an upscale restaurant in Reston, Sutherland’s Gourmet Palate. 

In the car, he asked, “How are things at Foster’s Insurance Group? I haven’t been there in a while.” 

Foster’s is where I work as an HR specialist. “I guess that’s a good thing, right? It means I haven’t been involved in any murders.” 

He laughed. “That is the positive side of it. The downside is I didn’t have any excuse to stop by and drive Rosie crazy.” Rosie is my admin, an older woman with a bubbly personality and not so much impulse control. She has the hots for O’Hare even though she is much older than him and should know better. 

“Yeah, I think she missed your visits as much as I did.” He reached over and squeezed my hand. I asked, “How about you? You’re always busy, aren’t you?” I recalled at one point thinking he must work twelve-hour days. 

“Always busy. Not always a murder, sometimes missing persons, burglary… the full range of criminal activities. And, as you are aware, crimes involving the privileged come with extra pressure to make things right faster. Most of the time, I love my job, though. It keeps me on my toes.” 

“That’s important. I don’t think I’ve ever asked you – what do you do for fun?”

 “When I have time, I like to hike, maybe go fishing or camping, get away from the day-to-day stuff. I like to dance and hang out with friends. You?” 

“Dancing, friends, skiing, yoga. Walking and hiking.” I chuckled. “I’m afraid my idea of camping is a hotel or cabin with running water, O’Hare.” 

He laughed. “No problem. I know of places in the mountains with fully equipped cabins. We may have to look into that. Uh, Stacie, I picked this restaurant for a couple of reasons. First, it’s a nice place. Also, with it in Reston and not Beckman Springs, I’m less likely to run into people I’ve met on the job. And the food is good. Only I don’t think they have rocky road ice cream or pizza on the menu. What else do you eat?” 

This was a standard joke among my friends and I punched his arm. “I eat most foods, though I never got into the fancy sauces and I’m definitely not a great cook. I ate there once on business with Lionel Smythe, Chief Rizzo, and Austin Beasley. No worries.” Lionel, Rizzo and Beasley were on the foundation board to help victims of domestic violence with me and others. 

He smiled and I sneered. “Besides, I always have rocky road ice cream at home.”

“Do you eat it with chocolate syrup, whipped cream, and a cherry on top?” He pulled into the parking lot as he asked the question. Parked, he looked to me for an answer. 

“Not usually, but that sounds sinful.” His eyes twinkled at my response. 

Inside we were seated and the service was good. Once again, I experienced “sticker shock” at the prices. I ordered one of the less expensive entrees, knowing I wouldn’t finish it all. We had some wine, and ate, continuing our conversation and getting to know each other outside the context of a murder.

“How’s your father doing?” 

I smiled. “He seems more mellow since he married Deanna. She keeps him grounded. On the other hand, he must still have access to the police blotter. He calls every time there is a murder in Beckman Springs or anywhere nearby to be sure I’m not involved in it.” 

He laughed. “Thankfully, we don’t have that many in the suburbs. If you lived in a big city, that would be a different story. If I remember, you have a brother. Military, right?” 

“Good memory. Yes, Vince is career military and deployed right now. Not sure when we’ll see him again. Even when he’s got time off, he usually goes into hiding. It was good he managed to make their wedding last January. What about you?” 

“Always wanted to do police work, started out on the streets, and worked my way up. My parents constantly berated me over my obsession with my job. They still live in Maryland along with my two sisters, both younger and married with kids.” 

“Do you see them often?” 

“Weddings, births, anniversaries, and the occasional funeral. The holidays are iffy due to the job. I usually make Thanksgiving or Christmas and pop in for a brief visit for other special occasions.” 

Our conversation halted when a woman screamed. “Stay here.” O’Hare took off in the direction of the scream. A few minutes later, a shot rang out and chaos ensued. While people ducked under tables or ran for the front doors, I pushed through to find O’Hare. As I approached the hallway in back, I heard a man yell, “Don’t move or I’ll shoot.”

Excerpt from Keepsakes, Karma & Murder by Christa Nardi  Copyright © 2021. All rights reserved.


About Christa Nardi

Christa Nardi is an avid reader with her love of mysteries beginning with Nancy Drew and other teen mysteries. She’s shifted to more contemporary mystery and crime authors over time, along with cozy and traditional mysteries. She especially enjoys cozy mysteries with less gore and no graphic violence. Christa supports animal rescue and other efforts to help others. She has been a long time writer from poetry and short stories to mystery series. Christa is a member of Sisters in Crime. When not reading or writing, Christa enjoys travel and playing with her dogs and granddaughters.

You can reach me:
Twitter
   

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Blog Tour Spotlight: HOLIDAY FAKE OUT


Holiday Fake-out: 22 Fake Holiday Dates to Heat Up the Season by Heather Graham, Carmen Falcone, Victoria Pinder, Christine Glover, Ann Omasta, K.L. Brady, Michele De Winton, Kristin Wallace, Rossie Cortes, EmKay Conner, Jodi Linton, Melanie Rose Clarke, Lyz Kelley, Marcia King-Gamble, Brynn North, Cindy Redding, Kathleen Lawless, Laurel Greer, Dee J Holmes, Emma Lee Jayne, Cara Carnes, Kat Baxter, Kara Kendrick

About Holiday Fake-Out

 

Need a date for the holidays? We've got you covered with 22 fake holidates to heat up your season!

Travel from small towns to cosmopolitan cities, snow covered mountains to gorgeous mansions. You'll meet sexy billionaires, brainy tech gods, buff journalists, sinfully cocky athletes, and sizzling hot chefs. They're naughty and nice (and everything in between) and they're enough to fulfill any romantic fantasies.   

These 22 swoon-worthy heroes are ready to be your *fake* plus-one at holiday events, from Christmas weddings to Chanukah and Kwanzaa celebrations. Each starts out as a charade, and though they might lie to family, friends, or co-workers, they won't be able to fool themselves when a very real romance develops. 

Escape into addictive tales of second chances, sweet new beginnings, secret crushes, friends to lovers, love triangles, and forbidden rendezvous. Throw in a mix of suspense, laughs, passion, and temptation, and your holidays are set.

PreOrder HOLIDAY FAKEOUT now to get the season started. The tingles, butterflies, and swoons brought on by these sweet and scorching stories will have you wondering which book boyfriend you should bring home for the holidays.

Friday, October 15, 2021

Book Review: MURDER ON POINTE (A Fionna Quinn Mystery) by C.S. McDonald

Synopsis 

Fiona can't wait to attend the performance of Coppelia at the Benedum Center in Pittsburgh. Her old friend, Silja Ramsay, is dancing the principal role. They have dinner after the show, but when they return Pittsburgh Ballet Theater is down one dancer! Ballerina, Alexis Cartwright, has been found dead in the dressing room. Is this murder a result of hot tempers among the cast members? Or is it a random act of violence? Will there be more murders? Homicide Detective, Nathan Landry, isn't taking any chances. After finding out Fiona has a strong background in ballet he recruits her to go undercover among the cast of Coppelia. Can Fiona help catch a killer, or will she be the next victim? 

Review 

What starts as time with her friend Silja triggers memories of their ballet lessons, the ballet master, David, who is still involved, and his wife, who due to an accident can no longer perform. There is tension and conflict with at least one ballerina not pleased to be cast as Coppelia, the doll, with minimal dancing.

Then one of the star performers is killed and Silja is assaulted. 
Detective Landry, along with Silja and David convince Fiona to play the part and be Landry's eyes and ears on the stage. The postponement of the production gives her lots of time for sleuthing and practice. 

The characters are interesting and the plot is well constructed with clues coming in pits and pieces. There are a few spirits who provide some interference for Fionna in unexplainable ways. I liked Fiona, Silja, and the detective and I hope to see more of them in future books. This was an enjoyable cozy, and I hadn't fully solved the murder before the end. Although there are some short stories associated with the Fionna Quinn Mysteries, this is a full length novel. 

As of this posting, Murder on Pointe is only 99cents! And is available in audio format (sample with listing in Amazon). 


About the Author (from Amazon)

C.S. McDonald taught dance and choreographed shows for twenty-six years. Nowadays, she resides with her husband, Bill, and her poorly behaved Cocker Spaniel, Allister, on their Thoroughbred farm, Fly-by-Night Stables, near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. George the Pony is a real pony who lives among the tall Thoroughbreds on their farm. 

In 2016, Ms. McDonald decided to write a cozy mystery series. The Fiona Quinn Mysteries are quick clean reads for anyone 10 to 110! You'll love Fiona and the quirky, but oh so charming, Detective Landry. Fiona is a kindergarten teacher and an unlikely sleuth from Pittsburgh. If you've never been to Pittsburgh, welcome to this wonderful city! If you live in Pittsburgh, you're sure to recognize many of the venues featured in the books. Ms. McDonald has even sprinkled a little Pittsburghese into her stories just for fun. Yinz will love it! Hey! Don't miss C.S. McDonald's new addition to Fiona Quinn Mysteries--Fiona Quinn QUICK Mysteries! What's that? Short Stories (about 30/40 pages) for a quick bedtime read or if you're stuck with a long wait in a doctor's office (we've all been there). Four shorts in all. Check them out! 

Okay, now for something seriously new--a new cozy mystery series, The Owl's Nest Mysteries--Meet Alexa Owl. She's returned home to Pittsburgh to start a new business, the Owl's Nest Couturier Shop. This series has a little grit, a little time travel, a little romance, and a whole lotta cozy! Book #1 Back to the Burgh and Beyond has received great reviews! Book #2 MAXED OUT is slated for an April, 2021 release!

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Blog Tour - Spotlight: THE WEDDING SOUP MURDER (An Italian Kitchen Mystery) by Rosie Genova


Synopsis

A wedding with all the trimmings—and death as an unexpected guest… 

Victoria Rienzi came home to the Jersey shore to research a new book and perfect her cooking skills at her family’s seaside restaurant, the Casa Lido. But when Vic’s exacting nonna puts her in charge of catering the soup course for a wedding at the exclusive Belmont Country Club, it’s not long before trouble is simmering in the kitchen. Three temperamental chefs are butting heads, their sous chefs are throwing punches, and the formidable club president, Elizabeth Merriman, antagonizes everyone around her. 

Elizabeth, aka “The Iron Lady,” has made her share of enemies, including the father of the bride, who was caught embezzling from the country club. She threatens to fire the famous pastry chef in charge of the wedding cake, who doesn’t bother to hide her hatred of Elizabeth. And who is the mystery man in dark glasses, who never leaves the older woman’s side? 

Though the wedding goes off without a hitch, by the time the happy couple and their guests depart, Elizabeth Merriman is missing. When her body is found on the beach the next morning, it appears that the country club president slipped from the top of the seawall, but Vic isn’t convinced. Did The Iron Lady finally push someone too far? And did that someone push her back—into the arms of death? 

About Rosie Genova

Bestselling and award-winning author Rosie Genova left her heart at the shore, which serves as the setting for much of her work. The inspiration for her cozy series, the Italian Kitchen Mysteries, comes from her deep appreciation for Italian food, her affinity for the New Jersey seaside, and her love of classic mysteries from Nancy Drew to Miss Marple. A former journalist and teacher, Rosie also writes women’s fiction and suspense. The proud mama of three grown sons, she still lives in her favorite state with her husband and a charming mutt named Lucy. 

Author Links 


Purchase Link





Sunday, October 10, 2021

Blog Tour and Book Review: MISTLETOE CAKE MURDER (All-Day Breakfast Cafe Mystery #6) by Lena Gregory



Synopsis

’Tis the season for celebrating when Gia Morelli’s holidays include both a wedding and yuletide festivities. Until someone naughty delivers a most unwanted Christmas gift—murder. . . 

For a native New Yorker, palm trees and warm temperatures don’t equal winter, much less Christmastime. Nevertheless, Gia Morelli’s friends have decked the halls and trimmed the trees to truly welcome her into their “family” with an old-fashioned Boggy Creek, Florida holiday season. Even more joyous, Savannah Mills is getting married on Christmas Eve—the greatest gift Gia could ever wish for her best friend. 

But when Gia and Savannah stop by the caterer for a final tasting a week before the wedding, they overhear another bride arguing with her son about her husband-to-be. Moments later, the woman is sampling a piece of wedding cake—gorgeously decorated with mistletoe frosting—then suddenly dies. Now Gia’s caterer friends are the prime suspects in what appears to be murder by poisoning. To clear their names and ensure Savannah has a merry matrimony will require Gia to conjure up a Christmas miracle . . . Includes recipes from the All-Day Breakfast Café! 

Review

Getting ready for her best friend's wedding and Christmas with no family is hard enough for Gia, and then there's a murder. With the cake shop closed for the investigation, Gia finds an alternative location, determined not only to find the killer, but to ensure Savannah's fairy tale wedding. Savannah and Gia both help with the investigation, especially after a second murder, not totally supported by Hunt and Leo, both police in Boggy Station. Adding to the confusion, is the presence of ecology-minded people who disagree with decisions being made in the town. That adds to the list of suspects, along with someone trying to break into the cafe.

Like Gia and Savannah, as I read this, I came to appreciate the small town of Boggy Station and the close knit friendships of Gia and her friends. The story moves at a good pace, with tension, twists, and turns. The characters are wonderful, with a few exceptions, and the mystery unfolds to a logical conclusion and HEA wedding for Savannah and Leo. It is the 6th in the series, but can be read as a stand alone. Of course, then, like me, you might need to go back and read the earlier ones.

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 Lena Gregory 

Lena grew up in a small town on the south shore of eastern Long Island, but she recently traded in cold, damp, gray winters for the warmth and sunshine of central Florida, where she now lives with her husband, three kids, son-in-law, and four dogs. Her hobbies include spending time with family, reading, and walking. Her love for writing developed when her youngest son was born and didn’t sleep through the night. She works full-time as a writer and a freelance editor and is a member of Sisters in Crime. 

Author Links 

Amazon  

Purchase Links  

Google Play  - GoodReads Link Includes recipes from the All-Day Breakfast Café!



Sunday, October 3, 2021

Book Review: CRIMINAL CONFECTIONS (A Chocolate Whisperer Mystery) by Colette London

Synopsis (from Amazon)

Hayden Mundy Moore is an expert on everything chocolate, helping clients develop new products and revamp recipes until they're irresistible. But sometimes, a dash of murder finds its way into the mix. . . 

Hayden Mundy Moore has bushwhacked through African jungles and haggled in exotic markets to find the finest cacao beans and the most flavorful blends. It's thrilling work but rarely dangerous--until a colleague turns up dead at the exclusive chocolate-themed Lemaître resort spa in San Francisco. 

Adrienne Dowling's heart attack is blamed on an accidental overdose of the secret ingredient used in Lemaître Chocolates' new line. Hayden can't believe that conscientious Adrienne would make that mistake. And between chocolate body scrubs, cocoa mud baths, and a non-stop frenzy of chocolate-based treats, Hayden starts to suspect that she, not Adrienne, was the intended target. Finding a killer among the rival chocolatiers and potential suspects won't just be satisfying--it might save her life. . . 

Review 

An interesting concept - someone who goes "undercover" to test out new varieties of chocolate or determine why some chocolate product isn't selling - all on the hush, hush. Hayden definitely has an interesting job (and apparently skill) and has spent some time at Lemaître evaluating their new creation that infused caffeine into chocolate. In the process she became close to Adrienne, who was spearheading its production. Also, she was invited to their chocolatier weekend celebration. She drags along her friend Danny as her plus one, only Danny has a colorful past.

Adrienne is killed, possibly an accidental overdose via her green smoothie, one she had shared with Hayden. Other than that the smoothie was the least appealing item in the story, Hayden's not sure if they knew which smoothie was Adrienne's. Both for her own safety and because of their friendship, Hayden needs to find the killer. Danny is in full agreement.

The book is filled with quirky characters, including Hayden, for sure. She's a character and interacts in ways that are not always appropriate, but add a bit of humor. There are many suspects from the elderly Bernie who started the company and his son, Christian, who took it over to the potentially failing and smarmy chocolatier, and others who work for Lemaître. A different writing style for sure, yet I enjoyed the book. As a chocolate lover myself, I loved the descriptions of the drinks and foods, not so much the chocolate body wrap. I'll be trying the recipe for chocolate mousse and reading others in the series.


About the Author

Colette London is the pseudonym of a best-selling novelist who's published more than three dozen books worldwide. Her Chocolate Whisperer series (featuring chocolate expert—and amateur sleuth!—Hayden Mundy Moore) kicked off with Criminal Confections and now includes Dangerously Dark, The Semisweet Hereafter, Dead and Ganache, and The Peppermint Mocha Murder, all from Kensington Books. 

Visit www.colettelondon.com today to find fantastic chocolate recipes, sign up for new-book reminder e-mails, and catch sneak previews of upcoming books in the Chocolate Whisperer series.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Blog Tour and Spotlight: THE CORPSE IN THE GAZEBO (A Food Blogger Mystery) by Debra Sennefelder


Synopsis

Food blogging is turning Hope Early into a household name. But the dead body down the block makes her a #1 suspect . . . It seems everyone loves Hope’s blog these days, and she’s busier than ever volunteering to help other women create their own paths to success. So she’s shocked when a neighbor petitions to run Hope right out of her small Connecticut town! 

Set in her ways, apparently Birdie Donovan doesn’t like the chaos Hope’s sleuthing creates, the police activity and crime scenes, and it’s happening way too often lately. Eager to make amends, Hope bakes Birdie a batch of her best muffins. The delicious treats might have smoothed things over—until Hope discovers Birdie dead in her gazebo the very next day . . . 

Now instead of worrying about holding on to her beloved home, Hope is trying to stay out of jail. Because suddenly she’s the lead suspect in the case. Not even her boyfriend, Police Chief Ethan Cahill, is promising he can clear her name, much less discuss the investigation with her. 

It’s up to Hope to get to bake new ground on the case before the lifestyle brand she’s created—and her whole life—crumbles . . .

Includes Recipes from Hope’s Kitchen! 

About the Author

Debra Sennefelder 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. 

Her first novel, THE UNINVITED CORPSE (A Food Blogger mystery) was published in 2018. In addition to writing the Food Blogger mystery series, she writes the Resale Boutique Mystery series. 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, where she majored in her hobby of fashion buying, she now lives and writes in Connecticut with her family. She’s worked in retail and publishing before becoming a full-time author. Her writing companion is her adorable and slightly spoiled Shih Tzu, Connie. 

Author Links  


Purchase Links




Sunday, September 26, 2021

Book Review: MEET ME HALFWAY (The Off Field Series) by Kim Carmody

A shift from the usual mystery with a contemporary romance...

Synopsis 

An ambitious journalist on a fast track to success. 
A round one draft pick determined to keep his personal life his own. 
And a documentary that proves sometimes opposites really do attract. 

Olivia Callahan is a woman on a mission. When she lands a career defining opportunity in the male-dominated world of sports journalism, she knows it’s make or break time. Olivia’s boss has given her the green light to produce her very own documentary, and she’s not going to let anything get in the way of perfection.  

After a few setbacks in college, Nate Sullivan is finally on his way to the big leagues as the newest recruit for the New York Warriors. Determined to put his somewhat colorful past behind him, Nate’s all about the straight and narrow as he sets out to prove he’s worthy of the first round draft pick that’s caused so much debate from fans and media. 

The last thing Nate wants is to delve into stories from his past. But when his new team directs him to set the record straight, he has no choice but to cooperate with the feisty, determined reporter who shows up on campus. Olivia is thrilled that Nate Sullivan is her man. His colorful background is just the thing to take her story from memorable to award winning. 

What neither of them expected is their attraction to one another, yet try as they might, determination gives way to temptation eventually. As Nate battles to protect his privacy and Olivia fights to produce the story of her career, they must decide what they’re willing to give up in order to gain each other. 

Review 

A steady pace and easy flow made this an enjoyable read. The story is told from the perspectives of both Olivia and Nate, giving each their own voice and accentuating the anxiety of Olivia for her career and Nate to protect his privacy. It's not your stereotypical sports romance, with much at stake for both them, especially as their attraction grows. 

Need a break from the usual romance tropes and mystery? This is a well-written contemporary romance with an HEA. It's part of a series of sports romances. Olivia is introduced in the first one, but this one can be easily read as a stand alone. Nate and their relationship are new to Meet Me Halfway. There are some adult scenes, so reader beware. 

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, September 18, 2021

Blog Tour and Book Review: ONE OF US (A Tower District Mystery) by Lorie Lewis Ham

 

Synopsis

At 35, children’s book author Roxi Carlucci finds herself starting over again after her publisher drops her book series. With no income, she has to pack up her life on the California Coast, along with her pet rat Merlin, and move in with her cousin, P.I. Stephen Carlucci, who lives in Fresno, CA. The one redeeming factor is that Stephen lives in the Tower District—the cultural oasis of Fresno.

Stephen talks Roxi into helping out with a community theatre production, which is also a fundraiser for a local animal rescue. Little did she know that someone would be murdered during a rehearsal, and that she and Stephen would be hired to find the killer. The killer has to be one of Roxi’s new acquaintances since the theatre was locked at the time of the murder, but no one seems to have a motive. How can they solve a murder without a motive? Could the local gossip website hold any clues? Can they stop the killer before they strike again?

        GIVEAWAY 
Leave a comment - one lucky commenter will win a digital copy of One of Us.

Review

Roxi moves in with her cousin to decide on the next chapter in her life. She's worked for Stephen before but is not thrilled with the idea of Fresno. Not her favorite place. He's helping with the theater company and she agrees to work with the mousy stage manager. The very first night she's there, an argument breaks out between the director and an actor over an issue with the script. The next day the mousy manager is found dead. 

Well-written, Ham walks you through the twists, turns, and surprises that face Roxi and Stephen as they work with the local police to solve the murder. In trying to come up to speed with what's happening, Roxi discovers the local gossip website. Is who is talked about important? Or maybe who's missing? 

This is the first in series and the stage is set for Roxie and Stephen to be solving more murders in the Tower District. There might even be a possible romance blooming. If you like a good mystery with some quirky characters (and don't forget Merlin), you'll like this one. I've added the next to my TBR pile.

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 Lorie Lewis Ham

Lorie Lewis Ham lives in Reedley, California and has been writing ever since she was a child—her first stories were about her stuffed animals. Her first song and poem were published when she was 13, and she has gone on to publish many articles, short stories, and poems throughout the years, as well as write for a local newspaper. Four out of 5 of her previously published mystery novels feature gospel singer Alexandra Walters and are set in the San Joaquin Valley. Those books were inspired by the many years she spent traveling and singing gospel music with her family. 

One Of Us is the first in a brand new mystery series set in the Tower District of Fresno, California featuring podcaster and part-time detective Roxi Carlucci. Lorie has also been the publisher of the online magazine Kings River Life for the past 11 years (kingsriverlife.com), and of its sister website KRL News & Reviews (krlnews.com). She also launched a mystery podcast called Mysteryrat’s Maze (mysteryratsmaze.podbean.com) 3 years ago which features mystery short stories and first chapters read by local actors, including the first chapter of this book. You can find the podcast on Apple Podcasts, and all of the other usual places. You can learn more about Lorie on her website mysteryrat.com and find her on Twitter @mysteryrat and Facebook. Another way to keep up with Lorie’s writing is to subscribe to her newsletter—you can find info on doing that on her website.

Lorie has been married to Larry for 30 years and they have 2 grown children—Jayce and Joseph Ham. She currently has 5 cats (Merlin, Sam, Dean, Sidney, and Willow), 4 dogs (Lestat, Huey, Xander, and Phoebe), and a pet dwarf rabbit (Sherlock). For many years, she worked in pet rat rescue and has had many pet rats of her own over the years. 

Author Links 

Purchase Links 

TOUR PARTICIPANTS 
September 15 – I'm All About Books – SPOTLIGHT 
September 16 – Novels Alive – GUEST POST 
September 16 – Christy's Cozy Corners – CHARACTER GUEST                             POST 
September 17 – Maureen's Musings – SPOTLIGHT 
September 18 – I Read What You Write – GUEST POST
September 19 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW 
September 20 – Literary Gold – AUTHOR INTERVIEW 
September 21 – Baroness' Book Trove – SPOTLIGHT 
September 22 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST 
September 23 – Mysteries with Character – REVIEW 
September 24 – Celticlady's Reviews – SPOTLIGHT 
September 25 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book                                    SPOTLIGHT 
September 26 – Cozy Up With Kathy - REVIEW, AUTHOR                                     INTERVIEW 
September 26 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT 
September 27 – Sapphyria's Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT September 28 – Reading Authors Network – GUEST POST

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Book Review: DOUBLE FUDGE FELONY (Cupcake Crime Series Book 3) by Molly Maple

A new author for me...

Synopsis (from Amazon)

When Charlotte McKay's new friend is accused of murder, she will do anything to solve the crime. When Charlotte befriends Lisa Swanson, her dreams of owning a cupcake bakery finally begin to come true. 

But when a body is discovered and all signs point to Lisa being the guilty one, Charlotte doesn't know what to believe. Murder isn't the only crime that Charlotte uncovers in her quest to clear Lisa's name. When secret sins come to light, soon the plucky citizens in the small town of Sweetwater Falls don't seem quite so innocent anymore. 

Review

Charlotte McKay's dream is to create cupcake flavors, only things haven't gone her way and she's working full time and making cupcakes in her spare time. Well, her other dream involves the Police Chief's son, Logan. Her business dream become a reality when she meets Lisa, who jots down a business plan and the older women and Charlotte's best friend, Marianne, spread the word about Charlotte's cupcakes. The hitch is that Lisa is a prime suspect in Jared's murder due to a rumor they were having an affair.

From the brown snowballs to the descriptions of the scrumptious cupcakes (I think I may have gained weight just thinking about them), this was a fun read with the killer not obvious and all the evidence against Lisa. Charlotte insists (to Logan amidst falling over and being tongue-tied) that she'll find the killer. And the more time she spends with Logan, the less clumsy and nervous she is. 

This is the third in the Cupcake Crime Series, but my first read of Molly Maple and Charlotte's cupcakes. No problem, it was easily read as a stand-alone as I'm now tempted to go back to the beginning.  If you enjoy cozy mystery, smart and entreprenurial main characters, and a side of romance, you'll enjoy this one.

Vanilla Vengeance (Book 1)
Marshmallow Murder (Book 2)
Pumpkin Spice (Book 4)
Peppermint Peril (Book 5)
Caramel Corruption (Book 6)

About Molly Maple 

Molly Maple believes in the magic of hot tea and the romance of rainy days. She is a fan of all desserts, but cupcakes have a special place in her heart. She spends her days searching for fresh air, and her evenings reading in front of a fireplace. Molly Maple is a pen name for USA Today bestselling fantasy author, Mary E. Twomey. Visit her online at www.MollyMapleMysteries.com.

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Cover Reveal: THE FRIDAY NIGHT MYSTERY CLUB by Joanna Campbell Slan

A New Book from Joanna Campbell Slan

                                          

A Novel Featuring a Female Amateur Sleuth and Her Friends

                                                      

Decatur, Illinois - 1986

                                                               

Release Date September 18, 2021

                                          

The Friday Night Mystery Club

A nasty divorce leaves Cragan Collins with a mountain of bills and her grandmother to support. She takes a job as an ad salesperson for The Gazette. The market is tough, but Cragan finds a mentor in business reporter, Robert Smithson. One icy January day, Robert is found dead in a city park. His murder is dismissed as gay-on-gay crime. Cragan asks The Friday Night Mystery Club to find justice for Robert. Will Cragan's quest for the truth land her on the obituary page?

 

About Joanna Campbell Slan

“Our best friend, our next-door neighbor, and ourselves with just a touch of the outrageous.” That’s how RT Book Review describes Joanna’s protagonist, Kiki Lowenstein. The truth is that’s a pretty good description of Joanna Campbell Slan as well.

Joanna is a New York Times Bestselling, USA Today Bestselling, and Amazon Bestselling author as well as a woman prone to frequent bursts of crafting frenzy, leaving her with burns from her hot glue gun and paint on her clothes. And the mess? Let’s not even go there.

Otherwise, Joanna’s a productive author with more than 80 written projects to her credit. Her non-fiction work includes how to books, a college textbook for public speakers, and books of personal essays (think Chicken Soup for the Soul).

Currently, she writes five fiction series: The Kiki Lowenstein Mystery Series (Agatha Award Finalist, contemporary, St. Louis setting, crafting), the Cara Mia Delgatto Mystery Series (contemporary, Florida setting, DIY, and recycling), the Jane Eyre Chronicles (Daphne du Maurier Award Winner, 1830s England, based on Charlotte Brontë’s classic), the Sherlock Holmes Fantasy Thrillers (late 1800s, based on Arthur Conan Doyle’s books), and the Zen Cozy Mystery Series (launch 2021).

A former TV talk show host, college teacher, and public relations specialist, Joanna was one of the early Chicken Soup for the Soul contributors. She won a Silver Anvil for her work on the original FarmAid concert to benefit farmers.

In her ongoing quest never to see snow again, Joanna lives with her husband and their Havanese puppy, Jax, on an island off the coast of Florida. You can email her at jcslan@joannaslan.com or visit her website at https://linktr.ee/jcslan

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Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Blog Tour and Book Review: DEADLY CYPHER - A World War II Mystery (The Deadly Series #7) by Kate Parker

Synopsis

Could a murder at Bletchley Park cost Britain the war? 

November, 1939. The British government has assembled a small group of intellectuals at an estate north of London as part of a top-secret codebreaking effort. Everything about it is clandestine. The facility is ringed with a veil of silence until one of the young female linguists is murdered. 

Britain’s counterintelligence spymaster tasks Olivia Redmond with finding the killer and the motive. Olivia is sent in alone, without clues or suspects. 

Did the murder victim uncover a mole? Could Britain’s program to break German enigma cyphers be compromised? 

If Olivia fails, it could mean the destruction of Britain. 

Deadly Cypher, book seven of the Deadly Series, is for fans of World War II era spy thrillers and classical cozy mysteries, of intrepid lady sleuths with spunk and smarts. No explicit cursing, sex, or violence. 

Deadly Cypher will be on sale until August 30, 2021 when it will be sold at full price. 

Review

The setting is Britain, at the start of World War II. The British have called up citizens with skills to break the German codes they're intercepting in hopes of saving Britain. Men and women with different skills are gathered to serve and protect Britain before the shots are fired. Billeted together, Olivia, Rosalie and other women are in close quarters with Olivia's main goal to find out who killed Sarah and why, lest there be a traitor in their midst. Add in the charming Simon, the knitting club, Captain Redmond, and John. 

The dynamics among the characters is well played and the tension is palpable. War is about to break out and Britain may survive if this group of individuals can crack the code. For the women, this is truly their means of contributing to the war effort via intel. The suspects in Sarah's murder are limited and secret doors in the house the women occupy when not working add to the mystery. With many twists and much antagonism between Olivia and Simon, the puzzle pieces and morse code come together. If you like historical fiction, WWII, and cozy mystery, you will enjoy this one. Although book 7 in the Deadly Series, this was 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 the Author

With her love of travel, Kate Parker sets her novels overseas. Once home from her research trips and armed with hot tea and chocolate, she can be found clicking away on her keyboard, hiking the hills of central North Carolina, and spoiling her 90 pound muse puppy. She’d tell you what she did before she retired, but then she’d have to use certain skills to eliminate you. 

She pens stories to entertain readers who enjoy action and murder in tales about plucky heroines, quirky characters, and difficult situations in a bygone era. Her stories are sweet, as in no graphic sex, violence, or language. Her heroines remain ladylike while chasing murderers and escaping danger. Well, as ladylike as scratching, punching, and kicking can be. 

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