Friday, December 31, 2021

Happy New Year 2022

Goodbye 2021 and Hello 2022! A year ago we started with some optimism regarding COVID-19 and despite the current surge of cases, we are decidedly better off than a year ago. Just not where we hoped to be.  Still as I look back over the year, I can identify some goals reached and events of note.  On the family side, the most notable event wass the birth of my first great niece! (I only had nephews and great nephews before).  

Looking back, my goals haven't changed very much:

  • Be kind. Do something nice for someone, pay it forward, make someone else smile.
  • Think positive. Find the silver lining no matter how hard it is to find one.
  • Stay in touch with people I care about even if it is easier not to make the effort. It is too easy to become isolated.
  • Finish the "hanger-on tasks" from work and truly retire!
  • Be productive with my writing, starting with the new series to debut later this month! You can get a free copy of the prequel to the Izzie Di Sante mysteries, Reawakening the Itch, HERE. It will release on January 23rd. The first full book, An Itch for Justice, is scheduled to release on January 26th. 
  • Do better at completing reviews and posting on my blog, keeping in communication with my readers and other authors.
  • Audiobooks was a new (unplanned) endeavor this past year. Hopefully, all of my backlist will be available in audiobook format by the end of 2022.
  • Continue to work on weight, fitness, better eating habits, and all that I can do to stay healthy
  • Work on the "Travel Bucket List." A lot of travel was postponed, though we did take a short trip to Lexington, KY. Why Lexington, KY of all places? My husband wanted to check out the bourbon trail and I wanted to visit the general location where a favorite series of mine (Bluegrass series by Kathleen Brooks) is set. It sure sounded beautiful and it was. We'll be taking some time this month for travel, or at least that is the plan...

For all of you, my husband and I wish you all the best for the coming year.  As you plan your reading for the next year, here are some ideas for you (keep scrolling for the rafflecopter!):

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Friday, December 24, 2021

Happy Hanukkah, Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa 2021

From my home to yours, may your holiday season be healthy and happy, regardless of what you celebrate or observe. As a reader, I continue to "escape" the pandemic and the confines through books. What about you? Here are some of the newest Christmas cozy mysteries I found this year - several are on my TBR list. Definitely not all that are out there. Feel free to leave your favorites in the comments! (I'll add them to my list for next year!) Note: Descriptions are shortened versions from Amazon.

Cottage on Gooseberry Bay: Santa Who? (A Gooseberry Bay Mystery) by Kathi Daley. Ainsley Holloway had come to Gooseberry Bay to find answers about her past. She'd come to find an explanation for the dreams that haunted her after the death of the cop who'd both rescued and raised her. 
And she’d come to identify the family she couldn’t remember but knew in her heart she’d once belonged to.

Christmas Dessert Murder (A Hannah Swenson Mystery) by Joanne Fluke. It's Christmas in Lake Eden, Minnesota, and there's no better way to enjoy the holidays than by cozying up to two Hannah Swenson yuletide mysteries with a plateful of goodies from the Cookie Jar Bakery. Yes, two Christmas stories. Features Over a Dozen Cookie and Dessert Recipes from The Cookie Jar!

Tangled Up in Tinsel (A Kenni Lowry Mystery) by Tonya Kappes. Don't get your tinsel in a tangle... It's Christmastime in Cottonwood, Kentucky, and Sheriff Kenni Lowry is determined to keep the peace. Plus, the snowstorm of the century is headed right toward Cottonwood, leaving the residents in a frantic frenzy and potentially derailing Kenni’s Christmas plans with Finn. There's been a murder and there's a tinsel wrapped victim at the center of it. 

Slashing Through the Snow (A Christmas Tree Farm Mystery) by Jacqueline Frost. Reindeer Games Christmas Tree Farm is going into the B&B business and Holly White is looking forward to her new role as innkeeper. But a cold wind ruffles the cheery holiday decorations when a new guest checks in - Karen.The short December days turn even darker when Evan and Libby find Karen's dead body in the gift-wrapped toy donation box.

Mistletoe Cake Murder (All Day Breakfast Cafe Mystery Book 6) by Lena Gregory. '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. Gia’s caterer friends are the prime suspects in what appears to be murder by poisoning. Includes recipes from the All-Day Breakfast CafĂ©!

The Twelve Jays of Christmas (A Meg Langslow Mystery) by Donna Andrews. Meg and Michael's annual holiday celebration is well underway, with a throng of out-of-town relatives staying at their house. Hosting these festivities is a little harder than usual - they have to relocate all the events normally held in their library, currently occupied by Roderick Castlemayne, the irascible wildlife artist...

Murder at the Christmas Cookie Bake-Off (A Beacon Bakeshop Mystery) by Darci Hannah. Tucked away inside an old lighthouse in Beacon Harbor, Michigan, bakeshop cafe owner Lindsey Bakewell is ready to make her first Christmas in town shine bright. But her merry plans crumble fast when murder appears under the mistletoe...

Twisted Tea Christmas (A Tea Shop Mystery) by Laura Childs. Tea maven Theodosia Browning and her tea sommelier, Drayton Conneley, are catering a Victorian Christmas party at a swanky mansion in downtown Charleston. Drucilla Heyward, the hostess is one of the wealthiest women in town. Theodosia finds her crumpled unconscious in the hallway... a syringe sticking out of her neck.

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Murder (A Catering Hall Mystery) by Maria DiRico. Astoria, Queens, is decorated within an inch of its life for the Christmas season, and Mia Carina is juggling her job at the Belle View with a case of murder. Amid the holiday celebrations, she intends to find out who's the guilty party... Italian recipes included.

Fleece Navi Dead (A Kiki Lowenstein Mystery) by Joanna Campbell Slan. Every holiday season, Kiki Lowenstein plans 12 days of classes, her Holiday Craft Extravaganza. And every year, it nearly kills her. As the holiday season approaches, Kiki over-schedules herself and winds up running herself ragged. To make life more stressful, she must fend off a stalker.

A Lost Claus (A Christmas Cozy Mystery) by Mona Maple. As Christmas approaches in Candy Cane Hollow, it's time for the annual Claus family ice fishing trip. Holly Wood (yes, that's her real name) is a ball of nerves about meeting all of Nick Claus' relatives, until the trip ends in disaster. This is the third book in the series.

Nothing strike your fancy? Here's another selection of Cozy Christmas cozies (old and new) to consider.

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Book Review: THE BULLET CATCH - High School Reunions Can Be Murder - The Eli Marks Mysteries Book 2 by John Gaspard


Newly-single magician Eli Marks reluctantly attends his high school reunion against his better judgment, only to become entangled in two deadly encounters with his former classmates. The first is the fatal mugging of an old crush’s husband, followed by the suspicious deaths of the victim’s business associates.  

At the same time, Eli also comes to the aid of a classmate-turned-movie-star who fears that attempting The Bullet Catch in an upcoming movie may be his last performance. As the bodies begin to pile up, Eli comes to the realization that juggling these murderous situations -- while saving his own neck -- may be the greatest trick he’s ever performed. 


High school reunions are always a mix of excitement and dread, with that person or persons who acts like you were best friends and you can't remember them. Eli's friend from high school, Jake, is now a movie star and cast to play a famous magician who died while performing the bullet catch (appear to catch the bullet between your teeth) trick. Only Jake doesn't grasp how to do the trick without ending up dead. Eli's task, as a magician, is to help Jake master the trick. 

Before that can happen, there's the reunion itself, the girl (now, woman) he crushed on is high school, at least one person he doesn't remember at all, and a murder. Followed by another one. With murder, comes Eli's ex-wife and her new husband, once again coming at Eli as a suspect and a source of information. 

Be prepared for anything as this is magic and the tricks abound. Add in Eli's fear of heights and the reactions of other magicians about the bullet catch trick, and the bodies piling up... Gaspard engages the reader with a quick pace, believable reactions, and well-developed characters. There are twists and turns, with two related plots to unwind. Well done and keeps you entertained.

This was an enjoyable read though my knowledge of magic is limited. I'd read the first in the series and enjoyed it - this one did not disappoint. You don't have to read the first to understand the awkwardness between Eli and his ex-wife or his passion for anything magic, but I always recommend starting at the beginning of the series. I'll be reading more of this series.

Available in digital, hardcover and audiobook formats

Books in the Eli Marks Mystery Series: 

Sunday, December 12, 2021

Blog Tour and Book Review: MURDER IN THE BADLANDS - A Ghost & the Camper Kooky Mystery by Rita Moreau


Rita Moreau’s 3rd book in this hilarious series… 

More antics as Mabel Gold and her friend — spirit — ghost – whatever you want to call Irma, gets Mabel into yet another mystery. Things can go bad quickly in the Badlands… 

Everything about Mabel’s golden years has been a surprise. The divorce, Irma the ghost haunting her vintage camper, dead guys whose murders Mabel must help Irma solve every stop of the way. 

Mabel and her ghostly roommate Irma, along with friend Lili and her retired homicide detective husband Bob, have made it to the Badlands. From the get-go, they were smack dab in the middle of another murder. 

Ralph, an old Marine buddy asks Bob, to investigate the death of his son Danny. His death has been ruled an accident. Ralph didn’t agree. He’s sure his son was pushed off top of Mount Rushmore. Right near the Hall of Records, or as it’s called in the movies and YouTube, the Secret Chamber. But why? 

Did Danny, a skilled rock climber and much sought-after guide, find long-lost gold? Were Danny’s last words–those of Crazy Horse–Hokahey–it’s a good day to die–leave a clue as to his demise? 

Will Irma run out of costumes from her ghostly cyberspace closet before they solve the murder? Will Irma’s new friend Poker Alice–the wild west’s famous gambler and brothel owner help Mabel and Irma figure out what happened to Danny? 

And what about Cindy Lou and her side-kick Top Gun Colonel Clark–did they have a secret that Danny uncovered that fatal night outside the Secret Chamber? Can Mabel and Irma catch the killer before Mabel joins Irma crashing through the Pearly Gates?

Murder in the Badlands is the high spirited third book in the hilarious Ghost & the Camper Kooky Mystery series. If you like golden girl sleuths, zany characters, and sardonic humor, then you’ll love this kooky mystery. Hoping you like camping! 


Mabel and her crew arrive in South Dakota with a mission or two. For Mabel, she's hoping that solving this new mystery will be the one that allows Irma, her resident ghost, to cross over. For Bob, it's helping his friend, and Peggy? She's in her element with all the history surrounding the area, Mount Rushmore, and the Hall of Records. Oh, and the gold.

There's a full cast of characters, both worldly and ghostly, all unique and adding to the story line. Some of the ghosts are easily identified - Wild Bill and Calamity Jane among them. Add in two murders - the Chief and Danny - and anything can happen. Mabel and Lilli, along with Irma and her ghost team search out clues as they explore the Badlands along with Bob and Ralph.  

This was a fun read, with lots of quirky characters and the various "roles" Irma dresses for as she and her team collect information and establish the gold and goings on with Cindy Lou. Add in various government agencies and Lilli's sister, and anything can (and does) happen. Well-written and the pace is steady. There's enough description to get a feel for the Badlands without slowing down the pace. Although part of a series, this can be read as a stand alone. I'm looking forward to Mabel's next adventure.

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

Rita Moreau is the author of the Mary Catherine Mahoney Mystery series and the Ghost & Camper Kooky Mystery series. 

A workaholic by nature, upon retirement, Rita Moreau began work on her bucket list, writing a book. Traveling the national parks with her husband George in a vintage Bluebird motor home, (on George’s list), Rita completed her first novel Bribing Saint Anthony. Back home she completed Nuns! Psychics! & Gypsies! OH! NO, Feisty Nuns and The Russian & Aunt Sophia and The House on Xenia. Last year when we entered the Twilight Zone Rita wrote the first two new novels in the Ghost & the Camper series. Rita and her husband live in a postcard called Florida where he has fun telling everyone he is the author’s husband. When not writing she joins PatZi Gil on the Joy on Paper radio program with Book Buzz Mysteries, or you can find her teaching SilverSneakers fitness classes and doing her best to keep busy. She loves connecting with readers. 

Visit her at or find her on Facebook at She would love to hear from you. 

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