Thursday, February 24, 2022

Blog Tour and Book Review: WELCOME TO PINEY FALLS - A Cozy Historical Murder Mystery (Piney Falls Mysteries) by Joann Keder


Winner of the Literary Titan Silver Award

About the Book

Lanie has no idea what awaits her in Piney Falls...
Lanie Anders has a perfectly-ordered life. From her half-foam morning latte to her high-powered executive job - she controls every outcome. But when her house burns to the ground in mysterious circumstances, her life is thrown into confusion.

Searching for some kind of purpose, she stumbles across a century-old mystery and flees to Piney Falls, Oregon, an oceanside hamlet with a curious past. But something isn’t quite right in the picturesque town. Her neighbor speaks in riddles, the death rate is alarmingly high and the impossibly handsome town baker is hiding something.
With each clue she unearths in the present and the past, she becomes more convinced that the townspeople are in imminent danger.
Will Lanie be able to solve both mysteries without putting her own life in jeopardy?

Find out why readers are calling Welcome to Piney Falls “immensely immersive and totally gripping.” Don't miss the first in this exciting new mystery series!


Her house burned down to the ground and forced to take a hard look at her life, Lanie Andrews decides to take her creative writing assignment on the road to find the answer to her question about this historical nuance she discovered and gain perspective. Off she goes to Oregon to a small town in the middle of nowhere. Originally called Flanagan, the town changed its name to Piney Falls with no explanation some time ago. 

Keder shifts from the history of Flanagan to current day Piney Falls and Lanie; from one of the Flanagan sister's journal of their lives as the two Scotswomen marry Americans, traveling across the ocean generations before. An experience to be sure as the two couples establish a cannery, have children, and build homes. The shift in perspective from those initial days and the Flanagan sisters to Lanie's experience as she tries to find out what prompted the name change leads to her questioning why so many residents of Piney Falls are taking their lives by jumping off the top of the Falls. 

Stick with it and the rhythm builds, characters are well-developed, and tension in the current day Piney Falls builds. For sure, everyone Lanie talks to has a history and their own secrets, with a cult history adding to the mix. It takes time for Keder to set the stage and for Lanie to realize she went to Piney Falls, not to write the story but to grow and reflect on her life as she lived it and how she wants to live it in the future. 

This is the first in a series, though the obvious mysteries Lanie unraveled are all resolved. Lanie is a flawed character, but emerges in the end a much better person - not quite so controlling, but still a strong female protagonist. Well-written, unique writing style, and well-developed characters, this was an interesting read. I look forward to reading more from Keder.

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

Joann Keder spent most of her years in the 

Midwest, growing up and raising a family on the Great Plains of Nebraska. She worked for sixteen years as a piano teacher before returning to school to receive a master's degree in creative writing. A mid-life move to the Pacific Northwest lead her to re-examine her priorities. She now creates stories about life and relationships in small towns while her ever-patient husband encourages her on.

Author Links:

Purchase Links - Amazon 

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Monday, February 21, 2022

Blog Tour and Book Review: THE SECRET IN THE WALL - A Silver Rush Mystery by Ann Parker

About the Book

Sometimes you can’t keep your gown out of the gutter… 

Inez Stannert has reinvented herself—again. Fleeing the comfort and wealth of her East Coast upbringing, she became a saloon owner and card sharp in the rough silver boomtown of Leadville, Colorado, always favoring the unconventional path—a difficult road for a woman in the late 1800s. 

Then the teenaged daughter of a local prostitute is orphaned by her mother’s murder, and Inez steps up to raise the troubled girl as her own. Inez works hard to keep a respectable, loving home for Antonia, carefully crafting their new life in San Francisco. But risk is a seductive friend, difficult to resist. When a skeleton tumbles from the wall of her latest business investment, the police only seem interested in the bag of Civil War-era gold coins that fell out with it. With her trusty derringer tucked in the folds of her gown, Inez uses her street smarts and sheer will to unearth a secret that someone has already killed to keep buried. The more she digs, the muddier and more dangerous things become. 

She enlists the help of Walter de Brujin, a local private investigator with whom she shares some history. Though she wants to trust him, she fears that his knowledge of her past, along with her growing attraction to him, may well blow her veneer of respectability to bits—that is, if her dogged pursuit of the truth doesn’t kill her first.


Inez is excited about the purchase of the adjoining house to Moira Kraus, both because it will help Moira and it will be better for her and Antonio. Besides Antonio and Charlotte get along and Inez wants to create as normal a life as she can for her ward. All set for the celebration, there's the discovery of the corpse in the wall complete with gold coins.

While Moira worries about a decent burial for the man and the curse on the house, the police are more concerned with the gold. Inez begins sleuthing and engages de Brujin, an acquaintance of sorts. At the same time, Antonio and Charlotte have made discoveries unbeknownst and to the adults. As Inez and de Brujin unravel pieces of the puzzle and there's a new murder, the tension builds.

The pace is steady and the plot is fascinating with increasing tension as political alliances related to the Civil War may play a role. Inez is an interesting character as are the others. The historical setting in San Francisco, lingering animosity between the those who sided with the Union versus the Confederacy, the emphasis on respectability, together with Inez's take action personality make her a strong and protective female protagonist.

For those who enjoy historical mysteries set in the west, this will be an enjoyable read. This is my first book in the series, but that didn't affect the story - Parker's descriptions and character development are strong. The visit to Alcatraz was unexpected. I always suggest starting a series in the beginning, though I'm tempted to read the next one to see how the relationship between Inez and de Brujin progress.

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

Ann Parker is a science writer by day and fiction writer by night. Her award-winning Silver Rush Mysteries series, published by Poisoned Pen Press, a Sourcebooks imprint, is set primarily in 1880s Leadville, Colorado, and more recently in San Francisco, California, the “Paris of the West.” The series was named a Booksellers Favorite by the Mountains and Plains Independent Booksellers Association, and Ann is listed in the Colorado Authors’ Hall of Fame. The Secret in the Wall is the eighth and newest entry in the series. 

Author Links 

Purchase Links

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Monday, February 14, 2022

Blog Tour and Book Review: A DASH OF DEATH - A Cocktails and Catering Mystery Book 1 by Michelle Hillen Klump


A Houston reporter-turned-mixologist mixes it up with murder in this series debut from Michelle Hillen Klump, superbly catering to fans of Diane Mott Davidson and Lee Hollis. 

Bad news for Samantha Warren: The plucky Houston, Texas, reporter lost her job and her fiancĂ© in rapid succession. But Sam has a way of making lemonade out of the bitterest of lemons. At a meeting of the local historical-homes council, she serves up the homemade bitters that she made as gifts for her wedding party. She intends to use that as her “in” to become an in-demand party mixologist. But the party’s over for one of the council members, who keels over dead soon after he sips the bereft bride’s bitter brew. 

It turns out that the victim, Mark, was poisoned—his drink spiked with oleander. Since Sam mixed the drink that Mark imbibed right before his demise, she finds herself at the front of the suspect line. Now, she’ll have to use all of her reporter’s wisdom and wiles to clear her name. 

Who could have wanted Mark dead? His wife, Gabby? His girlfriend, Darcy? Someone who wanted his seat on the council? Or another citizen of this sweet Texas town that holds some seedy secrets? 

Job hunting, building her mixology business, and fending off late-night phone calls from her nearly betrothed don’t leave much time for sleuthing. But if Sam can’t “pour” over the clues to find the killer, it may soon be last call for her. 


Sam is still coming to terms with the break up with Greg, going through the motions. Her friends, Marisa and Beth, convince her to use up the bitters she'd created as wedding favors for the wedding that didn't happen and help with cocktails at as part of the tour of homes for the historical society. Only one of the commission members dies after drinking her offering, poisoned by Oleander. Other than Greg, she only knows one attorney and when the police start questioning her, she calls Greg's boss, David. And she starts investigating. 

When she is told not to come to work as she's been mentioned in relation to the murder and the man's ex-wife names her in a law suit, she steps up her game. Her reporter background makes it difficult for her to accept the simplest answer - she's not convinced. David, her friends, Greg, and everyone else is telling her to stay out of it. At the same time, Greg has decided he made a mistake and is making her crazy and she may have found a market for her mixology, as well as the killer.

he plot moves along with most of the tension surrounding relationships and not obvious threats. It's well written and flows. In the course of solving the murder, Sam becomes more sure of herself and kicks Greg to the curb. I'm not into mixology, bitters, or bourbon, but I still enjoyed this mystery. The killer wasn't obvious and the more Sam discovered the more questions she had. This is the first in this series and I'll be looking for the next one. An added bonus is the recipe at the end of the book.

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. 

Purchase Links
Amazon – PenguinRandomHouse – Barnes & Noble – IndieBound – Kobo 

About the Author 

Michelle Hillen Klump is a former newspaper reporter who covered government, courts and crime throughout Arkansas and Central Texas. Still a working journalist, she is also a member of Sisters in Crime. Her short fiction has appeared in Crimson Streets and Tales of Texas, volume 2, a Houston short story anthology. 

Sunday, February 6, 2022

Book Review: MOSTACCIOLI MURDER A delicious cozy mystery (A Jade Sommer Mystery) by Nicolette Pierce


Murder with a side of mostaccioli. 

Jade returns home to Chicago after being wrongfully fired from her dream job. When she had left a decade ago, she had made two promises to herself. One, never ever work for the family restaurant again. And, two, never ever see Logan, her cheating ex-boyfriend, again. 

Unfortunately, when the restaurant delivery driver is found murdered, Jade assumes his position. The detective assigned to the case is none other than Logan. 

As Jade comes to term with her new life at the restaurant, clues surrounding the murder develop. Jade receives odd delivery orders and threatening messages. Suspects appear in a thrilling mystery that Jade must solve or find herself as dead as the driver. 

To save herself and the family business, she must play nice with the detective. But how can she play nice when she vowed to never speak to the jerk again? To solve the case, the pair must put their past aside. Will Jade solve the murder before it’s too late? Can she move past her feelings for Logan? 


This was a fast-moving mystery with Jade trying to deal with her feelings for Logan, her anger at losing her job, and solving a murder to save the family restaurant. Gangs, family discord, jealousy, a bit of Chinese culture, and a murder. 

The plot flowed and the story well written. The main characters were likable. Not the best "homecoming" for Jade, though she weathers through it all. This is the first of Nicolette Pierce's books and is the first in the Jade Sommer Mysteries. I look forward to reading more of them. 

[On a personal note, the title made me buy the book! Growing up, the pasta of choice when my dad cooked was mostaccioli - nothing else would do.]

Jade Sommer Mysteries
Penne Pryo
Fettuccini Fiasco
Rigatoni Ruin