Saturday, August 26, 2023

THE AUGUST TWISTY TALES AND COZY CRIMES GROUP


For the month of August, five of us have been taking over the Twisty Tales and Cozy Crimes Facebook group. I wanted to share these great authors and the books that are still available through Prolific Works through September 30th, along with 55 other cozy mysteries. We'll still be hosting with games and giveaways this last week of August.

BRIDES, BRIBES & BINOCULARS (A Camper & Criminals Cozy Mystery)
by Tonya Kappes

Mae West has been kidnapped...BY THE LAUNDRY CLUB LADIES for a spa retreat bachelorette party like no other. Dottie's screaming at the stripper to put it back on instead of keep taking off, fun bride games, and spa activities don't keep these sleuthing friends off the tracks of a killer when one of the other brides ends up dead! 

Put a group of nervous brides and slew of prissy brides maids together, meddling along with jealousy brings out a bridezilla who will do anything to make her day more special than anyone, even Mae!


MATCH BOX MURDER (A Merry Wrath Story)
by Leslie Langtry

It’s just another weekend camping trip for ex-CIA agent Merry Wrath and her precocious Girl Scout troop. This time the girls are learning riflery, taught by Merry’s assassin friend, Hilly (who isn’t an assassin because the CIA doesn’t have assassins because that would be illegal…but she totally is). What could go wrong? 

Plenty, because the creepy camp caretaker is soon found inconveniently dead behind the rifle range. Naturally, a violent storm comes out of nowhere and strands the troop with four suspect camp staffers. The scout manual explains how to keep kids safe during storms, hiking trips and the overly-enthusiastic application of matches to start a campfire, but there’s nothing on what to do when trapped in a lodge with a murderer. Can Merry unmask the killer before she and the girls get burned?

TERMINATED: HE WON'T BE BACK
by Gayle Leeson

Dina Merrill wants a fresh start, but a killer has other ideas. 

After a stint in set design in New York City, Dina returns to her hometown of Skillet Ridge, Virginia, to open a movie memorabilia museum and shop. Being there working on a movie set made her realize just how much she missed the town and her family. Dina’s sister, Patty, is going through a nasty divorce while healing from injuries she suffered in a car accident. Despite Patty’s estranged husband, Gregory, causing as much trouble as he can, the sisters are determined to put him in their rearview mirror and start enjoying life again. 

But then Dina discovers Gregory’s murdered body in her shop. Who killed Gregory? Did his murderer set out to frame Dina and Patty? Or was the placement body a warning of an even more sinister intention? Suddenly, Dina's life is too much like the movies for her liking--and if she doesn't figure out who murdered Gregory and why, she could be the next victim ...


MURDER AT HIGH SEA (A Musical Cruise Mystery)
by Karen McSpade

Four legendary female rock stars. One killer cruise performance. When their tour manager lands the Delta Queens the headlining show aboard the Ovation, the ladies seize the opportunity to revive their musical career and grab one last shot at fame and fortune. But there’s one thing standing in the way of their success… murder at high sea. 

After a rehearsal session goes awry and a member of the crew is murdered, Doris, Rosemary, Margie, and Patty Sue are caught in the spotlight of possible suspects without an alibi. To make matters worse, the ship’s captain has an unconventional idea about how to best deal with the situation. The ladies don’t want to follow her heartless plan, but if they cross hairs with the captain one more time, it could cost them their career… or get them thrown overboard.

SECRETS AND STORMS, ANOTHER MURDER
by Christa Nardi


Sheridan Hendley, an amateur sleuth, never imagined a tranquil morning following a stormy night would turn into a crime scene at the local high school soccer field. As news of the murder spreads, the community is gripped with a sense of unease. The victim's son shows up at Sheridan’s door confused and seeking answers. 

Delving into the victim’s recent activities and background leads to a disgruntled customer and family secrets. As Sheridan digs deeper, she finds herself gradually connecting the dots. Only the killer watches on as Sheridan becomes more determined to help the son and find the killer, before she becomes the next victim.

Don't miss out on these free cozy mysteries! These 5 plus 55 more before September 30, 2023!





Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Book Review: FOR BETTER, FOR MURDER (A Broken Vows Mystery) by Lisa Bork

About the Book

Jolene Asdale is one sale away from becoming a successful Finger Lakes businesswoman. But her dream gets derailed when a dead body rolls out of the shiny Ferrari in her exotic car showroom, instantly taking her from entrepreneur to murder suspect.

Arriving on the scene to investigate is Deputy Ray Parker, Jolene's almost-ex-husband, whose suspicions are raised when he learns of Jolene's public (and allegedly violent) argument with the victim. When Ray discovers wads of cash in her home along with signs that Jolene is colluding with her unpredictable, fugitive sister he is all but convinced of Jolene's guilt. 

But could a spite-driven local be trying to frame her? Or is an out-of-towner trying to taint the popular tourist town? Facing bankruptcy, a murder conviction, and divorce from the man she still loves, Jolene will do whatever it takes to solve the crime and save herself from a loveless life behind bars . . . 

Review 

The characters are well-developed, likable when they should be. There are several subplots including the Jolene's not quite ex never signing the divorce decree, the issues with Jolene's sister who has bipolar disorder, and Jolene's relationship with her employee, Corey. The pace is steady with surprises and twists that kept me second guessing who was setting Jolene up. 

This is the first in a series and a new author for me. I'll be adding the rest of the series to my TBR list. If you like cozy mysteries, I think you'll like this one.


About the Author

Lisa Bork holds a bachelor’s degree in English and an M.B.A. in marketing, and worked in human resources and marketing before becoming a stay-at-home mom. When her children entered school fulltime, Lisa turned to writing to fill her days and exercise her mind. For Better, For Murder grew out of her family's love of New York’s Finger Lakes region and her husband’s obsession with cars. Lisa is a member of The Authors Guild, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, the Guppies, and the Thursday Evening Literary Society. She resides in western New York with her husband, children and family dog.

Saturday, August 19, 2023

Book Review: FINLEY CREEK (BOOKS 1-3 - The Marshall Murders by Calle J. Brookes

I'll admit it. I binge read the first three books in this series. It would be hard to review them separately as they are intertwined. Undeniably, overlapping. These are romantic suspense, not cozy. They include violence, profanity...  

HER BEST FRIEND'S KEEPER (Finley Creek Book 1)

Ten years. Three months. Sixteen days. 

She hasn't felt safe in ten years, three months, and sixteen days.

As a teenager Gabby Kendall witnessed the execution of her best friend's family. Those images haunt her every day. 

Now... Now the killers are back. They know who she is, where she lives, and who her friends are. They know everything about her... He has the TSP to run, and a woman to protect... 

Elliot Marshall had lost almost his entire family when they'd been murdered ten years ago. Now he is back in Finley Creek, searching for the killers. Elliot isn't about to let anyone hurt the woman who had been his murdered sister's best friend. The only place she feels safe is next to him. But the price of that safety may be someone else close to her. Close to him. And one thing is clear: they can't lose someone else they love like that ever again... 


SHELTER FROM THE STORM (Finley Creek Book 2) 

Murder. Secrets. A killer still watching her... 

Brynna Beck has plans for her future. The Finley Creek Texas State Police is just a stepping stone for her. Nothing is going to sway her from her path--and she's stubborn enough to go after what she wants. When Brynna discovers new information on a ten-year-old murder case she gains the wrong sort of attention.

He wants answers... Former Texas Ranger Chance Marshall has spent ten years searching for the men who'd slaughtered his family. He has nothing more now than he had back then--until Brynna. She promises him the answers to his questions--if he promises to take her home to Finley Creek. To get the answers he needs, Chance will have to keep Brynna safe--while the storm rages around them. 


THE PRICE OF SILENCE (Finley Creek Book 3)

She's always been the Protector. That will never change. Melody Beck has always taken care of her younger sisters. Now that it really matters, she's failed. Her younger sister has just barely escaped a band of vicious killers.

All signs now point to the richest man in Texas being the mastermind behind the attacks. He is still out there. Coming for her sister. Melody is going to see he pays for what he did. But going after him means dealing with the one man she never wants to see again. The billionaire's son. The one man she's been trying so hard to forget. 

His father isn't a killer. He needs a way to prove it.  Houghton Barratt knows the media outlets reporting his father was involved in the Marshall Murders are lying. There is no way his father would have harmed an innocent family. 

The only way Houghton can fix this is by going after the woman accusing his father and convince her to tell the truth. Even if his own plans for her older sister aren't exactly on the up and up. 

The older Beck sister is his real target now. Melody is coming with him—whether she wants to or not. Houghton is right there in front of her before Melody can even begin to escape. Now, she is a hostage, a pawn in his game. A game he intends to win. 

But as Houghton tangles with Melody, the real mastermind is getting closer. Closer than they could imagine. Only this time he's focusing on Melody—and the sisters she'll do anything to protect. Houghton makes Melody a vow he would willingly die to keep: Melody will not be the price Houghton pays for his father…


Review

The setting is Finley Creek, Texas and Elliott Marshall has returned home to take over as the Chief for the Texas State Police - and to finally find the people who killed his parents, sister, and brother. As he walks through the TSP facilities, he recognizes on of two women working IT. Gabby Kendall. She'd been on the webcam with his sister when the murders occurred, pressed record, and called 9-1-1. Gabby is constantly afraid the killers will come after her. They've emailed her on and off over past 10 years. She only goes home and to work with her best friend, Brynna. They code and program and everything else for the forensic evidence section. 

Brynna has autism but is very intelligent. With Gabby's help (and Lacy's), she has created a program to validate video evidence - or to unalter it if it has been altered. She feels for her friend always afraid. She follows all the rules for signing out evidence and takes a copy of the video capturing the murder to test her program, when she goes to meet someone who wants to buy it from her.  Her program works and she unalters the video to reveal a 5th man. She finds out Chance Marshall, Elliott's brother, is in the same town and insists he drive her back to Finley Creek. On the way back, two cars plow into them and drag her out of the car, grabbing her laptop as well. Chance does his best to defend her and eventually they escape, with injuries. In the process, another man tries to help Brynna get away. She recognizes the man. 

Brynna and Chance are recovering, everyone is upset with Brynna's identification, and there are definite concerns that someone in the Finley TSP is corrupt. How else would they know she had taken a copy of the video clip? Elliott and Chance's father partnered with Beck - Brynna's father. Both the Marshall men recall seeing all the Beck redheads at their house, as well as Gabby. The oldest of the Beck daughters, Melody also was TSP before she was injured, and always protected her sisters, especially Brynna because of her special needs, as well as Gabby. Melody is still recovering, partially paralyzed, but insistent she will protect them. That Brynna identified the man when they were attacked as the Hadley Barrett - the richest man in Texas - didn't go over very well. Not only that, Houghton Barrett had been searching for Melody ever since they met and she walked out on him. 

It takes reading all three books to put the pieces together. The first book provides some of the background, the basics of the attack on Brynna and Chance, and a hint of the relationship between Melody and Houghton. Book 2 further expands Chance and Bryanna's parts and the rest of the Beck family. Book 3 is Melody and Houghton. With each book the five unknown men who killed the Marshalls is slowly whittled down to two and then none. 

Why'd I binge read them? They are well-written, with constant tension and action, twists and turns. The characters are well-crafted from Gabby still in fear for her life, Brynna with her autism, and the two Marshall brothers still unable to find resolution. Melody, Jillian, Syd, Carrie, and others add to the puzzle pieces. I'll definitely be reading the rest of the series!

Finley Creek Series
Her Best Friend's Keeper
Shelter From the Storm 
The Price of Silence 
If the Dark Wins 
Wounds That Won't Heal 
Hope for Finley Creek 
As the Night Ends 
Before the Rain Breaks 
Lost in the Wind 
Walk Through the Fire 
We All Sleep Alone 
Stand Next to Me 

About the Author

C.J. Brookes lives in central Indiana with her husband of fifteen years, their ten-year-old daughter, four-year-old lump of a beagle, elderly but diabolically clever border collie, evil border collie puppy, four demanding ducklings, one garden snail who lives in her child's bathroom, and a rogue cardinal named Carl and his wife Carla. Recently, they added a garden toad, Neville Toadbottom, to their tiny zoo. 

Best known for her romantic suspenses, she has been writing for more than twenty years, and has more than seventy novels and novellas published.

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Book Review: WHISKEY SOUR - An Addison Holmes Mystery #2 by Liliana Hart

About the Book

Addison Holmes is at it again. 

When priceless Russian gems are stolen on their way to Savannah and the courier is murdered, all the clues lead back to an escort service that seems above reproach. But looks can be deceiving.  

Throw in a sexy detective and a dangerous FBI agent, and Addison finds out very quickly that she's in way over her head. But nothing is going to stop her from getting her man. 

Review 

What's a girl to do when she's laid off from her teaching job and is accident prone? Addison moves home with her mother and  decides to become a PI with the help of Nick, sort of. When some jewels are missing and call girls are turning up dead, Addison, Nick, Matt (FBI), and Kate are all on the case. Addison gets it into her head that she'll find the killer. 

This is a fun, easy read, not to be taken too seriously. Hart mixes in humor with murders and thefts, along with two men fighting for Addison's attention. The pace is steady and of course, Addison gets her man - the killer, that is. Although it's part of a series, and some background on the relationship with Nick might be helpful, it can easily be read as a stand-alone mystery. (I haven't read the first one, only the 8th one.) Despite the murder, this is a light escape.

Whiskey Rebellion 
Whiskey For Breakfast 
Whiskey, You're the Devil 
Whiskey on the Rocks 
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot 
Whiskey and Gunpowder 
Whiskey Lullaby

About the Author 

Liliana Hart is a New York Times, USA Today, and Publisher's Weekly Bestselling Author of more than 60 titles. After starting her first novel her freshman year of college, she immediately became addicted to writing and knew she'd found what she was meant to do with her life. She has no idea why she majored in music. 

Since publishing in June of 2011, Liliana has appeared at #1 on lists all over the world and all three of her series have appeared on the New York Times list. Liliana is a sought after speaker, and she's given keynote speeches and workshops to standing-room-only crowds from Hawaii to New York to London. 

Liliana can almost always be found at her computer writing or hanging out with her husband (her real life hero). They call a suburb of Dallas home and have five children and a French bulldog named Bacon.







Saturday, August 12, 2023

Book Review: QUILTING CALAMITY - A Quilting Cozy Mystery by Kathryn Mykel

About the Book (from Amazon)

Can Alex untangle the knots before she’s keeled? After the death of her beloved grandmother, Alex Bailey’s life is left in tatters. As she struggles to stitch things back together, she takes solace in one final gift—a cruise—booked before the quilting matriarch's death. 

To weave the quilting community back together, Alex convinces her friends on Spruce Street to join her on the cruise. With all hands on deck, a mysterious quilt, and an unknown destination, she must trust that everything will go according to plan. Until a death onboard the Tranquility puts a wrinkle in Alex’s idyllic quilting vacation. 

Unraveling the mysterious threads that surround the young man’s death, Alex must determine if it's a terrible accident or death by design. Determined to catch the culprit, she loosens the knot of suspicion and provides the bait needed to hook a ruthless killer.

Will Alex be able to follow the pattern and untangle this nautical mystery before there's a storm at sea? 

Review 

Alex isn't too sure about the whole cruise idea but that was what her grandmother (Nona) dictated in death. Nona's best friend, Betty, has all the directions. Only they didn't include a murder on the cruise or indicate who the quilt named "Henrietta" was to go to or what the keys left behind opened. A murder, keys, and a quilt, not to mention the one they're all working on.

The story is well-written and the characters, especially Alex, are likable and down to earth. There are multiple mysteries and although Alex is supposed to be in charge, she doesn't have a clue what Nona had planned. Hopefully, not the murder. The pace is quick and there are times Alex doubts what's happening with no logical explanation.  

This is the second in the series and the first I've read. I enjoyed it, but I think I'd have had a better understanding if I read the first one, first. There are unanswered questions left at the end, though the major issues are addressed. I suspect these and other mysteries are answered in the later books. 

The Quilting Cozy Mysteries
Sewing Suspicion
Pressing Matters
Treading Trouble
Stitching Concerns*
* Available for pre-order; releases August 17, 2023

About the Author 

Inspired by the laugh-out-loud and fanciful aspects of cozies, Kathryn Mykel aims to write lighthearted, humorous mysteries that play on her passion for the craft of quilting. She’s an avid quilter, born and raised in a small New England town. 

For more fun content and new releases go to: www.authorkathrynmykel.com          
Also on:
Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/AuthorKathrynMykel Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorkathrynmykel



Thursday, August 10, 2023

Spotlight: MURDER A LA MODE - A Coffee & Cream Mystery Book 1 by Lena Gregory


Murder A La Mode (Coffee & Cream Cafe Mysteries) 
Cozy Mystery 1st in Series 
Setting – New York 
Gemma Halliday Publishing 
(August 8, 2023)  
Number of Pages 230 
ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0C2LH144G 

From author Lena Gregory comes a delicious new series that will warm your heart and leave you guessing until the very end…

About the Book 

When twenty-five-year-old Danika Delaney, black sheep of the Delaney clan, returns home to Long Island to take over Jimmie’s, her eccentric uncle’s old fashioned malt shop on eastern Long Island, she’s not exactly thrilled. But things start to look up when her uncle tells her she can do whatever she’d like with the shop, and it seems she might realize her dream of a small trendy cafĂ©. 

That is, until she discovers the body of her ex-boyfriend’s estranged wife in a melted puddle of rocky road in the malt shop basement. With her two sidekicks, her sister and a good childhood friend, in tow, Dani searches for–or stumbles upon—one clue after another. But as she narrows down the suspect list, she realizes if she’s not careful she may end up in a puddle of her own. 

About the Author 

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 

Twitter:  

Purchase Links  






Sunday, August 6, 2023

Book Review: SEAL'S CODE (Coronado Team 2) by Makenna Jameison

 Warning: This one's not a cozy but romantic suspense and contains adult content

About the Book

Navy SEAL Everett “Ace” Walker didn’t expect an instant connection with the woman he met online. Her husky voice, sexy laugh, and witty personality made him fall—hard. But he’s never even seen her. When she rushes to meet him one night, he suspects she’s hiding something. Ace wants to find out all her secrets but also keep her safe. 

App developer Addison Moore loves the nights online gaming with the mysterious guy she met. He’s funny and a great listener, with a protective streak that makes her melt. When they finally meet in person, she realizes he’s her every fantasy come to life—tall, muscular, and a Navy SEAL. Shivers race down her spine just being near him, but she can’t drag Ace into the complicated mess that is her life. 

When they discover that Addison’s roommate is part of a sex-trafficking ring, Addison is willing to put her own life in danger to protect other women. Ace is furious and will do anything to keep her safe. But can he also convince her to be his? 

Review 

Jameison weaves a story of two people who meet online gaming and enjoy some conversation. Ace makes the first move and asks Addison to meet him. Addison's not sure and odd things are happening that make her feel unsafe. She gives in - mostly to escape the mess her life has become, but also to satisfy her curiosity. They hit it off and though she's reluctant to get Ace involved in her troubles, he gets involved.

The story is well-written, the characters of Ace and Addison well-developed, and the pace is quick and steady. This is one of those books you shouldn't start reading in the evening and expect to go to sleep mid-way. Not happening. It follows the same format as many other romantic suspense novels with SEALs, with twists and turns to the HEA. If you enjoy romantic suspense and don't mind some adult content, you'll enjoy this one as the story unfolds.