Sunday, March 24, 2024

Book Spotlight; THE WITLESS PROTECTION PROGRAM (A Catering Hall Mystery) by Maria DiRico

About the Book 

Mia Carina has steered her Italian-American family’s Astoria, Queens, catering hall, Belle View Banquet Manor, into becoming the borough’s premiere party site, and nothing could make her happier—except her boyfriend proposing. There’s just one presumed-dead obstacle in the way . . . 

A strong, independent woman and respected entrepreneur, Mia never imagined she’d pine for a marriage proposal. Yet lately, with her beloved Shane, she’s on tenterhooks. It’s especially surprising, considering Mia’s first husband, Adam, was a philandering grifter, assumed lost-at-sea after a boating disaster. But everyone knows what happens when you assume . . . 

While working a huge wedding expo in Manhattan, Mia is shocked to spot the man who nearly destroyed her life. The one who’s supposed to be sleeping with the fishes. But she loses him in the crowd. And when it happens again the next day, it’s time for an emergency meeting with the family—and the Family. Because if Adam is alive, Mia is still married . . . 

Everyone wants Adam dead. Everyone except Mia. She’s dealt with enough police for a lifetime. Mia needs to be a divorcée, not a widow. But someone out there disagrees, and if Mia doesn’t discover who, she may never be free to marry Shane—or anyone else . . . 

Italian recipes included! 

Purchase Links 

Here Comes the Body (Book 1)
Long Island Iced Tina (Book 2)
It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Murder (Book 3)
Four Parties and a Funeral (Book 4)
The Witless Protection Program (Book 5)

About the Author 

Maria DiRico is the pseudonym for Ellen Byron, author of the award-winning, USA Today bestselling Cajun Country Mysteries. Born in Queens, New York, she is a first-generation Italian-American on her mother’s side and the granddaughter of a low-level Jewish mobster on her father’s side. She grew up visiting the Astoria Manor and Grand Bay Marina catering halls, which were run by her Italian mother’s family in Queens and have become the inspiration for her Catering Hall Mystery Series. 

DiRico has been a writer-producer for hit television series like Wings and Just Shoot Me, and her first play, Graceland, appears in the Best Short Plays collection. She’s a freelance journalist, with over 200 articles published in national magazines, and previously worked as a cater-waiter for Martha Stewart, a credit she never tires of sharing. 

A native New Yorker who attended Tulane University, Ellen lives in Los Angeles with her husband, daughter, and two rescue dogs. 

Author Links 

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Saturday, March 16, 2024

Book Review: SPIRIT WOMAN LEGENDS AND LIES (Spirit Woman Mystery Adventures Book 2) by Elaine Faber

About the Book 

The legendary Native American Spirit Woman and her mountain lion companion, said to appear in times of trouble, are once again sighted near Lockleer Mountain. And there is trouble aplenty. 

Twenty-four hours after Joe and his brother, Cyrus, quarrel over the ownership of a winning million dollar lottery ticket, Cyrus’s mutilated body is found in the mountains, ravaged by the local wildlife. Sheriff Peabody and Deputy Nate Darling are soon puzzled by stolen VA hospital drugs found in Cyrus’s bedroom. It seems likely the suspected homicide is either connected to the contested lottery ticket or the drugs. 

Hearing of the crowds that inevitably follow such a disturbing event, Rosita Ramirez, a transient with two children, comes to Lockleer Mountain to sell homemade tamales. She is befriended by Nate’s fiancé, Lou Shoemaker, owner of the Pooper Scooper sewer disposal truck. Rosita parks her old motorhome at the First Baptist Church and Lou aids her in acquiring employment at the local diner. 

Soon, malicious gossip erupts about Rosita and the pastor. The church deacons are divided between ignoring unproven gossip, versus concern the gossip will divide the congregation and affect the future of the church. 

In addition to finding a killer, Sheriff Peabody and his deputies are now tasked with exposing the perpetrator of the gossip, or the pastor will be forced to leave. How can the Spirit Woman and her companions bring about a solution to the troubles that plague the rural community? 


The small town of Lockleer Mountain is home for Lou, the now owner of the sewer management service, her husband-to-be Deputy Nate Darling, and her good friend, Judy. The day-to-day is moving along. Joe Walling is released from prison and return home to his two young daughters and his brother, Cyrus, who has been taking care of him. Joe wins the lottery big, an owl is spotted, Cyrus is killed, the lion is sighted, and Nate sees a woman with green dress walking through the trees. No one wants to admit to being superstitious or spooked, but the owl and the spirit woman foretell trouble, with the woman and the lion pairing up to help the town return to its equilibrium. 

The story is well-plotted and the characters and their interactions provide a feel for this small town and the effect these happenings and others have on the community, with ripple effects on the congregation of the local church. The story moves along at a steady with pace with a trade off of solutions and new problems that keep you guessing. This is one mystery, where I couldn't figure out the person behind the murder until the very end. An interesting and engaging cozy mystery. 

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in the hopes that I would post an honest review. This has not affected the content of my review in any way. 

About the Author 

Elaine Faber's short stories are published in magazines and multiple anthologies. She is an active member of Sisters in Crime, IElk Grove Wrters Guild, and Northern California Publishers and Authors. 

Black Cat's Legacy, Elaine's debut fantasy cat-mystery novel, is the first in a series of four Cat Mysteries involving Thumper, who solves mysteries with the aid of his ancestors' memories. Black Cat narrates part of each story with his witty opinions of the inferior humans he lives with. 

Four Mrs. Odboddy mysteries are set in Northern CA during WWII, humorous historical fiction that are both informative and funny. Mrs. Odboddy - Hometown Patriot is the first in Elaine's WWII humorous mystery series. Mrs. Odboddy fights the war from the home front, seeing conspiracies and spies around every corner. When Mrs. Roosevelt comes to town to attend a funeral, Agnes's fears become a reality and she must prove she is, indeed a hometown patriot. 

The Spirit Woman of Lockleer Mountain series highlights a legendary Native American spirit woman who aids a troubled town.

All books are reader friendly without explicit sex, extreme violence or profanity.  Elaine lives in Elk Grove, CA, with her husband. They currently share their home with two house cats.

Monday, March 4, 2024

Book Review: DOUBLE SCOOP OF MURDER (A Coffee & Cream Mystery) by Lena Gregrory

Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – New York
Gemma Halliday Publishing (February 27, 2024)
Number of Pages 226
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0CKV7QQB8
About the Book

From author Lena Gregory comes a hunt for more than just treasure… 

Danika Delany is loving running her uncle’s old fashioned malt shop on eastern Long Island and putting her own modern spin on the treats they serve. Life is finally looking up for her! That is, until local billionaire Maxwell Crumbholtz dies and leaves his fortune in the form of a treasure hunt. Chaos descends on Watchogue, and Dani and the rest of the gang from the Coffee & Cream Café join the melee when they enter the contest, try to decipher the clues, and go in search of the treasure. 

But Dani digs up more than she expected when she discovers a dead body buried instead of a treasure! To make matters worse, a witness claims to have seen Dani at the scene of the murder. Now, instead of a four-billion-dollar payday, Dani is on the hunt for a killer. 

Book Review 

Crumbholtz fortune is up for grabs with the winner of the treasure hunt to get it all. Between the brothers who thought they'd be rich and the promise of a relationship with Jake who doesn't want Dani involved in any more murders, she wants nothing to do with the treasure hunt. Her sister,  and Eli have other ideas. Then as they follow clues, she's finds a dead body.

This was a fun cozy, with well-developed characters, and enough twists and turns to keep my interest. The story moves along and the community has enough "personalities" to make it interesting. As expected from Gregory, she has all the components of a cozy mystery all wrapped up nicely. Although this is the third in the series, it was easily read as a stand alone. Now, to go back and read the others.

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 – B&N – Kobo

Coffee & Cream Cafe Mysteries
Murder a la Mode
Grounds for Murder
Douple Scoop of Murder

About the Author

Lena Gregory is the author of the Bay Island Psychic Mysteries, which take place on a small island between the north and south forks of Long Island, New York, the All-Day Breakfast Café Mysteries, which are set on the outskirts of Florida’s Ocala National Forest, the Mini-Meadows Mysteries, set in a community of tiny homes in Central Florida, and the Coffee & Cream Café Mysteries, which take place in a small town on the south shore of eastern Long Island, New York. 

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 
Newsletter ~  Website  ~ Facebook   

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