Posted in animals, Cozy, excerpt, mystery, Spotlight on January 4, 2017

Synopsis

In the small town of Clarkesville, in the heart of the Oregon Cascade Mountains, a humble forester stumbles into the complex world of crooked cops and power-hungry politicians… all because he rescued a stray, injured dog on the highway.

Lehigh Carter didn’t really mean to adopt the dog. But his ex-fiancée, Stacy McBride, convinces him to do it, with a promise to help. Their rekindled romance angers her father, state Senator George McBride, who sees her backwoods suitor as a blemish on his carefully created political image. It also sets off a chain of events that entangle Lehigh in a life-or-death conflict with the senator’s hardnosed campaign treasurer, Paul van Paten, who had his own plans for Stacy’s future.

The Mountain Man’s Dog is a briskly told crime thriller loaded with equal parts suspense, romance, and light-hearted humor, pitting honor and loyalty against ruthless ambition and runaway greed in a town too small for anyone to get away with anything.

Excerpt

Lehigh slowed down around the S-curves on Brady Mountain Road even before the speed limit sign told him to. The fog rolled in thicker here due to the nearby lakes, intensifying the dark and making the night seem much later than it was. A guy never knew what the night fog might throw out of the woods in Oregon’s Cascade Mountains, especially in late September. He didn’t want adventure on a Thursday night. He just needed some groceries, stuff that old man Patterson’s market didn’t carry, and anyways, he closed at five o’clock. So, as much as he hated doing it, Lehigh had to drive down the mountain into town.

Just go to WinCo, get some groceries, and leave. No distractions.

He braked just in time not to kill a coyote darting across the highway. It startled him and sweat rolled down his back in spite of the chill. He shook his head and took a heavy breath. Focus on driving, dumb-ass. Don’t get all riled up.

He kept his speed down below forty. Good thing, as it enabled him to brake in time once again, this time to avoid hitting a yellow hound dog limping across the road. Well, normally he’d call it a good thing. In coming years, Lehigh often argued it was anything but. He wasn’t much of a dog person, ever since Uncle Ted’s German Shepherd near tore his hand off as a kid. Or so he remembered. The injury grew with every retelling.

Lehigh didn’t so much fear dogs as loathe them. Dogs were nothing but a nuisance: noisy, smelly, always needing attention and cleaning up after. Kind of like a kid that never grows up. Still a committed bachelor at thirty-seven, his position on kids was pretty clear.

He came to a full stop for the yellow hound. It limped so badly, it hardly moved, really. Its brown eyes reflected the glare of the truck’s headlights, making them shine red like the indicator lights on his dashboard. The dog froze in his tracks as Lehigh waited. Then it lay right down across the center stripe, its bleeding belly exposed and vulnerable.

Dumb-assed dog. He could get killed like that. Of course, that might well have been the dog’s intention. Dogs, his uncle used to say, can smell their own death, and will go take care of it when the time comes. Maybe the dog wanted him to run it over.

Hmm. Tempting.

He shook his head. Nope. Can’t do it. Dogs may be mean, stupid little bastards, but he couldn’t just up and kill one of ’em. Maybe Uncle Ted’s nasty old shepherd, but not one that hadn’t done anything to him first.
He left the old Ford running, tucked his shaggy brown hair into the Dodgers hat he kept on the seat and stepped out into the fog. The dog looked up at him, stared a second, then lay his head back down on the pavement. Lehigh approached him, taking small steps, still wary, twenty-nine years after feeling that shepherd dog’s teeth on his fingers. He could just move the pup aside a bit. Move him and be on his way.

He fetched the wide aluminum shovel out of the back of his truck, just in case he had to prod the old hound to move. The dog looked friendly, but one never knows what a dog’s going to do. What if he’s rabid, like Uncle Ted’s dog? You just never know. Those shots hurt like hell for days and days. He had no desire to go through that again.

The lazy flap of the dog’s snakelike tail against the damp black pavement told him rabies were probably not an issue. Its pink tongue flickered between furry lips, anticipating rescue. The dog’s brown irises and black pupils filled the top hemisphere of its eye sockets in a steady, whimpering stare. Its bleeding belly and forlorn face melted Lehigh’s apprehension. Dogs may be a nuisance, he reckoned, but this one was just
hurting.

He set the shovel down and held his hand out, palm down, in front of the dog’s nose, the way Uncle Ted had taught him. Wet, gentle lapping on his knuckles confirmed the dog’s friendliness—or at least, its trust. “Let me take a look at you, boy,” he said in as soothing a voice as he could muster. He used the handle of the shovel to lift the dog’s hind leg, exposing more of its belly and crotch.

“Huh. I guess I shouldn’t call you boy no more,” he said, a little embarrassed. She licked his hand again. He looked closer at the cut. She’d somehow sliced herself across the belly, maybe jumping over a freshly-pruned hedge, or a barbed-wire fence, or maybe a cat or raccoon had clawed her. The ragged cut caused her skin to gape an inch or so apart. It would need stitches, probably several.

“Well, you ain’t gonna walk into a vet’s office all on your own,” he said. “But the sheriff’s office is on the way to town. Maybe he’ll get you there. Which means, I’ve got to get you to him. C’mere, girl.”

The dog found his eyes with her own, and laid her head back down on the pavement. He nudged her backside with his foot. “C’mon girl, get up.” She stayed put and glanced at him sideways, panting just a little. Moisture from the dog’s breath danced in the beam of his truck’s headlights.

“You gonna make me pick you up and carry you?” She didn’t look heavy. But to pick her up, he’d have to risk putting at least one hand near her head. Near her open mouth.

Pain. Fingers. Bleeding…

He shook his head. This dog knew more about pain and bleeding than he ever would. Come on, Lehigh, do what you gotta do here.

He crossed around the dog and slid the edge of his shovel under her furry back. At first she remained dead weight, a passenger in the next step of her journey. He pried her body up from the pavement, using the shovel as a lever and his foot as a fulcrum. He grunted under the awkward exertion. Six-one, one-ninety-five, he ought to be able to lift this skinny mutt with ease, but not from this position.

Just before he let go to start over, the dog responded. With a herky-jerky motion she stumbled to her feet and sauntered to the open door of his pickup’s cab, panting, a hopeful and grateful dog-smile painted on her weary face.

“Wait,” Lehigh said. To his surprise, the dog obeyed. He scratched the stubble on his chin. “You been around people.” That changed his strategy a bit. He had intended to put her in the bed of the pickup, but he discarded that thought like an empty carcass. Instead he spread a small tarp onto the passenger’s side of the seat. The dog put her front paws on the truck’s sidestep and convulsed in a pathetic attempt to climb further. Fresh blood trickled down her hind leg. Lehigh winced. Careful not to touch the wound, he pressed the flat blade of the shovel against the dog’s hindquarters and pushed her onto the floor of the truck, then guided her onto the tarp.

“I don’t reckon you’ve done anything wrong,” he said after climbing in next to her, “but I think it’s time you and Sheriff Summers got acquainted.”

The dog responded with a quick lick of her lips, heavy panting, and a low, prolonged whine.

About the Author

Gary Corbin is a writer, actor, and playwright in Camas, WA, a suburb of Portland, OR. In addition to his novels, he writes on assignment for private sector, government, individuals, and not-for-profit clients, and his articles have been published in BrainstormNW, the Portland Tribune, The Oregonian, and Global Envision, among others.

Gary earned his B.A. in Political Science and Economics at Louisiana State University (Geaux Tigers!) and his Ph.D. at Indiana University (Go Hoosiers!), writing his dissertation on the politics of acid rain (1988). After working variously on farms, construction, in restaurants, and in various information technology positions, in 2005 he founded Gary Corbin Writing and Consulting.

Gary is a member of the Willamette Writers Group, the Northwest Editors Guild, the North Bank Writers Workshop, PDX Playwrights, and the Portland Area Theater Alliance, and participates in workshops and conferences in the Portland, Oregon area. A homebrewer as well as a maker of wine, mead, cider, and soft drinks, Gary is a member of the Oregon Brew Crew and a BJCP National Beer Judge. He loves to ski, cook, and garden, and hopes someday to train his dogs to obey. And when that doesn’t work, he escapes to the Oregon coast with his sweetie.

Website * Blog * Facebook * Twitter * LinkedIn * Google+ * Goodreads

 

Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, mystery, Spotlight on December 16, 2016

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Get Me To The Grave On Time
(The Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins Mysteries)
Publisher: Grainger Press (November 15, 2016)
Print Length: 274 pages
ASIN: B01MDQEG27

Synopsis

Although Eliza still refuses to marry Freddy Eynsford Hill, everyone around her seems headed for the altar. Not only is her cousin Inspector Jack Shaw about to wed his sweetheart, but Freddy’s younger sister Clara is engaged, along with the niece of Henry Higgins. Another blushing bride is the sixty-year-old Duchess of Carbrey, who plans to marry a handsome fellow half her age. But when the groom is found dead, a jealous mistress is blamed for the murder. However, the death may also be connected to the stolen treasure of an Indian temple.

Disaster strikes next at Jack and Sybil’s wedding. Soon after, the wedding reception of Higgins’s niece takes a lethal turn. Someone is targeting bridegrooms, and the wedding of Freddy’s sister is next. Before another bridal bouquet is tossed, Higgins and Eliza must track down the killer. Otherwise, Clara’s bridegroom – and perhaps the bride herself – may be murdered before they can get to the church on time.

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About the Author

d-e-irelandD.E. Ireland is a team of award-winning authors, Meg Mims and Sharon Pisacreta. Long time friends, they decided to collaborate on this unique series based on George Bernard Shaw’s wonderfully witty play, Pygmalion. While they admit the lovely film My Fair Lady and its soundtrack proved to be inspiring, they are careful to stick to Shaw’s vision of the beloved characters from Eliza to Higgins to Pickering and Freddy Eynsford Hill. They’ve also added a cast of new characters to flesh out their own version of events post-Pygmalion. They both have patient husbands, brilliant daughters, and share a love of good books, tea and history.

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December 2 – View from the Birdhouse – SPOTLIGHT

December 3 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT

December 4 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW

December 5 – Community Bookstop – SPOTLIGHT

December 6 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

December 7 – Books, Dreams, Life – SPOTLIGHT

December 8 – Queen of All She Reads – REVIEW

December 9 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

December 10 – The Power of Words – REVIEW

December 11 – Varietats – REVIEW

December 12 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW

December 13 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT

December 14 – Girl with Book Lungs – SPOTLIGHT

December 15 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW

December 16 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

December 17 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW

December 18 – Bab’s Book Bistro – REVIEW

Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, Guest Post, mystery, Spotlight on December 15, 2016

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Death on Lily Pond Lane (Hamptons Murder Mysteries)
Publisher: Dunemere Books (September 19, 2016)
Paperback: 404 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0997270150
E-Book ASIN: B01J28570I

Synopsis

Springtime in the Hamptons comes late, but it’s worth it! Brisk walks on the bright chilly beach, cinnamon buns at tea time, blooming forsythia and….murder?

Innkeeper Antonia Bingham has hit her stride as the proprietor of East Hampton’s Windmill Inn. After solving a series of murders, Antonia has taken on more work as an estate manager, giving her entree her into some of the area’s most glamorous homes. Once inside, Antonia checks the heat, looks for leaks or damage, and finds the occasional dead body. As the police can’t be trusted, it’s up to Antonia—a modern day Miss Marple, with an overly enthusiastic adoration of carbs and a kamikaze love-life—to put her skills of deduction to use. Nestle in with a steaming mug of your favorite tea and get ready to peek behind the gates of the mansions of the Hamptons, as Antonia Bingham solves another shocking and devastating murder.

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Guest Post

Today’s guest post is by Carrie Doyle, author of Death on Windmill Way and Death on Lily Pond Lane, welcome Carrie!

When you read my books in the Hamptons Murder Mysteries series, you can tell immediately that I love food! I love cooking, and I am a huge fan of “Top Chef.” I love to read about food too, and I look forward to “Food and Wine” and “Bon Appetit” magazines every month. I think we’ve turned into a foodie nation and people enjoy reading about dishes and recipes. I also think that the whole concept of feeding people and baking conjures up happy and yummy thoughts, and it was important to me that Antonia Bingham, the main character (a chef, innkeeper, and amateur sleuth), bring that out in readers.

The books are set in East Hampton, NY where I have spent summers for all of my life, and the setting flavors all the books and even shaped Antonia. In college I worked for Ina Garten at the Barefoot Contessa, which was a legendary gourmet food store in East Hampton and spawned a hugely successful brand of cookbooks, TV shows, and even packaged foods at one point. I worked in the bakery section and had a chance to sample all of Ina’s amazing sweets. It was impossible not to! (Although I did learn a trick: if I didn’t eat anything within the first hour of work I would not be tempted all day. It was as if inhaling the fumes was enough to sate me. But if I sampled something within the first hour I was a goner—snacking all day long.) Ina Garten was an incredible boss—warm, generous, a real champion for her staff. I think some of Antonia is inspired by her.

I’m sharing one of my favorite holiday recipes today. Antonia will be making it in my holiday-themed Hamptons Murder Mystery, due out fall 2017. This sauce can be made ahead, and stored in a jar for a month. In a pretty mason jar with a ribbon, it makes a great gift.

Antonia Bingham’s Aunt Pat’s Hot Fudge Sauce

Ingredients

2 oz unsweetened baking chocolate

2 tbs. salted butter

¾ cup of granulated sugar

1 cup of heavy cream

2 teaspoons vanilla

Instructions

  1. Melt butter and chocolate over low heat in a heavy bottomed pan and stir until smoothly combined.
  2. Add sugar and stir well.
  3. Add heavy cream and mix (it will look like hot chocolate).
  4. Allow the mixture to come to a boil and then turn the heat down to keep the mixture at a low simmer until it thickens (approximately half an hour).
  5. Turn off heat, add vanilla and stir well. Allow to cool somewhat before serving or it will melt the ice cream.

Serve over ice cream or, even better, over warm glazed donuts with a scoop of vanilla ice cream in the middle.

About the Author

carrie-doyleCarrie Doyle was the founding Editor-in- Chief of the Russian edition of Marie Claire Magazine. She is currently a Contributing Editor of Hamptons Magazine and has written extensively for Harper’s Bazaar, Town & Country and has also written for Women’s Health and Avenue on the Beach. With Jill Kargman, Carrie co-wrote the film Intern (which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 1999), as well as several screenplays sold to Showtime, Paramount Pictures, Nickelodeon Films and the Oxygen Network. Carrie and Jill co-wrote five books together, including three teen books for HarperCollins and two bestselling women’s fiction books, The Right Address and Wolves in Chic Clothing (Broadway Books). Carrie also penned the popular novel The Infidelity Pact (Broadway Books). Carrie lives in New York City with her husband and two children and is currently at work on an animated series for broadcast as well as her new series, the Hamptons Murder Mysteries.

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Giveaway

Enter to win print copies of Death on Windmill Way (Book 1) and Death on Lily Pond Lane (Book 2).

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December 12 – A Holland Reads – REVIEW

December 12 – A Blue Million Books – INTERVIEW

December 13 – Community Bookstop – REVIEW

December 14 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW

December 14 – Island Confidential – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

December 15 – The Power of Words – REVIEW

December 15 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

December 16 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

December 16 – Deal Sharing Aunt – REVIEW

December 17 – Cinnamon, Sugar, and a Little Bit of Murder – REVIEW

December 17 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – GUEST POST

December 18 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too! – REVIEW

Posted in Cozy, excerpt, mystery, Spotlight on December 13, 2016

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Book Series: Death by Cupcake, Book 3 

Genre: Cozy Mystery, Humor

Published: December, 2016

Synopsis

Kristie is kind with a capital K, so it’s quite the surprise when she wakes up next to a dead man with no recollection of the previous night. Even worse? She’s naked. Kristie may be a sweetheart out to save the world, but sticking her nose into an investigation of rapes across campus makes her the target of a murderer. Before she knows it, Callie is smack dab in the middle of a murder investigation with her colleagues Callie and Anna. If that’s not enough to drive a sane person up the wall, a friend has decided he’s going to keep her safe whether she wants him to or not. And, oh yeah, he’s her man and that’s that.

Come join us at Callie’s Cakes, where murder investigations are on the menu. You are most welcome, but you may need to serve yourself as our barista Kristie is busy trying to save the world.

Warning: Although there are plenty of moments that will make you shake your head and laugh at the antics of the ladies of Callie’s Cakes, the subject matter – rape on college campuses – is very real and somewhat darker than your usual cozy mystery.

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Excerpt

I assumed that, as soon as we got back to my apartment, everyone would take off, and I’d be left alone to contemplate what happened. Contemplate. I snort to myself. Freak out’s more like it. Unfortunately, when I open the door and turn around to thank everyone, the men push their way in and collapse on my sofa. My sofa, heck my apartment, was not made to house the two oversized detectives.

I don’t shut the door but stand at the entrance with my mouth opening and closing in my best imitation of a fish. Think, think, think. Oh yeah, I have the perfect excuse for keeping them out. “Should you be in here? Doesn’t CSI or whatever it’s called in real life need to do their thing? Find clues or fingerprints or something?” There! That sounded reasonable. Not at all like I’m trying to kick everyone out.

Logan snorts. “You watch too much TV.”

Luckily, Ben takes pity on me and explains. “They’ve already come and gone. And even if they hadn’t, it wouldn’t matter.” The confusion must show on my face. The big detective smiles. “We were all here this morning.” I nod my head in understanding but don’t move away from the door.

Anna sits on Logan’s lap and I cringe as my sofa creaks. “You might as well shut the door and come in here.” Oh great, the troublemaker is on the case. Looks like I don’t have a choice. I shut the door and walk the short distance to my living room. I collapse in the chair across from my friends and close my eyes. Let the questions begin.

“So why were you in that bar anyway? You don’t drink. Or at least the few times we’ve gone out, we nearly had to force-feed you beer.” Callie’s voice actually sounds hurt.

I shrug and try to evade giving away the real reason for my visit to the bar. “Am I not allowed to go to a bar on a Friday night?”

“That’s not what I meant and you know it,” Callie immediately snaps. Darn it! I suck at the secret spy mission stuff.

“Sorry, I’m not feeling well.” There, that’s not a lie.

“We just need you to answer a few questions and then we’ll leave you alone,” Ben insists in a gentle but firm voice. Obviously, I’m not getting out of answering some questions and considering I woke up naked next to a dead man, I should probably be grateful I’m getting grilled by my friends instead of cuddling up to some jailbird named Bertha.

About the Author

de haggertyI grew up reading everything I could get my hands on from my mom’s Harlequin romances to Nancy Drew to Little Women. When I wasn’t flipping pages in a library book, I was penning horrendous poems, writing songs no one should ever sing, or drafting stories which have thankfully been destroyed. College and a stint in the U.S. Army came along, robbing me of free time to write and read, although I did manage every once in a while to sneak a book into my rucksack between rolled up socks, MRIs, t-shirts, and cold weather gear. A few years into my legal career, I was exhausted, fed up, and just plain done. I quit my job and sat down to write a manuscript, which I promptly hid in the attic after returning to the law. Another job change, this time from lawyer to B&B owner and I was again fed up and ready to scream I quit, which is incredibly difficult when you own the business. Thus, I shut the B&B during the week and in the off-season and started writing. Several books later I find myself in Istanbul writing full-time.

 

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Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, Guest Post, Monday, mystery, Spotlight on December 12, 2016

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Egg Drop Dead (A Cackleberry Club Mystery)
Series: A Cackleberry Club Mystery (Book 7)
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Berkley (December 6, 2016)
ISBN-13: 978-0425281703
E-Book ASIN: B01CZCW4MW

Synopsis

In Laura Childs’s New York Times bestselling mystery series, Suzanne, Petra, and Toni—co-owners of the Cackleberry Club café—are back to track down another bad egg…

Maintaining good personal relationships with their suppliers is one of the secrets of the Cackleberry Club café’s success, so Suzanne doesn’t mind going out to Mike Mullen’s dairy farm to pick up some wheels of cheese. She’s looking forward to a nice visit with the mild-mannered farmer before heading back to their hectic kitchen.

But when she arrives, Mike’s nowhere to be found. The moaning of his cows leads her to look in the barn, where she discovers a bloodcurdling sight—the farmer’s dead body. Apparently not everyone was as fond of Mike Mullen as the Cackleberry Club.

Churning with grief and outrage, Suzanne, Petra, and Toni vow to find the farmer’s murderer—but as they get closer to the truth, the desperate killer gets whipped into a frenzy and plans to put the squeeze on them…

RECIPES INCLUDED!

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Guest Post

It is my pleasure to welcome Laura Childs to StoreyBook Reviews today!  I’ve read many of her books bu twill admit I’m a bit behind in this series.  I need to catch up that is for sure!

Thanks so much for inviting me to visit StoryBook Reviews. I am very excited to tell you about Egg Drop Dead, the seventh book in my New York Times bestselling Cackleberry Club series.

Located in Kindred, a fictional mid-western town, the Cackleberry Club is a farm-to-table café operated by three close friends, each with a different skill set and very different personalities. Suzanne has a keen head for business and an insatiable curiosity about everything and everyone. She also converted a small room on one side of the café into a Book Nook filled with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves jam-packed with all types of books. To meet a browser’s needs, comfy chairs are set on a faded but still attractive Oriental rug. Petra is a whiz in the kitchen and also teaches a Hooked on Knitting class in the cozy Knitting Nest corner of the café. Sparkling with a jaunty personality and a “look at me” wardrobe, Toni is everyone’s favorite waitress.

With Halloween fast approaching, the ladies decide to throw a gala costume party, cramming the celebration into their already crowded schedule. Suzanne is glad to have a break from the hectic pace of the café and takes a leisurely drive to pick up some cheese wheels from her dairy supplier, Mick Mullen. Tragically, she finds Mike dead on the floor of the barn in the midst of a herd of cows complaining loudly that they are long overdue to be milked.

Devastated at finding Mike’s battered and bloody body, Suzanne’s curiosity pushes her to work to find his killer, much as Sheriff Doogie would rather she stay out of his investigation. Encouraged by Petra and Toni, who occasionally help in her snooping, Suzanne has lots of starts and stops in her search for the “why” and the “who” of Mike’s murder. Still she manages to follow clues while organizing elegant tea parties and keeping her romance with the handsome town doctor on track.

Come visit the ladies of the Cackleberry Club.  I know you will enjoy their company and there are plenty of delicious recipes that I’m sure you’ll want to try.

About the Author

laura-childsLaura Childs is the New York Times bestselling author of the Tea Shop Mysteries, Scrapbook Mysteries, and Cackleberry Club Mysteries. In her previous life she was CEO/Creative Director of her own marketing firm and authored several screenplays. She is married to a professor of Chinese art history, loves to travel, rides horses, enjoys fund raising for various non-profits, and has two Chinese Shar-Pei dogs.

Laura specializes in cozy mysteries that have the pace of a thriller (a thrillzy!) Her three series are:

The Tea Shop Mysteries – set in the historic district of Charleston and featuring Theodosia Browning, owner of the Indigo Tea Shop. Theodosia is a savvy entrepreneur, and pet mom to service dog Earl Grey. She’s also an intelligent, focused amateur sleuth who doesn’t rely on coincidences or inept police work to solve crimes. This charming series is highly atmospheric and rife with the history and mystery that is Charleston.

The Scrapbooking Mysteries – a slightly edgier series that take place in New Orleans. The main character, Carmela, owns Memory Mine scrapbooking shop in the French Quarter and is forever getting into trouble with her friend, Ava, who owns the Juju Voodoo shop. New Orleans’ spooky above-ground cemeteries, jazz clubs, bayous, and Mardi Gras madness make their presence known here!

The Cackleberry Club Mysteries – set in Kindred, a fictional town in the Midwest. In a rehabbed Spur station, Suzanne, Toni, and Petra, three semi-desperate, forty-plus women have launched the Cackleberry Club. Eggs are the morning specialty here and this cozy cafe even offers a book nook and yarn shop. Business is good but murder could lead to the cafe’s undoing! This series offers recipes, knitting, cake decorating, and a dash of spirituality.

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December 4 – Varietats – Review

December 5 – Cinnamon, Sugar, and a Little Bit of Murder – REVIEW

December 5 – Varietats – REVIEW

December 6 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

December 6 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW *

December 7 – MysteriesEtc – REVIEW

December 7 – Readeropolis – REVIEW *

December 8 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

December 8 – Queen of All She Reads – GUEST POST

December 9 – Island Confidential – INTERVIEW

December 9 – Community Bookstop – REVIEW

December 10 – The Editing Pen – REVIEW*

December 11 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW *, INTERVIEW

December 11 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW *

December 12 – The Power of Words – REVIEW

December 12 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

December 13 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW

December 14 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW

December 14 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – INTERVIEW

December 15 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW *

December 16 – A Holland Reads – REVIEW *

December 17 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too! – REVIEW *

December 18 – Booklady’s Booknotes – REVIEW

Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, Guest Post, mystery, Spotlight on December 11, 2016

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Offed Stage Left (Isobel Spice Mysteries)
(Volume 4)
Paperback: 260 pages
Publisher: Dulcet Press (October 27, 2016)
ISBN-13: 978-0998133201
E-Book ASIN: B01M3R8OD6

Synopsis

There’s one role you don’t want a callback for: Prime Suspect. Aspiring actress Isobel Spice lands her first regional theater job, playing a supporting role and understudying the lead in Sousacal: The Life and Times of John Philip Sousa. A series of minor backstage accidents culminates in the suspicious death of the leading lady on opening night. When Isobel takes over the role, her mastery of the material makes her more suspect than savior, and she realizes the only way to clear her name is to discover the identity of the murderer—before he or she strikes again.

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Guest Post

I’ve Got a Little List

By Joanne Sydney Lessner

“As someday it may happen that a victim must be found, I’ve got a little list.”   –W.S. Gilbert

I’m planning to kill my neighbor.

Lest you fear that I’ve just made you an accessory before the fact, rest assured that no actual blood will be spilled, although I do have a particularly gory end in mind for this guy. He’s one of those of selfish, antagonistic neighbors who has no consideration for anyone else, yet complains constantly about the rest of us. And so, he must die. In my next book.

In the first installment of my Isobel Spice mystery series, The Temporary Detective, Isobel arrives in New York City eager to pursue her acting career. On the first day of her first temp job, she stumbles across an obnoxious, overbearing secretary dead in a bathroom stall, a pair of scissors buried in her ample bosom. So who was this secretary really? Why, the woman who got me fired from my first temp job, of course! She thought I spent too much time yakking on the phone to my friends, which, admittedly, I did. I had the idea for my series shortly after that, although I didn’t write the book for almost twenty years. I guess you could say I hold a grudge, because even after all that time, she was still my first victim. I put her on the page—and then I killed her. [Insert maniacal laugh.]

In the second Isobel Spice novel, Bad Publicity, Isobel temps in a public relations firm, where a troublesome consultant drinks poisoned coffee before a meeting. Wanna guess? That’s right: a demanding client who made my colleagues and me miserable, and then fired us. Off he goes into the great beyond, dispatched with a not-so-accidental drug overdose. Next up was someone I don’t know personally, but whose antics angered me so much, I felt the need to be judge, jury, and executioner. And so, in And Justice for Some, a judge with an interest in a private juvenile prison meets a very gory, very public end. I will confess that almost all the professional actors I’ve worked with have been lovely, generous people. But there are divas out there, so in my latest book, Offed Stage Left, the victim is a composite of people I’ve only heard about.

One of the great things about being a writer is having the power to create your own world and populate it with whomever you want. It’s a particular perk of the mystery novelist that you get to regularly de-populate it as well. From now on, every time I find myself trapped in the elevator with my neighbor, I can relish the secret knowledge that—at least on paper—he’s going to get what he deserves.

About the Author

joannelessnerWriter, singer, and actor Joanne Sydney Lessner draws on her own experiences pursuing a performing career in New York City for her acclaimed Isobel Spice Mysteries: THE TEMPORARY DETECTIVE, BAD PUBLICITY, AND JUSTICE FOR SOME, and OFFED STAGE LEFT. With humor and a bit of romance, Isobel juggles auditions and temp jobs, solving murders along the way, while Joanne’s inside knowledge provides a window into the realities of breaking into show business (as well as a forum to share every humiliating audition experience she and her friends ever had.) Joanne’s debut novel, PANDORA’S BOTTLE, was inspired by the true story of the world’s most expensive bottle of wine and was named one of the top five books of 2010 by Paperback Dolls. With her husband, composer/conductor Joshua Rosenblum, she has co-authored several musicals, including the cult hit FERMAT’S LAST TANGO and EINSTEIN’S DREAMS, based on the celebrated novel by Alan Lightman. Her play, CRITICAL MASS, received its Off Broadway premiere in October 2010. Joanne is also a regular contributor to OPERA NEWS and a graduate of Yale University.

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December 5 – Island Confidential – CHARACTER INTERVIEW, SPOTLIGHT

December 6 – Readsalot – SPOTLIGHT

December 7 – Books,Dreams,Life – REVIEW, SPOTLIGHT

December 8 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

December 9 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! – REVIEW, SPOTLIGHT

December 10 – Laura’s Interests – SPOTLIGHT

December 11 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

December 12 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW

December 13 – Lori’s Reading Corner – CHARACTER GUEST POST

December 14 – A Blue Million Books – INTERVIEW

December 15 – Omnimystery News – GUEST POST

December 16 – Readeropolis – REVIEW

December 16 – deal sharing aunt – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

December 17 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW, GUEST POST

December 18 – A Holland Reads – CHARACTER GUEST POST, SPOTLIGHT

December 18 – Dalene’s Book Reviews – REVIEW

Posted in Cozy, e-books, mystery, Spotlight on December 10, 2016

Rosie Genova, author of the Italian Kitchen Mysteries, serves up a new dish this week with the release of her e-book holiday novella, The Seven Course Christmas Killer: A Holiday Novella from the Italian Kitchen. Priced at .99, the e-book will be available on Amazon and most other retailers.

The story takes place on Christmas Eve, as Vic and the gang prepare the traditional Feast of the Seven Fishes for their annual holiday party. But before you can say “shrimp scampi,” Mayor Anne McCrae takes a nasty fall that may not be an accident. Add a nosy reporter, guests with grudges, and a missing kitchen knife—and Vic suddenly has all the ingredients for murder!

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Synopsis

On Christmas Eve, someone might be sleeping with the fishes. . .

It’s December at the Casa Lido, which means only one thing: the Rienzi family’s traditional Christmas Eve celebration, including wine, song, and seven Italian seafood courses. As Victoria and Tim prep scungilli and calamari, Nonna directs the cooking until all is in readiness for the big night.

But the holiday cheer is interrupted by the attempted murder of Mayor Anne McCrae, who asks Vic to investigate. Trouble is, there are as many suspects as there are fishes on the Christmas Eve menu . . .

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About the Author

rosie genovaA Jersey girl born and bred, national bestselling author Rosie Genova left her heart at the shore, which serves as the setting for much of her work. Her new series, the Italian Kitchen Mysteries, is informed by her appreciation for good food, her pride in her heritage, and her love of classic mysteries from Nancy Drew to Miss Marple. Her debut novel, Murder and Marinara, was named a 2013 Best Cozy by Suspense Magazine and is a finalist for a 2014 Daphne Award. An English teacher by day and novelist by night, Rosie also writes women’s fiction as Rosemary DiBattista. She still lives in her home state with her husband and the youngest of her three Jersey boys.

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Posted in 5 paws, Cozy, Giveaway, mystery, Review on December 9, 2016

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fatal-fiction-cover

Fatal Fiction
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Lyrical Underground (December 6, 2016)
ISBN-13: 978-1601837325
E-Book ASIN: B01CWYTJVC

Synopsis

When kindergarten teacher Charli Rae Warren hightailed it out of Hazel Rock, Texas, as a teen, she vowed to leave her hometown in the dust. A decade later, she’s braving the frontier of big hair and bigger gossip once again . . . but this time, she’s saddled with murder!

Charli agrees to sell off the family bookstore, housed in a barn, and settle her estranged dad’s debt—if only so she can ride into the sunset and cut ties with Hazel Rock forever. But the trip is extended when Charli finds her realtor dead in the store, strangled by a bedazzled belt. And with daddy suspiciously MIA, father and daughter are topping the most wanted list . . .

Forging an unlikely alliance with the town beauty queen, the old beau who tore her family apart, and one ugly armadillo, Charli’s intent on protecting what’s left of her past . . . and wrangling the lone killer who’s fixin’ to destroy her future . . .

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Review

What a great start to a new series! I always love books set in small towns in Texas especially if the author gets the feel of the characters/town right, and Kym does that in this book.

I thought it was interesting that the main character was biracial. It took awhile before I actually figured it out, but even then it really wasn’t a big deal to the rest of the townspeople. Charli Rae was definitely something of a trouble maker when she was younger but perhaps because she had something to prove?

I thought it was humorous that everyone called her Princess, since that is what her dad called her, and it became even more confusing when she comes back to town and there is a pink armadillo also called princess.

The mystery itself was well written. I only suspected the killer based on a feeling. There are only so many characters and while there were a few I would rather have seen been the killer (mostly because they were jerks), the actual killer was something of a surprise and the reason behind it all.

Now you can’t have a mystery without a little romance. Charli was involved with Cade when they were teens and went their separate ways and meet back up when she comes to town and I think there are still sparks there. Only future books will tell us if I’m right.

Can’t wait to read the second book due out next year.  We give this book 5 paws up

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About the Author

kym-robertsThree career paths resonated for Kym during her early childhood: a detective, an investigative reporter, and…a nun. Being a nun, however, dropped by the wayside when she became aware of boys—they were the spice of life she couldn’t deny.

In high school her path was forged when she took her first job at a dry cleaners and met every cop in town, especially the lone female police officer in patrol. From that point on there was no stopping Kym’s pursuit of a career in law enforcement—even if she had to duct tape rolls of coins to her waist to meet the weight requirements to be hired.

Kym followed her dream and became a detective that fulfilled her desire to be an investigative reporter, with one extra perk—a badge. Promoted to sergeant Kym spent the majority of her career in SVU. She retired from the job reluctantly when her husband drug her kicking and screaming to another state, but writing continued to call her name, at least in her head.

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December 5 – A Holland Reads – GUEST POST

December 5 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT

December 6 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

December 7 – deal sharing aunt – INTERVIEW

December 8 – Shelley’s Book Case – REVIEW

December 8 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

December 8 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

December 9 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews – REVIEW

December 9 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

December 10 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW

December 10 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW

December 11 – T’s Stuff – SPOTLIGHT

December 11 – Dalene’s Book Reviews – REVIEW

December 12 – View from the Birdhouse – SPOTLIGHT

December 13 – Cozy Up With Kathy – INTERVIEW

December 14 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT

December 15 – Laura’s Interests – SPOTLIGHT

December 15 – Queen of All She Reads – REVIEW

December 16 – Girl with Book Lungs – REVIEW

December 17 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW

December 18 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

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Posted in Cozy, excerpt, Giveaway, mystery, Spotlight on December 8, 2016

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literally-dead-cover

Literally Dead (An Empty Nest Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Self Published (September 30, 2016)
Paperback: 218 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1940795386
E-Book ASIN: B01LWCW5C1

Synopsis

After her last disastrous episode as an amateur sleuth, Gracie Elliott is back. The budding romance writer has spent the past year crafting her first novel. Her hard work and determination pay off when her manuscript wins the Cream of the Crop award, a contest for unpublished writers, sponsored by the Society of American Romance Authors. First place entitles her to attend the organization’s annual conference, normally open only to published authors.

With husband Blake in tow, a starry-eyed Gracie experiences the ultimate fan-girl moment upon entering the hotel. Her favorite authors are everywhere. However, within minutes she learns Lovinia Darling, the Queen of Romance, is hardly the embodiment of the sweet heroines she creates. Gracie realizes she’s stepped into a romance vipers’ den of backstabbing, deceit, and plagiarism, but she finds a friend and mentor in bestselling author Paisley Prentiss.

Hours later, when Gracie discovers Lovinia’s body in the hotel stairwell, a victim of an apparent fall, Gracie is not convinced her death was an accident. Too many other authors had reason to want Lovinia dead. Ignoring Blake’s advice to “let the police handle it,” Gracie, aided by Paisley, begins her own investigation into the death. Romance has never been so deadly.

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Excerpt

The wheels of my suitcase couldn’t spin fast enough as I pushed through the revolving door of the Crown Jewel Hotel in midtown Manhattan. Once inside the lobby, I stopped short and gazed awestruck, soaking in the writerly atmosphere. My heart pounded so fast I could hear it reverberating in my ears. Or maybe that was the din of the voices from hundreds of romance authors filling the forty-story marble and glass atrium.

My eyes bugged out as I scoped the room. “Oh my God, Blake!” I reached for my husband’s hand and squeezed it. “That’s Liz Phillips,” I released my grip on my suitcase handle and pointed in the direction of the bar off to my right. “And Elise Robertson.”

“Friends of yours?” asked my husband.

“I wish! They’re two of the most successful romance writers in the world. I can’t believe I’m standing only a few yards away from them!” Talk about a fan girl moment! One more superstar sighting and I just might need a brown paper bag to ward off imminent hyperventilation.

“Hurry!” I pulled him along, nearly tripping over my Kate Spades as I race-walked toward the shortest of several lines that serpentined from the hotel registration desk around the chic silver, white, and gray lobby.

Blake grabbed me, preventing me from executing a face plant. Then he spun me around and settled his hands on my shoulders. Lowering his head until our foreheads nearly touched, he said, “I know you’re excited, Gracie, but take a deep breath. Slow down. The conference doesn’t start for several hours. You’re not going to miss anything.”

I humored him by continuing at a jog instead of a sprint until I reached the back of the line. “I can’t believe I’m here!” I squealed, bouncing on the balls of my feet.

A year of slaving over my manuscript had finally paid off. “Just think, by this time next year I’ll probably be returning as Gracie Elliott, published romance author.”

“Don’t you mean Emma Carlyle?”

“Right. Sorry.” Since Blake didn’t think the stuffy old academics of the university governing board would take too kindly to a faculty wife writing sensuous romances—not that my writing rose anywhere near Fifty Shades level—I’d promised to publish under a pseudonym. Thus, Gracie Elliott would become Emma Carlyle on bookstore shelves.

“Besides, aren’t you forgetting something?”

“Like what?”

“You need to sell your book first.”

Leave it to Mr. Logical to burst my bubble. “Yes, of course, but I’m sure I’ll have plenty of offers here at the conference. After all, I’m the winner of the Society of American Romance Author’s Cream of the Crop writing competition. That’s a huge award. You should be excited for me, Blake. And proud of my accomplishment.”

“I am excited for you, sweetheart, and I’ve always been proud of you. You’re the most amazing woman I’ve ever met. You set yourself a goal, and you work until you accomplish it.” He pecked my cheek. “I just don’t want to see you disappointed.”

“Why would I be disappointed? You just said I always accomplish my goals, didn’t you?”

“Yes, but some goals take longer than others. Did winning this contest guarantee you a publishing contract?”

“No, but—”

“The win gives you the opportunity to attend this writing conference, nothing more. Let’s keep everything in perspective, okay?”

“Fine. But you’re going to eat those practical words of yours by the end of these three days.”

“I’d love nothing better than to see you prove me wrong.”

We inched our way up in line. “Notice anything odd?” he asked above the cacophony of conversations around us.

I glanced up at my husband, then around the massive lobby. “Odd?” Although this was my first writing conference, I’d attended my share of business conferences and conventions over the years. Prior to the industry downsizing that outsourced my job as a fabric designer overseas and left me jobless and pension-less, I’d spent many hours cooling my Kate Spades and Christian Louboutins in long, slow-moving hotel check-in lines. “Not really.”

“It’s a veritable estrogen brigade here, Gracie!”  My normally unflappable husband suddenly looked like the clueless hero of a fish-out-of-water romance novel.

About The Author

lois-winstonUSA Today bestselling and award-winning author Lois Winston writes mystery, romance, romantic suspense, chick lit, women’s fiction, children’s chapter books, and nonfiction under her own name and her Emma Carlyle pen name. Kirkus Reviews dubbed her critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series, “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum.” In addition, Lois is an award-winning craft and needlework designer who often draws much of her source material for both her characters and plots from her experiences in the crafts industry. newsletter at

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December 1 – A Date with a Book – REVIEW

December 2 – Author Annette Drake’s blog – INTERVIEW

December 3 – Brooke Blogs – CHARACTER GUEST POST

December 4 – Queen of All She Reads – REVIEW

December 4 – Community Bookstop – INTERVIEW

December 5 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT

December 5 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW

December 6 – Cozy Up With Kathy – INTERVIEW

December 7 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW

December 8 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

December 9 – Island Confidential – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

December 10 – A Holland Reads – CHARACTER GUEST POST, SPOTLIGHT

December 10 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT

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Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, mystery, Spotlight on December 5, 2016

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Crime and Catnip (A Nick and Nora Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Berkley (December 6, 2016)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425270226
E-Book ASIN: B01CZCW4ZY

Synopsis

Nick and Nora aren’t just pussyfooting around this time as they deal with a missing person’s case and murder.

While catering a gala for the Cruz Museum, Nora Charles agrees to look into the disappearance of director Violet Crenshaw’s niece, a case previously undertaken by her frisky feline friend Nick’s former owner, a private eye whose whereabouts are also currently unknown.

As Nora and her curious cat Nick pull at the string of clues, they begin to unravel a twisted tale of coded messages, theft, false identities, murder, and international espionage. Nora dares to hope that the labyrinth of leads will not only help them locate the missing young woman, but also solve the disappearance of the detective. That’s if Nora can stay alive long enough to find him…

INCLUDES DELICIOUS SANDWICH RECIPES

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About the Author

fred-profileWhile Toni Lotempio does not commit – or solve – murders in real life, she has no trouble doing it on paper. Her lifelong love of mysteries began early on when she was introduced to her first Nancy Drew mystery at age 10 – The Secret in the Old Attic. She (and ROCCO, albeit he’s uncredited) pen the Nick and Nora mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime – and in Spring 2017, the new CAT RESCUE msyteries from Crooked Lane! She, Rocco and company make their home in Clifton, New Jersey, just twenty minutes from the Big Apple – New York.

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November 30 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – INTERVIEW

November 30 – A Holland Reads – REVIEW, SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY

December 1 – Books,Dreams,Life – REVIEW, SPOTLIGHT

December 1 – MysteriesEtc – REVIEW

December 2 – Shelley’s Book Case – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY

December 2 – Community Bookstop –  REVIEW

December 3 – Bibliophile Reviews –  REVIEW, INTERVIEW, GIVEAWAY

December 3 – The Power of Words – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY

December 4 – Mystery Playground – CHARACTER INTERVIEW, SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY

December 4 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too! – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY

December 5 – Mochas, Mysteries and Meows – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

December 5 – View from the Birdhouse – SPOTLIGHT

December 5 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY

December 6 – Melina’s Book Blog –  REVIEW, GIVEAWAY

December 6 – Readeropolis – REVIEW

December 7 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW

December 7 – Author Annette Drake’s blog – INTERVIEW, SPOTLIGHT

December 7 – Varietats – Review

December 8 – Book Babble – REVIEW

December 8 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – REVIEW

December 8 – LibriAmoriMiei – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY

December 9 – Books Direct – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY

December 9 – A Blue Million Books – CHARACTER INTERVIEW