Posted in 4 paws, Cozy, Giveaway, Monday, mystery, Review on May 22, 2017

Dumpster Dying: Book 1 in the Big Lake Murder Mysteries

Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Creekside Publishing (December 31, 2016)

Synopsis

Emily Rhodes came to rural Florida for the cowboys, the cattle, and to do a little country two-step, not to fall head first onto a dead body in a dumpster. Ah, the golden years of retirement in the sunshine state. They’re more like pot metal to Emily, who discovers the body of the county’s wealthiest rancher in the Big Lake Country Club dumpster. With her close friend accused of the murder, Emily sets aside her grief at her life partner’s death to find the real killer. She underestimates the obstacles rural Florida can set up for a winter visitor and runs afoul of a local judge with his own version of justice, hires a lawyer who works out of a retirement home, and flees wild fires hand-in-hand with the man she believes to be the killer.

Excerpt

Emily Rhodes, the new bartender at the Big Lake Country Club, blew damp tendrils of sun-bleached hair out of her face as she kicked and dragged three plastic trash bags across the sunbaked asphalt lot behind the clubhouse. A full moon illuminated the area’s lone palm tree under which sat a metal beast waiting for its nightly feeding.

“Here you go, big boy,” she said. She let go of the bags and, with one hand, lifted the dumpster’s lid on the side closest to her. The usual stench of rotting garbage assaulted her nostrils. She ignored the smell and tried to heave the bag into the container, but it tumbled back out. She shoved back the lid on the other side, and mentally crossed her fingers that she wouldn’t have to hop in there and stomp around on that stuff to make room like she did the other night.

By the glow of the security light she spotted a white object lying at the far end of the dumpster, a cowboy hat, a very special cowboy hat, a Silver Belly, expensive and worn by very few men. She’d encountered just such a man earlier in the evening. The circumstances of their meeting were not pleasant.

What the hell was that doing here, she wondered? Emily leaned in as far as she could. Her feet left the ground, and she teetered on the rim of the dumpster. She struggled to reach the hat, tugged at it and almost went head first into the bin, head first onto the man’s face hidden beneath the hat.

Ugh! She fell back and dropped the metal lid, the clang reverberating off the side of the building in the still night. She covered her mouth with her hand, and leaned against the dumpster. That can’t be. I didn’t see that, did I?

She turned, opened the lid once more, gingerly pushed a garbage bag to one side and peered in for another look. She remembered him from earlier in the evening when he had grabbed her blouse and tried to pull her across the bar. He had worn a brilliant white cowboy shirt with roses appliquéd on the front yoke. Now the shirt front was as dark as the blood-red flowers.

She gulped hard to hold back the bile working its way up from her stomach and looked around the lot. It was empty. She needed help.

She ran for the door of the clubhouse. The knob wouldn’t turn.

Oh, damn. I did it again, left the door on auto lock. Now I can’t get back in. She felt in her pocket for her cell phone, then remembered she had left it along with her keys lying on the bar counter. But she had hidden a spare car key in the wheel well. I’ll have to drive for help, and the sooner the better.

She gripped the steering wheel with sweaty hands and hunched over it, the tension in her neck sending shooting pains up the back of her head. As she turned out of the country club grounds and punched the accelerator, she saw the flashing lights of a police car heading toward her. She sat back in the seat and dropped her shoulders. Oh, good. Help was on its way.

As the cruiser’s lights caught hers, its driver slammed to a halt and did a controlled skid blocking her lane. She stood on her brake, and stopped the car, then jumped out and ran toward the police vehicle. Tears of relief poured down her face and onto her chin.

Two officers with drawn guns greeted her.

“Stop right there, on the ground, hands out,” said the officer who had been driving.

“But officer, there’s a man there. I think he’s dead.”

“On the ground, on the ground.” His voice chilled the hot, still night.

Emily raised her shaking hands and dropped on rubbery knees. This can’t be happening.

The other member of the duo placed his knee in her back, cuffed her, pulled her to her feet, and searched her.

“Why are you doing this to me? I was trying to help. The man back there, someone killed him, I think,” Emily said. The officer walked her to the police car.

“We know all about that. Got a call a few minutes ago, and we’re responding. Now we’d like to find out what you know about it.”

She began to hiccup, her usual reaction when she was frightened. “Me? (hic) Me? I found him (hic) when I took out the garbage. I would have called it in, but I locked myself out of the bar, and I left my cell phone inside.” Her explanation sounded lame even to her ears.

“Sure you weren’t running?” asked Officer Handcuffs.

They shoved her into the back seat and headed toward the clubhouse.

“Sure I was running. I was trying to get help.”

“Looks like you’re the one who needs it,” said the driver. The other officer turned in his seat and looked at her. There was hardness in his eyes that she knew he reserved for the guilty.

“My car. It’s in the middle of the road,” hiccupped Emily. She twisted her head around to look out of the back window. If anything happened to that car, she wouldn’t be able to afford another, and her insurance rates would go sky high. There was little point in telling the officers her financial concerns. They were after a criminal, and they thought they’d found her.

At the clubhouse, the driver shone his high-powered flashlight into the dumpster, confirming their report.

“Shot in the chest. Gotta be dead. Lotta blood.”

She tried to shut out her memory of the body, but the officer’s words brought it back to her in IMAX and Technicolor. It was just the reminder she needed to experience the gory scene yet again.

Review

What an intriguing town in this mystery. I live in Texas and so usually think of the wild west being here and a bit further west, not in a sleepy little town in Florida with alligators.

I liked most of the characters and they played well off one another and really rounded out the story. Emily and Clara have a unique friendship that works for them and their family members really include each other as well. There are of course busy bodies in the town that you think are on your side…until they aren’t. Watch out!

The mystery was well written as I was very surprised near the end when the mastermind behind everything was revealed. I don’t think I was too surprised just because the character was annoying, but I didn’t think they could be involved in everything. There is more than 1 person involved and you know some of them through the story, but not all.

There is a hint of a love story between Emily and Detective Lewis, but that will have to come in future books since Emily is still getting over the death of her life partner.

We give this 4 paws up.

About the Author

Lesley retired from her life as a professor of psychology and reclaimed her country roots by moving to a small cottage in the Butternut River Valley in upstate New York.  In the winter she migrates to old Florida—cowboys, scrub palmetto, and open fields of grazing cattle, a place where spurs still jingle in the post office, and gators make golf a contact sport.  Back north, the shy ghost inhabiting the cottage serves as her literary muse.  When not writing, she gardens, cooks and renovates the 1874 cottage with the help of her husband, two cats and, of course, Fred the ghost, who gives artistic direction to their work.

She is the author of a number of mystery series (Microbrewing Series, Big Lake Mystery Series, Eve Appel Mystery Series and the Laura Murphy Mysteries), a standalone mystery (Angel Sleuth) and numerous short stories.   

Website * Twitter * Facebook * Blog

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check out the other blogs on this tour

May 15 – The Ninja Librarian – REVIEW – Book 1, CHARACTER GUEST POST

May 15 – My Journey Back My Reading Journeys –  REVIEW – Both Books, INTERVIEW*

May 16 – Dee-Scoveries – SPOTLIGHT

May 17 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW – Both Books, INTERVIEW

May 17 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

May 18 – A Blue Million Books – GUEST POST

May 18 – Book Babble – REVIEW – Both Books

May 19 – Sleuth Cafe – SPOTLIGHT

May 19 – Bookworm Café –  GUEST POST

May 20 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW – Book 1

May 20 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! – REVIEW – Both Books *

May 21 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT

May 21 – Island Confidential – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

May 22 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW – Both Books, CHARACTER GUEST POST

May 22 –StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW – Book 1

May 22 – Queen of All She Reads – REVIEW – Both Books

May 23 – FUONLYKNEW – REVIEW – Both Books*

May 24 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW – Book 2

May 24 – T’s Stuff – REVIEW – Book 1

May 25 – Bibliophile Reviews –  REVIEW – Both Books

May 25 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

May 26 – Rainy Day Reviews – REVIEW –  Both Books*

May 26 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

May 27 – Varietats2010 – REVIEW – Book 2

May 27 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW Book 1, GUEST POST*

May 28 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW Book 2*

May 28 – Cassidy’s Bookshelves – CHARACTER GUEST POST

Posted in Cozy, excerpt, Giveaway, Guest Post, Historical, mystery on May 20, 2017

Mrs. Odboddy: Undercover Courier

Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Elk Grove Publications (February 8, 2017)
Print Length: 199 pages
ASIN: B06WCZMFGN

Synopsis

Asked to accompany Mrs. Roosevelt on her Pacific Island tour, Agnes and Katherine travel by train to Washington, D.C. Agnes carries a package for Colonel Farthingworth to President Roosevelt.

Convinced the package contains secret war documents, Agnes expects Nazi spies to try and derail her mission.

She meets Irving, whose wife mysteriously disappears from the train; Nanny, the unfeeling caregiver to little Madeline; two soldiers bound for training as Tuskegee airmen; and Charles, the shell-shocked veteran, who lends an unexpected helping hand. Who will Agnes trust? Who is the Nazi spy?

When enemy forces make a final attempt to steal the package in Washington, D.C., Agnes must accept her own vulnerability as a warrior on the home front.

Can Agnes overcome multiple obstacles, deliver the package to the President, and still meet Mrs. Roosevelt’s plane before she leaves for the Pacific Islands?

Mrs. Odboddy: Undercover Courier is a hysterical frolic on a train across the United States during WWII, as Agnes embarks on this critical mission.

Guest Post

While researching events during WWII for my humorous mystery/adventure, Mrs. Odboddy Hometown Patriot, and Mrs. Odboddy Undercover Courier, I found some interesting facts about life in the USA. during World War II:

Rationing: Because vital supplies were needed for the troops, ration stamp booklets were issued to American housewives. Many items including meat, sugar and fresh fruit were in short supply and could only be purchased with the appropriate ration stamp.

Due to blockades affecting Brazilian ships attempting to bring coffee and sugar to the USA during part of 1942-43, coffee was rationed to one pound per adult every six weeks. (This alone was reason to go to war.)

Eggs were in short supply and costly, resulting in many resident chickens in suburban backyards.

Tires: A citizen was allowed to purchase only five tires during the entire war. By today’s standards, that sounds sufficient, but despite a 35 mph national speed limit, bumpy roads and poor quality rubber led to multiple flat tires. Doctors and public safety professionals were allowed additional tire and gasoline stamps. Gasoline was rationed to four gallons per week per adult. Folks relied on car pool, buses, bicycles or walking. Men working out of town often boarded away from home and came home only intermittently.

Such shortages of food and other supplies led to black market ration books or ‘arrangements’ between friends willing to sell stamps they didn’t need.

Victory Gardens: Citizens appeared unpatriotic if they didn’t plant a victory garden. Suburban front yards were soon converted to rows of cabbages, zucchinis, tomatoes and carrots. Vegetables with a high yield requiring limited growing space became the main ingredient of Meatless Monday meals. Mrs. Roosevelt planted zucchini in the White House Rose Garden.

Watch Towers: Ever fearful of another Japanese air attack on the West Coast, and the limited availability of newly discovered radar technology, volunteers became the ‘early warning system’ in watch towers every several miles along the California and Oregon coastline.

Train Travel: Though trains traveled all the way across the U.S.A. there was no direct line and travelers often had to change from one train to another, with hours long layovers of hours or days between connections.

These events are highlighted in both of my novels. In Mrs. Odboddy Undercover Courier, Agnes and Katherine travel from California to Washington D.C. to accompany Mrs. Roosevelt on her Pacific Island tour. Carrying a package to the President she believes contains secret war documents, it is no surprise to encounter a man she believes is a Nazi spy. When she is witness to his ‘committing murder,’ she is sure she will be next on his hit list. Join Mrs. Odboddy on her hysterical romp across the USA. Filled with laugh and suspense, you will enjoy a bit of history along the way.

Excerpt – Mrs. Odboddy Undercover Courier

“Do you want to order some breakfast, Grandmother?” Katherine said.

“No, thank you. Just coffee. Well, maybe a muffin…with jam. That would be nice.”

The waiter nodded and turned away.

“Wait! Maybe a bowl of stewed prunes for my digestion…” Agnes lifted her head and sniffed. “And, a couple strips of bacon. It smells so wonderful.”

The waiter made notes on his tablet. “Is that all, ma’am? Are you sure you won’t be requiring something else?”

“No, thank you. That’s fine. I’m not really hungry.”

“I can see something has upset you, Grandma. What is it this time?”

Agnes shook her head. She leaned across the table and whispered. “It’s Irving. I think he killed Geraldine last night, and now he’s coming after me!”

“What?” Katherine’s voice rang through the dining car.

Heads turned and passengers stared.

“Katherine. People are staring.” Agnes lowered her head. “I said, Irving killed Geraldine. Last night, I saw him throw her fur cape off the platform. This morning, he told me she left the train at the water stop in the middle of the night. How ridiculous is that? Who would get off at a water stop? That’s hogwash.”

“Really, Grandmother! Here-We-Go-Again is leading the pack by a nose, running down the track…

“It’s the only explanation that makes sense. He killed her. I had just stepped out onto the platform. That’s when I saw him throw off her fur cape. We have to notify the authorities.”

Katherine shook her head. I-Can’t-Believe-This has taken the lead, running neck and neck with Here-We-Go-Again…“You’re not serious… Grandma, you’re always imagining… I mean… Sometimes you get carried away and… There must be a logical explanation. You can’t accuse someone of murder just because you saw him throw something off the train. Maybe it wasn’t Geraldine’s fur cape. Maybe it was something else, like his newspaper.”

“And, maybe Hitler will get religion and stop invading European countries, but I’m not going to hold my breath. Don’t you think I know the difference between a newspaper and a fur cape? I may be forgetful, and I have arthritis in my left hip but I’m not blind. I know what I saw and Geraldine is not on this train. What other explanation is there? Now that he knows I saw him, he’ll probably come after me.”

Katherine crossed her arms. …and Good-Grief-What-Now? is three lengths ahead of You-Have-Got to-Be-Kidding…“Stop being melodramatic. I’ll not have any part of this.” Katherine’s brow knit and she scowled. How many times had they been through this nonsense? Grandma saw boogie-men everywhere she turned and wasn’t shy about making accusations, even though she was always wrong. Most of the time.

“Here’s your breakfast, Mrs. Odboddy, just like you ordered.” The porter lowered the tray to the table and whipped off the silver lid. The aroma of bacon mixed with strawberry jam rose from the plate.

Agnes sniffed. “Ahh! Smells wonderful. Thank you so much.” She grinned at the porter.

He filled their coffee cups, set the cream pitcher on the table and backed away.

Katherine avoided her grandmother’s eyes and didn’t speak. The only sound was the murmurs from nearby tables.

Grandmother bit into her muffin. “So, are you going into town with me to report the murder, or not?”

Now, what should I do? Let Grandmother wander the streets of Albuquerque alone or encourage her poppycock by going with her on a fool’s errand? I’ll have to go and try to change her mind.

Katherine glanced at her watch. “It’s nearly 7:30 A.M.” She retrieved her purse. “I’ll meet you on the station platform and we’ll go into town together. Now, don’t go off half-cocked on your own. Promise?”

Agnes nodded. “If you say so. There’s not much time to shop if I go to the—”

Katherine turned on her heel and stomped away. She glanced back to see Grandmother waving at the porter. She’ll probably order waffles and eggs, because she isn’t very hungry.

About the Author

Elaine is a member of Sisters in Crime, Inspire Christian Writers and Cat Writers Association. She lives in No. Calif with her husband and four house cats (the inspiration for her three humorous cozy cat mysteries, Black Cat’s Legacy, Black Cat and the Lethal Lawyer, and Black Cat and the Accidental Angel).

Mrs. Odboddy’s character is based in no way on Elaine’s quirky personality. Two more Mrs. Odboddy adventures will publish in the near future. Many of Elaine’s short stories have appeared in magazines and multiple anthologies.

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check out the other blogs on this tour (additional giveaways!)

May 17 – Maureen’s Musings – REVIEW

May 17 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT

May 18 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – REVIEW

May 18 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY

May 19 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

May 19 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT

May 20 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

May 21 – Community Bookstop – REVIEW

May 22 – Brooke Blogs – CHARACTER GUEST POST, GIVEAWAY

May 22 – Books Direct – INTERVIEW

May 23 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW

May 23 – Cozy Up With Kathy – GUEST POST

May 24 – Island Confidential – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

May 24 – Author Annette Drake’s blog – INTERVIEW

May 25 – Bibliophile Reviews –  REVIEW, GUEST POST, GIVEAWAY

May 26 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW

Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, Guest Post, mystery on May 18, 2017

A Perfect Manhattan Murder (A Nic & Nigel Mystery) by Tracy Kiely
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Midnight Ink (May 8, 2017)
Paperback: 240 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0738745244
E-Book ASIN: B01LXJQVDI

Synopsis

The play’s the thing, but it’s the star-studded after-party that sends sparks flying

Thrilled that their friend’s Broadway debut was a rousing success, Nic and Nigel Martini, along with Nic’s college pal Harper, are trying to enjoy the exclusive after-party. Unfortunately, all the champagne and repartee in the world aren’t enough to overlook the churlish behavior of Harper’s husband, Dan. Nic is shocked the next morning when she learns that Dan’s been murdered. Nigel thinks the world may be a better place without him.

Still, Harper’s their friend and they’re intent on helping her any way they can. The Martinis will stop at nothing—with the possible exception of cocktails and walks with their bull mastiff Skippy—to see that the killer ends up behind bars.

Guest Post

The Life of a Writer – Now in Technicolor

I have three children, all of whom I adore and all of whom produce an ungodly amount of laundry. To pass the time while I neatly fold it (so that they can, in turn, cram it in their drawers or leave it on their floors), I tune into some show like Hoarders or Dr. Phil. Don’t judge. You’d be surprised at how these shows can make you feel practically giddy that your biggest complaint at the moment is too much laundry. The subject on Hoarders is pretty much always the same – too much of everything. Tuning into Dr. Phil, however, is a crapshoot. He tackles everything from weight loss to drug addiction. However, the ones that I like to pair with my laundry deal with parenting.  They usually are titled something like, “Families on the Brink,” or “Children Out Of Control.” After a brief introduction Dr. Phil, the camera will pan to a fairly normal looking couple. The husband usually looks Very Serious and the wife looks Very Sad. When prompted, they will haltingly tell of their inability to control their children and how it is ruining their once happy lives.  Dr. Phil will nod sympathetically as they tell their tale of woe before turning to the audience and saying something like this: “Well, we wondered what a day in the life of this family was really like so we placed cameras all throughout the house. You won’t believe what we saw.”

Cut to a grainy image of the wife – now looking like a well-dressed Tasmanian Devil on crack – screaming at her fourteen-year-old while the father shouts his own profanities and slams his fist into the counter.

I always have the same reaction to these shows – which is jaw dropping disbelief. Not at the rotten behavior of the parents – let’s face it – if you have kids, then you have had that moment when you‘ve done and said something stupid. And if you have teenagers, then odds are you’ve lost your temper and shouted. Loudly. But for God’s sake! Who in their right minds would ever let someone put cameras in their homes?  That action right there, and not than the yelling and swearing, is what bespeaks a sick mind.

I would like to tell you that were you to watch me write, you’d see this: I enter my beautifully decorated (and spotless) writing area. It has a view of the early morning sun bouncing off the rolling ocean. I am showered. My hair is artfully pulled back into one of those carelessly looking soft buns that actually take hours to perfect. I am wearing white linen pants and a light sweater. As I sit at my antique desk, my golden retrievers flopped loyally at my side. I take a sip of my hot tea and begin typing with a quiet intensity. I remain that way for three hours.

However, such a scene exists only in my mind. Were I actually to allow cameras in my home, here is what you’d see.  I enter the kitchen. It is a disaster of dirty breakfast dishes and open cereal boxes. I have not showered. I am wearing torn sweatpants and an old t-shirt. My hair is best left to the care of trained professionals. I stumbled to my desk off the kitchen. My writing area overlooks the backyard, which is littered with soccer balls, lacrosse balls, nets, and what appears to be a pair of dirty socks. Both of my golden retrievers push runs past me; one with a pair of shoes in his mouth, the other with what appears to be my checkbook. After a lengthy chase, I finally sit at my desk. I type. Then I read. Then I chase the dogs again. Then I type. Then I have an idea that needs verification and so I look it up on the Internet. Then I see that Nordstrom’s is having a sale of sorts and so I bop over to that site for a while. Then I think maybe having some chocolate might be a good idea because I just read that dark chocolate is a “super food.” From there I wander over to the cupboard to see if we have any. We don’t. But we do have milk chocolate. I wonder if that counts. I decide it does and eat it. I resume my seat at my desk and reread what I’ve written. (This is usually where the cursing occurs.) Then I repeat everything again.

Were you to be forced to watch this you would begin screaming yourself. It’s a bit like that odd adage – you might like sausage, but you sure as hell don’t want to see how it’s made.

I would say it’s the same with books. You might like them, but you don’t want to watch them made.

About the Author

Tracy Kiely is a self-proclaimed Anglophile (a fact which distresses certain members of her Irish Catholic family). She grew up reading Jane Austen, Agatha Christie, and watching Hitchcock movies. She fell in love with Austen’s wit, Christie’s clever plots, and Hitchcock’s recurrent theme of “the average man caught in extraordinary circumstances.”

After spending years of trying to find a proper job that would enable her to use her skills garnered as an English major, she decided to write a book. It would, of course, have to be a mystery; it would have to be funny; and it would have to feature an average person caught up in extraordinary circumstances. She began to wonder how the characters in Pride and Prejudice might fit into a mystery. What, if after years of living with unbearably rude and condescending behavior, old Mrs. Jenkins up and strangled Lady Catherine? What if Charlotte snapped one day and poisoned Mr. Collins’ toast and jam? Skip ahead several years, and several different plot ideas, and you have her first mystery Murder at Longbourn.

While she does not claim to be Jane Austen, Agatha Christie, or Hitchcock (one big reason being that they’re all dead), she has tried to combine the elements of all three in her books.

 

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Check out the other blogs on this tour

May 8 – Sleuth Cafe – GUEST POST

May 8 – deal sharing aunt – INTERVIEW

May 9 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

May 9 – Author Annette Drake’s blog – SPOTLIGHT

May 10 – Babs Book Bistro – REVIEW

May 10 – A Blue Million Books – GUEST POST

May 11 – Rainy Day Reviews – REVIEW

May 11 – Books Direct – SPOTLIGHT

May 12 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT

May 12 – T’s Stuff – INTERVIEW

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

May 14 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

May 15 – Queen of All She Reads – REVIEW

May 16 – Celticlady’s Reviews– SPOTLIGHT

May 17 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

May 17 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf -SPOTLIGHT

May 18 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

May 19 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW

May 19 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW

May 20 – Varietats – REVIEW

May 20 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – REVIEW

May 21 – Cozy Up With Kathy – INTERVIEW

 

 

 

Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, Guest Post, mystery on May 16, 2017

The Connecticut Corpse Caper (A Triple Threat Mystery Book 1)

Cozy Mystery
1st Book in Series
Self Published
Print Length: 317 pages

Synopsis

The antics of seven inheritance recipients during a week-long stay at a Connecticut estate are detailed by protagonist Jill Jocasta Fonne. The will of her aunt stipulates that if anyone leaves early, his or her share will be divided among those remaining. As it happens, one does leave—permanently—when he dies just hours after arrival. Guests and staff alike have secrets to share as Jill and her colleagues, Rey and Linda, discover when they step out of their chosen professions into the roles of amateur sleuths. But are these secrets the reasons that bodies start appearing and disappearing? Others soon join in the sleuthing, and the bumbling and stumbling—and mayhem—begin.

Guest Post

The Non-P.I. Lives of the Triple Threat Gals

TV and book private eyes are often portrayed as living glamorous and/or exciting lives.  In reality, investigative work is as routine as making lunch.  That’s not to say there aren’t thrilling or even dangerous adrenalin-pumping moments; Rey, Linda and I can certainly attest to that.

Today, I thought I’d share something more personal about the Triple Threat Investigation gals—no, not the romantic components, because they don’t exist.  As Rey has frequently stated of late: men are as useful as broken doorknobs.  While Linda and I may not necessarily agree with the analogy, we do agree that we have no interest in, or time for, serious commitments.

We’re as different as the Kardashians and sometimes as silly and contentious as the Three Stooges.  There’s no question, though, we do love and respect one another (most of the time).

Melodramatic Rey can lunge at someone or something like a Roman soldier thrusting a duel-edged sword.  Yet, while she’s headstrong and pushy, she can also prove loving and kind (not that she’d necessarily want people to view her that way).

Linda leans toward the academic and serious.  She loves to blog and is always eager to learn something new.  And is that gal fit!  Jillian Michaels has nothing on her.

I’ve been described as “determined”; I’m like a dog with a bone.  It’s true, because when I latch onto something, I can’t let go.  I enjoy jogging and boxing, and dislike swimming with a passion.  It’s something I truly suck at, but it’s a “must do” (that dogged side of me), so I get to a pool when time allows.

All three of us have causes, too.

Saving the monk seal is Rey’s.  Maybe it’s that actress background, but she can cite facts without a blink or breath—such as an already woefully declining Hawaiian monk seal population is threatened by sharks, food limitations, marine debris, and shoreline habitat loss, among other things.  As a volunteer, she helps place signs, is happy to educate beachgoers, and even does beach clean-up (this from a woman who once wouldn’t be seen in public without a spanking new manicure).

Linda’s cause is homelessness, which continues to increase on Oahu.  Too many individuals and families live on the streets, in plastic tents and tiny shanties.  Some call the base of a banyan tree “home sweet home”.  This past January, she started assisting with the annual homeless count and is helping feed folks in a soup kitchen one afternoon a week.

My focus is animals.  Button, as you know, is a rescue crossbreed.  Since my first visit to the shelter, I’ve become acutely aware of animal abuse, which is both distressing and infuriating.  Happy to donate money, supplies and time, I also volunteer one day a week.

The three of us have come a long way since the move to the South Pacific.  We’ve developed professionally and have grown personally.  We love our private-eye careers . . . and we love giving back.

Aloha.

About the Author

Tyler Colins is primarily a writer of fiction and blog posts, and a sometimes editor and proofreader of books, manuals, and film/television scripts. She’ll also create business plans, synopses, film promotion and sales documents.

Fact-checking and researching, organizing and coordinating are skills and joys (she likes playing detective and developing structure).

Her fiction audience: lovers of female-sleuth mysteries. Her genres of preference: mysteries (needless to say), women’s fiction, informative and helpful “affirmative” non-fiction.

She aims to provide readers with smiles and chuckles like the ever-talented Janet Evanovich and the sadly passed and missed Lawrence Sanders, the “coziness” of Jessica Fletcher, and a few diversions and distractions as only long-time pros Jonathan Kellerman and Kathy Reichs can craft.

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check out the other blogs on this tour

May 15 – Blogger Nicole Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

May 16 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

May 17 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

May 18 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – INTERVIEW

May 19 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

May 20 – A Blue Million Books – GUEST POST

May 21 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

May 22 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW

May 23 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW

May 24 – Fantastic Feathers –  SPOTLIGHT

May 25 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

May 26 – Lori’s Reading Corner – GUEST POST

May 27 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT

May 28 – Cozy Up With Kathy – INTERVIEW, EXCERPT

Posted in 5 paws, Cozy, Giveaway, Monday, mystery, Review on May 15, 2017

The Final Vow (A Living History Museum Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Midnight Ink (May 8, 2017)
Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0738745923
E-Book ASIN: B01LWKJTY7

Synopsis

Summer weddings in Barton Farm’s picturesque church are standard procedure for museum director Kelsey Cambridge. At least they were until the Cherry Foundation, which supports the museum, orders Kelsey to host her ex-husband’s wedding on Farm grounds.

Ambitious wedding planner Vianna Pine is determined to make the bride’s Civil War-themed wedding perfect. But each time Vianna’s vision threatens the integrity and safety of the Farm, Kelsey has to intervene.

When Kelsey finds Vianna’s dead body at the foot of the church steps, everyone’s plans fall apart. With both the wedding and Barton Farm at risk of being permanently shut down, Kelsey has to work hard to save her own happily ever after.

Review

Twists and turns I didn’t expect while trying to figure out who the killer was and why it was Vianna that had to die.

So that is my “tag line” for this cozy mystery that took me through a few different emotions because I felt for Kelsey having to deal with her ex getting remarried where she works to someone that is a spoiled person and expects everything to be done her way. Kelsey put up with a lot and on top of that has to figure out who killed Vianna and why. I honestly never suspected the character that killed her but the “why” made sense. Kelsey also has walls up after her marriage to the ex and it makes it harder for her to move on with other relationships – hopefully she and Chase can work things out.

I do enjoy this series – the writing keeps me hooked, the historical side and even the humor.

We give it 5 paws up.

About the Author

Amanda Flower, a two-time Agatha Award-nominated mystery author, started her writing career in elementary school when she read a story she wrote to her sixth grade class and had the class in stitches with her description of being stuck on the top of a Ferris wheel. She knew at that moment she’d found her calling of making people laugh with her words. She also writes mysteries as national bestselling  author Isabella Alan. In addition to being an author, Amanda is an academic librarian for a small college near Cleveland.

Website * Pen Name Website * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads * Pinterest

 

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Check out the other blogs on this tour

May 8 – Maureen’s Musings – REVIEW

May 8 – Island Confidential – INTERVIEW

May 9 – Rainy Day Reviews – REVIEW

May 9 – Books Direct – GUEST POST

May 10 – Bibliophile Reviews –  REVIEW, INTERVIEW

May 10 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT

May 11 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW

May 11 – A Cozy Experience – REVIEW

May 12 – Babs Book Bistro – REVIEW

May 13 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

May 14 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW

May 14 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, GUEST POST

May 15 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

May 15 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

May 16 – Curling up by the Fire – REVIEW

May 16 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

May 17 – The Power of Words – REVIEW

May 18 – Girl with Book Lungs – REVIEW

May 18 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST

May 19 – My Journey Back– REVIEW

May 20 – Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting – REVIEW

May 21 – Community Bookstop – REVIEW

Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, mystery, Spotlight on May 13, 2017

A Good Day to Buy (A Sarah W. Garage Sale Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Kensington (April 25, 2017)
Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1496707512
E-Book ASIN: B01JEJCA4G

Synopsis

HER BROTHER IS NO BARGAIN
When Sarah Winston’s estranged brother Luke shows up on her doorstep, asking her not to tell anyone he’s in town—especially her ex, the chief of police—the timing is strange, to say the least. Hours earlier, Sarah’s latest garage sale was taped off as a crime scene following the discovery of a murdered Vietnam vet and his gravely injured wife—her clients, the Spencers.

BUT IS HE A KILLER?
All Luke will tell Sarah is that he’s undercover, investigating a story. Before she can learn more, he vanishes as suddenly as he appeared. Rummaging through his things for a clue to his whereabouts, Sarah comes upon a list of veterans and realizes that to find her brother, she’ll have to figure out who killed Mr. Spencer. And all without telling her ex . . .

Amazon * B&N * IndieBound

About the Author

Agatha award nominated author, Sherry Harris, started bargain hunting in second grade at her best friend’s yard sale. She honed her bartering skills as she moved around the country while her husband served in the Air Force. Sherry uses her love of garage sales, her life as a military spouse, and her time living in Massachusetts as inspiration for the Sarah Winston Garage Sale series.

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Check out the other blogs on this tour

May 1 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – REVIEW

May 1 – Author Annette Drake’s blog – INTERVIEW

May 2 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW

May 2 – View from the Birdhouse– SPOTLIGHT

May 3 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW

May 3 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW

May 4 – Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting – REVIEW

May 4 – Community Bookstop – REVIEW

May 5 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW

May 6 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT

May 7 – Shelley’s Book Case – REVIEW – no post

May 8 – Michelle’s Romantic Tangle – REVIEW

May 8 – Pulp and Mystery Shelf – GUEST POST

May 9 – A Cozy Experience – REVIEW

May 9 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

May 10 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW

May 10 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW

May 11 – Cassidy’s Bookshelves – REVIEW

May 11 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

May 12 – Rainy Day Reviews – REVIEW

May 12 – Classy Cheapskate – REVIEW, GUEST POST

May 13 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

May 13 – Girl with Book Lungs – INTERVIEW

May 14 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

Posted in 5 paws, Cozy, Giveaway, Monday, mystery, Review on May 8, 2017

Magick & Mayhem (An Abracadabra Mystery)

Cozy Mystery
New Series
Publisher: Lyrical Underground (May 2, 2017)
ASIN: B01JWDZSQQ

Synopsis

What’s in a murderer’s bag of tricks?

Twenty-something Kailyn Wilde has learned to embrace her unpredictable life as a descendant of small-town New Camel’s most magickal family. She just didn’t expect to inherit her mother and grandmother’s centuries-old shop, Abracadabra, so suddenly. The surprises keep coming when Kailyn goes to finalize the estate at the local attorney’s office—and stumbles over the body of her best friend Elise’s husband . . .

As a brash detective casts the blame on Elise, Kailyn summons her deepest powers to find answers and start an investigation of her own. What with running a business, perfecting ancient spells, and keeping up with an uninvited guest of fabled origins, Kailyn has her hands full. But with the help of her uncanny black cat Sashkatu and her muumuu-clad Aunt Tilly, she’s closing in on a killer—who will do anything to make sure she never tests her supernatural skills again!

Review

Paranormal/witch/magic type books are usually hit or miss with me but this one was a hit! I loved the characters especially Merlin – yes that Merlin. He someone gets to modern time and is like a kid in a candy store sopping up the advances that have been made since his time. I think he really made the story and sometimes stole the spotlight. That isn’t to say the rest of the characters aren’t good because they do round out the cast and help make the story.

When it comes to the mystery portion – whoa what a shocker when the killer was revealed. While this person is something of a suspect, when you find out why the local attorney is killed you won’t be surprised at why he was killed. Can’t say too much because you need to read the book and see if you can figure out who and why.

There is a lot of misdirection and red herrings to keep the story hopping and interesting. A series I plan to keep my eye on.

We give this 5 paws up

About the Author

I started writing stories as soon as I learned how to put letters together to form words. From that day forward, writing has been a part of my life whether it was my first attempt at a novel in seventh grade or the little plays I wrote for my friends to perform for neighbors and family. After college, when I was busy teaching French and Spanish to high school students, I was also writing poetry — some of it in French.

After several years, I left teaching to be a full time mom, and when my two children started school, I went back to writing. To my delight I found that the muse was still there, still waiting patiently for me to come around. My first novel, Ghostfire, was published at that time. It went on to be condensed in Redbook magazine (the first paperback original the magazine had ever condensed.) Then came The God Children and The Portal. Redbook also published my first short story, which was subsequently sold to several foreign magazines. With two great kids, a golden retriever and a loving, supportive husband (whom I’d met at the beach when I was fourteen — but that’s a story for another day), I felt like I was exactly where I was meant to be in my life. But fate had another plan for me, and it went by the name of “breast cancer.”

Looking back, I realize how fortunate I was that the cancer was discovered at such an early stage, but at the time it was all very overwhelming. Once I was back on my feet, I wanted to help other women who were newly diagnosed, worried and afraid. I became a Reach to Recovery volunteer for the American Cancer Society and went on to run the program for Nassau and Suffolk Counties on Long Island. A number of years later, with the help of my surgical oncologist and two other volunteers, I started Lean On Me, a nonprofit organization that provides peer support and information to breast cancer patients. When Lean On Me celebrated its tenth anniversary it no longer required as much of my time, and I once again found myself free to pursue my first love — writing.

Website * Twitter * Facebook * Goodreads

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check out the other blogs on this tour

May 1 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW

May 1 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – SPOTLIGHT

May 2 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW

May 2 – Books Direct – SPOTLIGHT

May 3 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

May 3 – Melissa’s Eclectic Bookshelf – INTERVIEW

May 3 – Bubble Bath Books – REVIEW

May 4 – Readsalot – SPOTLIGHT

May 4 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

May 5 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT

May 5 – The Broke Book Bank – REVIEW

May 6 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

May 7 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW

May 7 – Nadaness In Motion – REVIEW

May 8 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

May 8 – A Blue Million Books – INTERVIEW

May 9 –  A Holland Reads – GUEST POST

May 10 – Book Babble – REVIEW

May 10 – Varietats – REVIEW

May 11 – FUONLYKNEW – REVIEW

May 11 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

May 12 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW

May 13 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – REVIEW

May 13 – Deal Sharing Aunt – SPOTLIGHT

May 14 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW

Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, Guest Post, mystery on May 6, 2017

A Stone’s Throw
Solstice Publishing (March 8, 2017)
Paperback: 322 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1625265463
ASIN: B06XGNXQCS

Synopsis – Book 1

Widowed librarian Alicia Fairmont needs answers…

After her husband is killed in a hit and run accident, Alicia travels upstate to his hometown of Cobble Cove, New York, hoping to locate his estranged family and shed light on his mysterious past. Anticipating staying only a weekend, her visit is extended when she accepts a job at the town’s library.

Secrets stretch decades into the past…

Assisted by handsome newspaper publisher and aspiring novelist, John McKinney, Alicia discovers a connection between her absent in-laws and a secret John’s father has kept for over sixty years. But her investigation is interrupted when she receives word her house has burned and arson is suspected, sending her rushing back to Long Island, accompanied by John.

Back in Cobble Cove, cryptic clues are uncovered…

When Alicia returns, she finds a strange diary, confiscated letters, and a digital audio device containing a recording made the day her husband was killed. Anonymous notes warn Alicia to leave town, but she can’t turn her back on the mystery—or her attraction to John. As the pieces begin to fall into place, evidence points to John’s involvement in her husband’s accident. The past and present threaten to collide, and Alicia confronts her fears…

Between A Rock and a Hard Place
Publisher: Solstice Publishing (October 12, 2016)
Paperback: 316 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1625264534
E-Book ASIN: B01M59PPBY

Synopsis – Book 2

Librarian Alicia McKinney has put the past behind her…

Two years ago, Alicia discovered both a terrible truth and lasting love with John McKinney in the small town of Cobble Cove, New York. Now a busy mother of twin babies and co-author of a mystery series, Alicia couldn’t be happier.

Alicia’s contentment and safety are challenged…

Walking home alone from the library, Alicia senses someone following her, and on more than one occasion, she believes she is being watched. Does she have a stalker? When the local gift shop is burglarized, the troubling event causes unrest among Alicia and the residents of the quiet town.
John and Alicia receive an offer they can’t refuse…

When John’s sister offers to babysit while she and John take a much-needed vacation in New York City, Alicia is reluctant to leave her children because of the disturbances in Cobble Cove. John assures her the town is safe in the hands of Sheriff-elect Ramsay. Although Alicia’s experience with and dislike of the former Long Island detective don’t alleviate her concern, she and John take their trip.

Alicia faces her worst nightmare…

The McKinneys’ vacation is cut short when they learn their babies have been kidnapped and John’s sister shot. Alicia and John’s situation puts them between a rock and a hard place when the main suspect is found dead before the ransom is paid. In order to save their children, the McKinneys race against the clock to solve a mystery more puzzling than those found in their own books. Can they do it before time runs out?

Written in Stone
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Solstice Publishing (April 3, 2017)
Print Length: 215 pages
ASIN: B06Y1JTHJ8

Synopsis – Book 3

Alicia McKinney is confused . . . .

Was the strange email her husband received from the fictional detective in their mystery series a threat? Did the killer mistake the woman shot in the library for Alicia or the victim’s twin sister?

Cat vs. Dog . . .

After Sneaky goes missing from the library, will he turn up before a young girl becomes ill with worry over his disappearance? And will he return in time to outsmart Fido by being first to find the perpetrator’s smoking gun?

Alicia is worried . . .

While waiting for the killer’s next move, Alicia has other concerns. An old flame of John’s is in town and her friend, Gilly, has adopted the role of Miss Marple to aid her sheriff boyfriend in his investigation.

When all clues point to one of her co-workers, Alicia joins Gilly in searching for the answers to the mystery.

Will they survive . . . .

or is their ending written in stone?

Guest Post

When Your Pet is Missing, A Part of You is Lost

Have you ever lost a pet? It’s an awful feeling to wonder what became of your fur baby who ran out of the house for the first time or just didn’t come back from his or her usual nightly ramblings. Having always had animals, I’m more than familiar with this heartbreaking experience.

When I was ten, a gray and white cat came to our door. My mother, who had a soft heart for stray and feral animals, took her in and tried to find her owners. However, after noticing her bulging stomach, we realized she was pregnant and that was most likely the reason she had been evicted from her home. Not surprisingly, she wasn’t claimed. We kept her, and I named her Kitty. After a short time, she gave birth in our closet to three kittens – two boys and a girl. It was near Halloween, and I named one of the male cats Pumpkin, even though he was gray and not orange. Although my mother said we could keep all the cats, Pumpkin was the one to whom I grew most attached. I still remember the day he and his brother left our hour and never came home. My mother said that they had probably followed a female cat’s trail and lost their way. I was upset with her that she let him roam. I was worried he’d been hit by a car or met some other horrible end. My only consolation was that I still had Kitty and her daughter. My mother spayed them both and kept them inside. They lived with us for 15 and 16 more years.

Another cat of mine went missing when I was much older and already married with a daughter. Although he was strictly a house cat, Stripey enjoyed sitting on the window when the screens were on to let in the nice warm air during the spring and summer. One day, we accidentally left the window open when we went to work, and Stripey knocked out the screen and escaped. My experience with Pumpkin returned to me as I faced my crying daughter when she found out Stripey was missing. I helped her put up signs on telephone poles in the neighborhood and at the library where I worked. We searched for him under bushes, near houses, and through surrounding streets with no luck. What made it harder was that it had recently rained, and I worried that the scent that helps cats find their ways home would have washed away. At the suggestion of my neighbor who knew our cat was missing, we placed some cat food on a paper plate by the back door of our screened-in porch and opened it wide enough for a cat to fit through. The inner door to our house was locked overnight. When I woke in the morning, Stripey was standing there looking at me through the glass. My daughter and I were overjoyed that he was back.

Having experienced both the loss and recovery of a missing cat, I knew that I could use those real-life memories to portray what happens to Sneaky the library cat in my third Cobble Cove Mystery, Written in Stone. When Sneaky disappears from the comforts of his upstairs cat room that is accessible from the staff lounge through a cat flap, Alicia and Laura, the two librarians closest to him, are consumed with both worry and guilt. Alicia, my main character, can’t get him off her mind as she walks through town. She is particularly worried about the effects of his disappearance on a young girl, Angelina, who is fighting leukemia and who enjoys seeing him at the library’s storytimes. The girl’s father, also concerned for his ill daughter, puts up a reward for information leading to Sneaky’s recovery. Even as more pressing matters occur in the book including a murder, a threat on her life, and the appearance of a beautiful woman from her husband’s past, the missing cat remains uppermost on Alicia’s mind. Will Sneaky be lost forever like Pumpkin; or, like Stripey, will he be reunited with his Cobble Cove friends?

About the  Author

debbie-delouiseDebbie De Louise is a reference librarian at a public library on Long Island and has been involved with books and writing for over thirty years. She received the Lawrence C. Lobaugh, jr. Memorial Award in Journalism for her work as Features Editor on the Long Island University/C. W. Post student newspaper, the Pioneer. More recently, Debbie received the Glamour Puss Award from Hartz Corporation for an article about cat grooming that appeared on Catster.com. She has published a short mystery in the Cat Crimes Through Time Anthology and two novels,CLOUDY RAINBOW and A STONE’S THROW, the first book of her Cobble Cove cozy mystery series. Her short stories, THE PATH TO RAINBOW BRIDGE and DEADLINE appear in the anthologies, REALMS OF FANTASTIC STORIES and PROJECT 9, Vol. 2 published by Solstice Publishing. She is currently working on a psychological thriller, the third Cobble Cove Mystery, and a new pet-related cozy series. She lives on Long Island with her husband, daughter, and two cats.

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Check out the other blogs on this tour

May 5 – My Journey Back – SPOTLIGHT

May 5 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

May 6 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

May 6 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – REVIEW

May 7 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

May 8 – Dee-Scoveries – SPOTLIGHT

May 8 – Mochas, Mysteries and Meows – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

May 9 – Cozy Up With Kathy – SPOTLIGHT

May 10 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT

May 11 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW

May 12 – deal sharing aunt – INTERVIEW

May 13 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

Posted in 5 paws, Cozy, Movie, mystery, Review on May 5, 2017

For a long time I have wanted the Hallmark channel, but more importantly, the Hallmark Movie & Mystery channel.  Thanks to a deal I struck with the cable company I started receiving these channels in March…and that was the downfall of my reading!  I have heard of various cozy books that have been made into movies and once I had this channel the TiVo was set up to record all of them.  This made for great binge watching weekends!

The first series I decided to watch was The Garage Sale Mysteries by author Suzi Weinert.  These movies star Lori Loughlin as Jennifor Shannon, owner of an antique type store that frequents garage sales and estate sales for bargains….never expecting she would stumble across a murder (or two).  With her eye for detail she is able to help the police solve the crime but not without putting herself in a little danger along the way.

There are 7 movies out as of this date and I am hoping there might be more to come!  (I can’t believe there were 7, didn’t seem like I watched THAT many!)

Photo from Hallmark Movie & Mystery Channel website

Garage Sale Mystery

Jennifer Shannon (Lori Loughlin) can always find a diamond in the rough – when it comes to garage sales, that is! Whether it’s a new antique to sell at her consignment shop, an Atari game for her son or a piece of furniture for her handy husband Jason (Rick Ravanello) to refurbish, she has made a career out of her treasure hunting prowess. But, when a string of burglaries hits her town, Jennifer must use her keen eye for detail and her natural problem solving instincts to help her piece together the clues and catch the criminal, before it’s to late!

Working with Detective Adam Iverson (Andrew Dunbar), Jennifer puts together a theory that the perpetrators of the burglaries are fellow garage sale regulars. The case escalates to dangerous levels when Jennifer discovers the dead body of her friend. And, even though the vicitms husband, Ben Douglas (Cameron Bancroft), finds nothing missing in their house, and the police label the death as accidental, Jennifer suspects that the death may be related to the burglaries.

So, with her treasure hunting skills and problem solving instincts, Jennifer finds and pieces together clues to the burglaries and her friend’s death. But as she gets closer to the truth, Jennifer learns that crime solving can be far more dangerous than any garage sale! Can she uncover the “Garage Sale Mystery” before it’s too late, or will her investigation create problems that not even Jennifer can solve.

If you click on the links it will take you to Hallmark’s Movie & Mystery website and you can see previews of each movie.

Garage Sale Mystery: All That Glitters

Jennifer Shannon (Lori Loughlin) has a gift for finding rare treasures hidden in garage sales that she can resell at her consignment store, Rags to Riches. But her keen eye for finding valuables also gets her involved in the criminal investigations that happen at the very second-hand sales she frequents. When Jennifer’s friend and self-storage facility owner Martin (Michael Kopsa) turns up murdered just hours after auctioning off an abandoned storage unit full of unique items to Jennifer, she is immediately pulled on the case as a key eyewitness. Working with Detective Lynwood (Kevin O’Grady), Jennifer helps single out a disgruntled customer as the prime suspect, while she and her business partner, Danielle (Sarah Strange), sift through boxes from the auction. As her husband Jason (Steve Bacic) worries about her safety, Jennifer starts to get over her head when there is a break-in at her store and a run-in with Martin’s angry wife. Then, Jennifer and Danielle discover their new merchandise contains the sparkly evidence they needed all along to nail the surprising real culprit. They must race to save a life and put their own on the line. Will they succeed before times runs out?

Garage Sale Mystery: The Deadly Room

Jennifer Shannon uses her sharp eye when finding rare garage sale treasures to resell at the consignment store she owns with business partner, Dani. When her friend dies trying to disprove rumors that a multi-million dollar home she is trying to sell has a deadly curse, Jennifer puts these intuitive skills to the test. Though a police investigation led by Detective Lynwood finds no evidence of foul play – even on the webcam footage from the night of the death – Jennifer has an ominous feeling that her friend has been murdered. Putting her keen instincts to work, Jennifer researches the history of deaths that all occurred in the room where her friend died, and examines a few key suspects with motives to murder. Jennifer’s husband Jason worries about her safety, but supports her efforts as she continues to investigate. As Jennifer uncovers clues that bring her closer to the truth, she also puts her own life in danger.

Garage Sale Mystery: The Wedding Dress

Jennifer Shannon (Lori Loughlin) has made a career of finding rare garage sale treasures to resell at the consignment store she owns with her business partner, Dani (Sarah Strange). When she finds a wedding dress that was worn on the day a groom went missing, Jennifer uses her knack for solving puzzles to investigate this unsolved cold case. After meeting the dress’s original owner, Helen (Cheryl Ladd), and finding traces of blood on the dress, Jennifer digs deeper into the decades-old mystery with the help of Detective Lynwood (Kevin O’Grady), and the support of her husband, Jason (Steve Bacic). With every clue that Jennifer uncovers, she gets closer to either finding the long-missing groom, or uncovering a wedding day murder.

Garage Sale Mystery: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

Jennifer Shannon has an eye for antiques and a mind for solving mysteries. Her old friend from college, Sandra, has an antiques store that is closing. An ecstatic Jennifer gets first pick on all the goodies. She expects to find a few exquisite pieces for her store, “Rags to Riches,” but she doesn’t expect to find a dead body. To make matters worse, Sandra is arrested for murder. Jennifer has no choice but to get involved and find the real killer to prove her friend’s innocence. This won’t be an easy case to crack, because cleverly planted clues all point to Sandra.

Garage Sale Mystery: The Novel Murders

Jennifer Shannon (Loughlin) is a garage sale shopping expert whose sharp observation skills allow her to uncover valuable antiques, as well as help her local police department investigate crimes and solve mysteries. When an impoverished man enters Rags to Riches – a consignment shop where Jennifer sells the gems she’s found at garage sales – and asks to have an item home-delivered, Jennifer agrees. Upon her arrival at his run-down apartment, Jennifer finds the man murdered. As the police survey the crime scene, Jennifer cannot help but think there is something familiar about the details of the killing – and soon realizes that the victim’s cold- blooded demise is a re-enactment of a murder in a classic mystery novel.

Garage Sale Mystery: Art of Murder

Jennifer Shannon is a garage sale shopping expert whose sharp observation skills allow her to uncover valuable antiques, as well as help her local police department investigate crimes. While arranging a charity garage sale event, Jennifer finds a body in the attic of a local residence. While working to crack the case, Jennifer offers support to her loving husband, Jason, whose upcoming birthday has sparked a mid-life crisis. As Jennifer prepares to buy him the perfect gift, she receives an urgent voicemail from Tina, pleading for her immediate assistance. When she responds, the garage sale-expert-turned-sleuth finds herself standing face-to-face with a killer.

Review

I really enjoyed all of the movies, some more than others, but all were enjoyable.  I have never read this series so I don’t know how much the movies might differ from the books.  I thought the actors chosen to play each character were very believable and likable (unless they were then the villain then of course we don’t like them!).  I was amazed at what I learned about how to look at different items at sales and who knows what sort of treasure that you could find just waiting around the corner.

Each movie drew me in to the case and also the personal lives of the characters.  What they dealt with from friends, family and work situations and how it impacted those around them.

I’m not sure that there is an order to watch these but I think  you have to start with the first one to get a bit of background and their personal stories develop with each subsequent movie.

We give it 5 paws up!

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Posted in Cozy, Guest Post, mystery on May 3, 2017

Till Dirt Do Us Part by Teresa Trent
Cozy Mystery
Pecan Bayou #7

Approximately 219 pages

Synopsis

Not everything stays buried. When Betsy, a notorious brown thumb gets roped into a gardening contest sponsored by the Pecan Bayou Gazette, she finds herself digging up more than weeds. She is ridiculed by the garden club ladies, and now her heart breaks for a newly single mom whose world has just collapsed. The Happy Hinter is back so take some time to revisit the cozy little town Pecan Bayou, Texas. Grab a glass of sweet tea before you turn the dirt in the garden and sit a spell with all your favorite characters who dole out heartfelt caring and compassion with a side of humor. Till Dirt Do Us Part includes bonus recipes and helpful hints from Betsy’s column!

The book is FREE during the tour, so download your copy now!

Guest Post

Everyone Has a Story To Tell

By Teresa Trent

 

It always amazes me whenever I tell someone I’m a writer that within a few minutes they tell me about a book they have bubbling up inside of them. It seems everybody has a story to tell, but they don’t know where to begin to tell it.  Sometimes, their first thought is to have me tell it, but my mind is too crammed full of my own stories!  Here are some ideas for would-be, wanna-be, wish-to-be storytellers.

  1. Take your story idea to the mat. Time to ask the hard questions. Be mean and find the holes. For instance, you have this great idea about a dog that solves crimes. Ask yourself—how does he tell anyone what he has deduced? How does he defend himself against a killer? What happens when a squirrel interferes with his thought processes?
  2. Write the story from start to finish. I’m not talking book-length, but a few pages. There will be plot holes in your story, but that’s okay. This is your first road map. One thing you should know about writing is you’re never really finished. I’m sure some day my tombstone will read, “Teresa Trent—Currently in her second draft in her eternal existence.”
  3. Once you have written your story, find someone who will give supportive, constructive criticism. Don’t let anybody stomp on your dream.
  4. Revise your story again to fix problems and then you are ready to start the writing process. This means breaking that story down into scenes. I write scenes first and then assign them to chapters.

This all sounds so simple, right? Writing is a simple thing, but organizing, tweaking, and finding inspiration is something else.  Now it’s time to move from inspiration to discipline. Writing a book can take months that can lead to years. Writing for me is work, but it’s a job I dearly love. So, go ahead and let that story inside of you come bubbling out. Who knows? Maybe you’ll knock me down a peg on the Amazon sales list!

About the Author

Teresa Trent lives in Houston, Texas and is an award-winning mystery writer.  She writes the Pecan Bayou Mystery Series, is a regular contributor to the Happy Homicides Anthologies. Teresa is happy to add her Henry Park Mystery Series to her publishing credits with Color Me Dead, the first book in the series. Teresa has also won awards for her work in short stories where she loves to dabble in tales that are closer to the Twilight Zone than small town cozies. When Teresa isn’t writing, she is a full-time caregiver for her son and teaches preschoolers music part-time. Her favorite things include spending time with family and friends, waiting for brownies to come out of the oven, and of course, a good mystery.

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