Posted in 5 paws, Cozy, Giveaway, Monday, mystery, Review on March 13, 2017


Fatality by Firelight (A Cat Latimer Mystery)

Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Kensington (February 28, 2017)
Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1496704375
E-Book ASIN: B01GBAG6VO

Synopsis

Cat Latimer’s Colorado bed-and-breakfast plays host to writers from all over. But murder is distinctly unwelcome . . .

To kick off a winter writing retreat, Cat and her handyman boyfriend, Seth, escort the aspiring authors to a nearby ski resort, hoping some fresh cold air will wake up their creative muses. But instead of hitting the slopes, they hit the bar—and before long, a tipsy romance novelist named Christina is keeping herself warm with a local ski bum who might have neglected to tell her about his upcoming wedding.

Next thing Cat knows, her uncle, the town sheriff, informs her that the young man’s been found dead in a hot tub—and Christina shows up crying and covered in blood. Now, between a murder mystery, the theft of a rare Hemingway edition, and the arrival of a black-clad stranger in snowy Aspen Hills, Cat’s afraid everything’s going downhill . .

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Review

I have really enjoyed this spinoff of the author’s Tourist Trap series. This is the second book n the series and I want to visit this town in Colorado and stay at this retreat even though I am not a writer.

There are several mysteries happening in this series. The first is one that will be seen in probably all of the books until solved, what happened to Cat’s ex-husband Michael. We gain a little more insight in this book as to what he might have been involved in or with whom.

The main mystery is the death of a local Lothario (or so he thinks) and of course one of the retreat visitors, Christina, was considered as the killer. She had some other issues back home and that seemed to add to the issue. It wasn’t a huge surprise who the killer was because this character was a bit odd/suspicious to me. I also did figure out another aspect having to do with Christina’s issues back home.

I like seeing Cat and Seth’s relationship continue. However, there is the introduction of Dante, that while it isn’t likely to become a love triangle, he does seem to be actively pursuing Cat. And how exactly does Dante fit into the story about her ex-husband? Only future books will tell us I think!

Overall great book and can’t wait to read more.  We give it 5 paws up

About the Author

USA Today and New York Times, best-selling author, Lynn Cahoon is an Idaho native. If you’d visit the town where she grew up, you’d understand why her mysteries and romance novels focus around the depth and experience of small town life. Currently, she’s living in a small historic town on the banks of the Mississippi river where her imagination tends to wander. She lives with her husband and four fur babies.

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February 28 – Community Bookstop – REVIEW

February 28 – A Blue Million Books – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

March 1 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – SPOTLIGHT

March 1 – I Wish I Lived in a Library – REVIEW

March 2 – Classy Cheapskate – REVIEW

March 2 – Author Annette Drake’s Blog – INTERVIEW

March 3 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

March 4 – Book Babble – REVIEW

March 4 – Mystery Playground – GUEST POST

March 5 – Shelley’s Book Case – REVIEW

March 6 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

March 6 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW

March 7 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW, GUEST POST

March 8 – Books, Dreams, Life – SPOTLIGHT

March 8 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

March 9 – Bea’s Book Nook – REVIEW

March 10 – A Holland Reader – SPOTLIGHT

March 10 – The Bookwyrm’s Hoard – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

March 11 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

March 12 – Cassidy’s Bookshelves – REVIEW

March 12 – Brooke Blogs – CHARACTER GUEST POST, SPOTLIGHT

March 13 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, mystery, Pets, Review on March 11, 2017

Death by Chocolate Lab (Lucky Paws Petsitting Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
New Series
Kensington (February 28, 2017)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1496707383
E-Book ASIN: B01GBAG2T0

Synopsis

Pet sitter Daphne Templeton has a soft spot for every stray and misfit who wanders into the quaint, lakeside village of Sylvan Creek. But even Daphne doesn’t like arrogant, womanizing Steve Beamus, the controversial owner of Blue Ribbon K-9 Academy. When Steve turns up dead during a dog agility trial, Daphne can think of a long list of people with motives for homicide, and so can the police. Unfortunately, at the top of the list is Daphne’s sister, Piper—Steve’s latest wronged girlfriend.

Certain that Piper is innocent, in spite of mounting evidence to the contrary, Daphne sets out to clear her sister’s name—and find Axis, Steve’s prize-winning chocolate Labrador, who went missing the night of Steve’s death. Aided by Socrates, her taciturn basset hound, and a hyperactive one-eared Chihuahua named Artie, Daphne quickly runs afoul of Detective Jonathan Black, a handsome and enigmatic newcomer to town, who has no appreciation for Daphne’s unorthodox sleuthing.

Can a free-spirited pet sitter, armed only with a Ph.D. in Philosophy and her two incompatible dogs, find the real killer before she becomes the next victim?

Includes recipes for homemade dog treats!

Review

I thought this was a great start to a new series…it contained one of my favorite things, dogs! There is a basset hound named Socrates and a chihuahua named Artie that is so ugly he is cute. There are a few other dogs including 3 rottweilers named after Shakespearean characters and a retriever named Axis.

The murder doesn’t happen right off the bat, but I will say I guessed who was killed before it was revealed. Now I’m sure you are thinking – but the synopsis says who was killed. Ok this is true, but I didn’t read that before I started reading this book. So I still give myself lots of credit for guessing that part!

Daphne is a free spirit. I love that she drives an old VW bus – perfect for hauling dogs around, as long as she remembers to fill up the gas tank. It was a shock to realize she had a PhD (in Philosophy) so she had to have had some sort of drive to accomplish that degree; however, her actions lead you to think otherwise. I think she is still lost in what she wants to do with her life. Her sister, Piper, is the opposite. Piper is very down to earth and organized, probably why she makes a great vet.

The mystery of who killed Steve was well written and I suspected a few other people but was totally shocked when the killer was revealed. Looking back there might have been one or two subtle clues but otherwise I really had no idea.

Of course you can’t have a mystery without a little potential romance. Detective Jon Black keep showing up trying to help solve the crime. I think he fancies Daphne and she might like him a little too despite dating Dylan, another free spirit. Although I don’t think she likes him quite that way.

We give this book 5 paws up.

About the Author

Bethany Blake lives in a small, quaint town in Pennsylvania with her husband and three daughters. When she’s not writing or riding horses, she’s wrangling a menagerie of furry family members that includes a nervous pit bull, a fearsome feline, a blind goldfish, and an attack cardinal named Robert. Like Daphne Templeton, the heroine of her Lucky Paws Mysteries, Bethany holds a Ph.D. and operates a pet sitting business called Barkley’s Premium Pet Care.

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March 6 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

March 6 – A Holland Reads – GUEST POST

March 7 – Babs Book Bistro – REVIEW

March 7 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT

March 7 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – INTERVIEW

March 8 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW

March 8 – Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting – REVIEW

March 9 – Shelley’s Book Case – REVIEW

March 9 – Texas Book-aholic – SPOTLIGHT

March 9 – A Blue Million Books – INTERVIEW

March 10 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

March 10 – The Book’s the Thing – SPOTLIGHT

March 10 – Bookworm Mom – REVIEW

March 11 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

March 11 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

March 11 – Sleuth Cafe – SPOTLIGHT

March 12 – The Power of Words – REVIEW

March 12 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

March 13 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW

March 13 – Cozy Up WIth Kathy – INTERVIEW

March 14 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – REVIEW

March 14 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT

March 15 – Queen of All She Reads – REVIEW

March 15 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT

March 16 – A Cozy Experience – REVIEW

March 16 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST

March 17 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW

March 17 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

Posted in 4 paws, Cozy, Giveaway, mystery, Review on March 9, 2017

Kneaded to Death (A Bread Shop Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
New Series
Kensington (February 28, 2017)
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages

Synopsis

Everyone swears by Yeast of Eden, the Mexican bread shop in town. But tonight, the only thing on the menu is la muerte . . .

Struggling photographer Ivy Culpepper has lots of soul-searching to do since returning to seaside Santa Sofia, California. That is, until the thirty-six-year-old enters a bread making class at Yeast of Eden. Whether it’s the aroma of fresh conchas in the oven, or her instant connection with owner Olaya Solis, Ivy just knows the missing ingredients in her life are hidden among the secrets of Olaya’s bakery . . .

But Ivy’s spirits crumble when a missing classmate is suddenly discovered dead in her car. Even more devastating, the prime suspect is Olaya Solis herself. Doubting the woman could commit such a crime, Ivy embarks on a murder investigation of her own to prove her innocence and seize the real killer. As she follows a deadly trail of crumbs around town, Ivy must trust her gut like never before—or someone else could be toast!

Review

I always enjoy checking out a new cozy series, especially when there is food involved! This series revolves around a bakery called Yeast of Eden and the author does a great job of making my mouth water when she describes all the different breads. I especially enjoy the tips on baking bread because even though I don’t bake bread often, the tips are very handy to keep in the back of my mind.

There are several mysteries that need to be solved in this book. Of course there is the main murder of Jackie, a local cooking school owner. Why was she killed? The reason will surprise you because it sure did surprise me. The author takes you down another path and while there is some merit it isn’t all it seems to be. Then there is Ivy’s mother that was killed 6 months prior. All seems to reflect a hit and run, but Ivy just can’t accept that there isn’t more. Could it have been murder? And if so, are the deaths tied together?

When it came time to revealing the killer I was quite surprised because this person was not even on my radar. I don’t think there were any clues to tip us off that it was this character. In fact, I was starting to suspect one of the main characters (not going to tell you who, you’ll have to read the book because this character might become a suspect in your mind too!) but was very relieve it was not her.

This book also focuses on grief – from Ivy and her father over losing her mother, to Miguel’s loss of his father and even Jackie’s daughter. I hope that in future books knowing the truth about Ivy’s mother will help her family move on past the grief.

Lastly, there is a hint at a possible romance being rekindled between Ivy and Miguel. They dated in high school and then he left town. Ivy’s heart was broken but will she get past that hurt? I think probably so.

We give this book 4 paws up.

About the Author

The indefatigable Winnie Archer is a middle school teacher by day, and a writer by night. Born in a beach town in California, she now lives in an inspiring century old house in North Texas and loves being surrounded by real-life history. She fantasizes about spending summers writing in quaint, cozy locales, has a love/hate relationship with both yoga and chocolate, adores pumpkin spice lattes, is devoted to her five kids and husband, and can’t believe she’s lucky enough to be living the life of her dreams.

Winnie Archer Website

Winnie Archer is the pseudonym for national bestselling author Melissa Bourbon.

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February 27 – Books,Dreams,Life – REVIEW

February 28 – Sleuth Cafe – REVIEW

February 28 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW

March 1 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

March 1 – Cinnamon, Sugar, and a Little Bit of Murder – REVIEW

March 1 – Bookworm Mom – REVIEW

March 2 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

March 2 – Read Your Writes Book Reviews – INTERVIEW

March 3 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW

March 3 – Rainy Day Reviews – REVIEW

March 4 – Shelley’s Book Case – REVIEW, GUEST POST

March 4 – Island Confidential – INTERVIEW

March 5 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

March 5 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW

March 6 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW

March 6 – Book Babble – REVIEW

March 7 – Community Bookstop – REVIEW

March 8 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW, GUEST POST

March 8 – A Holland Reads – REVIEW

March 9 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

March 9 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW

March 10 – Becky’s Bookcase – REVIEW

March 10 – Readeropolis – REVIEW

March 11 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

March 11 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – GUEST POST

March 12 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW

Posted in Cozy, excerpt, Giveaway, mystery on March 8, 2017

Facials Can Be Fatal (A Bad Hair Day Mystery)

Cozy Mystery
13th in Series
Five Star Publishing (February 22, 2017)
Hardcover: 286 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1432832827

Synopsis

During the frenzy of the December holidays, the last thing salon owner Marla Vail needs is a dead body slathered in a green facial mask at her new day spa. The victim, Valerie Weston, was a major donor for Friends of Old Florida, a historic building preservation society. Marla’s stylists are scheduled to work backstage at their upcoming gala fashion show, but Val’s demise might put a crimp in their plans. Hoping to salvage her reputation, Marla determines to track down the suspects. As she learns more about Val, she realizes the benefactress might have stumbled onto secrets others would kill to keep. She’d better prepare for a body count that has nothing to do with hot stone massages and everything to do with murder.

Excerpt

A blood-curdling scream pierced the air. “Oh, my God, what is that?”

Without hesitation, Marla sprinted toward the sound. She came to an abrupt halt further back among the maze of rooms where people formed a semi-circle. They faced a man slumped against the wall, a screwdriver-type tool sticking from his chest. Crimson stained his dress shirt.

“It’s Jason Faulks,” Marla said, recognizing him. “Is he dead?”

“I think so,” squeaked a trembling woman in a housekeeping uniform. She must have been the person whose shrieks had summoned them.

“Stay calm, the police will want to talk to you. That goes for everyone here. And stop taking videos, please.” Horrified that some of the onlookers were filming like they had at her day spa after Val’s death, Marla personally knocked down a few of the people’s raised arms.

“What’s going on?” Dalton’s voice thundered from behind.

With a whoosh of relief, she spun to face him. “It’s about time. Where have you been?”

“I was interviewing folks.” His gaze swung toward the object of people’s fascination. “Oh, no. Don’t tell me you’ve found another one.”

She gave a hysterical half-laugh. “Not me. That maid was first on the scene.”

Dalton was already pulling out his cell phone. He barked a few orders to the crowd and then stepped aside for privacy while he called for assistance.

Marla’s glance returned to the photographer who wouldn’t be covering these events any longer. And speaking of coverage, where was Jason’s camera? His camera bag lay open on the floor, but a quick glance told her it was empty. The camera had been too bulky to fit in a pocket.

She scanned the area, wishing the onlookers would disperse but knowing the cops had to get their statements and contact info first. The space was cluttered with furniture needing repairs, heavy-duty cleaning equipment, extension cords, and other miscellaneous items that would make a search difficult. Her stomach sank. It also meant Dalton might not be home for hours.

About the Author

Nancy J. Cohen writes the Bad Hair Day Mysteries featuring South Florida hairstylist Marla Vail. Titles in this series have made the IMBA bestseller list and been selected by Suspense Magazine as best cozy mystery. Nancy has also written the instructional guide, Writing the Cozy Mystery. Her imaginative romances, including the Drift Lords series, have proven popular with fans as well. A featured speaker at libraries, conferences, and community events, Nancy is listed in Contemporary Authors, Poets & Writers, and Who’s Who in U.S. Writers, Editors, & Poets. When not busy writing, she enjoys fine dining, cruising, visiting Disney World, and shopping.

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March 1 – Island Confidential – INTERVIEW

March 2 – Community Bookstop – REVIEW

March 2 – Books, Dreams, Life – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

March 3 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST, EXCERPT

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

March 4 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW

March 4 – Readeropolis – REVIEW

March 5 – Cozy Up With Kathy – GUEST POST

March 6 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – INTERVIEW

March 7 – A Holland Reads – CHARACTER GUEST POST

March 8 – The Mysterious Ink Spot – GUEST POST

March 8 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

March 9 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW

March 10 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

Posted in 4 paws, Cozy, Giveaway, mystery, Review on March 7, 2017

Pressed to Death (A Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum Mystery)
2nd in Series
Publisher: Midnight Ink (March 8, 2017)
Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0738750316
Kindle ASIN: B01FOR0Z7G

Synopsis

Paranormal museum owner Maddie Kosloski thinks she has the perfect paranormal exhibit for the harvest festival—a haunted grape press. But when she’s accused of stealing the press, and her accuser is found murdered, all eyes turn to Maddie.

Maddie knows well the perils of amateur sleuthing and is reluctant to get involved. But her mother insists she investigate. Does her mom have a secret agenda? Or is she somehow connected to the murder?

Facing down danger and her own over-active imagination, Maddie must unearth the killer before she becomes the next ghost to haunt her museum.

Review

This series is a great combination of mystery and paranormal – the paranormal is very light as it is a paranormal museum and there is no telling if the items in the museum are actually haunted or not. Although the museum cat, GD, apparently can sense spirits.

The great thing about this series so far (as it is just the 2nd book) is that Maddie solves the crimes in the present and in the past. In both books there are unsolved crimes that are resolved as they seem to tie into main story line. This time it is a haunted wine press and Maddie purchases but the seller ends up dead after claiming it was stolen. Of course Maddie is a suspect and one of the police detectives, Laurel Hamilton, is definitely out to get Maddie. Laurel holds a grudge and does what she can to make Maddie’s life miserable. I’m actually surprised that she gets away with what she does, but it is a small town and sometimes those small towns have a different outlook.

The mystery itself was well written as I didn’t quite figure out who the killer was and the why was a surprise too. I do like that Maddie doesn’t try and confront the killer herself and brings in the police to apprehend the perpetrator.

Maddie does have a love interest, Mason, but some things come up with him and a person from his past and a situation that he has to deal with. While we don’t know what exactly the situation is until about 3/4 of the way through the book, I did figure out why this person was back in town. It does put a crimp in their relationship so we will have to see how it pans out in coming books.

Overall I enjoyed the book and can’t wait for the next book to come out.  We give it 4 paws up

About the Author

KIRSTEN WEISSKirsten Weiss grew up in San Mateo, California. After getting her MBA, she joined the Peace Corps, starting an international career that took her around the fringes of the defunct USSR and into the Afghan war zone. Her experiences abroad not only gave her glimpses into the darker side of human nature, but also sparked an interest in the effects of mysticism and mythology, and how both are woven into our daily lives.

She writes paranormal mystery and suspense, blending her experiences and imagination to create vivid worlds of magic and mayhem.

Kirsten has never met a dessert she didn’t like, and her guilty pleasures are watching ghost Whisperer re-runs and drinking good wine.

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March 6 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW

March 6 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – GUEST POST

March 7 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

March 7 – T’s Stuff – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

March 8 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

March 9 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

March 10 – Queen of All She Reads – REVIEW

March 11 – Curling up by the Fire – REVIEW

March 12 – Island Confidential – INTERVIEW

March 13 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW

March 14 – Nadaness In Motion – REVIEW

March 15 – Community Bookstop – REVIEW

March 16 – Bea’s Book Nook – REVIEW

March 16 – Bookworm Mom – REVIEW

March 17 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW

March 18 – Mystery Playground – GUEST POST

March 19 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT

Posted in Cozy, excerpt, Monday, mystery on March 6, 2017

A Ghostly Mortality: A Ghostly Southern Mystery
Paranormal Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Witness (February 28, 2017)
Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0062466976
E-Book ASIN: B01GONIFFI

Synopsis

That ghost sure looks . . . familiar

Only a handful of people know that Emma Lee Raines, proprietor of a small-town Kentucky funeral home, is a “Betweener.” She helps ghosts stuck between here and the ever-after—murdered ghosts. Once Emma Lee gets them justice they can cross over to the great beyond.

But Emma Lee’s own sister refuses to believe in her special ability. In fact, the Raines sisters have barely gotten along since Charlotte Rae left the family business for the competition. After a doozy of an argument, Emma Lee is relieved to see Charlotte Rae back home to make nice. Until she realizes her usually snorting, sarcastic, family-ditching sister is a . . . ghost.

Charlotte Rae has no earthly idea who murdered her or why. With her heart in tatters, Emma Lee relies more than ever on her sexy beau, Sheriff Jack Henry Ross…because this time, catching a killer means the Raines sisters will have to make peace with each other first.

Excerpt

Chapter 1

“Lawdy bee.” Granny scooted to the edge of the chair and lifted her arms in the air like she was worshiping in the Sunday morning service at Sleepy Hollow Baptist and the spirit just got put in her.

I sucked in a deep breath, preparing myself for whatever was going to come out of Zula Fae Raines Payne’s mouth, my granny. She was a ball of southern spitfire in her five-foot-four-inch frame topped off with bright red hair that I wasn’t sure was real or out of a L’Oréal bottle she’d gotten down at the Buy and Fly.

“Please, please, please,” she begged. “Let me die before anything happens to Emma Lee.” Her body slid down the fancy, high-back mahogany leather chair as she fell to her knees with her hands clasped together, bringing them back up in the air as she pleaded to the Big Guy in the sky. “I’m begging you.”

“Are you nuts?” My voice faded to a hushed stillness. I glanced back at the closed door of my sister’s new office, in fear she was going to walk in and see Granny acting up.

I sat in the other fancy, high-back mahogany leather chair next to Granny’s and grabbed her by the loose skin of her underarm. “Get back up on this chair before Charlotte Rae gets back in here and sees you acting like a fool.”

“What?” Granny quirked her eyebrows questioningly as if her behavior was normal.

My head dropped along with my jaw in the “are you kidding me” look.

“Well, I ain’t lying!” She spat, “I do hope and pray you are the granddaughter that will be doing my funeral, unless you get a flare up of the ‘Funeral Trauma.’” She sucked in a deep breath and got up off her knees. She ran her bony fingers down the front of her cream sweater to smooth out any wrinkles so she’d be presentable like a good southern woman, forgetting she was just on her knees begging for mercy.

“Flare up?” I sighed with exasperation. “It’s not like arthritis.”

The “Funeral Trauma.”

It was true. I was diagnosed with the “Funeral Trauma” after a decorative plastic Santa fell off the roof of Artie’s Meat and Deli, knocking me flat out cold and now I could see dead people.

I had told Doc Clyde I was having some sort of hallucinations and seeing dead people, but he insisted I had been in the funeral business a little too long and seeing corpses all of my life had brought on the trauma.

Truthfully, the Santa had given me a gift. Not a gift you’d expect Santa to give you, but it was the gift of seeing clients of Eternal Slumber, my family’s funeral home business where I was the undertaker. Some family business.

Anyway, a psychic told me I was now a Betweener. I helped people who were stuck between here and the ever after. The Great Beyond. The Big Guy in the sky. One catch . . . the dead people I saw were murdered and they needed me to help them solve their murder before they could cross over.

“I’m fine,” I huffed and took the pamphlet off of Charlotte Rae’s desk, keeping my gift to myself. The only people who knew were me, the psychic and Sheriff Jack Henry Ross, my hot, hunky and sexy boyfriend. He was as handy as a pocket on a shirt when it came time for me to find a killer when a ghost was following me around. “We are here to get her to sign my papers and talk about this sideboard issue once and for all.”

Granny stared at me. My head slid forward like a turtle and I popped my eyes open.

“I’m fine,” I said through closed teeth.

“You are not fine.” Granny rolled her eyes so big, I swear she probably hurt herself. “People are still going around talking about how you talk to yourself.” She shook her finger at me. “If you don’t watch it, you are going to be committed. Surrounded by padded walls. Then—” She jabbed her finger on my arm. I swatted her away with the pamphlet. “Charlotte Rae will have full control over my dead body and I don’t want someone celebrating a wedding while I lay corpse in the next room. Lawdy bee,” Granny griped.

I opened the pamphlet and tried to ignore Granny as best I could.

“Do you hear me, Emma Lee?” Granny asked. I could feel her beady eyes boring into me. “Don’t you be disrespecting your elders. I asked you a question,” she warned when I didn’t immediately answer her question.

“Granny.” I placed the brochure in my lap and reminded myself to remain calm. Something I did often when it came to my granny. “I hear you. Don’t you worry about a thing. By the time you get ready to die, they will have you in the nuthouse alongside me,” I joked, knowing it would get her goat.

About the Author

Tonya KnappesTonya Kappes has written more than fifteen novels and four novellas, all of which have graced numerous bestseller lists including USA Today. Best known for stories charged with emotion and humor and filled with flawed characters, her novels have garnered reader praise and glowing critical reviews. She lives with her husband, two very spoiled schnauzers, and one ex-stray cat in northern Kentucky. Now that her boys are teenagers, Tonya writes full-time but can be found at all of her guys’ high school games with a pencil and paper in hand. More than anything, Tonya loves to connect with readers, with a loyal ‘street team’ of fans and followers on social media.

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Check out the other blogs on this tour

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February 28 – Book Babble – REVIEW

March 1 – Readsalot – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

March 2 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW

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March 3 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT

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March 5 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

March 6 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

March 6 – deal sharing aunt – INTERVIEW

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March 9 – Community Bookstop – REVIEW

March 10 – Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

March 11 – T’s Stuff – REVIEW, EXCERPT

March 12 – Curling Up by the Fire – REVIEW

Posted in 5 paws, mystery, Review on February 23, 2017

Murder by the Book: A Mystery Mini
Print Length: 27 pages
Publisher: Mike Byrnes and Associates, Inc. (February 27, 2016)
Publication Date: February 27, 2016
ASIN: B01CC3NJQO

Synopsis

 

An ordinary work day at the western Massachusetts Sugarloaf Inn turns more chilling than the winter weather when staff member Candy Wadsen makes a gruesome discovery. Her day goes from bad to worse when Candy realizes that Detective Sergeant Dan Petrowski suspects her of committing the crime.

Review

This is a very short book (27 pages) but it packs a lot into the murder and solving the crime.

I liked that because it is short it was very fast paced and the reveal of the killer surprised me. I like how they figured out who the killer was – using a play on words, very unique.

I don’t know if there will be more with these characters but I could see a possible romance brewing between Candy the the police detective Dan.

We give it 5 paws up

About the Author

“What if?” Those two words all too easily send Devorah Fox spinning into flights of fancy. Best-selling author of an award-winning literary historical fantasy series and several thrillers, she also penned Mystery Mini Short Reads and contributed short stories to popular fantasy anthologies. Born in Brooklyn, New York, she now lives on the Texas Gulf Coast with rescued tabby cats … and a dragon named Inky. 

 

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Posted in Giveaway, Interview, Monday, mystery on February 20, 2017

Synopsis

After months of marital bliss, Jessica Faraday and Murphy Thornton are still discovering and adjusting to their life together. Settled in their new home, everything appears to be perfect … except in the middle of the night when, in darkest shadows of her subconscious, a deep secret from Jessica’s past creeps to the surface to make her strike out at Murphy.

When investigative journalist Dallas Walker tells the couple about her latest case, known as the Pine Bridge Massacre, they realize Jessica may have witnessed the murder of a family living near a winery owned by distant relatives she was visiting and suppressed the memory.

Determined to uncover the truth and find justice for the murder victims, Jessica and Murphy return to the scene of the crime with Dallas Walker, a spunky bull-headed Texan. Can this family reunion bring closure for a community touched by tragedy or will this prickly get-together bring an end to the Thorny Rose couple?

Trailer

Interview with Lauren

What’s your favorite thing about the writing process?

Oh, it’s the creative process—coming up with the plotline and figuring out how the murder is committed, who done it, how they are caught—all of that! For me, it is as close to being an amateur detective as you can get. They have the committed crime and work backwards toward the beginning. I am at the beginning and working forward, through the crime, and right up to where the culprit is caught.

How long have you been a writer?

Let’s just say my whole life. I believe writers are born. If you’re a writer, even if you aren’t writing books, you’re a writer. You’re thinking up storylines in the shower instead of singing. If you’re late for work, you can’t just say traffic was terrible, you have to tell a whole story about it being a dark and stormy morning …

I remember rewriting The Bobbsey Twins when I was in grade school to make it more suspenseful. That’s what writers do.

For what would you like to be remembered?

For making everyone around me smile.

Are you an introvert or an extrovert?

Introvert. Most writers are introverts—that’s what makes personal appearances hard for many writers. That’s why I love virtual book tours. I can do the whole tour naked!

What is the most daring thing you’ve done?

Skydiving. I was nineteen years old and dating a great guy who had scheduled parachuting lessons for him and his buddy. Well, his friend backed out, so I asked to go. Thing is—I had never even been up in a plane before! When I told my mother, she said it was okay, but not to tell her what day I was doing it—instead, tell her that I was going on a picnic. So, a couple of days before the jump I asked her for eighty dollars for my picnic on Saturday.

On the day of the lessons, we have six hours of instruction before going up in the plane. Two hours was on how to jump and how to land. The next four hours was on what to do if something went wrong. One of the things they stressed was that when you hit the ground to stand up quickly so that they could see you were okay. If you don’t stand up, they’ll send out the ambulance.

So then, we went up in the plane for our jump. We were suited up with our parachutes and our reserve chutes and all of this equipment. Back then, I weighed about a hundred and ten pounds and I was wearing close to sixty pounds of chutes.

Then, we went up. Remember, I have never been in a plane before. I was more excited about that than the jump. Jon, my boyfriend, jumped out first. Then I jumped.

It was fabulous! I loved it. I could see Jon down on the ground waving and jumping up and down and I was waving back.

Then, I hit the ground beautifully and rolled just like they told us to do. And then … I couldn’t stand up because I was wearing sixty pounds of chutes and equipment. I remembered them saying that I needed to stand up. So, I’m rolling on the ground in the field like a giant turtle on her back trying to get to my feet. In the distance, I hear the ambulance racing across the field and Jon yelling.

By the time I stood up I saw about a dozen people and an ambulance racing across the field toward me.

Jon told me that the whole time he was running across the field he was trying to think of how to tell my mother that I did great … until I hit the ground.

It was five years later before I went up in a plane and actually landed in it.

What is the stupidest thing you’ve ever done?

Recently or over the course of my life? This morning I ate two bags of chocolate truffles while answering questions for interviews. Now I have a stomach ache.

What is your most embarrassing moment?

Telling my husband that I couldn’t meet him for lunch because I have a stomach ache from eating two bags of chocolate truffles.

What choices in life would you like to have a redo on?

Deciding between eating a nutritious breakfast and two bags of chocolate truffles.

What would your main characters say about you?

There are two main characters in A Fine Year for Murder, Jessica Faraday and Murphy Thornton. An heiress, Jessica is Mac Faraday’s daughter. She would say that I was obsessive about my writing to the point of being a workaholic. The solution would be spend a weekend at a spa without any Internet or technology.

On the other hand, Murphy Thornton would say that I had a brilliant mind—after all, I am the creator of three mystery series. However, it would do me some good to work on becoming more disciplined—especially when it comes to health and fitness. Cut out the chocolate truffles and go to the gym more.

How long is your to-do list?

I don’t know. You need to ask my husband. He’s the one who makes it up and keeps track of it.

What are you working on now?

Twofer Murder will be a treat for mystery lovers because it will be two mysteries in one novel. This book will contain all of the characters from the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose mysteries. The guys go fishing and get embroiled in a murder mystery. Meanwhile, the ladies go off to a murder mystery writers conference and end up wrapped up in their own mystery when an up and coming mystery writer ends up dead! Can’t beat that! Two mysteries for the price of one!

As for Murphy and Jessica of the Thorny Rose, sorry, readers, but the next Thorny Rose Mystery is at least a year away. I’m now working on three series! The working title for the next Thorny Rose Mystery is From Rags to Riches to Dead. In this mystery, Jessica’s best friend Amy receives news that her leech of a husband was killed in a freak accident at an expensive resort, where he had spent the last several days living it up. Amy, and Jessica are still trying to sort out this news when Dean walks in—alive and well. Upon investigation, they discover that a killer has been stealing the identity of deadbeat husbands who have been living off their rich wives, and then luring them to expensive resorts to murder them.

Lightning round:

Cake or frosting? Frosting!

Laptop or desktop? Laptop because I’ll write anywhere. Desktops are just too awkward to carry in a case with a shoulder strap.

Chevy Chase or Bill Murray? Bill Murray. Ghostbusters is one of my favorite movies.

Emailing or texting? Emails. I tend to send long wordy messages (the writer in me) and the keys for texting are just too tiny.

Indoors or outdoors? Indoors with central air conditioning. I have seasonal allergies with every change of season.

Tea: sweet or unsweet? Sweet, of course!

Plane, train, or automobile? Automobile—with me driving. My husband and son claim I’m a backseat driver.

About the Author

Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose Mysteries—over twenty titles across three fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!

Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr’s seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, romance, and humor.

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She lives with her husband, son, and four dogs (including the real Gnarly) on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

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Giveaway

One winner will receive a $100 Amazon gift card (Open internationally)
Ends April 22

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Posted in 4 paws, excerpt, mystery, Review on February 13, 2017

Synopsis

Luke McWhorter is one strange dude. He is America’s only sheriff with a Yale divinity school degree. That means he is able to use everything from existential philosophy to holistic psychology to old-time religion to cow-country street smarts as he deals with law and order issues in the obscure “West of Fort Worth” Texas county where he grew up.

During the dreadful autumn week recounted in Dudley Lynch’s debut mystery, McWhorter starts to wonder if even this will be enough. Four religion professors in Flagler’s three small church colleges are murdered on successive days. Sheriff Luke begins to understand that he is dealing with mayhem driven by one of America’s richest men, by Armenian cyber-revolutionaries, by Flagler’s own homegrown power-hungry provocateurs and by back-country caprice itself.

The jolts in Dudley Lynch’s ever-shifting, ever-surprising debut mystery don’t end there. To his near-disbelief, Sheriff Luke eventually realizes that Flagler’s religious colleges have been turned into killing fields by events connected to an astonishing discovery on Mt. Ararat in Turkey (no, it’s not Noah’s Ark).

It will be the rare reader who guesses the final shoe to fall in the autumn week that changes Sheriff McWhorter’s future and the legacy of Abbot County, Texas, forever.

Excerpt

Excerpt from Chapter One of Beliefs Can Be Murder
by Dudley Lynch

I leaned in for a better view. I’d seen photos like this before. Usually, they were taken by an x-ray scanner mounted on a truck. Border patrol agents referred to the vans as “ice cream trucks.” They used them to spot illegals hiding in truckers’ sleeper berths or crouched between cargo shipments back in their trailers. In this x-ray, there didn’t seem to be any humans visible. Only one very large, longish, waist-high crate-looking object with indeterminate contents, if any. A cylinder that looked like a giant thermos bottle. An assortment of smaller boxes. And a jumble of what I took to be tanks, wires, hoses and other items although their vagueness made them hard to identify.

I cleared my throat. “What is it?”

“That’s certainly one of the questions.” Kane continued to gaze at me.

“What’s another one?”

Where is it?”

As was the case with many conference rooms, ours was like an aquarium. Lots of glass in the wall fronting the hallway. If the blinds weren’t lowered, passers-by could see in and the occupying fishes could see out.

As was my habit, I’d taken a seat that put my back toward the windowless inner wall. This allowed me to monitor activity in the hallway. That was why I was able to notice my long-legged, big-bellied chief deputy, Sawyers Tanner, as he strode by.

On an ordinary day, being briefed about what he found on his trip to a remote corner of Abbot County that morning would have been a priority. He and our C.S.I. team had been dispatched to investigate a gristly scene near a makeshift stone altar that contained the charred leftovers of a rancher’s most prized Angora goat buck. Well, most of the leftovers. The rancher had said the creature’s severed head was lying close by, abandoned in the dirt like a butcher’s bad habit. But my chief deputy’s briefing would have to wait. On this day, priorities were getting juggled.

Then, they got juggled again.

Shortly after Sawyers walked by, he reappeared from the opposite direction. This time, he was running. Hard. Another of my deputies was right on his heels. Both were clutching a Colt AR-15 Tactical Carbine in each hand. Usually, these light-weight, rapid-fire, military-styled rifles were locked up in a gun case. Four of them represented half of our department’s total supply. Our deputies liked them because, as one had once explained it to me, “they can take a lickin’ and keep on tickin’.” They were never unchained without good reason. Usually, the reason was that some of my people somewhere feared that the guns were going to be needed.

The burly F.B.I. agent hadn’t seen my deputies race by. But the concerned look on my face was all the tip-off he required to the new weather conditions in the room. Getting to his feet abruptly, he headed toward the end of the room where we had a large highway map of West Texas mounted on the wall. He took his brief case with him because he was still attached to it.

That was the precise moment that Helen charged back into the picture. The collision with the startled F.B.I. agent was a hard one, but it only slowed her. She shoved around him like he was a linebacker arriving a step too late and thrust a sheet of paper into my hands. The handwriting on it betrayed no urgency. I hadn’t expected it to. But the same was not to be said for her message. In her usual letter-perfect, schoolmarmish cursive, she had written: “Shooting in Bible Building at Hills U. Sawyers, deputies, paramedics en route. No other details.”

I read the note again—not for meaning but for its implications. Campus shootings were one thing that our department drilled for often with the university security departments in Flagler. A smart, pro-active thing to do, I’d always thought, when you have not one but three institutions of fairly decent size in your otherwise thinly populated, isolated, back-prairie-ish shallow West Texas county. One of the incidents we’d studied exhaustively was the one in Blacksburg. This was the one where a lone gunman had murdered 32 students and wounded 17 more at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. But we’d also combed through law enforcement analyses of the mass shootings at Columbine High, Sandy Hook Elementary School, Luby’s Cafeteria in Killeen, the movie theater in Aurora, Umpqua Community College in Oregon and a number of others. There was no reason why such shootings couldn’t happen in Abbot County—the Good Lord knew there were enough guns in the county. Now, it appeared one had.

Getting to my feet, I raised an index finger in the direction of Special Agent in Charge Patrick Kane. Told him that I didn’t mean to be rude, but he had 90 seconds. That was how much time he was being alloted to explain to me exactly why he was here. If he failed to do so, he and his compañeros would be promptly escorted to the parking lot and shown the way to the street. They’d each need a special pass before they’d be allowed to reenter our parking lot, much less our courthouse. Because this was still my conference room, my department, my county and my show.

To his credit, Special Agent Kane didn’t need 90 seconds. He finished in less than a minute.

For added emphasis, he tucked the X-ray photo of the cargo container under his chin with his free hand in his most earnest show-and-tell stance.

“We believe—or rather, we fear—this container is filled with weapons of mass destruction originating with terrorists in the Middle East. We lost track of it in Istanbul 22 days ago. Didn’t know where it was until today. We think it’s in Flagler or close by. The shipping industry’s computerized tracking system shows it was off-loaded in your rail yard about nine this morning by somebody, identity unknown. If we are right, there may be enough destructive power hidden away in your county right now to blow half this place to kingdom come. If not that, to poison nearly everything that breathes for miles around it.”

I studied him for a moment. “Do what you gotta do.” And bolted for the door.

Review

This was quite an interesting book and the concept of a small west Texas town being home to several bible colleges. There isn’t much in west Texas so I thought this was quite intriguing.

Luke may be the sheriff but he never planned to take that position, in face he wanted to be a minister and has a degree in divinity. It makes for an interesting back story for Luke and his dreams and education and I’m not sure it really fits in with being the sheriff…..but he was born into a family of law enforcement so it is hard to escape it at times.

The mystery was not easy to figure out, in fact I didn’t know who the killer was or why. It made sense as the story was winding down and the pieces all came together.

I did enjoy the story and the various story lines that intersected. And of course, the story line with Fresca (a dog) because I love dogs and there are some “oh no” moments when it comes to Fresca.

Overall we give it 4 paws up.

About the Author

Author/journalist/thinking skills expert Dudley Lynch says the abiding themes of all our lives are transition and breakout, which are two very different things.

Mr. Lynch grew up in small towns in the American southern Great Plains and southwestern U.S. He was the son of a fundamentalist Christian minister who moved his family, on average, about as often as military families move.

Dudley’s dad intended to be a transition for his son, expecting him to follow in his footsteps in the church. Instead, the son choose breakout and got (two) degrees in mass communication (with an extra major in religion) and moved into American journalism. For a time, he worked for newspapers, including The Dallas News and the Arizona Republic.

Again, break-out took over. Dudley decided he’d rather write for himself, so he chose to free-lance. In the next ten years, his by-lined articles were published in about 250 periodicals on six continents—Reader’s Digest, Business Week, Newsweek, Fortune Magazine (special sections), The New York Times, Christian Science Monitor, The Economist and many others.

In the late 1970s, Reader’s Digest assigned him a story on creativity. Shortly after the story’s publication, a major Manhattan insurance company invited Dudley to stage a half-day seminar in thinking skills improvement for fifteen of its senior executives, and he suddenly found himself at the helm of a management consulting business that he called Brain Technologies Corporation.

Then, more breakout! A voracious life-long consumer of mysteries, Dudley decided to write one about the all-encompassing themes of his life, transition and breakout, and about the mindsets and geographical trappings he knows best: churchy people in the red-dirt prairies and hills of shallow West Texas.

He sees a lot of himself in his POV character, Sheriff Luke McWhorter. Like his creator, McWhorter also trained to be a minister but in making the transition, one break-out after another got in his way. The latest, the murders of four Bible department professors at Flagler, Texas’ three church universities, requires McWhorter to use everything in his experience about transitions and break-outs—and religion—to restore order and a sense of calm to an excessively churchy community that never dreamed its citizens could commit such acts of self-destruction or that it would find itself the target of such mayhem from the outside.

Dudley now lives in Gainesville, Florida, where he and his wife, Sherry, continue to operate their company, Brain Technologies Corporation. He has written his acclaimed LEAP!psych blog for years.

Posted in 5 paws, Cozy, Giveaway, mystery, Review on February 6, 2017

Death in Advertising (A Tobi Tobias Mystery)
1st in Series
Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Lyrical Underground (February 7, 2017)
Approximately 300 PAGES
ASIN: B01FBZXSFW

Synopsis

When Tobi Tobias decided to open her own ad agency, having to moonlight in a pet shop wasn’t part of her vision . . . of course, neither was murder.

Sometimes when opportunity knocks, the door you open leads to a closet. That’s certainly the case for Tobi, whose weekends spent cleaning cages in her best friend’s pet shop may soon be over. She’s just landed her first big break—Zander Closet Company needs a catchy campaign slogan ASAP, and Tobi thinks she’s got the right hook to knock ’em dead: “When we’re done, even your skeletons will have a place.”

But when a real dead body topples out of a showcase closet, she’s about to discover there is such a thing as bad publicity. To save her fledgling business and not get killed by the competition, Tobi takes on a new pet project: solving the murder. But with a stressed-out parrot as the only witness to the crime, Tobi will really have to wing it to put the cagey killer behind bars.

Review

A fun start to a new cozy series! It combines mystery, a variety of character personalities and even a budding romance.

For me this book was a fast read, it hooked it and kept me wondering how the story was going to end and would I figure out who the killer was before he/she was revealed? The answer to that last question is no BUT I think there was a clue that I read and didn’t tie to the murder. I will say it was quite the shocker but not too surprising considering how everything unfolded. I did figure out part of the story line and how Tobi was going to figure it out.

I liked that Tobi didn’t put herself in harms way getting the killer to reveal themselves (or being in the wrong place at the wrong time). Sometimes I wonder about cozy protagonists and why they put themselves in harms way!

I like the budding romance of Tobi and Andy. He seems like a really down to earth guy and just what Tobi needs right now.

Grandpa Stu is a hoot, hope to see him often in future books!

We give this 5 paws up.

About the Author

While spending a rainy afternoon at a friend’s house more than thirty years ago, Laura Bradford (a.k.a. Elizabeth Lynn Casey) fell in love with writing over a stack of blank paper, a box of crayons, and a freshly sharpened number two pencil. From that moment forward, she never wanted to do anything else.

Today, Laura is the national bestselling author of the Amish Mysteries, the Jenkins & Burns Mysteries, and the Southern Sewing Circle Mysteries (written as Elizabeth Lynn Casey). A new cozy mystery series will be added to the mix in 2016 with the release of The Emergency Dessert Squad Mysteries. Laura is a former Agatha nominee and the recipient of an RT Reviewer’s Choice Award in romance. In her free time, Laura enjoys making memories with her family, traveling, baking, and visiting the sea lions at the Central Park Zoo.

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