Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, romance on March 14, 2017

Title: Claiming Grace

Author: Susan Stoker

Release Date: March 14, 2017

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis

For Logan Anderson, moving on from a traumatic past means moving back to his hometown of Castle Rock, Colorado, to start a personal-security business with his brothers. But it’s not long before Logan runs into Grace Mason, his best friend from high school…and the woman who never answered his letters during his Army years.

Grace was pleasantly surprised to see Logan return to Castle Rock, despite their falling-out ten years ago. Everyone always assumed they would end up together, including Grace, who had eyes only for him. But as Logan eventually escaped their town, Grace got pulled further into her family’s controlling grasp—and farther away from the man she loved.

Now, united by scars both visible and not, the two must fight to free Grace from the suffocating hold of her family. But the Masons won’t let go easily—and they’ll do whatever it takes to keep the couple apart.

Exclusive Excerpt

Logan left the office of Ace Security and headed for his motorcycle. He didn’t drive it often, but it was a beautiful day and he needed the ride.

He saw Grace and Felicity eating lunch at the sub shop before he’d gone into the office. Grace had been laughing at something her friend had said. Her head was back and she looked more carefree than he’d seen her since he’d been back in town.

Logan thought back to the Grace he used to know. She had been friendly, happy, and would drop everything to talk to him when he needed her. She’d listened to him bitch about his mother for hours. When she noticed he had a black eye, she’d brought him a bag of ice from the nurse’s office, with no questions asked.

He knew about her dreams of working in marketing for a big firm and how she wanted to travel. They’d discussed what the ocean would look like, and how the sand would feel under their feet more than once. Back then, Logan could see her hopes and dreams in her eyes and had no doubts she’d accomplish each and every one.

He’d been flummoxed when he’d moved back to Castle Rock a few months ago and had run into her for the first time. They’d been in the grocery store and he’d run his cart right into hers as he’d gone around the corner of an aisle. She’d looked up at him as if she wanted to say something, but after seeing it was him, merely bit her lip and turned in the other direction.

It wasn’t the direct snub that had concerned Logan; it had been the look in her eyes. The Grace he’d known in high school was gone. There were no stars in her eyes anymore. No dreams. It was as if he’d run into a robot. There was no welcoming smile on her lips, only a blank stare. Logan had opened his mouth to say something, he wasn’t sure what, but Grace disappeared down another aisle.

Every morning he watched as she came out of the coffee shop across from Rock Hard Gym and headed to work. As a security expert, he hated that her routine never varied, but as a man who’d once thought they might end up together, he loathed the fact that it seemed as if she wasn’t living her life, was merely going through the motions.

And while she might be able to fool those around her, she couldn’t fool him. Even though she’d ripped his heart out, he still cared about her. Way too much. He’d thought he was over her, but the second he’d seen her, the attraction came back with a vengeance.

Grace was as put together as she always had been in high school. Her shirts looked tailored and professional, she wore small heels that showcased the muscles in her calves that were exposed in the knee-length skirts she always wore. Her light brown hair was pulled back into its customary bun at the back of her neck, which made Logan want to unravel it and wrap it around his hand as he kissed her. She’d always been curvy, but she’d grown into her body over the years, her hips full, her ass swaying as she walked down the street.

But it wasn’t only her looks that interested Logan. He’d been watching her from a distance for the few months he’d been back. She was considerate to just about everyone she met, stopping to talk to an old homeless man who was sitting outside the coffee shop one morning, even giving him her coffee. One morning, Grace even entertained a stressed-out woman’s toddler while the woman searched her purse for her wallet.

Grace was reserved and quiet, but just as he remembered from spending so much time with her in high school, she genuinely cared about those around her. It was that trait that still tugged at him today.

He might’ve been able to blow her off if it wasn’t for the fact that Felicity and Cole thought the world of her. Logan knew they were both hard to impress. Cole hadn’t stopped trying to pry into what had happened between them, and Felicity wasn’t much better.

But seeing Grace smiling and laughing with Felicity was a blow. Apparently she wasn’t as dead inside as he’d thought. But it wasn’t Logan who brought that joy out in her anymore. That hurt. More than he was willing to admit.

Logan mentally shrugged and grabbed the helmet off the handlebars of his Harley. He knew he would have it out with Grace at some point. He had to. If he wanted to move on with his life, or if they were even going to live in the same town together, he needed answers. But he wouldn’t rush it. Eventually they’d get their chance.

About the Author

Susan Stoker is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author whose series include Badge of Honor: Texas Heroes, SEAL of Protection, and Delta Force Heroes. Married to a retired Army noncommissioned officer, Stoker has lived all over the country—from Missouri to California to Colorado—and currently lives under the big skies of Texas. A true believer in happily ever after, Stoker enjoys writing novels in which romance turns to love.

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Posted in 4 paws, Cozy, Giveaway, mystery, Review on March 14, 2017

The Art of Vanishing (A Lila Maclean Academic Mystery)
Publisher: Henery Press (February 28, 2017)
Paperback: 262 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1635111699
Kindle – ASIN: B01NBHR7Y6

Synopsis

When Professor Lila Maclean is sent to interview celebrated author and notorious cad Damon Von Tussel, he disappears before her very eyes. The English department is thrown into chaos by the news, as Damon is supposed to headline Stonedale University’s upcoming Arts Week.

The chancellor makes it clear that he expects Lila to locate the writer and set events back on track immediately. But someone appears to have a different plan: strange warnings are received, valuable items go missing, and a series of dangerous incidents threaten the lives of Stonedale’s guests. After her beloved mother, who happens to be Damon’s ex, rushes onto campus and into harm’s way, Lila has even more reason to bring the culprit to light before anything—or anyone—else vanishes.

Review

I think this is the first time in a long time that I have ready a mystery and no one has died! There is still a mystery to solve, but not why someone was killed. This time they are trying to figure out what the scoop is behind celebrated author Damon Von Tussel. Is he really just a recluse or is there more to his story?

Lila puts up with a lot where she works, mostly from the Chancellor, but also from a fellow professor, Simone, who has it out for her. I never knew the world of academia could be so competitive. The Chancellor is a bit of a jerk expecting Lila to do all these things with no care for her life or if she has a conflict and can’t jump and fill his demands. But at least she has her cousin, Calista, on her side.

The actual mystery was quite a shock when all was revealed. I never expected it to turn out the way it did and for some people to reveal their true intentions. There are a few clues to point you in the right direction, but not many.

There is also a potential love interest between Lila and Lex (the police detective). But there is also Nate, but even though Lila sees him as a friend, could he be interested in more?

I did find one inconsistency (and it may have been fixed by the final printing of the book, I had an ARC). At an event, Lex asks Lila if he can take her to dinner the next night. She said no because of an author reading that was happening. However, the following text seems to span a few days before the actual event. It is a minor thing that I noticed but it threw me off as I read that section.

I still enjoyed the book and am curious to see what the author has in store for the next installment.  We give it 4 paws up.

About the Author

cynthia kuhnCynthia Kuhn teaches and writes in Colorado. Her work has appeared in McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, Literary Mama, Copper Nickel, Prick of the Spindle, Mama PhD and other publications. She is the current president of Sisters in Crime-Colorado and blogs with Mysteristas. Visit her at cynthiakuhn.net or @cynthiakuhn.

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March 1 – T’s Stuff – INTERVIEW, SPOTLIGHT

March 1 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW

March 2 – Queen of All She Reads – SPOTLIGHT

March 2 – Sleuth Cafe – SPOTLIGHT

March 3 – Books Direct – INTERVIEW

March 3 – Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers – SPOTLIGHT

March 4 – Mystery Playground – INTERVIEW

March 5 – The Editing Pen – INTERVIEW

March 6 – Maureen’s Musings – REVIEW

March 6 – View from the Birdhouse – SPOTLIGHT

March 7 – My Journey Back – REVIEW, INTERVIEWAdding interview

March 7 – Shelley’s Book Case – REVIEW

March 8 – Pulp and Mystery Shelf – INTERVIEW, SPOTLIGHT

March 9 – Girl with Book Lungs – CHARACTER INTERVIEW, SPOTLIGHT

March 9 – Island Confidential – CHARACTER INTERVIEW, SPOTLIGHT

March 10 – Rainy Day Reviews – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

March 11 – Connie’s History Classroom – REVIEW

March 11 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT

March 12 – Varietats – REVIEW

March 12 – Babs Book Bistro – CHARACTER INTERVIEW, SPOTLIGHT

March 13 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

March 14 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

March 14 – A Blue Million Books – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

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 excerpt, Historical, Spotlight, Supernatural, suspense on March 12, 2017

Synopsis

Devil in the Countryside is a story about the most famous werewolf investigation in history, brimming with intrigue and war, love and betrayal, and long-kept vendettas.

It’s 1588, the height of the Reformation, and a killer is terrorizing the German countryside. There are reports that the legendary Werewolf of Bedburg has returned to a once-peaceful land. Heinrich Franz, a cold and calculating investigator, is tasked with finding whomever — or whatever — the killer might be. He’ll need all the help he can get, including that of a strange hunter who’s recently stumbled into town. Though they’re after the same thing, their reasons are worlds apart. And through it all, a priest tries to keep the peace among his frightened townsfolk, while a young woman threatens his most basic beliefs.

In a time when life is cheap and secrets run rampant, these four divergent souls find themselves entwined in a treacherous mystery, navigating the volatile political and religious landscape of 16th century Germany, fighting to keep their sanity — and their lives.

Excerpt

Chapter 1

1588 – Near the town of Bedburg, Germany

It had been some time since Investigator Heinrich Franz had inspected a murder scene, and he relished the opportunity. As he removed his black gloves to inspect the body, a tingle ran down his spine.

The victim’s body was situated near a tree, tucked away from any trails or passing eyes.

“Our killer wanted to make it difficult to identify the victim, but not to find her,” Heinrich said to his right-hand man and bodyguard, Tomas.

He crouched over the body. Her exposed entrails had been dragged around the trunk of the tree, separating her legs from her torso. Her right foot was missing three toes, and her left arm was missing altogether. Her mangled face was a canvas for flesh-eating insects. He could only tell the victim was female by the tattered blue dress she wore and the stringy blonde hair plastered against her head.

Heinrich glanced at the dress. Maybe it will help to identify her, he thought, and then looked at her face. Because that certainly won’t.

Heinrich prodded beneath the dress, but found no signs of defilement. The stench of decay was not yet overwhelming, but still strong enough to offend his keen nose.

“She’s been dead for less than twenty-four hours,” the investigator said. He turned to the frightened farmer standing behind him. “And you found her when?”

“This morning, sir.” The farmer held a grimy cap close to his chest. “I was walking my dogs when the wind brought her smell right to me. Then I saw crows circling—”

“I didn’t ask how,” Heinrich said, “just when.

The investigator circled the tree and bent down to examine the torso with a magnifying glass. Flies and maggots crawled over her body and through her deep cuts. Heinrich put a finger to one of her small, exposed breasts. It was cold and clammy.

“She was killed in broad daylight, sir?” the farmer asked.

Heinrich ignored the man. He pocketed his magnifying glass, stood up with creaking knees, and wrestled his hands back into his gloves. “Judging by the size of her breasts and feet, I’d say she was no more than fifteen years of age.”

“Just a child,” the farmer murmured. He started fidgeting with his cap, and then stammered. “There wouldn’t perhaps be any kind of . . . reward for finding the body, would there, sir?”

Heinrich gave the man an icy glare and spat on the grass. Heartless swine, he thought, shaking his head. Trying to profit on the death of a child. He started pacing in front of the farmer, and then stroked his chin and twirled his thin, wispy mustache. He stared at the man’s fat, doughy face. He was middle-aged, with a patchy gray beard. His eyes were soft, and he looked harmless, but Heinrich knew that appearances never made the man, nor told the whole story.

“The real question I have,” Heinrich said, “is what was a young girl doing out here alone, so far from any roads?”

“Perhaps she was lured here?”

The investigator eyed the farmer. “A fine observation,” Heinrich said with a disingenuous smile. Then it vanished. “My next question is what were you doing out here so far from the trails?”

The farmer scratched his scalp, and then his face slowly distorted and his mouth fell open. He stammered some more. “Y-you can’t believe that . . . that I . . .” he trailed off. “I told you, sir, I was leading my dogs—”

Heinrich nodded and Tomas came to the farmer’s side and grabbed his arms. The farmer shouted and squirmed and tried to break free.

“You can’t do this, sir! I came to you only trying to help!”

Yes, trying to help your purse.

Tomas looked pale and queasy as he wrestled with the farmer.

“Take him to the jail,” Heinrich ordered. “I’ll be by a bit later. Find out whatever you can.”

Tomas nodded and turned away.

“And Tomas,” Heinrich added. The soldier spun on his heels, and Heinrich stared into his eyes. “Whatever means necessary.”

Tomas nodded again. “What are your thoughts, sir?”

Heinrich sighed and put his hands on his hips. “I’m thinking the Werewolf of Bedburg has returned.”

About the Author

As far back as he can remember, Cory Barclay has always loved the “big picture” questions. How much knowledge did humanity lose when the Library of Alexandria was burned down? Why has the concept of Heaven remained intact, in one form or another, throughout most of human history and how has it impacted life on Earth?

And even before that, when he first began writing stories in grade school, he’s been fascinated with histories and mysteries. Whether Norse mythology, the Dark Ages, or the conquests of great leaders, Cory’s been that kid who wants to know what’s shaped our world and write about it. Especially the great unsolved mysteries.

So Devil in the Countryside was a natural for him.

Born and raised in San Diego, he graduated from University of California, Santa Cruz, where he studied Creative Writing and Modern Literary Studies. He’s also a songwriter and guitarist, and – no surprise – many of his songs explore the same topics he writes about – the great mysteries of our crazy world.

Devil in the Countryside is his second novel and he’s hard at work on its sequel.

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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, Book Release, Review, romance on March 10, 2017

Synopsis

Would you abandon your present for a second chance at your past?

Cecelia Reynolds has spent most of her life trying to forget the commitment-phobic man who broke her heart. It wasn’t easy, but eventually she did it, or so she thought…

As Cecelia and her husband gather for a friend’s wedding, her perfect world is thrown into complete turmoil. Even though it’s been twenty years since she last laid eyes on Keith Emerson, all it takes is one glance for her to feel emotions she thought were long gone. When Keith ends up officiating the ceremony, she quickly realizes his message of love is directed at her, not the happy couple. But can she believe him?

We live our entire lives thinking we know ourselves. But do we ever really?

As secrets and lies cause Cecelia’s world to spin completely out of control, she is forced to seek advice from the most unlikely ally. In the process, she must confront the demons of her past and the events that shaped her into the woman she is now. Will she finally learn the real meaning of love, friendship, and family?

While this book is a sequel to Plan Bea, it also reads as a standalone.

Review

I have mixed feelings about this book. The main character, Cecilia, has her issues (as do most people) but when faced with the supposed love of her life, Keith, from 20 years ago, she throws everything she has now away (or so it seems). She is trying to figure out if she missed out on something or not. We have probably all been at that point in our lives but perhaps made different choices.

Keith is another matter, he seems to have regretted letting Cecilia walk away from him…but as the story continues, I wondered if he was really sad she left or if he just wanted a fling because she was married and he still wouldn’t have to commit.

I did like seeing characters from Plan Bea continue in this story, I liked picking right back up where that story left off. The dynamic of the friends and family is probably similar to one you have in your own life. There are ups and downs and the ties of friendship are truly tested in this book.

I have to say I wasn’t thrilled with Cecilia and her actions. She redeemed herself to me at the end and the story ended where we don’t really know what is going to happen to Cecilia and her husband, Bryce. Perhaps another book is in the works?

We give it 4 paws up!

Plan Bea is Free on Amazon  (as of 3/9/17)

About the Author

By day, Hilary Grossman works in the booze biz. By night she hangs out with her “characters.” She has an unhealthy addiction to denim and high heel shoes. She’s been known to walk into walls and fall up stairs. She only eats spicy foods and is obsessed with her cat, Lucy. She loves to find humor in everyday life. She likens life to a game of dodge ball – she tries to keep many balls in the air before they smack her in the face. She lives on Long Island.

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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.

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

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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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Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, romance, Texas on March 8, 2017

Synopsis

One cowboy. One cowgirl. One ranch.

Who will win the Double Deuce by the Fourth of July?

Adele O’Donnell knew that Double Deuce Ranch had to be hers the second she walked onto the property. Freshly divorced, she sees it as the perfect spot for her and the kids to start a new life. Remington Luckadeau was always a carefree playboy…until his suddenly orphaned nephews became his responsibility. The Double Deuce Ranch would be the perfect place to raise two boys. But some fiery woman is fighting him for it, and Remington is not sharing—no matter how the sparks fly when he and Adele are together.

Excerpt

The gleam in the old cowboy’s blue eyes and the way he rubbed his chin were Adele’s first clues that he definitely had something up the sleeve of his faded, old work shirt. He glanced first at her and then over at Remington Luckadeau.

She bit back a groan. The good old boys’ club was about to rear its head. They’d argue that ranching took brawn and muscle and that a woman couldn’t run the Double Deuce all alone, that women were respected in the ranching business these days, but when it came right down to it, he would feel better selling to a man.

No, sir!

She didn’t hold out any hope that the old toot would sell the ranch to her.

“Well, now.” Walter Jones gave his freshly shaven chin one more rub. “I expect we’ve got us one of them dilemma things, don’t we?”

That sly smile on Remington’s face said he already knew she would be going home empty-handed. With that mop of blond hair that kissed his shirt collar, those steel-blue eyes, and his chiseled face and wide shoulders—Lord have mercy—any woman would roll over and play dead to give him what he wanted.

But not Adele.

She wanted the Double Deuce, and she’d do whatever it took to get it so she could have a place to raise her daughters. Remington Luckadeau could spit on his knuckles and get ready for a fierce battle.

The Double Deuce Ranch was absolutely perfect in every aspect. The two-storied, four-bedroom house couldn’t have been better laid out for Adele and her two daughters, Jett and Bella. The acreage was big enough to make a living but small enough she could manage it on her own, for the most part. And it was close to her family—the O’Donnells over around Ringgold, Texas.

“You both want the ranch, but I can only sell to one of you. I talked to my lady friend, Vivien, about it. I talked to God about it before I went to sleep, and I talked to my old cow dog, Boss, about it this mornin’ before y’all got here.”

“And?” Adele asked.

“And not a one of them was a bit of help, so I don’t know which one of you to sell this place to any more than I did yesterday, after you’d both come and looked over the place and left me to think about it.”

Adele had known there was another person interested in the ranch. Walter had been up-front about that, saying he’d talked with Remington Luckadeau that morning and he was ready to meet Walter’s asking price.

“We can’t both buy it, so I guess you’ll have to make a decision,” Adele said.

Remington nodded.

***

Remington slid down in the kitchen chair so he could study the red-haired woman sitting in front of him. The hard Texas sunlight flowing through the kitchen window brought out every cute, little freckle sprinkled across Adele’s nose. Faded jeans, a chambray shirt worn open over a bright-yellow tank top, and cowboy boots worn at the heels said she was a no-nonsense rancher.

Those two feisty girls out there on the porch with his two nephews were dressed pretty much the same way as their mother. Any other time, he might have tipped his hat and given her the option to buy the Double Deuce, but not today. The ranch was the perfect size for what he had in his bank account. The house would be just right for him and his two nephews, Leo and Nick, the boys he’d inherited when his brother and sister-in-law were killed in a car accident several months ago. And besides, it wasn’t far from his Luckadeau relatives in Ringgold and Saint Jo, Texas.

So today, Adele O’Donnell was going to have to walk away disappointed. Too bad, because he’d always been attracted to redheads, and he’d have loved to see how she felt in his arms on the dance floor of the nearest honky-tonk.

“So.” Walter cleared his throat. “I’ve come to a decision.”

Remy straightened up in his chair.

“The Luckadeaus are my friends, but so are the O’Donnells. So I can’t sell this to either of you on the basis of friendship. Vivien and I have planned a monthlong cruise, and we are leaving in one week. We fly out of Dallas on the last day of May and get back home on the last day of June.”

“I’ll beat your asking price,” Remy said quickly.

“It’s not got to do with money. Here’s what I am willin’ to do, though. You both move in here on the morning that me and Vivien leave. Y’all take care of this ranch for me for a month. When I get back, whichever one of you is still here can have it. If you both still want it, we’ll draw straws or play poker for it. If you decide you can’t work together or that the ranch ain’t what you want, you can call Chet to come take over for you. His number is on the front of the refrigerator. Only rule I’ve got is that you’d best take good care of Boss. He’s been a good cow dog, and he likes leftovers from the table, so cook a little extra at each meal. He’s not real picky. He’ll eat most anything a human will, but he doesn’t like pizza. And you have to take real good care of Jerry Lee.”

“Who is Jerry Lee?” Adele asked.

“He’s my rooster. Pretty little thing, but he never has learned to crow in the morning. He’s a late riser, so he crows either in the middle of the day or about dinnertime. I named him Jerry Lee because he’s got swagger and he sings real pretty like Jerry Lee Lewis.”

“I’ll take good care of your dog and your rooster,” Adele said, shooting a defiant look right at Remy.

“So will I.” Remy nodded coolly. “What about the one who doesn’t win the luck of the draw?”

“Then that one gets a decent paycheck,” Walter said.

“I don’t need to think about it,” Adele said quickly. “I’m in.”

Remy nodded. “I don’t have to think about it either.”

Walter pushed back his chair and stood. “Good, then I’ll look for you both to be here a week from today. You’ve seen the place. There’ll be hay to cut and haul, fields to plow, and planting to do, as well as the everyday chores with feeding and taking care of the cattle and ranch. I’ve made a list of what I want done before I get back, and I’ll leave it stuck to the refrigerator door.”

“I’m not afraid of hard work,” Adele said. “One question, though. How does Boss feel about cats?”

“Strange as it seems, he loves them. My wife, God rest her soul”—Walter looked up at the ceiling—“used to have an old barn cat that had kittens real often. Boss thought he was their grandpa.”

“Then you don’t mind if we bring our cat?” she asked.

“Not a bit. You got a problem with that, Remy?” Walter asked.

Remy shook his head.

“Thank you,” Adele said softly.

Crap! Remy didn’t hate cats, and thank God the boys weren’t allergic to them, but that soft, sweet, southern voice could easily distract him from his mission. Remy would have to keep on his toes every day for the entire month of June, and that wouldn’t be easy. For years, every woman had been a potential notch on his bedpost. Six months ago, Remy had been the resident bad boy of the Texas Panhandle. He’d spent his weekends in local bars, dancing and sweet-talking the pretty girls into his bed. Then his whole life turned around when his two nephews were tossed into his life. Since he’d started taking care of them, dating had slowed down. Now, he’d be forced to live with a woman he was clearly attracted to.

Walter started toward the door. The meeting was over. “Just bring your personal things. When I sell this place, it goes lock, stock, and barrel—furniture, equipment, everything but my own keepsakes,” he said. “Vivien and I are leaving at nine o’clock. If one of y’all ain’t here, then the other one will automatically get the place.”

Adele pushed her chair back, and in one fluid motion, she was on her feet. He’d figured she was tall when he sat down across from her and his long legs almost touched hers under the table. But when she stood up, he got the full effect of the way her hips curved out from her small waist, and for a split second, he could feel her in his arms.

Remy shook the image from his head. He had a long, hot month ahead of him, and he needed to think of Adele as an adversary, not a potential date.

“Do we move?” Nick asked when Remy stepped out onto the porch.

“We are moving onto the ranch to take care of it for Mr. Jones for a month. If we do a good job, he might sell to us in time for the Fourth of July party we’re planning.” Remy told his fourteen-year-old nephew.

“Mama?” asked the smaller of the two girls that Adele had brought along with her.

“Same thing here, girls. We’ll be moving here in one week to live for a month. Then Mr. Jones will decide which of us gets to buy the ranch,” Adele answered.

“You”—the girl pointed at Leo and wiggled her head like a bobblehead doll—“are going down. You don’t know jack squat about a ranch, so you might as well give up before you even start.”

“Jett!” Adele chided.

“Well, it’s the truth,” Jett said. “He don’t even want to live on a ranch. He’s a city boy who don’t even know who Billy Currington is. He’d hate living on this ranch.”

“Just because you lived on a ranch don’t mean you’re that smart,” Nick shot back. “Uncle Remy can teach me everything about ranching in one afternoon. I’m a fast learner.”

“Me, too.” Leo combed his carrot-red hair with his fingertips and tipped up his chin three notches.

“Okay, boys. It’s one thing to say something; it’s another to do it. Let’s get on home and get our things in order so we’ll be ready to move next week. There’s only four bedrooms, so you’ll have to share.”

Leo, who had already left the porch, kicked at the dirt. “Uncle Remy, Nick gripes if I even leave a wrinkle in the bed. He’s so neat that he shoulda been a girl.” He sighed.

“No!” Nick raised his voice. “Leo never picks up anything and—”

“Enough,” Remy said. “Into the truck. We’ve got a lot to do and a short time to get it done.”

Leo crawled into the big, black, dual-cab truck. Just before he slammed the door, he caught Jett’s eye and stuck out his tongue.

“Young man, you’re going to have to live in the same house and work with those girls,” Remy said sternly.

Leo rolled his eyes upward. “They are so bossy. Living in the country isn’t going to be easy, but living around those two prissy girls…” He sighed. “Do we really have to do this, Uncle Remy?”

“We’ll come out stronger men,” he said.

A picture of Adele’s full, kissable lips flashed through his mind. Prissy wasn’t a word he’d use to describe any of the O’Donnell women.

Nick groaned. “If we live through it.”

“We are Luckadeau men. We’ll take the bull by the horns, look him right in the eye, and dare him to charge at us.” Even as the words came out, Remy wondered if he was talking to his nephews or himself.

“I’d rather fight a bull,” Leo grumbled. “And they ain’t bulls. They’re girls, and we’re Luckadeaus.”

“Daddy used to tell us that when a Luckadeau sets his mind, it’s set forever,” Nick said.

“Your daddy was right.” Remy nodded.

Moving the boys from their house in the middle of Denton, Texas, to a ranch would be tough on them, but Remy could not live in town. He’d been fortunate enough to sell his brother’s house for enough to pay off the existing mortgage and put a little into savings for the boys’ college funds.

Remy had worked for the past fifteen years on a ranch out in the Texas Panhandle. He’d started as a hired hand and worked his way up to foreman. Today, he had enough money in his bank account to buy the Double Deuce, and it was the perfect place for the boys to have a brand-new start. It damn sure wouldn’t be easy to live in the same house with a woman like Adele and not flirt, but it was doable with the ranch as a prize at the end of the road.

“So you boys going to help me make those women see that they don’t really want our ranch? Or are we going to let them win?” Remy asked.

“Ain’t no way I’m going to back down from them two,” Nick declared.

Leo chimed right in. “Me either.”

***

“Let’s look at another ranch. I don’t want to live in the same house with those two obnoxious boys,” Bella said as they drove away from the Double Deuce.

Adele smiled. “You must really not like those boys to be pulling out your four-dollar words.”

“That tells you how much, Mama,” Bella said.

“We don’t have time to train them,” Jett added.

Adele didn’t think they’d have to do much training. Not with a cowboy like Remy Luckadeau for an uncle. That man was comfortable in his skin, and there wasn’t a doubt in her mind that he’d know the business every bit as well as she did. In any other circumstance, there could be chemistry between them. He was exactly what she’d always been attracted to, with his blond hair, blue eyes, and cowboy swagger, but then he was also what she’d been running away from when she’d married Isaac Levy.

You see how that turned out, the smart-ass voice in her head said.

Yes, she did see how it turned out. Isaac was the only son of a family who had dealt in diamonds right in the middle of Dallas, Texas, for more than fifty years. When they’d married, he’d moved Adele into his penthouse apartment, and she’d lived the life she’d thought she wanted.

Right up until Bella was born two years after the wedding. And then she’d started to yearn for her country roots. A child needed fresh air and sunshine, not parties and nannies. Isaac had loved her enough to buy a two-hundred-acre ranch between McKinney and Blue Ridge. The commute wasn’t bad because he had a driver, but after Jett was born, he spent more and more weeknights at the penthouse.

“Why do we have to move from our ranch anyway?” Jett folded her small arms over her chest.

“The same reason we had to change our last name to O’Donnell,” Bella answered. “Father has a new wife and a son, and we don’t matter anymore.”

Her daughter’s tone created a lump in Adele’s throat that she couldn’t swallow down. Tears welled in her eyes, but she kept them at bay. Bella had put it into the simplest language possible, but the story was far more complex than that.

“Your father will come to his senses someday,” she said softly.

“But it might be too late,” Bella declared. “He’s mean, making us move off the ranch.”

It wasn’t the time or the place to tell the girls that part of the marriage problems had been her fault. Isaac thought he was getting a socialite who loved the fast lane, and he never would have asked her to marry him if he’d realized she wasn’t ready to break all ties with her country roots.

“We are going to love this new ranch so much that we’ll never look back at the old one. Even though they don’t have any ranching experience, I just wonder if you two are big and mean enough to show those two boys that nobody can outwork three tough O’Donnell women.”

Jett unfolded her arms, leaned up from the backseat of the bright-red, dual-cab truck, and patted her mother on the shoulder. “They ain’t got a chance in hell.”

“Jett!” Bella scolded.

“Well, Uncle Cash says that, and nobody fusses at him. Besides, I believe it. We’re tough and mean, and we can out-ranch any old boy in the state of Texas,” Jett said.

“We’ve got a week to pack all our things, put them in storage, and load up the truck with just what we need for a month,” Adele said as she turned east toward Gainesville.

Adele’s cell phone rang. She saw a picture of her sister, Cassie, smiling at her. She answered it on the fourth ring and hit the Speaker button.

“We have not bought the ranch yet,” she said and went on to tell her sister the deal that Walter had come up with.

Cassie giggled the whole way through the story.

“What’s so funny about that?” Adele asked.

“Those boys don’t stand a chance. Not any one of them—the grown one or the two kids,” Cassie said. “I’ll put my money on my sister and my nieces any day of the week.”

“Yes!” Bella and Jett squealed at the same time.

“Thank you, Aunt Cassie. We won’t let you down,” Jett said.

“What are you doing today?” Adele asked her sister.

“Haulin’ hay, but I’d rather be doing something else in the hayloft with my boyfriend,” Cassie said.

“Cassandra Grace O’Donnell!” Adele raised her voice.

“Don’t you double name me. Only Mama gets to do that, and I was talking about kissing my boyfriend. He’s really good at kissing.” Cassie laughed.

“I miss y’all,” Adele said wistfully. “If I get to buy this ranch, I’m having a big Fourth of July party to celebrate. Y’all had better be there.”

“Wild horses couldn’t keep me away. Is this new cowboy sexy? Maybe I’ll visit for a weekend between now and then,” Cassie said.

“No!” The girls’ loud voices bounced around in the truck cab.

“Why? Don’t you want to see me?” Cassie asked.

“We love you,” Bella said. “But we don’t want Remy Luckadeau in the family at all, and if he sees you, then he’ll fall in love with you. Besides, we like Clinton just fine. Go kiss on him in the hayloft, and stay away until the ranch belongs to us.”

“If you promise to work hard and show Mr. Jones that you are the right people to sell his ranch to, then I’ll stay away until you’ve run those old boys off your land. But, girls, Clinton and I broke up a while ago,” Cassie said seriously. “The new man in my life is Dusty Dillard. We’ve only been on two dates, but I like him a lot.”

“Is he as pretty as Clinton?” Bella asked.

“No, but he’s a lot nicer,” Cassie said.

“I thought Clinton was nice, and I like his name better than Dusty,” Jett said.

“Wait until you meet him. Are you taking Blanche?” Cassie asked.

“Of course,” Jett answered quickly. “We wouldn’t leave her behind. Mama, please tell me that man didn’t say we couldn’t bring Blanche.”

“I asked about bringing a cat and he said it was fine,” Adele said.

Cassie laughed again. “The old hussy would die if you left her. Besides, isn’t she about ready to pop out another litter in the next couple of weeks?”

“Yes, she is,” Bella said. “And I hope both of them boys hate cats.”

“And you, Sister Adele? How do you feel about living with a cowboy?”

“I’m not living with him. I’m sharing a house with him for a month. And don’t call me Sister Adele. I’m not a nun,” Adele said curtly.

“These past two years you have been. Promise you’ll call me often,” she said. “Got to go. The hay wagon is here, and it’s time to stack bales.”

Adele hit the End button, and the screen on the phone went dark. She caught a movement in her peripheral vision and glanced over to see two little boys glaring at her from the windows of a black truck. A whole month with those two smart-ass kids just might make her move all the way to Wyoming or Montana.

She looked in the rearview mirror, and there was Jett, giving the boys the old stink eye. In seconds, they sped on past her, whipped over in front of her truck, and moved on ahead pretty quickly. No doubt about it—this was going to be a long month!

About the Author

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author and RITA Finalist, Carolyn Brown, has published more than seventy books.  These days she is concentrating on her two loves:  women’s fiction and contemporary cowboy romance. She and her husband, a retired English teacher, make their home in southern Oklahoma.

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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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