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Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor by Amy Reade, Review, Guest Post, and Giveaway

The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor
Publisher: KENSINGTON (April 28, 2015)
E-BOOK 250 Pages

“Do you know what stories Sarah could tell you about the things that happened in these little cabins? They’d curl that pretty red hair of yours.”
Outside of Charleston, South Carolina, beyond hanging curtains of Spanish moss, at the end of a shaded tunnel of overarching oaks, stands the antebellum mansion of Peppernell Manor in all its faded grandeur. At the request of her friend Evie Peppernell, recently divorced Carleigh Warner and her young daughter Lucy have come to the plantation house to refurbish the interior. But the tall white columns and black shutters hide a dark history of slavery, violence, and greed. The ghost of a former slave is said to haunt the home, and Carleigh is told she disapproves of her restoration efforts. And beneath the polite hospitality of the Peppernell family lie simmering resentments and poisonous secrets that culminate in murder—and place Carleigh and her child in grave danger…

What I Thought:

Amy Reade's writing reminds me so much of Phyllis Whitney's.  This story sucked me in and wouldn't let me go.  Once I started, I didn't want to put it down.  I enjoyed reading about Carleigh restoring Peppernell Manor to it's original glory.  This book was not boring in the least.  It kept my attention he whole through.  I liked most of the characters, of course some of them weren't meant to be liked.  It was very well written and flowed so well that you can finish it in one day.  If you are looking for an entertaining, suspenseful read, then this is the book for you.

I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.

About This Author
Amy M. Reade is also the author of Secrets of Hallstead House, a book set in the Thousand Islands of northern New York, where Amy grew up. After graduating from Cornell University, she went on to law school at Indiana University in Bloomington. She practiced law in New York City before moving to southern New Jersey, where, in addition to writing, she is a wife, a full-time mom and a volunteer in school, church and community groups.  She lives just a stone’s throw from the Atlantic Ocean with her husband and three children as well as a dog and two cats. She loves cooking and all things Hawaii and is currently at work on her next novel.
Visit her on the web at or at

Author Links:
Twitter @readeandwrite.

Purchase Links:


Guest Post:

A Place of Inspiration

By Amy M. Reade

            Let me start off by saying that my work area is anything but inspiring. I use the desk I got for my thirteenth birthday (I won’t tell you how many years ago that was), and it’s very small. There’s only room on it for a computer monitor, a keyboard, a lamp, and a small area that holds a pile of papers about twenty inches high. There’s a matching pile on the floor next to the desk. Okay, there are three matching piles. Until recently, I used a chair that I bought for $10 at a junk store. Whenever I hung anything on the back of it, it tipped over, smacking the floor with a noise that would make my cats tremble for hours and send my dog into a DEFCON 4 state of alert.

            You’d think I would stop hanging stuff on the back, right?

            Wrong. I’m an incurable optimist.

            Recently I got a new chair, though. It doesn’t fit under the desk where my legs go, but it’s definitely an improvement over the last chair. It’s a Windsor-style that I painted a dusky blue to match-well, it doesn’t actually match anything, but it complements the d├ęcor of my living room.

            I didn’t mention my desk is in the living room? The room where we keep the television and video games, that is just steps from the kitchen, where my children congregate and do homework?

            No, my work space isn’t really conducive to inspiration. It faces the wall, too, so I don’t even get a nice view.

            I guess it could be a place where I’m inspired, but here’s the problem: I am inspired when I work, and I do almost all of my pre-writing work on paper, long-hand (gasp!), using a pen and pencil. My desk just isn’t big enough for me to work like that, even if I move the keyboard out of the way.

            So where do I go to get inspired? Believe it or not, the place where I get inspired best is at the library. Specifically, the stacks on the second floor where it’s very quiet and I can look outside (when I can’t get to the library, my second-favorite spot is my kitchen table).

            I do most of my preliminary research at the library, so that’s where I’m delving into the world I hope to create in my novel, where I’m getting ideas fast and furious from the things I’m reading. To be inspired, I have to be able to think, to block out the things going on around me, to focus on the task at hand. The library, not my living room, is the perfect place for that. If there are no desks available in the stacks, I use one of the study rooms. They’re not as nice because I feel like I’m in a fishbowl, but they’re quiet and they have nice, big tables where I can spread out.

            When I think of the word “inspiration,” what usually comes to mind is something that television and magazines tell us should be inspiring: a stretch of empty beach, or a misty path through the woods, or a mountaintop with sweeping views. You almost never see a library desk on television or in the magazines at the newsstand.

But since inspiration usually comes to me when I’m working, the library is the best place for me to work, at least until I’m ready to put words on the computer. When I get an idea, an inspiration, I want to be able to write it down immediately, and I can’t do that very well if I’m at the beach or in the woods or on top of a mountain. To me, those are places I go to try not to be inspired, to stop working.

Where do you feel inspired?

I invite you to have a look at my most recent romantic suspense novel, The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor, which I researched at the library before pre-writing at my kitchen table. As you may have guessed from the title, the novel is set at Peppernell Manor, an antebellum plantation near Charleston, South Carolina, that has seen better days. But when its owner hires restoration specialist Carleigh Warner to oversee its return to grandeur, disagreements over the property’s future threaten to tear the Peppernell family apart. Carleigh is swept unwittingly into a whorl of secrets that she must face to protect her future and her daughter’s life.

I also invite you to visit me online, where I love connecting with readers. You can find me at the following places:

Website: (my website has a page listing my appearances)






Lisa Jackson Cover Reveal for After She's Gone

After She’s Gone bcc:
Title: After She’s Gone
Author: Lisa Jackson
Publisher: Kensington Books
Cassie Kramer and her younger sister, Allie, learned the hazards of fame long ago. Together, they’d survived the horror of a crazed fan who nearly killed their mother, former Hollywood actress Jenna Hughes. Still, Cassie moved to L.A., urging Allie to follow. As a team, they’d take the town by storm.  But Allie, finally free of small-town Oregon, and just that little bit more beautiful, also proved to be more talented—and driven. Where Cassie got bit parts, Allie rose to stardom. But now her body double has been shot on the set of her latest movie—and Allie is missing.
Police discover that the last call to Allie’s phone came from Cassie, though she has no recollection of making it. Instead of looking like a concerned relative, Cassie is starting to look like a suspect—the jealous sister who finally grew sick of playing a supporting role. As the tabloids go into a frenzy, Cassie ends up on a Portland psych ward. Is she just imagining the sinister figure who comes to her bedside, whispering about Allie—a visitor of whom there is no record? Is someone trying to help—or drive her mad?
Convinced she’s the only one who can find Allie, Cassie checks herself out of the hospital. But a sudden slew of macabre murders— each victim masked with a likeness of a member of Cassie’s family—makes Cassie fear for her safety and her sanity. The only way to end the nightmare is to find out what really happened to Allie. And with each discovery, Cassie realizes that no one can be trusted to keep her safe—least of all herself…
After She’s Gone is available for pre-order at  AmazonKobo and Google Play

Lisa Jackson Bio:

Lisa Jackson is the number-one New York Times bestselling author of more than 85 novels, includingAfraid to Die, Tell Me, You Don’t Want to Know, Running Scared, Without Mercy, Malice, and Shiver. She is also the co-author of the Colony Series, co-written with her sister, Nancy Bush. There are over 20 million copies of Lisa Jackson’s books in print in twenty languages.


Before she became a nationally bestselling author, Lisa Jackson was a mother struggling to keep food on the table by writing novels, hoping against hope that someone would pay her for them. Today, neck deep in murder, her books appear on The New York Times, the USA Today, and thePublishers Weekly national bestseller lists.


With over thirty bestsellers to her name, Lisa Jackson is a master of taking readers to the edge of sanity – and back – in novels that buzz with dangerous secrets and deadly passions.  She continues to be fascinated by the minds and motives of both her killers and their pursuers—the personal, the professional and downright twisted.  As she builds the puzzle of relationships, actions, clues, lies and personal histories that haunt her protagonists, she must also confront the fear and terror faced by her victims, and the harsh and enduring truth that, in the real world, terror and madness touch far too many lives and families.


For More Information

Visit Lisa’s website.

Connect with Lisa on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Goodreads


Saturday, April 18, 2015

The Deadly Dog Show by Jerold Last Guest Post


The Deadly Dog Show
by Jerold Last

The Deadly Dog Show
(Roger and Suzanne South American Mystery Series Book 6)

Cozy Mystery
Self Published
Print Length: 252 pages
Publisher: Amazon (July 19, 2013)

The sixth book in the popular Roger and Suzanne mystery series finds Roger and Bruce hired to go undercover impersonating the owner and handler of a Champion German Shorthaired Pointer named Juliet to investigate certain irregularities that might be occurring at dog shows in California. To complicate this case the bodies of dead judges start popping up and Suzanne picks up a mysterious stalker sending her most unwelcome gifts. Throw in drug cartels and corrupt cops and it sounds like a typical job for our detective couple.
The Deadly Dog Show can be read as a stand-alone novel.

About This Author
The author is a Professor of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at the University of California’s Medical School at Davis, near Sacramento in Northern California. Jerry writes mystery stories that follow the cozy conventions of no graphic sex and no cussing but feature tougher protagonists and darker worlds than most cozies. Jerry knows the real world of dog shows from his own experience and that of his wife, Elaine, who breeds and shows prize-winning German Shorthair Pointer dogs. The cover photo is the author’s own dog Jolie (Grand Champion V. D. Nacht’s Classic Beaujolais, SH). Elaine provided technical advice for The Deadly Dog Show and editing for all of his books.
Author Links
Amazon Author Page:
Twitter: @Jerold Last
Purchase Link

Guest Post:



My novel being promoted today is “The Deadly Dog Show”, a suspenseful whodunit mystery set in the hypercompetitive world of canine conformation contests, a world my wife and I are very familiar with.  In fact, the cover photo for “The Deadly Dog Show” shows our own Jolie (aka Grand Champion Von Der Nacht’s Grand Cru Beaujolais) at a large local dog show here in Northern California several years ago at the height of her career as a show dog.  The novel adheres to the “cozy” conventions of no cussing and no gratuitous or explicit sex.  There is some violence and a darker world than you might expect to find in many typical cozy mysteries.


            As I sit at my desk about 25 feet away from nine six-week-old puppies (Thank you, Jolie), it seems natural to reflect on our family's relationship to dogs.  My wife Elaine has been breeding German Shorthaired Pointers (GSPs) for a long time, most of her adult life.  Her first GSP was the loveable, but not particularly well coordinated, Jake (aka Lufkin’s Jaunty Jake as registered with the American Kennel Club).  Jake was influential in getting us together, as described later in this post.  Jake also sired Fliegen, who began a 12-generation long lineage that established Elaine as a well-known breeder of successful GSP show dogs here in the western United States.  For today, we will discuss the possibility that Jake might have influenced the purchase of the real Pearl and the development of the fictitious Pearl in the Spenser series of mystery novels written by one of my favorite authors, Robert B. Parker.


            In a land long ago and far away (I always wanted to use that cliche from Star Wars in writing, somewhere), Elaine lived in the Boston suburbs.  She walked Jake in many places, including the Boston Commons.  A few of those times Robert B. Parker, who lived and taught in Boston, came by The Boston Commons to admire her dog and got to know Jake in all his lovable goofiness.  Over his illustrious career as a mystery writer, which started just about that time with The Godwulf Manuscript (published in 1973, the year I moved to Cambridge), Parker owned several generations of GSPs named Pearl, who occupied a lot of his book jacket photos with him.  In all of the Spenser books that followed the first one, beginning, I believe, with book #2 in the series, "God Save the Child", Spenser had a girlfriend Susan Silverman, initially a school guidance counselor.  Susan morphed into a Ph.D. (from Harvard, no less) clinical psychologist in book #10, "Valediction".  Susan eventually acquired a GSP named Pearl in, I think, the 19th book, "Pastime".  Her dog, whose name was changed from "Vigilant Virgin" to Pearl on page 4 of Pastime, looked a lot like Parker’s real Pearl, a solid liver-colored GSP (unlike Jake, whose body was white with dark ticking and had a solid liver colored head).  Parker’s movie production company, which made theatrical films and TV shows based upon his books, was named “Pearl Productions”.   Did Elaine and Jake influence Parker’s subsequent choices of Pearl #1-3?  I’d like to think so.


            Our sons grew up with a lot of Jake stories.  When I met Elaine she was living in Cambridge, across the Charles River from Boston, and I was in the process of moving there.  Jake actually got us together the first time by losing a dog fight to a Labrador retriever over who was going to retrieve the Labrador’s tennis ball from the reflecting pond in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C.  I was walking by (I lived there then, Elaine and Jake were visiting) in time to offer a box of Kleenex to staunch the flow of blood from Jake’s ear.  By the time we got to my car for the Kleenex the flow of blood had ceased, I got to meet a cute young woman who fortuitously became the first person I knew who lived in Cambridge, and we had a story to tell about how Jake brought us together.


            We lived in an old house that had been broken up into apartments a few blocks away from Harvard Yard.  Every morning Jake was taken for a walk to Harvard Yard where he could safely be let off-leash to run around chasing squirrels and absorbing the culture. His morning ritual, from which he never deviated, was to celebrate freedom as the leash was removed by running as fast as he could to the statue of John Harvard, the founder of the University several hundred years ago, that occupied Pride of Place in the center of the broad Quad that was Harvard Yard.  The polite term for his next action was he “marked” the statue; for those not in the know with respect to doggie behaviors, he urinated over John Harvard’s legs and shoes.  Every day for several years!  For the egalitarians reading this, it’s OK to cheer at the symbolism.


            In the first paragraph I referred to Jake's lack of coordination.  In a breed known for its grace and athletic ability Jake was a super-klutz.  The problem of his innate klutziness was dramatized when we acquired his son Fliegen at 7 weeks of age as our second GSP.  All of Jake's klutz genes were obviously recessive since Fliegen was poetry in motion pretty much from the day he joined our family.  Jake was the dog that would run on snow and ice, get out of control, and skid into a tree.  One of his nicknames was "George of the Jungle", named for a TV cartoon character whose theme song advised him to "Watch out for that tree!"  In the same situation (same snow, same ice), Fliegen would do a graceful mid-course correction and slide right past the tree.  Another of Jake's nicknames was "The Boston Bleeder" in celebration of the inevitable outcome of the very few fights with other dogs he got into.


            But for lovability, loyalty, and willingness to protect Elaine no matter what, Jake is still the standard we compare all of our other GSPs to.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Slayed on the Slopes by Katie Dyer-Seely Review and Giveaway

Welcome to my tour stop for Slayed on the Slopes by Kate Dyer-Seeley! This is the second book in the Pacific Northwest Mystery series. Slayed on the Slopes released March 31st by Kensington Publishing. The tour runs April 6- 17 with reviews, interviews, guest posts and excerpts. Check out the tour page for more information. 

About the Book:

After talking her way into a job writing for Portland’s Northwest Extreme magazine, Meg Reed may now really be in over her head. Actually, about 8,000 feet over her head. . .

She’s at Mount Hood’s remote Silcox Hut, covering the seriously hardcore Ridge Rangers—Oregon’s elite high-altitude rescue team–during their four-day winter training. Sure, Meg beefed up her outdoor skills over the summer . . . but she’s still hoping to cover the event with some hot chocolate by the cheery fireplace. Then, during a sudden blizzard, she swears she hears gunshots. No one stranded in the hut believes her . . . until self-absorbed Ridge Ranger Ben Rogers is found outside in a pool of frozen blood. Meg’s now got to find this killer quickly . . . before cabin fever does them all in!

Praise For Scene Of The Climb

“A splendid overview of the greater Portland and Columbia River Gorge region, perfect for travel buffs. Her protagonist shows promise with her determined attitude and moxie.” –Library Journal

Includes Adventure Guides!

What I Thought: 

For someone who hates snow and cold, I enjoyed this read.  It had a lot of action in it that kept me turning the pages.  I am also not much of an outdoor person, but enjoy reading about the beauty and splendor of Oregon.  Meg is a girl after my own heart.  She has to go on some extreme adventures for her job, and she isn't really comfortable with some of the extremes she has to do.  There are a lot of suspects in this one, and it kept me guessing till the very end.  Meg is also dealing with her feelings for her friend Matt, and she is also dealing with something she saw her friend, Jill's, boyfriend doing.  Meg has a lot going on in this novel.  If you love adventure and a good mystery with superb writing, then this is the series for you.

I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.

Don't miss out on the first book, Scene of the Climb, available now!

About the Author:

Kate Dyer-Seeley writes the Pacific Northwest Mystery Series for Kensington Publishing. The first

book in the series, Scene of the Climb, features the rugged landscapes of the Columbia River Gorge and a young journalist who bills herself as an intrepid adventurer in order to land a gig writing for Northwest Extreme.

Her work has appeared in a variety of regional and international publications including: The Columbian, The Vancouver Voice, Seattle Backpacker, Portland Family Magazine, and Climbing Magazine.

Kate lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and son, where you can find her hitting the trail, at an artisan coffee shop, or at her favorite pub. Better yet—at all three.

Website | Facebook | Twitter


Winter warmer package- signed copy of Slayed on the Slopes, Signed copy of Scene of the Climb, Ghirardelli Double Chocolate Hot Chocolate Mix, Oregon Chai Tea, 1 Pound of Coffee and Collectable Mt. Hood art coaster (US)

Ends April 27, 2015

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This event was organized by CBB Book Promotions.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Dead Girl Blues by Jim and Joyce Lavene, Review and Guest Post

Dead Girl Blues
 By Joyce and Jim Lavene
• Genre – Cozy Mystery (PARANORMAL)
When Nashville cop Skye Mertz and her husband, Jacob, are killed in a wreck, Skye is given the opportunity to come back for twenty years to raise her five-year-old daughter, Kate. With her ghostly mother-in-law’s help, Skye hopes to be there until Kate is old enough to take care of herself.
But three years into her twenty-year service to Abraham Lincoln Jones, the man who gave her the extra time, Skye is beginning to think life might have been easier before she died.
Abe asks her to investigate the murder of his sorcerer, Harold the Great, a man who was a victim of too many snakes. And the Life Extended People (LEPs – a nice term for zombies) who work for Abe have begun turning into ghosts and disappearing. Only Lucas, the possibly evil, amnesiac sorcerer who lives with Skye and her family, can save her from being the next victim of the deadly curse.
To make matters more complicated, Skye has found a lead in solving the riddle of her husband’s death. She has never believed Jacob died as a result of the crash, but hasn’t been able to prove it. Many other people have lost their lives in the same lonely stretch of highway that he did three years before. Skye goes against Abe’s express wishes to discover the truth with a crazy man bent on vengeance.

What I Thought:

With all the Zombie craze going on today, I was a little skeptical about this one, but I didn't need to be as it isn't like the other Zombie books and/or shows.  You didn't have a corpse walking around moaning and groaning trying to eat live humans.  These Zombies, or LEP (Life Extended People) are pretty normal, just like regular humans, they only have twenty years on earth, though. This was a well written story with a great storyline.  Abe wants Skye to find out who killed his sorcerer.  This book has a lot of mystical creatures, so if you are a fan of that type of thing, this is the book for you.

I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.


About The Authors
Joyce and Jim Lavene write award-winning, bestselling mystery fiction as themselves, J.J. Cook, and Ellie Grant. They have written and published more than 70 novels for Harlequin, Berkley, Amazon, and Gallery Books along with hundreds of non-fiction articles for national and regional publications. They live in rural North Carolina with their family.

Author Links
Purchase Link:
First Book in Series
Broken Hearted Ghoul (Taxi for the Dead Paranormal Mysteries) (Volume 1)

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Dead Girl Blues

Melina’s Book Blog

A Word from the Spirit World

With Addie Mertz

By Joyce and Jim Lavene

I’m Addie Mertz, and I’m a ghost.

That’s right. I feel like some kind of freak admitting it, but there it is.

I knew I was dying when my son and daughter-in-law were involved in a terrible wreck. My son, Jacob, died. I wanted to die with him, but there was more work to be done.

My daughter-in-law, Skye, died too, but I was able to introduce her to the man who’d brought my husband back for twenty years – Abraham Lincoln Jones. He offered her the deal so she could keep the state from taking Kate away. Skye did the one smart thing she did in her life, besides marrying Jacob, and took him up on it.

Coming back from the grave?

I don’t remember much. It was as though one minute I was alive and struggling to breathe as the cancer overcame my lungs. The next minute, I was back in my old home, Apple Betty’s Inn. I looked up as Skye and Kate were coming back from my funeral.

Imagine their surprise when they saw me!

It hasn’t been easy. There are so many things I can’t do anymore. But I’m learning. Skye brought home this man, Lucas, who claims to be a sorcerer – except he can’t remember who he is or what he’s supposed to do most of the time. He’s been helping me learn what I can do.

This ghost thing doesn’t come with instructions, you know!

It’s worth it, though, to help Skye with Kate. They need me, even though sometimes Skye doesn’t act like it. It’s not like I wanted to leave my family. I know Jacob didn’t want to go either.

I hope Skye quits messing around with Lucas and gets busy finding the person who really killed my son! Now that’s a person I’d enjoy terrifying!


Sunday, April 12, 2015

Chef Maurice and a Spot of Truffle by J. A. Lang, Review and Giveaway


CHEF MAURICE and a Spot of Truffle
by J.A. LANG
Cozy Mystery (British, Culinary)
Number of Pages  228
Release Date: April 7, 2014
There is a free prequel available on Amazon right now. Chef Maurice and the Rather Fishy Tale: A Chef Maurice Mystery Short Story
It’s autumn in the Cotswolds, and Chef Maurice is facing a problem of mushrooming proportion.
Not only has his wild herb and mushroom supplier, Ollie Meadows, missed his weekly delivery—he’s missing vital signs too, when he turns up dead in the woods near Beakley village.
Soon, Chef Maurice is up to his nose in some seriously rotten business—complete with threatening notes, a pignapping, and an extremely well-catered stake-out.
Can he solve Ollie’s murder before his home-made investigation brings the killer out for second helpings?

What I Thought:

This one was okay.  It is very humorous and filled with many eccentric characters.  It is set in the English Countryside and there are many suspects, which will keep a reader guessing till the end.  Along the way Chef Maurice and his side-kick, Arthur, end up obtaining Hamilton the pig.  The story is told from his prospective a time or two. It is well plotted and well written.  This book will keep you highly entertained. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.

About This Author
J.A. Lang is a British mystery writer, and author of the Chef Maurice Mysteries series.
She lives in Oxford, England, with her husband, an excessive number of cookbooks, and a sourdough starter named Bob.

Author Links:
Purchase Links:
Amazon US:
Amazon UK:
Goodreads Book link:



Prize: Win a signed copy of Chef Maurice and a Spot of Truffle, as well as an extremely cuddly Pillow Pet Pig (RRP $19.99)!
Open to US and UK residents.
Further details at:

Monday, April 6, 2015

Demise in Denim by Duffy Brown


Demise in Denim
by Duffy Brown

DemiseDemise in Denim
(A Consignment Shop Mystery)

4th in Series
Cozy Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group
Release Date: April 7, 2015
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425274705

It’s springtime in Savannah, Georgia, in the newest Consignment Shop Mystery from the national bestselling author of Pearls and Poison. The azaleas and magnolias are in bloom—and Walker Boone is on the run. . .
When Reagan Summerside turned the first floor of her old Victorian home into a consignment shop, she never imagined she’d be harboring a fugitive in her attic. But after a dead man is found in a bathtub and local lawyer Walker Boone is accused of doing the dirty deed, she suddenly has a new houseguest.
Having the lawyer who took her to the cleaners in her divorce settlement—and who has been getting under her skin ever since—in close proximity is enough to drive Reagan to distraction. For the sake of her sanity—and Walker’s freedom—they need to put their heads together to find out who is trying to get the lawyer out of the picture . . .
What I Thought:
I love this series, and this book did not disappoint me.  I love Duffy's style of writing.  She adds in just the right amount of humor to make the books so enjoyable.  Reagan sure does get herself into some sticky, and messy, situations.  This time, she has to try to prove that Walker Boone did not kill his father.  Walker is on the lame, but is keeping a very close eye on Reagan, closer than what Reagan ever expected.  Besides dealing with all of this, Reagan has major competition in the consignment business.  This series is filled with eccentric characters that will make you laugh out loud and it is set in a great location, Savannah, Georgia.  I cannot wait for more in the Consignment Shop Mysteries.
I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.

About This Author
While others girls dreamed of dating Brad Pitt, Duffy Brown longed to take Sherlock Holmes to the prom. Today she conjures up who-done-it stories for Berkley Prime Crime and has two series, the national bestselling Consignment Shop mysteries set in Savannah and the Cycle Path Mysteries on Mackinac Island.
Author Links:
Purchase Links:
Amazon     B&N     Book Depository     Kobo   Google Play

A Bookmarked Death by Judi Culbertson

by Judi Culbertson

Such a great story Judi Ciulbertson draws you in and you find before you know it your halfway through the story and still wanting more. She has such great ability to write about multiple things going on not just the mystery but family dynamic as well.
~Community Bookstop
A Bookmarked Death: A Delhi Laine Mystery
(Delhi Laine Mysteries)

Cozy Mystery – 262 Pages
• Publisher: Witness Impulse (March 31, 2015)
• Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers

For the first time in nearly twenty years, Delhi Laine’s family is whole. But that doesn’t mean everything is back to normal. With no proof to condemn her daughter’s kidnappers, Delhi’s family is forced to share Elisa with her “adopted” parents. But when they suddenly perish in a mysterious house fire, Elisa is heartbroken…and Delhi’s husband, Colin, is charged with their murder. Delhi knows it’s up to her to prove his innocence, but the deeper she digs, the more it becomes evident that nothing is as it seems. When Elisa goes missing, Delhi fears her nightmare may be repeating itself. If she can’t clear Colin’s name and find Elisa again, there may not be another chance. Twenty years ago she lost her daughter…if she fails now, she might lose everything—and everyone—she holds dear.
What I Thought:
This book was a little hard for me to follow as I didn't read the first Delhi Laine book, which dealt with the return of one of Delhi's grown twin daughters that had been kidnapped.  Judi did give a little background as to what happened with Caitlin/Elisa.  Now the people who kidnapped Elisa have been killed in a house fire, and Delhi's estranged husband is the prime suspect.  This is a well written novel that not only deals with a mystery but has a great family dynamic to it also, it kind of reminds me of the a great family saga.  Judi writes well and makes you care for the characters. 
I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.
About This Author
Judi Culbertson draws on her experience as a used-and-rare book dealer, social worker, and world traveler to create her bibliophile mysteries. No stranger to cemeteries, she also co-authored five illustrated guides with her husband, Tom Randall, starting with Permanent Parisians. She lives in Port Jefferson, New York, with her family.
Author Links:
Purchase Links
Amazon B&N

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Friday, April 3, 2015

Threads of Deceit, Review and Guest Post

Threads of Deceit
by Mae Fox & Jan Fields

Cover image final_snippedThreads of Deceit
(Vineyard Quilt Mysteries)

Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Annie’s (April 1, 2015)
ISBN-13: 978-1573674775
E-Book ASIN: B00Q1UF8X2

The first in a new mystery series—for quilters and mystery lovers alike!
Former antiquities bounty hunter, Julie Ellis, is on the run, trying to stay one stiletto step ahead of her past. She accepts a position as manager of the Quilt Haus Inn in Missouri wine country, thinking it the perfect place to keep a low profile and start a new, less-dangerous career. It is—until Daniel Franklin walks through the door and asks for a room.
Daniel claims he’s come to Straussberg in search of a famous sunken ship that he believes is buried in a nearby farm field. Julie finds the handsome historian’s story odd at best, but when a dead body is discovered at the proposed dig site, it becomes clear somebody else believes the theory and doesn’t want the ship or its secrets exposed. Who in the town would possibly care about the old shipwreck? As frightening things start to happen at the inn—all seemingly connected to the hunt for the missing ship—Julie and her quilting friends must unearth the truth before someone else is buried.
Alone in her room, Julie sighed softly as she kicked off her shoes. She needed to focus on her new life and stop pining for the one she’d left behind before it could kill her. She reached high over her head, her back slightly arched, and felt her muscles stretch from the demands she placed on them. That’s what she needed to do—stretch and appreciate the new demands of running an inn.
As she swung forward to reach her toes, a sound in the hallway caught her attention. She froze. The clock on her small fireplace mantle made it clear the hour was much too late for a guest to be wandering around on the third floor. She wondered for a moment if Hannah might be coming up to see her. Then she thought of Shirley. Perhaps Shirley had found something downstairs that needed Julie’s attention, or a piece of juicy local gossip she had to either share or burst. Julie raised herself to standing and waited for the knock at the door.
No knock came.
Quietly, Julie crept to the door and opened it a crack. She saw that the door to the tower suite hung slightly open. It seemed the mysterious Daniel Franklin had taken to wandering around at an unusually late hour.
I knew those blue eyes were trouble.
She slipped out of her room and tiptoed softly to his door. When she peeked in the open doorway, the room was empty. The beautiful brass bed was still neatly made. So why was her newest guest wandering around the inn instead of sleeping?
She padded barefoot down the smooth wood stairs to the second floor and glanced down the hallway. No sign of movement. She continued down to the first floor and peeked into the tearoom. The pastry case was empty for the night, but the case’s light was still on, bathing the room in enough light to be certain no one lurked inside.
Then she checked the small library located beside the tearoom. Shirley sat curled up in one of the darkly upholstered Queen Anne chairs next to the fireplace. She had half glasses perched on the end of her nose as she squinted at one of the leather-bound books about Missouri history. Julie backed up quietly without speaking. She didn’t want Daniel to be alerted by any sound, and a shouted greeting from Shirley would certainly carry over half the downstairs.
She walked across the foyer toward the breakfast room. The light of a full moon poured through the tall windows that flanked one wall of the room, casting pools of light and shadow. But Julie saw nothing out of place as her gaze swept over the room—until she noticed the door marked “Staff Only.”
It stood ajar.
She quickly jerked open the door and spotted Daniel crouched down in the hall outside the kitchen, poking around in the padlock on the cellar door with a thick piece of wire. His head snapped toward her at the sound, his eyes wide in alarm.
Julie crossed her arms over her chest. “Would you like to tell me why you’re practicing your lock-picking skills on my lock? Or shall I simply call the police?”
 What I Thought:
This book kept my attention throughout.  It was an okay book, I didn't really connect with the characters very well for some reason.  I wanted to find out who was behind the murder and the cover-up, so it kept me turning the pages.  This is a quick read, it is possible to read it in one day.  I would read more books in this series if given the opportunity.  Maybe I could connect with some of the other characters in this series better.  Good job, this was a well thought out mystery.
I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.
About This Author
 Since my first magazine publication in the 1980s, I have been steadily writing for money in some form. Today I have over twenty books in print and still more in the pipeline – books for children and adults. I’ve also written for magazines, educational publishers and even a toy company!
Writing is the only thing I’ve ever done really well that didn’t eventually become more like work than fun.
Although I grew up in the South, I have lived in New England since 1998, when I married the kindest, most wonderful man I had ever met, and he proceeded to haul me all the way to Connecticut. He keeps my life, my computer, and my focus in good order. Together we have one brilliant daughter who has spent 15 years teaching me how little I really did know about parenting (and after I wrote all those parenting articles, tsk tsk tsk). Every day my family shows me again the value of laughing, and taking time for other things besides work. I hope they always will.
These days, I teach as an instructor for the Institute of Children’s Literature and serve as their webmaster. I jump back and forth between being a teacher and a learner every day and I think that is the best thing anyone can be. I want to learn something new every day, and find someone I can help with that knowledge, as well.
Author Links:
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Twitter: @JanisFields
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Guest Post
Cozy mysteries have something in common with children’s books – they struggle to get much respect in the “literary” world. They’re light and fun and filled with hope, things that tend to make them easy for the lofty world of literature to scorn. Cozies are an escape. They’re entertainment. Dare I say it? Cozies are a bit of fluff,  but a wonderful bit.

If you think about any harder edged mystery series, you’ll notice they usually get darker and darker as the series progresses. As the authors “up the stakes” for the characters, they end up raining misery down on them. Since mystery heroes are often heavily flawed people anyway, the pressure of book after book of misery and loss can turn a series pretty bleak. But cozy mysteries usually don’t fall into this trap – so why is that?

For one, a cozy mystery is usually about character relationships as much as it is about the puzzle of the mystery. And for the amateur detective, the relationships might be annoying or frustrating or even a teensy bit dysfunctional, but they’re almost always marked by love. The main character in a cozy mystery nearly always has someone who loves him or her unconditionally – even if it’s just the cat. The character doesn’t have to “go it alone” when things get tough. The mystery is usually set in a tight community and so there are long-term relationships in play. In many of the mysteries I’ve written, THREADS OF DECEIT included, the main character has both a light romantic connection with someone and a strong, platonic bond with someone. These two people then give the character a place to rest emotionally when things get tough. In THREADS OF DECEIT, the character of Hannah isn’t exactly cuddly, but she always has Julie’s back when things get tough.

Also, cozy mysteries are puzzle based, not trauma based. In a harder edged mystery, someone dies horribly and we are usually invited to ponder the horror of the victim’s last hours. In a cozy, all dying takes place off stage, often involves someone we aren’t particularly attached to (or sometimes someone we rather heavily dislike) and the focus is on solving the puzzle. Puzzle solving is fun, and the main character is usually having a good time working out the solution – even when he or she stumbles into trouble. In THREADS OF DECEIT, Julie is just beginning to chafe under the demands of her job when an adventure falls in her lap, and she’s thrilled to pursue it. Even when things get rocky, Julie never considers just dropping the mystery, because she’s not a quitter (and because she loves the thrill of the hunt).

Another element of the cozy mystery is that the main character is almost always whole. Edgier mysteries tend to have main characters who are filled with pain – sorrow or rage or some kind of driving angst. The characters are broken by some horrible event. Now, a cozy character may be dealing with a difficult life situation and with change, but we never get the feeling the person is broken. A cozy amateur detective usually has a busy life filled with non-mystery work or volunteering or passion for some craft – the cozy amateur detective doesn’t usually live solely for the mystery. Instead, the mystery drops into a full life and gives the amateur detective something new and adventurous to do.

All of these things combine to give us mysteries that both entertain and boost our own morale as we read about supportive friends, productive people, and problems that are well able to be solved. They’re a happy pill in book form, an addiction that makes us happier people when we indulge in it. In a world that worries us daily, cozies remind us that they’re always hope. What more could we ask of them?