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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Tammy Grace Post

Return to the picturesque island community where you’ll check in with your old friends and meet a few new ones along the way.

Linda is knee deep in bouquets and boutonnieres, designing a beautiful ceremony for her friends. The bride’s matchmaking plot takes shape as she volunteers her best friend, Max, to help Linda create the perfect wedding.

Linda and Max are thrown together when a tragedy threatens to destroy the honeymooners’ newfound happiness before they have the possibility of a life together. Compelled to make some changes in life, Linda uncovers a family secret that causes her to question her existence and leads her on a search for the truth.

As Max begins to penetrate the protective walls around Linda’s heart, a visit from her youth causes her to risk it all. While struggling between the past and the future, Linda has a chance to let more than her flowers bloom.

What I Thought:

Where do I start?  I absolutely love this series!  I want to move to Friday Harbor!!  It seems like such an idyllic place.  The residents are so friendly and there for each other no matter what, I just love that.  Some may think that there is too much detail in this book, but I thought it was wonderful how Tammy explained everything, it made me feel I was right there with Linda, Max, Sam, Jeff, Regi, Jen, and all the rest of the great characters in this story.  I read the first book, Finding Home, but I enjoyed Home Blooms even more.  Now I am looking forward to a Promise of Home.  I just can’t get enough of Friday Harbor, please Tammy, write more about Friday Harbor after Promise of Home.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author for my honest review.

 Spend Christmas in Friday Harbor this year surrounded by the friends you know and a couple of special deliveries from the Hometown Harbor Series.

In between holiday activities, friends of Linda and Max are helping plan their Valentine’s Day wedding. Regi is anxiously awaiting the arrival of her fortieth birthday and the fulfillment of the promise she and Cam made over twenty years ago.

As she anticipates the reunion with Cam, she’s oblivious to the signals the local delivery man, Nate, is giving her. She and Nate work together helping a newcomer open an art and antiques shop. While spending time together, she discovers she has feelings for Nate and bonds with the new shopkeeper over their past losses.

As Regi’s contemplating her choices, she’s dealt a blow that brings her to her knees and reconnects her with the past. In the pursuit of her youthful fairytale promise, she’ll risk the only chance she’s encountered for true happiness and a home.

What I Thought:

Well this was another great installment in the Hometown Harbor Series.  I just love this place and hate to leave it when each book ends.  I am eagerly awaiting the next installment, because there are still many stories to tell.  Friday Harbor keeps getting more great friends and neighbors.  Again I would love to live in a place like this where everyone cares for each other and goes out of their way to be there.  I really enjoyed reading Regi and Nate's story.  And I was able to catch up with the other wonderful residents.  Do yourself a favor and read this great series.  It starts with Finding Home.  I also love all the wonderful dogs in this story and how much the characters love their pets.

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

Born and raised in Nevada, Tammy L. Grace loved reading at a young age. With the help of her middle school teacher, she discovered the joy of writing. After spending a career in local and state government service, she retired and finally has the time to dedicate to writing.

When Tammy isn't working on ideas for a novel, she's spending time with family and friends or supporting her addiction to books and chocolate. She and her husband have one grown son and a spoiled golden retriever.


Saturday, June 27, 2015

Kittens can Kill b y Clea Simon, Review and Guest Post

Kittens Can Kill

by Clea Simon

on Tour June 2015


coverThe dead don’t keep pets. So when animal behaviorist expert Pru Marlowe gets a call about a kitten, she doesn’t expect to find the cuddly creature playing beside the cooling body of prominent Beauville lawyer David Canaday. Heart attack? His three adult daughters angrily blame drug interactions, feline allergies—and each other. And begin to feud over their father, his considerable estate, and that cute ball of fluff. While the cause of death is pending, each sister has an axe to grind—with arguments that escalate when David’s partner reads out the will.
Pru’s special sensitivity to animals, which caused her to flee the cacophony of Manhattan for the quiet Berkshires, adds further problems. The local vet is overwhelmed as the animal hospital’s money runs out. There’s a needy Sheltie and some invasive squirrels, too. But the dead man’s kitten, his former partner, and his troublesome family keep drawing “wild-girl animal psychic Pru back in. Despite the wry observations of her trusty tabby Wallis, now the wrongfully accused kitten’s guardian, and the grudging compliance of her cop lover, this may be one time when Pru can’t solve the mystery or save the kitten she wants to believe is innocent. A single witness knows the truth about that bright spring morning. How far can Pru investigate without risking her own hidden tale?

Book Details:

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Published by: Poisoned Pen Press

Publication Date: 03/03/2015

Number of Pages: 434

Series: Pru Marlowe Pet Noir #5 (Each is a Stand Alone Mystery)

ISBN: 9781464203589

Purchase Links: Amazon Barnes & Noble Goodreads
What I Thought:

Honestly, I really didn't connect with this book at first, it was kind of slow going.  But towards the middle it really picked up and became interesting.  I liked how Pru had a connection with animals, since I am an animal lover.  I also liked how she figured out the mystery.  This was the first book I have read in this series, and I will probably read more.  Great job Clea.

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

Read an excerpt:

Chapter One
There’s nothing cute about a death scene. Not the shards of the mug that rested in a puddle on the cold tile floor. Not the scent of the tea—acrid and sharp—that now mingled with the mustier odors of a body’s last struggle. And certainly not the body itself, sprawled contorted beside the shattered ceramic, one arm reaching out for succor, the other frozen in rigor as it clawed at the argyle wool vest that covered the still chest.
No, there was nothing cute about the tableau that greeted me when I made my way into the kitchen of Mr. David Canaday, Esquire, after twenty minutes of pointless knocking. But the kitten that sat beside the puddle, batting at a metal button that must have popped off the vest in that last desperate effort? That little white puffball, not more than eight weeks old and intent as he could be on his newfound toy as it rolled back and forth? He was adorable. The cutest little bundle a girl could ever swoon for.
He knew it, too. As I stood there, staring, he batted that button toward me. Rolling around on its rounded top, it made its slow circular way toward my feet.
“Play?” The message in those round blue eyes was clear. I was supposed to kick the button back. To get it moving—make it livelier prey than the still man on the floor would ever be again. “Back to me?”
The button hit my boot, and the kitten reared up when I stepped back, his front paws reaching up to slap the air.
“No, kitty. I can’t.” I took another step back the way I had come.
“Play?” And another.
I had no desire to kick the button. What I wanted to do was scoop up this little puffball and run.
To remove such an innocent creature from the horror before me. That had been my plan, even before I’d walked into the room. Get the kitten, get out. Get on with my day.
That didn't look like it was going to happen. Not now, and as much as I wanted to snatch the kitten up I restrained myself and, fiddling with my bag, found my phone while I took a third step and a fourth back to the kitchen door. As much as I wanted to grab up the kitten and run for dear life, I knew better than to disturb what just might be a crime scene—or to remove what I assumed to be the only living witness.
Chapter Two
The paramedics arrived first, and for that I was grateful. They had the body on a stretcher by the time the daughter arrived, straps across those jolly blue diamonds and a blanket covering the soiled khakis below. Better still, they were the ones to tell her what that still, pale face should have. What had been patently obvious to me from the moment I’d stepped into the room: Dad was dead. They were taking him to the hospital—that was protocol—but there’d be no sirens wailing because there was no great rush. Lucky for me, she opted to ride along.
I didn't envy the paramedics. The daughter looked like the type who would fight them. Insist on CPR or defibrillation, even as the old man’s color faded to a muted version of that vest, the blood slowly settling in his back.
She didn't look much better. Pale as dishwater, with hair to match. That hair, a listless bob, had been dark once, maybe as black as mine, but time had dulled its color and its sheen, much as it had softened what might have once been impressive cheekbones and a jawline that now sloped gently into a chubby neck.
Between that pallor and the way she had carried on, I had thought at first that she was the wife. Then I remembered: the old man was widowed. It was his daughter who had called me, asking for help in settling a new pet with an increasingly shut-in and by all accounts difficult elder.
“It needs everything,” she had said when she’d called. “Shots, whatever.”
I’d been bothered by that impersonal “it.” Sexing a kitten can be difficult, but this smacked of something colder. Still, I’d said I’d call Doc Sharpe, our local vet, to set up a well-kitten visit and silently figured on adding taxi and escort charges.
In the meantime, I’d told the daughter that I’d drop by to set things up. As the woman on the phone had gone on, though, I’d begun adding services. Neither she nor her father had expected this kitten. She had errands to run, she’d said, and sounded particularly put out by its sudden, unannounced appearance.
It—that impersonal “it” again—had been an unexpected gift, the caller had said. And while that sounded odd, I wasn't going to question it. Not if they were willing to pay.
That gig was shot, I thought as I watched the ambulance from the shelter of an eager rhododendron, blossoms ready to pop.
Sure, I could bill for my time. I’d certainly charge for the load of supplies in my car. But I wouldn't count on getting paid, not soon anyway. Spring and my business usually picked up. The tourists started filtering back, and the seasonal condos filled with troubled dogs and angry cats, all confused by the very human idea of relocating for fun. But even though the May days were growing soft, my client base hadn't warmed up yet. I’d been counting on this job for at least a few regular checks.
“Mama? Where did you go?” The soft cry brought me out of my musing. Male, definitely, though still much more a baby than a boy. Spring. I looked through the bush’s dark green leaves for a nest. For a den in the dark, damp leaves beneath the trees.
“Where are you?”
The kitten. Of course. With all the hubbub, the tiny animal must have been spooked. Must have darted for safety and gotten outside. I couldn't recall anyone mentioning the little cat as they strapped the old man to the gurney and bundled his daughter in for the ride.
The kitten was determined, I’d give him that. And he seemed to have gotten over his fright. I looked around. The EMTs had left the door ajar when they first stormed in, and the little fellow probably snuck out. Normally, I’d cheer him on. Self-determination is a virtue that I applaud, but a baby is a baby, after all.
And while the east side of Beauville might look nicer than our shabby downtown, part of the appeal was its old-growth woods.
I thought of the foxes that would be nesting soon beneath those trees. And the fishers, and a few other predators, all of whom would be looking for a tasty morsel for themselves or their own young. Nature, right? With a sigh that probably revealed more about my human nature than I’d care to admit, I dropped to my knees. Besides, it wasn't like I was doing anyone else any good just then.
“I’m here, little fellow,” I called out softly, peering around the shrubbery. “Where are you?”
He didn't answer, not that I really expected him to. I should explain that this is odd for me. I have a sensitivity, you see.
Some people might call it a gift. I can pick up what animals are thinking, hear their thoughts like voices in my head. Yes, I know how nutty that sounds. That’s why I keep my particular sensitivity to myself, although I have a feeling that others are growing suspicious.
But the thing about picking up animals’ voices is that they don’t talk like you or I do. They have no need for meaningless conversation, and they certainly don’t chatter just to hear themselves speak. And so although I tend to perceive their voices in human terms—that kitten asking for its mother, for example—that’s just my weak human brain trying to make sense of what I’m really getting. Which was a young animal coming to terms
with its environment. That kitten wanted to play, because playing is its job—how it learns to hunt, to survive. He had appeared to address me because kittens, like all mammals, learn from their mothers, their peers. From the world around them. He wasn't calling to me, specifically. He was reaching out, because he was alone.
Alone. That was part of what I was getting, but there was something else, too—an undercurrent of loneliness and confusion, a jumble of noise and fear and…
“Back to me? Kick it again?”
Boredom? Well, as I've said, play is a young animal’s job.
And while I didn't necessarily want to play kick the button, I was grateful for the repeated plea. The voice was clearly coming from inside.
I turned back to the silent house. Although I’d walked in with no problem—Beauville still being that kind of place—someone had thought to lock the door. Luckily, the latch was a simple one, and it gave way quickly to the thin blade of the knife I always keep close at hand. This wasn't breaking-and-entering. Not really, I told myself as I closed the door carefully behind me. I’d been hired to take care of a kitten, and that’s what I was going to do.
“Kitten? Hello?” As I've said, I wasn't really expecting an answer. What I was doing was announcing my presence, trying to sound as nonthreatening as I could, which for me meant voicing my thought in the form of a question.
“Back to me!” I tried to echo the thought I had picked up. The kitchen remained still and apparently empty. I proceeded through the open archway into what appeared to be a living room. “You there?”
“Play with me!” That insistent voice. “Why won’t he play with me?”
I didn't have the heart to tell him, but I had to. “He’s gone,” I said.
“Gone?” The question bounced back, like that button. The small creature was trying to make sense of my response. Of the word. I kicked myself. I wasn't doing the kitten any favors with my euphemism. Animals live or die in the physical world, and despite this one’s infant appeal, he probably had a better sense of reality than most of the humans in this town.
“Dead,” I said, summoning the memory of the still, cold body.
“Gone?” The damage had been done, and I felt the confusion as the kitten continued to roll that word—that concept—about in his tiny feline brain.
“Catch me!” The button appeared, rolling in a slow semicircle from under a chair. “Let’s play!”
“Kitten?” I ducked down and leaned beneath the coffee table.
There, eyes wide, crouched the little creature. He’d taken refuge from all the commotion. Up close, I could see he was undersized and a little ragged, more ready to pounce than to groom. I reached for him and he reared up, batting at me with cool paw pads. “Okay, little fellow.” I scooped him up, and as he nuzzled against my shirt, I felt a wet spot on his back.
“Feels like you've been trying to wash.” No wonder his fur looked patchy. “Or did you get splashed?”
I sniffed the kitten and caught something funky. Tea, I hoped, and not something more gruesome. I didn't think I was imagining a slight mint scent, and any puddles on the floor where the body had fallen had been trampled into dark stains. Mimicking my action, the kitten stretched around to sniff the wet spot, and promptly sneezed.
“Gesundheit, little fellow.” He looked up at me, eyes wide, and sneezed again. An adorable little snort, prompted perhaps by that touch of mint. But I've been in this business too long not to think of the other possibilities: feline viral rhinoneumonitis—FVR, better known as feline herpes—for example. Not fatal, but something to manage. At any rate, I held the little creature under the tap for a moment. He was young enough
to take my impromptu bath without too much fuss and was purring as I rubbed him down with a dish towel.
“Excuse me.” The voice behind me made me twirl around and the kitten jumped to the floor. He landed by a pair of cowboy boots—turquoise blue—attached to jeans that fit like a second skin. On top of these, a woman’s face scowled at me, the eyes wide and regal. “But who are you, and what are you doing in my father’s house? And what are you doing with my kitten?”

Author Bio:

authorA recovering journalist, Clea Simon is the author of 1​7​ mysteries and three nonfiction books. Parrots Prove Deadly is the third in her Pru Marlowe pet noir series. She lives in Somerville, Massachusetts, with her husband Jon and their cat, Musetta, and can be reached at

Clea Simon's website Clea Simon's twitter Clea Simon's facebook

Tour Participants:


This is a giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for Clea Simon & Poisoned Pen Press. There will be one winner of 1 Box of Poisoned Pen Press books including Kittens Can Kill by Clea Simon. The giveaway begins on June 1st, 2015 and runs through June 3rd, 2015.

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

Guest Post:

What is pet noir, anyway?


Hi folks,

Thanks for having me here! I’m Clea Simon, the author of three mystery series (two – the Pru Marlowe pet noirs and the Dulcie Schwartz feline-filled mysteries) ongoing.  Although there are currently a couple of series labeled “pet noir,” I believe I invented the term – at least for pet mysteries – when I sent my publisher the first manuscript in the series, the book that would become “Dogs Don’t Lie.”


These days, people ask me, “what is pet noir? Is it noir? Is it cozy?” This is the true story:


I write cozies. Not cutesy books, mind you, but traditional whodunits – the kind of mystery where, if you’re a careful reader, you should be able to piece together all the clues and figure out what happened, right alongside my amateur detective. These are the kinds of books I grew up reading, so I guess it made sense that’s what I first started writing when I wrote my first mystery (“Mew is for Murder,” Poisoned Pen Press, 2005).  As you can tell from that title, a cat – several, actually – was involved. I love cats, so it seemed natural to write cozies with cats. And readers love them too!


Since then, my tastes have broadened. I like a fast-paced not-too-violent thriller, the kind where a resourceful hero or heroine can figure her or his way out of a jam. Joe Finder’s books, for example, are great fun, and I’m a big fan of Daniel Silva!  But I will probably never be a fan of gory thrillers. The kind of book that opens with a beautiful woman getting killed is just off-putting to me – I suspect the people who write those books were jilted once too often by the pretty girls. And while I had my share of heartbreak in my single years, I just think that’s an easy and a mean way out.


What really sucked me in a few years ago was noir. Not the classic Dashiell Hammet – though I’ve read those, too – but the new noir. Women-centered noir. Books by Linda L. Richards and Megan Abbott, featuring tough broads who did what they wanted, took what they wanted, and sometimes got away … and sometimes didn’t. 


When I thought about it, what I liked – maybe what I always liked about the best mysteries – were the characters. They were not always nice, but they felt real. When they did bad things – stole or killed – they did them for reasons I could understand.


That’s the kind of book I wanted to write. A book with a realistic heroine – maybe not always likeable, but someone you could understand. Maybe someone a little intimidating. A bit tougher than I am, and with a bit of a past. And so in a homage to the great Philip Marlowe, I cam up with Pru – for Prudence – Marlowe, hard-drinking single gal from the city, who washes up in her home town looking to start over. And I had great fun writing her. Her voice came naturally, and right away I knew how she looked, how she moved. You name it. Only… when I started writing my tough girl, another voice appeared. Her even tougher tabby, Wallis. They were a team, from the start, and I knew I had something new – Pru Marlowe and Wallis the cat. Pet noir.

Dressed to Kill by Lynn Cahoon, Review and Guest Post

Dressed To Kill
(A Tourist Trap Mystery Book 4)

4th in Series
Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Lyrical Press (June 23, 2015)
Jill Gardner—owner of Coffee, Books, and More in the tucked-away town of South Cove, California—is not particularly thrilled to be portraying a twenties flapper for the dinner theater murder mystery. Though it is for charity…
Of course everyone is expecting a “dead” body at the dress rehearsal…but this one isn’t acting! It turns out the main suspect is the late actor’s conniving girlfriend Sherry…who also happens to be the ex-wife of Jill’s main squeeze. Sherry is definitely a master manipulator…but is she a killer? Jill may discover the truth only when the curtain comes up on the final act…and by then, it may be far too late.

What I Thought:

This was another great installment in the Tourist Trap series.  This is a series that is set in a small, California coastal town.  It is filled with quirky characters that develop as the series progresses.  In this installment, the local playboy banker is murdered.  Jill doesn't want to get involved, but, what Jill wants and what happens are two different things.  If you are looking for an entertaining read that will keep your attention, then this is the book for you.

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

About The Author
New York Times and USA Today 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 two fur babies.
Author Links
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Thanks for having me over at Melina’s Book Blog. 


Dressed to Kill is the fourth book in the Tourist Trap Mysteries and in some ways, one of the hardest. Our heroine, Jill Gardner, is trying very hard to not be catty or jealous, or even in the same room as her boyfriend’s ex-wife, Sherry King. Something about the woman just grates on Jill.

However, Jill, like me, loves to talk and look at fashion. But also like me, Jill’s more comfortable in capris and a tank top than the Chanel skirted suits Aunt Jackie loves.  So she has a dilemma.

I love watching how fashion designers work. Project Runway, in all its formats, is my guilty pleasure when I do take a television break. Seeing them take yards of fabric and turn it into a wearable (or not so wearable) garment at the end reminds me of writing a book.  I start with an idea, then the characters take the story onward.  But like a good designer, I look at the finished first draft with an editing eye.

Have I repeated information from an earlier chapter? Am I inserting the information too soon? Or does this path I’m running down with scissors end up at a brick wall?  The designing process is like that. It’s the editing part that makes our books flow seamlessly from one chapter to the next. 

I’ve never worked in the fashion industry, but my secret dream in high school was to move to NYC and work in a fashion house. Not as a designer, I can’t draw an exit doorway out of a paper bag. Instead, I wanted to be a buyer. To look at a collection and take pieces that I loved and that I knew my customers would as well.  Or at least I hoped I would chose well. 

Instead I went to college and got a degree in Political Science. By the time I graduated, I was married with a baby boy on my hip. Not the time to take off for NYC and a dream. Instead, I started working for a state agency in social service activities. Something I enjoyed, but not my passion.

Now, I’m lucky enough to be able to write. I love creating worlds and playing with the characters or as my husband calls them, my imaginary friends.

What about you? Did you follow your passion when you chose a career?  What would you do if you could start all over? 

Dressed to Kill

Jill Gardner—owner of Coffee, Books, and More in the tucked-away town of South Cove, California—is not particularly thrilled to be portraying a twenties flapper for the dinner theater murder mystery. Though it is for charity…

Of course everyone is expecting a “dead” body at the dress rehearsal…but this one isn’t acting! It turns out the main suspect is the late actor’s conniving girlfriend Sherry…who also happens to be the ex-wife of Jill’s main squeeze. Sherry is definitely a master manipulator…but is she a killer? Jill may discover the truth only when the curtain comes up on the final act…and by then, it may be far too late.


"Murder, dirty politics, pirate lore, and a hot police detective: Guidebook to Murder has it all! A cozy lover’s dream come true." --Susan McBride, author of The Debutante Dropout Mysteries


New York Times and USA Today 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 two fur babies.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Footprints in the Frosting by Laura Pauling

Cheesecake, Love, and Murder!
It’s the Grand Opening for Holly Hart’s new business, Just Cheesecake. When footprints in the frosting lead to a body facedown in one of her cheesecakes, Holly becomes a prime suspect.
With her opening day delayed, Holly deals with a nosy no-good reporter and the local cop, the handsome Officer Trinket, as she puts her sleuthing skills to the test to save her business and her name. With the help of her dog, Muffins, she needs to find the real murderer, before the killer looks to frost someone else.
What I Thought:
This was a fun little read that I read in a couple of hours.  Holly is new to Fairview and she sure gets herself into some messy situations.  She finds a couple of dead bodies and has it out with the local journalist a couple of times.  This short story had me guessing to the very end.  It had several laugh-out-loud moments in it too, Holly sure can make things interesting.  If you are looking for a quick, entertaining read that will keep you interested then this is the book for you.
I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.
About the Author
Laura Pauling writes about spies, murder and mystery. She’s the author of the young adult Circle of Spies Series, the Prom Impossible Series, the time travel mysteries, Heist and A Royal Heist, and the Holly Hart Cozy Mystery Series: Footprints in the Frosting and Deadly Independence with more coming.
She lives the cover of a suburban mom/author perfectly, from the minivan to the home-baked snickerdoodles, while hiding her secret missions and covert operations. But shh. Don’t tell anyone. And she may or may not actually bake cookies. You decide.
Visit Laura at to sign up for her newsletter and receive a free Holly Hart cozy mystery novella.
  • Author Links
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Footprints in the Frosting
: Holly Hart Cozy Mystery 1
Deadly Independence: Holly Hart Cozy Mystery 2
~ coming soon ~

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Friday, June 19, 2015

Hearts Made Whole by Jody Hedlund

About the book:
Hearts Made Whole (Bethany House, June 2015)

Can she forgive the hurting man who costs her the role she loves?

After her father's death, Caroline Taylor has grown confident running the Windmill Point Lighthouse. But in 1865 Michigan, women aren't supposed to have such roles, so it's only a matter of time before the lighthouse inspector appoints a new keeper---even though Caroline has nowhere else to go and no other job available to her.

Ryan Chambers is a Civil War veteran still haunted by the horrors of battle. He's secured the position of lighthouse keeper mostly for the isolation---the chance to hide from his past is appealing. He's not expecting the current keeper to be a feisty and beautiful woman who's angry with him for taking her job and for his inability to properly run the light. When his failings endanger others, he and Caroline realize he's in no shape to run the lighthouse, but he's unwilling to let anyone close enough to help. Caroline feels drawn to this wounded soul, but with both of them relying on that single position, can they look past their loss to a future filled with hope...and possibly love?

Purchase a copy:

What I Thought:

I really enjoyed reading Caroline and Ryan's story.  I found myself rooting for them the whole way through the book.  This book was so well written, it flowed really well and it kept my attention the whole way through.  Caroline and Ryan both had a lot to overcome in this story, but they both put their problems in God's hands.  I liked how they both relied on God and gave him control.  I also liked that Caroline and the others in this story fought for a woman's right to hold a job that was for a man.

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

About the author:
Jody Hedlund is an award-winning and bestselling historical fiction author. She won the 2011 Inspirational Reader's Choice Award, the 2011 Award of Excellence from the Colorado Romance Writers and was a finalist for Best Debut Novel in the 2011 ACFW Carol Awards. Currently she makes her home in central Michigan, with her husband and five busy children. She loves hearing from readers on Facebook and on her blog.

Find Jody online: website, Twitter, Facebook

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

As Waters Gone By by Cynthia Ruchti

About the book:
As Waters Gone By (Abingdon, May 2015)

How can a marriage survive when separated by hundreds of miles and impenetrable prison walls?

Emmalyn and Max Ross may have to endure the fight of their lives to mend the tattered fabric of their marriage. His actions ensured she could never be a mother and put him in prison, giving their relationship a court-mandated five-year time-out. On a self-imposed exile to beautiful but remote Madeline Island, one of the Apostle Islands of Lake Superior, Emmalyn has just a few months left to figure out if and how they can ever be a couple again.

Nudged along by the exuberant owner of the Wild Iris Inn and Café, a circle of misfit people in their small town, and a young girl who desperately needs someone to love her, Emmalyn restores an island cottage that could become a home and begins to restore her heart by learning what it means to love unconditionally. Yet even as hope begins to find a place within the cottage walls, Emmalyn still wonders if she's ready for Max's release. She may be able to rebuild a cottage, but can she rebuild a marriage?

Purchase a copy:

What I Thought:

This was a book about a woman who is trying to find herself and reassess her life.  Emmalyn's life has fallen apart since her husband Max has been incarcerated in prison.  So she travels to the idyllic island Madeline Island to figure out her life.  This book is filled with quirky characters. It is a story of hope.  If you are struggling yourself with purpose, this is a good book to pick up and read. 

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

About the author:

Cynthia Ruchti has more than three decades of radio broadcast experience with Heartbeat of the Home radio and currently serves as Professional Relations Liaison for American Christian Fiction Writers.

Find Cynthia online: website, Twitter, Facebook

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Farmed and Dangerous by Edith Maxwell


Farmed and Dangerous
(Local Foods Mystery)

• Hardcover: 304 pages
• Publisher: Kensington (May 26, 2015)
• ISBN-13: 978-0758284679

Snow is piling up in Westbury, Massachusetts, and Cam Flaherty’s organic farm has managed to survive the harsh New England winter. Unfortunately murder seems to be the crop in season…
Cam is finding the New Year just as hectic as the old one. Her sometimes rocky relationship with Chef Jake Ericsson is in a deep freeze, she’s struggling to provide the promised amount of food to the subscribers in her first winter CSA, and her new greenhouse might just collapse from the weight of the snow. Supplying fresh ingredients for a dinner at the local assisted living facility seems like the least of her worries—until one of the elderly residents dies after eating some of her produce.
Cantankerous Bev Montgomery had a lot of enemies, from an unscrupulous real estate developer who coveted her land to an aggrieved care provider fed up with her verbal abuse. But while the motives in this case may be plentiful, the trail of poisoned produce leads straight back to Cam. Not even her budding romance with police detective Pete Pappas will keep him from investigating her.
As the suspects gather, a blizzard buries the scene of the crime under a blanket of snow, leaving Cam stranded in the dark with a killer who gives new meaning to the phrase “dead of winter.”

What I Thought:

This is the first Local Food Mystery that I have read, but it won't be my last.  I really enjoyed this book.  I liked reading about Cam's organic farming and her antics with her "rescue" chickens.  When an elderly lady dies after eating greens that Cam has provided for the local retirement home, Cam is a person-of-interest, so she has to try to figure out who the real killer is.  Cam gets herself into some scary situations, and it doesn't help that it is the middle of winter and very cold.  This book will keep you guessing till the end and there are a lot of twists and turns.

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

About This Author
  • EDITH MAXWELL is a former farmer of a certified organic farm, holds a Ph.D. in Linguistics, and is a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America. Her short stories have appeared in the anthologies Stone Cold, Fish Nets, Burning Bridges, Thin Ice, Riptide, and The Larcom Review. She lives with her beau and three cats in Massachusetts, where she’s currently working on her next Local Foods mystery when she isn’t out gardening. Readers can visit her website at

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Guest Post:

Writing Through the Seasons         


Thanks so much for having me here as a guest today! I want to talk about writing a series that marches through the seasons.  But how do I describe a blizzard when I’m writing in a hot July? Or the summer growing season when the leaves are falling outside? In my Local Foods Mysteries, the seasons are particularly important because Cam Flaherty is a farmer. Weather and temperature are everything to someone who spends all her time outside growing food.


So what do I do when the season of my writing session doesn’t align with the season in the book? One thing I do is try to plan ahead. A couple of weeks ago, for example, I took a few pictures of the woods and undergrowth on my walking path. The fifth Local Foods mystery, tentatively titled Cart Before the Corpse, is set around Memorial Day, but the book will be due May 1 next year, so I’ll be writing it well before the end of May.


Book Four in the series, Murder Most Fowl, takes place in March, a very iffy and changeable month in New England. It snows, but I was writing it before the first snow fell last fall, and had to remember past late snows that usually melt quickly. Early plants also sprout in the woods mid-March, though, so I asked a naturalist friend of my son’s what might be likely to be up.


I wrote Farmed and Dangerous in the fall, but I was revising it during the snowy winter. Before the manuscript was due to my editor I was able to visit a local farm and take pictures of greenhouses nearly buried in snow but filled with rows of greens growing inside.


Another resource is my farming notebooks. Twenty years ago I had a small certified organic farm a lot like Cam’s (although I had a couple of young sons running around, too), and I kept records of when I planted what, when I harvested what, and the daily weather. I check those notebooks from time to time for details.


My memories of being a farmer are still pretty vivid, as well. They range from being stung by a nest of ground wasps under a blueberry bush to watching a woodchuck with mange devour my baby broccoli plants to hearing customers gush over the flavor and colors of tomatoes I grew. I remember how cold my fingers were while I pruned apple trees in February, and how my knees ached after planted a thousand cloves of garlic.


I can also ask one of several local farmers I know about out-of-season crops and issues, and I can check farm web sites for pictures. Thank you, Mr. Google!


Readers: Do you shop from local farms or farmers’ markets?



In the third Local Foods mystery, Farmed and Dangerous (May, 2015), snow is piling up in Westbury, Massachusetts. Unfortunately murder seems to be the crop in season. Supplying fresh ingredients for a dinner at an assisted living facility seems like the least of Cam’s worries—until one of the elderly residents dies after eating some of her produce. As the suspects gather, a blizzard buries the scene of the crime under a blanket of snow, leaving Cam stranded in the dark with a killer who gives new meaning to the phrase “dead of winter.”


Agatha-nominated and Amazon-bestselling author Edith Maxwell writes four murder mystery series, most with recipes, as well as award-winning short stories.

Farmed and Dangerous is the latest in Maxwell's Local Foods Mysteries series (Kensington Publishing). The latest book in the Lauren Rousseau mysteries, under the pseudonym Tace Baker (Barking Rain Press), is Bluffing is Murder. Maxwell’s Country Store Mysteries, written as Maddie Day (also from Kensington), will debut with Flipped for Murder in November, 2015. Her Quaker Midwife Mysteries series features Quaker midwife Rose Carroll solving mysteries in 1888 Amesbury, with John Greenleaf Whittier’s help, and will debut in April, 2016 with Delivering the Truth.

A fourth-generation Californian, Maxwell lives in an antique house north of Boston with her beau and three cats. She blogs every weekday with the other Wicked Cozy Authors (, and you can find her at, @edithmaxwell, on Pinterest and Instagram, and at


Friday, June 5, 2015

A Watery Death by Jim and Joyce Lavene

A Watery Death
By Joyce and Jim Lavene
A Missing Pieces Mystery
7th in Series

Cozy Mystery
It’s the Fourth of July weekend in Duck, North Carolina and twenty-thousand visitors are on hand to enjoy the parade, the festivities – and learn about the murder of Captain Bill Lucky.
Lucky is the captain of the new gambling ship, Andalusia II, which is modeled after the famous ghost ship that haunts the small town on the Outer Banks. Like her predecessor, the Spanish treasure ship replica has been a boon to the hardy residents of Duck, but it has proven unlucky for her captain.
Mayor Dae O’Donnell has her hands full with setting up the parade set, convincing her friend, Trudy, that she shouldn’t call off her wedding, and getting her shop, Missing Pieces, ready for the summer when she makes most of her money for the year. She doesn’t need the problems involved with a local murder.
But Captain Lucky involves Dae when he asks her to buy an artifact from him that is supposed to be able to summon mermaids. He says he needs money to get out of town for a few days until some problems are resolved. Dae is glad to help him, but isn’t prepared to find him dead in his quarters on the Andalusia when she returns the keys he dropped at her shop.
It isn’t the first time that mermaids and mermen have been seen in Duck, but it’s the first time one of them has been accused of murder. While her grandfather and her fiancĂ©, Kevin, struggle to believe such a thing is possible, Dae is left trying to prove her new friends are innocent.
What I Thought:
Fourth of July in Duck, NC, what an ideal setting.  Jim and Joyce have done it again.  They have crafted and entertaining whodunit that will keep you turning pages and guessing till the very end.  When Capitan Lucky is killed, Dae is caught up in the investigation.  Was the mermen and mermaids that legend says haunt the waters.  Dae has a lot going on in the story.  She is trying to run her shop, prepare for her friends wedding, which may not happen, and also in the future prepare for her own.  I highly recommend this series, if you want a quick, entertaining read.
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.
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