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Monday, February 29, 2016

Cancelled Vows by Lauren Carr

Police Chief David O’Callaghan and Chelsea Adams’ wedding day is fast approaching. Unfortunately, at the last minute, David discovers that there is one small problem to be taken care of before he can tie the knot—divorce his first wife!

Lauren Carr takes fans of the Mac Faraday mysteries to the Big Apple in this nail biting adventure. In Cancelled Vows, David, Mac, and Gnarly, too, rush to New York City to dissolve David’s marriage to an old girlfriend—and he’s got five days to get it done. When murder throws up a road block, it is up to David’s best man, Mac Faraday, and Gnarly, K9-in-waiting, to sort through the clues to get David to the church in time!

​Buy the book here:  Amazon

What I Thought:

As usual, Lauren Carr has written a great story that grabbed my attention and kept it till the very end.  I have read several in this series, and I love the characters, I feel like I know them personally. This story takes us from Deep Creek Lake, MD to the Big Apple.  The story was well written, as is Lauren style, which makes it flow really well.  I really enjoy visiting this setting and this cast of characters.  I think I like the setting so well because it isn't very far from where I live and I have actually been to Deep Creek Lake, MD.  I look forward to reading more in this series as Lauren always keeps me entertained.

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

Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday and Lovers in Crime Mysteries and the Thorny Rose Mysteries. Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She also passes on what she has learned in her years of writing and publishing by conducting workshops and teaching in community education classes. She lives with her husband, son, and four dogs (including the real live Gnarly!) on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Connect with the author:  Website  ~  Twitter  ~   Facebook

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Saturday, February 27, 2016

Beauty, Beast, and Belladonna by Maia Chance

Praise for Maia Chance

“Readers who enjoy their mysteries with a humorous flair need to take a chance with this author.”
RT Book Reviews

National bestselling author Maia Chance, who is famous for her cozy mysteries, dazzles with humor and folklore.”
What Is That Book About

“Chance is a clever writer, and much of the fun of this book is in the snappy, snarky dialogue, including frequent digs at the European class system and notions of women’s sexuality.”
The Book Stop 

“Author Maia Chance is breathing new life not only into cozies, but into fairy tales as well.”
Lisa K’s Book Thoughts

“My favorite aspect of this story, one which will keep me reading the series, is Ms. Chance’s ability to conjoin the fairy tale with her characters’ human history. It’s quite original and deliciously clever!”
Amazon Reviewer

by Maia Chance

Variety hall actress Ophelia Flax has accepted the marriage proposal of the brutish Comte de Griffe to nettle her occasional investigative partner—and romantic sparring partner—the pompous if dashing Professor Penrose. 
But the Comte’s boorish table manners, wild mane of hair, and habit of prowling away the wee hours has shredded Ophelia’s last nerve. She intends to disengage from her feral fiancé at his winter hunting party—until Penrose, his lovely new fiancée, and a stagecoach of stranded travelers arrive at the Comte’s sprawling château. Soon she can’t tell the boars from the bores.

What I Thought:
I enjoyed this story.  I liked that Maia eluded to the story of Beauty and the Beast and I liked how she worked that into the story.  I liked the characters in this story, especially Variety.  Here interactions with Abel and Forthwith made me laugh sometimes.  Variety is engaged to Griffe, but she keeps trying to avoid him, and she wants to break off the engagement, but her ring goes missing.  She has to try to find out what happened to it besides some other items missing from other guests.  This story is well written and it kept me guessing till the very end. 
I received a complimentary copy of this book for an honest review.

When one of the guests is found clawed and bloody in the orangerie, Ophelia is determined to solve the murder before everyone starts believing the local version of Beauty and the Beast. But until the snows melt, she can’t trust her eyes—or her heart—since even the most civilized people hold beastly secrets.
MAIA CHANCE writes historical mystery novels that are rife with absurd predicaments and romantic adventure. She is the author of the Fairy Tale Fatal series, The Discreet Retrieval Agency series and the Prohibition-era caper, Come Hell or Highball.  Her first mystery, Snow White Red-Handed, was a national bestseller. Maia lives in Seattle, where she shakes a killer martini, grows a mean radish, and bakes mocha bundts to die for. She is a Ph.D. candidate for English at the University of Washington.

Q&A with Maia Chance - Beauty, Beast, and Belladonna

1)      Describe Beauty, Beast, and Belladonna in 140 characters or less.

Beauty, Beast, and Belladonna is a fun, adventurous, and romantic historical mystery set in a secret-riddled French chateau in 1867.

2.)  What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Happiness for me is spending time outside somewhere beautiful, with my husband, kids, and dog.

3.)    What’s your favorite part of Ophelia’s quirky personality?

I like the way Ophelia compensates in creative and gutsy ways for her lack of a good formal education.  She’s smart and resourceful and she uses her unusual skill set—farm girl, circus performer, actress—to help solve the mystery.

4.)    Which living person do you most admire?

My husband, actually.  He is an unusually gifted person who overcame significant disadvantages and obstacles to get where he is today.  And he gives the best pep-talks!

5.)    What inspired you to marry fairytales and mystery?

I was searching for something that hadn’t been done yet, and I was reading a lot of fairy tale criticism for school at the time.  It sounded like a deliciously fun project, so I plunged in.

6.)    Is there a type of scene that's harder for you to write than others? Love? Action? Racy? 

Dialogue definitely comes more easily for me.  I find action scenes more challenging—I’m paranoid that they’ll get bogged down.  (So if I can, I add dialogue to my action scenes!)

7.)    What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Sticking to strict schedules.  I don’t like to keep people waiting, but there is something to be said for giving yourself creative or restful wiggle-room during the day.

8.)    Which of the characters in this novel do you feel the most drawn to?

 I became more attached to Professor Penrose in this book.  He’s more vulnerable and at a loss than in the previous two books—and more deeply in love.

9.)    Which words or phrases do you most overuse? 

Oh, my.  Probably dozens.  I seem to like “buzz” a lot for some reason.  I’m deleting it all the time.

10.) Can you describe for us your process for naming characters?

For historical American characters I use census records.  I collect names from cemeteries whenever I visit one, and I often borrow names from literature.  Since my books have lots of characters, I try to give them all distinctive names that hint at their personalities, to help the reader keep everyone sorted in their mind.

11.) Who are your favorite writers?

Agatha Christie, P.G. Wodehouse, Edith Wharton and Theodor Adorno.

12.) Who is your most loved hero of fiction?

Indiana Jones.

13.) Which talent would you most like to have?

It would be ecstasy to be a really, really great opera singer.

14.) You're hosting a dinner party, which five authors (dead or alive) would you invite?

P. G. Wodehouse would probably be the life of any party.  Also, Agatha Christie, Edgar Allan Poe, Shakespeare, and F. Scott Fitzgerald.  There would be lots of drinking at this party.  Maybe some arguments.  No strip poker though.

15.) Do you have a favorite time period in literature?

Not really.  Because of my English degrees I have read very widely, and I have favorites from every era.  And every era has its stultifying boring authors, too.

16.) What is your motto?
Keep trying.

17.) What is the best reaction over a book that you’ve ever gotten from a fan?

Fans who say my book gave them pure pleasure—that’s happened a few times—make me so happy.  It’s my aim to give people something to read that’s a pleasurable and absorbing diversion from Real Life.  Real Life is hard.

18.) Where would you most like to live?

A place with lots of trees where I could do all my daily activities and errands on foot.  I’m working on it.

19.) Which historical figure do you most identify with?

No one specific, but I often think of the female writers over the centuries who kept at their stories even when they had screaming kids and the dinner to cook and a really messy house piling up around them.  They did it, and so can I.

20.) What are you working on next?

 I just completed a humorous contemporary mystery that does not yet have a publisher, and I’m working on a historical fantasy adventure with a co-author.  After that, the next thing will be book #3 of the Discreet Retrieval Agency series.


Beware of allowing yourself to be prejudiced by appearances.  Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve, “Beauty and the Beast” (1756)


            The day had arrived.  Miss Ophelia Flax’s last day in Paris, her last day in Artemis Stunt’s gilt-edged apartment choked with woody perfumes and cigarette haze.  Ophelia had chosen December 12th, 1867, at eleven o’clock in the morning as the precise time she would make a clean breast of it.  And now it was half past ten.
            Ophelia swept aside brocade curtains and shoved a window open.  Rain spattered her face.  She leaned out and squinted up the street.  Boulevard Saint-Michel was a valley of stone buildings with iron balconies and steep slate roofs.  Beyond carriages and bobbling umbrellas, a horse-drawn omnibus splashed closer.
            “Time to go,” she said, and latched the window shut.  She turned.  “Good-bye, Henrietta.  You will write to me—telegraph me, even—if Prue changes her mind about the convent?”
            “Of course, darling.”  Henrietta Bright sat at the vanity table, still in her frothy dressing gown.  “But where shall I send a letter?”  She shrugged a half-bare shoulder in the looking glass.  Reassuring herself, no doubt, that at forty-odd years of age she was still just as dazzling as the New York theater critics used to say.
            “I’ll let the clerk at Howard DeLuxe’s Varieties know my forwarding address,” Ophelia said.  “Once I have one.”  She pulled on cheap gloves with twice-darned fingertips.
            “What will you do in New England?” Henrietta asked.  “Besides getting buried under snowdrifts and puritans?  I’ve been to Boston.  The entire city is like a mortuary.  No drinking on Sundays, either.”  She sipped her glass of poison-green cordial.  “Although, all that knuckle-rapping does make the gentlemen more generous with actresses like us when they get the chance.”
            “Actresses like us?”  Ophelia went to her carpetbag, packed and ready on the opulent bed that might’ve suited the Princess on the Pea.  Ladies born and raised on New Hampshire farmsteads did not sleep in such beds.  Not without prickles of guilt, at least.  “I’m no longer an actress, Henrietta.  Neither are you.”  And they were never the same kind of actress.  Or so Ophelia fervently wished to believe.
            “No?  Then what precisely do you call tricking the Count Griffe into believing you are a wealthy soap heiress from Cleveland, Ohio?  Sunday school lessons?”
            “I had to do it.”  Ophelia dug in her carpetbag and pulled out a bonnet with crusty patches of glue where ribbon flowers once had been.  She clamped it on her head.  “I’m calling upon the Count Griffe at eleven o’clock, on my way to the steamship ticket office.  I told you.  He scarpered to England so soon after his proposal, I never had a chance to confess.  He’s in Paris only today before he goes to his country château, so today is my last chance to tell him everything.”
            “It’s horribly selfish of you not to wait two more weeks, Ophelia—two measly weeks.”
            Not this old song and dance again.  “Wait two more weeks so that you might accompany me to the hunting party at Griffe’s château?  Stand around and twiddle my thumbs for two whole weeks while you hornswoggle some poor old gent into marrying you?  Money and love don’t mix, you know.”
            “What?  They mix beautifully.  And not hornswoggle, darling.  Seduce.  And Mr. Larsen isn’t a poor gentleman.  He’s as rich as Midas.  Artemis confirmed as much.”
            “You know what I meant.  Helpless.”
            “Mr. Larsen is a widower, yes.”  Henrietta smiled.  “Deliciously helpless.”
            “I must go now, Henrietta.  Best of luck to you.”
            “I’m certain Artemis would loan you her carriage—oh, wait.  Principled Miss Ophelia Flax must forge her own path.  Miss Ophelia Flax never accepts hand-outs or—”
            “Artemis has been ever so kind, allowing me to stay here the last three weeks, and I couldn’t impose any more.”  Artemis Stunt was Henrietta’s friend, a wealthy lady authoress.  “I’ll miss my omnibus.”  Ophelia pawed through the carpetbag, past her battered theatrical case and a patched petticoat, and drew out a small box.  The box, shiny black with painted roses, had been a twenty-sixth birthday gift from Henrietta last week.  It was richer than the rest of Ophelia’s possessions by miles, but it served a purpose: a place to hide her little nest egg.
            The omnibus fare, she well knew from her month in Paris, was thirty centimes.  She opened the box.  Her lungs emptied like a bellows.  A slip of paper curled around the ruby ring Griffe had given her.  But her money—all of her hard-won money she’d scraped together working as a lady’s maid in Germany a few months back—was gone.  Gone.
            She swung toward Henrietta.  “Where did you hide it?”
            “Hide what?”
            “My money!”
            “Scowling like that will only give you wrinkles.”
            “I don’t even have enough for the omnibus fare now.”  Ophelia’s plans suddenly seemed vaporously fragile.  “Now isn’t the time for jests, Henrietta.  I must get to Griffe’s house so I might go to the steamship ticket office before it closes, and then on to the train station.  The Cherbourg-New York ship leaves only once a fortnight.”
            “Why don’t you simply keep that ring?  You’ll be in the middle of the Atlantic before he even knows you’ve gone.  If it’s a farm you desire, why, that ring will pay for five farms and two hundred cows.”
            Ophelia wasn’t the smelling salts kind of lady, but her fingers shook as she replaced the box’s lid.  “Never.  I would never steal this ring—”
            “He gave it to you.  It wouldn’t be stealing.”
            “—and I will never, ever become. . . .”  Ophelia pressed her lips together.
            “Become like me, darling?”
            If Ophelia fleeced rich fellows to pay her way instead of working like honest folks, then she couldn’t live with herself.  What would become of her?  Would she find herself at forty in dressing gowns at midday and absinthe on her breath?
            “You must realize I didn’t take your money, Ophelia.  I’ve got my sights set rather higher than your pitiful little field mouse hoard.  But I see how unhappy you are, so I’ll make you an offer.”
            Ophelia knew the animal glint in Henrietta’s whiskey-colored eyes.  “You wish to pay to accompany me to Griffe’s hunting party so that you might pursue Mr. Larsen.  Is that it?
            “Clever girl.  You ought to set yourself up in a tent with a crystal ball.  Yes.  I’ll pay you whatever it was the servants stole—and I’ve no doubt it was one of those horrid Spanish maids that Artemis hired who pinched your money.  Only keep up the Cleveland soap heiress ruse for two weeks longer, Ophelia, until I hook that Norwegian fish.”
            Ophelia pictured the green fields and white-painted buildings of rural New England, and her throat ached with frustration.  The trouble was, it was awfully difficult to forge your own path when you were always flat broke.  “Pay me double or nothing,” she said.
            “Deal.  Forthwith will be so pleased.”
            Forthwith?”  Ophelia frowned.  “Forthwith Golden, conjurer of the stage?  Do you mean to say he’ll be tagging along with us?”
            “Mm.”  Henrietta leaned close to the mirror and picked something from her teeth with her little fingernail.  “He’s ever so keen for a jaunt in the country, and he adores blasting at beasts with guns.”
            Saints preserve us.

*     *     *

            Ophelia meant to cling to her purpose like a barnacle to a rock.  It wasn’t easy.  Simply gritting her teeth and enduring the next two weeks was not really her way.  But Henrietta had her up a stump.
            First, there had been the two-day flurry of activity in Artemis Stunt’s apartment, getting a wardrobe ready for Ophelia to play the part of a fashionable heiress at a hunting party.  Artemis was over fifty years of age but, luckily, a bohemian and so with youthful tastes in clothing.  She was also tall, beanstalkish and large-footed, just like Ophelia, and very enthusiastic about the entire deception.  “It would make a marvelous novelette, I think,” she said to Ophelia.  But this was exactly what Ophelia wished to avoid: behaving like a ninny in a novelette.
            And now, this interminable journey.
            “Where are we now?”  Henrietta, bundled in furs, stared dully out the coach window.  “The sixth tier of hell?”
            Ophelia consulted the Baedeker on her knees, opened to a map of the Périgord region.  “Almost there.”
            There being the French version of the Middle of Nowhere,” Forthwith Golden said, propping his boots on the seat next to Henrietta.  “Why do these Europeans insist upon living in these Godforsaken pockets?  What’s wrong with Paris, anyway?”
            “You said you missed the country air.”  Henrietta shoved his boots off the seat.
            “Did I?”  Forthwith had now and then performed conjuring tricks in Howard DeLuxe’s Varieties back in New York, so Ophelia knew more of him than she cared to.  He was dark-haired, too handsome, and skilled at making things disappear.  Especially money.
            “You insisted upon coming along,” Henrietta said to Forthwith, “and don’t try to deny it.”
            “Ah, yes, but Henny, you neglected to tell me that your purpose for this hunting excursion was to ensnare some doddering old corpse into matrimony.  I’ve seen that performance of yours a dozen times, precious, and it’s gotten a bit boring.”
            “Oh, do shut up.  You’re only envious because you spent your last penny on hair pomade.”
            “I hoped you’d notice.  Does Mr. Larsen have any hair at all?  Or does he attempt to fool the world by combing two long hairs over a liver-spotted dome?”
            “He’s an avid sportsman, Artemis says, and a crack shot.  So I’d watch my tongue if I were you.”
            “Oh dear God.  A codger with a shotgun.”
            “He wishes to go hunting in the American West.  Shoot buffalos from the train and all that.”
            “One of those Continentals who have glamorized the whole Westward Ho business, not realizing that it’s all freezing to death and eating Aunt Emily’s thighbone in the mountains?”
            Ophelia sighed.  Oh, for a couple wads of cotton wool to stop up her ears.  Henrietta and Forthwith had been bickering for the entire journey, first in the train compartment between Paris and Limoges and then, since there wasn’t a train station within 50 miles of Château Vézère, in this bone-rattling coach.  Outside, hills, hills, and more hills.  Bare, scrubby trees and meandering vineyards.  Farmhouses of sulpherous yellow stone.
            A tiny orange sun sank over a murky river.  Each time a draft swept through the coach, Ophelia tasted the minerals that foretold snow.
            “Ophelia,” Forthwith said, nudging her.
            “What is it?”
            Forthwith made series of fluid motions with his hands, and a green and yellow parakeet fluttered out of his cuff and landed on his finger.
            “That’s horrible.  How long has that critter been stuffed up your sleeve?”  Ophelia poked out a finger and the parakeet hopped on.  Feathers tufted on the side of its head and its eyes were possibly glazed.  It was hard to say with a parakeet.  “Poor thing.”
            “It hasn’t got feelings, silly.”  Forthwith yawned.
            Finally,” Henrietta said, sitting up straighter.  “We’ve arrived.”
            The coach passed through ornate gates.  Naked trees cast shadows across a long avenue.  They clattered to a stop before the huge front door.  Château Vézère was three stories, rectangular, and built of yellow stone, with six chimneys, white-painted shutters, and dozens of tall, glimmering windows.  Bare black vegetation encroached on either side, and Ophelia saw some smaller stone buildings to the side.
            “Looks like a costly doll’s house,” Henrietta said.
            “I rather thought it looked like a mental asylum,” Forthwith said.
            Ophelia slid Griffe’s ruby ring on her hand, the hand that wasn’t holding a parakeet.  Someone swung the coach door open.
            “Let the show begin, darlings,” Henrietta murmured.

            A footman in green livery helped Ophelia down first.  Garon Gavage, the Count Griffe, bounded forward to greet her.  “Mademoiselle Stonewall, I have been restless, sleepless, in anticipation of your arrival—ah, how belle you look.”  His dark gold mane of hair wafted in the breeze.  “How I have longed for your presence—what is this?  A petit bird?”
            “What?  Oh.  Yes.”  Ophelia couldn’t even begin to explain the parakeet.  “It’s very nice to see you, Count.  How long has it been?  Three weeks?”
            Griffe’s burly chest rose and fell.  “Nineteen days, twenty hours, and thirty-two minutes.”
            Forthwith was out of the coach and pumping Griffe’s hand.  “Count Griffe,” he said with a toothy white smile, “pleased to meet you.  My sister has told me all about you.”
            Ophelia’s belly lurched.
            “Sister?”  Griffe knit his brow.
            “I beg your pardon,” Forthwith said.  “I’m Forthwith Stonewall, Ophelia’s brother.  Didn’t my sister tell you I was coming along?”
            The rat.
            “Ah!”  Griffe clapped Forthwith on the shoulder.  “Monsieur Stonewall.  Perhaps your sister did mention it—I have been most distracted by business matters in England, très forgetful . . .  And who is this?”  Griffe nodded to Henrietta as she stepped down from the coach.  “Another delightful American relation, eh?”
            It had better not be.  Ophelia said, “This is—”
            “Mrs. Henrietta Brighton,” Henrietta said quickly, and then gave a sad smile.
            Precisely when had Miss Henrietta Bright become Mrs. Henrietta Brighton?  And . . . oh, merciful heavens.  How could Ophelia have been so blind?  Henrietta was in black.  All in black.
            “Did Miss Stonewall neglect to mention that I would chaperone her on this visit?” Henrietta asked Griffe.  “I am a dear friend of the Stonewall family, and I have been on a Grand Tour in order to take my mind away from my poor darling—darling . . . oh.”  She dabbed her eyes with a hankie.
            Griffe took Henrietta’s arm and patted it as he led her through the front door.  “A widow, oui?  My most profound condolences, Madame Brighton.  You are very welcome here.”
            Ophelia and Forthwith followed.  The parakeet’s feet clung to Ophelia’s finger, and tiny snowflakes fell from the darkening sky.
            “You’re shameless,” Ophelia said to Forthwith in a hot whisper.
            Forthwith grinned.  “Aren’t I, though?”

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Murder Most Finicky by Liz Mugavero

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Murder Most Finicky
(A Pawsitively Organic Mystery)

3rd in Series
Cozy Mystery
Kensington (December 29, 2015)
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1496700179


The dog days of summer have arrived in the small town of Frog Ledge, Connecticut, and business is booming for Kristan “Stan” Connor. Her Pawsitively Organic pet food has even caught the attention of celebrity pastry chef Sheldon Allyn, who helps Stan open a fancy pet pastry shop in Frog Ledge. A partnership is born, and Sheldon invites Stan to Newport, Rhode Island, for an appreciation weekend he’s hosting for all his independent chefs. But the gourmet getaway turns sour when one of the chefs turns up dead, and a second one goes missing…
As Stan tries to figure out who had a recipe for murder, the pool of suspects expands. And if she can’t sniff out the culprit soon, this killer may just serve up a second helping of murder…
Includes Gourmet Pet Food Recipes
What I Thought:

I always enjoy visiting Stan and all her quirky friends in Frog Ledge, but this time, Stan is in Newport, RI for a chefs convention.  What could possibly go wrong?  Well as is Stan's luck, she finds a body, of course, even though she didn't know the victim, she has to get involved.  Stan meets some eccentric characters from the food world is this fast-paced cozy.  She longs to go home to Frog Ledge, but feels she has to stay the course.  This one will keep you one the edge of your seat.  There is a lot going on including a trip to NYC, a catnapping, a surprise investor for Stan's patisserie, some infidelity, and of courses a lot of food.  It will also keep you guessing and ends with a total surprise reveal.  I look forward to more in this series and look forward, as I am sure there are more great stories to come.

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


About This Author

Liz Mugavero has been writing stories since she could hold a pen. Before that, she would tell them to anyone who would listen (not many at the time). After deciding early on she would write books for a living, she practiced by writing bad, angst-filled poems, short stories and even a storyline for a soap opera–all by age 15. She never wavered from her goals despite all the usual questions including, “So are you going to be an English teacher with that degree in English?” or, “That writing thing sounds nice, but how are you REALLY going to make a living?”
She went on to get a master’s in writing and publishing and spent time in journalism, PR, and presently, corporate communications. And she’s confident this writing thing IS the way to make a living.
Aside from writing, she loves animals (has a houseful), the beach, reading other writers’ masterpieces and Starbucks coffee.
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Saturday, February 20, 2016

Stiff Competition by Annelise Ryan

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Stiff Competition
by Annelise Ryan

Stiff Competition
(A Mattie Winston Mystery)

Cozy Mystery
7th in Series
Kensington (January 26, 2016)
Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1617734106

Every fall, hunting season in Sorenson, Wisconsin, leads to some accidental injuries. Deputy coroner Mattie Winston just hopes the hunters don't bring any more business to her office. But somebody seems to have declared open season on land developers. One real estate developer who's recently come to town has been found dead in the woods with an arrow through his neck. Now it's up to Mattie to get to the bottom of the killing. That might be easier if she wasn't also hunting for Detective Hurley's teenage daughter, Emily, who has suddenly disappeared. With a homicidal William Tell out on the loose, Mattie is desperate to find Emily before the killer notches another arrow...

What I Thought

When I started this book, I thought, oh no, I will never finish this book.  And it did start out kind of slow.  But the writing in this book is really good, so it flowed really well.  I thought there could have been some details left out, such as, the  details on autopsies.  But this book picked up towards the middle and I literally could not put it down.  There was so much going on besides just a mystery.  There are relationship dynamics in this book that Annelise did a really good job writing about. I really enjoyed reading this story and I look forward to more.  The mystery was really good too, and it kept me guessing.  There were a lot of suspects to choose from and when Mattie figured out the mystery, it was a total surprise. 

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


About The Author
Annelise Ryan is the pseudonym for the author of three suspense novels and another mystery series. She has written more than 200 published articles, worked as a book reviewer for Barnes & Noble, and is an active member of Mystery Writers of America and International Thriller Writers. She currently works as a registered nurse in an ER. She can be reached at
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Sunday, February 7, 2016

Disguise to Die For By Diane Vallere

A Disguise to Die For:
A Costume Shop Mystery

New Series
Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Berkley (February 2, 2016)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425278284
E-Book ASIN: B00X5936W2
Someone is dressed to kill in the debut Costume Shop Mystery from the national bestselling author of the Material Witness mysteries.
No sooner does former magician’s assistant Margo Tamblyn return home to Proper City, Nevada, to run Disguise DeLimit, her family’s costume shop, than she gets her first big order. Wealthy nuisance Blitz Manners needs forty costumes for a detective-themed birthday bash. As for Blitz himself, his Sherlock Holmes is to die for—literally—when, in the middle of the festivities, Margo’s friend and party planner Ebony Welles is caught brandishing a carving knife over a very dead Blitz.
For Margo, clearing Ebony’s name is anything but elementary, especially after Ebony flees town. Now Margo is left to play real-life detective in a town full of masked motives, cloaked secrets, and veiled vendettas. But as she soon learns, even a killer disguise can’t hide a murderer in plain sight for long.

What I Thought:

I am not much for dressing up, so the idea of a costume shop didn't really intrigue me all that much.  But this was a very interesting book.  I liked the characters, Margo especially.  This book was well written and flowed well.  There really weren't a whole lot of suspects in this murder mystery, but Margo was determined to prove that her friend Ebony was not the killer.  Margo actually figures out who the killer is by accident and it is very exciting.  If you enjoy costume parties and great mysteries, then this is the book for you.

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

About The Author
I’m a former fashion buyer turned mystery writer, trading fashion accessories for accessories to murder. I was bit by the mystery bug as a kid reading Trixie Belden, Connie Blair, and The Three Investigators. Now I’m writing three series: the Style & Error Mysteries, the Mad for Mod Mysteries, and the Material Witness Mysteries. Coming in Feb 2016: The new Costume Shop Cozy Mysteries!
The Material Witness mysteries feature Polyester Monroe, who inherits the fabric shop where she was born. Books include SUEDE TO REST and CRUSHED VELVET. The third, SILK STALKINGS, will be out in August 2016.
The Style & Error Series features former fashion buyer turned amateur sleuth Samantha Kidd. Books in that series include DESIGNER DIRTY LAUNDRY; BUYER, BEWARE; THE BRIM REAPER; and SOME LIKE IT HAUTE. (A short story, “Just Kidding,” tells the story of how Samantha first met shoe designer Nick Taylor). Book 5, GRAND THEFT RETRO, will be out in 2016.
The Madison Night Mysteries feature a modern day interior decorator who specializes in midcentury design (studying Doris Day movies to get the look right). Books are PILLOW STALK, THAT TOUCH OF INK, and WITH VICS YOU GET EGGROLL. A prequel novella, “Midnight Ice,” can be found in OTHER PEOPLE’S BAGGAGE.
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