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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Madness of Mercury by Connie di Marco

The Madness of Mercury by Connie di Marco Tour Banner

The Madness of Mercury

by Connie di Marco

on Tour May 7 - June 3


Madness of MercuryAstrologer Julia Bonatti never thought her chosen profession would bring danger into her life, but her outspoken advice in her newspaper column, AskZodia, makes her the target of San Francisco’s recently-arrived cult leader, Reverend Roy of the Prophet’s Tabernacle. The followers of the power hungry preacher will stop at nothing to quell the voices of those who would stand in his way and Julia’s at the top of his list. She’s willing to bet the charismatic Reverend is a Mercury-ruled individual, and she knows all too well that Mercury wasn’t just the messenger of the gods, he was a trickster and a liar as well.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery
Published by: Midnight Ink
Publication Date: June 8, 2016
Number of Pages: 312
ISBN: 978-0738749129
Purchase Links: Amazon Barnes & Noble IndieBound Goodreads
What I Thought:

This was an interesting read. Julia is an astrologer, and when the followers of Rev. Roy, a cult leader, start hasseling her, she gladly agrees to do a reading in a client's home.  There is a lot going on in this home, a murder, one of the client's relatives joins the religious cult, and one relative is wondering if the other wants her money.  This story was well written, I wondered if I would like the mystic element of it, but the author did a good job with that. 

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

Read an excerpt:

As I stood in line at the checkout counter of the bookstore an uncomfortable feeling stole over me. Was I being watched? I turned slowly and surveyed the customers in line behind me. No one looked suspicious. No one turned away suddenly. Just holiday shoppers focused on their own business. When I turned back my eye caught someone standing at a table close by, separated by a metal bar from the line of shoppers. A man, dark hair, black jacket, seemingly immersed in a book he was holding in his hands. No shopping bags in sight. Something about him . . . I mentally shook myself, pushing the thought out of my mind. I was being paranoid. Nerves were getting the better of me.

I paid for my purchase and left. Bundling up against the cold, I retraced my steps and approached the garage entrance. I took the elevator down to the lowest level where I had parked, stepped out and glanced around. In contrast to the crowds of people above on the streets, not a soul was in sight. I felt a frisson of fear. Why was it so deserted? My nerves were just on edge, I decided. I was imagining threats where there were none. I took a deep breath and hurried to my car. I unlocked the door and threw my bags onto the passenger seat. Before I could turn the key in the ignition I glanced in the rearview mirror. A face in a ski mask stared back at me, the eyes bright in the ambient lighting. A gasp caught in my throat. My heart raced as a gloved hand pulled my head back and covered my mouth. I felt the sharp prick of a knife point at my neck. I froze. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t speak.

“Forget about the Prophet. Make sure you keep your big mouth shut or my next visit won’t be so nice,” he growled. He pulled the knife away, let go of my jaw and jumped out of the car.

Author Bio:

Connie di MarcoConnie di Marco is the author of the new Zodiac Mystery series from Midnight Ink, featuring San Francisco astrologer Julia Bonatti. Writing as Connie Archer, she is also the author of the national bestselling Soup Lover’s Mysteries from Berkley Prime Crime. Some of her excerpts and recipes can be found in The Cozy Cookbook and The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook. Connie is a member of Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers and Sisters in Crime. She grew up in New England and now lives on the other coast.

Connie di Marco's website Connie di Marco's twitter Connie di Marco's facebook

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This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for Connie di Marco. There will be 3 US winners. One winner will receive one $20 gift card from (US Only) the other 5 winners will each receive eBook copy of Deceived by Ashlee Mallory. This giveaway is for **US residents only**. The giveaway begins on May 1st and runs through May 31st, 2016.
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Guest Post:

1.        Where did you come up for the idea of “Madness of Mercury”? 

I was living in San Francisco during the years that Jim Jones was a local celebrity and held such influence through his church, the People’s Temple.  This was, of course, before the time he decamped from the city when allegations of abuse began to surface and the later dreadful events in Guyana.  But I thought it might be interesting to set a mystery against the backdrop of this time.  It’s hard to imagine now, knowing what we know, that the man was very popular and admired by politicians, society people, the police force and his followers.  Personally, I tend to be very suspicious of anyone who claims to speak for God and baffled by people who give up their personal autonomy to follow someone like that. 
Julia, my protagonist astrologer, writes an advice column, AskZodia, for the city’s newspaper.  She responds to a letter from a woman about her mother who has joined a church, and her mother is required to sign over her property and savings.  Julia’s response to the writer is vehement and outspoken and consequently Julia discovers she is now a target of the Reverend’s followers -- the Army of the Prophet. 

2.       What do you like to do in your spare time?

One of my hobbies has always been refinishing old furniture.  I love antiques and discovered how really easy it is to strip away old paint and varnish and uncover something beautiful.  Unfortunately, with a writing schedule, it’s a little difficult to find time for a drawn out project like that.  For entertainment, I love to relax in the evening and watch international crime drama – Swedish, Danish, British, Icelandic – it’s so much more interesting than the usual American fare.  I study the plots and enjoy watching how they are unveiled. 

3.       If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Istanbul.  I’ve always been fascinated by the city.  It’s perched on the border of east and west and has survived through so many incarnations.  I read Jason Goodwin’s first book several years ago, The Janissary Tree, featuring his detective, Yashim, a eunuch living at the end of the Ottoman empire and became even more entranced by the history that exists there.  Perhaps someday I’ll actually get to visit Istanbul. 

4.       Which season is your favorite and why?

I live in California, so my favorite season is winter.  We’ve suffered through many years of drought and winter is the time we stand some chance of rain.  Everything comes to life then and turns a brilliant green.

5.       What is your favorite food?
Just about anything – except anchovies, sardines and sushi.  I love cheese.  I’m not supposed to eat it, but I love anything with cheese -- soufflés, pizza, ravioli stuffed with cheese.  Mostly I’m very good and manage to stay away from it and only sample small amounts.

6.       What genre of books do you enjoy reading?
Mysteries and thrillers!  And I like to read widely, particularly foreign authors – Swedish, Icelandic, Danish – perhaps because it feel like travel. 

7.       Who are your favorite authors?

Oh, I have so many!  I love Michael Connelly’s Bosch series, very police procedural.  I recently discovered Jussi Adler-Olsen and his Department Q books.  I’ve been enjoying the Beck (Swedish) series on television (with subtitles) and I’m tempted to go back to the authors’ original books from years ago.  I love Donna Leon’s Commissario Brunetti series set in Venice.  Love the Sue Grafton series.  So many more. 

8.       How many more books do you have planned for this series?

Right now, two more are planned for the Zodiac Mysteries.  The second book, Dark Sun, has been submitted to my publisher, Midnight Ink.  I’m currently working on the third book, which tentatively will be titled Widow’s Moon, assuming my publisher approves my idea of using a planet in each title.  Don’t forget, Midnight Ink is the fiction imprint of Llewellyn Worldwide Publications, the people who publish wonderful astrology books.  Without them, this series wouldn’t be possible. 

Thanks so much for hosting me today! 


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Death of a Fixer Upper

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Death at a Fixer-Upper: A Home Sweet Home Mystery
Publisher: Alibi (May 17, 2016)
ASIN: B012089P3W
In Sarah T. Hobart’s wickedly funny and fast-paced Home Sweet Home mystery series, small-town real estate agent Sam Turner discovers it’s bad for business when her clients keep dropping dead.
Newly armed with her real estate license, Sam Turner loves Arlinda, her quirky seaside hometown in Northern California. But life by the beach isn’t exactly a breeze: She and her teenage son, Max, are being evicted from their apartment, her long absent ex-husband unexpectedly resurfaces, and her possibly romantic relationship with sexy Chief of Police Bernie Aguilar is, well . . . complicated. All Sam wants is a quick and easy sale. What she gets instead is a killer headache—or three.
Sam’s trying to drum up interest in 13 Aster Lane, a rambling Victorian fixer-upper that’s more than a little neglected—and possibly haunted—so when a trio of offers arrive out of the blue, she can’t help thinking it’s too good to be true. But after a new client drops dead on the property, she fears she’s lost more than a commission. Before Sam’s out of house and home, she must unmask a killer targeting her clients, or the only property she’ll be moving will be plots—at the local cemetery.

What I Thought:

This was a very interesting read.  It was good, but it had it's tedious parts also.  Sam is a single mother who has just become a realtor.   She is trying to get some interest in 13 Aster Lane, which is a  dilapidated Victorian, which makes it hard enough to sell, but when a potential buyer drops dead, it is even harder to sell.  Sam has to try to figure out the mystery.  This book was well written and flowed well, though at times it gets wordy. 

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


About The Author –
Sarah Hobart is a real estate agent and former newspaper reporter in Northern California, where she lives with her husband and two children in a majestic fixer-upper overlooking State Highway 101.
Purchase Links:
Amazon      B&N 

Friday, May 20, 2016

To Catch a Treat by Linda O Johnston

To Catch a Treat (A Barkery & Biscuits Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Midnight Ink (May 8, 2016)
Paperback: 312 pages


Carrie Kennersly, veterinary technician and owner of the Barkery and Biscuits bake shop, agrees to a day of hiking with her brother Neal mostly because she wants to meet—and critique—his latest romantic interest, Janelle Blaystone. But instead of judgment, Carrie has only sympathy for Janelle, whose beloved black Labrador, Go, was recently dognapped along with many other purebred pets.
Janelle thinks the culprit is Ada Arnist, a wealthy homeowner spotted at the dog parks where Go and the others were stolen. Soon after Janelle confronts her, though, Ada is found dead. With Janelle and Neal on the suspect list, Carrie must solve the mystery before the police bark up the wrong tree.

What I Thought:

This was another great installment in the Barkery and Biscuits Mystery Series.  In this one, Carrie isn't the murder suspect, but her brothers new love interest, and her new employee is the suspect.   Carrie is determined to find out who the killer is and also find out who is behind all the dognappings, which is what brought Janelle, the suspect, to town in the first place, she was looking for her stolen dog.  Carrie is very determined and she meet a plethora of possible suspects.  Let me tell you, my socks were completely knocked off when I found out who was behind the murder!  This was a very interesting book that kept my attention from the time I picked up till I put it down. 

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

About The Author –

Linda O. Johnston’s first published fiction appeared in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and won the Robert L. Fish Memorial Award for Best First Mystery Short Story of the year.   Since then, Linda, a former lawyer who is now a full-time writer, has published more short stories, novellas, and 38 romance and mystery novels, including the Pet Rescue Mystery Series, a spinoff from her Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime, and Harlequin Romantic Suspense as well as the Alpha Force paranormal romance miniseries for Harlequin Nocturne.  She additionally writes the Superstition Mysteries for Midnight Ink.  Her latest cozy mystery series, the Barkery and Biscuits Mysteries are also from Midnight Ink.

Author Links:
Purchase Links:
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Sunday, May 15, 2016

Final Tap by Amanda Flower

The Final Tap (A Living History Museum Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Midnight Ink (May 8, 2016)
Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0738745138


March on Barton Farm can only mean one thing: maple sugar season. To combat the winter slump, resilient director Kelsey Cambridge organizes a Maple Sugar Festival, complete with school visits, pancake breakfasts, and tree tapping classes. Kelsey hires curmudgeonly maple sugar expert Dr. Conrad Beeson to teach the classes, despite misgivings over his unpleasant demeanor. It’s a decision she ends up regretting when, before the first tree can be tapped for sap, Dr. Beeson turns up dead.
The maple sugar expert’s death threatens to shut down not only the Maple Sugar Festival, but also Barton Farm itself. Kelsey must solve Dr. Beeson’s murder to escape the increasingly sticky situation.

What I Thought:

This is the second book in the Living History Museum Mystery series and it was just as good as the first one.  I find a series set on a living history fam to be very interesting.  Kelsey always seems to be embroiled in a murder investigation. It doesn't help that the lead investigator doesn't like her because her ex-fiancé is interested in Kelsey.  This time, there is a Maple Sugar Festival at the farm and a teacher of maple sap tapping is found with a drill in his chest.  When one of Kelsey's workers in accused of the crime, Kelsey has to prove he is innocent.  On top of the murder, she has to contend with a possible suitor, the Cherry Foundation, which funds the farm, breathing down her back, and her ex-husband and his fiancée wanting to get married at the farm, that is a lot for anyone to handle.  This is a well written book that kept my attention from the very beginning.  If you like history and you love a good cozy mystery, then this is the series for you. 

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


About This Author

Amanda Flower, a two-time Agatha Award-nominated mystery author, started her writing career in elementary school when she read a story she wrote to her sixth grade class and had the class in stitches with her description of being stuck on the top of a Ferris wheel. She knew at that moment she’d found her calling of making people laugh with her words. She also writes mysteries as national bestselling  author Isabella Alan. In addition to being an author, Amanda is an academic librarian for a small college near Cleveland.
Author Links:
Pen Name Website:
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Guest post

Maple Sugar and the Civil War

By Amanda Flower

In The Final Reveille, a murder takes place during a Civil War reenactment at a living history museum in northeast Ohio called Barton Farm. The Civil War reenactors and their many quirks were so popular with readers in the novel that I knew when I returned to Barton Farm for book two, The Final Tap, I would have to bring them back. I just wasn’t sure how because my publisher and I already agreed that The Final Tap would be set during a maple sugaring festival on Barton Farm. What on earth does maple sugar have to do with the Civil War?

As it turned out, maple sugar had quite a lot to do with the War Between the States. During the American Civil War maple syrup was heavily used as a sweetener in the North. Sugar cane, which makes white sugar and molasses, grew in the South, and when the war broke out, the South cut off the North’s supply of sugar cane. Northerners had to use something to sweeten their food, so they turned to maple syrup, which is made from maple sugar. Sugar maple trees are plentiful in the north, especially in the northeast and eastern Midwest states of the country, including Ohio.

The act of collecting the sap or maple sugar from the trees is called tapping the trees, and it was a practice done long before the Civil War and long before Christopher Columbus hopped on a boat and sailed west. Native Americans have been tapping trees for centuries. They’re original method to gather sap was to cut a small wedge out of a maple tree, no bigger than an inch or two, and to use a piece of bark to funnel sap into a bowl. During the Civil War, Northerners used hand drills to drill into the tree, metal spiles that look like tiny facets to funnel the sap, and galvanized metal buckets to collect the sap. Today, there is much more sophisticated method with power drills and plastic tubing that connects the trees to a huge plastic barrel where the sap is collected.

Imagine my delight when I discovered maple sugar’s connection to the Civil War, I could stick with the maple sugaring idea that I had and still give the readers the Civil War reenactors that made them laugh. The end result was a richer novel because it interwove a little known fact of American history into an exciting mystery.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Irish Stewed by Kylie Logan

Irish Stewed (Ethnic Eats Mystery #1)

The national bestselling author of the League of Literary Ladies Mysteries introduces an all-new cozy culinary mystery series featuring ethnic eats.

After flopping as a personal chef to a Hollywood movie star, jobless Laurel Inwood finds herself humbled in Hubbard, Ohio, helping her aunt Sophie run her restaurant. Much to Laurel’s dismay, Sophie’s Terminal at the Tracks is not the cozy bistro her aunt would have had her believe—it’s a run-down greasy spoon in an old railroad station. To save the dingy diner, Laurel cooks up a plan to feature alternating ethnic cuisine as specials.

But first there’s the problem of the body in the booth. Slumped over a table with a receipt spike in his back is Jack Lancer—”the Lance of Justice”—an investigative reporter for local TV news. Assisted by the drop-dead gorgeous owner of the neighboring Irish store—who may or may not be a suspect—Laurel sets out to track down a killer who had no reservations about impaling a newshound. But as she turns up the heat, will she end up in the soup herself?


What I Thought:

Well this was one that kept me guessing till the very end and it was a total surprise.  Laurel has come to Hubbard, OH to help run her foster aunt's restaurant while she is having knee surgery.  Laurel isn't happy about being there because she is used to being a personal chef for a Hollywood star.  So when Laurel and her aunt find a the body of a local reporter at the Terminal on Laurel's first night in town, Laurel decides to stay for a while.  Laurel suspects a lot of people for the murder, including the gorgeous guy, Declan,  who runs the Irish Shop across the street.  Laurel even suspects her aunt Sophie and the cook at the Terminal, George.  When another local reporter winds up dead because she has stumbled upon who the killer is, Laurel is even more determined to find out who killed The Lance of Justice.  Finally, with the help of Declan, Laurel figures it out and throws a party at The Terminal. 

I was totally blown away by what Laurel figures out, because it involves more than just murder.  This one kept my attention from the time I picked it up, till I finished it.  It was well written and the plot was great.  I also enjoyed meeting a lot of the characters and am looking forward to visiting The Terminal again.  I am also curious as to where the relationship between Laurel and Declan is going to go.  This was a great read.

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

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Silence of the Lamps


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SILENCE OF THE LAMPSSilence of the Lamps (A Caprice De Luca Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Kensington (April 26, 2016)
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1617737725
E-Book ASIN: B0138NHG52


Caprice’s house staging is disrupted by Drew Pierson, a caterer who opened Portable Edibles, a business in direct competition with her sister Nikki’s Catered Capers. Nikki turned down Drew as a possible partner and he seems determined to undermine and bury her. However his successful launch of a deal for his blackberry barbecue sauce must have stirred up his enemies. When Nikki visits the house where Drew lives with his grandmother to resolve differences, she and Caprice find him dead–murdered with the base of a valuable Tiffany lamp.
Caprice discovers clues about Drew’s sly business dealings–from stealing recipes from another chef, to friends who hold grudges, to a sister who will now inherit half of her grandmother’s estate since Drew is dead. In the midst of her own romantic relationship upheaval, helping her uncle set up his pet sitting-business, assisting a friend care for a pregnant stray cat, Caprice follows the suspect trail, inadvertently putting herself in danger once more.
GILT BY ASSOCIATION, Book 3 February 2015
DRAPE EXPECTATIONS, Book 4 August 2015
SHADES OF WRATH, Book 6 December 2016

What I Thought:

Another great read from Karen Rose Smith.  Caprice is such a great character and I love that she is such an animal lover.  In this story, her sister is accused of murder and she has to try to prove her innocent.  On top of that, her boyfriend's ex-wife is talking to him again.  Caprice is also pet-sitting a pregnant stray cat.  This is just one entertaining read.  I was left guessing who the real killer was, which is what I really like in a cozy.

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


About The Author –

Award winning and best-selling author, Karen Rose Smith’s plots are all about emotion. She began writing in her early teens when she listened to music and created stories to accompany the songs. An only child, she spent a lot of time in her imagination and with books–Nancy Drew, Zane Gray, The Black Stallion and Anne of Green Gables. She dreamed of brothers and sisters and a big family like her mother and father came from. This is the root of her plotlines that include small communities and family relationships as part of everyday living. Residing in Pennsylvania with her husband and four rescued cats, she welcomes interaction with readers on social media.
Author Links:
 Purchase Links:
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