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Thursday, October 26, 2017

Secrets and Pies
by Jenny Kales

Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Self Published
Release Date - October 19, 2017
Approximately 200 pages
Book will be up on Amazon and other retail sites soon.

If you can’t stand the heat, get out of Callie’s Kitchen! Greek-American restaurateur Callie Costas faces down another killer in the small waterfront town of Crystal Bay, Wisconsin. Recipes included!
Summertime in Crystal Bay means tourist season for Calliope “Callie” Costas, owner of Callie’s Kitchen, a Greek-meets-Midwest from-scratch eatery. Business is booming but so is the stress. Callie can barely keep up with the demand for her famous summer fruit pies and savory Greek delicacies, plus she’s agreed to bake dozens of “pitas” for the annual Greek Fest.
When Callie is asked to deliver cast party treats for a Murder Mystery Night at the historic Harris House, it seems like a welcome break from her hot stove. That is, until she finds herself an unwilling player in yet another suspicious death. Worse yet, the victim is a family friend and graduate student working on a project involving Crystal Bay’s colorful past.
Before long, a motley crew of suspects makes things as juicy as the succulent berries strewn around Callie’s Kitchen. And that’s not all Callie’s got on her plate. Add family obligations, a deepening romance with a local detective and unexpected personnel problems to the mix. One thing’s for sure: Callie’s got the recipe for a long, hot summer!
SECRETS AND PIES is the third installment in the Callie’s Kitchen Mystery series.

What I Thought:

Even though I have the first two in this series, I have not gotten around to reading them, but after reading this one, I am definitely putting them at the top of my list.  Even though this is the third in the series, I didn't feel like I was lost and I kept up with all the characters. Callie, the main character has a lot going on in this story, from her new restaurant having several special events to cater, to finding a dead body near a gilded home her ex-husband is getting ready to renovate.  Of course, Callie has to become involved in the murder and uses her skills to find the killer.  There were many twists and turns in this one that kept me guessing until the very end.  I also like how the author described the mansions in this story. The story was well written and flowed really well.  I also enjoyed the relationships among the characters.  Some of the recipes in this book look really yummy.  I will definitely visit Crystal Bay again!

I received a complimentary copy of this book. 

About the Author
Award-winning writer Jenny Kales is the author of The Callie's Kitchen Mystery series. Though she's worked as a writer and journalist for years, fiction writing is her first love and her marriage into a Greek-American Midwestern family inspired The Callie's Kitchen mysteries, featuring Calliope Costas, food business owner and amateur sleuth. The setting of the story, "Crystal Bay," is inspired by a favorite family vacation spot - Wisconsin's beautiful Geneva Lakes. Kales is an avid reader, cook and baker and she's addicted to mystery TV, especially anything on Masterpiece Mystery or BBC America. She lives just outside of Chicago with her husband, two daughters and one cute but demanding Yorkshire terrier.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Murder on the Toy Town Express

Murder on the Toy Town Express: A Vintage Toyshop Mystery
by Barbara Early

Murder on the Toy Town Express: A Vintage Toyshop Mystery
Cozy Mysterry
2nd in Series
Setting - New York
Crooked Lane Books (October 10, 2017)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1683313090

Liz McCall has come to love running her father’s vintage toyshop back home in East Aurora, NY, so when the Train and Toy Show comes to town, she’s all aboard for a fun toy-filled weekend. The only hitch is that her childhood bully Craig McFadden, now local business rival, has set up a booth next to hers. But the fun and games are over when Craig falls from the ceiling in a publicity stunt gone wrong.
What was initially thought to be a fatal accident proves much more sinister. Pulled into the case by her feelings for both Ken, the police chief, and Jack, her high school sweetheart whose brother is one the prime suspects, Liz dives headfirst into the investigation. But as she digs deeper, she’s shocked to learn her father may have been the intended target.
The trouble train is barreling down and Liz may have just bought herself a first class ticket in Murder on the Toy Town Express, Barbara Early’s delightful second installment in her Vintage Toyshop mysteries.
What I Thought:

This is the second installment in the Vintage Toyshop Mystery series and this installment was just as good, or maybe, little better than the first installment.  Some of the same characters we met in the first installment are in this one as well, and we also meet some new characters. Some likable, some not so likable.  When Liz' childhood bully is killed, of course, Liz has to become involved and when it looks as if her father was the target, that makes her even more involved.  This story had a really well written, well thought out, believable plot. There were many suspects, which left me guessing until the end.  I really liked the setting of this book, a vintage toy shop and a train and toy show. This setting is a little different than most cozy mystery settings, making this series a little unique.  I definitely look forward to more in this series.

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

About The Author
Barbara Early earned an engineering degree, but after four years of doing nothing but math, developed a sudden allergy to the subject and decided to choose another occupation. Before she settled on murdering fictional people, she was a secretary, a school teacher, a pastor’s wife, and an amateur puppeteer. After several years living elsewhere, she and her husband moved back to her native Western New York State, where she enjoys cooking, crafts, classic movies and campy seventies television, board games, and posting pictures of her four cats on Facebook. She writes the Vintage Toyshop series and the Bridal Bouquet Shop Mysteries (as Beverly Allen).
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Friday, October 13, 2017

Room with a Brew

A Room with a Brew (A Brewing Trouble Mystery)
by Joyce Tremel

A Room with a Brew (A Brewing Trouble Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Berkley (October 3, 2017)
Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425277713

It's Oktoberfest in Pittsburgh, and brewpub owner Maxine "Max" O'Hara is prepping for a busy month at the Allegheny Brew House. To create the perfect atmosphere for the boozy celebration, Max hires an oompah band. But when one of the members from the band turns up dead, it's up to Max to solve the murder before the festivities are ruined.

Adding to the brewing trouble, Candy, Max's friend, is acting suspicious... Secrets from her past are fermenting under the surface, and Max must uncover the truth to prove her friend's innocence. To make matters worse, Jake's snooty ex-fiancée shows up in town for an art gallery opening, and she'll be nothing but a barrel of trouble for Max.
What I Thought:

Well, I really enjoy reading this series, even though I have only read one other in the series.  The setting is a little different, as it takes place in Pittsburgh, PA, and a brew house.  I am also not a Pittsburgh fan and one character is die hard Pittsburgh and only wears blank and gold,  but she is a really interesting character and the story centers around her being accused of murder.  Max is the main character, and Candy is her good friend so, of course, Max has to get involved.  I thought the writing was superb and the plot was well thought out.  I enjoyed the interaction between the characters, you could tell that they cared about each other.  I was left guessing until the very end, which is what I love in a cozy.  I look forward to more in this series.

I received a complimentary copy of this book.


About The Author

Joyce Tremel was a police secretary for ten years and more than once envisioned the demise of certain co-workers, but settled on writing as a way to keep herself out of jail. She is a native Pittsburgher and lives in a suburb of the city with her husband.
Her debut mystery, To Brew Or Not To Brew was nominated for the 2015 Reviewers' Choice award for Best Amateur Sleuth by RT Book Reviews. The second book in the series, Tangled Up In Brew was released in October 2016 and chosen as a "Top Pick" by RT Book Reviews. It was the winner of the 2016 Reviewers' Choice Award for Best Amateur Sleuth. It was also named one of the Best Books of 2016 by Kings River Life Magazine.

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Monday, October 9, 2017

A Tale of Two Kitties (Magical Cats)
Cozy Mystery
9th in Series – First in Hardcover
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery (September 5, 2017)
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Hardcover: 336 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0399584572
In this charming mystery from the bestselling author of Paws and Effect, two magical cats have powers of detection that prove indispensable to librarian Kathleen Paulson…
With a well-placed paw on a keyboard or a pointed stare, Kathleen’s two cats, Hercules and Owen, have helped her to solve cases in the past—so she has learned to trust their instincts. But she will need to rely on them more than ever when a twenty-year-old scandal leads to murder…
The arrival of the Janes brothers has the little town of Mayville Heights buzzing. Everyone of a certain age remembers when Victor had an affair with Leo’s wife, who then died in a car accident.
Now it seems the brothers are trying to reconcile, until Kathleen finds Leo dead. The police set their sights on Leo’s son and Kathleen’s good friend Simon, who doesn’t have much of an alibi. To prove her friend innocent, Kathleen will have to dig deep into the town’s history—and into her sardine cracker supply, because Owen and Hercules don’t work for free…

What I Thought:

This has been a series that I have wanted to read for a very long time, but have just never gotten to it yet, but after this one, I am definitely going to go back and read the others in this series.  Owen and Hercules and two very special cats and they made this story very entertaining and humorous.  Kathleen, their owner, is the local librarian.  When two brothers return to town after many years and one winds up dead, Kathleen and her cats become involved in solving the crime.  This story was very well written and I found myself turning pages as fast as I could.  There were many twists and turns that kept me guessing until the very end.  Again, this was a superb read and I am definitely going to read more in the Magical Cats Series. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book. 
About the Author
Sofie Kelly is a New York Times bestselling author and mixed-media artist who lives on the East Coast with her husband and daughter. She writes the New York Times bestselling Magical Cats Mysteries (Paws and Effect, Faux Paw, A Midwinter’s Tail) and, as Sofie Ryan, writes the New York Times bestselling Second Chance Cat Mysteries (Telling Tails, A Whisker of Trouble, Buy a Whisker). Find out more at
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It’s a Cozy Life by Sofie Kelly

I read a lot of different types of books, everything from poetry to mysteries to books about the origin of the universe. I read cookbooks and dictionaries. Just about the only thing I don’t like to read is an instruction manual.  But no matter what book may have currently caught my fancy, I seem to always come back to cozy mysteries.

Why do I like them? Here are my 6 top reasons:

The setting: Cozies are usually set in a small town, or in one particular neighbourhood of a larger city. My Magical Cats series takes place in the small town of Mayville Heights, Minnesota. I grew up in a small town and every time I pick up a cozy mystery I’m reminded of the sense of community and connection that existed in that special place.

The amateur detective: Yes, I like books with world-weary police officers or lone-wolf antiheros, but I have a soft spot for an amateur sleuth. Probably because it plays into my fantasy that maybe I’m smart enough to unravel a mystery. (Please don’t burst my bubble.)

Friends and family: I don’t have a large extended family, so my friends fill that role. In cozy mysteries friends often become surrogate family for the main character. I like that.

Food—I enjoy cooking and I like to eat and I like to read about what other people are eating—even fictional people. Food tends to play a big role in cozies. Many authors even add recipes at the back of their books. Some of my favorite dishes have come from fellow authors.

Cats: Yes, I’m a cat person and I like to read books with cats in them, especially stories where the cats have a paw in solving the crime. No, I don’t think that’s unrealistic at all.

Happily ever after: In the real world sometimes the good guys don’t win. Sometimes the bad guys don’t get punished. In the cozy world the amateur sleuth always catches the killer. There’s a sense that life is fair. That makes my little control freak heart very happy.

So what about you? Are you a cozy mystery fan? What are your reasons for reading?

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Halloween Is Murder

Halloween is Murder (McKinley Mysteries)
by Carolyn Arnold

October 3 - 15, 2017

Halloween is Murder (McKinley Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
11th in the Series
Hibbert & Stiles Publishing Inc (October 3, 2017)
ISBN-13: 978-1988353616

Beware of all that goes bump in the night…
Sean and Sara McKinley are excited about the haunted house they’ve set up as a Halloween charity fund-raiser, but things take a ghoulish turn when the reporter covering their story is found dead. With the media keeping mum about how she died, Sara’s curiosity is piqued, and she convinces Sean to take on the investigation through their PI firm.
But this case is not without its challenges. The police are actively investigating it, as well, and it’s not even clear that the woman was murdered. It will take a little cloak-and-dagger, dress-up, and finesse for the McKinleys to get to the bottom of it, but they aren’t the kind to give up.
As they troll for leads and work through the skeletons in the reporter’s closet, they unearth a few suspects, but they’ll need to carve out the whole truth if they’re going to find her killer. If they do so fast enough, there might even be time for a little trick-or-treating.
What I Thought:

This is the first book I have read in the McKinley Mysteries by Carolyn Arnold.  This one really got me in the mood for Halloween.  Sean and Sara are non-profit investigators who set up a Halloween House for charity.  They are interviewed by TV reporter Chloe Parson, but Chloe is killed the same day.  Of course, Sara fears it is murder and begs Sean to investigate. They turn up many interesting things about Chloe and who may have wanted her dead.  Carolyn does a great job of writing and the book flowed really well making it an easy and very entertaining read.  There were many twists and turns that had me guessing, but I did not know who the killer was till the end.  There was also just enough humor in the is book to keep it light-hearted.  I look forward to more from this author in this series.

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

Author Bio
CAROLYN ARNOLD is an international bestselling and award-winning author, as well as a speaker, teacher, and inspirational mentor. She has four continuing fiction series—Detective Madison Knight, Brandon Fisher FBI, McKinley Mysteries, and Matthew Connor Adventures—and has written nearly thirty books. Her genre diversity offers her readers everything from cozy to hard-boiled mysteries, and thrillers to action adventures.
Both her female detective and FBI profiler series have been praised by those in law enforcement as being accurate and entertaining, leading her to adopt the trademark: POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT™.
Carolyn was born in a small town and enjoys spending time outdoors, but she also loves the lights of a big city. Grounded by her roots and lifted by her dreams, her overactive imagination insists that she tell her stories. Her intention is to touch the hearts of millions with her books, to entertain, inspire, and empower.
She currently lives just west of Toronto with her husband and beagle and is a member of Crime Writers of Canada.
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Sunday, October 1, 2017

A Cajun Christmas Killing: A Cajun Country Mystery
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Crooked Lane Books (October 10, 2017)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1683313052
Maggie Crozat is back home in bayou country during the most magical time of the year. In Pelican, Louisiana, Christmastime is a season of giant bonfires on the levee, zydeco carols, and pots of gumbo. Except, this year, the Grinch has come to stay at the family-run Crozat Plantation B&B. When he floods travel websites with vicious reviews, Maggie thinks she’s identified him as rival businessman Donald Baxter. That is, until he’s found stabbed to death at Maggie’s workplace. And Maggie and her loved ones become top suspects.
The Crozats quickly establish alibis, but Maggie’s boyfriend, Detective Bo Durand, remains under suspicion. With Bo sidelined during the investigation, Maggie finds herself forced to work with an unlikely ally: longtime family enemy Rufus Durand. Her sleuthing uncovers more suspects than drummers drumming, and lands her in the crosshairs of the murderer.
The sleigh bells are jingling, and the clock is ticking for Maggie and Rufus, who must catch the killer or it will be the opposite of a Joyeux Noël in A Cajun Christmas Killing, the recipe-stuffed third installment of USA Today bestselling author Ellen Byron’s Cajun Country mysteries.

What I Thought:

This is the third installment of the Cajun Country Mysteries, and it was my favorite so far.  I enjoy reading this series as I enjoy the descriptions of the culture.  I really liked reading about Cajun Christmas customs.  The plot of this one was well written and very believable and the mystery was superb and kept me guessing till the very end.  This book flowed so well, that it was over before I was ready for it to be over.  I really like the characters in this series, especially Maggie.  I look forward to more in this series. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book. 

About The Author
Body on the Bayou, the second in Ellen’s Cajun Country Mystery series, won the Left Coast Crime Lefty Award for Best Humorous Mystery, and was nominated for a Best Contemporary Novel Agatha Award. Her debut book in the series, Plantation Shudders, made the USA Today Bestsellers list, and was nominated for Agatha, Lefty, and Daphne awards. Ellen is also a recipient of a William F. Deeck-Malice Domestic Grant from the Malice Domestic Convention. Her TV credits include Wings, Still Standing, and Just Shoot Me, as well as network and cable pilots. As a journalist, she’s written over 200 magazine articles for national publications. Her plays, published by Dramatists Play Service, include the popular Graceland and Asleep on the Wind. A native New Yorker and graduate of Tulane University, Ellen lives in the Los Angeles area with her husband, daughter, and the family’s spoiled rescue dogs.
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That’s what the lit-up decoration read on the front lawn of a ranch house across from the Mississippi River in Gramercy, Louisiana. It was Christmas Eve and my husband, daughter and I were there at a party to watch the Bonfires on the Levee.

Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, families and friends come together to build giant thirty-foot high log pyramids on the river’s levees north of New Orleans. Some builders get adventurous and building their bonfires in unique shapes. The year we were there, one bonfire was built in the shape of a pirate ship. Some bonfires are simply stacks of cane reed covered with firecrackers. At 7 p.m. on Christmas Eve, the bonfires are lit, and flames reach high into the sky. There are a variety of theories about the tradition’s origin. The most popular explanation is that the bonfires guide Papa Noel’s way to the homes of Cajun children.

While the bonfires are probably Cajun Country’s best-known holiday tradition, there are others unique to the area as well. CAJUN NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS is Cajun Country’s own version of the famous tale. It’s written in the Cajun dialect; rather than reindeer and a sleigh, alligators pull “Papa Noel” along in a small boat. Christmas caroling in Cajun parishes includes traditional French songs as well as English and American. And no holiday in the region is complete without fantastic food. From Christmas Eve to New Year’s Eve, a meal might include gumbo, oyster stuffing, a turducken – a turkey stuffed with a duck that’s stuffed with a chicken – and pralines for dessert. During the bonfire party we were lucky enough to attend, there were three kinds of jambalaya, three kinds of gumbo, and even alligator soup. (Confession: that’s the only one I skipped.)

When the bonfires were reduced to embers and the wonderful party was over, we waddled off to Christmas Eve Mass at the local church. The pews were full, which thrilled the priest, and we were warmly embraced by the parishioners, even though my family and I were strangers in town.

The bonfires, the food, the festivities… I have wonderful memories of our Christmas in Cajun Country. You’ll find many of these real-life moments translated into fictional ones in my new book, A CAJUN CHRISTMAS KILLING.