Review & Giveaway: APPOINTMENT WITH ISIL by Joe Giordano

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As part of a blog tour organized by Italy Book Tours,  I recently read Appointment with ISIL a new thriller by Joe Giordano.

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An Anthony Provati Literary Thriller 

This time, Anthony’s libido threatens his life. Anthony Provati flirts with Russian mob boss, Gorgon Malakhov’s mistress. The Russian deals in death. ISIL, the Islamic State in the Levant, wants the product. Russian Intelligence supplies the means, and an art theft funds the scheme.

ISIL’s targets are chilling. The chase across the Mediterranean is on. Can Anthony thwart ISIL? Will he survive?

My Review

Anthony is a piano player and a nice guy, but his better judgment goes out the window whenever he is confronted with a beautiful woman. He is ill-equipped to cope with the threats of a seasoned Russian mobster, and soon finds himself in the unlikely role of unofficial investigator as he tries to keep himself and the women he loves safe.  The course of events brings him in to the middle of conflicts between Italian, Colombian, Jewish, and Russian mobsters.

The author has created a somewhat disturbing scenario where Russian mobsters help ISIL prepare for a major terrorist attack.  Disturbing not because of the details, disturbing because it strikes home with respect to the threat from terror faced around the world today.  Anthony is not a spy or a government agent he happens on the details and does his best to pass the info on to the relevant authorities  with predicable and unpredictable results.  Spanning four continents and multiple cultures, Appointment with ISIL was an interesting read.

FTC Disclosure:   I received a complimentary ARC of this book. This has not affected the content of my review in any way.

Giveaway

Click to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win a signed copy of Appointment with ISIL.

About the Author

Joe GiordanoJoe Giordano was born in Brooklyn. He and his wife, Jane, have lived in Greece, Brazil, Belgium and the Netherlands. They now live in Texas.

Joe’s stories have appeared in more than ninety magazines including The Monarch Review, The Saturday Evening Post, decomP, The Summerset Review, and Shenandoah. His novel, Birds of Passage, An Italian Immigrant Coming of Age Story, was published by Harvard Square Editions October 2015. His second novel, Appointment with ISIL, an Anthony Provati Thriller was recently released by HSE.

Connect with the author:  Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook  ~  Pinterest

Review: HER IMAGINARY HUSBAND by Lia London

Looking to escape into a non-mystery book for a change of pace, I recently read “Her Imaginary Husband,” a sweet romantic comedy by Lia London.

ImaginaryHusbandDescription (from Amazon)

New teacher, Nikki Fallon, is trying to ward off the lecherous attention of Coach Carlin. She should
a) slap him silly.
b) report him for harassment. 
c) invent an imaginary husband.

Nikki opts for “C” and is not prepared for how the plan backfires! Sure, pretending you’re married to get rid of a jerk is fine, but what if a really nice guy comes along? How can she untangle the web of lies before true love passes her by?

My Review

Delightful, fun read. Nikki is a young and energetic teacher with a positive attitude, who manages to connect with her students.  She is also inexperienced, and not just with respect to teaching.  As a result,  Nikki digs herself into a hole with one spur of the moment lie.  A whopper.  Like in any good romance novel, the end is not a surprise  but the journey Nikki takes on the road to finding love made for an enjoyable, laugh out loud read.   This was my first time reading anything by this author; it won’t be the last.

Guest Post, Spotlight & Giveaway: DANCING IN THE RAIN by Lucy Appadoo

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As part of a tour organized by Italy Book Tours,  I am happy to have Lucy Appadoo as my guest as she celebrates the release of Dancing in the Rain, the third novel in the Italian Family series.


Exploring the Café and Piazza Life in Italy by Lucy Appadoo

At twenty-three years of age, I travelled to Piaggine, Italy and spent three months visiting the cities and villages. I not only visited the villages of Laurino, Batibaglia, and Positano,  I also spent time in Rome, Florence, Salerno (the Amalfi Coast), and Venice. I would’ve loved to have travelled to more of the amazing cities but I didn’t get the opportunity.

I spent time in the piazza in Piaggine with my cousins who would visit with their friends every night. I’d walk in the square with my one or both of my male cousin/s and each night a friend of theirs would buy us an alcoholic shot that was mixed in a glass test-tube like glass. Each night, I’d try a mix of cocktails in a test tube.

On that square, you had a bar and café, a bakery, and a restaurant. I loved staying at my aunt’s house as she lived upstairs in the bakery while her friend worked and lived in the bakery downstairs. Each day, I’d enter her home and the aroma of freshly-baked bread would permeate my senses. It was heavenly, and I would bite into the soft, doughy texture of fresh Italian bread. We’d eat the bread with a glass of wine or with food.   Amazing!

My cousin would also drive me around to the nearby villages, but what I found strange was that he’d never stop for us to explore the sights. Instead, he’d simply drive around for fifteen minutes or so, then return to the main village. I was thinking, “wow, not my idea of exploration, but maybe it was his.”

Piaggine is a beautiful village, mountainous, hilly, and with rough terrain around the farms. The stone houses felt cold inside but the wood fire ovens were great for home cooked meals. I would eat home-made bread, home-made sausages, home- made tomato sauce, fresh pasta, and home-made wine. Many things were made by hand, and the joy the Italians had from making something from scratch was captivating.

Exploring Italy in my 20s was amazing but I would have liked to explore more of the country. The history of the country left me feeling nostalgic when I returned back home to Melbourne. How can you compare the city of Melbourne with the cities in Italy and all its fabulous history. Impossible!!


Dancing in the RainAbout Dancing in the Rain

Fifteen-year old Valeria Allegro works diligently on the family farm in Italy, where she is torn between her duty to her family and her desire to find freedom from her strict, domineering father. She finds solace in Dario, a young student who provides a blissful escape—until a neighbour’s son, Gregorio, decides he wants her for himself.

This raises an alarm for her father, which leads to family conflict and aggression. When Dario is threatened and her family is plagued by a series of suspicious accidents, Valeria is desperate to keep her loved ones safe. Can she end the turmoil and escape the firmly built trap to find the freedom she craves?

Buy the Book

Amazon    B&N

Giveaway

Click here to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card.

About the Author

Lucy Appadoo is a registered counsellor and wellness coach with a part-time private practice. She also works as a rehabilitation counsellor for the Australian government. In her spare time, she self-publishes or writes nonfiction and fiction texts. She previously worked as a rehabilitation consultant, caseworker, English as a second language teacher, and proofreader.

Lucy has postgraduate diplomas in psychology, education, and English as a Second Language teaching, as well as specialised qualifications in grief counselling and hypnosis. She has also completed wellness coaching courses (levels 1-3) at Wellness Coaching Australia.

Lucy enjoys reading romantic suspense, romance, thrillers, crime novels, family/historical drama, and sagas. She writes in the genres of romantic suspense, historical fiction, and romance. She has enjoyed travelling to exotic places such as Madrid, Mauritius, and Italy, and draws on these experiences in her creative writing.

Lucy’s favourite authors include Kendra Elliot, Christiane Heggan, Theresa Ragan, Tara Moss, Nicholas Sparks, Adriana Trigiani, Erica Spindler, and James Patterson (to name a few).

Lucy’s interests include meditation, playing tennis, journal writing, reading fiction and nonfiction texts about writing, coaching, and counselling, ongoing professional development, spending time with her husband and two daughters, and socialising with friends and family.

Connect with the Author:  Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

Guest Post, Spotlight & Giveaway: TREBLE AT THE JAM FEST by Leslie Budewitz

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As part of a Blog Tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, Leslie Budewitz is my guest today. She’s here to tell us about her most recent release, Treble at the Jam Fest, and share a few insights into how she creates the characters and stories in her books.


On the Job Training 

Astute readers have noticed that though I’m a lawyer by day, my characters have far more interesting jobs. Why, they ask?

LeslieBBecause part of the fun of writing fiction is to explore lives I haven’t lived. That may mean living in a one-room log cabin, on a houseboat, or in a million-dollar lakeside dream home, none of which I’ve done. Yet. It may mean imagining a thirty-year career as a chef or a banker, a life on stage playing the guitar or singing opera, or the trials and tribulations of a police officer or sheriff’s deputy. Or it may mean being a 33-year-old woman running a specialty local foods grocery in her family’s hundred-year-old grocery, as Erin Murphy, the main character in my Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries, does.

As a former teenage bookseller, I know just enough about retail to be dangerous. Or more accurately, to observe, and to get people to tell me their stories. Mr. Right and I live in a lakeside resort community in northwestern Montana on the road to Glacier National Park—oh, gosh, that could also describe Jewel Bay, the Food Lovers’ Village! It’s a tourist town, and we’re friends with the folks who run the restaurants and art galleries, the children’s shop, the kitchen store, the bar, even the Playhouse. The liquor store and jam shop owners are pals, and we quite enjoy the man who runs the community foundation, as well as the hoteliers. And the man who runs the gas station—well, you can’t like them all, can you?

Everywhere I go, I listen and learn—and some of those conversations and characters wriggle their way onto my pages.

It’s all about keeping your eyes and ears open. Thinking about what a gallery owner does all day. Watching the barista’s movements, and how she handles the customer who can’t make up her mind. Figuring out who does what in the restaurant, and what conflicts might arise. Picturing what might go wrong when you host a food lovers’ film festival, or run a summer arts fair that takes over the village streets. (Hint: those screens are fragile, and when the signs say no vehicle traffic after 7:30 a.m., yes, that means you, too, Mr. Beer Truck Driver!)

And imagining all the pressures on the board of directors of a music festival as the final details come together—and when the star performer dies.

For my characters who slave over hot stoves, I read a lot of “chef lit”—kitchen memoirs and exposes. I’ve pored over blogs and online magazines for the trendy new foods, and the newest business terminology—because Erin would know it. I’ve even dabbled in spreadsheets and timeline software, because she adores that sort of thing, and finds it most useful in investigating.

I’ve had the same fun with my Spice Shop series, set in Seattle’s Pike Place Market. I fell in love with the Market as a college student, and ate my way through it both then and a few years later, when I was a young downtown lawyer. And while the real spice shop was my entrée into flavors and big enticement to learn to cook, I’d never worked in one. So I went in and asked questions: What’s the best part of working here? The hardest part? Your favorite spice? And when I met Amanda Bevill, owner of World Spice Merchants on Western Ave, just below the Market, all my prayers and questions were answered!

But about those lawyers. They love mystery and crime fiction, and it wouldn’t be fair to leave them out entirely. In the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries, Bill Schmidt is a lawyer turned herbalist and acupuncturist and—well, no spoilers, right? But he always answers Erin’s questions, even when he doesn’t like what she does with the info!

Pepper Reece loved her job as staff HR manager for a massive Seattle law firm that imploded in scandal. When her job evaporated, she bought a spice shop in the Pike Place Market. (Wouldn’t you?) Traumatic as such things are, I knew the lawyers would land on their feet. But what about the staff? I was far more interested in the choices they might make. Pepper keeps in touch with them, and they often give her leads or critical information. One even runs a mystery bookshop.

Hmm, now there’s a career I might actually consider.


TREBlecoverAbout Treble at the Jam Fest

Erin Murphy, manager of Murphy’s Mercantile (aka the Merc), is tuning up for Jewel Bay’s annual Jazz Festival. Between keeping the Merc’s shelves stocked with Montana’s tastiest local fare and hosting the festival’s kick-off concert, Erin has her hands full.

Discord erupts when jazz guitarist Gerry Martin is found dead on the rocks above the Jewel River. The one-time international sensation had fallen out of sync with festival organizers, students, and performers. Was his death an accident—or did someone even the score?

Despite the warning signs to not get involved, Erin investigates. And when the killer attacks, she orchestrates her efforts into one last crescendo, hoping to avoid a deadly finale.

Purchase Links:   Amazon    B&N     Kobo

Giveaway

Click to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway for chance to win a print copy of Treble at the Jam Fest.

About the Author

Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries—and the first author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction. She lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat Ruff, a cover model and avid bird-watcher.

Connect with her on her website, http://www.LeslieBudewitz.com, on Facebook, or on Twitter.

Review & Giveaway: NO TURNING BACK by Tracy Buchanan

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As part of a Blog Tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, I recently read No Turning Back – a thriller by Tracy Buchanan.

Description

NoTurningBackAnna Graves’s whole life has recently been turned upside down. A new mother, she’s just gone back to her job as a radio presenter and is busy navigating a new schedule of late night feeding and early morning wake ups while also dealing with her newly separated husband. Then the worst happens. While Anna is walking on the beach with her daughter, she’s attacked by a crazed teenager. Terrified, Anna reacts instinctively to protect her baby.

But her life falls apart when the schoolboy dies from his injuries. The police believe Anna’s story, until the autopsy results reveal something more sinister. A frenzied media attack sends Anna into a spiral of self-doubt. Her precarious mental state is further threatened when she receives a chilling message from someone claiming to be the “Ophelia Killer,” a serial killer who preyed on the town twenty years ago—and who abruptly stopped when Anna’s father committed suicide.

Is Anna as innocent as she claims? And is murder forgivable, if committed to save your child’s life? Internationally bestselling author Tracy Buchanan takes readers on an emotional roller coaster ride filled with heart-stopping secrets and hairpin turns in No Turning Back, her US debut.

My Review

A popular radio presenter in a coastal town in the UK, Anna reacts to an unexpected attack like a lion defending her cub. Instinct. Plain and simple. But the reactions of the people around her are not so simple. Anna soon becomes the target of unwanted attention from fans and detractors alike, as well as from someone claiming to be a serial killer.  The narrative mostly reflects Anna’s point of view, interspersed with first-person passages representing the killer’s thoughts. I found it to be an engaging read, with many twists as Anna learns more about local and family history.  Although the identity of the “Ophelia Killer” came as a surprise to me and the pieces fit together in the end, the killer and the killer’s motivation didn’t entirely mesh with my sense of the culprit’s character.  If you enjoy thrillers, you might want to add this to your TBR list.

Content advisory: This is not a “clean” read — it does include some strong language and graphic violence.

FTC Disclosure:   I received an advance review copy of this book as part of this blog tour.  This has not affected the content of my review in any way. 

Giveaway

Click here to enter a Rafflecopter for a chance to win a print copy of No Turning Back.

TracyBuchananAbout the Author

Tracy Buchanan lives in the UK with her husband, their little girl and their one-eyed Jack Russell. Buchanan traveled extensively while working as a travel magazine editor and has always been drawn to the sea after spending her childhood holidays on the coast visiting family–a fascination that inspires her writing. She now dedicates her time to writing and procrastinating on Twitter.

Author Links

Purchase Links
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Showcase & Giveaway: DREAM A LITTLE DEATH by Susan Kandel

As part of a blog tour organized by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours, today’s post showcases a recently released mystery by Susan Kandel – DREAM A LITTLE DEATH.

Description

dreamalittledeathFrom critically acclaimed author Susan Kandel comes a charming new mystery featuring Dreama Black and a cast of zany LA-based characters.

The first time I set eyes on Miles McCoy, I worried he might try to eat me. He was the size and girth of a North American grizzly, with long, silver-tipped hair, a long silver-tipped beard, and small dark eyes that bore into me like I was a particularly fine specimen of Chinook salmon. It couldn’t have helped that I’d used a honey scrub the morning we met. I should’ve known better. Not just about the scrub, but about a lot of things.

Like braving the freeway during rush hour.
Like thinking you can’t get a ticket for parking at a broken meter.
Like racing up to his penthouse in gladiator sandals, and expecting not to twist an ankle.
Like watching his fiancée shoot herself, and assuming it was suicide, instead of murder.

Meet Dreama Black. A 28 year-old, third-generation groupie trying to figure out who she is after being publicly dumped by the rock god whose mega-hit, “Dreama, Little Dreama” made the name and the girl world-famous. Now Dreama supports herself by running custom-designed, themed tours of her hometown of L.A. When she is hired by a Raymond Chandler-obsessed rap producer to create a “L.A. noir” tour as his present to his soon-to-be bride, Dreama gets pulled into the middle of a possible murder, corrupt cops, and an unforgettable pair of femme fatales.

Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | Barnes & Noble  | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

Chapter 1

The first time I set eyes on Miles McCoy, I worried he might try to eat me. He was the size and girth of a North American grizzly bear, with long silver-tipped hair, a long silver-tipped beard, and small dark eyes that bore into me like I was a particularly fine specimen of Chinook salmon. It couldn’t have helped that I’d used a honey scrub the morning we met. I should’ve known better. Not just about the scrub, but about a lot of things.

Like braving the freeway during rush hour.

Like thinking you can’t get a ticket for parking at a broken meter.

Like racing up to his penthouse in Balenciaga gladiator sandals, and expecting not to twist an ankle.

Like watching his fiancée shoot herself, and assuming it was suicide, instead of murder.

But I’m getting ahead of myself, which is another thing I should know better about. Because if I’ve learned anything at all from my study of film noir (which got me into the whole sordid Miles McCoy mess to begin with), it is to tell the story in the precise order in which it happened.

The trouble started the day before, which was Valentine’s Day, a pagan holiday named after the Roman priest who defied Claudius II by marrying Christian couples. After being hauled off in shackles, the soft-hearted cleric was beaten with clubs, stoned, and when that didn’t finish him off, publicly beheaded. Makes you think.

It had poured rain for eight days running, which isn’t what you sign on for when you live in Los Angeles. But that morning, as I stepped outside for a run, the sun was blinding—so blinding, in fact, that I didn’t see the fragrant valentine my neighbor’s dog, Engelbart, had left on the stoop for me. Not that I minded spending the next twenty minutes cleaning the grooves of my running shoe with a chopstick. It was a beautiful day. The rollerbladers were cruising the Venice boardwalk. The scent of medical marijuana was wafting through the air. Engelbart’s gastrointestinal tract was sound.

An hour later, I hopped into my mint green 1975 Mercedes convertible, and made my way up Lincoln to the freeway. I was headed to Larchmont, an incongruous stretch of Main Street, USA, sandwiched between Hollywood and Koreatown. This was where studio executives’ wives and their private school daughters came for green juice, yoga pants, and the occasional wrench from the general store that had served Hancock Park since the 1930s. It was also where my mother and grandmother ran Cellar Door, known for its chia seed porridge and life-positive service. I helped out whenever my coffers were running low. Which was most of the time.

You are probably frowning right about now. Surely a young woman who owns a classic convertible—as well as Balenciaga gladiators—should not be perennially low on funds. But it’s true.

The car came from my grandmother, who received it as part of her third (fourth?) divorce settlement and gave it to me as a gift when I strong-armed my mother into rehab for the fourth (fifth?) time. The sandals I purchased online in a frenzy of self-loathing shortly after watching my ex-boyfriend the rock god serenading his current girlfriend the supermodel on an otherwise uneventful episode of Ellen. I’d tried to return the sandals, but one of the studs had fallen off, making them damaged goods. Like their owner. Not that I’m hard on myself. It’s just that my career—I take clients on custom-designed, private tours of my hometown of L.A.—wasn’t exactly thriving, which is why I was easy prey for the likes of Miles McCoy. But I’m getting ahead of myself again. Here comes the good part. The part where I’m driving like the wind and almost don’t notice the flashing lights in my mirror. I knew I should have fixed that taillight.

I pulled over, cut the motor, handed the cop my license and registration. He looked down, then did a double take. “Dreama Black?”

That would be me.

“The Dreama Black?” he continued. “As in ‘Dreama, Little Dreama’?”

Perhaps I should explain.

I am a twenty-eight-year-old, third-generation rock ’n’ roll groupie—or “muse,” as the women in my family like to put it.

My grandmother, a fine-boned blonde who never met a gossamer shawl or Victorian boot she didn’t like, spent the sixties sleeping her way through Laurel Canyon, winding up in a house on Rothdell Trail (a.k.a. “Love Street”) purchased for her by a certain lead singer of a certain iconic band whose name is the plural of the thing that hits you on the way out.

My mother, blessed with thick, dark tresses and a way with mousse, was consort to many of the pseudo-androgynous alpha males of American hair metal, her chief claim to fame an MTV video in which she writhed across the hood of a Porsche wearing a white leotard and black, thigh-high boots. She also bought Axl Rose his first kilt.

As for me, well, I was on my way to freshman orientation when this guy I’d been seeing, who’d played a couple of no-name clubs with some friends from summer camp, intercepted me at LAX, put his lips to my ear, and hummed the opening bars of a new song I’d apparently inspired. Instead of boarding the plane for Berkeley, I boarded the tour bus with Luke Cutt and the other skinny, pimply members of Rocket Science. Four world tours, three hit albums, two Grammys, and one breakup later, “Dreama, Little Dreama”—an emo pop anthem that went gold in seven days and has sold eleven million copies to date—had made me almost famous forever.

“Step out of the car, please.”

The cop removed his sunglasses. Peach fuzz. Straight out of the academy. “So.”

He wanted to get a picture with me.

“I’d love to get a picture with you,” he said.

I smoothed down my cut-offs and striped T-shirt, removed my red Ray-Bans, ran my fingers through my long, straight, freshly balayaged auburn hair. The cop put his arm around me, leaned in close, took a couple of snaps on his phone. Let me guess. He’d had a crush on me since tenth grade, when he saw me in a white tank and no bra on the cover of Rocket Science’s debut C.D., and now he was going to post the pictures on Instagram to show all his buddies.

“Awesome.” He gave me a brotherly punch on the arm. “No way is my wife going to believe this. She’s crazy about Luke Cutt. Hey, is he really dating that Victoria’s Secret Angel? She is smoking hot.”

At least I didn’t get the ticket.

Excerpt from Dream A Little Death by Susan Kandel.  Copyright © 2017 by Susan Kandel. Reproduced with permission from HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.

Giveaway

Click here to enter a Rafflecopter for a chance to win one of 5 eBook copies of Dream A Little Death by Susan Kandel.

About the Author

An Agatha, Edgar, and SCIBA nominee, Susan Kandel is the author of the nationally best-selling and critically acclaimed Cece Caruso series, the most recent of which, Dial H for Hitchcock (Morrow), was named by NPR as one of the five best mysteries of the year. A Los Angeles native, she was trained as an art historian, taught at NYU and UCLA, and spent a decade as an art critic at the Los Angeles Times. When not writing, she volunteers as a court-appointed advocate for foster children, and loves to explore secret, forgotten, and kitschy L.A. She lives with her husband in West Hollywood.

Catch Up with the Author on:
Website , Goodreads , Twitter , & Facebook !

Character Guest Post & Giveaway: DUMPSTER DYING & GRILLED, CHILLED AND KILLED by Lesley A. Diehl

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This Blog Tour, organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, introduces readers to the first two books in the Big Lake Murder Mystery series by Lesley A. Diehl.  In this post, Emily Rhodes, the protagonist in the series, tells us a bit about herself.

Guest Post – Emily Rhodes

When I was younger and working as  preschool teacher, I never thought my retirement would be the way it is. I dreamed of retiring to North Carolina where I could still enjoy the change of seasons. Instead here I am in rural Florida, and I can’t say I’ve retired at all because I’m working nearly full-time as a bartender at the Big Lake Country Club. A bartender! Me! I’m as surprised as anyone that I would trade chasing preschoolers around the playground for slinging beers and Crown Royal to golfers. But I needed the money after the love of my life, Fred, died suddenly of a heart attack. There was the shock of his death followed by grief, of course, but what was totally unexpected was that he had never changed his will, and that will left everything to his ex-wife. I had no legal standing. I was only his live in girlfriend in the eyes of the law. So until I could hire a lawyer, I had to pay the bills. Hence, I have become an expert at mixing martinis and handling the drunks who insist they “just need one more drink.”

The first bartending job I got was in one of my favorite bars, the Burnt Biscuit, but when I denied drinks to a drunken rancher, actually the rancher who owned the biggest spread in the area, I got fired. Rancher, you say? Isn’t this Florida, you ask? Yes, but this is rural Florida, inland, away from the beaches and bikini-clad babes. The is the land of cattle, cowboys and alligators. It reminds me of Texas with palm trees. It’s hot, it’s muggy, and there is a huge lake here, but the color of the water is brown and it is inhabited by hundreds of alligators. You don’t take a dip in those waters. In fact, you have to watch where you’re stepping in your back yard. Some alligators like to get close and friendly especially if some idiot has been feeding them.

I’m making the best of living and working here. After I got fired, I was hired at the country club. The pay is so-so, but I get free greens fees and I manage to fit in a round every now and then. I’ve met some nice people here: my boss Clara, my neighbor Vicki and some gals I play golf with. Clara was kind enough to hook me up with her father who is a lawyer, so I have legal representation for contesting Fred’s old will. You wouldn’t think his ex-wife would be interested in his piddly little estate especially since she has remarried and is richer than anyone has a right to be, but she’s also greedy, and just plain mean. She likes to see me squirm as I struggle to pay the mortgage on the park model trailer Fred and I lived in. I’m not convinced Clara’s father, Hap, is the best choice of a lawyer, but he’s the only one I can afford (he asked for scratch-offs for payment).

TDumpster_cover_smallhere are some other folks I’ve met, but I’m not certain how I feel about them. One is Detective Stanton Lewis, a homicide detective with the local police department. I guess I forgot to mention that that drunken rancher ended up in the country club dumpster where I found him one night when I took out the garbage. Actually, I fell into the dumpster onto his body. So of course, I’m the police’s prime suspect for his murder. Detective Lewis is a steely-eyed, no nonsense detective who asks questions that will make you squirm. He does his homework, too. He knows more about a suspect than the suspect knows about himself, in my case, herself. And there’s something else. He’s about the handsomest man I’ve ever met. Aside from the fact that he’d like me to confess to the murder, I also get the feeling he’s more than a little interested in me personally. All of that makes me nervous because I find him just yummy, and I’m supposed to be grieving for Fred.

I had to hire a part-time bartender at the country club, and the only one I could get on such short notice was an bass fisherman named Donald Green. He is the most unpleasant man, seems to hate winter visitors, especially Yankee women who he views as having too much attitude. He means me, of course. He seems to get along with other women just fine. Some even seem to find him kind of attractive with his lean, muscular body and long silver hair that he wears in a ponytail. But I’ve never seen him smile unless he’s talking about fishing. It’s said he has the fastest bass boat on the lake. He took me out in it once fishing, but all I caught was another dead body. I still wonder if he did that on purpose. I’m conflicted in my feelings about him because sometimes he can be kind and generous like when he helped me with my car.

These two men are unlike any men I’ve encountered before. I think living in the Big Lake area of Florida brings out some primitive aspects of everyone’s character. Maybe I like that I’m more assertive and certain of myself now than I was before. And maybe I like my men a little on the wild side.

About Dumpster Dying

Emily Rhodes came to rural Florida for the cowboys, the cattle, and to do a little country two-step, not to fall head first onto a dead body in a dumpster. Ah, the golden years of retirement in the sunshine state. They’re more like pot metal to Emily, who discovers the body of the county’s wealthiest rancher in the Big Lake Country Club dumpster. With her close friend accused of the murder, Emily sets aside her grief at her life partner’s death to find the real killer. She underestimates the obstacles rural Florida can set up for a winter visitor and runs afoul of a local judge with his own version of justice, hires a lawyer who works out of a retirement home, and flees wild fires hand-in-hand with the man she believes to be the killer.

About Grilled, Chilled and Killed

Grilled_cover_small.jpgIt seems as if Emily is destined to discover dead bodies. This time she finds one of the contestants at the local barbecue cook-off dead and covered in barbecue sauce in a beer cooler. She should be used to stumbling onto corpses by now and the question of who killed the guy should pique her curiosity, but Emily decides to let Detective Lewis handle this one, at least until she figures his theory of who did the deed is wrong, wrong, wrong. Lewis’ denigration of Emily’s speculations is condescending enough to stimulate her dormant snooping skills. As the two of them go on their separate paths to find the killer, Lewis’ old partner, Toby the dirty, tobacco-spitting cop interferes in the investigation leaving Lewis with the wrong man in jail. Killers, bootleggers, barbecue and feral pigs—it’s a lethal game of hide and seek in the Florida swamp.

Giveaway

Enter a Rafflecopter for a chance to win an e-book and have your name used a a character in the next Emily Rhodes book.

About the Author

LDiehlLesley retired from her life as a professor of psychology and reclaimed her country roots by moving to a small cottage in the Butternut River Valley in Upstate New York. In the winter she migrates to old Florida—cowboys, scrub palmetto and open fields of grazing cattle, a place where spurs still jingle in the post office, and gators make golf a contact sport. Back north, the shy ghost inhabiting the cottage serves as her literary muse. When not writing, she gardens, cooks, frequents yard sales and renovates the 1874 cottage with the help of her husband, two cats and, of course, Fred the ghost, who gives artistic direction to their work. She is the author of a number of mystery series and mysteries as well as short stories. The third book in the Eve Appel murders (from Camel Press) A Sporting Murder was awarded a Readers’ Favorite Five Star Award and her short story Gator Aid a Sleuthfest (2009) short story first place. She has fired the alligator that served as her literary muse when she is in Florida and is interviewing applicants for the position.

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Interview & Giveaway: WAVES OF MURDER by C.S. McDonald

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Today’s post showcases “Waves of Murder,” the latest addition to the Fiona Quinn mystery series by C.S. McDonald.  I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but it sounds like a great beach read.  And it is my pleasure to have C.S. McDonald on my blog today to answer a few questions about her recent release.

An interview with C.S. McDonald

C.S. McDonaldThe Fiona Quinn Mysteries are set in Pittsburgh. Have you ever been there?

I sure have! I was born and raised in Pittsburgh—and yes, I bleed black and gold. In fact, Fiona Quinn (our heroine) is a kindergarten teacher at the elementary school that I attended and she lives at 529 Oxford Street—in the very same house I grew up in. When I describe the house, it is exactly as I remember it. Now, let me be clear—my grandmother never lived in the attic, but isn’t having a ghostly grandma fun? Many Pittsburgh venues are mentioned in the books as well. Example: in book #1 Murder on Pointe the story revolves around the Benedum Center—one of Pittsburgh’s premiere theaters.

In Waves of Murder, you move the stories from Pittsburgh to Presque Isle in Erie, Pennsylvania. Why did you take Fiona there?

As a child that is where my family vacationed. It was the only place my parents could afford to take us. I loved the beaches of Presque Isle, and I still visit the area every summer. I knew that Fiona had to visit this terrific beach, but her experiences are less relaxing than mine usually are. Poor Fiona encounters a murder—I’m happy to say this has never happened to me!

If you had to choose an actress to portray Fiona, who would you pick?

Kaley Cuoco hands down! Every time I watch Big Bang Theory I think—Wow! She would make the perfect Fiona!

Do you have another profession besides writing?

No. For twenty-six years I was a professional dancer/choreographer. I retired in 2011 and have not looked back. Whether I am working on my romantic suspense series or the Fiona Quinn books, I love writing! As a child, I used to write stories all the time, and as a child, I danced. Interesting how things come full circle—I was a professional dancer, and now I’m a writer.

Who is your biggest fan?

My husband, Bill, has been such a great supporter of my work for years—both in the dance studio and at the laptop. Unfortunately, I feel the person who would’ve been most proud of my success as a writer would have been my dad. He loved to read, and as proud as he was of my dance career, the man would have burst at the seams with pride when I published my first book in 2011. He would’ve been showing my books to anyone who would look, no doubt. My father passed away very unexpectedly in 2005 so he never got to see my writing career, but I know he is watching from above with a big toothy grin on his face!

About Waves of Murder

Waves of MurderSchool’s out for the summer!
Kindergarten teacher, Fiona Quinn is looking forward to spending some quality time in her yard and with her boyfriend, Detective Nathan Landry. However, Fiona’s plans get squelched when her mother volunteers her to edit a manuscript for famous romance author, Wyla Parkes.

What’s so bad about that? The author insists Fiona must work on the manuscript at her beach cottage on Presque Isle–three hours away from her yard and Nathan. Spending six weeks in an adorable cottage on a private beach doesn’t really seem all that bad until people start turning up dead—beginning with the author! Fiona’s summer of sun and sand is instantly transformed into a murder investigation. Can Fiona and Nathan crack the case or will the murderer get away on a wave of deceit?

Join Fiona and the gang for a hot whodunit on the sandy beaches of Presque Isle, Pennsylvania!

Giveaway

Enter a Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win a signed copy of Waves of Murder: A Fiona Quinn Mystery by C.S. McDonald (open to USA only – 2 winners).

About the Author

For twenty-six years C.S. McDonald’s life whirled around a song and a dance. She was a professional dancer and choreographer. During that time she choreographed many musicals and an opera for the Pittsburgh Savoyards. In 2011 she retired from her dance career to write. Under her real name, Cindy McDonald, she writes murder-suspense and romantic suspense novels. In 2014 she added the pen name, C.S. McDonald, to write children’s books for her grandchildren. Now she adds the Fiona Quinn Mysteries to that expansion. She decided to write the cozy mystery series for her young granddaughters, and has found that so many adults love them too.

Ms. McDonald resides on her Thoroughbred farm known as Fly by Night Stables near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with her husband, Bill, and her poorly behaved Cocker Spaniel, Allister.

Connect with the author:  Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook 

Review & Giveaway: UNCORKING A LIE by Nadine Nettmann

As part of a Blog Tour organized by Great Escapes Free Virtual Book Tours,  I recently read Uncorking a Lie (A Sommelier Mystery) by Nadine Nettmann.

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It was the kind of invitation Katie Stillwell had only dreamed about: a dinner party at the Sonoma mansion of famed wine collector Paul Rafferty to celebrate a rare bottle of wine. Everyone enjoys drinking the $19,000 wine, but Katie realizes it’s not the older vintage listed on the label. When she confides in Mr. Rafferty, he asks her to investigate, and she soon discovers the deception goes beyond money. As Katie falls deeper into the world of counterfeit wine, she learns everything is at stake―even her life.

My Review

Having read the first book in this series, I enjoyed getting reacquainted with Katie.  She is a dedicated wine lover, who seeks to advance to the highest level of sommelier accreditation.  And she is smart and determined in her pursuit of the truth about the wine and the suspicious death of a friend.  At the same time, she is impulsive and somewhat reckless.  The underlying plot is engaging, with multiple suspects and a plot that comes together nicely in the end.  A pleasant read, easily enjoyed by lovers of wine and mystery.

FTC Disclosure:   I received an advance review copy of this book as part of this blog tour.  This has not affected the content of my review in any way. 

Giveaway

Click here to enter a rafflecopter for a chance to win a print copy of Uncorking a Lie.

About the Author

Nadine Nettmann, a Certified Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers, is always on the lookout for great wines and the stories behind them. She has traveled to wine regions around the world including Chile, South Africa, Spain, Germany, and every region in France. When she’s not visiting wine regions or dreaming up new mysteries, her travel articles have appeared in AAA Hawaii, New Mexico Journey, Modern Luxury Hawaii, and Inspirato. Nadine is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Romance Writers of America, and International Thriller Writers. She lives in California with her husband.

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Spotlight: TIME FOR HONESTY by Mette Barfelt

As followers of my Twitter account already know, I love to travel.  Scandinavia was one of my favorite destinations, a factor that influenced my decision to read and spotlight this book.  That and the gorgeous cover.

Recently released in English, Time for Honesty is the first book in a series by Mette Barfelt.  Previously released in Norwegian, the series takes place in scenic Norway.  I have only just started reading, but so far I am enjoying Emmelin’s story.

Description

timeforHonestyWelcome to Solvik — a seemingly cozy little town on the Norwegian coast. It’s an idyllic place with old, white wooden houses, almost a touch of paradise. However, under the surface lays intrigues, jealousy, and rivalry, threatening to destroy friendships.

Emmelin inherits her childhood home and must decide whether to sell it or move back to Solvik. With a husband who can’t stand the country life, and no jobs available, the decision seems like an easy one. Confronted with decisions made in her younger days, she now faces deep remorse and indecisiveness. Trying to justify her actions and make things right, Emmelin discovers she’s far from the only one withholding the truth and hiding dark secrets and lies.

In the midst of accusations, devious intentions, and new love, can Emmelin forgive and forget her father’s betrayal and let go of the family drama from her past? Is she finally ready to embrace the future and trust her second chance at romance and love? 

Time for Honesty is the first book in the Solvik series, a sweet small-town romance series with elements of mystery. 

Time for Honesty is available from Amazon.

About the Author

Mette Barfelt is a Scandinavian author. After 16 years working for travel agents and airlines, she got a degree in Marketing, before she started writing books. 
Naturally, with her background in the travel industry, she has traveled extensively throughout the world and visited numerous countries.
She is now writing novels – sweet small town romances with elements of mystery. She lives with her husband and two teenagers, just outside Oslo in Norway.