Review & Giveaway: THE HASIDIC REBBE’S SON by Joan Lipinsky Cochran

As part of a blog tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, I recently read an advance review copy of The Hasidic Rebbe’s Son (A Becks Ruchinsky Mystery) by Joan Lipinsky Cochran.

About the Book

Boca Raton reporter Becks Ruchinsky is stunned when her son, Gabe, brings an ultra-Orthodox friend home from college and asks her to hide him. Six days later, his body is found floating in a canal. When police deem his death an accident, Becks launches her own inquiry—a journey that takes her from secretive Hasidic enclaves to the seedy underbelly of South Beach’s glitzy club scene—to find his killer. What she discovers jeopardizes her son’s life and challenges her religious conviction.

The Hasidic Rebbe’s Son is an intriguing and compulsively readable mystery that contrasts the beauty of Hasidic tradition with the unbending rules that may lead to desperation and murder.

This book is available on Amazon.

My Review

Becks is an independent-spirted, obstinate woman. Her natural curiousity and background in journalism lend to her pursuit of the truth regarding the young man’s death. She is unwilling to relent despite her husband’s opposition, which is but one of the issues in their troubled relationship. Her son, Gabe, suffers from Asperger’s, and the challenges he and his family face are highlighted as part of the story. At the same time, her investigation brings with it insights into the widely divergent levels of religious observance practiced by Jews in different communities, and an interesting glimpse into some of the unique aspects of the Hasidic world.

The story is both well-written and well-paced. The plot became increasingly complex as Becks gathered more and more information on Mennie’s family, friends, and overall background, with the resolution something of a surprise.

A good choice for readers who enjoy mysteries or Jewish fiction in general.

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.

Giveaway

Enter a rafflecopter for your chance to win a digital copy of The Hasidic Rebbe’s Son from the author.

About the Author

Joan Lipinsky Cochran is a South Florida-based writer whose crime and mystery novels focus on subcultures of American Judaism. In her latest novel, The Hasidic Rebbe’s Son, her protagonist is compelled to explore the glitzy South Beach nightclub scene and the secretive world of Hasidic Judaism to find a killer. It is the second in The Becks Ruchinsky Mystery Series. The first, The Yiddish Gangster’s Daughter, is the story of a woman whose world is upended – and life threatened – when she discovers her father was a member of the Jewish mafia.

Author Links

Review & Giveaway: THE INFLUENCER by Frankie Bow

As part of a tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, I recently read the most recent release from Frankie Bow – The Influencer, A Professor Molly Mystery. A nice choice for fans of cozy mysteries.

About the Book

In Which Professor Molly Learns There Is, In Fact, Such a Thing as Bad Publicity

It’s spring break. Donnie’s taken the baby to visit relatives on the mainland, and Professor Molly finally has time to catch up on the assessment paperwork she owes the Student Retention Office.

Molly’s new renter is a social media star seeking privacy in remote Mahina. The arrangement seems to be working out–until her celebrity renter disappears. Molly and her best friend Emma dutifully call in the Mahina PD and try to stay out of the way. But when fame creates its own reality distortion field, everyone has an angle and nothing is as it seems.

My Review

In this latest installment in the series, Professor Molly and best friend and partner-in-crime, Emma, are eager to help figure out what happened to a prominent social media influencer. Helped out by Pat and his new sidekick, Howdy, the team comes up with theories, which inevitable require revisions, as new details are revealed en route to the mystery’s revolution. The characters are well-defined, and include Molly’s old nemesis from the Student Retention Office. That said, I was at times distracted from the story by Emma’s frequent use of local dialect. The plot moved along at a steady pace, with just enough twists to keep curious readers on their toes.
Overall, this is a pleasant and well-written read for cozy mystery fans.

FTC disclosure: I received an advance review copy of this book from the publisher. This has not affected the content of my review.

Giveaway

Enter a rafflecopter for your chance to win a copy of The Influencer (Professor Molly Mysteries) by Frankie Bow. 

About the Author

AuthorPhoto

Like Professor Molly, Frankie Bow teaches at a public university. Unlike her protagonist, she is blessed with delightful students, sane colleagues, and a perfectly nice office chair. She believes if life isn’t fair, at least it can be entertaining. In addition to writing murder mysteries, she publishes in scholarly journals under her real name. Her experience with academic publishing has taught her to take nothing personally.

Author Links 

Purchase Links:
Amazon     B&N      Rakuten/Kobo      Angus & Robertson      Apple 

For more reviews, guest posts, and more, visit the tour page.

Review, Excerpt & Giveaway: DEAD IN A DUMPSTER by B.L. Blair

As part of a blog tour organized by RABT Book Tours, I recently read Dead in a Dumpster by B.L. Blair. Although it’s not a new release, this was my first time reading anything by this author.

About the Book

When Leah Norwood finds the body of Isabel Meeks in the dumpster behind her store, she can’t believe the police consider her a suspect. Sure, she didn’t like Isabel, but then again, neither did anyone else. Isabel had a condescending attitude and a bad reputation. As manager of the antique store, Patina, she had made a lot of enemies.

There is Patina’s assistant manager, the handsome and charming Trent. Isabel was blackmailing him. There is Patina’s owner, the aloof and influential Anthony Thorpe. Isabel was smuggling drugs through his store. And there is the entire drug dealing Cantono family. Isabel had lost a box containing heroin from one of their shipments. That is just to name a few and didn’t even include the stranger who was seen arguing with Isabel just hours before her death.

The police have too many suspects and too many soft alibis. Leah needs to prove to the sexy new chief of police that she had nothing to do with Isabel’s death.

Leah loves a good mystery. Can she find the killer before the police arrest her for murder?

My Review

Leah Norwood runs a small shop in a quaint town. She is a likable character with a more than healthy dose of curiosity and some great friends. Ironically, she’s more afraid she’ll be accused of murder than she is of the “bad guys” in the story. The tone of the writing was light, with Leah telling you the story as if you are one of her friends. A friend who doesn’t mind when she repeats herself. The plot was interesting, well paced at start and toward the end, however this reader found the middle a bit longwinded. A pleasant first in what promises to be a nice cozy series.

FTC Disclosure: I received an advance reader copy of this book from the publisher. This has not affected the content of my review in any way.

Read an Excerpt

It was a quarter to eight before I was finally ready to leave. I went to the bathroom, gathered up the trash, and headed out the door. The sleet was still falling, and I could feel the ice pellets hitting my head. I hurried over to the dumpster setting the trash down by the bin. I pulled back the large lid and propped it against the brick wall. As I reached down for the trash, I saw something out of the corner of my eye.

I looked into the dumpster and saw Isabel Meeks staring back at me. It took my brain a few moments to determine she wasn’t actually looking at me but sitting perfectly still, eyes wide open, a surprised look on her face, and a huge bloodstain on her chest. I had never seen a dead body outside of a funeral so I did what any rational, mature human being would do. I screamed. I then turned and ran as fast as I could back to the store. I fumbled with the lock a moment but finally managed to get the door open. I even disabled the alarm before stumbling to my chair. I sat there shaking and staring at the door trying to process the scene. An image of Isabel flashed into my head, and I bolted from my chair and to the bathroom where I promptly lost my lunch.

Still a little shaky and somewhat nauseated, I rinsed out my mouth and walked back to the chair. I don’t know why it took me so long, but it finally occurred to me that I probably needed to tell someone. So for the second time that day, I reached for my phone to call the police.

Giveaway

Enter a rafflecopter for you chance to win an Amazon gift card from the author.

About the Author

B. L. Blair writes mystery/romance stories. Like most authors, she has been writing most of her life and has dozens of books started. She just needs the time to finish them.

She is the author of the Leah Norwood Mysteries and the Lost and Found Pets Mystery Novellas. She loves reading books, writing books, and traveling wherever and as often as time and money allows. She is currently working on her latest book set in Texas, where she lives with her family.

 Contact Links

 Purchase Links

Release Spotlight & Giveaway: LONG ISLAND ICED TINA by Maria DiRico

As part of a blog tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours to celebrate the release of Long Island Iced Tina (A Catering Hall Mystery), a recent release by Maria DiRico.

About the Book

Mia Carina is back in the borough of Queens—in charge of the family catering hall, Belle View Banquet Manor, and keeping her nonna company. But some events—like murder—are not the kind you can schedule . . .

Mia’s newly pregnant friend Nicole plans to hold a shower at Belle View—but Nicole also has to attend one that her competitive (and mysteriously rich) stepmother, Tina, is throwing at the fanciest place in Queens. It’s a good chance for Mia to snoop on a competitor, especially since doing a search for “how to run a catering hall” can get you only so far.

Mia tags along at the lavish party, but the ambience suffers at Nicole’s Belle View shower when a fight breaks out—and then, oddly, a long-missing and valuable stolen painting is unwrapped by the mom-to-be. Tina is clearly shocked to see it. But not as shocked as Mia is when, soon afterward, she spots the lifeless body of a party guest floating in the marina . . .

Italian recipes included!

Giveaway

Enter a rafflecopter for your chance to win a print copy of Long Island Iced Tina.

About the Author

Maria DiRico is the pseudonym for Ellen Byron, author of the award winning, USA Today bestselling Cajun Country Mysteries. Born in Queens, New York, she is first-generation Italian-American on her mother’s side and the granddaughter of a low-level Jewish mobster on her father’s side. She grew up visiting the Astoria Manor and Grand Bay Marina catering halls, which were run by her Italian mother’s family in Queens and have become the inspiration for her Catering Hall Mystery Series. DiRico has been a writer-producer for hit television series like Wings and Just Shoot Me, and her first play, Graceland, appears in the Best Short Plays collection. She’s a freelance journalist, with over 200 articles published in national magazines, and previously worked as a cater-waiter for Martha Stewart, a credit she never tires of sharing. A native New Yorker who attended Tulane University, Ellen lives in Los Angeles with her husband, daughter, and two rescue dogs.

Excerpt & Giveaway: MURDER WITH STRINGS ATTACHED by Mark Reutlinger

As part of a book blast organized by Goddess Fish, it’s my pleasure to introduce you to a new release from Mark Reutlinger – Murder with Strings Attached. Haven’t read it yet, but it’s a sure candidate for my TBR list.

About the Book

Sometimes even the most carefully conceived burglary can take an unexpected turn. Florence Palmer has her eye on concert violinist Aaron Levy’s priceless violin. Unfortunately, she finds it’s already been stolen. Her surprise doubles when the virtuoso she’d planned to burgle offers to hire her to help him steal it back. But they’re not the only ones looking for the missing violin. When Flo inadvertently becomes the prime suspect in a case of murder, she and Aaron need to clear her name. Will they find the real killer and get the violin back to its rightful owner without anyone else, especially themselves, being killed?

Read an Excerpt

I was going to use my “one phone call” (assuming a person really gets one and that’s not just something they say in the movies) to call Aaron, but I didn’t have to bother. Almost as soon as I arrived at the police station, Aaron, who obviously had been watching developments and following the police car I was in, walked in and inquired how I might be released. Given the relatively minor nature of the charge, despite what they might actually suspect, and my clean record, despite all the burglaries they were thankfully unaware of, bail was set according to a standard schedule rather than my having to wait to see a judge the next day.

I don’t know how much it cost Aaron to bail me out, but of course whatever it was, he could well afford it; and besides, he owed it to me. After all, I was really just his employee, and surely posting bail is a standard employee benefit.

When all the necessary papers had been signed and funds transferred, Aaron and I walked out into the sunshine that I’d been afraid I wouldn’t be seeing for quite a while.

On the way to Aaron’s car, I gave him a hug and a little kiss on the cheek and thanked him for extricating me from the pokey and doing it so quickly. He looked a bit embarrassed by that, but he cleared his throat and said in his best businesslike manner:

“Okay, so why’d you shoot him, and where’d you put the violin?”

Giveaway

Enter a rafflecopter for your chance to win a $25 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card from the author.

About the Author

MARK REUTLINGER is an attorney and former law professor. He now writes novels in which the law is frequently broken, including his “Mrs. Kaplan” cozy mystery series (MRS. KAPLAN AND THE MATZOH BALL OF DEATH and A PAIN IN THE TUCHIS) and the political thrillers MADE IN CHINA and SISTER-IN-LAW: VIOLATION, SEDUCTION, AND THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES (under the pen name M. R. Morgan). MURDER WITH STRINGS ATTACHED is his latest novel. He is also a reviewer for the New York Journal of Books.

Mark and his wife Analee live in University Place, Washington, where in addition to reading and writing he plays clarinet with the Tacoma Concert Band and enjoys tennis, biking, exotic cars, model railroading, and various arts and crafts. He has no idea where he finds the time for it all.

Buy Links:  Amazon    Barnes & Noble

Spotlight & Giveaway: RHINO CHARGE by Victoria Tait

As part of a tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, today the spotlight shines on a new release from Victoria Tait – Rhino Charge: A Kenya Kanga Mystery. Sounds like a good choice for all the armchair travelers among us.

About the Book

A treacherous race to stop an extinction. A mysterious death linked to the past. Can a silver-haired sleuth track down the clues in time to save a life?

‘Mama Rose’ Hardie has always fought to conserve Kenya’s precious wildlife. Officiating at an off-road fundraising race in the iconic Maasai Mara, she’s shocked when a vehicle crash claims the life of a friend. And worse still, this was no accident…

When another friend is accused of plotting a deadly sabotage, the clever amateur sleuth vows to clear his name. But with motives between teams reaching deep into an unfortunate past, the determined woman must work fast to track down the wily killer. .

Can Rose catch the culprit before more lives are endangered?

Rhino Charge is the thrilling third tale in the Kenya Kanga cozy mystery series. If you like sharp heroines, suspenseful reveals, and iconic African settings, then you’ll love Victoria Tait’s breathtaking story.

Giveaway

Click here for your chance to win a $20 gift card from the author.

About the Author

Victoria Tait is the author of the enchanting Kenya Kanga Mystery series.  She’s drawn on her 8 years of experience living in rural Kenya, with her family, to write vivid and evocative descriptions.  Her readers feel the heat, taste the dryness, and smell the dust of Africa.  Her elderly amateur sleuth, “Mama Rose” Hardie is Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple reincarnated and living in Kenya.

Like all good military wives, Victoria follows the beat of the drum and has recently moved to war-scarred Sarajevo in Bosnia. She has two fast growing teenage boys.  She enjoys horse riding and mountain biking but is apprehensive about learning to ski.  Victoria is looking forward to the sun, sand, and seafood of neighbouring Croatia when the world returns to normal.

Author Links

Website: https://www.victoriatait.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/VictoriaTait
Blog/News: https://victoriatait.com/news/
GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/20373879.Victoria_Tait
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/vataitauthor/

Purchase Links
Amazon – B&N – Kobo 

Visit the tour page and visit additional stops for reviews, guest posts, and more.

Spotlight & Guest Post: DEATH BY INTERMISSION by Alexis Morgan

As part of a blog tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours to celebrate the release Death by Intermission, Alexis Morgan has stopped to tell us exactly how she feels about the characters in the Abby McCree Mystery series. Who do you think is her favorite character? Read on to find out.


PLAYING FAVORITES, by Alexis Morgan

Psst! I want to let you in on a secret, one I would never admit to Abby McCree, my amateur sleuth, or any of her friends. But the simple truth is that of all the characters in my Abby McCree Mysteries, Zeke is my absolute favorite. On the plus side, he is tall, handsome, and courageous. Sadly, he also drools, sheds like crazy, and has an unfortunate habit of mooching. Be that as it may, everything about him tugs at my heartstrings.

If you haven’t yet guessed, Zeke is Abby’s furry roommate, the ninety-five pound mastiff-mix that came with the house that Abby inherited from her favorite aunt. He’s a rescue dog with an unhappy past. However, things have vastly improved for him because he and Abby are kindred spirits in many ways. She recently went through a bit of a rough patch in her own life and was looking for a fresh start when she arrived in Snowberry Creek.

When Abby first moved into the house, she had vague intentions of staying only long enough to get the house ready to put on the market. But that was before she met Zeke. He was the first to welcome her, offering her doggy kisses and companionship. Their friendship quickly developed into something special, an unbreakable bond that now means everything to them both.

But Abby isn’t Zeke’s only friend. He is also best buddies with Tripp Blackston, the former soldier who rents the mother-in-law house on the back of Abby’s property. Tripp recently left the army after twenty years and is currently finishing his college degree. Just as Zeke helps Abby find her way in Snowberry Creek, he helps Tripp transition from the military to civilian life. The two of them patrol their territory together and take that duty seriously and with good reason. Trouble has a bad habit of showing up on their doorstep all too often. Abby is fiercely loyal to those she cares about and will stop at nothing to help them, even if it means putting herself in a killer’s crosshairs. Abby would be the first to admit that Zeke has saved her life more than once.

Zeke has also touched the lives of so many other people over the course of the series: a homeless veteran, a grief-stricken young woman, the police chief’s daughter, not to mention the police chief himself. Gage Logan often finds himself in Abby’s kitchen discussing a case as he slips treats to Zeke.

I love this dog for all of those reasons, but the real reason I love him is that he is loosely based on the two bulldogs in my real life. Remus is an English bulldog while Walter is an Olde English Bulldogge. They each weigh 45-50 pounds, so you could say I added them both together to come up with Zeke. Like them, he has jowls where he stores extra water to drip on some unsuspecting person’s slacks. Walter, in particular, is a world champion snorer. Seriously, you can hear him rumbling away through solid walls! Zeke also shares their love of doggy snacks of all kinds.

Walter and Remus don’t live with me (they’re my grand-dogs.) However, every time Zeke appears on the page, it’s like I get to spend a little time with them, and I smile. If you have a special furry (or feathery) companion in your life, I’d love to hear about them.


About the Book

Abby McCree spends a summer showing family films under the stars—only to end the season with an unexpected slasher flick . . .

Ushered once again onto another committee by the mayor of Snowberry Creek, Washington, Abby is tasked with keeping the box office receipts of the town’s Movies in the Park nights. Cut to the director’s chair from where she’s suddenly organizing the summer’s last feature. From the opening scene through the final credits, Abby feels she’s earned nominations for best volunteer, best movie date with her tenant Tripp Blackston—and best daughter for ignoring her mother Phoebe’s own movie date with Owen Quinn.

Unfortunately, Abby and the others are treated to a post-credits scene: the body of local insurance agent Mitchell Anders. This discovery is followed by a plot twist revealing that the murder weapon comes from Owen’s food truck. With her mother’s boyfriend suspected of murder, Abby starts her own investigation determined to shine a spotlight on the real killer . . .

About the Author

Alexis Morgan is the USA Today bestselling author of over forty-five novels, novellas, and short stories that span a variety of genres: American West historicals (as Pat Pritchard); paranormal and fantasy romances; contemporary romances; and cozy mysteries. A RITA® Award-finalist, Alexis Morgan is a member of RWA and Sisters in Crime. She lives in Washington State and can be found online at AlexisMorgan.com.

Author Links:
* Website – http://www.alexismorgan.com/      
* Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/AMorganAuthor
* Twitter – https://twitter.com/Alexis_Morgan    
* Blog –  http://www.alexismorgan.com/snowberry/index.html 

Purchase Links: Amazon – B&N –  Kobo – GooglePlay  –  IndieBound 

Visit other stops on the tour for reviews, guest posts and more.

Review, Series Spotlight & Giveaway: SUGAR MOUNTAIN BOOKS by Kirsten Fullmer

As part of a blog tour organized by Silver Dagger Book Tours to mark the release of Problems at the Pub by Kirsten Fullmer, today’s post spotlights a mystery series set in a cozy mountain town – Sugar Mountain – featuring a charming, yet devious, secret society of women.

Based on reading the first book in the series this past week, this author’s work is likely to please bookworms who are looking for squeaky clean mystery and a touch of sweet romance, with no graphic violence.

About the Series

With the recent release of Problems at the Pub, there are currently four books in this series.

Problems at the Pub (Sugar Mountain Book 4)

It’s another charming and madcap mystery! The enchanting tourist town of Sugar Mountain, NC is rewriting its tax codes, and no one knows why. Mayor Winslow is up to no good, and he doesn’t seem to care what happens to the local business owners; at least that’s how it feels to Monique Brewer, the local tavern owner. She’s proud of making her own way in the world, and messing with her business is a sure way to get her riled.

Sounds like another job for The Sugar Mountain Ladies Historical Society! When Monique brings her concerns to the table, chaos erupts. The women don’t trust anyone, especially not the Mayor or his peculiar new assistant, Anthony Tidwell.

Will the group be able to come up with a solution to keep local businesses safe, or will the mayor finally get his way? Come along for the ride as the residents of Sugar Mountain learn they may be in for more trouble than anyone suspects.

**Only .99 cents!!**
Goodreads * Amazon

Shadows in the Salon (Sugar Mountain Book 3)

A spooky mystery, a promising romance, and a secret society of scheming women…

The cozy town of Sugar Mountain, NC harbors a secret society of women. The society itself is not secret—it’s the devious work of the group that is mysterious.

Michelle owns the Salon, Shear Genius, on Sugar Mountain Main Street, a favorite with the tourists and locals alike. Lately she’s dealing with mysterious problems. She’s being plagued by spooky and unexplained goings-on. Is it a sign from beyond that she should rethink her life choices?

Matt Hopkins moved to Sugar Mountain after losing his business, but thanks to the lovely and talented Michelle, he is now building an amphitheater in town. It looks like things are finally going his way until Michelle is threatened by an eerie aggressor and the Mayor’s involvement spells trouble for his project. Will Matt be able to complete the Amphitheater and help Michelle, or will things with her fall apart as well?

Facing puzzling complications at every turn, The Sugar Mountain Ladies Historical Society go undercover to figure out who is threatening Michelle and the new amphitheater. If they’re not careful, the society may fall apart and Michelle and Matt might end a promising romance. Come along for the ride on this zany, enchanting, romantic cozy mystery!

**Only .99 cents!!**
Goodreads * Amazon

Where There’s Smoke (Sugar Mountain Book 2)

Sugar Mountain is a sleepy town bursting with tourists. If you like quirky shops and original artwork, you’ll want to visit. But the local kindergarten teacher, Sarah, has a mystery on her hands. All she did was try to help the fire department and now she’s receiving threatening notes. Of course, she takes the frightening messages to her friends in the Sugar Mountain Ladies Historical Society, but even their investigative skills fall short. How will they be able to find the person intent on holding back the fire department and frightening Sarah?

Hugh Brockman, the second in command at the firehouse, is taking extra shifts to cope with the shortage of firefighters. When he visits Sarah’s classroom to talk to her students about fire safety, he gets caught up with the lovely teacher and her cryptic mystery. He’s not happy that someone in town is threatening her with bodily harm, and he intends to find out who it is.

With every lead shot down and tensions running high, it’s up to the ladies of the society to go undercover in their own town to flush out the culprit. If they’re not successful, the fire department will continue to be undermanned, leaving Sugar Mountain is in danger and Sarah in peril.

Join in the continuing antics of the Sugar Mountain Ladies Historical Society and fall in love along with Hugh and Sarah in this heartfelt and comical romantic mystery.

**Only .99 cents!!**
Goodreads * Amazon

Trouble on Main Street (Sugar Mountain Book 1)

A cozy mountain town, a sweet romance, and a secret society of sneaky women…

The sleepy hamlet of Sugar Mountain harbors a secret society of women. Don’t misunderstand—the society itself is not secret—it’s the true nature of the group that is hush-hush.

Sugar Mountain is the kind of charming village that tourists adore. If you like small-town charm, quirky shops, and local art, this is the place for you. But when a blood smeared package shows up at the post office and it appears to be linked to a scheme that threatens Heidi Collinsworth’s historic home, the town takes on a sinister vibe. Heidi would lay odds that slimy Mayor Winslow is involved, but even with the enquiring skills of The Sugar Mountain Ladies Historical Society at work, proof is scarce.

The new guy in town, Adam Williams, is determined not to get involved in Sugar Mountain’s business. His last job in a big city planning office ruined his life, but Heidi needs his help. No matter how hard he tries to stay detached, Adam finds himself eyeball deep in Heidi’s problems, as well as the needs of her teenage son and a homeless dog.

With conflicting theories abound and tensions running high, it’s up to the ladies of the society to don disguises and go undercover. If they’re not careful, the town may fall to a wrecking ball, Heidi may fall for Adam, and the secret society will be exposed.

Meet the cast of colorful characters in this charming and zany introduction to a whole new series of romantic, cozy mysteries!

**Only .99 cents!!**
Goodreads * Amazon

My Review – Trouble on Main Street

I was tempted to read this book by the series’ unique premise – a secret society of sneaky women who practically run a quaint touristy town. The women are an interesting bunch – different backgrounds, different ages, and different occupations. What they have in common is their love of Sugar Mountain and their determination to do whatever they can to ensure it stays just the way they like it. Even if their actions defy logic and common sense, and the women take unnecessary risks.

The story took a while to pick up speed. As a reader of both cozy and thrillers, this reader kept expecting somebody to find a body. After all, most cozies are murder mysteries. About half way through I recognized that wasn’t the case here. Although the plot of the underlying mystery was light on suspense, the story’s bevy of spunky, quirky characters provided a pleasant, low-key diversion on a cold wintry day.

FTC disclosure: I received a review copy of this book as part of this blog tour. This has not affected the content of this review in any way.

Giveaway

Enter a rafflecopter for your chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card from this generous author.
Follow the tour HERE for additional reviews and special content.

About the Author

Kirsten is a writer with a love of art and design. She worked in the engineering field, taught college, and consulted free lance. Due to health problems, she retired in 2012 to travel with her husband. They live and work full time in a 40′ travel trailer with their little dog Bingo. Besides writing romance novels, she enjoys selling art on Etsy and spoiling their three grandchildren.

As a writer, Kirsten’s goal is to create strong female characters who face challenging, painful, and sometimes comical situations. She believes that the best way to deal with struggle, is through friendship and women helping women. She knows good stories are based on interesting and relatable characters.

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Bookbub * Amazon * Goodreads

Spotlight, Recipe & Giveaway: ARTISTIC LICENSE TO KILL by Paula Darnell

As part of a blog tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, I am happy to spotlight the recently released Fine Art Mystery – Artistic License to Kill and to share Paula Darnell’s recipe for Date Cake.

About Artistic License to Kill

Artist Amanda Trent, accompanied by her beloved golden retriever Laddie and her persnickety calico cat Mona Lisa, is determined to start a new life after her husband divorces her to marry a younger woman, but it isn’t easy.

After a disastrous interview at the prestigious Roadrunner Gallery in Lonesome Valley, Arizona, far away from her previous home in Kansas City, Amanda’s afraid that she’ll fail at her new career. But her prospects begin to improve when she’s accepted as the newest member of the cooperative gallery.

Then, on her very first day, she discovers Janice, the stern director, has been murdered right in the art gallery, and the Roadrunner’s members, including Amanda herself, become suspects. Which gallery member murdered the unpopular director? Or was the killer an outsider with an ax to grind?

Purchase Links: Amazon – Apple Books – Barnes & Noble – Kobo

Date Cake Recipe

Good with a dollop of whipped cream on top!

Cake Ingredients
1 cup pitted, chopped dates
1 cup boiling water
2 tablespoons butter
1 egg
1 cup sugar
1 ½ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda

Topping Ingredients
1 cup pitted, chopped dates
¾ cup water
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup chopped walnuts

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Add boiling water to one cup chopped dates in a small bowl and set aside. Cream softened or melted butter together with egg and sugar. Add dry ingredients to the creamed mixture. Add date mixture and stir until well blended. Bake for 35 minutes in a buttered 9” x 9” baking pan. Remove from oven and test for doneness by inserting a toothpick in the center. If it comes out clean, the cake is done. If not, return the cake to the oven and bake a few minutes longer. Cool the cake in the pan before making the topping.
Add chopped dates, water, and sugar to a small pan and bring to a boil on medium heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for five minutes or until thickened, stirring often. Do not overcook. When the mixture has thickened, remove from heat and cool for five minutes. Spread the topping evenly on the cake and sprinkle with the chopped walnuts.

Makes nine servings.

Giveaway

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About the Author

Award-winning author Paula Darnell is a former college instructor who has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Iowa in English and a Master of Arts degree from the University of Nevada, Reno in English with a Writing Emphasis. Artistic License to Kill is the first book in her Fine Art Mystery series. She’s also the author of the DIY Diva Mystery series and The Six-Week Solution, a historical mystery set in Nevada. She resides in Las Vegas with her husband Gary and their Pyrador Rocky.

Author Links: Website –  Twitter –  Goodreads

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Review: PAPER, SCISSORS, DEATH by Joanna Campbell Slan

Having enjoyed the Cara Mia Delgatto series by Joanna Campbell Slan, I decided to give her Kiki Lowenstein books a try.   And, yes, I’ll readily confess the gorgeous Great Dane on the cover is what reeled me in. 

Description*

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JUST BECAUSE HER HUSBAND’S NAKED, DEAD, AND IN A HOTEL BED…
… it might not be what it seems. But there’s that scarf in his mouth. Of course it is.

Given the situation, Kiki Lowenstein can’t help remembering that her (late) husband got her pregnant while cheating on his girlfriend.

True, he did the right thing at the time, and their much-loved daughter Anya is now eleven years old. But suddenly he’s dead, and Kiki’s financially embarrassed—that jerk disinherited his own family!

Time for the timid to toughen up. Passive Kiki transforms herself into a fighter, walking right out of her luxurious life and into a scrapbooking store, where she deftly turns a hobby into a moneymaker. Her new gig goes slightly awry when her late husband’s not-so-ex-girlfriend insults her in public, but that’s just the beginning. The hurts keep piling up. How much can one woman stand?

As her husband’s secret life explodes before her eyes, Kiki discovers that their daughter has a shocking secret of her own. Then the cops come for Kiki. And Family Services comes for Anya. No more Mrs. Nice Guy. Kiki has to fight for all she holds dear, and her quest must start with tracking down her late husband’s killer. Hope arrives for Kiki in the twin forms of a hot, homicide detective and her own newfound ability to cope.

*Description from Amazon

My Review

I liked Kiki and her relationship with her daughter and with her close friends. Her marriage worked, even if it was mostly based on co-parenting. The four-legged character is a charmer, as is the detective. The underlying mystery was interesting, and the culprit was not obvious (a plus). On the downside, the book tended to describe into the art of scrapbooking in far greater detail than this non-scrapbooker enjoyed. I found myself skipping over much of it.  A pleasant light read, likely to please fans of cozy crafts mysteries.