Review & Giveaway: SUMMER SNOOPS AND COZY CRIMES

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As part of a blog tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, today’s post spotlights a soon to-be-released boxed set from an accomplished group of cozy mystery authors.  Not to mention the fact that any profits from its sales will be donated to No Kill animal charities.  Check it out.

Description

Help Us Help Pets!

New-SnoopsHave a howlingly good read during the dog days of summer with a dozen cozy mysteries from Wall Street Journal, USA Today and Amazon best-selling authors. Murder lurks in every corner during the dog days of summer. Solve the mystery as our snoops leash the criminals – at the beach, at the farm, on the mountain – everywhere! All profits from this pack go to support NO KILL animal charities! Fetch it now! And help us help pets!

Summer Snoops and Cozy Crimes includes never before published books from:

  • WSJ Bestselling Author Judith Lucci – Gawd Almighty & the Corn
  • WSJ Bestselling Author Cindy Bell – Murder at Pawprint Creek
  • WSJ Bestselling Author Colleen Mooney – Dog Gone and Dead
  • USA Today and WSJ Bestselling Author Amy Vansant – Summer Teeth
  • WSJ Bestselling Author Colleen Helme – A Midsummer Night’s Murder
  • WSJ Bestselling Author Kim Hunt Harris – The Murder of Bandera Bandito
  • USA Today Bestselling Author Anna Celeste Burke – A Body on Fitzgerald’s Bluff
  • Ava Mallory – A Dream Stray-Cation
  • Sandi Scott – Croquembouche Murder
  • Susan Boles – Death on the Beach
  • USA Today Bestselling Author Sam Cheever – Toxic Tech
  • Anne R. Tan – Just Lost and Found

Bonus recipes from the authors are included!

Purchase and GoodReads Links

My Review

Given the range of authors and titles in this box set, any cozy mystery lover is sure to find something they’ll enjoy.  I didn’t have time to read all of the books in time for this post so I poked around the list of books and selected A Body on Fitzgerald’s Bluff by Anna Celeste Burke to start off with.

The first book in the author’s newest series, A Body on Fitzgerald’s Bluff features a group of women who reside at Seaview Cottages, a seaside community for adults over 55.  Miriam Webster, their newest and youngest resident, comes across a dead body while taking her dog for an early morning walk on the beach.  Despite the police warning her to let them handle the investigation, she is soon joined by a gaggle of grand old lady detectives who are on a mission to learn everything they can about the victim.  This cozy whodunnit features a warm and caring group of women, quirky at times, but very likeable.  The story moved along at a nice pace with a variety of suspects and motives divulged as the plot unfolds.  And with its seaside setting, A Body on Fitzgerald’s Bluff is sure to please cozy mystery lovers in search of a fun beach read this summer.

Giveaway

Click here to enter a rafflecopter for your chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card.


About the Authors

Judith Lucci

Dr. Judith Lucci is a Wall Street Journal and best-selling Amazon. She is an award-winning author of the Alexandra Destephano Medical Thriller and the Michaela McPherson “Two Sleuth’s and a Dog” Crime fiction series. Her newest series, Artzy Chicks, releases next month and features a group of , eccentric, talented but zany artists in their Art Gallery at a Mountain Resort.

In 2017, ‘Viral Intent’ (Book 3) Alexandra Destephano Series) was awarded a Gold Medal by Readers’ Favorites for ‘Best Political Thriller’. as was her crime thriller ‘The Case of Dr. Dude’ (Michaela McPherson #1) for a Gold Medal for ‘Best Amateur Sleuth for 2017. ‘The Most Wonderful Crime of the Year‘ won an additional gold medal for ‘Best Holiday Read’ of 2017.

Her favorite things are reading, writing art and animals. In her spare time she teaches painting, loves up on animals and raises money for needy causes. Judith lives with her 4 dog family in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. She loves to connect with her readers and is available at judithlucciwrites@gmail.com. Check our her website at judithlucci.com. and sign-up for a free copy of Chaos at Crescent City Medical Center.


Cindy Bell

Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author, Cindy Bell, has always loved reading, but it is only recently that she has discovered her passion for writing romantic cozy mysteries. When she is not reading or writing she loves baking (and eating) sweet treats or walking along the beach with her energetic cocker spaniel, thinking of the next adventure her characters can embark on. Cindy is the author of the Chocolate Centered, Donut Truck, Dune House, Sage Gardens, Nuts about Nuts, Bekki the Beautician, Wendy the Wedding Planner, Heavenly Highland Inn and the Macaron Patisserie Cozy Mystery Series.


Colleen Mooney

Colleen Mooney was born and raised in New Orleans along with everyone else in her family. She is a Wall Street Journal Best Selling Author and writes a cozy mystery series set in New Orleans called The New Orleans Go Cup Chronicles and the fourth book, Death By Rum Balls was released in December 2017.

Since January 2017 Colleen organized a Sisters In Crime chapter in New Orleans, has been elected President and has a planned a Mystery Writers’ Conference for June. She is currently working on her 5th book in the Brandy Alexander series.

In New Orleans, she’s been a member and active in many Mardi Gras Krewes, Super Krewes, and organizations. Colleen says she has never met a parade she didn’t like.

She’s an ardent animal lover and the Director for a breed rescue, Schnauzer Rescue of Louisiana for the last fifteen years. She has rescued and placed over 350 abandoned or surrendered Schnauzers. She loves to write and writes about what she loves. Colleen says, “New Orleans is where it all happens for me.”


Amy Vansant

Amy Vansant

Amy Vansant is a Wall Street Journal and USA Today best-selling author specializing in fun, comedic reads about accident prone, easily distracted women with questionable taste in men.
So, autobiographies, mostly.
Ha!
But seriously: She writes happy romantic comedies, mysteries, and urban fantasies. Amy is the former East Coast Editor of SURFER Magazine but the urge to drive up and down the coast interviewing surfers has long since left her. She’s a dog-lover who works at home with her goofy husband and loves interacting with fans, so stop by her blog or Twitter and say hi!

http://www.amyvansant.com/


Colleen Helme

Colleen Helme is the author of the bestselling Shelby Nichols Adventure Series, a wildly entertaining and highly humorous series about Shelby Nichols, a woman with the ability to read minds. When asked if reading minds is something Colleen wishes she could do she says, “No way! It gets Shelby into so much trouble that I would never want that ability.” Known for her laugh since she was a kid, Colleen has always tried to find the humor in every situation and continues to enjoy writing about Shelby’s adventures. Besides writing, she loves reading, biking, hiking, and playing board and card games with family and friends. She loves to connect with readers and admits that fans of the series keep her writing.


Kim Hunt Harris

Kim knew she wanted to be a writer before she even knew how to write. When her parents read bedtime stories to her, she knew she wanted to be a part of the story world. She started out writing children’s stories, and her stories grew as she did. She discovered a gift for humor and a love for making people laugh with her tales, and the Trailer Park Princess series was born.

Kim loves to not only make her readers laugh and entertain them with a good mystery, but also to examine the issues the everyday people face…well, every day. Issues like faith and forgiveness, perseverance and tolerance. Set in Lubbock, Texas, the fun books feature a cast of quirky characters, outrageous situations, a drama queen of a dog, and from time to time, a tear or two.

Kim lives with her husband of more than thirty years and two teenage kids in Texas.


Anna Celeste Burke

Anna Celeste Burke is an award-winning, USA Today Bestselling Author!

Life is an extravaganza! Figuring out how to hang tough and make the most of the wild ride is the challenge.

An award-winning and bestselling author I enjoy snooping into life’s mysteries with fun, fiction, & food—California style! My books include the Jessica Huntington Desert Cities Mystery series set in the Coachella Valley near Palm Springs, the Corsario Cove Cozy Mystery series set on California’s Central Coast, and The Georgie Shaw Cozy Mystery series set in Orange County, California–the OC. Coming soon: The Misadventures of Betsy Stark also set here in the Coachella Valley. Find out more at http://www.desertcitiesmystery.com.


Ava Mallory

Ava Mallory has been a grade school teacher, a psychiatric technician, a dementia unit nurse manager, and a Hospice nurse. She has embarrassed herself in front of handsome celebrities, won vocal contests much to the chagrin of her children, survived a  major earthquake, and nearly drowned when she mistakenly thought a YMCA lifeguard asked her to dive into the deep end on her first day of swim lessons. She and her eternally annoyed children share their home with a massive collection of books and a never-ending supply of new book ideas.


Sandi Scott

Sandi Scott is a cozy mystery reader who finally found the courage to write the stories in her head and share them with others. She fell in love with mystery books when she first started reading Agatha Christie eons ago, although her favorite female sleuth will always be Harriet the Spy. She loves dogs, her family, her readers, and sweet treats — not necessarily in that order.


Sam Cheever

USA Today Bestselling Author Sam Cheever writes mystery and suspense, creating stories that draw you in and keep you eagerly turning pages. Known for writing great characters, snappy dialogue, and unique and exhilarating stories, Sam is the award-winning author of 50+ books.


Susan Boles

Susan Boles is the award-winning author of the Lily Gayle Lambert Mystery Series and also writes romantic suspense in the Brotherhood Protectors series.

A lifelong long love of all things mysterious led Susan to write cozy mysteries. Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden were the first to show her that girls can be crime solvers. Agatha Christie showed her that even small towns have big secrets. And Phryne Fisher showed her lady detectives can be outrageously individual. She lives in Mississippi with her rescue mini dachshund, Lucy, and her rescue cat of no particular breed, Zimba.


Anne R. Tan

Anne R. Tan fell in love with storytelling in elementary school, but decided to study engineering so she could get a “real job.” Her day job is her vacation from home and she moonlights as a writer to keep the voices inside her head under control. She is a toddler wrangler and a part-time short-order cook for her family. She is married to her version of Bob Vila who believes everything needs to be fixed, even if it’s already working. The koi fish in her pond are the only sane members of her household.

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Cozy Happenings and more – May 2018

This month’s “Cozy Happenings” post highlights some of the new releases, giveaways and bargains from my author friends. Hope it helps you find something great to read this month.

This month’s “Cozy Happenings” is short – I’ve been busy finishing up the next book in the Adina Donati, Accidental Sleuth mystery series and preparing to go on vacation. Nonetheless, here are a few new releases for you to check out.

Recent or Upcoming Releases – Check’em Out!

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And, last but not least, if you like your mysteries with dogs,  check out this month’s selection of Books for Dog Lovers and learn about some great books and the authors who write them.

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Note: This blog does not contain any affiliate links. Links are provided for the reader’s convenience only.

Cozy Happenings — April 2018

This month’s “Cozy Happenings” post highlights some of the new releases, giveaways and bargains from my author friends. Hope it helps you find something great to read this month.

Recent and Upcoming Releases – Check’em Out!

First of all, I’d be remiss if I didn’t announce the upcoming release of Malicious Mischief, a new Hannah and Tamar YA cozy mystery by Christa Nardi and yours truly. Pre-order your copy today at a special introductory price.

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New-secretdiefor   new-homecoming
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Free or Discounted Books
Remember: Always check prices to make sure the offer is still valid.

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Sale-MCCCapril  Free-Doves

BTW, I may add to this list over the course of the month as I hear of new sales (and others end), so feel free to stop by and take another look. 

Spotlight & Excerpt: PRESTIGE, PRIVILEGE & MURDER by Christa Nardi

Have you heard the news? Christa Nardi has launched a new cozy mystery series.  The first book, Prestige, Privilege & Murder (A Stacie Maroni Mystery) is already out.  Definitely worth checking out.

Description

Prestige-Privilege-MurderMoney isn’t worth killing for, or is it?

When her estranged husband is murdered, Stacie Maroni Noth is quickly identified as the main suspect. With divorce papers not yet signed, she may get a substantial inheritance – a clear motive in the eyes of both Noth’s family and the police. His family and law firm strive to keep up the pretense that all is above reproach and idyllic. In her quest to prove her innocence, however, Stacie discovers she’s not the only one with a motive for murder. Could it be a colleague at the prestigious law firm where he worked? Or is it tied to the victim’s stance on domestic violence? Or maybe even his threats to reveal family secrets? Whatever the true motive may be, it soon becomes clear that Stacie might be the next victim.

Read an excerpt:

It had been a while since I’d gone to a bar by myself and I was nervous. It was a Friday night and the DJ joked about song titles and singles. Not too crowded, a few couples danced to the tune he played. Other couples and groups sat in booths or tables. The bar was long and I’d grabbed the last seat at the bar, a great vantage point for checking out the crowd.

Perched on a stool by the bar, I was on my second glass of wine when I spotted him. A dark-haired Adonis in snug jeans and a tapered polo shirt, he scanned the room. The wine did its job and I felt good. I caught his eye. My soon-to-be ex wasn’t the only one who could fool around. I winked and he smiled – his smile about knocked me over. My heart raced as he sauntered in my direction.

“Hi. Care to dance?” He extended his hand and I nodded. The DJ played a slow song and he was a strong lead. I couldn’t help but notice the woodsy scent of his aftershave as he held me in his arms and we danced. When the song was over, he walked me back to my spot at the bar.

“Can I buy you a drink?”

“Uh, sure. Viognier, please.”

I almost admitted that two was my limit but decided I could sip this one. Viognier isn’t the most popular of wines. That he didn’t question my choice surprised me. Ted certainly did. Often.

He signaled the bartender and ordered the wine along with a scotch and water for himself. “I’m Rick. Rick Murdock.”

I hesitated and answered with a smile, “You can call me Barbie.” If this was my once in my lifetime one-night-stand, I didn’t want to use my real name.

His eyes narrowed for a split-second before he nodded. The bartender delivered our drinks and distracted him from the name issue.

“Thanks!” I lifted my glass and he tapped it with his.

“Cheers! So, Barbie… what do you think of the music the DJ is serving us?”

I had to give him credit. It was better than the “Come here often?” I expected. Then again, Creekview Lounge catered to a different crowd than Rockies. We exchanged opinions on music and danced to a few more songs.

Along the way, I finished the third glass of wine, gained a better appreciation of the muscles in his shoulders and noticed his hazel eyes. As I tried not to stumble, he caught me.

“You all right?”

I licked my lip, flicked my hair over my shoulder, and tried for a flirty look. “I think some fresh air would help.”

His multi-watt smile came back at me and we walked outside. In the parking lot, we commented on how good the crisp cool air felt. He leaned toward me and I toward him. The wine had diminished my inhibitions and I responded when he kissed me. Then his hand was on my back and I burst into tears.

“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I just… I can’t do this. I’m not as slimy as Ted. I’m so sorry.”

He dropped his hands and put them up in front of his body as he stepped back. The smile was long gone. “No problem. No problem.”

I turned and ran to my car, still crying. After a few minutes and a little calmer, I drove to my empty townhouse. Thankfully, I didn’t get stopped by a police car or have an accident. It wasn’t that late – a little after midnight. That’s what I told myself as I called my best friend Jillian. I didn’t get any farther than “I hope it’s not too late” and I burst into tears.

“Stacie, what’s wrong?”

I was crying too hard to talk. I squeaked out, “I went to the Creekview Lounge. I thought I could be like Ted. That’s not me. I tried and I can’t do this this dating thing again.”

“Stacie, you are only 34 years old. You have a great job at Foster’s Insurance Group. You’re educated and smart. Maybe you could go back to school and get that graduate degree in counseling you wanted before Ted.”

“I don’t know about graduate school. What about all the weight I’ve gained? I’m not a size 6 anymore. Each day I find another gray hair. The thoughts of going out and trying to meet somebody is scary and tonight proved it.”

“You have beautiful dark brown hair and blue eyes, and so what if you’re a size 10 now. There’s a man out there – a better man than Ted. Did you see any prospects at Creekview?”

“Yeah, there was one guy. His name was Rick. He was a great dancer and when he smiled – wow!”

“So what happened?”

“Well, I said I needed a breath of air and then he kissed me. I just lost it. I mean I’m not even divorced yet. I burst into tears and sat in my car until I could drive. Then I came home and called you because you’re my friend.” I burst into tears again.

“Stacie, you know if this guy was even halfway good-looking and interested, there’s hope. Was he attractive?”

“Oh, he was easy on the eyes for sure. Tall, dark, and handsome. Muscular. And that’s not the alcohol talking. I only had a couple glasses of wine.”

“Was he drunk?”

“No, he didn’t seem drunk at all. He seemed like a nice guy and a good dancer. He wasn’t pushy at all and didn’t get mad when I freaked. Maybe because I met Ted there … that was 12 years ago. We were supposed to have a happily ever after.”

“Listen, Ted’s scum. You have a lot of years left for happiness. Look at me. I didn’t meet Wade until I was 30. My thirtieth birthday bash with you and Trina. Remember what fun we had that night?”

We talked more about the fun times. Jillian and I shared some laughs and by the time I hung up I felt much better. I surveyed my townhouse. It had been six months since I bought it and moved in, but it didn’t quite feel like home. The only pictures were of my parents and brother, and then a couple of friends. Ted insisted on keeping our dog, Jasper, and I missed him. Maybe I’d get a dog or a cat to keep me company.

The next week, my breakfast on the table, the doorbell rang. When I opened the door, the sight confused me.

“Ma’am. Mrs. Noth?”

“How did you find me?” I asked Rick Murdock as he stood on my front step. Even two weeks later, I hadn’t forgotten how good he looked or how humiliated I felt about that night.

“Ma’am. Your address was on the divorce papers. Can we come in please?”

My brain kicked in and I realized Rick wasn’t talking – it was the other man on the step. The balding stocky one in uniform with a scowl on his face, a smoker from the odor wafting off of him. And then I realized Rick was in uniform, too. He still looked good and gave off the woodsy scent.

“What’s going on?” My gaze went from one man to the other.

“Mrs. Noth, if you don’t want us to come in, we can go down to the station. We have some questions we need to ask you.”

I stepped aside so they could come inside. “I don’t understand. What kind of questions?”

My thoughts were running in circles. Could I have broken a law at the Creekview Lounge that night and not have remembered? Did Rick think I was soliciting? Did they catch me on camera drinking and driving?

“May we sit down? I’m Officer Flatt and this is Officer Murdock.”

“Sure… What’s going on?”

“Mrs. Noth when was the last time you talked to or saw your husband?”

“As I’m sure he told you, it was yesterday at a meeting with our lawyers. Is he still complaining I refused the ‘irreconcilable differences’ lies?” My anger at Ted surfaced once again.

“What time was that ma’am?”

“The meeting was at 3:30. I had to leave work early to make it there on time. He finally grabbed the papers and left, must have been after 4. I was home before the 5 o’clock news. I don’t understand. Is he accusing me of something? Are you here to serve me a gag order?” I huffed, my anger rising.

I glanced from one officer to the other. Rick avoided my gaze and shuffled his feet.

“No ma’am. Mr. Noth isn’t accusing you of anything. He’s dead and…”

I didn’t hear the rest of his sentence. “What? No!”
And then I passed out. I groaned and opened my eyes. Rick stood there with a glass of water. “Here, drink this.”

I sat up and looked to Officer Flatt. “I’m sorry. I don’t usually faint. Did you say Ted was dead? That can’t be. I just talked to him yesterday.”

“That is what I said. He was murdered sometime last night.”

“Murdered?”

“Ma’am. After you left your husband yesterday, what did you do?”

“I came home.”

“Can anyone vouch for that? Anyone here with you?”

“Huh? What? No one was here with me. It was just me and a half gallon of Rocky Road ice cream.” Then it dawned on me. This man suspected I’d killed Ted!
“Oh, my gosh. You think I killed him? I can’t even kill spiders.”

Officer Flatt shook his head a bit before he answered. “Calm down. We have to ask these questions.”

“I’ll get you more water.” Rick picked up my glass and disappeared into my kitchen. He came back with the water and nodded to Officer Flatt. “One empty Rocky Road carton in the trash.”

I glared at him. How dare he check my trash? “Just so you know, I didn’t eat it all at once.”

His mouth twitched, but he didn’t say a word.

“Just a few more questions. About your divorce…”

“Excuse me, but do I need to call my lawyer? I don’t think I should talk to you until I call my lawyer. Of course, he’s a divorce attorney, but he must know something about other kinds of law, right?”

Rick was back to staring at the ceiling and Officer Flatt studied the floor. Standing up, Officer Flatt put his little book and pen in his pocket. “We’ll be in touch or Detective O’Hare will be if there are any other questions. Here’s my card.”
He started to leave, Rick following his lead.

“Wait. Has anyone else been notified? Do I need to call his family? What should I tell them? Where is he? Who will take care of the funeral?”

Officer Flatt blinked before he answered. “You’ll have to talk with Detective O’Hare at the Beckman Springs Police Department.” He shook his head as he turned and left. Rick hesitated and then was gone.

My eggs were cold, but it didn’t matter. I’d lost my appetite.

I sat on the sofa, my head in my hands for I don’t know how long. I still held the business card and reached for the phone. Time to call this Detective O’Hare and then Jillian. A whole list of people to call came to mind.

“Beckman Springs Police Department, is this an emergency?”

“No, ma’am. Can I speak with Detective O’Hare, please? Officer Flatt told me to call him.”

“May I ask who’s calling?”

“Stacie Noth.”

“Hold on while I transfer your call.”

There was silence as I waited. No elevator or perky music when you’re on hold for the police department.

“Hello, Mrs. Noth? This is Detective O’Hare.”

“Hello. My husband… two officers came by. They said he was dead. Murdered. They said … No, Officer Flatt told me to call you. I’ve been sitting here trying to understand. Are you sure it’s Ted? There must be some mistake.”

“I’m sorry, Mrs. Noth. There’s no mistake.”

I gasped and choked back a sob. “What do I do next? About notifying his parents and family? The funeral?”

“Mrs. Noth, I don’t have answers to those questions. As next of kin, you’re the only one we’ve notified officially. I do need to meet with you and get some additional information. Can you come into the station today, say around 11 o’clock?”

“I… I guess. I don’t understand what happened, Detective. The officers – they didn’t tell me very much.”

“We can discuss that when you come in, Mrs. Noth. I’ll have more information by then. Shall I send Officer Flatt back to get you or can you get here on your own?”

“Yes, I can do that.”

The call disconnected. That’s about how I felt. Disconnected. I called Jillian, but the call went straight to voicemail. I left a message that I needed to talk to her immediately and asked her to call no matter what time.
Then I called Nathaniel Heinemann, my divorce attorney. Again, straight to voice mail. This time I left a more pointed message. “Ted’s dead. Do you know any criminal lawyers? Call me.”

What I really wanted to do was climb back into bed and hide under the covers. My stomach growled and my head hurt. Rocky Road is not the best choice for dinner. I tossed the eggs and ate some cereal but didn’t taste a thing. Who identified Ted’s body? Who killed him? Why? Other than me, who had a motive?

I was dressed for work, but no longer planned on going there. I called and told Rosie, the receptionist, that I had a family emergency and wouldn’t be in. With another two hours before I’d need to leave for the police station, I started to make lists. Sooner or later someone – probably me – was going to have to call Ted’s family. Hopefully, they would take charge of the funeral and burial. Maybe they had a plot for him at the family gravesite. In ten years of marriage, somehow those topics had never come up.

 

Excerpt from Prestige, Privilege and Murder (A Stacie Maroni Mystery). Copyright © 2018 Christa Nardi. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Christa Nardi is an accomplished author of cozy mysteries.

Christa’s background is in higher education and psychology, much as her protagonist, Sheridan Hendley in the Cold Creek mystery series. Murder at Cold Creek College is the first in this series set in a small, fictitious town in Virginia and Sheridan is an accidental sleuth called on to assist the detective in charge of a colleague’s murder. The fifth and last in the series, Murder and a Wedding, was released on August 10, 2017. Sheridan may be moving, but she still gets involved in mysteries. Look for the first in the Sheridan Hendley series in 2018.

Connect with Christa:

Purchase Link: Amazon

Review & Giveaway: CLUES IN THE SAND by Terry Ambrose

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As part of a Blog Tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours,  I recently read Clues in the Sand by Terry Ambrose.  It’s the second book in his Seaside Cover Bed and Breakfast Mystery series but can definitely be enjoyed as a standalone read.  Besides, who can resist the lovely cover?

Description

Clues_CoverTo Rick Atwood’s dismay, the police find a body on the beach near his Seaside Cove B&B. The dead woman held a pottery shard from an ancient rice bowl, which the cops believe is a clue to her murder.

The chief suspect is Flynn O’Connor, a female archaeologist known for her hatred of treasure thieves. Trouble is, Rick’s daughter Alex sees Flynn as a role model and will not believe her friend is a killer.

Alex pressures her dad as only a ten-year-old can to prove Flynn is innocent. The mayor is also making demands—for Rick to stay out of the investigation. With his daughter and the mayor at odds, Rick sees trouble brewing. He knows too well how much Alex loves sticking her nose where it doesn’t belong. Especially when there’s murder involved.

My Review

Rick Atwood is a devoted father who only wants the best for his over-inquisitive daughter and that includes keeping her out of trouble and away from murder investigations. Their relationship is heart-warming, and is complemented by the developing ties between them and a woman who works at the B&B, much of which is divulged as Alex writes in her journal.  The mystery itself is an interesting one, touching on issues related to archaeology, real estate, and good old fashioned greed, complete with plot twists leading up to the discovery of the murderer.

Giveaway

Click here to enter a rafflecopter for a chance to win a copy of The Clock Flower and a Starbucks gift card from the author.

AmbroseAbout the Author

Terry Ambrose is a former skip tracer who only stole cars when it was legal. He’s long since turned his talents to writing mysteries and thrillers. Several of his books have been award finalists and in 2014 his thriller, “Con Game,” won the San Diego Book Awards for Best Action-Thriller. He’s currently working on the Seaside Cove Bed & Breakfast Mystery series.

Purchase Link: Amazon

Review: KILLER TIED by Lesley A. Diehl

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As part of a Blog Tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours,  I recently had the pleasure of reading Killer Tied by Lesley A. Diehl.

Description

Eve Appel Egret is adjusting to married life with Sammy and their three adopted sons in Sabal Bay, Florida. While still running her consignment stores, she is going pro with her sleuthing by becoming an apprentice to a private detective.

killer_tied

Until her marriage, Eve’s only “family” was her grandmother Grandy, who raised her after her parents died in a boating accident. Now, in addition to her husband and sons, she has a father-in-law who clearly dislikes her. Sammy’s father, a full-blooded Miccosukee Indian long presumed dead, has emerged from the swamps where he’s been living like a hermit, and he isn’t happy about Eve’s marriage to his half-Miccosukee, half-white son.

As for Eve’s family, are her parents really dead? A woman named Eleanor claims to be Eve’s half-sister, born after her mother faked a boating accident to escape her abusive husband, Eve’s father. Then Eleanor’s father turns up dead in the swamps, stabbed by a Bowie knife belonging to Sammy’s father, Lionel. Strange as Lionel Egret is, Eve knows he had no motive to kill this stranger. In order to clear him, Eve must investigate Eleanor’s claims, and she might not like what digging around in her family’s past uncovers.

My Review

I really liked this book. Eve was true to form likable, spunky and determined. Even more so when her PI apprenticeship forces her to root out the secrets of her own family’s past. Could she be related to a murderer?  In her pursuit of the truth she is helped by a familiar cast of family and friends, including a loving grandmother and an amazingly likeable Mafia mob boss.  Family was very much at the center of this book – from the murder investigation, with suspects on both Sammy and Eve’s family trees, through to loving glimpses into the newlyweds’ experiences in juggling the parenting of three young boys.  Diverse characters and interesting twists made this a very enjoyable read.

Note: Although this book is part of a series, it can definitely be enjoyed as a standalone.

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

About the Author

LES-DIEHLLesley is a country gal through and through, from her childhood on a dairy farm in Illinois to college in a cornfield in Iowa, Lesley creates sassy, snoopy protagonists who embrace chasing killers in country settings. Lesley writes several series: the Big Lake Murder mysteries and the Eve Appel mysteries both set in rural Florida; the Laura Murphy mysteries located on a lake in upstate New York; and short stories, some featuring a few of Lesley’s unique relatives from back on the farm (Aunt Nozzie and the Grandmothers). She is inspired by an odd set of literary muses: a ghost named Fred and a coyote as yet unnamed. Killer Tied is the sixth mystery in the Eve Appel Mysteries. To read more about Lesley’s unusual and humorous cozy mysteries, go to www.lesleyadiehl.com.

Author Links

Purchase Link: Amazon

Spotlight & Giveaway: PLUM TEA CRAZY by Laura Childs

PLUM-TEA-CRAZY-BANNER-640As part of a Blog Tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours,  today’s post introduces  Plum Tea Crazy, A Tea Shop Mystery by Laura Childs.

Description

plum-tea-crazyTheodosia Browning investigates a Charleston steeped in tradition and treachery in the latest Tea Shop Mystery from New York Times bestselling author Laura Childs.

While viewing the harbor’s Gaslights and Galleons Parade from the widow’s walk of Timothy Neville’s Charleston mansion, local banker Carson Lanier seemingly tumbles over a narrow railing, then plunges three stories to his death. But a tragic accident becomes something much more sinister when it’s discovered that the victim was first shot with a bolt from a crossbow.

At the request of the mansion owner, Theodosia investigates the tragedy and is soon neck deep in suspects. An almost ex-wife, a coworker, a real estate partner–all had motives for killing the luckless banker, but one resorted to murder to settle accounts.

INCLUDES DELICIOUS RECIPES AND TEA TIME TIPS

Giveaway

Click here to enter a Rafflecopter for a chance to win a print copy of Plum Tea Crazy.

About the Author

Laura Childs is the New York Times bestselling author of the Tea Shop Mysteries, Scrapbook Mysteries, and The Cackkleberry Club Mysteries. . In her previous life she was CEO/Creative Director of her own marketing firm and authored several screenplays. She is married to a professor of Chinese art history, loves to travel, rides horses, enjoys fundraising for various non-profits, and has two Chinese Shar-Pei dogs.

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Laura specializes in cozy mysteries that have the pace of a thriller (a thrillzy!) Her three series are:

The Tea Shop Mysteries – set in the historic district of Charleston and featuring Theodosia Browning, owner of the Indigo Tea Shop. Theodosia is a savvy entrepreneur, and pet mom to service dog Earl Grey. She’s also an intelligent, focused amateur sleuth who doesn’t rely on coincidences or inept police work to solve crimes. This charming series is highly atmospheric and rife with the history and mystery that is Charleston.

The Scrapbooking Mysteries – a slightly edgier series that take place in New Orleans. The main character, Carmela, owns Memory Mine scrapbooking shop in the French Quarter and is forever getting into trouble with her friend, Ava, who owns the Juju Voodoo shop. New Orleans’ spooky above-ground cemeteries, jazz clubs, bayous, and Mardi Gras madness make their presence known here!

The Cackleberry Club Mysteries – set in Kindred, a fictional town in the Midwest. In a rehabbed Spur station, Suzanne, Toni, and Petra, three semi-desperate, forty-plus women have launched the Cackleberry Club. Eggs are the morning specialty here and this cozy cafe even offers a book nook and yarn shop. Business is good but murder could lead to the cafe’s undoing! This series offers recipes, knitting, cake decorating, and a dash of spirituality.

Laura’s links:

Spotlight & Giveaway: COOKIE DOUGH, SNOW & WANDS AGLOW by Erin Johnson

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As part of a Blog Tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours,  today’s spotlight shines on Cookie Dough, Snow & Wands Aglow: A Cozy Witch Mystery (Spells & Caramels) by Erin Johnson.  Sounds like a good choice for readers who like a bit of magic with their mystery.

Description

CookieDoughMurder in a magical, merry town just brimming with secrets.

On the snowy road to the Earth Kingdom for the holidays, Imogen and the bakers are ambushed by Horace, villainous leader of the Badlands Army. They’re forced to detour to an idyllic, rural village, bedecked in lights, garlands and winter cheer…all a little too perfect to believe. At least that’s so for Imogen, who’s seeing burned out buildings and mysterious memorials that no one else seems to notice.

Hank’s royal presence gets them invited to the big bash at the governor’s mansion. The night is filled with dancing, stolen kisses under the mistletoe and fun, until a guest is found dead in the cauldron of punch.

As bodies and mysteries pile up, all the evidence points to the vampire Francis as the culprit. The gang must come together to clear their friend’s name and save themselves from the angry villagers. Even worse, Imogen struggles with having to keep her relationship with Hank hidden, while working with him to find the real killer.

As Imogen unearths more than a few town secrets, she finally solves the riddles of her past and discovers the truth of Horace’s pursuit of her. But will all the secrets be unraveled in time to stop the killer, or will Imogen and her friends suffer a monstrous fate?

Giveaway

Click here to enter a Rafflecopter for a chance to win one a print set of all 4 Books in the Cozy Witch Mystery Series!

ErinJohnsonAbout the Author

Erin Johnson is a native of Tempe, Arizona, Erin spends her time crafting mysterious, magical, romance-filled stories that’ll hopefully make you laugh. In between, she’s traveling, napping with her dogs, eating with her friends and family, and teaching Pilates (to allow her to eat more).

Purchase Link – Amazon Kindle  Amazon Paperback

Review & Giveaway: MURDER IS A DIRTY BUSINESS by Tricia L. Sanders

DirtyBusiness

As part of a Blog Tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours,  I recently read Murder is a Dirty Business, the first in a new cozy mystery series by Tricia L. Sanders.  It was a great read – I’ll definitely be on the lookout for the rest of the series.

Description

perf5.000x8.000.inddWhen Cece Cavanaugh’s husband empties their joint bank account, steals her designer luggage, and runs off with a younger woman, Cece must decide whether to ask her manipulative mother-in-law for a handout or get a job. Choosing the easier path, Cece lands a job cleaning a crime scene where a high school coach was murdered. When his wife is implicated—a young woman Cece practically raised—Cece finds herself mopping floors, balancing an empty checkbook, and ferreting out a killer.

Amid all this messy business, Cece bumps heads with a handsome detective. She tries to ignore her growing attraction to the detective, but he gives new meaning to the term “hot flash.”

After she stumbles onto a clue that could vindicate her friend, her elation turns to panic when she haphazardly confronts the killer. Through the danger and romance, Cece discovers self-reliance and inner strength.

And that crime—at least, someone else’s—does pay the bills.

My Review

I really enjoyed getting to know Cece, her family and friends in this light, well-paced mystery.  The story is told from Cece’s point of view in a smooth conversational tone that makes it easy to identify with her.  She is determined to remedy her financial problems with the kind of job most of us could never imagine taking on. She may not have worked for many years, but she is willing to what ever it takes to take care of her family.  And when her daughter’s best friend, Kim, becomes the primary suspect in the murder of her husband, she is determined to root out the truth and prove Kim’s innocence. With  twists and turns befitting a good mystery, and a sprinkling of humor and flirtation, this book is a very impressive start to what promises to be a great series by a new author.

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary ARC 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 one of five $5 Amazon Gift Cards.

About the Author

TriciaSandersTricia L. Sanders writes about women with class, sass, and a touch of kickass.  A former instructional designer and corporate trainer, she traded in curriculum writing for novel writing, because she hates bullet points and loves to make stuff up. And fiction is more fun than training guides and lesson plans.

When she isn’t writing, Tricia is busy crossing dreams off her bucket list. With all 50 states checked, she’s concentrating on foreign interests. She’s an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan, so don’t get between her and the television when a game is on. Currently, she is working on a mystery series set in the fictional town of Wickford, Missouri. Another project in the works is a women’s fiction road trip adventure.

Her essays have appeared in Sasee, ByLine, The Cuivre River Anthology and Great American Outhouse Stories; The Whole Truth and Nothing Butt. She is a proud member of The Lit Ladies, six women writing their truths into fiction.

Author Links

Purchase Link:  Amazon

Guest Post, Spotlight & Giveaway: DEATH BY A WHISKER by T.C. LoTempio

Whisker

As part of a Blog Tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours to celebrate the release of Death by a Whisker: A Cat Rescue Mystery,  T. C. LoTempio  stopped by to share her thoughts on writing murder mysteries.  Enjoy. 


Channeling Your Inner Jess Fletcher  by  T. C. Lotempio

If you’re a fan of mystery series, and MURDER SHE WROTE in particular, you might have heard of something called “Cabot Cove Syndrome”.  Which is a term for a locale or a person whom death and mystery seems to stalk – ad nauseum!

Toni-LoTempio-Credit-to-Clifton-Animal-ShelterNot a funny thing when you’re a writer of said mysteries! Plotting a mystery, particularly a murder mystery,  is hard enough work!  How many bodies can one stumble on before you get a “body magnet” label attached to you, as Nora Charles in my Nick and Nora series has!  (although sometimes it’s hard to tell whether she or her cat, Nick, is the body magnet). Syd McCall in my Cat Rescue series is also well on her way to getting the same distinction!

Becoming a BM could be construed as a problem when writing a cozy series.  How does one avoid boring the reader?  Well, one way is to alternate the murder weapon – this time, a gun; next time, a knife, the time after that, poison—and so on. Alternate the mode of discovery as well.  And even though the Nick and Nora series always starts out with a murder in its prolog, sometimes it’s good to wait a bit to have a murder occur in the body of the story until readers become invested in your characters!  If they build up a rapport with your sleuth, they might be a tad more forgiving as to why so many folks come up dead in his/her balliwick!

Expand your character’s horizons, if at all possible.  If you can send your sleuth on a trip to stumble across dead bodies, all the better!  To quote Wikipedia:

From a statistical perspective, coincidences are inevitable and often less remarkable than they may appear intuitively

In short, where murders occur – and why – are just one of those things you can’t explain, one of life’s little mysteries.  Which is my response when cynical readers remark on Nora’s penchant for coming across a dead body – or two, or three.

Sit back and enjoy the ride, and if you have to, channel your inner Jessica.  You might end up solving the crime right along with our sleuth.


About Death by a Whisker

DEATH-BY-A-WHISKERGetting used to life back home in Deer Park, North Carolina, Sydney McCall and her right-hand tabby, Toby, are helping her sister Kat run the local animal shelter. Syd and Kat are all excited about the prospect of the shelter’s newest fundraiser: shopping channel queen Ulla Townsend. Shelter admin Maggie Shayne vehemently refuses to have anything to do with the woman, but the fundraiser ensues as planned. That is, until Ulla turns up dead in the middle of the event.

The cause of death is determined to be an allergic reaction, but Syd and Toby are sniffing out something fishy. When Syd met Ulla, it was clear she was distasteful and rude. And right before the event, Syd spotted some behind-the-scenes drama between Ulla and her manager. As they begin to investigate, they realize there is no shortage of suspects, and Maggie is at the top of the list.

Now Syd and Toby must claw their way to the truth before everything goes paws up at their animal shelter in Death by a Whisker by national bestselling author T. C. LoTempio.

Giveaway

Click here to enter a Rafflecopter for a chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card.

About the Author

While Toni Lotempio does not commit – or solve – murders in real life, she has no trouble doing it on paper. Her lifelong love of mysteries began early on when she was introduced to her first Nancy Drew mystery at age 10 – The Secret in the Old Attic.  She (and ROCCO, albeit he’s uncredited) pen the Nick and Nora mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime – the first volume, MEOW IF ITS MURDER, debuted Dec. 2, 2014. Followed by #2, CLAWS FOR ALARM.   #3, CRIME AND CATNIP, was released in December. She, Rocco and Maxx make their home in Clifton, New Jersey, just twenty minutes from the Big Apple – New York. Catch up with them at www.tclotempio.net and www.catsbooksmorecats.blogspot.com.

Where to find them:

Purchase Links:  Amazon    B&N    Google Play