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.

Author Links 

Purchase Links
Amazon  B&N 

Spotlight: TILL DIRT DO US PART by Teresa Trent

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As part of a Blog Tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, today’s spotlight is turning onto the latest mystery by Teresa Trent – Till Dirt Do Us Part – an addition to the Pecan Bayou mystery series.

TDDUP.COVER_Description

Not everything stays buried. When Betsy, a notorious brown thumb gets roped into a gardening contest sponsored by the Pecan Bayou Gazette, she finds herself digging up more than weeds. She is ridiculed by the garden club ladies, and now her heart breaks for a newly single mom whose world has just collapsed. The Happy Hinter is back so take some time to revisit the cozy little town Pecan Bayou, Texas. Grab a glass of sweet tea before you turn the dirt in the garden and sit a spell with all your favorite characters who dole out heartfelt caring and compassion with a side of humor. Till Dirt Do Us Part includes bonus recipes and helpful hints from Betsy’s column!

NEWS Flash!  Till Dirt Do Us Part will be free to download from Amazon May 1-5th.

About the Author

Teresa Trent lives in Houston, Texas and is an award-winning mystery writer.  She writes the Pecan Bayou Mystery Series, is a regular contributor to the Happy Homicides Anthologies. Teresa is happy to add her Henry Park Mystery Series to her publishing credits with Color Me Dead, the first book in the series. Teresa has also won awards for her work in short stories where she loves to dabble in tales that are closer to the Twilight Zone than small town cozies. When Teresa isn’t writing, she is a full-time caregiver for her son and teaches preschoolers music part-time. Her favorite things include spending time with family and friends, waiting for brownies to come out of the oven, and of course, a good mystery.

Author Links

Review: DOUBLE WHAMMY by Gretchen Archer

I recently found a new series to add to my favorites list. Well, considering the first in Gretchen Archer’s A Davis Way Crime Caper series came out in 2013, it’s not really a new series – but it was new to me.

I started the series from the first book – Double Whammy.

Description (from Amazon)

51hbymnebmlDavis Way thinks she’s hit the jackpot when she lands a job as the fifth wheel on an elite security team at the fabulous Bellissimo Resort and Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi. But once there, she runs straight into her ex-ex-husband, a rigged slot machine, her evil twin, and a trail of dead bodies. Davis learns the truth and it does not set her free—in fact, it lands her in the pokey. Buried under a mistaken identity, her hot streak runs cold until her landlord Bradley Cole steps in. Make that her landlord, lawyer, and love interest. With his help, Davis must win this high stakes game before her luck runs out.

My Review

I loved this book.  It was a fun read that necessitated I suppress my laughter so as not to disturb my husband’s sleep in the early hours of the morning.  The story is told from Davis’s point of view  with a great deal of candor.  She is smart, but she has made a lot of stupid moves in the past, and she knows it.  She gets herself into trouble. A lot. Still she somehow manages to come through unscathed.  And the author leveraged the casino setting to create  quirky characters and absurd situations.  The plot is interesting and the culprits remain a mystery until almost the end.  Is the storyline entirely believable? No. But that didn’t detract from my enjoyment one bit.

Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book free of charge. This has not affected the content of my review.

About the Series

The Davis Way Crime Caper series includes:

Cover Reveal: MRS. TEDESCO’S MISSING COOKBOOK

I am excited to share the finalized cover for Mrs. Tedesco’s Missing Cookbook – a new addition to the Hannah and Tamar Mystery series for young adults and teens.

Mrs-Tedescos-Missing-Cookbook_cover.jpgDescription

A simple request opens up a savory mystery.

Hannah never imagined her high school service project with the elderly would draw her into another mystery. Mrs. Tedesco, a lonely widow who loves to bake, has just one simple request — that the teen retrieve her cookbook from her old house. Easier said than done. The house has been ransacked and the coveted cookbook is nowhere to be found. Eager to help the woman, Hannah and her sister, Tamar, are driven to locate the cookbook and uncover its secrets. But the teens aren’t the only ones seeking the cookbook’s hidden treasures, and the other side is playing for keeps.

Now available for pre-order at special price of just $0.99.  Soon after release the price will be going up!  Click here to reserve your copy.

Review: TRUDY, MADLY, DEEPLY by Wendy Delaney

I recently curled up and read Trudy, Madly, Deeply, the first of Wendy Delaney’s Working Stiffs mysteries.  Released in 2015, it is the first book in what has blossomed into a four-book series.

TrulyDescription (from Amazon)

After human lie detector Charmaine Digby scores a job as the County Coroner’s new investigative assistant, the unthinkable happens—a doctor reports the suspicious death of Trudy, a family friend and one of several elderly patients at the hospital whose heart mysteriously stopped.

With no physical evidence of foul play, Char’s on the case, much to the irritation of Detective Steve Sixkiller, who doesn’t want her to stick her pretty nose for trouble in his investigation. But she’s a woman on a mission to uncover the truth, and she’d better keep her eyes open or the next body on the way to the morgue could be hers.

My Review

In this entertaining cozy mystery, a recent divorcee is starting over – in both her career and her personal life. Trudy is thrilled about landing a job at the Coroner’s office, and plans to put her lie detection skills to good use.  When she gets wind of a rash of suspicious deaths involving the elderly, she is relentless in her efforts to find out what’s happening.  Trudy is quick to jump to conclusions, but quick to change her mind when the evidence proves her wrong, again and again, until she figures out who is actually responsible. A fairly fast-paced plot, with elements of flirtation and budding romance, make this a fun and somewhat humorous read.

Review & Giveaway: OLD BONES NEVER DIE by Lesley A. Diehl

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As part of a Blog Tour organized by Great Escapes Free Virtual Book Tours,  I recently had the pleasure of reading Old Bones Never Die,  the fifth book in the Eve Appel Mystery series.  It was my first time reading a book by this author; it probably won’t be the last.

Description

old-bones-never-dieJust before Walter Egret is killed in a hit-and-run, he phoned his half-brother Sammy to report that he’d unearthed their missing father’s pocket watch, along with a pile of human bones. The project is put on hold until it can be determined if the site is an Indian burial ground. Then the bones disappear.

Now Sammy and his brother’s three orphaned children want Eve Appel to go pro, applying her innate snoopiness to the trade of private investigator.

Eve already has her hands full with her two consignment stores. What is she going to do? Sammy and Walter are Miccosukee Indians, and Walter was employed as a backhoe operator on a construction site for a sportsmen’s resort. Was Walter’s death murder or an accident? If the bones belong to Sammy’s father, how did they get there? Delving into these mysteries, Eve is aided by her usual crew of friends and family. This adventure will not only up the stakes for Eve as an investigator, but it will also open her eyes to life possibilities she never imagined.

My Review

I really enjoyed this book. I found Eve to be likable, spunky and determined and she is surrounded by an amazingly diverse cast of family and friends, including an energetic and loving grandmother,  her Native American friends and romantic interest, to a Mafia mob boss, and a close friend who happens to be a police officer. And they all rally around to help her solve the case. It was a light, fast moving read, with enough suspense to keep you turning the pages. The solution to the mystery was not predictable (always a plus), and the story came to a satisfying solution. I also enjoyed the glimpse into Miccosukee heritage and the descriptions of  Southern Florida, with its swamps, weather and wildlife. And kudos to the author for the subtle education of readers regarding issues surrounding construction and Native American burial grounds.

Note: Although this book is part of a series, it can definitely be enjoyed as a standalone. This was my first time reading anything by this author.

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. 

Old Bones Don’t Die is available on Amazon.
(An excerpt appears near the end of this post.)

Giveaway

Click here to enter a Rafflecopter for a chance to win your choice of any one of the Eve Appel books (ebook) from the author.

About the Author

Lesley 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 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 (Microbrewing Series, Big Lake Mystery Series, Eve Appel Mystery Series and the Laura Murphy Mysteries), a standalone mystery (Angel Sleuth) and numerous short stories.   

Connect with Lesley:

An Excerpt from Old Bones Never Die

Prologue
The morning air was cold, but once the sun rose over the levee, its heat penetrated the construction site and brought with it the humidity of south central Florida. The backhoe operator paused to remove his sweatshirt and push his thick, black hair away from his face, then moved the levers of the machine forward so that the mouth of the bucket opened, showing its large metal teeth. Another move of the lever lowered the bucket. The teeth bit into the black dirt of the Big Lake basin.

The operator felt the assessing gaze of the foreman, who stood at the side of the pit, his hardhat pushed back on his forehead. New to the job, Walter Egret was skilled, but he knew he’d been hired by the company against the foreman’s wishes. As a Miccosukee, his work would be scrutinized more closely than that of others employed by Coastal Development Company and its construction arm, Gator Way. The foreman’s constant surveillance bothered him, but not as much as the feeling that someone else watched him from the cover of the sabal palms that stood at the edge of the property. He’d felt a shadowy presence there for several days. It was probably nothing, but today he would take a walk over to the trees during his lunch break.

This land now being readied for a sportsman’s retreat had once belonged to his people, but legal maneuvering by slick lawyers deeded it away from the tribe into the developers’ hands. Walter didn’t like to think about that too much. Being a backhoe operator was a job, a way for him to support his three boys. He dumped the bucket of dirt and maneuvered the machine back to bite the earth again. This time the bucket picked up debris lighter colored than the soil. Probably some buried tree limbs, he thought, halting the rise of the bucket. Huh. Looked like bones from some animal, maybe a cow. Lotta bones.

Continue reading

Review: MURDER AT AN IRISH WEDDING by Carlene O’Connor

I enjoy reading cozy mysteries set in faraway places, so I didn’t hesitate to download Murder at an Irish Wedding, the latest release in the Irish Village Mystery series by Carlene O’Conner.

IrishWeddingDescription (from Amazon)

The O’Sullivan clan of Country Cork, Ireland, are thrilled to be catering the matrimonial affairs of a celebrity couple — until a cunning killer turns an Irish wedding into an Irish wake…

Any wedding is a big deal in the small village of Kilbane—even more so when the bride is a famous fashion model. It’s also good for business. Not only has customer traffic picked up at Naomi’s Bistro, Siobhán O’Sullivan and her five siblings have a full plate catering for the three-day affair. And Siobhán’s own beau, local garda Macdara Flannery, gladly steps in as best man after the groom’s first choice makes a drunken arse out of himself.

Even if he hadn’t been disinvited to the wedding, the original best man wouldn’t have been able to show. He’s been found murdered in the woods, casting a pall over the nuptials. And when a second member of the wedding party is poisoned by a champagne flute engraved with Macdara’s name, the garda goes from being best man to prime suspect.

With a killer at large and a string of robberies plaguing Kilbane, Siobhán feels more than a little protective of her village. She vows to clear Macdara’s name, but the suspect list is as long as the guest list. Like the bride walking down the aisle, Siobhán needs to watch her step. For as she gets closer to unveiling the truth, the murderer is planning a very chilly reception for her . . .

My Review

Having read the first book in this series, Murder in an Irish Village, I  looked forward to getting reacquainted with Siobhán and her siblings, and getting another glimpse into the fictional Irish village, its people and customs. Siobhán is a strong-minded young woman who is not easily deterred in her efforts to prove Macdara’s innocence and find out who killed the best man, and why. The members of the wedding party are a diverse crowd, with complex relationships between them.  At times, Siobhan’s actions seem a bit ill-advised and far-fetched, but are in keeping with her character’s sometimes impulsive and pushy nature. It was also interesting to watch her relationship with Macdara develop. The story moved along at a steady pace, with bits of suspense and romance mixed in. Unfortunately, the writing was not as polished as in the first in series. Nonetheless, it made for an enjoyable weekend read.

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

Note: My review of Murder in an Irish Village appeared on this blog last year.

Review: THE CUTAWAY by Christina Kovac

Change of pace today.  I recently had the pleasure of reading an ARC of The Cutaway by Christina Kovac – a very well written novel set in one of my favorite cities – Washington, D.C.

Description (from Amazon)

51aosxjiyulWhen brilliant TV news producer Virginia Knightly receives a disturbing “MISSING” notice on her desk related to the disappearance of a beautiful young attorney, she can’t seem to shake the image from her head. Despite skepticism from her colleagues, Knightly suspects this ambitious young lawyer may be at the heart of something far more sinister, especially since she was last seen leaving an upscale restaurant after a domestic dispute. Yet, as the only woman of power at her station, Knightly quickly finds herself investigating on her own.

Risking her career, her life, and perhaps even her own sanity, Knightly dives deep into the dark underbelly of Washington, DC business and politics in an investigation that will drag her mercilessly through the inextricable webs of corruption that bind the press, the police, and politics in our nation’s capital.

My Review

Wow. I really enjoyed this book. Virginia is a journalist and her curiosity and  determination to seek the truth are natural responses when faced with the perplexing circumstances of a young woman’s death. With an eye for detail, her first-person descriptions of scenes and atmosphere are vivid. You are there with her. Virginia  is idealistic; she wants to find the truth and see the guilty brought to justice.  She gains access to all the right people but their stories don’t mesh, leaving her uncertain whom she can trust. The plot was intricate and well developed, with an abundance of twists. Every time I thought I knew who the culprit was, some new tidbit of information came along casting doubt on my suspicions. And, another big plus, the storyline and its resolution were believable.  I’ll definitely be on the lookout for future books from this author.

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

Review: TELL ME NO LIES by Lynn Chandler Willis

I recently read  Tell Me No Lies – the first book in the Ava Logan mystery series by Lynn Chandler Willis.  As followers of this blog already know, I read a lot of mysteries and enjoy trying books by new authors (or who are at least new to me).  This was a great choice.

tellnoliesDescription (from Amazon)

Ava Logan, single mother and small business owner, lives deep in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains, where poverty and pride reign. As publisher of the town newspaper, she’s busy balancing election season stories and a rash of ginseng thieves. And then the story gets personal. After her friend is murdered, Ava digs for the truth all the while juggling her two teenage children, her friend’s orphaned toddler, and her own muddied past. Faced with threats against those closest to her, Ava must find the killer before she, or someone she loves, ends up dead.

Review

An extremely enjoyable and well-written read. The first-person, conversational tone made me feel as if Ava was a friend of mine – telling me her story.  She is easy to identify with – a caring mother with a complicated past of her own that shapes her decision making.  You can feel her attachment to Ivy growing, and know she would do whatever she can help ensure the child’s safety and future well-being.  At the same time, her feelings of guilt over something in her past keep her from truly giving her heart to either of her love interests in the story. This mystery was well crafted; its intricate plot held lots of surprises and kept me guessing right to the end. I’ll definitely be on the lookout for future books in this series.

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