Release Spotlight & Giveaway: DEAD WEEK by Kelly Brankenhoff

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As part of  tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, today’s spotlight shines on DEAD Week, A Cassandra Sato Mystery by Kelly Brankenhoff.

About the Book

Will Dead Week kill Cassandra’s career?

DEAD-WEEKVP of Student Affairs Cassandra Sato has a desk full of problems and it’s not even Thanksgiving break.

A student’s injury and a deaf advocacy project brings national media attention to underfunded Morton College.

Cassandra’s new boss talks to her dead husband. Cassandra’s mentor thinks he’s a superhero in a senior citizen’s body. And Cassandra, recently moved from Hawai’i, can’t crack the code of what to wear during November in Nebraska.

Is there more to the Vietnam-era story of a student’s death? Cassandra’s search for the long-buried truth stirs up the wrath of those who want to keep the past forgotten.

Giveaway

Click to enter a rafflecopter for your change to win one of 10 Kindle copies of Dead Week.

About the Author

KELLYBRAKENHOFF-2KELLY BRAKENHOFF is an American Sign Language Interpreter whose motivation for learning ASL began in high school when she wanted to converse with her deaf friends. Her first novel, Death by Dissertation, kicked off the Cassandra Sato Mystery Series. She also wrote Never Mind, first in a children’s picture book series featuring Duke the Deaf Dog. She serves on the Board of Editors for the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf publication, VIEWs. The mother of four young adults and two dogs, Kelly and her husband call Nebraska home.

Her first mystery, Death by Dissertation, released April 22, 2019.

Author Links

Purchase Link – Amazon 

Review: REST IN PIECES by Katie Graykowski

Browsing the endless list of titles on my Kindle that I had yet to read, I came across a book that I downloaded a long time ago.  It’s not a new release, but Rest in Pieces by Katie Graykowski made for a fun diversion.

Description

restinpiecesMustang Ridges isn’t a town, a stripper, or some old western movie. She’s a feisty, single mom living in the small town of Lakeside, Texas where money does buy happiness and keeping up appearances is much more important than the truth. Six months ago on her thirtieth birthday, her husband decided that married life, fatherhood, and his job as the Lakeside Chief of Police weren’t as exciting as a permanent vacation to Grand Cayman with his mistress and a million dollars in diamonds he stole from the police evidence lockup.

Mustang is a pariah in a Lakeside full of piranha. But she refuses to leave—this is her home, and she figures that if she can’t join them, then she’ll beat them at their own game. With a little luck, some intimidation, and the help of her good friends Monica and Haley, Mustang presides over her own little slice of Lakeside, the Bee Creek Elementary Parent Teacher Organization.

All is quiet in Lakeside until Molly Miars, the kindergarten teacher, is found dead. According to the new police chief, she overdosed on heroin. That doesn’t explain why her head was the only body part to make it to her funeral. Mustang and her fellow PTOers don’t buy the heroin overdose for a second.

Vowing to do right by Molly, the PTO decides to investigate.

Quickly they find that Lakeside isn’t the quiet, sleepy town it appears to be. There is a dark side—money laundering and drug trafficking. When Mustang’s name turns up on a contract killer’s hit list, things go from bad to worse. Can she and the PTO stay alive long enough to find out who killed Molly Miars?

My Review

Mustang, Monica, and Haley (dare I say, partners in crime)  make for a unique team of sleuths. The three women are great friends and fellow members of the local Parent-Teacher Organization, with all of the associated drama. And they all knew the victim. They manage to find their way into some pretty far-fetched, yet humorous situations as they try to discover what happened to Molly. The story moved along at a nice pace, with enough twists to keep you wondering what might happen next and, of course, who the killer might be. Although Mustang succeeded in uncovering Molly’s killer, some of the questions raised were left unanswered, presumably to be addressed in the next book in the series.  It was a lively, enjoyable read.

Content advisory:  Although it didn’t bother me, this book does include slightly more graphic content and stronger language than the average cozy mystery. 

Review: MIND YOUR MANORS by CeeCee James

Today’s post features a book I recently read and enjoyed!

About the Book

MindManorsMeet Stella O’Neil, retired FBI agent Oscar O’Neil’s granddaughter. She’s got a lot on her plate, trying to figure out her crazy, stubborn family, the hidden secrets that caused her grandfather’s estrangement from her dad, and starting out as a realtor. Throw in a dead body found in what used to be the town’s “royalty” family’s manor, and she’s neck deep in a mystery.

She may be sweet, but she’s pretty stubborn herself.
As Stella’s curiosity leads her from one town resident to the next, a dramatic tale of family secrets starts to appear, but is she getting too close to the truth? A scary car chase in the dark has her nerves on edge, but she won’t give up until she finds out who the skeleton once was. She’s so close… but someone… maybe more than one person… will do anything to stop her.

A clean cozy mystery. No graphic violence, sex, or strong language.

My Review

Stella’s first assignment at Flaming Royalty has her visiting the three senior siblings who live in a creepy old mansion that needs to be readied for an Open House. They are bizarre, to say the least.  When Stella discovers a skeleton in the house,  she decides to investigate on her own, and as a relative newcomer, she becomes acquainted with the community and its history in the process. The pace picks up quickly with a series of suspicious incidents, and plot twists as the story unfolds.  This was a  very well written read, with vivid, yet concise descriptions, and memorable characters – an enjoyable page-turner that kept me up way past my bedtime.

Release Spotlight: OLD FRIENDS AND NEW, ANOTHER MURDER by Christa Nardi

Earlier this month brought the release of another great book from Christa Nardi – Old Friends and New, Another Murder – the third book in her successful Sheridan Hendley Mystery Series. Check it out.

oldfriendsAbout the Book

A touch of nostalgia, a murder, and good friends.
When a former colleague is implicated in his neighbor’s demise, Sheridan Hendley returns to Cold Creek to prove his innocence. Annoying as Max can be, she can’t imagine the quirky professor is capable of murder. Unfortunately, not everyone shares her opinion. Of course, it doesn’t help that Max threatened his neighbor in a public place soon before the man was murdered. Or that the victim’s drug shipments had a habit of turning up on Max’s doorstep.

The book is available on Amazon.

About the Author

Christa Nardi is an accomplished achristauthor of cozy mysteries. Christa’s background is in higher education and psychology, much as her protagonist, Sheridan Hendley in the Cold Creek mystery series. She has always loved mysteries – reading them, writing them, and solving them. Christa is a member of Sisters in Crime.

You can find Christa at:

Review: MURDER, CURLERS, AND CREAM by Arlene McFarlane

After a particularly stressful week, I was looking for something fun to read. After all, sometimes we all need to escape for a few hours.  And so I dove into Murder, Curlers, and Cream by Arlene McFarlane.  Its the first of four books in the Valentine Beaumont Mystery Series.

Descriptioncurlersandcream

Valentine Beaumont is a beautician with a problem. Not only has she got a meddling mother, a wacky staff, and a dying business, but now she’s got a dead client who was strangled while awaiting her facial.

With business the way it is, combing through this mystery may be the only way to save her salon. Until a second murder, an explosion, a kidnapping, death threats, and the hard-nosed Detective Romero complicate things. But Valentine will do anything to untangle the crime. That’s if she can keep her tools of the trade in her bag, keep herself alive, and avoid falling for the tough detective.

In the end, how hard can that be?

My Review

From the book’s opening sentence (“You wound a perm rod around a man’s what?”), two things became clear:  1) Valentine is a different kind of sleuth and  2) this would be an entertaining read.  And it was. I laughed a lot.  Valentine has a knack for improvising when she’s in a predicament.  Even though she is quite ditsy and does some stupid things, she is likeable.  She is a good person.  Even Detective Romero, the enigmatic hot detective, likes her – lending an element of romantic suspense to the story.  The murder mystery was laid out nicely, developing at a good pace, and the identity of the culprit was divulged only as the story neared its end.

If you’re looking for a serious literary read, look elsewhere.  If you’re looking for an  entertaining escape – this book is for you.

The book is available on Amazon.

About the Author

Arlene McFarlane is the USA Today bestselling author of the Murder, Curlers series. Previously an aesthetician, hairstylist, and owner of a full-service salon, Arlene now writes full-time. She’s also an accomplished pianist and makeover artist. When time allows, she plays publicly and posts makeovers on her website.

Spotlight: SOUTHERN HARM by Caroline Fardig

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As part of a tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, I am pleased to shine the spotlight on Caroline Fardig’s recent release, Southern Harm – the second book in her Southern B&B mystery series.   I have yet to read any of the books in this series, however this fan of her Java Jive series has added them to my TBR list.

About the Book

SOUTHERN-HARMA little Southern charm never killed anybody—until now—in an enchanting cozy mystery from the USA Today bestselling author of Southern Discomfort and the Java Jive novels.

After solving a murder at a local restaurant, Quinn Bellandini just wants to get back to her comfortable life running her grandfather’s B&B in Savannah, Georgia, with her sister, Delilah. But those plans get buried when Quinn and her new boyfriend, Tucker Heyward, dig up an old skeleton while doing some landscaping in his aunt Lela’s backyard. Before long, Lela becomes the prime suspect in the thirty-three-year-old unsolved murder of a high school homecoming queen.

Tucker is devastated. But Quinn’s conscience won’t let her risk an elderly woman spending her twilight years in jail for a crime she didn’t commit. And Delilah, bored by the quiet B&B biz, has been itching to do some more investigating of her own.

Soon they’re questioning a growing list of suspects, from nosy neighbors and snooty Savannah socialites to mild-mannered teachers and old high-school friends of the victim—including Quinn and Delilah’s own parents. But no one is safe from a killer who’s totally old school.

Giveaway

Click here to enter a rafflecopter for your chance to win a digital copy of Southern Harm from the author.

About the Author

caroline-headshots-2015-10-06-0008CAROLINE FARDIG is the USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR of the Java Jive Mysteries series and the Lizzie Hart Mysteries series. Fardig’s BAD MEDICINE was named one of the “Best Books of 2015” by Suspense Magazine. She worked as a schoolteacher, church organist, insurance agent, funeral parlor associate, and stay-at-home mom before she realized that she wanted to be a writer when she grew up. Born and raised in a small town in Indiana, Fardig still lives in that same town with an understanding husband, two sweet kids, two energetic dogs, and one malevolent cat.

Social Media

Don’t miss Caroline Fardig’s thrilling Java Jive mysteries, which can be read together or separately:
DEATH BEFORE DECAF | MUG SHOT | A WHOLE LATTE MURDER | BREW OR DIE | MURDER OVER MOCHAS

Review & Giveaway: BOOKMARKED FOR MURDER by V.M. Burns

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As part of a blog tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, I recently read Bookmarked for Murder, the 5th book in the Mystery Bookshop series by V.M. Burns.

About the Book

Amateur sleuth Samantha Washington’s shopping trip to Chicago takes a deadly detour when a man is murdered on her bus . . .
 
BOOKMARKED FOR MURDERAfter some post-Christmas retail therapy in the Windy City, mystery bookshop owner and historical whodunit novelist Sam Washington is returning home to North Harbor, Michigan, on a chartered bus. With Nana Jo and her gal pals Irma, Dorothy, and Ruby Mae from Shady Acres Retirement Village along for the ride, it’s a lively trip. But one passenger is not so lively—a gentleman Irma befriended is found dead in his seat after an unscheduled stop. The ladies immediately shift gears to find out who punched his ticket, while Sam slips into the driver’s seat to make sure Nana Jo and her crew steer clear of fatal conclusions . . .

My Review

When Sam (Samantha) joins her grandmother and her friends from the Shady Acres Retirement Home on a trip to the windy city,  a passenger is killed on the return trip.   With the help of her Nana Jo and the quirky residents of the retirement home,  Sam is determined to find out who killed the well-known author and why.

Sam is a likeable character and I identified with her ambition to write. Sam is also working on writing her own mystery, so you get another mystery as Sam works on her book at regular intervals.  Personally, I found the additional mystery somewhat distracting; I think it slowed the overall pace of the book.

Although this is the fifth book in the Mystery Bookshop series it can easily be enjoyed as a standalone.

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 $20 Amazon gift card from the author.

About the Author

62CV.M. Burns was born in Northwestern Indiana and spent many years in Southwestern Michigan on the Lake Michigan shoreline. She is a lover of dogs, British historic cozies, and scones with clotted cream. After many years in the Midwest, she went in search of milder winters and currently lives in Eastern Tennessee with her poodles. Her debut novel, The Plot is Murder was nominated for a 2017 Agatha Award for Best First Novel. Valerie is a member of Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and a lifetime member of  Sisters in Crime. Readers can learn more by visiting her website at vmburns.com

Author Links:

Purchase Links – Amazon –  Barnes & Noble – IndieBound  – Books-A-Million –  Hudson BooksellersKobo

 

 

Review & Giveaway: DIVORCE IS MURDER by Elka Ray

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As part of a blog tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions, I recently read Divorce is Murder by Elka Ray.

About the Book

After returning to her quiet hometown to care for her ailing mom, divorce lawyer Toby Wong is hired by Josh Barton, a guy who broke her heart as a teen at summer camp. Now a wealthy entrepreneur, Josh wants to divorce Tonya, the mean girl who tormented Toby all those years ago. When Tonya is found murdered, Josh is the prime suspect.

divorceismurder_cover JPEGTogether with her fortune-teller mom and her pregnant best friend, Toby sets out to clear Josh, whom she still has a guilty crush on. As she delves deeper into Tonya’s murder, Toby keeps running into catty ex-campers she’d rather forget. Are her old insecurities making her paranoid? Only too late does she realize she’s in danger.

The first entry in an addictive new series, Divorce is Murder introduces fans of mystery and romance to an irresistibly smart and sarcastic new heroine – Chinese Canadian divorce lawyer Toby Wong.

You can get your copy on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

My Review

This was a quick and enjoyable read. Toby is a likeable young woman, however she has a hard time putting the past behind her.  Her world is turned upside – emotionally anyway – when a guy she used to like hires her to handle his divorce.  Memories of a traumatic incident at summer camp years before surface and are integrated into the story in stages, each time providing a bit more insight into Toby’s insecurities. At the same time, in the present, she is faced with the challenge of proving that Josh isn’t a killer while tackling her own conflicted feelings.  She has an amazing friend in Quinn and her quirky  mother provides a whimsical touch.  The mystery side of the story was well paced,  with tension, twists and turns leading to an unexpected resolution.   A promising start to a new series.  

FTC Disclosure: I received an advance review copy of this book. This has not affected my opinion as expressed in this review. 

Giveaway

The author is awarding a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner. Click here to enter the rafflecopter.

About the Author

Born in the UK, and raised in Africa and Canada, Elka now lives in Central Vietnam. She’s the author of two novels, a short story collection and three kids’ books that she also illustrated. To learn more about Elka’s upcoming projects, please visit http://www.elkaray.com

Click here to visit the other stops on this tour for additional reviews, guest posts, and more. 

Release Spotlight: CROQUEMBOUCHE MURDER by Sandi Scott

Today it’s time to shine a light on a new mystery release from Sandi Scott — Croquembouche Murder, the latest addition to the Seagrass Sweets Cozy Series.   I have to say the covers of the books in this series look yummy. Of course, given a choice between a main course and dessert, this reader’s sweeet tooth wins out every time.

About the Book

Croqueembouche Cover.jpgAn extravagant destination wedding job brings Ashley, Patty and Dizzy to a millionaire’s remote horse ranch in the mountains of Wyoming where a mysterious death and disabled commuter plane leave everyone stranded until the murder is solved. Another guess-along mystery by
USA & Wall Street Journal Best Selling Author Sandi Scott.

Being hired to cater a wedding is exciting and when that wedding is at a horse ranch, things couldn’t be much better for Seagrass Sweets and The Southern Bird. Ashley, Patty and even Dizzy fly to a remote ranch
located high in the mountains of Wyoming, ready to wow wedding guests with sumptuous meals and decadent desserts.

All is not well at the ranch however. Horses are falling sick with a virus and one of them, a mare named Cocoa, seems bent on ruining everything—from Ashley’s desserts to the wedding itself. Then a body is found in Cocoa’s stall, and the wedding is postponed. Ashley can’t decide which is worse, being at the scene of yet another murder, or not being able to make it home in time to go on a dream cruise with Ryan.

An impassible road and a plane that has been disabled means there is no way off the ranch and the police are unable to get up the mountain, so it is up to Ashley and Patty to keep their eyes and ears open to find the killer. With some help from Dizzy’s new friends, Cocoa, and a farm cat called Bébé, Ashley closes in on the killer.

Will she solve it before the police get involved in order to make it to her dream vacation with her sweetheart?

This is a cozy mystery featuring a strong female protagonist and a mystery that will keep you guessing. It has no graphic violence, bad language or sex. It is Book 6 of the Seagrass Sweets Cozy Series but can be read as a standalone.

About the Author

Sandi Scott is a USA Today & Wall Street Journal Best Selling Author of cozy mysteries who is finally living her dream of being able to write what I love, thanks to her loyal readers. She fell in love with mystery books when she first started reading Agatha Christie and the Bobsey Twins eons ago. It only took her a few decades to gather the courage to try her hand at writing them. Sandi loves connecting with her readers who share many of her passions:  reading, baking, and fur babies!  Every cozy Sandi writes includes a pet and a sweet (at least one!)

Connect with Sandi:

Buy links: 

 

 

Book Birthday Celebration & Giveaway: FIT FOR MURDER by Cassidy Salem

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I’m so excited about today’s release of Fit for Murder (An Adina Donati, Accidental Sleuth Mystery) that I decided it’s time to celebrate. Not only have I extended the introductory offer for Fit for Murder through Oct. 31st, I am also offering my readers a chance to download a copy of Think Murder for free (3 days only).

But that’s not all,  you can click here to enter a giveaway for your chance to win a $10 Amazon Gift Card.

About Fit for Murder

fitformurder-KINDLEExercise is good for you, or so they said.
So why is the Pilates instructor dead?

Adina signed up for Pilates because she wanted to get some exercise, not to find another body. Initially ruled an accidental death, the victim’s business partner has her doubts, which are soon reinforced by a series of suspicious incidents. With no obvious motives or suspects, Adina sets out to identify the killer – with or without help from her favorite detective.

This is the fourth book in the Adina Donati,Accidental Sleuth Mystery series, however it can be read as a standalone mystery.

All of the books in the Adina Donati, Accidental Sleuth Mystery series are available in paperback and digital editions, as well as with Kindle Unlimited.

For more about the series, click here.