This month’s “Cozy Happenings” post highlights some of the new releases and deals from my author friends. Hope it helps you find something great to read.
Recent or Upcoming Releases – Check’em Out!
Free or Discounted Books
As part of a tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, I recently had the pleasure of reading an advance copy of Death, Diamonds, and Freezer Burn: A Grime Pays Mystery, by Tricia L. Sanders.
An unwelcome visitor, an unrequited love, and a dead body create chaos in a middle-aged woman’s plan for a productive summer.
Despite a looming divorce, an empty checkbook, and a struggling cleaning business, Cece Cavanaugh is determined to land on her own two feet. Adamant about staying a safe distance from the handsome detective who has her fantasizing about violating the morals clause in her prenuptial agreement, Cece dives headlong into her work.
Even though she has no free time to spare, Cece finds herself guilted into cleaning a hoarder’s home. Her discoveries in the condemned house are too shocking to ignore. Diamond-laden pachyderms, a secret cache of money, and a dead body lure Cece into launching an investigation that places her in direct contact with the one person she’s desperate to avoid–hunky Detective Case Alder.
With clues in hand, Cece runs down leads and eliminates suspects one by one. Her conclusion and brave accusation put a friend’s life in peril forcing Cece to hatch a plan to outsmart the killer. A daring move could either save Cece and her friend or lead to their demise.
I really enjoyed meeting up with Cece again as she continues to assert her independence while attempting to solve another mystery. She is good hearted and quick to help others, even an obnoxious woman she doesn’t particularly like. Cece and her cohorts are well-developed characters and it was interesting to see how their relationships developed over time. The plot was fairly intricate with a mix of somewhat predictable and totally unpredictable revelations about the diamonds, the dead body, and more. This well-paced mystery is likely to please fans of cozy mysteries.
Although this is the second book in the Grime Pays Mystery series, it can be read as a standalone. Nonetheless, you might also enjoy reading the first one – Murder is a Dirty Business, which I reviewed on this blog earlier this year.
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.
Purchase link: Amazon
Click to enter a rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win a Kindle copy of Murder is a Dirty Business.
Tricia L. Sanders writes cozy mysteries and women’s fiction. She adds a dash of romance and a sprinkling of snark to raise the stakes. Her heroines are humorous women embarking on journeys of self-discovery all the while doing so with class, sass, and a touch of kickass.
Tricia is 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.
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.
Today marks the release of the 4th thriller in the Jack Rogan series by Gabriel Farago. It sounds exciting and so my TBR list just grew, again. Read on …
Tip: The author is offering the new release at a special price – $0.99 – now through Nov. 4th. You can grab your copy on Amazon.
A desperate plea from the Vatican. A kidnapped chef. An ambitious mob boss. One perilous game.
When Professor Alexandra Delacroix is called in to find a cure for the dying pope, she follows clues left by her mentor and friend, the late Professor K, which lead her on a breathtaking search through historical secrets, some of them deadly.
Her old friend Jack Rogan must step in to assist while also searching for kidnapped Top Chef Europe winner Lorenza da Baggio. He joins forces with his young friend and gifted psychic, Tristan, a dedicated mafia hunting prosecutor, a fearless young police officer, and an enigmatic Egyptian detective on a perilous hunt for a notorious IS terrorist.
Together, they stand off with the head of a powerful Mafia family in Florence and uncover a network of corruption and heinous crimes reaching to the very top.
Will Rogan and his friends succeed in finding Lorenza and curing the pope, or will the dark forces swirling around them prevail in their sinister plots?
If you’ve read Gabriel Farago’s previous novels and novellas, you know you’re in for a ride when you open his latest book. And it’s not an easy journey – Farago’s novels require you to stay switched on. Some of the cutting-edge science in his books might seem far-fetched, but in fact it’s based on actual breakthroughs in genomics being worked on right now in Sydney, Australia. … Fans of Farago’s imaginative, globetrotting plots will enjoy this latest novel every bit as much as his previous books. ~ Sally Asnicar
Thriller of Thrillers; Intense Action – Farago Does It Again!
A master storyteller and wordsmith, Gabriel Farago entertains his readers with vivid descriptions, clear, yet complex plots and realistic, fascinating characters. His genius of bringing together several characters from previous books to fulfil their moments of destiny is done with great care and attention to detail. The Italian Mafia, the Vatican and the Pope, along with IS terrorists, take you on an emotional journey that will leave you sitting on the edge of your seats.
Farago delivers yet another spellbinding, well-written thriller that is action-packed and realistic. The dialogue is beautifully constructed, and the book is well researched. Don’t miss this book! Although it can be read as a standalone, it does tie up some loose ends that will leave you gasping!
This is a must read for thriller-lovers. Farago delivers! ~ Charla White
Gabriel Farago is the international, bestselling and multi-award-winning Australian author of the Jack Rogan mysteries and thrillers series for the thinking reader. As a lawyer with a passion for history and archaeology, Gabriel Farago had to wait for many years before being able to pursue another passion—writing—in earnest. However, his love of books and storytelling started long before that.
‘I remember as a young boy reading biographies and history books with a torch under the bed covers,’ he recalls, ‘and then writing stories about archaeologists and explorers the next day, instead of doing homework. Whilst I regularly got into trouble for this, I believe we can only do well in our endeavours if we are passionate about the things we love; for me, writing has become a passion.’
Born in Budapest, Gabriel grew up in post-War Europe, and after fleeing Hungary with his parents during the Revolution in 56, he went to school in Austria before arriving in Australia as a teenager. This allowed him to become multi-lingual and feel ‘at home’ in different countries and diverse cultures.
Shaped by a long legal career and experiences spanning several decades and continents, his is a mature voice that speaks in many tongues.Gabriel holds degrees in literature and law, speaks several languages and takes research and authenticity very seriously.
Inquisitive by nature, he studied Egyptology and learned to read the hieroglyphs. He travels extensively and visits all of the locations mentioned in his books. ‘I try to weave fact and fiction into a seamless storyline,’ he explains. ‘By blurring the boundaries between the two, the reader is never quite sure where one ends, and the other begins. This is of course quite deliberate as it creates the illusion of authenticity and reality in a work that is pure fiction. A successful work of fiction is a balancing act: reality must rub shoulders with imagination in a way that is both entertaining and plausible.’
Gabriel lives in the Blue Mountains in Australia just outside Sydney, surrounded by a World Heritage National Park. ‘The beauty and solitude of this unique environment,’ he
points out, ‘give me inspiration and the energy to weave my thoughts and ideas into stories which, I sincerely hope, will in turn entertain and inspire my readers.’
Connect with Gabriel:
As part of a book tour organized by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours, it’s time to turn the spotlight on a new thriller by Patricia Hale. Sounds like a good read!
Track star, Ashley Lambert, has just been accepted into the prestigious Johns Hopkins University, so when she jumps eighteen stories to her death her parents hire the PI team of Griff Cole and Britt Callahan to find out why. The investigation exposes a deeply disturbed family hiding behind a façade of perfection and follows Ashley’s descent into performance enhancing drugs and blackmail. Ashley’s coaches, peers and even her parents come into question. The disturbing truth behind Ashley’s death is testimony to lines crossed and allegiances sworn…. in the name of love.
Meanwhile, things don’t add up next door. Britt’s working overtime researching their new neighbors whose one-year-old son disappeared four years ago. Rhea McKenzie, has a secret and bruises aren’t the only thing she’s trying to hide. When an off-hand comment discloses a connection to Ashley Lambert the two cases become entwined, setting off an unstoppable chain of events. Britt is sucked into an alliance with Rhea and driven to make decisions that challenge her ethics, threaten her relationship and in the end, push her over a line she never thought she’d cross.
Patricia Hale lives in Standish, ME with her husband. She is a graduate of the MFA program at Goddard College, a member of International Thriller Writers, Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance and the NH Writers Project. Scar Tissue is the third book in the Cole & Callahan thriller series. When the computer is off, you can find Patricia on the sideline of her grandsons’ sporting events or hiking the trails near her home with her German shepherd and one very bossy Beagle.
Click to enter a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Patricia Hale. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on October 1, 2018 and runs through November 1, 2018. Void where prohibited.
Click here to view the Scar Tissue by Patricia Hale Tour Participants.
Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours
As part of a blog tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, I am happy to host Cynthia Kuhn on my blog today. She is here to tell us about her writing and her recent release, The Spirit in Question.
Recently, the family went back to my grad school—which I haven’t visited in about 15 years — for a sporting event. When we arrived at the center of campus, I realized with a jolt that the beautiful building facing us, where I had happily attended many classes, may have (subconsciously) been the inspiration for Randsworth Hall in the Lila Maclean Academic Mystery series.
In the books, Randsworth is described this way:
We headed out of Crandall Hall and kept to the outer perimeter sidewalk, passing Randsworth, the colossal building that housed the chancellor and other administrative VIPs. Crandall’s columns, while moderately impressive, were nothing compared to the embellishments of Randsworth, which could have been a cathedral with its lavish turrets, spires, and other ornamentations. Presiding over campus directly across the circle from the entry gates, Randsworth announced its own importance. – The Semester of Our Discontent
I passed the administration building, Randsworth Hall, which dominated the north side of campus. The gargoyles perched on the edge of the upper levels appealed to my Gothic sensibilities. Though many found their existence baffling and inexplicable, my humble opinion was that they added a certain whimsical charm to the campus. The designer had been a close friend of the university founder, Jeremiah Randsworth, and had been given carte blanche. He was also responsible for the pair of stone gryphons positioned at Stonedale’s main gates as well as the underground passageways linking many of the buildings together—though not everyone knew about those. – The Art of Vanishing
Obviously the building in the picture does not have numerous turrets, spires, or gargoyles. But I still feel as though the real building and the fictional building are related. It’s difficult to articulate, but it has something to do with aura. (Can a building have an aura? Let’s say yes and move on.)
To me, they both exude the same sort of presence: an undeniable embeddedness within the landscape. They clearly belong where they are. And since Lila—a new assistant professor in book one—is unsure whether she fits into the community, Randsworth serves as a visual counterpoint for her ongoing emotional journey in some ways. If you’d asked me before I went back to campus, I wouldn’t have even known that there was a connection.
Immediately second-guessing myself now. What does it mean that they “belong”? Doesn’t every building? They’re put there on purpose.
I know, I know. All I can say is that when I caught a glimpse of that building, I gasped and took a picture.
Yes, of its aura. If that’s a thing.
If not, we can just admire the blue skies…
English professor Lila Maclean knew drama would be involved when she agreed to consult on Stonedale University’s production of Puzzled: The Musical.
But she didn’t expect to find herself cast into such chaos: the incomprehensible play is a disaster, the crumbling theater appears to be haunted, and, before long, murder takes center stage.
The show must go on—yet as they speed toward opening night, it becomes clear that other members of the company may be targeted as well. Lila searches for answers while contending with a tenacious historical society, an eccentric playwright, an unsettling psychic, an enigmatic apparition, and a paranormal search squad.
With all of this in play, will she be able to identify who killed her colleague…or will it soon be curtains for Lila too?
Click here to enter a rafflecopter for a chance to win any two Lila Maclean Academic Mysteries (ebook) and a $25 Amazon gift card.
Cynthia Kuhn writes the Lila Maclean Academic Mystery series: The Semester of Our Discontent, an Agatha Award recipient for Best First Novel; The Art of Vanishing, a Lefty Award nominee for Best Humorous Mystery; and The Spirit in Question. She teaches in Denver, serves as president of Sisters in Crime-Colorado, and blogs with Chicks on the Case. For more information, please visit cynthiakuhn.net.
As part of a blog tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, today’s post spotlights Murder At Archly Manor, the first installment in a new historical cozy mystery series by USA Today bestselling author Sara Rosett. As a fan of both cozies and historical fiction, I was glad for a chance to read it.
A high-society murder. A spirited lady detective. Can she out-class the killer before an innocent person takes the fall?
London, 1923. Olive Belgrave needs a job. Despite her aristocratic upbringing, she’s penniless. Determined to support herself, she jumps at an unconventional job—looking into the background of her cousin’s fiancé, Alfred. He burst into the upper crust world of London’s high society, but his answers to questions about his past are decidedly vague.
Before Olive can gather more than the basics, a murder occurs at a posh party. Suddenly, every Bright Young Person in attendance is a suspect, and Olive must race to find the culprit because a sly murderer is determined to make sure Olive’s first case is her last.
Murder at Archly Manor is the first in the High Society Lady Detective series of charming historical cozy mysteries. If you like witty banter, glamorous settings, and delightful plot twists, you’ll love USA Today bestselling author Sara Rosett’s series for Anglophiles and mystery lovers alike. Travel back to the Golden Age of detective fiction with Murder at Archly Manor.
I really enjoyed this book, which transports the reader back almost a century to the era of flappers and vaudeville. The author did a fine job of creating a mystery set in British society in the 1920s. The descriptions of the clothing and settings gave a good feel for the times without getting long-winded.
From the onset of the story, I found myself rooting for Olive as she struggles to support herself in a time when well-bred, independent working females – or should I say ladies – were not the norm. Olive is sweet and spunky at the same time, and very loyal to her cousins, who are better situated in life.
Quirky and mysterious characters, secrets that must be kept at all costs, and an interesting, somewhat unpredictable plot made for a very enjoyable read. I look forward to reading more about Olive and her adventures in the future.FTC Disclosure: I received an advance review copy of this book without obligation and have voluntarily chosen to share my honest review.
Click to enter a rafflecopter for a chance to win a spectacular Prize Package, including a signed print copy of Murder at Archly Manor and more.
USA Today bestselling author Sara Rosett writes light-hearted escapes for readers who enjoy puzzling mysteries, interesting settings, and quirky characters.
She is the author of the Murder on Location series, the Ellie Avery series, the On the Run series, and the High Society Lady Detective series. Sara also teaches an online course, How to Outline A Cozy Mystery.
Publishers Weekly called Sara’s books, “satisfying,” “well-executed,” and “sparkling.” Sara loves to get new stamps in her passport and considers dark chocolate a daily requirement. Find out more at SaraRosett.com.
As part of a blog tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, today’s post features a new cozy mystery release – The Perfect Body – the latest Professor Molly Mystery by Frankie Bow.
When Professor Molly attends Mahina State University’s exclusive donor dinner, she doesn’t expect to have to share a table with the insufferable Stephen Park. Turns out it’s one thing to invite your toxic ex-boyfriend to drop dead…it’s quite another when he takes you up on it.
I like Molly. She is smart. Of course, she feels bad when Stephen Park is found dead but what really gets her going is the possibility that someone might try to pin his death on her husband, Donnie. In between juggling care for her infant daughter and catching up on paperwork, she is determined to root out the truth. And her wardrobe mishaps definitely added a touch of humor.
The characters are diverse and interesting, each with his/her own personalities, including Stephen and his date, Bee. Not to mention Molly’s best friend and partner-in-crime, Emma.
The plot moved along at a steady pace, with several plot twists on route to its final resolution. Overall, this is a pleasant and well written read for cozy mystery fans.
This is the eighth book in the Professor Molly series, but it can definitely be read 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.
Enter a rafflecopter for a chance to win a Professor Molly mystery.
Like Professor Molly, Frankie Bow teaches at a public university. Unlike her protagonist, she is blessed with delightful students, sane colleagues, and a perfectly nice office chair. She believes if life isn’t fair, at least it can be entertaining. In addition to writing murder mysteries, she publishes in scholarly journals under her real name. Her experience with academic publishing has taught her to take nothing personally.
Purchase Link: books2read.com/PerfectBody
As part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions, today’s post spotlights Nancy Boyarsky’s recently released mystery – LIAR LIAR.
Nicole Graves finds herself in the crosshairs when she reluctantly agrees to babysit a witness in a high-profile rape trial. Mary Ellen Barnes is suing her university’s star quarterback for rape when the authorities won’t act. In the court of public opinion, Mary Ellen appears to be the quintessential, pious, good girl. But her lies and mysterious comings and goings lead Nicole to suspect that she’s not what she seems.
Download your copy today from Amazon.
Nancy Boyarsky is the bestselling author of the award-winning Nicole Graves Mysteries.
Before turning to mysteries, Nancy coauthored Backroom Politics, a New York Times notable book, with her husband, Bill Boyarsky. She has written several textbooks on the justice system as well as articles for publications including the Los Angeles Times, Forbes, and McCall’s. She also contributed to political anthologies, including In the Running, about women’s political campaigns. In addition to her writing career, she was communications director for political affairs for ARCO.
Liar Liar is the third Nicole Graves novel, following The Swap and The Bequest, each of which can be read as a stand alone. Readers are invited to connect with Nancy on:
As part of a blog tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, I am thrilled to have mystery author, Susan Boles, as my guest. She’s here to tell us about the power of rumors and about her recently released book, Death Said the Gypsy Queen (A Lily Gayle Lambert Mystery). Sounds like a spooky read in time for Halloween.
The power of rumor has been known for a very long time. And the power of rumor in a small town is like a match to kindling. The flames jump high and fast and truth is often lost in the conflagration.
Being from a small town originally, where my family has lived for generations, gives me insight into how the rumor mill works up close. Here’s an example of one that doesn’t exist anymore, but was the bane of my teenage years.
When I was a growing up, most of the people in my area had party line telephones. For those of you scratching your head – these had nothing to do with a party and everything to do with fueling the local rumor mill.
A party line telephone was one where multiple households were on the same line and each home had a particular set of rings to let them know someone was calling them. The ring for my house was two shorts and a long. And, yes, it worked exactly like is sounds. Two short rings followed by one long ring.
Any other combination was for another home. And all of us knew what combination of rings went with which home. And, if you very quietly picked up the phone at your house, you could listen in to every word of every conversation taking place. Night or day. See how that rumor mill worked back then?
That particular rumor mill option no longer exists. But, I think Facebook may run a nice second. Have you noticed, something that can be taken as a personal insult or construed as being a cut against someone is posted and folks are off to the races on the rumor mill.
In Death said the Gypsy Queen, the fourth book in the Lily Gayle Lambert mystery series, I use the local rumor mill as a backdrop to create momentum in the story line. The prophecy of the fortune-teller combines with a secret that’s rumbling underground just waiting to explode into danger for all of our favorite characters.
“Beware the sign of the vampire blood,” said the fortune teller. “It brings madness and turmoil.”
Lily Gayle knows what that means, but, for the life of her, can’t figure out how the fortune teller does. A quick road trip with Dixie. An unplanned stop at a roadside park. And, an hour later a dead body. Lily Gayle, Dixie and Miss Edna find themselves knee deep in another homicide investigation when the local vet assistant turns up dead behind an outbuilding at the farmers market.
Lily Gayle believes the words of the fortune teller will have a major impact on the investigation but can’t bring herself to tell the other ladies. To reveal what she believes the words mean might bring trouble to another old friend. And would betray a trust. Only Ben knows and he, as usual, advises Lily Gayle to stay out of his investigation – which she isn’t about to do.
When the secret is revealed, the townspeople go mad and the fortune tellers words come true. Can Lily Gayle, Dixie and Miss Edna solve the murder before more people are harmed?
Purchase link: Amazon
Click to enter a rafflecopter for your chance to win a tote bag, an autographed paperback of Death of a Wolfman, a flour sack kitchen towel with the logo on it and four custom bookmarks with a charm featuring the cover of each of the four Lily Gayle Lambert books.
Susan is the award-winning author of the Lily Gayle Lambert Mystery Series and a contributing author to the Brotherhood Protectors World.
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. She currently writes the Lily Gayle Lambert mystery series set in the fictional town of Mercy, Mississippi featuring a multi-generational cast of female sleuths and romantic suspense in the Brotherhood Protectors Kindle World.
Susan writes mysteries and set in the big city of Memphis, TN and the fictional small town of Mercy, Mississippi.
As part of a blog tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, I recently read a new mystery set in one of my favorite places – Washington, D.C. Released this past summer, K Street Killing is the fourth book in Colleen J. Shogan Washington Whodunit series.
It’s the height of campaign season, and instead of relishing newlywed bliss with her husband Doug Hollingsworth, Capitol Hill staffer Kit Marshall is busy with a tough reelection fight for her boss, member of Congress Maeve Dixon. Before Maeve and her staff–Kit included–leave Washington, D.C. to campaign full time in North Carolina, they have one last fundraising engagement.
On the iconic rooftop of a restaurant overlooking the Capitol and the Washington monument, Kit and her best pal Meg do their best to woo wealthy lobbyists for sizable campaign donations. Everyone’s enjoying the evening soiree until a powerful K Street tycoon mysteriously tumbles off the rooftop. Even with claims the fall must be suicide, Detective Maggie Glass and Kit aren’t so easily convinced foul play isn’t at work. While balancing Doug’s mid-life career crisis, Kit must spring into action to discover who killed the notorious Van Parker before Dixon’s candidacy sputters, even if it means investigating Meg’s handsome new beau, the victim’s conniving widow, and a bicycle advocate hell-bent on settling a long-standing grudge. When threatening note is left on Kit’s car, warning her to back off the investigation, she knows she’s closing in on the true story of what happened.
This well written mystery provides an interesting glimpse into the world of congressional staffers and their interactions with lobbyists. Kit Marshall is single-minded in her determination to wrap up the murder investigation and get back to her boss’s campaign. She actively seeks to identify the killer, even though it should be the police’s job. I found the detective’s acceptance of her meddling to be a bit unrealistic. Nonetheless, the well-paced plot held my interest throughout. I found the setup leading to the mystery’s resolution reminiscent of Agatha Christie and other traditional mystery writers. And, of course, I loved Clarence and his antics.
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.
Click here to enter a Rafflecopter for a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card.
Colleen J. Shogan has been reading mysteries since the age of six. She conceived of the plot of her first mystery one morning while taking a walk in her suburban Washington, D.C. neighborhood. A political scientist, she previously worked on Capitol Hill as a legislative staffer in the United States Senate and as the Deputy Director of the Congressional Research Service. She is currently a senior executive at the Library of Congress who works on great initiatives such as the National Book Festival. Colleen lives in Arlington, Virginia with her husband Rob and their beagle mutt Conan. She is the recipient of the Next Generation Indie Prize for Best Mystery.
Click here to check out the rest of the stops on this blog tour.