Review: SOUTHERN SASS AND KILLER CRAVINGS by Kate Young

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As part of a blog tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, I recently read Southern Sass and Killer Cravings, a new paranormal cozy mystery by Kate Young.

Description

Life has always been sweet on Georgia’s Peach Cove Island, but a case of murder has Marygene Brown down in the pits . . .

Southern-Sass-and-Killer-CravingsFor generations, the women of the Brown family on Peach Cove Island have been known for their Southern sass and sweet homemade desserts at their beloved Peach Diner. Since their mother’s passing two years ago, Marygene has been stuck in Atlanta while her sister Jena Lynn has been running the family business. Now Marygene has left her husband and returned to her hometown, where she can almost feel Mama’s presence.

But all is not peachy back home. Marygene has barely tied on an apron when a diner regular drops dead at the counter. When it turns out the old man’s been poisoned, Jena Lynn is led away in handcuffs and the family eatery is closed. Now, to save her sister and the diner, Marygene must find the real killer. With some startling assistance from her Mama’s spirit, Marygene will be serving up a special order of just desserts . . .

Includes seven recipes from Marygene’s Kitchen!

My Review

In this first is a series set in small town Georgia, Marygene has returned to  Peach Cove to run the diner with her sister.  When Jena Lynn becomes the prime suspect in a murder case, Marygene can’t sit idly by.  Her attempts to investigate provide insights into complex family relationships, a painful past, and a hint at better days to come.  The whodunnit side of the plot had a fair share of twists, with her mother’s ghost making an appearance at both convenient and inconvenient times.  The paranormal aspect of the story was for the most part nicely done, however I would have preferred if the resolution of the story had been more down to earth, more realistic.  That said, it was a pleasant read overall.

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.

About the Author

Sassauthorpic2018Kate Young writes humorous southern mystery novels. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and the Guppy Chapter. Kate lives in a small town in Georgia with her husband, three kids, and a Shih Tzu. When she is not writing her own books, she’s reading or cooking.

Author Links

Purchase Links — Amazon  B&N  Kobo  Indie Bound   ibooks    BAM

Giveaway

Kate young is hosting A PRE-ORDER CONTEST with fabulous prizes! A Coach Bag with matching wristlet and $120 in gift cards plus autographed copies of the book!  Go to  https://www.kateyoungbooks.com/pre-order-contest.html to enter.

For a full list of stops on this tour, click here.

Release Spotlight & Giveaway: FAIR GAME by Annette Dashofy

FAIR-GAME-BANNER-184As part of a blog tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, today’s post shines the spotlight on a the latest Zoe Chambers Mystery from Annette Dashof  – Fair Game.

About the Book

FAIR-GAMEParamedic Zoe Chambers hoped a week at the Monongahela County Fair, showing her horse and manning the ambulance, would provide a much-needed diversion from recent events that continue to haunt her.

An old friend, a bossy nemesis, and a teenage crush from her 4-H days fail to offer the distraction she had in mind. But ever the caregiver, she soon bonds with a troubled teen and a grieving father.

Back in Vance Township, a missing woman turns up dead, leading Police Chief Pete Adams into a journey through her mysterious final hours. With each new clue, the tragic circumstances of her death grow increasingly muddied.

A cryptic phone call leads Pete to join Zoe for an evening at the fairgrounds where the annual school bus demolition derby concludes with a gruesome discovery and a new case that may or may not be connected to the first.

Pete’s quest for the motive behind two homicides—and Zoe’s stubborn determination to reunite a family—thrust them both onto a collision course with a violent and desperate felon.

About the Author

Dashofy-1559-534x800Annette Dashofy is the USA Today best-selling author of the Zoe Chambers mystery series about a paramedic and deputy coroner in rural Pennsylvania’s tight-knit Vance Township. CIRCLE OF INFLUENCE was a finalist for the Agatha Award for Best First Novel of 2014 and BRIDGES BURNED was nominated for the 2015 Agatha for Best Contemporary Novel.

Author Links:

Purchase Links:   AmazonAmazon Hardcover/PaperbackB&NKoboIndieBound

Giveaway

Click to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway  for a chance to win one of five print copies of Fair Game (U.S only).

For a full list of stops on this tour, click here.

Release Spotlight: THE BODY IN THE WETLANDS by Judi Lynn

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As part of a blog tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, today’s post shines the spotlight on a new release from Judi Lynn – The Body in the Wetlands (A Jazzi Zanders Mystery).

About the Book

THE-BODY-IN-THE-WETLANDSHigh summer in River Bluffs, Indiana, is always sweltering and sweet. But the heat is really on when a decidedly dead body turns up in the neighborhood.

When established house flippers Jazzi Zanders and her cousin Jerod donate a week’s worth of remodeling work to Jazzi’s sister Olivia, they’re expecting nothing more than back-breaking roofing work and cold beers at the end of each long, hot day. With Jazzi’s live-in boyfriend and partner Ansel on the team, it promises to be a quick break before starting their next big project—until Leo, an elderly neighbor of Olivia’s, unexpectedly goes missing . . .

When the friendly senior’s dog tugs Jazzi and the guys toward the wetlands beyond Olivia’s neighborhood, they stumble across a decomposing corpse—and a lot of questions. With Jazzi’s pal Detective Gaff along to investigate, Jazzi finds her hands full of a whole new mystery instead of the usual hammer and nails. And this time it will take some sophisticated sleuthing to track down the culprit of the deadly crime—before the killer turns on her next . . .

About the Author

JUDI-LYNNJudi Lynn received a Master’s Degree from Indiana University as an elementary school teacher after attending the IPFW campus. She taught 1st, 2nd, and 4th grades for six years before having her two daughters.  She loves gardening, cooking and trying new recipes.

Readers can visit her website at www.judithpostswritingmusings.com and her blog writingmusings.com.

Purchase Links

Amazon   B&N   Kobo   Google Play

Review: DRONE STRIKE by Joe Giordano

If you enjoy international intrigue and suspense, you will want to check out Drone Strike: An Anthony Provati Thriller (Appointment with ISIL Book 2) by Joe Giordano.  I had reviewed the first book in the series, and was glad when the author offered me a review copy of the sequel.

Description

Drone Strike, an Anthony Provati Thriller. Karim’s family is killed as ‘collateral damage’ by a U.S. drone strike in Iraq. The Islamic State in the Levant exploits his rage, recruiting him for a terrorist attack on the U.S., and only Anthony Provati can stop him. Drone Strike takes you on a fast-paced adventure across the Mediterranean, into Mexico, finally arriving in the States. Drone Strike explores the psychological realities that seduce Karim to commit an act of terror, includes a love story between Moslem Karim and Miriam, a Christian woman he defends in Turkey, and highlights the plight of Middle Eastern and Central American refugees.

My Review

I really enjoyed this book. As in Appointment with ISIL, the first book in the series,  the author has created a somewhat disturbing scenario that strikes home given the threat of terror faced around the world today. I enjoyed following the protagonist, Anthony Provati, as he again tries to thwart a terrorist attack.  He is the same loveable, flawed guy who finds it hard to resist the temptation of a beautiful woman.

But before Anthony makes his appearance, the reader is introduced to Karim and is given a glimpse into the events that contributed to his bitterness toward America.  He is a particularly well developed character; an internal debate rages within him, particularly after he meets a Syrian Christian woman who is seeking refuge in Europe.

Clearly, an impressive amount of research went into this book – both with respect to the diverse geographic destinations and the cultures and organizations involved.

An interesting and engrossing read. I stayed up way past my bedtime to finish it.

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary ARC of this book. This has not affected the content of my review in any way.

For my review of the first book in this series, click here.
The book is available on Amazon.

Review & Giveaway: BAD PICK by Linda Lovely

As part of a blog tour organized by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours, I recently had the pleasure of reading Bad Pick, the third book in the Udderly Kidding cozy mystery series. A fun read.

About the Book

Bad-Pick-Linda-lovelyVegan Brie Hooker lives and works with her feisty Aunt Eva at Udderly Kidding Dairy, a hop, skip, and jump away from South Carolina’s Clemson University. Brie’s fun farm outreach attempt backfires when religious extremists decide goat yoga is a form of devil worship. Believing one of the zealots might be persuaded to see reason, Brie’s free-wheeling friend Mollye convinces her they should call on the young woman. Big mistake.

Picketers at Udderly’s gates soon become the least of Brie’s troubles. Not only is she accused of murder, she worries the death might actually be her fault. Danger mounts when an old family friend’s visit ensnares Brie in a high-stakes feud between a U.S. Supreme Court nominee and the woman determined to expose his secrets. In her personal life, Brie’s still torn between the town’s two most eligible bachelors. While she’s edging toward a decision, she must first survive a cunning killer adept at crafting murders that look like tragic accidents. Will Brie be another “accident” victim? Pay a visit to Udderly Kidding Dairy and find out!

My Review

Brie Hooker is back in a delightful new cozy mystery.  She is a great character. Warm, caring, and tolerant of others who do not share her vegan outlook on life.  When someone somehow poisons the food she has prepared for food critics,  Brie has to find out who did it – if only to prove her own innocence and protect the reputation of the business she is in the progress of launching.  She does so with the help of two good-natured and protective guys – best friends, both of whom she happens to be openly dating at the same time.

I really enjoyed this book. It was a nicely paced and entertaining read, with just the right balance of humor, romance, and mystery.  And I have to admit that yoga sounds like fun, though I’d probably ignore the instructor and just sit around playing with the goats.

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

Giveaway

Click to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway  for a chance to win an Amazon Gift Card (hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Linda Lovely).

About the Author

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Hundreds of mystery writers have met Linda Lovely at check-in for the annual Writers’ Police Academy, which she helps organize. Lovely finds writing pure fiction isn’t a huge stretch given the years she’s spent penning PR and ad copy. She writes a blend of mystery and humor, chuckling as she plots to “disappear” the types of characters who most annoy her. Quite satisfying plus there’s no need to pester relatives for bail. Her new Brie Hooker Mystery series offers good-natured salutes to both her vegan family doctor and her cheese-addicted kin. Bad Pick is her eighth published mystery novel. She served as president of her local Sisters in Crime chapter for five years and belongs to International Thriller Writers and Romance Writers of America.

Catch Up With Our Author On:
lindalovely.com 🔗, Goodreads 🔗, Twitter 🔗, & Facebook 🔗!

Purchase Links

For a full list of stops on this tour, click here.

Spotlight: DOGS AND MORE DOGS, ANOTHER MURDER by Christa Nardi

Just over a week ago,  Christa Nardi released the second book in her Sheridan Hendley Mystery Series – if you are a fan of cozy mysteries, you won’t want to miss it.  And if you’re a dog lover, even better.

Description

DogsDogs_ChristaAn abandoned house, an abundance of dogs. And a dead body or two.

Sheridan Hendley’s volunteer position at Pets and Paws takes a new turn when more than twenty malnourished dogs are found at a rundown house on the outskirts of town. When the body of an elderly woman is found amidst mountains of clutter in the house, a search of the property leads to startling revelations. And another body. While Herman Stoneham’s death is deemed natural causes, his wife’s is not. Where did all the dogs come from and who’s responsible for Justine’s untimely death? Are the two connected? With dogs and murder at stake, Sheridan can’t help but get involved in the investigation.

About the Author

Christa Nardi (pen name) is an accomplished writer and an avid reader. Her love of mysteries began with Nancy Drew and other teen mysteries, as well as Perry Mason and similar detective series on television. Her favorite authors have shifted from Carolyn Keene and Earl Stanley Gardner to more contemporary mystery and crime authors over time. Christa has authored the 5-book Cold Creek cozy mystery series with the new spinoff series featuring the protagonist, Sheridan Hendley, a professor and psychologist. When not reading or writing, Christa enjoys travel with her husband, and playing with three dogs and three grand-daughters.

Read an Excerpt

The holiday decorations were packed away, the house no longer festive. I’d procrastinated much longer than any other year and now even New Year’s was a memory. Married to State Police Detective Brett McMann and stepmom to his teenaged daughter, Maddie, about six months now, it was sad to put our first Christmas as a family behind us. Still, I was truly relieved the hustle and bustle was over. Juggling two families had been stressful, though time with my parents and sibs, Kaylie and Kevin, was good. Drinking my never empty coffee, I relished the quiet and uncluttered living area.

“Sheridan, can I go skating with Nedra and Willie? Miss Melina is taking us.”

“Is your room clean? And what time will you be home?” Melina and I both volunteered at the local dog shelter, and her daughter, Nedra was in Maddie’s eight grade class. Little did Maddie know, Melina had texted me already about taking them skating. She knew I was volunteering at Pets and Paws today and this would give Maddie something to do. Winter break is great for a few days and then it gets old.

“Yes, my room is clean. I’ll be home before dinner.”

“Okay. Let’s make sure you have everything and you’re ready when they get here to pick you up.”

I followed her to her room, Charlie and Bella padding behind us. Sometimes Maddie’s teen version of a clean room and mine didn’t quite look the same. At least on the surface, this time we were on the same page. Even Bella’s toys were all assembled in her bed.

“Heavy socks so you don’t get blisters? Extra layers or a coat? It can get cold out there with the wind.” The weather had been pretty mild for Virginia in January so far, with only a few nights of frost, and mostly in the 40s.

The eighth grader made a face. “Jeesh, I’m not a child. Besides extra layers make me look fat.”

“But you’ll be warm. What about the thermals? They’re thin and help retain heat and then you might get by without a jacket.”

“Okay. Okay. Can you get my skates?”

“On it. Skates, gloves, scarf and hat coming up.” I ignored her eye roll and gathered everything together as Melina pulled up.

“Hurry up. They’re here.” She bustled out of the room, grabbed everything and was out the door. I waved to Melina from the door.

Only a few more days and Maddie would be back at school and I’d be back to work at Millicent College teaching on Wednesdays and Fridays. I finished my coffee and cleaned up. After letting Charlie and Bella out, I headed for Pets and Paws.

Smiling, I remembered the way Mrs. Chantilly had all the dogs decked out in bells, bows, and bowties before Christmas. Pets and Paws was in an old colonial home. Mrs. Chantilly lived upstairs and the dogs were downstairs. With Luke’s help, she’d decorated the house, inside and out. She’d always reminded me of Mrs. Claus and for two weeks she dressed the part and bounced around with abundant enthusiasm. More than one of the dogs managed to destroy her holiday trappings around the place from time to time, but she took it in stride.

The house was on the news and people came from all over to view it. She’d go out and invite them in to see the rest of the decorations – and the dogs. Not unintentional by any means, she managed to get many dogs adopted.

I chuckled to myself, recalling when she’d tried singing traditional holiday songs. Unlike me, she had a beautiful voice. The problem was some of the dogs. They tried to sing, too, only the howling was not quite in tune. Sure enough, as I pulled up in front of the house I noticed the decorations were gone from Pets and Paws now, too.

Luke was moving boxes and grunted hello as I arrived. A high school student with some bad habits, like the stray and rescue dogs Mrs. Chantilly collected, Luke was a restoration project. His legal issues led to his “volunteering” at Pets and Paws. When he first started his community service there, he scowled a lot and made me nervous. He was still an entitled beachboy type.

He’d made some attitude adjustments in the past few months and I was glad to see it. I still didn’t quite trust him despite Mrs. Chantilly always singing his praises. Mrs. Chantilly met me at the door, grandmotherly, soft, and light, only without the Mrs. Claus attire. I also noted the bounce in her step was gone. Even though she had to be in her sixties, she always seemed to have energy and a happy face.

“Isn’t this weather just delightful? Sunny, not too, too cold. I heard it’s going to freeze tonight and maybe snow. Those abandoned dogs wouldn’t survive if that happened.”

Now used to her manner of speech, I simply asked, “What abandoned dogs?”

“Over at the Stoneham place of course, near Blake Buchanan’s. Have you ever been to his home? It is beautiful. A mansion fit for a king. His wife, Ava, studied interior decorating you know.”

“No, I didn’t know. Did they find dogs at the Stoneham’s?”

“That’s what I said. Nobody ever bothered the Stoneham’s for many years. Older couple and all, their children grown and gone, they kept to themselves. Justine and Herman didn’t live there when I was growing up here. Someone else did though. Never knew who they were.”

Mrs. Dora Chantilly had left Clover Hill after high school and she’d only returned when her grandmother died and left her the house, now Clover Hill Pets and Paws.  Her grandmother had taken in strays and the place was a mess. I was about to ask again about the dogs, and an SUV pulled up.

“Here they are with more of the dogs. Poor things. Luke and I already fed and bathed the first group Blake brought over. I’m sure glad you’re here to help.”

I followed her as she hurried to the car and greeted Blake Buchanan, former mayor of Clover Hill. He took her in his arms and then seemed to realize I was there. He and Mrs. Chantilly had been an item in high school and they renewed their friendship when she returned.

“Dora, we uncovered a mama and pups.” He shook his head. “One of them didn’t make it. Dane mix. Where’s Luke? Even malnourished, it’ll take two of us to get her and her pups inside.” Mrs. Chantilly rushed to open the door and see to the animals.

“Mr. Buchanan, can you fill me in? Mrs. Chantilly hasn’t had a chance yet.”

He smiled and his eyes twinkled. We both understood that sometimes she was a bit hard to follow. Almost like putting a puzzle together. Me, I prefer things to be in order when someone is telling me a story.

“Last night, I was sitting on the deck and my dog, Bridgit, showed up with a puppy, not in good shape. As soon as I took the pup, she darted in the direction of the Stoneham place. I called to my wife, put the pup in a blanket, and took off after her.”

He paused for effect.

“The house was dark but Bridgit stood at the front porch and dug to get further underneath. I knocked at the door and no one answered. I called Chief Peabody and then with my flashlight got a look at dogs huddled together from the cold under the porch. With help, we extracted six dogs and two more puppies and brought them here.”

He shuddered. “Such bad shape. Bridgit still wasn’t happy, but that was all we could do last night. Four of us have been on the property this morning. Brought four more dogs earlier. Butch and Bridgit, my best dogs, are helping us wade through it.”

“Huh? What do you mean ‘wade through it’ – is the house that much of a mess?”

“That’s a mild description. Stuff stacked on top of stuff on top of stuff, and the smell.” He shuddered again. “This mama and pups were in the kitchen. We could hear yelping from other parts of the house.”

“Here comes Luke. We need to get these dogs  inside. Sheridan, can you start some formula going? These pups are near starved to death. And we’ll have to keep them isolated until the vet can check them out.”

Luke lumbered up and his eyes about popped out as he looked from Blake to the Dane and pups. “Where are we going to put all these dogs?”

Mrs. Chantilly’s face fell. “Mama and pups in the house. The side room on the right is empty now with all the adoptions. We put the first bunch in the room on the left. You were just in the garage. Is there room in there? Grandpa used to work out there so I think there’s electric heat if we need it and a bathroom, too. Blake, how many more dogs?”

He pulled her close. “Remember, we need to keep these dogs separate from your other dogs. Let me check out the garage. We can always pull your car out. Work on getting them some food and water. Luke, come with me.”

They disappeared. I turned to Mrs. Chantilly, “You stay with them. I’ll go get water and start the bottles going.”

As I walked in to the house, I glanced down at the concrete floor, painted blue slate and sealed. At least if the dogs made a mess, there wouldn’t be any damage. It was about an hour later when we finished relocating the Pets and Paws residents to the larger back room. The two new mamas and pups were situated on one side of the kitchen. They’d been bathed and fed and each family rested on a palette.

That left space in the other side room for any smaller dogs that might come in. If the new arrivals were medium to large sized dogs we moved them to the unattached garage. They’d been fed and some had been bathed, now settled into crates. The heat was on and that at least took the chill off. Not exactly warm, but the dogs would all be out of the wind.

Blake hinted there still would be more dogs coming. With Mrs. Chantilly’s blessing, I sent an email out to all the volunteers with a short note about the dogs coming in and needing assistance if they were available. Whatever supplies were needed, starting with towels and blankets, I was confident Blake would take care of them.

Excerpt from Dogs and More Dogs, Another Murder ©2019 Christa Nardi

 

Spotlight, Excerpt & Giveaway: WHERE SLEEPING LIES LIE by M. Naidoo

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As part of a virtual book blast organized by Goddess Fish Promotions, today the spotlight shines on  Where Sleeping Lies Lie, a recently released romantic suspense novel by M. Naidoo.

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“Two men… two worlds… one desperate promise…”

If Anna had only known how the simple push of a button would turn her life upside down, she would never have pressed ‘Play.’

Just 22 seconds into the recording she’s hit by the realization that, if the voice in the thick German accent is right, she has been living with an unthinkable lie for the past thirty years.

There is only one way to find out: Follow the instruction left by a dead person and head back to Germany, to a life Anna has next to no conscious memory of.

To her surprise, she finds an unexpected ally in Peter, an old childhood friend whose law degree and language skills prove to be more than useful. Besides, he has the most gorgeous blue eyes and the uncanny ability to push Anna’s buttons without the slightest effort. At every turn, their search for answers is littered with more lies and revelations.

Anna must ultimately decide whether even the noblest of ends, truly justify the means and whether some secrets should better stay buried.

“Mystery, history, and a twist at every turn. Brilliant characters and prolific storytelling… irresistible!”

Scroll down to read an excerpt.

Giveaway

Enter to win a $15 Amazon/BN GC – a Rafflecopter giveaway.

About the Author

M. Naidoo lives in Northern California with her husband, two daughters, and three dogs. Born and raised in Germany, she was able to draw on a wealth of memories and passed down stories for Where Sleeping Lies Lie.

When she is not in front of her computer, pounding out story lines and characters, she enjoys reading, movies, spending time with her family, and long walks on the beach – her proverbial ‘happy place’. M’s love for the shore line and ocean shine through in the vivid descriptions of the coast in her debut novel The Pelican.

“Juggling my life as a writer and a full-time ‘real’ job has its challenges. I don’t get to spend half as much time as I’d like doing what I love, and there are never enough hours in the day. Still, I feel extremely lucky to be following my passion, and I am enjoying every minute of it. Getting here has been one heck of a ride!”

Like and follow M. Naidoo on social media:

For information about the author, her blog, upcoming releases, and more visit www.mnaidoo.com.

Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07NL34N26

Read an excerpt:

“I don’t know if I can do this.” She took a deep breath, ” If I wanna do this…”

“Getting cold feet?”

“Wondering what good could possibly come from this. Does it really matter?” Anna turned to look at Peter, waiting for an answer.

“The truth always matters.”

“Spoken like a lawyer again.”

“I take this as a compliment. No seriously, that’s what you came here for, didn’t you?”

Anna nodded. Why did he always have to be right?

“If you don’t do this now, you’ll kick yourself later. Besides, you can’t invite me to the show and drop the curtain before the main act.”

“You’re right.” Anna hated to admit it.

“I know.”

Damn! Why couldn’t he just accept the fact that she agreed with him? Did he have to rub it in?

“I need to get out,” Anna said flatly. The house suddenly felt as if it had shrunk to half its size, making it hard to breathe. Maybe going for a run would help settle her nerves. She was almost at the door when Peter called after her, “Want me to come?”

“I’m okay, thanks.” Yet, another lie.

Excerpt from Where Sleeping Lies Lie. Copyright © 2019. All rights reserved.

Review: THE WEDDING GUEST by Jonathan Kellerman

About the Book

51h8peoixxlAPD Lieutenant Milo Sturgis is a fine homicide detective, but when he needs to get into the mind of a killer, he leans on the expertise of his best friend, the brilliant psychologist Dr. Alex Delaware. While Sturgis has a knack for piecing together the details of a crime, Delaware can decipher the darkest intents driving the most vicious of perpetrators. And there’s no better place for the doctor’s analytical skills to shine than a rowdy hall full of young men and women intoxicated on life and lust . . . and suddenly faced with the specter of death.

Summoned to a run-down former strip joint, Delaware and Sturgis find themselves crashing a wild Saints and Sinners–themed wedding reception. But they’re not the only uninvited guests. A horrified bridesmaid has discovered the body of a young woman, dressed to impress in pricey haute couture and accessorized with a grisly red slash around her neck. What’s missing is any means of identification, or a single partygoer who recognizes the victim. The baffled bride is convinced the stranger snuck in to sabotage her big day—and the groom is sure it’s all a dreadful mistake. But Delaware and Sturgis have a hundred guests to question, and a sneaking suspicion that the motive for murder is personal. Now they must separate the sinners from the saints, the true from the false, and the secrets from those keeping them. The party’s over—and the hunt for whoever killed it is on.

My Review

A long time fan, I  enjoyed reacquainting myself with Alex Delaware and Milo Sturgis as they attempted to find out the identity of the victim and why she was killed.  They are so different and yet remain the best of friends. Nonetheless,  I found that the plot lacked depth and momentum, and the characters were not as well developed as in Kellerman’s earlier works.  An okay read, but nowhere near as enjoyable as previous books in this series.

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

Review: AS DIRECTED by Kathleen Valenti

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As part of a blog tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, I recently had the pleasure of reading As Directed, the third book in the Maggie O’Malley Mystery series by Kathleen Valenti. 

About the Book

AsDirected-cover-front-REV-663x1024In the shadow of a past fraught with danger and tainted by loss, former pharmaceutical researcher Maggie O’Malley is rebuilding her life, trading test tubes for pill bottles as she embarks on a new career at the corner drugstore.

But as she spreads her wings, things begin to go terribly wrong. A customer falls ill in the store. Followed by another. And then more.

The specter of poisoning arises, conjuring old grudges, past sins, buried secrets and new suspicions from which no one is immune.

As Maggie and her best friend Constantine begin to investigate, they discover that some of the deadliest doses come from the most unexpected places.

My Review

From the first page, suspense is in the air. Even before you meet Maggie and the main characters, the prologue has you hooked and you want know what is happening and why.  Then, when customers at the pharmacy start to drop, you share in Maggie’s angst as she tries to identify the source of the poisoning.  Her charming would-be bridegroom, Constantine, is at her side – helping her investigate, while they both fend off family demands to set a date and plan a fancy wedding.  After all,  how can she can think about weddings when people are dropping all around her.  As Maggie’s investigation progresses, the story takes unexpected directions along the way to a satisfying resolution. An enjoyable and well-paced read with an intricate plot.

This was my first time reading anything by this author. Although part of a series, this book can definitely be read as a standalone.

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

About the Author

kvpromoshot-300x300Kathleen Valenti is the author of the Maggie O’Malley Mystery Series, which includes her Agatha- and Lefty-nominated debut novel, Protocol. When Kathleen isn’t writing page-turning mysteries that combine humor and suspense, she works as a nationally award-winning advertising copywriter. She lives in Oregon with her family where she pretends to enjoy running. Learn more at www.kathleenvalenti.com.

Author Links

Purchase Links:  Amazon Barnes & Noble  iTunes  Kobo

For additional stops on this tour, click here.

Spotlight & Excerpt: DROP DEAD CRIME

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As part of a tour organized by Silver Dagger Book Tours, today’s post shines the spotlight on Drop Dead Crime, a boxed set of mysteries from Lisa Regan, Leslie Wolfe, Colleen Helme, Amy Vansant, and Julie Smith.  Sounds like a promising read!

About the Book

Five women. Five sublime authors of crime fiction. One stunning book.

Gripping thrillers, packed with deviously executed crimes and in-depth investigations are some of the most popular reads available on  traditional and virtual book shelves today.

Now, you can sample some of the best female writers of crime fiction, in Drop Dead Crime, a collection of novellas packed with the twisted plotlines and memorable characters that excite readers and leave them demanding more.

Lisa Regan, Leslie Wolfe, Colleen Helme, Amy   Vansant, and Julie Smith are among the most skilled and prolific writers of the genre today, and each one knows exactly how to tease a story to  maximum effect. Their use of strong female leads, combined with delicately balanced plots, means suspense is always kept at a fever  pitch—ready to boil over at any second.

Lisa Regan’s Over The Edge is guaranteed to keep you up at night. When P.I. Jocelyn Rush witnesses a young mother jump from a bridge, she is determined to solve the mystery of why, and what she finds is a complex web of secrets and lies so shocking it could destroy the people left behind.

Leslie Wolfe introduces FBI Agent Tess Winnett in
Not Really Dead, a fast-paced, intense thriller about a serial killer who makes a terrible mistake.

Colleen Helme stuns with Behind Blue Eyes. A grisly murder along with a new client hiding a deadly secret is just the beginning for Shelby Nichols, mind reader extraordinaire. Don’t miss this exciting thriller!

In Amy Vansant’s exclusive novella Parental Kilt, the stars of her “Kilty” romantic suspense series, Catriona Phoenix and Brochan the Highlander, find themselves trapped in a serial killer’s maze during a movie wrap-party gone wrong. The serial killer was supposed to be dead, but the bodies are piling up…

Julie Smith brings a dazzling story of suspense, The Big Crazy. Detective Skip Langdon, NOPD, while navigating a world of chaos and betrayal after Hurricane Katrina, takes on a gang of rogue cops who may be acting as self-appointed executioners.

Lisa Regan’s Over The Edge is guaranteed to keep you up at night. When P.I. Jocelyn Rush witnesses a young mother jump from a bridge, she is determined to solve the mystery of why, and what she finds is a complex web of secrets and lies so shocking it could destroy the people left behind.

Get your copy:   Only 99 cents – Goodreads * Amazon

About the Authors


Lisa Regan is the USA Today & Wall Street Journal bestselling author of the detective Josie Quinn series as well as several other crime fiction titles. She has a  Bachelor’s degree in English and a Master of Education degree from Bloomsburg University. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, and Mystery Writers of America. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband, daughter, and Boston Terrier named Mr. Phillip.


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.

Amy Vansant is a Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author, specializing in fun, comedic reads about accident-prone, easily distracted women with questionable tastes in men. 

So, autobiographies, mostly. Ha! But seriously… She writes happy,  occasionally slightly twisted, thrilling, romantic comedies, mysteries, and urban fantasies.

Julie Smith is the author of more than twenty mysteries, most set in New Orleans and starring one or the other of her detective heroes, a cop named Skip Langdon, and a PI named Talba Wallis. (Both female, both tough and wily.) She also has two series set in San Francisco.
Her novel, NEW ORLEANS MOURNING, won the Edgar Allan Poe award for best novel. She changed direction in 2010, with her start-up digital publishing company, booksBnimble (www.booksBnimble.com), beginning with four books by friends. She later added other authors and got the rights back to her own books, Then in 2015 booksBnimble spun off bbnmarketing (www.bbnmarketing.com), with the aim of helping self-published authors find their audience and backlist print authors find their way back into the game.
Twelve years after Hurricane Katrina; Skip Langdon returned last year in MURDER ON MAGAZINE. But so many readers have asked–what did she do when Katrina struck? That story’s THE BIG CRAZY.
Website * Facebook * Bookbub * Amazon * Goodreads

Leslie Wolfe’s novels break the mold of traditional thrillers. Fascinated by technology and psychology, Leslie brings extensive background and research in these fields that empower and add texture to a signature, multi-dimensional, engaging writing style.
Leslie released the first novel, Executive, in October 2011. It was very well received, including inquiries from Hollywood. Since then, Leslie published numerous novels and enjoyed growing success and recognition in the marketplace. Among Leslie’s most notable works, The Watson Girl (2017) was recognized for offering a unique insight into the mind of a serial killer and a rarely seen first person account of his actions, in a dramatic and intense procedural thriller.
A complete list of Leslie’s titles is available at http://wolfenovels.com/titles.
Leslie enjoys engaging with readers every day and would love to hear from you. Become an insider: gain early access to previews of Leslie’s new novels!

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Read an Excerpt

Excerpt From Over the Edge: A Jocelyn Rush Story
Lisa Regan

Molly
Five Years Ago

My feet pound along the packed-earth Wissahickon Creek trail. Sweat drips from the nape of my neck, down the length of my spine, and into the back of my shorts. It beads on my nose, falling as I run, and turns my hair, pulled tightly into a ponytail, slick and heavy on the back of my neck.

I’ve been running along this path four times a week for six months, and once every few times out, I manage to overtake him on the trail. I tried not to notice him, but all that lean muscle called out to me. I knew he saw me too. Then one day, as I ran past him, I turned and met his eyes. Blue fire. He smiled. I smiled back. I ran ahead. He followed.

From then on, it’s been a game we play.

This section of the creek trail is called Forbidden Drive. The irony isn’t lost on me the day something finally happens. The morning is fresh and dewy, sunlight slipping through the canopy of trees overhead, dappling everything around me. I see his back. Today he is shirtless, and every muscle in his back and shoulders ripple, glistening with sweat. I run up beside him, closer this time. When I turn to catch his eye, there is something there that wasn’t before. An acknowledgment. I see you, those fiery blue eyes seem to say. I know what you want. I run ahead.

Far ahead but not so far that he loses sight of me. I veer off the trail at a break in the trees, my feet crushing the brush beneath them. I hear a snapping twig behind me, and I know he’s there.

I stop when I reach a kind of clearing. It’s big enough, private enough. I put my hands against a tree trunk, leaning over, my breath coming fast and hard from the slightly uphill run through uneven terrain. He doesn’t talk. Hands grip my hips, digging into the flesh. Hot breath slides down the nape of my neck. It doesn’t take long. We’re not wearing much to begin with, and our bodies are already shiny and wet with sweat. Once we’ve both shuddered with satisfaction, we part ways, wordless.

It happens a few more times after that. No words. No names. Then the winter sets in, and I turn to the treadmill for my daily jog. Sometimes at night, lying in bed, I close my eyes and remember how he felt, the way his blue eyes caught me in their snare. I  remember the way my body reacted to the things he did. The risks I took.

I’m glad it’s over. It was only a dream. A kinky fantasy. Fleeting. Gone forever.

I think I won’t ever see him again.