Review: AND THEN THERE WAS YOU by Nancy Naigle

I recently had the pleasure of reading and ARC of And Then There Was You, a new romance/mystery novel by accomplished writer, Nancy Naigle. It is releases later this month, but is already available for pre-orders.


During the coziness of sweater weather in the mountains of Virginia two people find love against all odds in USA Today bestselling author Nancy Naigle’s And Then There Was You.

Reeling after falling prey to a Romeo con-artist who just waltzed away with the better part of her belongings, Natalie Maynard works closely with the detective assigned to her case, only the few leads have led nowhere.

Detective Randy Fellowes can’t promise Natalie restitution, but he’s determined to find the culprit and serve up justice. Married to his work, he’s caught off guard when Natalie has his thoughts wandering to more than the case.

Natalie soon seeks refuge in the one thing she still owns — an old fishing cabin in the mountains of Chestnut Ridge. She quickly falls in love with the town and the eccentric people who are teaching her so much about the area and its heritage.

Through these people, and the determination of Detective Fellowes, she rediscovers her courage, self, and a reason to risk love again.

*Description and image from book page on Amazon.

My Review

In this well-written story, Natalie discovers she has been taken in by a con artist who has absconded with all her savings. She takes refuge in a remote cabin she inherited from her late husband. The neighboring community is full of endearing, warm-hearted folks who remember him well and are eager to help her restart her life. Meanwhile, a dedicated detective is working hard at discovering the whereabouts and true identify of the con man. Not surprisingly, he is attractive and sparks soon start to fly between Randy and Natalie. The story unfolds at an even pace and the combination of romance and mystery elements made for an enjoyable read.

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

About the Author

USA Today bestselling author Nancy Naigle whips up small-town love stories with a whole lot of heart. She began her popular contemporary romance series, Adams Grove while juggling a successful career in finance and life on a seventy-six-acre farm. Over twenty-five novels later, Nancy is a Romance Writers of America and ACFW Honor Roll author. Her books have been translated into multiple languages and received favorable reviews from major trade journals. Nancy’s latest release, THE SHELL COLLECTOR, is a touching novel of a friendship that crosses generations, and learning how even the smallest gifts can change a life for good.

Crown Media has adapted several of Nancy’s novels for Hallmark Channel, and Nancy novelized three Hallmark Original Movies set in the town of Evergreen. Hallmark fans may have recently enjoyed The Secret Ingredient and new in 2021 Sand Dollar Cove in the Summer Nights programming-both inspired by her novels.

Now happily retired from a career in the financial industry, this Virginia girl devotes her time to writing, antiquing, and horseback riding with friends.

Download a complete list of Nancy’s books at, then stay up to date with future releases by joining Nancy’s free newsletter -or-visit her on facebook and twitter (@nancynaigle).

Review: MOSTACCIOLI MURDER by Nicolette Pierce

Sometimes I browse the cozy mystery deals with an eye to reading something by an author whose work I have yet to taste. Mostaccioli Murder is the first book in the Jace Sommer Mystery series by Nicolette Pierce.


Murder with a side of mostaccioli.

Jade returns home to Chicago after being wrongfully fired from her dream job. When she had left a decade ago, she had made two promises to herself. One, never ever work for the family restaurant again. And, two, never ever see Logan, her cheating ex-boyfriend, again.

Unfortunately, when the restaurant delivery driver is found murdered, Jade assumes his position. The detective assigned to the case is none other than Logan.

As Jade comes to term with her new life at the restaurant, clues surrounding the murder develop. Jade receives odd delivery orders and threatening messages. Suspects appear in a thrilling mystery that Jade must solve or find herself as dead as the driver.

To save herself and the family business, she must play nice with the detective. But how can she play nice when she vowed to never speak to the jerk again? To solve the case, the pair must put their past aside.

Will Jade solve the murder before it’s too late? Can she move past her feelings for Logan? Get your copy of Mostaccioli Murder and find out.

*Cover and description as shown on Amazon.

My Review

Jade returns to her hometown with a secret. Actually more than one. While she tries to figure out her next steps in life, she is working in her family’s Italian restaurant and pretending to still have a fiance and a job back in California. Then she finds a dead body and the mystery takes off. Lots of things going on, suspense, mystery, and family drama, including a strong, well-done element of romantic suspense as she faces a former sweetheart, who happens to be the detective on the case. Both Jada and Logan are likable characters. The mystery side of the plot is well developed, with surprising twists. I found it to be an enjoyable fast-paced read, with a healthy dose of humor woven in. This was my first time reading anything by this author. It most likely won’t be the last.

Guest Post, Spotlight & Giveaway: DYING DECLARATION by Solange Ritchie

Today I have very special guest on my blog! Dr. Catherine Powers’ nine-year-old son, Joey, has stopped by to tell us all about life with his mom, the FBI forensic pathologist/special agent and main character in Dying Declaration by Solange Ritchie.

Here’s what Joey wants you to know:

Hi, my name is Joey Powers. My mom is Dr. Catherine Powers, but everyone calls her Cat. She is the best mom in the world. I am nine years old now. My favorite things in the world are swimming in our back yard pool, hanging out with my dog, Max, who is a chocolate Labrador and movies. I love the Avatar movies. I love video games too. They are awesome. I love the game Fortnight. Have you ever played it?  If not, that’s your loss. While I like school, I hate math. It gives me a headache.

So, my favorite thing about my mom, you ask? She’s a great cook. Every Tuesday night at our house is Spaghetti night. Mom sometimes mixes it up with her homemade Italian meatballs, which are the best. I also love her blueberry pancakes. She has a secret ingredient for them, but I am not allowed to tell you what it is. You’ll have to guess.

Two years ago, my life changed forever. My dad was shot to death in front of me by The Burning Man.  Then he kidnapped me from my driveway and threw me in the back of his SUV. I was so scared and frightened. I thought I would never see my mom or Max again. I prayed my dad was still alive. I prayed a lot those few days and nights. I prayed I would survive. I prayed The Burning Man would not kill my mom. I prayed he would not kill me. Somehow, I survived. It made me stronger. I realized I am a tough kid. What’s the word mom uses? Resilient. Yes, I am resilient.

My mom is my favorite person in the world. She’s pretty amazing. I miss her a lot when she is gone but I know she has to be gone for long periods of time for work. She catches bad guys, criminals. That’s her job.  She works for the FBI. Her job takes her all over the United States. I think her job is pretty awesome. I stay with our neighbors when she is gone. They treat me like I am their grandson so I get spoiled a lot. And of course, Max is always by my side. He sleeps on my bed at night and kisses me good morning every day. I don’t even care that he has doggie breath sometimes. He’s my best friend in the world.

At school, I am a little bit of a loner. I guess when my dad died it made me even more of a loner. How can you explain how it feels like to loose your dad?  How can you explain what it feels like to loose your hero?  How can you explain those memories that stick in your head? The answer is you can’t. So, I stopped trying to explain it to my friends, my teachers, or anyone at school. No one would understand, not even my mom. I still carry those memories with me every day and every night. I talk to Max about them when I am alone – that’s it. No one else needs to know. If I talk about them to anyone else, I appear weak. I don’t want to be weak. I want to be strong. With my dad gone, my mom needs me to be strong. Now, I am the man of the house. That’s what mom always says. 

In Dying Declaration, it starts out on vacation with my mom in Belize. We had such an amazing time. The ocean water was so clear and blue. When we went snorkeling, I had never seen so many fish before. So many different colors and sizes. They were all around me. I followed the instructions of the man at the hotel and took a bag of Cheetos into the water. I opened it just a bit so the wet Cheetos could float out, a little bit at a time. The fish went crazy for those things. It was like I was inside my own personal aquarium! I think I might want to become an oceanographer or a marine biologist because the fish were so cool. I loved Belize. I definitely want to go back soon. Mom says maybe next year in the summer we can go back there and see some more fish. Maybe, I can swim with the dolphins too. That would be so awesome.  I’ve always wanted to do that.  

Well, that’s it for now. I hope you enjoyed talking with me as much as I enjoyed talking with you.           

About Dying Declaration

Dr. Catherine “Cat” Powers is FBI Forensic pathologist and special agent with an uncanny sixth sense for bringing murders to justice.

During a vacation in Belize with her young son, Joey, Cat gets a phone call from her boss. Young prostitutes are being picked up, murdered and left for dead in the Florida Everglades. The first victim does not fit the killer’s modus operandi. She was a legal secretary working for the Fort Lauderdale based international law firm, Black and Knight.

As Cat investigates this and other deaths, they lead back to the firm’s henchmen and to its partners. With the help of another firm employee, Cat discovers a secret web of murder, illicit drugs, prostitution, sex trafficking, corruption and more. The firm’s partners intend to kill anyone who can lead the law back to them, including Cat.

As the body count grows, powerful people will make decisions that will change lives. Decisions that will destroy families. As Cat uncovers the conspiracy, only one partner, the mastermind, will become Cat’s ally. She will walk away, after seeing that the others are brought to justice.

Purchase Links – Amazon – B&N – Books-a-Million – 


Enter a raffflecopter for your chance to win one of five print copies of Dying Declaration from the author (US only).

About the Author

Born on the tropica island of Jamaica to a Jamaican father and a French mother, Solange Ritchie (then Solange Levy) immigrated to the United States at age eleven. Since then, she has become a dynamic force for change. Fed up with thrillers that start with a fizzle and longing to see more powerful women as lead characters, Solange decided to create her own characters. Despite the demands of a busy legal career, she accomplished her ambitious goal by rising each morning to write before work, dedicating her weekends to writing, and even spending her vacation time writing. Solange is fortunate to have traveled to over 19 countries in her lifetime.

Words have always been Solange’s passion – now so more than ever.

Solange achieved a successful writing career while doing “last minute trial,” mostly in Southern California. Dubbed “the Case Saver,” Solange handled intense legal motions that either make or break a case, especially in the areas of business, labor, and employment law. In 2014, she received the State Bar of California’s Solo and Small Firm’s Section’s highest award, the Myer J. Sankary Attorney of the Year Award. It is given to only one attorney each year in California.

When Solange was just thirty-seven years old, her first husband, John, died due to gross medical negligence at a leading Southern California hospital. This life-altering experience helped shape her into the person she is today. She began writing creatively to deal with the stress of his hospitalization and his death.

Solange’s first psychological thriller, The Burning Man, featuring FBI forensic pathologist Dr. Catherine “Cat” Powers was published in 2015. Her second novel in the series, Firestorm, was released to critical acclaim, on May 15, 2018. Dying Declaration is the third novel in the Dr. Catherine “Cat” Powers series. Bomb Blast is Solange’s fourth novel in the series. Solange plans at least two more books in the Dr. Catherine Powers series. A fan of things that go bump in the night, Solange has also penned a Southern Gothic novel called Fiona’s Box, which will be released shortly.

Solange lives in Southern Florida. She enjoys traveling, writing, gardening, time with her family, as well as good food and conversation. Solange is available for speaking engagements. She especially enjoys talking with book clubs. To receive her Sunday blog post, Notes from Solange, just go to her author website,, and leave your e-mail address. Nothing negative or political is ever posted. Her author website,, includes a blog, reviews, recipes, events, and the latest on Solange’s adventures. Solange welcomes your comments, reviews, and suggestions, and invites you to contact her at:

For reviews, interviews, recipes, and more, visit the tour page.

Spotlight & Giveaway: #TAGME FOR MURDER by Sarah E. Burr

Last week Sarah E. Burr celebrated the release of #TagMe for Murder: A Trending Topic Murder. It is the second book in a series brings to the fore a very current topic – social media. Sounds like and interesting read.

About the Book

When murder trends too close to home, social media influencer Coco Cline will have to swipe through a sea of trolls to tag a killer.

After cracking her first case, Cordelia “Coco” Cline’s life is finally getting back to normal—or as normal as life can be when you have over three million followers online. With a thriving business, a devoted boyfriend, and her two besties living right up the street, Coco is set to have the most fun summer of her life until Larry and Rosalynn Dunmer move into the condo next door.

Coco and her friends do their best to avoid the confrontational duo, but when a party at a swanky new wine bar brings everyone together, things become less than neighborly faster than a celebrity-themed hashtag goes viral. Larry levels some super shady threats toward Coco and her BFF Jasper, which could have dire consequences for their multimedia empires. Just as Coco begins to wonder if she’ll have to spend the rest of the summer looking over her shoulder, she gets a shocking request from police. As part of her PR gig with the Central Shores PD, they need her to come to the beach and keep the public at bay. A body has washed ashore.

Thinking a poor swimmer drowned just before the Salute to Summer festival kicks off, Coco arrives to find Larry Dunmer, dead with a corkscrew sticking out of his neck. What’s even more unbelievable is that Jasper quickly shoots to the top of Chief McInnis’s suspect list. In full-on panic mode, Coco decides to use her tech-savvy sleuthing skills to clear her best friend’s name before his rep is ruined. She soon discovers that Larry made quite a few enemies during his very short stay in town. But who hated him enough to kill him?

Return to the beaches of Central Shores as Coco Cline and her squad assemble to catch a killer before they get canceled…permanently.


Enter a rafflecopter for your chance to win a $30 TJMaxx gift card from the author (US only).

About the Author

Sarah E. Burr is the award-winning author of the Glenmyre Whim Mysteries, Trending Topic Mysteries, and Court of Mystery series. She currently serves as the social media manager for the New York/Tri-State chapter of Sisters in Crime and is the creative mind behind BookstaBundles, a content creation service for authors. Sarah is the co-host of The Bookish Hour, a live-streamed YouTube series featuring author interviews and book discussions. When she’s not spinning up stories, Sarah is singing show tunes, reading everything from mystery to manga, and enjoying walks with her dog, Eevee.

Author Links

Review & Giveaway: A WEALTH OF DECEPTION by Trish Esden

I recently had the pleasure of reading an advance review copy of Trish Esden’s latest mystery – A Wealth of Deception, the second book in the Scandal Mountain Antiques Mystery series.

About the Book

Danger, art, and a touch of romance collide in Trish Esden’s second exquisitely crafted Scandal Mountain Antiques mystery, perfect for fans of Jane K. Cleland and Connie Berry.

Some people are willing to die for their art. Others are willing to kill for it.

When Vermont antique and art dealer Edie Brown discovers an unsettlingly dark collage by the famed reclusive “outsider” artist known only as Vespa, she opens a Pandora’s Box of deception and danger.

Edie teams up with Uncle Tuck and Kala to investigate the background of the collage but only uncover secrets that are more disturbing than the artwork itself. As Edie tracks down the validity of the piece, she stumbles into an art underground where some people are willing to kill to keep their schemes a secret.

Esden expertly crafts a complex cast of characters, a breathtakingly gorgeous setting, and a twisty plot that often poses more questions than answers.

My Review

Although Edie’s family operates an antique business, this well-written story highlights her background and connections with the art world as she tries to determine whether she has discovered a true masterpiece or the work of a copycat.

Edie is a great character. She isn’t perfect, a fact made immediately clear from her arrest record and her family’s checkered past. She is smart, and cautious yet bold at the same time. With the help of her Uncle Tuck and Kala’s, who has some specialized computer skills, Edie pieces together the puzzle and brings the truth to light. The book is well paced, with a variety of twists along the way. There were some aspects of the resolution that I saw coming, but not the resolution in total.

Whereas the first book in this series had a more cozy vibe, this one is more intense. The subject matter – both in the collage and throughout the story – leans to the dark side, while drawing attention to the potential for post-traumatic stress for witnesses to violent crime.

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


Enter a rafflecopter for your chance to an amazing prize package including a hardcover copy of The Art of the Decoy, a hand painted Russian Matryoshka doll, and Swag (USA only) from the author.

About the Author

Trish Esden loves museums, gardens, wilderness, dogs and birds, in various orders depending on the day. She lives in northern Vermont where she deals antiques with her husband, a profession she’s been involved with since her teens. Don’t ask what her favorite type of antique is. She loves hunting for old bottles and rusty barn junk as much as she enjoys fine art and furnishings. Trish is the author of the Scandal Mountain Antiques Mystery series which explores the secretive and adrenaline-charged underbelly of the antique and art world.

Author Links

Purchase Links 

Spotlight & Giveaway: MURDER IN POSTSCRIPT by Mary Winters

Recently released, Murder in Postscript is the 1st book in the Lady of Letters Mystery series – a new cozy historical mystery series set in Victorian England.

About the Book

When one of her readers asks for advice following a suspected murder, Victorian countess Amelia Amesbury, who secretly pens the popular Lady Agony column, has no choice but to investigate in this first book in a charming new historical mystery series.

Amelia Amesbury—widow, mother, and countess—has a secret. Amelia writes for a London penny paper, doling out advice on fashion, relationships, and manners under the pen name Lady Agony. But when a lady’s maid writes Amelia to ask for advice when she believes her mistress has been murdered—and then ends up a victim herself—Amelia is determined to solve the case.

With the help of her best friend and a handsome marquis, Amelia begins to piece together the puzzle, but as each new thread of inquiry ends with a different suspect, the investigation grows ever more daunting. From London’s docks and ballrooms to grand country houses, Amelia tracks a killer, putting her reputation—and her life—on the line.


Enter a rafflecopter for your chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card from the author.

About the Author

Mary Winters is the author of Murder in Postscript, the debut novel in A Lady of Letters Mystery series. A longtime reader of historical fiction and an author of two other mystery series, Mary set her latest work in Victorian England after being inspired by a trip to London. Since then, she’s been busily planning her next mystery—and another trip! Find out more about Mary and her writing at

Author Links

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Review: I WILL FIND YOU by Harlan Coben

Harlan Coben is one of my go-to authors when in the mood for suspense, so of course I was happy to receive an advance review copy of his latest novel. Released earlier this month, I definitely recommend it.


Five years ago, an innocent man began a life sentence for murdering his own son. Today he found out his son is still alive.
David Burroughs was once a devoted father to his three-year-old son Matthew, living a dream life just a short drive away from the working-class suburb where he and his wife, Cheryl, first fell in love–until one fateful night when David woke suddenly to discover Matthew had been murdered while David was asleep just down the hall. 
Half a decade later, David’s been wrongly accused and convicted of the murder, left to serve out his time in a maximum-security prison—a fate which, grieving and wracked with guilt, David didn’t have the will to fight. The world has moved on without him. Then Cheryl’s younger sister, Rachel, makes a surprise appearance during visiting hours bearing a strange photograph. It’s a vacation shot of a bustling amusement park a friend shared with her, and in the background, just barely in frame, is a boy bearing an eerie resemblance to David’s son. Even though it can’t be, David just knows: Matthew is still alive.

David plans a harrowing escape, determined to achieve the impossible – save his son, clear his own name, and discover the real story of what happened. But with his life on the line and the FBI following his every move, can David evade capture long enough to reveal the shocking truth?

*Description and cover as they appear on Amazon.

My Review

A child’s murder is every parent’s nightmare. Hard to imagine then being convicted for the crime – despite your innocence. But this is the opening premise in a riveting novel that follows David’s struggle to find out what really happened that night. After all, the evidence really did point to his guilt. The characters are well-developed, Rachel in particular. She is torn between loyalty to her sister and the desire to help prove David’s innocence. And it is easy to identify with David’s anguish and depair. As the fast-moving plot unfolds, intricate and unexpected connections between events and persons are revealed with enough page-turning suspense to keep me reading into the early hours of the night.

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

Review: FAKING IT WITH THE GRUMP by Kate O’Keefe

In the mood for something fun to distract me, I recently read Faking It With the Grump (Second Chance Café Book 1), the start of a new sweet rom-com series by Kate O’Keefe.


He’s grumpy, boring, and thinks it’s okay to wear a suit and tie to a small town bar full of lumberjacks. But when I kiss him? Let’s just say I wasn’t expecting THAT.

It’s one thing to be dumped by the huge Hollywood star you thought you were going to marry. It’s quite another to move back to the small town you’re both from.
As a booby prize for being shown the door by Dex Ryder, everyone is trying to set me up with their son, their nephew, or their long-lost cousin’s gardener. Either that or they’re throwing me pitying looks that say, “You’re a big loser.”
I’m not going to put up with their patronizing sympathy anymore.
So, when I spot new-guy-in-town Christopher Young, I set out to make him mine. Or you know, pretend to make him mine. I’m still in a horrible funk over Dex, and Christopher is an uptight grump. Not exactly my type.
The fact that despite appearances, he’s gorgeous and doing weird things to my blood pressure doesn’t mean a thing.
Not. A. Thing.

Hunter’s Creek, population next to nothing, is the reason I work all the time. I’m solely focused on buying the town’s lumber mill so I can go back to NYC and get my big promotion. This small town is a means to an end. Nothing more.
That is until the prettiest girl I’ve ever seen superglues her lips to mine in an unexpected and very public way. She’s not the kind of woman I usually go for with her boho dress and ankle boots, but that kiss…
I’m disappointed when she comes up for air and tells me it’s all for show. But if Harper Cole wants me to be her fake boyfriend while I’m here in town, who am I to turn her down? Being attached to a local might ingratiate me to the townsfolk and make my job that much the easier.

After all, dating Harper can only be make believe. Not when my entire future is at stake.

*As appears on Amazon.

My Review

In this light romance set in a charming small town, Harper doesn’t want people playing matchmaker or feeling sorry for her. After the big breakup, she is done with love. When Christopher enters the picture, she comes up with what she thinks might be a perfect solution – pretend to be in a relationship so everyone will leave her alone. Not something most of us would try, but on an impulse she just goes for it. Even though the two are polar opposites – the sparks are quick to fly – they both do their best to suppress their growing feelings, fearful they might not be reciprocated. As in any good rom-com, there are bumps in the road on the route to their happily ever after. This nicely written, clean romance was an enjoyable and is likely to appeal to fans of rom-com novels and Hallmark movies.

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

Release Spotlight & Interview: ON THE SLY by Wendy L. Koenig

Today, I am happy to host Wendy L. Koenig as she celebrates the release of her latest book – On the Sly. In our interview, she talks a bit about her writing and herself.

First of all, congratulations on your new release.
There are so many mystery books out there. What makes yours different?

My main character is a kick-ass woman with no special education or training. She just doesn’t stop.

What were the biggest rewards and challenges with writing your book?

This book was completely different when I first wrote it. When I finished, I just didn’t like it, so I started cutting, rearranging and adding. Love the final edition. It took about a year longer than I like, though.

You live in Canada, but your book is set in Missouri how did you do research for your book?

I grew up about an hour from St. Louis, so I just took a trip home. Kicked around the city a bit to let the feel of it flow through me.

Where do you get inspiration for your stories?

Most people have great stories in their pasts. I borrow ideas from those and mix them up a bit. Also, the news fills in the blanks pretty well.

If you could be a character in your book, who would you be?

Sylvia, of course! Or one of the dogs. Ruffles, probably.

If your book were made into a movie, what songs would be on the soundtrack?

Anything Classic Rock. Preferably the Stones.

Now for a few fun questions.
Tell us, what’s the scariest thing that ever happened to you?

I once found myself on horseback in the middle of a field of rattlesnakes. When we realized it, we shot out of there like a cannon. Both myself and my horse were unharmed, though it took a long time for me to stop shaking.

Do you like to travel? Have a favorite destination?

Everywhere!!! I love to travel.

If you were stuck on a deserted island, which three books would you want with you?

Any Jack Reacher book, Dreamsnake by Vonda McIntyre, and an empty book of just paper (with a pencil, of course).

What’s the most courageous thing you’ve ever done?

I joined the US Air Force right out of high school.

What TV series are you currently binge watching?

Jack Ryan, the Tom Clancy series. And Murdoch Mysteries. I’ve already watched Lincoln Lawyer and Jack Reacher about a dozen times now.

What is your personal theme song?

“Born to Run” (Bruce Springsteen)

That’s a wrap. Thank you, Wendy, for stopping by.

About the Book

Sylvia Wilson, a bar owner in St. Louis, Missouri, arrives at work to discover the body of an ex-police officer in her locked bar. The police focus on her as their primary suspect, so she decides to launch her own investigation into the dead man and his accomplices. But when the killer sends her clear messages that she and her loved ones are on his radar, she knows it’s just a matter of time before someone ends up dead. 

Get your copy on:
Amazon or Goodreads

About the Author

Wendy Koenig is a published author living in New Brunswick, Canada. Her first piece to be printed was a short children’s fiction, Jet’s Stormy Adventure, serialized in The Illinois Horse Network. She attended University of Iowa, honing her craft in their famed summer workshops and writing programs. Since that time, she has published and co-authored numerous books and has won several international awards.

For more information, visit Wendy at her website: You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Guest Post, Spotlight & Giveaway: MURDER SERVED NEAT by Michelle Hillen Klump

I am happy to have as my guest today, Michelle Hillen Klump, as she celebrates the release of Murder Served Neat, the second book in the Cocktails and Catering Mystery series. In her guest post, she tells about one of the sources of inspiration.

Inspiration from a City
Guest post from Michelle Hillen Klump, Murder Served Neat

When I sat down to write my first cozy mystery series, I knew I wanted to set it in my adopted hometown of Houston, Texas. As the fourth-largest city in the US with its twelve-lane freeways and massive sprawl, it wasn’t the likeliest setting for a cozy. But there is a lot of charm here that is overlooked by those who associate it only with its chemical plants and oil refineries, its big-city grittiness and traffic.

The city is full of interesting neighborhoods where you can find people and food from nearly every country in the world; a tremendous arts community with theater, ballet, opera and the symphony; and beautiful parks where people from all corners of our city come together to play and have fun.

In my series, I wanted to highlight some of my favorite parts of the city and show it off to those who may only have preconceived notions of Houston. In my first book, A DASH OF DEATH, I focused on the quaint historical community of the Highlands, my fictional stand-in for the Houston Heights neighborhood. The Heights is full of old Victorians and bungalows and even a little shopping district of galleries and boutiques that could rival any small town main street found in more traditional cozies.

In my second book, I wanted to pay homage to another aspect of the city that I have always loved – the access it provides to mix and mingle with people from so many different cultures. On any given Saturday in Houston, you can stumble into a cultural festival where you can learn about international cuisines and traditions that you may otherwise have never encountered before. At these festivals, you can learn Bollywood dance moves, hear music from the Caribbean or watch a cooking demonstration from South America.

MURDER SERVED NEAT takes place during one such festival hosted by the German-Texan lodge. Though the lodge in my book is purely fictional, dozens of these cultural heritage societies exist in Houston with the goal of celebrating and preserving their unique traditions and what they represent to the community at large. German settlers in particular made many contributions to Texas culture, influencing everything from beer and brass bands to barbecue.

I hope my book captures a flavor of the fun to be found at these festivals, sampling unique foods listening to traditional music and watching traditional dance performances. I frequent them often with my family, and every time we leave, I’m left with an appreciation of how much richer our lives are because of the cultural melting pot that is Houston.

About the Book

Reporter-turned-mixologist Samantha Warren has already thwarted one murder. Now, her world is shaken—definitely not stirred—once again as another killing throws her world into chaos.

Samantha is mixing up traditional cocktails at the German Texan Lodge’s Fourth of July festival—a gig she was roped into by her mother. But amidst the bratwurst and brass bands, trouble is brewing. Lodge loyalties are divided over a proposal to build a private, country-club-style tennis center on the lodge grounds. Her mom’s best friend Patty Davis is vehemently opposed to the plan. Society matron Angela Clawson is all for it. At the festival, they’re seen in a heated argument—and hours later, Angela is found dead, killed by one of the ceremonial shovels intended for the groundbreaking.

Samantha’s mother begs her to help clear her best friend’s name, but can she handle another murder case or will the whole investigation go bottoms up?


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About the Author

Michelle Hillen Klump began her writing career as a newspaper reporter, traveling the back roads of central Texas and Arkansas, reporting on everything from natural disasters to crime and corruption. She’s interviewed former presidents, covered a midnight manhunt through the Ozark Mountains, and learned the finer points of how to break a car window from a looter while covering a hurricane. Now, she uses her experiences as fodder for fiction, writing a cozy mystery series about a former reporter turned craft cocktail caterer.

Michelle lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband and young daughter. When she’s not writing or working her day job, she enjoys gardening, reading, exploring Houston’s neighborhoods, hiking and biking, and creating craft cocktails for friends and family.

Author Links

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