Thursday, March 31, 2016

Cozy Discussion #2: Romance and Love Triangles?

I have seen this discussion a time or two where someone will ask about romance within a cozy, and I will answer it the same way I did in a discussion today.

I get tired of romance if it takes too long to get the show on the road like the Hannah Swenson series or Stephanie Plum and love triangles drive me batty

We have so many book series out there and I'm all for either a romance or not but I hate love triangles because in the end someone gets hurt and in the case of Hannah Swenson two guys get hurt because Hannah ends up with neither of her boyfriends.  What is the point of that??

In the case of Stephanie Plum how many books and Stephanie still hasen't picked?  How long do you expect the readers to wait? 

I could see waiting a book or two or three for Hannah is on her 20th book, Stephanie Plum is up there too in her books.  How many books does it take to figure guys out?  

I am a more a murder she wrote era.  Jessica was widowed.  She had her guy friends things were hinted at but not thrown in your face.  I think it works we know she loved Frank and that no will compare to Frank.  I hate when books are forcing relationships they can go at a normal rate but don't make a book that is under the category chiclit/cozy it won't work.  Mystery lovers aren't looking for romance so I don't know why we are trying to sell them on a romance.  They are in it because the love some murder and sleuthing.  Not to see who Betty Boop is Booping.  I find in the case of Norman and Mike in Hannah Swenson these men seem hollow.  Hannah loves them but won't commit sounds like a girl who wants her cake and eat it too.  When you add to man love interests I don't know how you keep it lively to where people like the characters instead of hollow like these men are.

I would like to thank Save Our Cozies on Facebook for sparking this discussion!

Interview: Teresa Watson author of Who Invited The Ghost To Dinner?

Recently I had a chance to sit down and talk to Teresa Watson author of Who Invited The Ghost To Dinner.  Thank you Teresa for taking the time to visit Community Bookstop!

What genre do you write? 

Cozy mystery

How did you come to write cozies? 

I LOVE mysteries! I started out reading Nancy Drew, graduated to Agatha Christie, and went from there. My mother also loves mysteries, so we share our books and favorite authors with each other. Since mysteries are the main genre I read, it was a pretty natural thing to write them myself. And I love it!

Who is your favorite character to write about? 

That’s a tough one! I guess it would have to depend on which series I’m writing (I have two series right now). For the Ghostwriter series, I would have to say Cam would be my favorite character to write about, followed by Grandma Alma (who is based on my grandmother), and Jim and Charlotte (who are based on my parents). When Cam and Jim are having a conversation, I imagine Dad and I have the same conversation. It’s kind of a healing thing right now, as I lost my father about six months after I published the first Ghostwriter story.

Who inspires your books? 

My mother! I stop to think what she would like to read (and what I would like to read). She loves a good mystery; loves figuring out whodunit. So I write the twists and turns to keep her guessing. She also helps edit my books, so if it doesn’t get by her, it doesn’t get into the book. I
think my favorite story about this involves my other series. I had a wicked character that I really loved. As I was getting ready to write the fifth book in that series, Mother told me, “Debra has GOT to GO.” I protested vehemently, but the law had been laid down. So when people ask me who signed Debra’s death warrant, I simply say, “My mother!”

What do you do when you’re not writing? 

You mean we’re supposed to do other things besides write?! No, seriously, I read, crochet (I’ve taken the last month or so off from writing, and have crocheted three blankets), and watch sports on TV.

If you were stuck on a deserted island what three things would you take? 

A ginormous box of my favorite books, plenty of Dr Pepper, and my son to keep me company!
Thank you,


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Cozy Discussions #1: Why Authors Use Aliases?

  As an avid reader of cozy books, I love being able to read different books and have only recently learned most of the books I loved were written by the same author, which led me to look more into why authors go under other names.  It all began with Miranda James who I have loved Cat in the Stacks and for a while I thought Miranda James was a she it wasn’t until I was looking on Goodreads that I discovered Miranda is a guy named Dean James, so I asked him why the alias and he explained if you google Dean James you get the famous actor who died whom everyone knows either by his movies or reference in other movies James Dean, then I found out the second reason he went as a female as his publisher said women authors sell and thus Miranda James was born.  Another author told me there are books work for hire,  that is how Avery Aames was born in the Cheese Shop Mysteries.  She also writes under her name Daryl Wood Gerber she writes the Cookbook Nook Mysteries.  
   Sometimes in certain cases like Jim and Joyce Lavene the publisher wanted something fresh and that is how J.J. Cook was born. Some authors in the case of J.D. Robb aka Nora Roberts J.D. Robb is the alias to Nora Roberts because she writes In Death Series which is a mystery series.  Then she writes a lot of books under Nora Roberts which some are thrillers, romance, and on and on.  
Some use aliases in the case of Karoline Barrett she uses one because her married name is hard to pronounce she uses a variation for her books.  Ann Parramond uses the alias Ann Myers because she has another hard to pronounce name.  And she penned a name she liked her grandmother’s name.
   In the case of Dean Koontz he has several different names one being Leah Nicols, because his author didn’t think he should release two books a year, the same thing happened with John Sandford, who also writes under John Camp.  Also as many know Stephen King writes under an alias due to writing so many books.  Sometimes in many cases the publishing company will ask a writer to write a series and the company will own the series and the authors name.  Edith Maxwell who writes Local Foods Mysteries and she proposed a mystery idea for a series to her publisher Kensington.  Her editor wanted her to use a pen name and that is how Maddie Day was born.  It seems in a lot of cases they want a new author for a new series and that is the requirement.  A lot of authors don’t have much of a choice to either do it with a new name or no series.  Which I have found to be a common answer in this discussion.
   Victoria Hamilton writes under the name Donna Simpson or Donna Lea Simpson that author has a long running romance writing career.  As Victoria doesn’t want to confuse the readers.  She writes as Amanda Cooper because she signed on to do a work-for-hire series (Teapot Collector Mysteries) She also writes under her name for the Vintage Kitchen Mysteries.
  If anyone would like to help me work on a project to help me compile a list of authors and their lists of books written by them as I am confused like many get with the various names everyone has.  I want to take the time to thank so many people that helped with getting this answer.


Daryl Wood Gerber aka Avery Aames, J.J. Cook aka Jim and Joyce Lavene, Victoria Hamilton aka Donna Simpson aka Donna Lea Simpson, Edith Maxwell aka Maddie Day, Glenda Moore, Ann Perramond aka Ann Myers, Karoline Barrett, Dean James aka Miranda James 

Special Thank you to the Save Our Cozies group on Facebook you all rock!!

Book Excerpt: Ren Crown by: Anne Zoelle


Rising Up with Ren Crown

Read and Excerpt from

The Awakening of Ren Crown by Anne Zoelle

Ren Crown Promo
Here's an excerpt from The Awakening of Ren Crown by Anne Zoelle we know you'll enjoy!
Devastated by the loss of her twin–and consumed by the realization that magic actually exists–art student Ren Crown illegally enrolls in a fantastical university determined to bring her brother back to life. But caught in a time of war, and as a mage with abilities that both sides want to harness and use, Ren finds herself an unwitting pawn in a larger game.[/box]

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Chapter Nine: Olivia Price
I awakened early and began the arduous climb up the mountain. Alone on the path, I had ample time to think. Equal amounts of apprehension, excitement, and terror flowed through me, and I began to second-guess my decision. A soft, comforting whisper wrapped around me. “You can do this, Ren. You’re strong and capable.” Hearing Christian spurred me on. The journey suddenly seemed less lonely. And before I knew it, stretching across the flat grass of the fifth band near the top of the mountain—and encircling the entire mountainside—was the mammoth nine-story structure straight out of Ancient Rome that was referred to in the administration packet as the Magiaduct, or more informally, Dormitory Circle. A stone-columned arcade lined the lower level, providing coverage for students walking from door to door. Symmetrically spaced between the entrance doors were gateways, allowing a tunneled path to the other side of the building. From the second floor skyward, the building was an unbroken wall of ancient multicolored stone and glass. In the morning light the façade glowed and shimmered, alive with color. If I survived the day, I would lovingly admire its classic architectural magnificence tomorrow. With a cocktail of emotions stirring inside, I walked beneath the nearest arcade arch, passed a group of students laughing together, and approached a door. Apprehension. Excitement. Terror. The number thirty-two was carved into the stone above the wooden door, bright in the rising sun. I continued on to the right—hoping that walking counter-clockwise decreased the number count—past another stone gateway and to the next door. Thirty-one. It was a hike between doorways. The administration packet had mentioned thirty-six, nine-story “dorms” each housing four hundred students, solidly ringing this level of the mountain. People were running on top of the Magiaduct. Some of the workout gear was rather strange looking, even from this distance. But the evidence of a track indicated you could at least move from one dorm section to the next at the topmost level. I continued on until I reached the heavy wooden door beneath the stone-carved number Twenty-five. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. I swallowed hard and opened the door. I had expected the interior to be stark and medieval, but the lower-level meeting and study area was fresh and bright with white slate floors and cream walls. Rich walnut furniture and comfortable sofas and lounge chairs upholstered in rich burgundy and forest green were scattered about in conversational pods, giving the room a warm and inviting feel. The area was a bustle of activity, with students entering, loitering, and exiting. I climbed the nearest staircase and found room fifty-two on the second floor. I took a deep breath, hoisting my papers more firmly in the crook of my arm, and knocked. No answer. I knocked again, then leaned casually against the wall and inserted one of Marsgrove’s straightened paperclips into the lock to see if a chomper engaged. No answer, no chomp. Relief nearly unbalanced me. No one was inside and the lock was completely standard, thank God. I could have it scrubbed open in ten seconds. Two students engaged in a hot debate passed me. “Social theory is important,” the girl said. The boy shook his head. “Brute force will always win. Magic is might.” I knocked on the door again, trying to look like I wasn't loitering, and discreetly pulled out my favorite rake and torque wrench from my brother's set, using my knee to press my papers against the wall so that I could use both hands. The door yanked open and a chilly voice said, “Yes?” My papers spilled to the floor as I jumped away in surprise. I quickly bent my fingers around the pick and wrench, shoving them back along my wrist and up into my shirt’s sleeve. I cleared my throat nervously. Potential new roommate Olivia Price was dressed in a tailored black and gray dress that looked very severe on her tall, thin frame. I couldn't help glancing at my own clothing, feeling more than a little out of place. But other students had been dressed in a wide variety of styles, especially the students whose clothing continuously changed form. More than a few people had been informally dressed in First Layer fashion. I was fine. Normal looking and totally as if I belonged, I tried to assure myself. I bent to collect my papers, then pasted on a bright smile and held up my forged documents. “I'm your new roommate.” Her hair was pulled tightly into a bun as severe as her clothing, and rectangular black glasses perched on the bridge of her very straight nose. She smiled down at me, but there was no humor in her eyes. “Are you?” This now clearly qualified as a complete introduction failure. I tried desperately to keep my face calm and smiling. It had been a stupid plan. Thoughts tumbled through my head on how to nonchalantly extricate myself. I'd figure out something else. I had six thousand vertical feet of space to work with. “Come in, then.” She stepped back, a clear invitation to enter, despite the cold amusement decorating her features. I hesitated over the threshold, then walked inside. The feel of a net descended and I lashed out with my arms, thinking that I had once more let myself be captured. But the magic gently pushed my limbs back to my sides. It swirled inside me and pushed against the cuff encircling my wrist. The net stroked me, then gently dissipated. I squirmed, feeling suddenly like I was in the right place, then realized the austere girl standing silently in front of me had to think I was certifiable. The skin around her eyes tightened, loosened, then tightened again, as if she were surprised, then displeased by something. I cleared my throat. “Hi.” I tried to remember my cover story, as well as how I could admit to having gotten the room wrong. “Sorry. I just transferred from—” “That is your side.” She pointed to the empty bed and desk on the window side of the room. My thoughts and words all crashed together. “What? Really? I mean, yes, great!” The feeling that I was in the right place intensified, then slowly dissipated. There was a curiously blank look to her expression, all tightness gone. As if she had no emotional reaction to me at all any longer. “You stay on your side, I'll stay on mine.” And with that, she turned to her desk and an enormous tome that was placed there. “Oh. Er, thanks.” She hadn't even asked me my name. I quietly walked to the empty desk on the far side of the room. The energy that had been capped by Marsgrove's cuff was restless now, pushing and leaking, as if it had tasted freedom for a moment and now refused to be denied. The room's magic hummed around me.
Don't forget!
rEN cROWN 99C1 (3)

About the Books

The-Awakening-of-Ren-Crown-185-x-295A world that exists right on top of ours–in every nook and cranny…a world that modifies the memories of anyone not yet awakened to magic…a world at war… Devastated by the loss of her twin–and consumed by the realization that magic actually exists–art student Ren Crown illegally enrolls in a fantastical university determined to bring her brother back to life. But caught in a time of war, and as a mage with abilities that both sides want to harness and use, Ren finds herself an unwitting pawn in a larger game. Needing to hide from those who wish to enslave her, Ren gambles everything on her determination to succeed, putting herself in plain sight of those who could capture her. Constantly needing to figure out who to trust–a cold, powerful roommate, a genius magical engineer, the most powerful combat mage of their age, a mysterious muse, a cunning and brilliant tactician, a charming terrorist, an influential politician, or the voice of her brother…the hardest thing may be trusting her own heart. amazon.comBarnes-Noble-Logo   Barely surviving her first term at college, all Ren wants to do over break is relax and bond with her roommate—not get eaten by a sentient building or attacked on the street. But with increasingly open warfare brewing between the magical factions and Layers of the world, this time, Ren will not fail in making sure everyone she loves stays safe and protected. That includes doing things like filling her parents' house with personal art heavily embedded with wards, bubble-wrapping her increasingly imperiled roommate, and even making sure that a certain sexy thorn-in-her-side continues to breathe free air. Finding herself on duty protecting the entire university alongside campus god Alexander Dare...was not what she'd had in mind. But this time it's not only her life on the line. And Ren will do anything to protect those she loves. amazon.comBarnes-Noble-Logo   Reeling from what the students at Excelsine University are calling "Bloody Tuesday," Ren is determined to regather her magical family. But the events of the attack were not without multiple costs. Magically broken and exposed, Ren is ripe pickings for multiple factions that want to use and chain her, and the Department is the scariest of the pack. With only a limited amount of time to save her friend, and confined with the rest of the student body awaiting their fate, Ren stands a mere hairsbreadth from losing her freedom completely with each and every decision she makes.       amazon.comBarnes-Noble-Logo   Anne Zoelle has loved books about fantasy, magic, math, wit, and imagination since devouring A Wrinkle in Time, Phantom Tollbooth, Alice in Wonderland, and the Chronicles of Narnia as a child. Split between the midwest and west coast, she writes books for all ages, as well as for furry monsters, sentient libraries, and adventuring aliens. Anne Zoelle is the pseudonym of a USA Today Bestselling Author. She is currently working on the fourth book in the Ren Crown series. Connect with Anne on her website, Facebook, or Twitter. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, March 28, 2016

Editorial: Monday Madness

With Easter over with and all my sick kids now better and back to school I've decided to work on updating things on the blog and with that changing some books I will and won't review.

Won't review: which is always hard as I know there are great authors out there but for the couple of bad seeds I've been fed lately I have had to make some changes.  This won't affect authors or publishers I work with now but it would for new authors and publishers.  I won't be accepting:

Indie Books
Self Published
Terrorist Themed Books
Books with crimes against children
suicide themed books
Non-fiction books

Now if I have worked with you before not to worry I am still going to work with you this manly impacts new authors.  I have had some people really harp on my to promote their books to the point I had to implement these changes.  Either they have me change my words in a review or they want to call me to promote their material, if it can't be conveyed in a email or messaging through sites then what makes you think talking to me on the phone is going to change it?

That's all I can really say about the subject.

I will review the following:

Indies from authors I have previously worked with
cozy mysteries
historical fiction
the rest of the list is under contact us section of the blog.

We at Community Bookstop still thrive to offer free advertising, promotion of all sorts.  If any of that appeals to you by all means contact us we love working with our beloved authors, publishers, we hope this will help those looking to promote their stories.

Other than the minor changes which I hate to make these decisions one bad apple can really tip the cart.  As many know I'm tired alot and to have to make these changes I thought I could let time pass and not have to address it but after recent situations I had to make a stance on this issue.  There has to be a give and take and a line drawn in the sand and unfortunately right now this is my line in the sand that may change at some point but for now I need to work through the piles of books I haven't gotten to plus the ones for tours, and through NetGalley and Edelweiss so when I am caught up maybe then I will change this policy who knows.

Now back to your regularly scheduled review :)

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Book Excerpt: Those Who Walk In Darkness by: Joyce and Jim Lavene

Book Excerpt: Those Who Walk In Darkness

Jacks crouched down in the dark street and pointed to the faint trace of light coming through the downstairs windows of the bank building. Upstairs, the windows blazed with light. Several figures passed across them.
“I count six,” Jacks said softly. “Five men and one woman. You?”
Davey Hume nodded. “Six. I saw the woman. What’s she doing out here?”
“Probably married or shacking up with one of the men.”
“No place for a woman,” Davey said with a frown.
“Yeah, well, watch her anyway. They can be worse than the men,” Jacks warned. “There’s bound to be a door in the back of the building. You go around there and wait for the signal.”
“What’s the signal?” Hume asked in excitement, loving this part of the job.
“You’ll know. When you hear it, keep your gun up and your head down. Watch your back and your sides as you come into the building. Worse mistake you can make is letting someone sneak up on you.”
“I’m ready.” Davey nodded and took out his gun.
Jacks doubted it but didn’t say so. “Wait for the signal.”
Hume scurried along the shadowed edges of the street, making his way to the back of the building. There was music and laughter coming from upstairs. He looked up at the back of the bank. There were actually two doors. One was straight in front of him, but the other was up a set of rickety looking stairs. They didn’t look strong enough to hold anyone, but heeding Jacks’ words, he didn’t rule out the possibility either.
He waited patiently, wondering what the signal would be and how he would know for sure that it was the signal. He admired and respected Jacks’ calm composure and sureness. No wonder Jacks had been a top agent for so long.
Davey wanted to be just like him. Except maybe a little friendlier.
He thought about the woman inside the building and wondered if he could actually shoot a woman if it came down to it. He wouldn’t have admitted it, but he’d never shot a man in his life. Allan Pinkerton knew it right away. He hadn’t held it against him, though. That was when he paired him with Jacks. Maybe Jacks would help him make his first kill, Davey considered. He just hoped it wasn’t a woman. Women were…different.
The outlaws in the abandoned bank were having a pretty good time, he thought as the noise level rose from inside. And not a bit worried about being caught. He checked his gun again and eased the cramp that had come from gripping it so tightly. Where was the signal?
He heard a popping sound, followed by a dull thud in the lower bank floor. Was that it? he wondered nervously, positioning himself outside the lower back door, ready to kick it in as he entered.
Before he could move, an explosion rocked the quiet night around him. The sound was so loud and startling that it knocked him off his feet. The back door flew off its hinges and almost slapped him in the face as it came by him. Smoke poured from the windows and the cracks in the building. The beginning of a fire crackled in the front foyer of the building.
Getting back on his feet, Hume caught the first man out the back door and knocked him down on the ground. The man lay still, and Hume left him there, convinced that he wouldn’t get up until he came back for him. He pulled his handkerchief out of his pocket and wrapped it across his face. Two other men came out of the building and fell at his feet, coughing and gagging from the smoke. Hume tied them up quickly, anxious to get inside and really do the job.
The smell of sulfur was strong in his nose as he finally entered the building. It was difficult to see in all the smoke. The fire was beginning to pick up force. It wouldn’t take long to burn the dry tinder down to the ground. It could even take the rest of the old buildings down with it.
He looked to the sides and didn’t see anyone.
“Jacks?” he called out as he began to go through what was left of the downstairs floor. The stairs going to the next floor were still intact. A gunshot rang out from up there, and he ran for the stairs.

He didn’t see the woman in the pink silk dress until it was too late. He heard the sound of the gun firing then looked down at the gun in her hand. There was a lot of blood coming from his chest, but he couldn’t feel anything. He looked at her again, and she smiled at him. Then he crumpled to the floor.

Review: The Skeleton Garden by: Marty Wingate

Title: The Skeleton Garden
Author: Marty Wingate
Pubisher: Albi
Series: Potting Shed Mystery #4
Pages: 233
Format: e-book ARC
Source: Great Escapes Book Tours & NetGalley


USA Today bestselling author Marty Wingate’s Potting Shed series continues as expert gardener Pru Parke digs up a Nazi warplane—and a fresh murder.

Texas transplant Pru Parke has put down roots in England, but she never dreamed she’d live in a grand place such as Greenoak. When her former employers offer Pru and her new husband, former Detective Chief Inspector Christopher Pearse, the use of their nineteenth-century estate while they’re away for a year, she jumps at the chance. Sweetening the deal is the prospect of further bonding with her long-lost brother, Simon, who happens to be Greenoak’s head gardener. But the majestic manor has at least one skeleton in its closet—or, rather, its garden.

Working on renovations to the extensive grounds, siblings Pru and Simon squabble about everything from boxwood to bay hedges. But when the removal of a half-dead tree turns up the wreckage of a World War II–era German fighter plane and a pile of bones, the arguments stop. That is, until a rival from Simon’s past pays a surprise visit and creates even more upheaval. It’s suddenly clear someone is unhappy their secrets have been unearthed. Still, Pru’s not about to sit back and let Simon take the fall for the dirty deed without a fight.

My Thoughts:

This book starts out with a man arguing with another when he winds up dead.  Then we are fast forwarded to the present where Pru Parke and her husband Christopher Pearse are spending time in England at her former employers house.  This will give Pru time to build a relationship with her brother she didn't know about.  Simon and Pru seem to only be butting heads everywhere they turn.  Not long into this book they find the victim from WWII and a German fighter plane.  Who left a plane and a body at Greenoak?

This book is full of adventure and great people who you can connect with and watch how even with the fighting they do care.  What length Pru will go to free her brother Simon from being thrown to the wolves in this murder. This book is definitely one of those series type books that can be a stand alone as well.  There is enough explanation that you know who the characters are without feeling like you are missing something in the process.  I also enjoyed learning more about England and their history.  Can't wait to see what is next in this series!
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Monday, March 21, 2016

Review: Vamps, Villians and Vaudeville by: Ellen Mansoor Collier

Title: Vamps, Villians, and Vaudeville
Authors: Ellen Mansoor Collier
Publisher: Deco Dame Press
Series: A Jazz Age Mystery #4
Pages: 252
Format: e-book ARC
Source: Great Escapes Book Tours


In 1920s Galveston, society reporter Jazz Cross is in for a surprise when she attends a traveling vaudeville show with her beau, Prohibition Agent James Burton, and discovers that an old flame acts in the production. That night, they find a stabbing victim behind the Oasis - her half-brother Sammy's speakeasy - who's identified as an actor in the troupe. When the victim disappears and later turns up dead, Jazz must help prove that Sammy wasn't the killer. After a second vaudeville actor is found murdered, Jazz discovers that the events behind the scenes are much more interesting than the outdated acts onstage. 

To make matters worse, Sammy's old nemesis demands that he settles a score and forces him into yet another illegal scheme involving the troupe's money-making ventures. Can Jazz help solve the murders and prove her brother's innocence-so he can escape the Downtown Gang for good? A historical Jazz Age mystery inspired by real-life Galveston gangs and local landmarks.

My Thoughts: 

This is the fourth book in the Jazz Age Mystery this book follows Jazz as she is still reporting for the Gazette.  In this book a vaudeville show is appearing in Galveston.  Jazz thinks that one of the performers sees her.  Who is he and what does he want with her?  After the vaudeville show Jazz gets called to the Oasis as Dino and the other guys have found something and need her assistance with Sammy stuck in Houston.  Jazz takes along her beau Prohibition Agent James Burton with her.  When they arrive Dino takes the out the speakeasy to the alley where they find a man face down, bleeding from being stabbed.   Burton and Jazz escort the man to the hospital for help but it seems the hospital can't even keep track of the man without loosing him.  Who was this John Doe and what did he do to get stabbed? Make matters worse the John Doe winds up dead and again in back  of Jazz's brother Sammy's speakeasy!  Who killed this guy and why? 

Seems the coppers are hot on the trail of a fall guy they are adamant committed the crime Jazz's ex-beau Derek whose the understudy for the victim.  Jazz is determined to find the real murderer before she winds up bumped off.  While that is going on Sammy is still trying to get out from under The Downtown Gang's hold on the Oasis and Sammy himself.  Will Sammy ever be able to escape them?  Then there is the Prohibition which is all but dead, even Agent Burton doesn't believe in it and it's his job.  What will happen when Prohibition is over for Agent Burton?

I love this series and going back to the Jazz era and Prohibition.  So interesting to learn about what these people are going through and the deals they make to survive.  Just such a different world then the one we are in now, even with their mobsters it seemed simpler in a way.  I love how Jazz doesn't back down even when she is dealing with tough situations, and her incredible loyalty.  She's loyal to her friends, her family, the men in her life, even loyal as a journalist.  

If you haven't read the jazz age mysteries you are so missing out on so much.  I have been reading these since the beginning and will read them until the last word is written and then go back and re-read them when I need to go back to Galveston Texas.  Where the excitement is around every turn!  Thank you so much to Ms. Collier for loving the jazz age and Galveston, and giving us this series.  Keeping Jazz, Sammy and everyone around for us to follow.  Can't wait to see what she writes next!  Definitely a must have!! a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Review: The Thing Is by: Kathleen Gerard

Title: The Thing Is
Author: Kathleen Gerard
Publisher: Red Adapt Publishing
Pages: 299
Format: e-book
Source: Red Adapt Publishing


Meredith Mancuso is depressed. Ever since the death of her fiancé, she has shrunk from the world. Even with her successful writing career, she's not motivated to work. When her sister, Monica, begs for a favor, Meredith wants nothing more than to say no. But she’s ultimately roped into pet-sitting an orphaned Yorkshire terrier named Prozac. 

Blessed with spiritual wisdom and a high IQ, Prozac is an active pet therapy dog. To heal broken-hearted Meredith, he rallies his fan club at Evergreen Gardens, an independent living facility, where he visits each week. 

Prozac and the community of resilient older folks challenged by losses of their own propel Meredith, often against her will, back into the land of the living. Meredith learns that most people carry some sort of burden, but it's still possible to find meaning, purpose, and joy—and sometimes, even love—along the way.

My Thoughts: 

This book follows Meredith Mancuso who is still reeling from the death of her fiance, she has cut herself off from the world even being a successful writer hasn't gotten Meredith out of her depression.  Then there is Prozac a spirit dog who helps those in need.  When the lady Prozac is with winds up hurt Prozac winds up with Meredith.  Can Prozac help Meredith break her funk?

I loved this book it was so great to see where Prozac and Meredith would wind up in the end.  The relationship between the two  Prozac slowly helps bring Meredith back into the world and get past her grief and being sheltered away. 

It's a great book for dog lovers, or pet lovers in general.  If you haven't had a chance to read this book you should you won't be disappointed we could all use someone like Prozac now and then!
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Saturday, March 12, 2016

Review: Through The Grinder by: Cleo Coyle

Title: Through The Grinder
Author: Cleo Coyle
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Series: Coffee House Mystery #2
Pages: 270
Format: e-book
Source: Purchase


Business is booming at Clare Cosi's Village Blend, until her female customers start to die. Lieutenant Quinn is convinced that someone has an axe to grind, and, unfortunately, his prime suspect is the new man in Clare's life.

Now Clare will risk her heart--and her life--to follow the killer's trail to the bitter end.

My Thoughts: 

This book is about Clare Cosi who is the shop manager of the Village Blend. A local coffee shop.  Early in the book a woman is found dead after she jumps in front of a subway car did she really jump or did someone assist her to her death?  Well as the reader you know there is a 'genius' who is helping rid the world of women but why? Murder is definitely afoot it's up to Clair to prove something is going wrong

Mike thinks more is going on but without the proof to it how is he going to find the killer?  Or is there a killer and not just a suicide.  After that another woman winds up dead, which leads everyone at the Village Blend to speculate that these women are committing suicide and it must be due to decaf coffee as opposed to caffeinated coffee which has a less rate of suicide. Then another woman wounds up dead killed by a garbage truck at that murder is definitely going on but why are village blend female customers are dying?  Who is out to rid the world and why are the police pointing the finger at Bruce Bowman.  Bruce Bowman seems like a nice sincere guy but is he really sincere or up to something sinister?

Mike is also having relationship issues as he think his marriage with his wife is over and bends Clare's ear to get advice on when a marriage is over. Is Mike's relationship issues clouding his investigative skills?  Then there is Clare's ex-husband Matteo who seems generally upset that Clare has begun dating is it about who she is dating or that it isn't him?  Definitely alot going on in this book!

I enjoyed this book because we get to see Clare team up again with her ex-husband Matt while trying to find the killer, of course the ending definitely wasn't what I was expecting at all.  I'm glad that no key figures were hurt in this story.  I love visiting the village blend and see what everyone is up too.  Can't wait to see what is next for the group at the village blend, next in this series is:

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Thursday, March 10, 2016

Review: The Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum by: Kirsten Weiss

Title: The Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum
Author: Kirsten Weiss
Publisher: Midnight Ink
Series: A Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum Mystery
Pages: 288
Format: e-book ARC
Source: NetGalley & Great Escapes Book Tours


When Maddie Kosloski’s career flatlines, she retreats to her wine-country hometown for solace and cheap rent. Railroaded into managing the local paranormal museum, she’s certain the rumors of its haunting are greatly exaggerated. But a new ghost may be on the loose. A fresh corpse in the museum embroils Maddie in murders past and present.

With her high school bully as one of the officers in charge, Maddie doubts justice will be served. When one of her best friends is arrested, she’s certain it won’t be.

Maddie grapples with ghost hunters, obsessed taxidermists, and the sexy motorcyclist next door as outside forces threaten. And as she juggles spectral shenanigans with the hunt for a killer, she discovers there truly is no place like home.

My Thoughts:

This book follows Maddie as she has currently found herself unemployed and back in the states.  After spending a night with her friends Adele and Harper and finds herself being roped into running the Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum that her friend Adele owns while Adele sets up a Tea Room next door.  While Adele and Harper are checking out the Tea Room they find Christy Huntington who Adele has history with being that Adele's ex-fiance was found doing the deed with Christy.  Now Maddie finds herself investigating to find out what happened to Christy and who would meet and murder her in Adele's Tea Room?  Was it the man she had a fling with that ruined Adele's relationship?  Was it Adele being the woman who was cheated on?  Or was it someone else?

Maddie also finds herself dealing with a detective who she has had a bad history with they went to school together and Maddie found herself on the wrong side of her old classmate.  Being stuck in a locker at school didn't help her.

I enjoyed reading this book and meeting all the different people Maddie deals with and her friends.  Add mystery to that and you've got a great mystery geared towards all kinds of people.  Plus who doesn't like a cat added to a paranormal museum?  Definitely a great story for all those paranormal cozy readers!
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Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Review: Shards of Murder by: Cheryl Hollen

Title: Shards of Murder
Author: Cheryl Hollen
Publisher: Kensington
Series: A Webb Glass Shop Mystery #2
Pages: 320
Format: e-book ARC
Source: NetGalley & Great Escapes Book Tours


When a glass-making competition turns deadly, glass shop owner Savannah Webb must search for a window into a criminal’s mind…

As the new proprietor of Webb’s Glass Shop, Savannah has been appointed to fill her late father’s shoes as a judge for the Spinnaker Arts Festival, held in downtown St. Petersburg, Florida. With her innovative glass works, the clear winner is Megan Loyola, a student of Savannah’s former mentor.

But when Megan doesn’t show up to accept her $50,000 award, rumors start flying. And when Savannah discovers the woman’s dead body on festival grounds, the police immediately suspect her of murder. To keep from appearing before a judge herself, Savannah sorts through the broken pieces of glass scattered around the victim for clues as to who took this killer competition too far…

My Thoughts:

This is the second book in Webb Glass Shop Mystery and we find ourselves following along with Savannah Webb who is working in her dad's shop and judging a competition her dad regularly judged.  In this book one of the contestants doesn't show up to claim her winning and Savannah finds her the following day.  Of course that puts Savannah on the hot seat for the murder by Savannah is adamant she didn't commit murder and enlists her friends to help her get to the bottom. The big question remains who had the most to gain by the death of Megan Loyola?, and why?  Was it a fellow artists looking to get a break?  Or was it someone unrelated to the contest?  And why?

I love reading this book following Megan and the people who come and go in the Webb Glass Shop.  I especially love the relationship between Savannah and Jacob and how Savannah works well with him allowing him to have his dog with him, and allowing him to help with the mystery as well.  Definitely a great mystery book for anyone who loves a good mystery!
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Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Review: Death in the Old Rectory by: Kathie Deviny

Title: Death in The Old Rectory
Author: Kathie Deviny
Publisher: Camel Press
Series: Grace Church Mystery #2
Pages: 168
Format: e-book ARC
Source: Camel Press


For many years Father Robert has called the old rectory at Seattle's Grace Church home. No longer. An enterprising volunteer has come up with a scheme to convert it into a thrift store. With great reluctance, the priest moves to a condo, realizing that the struggling Episcopal parish needs the revenue. As predicted, money is soon rolling in. 

That is, until disaster strikes: one of the employees, a charismatic young man named Nick, is killed execution-style. Though well loved, Nick had a criminal past. Did his past catch up with him, or was he simply in the wrong place at the wrong time? Detective Joyce Hitchcock and Officer Raymond Chen are on the case, and once again their efforts are bolstered by the colorful staff and members of Grace Church--Father Robert himself, his fiancee Molly, Deacon Mary, manager of the food bank Terry, Lester the formerly homeless sexton, Daniel the organist, Arils the church secretary, and senior volunteers Lucy and Mae. Other incidents follow--an explosion, vandalism. 

The already dwindling congregation is being scared away, and Grace Church may soon be history. Meanwhile Nick's friends and colleagues can't help but wonder: will the killer strike again? Book 2 in the Grace Church Mystery series, which began with Death in the Memorial Garden." 

My Thoughts: 

This is the second book in the Grace Church Mysteries, in this book Father Robert finds himself moving away from Grace Church as a volunteer, Adele Evans with too much energy comes up with an elaborate plan to utilize the rectory and turn it into a thrift store, Father Robert gets voted out of the rectory once the vestry hear of this plan.  Father Robert is also working on marrying Mrs. Molly Ferguson who was a widow and with whom Robert fell in love with and proposed too.  

One late afternoon as the thrift store is closing for the day Nick a volunteer at the thrift store finds himself face to face with a gunshot to the head, Mae another volunteer finds Nick and the mystery begins.  Dominic Francis Monte more commonly known around Grace Church as Nick had a colorful history working with some bad guys who were stealing from others and it looks like Nick was trying to get away, but apparently the past didn't die as peacefully.  Who killed Nick and why?  Was it connected to his shady past?  Or could it be someone in his present day dealings?  Who is blowing up things around Grace Church and why?  What else could possibly go wrong?  Also there seems to be a theft of some sort is it Nick stealing before his death or someone else?

For Detective Joyce Hitchcock it could help build her police career, that is if she can solve the case and not have it turn into a cold case.  Pressure is on to settle this case but Joyce finds she may need the help of the parishioners of Grace Church to solve the mystery.  Can she solve it before something else happens?

I love this series as you meet various parishioners and watch various relationships while learning history of the characters and their connection to Nick.  I also liked that this book switched gears it's not a one person story but multiple angles. It tells the story better than a one person point of view, you also get to read from the murderer's point of view as well which makes it all the more intriguing.  Such a great story and I was stumped on who the murderer was until the last page.  Can't wait to see what is next for Ms. Deviny
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Review: A Geek Girl's Guide to Arsenic by: Julie Anne Lindsey

Title: A Geek Girl's Guide to Arsenic
Author: Julie Anne Lindsey
Publisher: Carina Press
Series: Geek Girl Mysteries #2
Format: e-book ARC
Source: NetGalley & Great Escapes Book Tours


It's been three months since Jake Archer rolled into town, accused Mia Connors of murder and stole her heart. She hasn't heard from him since. So when a man collapses at the fall Renaissance Faire, she's surprised to see the US marshal arrive on scene. And shocked when he points the finger at her—again. Mia would sooner be able to resurrect the poor fellow than poison him.

Jake Archer's career has been rising fast, but it's about to come to a crashing halt. The Ren-Faire victim was in protective custody—Jake's custody—and they were painfully close to nabbing a major crime boss. If Jake doesn't solve the murder soon, he'll be fetching donuts instead of protecting his nation. A difficult enough task without the alluring Mia Connors in the way.

Working with Jake to catch the killer might push Mia into crazy-cat-lady territory. But with a murderer on the loose—and Mia's reputation on the line—they'll have to work fast to find the killer before the killer finds them.

My Thoughts:

This book is the second in the Geek Girls Mystery Series in this book Mia and her family are running their booth at the Renaissance Faire when a friend of their's John Francis winds up dead.  Mia is determined to find out what killed John and why?  If for nothing else then to restore a good public image with her family's company.  What she doesn't count on is some crazy arsonist, and a connection to the mob!  Did the mob kill John and why?  Is it even related to the mob or some one else have it out for John?

I love entering Mia's world the people she works with and her computer skills are mad crazy.  I would definitely not want to mess with someone like Mia.  I also enjoy her family relationships they work so well together!  I think Ms. Lindsey has hit on a great cozy mystery that you don't read about everyday.  Mia is a fabulous amateur sleuth who definitely isn't afraid to get dirty to find her murderer.  Can't wait to see what Ms. Lindsey has next in store! 
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Sunday, March 6, 2016

Review: Side Trip to Katmandu by: Marie Moore

Title: Side Trip to Katmandu
Author: Marie Moore
Publisher: Camel Press
Series: Sidney Marsh Mysteries #3
Pages: 186
Format: Paperback
Source: Camel Press & Marie Moore


Sidney Marsh's job as a New York travel agent is on the line. On her last two tours, she and her colleague Jay ended up smack in the middle of murder and mayhem. Their sleuthing sideline did not endear them to their employer, Itchy Feet Travel, so naturally they are relieved when their wealthy friend Brooke requests their presence on a no expense spared tour of India and Nepal. Another agency has made the arrangements, so all they need do is sit back and enjoy the ride.

Well, not quite all. Brooke has enlisted them to keep a sharp eye on their fellow travelers, all "friends" who have grown rich from the demise of others. After surviving an attempt on her life, Brooke is certain the culprit must be one of the five: a handsome Scotsman, a Bollywood actress, an investment banker, a Parisian filmmaker, or a twice widowed blonde. Many of the tour accommodations prove to be as dodgy as the reputations of the travelers themselves. After one of the members of the moving house party dies of an apparent heart attack, everyone's nerves are on edge. Sidney can hardly be blamed for assuming a deadly game is afoot... or for falling for Adam, the doting Scotsman. Now, if only she can unmask the killer before the killer beats her to the punch.

My Thoughts:

This is the 3rd book in the Sidney Marsh series, in this book Sidney finds her job on the line after two failed trips and now she has to show her worth with a successful trip, along with her is her best bud Jay which leads them to India and Nepal.  They are selected for this trip by their friend Brooke who has requested Sidney and Jay and their boss Mr. Silverstein doesn't want to loose Brooke's business so he accommodates them. This trip is not what it seems and they can't figure out why they are part of this trip but Brooke soon makes the reason why very clear.

Brooke has hired the duo to keep an eye on Brooke's friends to find out what is going on with her friends, she trusts both Jay and Sidney to find out who is trying to kill Brooke and why? Also why are they stealing from Brooke too? With five people to watch it shouldn't be too hard or dangerous, or will it?   The other reason she has summoned them as she doesn't want Sidney to loose her job and knows how much fun Jay and Sidney can be and are such an asset to Itchy Feet Travel agency Brooke thinks that Mr. Silverstein and Diana are crazy to put Sidney's job on the line for things out of her control.  As Sidney would say she can really control murder on two previous travels?  I know I couldn't!

Out of the five people on this trip each has benefited from the death of someone close to them while the police never determined if foul play was involved Brooke is determined to find out what happened and whose trying to kill her at the same time. I really enjoyed this book reading about the exotic locations and meeting the people Sidney and Jay tour around with is just fabulous!  Always mystery and intrigue that happens in a Sidney Marsh book!  Can't wait to see what Sidney and Jay are up to next and who bought Itchy Feet Travel Agency, will the new boss keep Sidney and Jay around or hang them out to dry!
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Guest Post by: Carole Fowkes

So What’s Your Category?
Categorizing people is very popular nowadays. It simplifies life. For example, someone is a ‘have or have not,’ a conservative or a liberal, and so on. Now, you may be thinking this seems like an odd blog from an author of a mystery, but it does explain the actions of my main character, Claire. So bear with me.
I have my own way of categorizing others. There are those who eat to live (EtL) and those who live to eat (LtE). I, myself, belong in the latter category and come from a long line of folks who end one meal fantasizing about what delights they’ll eat later.
Before I continue, let me explain that it’s not readily apparent who belongs in which category. Body size or shape is no giveaway. Nor is wealth or lack thereof.
No, it’s the gleam in someone’s eyes when food is mentioned. The enthusiasm one displays when discussing the virtues of a chocolate, chocolate giant muffin. Yes, muffins do have virtues. Claire DeNardo, my private investigator in the “Terrified Detective” mystery series, is, of course, one who lives to eat. To take it a step further, she, like me, craves sweets. Both Claire and I know where we stand. Give us a brownie chock full of chocolate chips, glazed with, you guessed it, chocolate any day. That’s our battle cry. Of course, being Italian, Claire and I can’t resist pizza, pasta, sausage and meatballs doused with marinara.
In fact, many of the LtE people would happily spend much of their time discussing the creaminess of a fat-laden super-premium ice cream than talk about themselves. There is, unfortunately, one aspect of being an LtE. Both Claire and I are terrified of getting hips like Claire’s Aunt Lena. But that doesn’t stop us from indulging. Sure, we dread the morning-after weigh in and running a finger around the waist of our pants and spotting the red, wrinkled line on our skin where the material cut in.
Momentary regret may be strong, but then like a dove calling to its mate, chocolate beckons us. Once again we find ourselves captured within its talons of tastiness, forgetting the scourge of the bathroom scale.
Now the difference in people, LtE or EtL, may seem inconsequential. Believe me. It’s not. The potential for dissatisfaction and unhappiness is great when an LtE is in a relationship with an EtL. They are indeed, mirror opposites of each other. It can be heartbreaking to see the frustration an LtE feels when describing the golden crust of a pizza to an EtL, only to have that EtL yawn or begin answering texts.
To help recognize if you’re about to get into this sort of unbalanced relationship, I’ve come up with a very short, informal quiz for anyone about to embark on a new relationship. Ask yourself: Are you an EtL? Or are you an LtE? In which category is your love interest? 
Respond with a Yes or No to each question
1.     When you reminisce about the glorious dinner you two ate, does your significant other join in enthusiastically?
2.     Read question number 1 again. Reverse roles. Do you join in enthusiastically?

If you answered ‘yes’ to both questions, congratulations. And if you took this quiz and you found you’re opposite of your new (or even been-around-for-some-time) significant other, take heart. Your relationship could still flourish. But if you’re an LtE and your partner isn’t, you may find that you need a support group. Others who understand your need to discuss, drool over, and discover new and marvelous foods.