Saturday, February 4, 2023


Happy Saturday everyone!
Today is the start of a new feature.
Reader Review will consist of reviews 
from readers who follow my blog!

If you would like one of your reviews featured, please send me your email address in the comments (it will not be published) and I'll be in contact. 

I think it will be wonderful to share your reviews, so please, join in!

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Our first Reader Review is from
Pat Tucker! Pat has shared an awesome review of . . .
THE CASE OF THE UNLUCKY GARDNER
by
Tina McLachlan Brassington


A yacht, a beautiful Aegean town, a grand hotel and the unexpected death of a TV star...

After being shipwrecked on the Turkish Aegean coast, Connie McKinnon, author and sometime private investigator, is forced to stop in Ayvalik, the only place with the facilities to repair her yacht, Sunlight.

She befriends the wealthy socialite Frances Tredegar-Jones who asks Connie to look into the recent death of her friend, Sylvie Bertillon. Sylvie, a famous TV gardener and hotel consultant, was working at The Ayvalik Grand when she died suddenly.

With a publishing deadline to meet, a boat to repair, a husband with a sailing itinerary and a cat to entertain, Connie reluctantly agrees to Frances’ request for help. But Connie’s investigations cause mayhem for all concerned...

Escape to the beautiful Aegean coast and meet the colourful characters of Ayvalik as you join Connie on her adventures in this light-hearted, cosy mystery.



A good start to a new cozy mystery series. - Connie McKinnon is an author and sometimes investigator. She, her husband Conrad (a chef) and cat, Ava, are sailing the Mediterranean. When a storm damages their yacht, they seek repairs in Ayvalik, on the Turkish coast. They meet Frances, a socialite trying to come to terms with the death of her friend, Sylvie. Frances does not believe Sylvie’s death was an accident. Overhearing a conversation between Connie and Conrad, Frances asks Connie for help. Connie’s book deadline is looming and she, at first, declines. While waiting for repairs and witnessing suspicious behavior of other characters, though, Connie gets involved.

There’s lots going on in this mystery. I had to remind myself who was who, at times. Descriptions of Ayvalik and the food, including Conrad’s cooking, made me wonder why they would ever want to leave? All in all, I enjoyed the mystery and would read more by this author.

For those who do not like cursing in cozy mysteries, there is some swearing. Thankfully, it’s limited. Some of the British words confused me and I even looked up the definition of two, learning something new!

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Thank you, Pat, for a great review!
I can't wait to read your next one!


As always, please leave a comment and let me know what you think!

Follow my blog by submitting your email in 
upper right hand corner of this page (on the side bar).

Reading from your phone? Scroll to the bottom of your page and click "View web version". Then follow the above directions. 


Thursday, February 2, 2023


I thought it would be fun to see what books 
released 7 years ago today!

Take a look at this flashback from February 2, 2016!

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HAPPY NEW RELEASE DAY 
All of these great titles are out today!
Which ones are on your "must have" list?


The national bestselling author of License to Dill returns with a dilly of a pickle.
 
Piper Lamb has to take a break from jarring her delicious pickles and preserves to blow the lid off a poisoner....
 
Business is booming at Piper’s Picklings in Cloverdale, New York. But not all is sweet in the life of Piper’s number one customer and friend, local caterer Sugar Heywood. Sugar is dating wealthy realtor Jeremy Porter, but his family doesn’t approve. After their unscrupulous accountant finds some dirt on Sugar, the family quickly urges Jeremy to throw her out like rotten fruit.
 
Things are further spoiled after the accountant is found poisoned, and all evidence points to Sugar’s son, Zach. With the Porter family determined to avoid scandal, it won’t be easy for Piper to preserve Zach’s innocence. And after someone falls victim to a poisoned jar of some of her brandied cherries, Piper’s got a peck of trouble to deal with herself…


Deirdre "Foxtrot" Lancaster returns-with her otherworldly animal companions Whiskey and Tango-to shine a light on the dark side of fame...
Foxtrot has seen a lot of strange things as assistant to billionaire Zelda Zoransky at her wacky mansion. And that includes her telepathic cat Tango and ectoplasmic pooch Whiskey. So it's no surprise to find a horde of zombies lurching across the lawn-even if they are just actors in a horror movie that's filming on the mansion grounds. The special effects look pretty convincing. But all that fake blood doesn't fool Whiskey, who quickly sniffs out the truth: one of those corpses is real...
A DEADLY TAIL
Before you can say, "Lights, camera, murder," Foxtrot and her furry partners-in-crime-solving are caught up in the drama of who-killed-who...and why. With a crazy cast of characters including a neurotic director, a star-hungry diva-even with an appearance by Lassie's ghost-it's bound to have one hell of a twist ending. But first, Foxtrot and her supernatural sidekicks have to find a killer amongst them-before the whole case is a wrap...in the next Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot novel from Dixie Lyle.

"A clever new series that deftly blends cozy mystery with the paranormal...original and witty."-Ali Brandon, author of the Black Cat Bookshop mysteries



The USA Today bestselling Needlecraft Mysteries have shown that when it comes to murder, Betsy Devonshire, owner of the Crewel World needlework shop, doesn’t mess around. But when a local hoarder is murdered, she’ll need all her wits to dig a new friend out of a heap of trouble…

After a tree falls on Tom Riordan’s house, landing him in the hospital, the police discover a mountain of junk piled high in his home. Locals in Excelsior, Minnesota—including Betsy Devonshire and her Crewel World Monday Bunch—offer to help with the cleanup while Tom recuperates. 

But when Tom is found murdered in his hospital bed, the sole heir to his property—his cousin Valentina—becomes the number one suspect. Betsy believes there’s more to the case than meets the eye, but finding clues to the killer’s identity in the clutter Tom left behind will be like looking for a needle in a haystack…


Magic and meows meet in the first enchanting Witch’s Cat mystery!
 
Unlucky-in-love artist Annabelle Britton decides that a visit to the seaside town of  Portsmouth, New Hampshire, is the perfect way to get over her problems. But when she stumbles upon a smoky gray cat named Alastair, and follows him into a charming cottage, Annabelle finds herself in a whole spellbook full of trouble.
 
Suddenly saddled with a witch's wand and a furry familiar, Annabelle soon meets a friendly group of women who use their spells, charms, and potions to keep the people of Portsmouth safe. But despite their gifts, the witches can’t prevent every wicked deed in town....
 
Soon, the mystery surrounding Alistair’s former owner, who died under unusual circumstances, grows when another local turns up dead. Armed with magic, friends, and the charmed cat who adopted her more than the other way around, Annabelle sets out to paw through the evidence and uncover a killer.


Lucinda Beckwith Long, the mayor of Athena, Mississippi, has donated a set of Civil War-era diaries to the archives of Athena College. She would like librarian Charlie Harris to preserve and substantiate them as a part of the Long family legacy—something that could benefit her son, Beck, as he prepares to campaign for the state senate.
 
Beck’s biggest rival would like to get a look at the diaries in an attempt to expose the Long family’s past sins. Meanwhile, a history professor is also determined to get her hands on the books in a last-ditch bid for tenure. But their interest suddenly turns deadly, leaving Charlie with a catalog of questions to answer. Together with his Maine Coon cat Diesel, Charlie must discover why the diaries were worth killing for before he too reaches his final chapter.


Literary agent and amateur sleuth Lila Wilkins is back to seal the deal in the New York Timesbestselling Novel Idea Mystery series.
 
Lila is showcasing some of her biggest authors at a bridal expo. But when the joyous event turns deadly, she’ll have to figure out who penned the perfect crime...
 
The Novel Idea Literary Agency has planned a wedding-themed week for Inspiration Valley, celebrating not only North Carolina’s best vendors but also some of the agency’s most popular bridal books. The fact that Lila can use the event to plan her own impending nuptials is just the icing on the cake.
 
But wedding bells turn to warning bells when Lila finds a dead man facedown in the frosting. Soon it’s discovered that the victim was connected to several Novel Idea authors, all of whom quickly become suspects in the case. It’s up to Lila and her fellow agents to find the real killer before one of their clients winds up scribbling stories from behind bars...


From the author of Cinderella Six Feet Under, a beauty must solve a beastly murder.

Variety hall actress Ophelia Flax knows how to win over an audience. That’s why she’s accepted the marriage proposal of the brutish Comte de Griffe to nettle her occasional investigative partner—and romantic sparring partner—the pompous if dashing Professor Penrose. 

But with his boorish table manners, wild mane of hair, and habit of prowling away the wee hours, the comte has shredded Ophelia’s last nerve. She intends to disengage from her feral fiancรฉ at his winter hunting party—until Penrose, his lovely new fiancรฉe, and a stagecoach of stranded travelers arrive at the comte’s sprawling chรขteau. Soon she can’t tell the boars from the bores.

When one of the guests is found clawed and bloody in the orangerie, Ophelia is determined to solve the murder before everyone starts believing the local version of Beauty and the Beast. But until the snows melt, she can’t trust her eyes—or her heart—since even the most civilized people hold beastly secrets...


Comfort food and murder are on the holiday menu in the latest mystery from the national bestselling author of Macaroni and Freeze . . .
 
All Trixie Matkowski wants for Christmas is a break—just not the broken leg she got after slipping on some ice. With Sandy Harbor alive in the hustle and bustle of the season, it’s the busiest time of the year at Trixie’s Silver Bullet Diner. There are millions of things to do, including cater the town’s annual Christmas pageant and community dinner with some delicious holiday comfort food.
 
But the festivities turn into a bit of a turkey after Liz Fellows, the director of the pageant, is found with Trixie’s butcher knife in her back. Now Trixie must help the police arrest the scary gentleman—or lady—guilty of the crime if she hopes to get herself off the naughty list.


The national bestselling author of Shadow of a Spout invites readers back to the Finger Lakes town of Gracious Grove for more tea and murder...

Mid-October in the charming Finger Lakes town of Gracious Grove means it’s time for the annual Fall Fling Townwide Tea Party. The highlight of the festivities is a roaming tea-tasting, which includes a stop at Auntie Rose’s Victorian Tea House. Sophie Taylor would like to share her enjoyment of the event with her sort-of boyfriend, English teacher Jason Murphy, but Jason’s dean has accused him of falsifying grades to help an athlete at the local college. Steamed and stressed, Jason shows up the night of the party with bags under his eyes.
 
But the dean shows up under Sophie’s Japanese Maple later that night, murdered, and now Jason is suspected of far worse than fudging grade reports. It’s up to Sophie, her Nana, and their friends the Silver Spouts to pore over the clues to find out who really decided to teach the dean a lesson.


Someone is dressed to kill in the debut Costume Shop Mystery from the national bestselling author of the Material Witness mysteries.
 
No sooner does former magician’s assistant Margo Tamblyn return home to Proper City, Nevada, to run Disguise DeLimit, her family’s costume shop, than she gets her first big order. Wealthy nuisance Blitz Manners needs forty costumes for a detective-themed birthday bash. As for Blitz himself, his Sherlock Holmes is to die for—literally—when, in the middle of the festivities, Margo’s friend and party planner Ebony Welles is caught brandishing a carving knife over a very dead Blitz. 
 
For Margo, clearing Ebony’s name is anything but elementary, especially after Ebony flees town. Now Margo is left to play real-life detective in a town full of masked motives, cloaked secrets, and veiled vendettas. But as she soon learns, even a killer disguise can’t hide a murderer in plain sight for long.
 
INCLUDES RECIPES AND COSTUME IDEAS!

FIRST IN A NEW SERIES!


The New York Times bestselling author of Buy a Whisker offers another adventure with secondhand shop owner Sarah Grayson and Elvis the rescue cat.

Spring has come to charming North Harbor, Maine, and with the new season comes a new haul for Second Chance, the shop where Sarah Grayson sells lovingly refurbished and repurposed items. Sarah is turning her keen eye to the estate of collector Edison Hall, hoping for fabulous finds for Second Chance—but when her rescue cat Elvis discovers a body in the kitchen, everything goes paws up. 
 
The body belongs to an appraiser who had been hired to check out Edison’s wine collection. When Edison’s sister shows up at Second Chance, she hires Sarah’s friends—the kooky and charismatic trio of ladies who call themselves Charlotte’s Angels and work out of the shop—to solve the murder, Sarah knows she and Elvis are only going to get deeper into the case. But as it becomes a cat and mouse game of lies, cons, cheats, and family squabbles, can Elvis and Sarah claw their way to the truth before the killer slinks away forever?


The author of Town in a Sweet Pickle brings back Candy Holliday, a blueberry farmer with a green thumb for sleuthing...

The much-anticipated wedding of local resident Maggie Tremont and popular baker Herr Georg has stirred up the usually quiet coastal town of Cape Willington. To make sure the wedding of the year goes off without a hitch, the participants gather at a pre-wedding dinner—everyone, that is, except the best man...
 
Worried, Candy, the maid of honor, goes looking for him, finally tracking him down to the upstairs archive rooms at the English Point Lighthouse and Museum. There’s only one problem: he’s dead, struck over the head with a bottle of champagne, the same exclusive brand that was ordered for the dinner. Before the wedding plans fall flat, Candy rushes to find the murderer, unearthing a conspiracy that could spill over into the whole town...

INCLUDES DELICIOUS RECIPES!


The New York Times bestselling author of An Early Wake returns to Ireland where Sullivan’s Pub owner Maura Donovan gets mixed up with smugglers.

After calling Ireland home for six months, Boston expat Maura Donovan still has a lot to learn about Irish ways—and Sullivan’s Pub is her classroom. Maura didn’t only inherit a business, she inherited a tight-knit community. And when a tragedy strikes, it’s the talk of the pub. A local farmer, out for a stroll on the beach with his young son, has mysteriously disappeared. Did he drown? Kill himself? The child can say only that he saw a boat. 

Everyone from the local gardai to the Coast Guard is scouring the Cork coast, but when a body is finally brought ashore, it’s the wrong man. An accidental drowning or something more sinister? Trusting the words of the boy and listening to the suspicions of her employee Mick that the missing farmer might have run afoul of smugglers, Maura decides to investigate the deserted coves and isolated inlets for herself. But this time she may be getting in over her head...


In the new Cheese Shop Mystery from the Agatha Award-winning author of As Gouda as Dead, an extra-sharp tongued cheese critic is cut down during a summer cheese festival.

It’s time for the annual Cheese Festival in Providence, Ohio, and Charlotte Bessette’s cheese shop is packed with homemade specialties. Meanwhile, her friend Erin is prepping her dairy farm and inn for cheese makers, marketers, journalists, and one surprise guest—Lara Berry, pretentious cheese whiz, pompous bestselling author, and pungent critic whose extra sharp tongue can crumble a reputation. 
 
Even though any love for Lara by her friends curdled long ago, Charlotte is surprised when the foodie is smothered to death in her room at Erin’s inn. Accusations start flying, but the one laying blame on Erin strikes Charlotte as a crock. Now, to clear her friend’s name, Charlotte has to sift through Lara’s ex-lovers, former business partners, and unforgiving enemies to find a killer before Lara’s past casts a tainted pall on the festival’s future.

RECIPES INCLUDED


The food truck craze has reached the charming coastal town of South Cove, California, but before Jill Gardner-owner of Coffee, Books, and More-can sample the eats, she has to shift gears and put the brakes on a killer. 

Now that Kacey Austin has got her new gluten-free dessert truck up and running, there's no curbing her enthusiasm-not even when someone vandalizes the vehicle and steals her recipes. But when Kacey turns up dead on the beach and Jill's best friend, Sadie, becomes the prime suspect, Jill needs to step on it to serve the real killer some just desserts.


Fans of Joyce and Jim Lavene will thrill at this collection of thirteen short stories—many are set in the worlds of their national bestselling mystery series, including the Missing Pieces Mysteries, the Renaissance Faire Mysteries, the Retired Witches Mysteries, and an upcoming mystery novel! 
These stories contain the elements of mystery and fantasy the Lavenes are famous for, as well as some new things their readers have never seen.

 Several stories feature characters interacting with ghosts, magic, and the supernatural—the healing woman in “Courtship;” the Civil War widow in “One with the Darkness;” the city girl who summons a wizard from the past in “The Magician and the Sorceress/Accountant;” and the young introvert in “Aunt Edna” who finds her calling with help from a ghostly visitor. 

Poignant, charming, and captivating, Joyce and Jim Lavene bring their characteristic wit and heart to these stories and introduce each one with a passage about its origin or how it ties into the universe they’ve created. Gone by Midnight is a treasury of tales that will delight the mind and touch the heart from one of the most prolific writing duos of our time. 

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Wow, so many great titles!
Also, it's sad to see a few authors' names who are no longer with us. But how wonderful that their stories live on. ๐Ÿ’™ 


As always, please leave a comment and let me know what you think!

Follow my blog by submitting your email in 
upper right hand corner of this page (on the side bar).

Reading from your phone? Scroll to the bottom of your page and click "View web version". Then follow the above directions. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Happy Wednesday friends!

Time for another 
Who Wrote That?

I'll be posting a short scene from a cozy mystery, and you guess who wrote it! 
Don't worry, it's a multiple choice!

Write the author's name in the comments, your full name (first & last name) and the email address you use for Amazon (I won't post your comment here) because . . . 
The winner will receive a 
$5.00 Amazon Gift Card!

If more than one person guesses correctly, a name will be drawn randomly from those names.

LUCKY CLAMBERED OFF the rock and raced toward the sound, scrambling down the rise. She tripped and almost slid the rest of the way. Sophie stood at the bank of the creek, staring at a dark green bundle wedged between two rocks floating in the water.

“Sophie?” Lucky approached.

Sophie turned to her without speaking and pointed at the dark mass in the creek.

The dark green bundle was a man’s jacket floating and inflated like a balloon. Lucky recognized the shape of a white hand under the water. Denim jeans covered a pair of legs that protruded from the jacket. A dead man was bobbing in the water.

She touched Sophie’s shoulder. “Are you okay?”

Sophie gulped and nodded. “I just didn’t realize what I was looking at.” They stood in silence staring at the corpse for several moments.

“Is he really dead?” Sophie asked.

Lucky nodded. “Looks that way.” Burbling water gushed over the rocks. The body had been snagged by an overhanging tree branch entangled in the coat.

“We need to check, don’t we?” Sophie said. “What if he’s just unconscious?”

“I really think we’re too late.” Lucky turned away and grabbed a long, sturdy branch that lay on the ground. “But I think we should have a look at him.”

Sophie nodded. “Go ahead.”

Carefully maneuvering the long branch, Lucky snagged the edge of a pocket and pushed gently. The body rolled over slowly. The man’s face was a mask of bloody flesh.

Who Wrote That?

1. Connie Shelton
2. Connie Archer
3. Connie B. Dowell
4. Gretchen Archer
5. Connie di Marco
6. Annabelle Archer  

Remember to leave your guess of author, your full name, email you use for Amazon, and, if different, the email where I can reach you. Most importantly, check in on Sunday morning's blog for the winner's name.
As always, please leave a comment 
and let me know what you think!

Follow my blog by submitting your email in 
the upper right hand corner of this page 
(on the side bar).

Reading from your phone? Scroll to the bottom of
your page and click "View web version". Then follow 
the above directions. 

Tuesday, January 31, 2023


From January 31, 2015 comes this 
Cozy Food Friday Flashback!


It's
Cozy Food Friday!

That means it's time to share a recipe from 
another great cozy mystery!

Today I'm featuring a recipe from the cozy mystery 
PLAYED BY THE BOOK
Book 4 in the Novel Idea Mystery series
by
Lucy Arlington


The New York Times bestselling Novel Idea Mysteries make their return with Lila Wilkins, literary agent and “murder magnet” planning a book signing garden party. But things aren’t coming up roses when she ends up trying to weed out a dangerous killer…

The owner of A Novel Idea Literary Agency is thrilled when former local boy and popular television show host Damian York returns to Inspiration Valley, North Carolina, to launch his new gardening book. But Lila is less than excited about the hubbub when she sees the mounting to-do list on her desk. Between planning York’s gala and sprucing up her yard for another event, she’s spread too thin—especially after she finds a skull buried in her flowerbeds.

As Lila’s macabre discovery leads to other secrets hidden in Inspiration Valley’s past, a member of the local garden club is found slumped over her prize roses—murdered with a garden spade. Now it’s up to Lila to dig through old mysteries and new clues to unearth a murderer before someone else is found pushing up daisies…

Trey’s Mac-n-Cheese with Bacon and Tomatoes


Ingredients:

 1 (8-ounce) package of penne pasta (elbow pasta or other like shapes are fine)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
½ cup half-and-half
1 ½ cups milk
1 cup shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded Gruyere or Swiss cheese
½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
5 slices of bacon, cooked
1 tomato, sliced thinly
¼ teaspoon of ground nutmeg (optional)


Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Prepare pasta according to package instructions. (Best if cooked al dente.)

Cook bacon until slightly crisp, and cut into pieces. 

Melt butter in a large pot, whisk in flour and cook the mixture while constantly whisking. 

Whisk in half-and-half and milk. Continue to whisk until the mixture thickens.

Slowly stir in all cheeses and mix until smooth. 



Remove the mixture from the heat and add salt, pepper, and nutmeg if desired.

Fold in pasta until all the noodles are completely covered. Stir in bacon pieces.

Pour the mixture into an 11x13 baking dish. 

Top with tomato slices and additional Parmesan cheese. 

Bake at 350 degrees until bubbly and golden brown. 

Yields: 7-9 servings

NOTE: All photos, with the exception of the first, are from Google images.
Your finished dish may look different from those shown here.

I think this recipe still holds up today, 8 years later, don't you?