Monday, July 31, 2017

Welcome to week 7 of the
with Bloggers Mary Brown, Karen M. Owen, and yours truly!

Every Monday from now through August 28,
Mary, Karen, and I
will recommend some of our favorite cozy mystery titles in eleven (11) different categories!

Today our theme is 
Paranormal aka Para-cozy/Ghost Cozies! 
We're recommending 3 books with this theme that really stand out to each of us.

My pick for favorite cozy with a paranormal/ghost theme is
#1 in the Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade Mysteries 👻
by J. J. Cook

This great series features Fire Chief Stella Griffin, who solves crime with the help of her predecessor, who just happens to be a ghost… NO MATCH FOR MURDERAfter knocking the lights out of her boyfriend when she catches him cheating on her, Chicago fire fighter Stella Griffin hops on her Harley and heads for Sweet Pepper, Tennessee, where she ends up becoming the small town’s fire chief. When her dear friend Tory Lambert dies after her gingerbread-style house is set ablaze, Stella suspects arson and foul play. 

As Stella investigates, she gets help from a most unlikely source—the ghost of Eric Gamlyn, Sweet Pepper’s old fire chief. And if that isn’t enough to rattle her, attractive police officer John Trump seems to have taken an interest in her. But Stella’s got to stay focused if she hopes to smoke out a killer before her own life is extinguished.


THAT OLD FLAME OF MINE was the first ghost themed cozy mystery I ever read. I loved it from the first page until the last! 

The thing is, I forgot that resident ghost, Eric Gamlyn was a spirit at all! I only thought of him as the good and kind former fire chief that he was.
This tale starts out introducing the new fire chief, Stella Griffin who is excepted within her firefighters even if she is a woman. (The police chief doesn't feel the same.) As the new chief, Stella is given housing in the former chief's cabin in the mountains. Lisa does she know that deceased chief, Eric is going to be her roommate! Does she ever have her hands full with him!
No worries, Stella and Eric become great friends, and reading about how they lived and worked together was one of my favorite parts of the entire series. Not to mention, I have a big ole crush on Eric.




When Chicago fire fighter Stella Griffin catches her boyfriend cheating on her, she decks him. Between that and recovering from a shoulder injury, Stella needed a change of scenery. Jumping on her Harley she heads to help the town of Sweet Pepper, Tennessee get it's fire brigade back up and running as their temporary fire chief. The brigades first official call is to the home of Stella's friend Tory Lambert, who tragically is found dead in her burning house. Things don't look right to Stella. Did Tory die of foul play in an arson fire?

Sweet Pepper's old fire chief is helping Stella with her investigation, but there's one catch - Chief Eric Gamlyn is a ghost! Stella has to stay focused, but it can be hard with ghost Eric and police officer John Trump, who has more of an interest in her than just being one of her volunteer fire fighters, vying for her attention. But Stella has to find a killer before she's the next to die.

Author J. J. Cook - AKA husband and wife team Jim & Joyce Lavene, have a real winner on their hands.This is a fantastic book!.I wasn't sure at first that I would like a ghost with my cozy (though I love ghost stories and watch true ghost shows), but it worked and I really enjoyed it.

Stella is a strong protagonist and not only because she's a fire fighter. She's intelligent and insightful, as well as kind and caring. I love that she has the respect of her volunteer fire fighters. Many stories would have at least one or two men disrespecting her authority what with it being a small town. I also like the way she excepts ghost Eric Gamlyn. If all ghosts were like him, I'd want one too! Eric is a good sounding board for Stella. The two play well off each other. Policeman/fire fighter John Trump's feelings for Stella are at war with his feelings for her family, but he seems a good pairing for her. And with a supporting cast of fire fighters Ricky, Petey, Banyin, and Bert, local war hero Tagger, Police Chief Rodgers, who is not a supporter of Stella, and a host of Sweet Pepper locals, THAT OLD FLAME OF MINE is a must read and has left me burning for more!

ATTN: Recipe lovers - Look for the great pepper recipes at the back of the book!
My Amigos Mary and Karen have also picked their favorite lighthouse cozies. 
Please head over to their blogs and check them out!

Mary Brown's blog


Karen Owen's blog

Make sure to check back next Monday for suggestions on a new cozy mystery theme!

Keep all of our great titles in mind for
Buy A Friend A Book Day 
August 29!

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

Follow my blog by 
clicking on the link in the 
upper right hand corner of this page.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Written by Janice Peacock
Narrated by Mary Ann Jacobs 

Book 1 in the Glass Bead Mysteries
Audion version
Written by 
Janice Peacock
narrated by 
Mary Ann Jacobs

After inheriting a house in Seattle, Jax O'Connell is living the life of her dreams as a glass bead maker and jewelry designer. When she gets an offer to display her work during a bead shop's opening festivities, it's an opportunity Jax can't resist - even though the store's owner is the surliest person Jax has ever met. The weekend's events become a tangled mess when a young bead maker is found dead nearby and several oddball bead enthusiasts are suspects. Jax must string together the clues to clear her friend Tessa's name - and do it before the killer strikes again.


Original Paperback Review

HIGH STRUNG is a fun, fast mystery that I couldn’t put down!
I really like books where I am not only entertained, but where I can learn new things as well. My time spent reading HIGH STRUNG contained both.

Author Janice Peacock has created a series and protagonist that really captured my imagination. Jacqueline “Jax” O’Connell is a strong, intelligent character who is a pleasure to read. From her passion for making glass beads, to the way she handled investigating a murder, I enjoyed getting to know her. The rest of the cast of characters were fun to get to know. Such varying personalities, and all so multilayered.

This first installment in the Glass Bead mysteries was a wonderfully written mystery that I really loved. A great storyline that flowed at just the perfect pace. The reveal wasn’t exactly an action packed one, but it did surprise me when I read who the killer was.

I had book two, A BEAD IN THE HAND out and ready to read after this one and I was just as pleased!

Give HIGH STRUNG a try. You’re going to be happy you did!

Audio Review

Author Janice Peacock has written a book that with the narration of Mary Ann Jacobs, has translated to audio perfectly.

As entertaining in audio as it was in print, I had just as much fun listening to HIGH STRUNG as I did reading it. Narrator Jacobs brought to life the cast from this series in such a way, that along with Peacock’s written descriptions, I now feel as though I have really met these wonderful characters.

As with my printed copies, I had the audio of book two, A BEAD IN THE HAND ready to listen to at the end of HIGH STRUNG.

If you’re a fan of audio/Audible books, you have got to give HIGH STRUNG a listen. 

Book 2 in the Glass Bead Mysteries
Audion version
Written by 
Janice Peacock
narrated by 
Mary Ann Jacobs

A bead bazaar turns bizarre when jewelry designer and glass beadmaker Jax O'Connell discovers a dead body beneath her sales table. Suspected of murder, Jax and her friend Tessa scramble to find the killer among the fanatic shoppers and eccentric vendors. They have their hands full dealing with a scumbag show promoter, hipsters in love, and a security guard who wants to do more than protect Jax from harm. Adding to the chaos, Jax's quirky neighbor Val arrives unexpectedly with trouble in tow. Can Jax untangle the clues before she's arrested for murder?


Original Paperback Review

Even better than the first book in this series, HIGH STRUNG, A BEAD IN THE HAND was a fun, entertaining page turner!

Really upping her game from the first installment of the Glass Bead mysteries, author Janice Peacock topped herself when I wouldn’t have thought it possible for her to do so.

It was great to spend more time with Jax, Tess, and the rest of the great characters in this series. I so much enjoyed the wit and intelligence in the way they are written.

With even more mystery, fun, and drama than book one, I didn’t want to set down, A BEAD IN THE HAND for even a second. This book was page after page of great reading. I flew through the story in one setting. A fantastic plot with an exciting reveal, I didn’t want it to end!

I sure hope author Peacock has a third book coming out soon! (Up dated note – she did! And more after that!)

Audio Review

Once again the writing/narrating team of author Janice peacock, and the narrator for her audios, Mary Ann Jacobs, have brought to life the cozy side of the town (well, city) of Seattle, Washington.

When I read A BEAD IN THE HAND, Ms. Peacock brought to life her characters in a way that I felt like I was in the room them. While listening to the audio that feeling only intensified. Between the fabulous writing of author Peacock, and the pleasant voice of narrator Jacobs, I feel as though I know protagonist Jax, and her entire group of friends.

I’ve read all of the amazing books the Glass Bead Mysteries so far, and now I can’t wait to listen to all of them!


Author Janice Peacock

Janice Peacock decided to write her first mystery novel after working in a glass studio full of colorful artists who didn't always get along. They reminded her of the odd, and often humorous, characters in the murder mystery books she loved to read. Inspired by that experience, she combined her two passions and wrote High Strung: A Glass Bead Mystery, launching a new cozy mystery series featuring glass beadmaker Jax O'Connell.

When Janice isn't writing about glass artists-turned-amateur-detectives, she makes glass beads using a torch, designs one-of-a-kind jewelry, and makes sculptures using hot glass. An award-winning artist, her work has been exhibited internationally and is in the permanent collections of the Corning Museum of Glass, the Glass Museum of Tacoma, WA, and in private collections worldwide.

Janice lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, two cats, and twelve chickens. She has a studio full of beads...lots and lots of beads.

Twitter, Instagram: @JanPeac

Narrator Mary Jane Jacobs

Mary Ann’s bio and experience…
To gain employment as a voice-over actor

Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, PA
M.A. Continuing and Community Education
Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, PA
B.S. Music Education, Teaching Certificate
Edge Studio, New York City

Relevant Experience
1980 – Present


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

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upper right hand corner of this page.

Saturday, July 29, 2017


Book 6 in the Bookmobile Cat Mysteries
by Laurie Cass

As Laurie Cass continues the national bestselling Bookmobile Cat mystery series, librarian Minnie Hamilton is happy to take her bookmobile for a spin with her rescue cat, Eddie—but her tenacious tabby always seems to find trouble...
As the bookmobile rolls along the hills of Chilson, Michigan, Minnie and Eddie spread good cheer and good reads. But when her faithful feline finds his way into the middle of a murder, Minnie is there, like any good librarian, to check it out.
Eddie turns a routine bookmobile stop into anything but when he makes a quick escape and hops into a pickup truck…with a dead body in the flatbed. The friendly local lawyer who was driving the pickup falls under suspicion. But Minnie and Eddie think there's more to this case than meets the eye, and the dynamic duo sets out to leave no page unturned.


Minnie Hamilton and furry sidekick, Eddie are back and driving their bookmobile right into another murder.

I have truly enjoyed this series since the first book, LENDING A PAW. I’ve always wanted to drive a bookmobile, so that may be how protagonist Winnie, and her cat, Eddie wormed their way into my heart so quickly.

Author Laurie Cass devised a strong plot for this sixth book in the Bookmobile Cat Mysteries. WRONG SIDE OF THE PAW was another great tail . . . I mean tale, with action and mayhem throughout most of the book. As with the other books in the series, there were also some funny scenes that had me smiling all the way through them.

WRONG SIDE OF THE PAW was a bit longer than most cozy mysteries put out by this publisher. I’m sure that will make many readers happy. All in all, a good tight mystery, with a satisfying conclusion. And be on the lookout for a happy surprise in the next to last chapter.

One thing I did miss in this book was a dedication, and acknowledgements. I seriously doubt this will bother many, but I never miss reading them in a book. 


Book 10 in the Royal Spyness Mysteries
by Rhys Bowen

My review is based on the
hardcover addition released in 2016

Lady Georgiana Rannoch knows nothing is simple when you’re thirty-fifth in line for the British crown, but her upcoming marriage proves to be the ultimate complication in the tenth mystery in the New York Times bestselling Royal Spyness series.
As Lady Georgiana's beloved Darcy drives her out of London, she soon discovers that he isn’t planning to introduce her to the pleasures of sinning in secret—as she had hoped—but to make her his wife! 

Of course, she'll need special permission from the king to marry a Roman Catholic. Though he will inherit a title, Darcy is as broke as Georgie. Even his family’s Irish castle has been sold to a rich American who now employs his father. 

Nothing will deter them from their mission—except perhaps the news that Georgie's future father-in-law has just been arrested for murdering the rich American. With the elopement postponed, they head for Ireland, where the suspect insists he’s innocent, and it’s up to them to prove it—for better or worse.


Always a majestic treat, the Royal Spyness Mysteries are the crown jewels of historical mysteries.

Author Rhys Bowen writes hysterical fiction like no other author. Her details to these period pieces are spot on. When she does “change history” for the purpose of the stories, she’s always forth right about it on her Historical Notes page at the back of her books.

CROWNED AND DANGEROUS is a glowing gem in an already sparkling series. Rhys Bowen brings life to the 1930’s in such a way, readers will feel a part of the adventure.

This is my third book in the Royal Spyness mysteries so far, and it is the best of the three. As in the others I’ve read, protagonist, Lady Georgiana Rannoch is a delightful character. Once again I found myself caught up in her excitement and enthusiasm. She makes every book more memorable than the one before.

An excellent plot, combined with flawless writing, CROWNED AND DANGEROUS, indeed, the entire Royal Spyness series, is a cut above other historicals.

You don’t have to be a mystery fan to read this series. Readers of romance, history, and adventure genres will all enjoy reading the Royal Spyness Mysteries!

Available now!

Available August 1

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Friday, July 28, 2017

Cozy Food Friday

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

Today I'm featuring 
Book 4 in the Five-Ingredient Mysteries
by Maya Corrigan

It’s a cold January in the Chesapeake Bay area, but Cool Down Café manager Val Deniston has plenty to sweat over—like catering a book club event, testing recipes for her Granddad’s cookbook, and catching the author of a deadly tale of murder. . .

The last thing Val needs in her life is an unsolved murder, especially when the victim, an actor famed for impersonating Edgar Allan Poe, happens to be dressed exactly like her Granddad. To keep an eye on Granddad, whose latest job takes him to the home of Rick Usher, a local author inspired by Poe, Val gets herself hired as a cook in Rick’s House of Usher. When she discovers the actor wasn’t the only one doing an impersonation, separating the innocent from the murderous becomes a real-life horror story. But Val must decipher a killer’s M.O. sooner rather than later . . . or she can forget about finding poetic justice.

Includes 6 delicious five-ingredient recipes!

On to the recipe!



All food photos are borrowed from Google Images and it contributors, with many thanks. 
Your finished tarte will very in appearance.

Just because a recipe has five ingredients doesn't mean it's easy or quick to make. This tarte takes practice and a lot of courage at the last step when you turn a hot skillet upside-down at the last step and hope the tarte ends up on the plate.

It's best to cut the apples 1-3 days before making the tarte to dry them out. Otherwise, you may end up with too my juice in the tarte. Put the cut apples in a lightly covered bowl in the refrigerator. If you don't have time to let the apples dry out, put a piece of foil under the skillet when it goes in the oven to catch any drips.


6-8 large apples. peeled, cored, and quartered (A mix of Granny Smith and   Honeycrisp apples works well.)
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) softened unsalted butter
2/3 cup sugar
1 frozen puff pastry
Equipment: a seasoned 10-inch cast iron skillet


   Preheat the oven to 400 degrees when ready to cook. 

   Slice the bottom off each apple to give it a flat base. Peel and quarter the apple lengthwise and remove the cores. See the note above the ingredients about storing apples in the refrigerator for at least one day before cooking. 

   Spread the butter on the bottom and sides of a seasoned 10-inch cast-iron pan and sprinkle the sugar evenly on the bottom. Arrange the apples vertically in the skillet, standing them on the flat end, in concentric circles. Pack the pieces close together so they support one another. Apples that stick higher than the pan rim will shrinks down as they're cooked. 

   Prepare the pastry while the apples are cooking. Follow the directions for defrosting the puff pastry. Then roll it out on a floured surface until it is 1/8 inch thick. Put a 10-inch plate upside-down on the pastry and use a sharp knife to cut out a circle the size of the skillet's top. 

   1. Cook the apples over medium high heat, 15-25 minutes until juice is babbling and a deep golden or light brown color. 

   2. Put the skillet in the oven and bake the apples for 20 minutes at 400 degrees. 

   3. Remove the pan from the oven, lay the pastry circle over the apples, and tuck it around the apples. Bake the tarte at 400 degrees until the pastry is browned, approximately 20 minutes. Check it after 15 minutes to make sure it doesn't get too dark. You want the crust to be a nice golden brown. If it still looks pale after 20 minutes in the oven, bake it a few more minutes.

   Move the skillet to a rack and cool it at least 10 minutes and up to 30 minutes. Put a cutting board or platter over the skillet. Use potholders to hold the skillet tightly against the board or platter. Turn the skillet upside-down. If apples stick to the skillet, add them to the top of the tarte. 

   If the tarte stands longer than 30 minutes after being baked, heat it over low heat for 1-2 minutes before turning the skillet over. 

   Cut the tarte in wedges and serve warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, or just eat plain.

   Serves 8

Adapted from a recipe for "Foolproof Tarte Tatin" by Julia Moskin, The New York Times, October 22, 2014

I've never had tarte tatin, but this is enough to make me wish I had a piece right now!


Please keep reading and check out my 
installments of 
Book Beginnings on Fridays
The Friday 56

Both the BB and 56 are also from


Book Beginnings on Fridays is a meme hosted by Rose City Reader
Share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading

The Friday 56 is a meme hosted by Freda's Voice
Rules: *Grab a book, any book. *Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader (If you have to improvise, that's okay.) *Find any sentence, (or few, just don't spoil it) that grab you. *Post it.

My Book Beginnings

Why would a man in his seventies change his appearance overnight?

My 56

". . . . . . Why can't you just accept that and forget going back there?"

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

Follow my blog by 
clicking on the link in the 
upper right hand corner of this page.