Saturday, February 29, 2020

Today I'm joining 
Berkley Mystery 
in celebrating the upcoming March 10 release of  
Book 1 in the Tuscan Cooking School Mysteries
by Stephanie Cole

An American chef will have to serve up more than good eats if she wants to establish a successful farm-to-table cooking school in Tuscany, in this charming first installment in a new cozy mystery series set in Italy. 
When Nell Valenti is offered a chance to move to Tuscany to help transform an aging villa into a farm-to-table cooking school, she eagerly accepts. After all, both her job and her love life in America have been feeling stale. Plus, she'll get the chance to work under the acclaimed Italian Chef Claudio Orlandini.
But Nell gets more than she bargained for when she arrives. With only a day to go until the launch dinner for the cooking school, the villa is in shambles, and Chef O is blissfully oblivious of the work that needs to be done before a group of local dignitaries arrive, along with a filmmaker sent to showcase and advertise the new school. The situation only worsens when Nell discovers that the filmmaker is an ex-boyfriend, and he’s found murdered later that night. Even worse, Chef O has disappeared, and accusations of murder could shut the school down for good.
As tensions reach a boiling point at the villa, Nell must throw her chef's hat into the ring, and investigate the murder herself. Because if she fails to solve the case, her career, or even her life, could be next on the chopping block.

What's So Funny About Murder?
by Stephanie Cole

            When I apply for a spot on a panel at a mystery writing convention, there's always a place to give the program planners some ideas. In the last couple of years, among some other topics I float, I've been suggesting panels on Humor in the Murder Mystery. Sometimes I like to give it a title: "What's So Funny About Murder?" If they go for it, and I get a spot on it, I know at least I'm going to enjoy myself. The same principle applies to the writing of my books. If I enjoy myself, readers will enjoy themselves. And for me, that enjoyment has nothing to do with wallowing in a particularly gruesome death scene, or with the CSI gals and guys rolling up their sleeves and digging into blood spatter, or with a villain who is the hyperbolic embodiment of evil and who takes a turn narrating.

            No, for me, enjoyment means laughs. I like wit, I like a humorous narrative voice that comes straight out of my character's nature, I like farce and the occasional -- yes, I admit it -- banana peel. So to what do I attribute this beloved coupling of laughs and violent death? On the last humor-in-the-mystery panel I appeared on, I forget the moderator's question, but  found myself struck by a Big "Aha!" moment, suddenly hearing myself saying to the audience, "When I was young, I wanted to be taken seriously, and I thought to be taken seriously meant I had to Be Serious."

            At the moment I realized that truth, I understood -- much to my relief -- that in my life, and in my writing life, it's humor that makes, paradoxically, a more serious statement than tragedy or drama. As humans who read, and breathe, and look around, and reflect, we recognize tragedy pretty quickly. As an approach to the material of some stories, it is beautiful and important, and we pull closer to each other in its harsh light. But, for me, as a young writer growing up there was always a deep admiration for irreverence. 

            And I had a growing sense of how humor serves a story. At its very least, it is a welcome defense against melancholy. And these are melancholy times. At its very best, it is the Wonkavator, rocketing us to an altogether new atmosphere where fresh perspectives strengthen us. What's so funny about murder? The answer, of course, is nothing. But it's humor that keeps the heroine/sleuth who doesn't quite know her shortcomings and doesn't quite know her talents, in the detecting trench, plugging away at the investigation. Because it's the investigation, the belief that murder won't stand, that murder cuts close to home, that murder blows apart our hobbit holes deep in the beloved shire, that matters.

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let me know what you think!

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Friday, February 28, 2020

Cozy Food Friday!

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

This week's recipe is from
Book 4 in the Kebab Kitchen Mysteries
by Tina Kashian

Lucy Berberian is busy preparing her family’s Mediterranean restaurant for Easter on the Jersey Shore—but a batch of sweets is to die for . . .
Bikers are thundering into the seaside town of Ocean Crest for the annual Bikers on the Beach gathering that raises funds for injured veterans. It’s a big boost for the Kebab Kitchen, as well as for local businesses like Melanie Haven’s candy shop. But Melanie is about to find herself in a sticky situation.
When Melanie and Lucy attend a beach bonfire, a local landlord is found dead after apparently choking on a piece of salt water taffy. Melanie, who was known to have a contentious relationship with the victim, is quickly skewered as the prime suspect. But Lucy is determined to prove her friend’s innocence before the real killer coasts free . . .

Recipes included!



Photo property of


¾ cup uncooked couscous
1 cup chicken broth
1½ cup cubed tomatoes
1½ cup peeled cucumber
½ cup halved pitted kalamata olives
¼ cups chopped sweet onions
2½ tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Photo property of


   In a saucepan, heat chicken broth to boiling. Stir in couscous. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand five minutes. Fluff with a fork. 

   In large bowl, place tomatoes, cucumber, olives, and onions. Stir in couscous. Add lemon juice, oil, salt and pepper. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate for an hour. Enjoy!

Photo property of

A nice hot meal to stick to your ribs during the rest of winter, and I bet just as great served cold with spring weather coming.


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

Both the BB and 56 are 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 

Ocean Crest, New Jersey

"Saturday night is going to be one killer night out."

My 56

"I can sense it. There is an evil presence in Ocean Crest."

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 27, 2020

Today I'm joining 
Berkley Mystery 
in celebrating the upcoming March 10 release of  
Book 1 in the Sassy Cat Mysteries
by Jennifer J. Chow


Mimi Lee is in over her head. There's her new Los Angeles pet grooming shop to run, her matchmaking mother to thwart, her talking cat Marshmallow to tend to—oh, and the murder of a local breeder to if only Mimi hadn't landed herself on top of the suspect list. 

Mimi Lee hoped to give Los Angeles animal lovers something to talk about with her pet grooming shop, Hollywoof. She never imagined that the first cat she said hello to would talk back or be quite so, well, catty—especially about those disastrous dates Mimi's mother keeps setting up. 

When Marshmallow exposes local breeder Russ Nolan for mistreating Chihuahuas, Mimi steals some of her cat's attitude to tell Russ off. The next day the police show up at Hollywoof. Russ has been found dead, and Mimi's shouting match with him has secured her top billing as the main suspect. 

Hoping to clear her name and save the pups Russ left behind, Mimi enlists help from her dreamy lawyer neighbor Josh. But even with Josh on board, it'll take Mimi and Marshmallow a lot of sleuthing and more than a little sass to get back to the pet-grooming life—and off the murder scene.

About Jennifer J. Chow

(also writes as J.J. Chow; Author Page here:

Jennifer J. Chow creates multicultural mysteries and fantastical young adult stories. She lives in Los Angeles, where she hunts for all things matcha.

Her short fiction has most recently appeared in Over My Dead Body! Magazine, Hyphen Magazine, and Yay! LA Magazine. Her Asian-American novels include the Winston Wong Cozy Mystery series, The 228 Legacy, and Dragonfly Dreams. Learn more at

Connect on Instagram and Twitter: @jenjchow


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 26, 2020


I'm happy to be a stop on the book tour for
Book 1 in the Adventures of Gladys Mysteries
by Katherine H. Brown

Gladys gets more than she bargains for when she climbs aboard her first cruise and witnesses a murder. Armed with wigs and wits alone, she determines to get to the bottom of things.An entertaining short read, this cozy mystery is a spinoff from the Ooey Gooey Bakery Mystery series.



1 lucky reader will win a $10.00 Amazon Gift Card 


Enter using the Rafflecopter form at the end of this post.

Winner will be chosen after March 1 at the end of the tour.

This giveaway is through Great Escape Book Tours, not Lisa Ks Book Reviews.


A Chat with author Katherine H. Brown

LKBR:  Thank you for joining us today, Katherine.

KB: It’s a pleasure to be here!

LKBR: Please tell us a bit about Bonbon Voyage.

KB: Bonbon Voyage is book 1 in a spinoff series from my Ooey Gooey Bakery cozy mysteries. Gladys, the MC in Bonbon Voyage, held a big role in that original series and readers really enjoyed her. I had so many requests to know more about Gladys that I couldn’t resist making her the star of her own show, so to speak.

LKBR: What are you plans for this series?

KB: Honestly, I’m just having fun with it. The books in this series will be slightly shorter and lighter than those in my previous cozy series. I’m currently working on book 2, Half-Baked Homecoming, with plans to release it in a month or two if all goes well (which, how often is that the case lol?).

LKBR: Are you working on any new projects?

KB: Alongside book 2 in the Adventures of Gladys series, I’m working on a second book in my Princess Bethani children’s book line. It should be wrapping up soon. As a teaser, Princess Bethani makes a new friend in this book – a friend who lives in her courtyard fountain!

After that, there is a beautiful story about a librarian, Ireland, and a search for answers that has been my on-again, off-again labor of love for a few years now. It is my prayer that I give it the time and attention needed to publish it before the year’s end.

LKBR: When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?

KB: Probably around the same time that I discovered someone was responsible for writing books. Seriously. As a kid, I wrote all of the time. Sometimes even “binding” my own books between pieces of cardboard, decorating the covers, and giving them little ribbon closures.

As a teen, I ordered every free guide to publishing and vanity press pamphlet that I could get in the mail. It was only later as an adult that I was actually able to knowledgably sort through publishing options and work out that self-publishing as an indie author would be best for me right now.

LKBR: Was getting your first book published everything you thought it would be? The feelings? The process?

KB: It was surreal. In the car, on a trip with my husband for our first anniversary, I finished rewriting and typing a children’s book that I had started as a teen and saved in a binder for years. By the time our eight hour drive to the beach was over, I had hit submit to publish the ebook and had begun the paperback process. To say I was giddy would be an understatement. Now, that book had some typos and I definitely wouldn’t say it was well-planned or executed. But when I received my paperback book in the mail a few weeks later, I was still as proud as I could be and happy to have FINALLY taken the first step toward a life’s longing of mine.

LKBR: How did you handle it when changes were made to your first manuscript? I don’t have a thick skin, so I know how I would have felt.

KB: As I said, my very first published book was a seat of my pants operation. Now, when I researched, did my homework, and got serious about a career as an author instead of a hobby that’s when the bruised feelings came about.

When I first began getting comments back from beta readers and those on my editing team, it was a roller coaster. I felt flattered that they liked the story and then subsequently deflated when they pointed out things like a character’s name that I accidentally changed mid-chapter or scenes that were shuffled around to be in a new order.

It was tough. Things like spelling, typos, etc I could take. When my beloved character’s pattern of speech or peculiar phrasing was called into question it did make me defensive. Learning to take a step back was a must. On top of that, I also came to the conclusion that some edits and advice I should accept but, with my non-traditional publishing route, the bottom line was that I make the last decision on the book, my name is going on it and I needed to be satisfied with the work I produced. Even if that meant I put too much “fluff” or descriptive details about the cookies and cupcakes for some people’s taste. Even if my character’s Southern slang got under some people’s skin. I took the edits I could to improve the book while leaving my writing style true to myself.

LKBR: What is your favorite part of being a writer?

KB: Working from home has to be one of the major joys of being a writer. I worked in an office job (completely unrelated field) for years before my husband and I agreed I would take the leap to quit and focus on writing.

I’d be lying if I said it was a full-time income or even more than occasional gas money yet, but the lack of stress that I now enjoy, coupled with the opportunity to be and do whatever my family needs from me while still embracing my creative side and getting words on page and then books in print – that, that is my favorite part.

The characters in my head are fun to hang out with, too 😉

LKBR: Have you ever read a book that has stayed with you long after reading it?

KB: A few though to be honest I love to read so many books that they also quickly replace each other. Scarlett, the sequel to Gone with the Wind, was the inspiration for my baby girl’s name. The Harry Potter series (I’m a Gryffindor) captures my imagination still with the masterful combination of world-building and relatable characters. Nancy Drew books were probably my biggest influence in a continued love of mysteries.

LKBR: Why are reviews, good or bad, so important to authors?

KB: To me, reviews are important for two specific reasons: first, honest feedback; second, to draw more readers.
As an author, I can glean as much from a review (good or bad) as I can from a beta reader or round of editing. If certain comments are repeated, it guides me on possible problems to change or plots to continue in my next book.

Potential readers live in a world where billions of books are at their fingertips. Something has to make them want to buy mine. Reviews can be a huge selling point, in fact, many people will not pick up a new book or new author to give them a chance without a certain star rating. Even seeing bad reviews isn’t a bad thing though. It means someone read the book and took the time to finish the book. The book was engaging enough for them to form an opinion over in some way.

LKBR: On what sites do you recommend readers leave their reviews?

KB: Amazon is the biggest player as far as places that help me as an author to receive reviews.  They are easier for me to find and learn from and they are also the platform where possible buyers might be looking closely at my books.

That being said, Goodreads, Bookbub, or even an individual’s own social media page posting reviews are hugely appreciated as well. Those places get new eyes on the book and may appeal to someone who wasn’t even book shopping. Reviews, in a nutshell, are an excellent way to show support for an author no matter the place and I appreciate the time it takes for people to write and share them.

LKBR: If you could spend one hour with a reader, what would you want to talk about?

KB: I’d love to know their favorite character of my book and why. I’d also enjoy finding out more about them and sharing other favorite books or authors. If they were a reader who really enjoyed my books, hearing what else they’d love to read about my characters (i.e. did so-and-so live happily ever after) would be a fun way to keep me writing in line with reader expectations and fostering a satisfied following, even if I couldn’t follow every idea offered.

LKBR: Thank you so much, Katherine, for letting us get to know you better!

KB: Thank you, Lisa, for this opportunity to share part of my journey with you and your lovely readers. I’ve enjoyed our chat together and appreciate your time and thoughtful questions.

About Katherine H. Brown

Katherine H. Brown is from the tiny community of New York, Texas. Booklover (some might say book addict) and weaver of words, Katherine desired to be a writer from childhood, embarked on her first publishing adventure in 2017, and in 2019 said audios to her cozy office job to leap into a career as an author full-time.
When not found between the pages of a book or tapping keys on her laptop, Katherine loves to watch baking shows with her stepdaughter or cuddle up with her husband Patrick. Katherine and family prepare to welcome a new baby girl into the family in March 2020. 

Author Links
Facebook Author Page    Website     Instagram     

Purchase Link 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


February 21 – Brooke Blogs – CHARACTER GUEST POST, GIVEAWAY
February 21 – Christy's Cozy Corners – REVIEW
February 22 – This Is My Truth Now – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
February 22 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – GUEST POST
February 23 – A Wytch's Book Review Blog - REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW
February 24 – Celticlady's Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
February 24 – T's Stuff – SPOTLIGHT
February 25 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT
February 25 – The Book Decoder - REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW
February 26 – Ascroft, eh? – GUEST POST
February 26 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
February 27 – I'm All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
February 27 – Christa Reads and Writes – SPOTLIGHT
February 28 – eBook Addicts – REVIEW
February 28 – Here's How It Happened – REVIEW
February 29 - Laura`s Interests - REVIEW
February 29 - MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY
March 1 – Cozy Up With Kathy – CHARACTER GUEST POST

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.