Posted in Book Reviews, Guest Authors

Best Staged Plans by Claire Cook

It is no secret 26047381_10155060885697611_5873356279400153772_nAuthor Claire Cook is one of my favorites, so I was over the moon when I won her book “Best Staged Plans.”51u6AWVTKNL._SY346_ It  was autographed too. Can you feel my excitement? Her books seem to fit where I am at this stage in my life. The first book  I read by MS Cook was “Never Too Late Your Roadmap for Reinvention.” After that I devoured the books my library had and now I am into buying her books to keep forever. This doesn’t happen very often for me except with Catherine Coulter and J. T. Ellison. I actually gifted “Never Too Late Your Roadmap for Reinvention to a couple of my best friends.

Best staged plans never usually work out for me and the road is bumpy right now for the main character, Sandy Sullivan. She wants to let go of her house and reinvent her life but the other members of her family who  share her life can’t seem to get on the same page. Her husband and son seem to tune her out when she needs help staging the house for sale. She is a professional and stages houses for a living so she knew what needed to be done to sell her house and to move on so she and her husband could become empty nesters.  Frustrated with the progress she accepts a job out-of-town and leaves a list to be finished while she is gone. Does it happen? Does she find what she is looking for while she is on a designing journey? You will have to read the book to find out.

I happen to be on this frustrating journey right now. I would love to sell our four bedroom home and let go of all the maintenance that comes with an older home freeing us the responsibility that home ownership requires.  I too have a husband who is dragging his heals.  I resonated with Sandy but I must admit I love the premise of the main character staging homes. I am a HGTV lover and wannabe home stager in my dreams.

I would definitely give “Best Staged Plans” five stars.

About Claire Cook taken from her Amazon author page: Thanks so much for discovering my books! Reinvention is the story of my books and my life. I wrote my first novel in my minivan at 45. At 50, I walked the red carpet at the Hollywood premiere of the adaptation of my second novel, Must Love Dogs, starring Diane Lane and John Cusack. I’m now the New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author of 18 books. It’s Never Too Late to Shine On!

I’ve reinvented myself again by turning Must Love Dogs into a series and writing my first nonfiction books Never Too Late: Your Roadmap to Reinvention (#1 Amazon Bestseller Women’s Personal Growth!) and Shine On: How to Grow Awesome Instead of Old to share everything I’ve learned on my own journey that might help you in your own.

Some of the nice things that have been said about my work: “The exuberant and charming Claire Cook is one of the  and funniest creators of contemporary women’s fiction,” according to The Times-Picayune. People magazine said my writing “goes down as easy as it sounds,” Good Housekeeping called it “laugh-out-loud,” Redbook “gleefully quirky” and the Chicago Tribune “funny and pitch perfect.” Shelf Awareness said, “Claire Cook (Must Love Dogs) has built a brand writing light-hearted women’s fiction blending kernels of the absurd and comedic in compulsively readable combinations.”

I was a teacher for sixteen years before writing my first book. I was born in Virginia, and lived for many years in Scituate, Massachusetts, a beach town between Boston and Cape Cod. My husband and I have recently moved to the suburbs of Atlanta to be closer to our two adult kids, who actually want us around again!

I have the world’s most fabulous readers, and I’m forever grateful to you all for giving me the gift of this career.

Be the first to hear about new releases, giveaways and insider extras at ClaireCook.com/newsletter. Hang out with me on Facebook (ClaireCookauthorpage), Twitter (ClaireCookwrite) and Pinterest (ClaireCookwrite).

Best Staged Plans

Sandy Sullivan is a professional home stager who lives and works in the Boston suburbs. So getting rid of her own house and downsizing should be a breeze, right? Well, best staged plans and all, Sandy’s husband, Greg, is dragging his feet and their son, Luke, has returned home and moved into the “bat cave” in the basement. Sandy reads them both the riot act and takes a job staging a boutique hotel recently acquired by her best friend’s boyfriend. The good news is that she can spend time in Atlanta with her recently married daughter, Shannon. The bad news is that Shannon soon receives a promotion and heads back up to Boston for training, leaving Sandy and her Southern son-in-law, Chance, as reluctant roommates. And Sandy finds herself in another delicate situation when she suspects her best friend’s boyfriend may be seeing another woman on the side. Fixing up houses may turn out to be easier than fixing up lives.

You can find Clair Cook at:

Amazon

and her website: Claire Cook

 

Happy Reading! And thank you Claire Cook for entertaining us with your writing.

Posted in Book Reviews, Reading and Reviewing

Murder In Vail by Judy Moore

51EXvWdU5+LMurder In Vail by Judy Moore

Sally Braddock’s serene lifestyle atop a mountain in Vail, Colorado, changes drastically each year when her three spoiled children and their spouses visit her – and her money – for Christmas. They live off their trust funds, which are disappearing quickly, and spend most of the holidays bickering and hitting up their mother for money.

This year, Sally makes an announcement that sends her children into a tizzy, an announcement so extreme that it pushes someone in the house to murder. The storm inside the house

My Review

Judy Moore is a new author to me. It was one of those books that I downloaded on my Kindle and was wishy-washy about reading it. I tend to read authors  I am familiar with first when picking a book, and seem to put those I am not familiar with on my to-read list, sometimes removing it from the Kindle before I read it. I am glad I did not do this with Murder In Vail.

It drew me in right away. I had a few days of trying to to get through another book and not being able to get into it so I was pleasantly surprised when I didn’t want to put this book down.

I liked the characters and thought the family dynamics were interesting. It was a good story on what pulls families together or what pulls them apart. Along with highlighting no matter how much we differ or we fight we seem to defend our families and the Braddock family in this book is no different.

The plot was easy to follow but the mystery was not so easy to solve. I kept flopping back and forth trying to decide the guilty party. The easy style of the writing drew me in, kept me focused so much that I finished this in an afternoon. I could also identify with Sally and her questioning her parenting decisions. Don’t we all do that with our adult children?

I good read. A new author for me to explore. I can’t ask for anything more.

To find out more about Judy Moore and her books visit her Amazon page.

Posted in Book Reviews, Guest Authors, Reading and Reviewing, Releases

Meet Cozy Mystery Author Susan Boles

I am excited to have 91WqGLYNLsL._US230_Author Susan Boles as my guest today. Susan is the author of the award-winning Lily Gayle Lambert Mystery Series. And out soon, her book, Death On The Beach is part of a part of the boxed set, Summer Snoops and Cozy Crimes, 12 Mysteries of the Dog Days of Summer. All proceeds from this boxed set will go to support to Non-Kill Animal Shelters.unnamed.png

 

Let’s meet Susan.

Who is Susan Boles?

I love writing books! Which is a given under the circumstances! I love reading all genres and also poetry. So, even though I write cozy mysteries, and some romantic suspense, I really enjoy reading a lot of other things too. My day job is in the investment and insurance industry and I monitor regulatory changes at the state and federal level. Pretty dry and boring. But it’s always changing so there’s job security in that! LOL. Until I moved to Mississippi six years ago, I was a seventh generation Tennessean. I love genealogy and have worked on my own family history for over twenty years. I love animals and have a rescue mini-dachshund named Lucy and a rescue cat named Zimba.

What was the first thing you ever wrote that made you think perhaps you would like to be a writer?

When I was in junior high school I began writing poetry and short stories. I was crazy about horses and wanted one of my own and all of my short stories were centered around a teenage girl and her adventures while out riding her horse in the country. I knew all the way back then that I wanted to be an author, but it took a very long time before I wrote my first book and even more time before it got published.

What tweaks your creativity?

That’s an interesting question because it’s a lot of things rather than one thing in particular. I might see something on TV that makes me go Hmm. That would make a great story! Or hear a song and have the same reaction. Or a friend may say something that gets my imagination saying What if?

Tell us about your latest book.

I’m currently working on a novella for a box set of cozy mysteries that will be released in late July. My novella is part of my Lily Gayle Lambert series D1nCADq78JS._SL250_FMpng_and takes place at the beach. One of my favorite places!! Even on vacation Lily Gayle and Dixie stumble onto a murder victim. I’m also currently at work on a romantic suspense novella for the Brotherhood Protectors Kindle World. It will be a crossover from the Lily Gayle Lambert series with some of those characters appearing in the romantic suspense. That one will be released on June 26th! My plate is pretty full right now.

 

What is the favorite thing about your main character?

Her insatiable curiosity. I’m a big believer that being curious and learning all throughout life are positive things.

What are your characters most serious flaws?

Her inability to control that endearing curiosity. But if she could, there would be no books, right?

How many series do you have out and how do they differ from one another?

Right now, the Lily Gayle Lambert books are the only series I have out. I am going to be publishing regularly in the Brotherhood Protectors Kindle World, this year so I think that may fall into the category of a series. Or maybe not. But the Brotherhood books are romantic suspense instead of cozy mystery like the Lily Gayle books. I also have ideas for a couple more cozy mystery series that I’d like to work on later this year. So, hopefully, there will be a new series out in 2019.

You are a champion of animal rescue. Can you tell us about the boxed set of books that will be available soon and where the proceeds go and why you chose this particular platform?

I am so honored to have been asked to be a part of this box set. I am a huge advocate of animal rescue. There are so many animals out there that need loving homes. I am active with a local rescue group in Memphis, TN and see how very hard the members of the group work to take care of these animals and to make sure that go to loving homes. This box set, Summer Snoops and Cozy Crimes,  includes twelve authors of cozy mystery. Some of the books, like mine, are part of an existing series and some are something new the authors wanted to try out in the set. Revenue will go to two no-kill shelters we chose. AniCira is one. It’s a group in Virginia. www.anicira.com The other is Jefferson SPCA. Which is in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana. http://www.jeffersonspca.org Both of these groups are very committed to finding forever homes for lost and/or abandoned animals. It’s available for pre-order already on all the big e-book retailer sites.

What makes you smile?

Lucy and Zimba. Sunshine on water. Flowers growing in my garden. The smell of the earth after a heavy rain. A cup of hot tea and a good book on a rainy afternoon. A rocking chair or swing on a big front porch.

What makes you mad/sad?

Seeing an animal or a child being mistreated. Those really get me.

Writers get discouraged at times. Have you ever been discouraged and what do you do about it?

Oh my, yes! I am my own worst critic and I sometimes think every word I’ve written is crap. And I have to restrain myself from just deleting everything. My friends are the best. When I get discouraged they talk me off the ledge. I walk away and come back with a calmer frame of mind and take a hard look. Sometimes big sections do need to be deleted. But never all of it.

What advice would you give to new authors or those dreaming of becoming an author?

Write. Write. Write. Often. Every day if you can. And Read. Read. Read. You need to read really good books and really bad books to see how they are put together and what works and what doesn’t.

What are you working on now? My novella for the cozy mystery box set. It’s titled Death on the Beach. My novella for the Brotherhood Protectors Kindle World. It’s titled Persuading Piper. And Book 4 in the Lily Gayle Lambert series. It’s titled Death said the Gypsy Queen and, hopefully, will be out in late August or early September. Then there

I like to end my interviews with an author’s favorite quote. What is yours?

Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get. ~ Forest Gump

My Review of  Susan’s book Death at the Midnight Dragonfly:

This is the first I have read of Susan Boles LIly Gayle Lambert series but it won’t be my last. A sleepy Mississippi town, quirky characters, a dead on the doorstep body, two best friends sleuthing where they shouldn’t be and an old possible heartthrob coming back to town have the mysteries details leading the reader down an intriguing road. And it all happens during the Christmas season.   What could be better than a holly jolly redly deadly Christmas? Lily Gayle, the main character, wasn’t in the Christmas mood anyway so a few threats on her and her best friend Dixie’s life just might perk up her mood.

This was a well-written, enjoyable book that kept me reading and kept me interested from beginning to end.

More about Susan:

Susan is the award-winning author of the Lily Gayle Lambert Mystery Series and a contributing author to the Brotherhood Protectors Kindleworld.

A lifelong long love of all things mysterious led Susan to write cozy mysteries. Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden were the first to show her that girls can be crime solvers. Agatha Christie showed her that even small towns have big secrets. And Phryne Fisher showed her lady detectives can be outrageously individual. She lives in Mississippi with her rescue mini dachshund, Lucy, and her rescue cat of no particular breed, Zimba.

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Lucy (9) adopted when she was six.
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Zimba (4) – adopted as a kitten

She currently writes the Lily Gayle Lambert mystery series set in the fictional town of Mercy, Mississippi featuring a multi-generational cast of female sleuths and romantic suspense in the Brotherhood Protectors Kindle World.

 

Stay in touch for upcoming releases!

Susan writes mysteries and set in the big city of Memphis, TN and the fictional small town of Mercy, Mississippi.

CONTACT SUSAN;
Susan loves to hear from readers and book lovers! Visit her website at www.susanbolesauthor.com Or drop her a line at Susan at susanbolesauthor.com

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Anicira

Jefferson spca

Amazon: http://bit.ly/SummerSnoopsAmazon
Apple: http://bit.ly/SummerSnoopsonApple
Nook: http://bit.ly/SummerSnoopsNook
Kobo: http://bit.ly/SummerSnoopsonKobo

 

Posted in Book Reviews

Murder of Course by Diane Weiner

B1DEGTNeYKS._UY200_This new series by Author Diane Weiner is my favorite. Her first book, A Deadly Course  in the Sugarbury Falls Series introduced us to Emily and Henry Fox who moved to Sugarbury Falls to kick back a little from their city life. Murder of Course continues on with life in Sugarbury Falls but as we all know small-town life has its secrets and its issues too. Emily and Henry find that out when a murder happens almost next door. Add a teenager, animals and good characters and you have a mystery worth reading. There are surprises at every turn.

This series is my favorite of Diane’s books. There is something about Sugarbury Falls that makes me wish I could spend some time there and meet the people who live and work in the community, perhaps even the murderers. The mystery is well written. I give this book Five Stars.

51tcIIiDevLMurder Of Course

Middle-aged couple Emily and Henry Fox moved to Sugarbury Falls, Vermont to enjoy a quiet life, but when their neighbor pounds on their door at the crack of dawn pleading for help, they can’t refuse. A dead woman lies on the floor of their neighbor’s rental cabin. Who is she and what brought her to town? While struggling with the mystery, Emily also struggles with an impossible new boss at the quaint college where she teaches–a boss who may be guilty of her own heinous crime.

About Diane Weiner

Diane Weiner is a veteran public school teacher and mother of four children. She has enjoyed reading for as long as she can remember. She has fond memories of reading Nancy Drew and Mary Higgins Clark on snowy weekend afternoons in upstate New York and yearned to write books that would bring that kind of enjoyment to her readers. Being an animal lover, she is a vegetarian and shares her home with two adorable cats and a little white dog. In her free time, she enjoys running, attending community theater productions, and spending time with her family (especially going to the mall with her teenage daughter and getting Dairy Queen afterward). Murder in the Middle is the third book in her Susan Wiles School House Mystery series and she has plans for many more.

Links to Diane:

Amazon

Website

Posted in Reading and Reviewing

Familiar Trouble by Carolyn Haines

I didn’t know if I would like a mystery where the voice of a cat adds to the story. But it fits so well. I realized I put voices in my head from what I think my cats are telling me so it seemed perfectly reasonable after some thought that this author carried a talking cat over to her book. My cats seem to know my moods and what I need before I do, and Trouble, named aptly for the cat in the book, anticipate what his owner, Tammy Lynn, needs before she does.

The visualization in this book is spot on. I felt as if I were climbing to the top of the impact crater. The mystery revolves around a serial killer and I must admit this mystery was crafted and woven so I suspected everyone. I even began hoping one character wasn’t the bad guy they portrayed him to be and would become a love interest for Tammy. And then I would change my mind and put the bad guy back to being the bad guy and stop questioning the good guy. But was I right? You’ll have to read to find out. This was an excellent book and mystery. Five stars from me.

51XydKdpBcL._UY250_Familiar Trouble

BLOOD IS THICKER… Sometimes a unique talent is inherited—and such is the case for Trouble, son of Familiar the black cat detective. Trouble’s rather indolent life in the sleepy town of Wetumpka, Alabama is upended when a serial killer arrives on the scene. Trouble begins to apply the skills he learned from his dad and his hero, Sherlock Holmes.

When local bookseller Tammy Lynn is attacked at the site of an impact crater, Trouble realizes he must protect his human and solve the mystery of the Silk Stocking Killer.

Aiden Waters, a local deputy, has tracked the SSK to Wetumpka. Since his wife’s murder, Aiden won’t risk romance, but when Tammy is endangered, everything changes. Especially their hearts.

About the author

Carolyn Haines is the USA Today bestselling author of over eighty novels in a number of genres, including the acclaimed Sarah Booth Delaney mystery series, the Pluto’s Snitch mystery series, and the Familiar Legacy romantic mystery series.

Sign up for Carolyn Haines’ newsletter and receive a free short story as a welcome gift at http://www.carolynhaines.com/subscribe

Haines was honored with the prestigious 2009 Richard Wright Award for Literary Excellence. Haines was also 2010 recipient of the Harper Lee Award for Distinguished Writing. Her novel BONE TO BE WILD was named best suspense for 2014, and the Sarah Booth Delaney series was also named best amateur sleuth. Two of the Sarah Booth books were included in the “Best 5 mysteries of the year” by LIBRARY JOURNAL.

Born and raised in Mississippi, she now lives in Alabama on a farm with more dogs, cats, and horses than she can possibly keep track of! She has been an animal advocate and activist her whole life and urges all pet owners to please spay and neuter.

Visit Carolyn Haines Amazon author page to see her books.
Posted in Reading and Reviewing

A Dewberry Farm Killer Jam Mystery by Karen MacInerney

51xjdJKSpCLI loved this mystery. I think there could be a little homesteader in all of us and I wanted to move to Dewberry Farm and help Lucy Resnick on her farm even though someone was trying to get the farm away from her and this tiny community apparently isn’t all that safe. I mean who murders someone with a bratwurst skewer? It makes you look around at all the characters you know from your own small town.  I must admit I was hooked from the first page and I did not want to put this book down.

A good book for me has a mystery I can’t figure out, unique quirky characters and an interesting setting. This book had it all. I will look for more books in the series and I give this five stars.

Killer Jam

When Houston reporter Lucy Resnick cashes in her retirement to buy her grandmother’s farm in Buttercup, Texas, she’s looking forward to a simple life as a homesteader. But Lucy has barely finished putting up her first batch of Killer Dewberry Jam when an oil exploration truck rolls up to the farm and announces plans to replace her broccoli patch with an oil derrick. Two days later, Nettie Kocurek, the woman who ordered the drilling, turns up dead at the Founders’ Day Festival with a bratwurst skewer through her heart and one of Lucy’s jam jars beside her…and the sheriff fingers Lucy as the prime suspect.

Horrified, Lucy begins to talk to Nettie’s neighbors, but the more she gets to know the townspeople, the more she realizes she’s not the only one who had a beef with Nettie. Can she clear her name, or will her dream life turn into a nightmare?

A little about the author

Karen is the housework-impaired author of multiple mystery series, and her victims number well into the double digits. She lives in Austin, Texas with two sassy children, her husband, and a menagerie of animals, including twenty-three fish, two rabbits, and a rescue dog named Little Bit. When she’s not chauffeuring children or coming up with creative ways to kill people, you can usually find Karen hiding away with a book, dodging laundry, playing in the kitchen, or attending martial arts classes. She also teaches writing classes.

To join Karen’s Readers’ Circle and download a free book, please visit her at http://www.karenmacinerney.com. Not only will you be first to hear about new releases, but you’ll receive behind-the-scenes tidbits, deleted scenes, recipes, and even short stories! You can also find Karen on Twitter at @karenmacinerney and Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/AuthorKarenMacInerney or http://www.facebook.com/karenmacinerney (where she spends an inordinate amount of time). You are more than welcome to friend her there — and remind her to get back to work on the next book!

Visit her Amazon Author page where you can find her books.

Posted in Book Reviews, Reading and Reviewing

The Karma of King Harald – A Canine Cozy

5106WGkmPJLHerald was my father-in-law’s name spelled a little bit different from the Harald in this Canine Mystery. The thought passed through my mind that perhaps the author made a mistake in the spelling because Harald is usually spelled, Harold. However, after becoming immersed in this book, I realized that King Harald, the canine, definitely could not be spelled the boring, normal way as this canine is up to his paws in cahoots and crime.

I wasn’t prepared as to how much I liked this book. There was something about it that loped along easily and pulled me in. I thought perhaps it was the characters such as Harald and his trusty owner Andy Skyberg. Andy shared my values on finding a place to live where I can lead a peaceful existence. Small towns are perfect for that scenario and New Bergen is no different. Enter Trudi Bock. I like unusual people but all people who move to small towns who don’t conform to the residents’ image of a normal person are not always accepted. I have felt that in my lifetime, so this character challenged my stick-up-for-the-weird part of me. Yes, it was more than Harald and Andy which kept me reading.

Loping along, because I felt as if I was on an interesting stroll when reading this book, we run into the proverbial church lady, the small town police and the upper crust of society. This in itself would not have entirely satisfied my reading adventure but just when a reader thinks they have a mystery solved another one is thrown into the mix complicating what you believed to be true. And it all starts with the death of an iguana–who knew iguanas were so important, and ends with… well all I can tell you is I didn’t see it coming.

I have the next work of this series in my hot little hands and I can’t wait to read it. I loved this book and I look for the right words to explain why, besides what I have written above. All I can say it was the feeling of walking down a cozy community with quirks and twists along the path anticipating the end of the journey would leave me satisfied. My journey in New Bergin with King Harald and Andy ended. I didn’t count on wanting to visit New Bergin and get mixed up with King Harald again. Thank you, Richard Audry.

The Karma Of King Harald

More about Richard Audry

61N2oWjuuuL._UX250_Richard Audry is the pen name of D. R. Martin. In addition to his career as a journalist and copywriter, D. R. has written a dozen books, both fiction and non-fiction. His current projects include a fantasy adventure trilogy, a canine cozy mystery series, and historical mysteries set at the turn of the last century.

On Facebook you can like him at facebook.com/richardaudryauthor
and at facebook.com/johnnygraphicadventures

To contact D. R., visit his blogs at johnnygraphicadventures.com or drmartinbooks.com

If you’re a fan of Travis McGee, D. R. invites you to join the discussion at his popular blog about the intrepid tough guy, drmar120.wordpress.com