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Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Review - Single Malt Murder

I have had a particularly hard time in posting reviews.  I'm not sure what the deal is, but I have this one for you.  A new series based in Scotland (always fun) and based primarily at a whiskey distillery.  I can't remember where I heard about this one, but I came across it and purchased it.  


Author: Melinda Mullet

Copyright: March 21, 2017 (Alibi) 278 pgs

Series: 1st in Whisky Business Mystery series

Sensuality: n/a

Mystery Sub-genre: Cozy

Main Characters: Abigail Logan, photojournalist who inherited Abbey Glen distillery

Setting: Modern day, Scotland

Obtained Through: Personal purchase

Cover blurb: "When Abi inherits her uncle’s quaint and storied single malt distillery, she finds herself immersed in a competitive high-stakes business that elicits deep passions and prejudices. An award-winning photojournalist, Abi has no trouble capturing the perfect shot—but making the perfect shot is another matter. When she starts to receive disturbing, anonymous threats, it’s clear that someone wants her out of the picture. But Abi’s never been one to back down from a fight.

Arriving on the scene with her whisky-loving best friend, Patrick, and an oversized wheaten terrier named Liam, Abi seems to put everyone in the bucolic village on edge—especially her dour but disturbingly attractive head distiller. Acts of sabotage and increasingly personal threats against Abi make it clear that she is not welcome. When one of Abi’s new employees is found floating facedown in a vat of whisky, Abi is determined to use her skills as an investigative journalist to identify the cold-blooded killer and dispense a dram of justice before he strikes again. But distilling truth from lies is tricky, especially when everyone seems to have something to hide."

Abigail is a stubborn, gutsy character with lots of potential filled with regrets as she comes to town to check out the distillery her uncle left her.  Since she has received threats and there has been a murder, she doesn't trust anybody, even the long time employees.  Deceased Uncle Ben has a definite presence throughout the book and I love his character.  Best friend Patrick Cooke is great and the Terrier dog named Liam is perfection. 

This book is written by an American who clearly hasn't lived in Scotland from the various mistakes in details on Scottish life (crime scene tape isn't yellow but blue and white and village would have High Street rather than Main Street and such details from what I hear.) But, if that doesn't bother you, then consider the book further.  

I had one bone to pick regarding the threats that start immediately - before she has done anything but inherit the place, and continues getting threats seemingly without waiting to see if she will leave etc.  Otherwise, I enjoyed the book and found it a fun escape with an interesting mystery.  I am looking to getting the second in the series.

Rating: Good - A fun entertaining lite read 


Here is a short video about the Scotch Whiskey making process featuring Glen Fiddich distillery:




https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mlhzV0Vx7FM







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Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Book Spotlight - A Stewed Observation

Please welcome Karen C. Whalen to the blog.  She is the author of a culinary cozy series, the “dinner club murder mysteries.” Her books are similar to those written by authors Jessica Beck, Joanne Fluke, Leslie Meier, Cindy Bell and Laura Childs. 

Fans of mysteries centering around food – donuts, cakes, cookies, coffee shops, bakeries, and gourmet cuisine - and add in a western setting in Denver, Colorado - will enjoy Everything Bundt the Truth, Not According to Flan, No Grater Evil, and A Stewed Observation.

Everything Bundt the Truth tied for FIRST PLACE in the Suspense Novel category of the 2017 IDA Contest. The IDA is sponsored by Oklahoma Romance Writers of America, but is open to all works of fiction in digital format. 

She worked for many years as a paralegal at a law firm in Denver, Colorado and has been a columnist and regular contributor to The National Paralegal Reporter magazine. She believes that it's never to late too try something new. She loves to host dinner clubs, entertain friends, ride bicycles, hike in the mountains, and read cozy murder mysteries.


A Stewed Observation A Dinner Club Murder Mysteries Book 4  Karen C Whalen

The Gourmet Dinner Club travels to Ireland to enjoy Irish cuisine while staying at a medieval, ivy-covered castle. Jane Marsh hopes Dale Capricorn will ask her to marry him at this romantic dream destination. But her plans are put on hold when the elderly castle owner becomes violent, a club member restrains him, and he collapses and dies. 

The police believe the mysterious death is murder and begin to suspect one of the club’s members. Dale leaves for home on a business emergency, and as the lone single gal in the club full of couples, Jane is thrown into the company of Griffin O’Doherty, the handsome Irishman who stands to inherit the castle.

Jane must prove her friend’s innocence by solving the crime. Which of the sweet-tempered Irish could be a callous killer?

The dinner club murder mystery series - a culinary cozy - is set in Denver, Colorado.

Amateur sleuth Jane Marsh is always game to try new things now that she’s in the empty nest stage of her life, including joining an exclusive dinner club. Stumbling across dead bodies has also developed into one of her hobbies. Using paralegal skills honed at her job in a downtown law firm, she knows how to conduct an investigation. But her suspicious mind collides with her trusting nature as she stirs up trouble while serving up one dinner party after another.

Visit her webpage at: http://www.karencwhalen.com/

Purchase Links:




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Thursday, July 26, 2018

Book Spotlight: Marquesa's Necklace

Please welcome author P.J. MacLayne as we feature her book.


The truth is, I didn't set out to write a cozy mystery series. This book was supposed to be a romance. My characters, especially Harmony Duprie, the main character, convinced me otherwise, but did allow me to keep the romance as a sub-plot.

By the end of the book, I'd fallen in love with Harmony, and knew what was intended to be a stand-alone story would be a series. I've written three books in the series so far, and am currently working on the fourth. But I have great fondness for the story that started it all.

Book Blurb

Harmony Duprie enjoyed her well-ordered life in the quiet little town of Oak Grove—until her arrest for drug trafficking. Cleared of all charges, she wants nothing more than to return to the uneventful lifestyle of a historical researcher she once savored.

But when her beloved old car “George” is stolen and explodes into a ball of flames, it sets off a series of events that throws her plans into turmoil. Toss in a police detective that may or may not be interested in her, an attractive but mysterious stranger on her trail, and an ex-boyfriend doing time, and Harmony’s life freefalls into a downward spiral of chaos.

Now she has to use her research skills to figure out who is behind the sinister incidents plaguing her, and why. And she better take it seriously, like her life depends upon finding the right answers.

     Because it might.

Excerpt:

By the time Janine and Sarah arrived in the morning, Luke, Joe and I had already wrestled the easy chair out to the curb. Joe was straightening up the kitchen while Luke and I restored order to the explosion of books and put them back on the shelves. Being an ex-librarian, I’m picky in how my books go, so the job was taking longer than Luke liked. When they knocked, Joe, who had self-appointed himself as my bodyguard, rushed to be the one to open it. I didn’t know what he had planned if it was an intruder—would an intruder knock? —but since he was a retired Marine, I wasn’t going to argue. Sarah and Janine stood there with their mouths hanging open, shocked by the scene. Janine gathered her wits and said, “What can we do to help?”

Joe answered for me. “One of you can tackle the bathroom. The other can haul a load of clothes to the basement and wash them.” The defiled lingerie already sat in the garbage can next to the garage.

An hour or so later Detective Thomason arrived. I was on my hands and knees scrubbing the kitchen floor in the spots the mop didn’t reach, when we heard a knock on the door. Joe just glared at me when I started to get up, so I let him do the honors, and returned to my cleaning.

“What do you want?” Joe said, rather gruffly and I figured I better check it out for myself.

Detective Thomason held a vase with a bouquet of supermarket flowers. He was wearing jeans and a T-shirt instead of a suit. Tight jeans, I might add, and the shirt did him favors that his suits never could. I thanked him and put the flowers in the middle of the kitchen table. Luke steered him towards the bedroom to figure out how to get the shredded mattress out of the apartment without knocking everything else over again. The bouquet proved to be a beacon of peace in the midst of the chaos that ruled for the rest of the day, and earned him back the name of Fred. He still didn’t rank being Freddie in my mind—not yet, anyhow.

I spent the night with Janine. I had to stay somewhere else because Luke, Joe, and I decided we would clean the carpet in the apartment before I replaced my furniture. The soil from the African Violets was ground into the rug. And there had been more foot-traffic through my place than normal for the past year.

The violets were wilted, but would survive. The footprints on the Grateful Dead tapestry vanished with a good beating and repeated vacuuming. Several of my books had their spines broken or their pages torn, but none of my first edition books were hurt. I had to go shopping for a new mattress, but Luke and Joe were going to give me an old loveseat they didn’t want anymore. Nothing seemed to have been taken. I got off lucky. Again.

A not-so-tiny voice in the back of my brain told me I’d better start worrying about my luck running out.

The Marquesa's Necklace is on sale for 99¢

Buy Links


Author Bio: Born and raised among the rolling hills of western Pennsylvania, P.J. MacLayne still finds inspiration for her books in that landscape. She is a computer geek by day and a writer by night who currently lives in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains. When she's not in front of a computer screen, she might be found exploring the back roads of the nearby national forests and parks. In addition to the Free Wolves’ stories, she is also the author of the Oak Grove series.

P.J. MacLayne can be reached on:  
Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | Amazon | Blog | BookBub

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Thank you P.J. for joining us today!



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Monday, July 23, 2018

Book Spotlight - Tatia's Tattoo

We are spotlighting a book by Christian author Linda Brendle today.  Linda first began to write during her years as a caregiver. After two memoirs, A Long and Winding Road and Mom’s Long Good-Bye, she ventured into the world of fiction. Tatia’s Tattoo will be followed soon by Fallen Angel Salvage, the continuing story of Tatia, her family, and Eric ten years later.

In semi-retirement from the business world, Linda holds a part-time job as secretary for her church and an on-line position as an accounting specialist for BookPros. She also writes a column for the weekly newspaper in the tiny East Texas town where she and her husband David live with their feral cat Kitty.

This book is more Christian fiction and not a mystery.

Tatia’s Tattoo by Linda Brendle – A #MysteryExchange Post

Tatia’s Tattoo begins on a Friday morning as Tatia Robins, a successful D.C. attorney, awakens from a nightmare that has tormented her for over a decade, a replay of her twelfth birthday when Eric stole her innocence and then sold her for the first time. After spending some time in prayer, she finishes packing and leaves for Royal Children’s Camp, a Christian camp for foster children where she first met Jesse and Mrs. G and now serves as a counselor every summer.

The journey to camp each year stirs up memories of her journey from a happy child in the arms of loving parents to one more statistic in the sex-trafficking industry in a small Texas town. She also remembers her day in court when she stood up to Eric, the man who was supposed to love her but instead branded her like a slave.

She is met at the airport by Mrs. G, the woman who recognized her as one of the least of these in spite of her skin-tight mini dress and the prisoner’s band around her wrist. Throughout the weekend, she looks forward to a reunion with other members of the Grochowsky Rescue Academy and with Jesse, the Christian tattoo artist and biker who waits patiently for Tatia to feel safe enough to tear down the protective walls she has built around herself. Will the love of her new family and Jesse’s surprise gift be enough to help her reclaim the power that Eric stole from her?

Where to find the author:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Google+ | Pinterest | Goodreads 





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Friday, July 20, 2018

Book Spotlight - Lethal Spectre

Today we feature a historical mystery by Donna Fletcher Crow.   Donna is a lifelong Anglophile with a special love for the Victorians, especially their energy, confidence and creativity. She is a former English teacher and the author of 50 books, mostly novels of British history, including the award-winning Arthurian epic, Glastonbury, The Novel of Christian England. She currently authors three mystery series: The Monastery Murders; Elizabeth and Richard Literary Suspense; and Lord Danvers Investigates, Victorian true-crime.


A Lethal Spectre on #Mystery Exchange


A Lethal Spectre, Lord Danvers Investigates, Book 5, a Victorian True-crime mystery The elegance of a London season and the atrocities of an Indian mutiny woven into an intricate tapestry Antonia and Charles are swept up in the glittering swirl of a London season as they present Aunt Aelfrida’s ward to society. In India Antonia’s closest girlhood friend is caught in the most brutal massacre ‘in the book of time’. What could these disparate events have to do with murders in London and Brighton? This  engrossing story comes to life with all the vivid historical detail readers expect from Donna Fletcher Crow.

“A stunning contrast between the dramas and machinations of fashionable London life and the unfurling of an unthinkable tragedy. A story of lights and shadows, all impeccably well researched and realised.”
~Linda Stratmann, author of The Frances Doughty Mysteries

Excerpt:

Chapter 1

It was only midmorning and already the heat was stifling. Hot wind seared and scorching sun radiated from the walls of the barracks behind them. The acrid smell of the buildings of the cantonment beyond, now reduced to black smoldering rubble—all their homes and possessions—stung every nose. Emilia Landry stood among the women and children who had been called from their homes in the civilian cantonment and gathered into the military entrenchment on the orders of General Wheeler.

They had been here a week now, hoping for the best; but fearing the worst. No attack had come on the entrenchment, but mutinous sepoys and vandals had ransacked the city, burned the officers’ bungalows in the new cantonment, and, disastrously, seized the magazine where the army treasury, ammunitions and heavy guns were stored.

Emilia closed her eyes against the sight of the black smoke, and saw in her mind the pleasant bungalow she had occupied with her friend Louisa Chalwin and Louisa’s veterinarian husband Edwin. Louisa had planted a lovely garden, complete with English roses that bloomed undaunted in the Indian summer. A magnificent old banyan tree shaded a summer house where Emilia loved to sit and read in the mornings and take tea in the afternoons. All a blackened rubble now.

They had been hearing dire reports for weeks. Revolt of the native troops at Meerut. Then at Delhi. And riots at Lucknow, only some sixty miles to the northeast. But no apprehension had been felt of treachery on the part of their own troops at Cawnpore.  This morning, however, Sunday morning, the seventh of June, Sir Hugh Wheeler, commanding general at Cawnpore, had received a letter from the Nana Sahib, declaring his intention of attacking.

Now everyone on the verandah of the barracks held their breath, as all in the entrenchment seemed to do. The tension of the soldiers, posted with leveled rifles around the circumference of the barricading mud wall, communicated itself to every person. The mewling of a baby born only a few hours before vibrated on the air. The cry was cut off by the boom of a cannon. Women shrieked; children wailed as the ball struck the barrack behind them.

A bugle call split the air, sounding above the mayhem. The crack of shot was deafening as hundreds of rifles responded. The mutiny had come to Cawnpore.

A moan tore from deep in her throat and Lady Antonia Danvers sat up sharply. She was drenched in sweat, even though the early June night was cold in London. Tonia reached for the carafe of water by her bed and filled a glass to relieve her parched throat. What had she dreamed? How could such vivid horror have come from her own imagination?

She crossed the room and, pushing the heavy drapery aside, raised the sash on her window, letting a fresh breeze bathe her face. She breathed deeply of the blessed, moist air. Still unsettled from the terrors of her dream, Antonia returned to bed. The sky had lightened to silver, however, and the first notes of the dawn chorus rang in the garden before Tonia returned to an uneasy sleep.

She wakened far too late to share her morning tea with her husband as was their custom.  When she inquired of her maid she was informed that her lord would be out for the day, involved with his man of business and taking dinner at his club. She would have no opportunity to discuss the nightmare with Charles, although the phantom spectre continued to follow her.

Available on Amazon (click here)

Website 
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Friday, July 13, 2018

Author Guest Post - Kris Bock

#MysteryExchange - The Murder That Inspired a Romantic #Mystery Novel, with @Kris_Bock

Many writers are inspired by real events or people in their
lives. This makes difficult situations a form of research. “This stinks, but maybe I can use it in a book!” I write romantic suspense for adults as Kris Bock and middle grade novels (for ages 9 to 12) as Chris Eboch. In most of these
books, the connection to real-life experiences isn’t obvious. 

In my romantic
suspense Whispers in the Dark, my
heroine is an archaeology Masters student working at the fictional “Lost
Valley” monument, which is closely based on Hovenweep National Monument, where I once spent a week camping. In Counterfeits, the heroine inherits a children’s art camp, which I based on a camp near Jemez Springs, New Mexico, where I’ve attended many writing retreats. Using real locations helps me bring the settings to life even if I did not, for example,
fall into a ravine while fleeing from a bad guy.

But What We Found was inspired by helping to uncover a true case of murder.

Lest you think that makes me some kind of amateur detective, my involvement was purely accidental. Two friends and I were exploring the mountains, looking for some suitable gravel to try gold panning (because, why not?). We found a likely spot and were about to take a sample when the guys smelled something horrible. A glance in the right direction showed them a dead body hidden just out of sight of the path.

The next hour passed in a surreal blur. We'd left our phones
in another vehicle, at the base of the mountain. Once we retrieved them, we still had to find a place with cell reception. We called 911, waited for the police, and led them to the body. Later that night we were interviewed by
detectives.

By the following day, they had identified the body as a
woman who had been missing. Her estranged ex-boyfriend was already a suspect in her disappearance, but without her body they'd have trouble prosecuting him.  Seeing her picture on TV and learning about her family made the situation real in a new way. We wanted justice for someone we’d never met.

It’s All Research

As a writer, I knew I was getting rare first-hand experience
into something powerful. I took pages of notes during that first week, even though I didn’t know how or when I might use them. I was fortunate to be with two men who talked openly about their experiences: the nightmares, the guilt over violence against women, the anxiety that came from now wondering what you might see in the bushes.

Three things struck me most strongly.

First, we all felt deeply invested in the case, even though
we’d never met the woman in life and didn’t know anyone else involved. We followed the news stories, even though they made us anxious. When the murderer was finally sentenced … well, we weren't happy (the sentence of less than 20 years of less than 20 years was not, in our opinion, nearly long enough), but we were relieved that it was over.

Second, it affected every aspect of our lives for weeks.
Even though the likelihood of finding another body, or even witnessing a different crime, was extremely slim, we were on high alert at all times. It was a struggle to put it behind us while still honoring the memory of the victim and holding on to what we had learned.

And finally, someone in law enforcement said that often
people don’t report crime scenes like these. How could someone walk away from that? I started thinking about all the reasons someone might want to cover up their discovery, even if they had nothing to do with the crime. And that inspired What We Found.

Turning Truth into
Fiction

Several years passed before I felt distant enough from the
experience to fictionalize it, but I still had all those notes and memories to draw on. Some elements of What We Found, mainly the emotional ones, are taken directly from that experience. Most character and plot elements are fictional, although some are loosely inspired by the real events.

This isn’t an experience I would wish on anyone, but we’re
glad we helped bring a crime to light and a murderer to justice. And it led to what I consider my most powerful and personal novel to date. After all, one benefit to being a writer is that the worst experiences are still valuable as
research.

That’s the truth behind What We Found.


When Audra goes back to her small hometown after college, she simply wants to fit in, work hard, and protect her 12-year-old brother from their overbearing mother. Finding a dead body in the woods changes everything.

Her former crush, Jay, insists they don’t report the body.  But the dead woman was murdered, and someone starts targeting Audra. She has to
stand up for herself in order to stand up for the murder victim. It’s a risk, and so is reaching out to the mysterious young man who works with deadly birds of prey. But with danger all around, some risks are worth taking.

“Another action-packed suspense novel by Kris Bock, perhaps her best to-date. The author weaves an intriguing tale with appealing characters. Watching Audra, the main character, evolve into an emotionally-mature and independent young woman is gratifying.” Reader Ellen
Rippe.
This title stands alone and is not part of a series.

Excerpt:

An engine started.
The battered old truck stood out like a janitor at the prom. It was dark blue, splattered with mud and probably decades old, with a cap on the bed. The evening sun glared off the side window, but as I walked slowly past the front I saw a figure inside – the one-handed man. He had his hand on the wheel but his head back, eyes closed.

 I paused, studying his face. I guessed he was in his twenties, with short, light brown hair and pleasant features in a mask as still as death.

 He opened his eyes and looked straight into mine.

 I couldn’t move as he held my gaze. My heart thumped against my ribs. He studied me without expression, no smile, no frown, nothing in his face but weariness.

 Finally I had to blink, and once the eye contact was broken, I jerked my gaze away and kept moving. I quickly turned between the next two cars, to get out of his view. I’d have to cross behind his truck to reach my car, which might look odd if he was still watching, but I didn’t care so long as I got out of there, fast.

 I noticed the rusty screeching again. It was coming from his truck. I stumbled to a stop, staring at the back of the truck.
What could be making that sound? The tailgate and back window on the cap were closed, hiding the sight inside, but the screech came again and again like someone – something – screaming.

 The screams seemed to echo in my head. I couldn’t take any more. I turned away with a hand over my mouth to hold back my own scream and hurried to my car.


Kris Bock writes novels of suspense and romance with outdoor adventures and Southwestern landscapes. All ebooks are .99c to $3.99 or free with Kindle Unliminted.

The Mad Monk’s Treasure follows the hunt for a long-lost treasure in the New Mexico desert. In The Dead Man’s Treasure, estranged relatives compete to reach a buried treasure by following a series of complex clues. In The Skeleton Canyon Treasure, sparks fly when reader favorites Camie and Tiger help a mysterious man track down his missing uncle. Whispers in the Dark features archaeology and intrigue among ancient Southwest ruins. In Counterfeits, stolen Rembrandt paintings bring danger to a small New Mexico town.

To learn more about her latest work, visit www.krisbock.com or her Amazon page. Sign up for Kris Bock’s newsletter
for announcements of new books, sales, and more.


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THANK You Kris Bock for joining us today.  



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Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Review - Pairing a Deception

I reviewed the 1st in series, Decanting a Murder (click here) by Nadine Nettmann - a real-life Sommelier.  I missed the second in the series, but here is the third in the series for you.

Author: Nadine Nettmann

Copyright: May 2018 (Midnight Ink) 240 pgs

Series: 3rd in A Sommelier Mystery series

Sensuality: Mild

Mystery Sub-genre: Amateur Sleuth

Main Character: Katie Stillwell, Restaurant Sommelier prepping for Master Sommelier exam

Setting: Modern, Santa Barbara

Obtained Through: Publisher for an honest opinion -Netgalley

Cover Blurb:  "With only a few days left until her Advanced Sommelier exam, Katie Stillwell hopes to balance studying with attending a wine and food festival in Santa Barbara.

The weekend with Detective Dean is off to a great start―until an attendee is murdered and suspicion falls on the festival emcee, Master Sommelier Hudson Wiley. Katie tries to keep her focus on the festival and her last-minute studying, but when she discovers people aren’t who they say they are, she finds herself in the middle of a tangled web where nothing, except the wine, is what it seems."

Katie Stillwell takes most everything in stride, including her boyfriend having to rush back to the city for his job in the middle of their romantic weekend.  She  isn't intentionally investigating, not much, but she is putting together a number of clues.  Detective Dean is the romantic interest who gets called back to his job a few times in the course of this novel.  Thus, there wasn't much revealed about him in this novel other than he is trying to make the relationship work. Hudson Wiley, the Master Sommelier and prime suspect exhibits plenty of strange behavior and you never quite know what his deal is.  This time around there is no wine tasting group or friends in the story, but there is an eclectic group of festive attendees.

The setting of the wine festive works well.  The plot was a little disjointed for me (may just be me), and the pacing stayed steady, perhaps a little too steady.

The climax had a slight killer confrontation that was okay, but I didn't really feel it.  I really prefer a killer reveal that has me flipping pages with my heart pounding - this didn't do that for me.  I have even enjoyed books that have less suspense for more realistic with the police involved in the killer reveal, but that wasn't the case here either. 

This was a fast read in that it seemed short and compact (a mere 240 pages). The story was entertaining enough, but I didn't feel a sense of urgency for Katie to solve the crime.  I would have liked a bit more suspenseful killer confrontation or romance to get the blood pumping and invest me in the story, but others may like the even emotions of the story.  I really enjoyed the wine references and notes throughout and the setting.

Good - A fun read with good qualities for those who enjoy a tamer mystery. 


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Don’t know much about wine? Or perhaps you know a friend
who wants to enjoy wine, but just hasn't found a wine they really love?  Want to understand why you like some but not others?  Want to just know what others mean when talking wine?

Do you or a friend want to understand the wonderful world of wine but the books available are more exhaustive textbooks and loose your interest? 

‘The Little Wine Guide’ spans Cabernet to Chardonnay with tips on how to chill and store wine to buying wine among the vast options.

This jam-packed little book removes the mystery and makes savoring a fine wine fun. Learn the lingo fast through an overview of wine to get you on your feet pronto. Learn about the basic wine types to planning your own wine tasting, the intricacies of restaurant presentation etiquette to an overview of wine in America to assist you on your personal wine journey! Understand your unique taste preferences and what interests you in the world of wine from blogs, movies, documentaries, magazines or books on the people of the wine world.


Buy Here:  Amazon | Barnes & Noble  | Website

Kerrianne (Goodreads) 5 star  "Great and compact intro into the world of wine. Can't wait to tour some local wineries with my new found knowledge. So happy I was able to win this through a Goodreads Giveaway!"

Cynthia Calongne--Lyr Lobo 5 star  "What a great book - fun content, well-organized and easy to read and digest!"




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Thursday, June 28, 2018

Mystery Podcast


Kings River Life Magazine has a brand new mystery podcast called Mysteryrat's Maze Podcast. Episodes will consist of mystery short stories, and first chapters of mystery novels, read by actors in the San Joaquin Valley of California. 

The first one went up in June and is a short story by Nancy Cole Silverman. The 2nd one went up on July 3 and is a short story by Joan Leotta. Coming up we have Jeri Westerson, Dennis Palumbo, Lesley Diehl, Elaine Viets and more. There will be a new one up the first Tuesday of every month, and possibly some bonus ones as well. 

To listen to these episodes and subscribe to the podcast you can go to mysteryratsmaze.podbean.com. We are also on iTunes and Google Play. You can also subscribe to our podcast newsletter to keep up with all of the news tinyletter.com/kingsriverlife.


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Monday, June 11, 2018

ICED: Resort to Murder Mystery I on SALE

On Sale for a Limited Time

ICED: Resort to Murder Mystery I
Julienne has her ideal job as an event planner at a prestigious
resort. During a luncheon event she coordinated, a renowned celebrity pastor is killed next to the buffet. All eyes turn to her as the suspect. If she wants to stay out of jail or even keep her job, Julienne needs all the help she can get to solve the crime. 

She has her work cut out for her with a vengeful high school rival now reporter, the public demanding she be fired, plus family who knows what's best for her, and a boyfriend who doesn't understand her. She turns to friends and a new ally to uncover who wanted to put the pastor on ice. 

Julienne goes undercover and investigates a local swingers group as she follows the trail of clues before they go cold. Can she gather enough suspects and motives to convince the police to her widen their investigation? Can she do it before the killer sets his murderous sights on her? Will her personal life ever be as simple as unveiling a murderer?

SALE LINK Amazon  

Praise for ICED: 

"Avery Daniels’ Iced: A Resort to Murder is a great beginning to what I hope is several books.  The story was very entertaining with twists and turns that I couldn’t hazard a guess because another motive or clue would be revealed leading to a crescendo ending of 'Oh, my!'  The story was engaging, the characters entertaining, and I love the idea that there will be more at another resort…Her world travels begin!”  King's River Life Magazine

Avery Daniels Links:
Newsletter  
Website
Facebook
Twitter
BookBub
Goodreads
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Saturday, June 9, 2018

Review - Beyond the Pale

Clare O'Donohue is the best selling author of Someday Quilts Mystery series, Kate Conway Mysteries, and now the new World of Spies Mysteries.  The concept of average citizen's becoming spies isn't new, but professors more accustomed to University students and grading papers gives it a good spin.  Read on to see how well the concept worked.


Author: Clare O'Donohue

Copyright: May 2018 (Midnight Ink) 360 pgs

Series: 1st in World of Spies Mystery series

Sensuality: Mild

Mystery Sub-genre: Cozy Intrigue

Main Characters: Married college professors Hollis and Finn Larsson.

Setting: Modern, Ireland

Obtained Through: Publisher for honest opinion (NetGalley)

Cover Blurb:  "Married college professors agree to help Interpol in Ireland, but a simple errand leads them into a deadly criminal enterprise

It's a simple, twenty-minute job. At least, that's the pitch from Interpol to married college professors Hollis and Finn Larsson. Going undercover to procure a priceless rare book manuscript means an all-expenses paid trip abroad. A little danger thrown into the mix may even spice things up.

Soon after landing in the Emerald Isle, they realize the job is anything but simple. Their contact is a no show and they're left with fifty thousand euros, some serious questions, and a possible death threat. Ducking and dodging their way across Ireland, Hollis and Finn must hunt down the priceless manuscript and a missing agent while trying to stay one step ahead of a dangerous and unknown enemy."

Wife Hollis is a global politics professor, but she had been through CIA training years ago - but left the agency to marry Finn.  She is bored with her life now.  Finn is an expert in European literature and has settled into his life.  The two come across as on the brink of divorce.  Hollis wants to travel and live a little while Finn wants to sit and watch sports or have his adoring students around him and have his wife travel without him.  Finn doesn't want to travel, it's too inconvenient, and he resents Hollis was trained by CIA.  David, who went through CIA training with Hollis and now works at Interpol, asks the drifting-apart couple to help retrieve a manuscript, supposedly of great value, in Ireland. Several other people appear wanting the same manuscript and who can be trusted is up in the air.

The story takes you across Ireland as Hollis and Finn run from one location to another either trying to get the manuscript or evade being killed.  This became tiresome after a while.  The plot was just okay to me, I never felt the urgency over the manuscript which seemed contrived to me.  The pacing was fast paced once in Ireland, but again the continual running was wearying and a little disjointed. 

The reveal of who was actually the enemy and the final showdown was well done and exciting.  The wrap up left it open for further adventures, if both of them can be persuaded.

I had mixed feelings about this book.  It's a good premise, but I had a hard time with the husband Finn.  My impression of Finn is self-centered and jealous of Hollis and her training so he takes some risks and tries to step up when he shouldn't. The locations used in the story could have been cut down and I think it would have worked better while still keeping the pace.

Rating:
  Good - A fun read with solid storyline and a few areas for improvement.



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Monday, June 4, 2018

Author Guest Post - Sue Hinkin

Please welcome Sue Hinkin to the blog today. Raised in Chicago, Sue is a former college administrator (most recently at University of Denver), TV news photographer (one of the very first women in this job) and NBC-TV art department manager. With a B.A. from St. Olaf College, she completed graduate work at the University of Michigan and was a Cinematography Fellow at the American Film Institute in Los Angeles where she lived for many years. She is a puppy foster volunteer—latest failed foster is a white bichon/poodle mix named Harley.  She is a dedicated member of the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, Sisters in Crime-Colorado, Rocky Mountain Mystery Writers of America and International Thriller Writers, she lives in Littleton, Colorado. Deadly Focus is her debut novel.

What makes your book different from other books in your genre?
My work is very multi-cultural with diverse characters. Beatrice Middleton is from an African-American family in Savannah, Georgia. Lucy Vega was born and raised in Southern California by a Mexican mother from Guadalajara and a Norwegian father from Oslo. After the family was killed in a car accident, Lucy’s Mexican uncle and his Norwegian housekeeper took over her upbringing. I’ve found many people afraid of writing characters of different races and ethnicities from their own—afraid of a making a mistake that reveals a hidden bias or unrealized prejudice. But that’s our world today—a huge, wonderful melting pot–so I want to embrace it even if I screw up or stumble across my own areas of ignorance and insensitivity. It will be an opportunity to learn.

My women characters are very independent, smart, passionate, a little reckless but very effective at what they do. Lucy and Bea both have great integrity, hearts of gold, and would risk anything for family and friends. Despite differences in age, race, and experience, their values are such that they are true sisters under the skin. I have been blessed with wonderful women friends and colleagues from whom to draw inspiration.

Because of my film/TV background, my scenes are often cinematic and visual. The books ride the line between mysteries and thrillers.

The Vega & Middleton Novels

A new mystery/thriller series featuring TV news reporter Beatrice Middleton and photojournalist Lucy Vega. Along with their family and friends in Los Angeles and Savannah, the two women take on some of the toughest criminals and risk all seeking justice, and sometimes, retribution.
Deadly Focus (Book 1)
L.A. photojournalist Lucy Vega’s beloved uncle plunges to his death in a Malibu canyon car wreck. The coroner calls it an accident, but when a Los Angeles County homicide detective and the chief of the counter-terrorism unit appear at the scene, Lucy and reporter Bea Middleton, suspect other terrifying possibilities.
Low Country Blood (Book 2) 

Having just lost her job, news reporter Bea Middleton returns to face family and murder in the low country of Savannah, Georgia. coming January 2019. Publisher is Literary Wanderlust at www.literarywanderlust.com

Social Media
Sue_hinkin@msn.com
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Thank you Miss Hinkin for joining us an sharing about your series.  It sounds thrilling.

 
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