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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:
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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.

  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

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

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Monday, May 28, 2018

Author Guest Post - Catherine Dilts

Please welcome Catherine Dilts to the blog.  I have reviewed the first of her Rock Shop Mysteries (click here).  Today she shares a common main character type in mysteries.    

The Reluctant Amateur Sleuth

A beloved traditional protagonist in mystery fiction is the reluctant amateur sleuth. An ordinary citizen is thrown into the middle of a mystery, which he or she is then compelled to solve. From Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple and G. K. Chesterton’s Father Brown to the current cozy novel, readers find the amateur sleuth appealing. We want to believe that anyone in the right (or wrong) circumstances will rise to the challenge of solving a crime in order to see justice served. Or perhaps to defend against landing on the receiving end of a killer’s wrath.

I enjoy reading reluctant amateur sleuth mysteries, so it was natural that I would write short stories and novels using this type of character. My Rock Shop Mystery series features Morgan Iverson, an empty nester in her late forties who develops a reputation for solving crimes. But the reader knows she could never find the killer without the assistance of the rock shop donkeys, Adelaide and Houdini.

Life hasn’t gone the way Morgan Iverson expected. A widow too young, her children have flown the nest, leaving her feeling irrelevant and alone. When her brother asks her to manage the family rock shop in the Colorado mountains for two weeks, she believes the temporary change of scene will do her good.

On day one of Stone Cold Dead, she learns her brother is not returning. On day two, while chasing the shop’s escape-artist donkeys, she finds a body on a trail. In the reluctant amateur sleuth story, the protagonist’s involvement in solving the crime has to make sense. Why does Morgan get involved? The killer thinks she witnessed the murder. If Morgan doesn’t solve the crime, she’ll become as extinct as the fossils lining the rock shop’s dusty shelves.

Solving a murder gives Morgan a reputation. In book two, Stone Cold Case, Morgan discovers skeletal remains in an abandoned prospector’s cabin. The local auto mechanic, a recovering alcoholic, recruits Morgan to solve the fifteen-year-old cold case of her daughter’s disappearance. Investigating reopens old wounds in the small mountain town that put Morgan in a killer’s crosshairs.

In book three of the Rock Shop Mystery series, Morgan’s

reclusive prospector neighbor is blown to bits.  The police believe he stumbled into his own trap, but his granddaughter claims he was murdered. She asks Morgan and newspaperman Kurt Willard to find his killer. Morgan resists the temptation to become involved, until it appears a thief is determined to steal the shop’s Triceratops brow horn. When alien hunters invade the rock shop, Morgan is glad to escape to a Denver mineral and fossil convention, until that adventure goes terribly wrong. Thinking the Triceratops fossil may hold the key to solving the prospector’s Stone Cold Blooded death, she steps into amateur sleuth mode once again.

What comes next for Morgan? Book four, Stone Cold Pressed, begins when a professor is murdered in the basement of Kurt’s newspaper. The citizens of Golden Springs and local Native American tribe members attempt to purchase a strip of old growth forest to protect a popular hiking trail jealously guarded by its owners. Morgan becomes involved when the fight over the land endangers her friend.

Lucy is training to run an Ultramarathon – a footrace distance beyond the 26.2 mile marathon distance – which takes her across the disputed land. When a seventy-year-old mystery collides with a modern day murder, Morgan and Kurt find themselves once again stepping into the role of amateur sleuth. Watch for Stone Cold Pressed later this year.

I am thrilled to participate in the series The Secrets of the Castelton Manor Library. I am hoping to learn the publication date soon for my installment, book 14, titled Ink or Swim. The series is available via subscription now. This series is similar to Nancy Drew, in that each book is written by a different author.

Faith Newberry is a little more eager to delve into mystery, but as an amateur sleuth, she always has a good reason to become involved. Her cat lives up to his namesake Watson, often revealing the solution to the crime.

The reluctant amateur sleuth is a popular character in mystery fiction. While we enjoy reading about private detectives and law enforcement personnel required by their professions to solve crimes, the amateur sleuth can feel more accessible to the reader. Maybe there’s a little of the amateur sleuth in us all!

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Thank you Mr. Dilts for joining us and sharing. 

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Friday, May 25, 2018

Review - Murder in G Major

As some publishers, like Berkeley, have cut back on their mystery books they are offering, others are picking up the pace.  I have become more aware of Henery Press and their line of mysteries.  Somewhere in my internet wanderings or on a newsletter somewhere, I came across mention of this series featuring a young woman classical musician.  I had to read it, so I purchased it and kept moving it closer to the top of my To-Be-Read pile.  I am so glad I discovered this series.  See if this might be a new series for you too.

Author: Alexia Gordon

Copyright: Sept 2016 (Henery Press) 268 pgs

Series: 1st in Gethsemane Brown Mystery series

Sensuality: Mild

Mystery Sub-genre: Cozy Mystery

Main Character: Gethsemane Brown, African-American classical musician

Setting: Modern, Southwest Ireland Coast

Obtained Through: Personal Purchase

From book cover: "With few other options, African-American classical musician Gethsemane Brown accepts a less-than-ideal position turning a group of rowdy schoolboys into an award-winning orchestra. Stranded without luggage or money in the Irish countryside, she figures any job is better than none. The perk? Housesitting a lovely cliffside cottage. The catch? The ghost of the cottage’s murdered owner haunts the place. Falsely accused of killing his wife (and himself), he begs Gethsemane to clear his name so he can rest in peace. Gethsemane’s reluctant investigation provokes a dormant killer and she soon finds herself in grave danger. As Gethsemane races to prevent a deadly encore, will she uncover the truth or star in her own farewell performance?"

Gethsemane Brown is a fresh and unique amateur sleuth. She hears Tchaikovsky's "Pathetique" play as her internal warning system, she is independent, smart, and determined to make her last-chance job as a music teacher work by her team winning the Annual All-County School Orchestra Competition in 6 weeks - which will hopefully get her career jump-started.  She gets to live in the cabin that the great composer Eamon McCarthy lived, Carraigfaire Cottage.  Eamon McCarthy, the spitfire genius composer who is accused of killing his wife and then committing suicide, is the resident ghost who insists Gethsemane clear his name.  He does not like Gethsemane drinking his 12 year old special order whiskey either.  She makes a few friends in the town of Dunmullach, and Francis Grennan - co-worker in the school is a potential romantic interest in future books.

Carraigfaire Cottage, where Gethsemane is staying, and the nearby lighthouse provide great atmosphere, Dunmullach gives us the Irish culture, and St Brennan's School for Boys ends up giving Gethsemane her second chance in music.  These settings are utilized to great effect and bring the place to life.

I enjoyed this book and found it hard to put it down.  The plot immerses you in Eamon's world of twenty-five years ago as Gethsemane tries to unveil who killed him and his wife. The action is consistent and kept my interest.  The killer confrontation was deliciously tense and heart-pounding.  The wrap up leaves it open for future adventures with Gethsemane.

I thoroughly enjoyed this new series.  Don't worry, you don't have to be into classical music to enjoy the story.  I found Gethsemane very relatable and a delightful character. Eamon is a fiery Irishman who grew on me and I found I cared about his character finding some closure.  I even grew fond of the cottage too. Excellent mystery and writing, indulge yourself with this new series.

Rating:  Excellent - Loved it! Buy it now and put this author on your watch list 

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