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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

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


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)

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