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Monday, November 20, 2017

Death at the Midnight Dragonfly

Death at the Midnight Dragonfly
by Susan Boles

Death at the Midnight Dragonfly
Argent Ocean Publishing (November 10, 2017)
Paperback: 216 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0997909357

On the fourth day of Christmas,
In Mercy, Mississippi....
Four suspects lying,
Three sleuths a sleuthing
Two clues a hiding
And a very, very dead body.
It's the Christmas season in Mercy, Mississippi. But things are far from jolly.
For Vlad Templeton the sleepy little town where he spent his childhood provides the perfect place to conduct his state funded sleep study. But when the local bank manager, who was participating in the study, is found dead on his doorstep, is it a set up...or is Vlad somehow involved?
But, when someone makes an attempt on Lily Gayle's and Dixie's life, the two realize they better move fast....or they might end up sleeping forever.

What I Thought:

This is the third installment in the Lily Gale Lambert Mystery series, and the first in the series that I have gotten to read yet.  I kind of wish I would have read the other two first, but this was still and very entertaining read, especially if you like southern mysteries.  When the local bank manager winds up dead, a lot of Lilly's friends are suspects in his death.  With Christmas approaching, Lily has to help exonerate her friends before the holiday.  This was a well written book that flowed well and kept my attention.  The plot was intriguing and believable.  I will definitely read the other two in this series, and I look forward to more.

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

About the Author

Susan calls McNairy County, TN her home ground even though she has moved away. It was here, at Bethel Springs Junior High School that she began her writing career with two friends. They formed their own little writers group that was so secret they were the only ones who knew it existed. She still has some of the stories they wrote carefully preserved in a loose leaf binder and tucked away for safety.

She has worked in retail management, briefly for the Census Bureau and for many years in the investment/insurance industry in the regulatory compliance arena. All of which are left brain activities. So she exercises her right brain activity with reading and writing…just to keep both sides even.

Reading has been a passion since she was very young. As a toddler, her mother read to her from her 'baby books' and her Mother tells a story about her holding one of them upsidedown and 'reading' by repeating the story verbatim from memory.

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

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I came to Mercy, Mississippi thinking I'd get a new start in a quiet, small town. And Mercy is small alright. But quiet? Nope. There's always something going on in this little town that my great-aunt Edna and her friends, Lily Gayle and Dixie, have to get themselves involved in. Much to the consternation of the county sheriff – who happens to be Lily Gayle's first cousin.

It seem that there's been quite a bit of dying around here lately.

It's honestly Lily Gayle who always gets the ball rolling on these murder investigations. She's curious as a cat about things that most people would stay far away from. And Aunt Edna, being the strong minded and open mouthed person she is, doesn’t hesitate to give her opinion on every little aspect. Poor Dixie ends up playing the peace keeper a bunch of the time from what I can tell.

I feel a bit responsible for some of the things that happened lately. I wanted to start up a food truck business but couldn't figure out how to get the money to get started. Bless, Aunt Edna. She went right on over to the bank to get a loan for me. She was so sure it would be easy that I think she went a little over board with her reaction to being turned down. She was mad as a hornet, for sure.

Then that poor bank manager turned up dead. Have mercy! as Dixie likes to say. That lit some fires under a few people. Lily Gayle most of all.

She jumped right in to the investigation. Sheriff Carter made some protests, but in the end Lily Gayle got her way about being involved. Personally, I wanted to stay as far away from it as possible. Murder investigation isn't my cup of tea.

Next thing you know, sweet Dixie's husband is under suspicion. I felt so terrible for her. And then, the doctor who came to town to conduct a sleep study started looking pretty suspicious too.  Lily Gayle was in her element asking a bunch of questions and generally sticking her nose into everybody's business.

I think that place up the hill should just be boarded up. The one they call the Midnight Dragonfly. It must have some really bad vibes around it. This is twice somebody went up there and ended up dead. And, I hear that the family that owned the house before had some pretty strange characteristics.

So much for peace and quiet in a small town!

A Fatal Collection

A Fatal Collection (A Keepsake Cove Mystery)
by Mary Ellen Hughes

A Fatal Collection (A Keepsake Cove Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting - Maryland
Midnight Ink (November 8, 2017)
Paperback: 264 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0738752198

Callie Reed makes a long overdue visit to her aunt Melodie, who lives in a fairy-tale cottage in quaint Keepsake Cove, home to a bevy of unique collectible shops on Maryland's Eastern Shore. Just as they're beginning to reconnect, Callie discovers her aunt's body on the floor of her music box shop. Grief-stricken, Callie finds she can't accept Melodie's death being called accidental. How could her strong and healthy aunt take such a fatal fall? And why was she there in the middle of the night?
As Callie searches for the truth, signs seem to come from her late aunt through a favorite music box, urging Callie on. Or are they warnings? If Callie isn't careful, she could meet a similar deadly fate amid Melodie's collection.
What I Thought:

The description of this book really caught my attention and I just knew I had to read it, and I was not disappointed.  I really enjoyed the setting of this book and the characters, who were all intriguing and well developed.  Callie, the protagonist is a great character and I felt that I really knew her.  She goes to visit her aunt, whom she hasn't seen in over 10 years and finds her aunt dead.  She doesn't accept that it is accidental, so she pulls out all the stops to find out what really happened.  I enjoyed the plot of this story and it was very well written.  I found myself turning pages and sometimes I couldn't wait to find out what happened next. I look forward to more in this series.

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

About The Author

Mary Ellen Hughes is the bestselling author of the Pickled and Preserved Mysteries (Penguin), the Craft Corner Mysteries, and the Maggie Olenski Mysteries, along with several short stories. A Fatal Collection is her debut with Midnight Ink. A Wisconsin native, she has lived most of her adult life in Maryland, where she’s set many of her stories. Visit her at

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Sunday, November 19, 2017

Canal Days Calamity (A Dog Days Mystery)
by Jamie M. Blair

Canal Days Calamity (A Dog Days Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Midnight Ink (November 8, 2017)
Paperback: 240 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0738751221

Cameron Cripps-Hayman is taken aback when she stumbles upon another murdered neighbor, this time behind her sister's shop, Dog Diggity. The timing couldn't be worse, as there's only a week left before the store's grand opening during Canal Days, the biggest festival of the year.
When the police arrest her handyman, Cameron knows they've got the wrong suspect, so the Metamora Action Agency sets their sights on cracking the case. With one solved murder under their belts, how hard could a second be?
With a flood warning and a murderer on the loose threatening the start of Canal Days, can Cameron and her crew save the town's annual dog and pony show from being canceled?
What I Thought:

This was the first Dog Days Mystery that I have read but I hope it will not be the last one.  This is the second in the series, but I did not feel lost as happens with some cozy series.  This one was action packed from the start, and this one also has more than just mystery.  I enjoyed reading about the relationship of the characters in this story and how they interact with each other.  Cameron has a lot happening with a huge festival going on in town and dead body being found behind her sisters new store, not to mention dealing with her step daughter but Cameron takes it all in stride.  This was  well written book with a very believable plot.  There was also some humor in this story to help make it interesting.  I would highly recommend this series.

I received  a complimentary copy of this book.

uxzaib88_400x400About The Author
Jamie Blair (Ohio) is the award-winning author of young adult and romance books, including Leap of Faith (Simon & Schuster, 2013) and Lost to Me. Visit her online at and on Twitter at

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Monday, November 13, 2017

Much Ado about Murder

Much Ado About Murder: A Shakespeare in the Catskills Mystery
by Elizabeth J. Duncan

Much Ado About Murder: A Shakespeare in the Catskills Mystery
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Crooked Lane Books (November 7, 2017)
Hardcover 265 Pages
ISBN-13: 978-1683313250
E-Book ASIN: B071RR32NZ

Costume designer Charlotte Fairfax has another murder on her hands as she prepares for the latest performance of the Catskills Shakespeare Theater Company, Much Ado About Nothing. The company’s steady growth enables them to cast star British actress Audrey Ashley, who arrives on scene to play the lead role of Beatrice. But things immediately get more complicated when Audrey insists the company replace the current director with new, up and coming British director Edmund Albright.
Edmund plans to change the popular romantic comedy, which alienates several people associated with the production. And the list of people he upsets only grows: the laid off former director, the hotel owner’s secretary, and even Audrey herself. Just as Edmund’s plans are about to come to fruition, his body is discovered on his sofa, holding a gun in his hand. His death is quickly ruled a suicide but Charlotte thinks otherwise. Why would Edmund, on the brink of greatness, kill himself? And in such an American way?
With a whole cast of characters to investigate, Charlotte is determined to unmask each one before it’s final curtain call on the whole production in award-winning author Elizabeth J. Duncan’s third Shakespeare in the Catskills mystery, Much Ado About Murder.

What I Thought:

This is was another great installment of the Shakespeare in the Catskills Mystery Series.  In this one, Charlotte is trying to find out who murdered the new director of the current play.  There are many suspects in this one and the author does a great job giving hints as to who could be the killer, but then putting in a twist to lead the reader in another direction.  The writing was superb and the plot was well though out.  I enjoy the returning characters in this series as they are well rounded and very likable and I also like the new characters.  I am not very familiar with theater but the author did a great job with this aspect of the story also.  I look forward to more in this series.

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

About the Author
Elizabeth J Duncan is the author of two mystery series – Shakespeare in the Catskills and the Penny Brannigan mystery series set in North Wales. She is a two-time winner of the Bloody Words Award for Canada's best light mystery and lives in Toronto.

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Sunday, November 5, 2017

The Tarkington Treasure

The Tarkington Treasure (The Charlotte Ross Mysteries)
by Evelyn Cullet

The Tarkington Treasure (The Charlotte Ross Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Self Published
Paperback: 338 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1540852106

"In the world of logic, it's always our assumptions that lead us astray."
A spooky old house, rumors of a hidden Civil War treasure, a neighbor’s murder, and an ex-fiancé falling unconscious at her feet—Charlotte Ross has her hands full when she’s invited to stay at her friend, Jane Marshall’s home while her apartment is being renovated.
Jane and her new fiancé have sold everything to move to the large estate she’d just inherited near the small town in Illinois, where she grew up. She’s always loved the house, but the cost of living in, and fixing up, a deteriorating old mansion is more than both their incomes combined. If she can’t come up with the money for the next property tax payment, she’ll be forced to give it up.
Charlotte is intent on winning back her ex, but her efforts are stymied when he’s suspected of murder.
The two couples soon discover the rambling old house holds more than one secret when they join forces to find the real killer—and the elusive, Tarkington treasure.
What I Thought:

I figured I would like this book because I like cozy mysteries and I also like history.  This one did not disappoint.  It was well written with a believable plot, though I wondered about that hence the name. Jane and her friend Charlotte are staying in an old mansion that Jane has inherited.  There is rumors of a treasure in the house, and they need to find it.  So they embark on a mission but end up solving a murder also. There are also some romantic twists in this story to help make it entertaining. When it looks like Jane and Charlotte have solved the mystery or mysteries, there are more twists to keep them looking, and the reader guessing.  This was a real page turner and I look forward to reading more by this author.

I received a complimentary copy of this book.


About the Author
Evelyn Cullet has been an author since high school when she wrote short stories. She began her first novel while attending college later in life and while working in the offices of a major soft drink company. Now, with early retirement, she can finally write full time. As a life-long mystery buff, she was a former member of the Agatha Christie Society, and is a current member of the National Chapter of Sisters In Crime. She writes cozy mysteries with warm romance and a little humor. When she’s not writing mysteries, reading them or reviewing them, she hosts other authors and their work on her writer’s blog. She also plays the piano, is an amateur lapidary, and an organic gardener.

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Thursday, October 26, 2017

Secrets and Pies
by Jenny Kales

Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Self Published
Release Date - October 19, 2017
Approximately 200 pages
Book will be up on Amazon and other retail sites soon.

If you can’t stand the heat, get out of Callie’s Kitchen! Greek-American restaurateur Callie Costas faces down another killer in the small waterfront town of Crystal Bay, Wisconsin. Recipes included!
Summertime in Crystal Bay means tourist season for Calliope “Callie” Costas, owner of Callie’s Kitchen, a Greek-meets-Midwest from-scratch eatery. Business is booming but so is the stress. Callie can barely keep up with the demand for her famous summer fruit pies and savory Greek delicacies, plus she’s agreed to bake dozens of “pitas” for the annual Greek Fest.
When Callie is asked to deliver cast party treats for a Murder Mystery Night at the historic Harris House, it seems like a welcome break from her hot stove. That is, until she finds herself an unwilling player in yet another suspicious death. Worse yet, the victim is a family friend and graduate student working on a project involving Crystal Bay’s colorful past.
Before long, a motley crew of suspects makes things as juicy as the succulent berries strewn around Callie’s Kitchen. And that’s not all Callie’s got on her plate. Add family obligations, a deepening romance with a local detective and unexpected personnel problems to the mix. One thing’s for sure: Callie’s got the recipe for a long, hot summer!
SECRETS AND PIES is the third installment in the Callie’s Kitchen Mystery series.

What I Thought:

Even though I have the first two in this series, I have not gotten around to reading them, but after reading this one, I am definitely putting them at the top of my list.  Even though this is the third in the series, I didn't feel like I was lost and I kept up with all the characters. Callie, the main character has a lot going on in this story, from her new restaurant having several special events to cater, to finding a dead body near a gilded home her ex-husband is getting ready to renovate.  Of course, Callie has to become involved in the murder and uses her skills to find the killer.  There were many twists and turns in this one that kept me guessing until the very end.  I also like how the author described the mansions in this story. The story was well written and flowed really well.  I also enjoyed the relationships among the characters.  Some of the recipes in this book look really yummy.  I will definitely visit Crystal Bay again!

I received a complimentary copy of this book. 

About the Author
Award-winning writer Jenny Kales is the author of The Callie's Kitchen Mystery series. Though she's worked as a writer and journalist for years, fiction writing is her first love and her marriage into a Greek-American Midwestern family inspired The Callie's Kitchen mysteries, featuring Calliope Costas, food business owner and amateur sleuth. The setting of the story, "Crystal Bay," is inspired by a favorite family vacation spot - Wisconsin's beautiful Geneva Lakes. Kales is an avid reader, cook and baker and she's addicted to mystery TV, especially anything on Masterpiece Mystery or BBC America. She lives just outside of Chicago with her husband, two daughters and one cute but demanding Yorkshire terrier.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Murder on the Toy Town Express

Murder on the Toy Town Express: A Vintage Toyshop Mystery
by Barbara Early

Murder on the Toy Town Express: A Vintage Toyshop Mystery
Cozy Mysterry
2nd in Series
Setting - New York
Crooked Lane Books (October 10, 2017)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1683313090

Liz McCall has come to love running her father’s vintage toyshop back home in East Aurora, NY, so when the Train and Toy Show comes to town, she’s all aboard for a fun toy-filled weekend. The only hitch is that her childhood bully Craig McFadden, now local business rival, has set up a booth next to hers. But the fun and games are over when Craig falls from the ceiling in a publicity stunt gone wrong.
What was initially thought to be a fatal accident proves much more sinister. Pulled into the case by her feelings for both Ken, the police chief, and Jack, her high school sweetheart whose brother is one the prime suspects, Liz dives headfirst into the investigation. But as she digs deeper, she’s shocked to learn her father may have been the intended target.
The trouble train is barreling down and Liz may have just bought herself a first class ticket in Murder on the Toy Town Express, Barbara Early’s delightful second installment in her Vintage Toyshop mysteries.
What I Thought:

This is the second installment in the Vintage Toyshop Mystery series and this installment was just as good, or maybe, little better than the first installment.  Some of the same characters we met in the first installment are in this one as well, and we also meet some new characters. Some likable, some not so likable.  When Liz' childhood bully is killed, of course, Liz has to become involved and when it looks as if her father was the target, that makes her even more involved.  This story had a really well written, well thought out, believable plot. There were many suspects, which left me guessing until the end.  I really liked the setting of this book, a vintage toy shop and a train and toy show. This setting is a little different than most cozy mystery settings, making this series a little unique.  I definitely look forward to more in this series.

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

About The Author
Barbara Early earned an engineering degree, but after four years of doing nothing but math, developed a sudden allergy to the subject and decided to choose another occupation. Before she settled on murdering fictional people, she was a secretary, a school teacher, a pastor’s wife, and an amateur puppeteer. After several years living elsewhere, she and her husband moved back to her native Western New York State, where she enjoys cooking, crafts, classic movies and campy seventies television, board games, and posting pictures of her four cats on Facebook. She writes the Vintage Toyshop series and the Bridal Bouquet Shop Mysteries (as Beverly Allen).
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