Review of Lanterns, Lakes and Larceny

Lanterns Lakes And Larceny

Campers And Criminals Cozy Mystery Book #21

Tonya Kappes

5 Stars


Let me be the first person to welcome you to Normal, Kentucky located in the heart of the Daniel Boone National Forest. I’m Mae West the owner of Happy Trails Campground.

Over the past few months my love life has been on what you’d call a slippery slope. Just this past week I’d resigned to the fact that me and Hank Sharp was caput! Done with. No more!

And when I got a phone call during Bobby Ray’s meeting with his birth mother from Hank, I felt like I was wrapped up between a nightmare and a dream.

Let me cut to the chase.

Hank’s best friend Jerry Truman is a local private investigator and he’s got a HUGE case that includes a dead body. Of course I’ve not stuck my nose in it because honestly it has nothing to do with me. Those are the kinda murders I like, but now that Hank has told me he’s back and helping Jerry, and get this…they need me to use my sleuthing skills to help them, it’s now my business.

One, because I love to snoop and two because by the sound of things, Hank Sharp misses me as much as I miss him.

You see, this case will be a double win!

At least that’s what I thought until I’m the one staring into the barrel of a shot gun when I found out a little too much information.  (Amazon)


The characters are well rounded and well developed.  Hank is back, helping Jerry with his private investigation business.  Now he is asking for Mae help, and she could not be happier.  She has another murder to solve and she will need the Laundry Club Ladies help.  I can not wait to see what trouble will they get into this time. 

The writing style flows smoothly and the book is a quick easy  read. The author is very talented in her descriptive writing and through much of the book I felt like I was right there watching all the action.  The mystery was well plotted and there were enough clues to sift through and suspects to consider. 

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a well crafted cozy mystery.  I really like all the characters and enjoy the predicaments they get into.

I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of this book and provided my honest review.

Lanterns, Lakes, & Larceny (A Camper & Criminals Cozy Mystery Series Book 21) by [Tonya Kappes]

New Releases For The Week Of September 19th, 2021

Murder At The House On The Hill: A cozy murder mystery full of twists (The Dedley End Mysteries Book 1) by [Victoria Walters]

Superb sleuthing! I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to Dedley End and can’t wait to go
‘ Heidi Swain, author of Underneath the Christmas Tree

Once Upon A Crime…

Nancy Hunter and her grandmother Jane Hunter run the Dedley Endings Bookshop, selling crime, thriller and mystery books, in a small, quiet Cotswold village where nothing ever happens…

That is, until the wealthy and reclusive Roth family open up their mansion for the first time in thirty years, inviting the people of Dedley End to a lavish engagement party.

While everyone is thrilled to finally look around the mansion on the hill, the festivities are quickly cut short when beautiful Lucy, recently married to young Harry Roth, is found dead after being pushed over the first-floor balustrade.

But who among the guests could have been capable of her murder – and why?

Nancy and Jane decide to investigate – after all, not only do they own a crime themed bookshop, they were also both named after famous literary detectives – but soon wonder if they’ve taken on more than they can handle. Especially when it seems the killer has worked out that they’re hot on their heels…

Can they catch the murderer before the murderer catches up with them? Or will there be a deadly ending to this story?

Join the unlikeliest detective duo for the first of The Dedley End Mysteries series, for fans of Richard Osman and Charlaine Harris’ Aurora Teagarden series.

Praise for Murder at the House on the Hill:

‘Such a fab book – really puts the cosy in cosy crime!’ M. A. Kuzniar, author of Midnight in Everwood

This is a brilliant ‘whodunnit’ which gave me some serious Miss Marple feels…it’s absolutely brilliant and a pleasure to read‘ Head in a Book18

‘I loved this brilliant cozy read…it felt very Christie-esque. Nancy and Jane were fab, I loved their relationship. And I can’t wait for more.’ ☆☆☆☆☆ Reader Review

‘I really loved this book…The writing always kept
me guessing
 what would happen next.’ Reader Review

‘A delightful detective duo, a charming and clever cosy mystery.’ Diane Jeffrey, author of The Silent Friend

‘A cosysatisfying and enjoyable murder mystery full of intrigue…and even better, with a bookshop too!’ Ella Allbright, author of The Last Charm

‘A well-executed murder mystery…gives us a cozy and sweet Christmas vibes on a small village and I loved every second of it.’ Reader Review

Cleverly plottedhighly entertaining and addictive. I loved it!‘ Ruby Speechley, author of The Face at the Window

I was hooked on page one…Love the author’s writing style. It has elements of the classic whodunnitI definitely want more!’ Reader Review

‘A blast! It’s fast paced, fun and it keeps you guessing till the end!…The story is filled with lots of characters and unusual twists.’ Reader Review

An enchanting mystery…kept me guessing throughout.’ Jane Isaac, author of One Good Lie (Amazon)

Editions Available: Kindle, Paperback

A Calculated Whisk (A Vintage Kitchen Mystery Book 10) by [Victoria Hamilton]

In the new Vintage Kitchen Mystery from the author of Cast Iron Alibi, Jaymie Leighton is confronted with two murders and the threat of danger far too close to home . . .

When a woman living under a cloud of suspicion for her husband’s death comes to vintage kitchen collector Jaymie Leighton with a mysterious request, she’s not sure whether, or how much, to get involved. The police believe they have new evidence of foul play in what was initially ruled an accidental death, and the woman’s terrified they’ll try to pin the crime on her. Before Jaymie can decide whether to help her, though, the woman’s found murdered in the woods near Jaymie’s cabin.

Still unsure whether the woman was truly innocent in her husband’s death, Jaymie decides to get to the bottom of both murders. But as she digs deeper into the couple’s past and discovers a tangled array of long-buried wounds and family secrets, Jaymie begins to sense that danger is still lurking in the woods near her home. With a killer on the loose and her family in danger, Jaymie must uncover the culprit before she loses all she holds dear, including her own life . . .

Includes a vintage recipe!

Praise for the Vintage Kitchen Mysteries:

“All the right ingredients . . . Small-town setting, kitchen antiques . . . and a bowlful of mystery. A perfect recipe.” —New York Times bestselling author Susan Wittig Albert

“[A] charming series.” —New York Times bestselling author Sheila Connolly

“I have loved this series from the first book . . . it’s like returning to a favorite nook for a cup of tea. It will delight, entice, and drive a reader to want to solve the murder.” —Goodreads on No Grater Danger

“A chilling whodunit.” —Richmond Times-Dispatch

“Well-plotted with several unexpected twists and more developed characters.” —The Mystery Reader

“Jaymie is a great character . . . She is inquisitive and full of surprises!” —Debbie’s Book Bag

About the Author:

Victoria Hamilton is the pseudonym of nationally bestselling romance author Donna Lea Simpson. Victoria is the bestselling author of three mystery series, the Lady Anne Addison Mysteries, the Vintage Kitchen Mysteries, and the Merry Muffin Mysteries. She also writes a Regency-set historical mystery series, starting with A Gentlewoman’s Guide to Murder. Visit her website at (Amazon)

Editions Available: Kindle, Paperback

Death Rang the Bell: A Blackwell & Watson Time-Travel Mystery (The Blackwell & Watson Time-Travel Mysteries Book 3) by [Carol Pouliot]

21st-century journalist Olivia Watson thinks traveling back in time to 1934 to attend a Halloween party with her friend Detective Steven Blackwell will be a lot of fun. And it is…until she witnesses the head of the Shipley Five-and-Dime empire murdered, and fears the killer saw her face.

The smart move is to return to the safety of the present, but Olivia possesses a secret and is about to defy the unwritten rules of time-travel. She convinces Steven to let her stay in his time and help unravel the motives behind the murder, even if it means risking her own life to save another.

When Steven delves into the investigation, he discovers how a bitter relationship, a chance encounter, and a fateful decision converged to set the stage for murder. In a maze full of unreliable clues and misdirection, dark secrets refuse to stay buried and forgotten ghosts won’t fade away. Steven is reminded that old sins cast long shadows.

Can Steven catch the killer before time runs out for Olivia? (Amazon)

Editions Available: Kindle

Lanterns, Lakes, & Larceny (A Camper & Criminals Cozy Mystery Series Book 21) by [Tonya Kappes]

Let me be the first person to welcome you to Normal, Kentucky located in the heart of the Daniel Boone National Forest. I’m Mae West the owner of Happy Trails Campground.

Over the past few months my love life has been on what you’d call a slippery slope. Just this past week I’d resigned to the fact that me and Hank Sharp was caput! Done with. No more!

And when I got a phone call during Bobby Ray’s meeting with his birth mother from Hank, I felt like I was wrapped up between a nightmare and a dream.
Let me cut to the chase.
Hank’s best friend Jerry Truman is a local private investigator and he’s got a HUGE case that includes a dead body. Of course I’ve not stuck my nose in it because honestly it has nothing to do with me. Those are the kinda murders I like, but now that Hank has told me he’s back and helping Jerry, and get this…they need me to use my sleuthing skills to help them, it’s now my business.
One, because I love to snoop and two because by the sound of things, Hank Sharp misses me as much as I miss him.
You see, this case will be a double win!
At least that’s what I thought until I’m the one staring into the barrel of a shot gun when I found out a little too much information. (Amazon)

Editions Available: Kindle, Paperback

Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours–The Drop-Dead Temple Of Doom

The Drop-Dead Temple of Doom (The Alvarez Family Murder Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
8th in Series
Setting  – Ancient Mayan ruins, El Mirador, Guatemala
Publisher – The Wives of Bath Press (September 15, 2021)
Number of Pages – 332
ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09CN8DK2M

Purchase Links – Amazon

I’m so excited to be a stop on the blog tour for author Heather Haven and her new book The Drop-Dead Temple

Of Doom. It is the eighth book in her The Alvarez Family Murder Mystery.

The Drop-Dead Temple of Doom (The Alvarez Family Murder Mysteries)
by Heather Haven

The reader is caught up in a fast-paced adventure with Lee and her ex Navy Seal husband who jets them off to Guatemala when his cousin J.J. calls for help.
~My Reading Journeys

With strong characters, a well depicted location, and plenty of clues the story really comes together in a way that will keep the reader’s attention making for a cozy you can’t put down. Lee is a delight to follow. Perfect for cozy fans. I totally loved it so I give it 5/5 stars.
~Books a Plenty Book Reviews


Ace detective Lee Alvarez is perfectly cozy at home with her cats when she and her former Navy SEAL husband receive a panicky call from JJ, an archeologist cousin, who’s on assignment deep in the Guatemalan jungle. The news? JJ is pregnant– and the father of her child has gone missing in the wilderness. The site director won’t let JJ call the police, so she asks Lee to travel to the jungle and track down her missing man.

Begging for help from Lee Alvarez sure makes sense–Lee’s family runs Discretionary Inquiries, a ritzy Silicon Valley P.I. firm. Lee is the star detective, her Uncle Tio’s on staff as the genius chef, and Lee’s brother, Richard, is a whiz at all things technology. Not to mention the presence of Lee’s very high class, upscale, and frankly scary mother Lila. Who–by the way—steamrolls her way onto Lee’s jungle trip.

A beleaguered Lee, the judgmental and prissy Lila, and Lee’s gorgeous SEAL husband (turned partner-in-crime) depart on the adventure of a lifetime, perfect for cozy mystery armchair travelers. And, once in the jungle, the already-gripping story takes a grisly turn: the three investigators have barely arrived in the lush, verdant wilderness when they discover a dead man–the assistant to JJ’s missing husband–dressed in traditional Mayan warrior garb with a poisonous frog crammed in his mouth.

And that’s just for starters: author Haven concocts a wild ride through the jungle that’s simultaneously fun, potentially fatal, and always entertaining.

Fans of cozy authors like CeeCee James, Hope Callaghan, and of course Janet Evanovich, will discover a new favorite series! Lee’s gang will also appeal to lovers of female PIs, especially those with lots of colorful friends and relatives, like Linda Barnes’ Carlotta Carlyle and Lisa Lutz’s Izzy Spellman. A near certainty: If you like THE SPELLMAN FILES, you’ll love the Alvarez family!

After studying drama at the University of Miami in Miami, Florida, Heather went to Manhattan to pursue a career. There she wrote short stories, novels, comedy acts, television treatments, ad copy, commercials, and two one-act plays, produced at several places, such as Playwrights Horizon. Once she even ghostwrote a book on how to run an employment agency. She was unemployed at the time.

One of her first paying jobs was writing a love story for a book published by Bantam called Moments of Love. She had a deadline of one week but promptly came down with the flu. Heather wrote “The Sands of Time” with a raging temperature, and delivered some pretty hot stuff because of it. Her stint at New York City’s No Soap Radio—where she wrote comedic ad copy—help develop her longtime love affair with comedy.

She has won many awards for the humorous Alvarez Family Murder Mysteries, Persephone Cole Vintage Mysteries, and Corliss and Other Award Winning Stories. However, her proudest achievement is winning the Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPY) 2014 Silver Medal for her stand-alone noir mystery, Murder Under the Big Top.

As the real-life daughter of Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey circus folk, she was inspired by stories told throughout her childhood by her mother, a trapeze artist and performer. The book cover even has a picture of her mother sitting atop an elephant from that time. Her father trained elephants. Heather brings the daily existence of the Big Top to life during World War II, embellished by her own murderous imagination.

Author Links


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September 6 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

September 7 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

September 7 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT

September 8 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT

September 9 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

September 9 – Baroness’ Book Trove – SPOTLIGHT

September 10 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT  

September 11 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews


September 13 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

September 14 – Cozy Up With Kathy – CHARACTER GUEST POST

September 15 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

September 15 – Novels Alive – GUEST POST

September 16 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT

September 16 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

September 17 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW, GUEST POST

September 18 – Here’s How It Happened – SPOTLIGHT

September 19 – BookishKelly2020 – SPOTLIGHT  

Review of The Ghostly Groundskeeper

The Ghostly Groundskeeper

A Tess and Tilly Cozy Mystery, Book #12

Kathi Daley

5 Stars


If you love small towns, endearing relationships, food, animals, and a touch of murder, you will love this mystery series set in the small town of White Eagle Montana.

In book 12 in the series, Tony offers to pay for a televised ad promoting the annual haunted house, and Tess agrees to act as spokesperson. She shows up to film the piece and quickly discovers that the ‘haunted’ in haunted house was proving to be more real than imaginary. Join Tess and the gang as she decides to uncover the truth about former resident Doctor Franktown once and for all. (Amazon)


The characters are well rounded and well developed.  Tess and Tony are getting ready for the town’s annual Halloween festivities.  Unfortunately, they find a dead body.  Now they have to figure out the killer and get ready for the festival.  They will need the help of their family and friends to figure it out.

The writing style flows and the book is an easy read. The author is very talented in her descriptive writing and these descriptions pulled me into the story and took me on a great adventure.  The mystery was well plotted and there were enough suspects to consider and clues to sift through. 

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a well crafted cozy mystery.  I am looking forward to seeing what happens to Tess and Tony next.

The Ghostly Groundskeeper: A Cozy Mystery (A Tess and Tilly Cozy Mystery Book 12) by [Kathi Daley]

New Releases For The Week Of September 12th, 2021–Part 2

Right Behind Her (Bree Taggert Book 4) by [Melinda Leigh]

The discovery of human remains unearths another nightmare from Sheriff Bree Taggert’s past in a bone-chilling thriller by #1 Amazon Charts and Wall Street Journal bestselling author Melinda Leigh.

Twenty-seven years ago, Sheriff Bree Taggert’s father killed her mother, then himself. Now Bree and her younger brother, Adam, find human bones on the grounds of their abandoned family farm. The remains are those of a man and a woman, both murdered in the same horrible way.

When the investigation determines the murders occurred thirty years ago, Bree’s dead father becomes a suspect, forcing Bree to revisit the brutal night she’s spent most of her life trying to forget. The only other suspect is an unlikely squatter on the Taggert farm who claims to know secrets about Bree’s past. When he mysteriously disappears and Bree’s niece is kidnapped, the cold case heats up.

Bree has stoked the rage of a murderer who’ll do anything to keep his identity—and motives—a secret. To protect everyone she loves, Bree must confront a killer. (Amazon)

Editions Available: Kindle, Hardcover, Audiobook

Justice for All: Murder New York Style 5 by [D.M. Barr, Joseph R.G.  De Marco]

Amid its bustling, diverse fabric, injustice is unfortunately as much a part of the New York City landscape as Times Square, the Empire State Building, and the Statue of Liberty. Such inequities are spotlighted in this collection of sixteen short and thought-provoking stories penned by some of the Sisters in Crime New York/Tri-State chapter’s most prolific authors.

Injustice may lurk inside a swanky Manhattan apartment, a high school classroom, a Soho art gallery, a Madison Avenue church, the waters traversed by the Staten Island ferry, turn-of-the-century Lower East Side, or the Brooklyn suburbs. The crime committed may involve homophobia, xenophobia, child abandonment, sexual abuse, white privilege, ageism, or literary snobbery. Regardless, these tales are designed to both enlighten and delight readers of suspense who seek out a bit of fairness and integrity in the city that may never sleep but does often rectify its wrongs.

The Authors

Lori Robbins – Catherine Siemann – Cathi Stoler – Anne-Marie Sutton – D.M. Barr – Roz Siegel – Kathleen Marple Kalb – Ellen Quint – Mary Jo Robertiello – Catherine Maiorisi – Nancy Good – Nina Mansfield -Susie Case- Stephanie Wilson-Flaherty – Nina Wachsman – Elle Hartford (Amazon)

Editions Available: Kindle

Her Perfect Life by [Hank Phillippi Ryan]

he new thrilling standalone novel by USA Today bestselling author Hank Phillippi Ryan.

Publishers WeeklyPICK OF THE WEEK!

“Superlative…this is a fast-paced, surprise-packed treat.” ―Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Shocking, suspenseful, with clever twists and an abundance of secrets. Her Perfect Life kept me guessing until the end. I loved it!” ―B. A. Paris, internationally bestselling author of The Therapist and Behind Closed Doors

..a well-crafted plot and strong female characters drive a satisfying psychological thriller.” ―Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“A powerhouse of a novel.” Mystery Scene Magazine

Everyone knows Lily Atwood―and that may be her biggest problem. The beloved television reporter has it all―fame, fortune, Emmys, an adorable seven-year-old daughter, and the hashtag her loving fans created: #PerfectLily. To keep it, all she has to do is protect one life-changing secret.

Her own.

Lily has an anonymous source who feeds her story tips―but suddenly, the source begins telling Lily inside information about her own life. How does he―or she―know the truth?

Lily understands that no one reveals a secret unless they have a reason. Now she’s terrified someone is determined to destroy her world―and with it, everyone and everything she holds dear.

How much will she risk to keep her perfect life? And what if the spotlight is the most dangerous place of all?

At the Publisher’s request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied. (Amazon)

Editions Available: Kindle, Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook

Cold Snap: A Novel (A Viking Cat Mystery) by [Codi Schneider]

Tucked in the cold Colorado mountains lies the remote village of Gray Birch, a place where outsiders are frowned upon. In this village lives a cat named Bijou. But she’s no ordinary house cat; her ancestors were mousers on Viking longships, and their blood runs through her veins. Since her battle skills are hardly needed in this modern age, however, she spends her energies running the Fox Burrow Pet Inn with her human, Spencer, and her assistant, Skunk, a mentally negligible Pomeranian. Together, the happy trio has created a safe haven for their four-legged guests.

But when Eddy Line, a handsome baker from California, comes to the inn—along with his piglet and pit bull puppy—everything changes. Spencer falls for Eddy, Bijou is unhappy with the sudden changes to her clan, and the townspeople are anything but welcoming; in fact, threats are made against Eddy when he buys the town’s historic firehouse in order to open a bakery.

Then a shocking murder/dognapping occurs on the night of the bakery’s grand opening, and Bijou finds herself thrust into a tangled mystery. To solve it, she will have to summon her inner Viking—and fight tooth and claw for her new clan. (Amazon)

Editions Available: Kindle, Paperback

Deadly Summer Nights (A Catskill Summer Resort Mystery Book 1) by [Vicki Delany]

“An immersive setting with details of running a Catskillsresort in the 1950s (think Kellerman’s in Dirty Dancing) beautifully frame a story with plot twists and a cast of well-delineated characters.”–Booklist

A summer of fun at a Catskills resort comes to an abrupt end when a guest is found murdered, in this new 1950s set mystery series.

It’s the summer of 1953, and Elizabeth Grady is settling into Haggerman’s Catskills Resort. As a vacation getaway, Haggerman’s is ideal, and although Elizabeth’s ostentatious but well-meaning mother is new to running the resort, Elizabeth is eager to help her organize the guests and the entertainment acts. But Elizabeth will have to resort to untested abilities if she wants to save her mother’s business.

When a reclusive guest is found dead in a lake on the grounds, and a copy of The Communist Manifesto is found in his cabin, the local police chief is convinced that the man was a Russian spy. But Elizabeth isn’t so sure, and with the fate of the resort hanging in the balance, she’ll need to dodge red herrings, withstand the Red Scare, and catch a killer red-handed. (Amazon)

Editions Available: Kindle, Paperback, Audiobook

Death of a Red-Hot Rancher (A Love Is Murder Mystery Book 1) by [Mimi Granger]

Love meets murder in this new cozy mystery series set in a quirky romance bookstore, with a heroine to die for.

Lizzie Hale may be the lucky owner of a successful romance bookshop, Love Under the Covers, but she’s decidedly un-lucky in love. Though she’s read almost every famous romance novelist, from Jane Austen to Nora Roberts, none have helped her figure out how to get—and keep—a man.

But Lizzie has bigger problems to worry about. Like murder.

When Brody Pierce, swoon-worthy ranch owner and resident bachelor, is found stabbed through the chest, hearts were heard breaking all over idyllic Tinker’s Creek. But when Lizzie’s aunt is implicated in the murder, she’s determined to clear her name. Lizzie quickly realizes that Brody was a hunk with many hidden secrets, and she’s soon leafing through a stack of suspects longer than Brody’s list of lovers.

With the killer still on the loose, Lizzie will have to find the truth before this act of passion ignites a fire she can’t put out. (Amazon)

Editions Available: Kindle, Paperback

The Busy Woman’s Guide to Murder (A Charlotte Adams Professional Organizer Mystery Book 5) by [Mary Jane Maffini]

Winner of the RT Reviewers Choice Award for Best Amateur Sleuth!

Professional organizer Charlotte Adams has to clean up a mess from the past to stop a killer in the present . . .

Given the number of times she’s dialed 911 in a panic, professional organizer Charlotte Adams is more than a little startled when she answers a distress call from the 911 operator herself. Mona’s calling to alert her that the “mean girls” who terrorized her in high school are back and that she wants to wring their necks. Charlotte writes off the threat as angry exaggeration—until a woman resembling one of the mean girls is killed and Mona goes into hiding.

Worried that some lingering trauma from being bullied may have sent her friend over the edge, Charlotte decides she’ll have to investigate the murder to find out who’s behind it. But then another mean girl is run down, and she’s certain that someone from the past is settling old scores. Desperate to learn whether Mona is making her revenge fantasies come true or if there’s a vindictive killer on the loose, Charlotte will have to sort through all the clues to save her friend—and maybe her own life . . .

Organizing Tips Included!

Praise forthe Books of Mary Jane Maffini:

“A comedic, murderous romp . . . Maffini is a relaxed, accomplished, and wickedly funny writer.” —The Montreal Gazette

“Mary Jane Maffini provides a first-rate, well-organized whodunit . . . A new series that is fun to read.” —Midwest Book Review

“Maffini’s new series . . . is off to a brilliant start with this fast-paced mystery!” —Romantic Times

“Deserves top marks for creating an entertaining, fast-paced thriller filled with witty one-liners, snappy dialogue and crackling suspense.” —The Strand Magazine

“I’ll look forward to a long life for this series.” —Deadly Pleasures

“Plenty of twists and turns that kept me turning the pages until the last sentence.” —Dru’s Book Musings

About the Author:

Agatha and RT Award winner Mary Jane Maffini is the author of three and a half mystery series and two dozen short stories. Along with the Charlotte Adams professional organizer mysteries, she’s the author of the Camilla MacPhee Mysteries and the Fiona Silk comic capers. As Victoria Abbott, she collaborated on five collector mysteries with her daughter, Victoria. Mary Jane lives and plots in Manotick, Ontario, with a cluster of mischievous dachshunds at her feet. You can read more about her books and sign up for her newsletter at (Amazon)

Editions Available: Kindle, Paperback

New Releases For The Week Of September 12th, 2021

A Killer Christmas Wish : A Cat Latimer Mystery by [Lynn Cahoon]

From NYT bestselling author, Lynn Cahoon, comes a new Cat Latimer mystery. Santa’s on his way, but the house Cat shares with her best friend and a monthly writing retreat isn’t even decorated yet.Christmas is coming early to Cat Latimer’s Writers Retreat. Cat and the gang aren’t feeling the Christmas spirit. First up on her to do list, the last retreat of the year. A group of non-fiction authors dying to get into the Covington library. When one writer is found dead before the first retreat session, Cat must find the killer before he puts her on his naughty list. FGHV (Amazon)

Editions Available: Kindle

Viper’s Nest of Lies: An Emmeline Kirby/Gregory Longdon Mystery by [Daniella Bernett]

Twice dead…A living nightmare
The discovery of a blood-encrusted stiletto knife in journalist Emmeline Kirby’s bag at Heathrow Airport sets in motion a chain of events that ensnares everyone she holds dear. The body of Sebastian Jardine is soon found in the boot of Superintendent Oliver Burnell’s car, leading to accusations that he and Emmeline conspired to commit murder. Desperate to clear their names, she turns to Philip Acheson of the Foreign Office for help. But when two Special Branch officers arrive to arrest him, he is forced to go on the run.
Gregory Longdon, Emmeline’s husband and a jewel thief/insurance investigator with ties to the criminal classes and MI5, is the only man Philip can trust. Gregory is on his own quest to prove her innocence in a game that makes no sense. Jardine was no stranger. His old friend was a former Interpol agent, who soured on the law and succumbed to his baser instincts. The real problem is Jardine died five years earlier. A fancy pink diamond with a murky provenance that men are willing to kill to possess holds the key to the truth. From London to Malta, Emmeline and Gregory are drawn into a web of corruption and revenge. Will they forfeit their lives for justice? (Amazon)

Editions Available: Kindle

From the critically acclaimed author of Invisible City and ConvictionThe Missing Hours is a novel about obsession, privilege, and the explosive consequences of one violent act.

The Missing Hours: A Novel by [Julia Dahl]

From the critically acclaimed author of Invisible City and ConvictionThe Missing Hours is a novel about obsession, privilege, and the explosive consequences of one violent act.

From a distance, Claudia Castro has it all: a famous family, a trust fund, thousands of Instagram followers, and a spot in NYU’s freshman class. But look closer, and things are messier: her parents are separating, she’s just been humiliated by a sleazy documentary, and her sister is about to have a baby with a man she barely knows.

Claudia starts the school year resolved to find a path toward something positive, maybe even meaningful – and then one drunken night everything changes. Reeling, her memory hazy, Claudia cuts herself off from her family, seeking solace in a new friendship. But when the rest of school comes back from spring break, Claudia is missing.

Suddenly, the whole city is trying to piece together the hours of that terrible night. (Amazon)

Editions Available: Kindle, Hardcover, Audiobook

The House of Good and Evil: A Ditie Brown Mystery by [Sarah Osborne]

Mabel Aphrodite Brown (Ditie) is thrilled when her best friend, Lurleen, wants to buy a 1920s mansion and create a cooking school in Atlanta. An old murder in the house simply adds spice to their intentions. Back in 1949 an innocent Black man was convicted of the crime. Ditie and Lurleen can investigate the murder, right a terrible wrong, and design a cooking school for women who need a second chance in life.

A perfect plan! As Lurleen says, “A new house and an old murder, what more could a girl want?” But a perfect storm” might be a more accurate description. Conflicting forces swirl around Lurleen even before she purchases the house. Outside the crumbling mansion, a well-tended rose garden seems to welcome her, while a chalked threat on the broken front porch tells her to stay away before a second murder occurs. Good karma and bad—that’s the way Lurleen sees it, and nothing will deter her from her decision to buy and renovate the house.

Ditie tries to protect her friend from harm, but she can’t stay in the mansion all the time—she has her work in the refugee clinic and two children who need her. Will the force of good or evil triumph in a mansion that holds so many secrets?

Includes Family-Friendly Recipes (Amazon)

Editions Available: Kindle

The Ninja Betrayed (Lily Wong Book 3) by [Tori Eldridge]

One of The Los Angeles Times’ “Five Fall Mysteries You Shouldn’t Miss”

Things get personal for Chinese-Norwegian modern-day ninja Lily Wong in Hong Kong when she dives into the dangerous world of triads, romance, and corporate disaster during the height of the pro-democracy protests.

Lily’s mother has been summoned by her grandfather, Gung-Gung to attend an emergency board meeting. Lily is happy to take her father’s place for exotic travel, family reunions, and romantic dates with her new boyfriend, Daniel Kwok, who’s there for business. Lily and her mother stay at her grandparents’ hillside home on Hong Kong Island, but tension between Gung-Gung and Ma makes it hard to enjoy the beautiful surroundings, especially with the city in turmoil. Gung-Gung won’t say anything about the meeting and Ma is worried that her career is in jeopardy. Meanwhile, the teenage daughter of Gung-Gung’s driver is pulled into the dangerous riots.

As Lily and Ma discover shaky finances, questionable loans, and plans for the future involving them both, Lily’s escalating romance with Daniel puts her heart at risk. Will her ninja skills allow her to protect her mother, the family business, and the renegade teen while navigating love, corporate intrigue, and murderous triads? (Amazon)

Editions Available: Kindle, Paperback, Audiobook

Burden of Poof (Bonnie & Clyde Mysteries Book 1) by [Julie Anne Lindsey]

An amateur sleuth named Bonnie and her kitty companion Clyde, with names like those, what could possibly go wrong?

Life hasn’t sparkled too brightly for Bonnie Balfour over the past few years, but a heart-breaking divorce has brought her back to her small rural hometown of Bliss, Georgia, and things are starting to shape up.

The proud new owner of Bless Her Heart—a second chance dress shop and boutique on the town square—Bonnie thinks thirty-eight might not be too late for a fresh start in life after all.

Until a grouchy old widow turns up dead in a pile of donations meant for Bonnie’s shop, and the town’s new detective pins her to the top of his suspect list!

To save her shop, dream and reputation, Bonnie must coordinate clues and stitch together the truth about her innocence, but the unreasonably handsome detective and prying eyes of the local gossip mill are fast fraying her nerves.

When a series of anonymous attacks begin to hem her in, Bonnie fears the real killer is fixing to make her his next victim. Can this amateur sleuth measure up? (Amazon)

Editions Available: Kindle, Paperback, Audiobook

Review of Dial “M” For Maine Coon

Dial “M” For Maine Coon

A FureverPets Mystery, Book #2

Alex Erickson

5 Stars


Animal rescue is always risky business, but Liz Denton, owner of the Furever Pets, finds out it’s also dangerous when someone puts down one of her prospective pet adopters . . .

Liz is thrilled to find a forever home for her latest rescue, Sheamus, a Maine Coon cat. But on adoption day, she discovers Sheamus’s would-be owner, Joe Hitchcock, murdered in his study. Joe’s shocking death reveals an even more startling secret: his real name was Joe Danvers . . . a man accused of killing his wife thirty years ago.

Liz knows she should focus on finding Sheamus a new home, but this mystery already has its claws in her. So Liz begins vetting the clues from both investigations. But with a stalker sniffing at her heels and a rival swatting at her business, Liz’s curiosity may come at a hefty price . . . especially since Joe’s case has more lives than a cat. (Goodreads)


The characters are well rounded and well developed.  Furever Pets is going good and Liz feels like she is making a difference.  When she takes Sheamus, a Maine Coon cat to his forever home, she finds his new owner dead.  She cannot understand who would kill him and why.  She decides to try and figure that out, she feels like she owes it to the man and the cat.  

The author is very talented in her descriptive writing and these descriptions pulled me into the story from the very beginning.  The writing style flows smoothly and the book is an easy read.  The mystery was well plotted and there were enough clues to sift through and suspects to consider.  

I really like that Liz and her daughter were able to work together on this mystery.  That is not the normal in most cozies and I thought it was very clever.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a well crafted cozy mystery.  I cannot wait to see what animals she is going to rescue next.

I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of this book provided by the publisher, Kensington Books, and NetGalley, which I greatly appreciate.

Dial ‘M' for Maine Coon (A Furever Pets Mystery Book 2) by [Alex Erickson]

Review Of Message In The Bones

Message In The Bones

Messages Of Murder, Book #1

Dawn Merriman

5 Stars


  Long-buried bones have secrets to share – if you know how to read the message

I am NOT a freak, although many people call me that. The night my father was murdered and I was left for dead, I awoke with the ability to “sense” things. Touching things can give me visions, sometimes horrifying, murderous ones. That doesn’t make me a freak, but it gets me into trouble.

The bones of a murdered woman are unearthed and our safe small town is shaken to its core.  Her killer was good at hiding the truth and after decades in the ground, any clues are gone – her murder a complete mystery. The only clues are the ones I can see.

Recently promoted to head detective, you’d think my brother would be thrilled to have my help. He’d rather pretend I don’t exist than use my gifts. Thank heavens, his handsome partner doesn’t agree and calls me in to help.  

Although I’m terrified to touch her, the mysterious skeleton has a story that needs told. When I grip the bones, live through her murder, the message I see changes me – changes everything. No one wants to believe what I saw.

Instead of a helpful hero, I become even more of an outcast in my small town. The only person who believes me is the one man who knows the truth of my visions – the killer. He’s desperate to keep his secrets buried. Now he hunts a new prey – me. I don’t need psychic powers to know he’s right behind me – closing in – about to strike.

   Psychic mystery readers like you say, “This book has everything I love in a novel – action, a twisty mystery and a touch of romance. It grabbed me from the first word and I couldn’t stop reading until I finished the entire series.”

•Book 1 in the Messages of Murder series.

•Book 2, “Message in the Fire”

•Book 3, “Message in the Grave”

•Book 4, “Message in the Snow”

Enjoy this short excerpt,

…Detective Lucas leads me to the dirt pile where the bones wait for me. My tattoo burns under my zip up running sweater. I fight the urge to rub the burning. Rubbing won’t stop it anyway. I move slowly closer to the bones gleaming white in the dirt. My whole body tingles now, not just my tattoo.

“Can I get some privacy? Have these other people move back.” The small crowd at the scene eyes me with interest, but try not to show it.

Head Detective Dustin may not have shared his plans with them, but everyone knows who I am and what I do. They’re excited for a show.

The buzz from the bones fills me, much stronger than anything I’ve felt before. The urge to run nearly wins, but Lucas takes hold of my arm. He leads me to the bones, my feet dragging slowly.

The three of us crouch by the dirt pile. Lucas next to me, Dustin nearby. I say a short prayer to center myself. “Lord, let me see what I need to see.”

I pull off my left glove and kneel in the dirt. Clods and stones poke my knees.I ignore the skull smiling at me and reach for the hand bones.

I sense her before I touch her.

A blast of information, stronger than I expected, makes me jerk my hand back. “It’s a woman. Her name is Karen.” The crowd behind me twitters and whispers.

“Step back.” Dustin barks at them.

I put my hand in my lap, fear slamming through me. Whatever I’m about to see won’t be pretty. I can still tell them no, get back in my car and go to work.

Lucas leans close and whispers, “It’s okay. You can do this.”

I don’t share his confidence, but I trust God and my tattoo. I squeeze my eyes shut and ask God for strength to do what he needs me to.

I close my bare hand on her boney one.

— Get your copy, then clear your afternoon, because you won’t be able to put this book down.


The characters are well rounded and well developed.  Gabby has always been known as a freak, ever since her near-death experience.  Her grandmother has accepted her abilities but her brother and most all of the other people in her life think she is a fake.  When bones from the past are unearthed, she is asked to touch the bones and “see” what they tell her.  Soon she is in the fight of her life with the killer, who is still around.  I have always enjoyed reading psychic ability stories and this one did not disappoint.  I read the book in a day, and that does not happen very often.

The author is very talented in her descriptive writing and she knows how to create tension with just the written word.  There were times I did not want to keep reading because I was afraid of what would happen but I could not help myself. I was sure I knew who the killer was, but I was wrong.  I like when that happens.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a well crafted suspense.  I cannot wait to read the next one in the series.

MESSAGE in the BONES: Psychic suspense murder mystery thriller with a touch of romance. Gripping until the very last word. (Messages of Murder Book 1) by [Dawn Merriman]

Review of Essentials Of Murder

Essentials Of Murder

Aromatherapy Apothecary. Book #

Kim Davis

5 Stars


Recovering from a scandal that chased her from San Francisco, Carissa Carmichael struggles to find acceptance in her small Southern California hometown as she opens her aromatherapy  and reflexology shop.

When she finds a man murdered in her distilling room, Carissa becomes the main suspect, especially when her fingerprints are found on the murder weapon. Despite her father’s position as Oak Creek Valley’s chief of police, most townspeople assume she’s guilty—including the new leading detective. 

Refusing to run again, Carissa knows she must prove her innocence to save her shop and her family’s reputation. With suspects acting as slippery as the essential oils she distills, it’s up to Carissa to apply pressure and sniff out the truth before it’s too late. (Goodreads)


The characters are well rounded and well developed.  Carissa is a hard working woman who wants to make a go of her aromatherapy

shop.  She has returned to her Southern California hometown after a scandal and just wants her aromatherapy business to be successful. Her and her dad get along well and he tries to help her anyway he can.  When a man is killed in her shop, she is the prime

suspect and will need to figure out the culprit.  If she cannot figure it out, she can say goodbye to her shop and her freedom.

The writing style flows smoothly and it defines the characters very clearly by their actions and words.  The author is very talented in her descriptive writing and these descriptions pulled me into the story from the very beginning.  The mystery is well plotted and not easily solved.  I was surprised at who the killer was.

I really enjoyed this book and I enjoyed the relationship between Carissa and her dad, it showed how much they cared about each other.  I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a well crafted cozy mystery.

I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of this book provided by the publisher,Kindred Ink Press, which I greatly appreciate.

Essentials of Murder (Aromatherapy Apothecary Cozy Mysteries Book 1) by [Kim Davis, Kindred Ink Press]
Kim Davis

Kim Davis lives in Southern California with her husband. When not spending time with
her two granddaughters, she can be found either writing stories, blogging at Cinnamon,
Sugar, and a Little Bit of Murder, or in the kitchen creating new recipes and yummy
treats to share.
She has also published suspense novel, A Game of Deceit, under K. A. Davis, and cozy
mysteries Sprinkles of Suspicion and Cake Popped Off, along with several children’s
nature articles in a variety of magazines.
Kim Davis is a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America.
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New Releases For The Week Of September 5th,2021–Part 2


Designs on the Dead (A Death in Paris Mystery Book 3) by [Emilia Bernhard]

Emilia Bernhard’s third Death in Paris novel, featuring two American sleuths in the City of Lights, is perfect for fans of M. L. Longworth and Juliet Blackwell.

In Paris, some are dying for the latest fashion…others will kill for it.

Having successfully solved two murders in the City of Lights, self-proclaimed private detectives Rachel Levis and Magda Stevens are ready to take on the world. Or at least the 3rd arrondissement. Which is good news when renowned fashion designer Roland Guipure is found lifeless outside his own birthday party in that upscale neighbourhood, dead from an apparent overdose. 

Rachel thinks its murder, and when it turns out the police agree, the two Americans roll up their sleeves for another murder investigation. And there are plenty of suspects: the angry assistant designer promoted to the top spot as a result of Guipure’s death; the lovelorn PA who was crushed by the designer’s lack of interest in her; the former boyfriend who lost his meal ticket as a result of Guipure’s successful stay in rehab. Not to mention that the designer’s murder occurred a few days before that of an American tourist who seems to be connected to him in some mysterious way. Paris is beginning to feel crowded with corpses. Coincidence or just bad luck? 

As the clues and suspects pile up, Rachel and Magda rush to find the murderer before another death is cut from the same cloth. (Amazon)

Editions Available: Kindle, Hardcover

Hooked on a Feline (Magical Cats Book 13) by [Sofie Kelly]

Librarian Kathleen Paulson and her inquisitive cats find themselves in a jam when a musician turns up dead, in the newest installment of this New York Times bestselling series.

It’s summer in Mayville Heights, and Kathleen Paulson and her detective boyfriend Marcus, are eager to attend the closing concert of the local music festival. The concert is a success, but then one of the band members is discovered dead shortly after it. At first it’s assumed the death is a robbery gone wrong, but Kathleen suspects foul play—and she’s certain that she, along with her trusty side-cats, Owen and Hercules, can help solve the murder.

Before his death, Kathleen had noticed the victim in the library researching his genealogy, and when she and Marcus take a closer look at the man’s family tree, they begin to think a previous death of one of his relatives now seems suspicious. The more Kathleen thinks about it, the more this murder feels like it could be an encore performance. Kathleen and her cats will need to act fast and be very careful if they want to stay off of a killer’s hit list. (Amazon)

Editions Available: Kindle, Hardcover, Audiobook


Striking Range: A Timber Creek K-9 Mystery by [Margaret Mizushima]

A deadly secret is buried in the Colorado high country–and murder is only the beginning in the seventh gripping installment of Margaret Mizushima’s Timber Creek K-9 mysteries.

He was suspect number one–the man who tried to kill Deputy Mattie Cobb and may have killed her father thirty years earlier. But when Mattie and cold case detective Jim Hauck reach the Colorado state prison where they will finally get to interview him, he’s found dead in his cell. There’s only one clue: a map leading to Timber Creek and rugged Redstone Ridge.

Though she usually works with veterinarian Cole Walker, Mattie’s K-9 partner Robo has just sired a litter of pups, who require special, time-consuming care at Cole’s clinic. Left to explore the map’s clue without him, Mattie and Robo journey into the burned forest surrounding Redstone Ridge. But before they can finish their search they’re called to help investigate the death of a young woman found in a campground filled with elk hunters. Identification of the deceased points to her having recently given birth, but the infant is nowhere to be found.

As a deadly storm descends upon the mountains, covering everything with a layer of ice and snow, Mattie and her team search for the missing newborn. The storm batters the area, taking its toll on the team and forcing the sheriff to call in reinforcements. When new evidence surfaces, they decide that finding the woman’s killer will lead them to her baby, making them even more desperate to solve the case.

Then Cole goes missing, stranded alone in the high country with a person that Mattie now suspects is the mastermind behind several murders, including her father’s. She and Robo take to the trail to find Cole–but the killer has a cold-blooded plan that threatens them all. (Amazon)

Editions Available: Kindle, Hardcover, Audiobook