KASSANDRA LAMB

Exploring the Mysteries of the Mind

Rad Reads for Autumn

The late September edition of my new book review feature has something for everyone! A fun romp, a creepy thriller and an historical mystery first-in-series with a new holiday book that just released last week.

Up first, a fun series about a young woman with a very unusual job…

Undertaking Irene by Pamela Burford — FREE

What a romp! I love the very creative premise of this series. Jane Delaney, aka the Death Diva, will do anything that’s not blatantly illegal at funerals, from being a paid mourner who wails over the departed to swiping a family heirloom brooch off the corpse before it can be buried with her.

But this time, things don’t go according to plan. First, a priest gets to the brooch first, and Jane is literally off and running, chasing after him. Then her best client ends up dead, Jane inherits a neurotic seven-pound poodle named Sexy Beast, and she sets out to discover who killed Irene.

Well written with quirky but somehow realistic characters, and believable red herrings. I didn’t figure out the culprit until about the time that the MC did, very close to the end.

I’ll be reading more of this series. I give Undertaking Irene  five fingerprints!

Never Sleep, A Lady Detective For Hire Mystery (Chronicles of a Lady Detective, Book 1) — 99¢

Full disclosure: This is another of my sister misterio press authors, BUT her protagonist is my all-time favorite female detective. She is both down-to-earth and brave.

Penelope Hamilton , from a high-society family, is estranged from her husband, Frank Wynch, a detective with the Pinkerton Agency. She had worked with him on assignments in the past, and although she doesn’t particularly miss him, she does miss the excitement of those cases.

So, when he asks for her help with a new case, she can’t stop herself from saying yes. He needs her to go undercover in the household of a wealthy industrial magnate who has been the victim of factory sabotage and an assassination attempt. Her task is to discover the culprit before he strikes again, then Frank will swoop in and deal with him.

I love how K.B. Owen portrays Pen Hamilton as a woman carefully balancing the restrictions on a proper lady’s life in the 1800s with the demands of her very unusual vocation. After this first page-turner novella, Pen becomes a Pinkerton agent in her own right. There are 4 more adventures, so far, in this series, including K.B.’s most recent release, The Twelve Thieves of Christmas, which I am currently reading, and loving it.

I give Never Sleep (which was the motto of the Pinkerton Agency, by the way) five fingerprints!

And a full-price book (although it’s not expensive) that I think is well worth the price…

The Dancing Girls, Detective Jo Fournier Book 1 – by M.M. Chouinard — $2.99

This police procedural is a real on-the-edge-of-your-seat story!

A woman is found dead, her body posed as if dancing, her wedding band stolen, but nothing else. The strange circumstances lead newly promoted Lieutenant Josette Fournier to investigate the case herself. Then another woman is found, wedding ring also stolen, body posed the same ritualistic way. The similarities lead Jo to identify a terrifying series of cold cases… but nobody will listen—not her bosses, and not the FBI.

Well-written and fast-paced, the reader rides the roller coaster along with Jo as she tracks down clues and tries to get ahead of a serial killer.

At times, the reader is inside the killer’s head. I’m still not sure how I feel about those scenes. On the one hand they are creepy and chilling and add to the tension, but on the other hand, they reduce the suspense somewhat by revealing the killer’s motivation and many of his moves.

However, I’m not sure the story could be told any differently. And it is a great story!

The first book in this series is not discounted, but the entire 4-book series (with a 5th one in the works) is reasonably priced at $1.99 to $3.99 per book. I think they are well worth the price.

I give The Dancing Girls four and a half fingerprints.

It is available on  AMAZON ~ NOOK ~ APPLE ~ KOBO

My next batch of reviews will be posted in early November. So stay tuned!

 

 

 

 

Delicious Deals and Rad Reads ~ Caturday Edition

The August edition of my new book review feature is great for foodies and cat lovers! Two out of three of this month’s books involve food, and they all have a cat in them.

Up first, another fantastic first-in-series by PD Workman, who is now very near the top of my favorite authors list. Boy, can this woman write!!

Gluten-Free Murder, An Auntie Clem’s Bakery Mystery #1, by PD Workman – FREE

All too often characters in cozies seem a tad two-dimensional. I mean, they’re usually interesting and relatable, but maybe not completely fleshed out.

Not so with Erin Price. She has come to the small town of Bald Eagle Falls to turn her late aunt’s tea shop into a gluten-free bakery. But things go south on opening day when her rival, the owner of the only other bakery in town, dies after eating one of Erin’s muffins.

Workman seamlessly weaves Erin’s back story as a foster child into the first few chapters until you feel like you’ve known her for years and are right there with her as she drags herself out of bed each morning to bake and then searches for clues in the afternoons.

She is soon joined in these endeavors by a young woman named Vic and a stray tabby kitten, both of whom worm their way into Erin’s heart.

This book ticks all the boxes for a cozy—small town setting, determined amateur sleuth with an interesting/somewhat different vocation, a cute animal, a human sidekick, and a police officer whom said sleuth isn’t sure is friend or foe.

But despite it being a cozy, the author isn’t afraid to tackle real-life issues and her climax scene will have you sitting on the edge of your seat.

A wholehearted five fingerprints for Gluten-Free Murder. Now I have to hurry up and read the other 15 books in the series, including her newest release Hot On the Trail Mix.

And PD Workman has three new releases in the Reg Rawlins Psychic Investigations series:
Skunk Man Swamp  and Magic Ain’t A Game came out in June and July, and Without Foresight will release on August 20.

Next up, a culinary cozy series with a twist—a main character who can’t cook!

One Taste Too Many, A Sarah Blair Mystery – by award-winning author, Debra H. Goldstein ~ Free for Kindle Unlimited, Only $1.99 to buy on Amazon; $6.99 Elsewhere

Sarah Blair can’t cook. But her twin sister is a gourmet chef, and Sarah is determined to help her when she’s accused of poisoning someone with her rhubarb crisp. Especially since the victim is Sarah’s ex-husband.

This is a fun story, with well-developed characters, tight writing and clear descriptions of settings that don’t slow down the pace. I could easily picture the large conference hall, with its many booths, and the stage where the cooking competition is held.

Oh, and did I mention there’s a cat? A feisty Siamese named RahRah, who becomes the focus of a custody battle.

I give this first-in-series four and a half fingerprints. The next book in the series is already waiting for me on my kindle, with two more after that, including the newly released Four Cuts Too Many.

And last but not least… You’ve heard of “sweet” romance, well this next story is a sweet mystery.

Fish Out of Water, A Seaside Bookshop Mystery #1 – by Emily Selby – FREE in Kindle Unlimited; $2.99 to buy

The main character of this series, Amelia Barry, is obviously intelligent; after all she’s an IT security consultant back in London. But she’s taken a break from that job, at her boss’s suggestion, after running amok in her communications with clients. She’s come to Leah-by-the Sea to visit her godmother who’s just bought an old bookshop there.

But she finds the house and bookshop empty, and a stray cat leads her to a corpse on the beach. Having not seen her godmother in many years, she worries that the dead woman might be her.

Although the author doesn’t say it in so many words, it quickly becomes apparent to the reader that Amelia is on the autism spectrum. She takes things literally, misses social cues, becomes easily overwhelmed, and doesn’t like to be touched.

I found her endearing, as does the local constable (who has a cute dimple when he smiles) and his talkative mother, Mrs. Webb, the B&B owner who takes Amelia in until things can “get sorted.”

There are plenty of interesting twists as Amelia and the constable sift through clues, often with the unwanted “help” of Mrs. Webb.

These delightful characters made this a fun read, and I’ve already downloaded the next book in the series, also reasonably priced at $2.99. Plus, her newest release in the series, Not the Only Pebble on the Beach, was $0.99 last time I checked. Grab it quick; it won’t stay that low.

I would love to give this book 5 fingerprints, but I am deducting one because it has a few too many errors. Not a huge number, but I’m one of those people for whom typos jump off the page. Also, it is formatted in a somewhat unusual way, with block paragraphs and spaces between. This was distracting at first, but I eventually got used to it.

Stay tuned! In September, I’ll be reviewing the delightful first-in-series, Undertaking Irene, by Pamela Burford.

 

A New Feature: Delightful Deals and Reading Recommendations–July, 2021

I’m starting a new feature here, reviewing books I’ve read that I really liked, with an emphasis on first-in-series stories that are either permafree or $0.99.*  Although there will often be an additional recommendation for a book that is full price but I believe is well worth it.

(*Note: these books may not stay free or 99 cents, as I have no control over their prices.)

So here we go:

What The Cat Knew: Reg Rawlins, Psychic Investigator #1, by PD Workman (USA Today bestseller) — FREE

I only like a certain kind of paranormal mystery, one that uses the paranormal aspects as a spice. I like the “meat” of the dish to still be the characters and the storyline, the mystery itself. In What The Cat Knew, PD Workman serves up a gourmet dish exactly to my tastes.

Former foster kid and master con artist, Reg Rawlins has found a sweet setting, she thinks, for her latest con, pretending to be a medium who can contact dead people. Black Sands is a community particularly accepting of the paranormal. But she soon discovers that she’s out of her league in the realm of magic.

Her own disbelief in her powers helps to make Reg a three-dimensional character and actually lends credence to the paranormal events that unfold. Slowly she is drawn into the mystery of the dead man who doesn’t believe he’s dead and his desperate wife who only wants some sense of what really happened so she can grieve.

And slowly Reg is drawn into the Black Sands community, which includes her good-witch landlady Sarah, the not as likeable leader of Sarah’s coven, and the mysterious and perhaps dangerous warlock who seems bent on seducing her. And in the end, she discovers even more unlikely members of their paranormal circles.

And then there is Starlight, the rescue cat who always seems to know what’s going on before Reg does, and tends to communicate it with unsheathed claws.

A highly entertaining book and a great lead-in to a new series for me, I give What the Cat Knew five fingerprints, and I’ve already purchased Book 2!

Murder, Honey, A Carol Sabala Mystery #1, by Vinnie Hansen (award-winning author) — $0.99 on Amazon, FREE everywhere else

This is not my favorite of Vinnie’s series, but it’s still quite good, and it’s Book 1 and it’s free (except on Amazon where it’s 99 cents; the Zon is resisting price-matching it). My faves in the series are Death with Dessert and Black Beans and Venom, but the whole series is good!

Carol Sabala is a flawed heroine, with a slightly shaky marriage, an adorable cat named Lola, and a boss she hates. When said boss ends up face first and dead as a doornail in Carol’s cookie dough, she—along with her coworkers at the swanky restaurant where she’s a baker—is a prime suspect.

Over the course of this series, Carol realizes she prefers solving mysteries to baking sweets, and the series evolves along with her, from cozyish to cozy noir, as she trains to be a private investigator.

And the author’s writing improves from very good to excellent (as is often the case with first series by good authors).

I give Murder, Honey four fingerprints and the series as a whole an enthusiastic five fingerprints!

And a Special Recommendation, a debut novel that is Free in Kindle Unlimited or $4.99 to buy (and well worth it!)

A Memory of Murder, Audrey Lake Investigations #1 by Nichelle Seely

Part psychological thriller, part police procedural, Nichelle Seely’s debut novel is riveting!

Audrey Lake has moved to Astoria, Oregon, after her career as an undercover cop in Denver has gone down the drain. Piece by piece, she’s trying to rebuild her life, but recurring visions of a woman being attacked and forcibly drowned are scaring the bejeesus out of her. She’s terrified that she’s losing her mind, until the same woman who appeared in her vision is regurgitated by the Columbia River.

What ensues is a struggle to maintain her sanity as her own investigation parallels that of the local police, and gets her in trouble with them more than once.

This tightly written and intense story is way better than most debut novels I’ve read. I give it five fingerprints without hesitation. Totally worth the price if you’re not in KU.

And that’s it for this month. Stay tuned for more Delightful Deals and Reading Recommendations!

Kass

 

 

 

 

One Flew Over the Chow-Chow’s Nest is Live!!

Woot!! The newest Marcia Banks and Buddy book is now live in ebook format.

Doing my happy dance!

Check it out!!!

One Flew Over the Chow-Chow’s Nest, Book #11

The world moves toward normal, but Marcia’s life is rarely “normal”…

When newly vaccinated Marcia Banks calls to finally schedule the human phase of training with her Air Force pilot client—the soon-to-be owner of a Chow-Husky service dog named Bear—she’s informed that the veteran has been in a private psychiatric hospital for months, with no one allowed to visit due to Covid.

Through her neighbor’s daughter, Sybil—a traveling nurse who has worked at the hospital—Marcia receives a message from the pilot implying he’s being held against his will. Should she believe him, or is he being paranoid?

Then suddenly he’s discharged, only to have his private plane crash in a fiery ball two days later. Convinced the crash is no coincidence, Marcia attempts to discover how her veteran client became the target of a murderer.

What she uncovers looks suspiciously like a scheme to defraud the Veterans’ Administration. But who is behind it…and did they sabotage her client’s plane? Or did the saboteur have a more personal motive?

And just how determined are they to silence Marcia and Sybil?

ONLY $2.99 for a few more days! Then it goes up to $4.99

AVAILABLE on:  AMAZON ~ APPLE ~ KOBO ~ NOOK ~ GOOGLE PLAY

And yes, I’m working on getting the paperback version out as well.

Also, working on putting together more collections and getting all the Buddy books out in audio eventually.

So stay tuned, Folks!!

 

A New Book, A Boxed Set and More Audio Books!

Hey folks,

I’ve been pretty busy the last few weeks getting some goodies ready for you.

First, I’ve put together a collection of the first 4 ebooks in the Marcia Banks and Buddy series. Check it out HERE!

Just $6.99  ~~  A $3 savings over the individual book prices!

I’ll be doing more collections in that series soon.

~

And I have 2 new audio books out in that series, with the most wonderful narrator ever.

Amy Deuchler absolutely brings Marcia and the gang to life!!

Check out the links for The Call of The Woof audio book HERE.

And for A Mayfair Christmas Carol audio book HERE.

I had hoped to get them out before Christmas of 2020, but then the pandemic happened.

Better late than never!

And last but certainly not least, there is a brand new release coming up in the Marcia and Buddy series. Available for Preorder now!

This book was inspired, in part, by the pandemic, and it is the backdrop of the story.

But I have tried to focus mainly on the hope, optimism and sense of relief of the Spring of 2021, as the pandemic has eased up, here in the U.S. at least.

One Flew Over the Chow-Chow’s Nest, Book #11

The world moves toward normal, but Marcia’s life is rarely “normal”…

When newly vaccinated Marcia Banks calls to finally schedule the human phase of training with her Air Force pilot client—the soon-to-be owner of a Chow-Husky service dog named Bear—she’s informed that the veteran has been in a private psychiatric hospital for months, with no one allowed to visit due to Covid.

Through her neighbor’s daughter, Sybil—a traveling nurse who has worked at the hospital—Marcia receives a message from the pilot implying he’s being held against his will. Should she believe him, or is he being paranoid?

Then suddenly he’s discharged, only to have his private plane crash in a fiery ball two days later. Convinced the crash is no coincidence, Marcia attempts to discover how her veteran client became the target of a murderer.

What she uncovers looks suspiciously like a scheme to defraud the Veterans’ Administration. But who is behind it…and did they sabotage her client’s plane? Or did the saboteur have a more personal motive?

And just how determined are they to silence Marcia and Sybil?

ONLY $2.99 during Preorder ~ Goes up to $4.99 shortly after it releases on June 4, 2021

AVAILABLE for PREORDER on:  AMAZON ~ APPLE ~ KOBO ~ NOOK ~ GOOGLE PLAY

And yes, I’m working on getting the paperback version ready as well!

When all of that is done, I’ll be turning my attention to my newest endeavor, Book 1 in a police procedural series. I’m about 20% of the way into the first draft. I’ll post an excerpt soon.

Thanks for your support!

Kass

 

 

 

 

Funny Valentine is Live and Buy Audio Books Directly Now!

Woohoo!! The next Marcia and Buddy book is live!

My Funny Mayfair Valentine, A Marcia Banks and Buddy Mystery, #10

A newcomer to Mayfair charms the socks off of Susanna Mayfair, the sheltered niece of the town’s elderly matriarch. In a panic, the aunt turns to service dog trainer Marcia Banks to dig into the man’s past.

What Marcia finds, with her detective husband Will’s help, is disturbing—a trail of broken hearts and outstanding warrants. But when the older gentleman is arrested, he claims it’s a case of mistaken identity.

While Will attempts to untangle the truth and Susanna struggles with her feelings, Marcia is worried about her friend’s mental health, unaware that Susanna may be in physical danger as well. Will Marcia figure it out in time to protect Susanna…and herself?

AVAILABLE NOW FOR $0.99 for a very limited time!

AMAZON ~ APPLE ~ NOOK ~ KOBO ~ GOOGLE PLAY

Paperback format is in the works!

 

And great news, folks. You can now buy my audio books directly, usually at a lower price than charged on audio book retailers.

Check it out HERE:

Download an app at the store to listen on your Android or iOS device!

My Funny Mayfair Valentine ~ Now Available for Preorder!

Woohoo!! The next Marcia and Buddy book is here! (Available for Preorder)

My Funny Mayfair Valentine, A Marcia Banks and Buddy Mystery, #10

A newcomer to Mayfair charms the socks off of Susanna Mayfair, the sheltered niece of the town’s elderly matriarch. In a panic, the aunt turns to service dog trainer Marcia Banks to dig into the man’s past.

What Marcia finds, with her detective husband Will’s help, is disturbing—a trail of broken hearts and outstanding warrants. But when the older gentleman is arrested, he claims it’s a case of mistaken identity.

While Will attempts to untangle the truth and Susanna struggles with her feelings, Marcia is worried about her friend’s mental health, unaware that Susanna may be in physical danger as well. Will Marcia figure it out in time to protect Susanna…and herself?

RELEASES ON 9/22/2020 ~ AVAILABLE NOW FOR PREORDER ON:

AMAZON ~ APPLE ~ NOOK ~ KOBO ~ GOOGLE PLAY

Paperback format is in the works!

 

Lord of the Fleas Is Live!! Plus an Ode To My Readers

 

Release Day has arrived. Yay!!

Lord of the Fleas is Live (in ebook form). Paperbacks will be available very soon!

And I’m blogging over on the misterio press website today about how much we writers love and need our readers. Stop over and check it out.

~~~

Lord of the Fleas book cover

Lord of the Fleas, A Marcia Banks and Buddy Mystery, #9

What could be more innocent than a country flea market?

When service dog trainer Marcia Banks takes up temporary residence with her best friend in Williston, Florida, her goals are simple: spoil her toddler godchildren and train her newest dog’s veteran owner, a vendor at a local flea market.

Ha, the universe has other plans. When the owner of the flea market is found dead and her client is a prime suspect, she discovers that nothing is as it seems—from the flea market owner himself, to the ornate dragonhead cane he gave to her client, to the beautiful but not very bright young woman whom her client has a crush on.

The only true innocent in the bunch seems to be her guileless client. But when he shares a confidence that puts her in a double bind with local law enforcement, she’s not sure she can even trust him.

Despite her promises to her new husband that she won’t “poke around” in the investigation, the only way out of her no-win dilemma seems to be to find the real killer herself.

The flea market, however, is hiding more secrets, and at least one of them could be deadly.

Available at these retailers ~ $2.99 through May 30th, goes up to $4.99 after that…

AMAZON ~ NOOK ~ APPLE ~ KOBO ~ GOOGLE PLAY

Enjoy!!

Kass

 

A New Book! Lord of the Fleas ~ Preorder Now

Hey Marcia and Buddy fans,

I’ve got a new book for you! Here’s the adorable cover.

Just $2.99 during the preorder period (will go up after release on May 26th)

Lord of the Fleas cover

 

Lord of the Fleas, A Marcia Banks and Buddy Mystery, #9

What could be more innocent than a country flea market?

When service dog trainer Marcia Banks takes up temporary residence with her best friend in Williston, Florida, her goals are simple: spoil her toddler godchildren and train her newest dog’s veteran owner, a vendor at a local flea market.

Ha, the universe has other plans. When the owner of the flea market is found dead and her client is a prime suspect, she discovers that nothing is as it seems—from the flea market owner himself, to the ornate dragonhead cane he gave to her client, to the beautiful but not very bright young woman whom her client has a crush on.

The only true innocent in the bunch seems to be her guileless, partially paralyzed client. But when he shares a confidence that puts her in a double bind with local law enforcement, she’s not sure she can even trust him.

Despite her promises to her new husband, the only way out of her no-win dilemma seems to be to find the real killer. The flea market, however, is hiding more secrets, and at least one of them could be deadly.

 

Available for Preorder at these retailers ~ $2.99 during preorder period; goes up to $4.99 after release on May 26th!

AMAZON ~ NOOK ~ APPLE ~ KOBO ~ GOOGLE PLAY

It’s Live! A Star-Spangled Mayfair ~ for your summer reading pleasure!

We have liftoff!!

$0.99 for a limited time; then it goes up to $2.99.

A Star-Spangled Mayfair, A Marcia Banks and Buddy Mystery #8

A flamboyant fiancé, a “Mob Killer” Roman candle, a yappy rescue dog, and a bison bull named Tarzan.

A recipe for chaos and calamity for Marcia’s introverted friend, Jess Randall.

When not serving up her to-die-for eggs and biscuits at the Mayfair Diner, Jess just wants to live quietly on their farm. But her fiancé Dan has impulsively offered to host the Mayfair Independence Day Extravaganza.

The day of the big bash, Marcia and her dog Buddy witness a public fight between the couple, and just hours later, Dan is found with a Roman candle through his chest. Was it an accident, or was it murder? And is Jess a killer, as the sheriff’s department believes?

Between dog-training sessions, Marcia feels compelled to investigate, especially when there are signs that the real killer may not be finished… Could Jess be the next target?

AVAILABLE NOW ON:

AMAZON ~ NOOK ~ APPLE ~ KOBO ~ GOOGLE PLAY

 

And the paperback version of Police Protection, Book 10 in the Kate Huntington series, is finally available. Click HERE to order a copy.

(Paperbacks of The Sound and The Furry and A Star-Spangled Mayfair should be out soon as well.)

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