Exploring the Mysteries of the Mind

Tag: bargains on books

September Rad Reads

Just 2 book reviews for you this time, folks! Partly because I read a couple of duds these last few weeks, and also I’ve been spending some of my reading time on writing the next Judith Anderson C.o.P. on the Scene book.

The first draft is real close to done!! Yippee! Then I can start editing, which is my favorite part of the process.

(Oh, and I put together another boxed set from the Marcia and Buddy series. See below! You can preorder on Amazon or get it elsewhere now. Don’t ask how I ended up with different release dates…long story.)

So without further ado, here are those reviews! Enjoy, Kass


A Sticky Inheritance, A Maple Syrup Mystery, Book 1, by Emily James ~ Free on KU or $2.99

Again, full disclosure: I know this author, but I am recommending her books because they are terrific!

Nicole Fitzhenry-Dawes is a criminal lawyer in D.C. who travels to Fair Haven, Michigan to make arrangements for her favorite uncle’s funeral. Once there, she discovers two things. One, her Uncle Stan left her the maple farm where she had spent many a summer growing up, and two, his suicide might have been murder. Then she learns two more things—the local medical examiner is really attractive, and she enjoys running a maple farm a whole lot more than she ever liked being a lawyer.

I really love these characters. They are fully developed, three-dimensional people. I also really liked the premise of setting a mystery series on a maple syrup farm and in the nearby town. And there are plenty of twists and turns, a touch of romance, and dogs!

I have read this entire 13-book series, and loved every one of the stories. A Sticky Inheritance and this entire series gets 5 fingerprints.

Ghost Walking, A Maggie York Paranormal Mystery Book 1, by Ally Shields ~ $5.99

(Sorry, this one isn’t discounted — see below for whether it would probably be worth it for you. It was for me.)

Not believing won’t make the ghosts go away.

This book is a combo of two of my favorite things, a well-written police procedural (with a female cop) and a ghost story.

Maggie York is on medical leave because she almost died in the line of duty. Actually she did flatline and was revived, and that whole process somehow triggered a latent “gift”—she can now see ghosts.

She sets out to find her shooter, but a ghost (who witnessed the shooting) shows up and wants her to solve his murder first. And her butting into that case does not endear her to the sexy male cop who has taken her place on the homicide squad.

There’s a lot to like about this book. The pacing and character development are good, and the plot is complicated enough to be interesting (could have been more twists and turns, but there are a few surprises). But what I liked best was Maggie’s characterization. Her skepticism and reluctance to embrace her gift make her more realistic, as does her resistance to the appeal of the sexy cop.

Unfortunately, this first-in-series is not discounted, but if you like character-driven police procedurals and ghosts, it’s worth the price. (Or watch for it to go on sale.) I plan to read more of this series.

I give Ghost Walking 4 fingerprints!

And here’s the scoop on that new collection:

The Marcia Banks and Buddy Collection III, Books 8-10

Even small towns can harbor a killer!

In the third collection from this fun cozy series, service dog trainer, Marcia Banks and her four-legged best friend, Buddy sniff out killers and fraudsters.

An impulsive fiancé, a “Mob Killer” Roman candle, and a bison bull named Tarzan are a recipe for Independence Day mayhem for Jess Randall, owner of the Mayfair Diner.

Then Marcia stays with her friend Becky in Williston, Florida, while training a dog’s new veteran owner, and discovers that flea markets can hide dangerous secrets.

And when a charming newcomer sweeps sheltered Susanna Mayfair off her feet, Marcia pokes into the man’s past, and discovers a trail of broken hearts and outstanding warrants.

Save $4 compared to individual book prices!


Love a Bargain! Presenting the Kate Huntington Mystery Collections

COLLECTION III is Available for Preorder and COLLECTION I is On Sale ~ Both ONLY 99¢ for a limited time!~~

Collection I ~ Books 1-3, Plus a Novella ~ ONLY 99¢

A psychotherapist whose passion for helping others often lands her in trouble…

In this three-book bundle, plus a fun novella set at Christmas time, join psychotherapist Kate Huntington on the roller coaster ride her life becomes when a killer gets her in their cross hairs!




COLLECTION II ~ Books 4-6, Plus a Novella ~ $7.99

A $6 savings compared to individual book prices!!

Follow psychotherapist Kate Huntington and her new PI husband as they deal with the paparazzi, an international assassin, and a 9/11 first responder accused of murder, plus a locked-room mystery on a Caribbean cruise. (Note: The first two books in this collection were part of a previous 5-book bundle.)



NEW!!  COLLECTION III ~ Books 7-8, Plus 2 Novellas

ONLY 99¢ during PREORDER and for a limited time after Release on 5/21/22

In this 4-story collection, follow psychotherapist Kate Huntington as she races against the clock to save her former boss from a serial killer, uncovers the murderer of her husband’s high school nemesis, searches for the truth behind a client’s supposed suicide, and faces off with a psychopath in Hawaii.



Happy reading! Love, Kass









5 (+ 2 Bonus) Tips for a Fun and Fit Dog Walk—and Books for Dog Lovers!

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while, as I’ve observed that my style of dog-walking is a bit different from most people’s. Too often the dog walks I see are really dog “strolls” with frequent dog “stops.”

I spend a lot of time sitting at my computer developing what we authors not so lovingly call “writer’s butt.” So I’m always looking for fun ways to get more exercise.

dog sniffing grass

Watson NOT going in a straight line!

One of my favorites is taking my dog Watson for long walks—partly because he loves it, and it gets me outside in the fresh air.

The main goal, however, is to get some aerobic exercise for both of us. Therefore, I need to keep moving at a steady pace, and I need to keep my dog moving too (although he may not always do so in a straight line).

So here are my tips for getting the most out of your dog walks!

Tip #1: Bathroom break first.

A longer dog walk isn’t about going to the bathroom; it’s about fun exercise. So let your dog out into the fenced yard or take them on a short leash to their favorite latrine area first, so they can do their business before you start your exercise walk.

Of course a male dog will still feel the need to mark most bushes and trees but those will be short stops, not prolonged ones, if his bladder is mostly empty before you begin.

Tip #2: Use a harness for maximum control.

pic of front-hook harness

Bonus Tip: If your dog tends to pull a lot, use a front-hook harness. When the dog reaches the end of the leash, their forward momentum just turns them around in a circle. This is a nice one I found on Amazon.com

A harness makes it much easier to control your dog without having to pull on their neck or throat.

(Note: for convenience, I’m following the newer convention of using “their” or “them” to refer to a single dog of either gender.)

Tip #3: Use a long leash.

I prefer a retractable one. I know, a lot of people hate them because they can break and come flying back at you causing injury.

For that reason, it’s important to make sure the leash is sturdy enough for your dog. Watson is medium height but weighs 63 pounds, most of which is pure muscle. Therefore, I like a little overkill in the leash department; I use one that is rated for a 100-pound dog. Also it’s a good idea to replace the leash every couple of years, especially if it is frayed at all.

But if you don’t like retractables, a 12 to 15-foot regular leash is fine. The goal here is to let your dog lag a bit behind to smell his “pee-mails” or trot a bit ahead, while you maintain that steady aerobic pace (fast enough that you are breathing just a little bit heavy after about 10 minutes).

Watson again. :-)

Bonus Tip: When using a retractable leash, always use the safety strap that comes with it, so that if the harness comes off the whole thing won’t come flying back into your face (and you still have control of the dog). Here’s Watson modeling our favorite harness, with the leash’s black safety strap looped through his collar ring.

Tip #4: Give a gentle tug when the dog is nearing the end of the leash’s length.

If the dog has fallen behind, accompany the gentle tug with a verbal command such as “Come on.” After a while, your dog will come most of the time when you just give the verbal command. Again, the goal is that you do not have to stop while your dog investigates that bush or interesting smell. (Of course, if the smell is particularly fascinating, you may still need to add the gentle tug.)

If your dog is trotting ahead (or flat-out running as Watson sometimes does), a gentle tug before they hit the end of the leash will lessen the risk that either you or your dog will be yanked off their feet.

Tip #5: Vary your route.

One of the things I hate about exercise is it’s boring.

To lessen that boredom, I have several routes that I can choose from, so that I’m not looking at the same scenery and my dog isn’t smelling the same smells every time. These routes are of varying lengths, for 20-minute to 45-minute walks.

A brisk walk, averaging 30 minutes a day, is a great way to help keep yourself and your dog reasonably fit.

Oh, and don’t forget to take a poop bag, just in case!

And here are some great books for dog lovers (and a couple of special bargains)!

Authors Of Books For Dog Lovers April Promo

Please visit our Books For Dog Lovers page for book descriptions, Amazon reviews, and links to purchase April’s featured books. If you would like to learn more about the authors in our group, please visit our Meet The Authors page.

Here are the books with special pricing in April:

Keeping Your Dog at a Healthy Weight
By Rachele Baker, DVM

ON SALE for 99 cents April 15-22
Trouble At The Kennel: A Cedar Bay Cozy Mystery
By Dianne Harman

And of course, To Kill A Labrador is just $0.99


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