Exploring the Mysteries of the Mind

Tag: Marcia Banks and Buddy (Page 1 of 2)

May Rad Reads

Hi,  Everyone! Sorry I didn’t get any book reviews posted in April. I’ve been up to my eyeballs in editing the next Marcia Banks and Buddy mystery.

Cover Reveal Coming Soon!!

But here are three books I’ve read recently that I think are worthwhile.

Murder on the Road, An Italian Village Mystery, Book 1, by Adriana Licio – free on KU, $2.99 to buy

The two best things about this book were the setting and the main character’s grandmother.

Travel-guide writer, Giò Brando has returned to her Italian hometown to lick her wounds after her relationship with a long-term boyfriend falls apart. Although she doesn’t do a lot of wound-licking…maybe because she gets caught up in a murder investigation right away.

Someone has been crushed in their car by a falling rock, and Giò is the first to find the body. Turns out the rock was intentionally dislodged and all the drivers who were near there that morning are on the suspect list. While the police are wading through them, Giò decides to do her own investigating. (Her relationship with the local police, for better or worse, is a bit unrealistic, but I tend to let that slide in cozies.)

The story is well-developed and I didn’t suspect the true culprit until near the end. The descriptions of the setting and the food are great, but I felt that the characters weren’t as fully developed as they could be. I had some trouble relating to them.

I think this was partly because the dialogue sometimes felt a bit stilted. The author is a native speaker of Italian, and her grasp of English (British-style) is excellent. But I’m thinking it’s harder to write natural sounding dialogue in something other than one’s first language.

I’ve now read Book 2 with the same reaction. Loved the story and the setting, but this time, I felt some of the other characters were better developed than Giò, especially her sister and the grandmother. The latter is my favorite kind of female character—an older, no-nonsense woman with a deep love for her family.

Murder On the Road gets 4 fingerprints.

Shades of Grayson: Scottish Ghost Castle Mysteries Prequel ($0.99) and Dark Night, Dead Knight, Book 1, by  Diane Lewis ~ Free on KU, $3.99 to buy

I had decided that I wouldn’t review these books; I don’t do negative reviews. I know how hard it is to write a good book, so I’m not going to dis someone else’s efforts.

Then I decided to lay it all out about this series and let you all decide for yourselves.

I read the 99-cent prequel novella, Shades of Grayson first, and enjoyed it.

Author Grayson Cleary attends a writers’ conference in Canada where he is on the short list for a prestigious award. Instead he wins the “prime suspect” award in a murder case. Helped by a blind writer and his seeing-eye poodle, his new girlfriend, and a ghost, Grayson attempts to clear his name and almost ends up a ghost himself.

I was prepared to give this story four, maybe four and a half fingerprints. It’s well written, the characters are well drawn, and the setting is realistically portrayed (I’ve been to a few of these conferences). Plus the plot has some interesting twists. A lot is packed into 160 some pages.

I liked it so much, I bought Book 1 in the series. In this story, Grayson is a supporting character, a resident at a permanent writers’ retreat at an old castle in Scotland. While this concept, a permanent writers’ retreat (I’d never heard of them and a quick internet search says they’re rare), was both intriguing and a bit of a credibility stretch, again the story is well written. The setting and characters are described in such a way that you feel like you are there with them, negotiating the labyrinth of stone hallways in the old castle and enjoying the fabulous view of the nearby loch.

The story has great twists and turns, plus a resident ghost (I love ghost stories, especially when the ghosts are friendly). I was planning on giving it at least 4 fingerprints, until I got to the ending.

Without spoiling anything, let’s just say that not all the questions of who, how and why were completely answered. The ending was semi-satisfying but left enough loose ends to make it a borderline cliffhanger.

I loathe cliffhangers, but I know some people like them, or at least don’t mind them. At first I wasn’t going to read Book 2, on principle. But the characters and especially the interesting setting lured me back and I’ve purchased Book 2.

I’ll give you an update after I’ve read it.

In the meantime, Grayson’s story gets 4 fingerprints.

And Dark Night, Dead Knight gets 3 ½. (If you don’t mind semi-cliffhangers, it’s a 4-fingerprint read.)

I’d suggest trying out the prequel to see if you like the writing, then decide from there about the other books.

Death in the Time of Ice, A People of the Wind Mystery, Book 1, by Kaye George ~ $0.99

This is a rather unusual mystery. Think Clan of the Cave Bear meets Nancy Drew.

Enga Dancing Flower is a young Neanderthal woman, wrongly accused of murdering her tribe’s leader, who was also her own foster mother.

For a while, the in-fighting in the tribe and between the remaining elders, plus their quest for food, which is getting scarcer as the Ice Age approaches, seem to take precedent over finding the Hama’s killer.

Things don’t drag, however, as the author does a good job of world-building, drawing the reader into the tribe’s story. And when Enga herself is accused of the murder and banished from the tribe, she becomes highly motivated to find out what really happened.

There are several interesting twists near the end, and a satisfying ending. My only complaints are the lack of an explanation of the motivation behind one character’s actions (part of a subplot) and some confusion about the timeline of the past (how old the various characters are in relation to Enga). But neither of these significantly impacted my enjoyment of the story.

I have downloaded the next book in the series to continue to follow Enga’s saga, and I understand that Book 3 is in the works. I recommend this story, nominated for Best Historical Mystery in the 2014 Agatha Awards, with 4 ½ fingerprints.

That’s it for this round, folks. Happy reading!

 

 

 

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!

 

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.)

A Star-Spangled Mayfair is Here! (and Police Protection is out in paperback)

Another fun summer read for you!!

A Star-Spangled Mayfair, A Marcia Banks and Buddy Holiday Novella is done. Available for Preorder and releases on 7/23/19.

Woot!! It will be $0.99 for the first week or two after release, then it goes up to $2.99 so grab your copy quick.

And the paperback version of Police Protection, Book 10 in the Kate Huntington series, is finally available. Click HERE to order a copy. (Paperback of The Sound and The Furry should be out soon as well.)

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 FOR PREORDER ON:

AMAZON  ~  NOOK  ~  APPLE  ~  KOBO

(coming soon to Google Play)

I hope to have the next book in the series out in late 2019. So stay tuned!

Kass

The Sound and The Furry Is Live!!

The Sound and The Furry, A Marcia Banks and Buddy Cozy Mystery #7 is now Live!

The Sound and The Furry book cover

A tropical paradise turns deadly.

Service dog trainer Marcia Banks had thought it was the perfect arrangement—stay on her client’s private Gulf-coast island and get the human phase of the training done more quickly, while enjoying a much-needed break from the chaos of house renovations back home.

This certainly wasn’t the tranquil getaway she’d envisioned, however. Two resident ghosts, a sour-puss housekeeper and bearing witness to her client’s shaky marriage are bad enough. But within days, she’s discovered even deeper and darker layers of dysfunction.

Via emails and static-filled phone calls, fiancé Will Haines convinces her to get herself and her dog Buddy out of there, but before Marcia can accomplish this, a late-season hurricane abruptly changes course and strands them on the island… with a murderer.

Just $2.99 for a limited time, so grab yours today!!

AMAZON ~ APPLE ~ NOOK ~ KOBO ~ GOOGLE PLAY

And I’ve got another novella coming out in this series very soon as well!

Enjoy!!

Kass

A New Marcia and Buddy Book is Here!! The Sound and The Furry

Hey, everyone! The Sound and The Furry, A Marcia Banks and Buddy Cozy Mystery #7 is now available for PREORDER!!

Releases on July 2, 2019

The Sound and The Furry book cover

A tropical paradise turns deadly.

Service dog trainer Marcia Banks had thought it was the perfect arrangement—stay on her client’s private Gulf-coast island and get the human phase of the training done more quickly, while enjoying a much-needed break from the chaos of house renovations back home.

This certainly wasn’t the tranquil getaway she’d envisioned, however. Two resident ghosts, a sour-puss housekeeper and bearing witness to her client’s shaky marriage are bad enough. But within days, she’s discovered even deeper and darker layers of dysfunction.

Via emails and static-filled phone calls, fiancé Will Haines convinces her to get herself and her dog Buddy out of there, but before Marcia can accomplish this, a late-season hurricane abruptly changes course and strands them on the island… with a murderer.

Just $2.99 until shortly after release; then it goes up to $4.99. So grab yours today!!

AMAZON ~ APPLE ~ NOOK ~ KOBO

And I’ve got another novella coming out in this series very soon as well!

Enjoy!!

Kass

Patches is Live!! (and about That Contest)

~~~

First the great news!! Patches In The Rye is live!!!

Anyone who scored an ARC through my newsletter or street team, I would appreciate a review (links below).

Second, the contest program somehow neglected to collect names, so I can’t readily announce our winner. The email address starts with shirley, so if this is you, please check your email (including your spam folder). Thanks!!

Patches In The Rye, A Marcia Banks and Buddy Mystery #5:
.

Nothing about her new client is what service dog trainer Marcia Banks expected—from the posh house that says family money to his paranoid preoccupation with his sister’s love life—but when he dangles a thousand dollar retainer under her nose, she can’t resist his request to play private detective.

In between training sessions with her client’s new service dog, Marcia learns the sister’s boyfriend has a sketchy past. He seems to have turned over a new leaf, but as she digs deeper, more disturbing and confusing questions arise. How is a disastrous frat party five years ago linked to blackmail, prostitutes, and murder today? And who is behind the wheel of the black SUV that keeps trying to turn Marcia and her canine companion Buddy into roadkill?

Marcia can’t let it go, not when there are innocents at risk who are depending on her to find the truth. But the deepest, darkest truth is one she wishes she never uncovered.

Available Now for $0.99 for a limited time!

AMAZON    NOOK    APPLE    KOBO

Paperback will be out soon!

Patches available for Preorder, and A Buddy Contest!!

~~~
Finally, Patches In The Rye is up for Preorder, releasing on 7/24/18!!
~~~
Patches In The Rye, A Marcia Banks and Buddy Mystery #5:
.

Nothing about her new client is what service dog trainer Marcia Banks expected—from the posh house that says family money to his paranoid preoccupation with his sister’s love life—but when he dangles a thousand dollar retainer under her nose, she can’t resist his request to play private detective.

In between training sessions with her client’s new service dog, Marcia learns the sister’s boyfriend has a sketchy past. He seems to have turned over a new leaf, but as she digs deeper, more disturbing and confusing questions arise. How is a disastrous frat party five years ago linked to blackmail, prostitutes, and murder today? And who is behind the wheel of the black SUV that keeps trying to turn Marcia and her canine companion Buddy into roadkill?

Marcia can’t let it go, not when there are innocents at risk who are depending on her to find the truth. But the deepest, darkest truth is one she wishes she never uncovered.

Available Now for PREORDER ~ Goes LIVE on 7/24/18

AMAZON   NOOK    APPLE    KOBO

AND I’m doing ANOTHER CONTEST, to celebrate the new release!

Click HERE to enter now* (Password is Buddy)  to win THREE signed paperbacks, one of each of the first three books in the Marcia Banks and Buddy Mystery Series! PLUS, a dishwasher magnet, a mouse pad, and an 8″ stuffed Black Labrador (for the child in your life, or the child within you!).

The winner will be announced on July 24, 2018!

*U.S. residents only; international winner will receive ecopies of the books and a gift certificate worth the equivalent of $15 US dollars.

A Dog’s Dictionary to Describe the World

I took my dog for a walk the other day.

(Note: those of you who helped me pick Murphy as the name for my new dog, sadly I was reminded a few days later that a dog of that name bit my brother several years ago. So I had to go back to the list. I selected Watson, which also fits this dog’s rather goofy personality.)

So anyway, I took Watson for a walk the other day. And as I was dragging him away from his fascination with a crumpled leaf in the road, I thought about how the world must seem to our dogs.

As we walked around the neighborhood, this “dictionary” of doggie views of the world came to me.

1. Those brown, crunchie things all over the ground (dried leaves) – definition: something that might taste good.

2. Those tall green thingies (bushes) – definition: my favorite place to pee.

3. Those gray clumps of stringy thingies (Spanish moss that has fallen from trees) – definition: my second favorite place to pee.

4. That delicious-smelling pile of gooey stuff that makes Mom yell “leave it!” (three-day-old roadkill) – definition: something that definitely will taste good.

5. That black round, tall thingie (trashcan) – definition: one of several things Mom mysteriously will not let me pee on (I’m pretty sure my neighbors would not appreciate their garages smelling like my dog’s pee when they bring their trashcans in.)

6. Those shiny round thingies with black tubes around them (car tires) – definition: another thing Mom won’t let me pee on (ditto explanation from above).

7. That running lady who smells so good (sweaty, jogging neighbor) – definition: my new best friend if Mom would only let me sniff her in the appropriate places.

8. That interesting spot in the yard that smells so good (skunk spray) – definition: my favorite place to roll.

9. Those funny-looking cats with bushy tails (squirrels) – definition: demons from hell that must be chased up a tree or over the fence.

Any definitions you think your dog would like to add to this dictionary? 😉

Happy Holidays from Watson and me!!

(A friend managed to snap this pic by bribing him with a treat!)

And if you haven’t already done so, grab yourself a copy of my fun Christmas novella, A Mayfair Christmas Carol.

Just $0.99

A Christmas extravaganza in Mayfair, Florida, complete with an ice skating rink. What could go wrong?

When excavation for the skating rink uncovers a decades-old skeleton, its secrets threaten more than the town’s Christmas plans. Worried about her friends in her adopted town and feeling responsible since the let’s-attract-more-tourists idea was hers initially, dog trainer Marcia Banks is determined to help her police detective boyfriend solve the mystery—whether he wants her help or not. Perhaps she can wheedle more out of the townspeople than he can.

But will she and her Black Lab, Buddy, be able to keep the ghost of Christmas past from destroying what is left of Mayfair’s founding family, or will her meddling make matters worse?

AMAZON    APPLE    NOOK    KOBO

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