Exploring the Mysteries of the Mind

Tag: paranormal mystery

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!


Rad Reads for Winter

It’s that time of year when you just want to curl up near the fireplace, with a hot drink in one hand and a good book in the other.

For the hot drink, I recommend hot chocolate (dark; it’s good for you), with whipped cream.

For the book, here are a few suggestions!

Once Upon a Crime, A Waterfell Tweed Mystery #1, by Mona Marple – FREE this week ( normally a reasonable $2.99 to buy, or Free on KU)

If you like British village mysteries, this series is for you! Sandy Shaw is the village’s primary baker and bookseller, until the man who had just announced he’s going to open a rival bookstore turns up dead. Then she becomes the primary suspect.

This is a fun read, with a well-plotted mystery and a final twist I did not see coming. I give Once Upon a Crime 4 ½ fingerprints. I’ve deducted a half fingerprint because there are some typos. Not enough to be all that distracting, but I’m one of those people for whom typos jump off the page, so I did notice them.

Bound, The Witches of Doyle Cozy Mysteries #1, by Kirsten Weiss – FREE

Being a part of misterio press’s group of authors has certainly broadened my reading horizons. I had never cared much for paranormal stories, but Kirsten Weiss is such a pro at writing them that she has won me over.

Bound is Book 1 in a 10-book series about triplets who happen to be witches—the good kind. Each of the Bonheim sisters has their own type of magic, and Karin—the oldest of the three by a few minutes—senses the threads that tie things together.

But there’s something off about their hometown of Doyle—hikers disappear in the woods and some people seem cursed with bad luck—plus Karin discovers that she’s destined to become the next victim of a family curse. In order to survive, she must solve a murder and the mystery behind what has cursed her town and herself.

In Bound, and the rest of the series, the magic is believable (yes, I realize that is somewhat a contradiction in terms), the plots are twisty and the characters well-developed. I give Bound an enthusiastic 5 fingerprints.

Maids of Misfortune, A Victorian San Francisco Mystery #1, by M. Louisa Locke – FREE

Another subgenre I’ve learned to appreciate more through misterio press is historical mystery.  And M. Louisa Locke is a master storyteller.

In 1879, young widow Annie Fuller secretly supplements her income as a boardinghouse owner by giving domestic and business advice as Madam Sibyl, one of San Francisco’s most exclusive clairvoyants.

But when one of her clients dies—the police assume at his own hand—Annie suspects murder. Enter the victim’s lawyer, Nate Dawson, and sparks fly.

This series is full of great mysteries, seasoned with a sweet romance. And one of the things I like best about it is that each book highlights some social issue of the times; in this one it is the plight of housemaids in the 19th century.

Also, Locke’s books are meticulously written and proofread. I don’t recall finding a single error in any of them. So Maids of Misfortune and the entire series has earned 5 fingerprints in my book!

That’s it for this month’s suggestions. Enjoy these winter reads!






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!







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