Exploring the Mysteries of the Mind

Tag: PD Workman

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

 

 

 

 

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