Exploring the Mysteries of the Mind

Tag: small town

Rad Reads for Early Spring

You may think I’m jumping the gun here, calling it Spring, but I live in northern Florida, so our spring has actually started. We have truly beautiful weather for about 2 months; then it gets stinking hot (for 6 months)!

Okay, on to the book reviews in a moment, but first I wanted to give you all a heads up. I have Fatal Forty-Eight on Sale this week for just 99 cents, and I’ll have more bargains to tell you about this weekend.

So stay tuned!

Now for the rad reads…

Murder at the Marina, A Mollie McGhie Cozy Sailing Mystery, Book 1, by Ellen Jacobson – Free

I have somewhat mixed feelings about this book. Let me start with the positives.

Mollie McGhie is hoping for diamonds for her wedding anniversary. Instead her hubs, Scooter, buys her a fixer-upper sailboat. This premise definitely caught my attention, since I was raised in a family of boaters. I spent many a weekend, as a preteen and teenager, hanging out at marinas.

And what married woman hasn’t gotten at least one disastrous present from her husband? (Like the ugly yellow robe mine bought me for Christmas one year.) Mollie’s internal reaction to the boat and her attempts to get her hubs to sell it add humor to the story.

Also, the mystery itself is very well crafted, and the book is well-written. (Only a few typos and one small inconsistency, which is in the subplot).

I did not suspect the person who ended up being the killer, and yet my first thought was that it made perfect sense. That’s the way it should be in a good mystery!

The mystery was what kept me reading, even though I was having trouble relating to this couple. And I struggled to pin down why that was. I’m a fairly visual person (as are 65% of the American population) and I just couldn’t visualize this couple.

So I went back and re-read the first two chapters. There are physical details about these two, and they are very artfully woven into the narrative of the story. So why did I have no internal image of them?

I realized it was because I couldn’t figure out how old they were. They’ve been married ten years, and there’s no mention of previous marriages. Yet, Scooter is “retired,” but only because his business partners forced him to sell out to them, and he made enough from the sale to live independently.

Most of the folks they hang out with at the marina are middle aged or older. But I had trouble visualizing a man called Scooter as middle aged.

Another factor in the “having trouble relating” category was the subplot of Molly competing for an investigative reporter position—at an online publication about alien abductions. Molly is even convinced that one of the women at the marina was a victim of such abductions, but that remains an aside and isn’t really developed.

I think maybe the author worked a little too hard to make the main characters quirky. But there are plenty of other more realistic yet quirky folks at the marina, including a Japanese bobtail cat that adopts Mollie—although she thinks it’s the other way around.

And having said all that, I’ve downloaded Book 2 in the series and plan to read it soon. There are 7 books total, so far—a nice satisfying number for those of us who like to get to know characters and visit them periodically, like old friends.

And the other books are reasonably priced.

I give this story 4 fingerprints!

 

Here Comes the Witch, A Main Street Witches Cozy, Book 1, by Ani Gonzalez – 99 cents (Free through KU)

When I started this book, I thought that I wasn’t going to like it. First, there was the cover. While lovely, I felt it implied a cutesy type of witch cozy, which isn’t usually my cup of tea.

Then there was the premise, which seemed a little over the top. Kat Ramos, a Manhattan jewelry designer, is looking for capital to start her own store when she agrees to an odd proposal. Liam Hagen has renovated his family’s ancestral home (which happens to be cursed) and he wants to sell it, but first he needs to break the curse, by marrying a descendant of the witch who cursed it in the first place.

That descendant is Kat, who agrees to a sham marriage followed by a quick divorce.

She thinks she’s entered the Twilight Zone when she arrives in Liam’s hometown of Banshee Creek. The whole town is haunted and is proud of it. They even have their own ghost-hunting group, which does a booming business.

I like my paranormal in small doses that are at least somewhat realistic, i.e., it could happen, maybe… This story seemed to be heaping the paranormal on.

But I do like a good ghost story. So I kept reading.

I’m so glad I did! The story is well written and the mystery around the ghost and the curse is intriguing, with some very nice twists and turns.

And I kinda fell in love with Kat and Liam as they (slight spoiler alert) are falling in love with each other.

Plus this series is very reasonably priced.

The author just released Book 7, a Valentine book with a wedding! And it is only $0.99, at the moment.

Four fingerprints for Here Comes the Witch.

The First Time I Died, A Garnet McGee Mystery, Book 1, by Jo Macgregor — $4.99 (and worth it)

This is one of the best written books I’ve read in a long time (excluding misterio press authors, of course 🙂 ) And the story concept is quite original, a new twist on the protagonist going home to find closure for old unresolved issues.

Graduate student Garnett McGee goes to her hometown for Christmas, and finds herself drawn into trying to solve the ten-year-old murder of her high school sweetheart. But after a near-death experience, she finds herself thinking thoughts and feeling feelings that are not her own, and having flashbacks to experiences she never had.

When she was brought back to life by the paramedics, apparently she didn’t come back alone.

This story is poignant at times, suspenseful at other times, and engaging throughout.

And kudos to Ms. Macgregor and her publisher for a practically flawless technical presentation. No typos, no grammatical errors. Quite refreshing.

I have read Book 2, and am looking forward to Book 3, which I have on my kindle but haven’t yet read. I’m saving it for a special occasion.

Five fingerprints for The First Time I Died.

That’s it for this time, Folks. Happy reading!!

Kass Lamb

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!

 

 

 

 

 

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 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

Cover Reveal for a Halloween Romp! (and a sale)

Hi All!! I’ve been so quiet lately because I’ve been pushing myself to get this Halloween story done in time, and I made it …Phew!!

So here is the cover of The Legend of Sleepy Mayfair, A Marcia Banks and Buddy Mystery, which will go live next Tuesday 10/9/18.

Tada!

book cover of The Legend of Sleepy Mayfair

A Halloween romp that turns seriously scary!

Her adopted town is once again driving service dog trainer Marcia Banks a little nuts! No sooner has she moved her horse into the new Mayfair Riding Stable than its octogenarian, muumuu-wearing owner decides to turn the barn into a haunted house for Halloween. Meanwhile, an anonymous prankster is haunting Mayfair, disrupting its small-town tranquility, and the local postmistress has a strange request for Marcia. All this, along with her new role of godmother to adorable twins, is a bit overwhelming.

But it’s nothing compared to what’s coming. As Halloween approaches, the evil lurking in the shadows will threaten what is most precious to Marcia and her beloved town.

~~~~

And to celebrate this new release, I’m having A SALE on ARSENIC AND YOUNG LACY ~ just $0.99, for a limited time!

Arsenic and Young Lacy book cover

Her savings dwindling, service dog trainer Marcia Banks is anxious to deliver young Lacy to her new veteran owner and get paid. But on top of the former Army nurse’s existing neuroses, partially caused by a sexual assault by a male soldier, she is now being stalked.

Soon both Lacy and Marcia are caught in the stalker’s malicious orbit. Sheriff Will Haines steps in to investigate, which Marcia finds both endearing and annoying.

The training fee would make her solvent again, but will the stalker decide to pay Marcia off in a very different way?

AMAZON    NOOK    APPLE    KOBO  

If you haven’t read this one yet, grab a copy quick!

And Book 1, To Kill A Labrador is always $0.99!

STAY TUNED for BUY LINKS for The Legend of Sleepy Mayfair!

 

Cover Reveal!! Ten-Gallon Tensions in Texas (now available for preorder)

Howdy, y’all! Ten-Gallon Tensions in Texas is done!!! And here is the lovely cover by the awesome Melinda VanLone:

book cover

It is now available for preorder from Amazon, for just 99¢ during the preorder period. It goes up after its release on 3/24/15!

An old nemesis, town secrets, a corpse–what else will show up at Skip’s high school reunion in Texas?

When Kate and her husband arrive in his hometown for the event, they discover that new disputes have been heaped on top of old animosities. Tempers flare, fists fly, and before the evening is out, Skip stumbles upon a dead body.

Fortunately the town’s sheriff is an old buddy of his, but will that keep him from becoming a prime suspect? Trying to uncover the real murderer leads Kate and Skip to uncover long-buried secrets instead, and their names just might end up on the killer’s must-die list.

 

Unsaintly Season book cover

Also #1 in the Kate on Vacation series, An Unsaintly Season in St. Augustine is FREE on Amazon, 3/10 thru 3/14!

 

And #2, Cruel Capers on the Caribbean is only 99¢ until the end of March.

Cruel Capers book cover

 

 All three novellas for just $1.98.  WOOT!!

 

 

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