Saturday, July 21, 2018

Mentors and Idols

Meow!  Today the Human and I want to talk about two of our  idols – MIDNIGHT LOUIE and his creator, Carole Nelson Douglas.

You may have heard the human on Facebook often speaking about her "mentor". That person is the fabulous CND.  Carole gave the Human good advice early in her writing career, and the human credits Carole with helping her finally break through into the world of traditional publishing.

Now, for those of you who are not familiar with him, let me say that Midnight Louie is my kind of detective.

In his own words, he’s short, dark and unobtrusive. He talks like a detective out of a forties pulp novel. Plus, he’s remarkably light on his feet and he can shimmy into places Columbo would never dare to tread.

And why not?  Louie is a cat.

Yessir, he’s a twenty pound, jet black tomcat with all of his—um—assets intact (well, for the most part). He has had a vasectomy – yeah, you heard me right. Louie is the first furpurrson of mystery, or as he puts it, the star of his own multivolume mystery series. And make no mistake about it, Louie is THE star, even though at times he finds himself sharing center stage with some very interesting humans: Crime-solving Temple Barr, PR woman and burgeoning sleuth, is Louie’s roommate. (No one “owns” Louie.) He’s Temple’s protector and “muscle.” Hard-boiled female homicide lieutenant C.R. Molina has to put up with the pair of them. Max Kinsella is Temple’s ex, a magician and counter-terrorist operative on the run. Matt Devine is an ex-priest radio advice counselor who’s become Temple’s fiancée.

And this is not to mention the feline characters, which include his alleged daughter, Midnight Louise (who loves ragging on dear old pops), Ma Barker, his mom who still oftentimes refers to him by his given  name, Grasshopper, a bomb and drug sniffing Maltese, Nose E., assorted cats, big and little…oh! And let’s not forget those glamour pusses, cats of the female persuasion that set Louie’s tail to thumping: Shaded silver and gold Persians Yvette and Solange, between whose affections Louie bounces like a furry black ball; the deadly Hyacinth, a seal-point Siamese whose claws are dipped nightly (supposedly) in Curare; and Satin, a comely black chick with a fluffy tail, one of Louie’s first amours and the maybe-momma of Midnight Louise.

Louie’s creator,the fabulously talented Carole Nelson Douglas, writes the series like a daytime soap,  interweaving plot points and characters throughout.  Deadly encounters and unexpected reunions force all the main characters into unforeseen loss and disclosure, the suspense leavened by Douglas's characteristic wit and heart.


Carole and Louie finished up the current incarnation of the series with  CAT IN AN ALPHABET ENDGAME. It answered questions which plagued loyal readers for years: Which man will Temple end up with? Will Louie have to move out of Las Vegas?  Will he finally end up with his true love Yvette?

(Oh, ho no spoilers here folks. You have to read the books to find out!)
Never fear, loyal fans, Carole Nelson Douglas promises us many more adventures from Louie! Thank goodness!  This October on our blog is proclaimed "Midnight Louie Month" and Carole will be introducing a new Midnight Louie series!  (and in case you missed the older ones, they are available in e-book and paperback on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, with lovely new artwork by none other than CND).

As Louie says, he lives in “the city that never sleeps” – and with a crew like that, who could?

More importantly, who would want to?

So Join us in October for more Louie (and Carole, too!)



 The Midnight Louie series:

  • Catnap (1992) I
  • Pussyfoot (1993),
  • Cat on a Blue Monday (1994),
  • Cat in a Crimson Haze (1995),
  • Cat in a Diamond Dazzle (1996),
  • Cat with an Emerald Eye (1996),
  • Cat in a Flamingo Fedora (1997),
  • Cat in a Golden Garland (1997),
  • Cat on a Hyacinth Hunt (1998),
  • Cat in an Indigo Mood (1999),
  • Cat in a Jeweled Jumpsuit (1999),
  • Cat in a Kiwi Con (2000),
  • Cat in a Leopard Spot (2001),
  • Cat in a Midnight Choir (2002),
  • Cat in a Neon Nightmare (2003),
  • Cat in an Orange Twist (2004),
  • Cat in a Hot Pink Pursuit (2005),
  • Cat in a Quicksilver Caper (2006),
  • Cat in a Red Hot Rage (2008),
  • Cat in a Sapphire Slipper (2008),
  • Cat in a Topaz Tango (2009),
  • Cat in an Ultramarine Scheme (2010)
  • Cat in a Vegas Gold Vendetta (2011)
  • Cat in a White Tie and Tails (2012)
  • Cat in an Alien X-Ray (2013)
  • Cat in a Yellow Spotlight (2014)
  • Cat in a Zebra Zoot Suit (2015)
  • Cat in an alphabet endgame (2016)
  • ???????? (2017 – beyond)

Friday, July 13, 2018

Cathy Ace in the house!


Today my guest is author Cathy Ace!


Cathy Ace's criminal psychologist, overindulgent-foodie sleuth, Cait Morgan, has stumbled upon Corpses with a Silver Tongue, Golden Nose, Diamond Hand, Garnet Face, an Emerald Thumb, Platinum Hair and Ruby Lips during her globetrotting. Ace’s WISE Enquiries Agency series features four softly-boiled female PIs who solve quintessentially British cases from their stately home-based office in rural Wales, where Cathy was born and raised. Shortlisted for the Bony Blithe Award for Best Light Mystery by a Canadian three times in four years, winning in 2015, she was also shortlisted for the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Short Story in 2017.

Hi! Would you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Hello folks! Thanks for having me along today. My name is Cathy Ace (yes, it’s my real, birth name!) and I was born and raised in Wales, in the UK. I lived in the UK until I was forty, then migrated to live just outside Vancouver, in Canada.

Do you have anything you would like to say to your readers?
I’d like to take this chance to thank everyone who’s ever chosen to spend time either with Cait Morgan and Bud Anderson, by reading my Cait Morgan Mysteries, or with the women of the WISE Enquiries Agency Mysteries series. In this life we sometimes worry about what we do or don’t have…but I am totally convinced our most important possession is time – so people choosing to share theirs with my characters is the greatest gift it’s in their power to give. Thank you.

Please tell us about your newest release   
Because I write two different series, one of which (The Cait Morgan Mysteries) is taking a bit of a hiatus at the moment, I’m going to focus on my most recent book in the WISE Enquiries Agency Mysteries. It’s the fourth in the series, and was published in the UK back in October 2017, then in Canada and the USA in January 2018. THE CASE OF THE UNSUITABLE SUITOR is – like all these books – an ensemble piece, this time focusing on a man who’s returned to the Welsh village of Anwen-by-Wye to “retire”. The local pub landlord, Tudor Evans, is terrified that Annie Parker (one of our four, softly-boiled female private eyes, with whom he is secretly besotted) is in danger. You see, the prodigal Huw Hughes seems a bit too oily to be a good person, and he has had three wives…all of whom are now dead!

If your book was made into a movie, who would you like to play the lead characters?
I have given this a lot of thought, and I think I now have it all sorted.

Carol Hill is in her mid-thirties, and happily married. She was raised on a Welsh sheep farm, so the lovely, natural lilt this Welsh actress has, would be perfect. Carol Hill = Joanna Page



Christine Wilson-Smythe is the beautiful twenty-something daughter of a penniless Irish viscount. Eve Hewson is the beautiful twenty-something daughter of U2’s Bono, and – even though she’s from Eire – I think she’d make a great Christine. Christine Wilson-Smythe = Eve Hewson


Mavis MacDonald is in her mid-sixties, and a retired army nurse, who had risen to the rank of Matron before she stepped aside from her nursing career. Of all the wonderful Scottish actresses out there, I think Stella Gonet would be a super pick for Mavis. She’s the right age, and an excellent actress. Mavis MacDonald = Stella Gonet  


Annie Parker’s parents moved to the East End of London from St. Lucia in the 1950s, hoping to allow any offspring to have a bright future. Annie’s a Londoner through and through, and admits to being a bit clumsy. An actress who’s nailed some fabulous accents, and is good at physical comedy, is Noma Dumezwemi…she’d make a great Annie. Annie Parker = Noma Dumezwemi



Even though the Dowager Duchess of Chellingworth, Althea Twyst, isn’t employed by the WISE Enquiries Agency, she does help out the four women who are. (They might say she’s meddling – she’d say she’s helping!) Althea is eighty years of age, but continues to act as though she’s about eight! I think Pauline Collins’ dimples mean she’d have exactly the right air of winsomness needed to play Althea.


What do you do when you are not writing?
I’m an avid gardener! I’m fortunate enough to live of five acres of land, half way up a small mountain in a rural area, far from the madding (or maddening) crowd. My husband and I actively garden about three of our five acres, leaving a couple for grass and woodland. Both Brits, we’re delighted that rhododendrons, hydrangeas, and other shrubs we’re familiar with from wales all flourish here. I especially enjoy plotting when I’m weeding!

Is there an author or book that influenced you or your writing in any way growing up or as an adult?
As is the case for many readers of mysteries, I really began with the “adventures” of  Nancy Drew, but my mum was a lover of Agatha Christie’s works, so I was lucky enough to get to share those from an early age. Many reviewers have likened my work to that of Christie, which is wonderfully flattering. I happily acknowledge Christie’s influence in both my series – I’d say the Cait Morgan Mysteries are similar to the puzzle-mysteries she gives Poirot to solve, whereas my WISE Enquiries Agency Mysteries would resonate more for those who enjoy her St. Mary Mead-based Marple books.

Do you think you may ever go into another genre?  If so, which one?
I don’t think I’d ever tackle anything other than crime fiction – in the broadest sense (though I admit to having had nine marketing textbooks published before my “life of crime”). However, I am currently working on a book that’s neither traditional nor cozy…it’s more of a domestic thriller, with a police procedural vein running through it. It’s darker than the novels I have written to date, but isn’t “on the page gruesome” in the way some thrillers can be. I’m hoping it will attract those who have come to know my name, and some who haven’t heard of me yet!

Would you ever write a screenplay?
I’d love to write a screenplay, indeed, when I am outlining a book I “see the movie” in my head, then my job is to try to convey all I’ve seen to my readers, without words “getting in the way”.

What is the hardest part of writing for  you?
Plot development and the first draft. I’m not good at sticking my bum to the chair for editing!

How do you “get to know” your characters before and while you’re writing the books?
I spend a good deal of time building character backgrounds, and not just the physical aspects. Certainly I have those in place, as well as general age data etc, but I also write up notes about their entire life history, often to the extent not just of which school they attended, but also where their parents came from. A great deal of this doesn’t end up in the books – especially when I am dealing with non-central characters – but I need to know it, to know them, and to be better able to write about them as real people.

How do you construct your plots? Do you outline or do you write “by the seat of your pants”?
I’m very definitely a plotter…possibly because I’m something of a control freak! I have an outline, then I break that down into sections then build up chapter outlines. I never let my characters push me around, they have to do what I tell them to. And, yes, I always know whodunit, and why, before I begin to write the first draft.

Where can we learn more about you and your books?
If you’d like to find out more about my work, and me, the best place to go is my website: http://www.cathyace.com/

Random Quickies!

Please answer 5-7
Pepsi or Coke? Diet Coke, please
Favorite kind of chocolate? The darker the better
Cats or dogs? Dogs (highly allergic to cats!)
Do you read more than you write? Sadly, no.
Hardback/Paperback or eReader? All three.
Do you own a laptop or desktop computer? Laptop.
If you could live anywhere in the world it would be: I’m lucky enough to be able to say – exactly where I live right now!




Wednesday, June 27, 2018

ROCCO's July Cozy Reviews!

Ma-row!

It's time for my July cozy reviews!

Let's start off with one by one of my favorite authors:

ITALIAN ICED
AN ETHNIC EATS MYSTERY
KYLIE LOGAN
BERKLEY PRIME CRIME
JUNE 26
FOUR AND A HALF STARS

When Laurel Inwood features Italian cuisine on the Terminal at the Tracks menu, she knows she'll need to stock the shelves, the fridge, and the freezer with plenty of wonderful delicacies. She just never expected one of them to be her former employer, Hollywood superstar Meghan Cohan.

And one day, when Laurel is at the restaurant early to get ready for the regular rush of customers, that's exactly what she finds--Meghan dead in the Terminal freezer.

What's a Hollywood A-lister doing in Hubbard, Ohio? 

For Laurel, that's the real question, because the first question she'd ask in any other murder investigation--who would want the victim dead?--seems pretty much a no-brainer in this case.

Who would want Meghan dead?

Love this series and love, love, the concept of this particular instalment.  Watching Laurel track down the killer is sheer fun!  A winner!  Four and a half paws. 


ON HER MAJESTY'S FRIGHTFULLY SECRET SERVICE
A ROYAL SPYNESS MYSTERY
Rhys Bowen
June 26
Berkley
Four Stars

When royal sleuth Georgie Rannoch receives a letter from her dearest friend Belinda, who's in an Italian villa awaiting the birth of her illegitimate baby, she yearns to run to her side.  But then opportunity presents itself in a most unexpected way--her cousin the queen asks her to attend a house party in the Italian Lake Country. The Prince of Wales and the dreadful Mrs. Simpson have been invited, and Her Majesty is anxious to thwart a possible secret wedding. Georgie soon discovers that she attended finishing school with the hostess of the party--and the hatred they had for each other then has barely dimmed. To add to things, Darcy's working undercover and her actress mother shows up.  So of course, Murphy's Law ensues!

An excellent entry in this series.  I'm generally not too fond of stories set abroad but in Georgie's case I'll make an exception LOL.  Watching her cope with all the quirky characters around her in addition to solving the mystery is part of what makes this series great.  Four Stars.

SCANDAL ABOVE STAIRS
A below Stairs Mystery
Jennifer Ashley
July 3
Berkley
Four Stars

Priceless artwork has gone missing from the home of a wealthy baronet, and his wife stands to take the blame. When Kat's employer asks for help in clearing her friend's name, Kat trades her kitchen for the homes of Mayfair's wealthiest families. Soon antiques are disappearing not only from the extravagant households of connoisseurs and collectors, but from the illustrious British Museum.

As the thefts increase in frequency, Kat calls upon her friend Daniel McAdam, who has already set himself up in a pawnshop on the Strand as a seedy receiver of stolen goods. When a man is murdered in the shop, Kat must use all of her wits to see that the thieves are caught and justice is done.

This second adventure in Jennifer Ashley's "Below Stairs" series delivers! Kat is an excellent sleuth and I have to admit I'm growing fonder of this series with each volume. Four Stars.

DYEING UP LOOSE ENDS
A Knitting Mystery
Maggie Sefton
Berkley
July 3
Four Stars

Kelly is happily busy with her son, Jack, now a rambunctious four-year-old preschooler. Jack keeps his mom on her toes and drinking all the coffee she can handle at Pete’s Porch Café. Kelly splits her free time between Pete’s and Lambspun, where her fellow knitters love hearing all about Jack’s latest exploits. They’ve also been taking a trip down memory lane, reminiscing about crimes that Kelly had a hand in solving over the years. But the Lambspun crew is horrified when a very present-day murder occurs in their midst—and Julie is the victim. 

With her sleuthing instincts on full alert, Kelly starts asking questions. The well-liked waitress may have had enemies no one knew about, or she could have just been in the wrong place at the wrong time. Kelly and her friends at Lambspun soon learn that the answers are knottier and more shocking than they ever dreamed…
It's nice to see how the c haracters in this series have grown, and that they still enjoy solving msyteries! Fans will love this adventure.  Four Stars! 

POISONED PAGES
A Booktown Mystery
Lorna Barrett
July 10
Berkley
Four Stars

They say nothing kills a good party like a bad menu, and Tricia Miles, mystery bookstore owner and amateur sleuth, finds that out in spades.  Tricia's learned to cook, and decides to show off her new culinary skills by making all the food for her housewarming party herself.  Unfortunately, when one ofthe guests dies, Tricia and her ex-lover, Chef Baker, find themselves in the proverbial hot water!  To top things off, Stoneham is in the middle of a vandalism wave. Are the two connected? Tricia has to find the killer before she becomes the next course on his menu.

I've only recently discovered this series and, as with many others, now I have to go back and read all the others!  I love Tricia's style and wit, and love to watch her as she immerses herself in sleuthing!  A definite winner. Four Stars. 


WIN ROCCO'S REVIEW COPY OF SCANDAL ABOVE STAIRS! 


To enter, leave a comment on this blog post with your name and email address (entries without email will be disqualified). For extra entries, you can do any or all of the below:
 * Follow my blog (+ 1 point)
* Follow me on Twitter (+ 1 point) (Link: https://twitter.com/RoccoBlogger)
* Tweet about the contest (+ 1 point)
* Friend me on Facebook (+ 1 point) (Link:https://www.facebook.com/ToniLotempio)#!/
* Mention the contest on Facebook (+ 1 point)
* Mention the contest on your blog (+ 1 point)

Winner will be chosen at random using random.org.  Don’t forget to mention all you’ve done in your comment. Good luck!  Contest ends midnight, JULY 11!

Sunday, June 17, 2018

ROCCO interviews author Annette Dashofy!


Meow, my guest today is USA best selling author Annette Dashofy!


Annette Dashofy is the USA Today best-selling author of the Zoe Chambers mystery series about a paramedic and deputy coroner in rural Pennsylvania’s tight-knit Vance Township. She has garnered three Agatha Award nominations including two for Best Contemporary Novel. The sixth in the series, UNEASY PREY, was released in March, and CRY WOLF, the seventh, cmes out this September. Annette lives with her husband and one very spoiled cat, Kensi, on part of what was her grandfather’s 150-acre dairy farm in rural Washington County, Pennsylvania

Hi Annette! Would you tell us a little bit about yourself?
 Hello ROCCO. Thanks for having me here! I’ve been writing since I was little, but after school, my fiction writing fell by the wayside as life got in the way. Now, I’m grateful though, because one of the things I did during those years was work on our local ambulance. Those experiences are what led me to create this series which has been nominated three times for an Agatha Award and has hit the USA Today Bestsellers list on several occasions.

Do you have anything you would like to say to your readers?
 I have the best fans and readers in the world! If you enjoy my books and are on Facebook, look up “Zoe Chambers Mysteries and Friends” and join. It’s a fantastic group and they have a lot of fun. Especially, it seems, when I’m not around to supervise.

Please tell us about your newest release.
 Uneasy Prey deals with several issues plaguing the elderly including those con men who pose as utility workers to gain access to homes and then frequently rob their victims blind. My own mom fell prey to these lowlifes and this book is drawn directly from her experience.  
 
Your character has the music blasting. What’s playing, and what is he/she doing while listening?
 Classic rock or country depending on her mood. And she’s probably out in the barn, cleaning stalls.

Were you surprised by the behavior of any of your characters or the direction of your plot at any point while writing?
 This is my sixth book and surprises have happened in one form or another in just about every one of them! Case in point: the ending of Bridges Burned was not at all what I intended. I tried to stop it, redirect it, change it, but no. The ending happened the way it wanted to no matter what I did.  

If your book was made into a movie, who would you like to play the lead characters?
I’ve actually been approached by a film production company, and while it’s unlikely that anything will happen, I did throw this very question out to my readers on the Zoe Chambers Facebook page. Everyone had different ideas, but personally, I’d love to see Zoe played by Beth Riesgraf. I can’t settle on anyone for Pete though. Ideas, anyone?

What do you do when you are not writing?
 I’m almost always writing! I do like to read and to get outside and walk or bike on one of our local rails-to-trails systems. And of course, I love playing with my cat, Kensi!

Is there an author or book that influenced you or your writing in any way growing up or as an adult?
 Mary Higgins Clark was an early influence, swaying me toward writing crime fiction. Currently, I’m very much a fan of Craig Johnson and Julia Spencer Fleming.

Can you tell us a little about your first publishing experience?
 My very first publishing credit was a non-fiction essay in a small, obscure magazine. The biggest shock was discovering people actually read it!  I had a number of short stories published in various e-magazines and print anthologies. But my first Zoe Chambers mystery, Circle of Influence was my first novel-length publishing credit, and it took ten years of rejection to get there.

Do you think you may ever go into another genre?  If so, which one?
I might tackle something more along the suspense or thriller line, but I can’t imagine leaving crime fiction entirely. Murder is therapeutic! (Cue the evil laughter.)

Would you ever write a screenplay?
 Never. I don’t think I’d be any good at it. I like going inside my characters heads, hearts, and souls too much to give up novels.

What is the hardest part of writing in your opinion?
 The beginning. Or maybe the middle. Or it could be the end. Basically, wherever I’m stuck at the moment!

Can you tell us some of your latest news?
 As I’m writing this, I’ve just returned home from the Malice Domestic mystery convention where my fifth Zoe Chambers mystery, No Way Home, was nominated for Best Contemporary Novel alongside Louise Penny and Margaret Maron! Spending time with those two incredible women was an amazing experience and I’m still floating. (Louise won. No surprise there.) Moving on, my seventh book, Cry Wolf releases this September.

Where do you see yourself at in five years—writing wise?
 I’d love to be working on the thirteenth Zoe mystery and maybe branching out to some stand-alones by then too. I have a couple of not-Zoe ideas whispering in the back of my brain.

What is your favorite part of writing?
 I love research. I love how I might find myself stuck, but when I dig into the research, answers just jump out at me. I’ve attended several Citizen’s Police Academies and Writer’s Police Academies. I’ve gone on ride-alongs and toured crime labs and morgues. I’m too chicken to ever be a real cop, but I love delving into that world.

Do you have any upcoming appearances that you would like to share with us? My upcoming appearances are always listed on my website (http://www.annettedashofy.com/news-and-events) The major upcoming events though are Bouchercon in St. Petersburg, Florida in September and Magna Cum Murder in Indianapolis in October.

If you were in the witness protection program, what would you choose as a career?
 Wow, that’s a good one. Maybe I could go back to teaching yoga, which I did for many years before I started writing full time. But I think I’d still be writing. Maybe I could be a ghost writer so my face would never be revealed. Actually, I’m thinking this might make a good story…

 Where can we learn more about you and your books? Check out my website at http://www.annettedashofy.com/

Thanks for a great interview, Annette!

IT’S GIVEWAY TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Annette will  give away one signed copy of Uneasy Prey to a commenter. 
To enter, leave a comment on this blog post with your name and email address (entries without email will be disqualified). For extra entries, you can do any or all of the below:


* Follow my blog (+ 1 point)
* Follow me on Twitter (+ 1 point) (Link: https://twitter.com/RoccoBlogger)
* Tweet about the contest (+ 1 point)
* Friend me on Facebook (+ 1 point) (Link: https://www.facebook.com/ToniLotempio)#!/
* Mention the contest on Facebook (+ 1 point)
* Mention the contest on your blog (+ 1 point)

Winner will be chosen at random using random.org.  Don’t forget to mention all you’ve done in your comment. Contest ends midnight, June 26. Good luck!



Thursday, June 14, 2018

ROCCO's Cozy Review Roundup for JUNE

BURIED IN BOOKS
KATE CARLISLE
  • Series: Bibliophile Mystery (Book 12)
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley (June 26, 2018)
  • RATING:  FOUR AND A HALF PAWS

Brooklyn has it all covered. She’s triple-checked her wedding to-do list, and everything is on track for the upcoming ceremony with the love of her life, security expert Derek Stone. 

Not everyone has been as lucky in love as Brooklyn. Her old college roommates Heather and Sara lost touch twelve years ago when Sara stole Heather’s boyfriend. Brooklyn was caught in the middle and hasn’t seen her former besties since their falling-out. When they both show up at her surprise bridal shower, Brooklyn is sure drama will ensue. But she’s touched when the women seem willing to sort out their differences and gift her rare copies of The Three Musketeers and The Red Fairy Book. 

Brooklyn’s prewedding calm is shattered when one of her formerly feuding friends is found murdered and Brooklyn determines that one of the rare books is a forgery. She can’t help but wonder if the victim played a part in this fraud, or if she was targeted because she discovered the scam. With a killer and con artist on the loose, Brooklyn and Derek—with the unsolicited help of their meddling mothers—must catch the culprit before their big day turns into a big mess.

Fans of this series will not be disappointed. Carlisle has crafted in ingenious plot and it's fun to see the characters work through the clues to find the culprit.  You don't have to be a fan of this series to enjoy the book, but it helps! Four and a half paws, only because I figured out the killer early on.

ONCE UPON A SPINE
A BIBLIOPHILE MYSTERY
KATE CARLISLE
BERKLEY
JUNE 5, 2018
FOUR STARS




Brooklyn's future in-laws are traveling from England to meet her, and if that's not enough to set her on edge, rumors abound that the charming Courtyard Shops across the street may be replaced by high-rise apartments. Their trendy neighborhood will be ruined unless Brooklyn and her fiancé, Derek Stone, can persuade the shopkeepers not to sell.
 
But with a rare edition of Alice in Wonderland causing bad blood at the Brothers Bookshop and a string of petty vandalism making everyone nervous, Brooklyn and Derek feel overwhelmed. Then the owner of the Rabbit Hole juice bar is felled by his own heavy shelves, and the local cobbler lies dead beside him. Things get curiouser and curiouser when a second priceless copy of Alice is discovered. 
 
As the Brits descend, Brooklyn learns they're not so stuffy after all. Derek's dad is won over with chocolate cream pie, and his psychic mum would kill to help Brooklyn solve this murder--before another victim takes a tumble.


always love a Brooklyn and Derek adventure, and Brooklyn is in rare form in this adventure.  Also loved the interaction between Brooklyn and her in-laws.  Another great series by Kate Carlisle that one never tires of, so when is the  Hallmark movie? Four stars.


BOUGHT THE FARM
Peg Cochran
  • Series: Farmer's Daughter Mystery (Book 3)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley (June 5, 2018)
  • Rating:  Four Stars 

  • Wedding preparations are in full swing at Love Blossom Farm as food-and-lifestyle blogger Shelby McDonald transforms the property for her friend Kelly's down-home country-style reception. But when the lead singer of the wedding band turns up dead--drowned in a trough full of rainwater and strung up like a scarecrow--the police round themselves up a barnful of suspects. 

    It seems that Travis sowed the seeds of discord wherever he went, and when it becomes clear that everyone from the groom to Shelby's own staff has motive, tracking down Travis' killer is going to be more difficult than finding a needle in a haystack. As Shelby finds herself drawn deeper into the investigation, she'll have to move quickly before the killer decides to put her out to pasture...

A delightful mystery with engaging characters and a good plot.  Shelby is an engaging sleuth and I enjoy watching her unearth clues. The country setting is a refreshing change as well. four stars.

A JUST CLAUSE
Booktown Mystery
Lorna Barrett
Berkley
June 5, 2018
Four Stars

Tricia Miles, mystery bookstore owner and amateur sleuth, is in for a surprise when her ne’er-do-well father, John, comes to town—and promptly becomes a prime suspect in the murder of a woman with her own scandalous past. Even Tricia’s faith in the old man is shaken when the Stoneham police break the news that her father is a known con man who has done jail time.  

But what about bestselling thriller author Steven Richardson? Is it a coincidence that he arrived for a book signing just before the crime or that the victim was found with a signed copy of his latest bestseller?  

From merlot to murder, Tricia is determined to clear the family name before another body shows up and ruins Stoneham’s first—and highly anticipated—wine and jazz festival.

Another fine entry in this very entertaining series. The characters - and mysteries - continue to improve with age, like a fine wine.  Four Stars


COLOR ME MURDER
KRISTA DAVIS
PEN AND INK MYSTERIES
KENSINGTON
2/27/18
4 ½ Stars
ROCCO LoTempio


By day, Florrie Fox manages Color Me Read bookstore in Georgetown, Washington D.C. By night, she creates her own intricately detailed coloring books for adults, filling the pages with objects that catch her eye. There’s plenty of inspiration in her new apartment—a beautiful carriage house belonging to Professor John Maxwell, Florrie’s boss. He offers the property to Florrie rent-free with one condition—she must move in immediately to prevent his covetous sister and nephew from trying to claim it.
 
When the professor’s nephew, Delbert, arrives, he proves just as sketchy as Florrie feared. But the following morning, Delbert has vanished. It’s not until she visits the third floor of the store that Florrie makes a tragic discovery—there’s a trap door in the landing, and a dead Delbert inside. The esteemed Professor Maxwell is an obvious suspect, but Florrie is certain this case isn’t so black and white. Doodling clues, she begins to consider other colorful characters on the scene, all with a motive for murder. With a killer drawing closer, Florrie will need to think outside the lines . . . before death makes his mark again.

Who doesn’t love a Krista Davis mystery. I’ve been a big fan of her other two series and am delighted that she’s found another home at Kensington.  This series is shaping up to be just as good as the other two, if the first volume is any indication.  For coloring fanatics, the “color me” covers are a plus!  Four and a half paws.


THE DIVA COOKS UP A STORM
KRISTA DAVIS
·        Series: Domestic Diva (Book 1)
·        Hardcover: 352 pages
·        Publisher: Kensington (May 29, 2018)
·        Rating: 4 ½ Stars

Domestic diva Sophie Winston can whip up an elaborate event in her sleep, but as the hippest hostess she rarely gets to enjoy the full guest treatment. Which is why her best friend Nina Reid Norwood loops her in to the latest culinary craze: a pop-up gourmet dinner party. The celebrity chef, the epicurean menu, and the high-profile attendees are all a surprise, turning the decadent dining experience into the hottest ticket in Old Town. But Sophie’s just pleased as punch that she finally has an opportunity to join her fellow foodies in some fun.
 
The posh party proves to be a recipe for disaster when Hollis Haberman sours spirits by bringing his own hot new dish—his young trophy wife. With Hollis’s son and ex-wife in attendance, there may be more heat at the table than in the kitchen. But by aperitifs, Sophie discovers Hollis swallowing his last bits of air, and she must scramble to stop a killer before the swanky supper becomes anyone else’s last meal.
 

The Domestic Diva is back!  It says “Book 1” on Amazon but longtime fans know that this is about the twelfth entry in Davis’ Domestic Diva series which was cancelled by Penguin last year. Thank God Kensington resurrected it!  I personally cannot get enough of Sophie Winston, domestic diva, and her quirky cast of characters!  Reading this was like coming home again.  Here’s to more books in this well-loved series!  Four and a half paws!

A PANICKED PREMONITION
Victoria Laurie
Berkley
June 5, 2018
Four Stars

Professional psychic and FBI consultant Abby Cooper is about to face a murder scene that will put all her powers to the test. Her husband, Dutch, has a side business providing security and building panic rooms for wealthy clients. One morning, one of Dutch's partners, Dave, goes missing...

Then two of Dutch's clients are found brutally murdered inside their brand-new panic room, and most of the evidence points to Dave as the killer. With the authorities racing to find and arrest him, Abby's got to use all her intuitive prowess to get to Dave first, discover the real killer, and save her husband's business. This is one case where Abby is positive there's far more to this mystery than meets her inner eye...

Abby Cooper is still gong strong!  I have loved this series from the start and i thought Abby and Dutch gettng married might be "jumping the shark" but not where Laurie is concerned. She still manages to keep Abby and her adventures exciting. This series is edgier than the normal cozy, and that's a good thing.  Four stars!


Random Hit!
One lucky commenter will win ROCCO's choice of either BOUGHT THE FARM, A PANICKED PREMINITION, OR ONCE UPON A SPINE.

This month, ROCCO will  have his brother MAXX choose the giveaway review copy! Which one will Maxie choose?   

To enter, leave your name, email address and comment on which book you think Maxxie  will pick!  (entries without email will be disqualified). For extra entries, you can do any or all of the below:


* Follow my blog (+ 1 point)
* Follow me on Twitter (+ 1 point) (Link: https://twitter.com/RoccoBlogger)
* Tweet about the contest (+ 1 point)
* Friend me on Facebook (+ 1 point) (Link: https://www.facebook.com/ToniLotempio)#!/
* Mention the contest on Facebook (+ 1 point)
* Mention the contest on your blog (+ 1 point)

Winner will be chosen at random using random.org.  Don’t forget to mention all you’ve done in your comment. Good luck!  contest ends midnight, June 19!