Friday, June 24, 2022

Lisa K of Lisa K's Book Reviews in ROCCO's hotseat!


Today I am pleased to have Lisa K of Lisa K's Book Reviews in my hotseat for interview!  Welcome Lisa! Let's get right to it!!!!!

R:  How did you get started on your book blog?

L: I had been reading cozy mysteries for maybe a year, and they were all I talked about.  My younger sister told me I should start a blog about them.  I didn't think anyone would be interested, so she told me to do it for myself.  Here we are 9 years later!

R: And we are so glad you did!  Is there one genre you prefer over another?

L: Nope. Cozy all the way!

R: What has been your best experience on the blog so far?

L:  I'd have to say the people. My readers, and the authors, have been so very kind and supportive to me. Whenever I've thought about giving up, they've kept me going!!!!!!

R: That's fantastic!  We know you're busy, so one last question: if you weren't a book blogger, what would you be doing?

L: I have bipolar as well as panic and anxiety disorder. The amount of panic attacks I was having made it impossible for me to keep a job. So if I weren't blogging, I'm honestly afraid I'd be sitting around the house doing nothing.  :)

Thank you for a wonderful candid interview Lisa!  We all enjoy reading about the latest cozies on your blog!

And now Lisa does my FAST FIVE!!!!!!

What's something that's always in your fridge?    -  BREAD AND BUTTER PICKLES

What's your favorite part of the day?  - MORNING. BUT NOT TOO EARLY!!!!!!

What food do you wish were calorie free?   -   DONUTS!!!!!!

What celebrity are you dying to meet (Or have met?)  -  WOULD LOVE TO MEET DOLLY PARTON!

Saturday night - Go out or Stay in?  -  STAY IN.

With a good cozy, right?  Thanks so much Lisa!

For those of you who haven't caught Lisa' blog, you can find it here:

Monday, June 20, 2022


Merow!  Today we have a guest post from author Elaine Faber!


Creating a Book Cover

Elaine Faber

There are as many ways to design a book cover as there are books. Nonfiction book covers, particularly political books seem to lean toward THE TITLE against a plain background and the author’s name. Many cozy mystery novels present an artist’s rendition of a house and garden, often including a dog or cat. I prefer using photographs on my book covers.

The book cover should suggest the concept of the plot. If the novel is part of a series, there should be a consistency in the design of each subsequent novel. Using the same color and size font for the title and a similar design helps readers recognize a particular series.

With each novel, I visualize a particular concept and begin to search Shutterstock, Fotolia, or other online photo sites for an appropriate photograph. It can take weeks or months to find just the right photo, and then purchase the rights to the use of the picture. In the Mrs. Odboddy series, her photo is superimposed with another photo that suggests the storyline. Sometimes two or three pictures are used to create the desired effect. With Desperate Doings, the picture of the Siamese cat in the tree perfectly illustrates Agnes’s cat, Ling-Ling, and her fall from the tree that begins the sequence of story events.

Mrs. Odboddy’s Desperate Doings is a cozy mystery adventure novel that combines factual WWII events, life in a small town during war, and elderly, eccentric, Agnes Agatha Odboddy. Agnes is a WWI ex-spy, now too old to actively participate in another war. This doesn’t stop her from believing she can expose Nazi spies or conspiracies that must abound in her small town.

The story begins with Agnes’s fall from a tree and a subsequent head injury. Despite medical intervention, her already bizarre behavior escalates as one poor decision follows another. She alienates family and friends with outlandish accusations when she claims to have witnessed the beloved local doctor burglarizing a neighbor’s house.

Despite a valiant effort, Agnes is unsuccessful finding a permanent home for the displaced carnival tiger she met in book three, Mrs. Odboddy - And Then There Was A Tiger. Then city hall declares Agnes must remove the tiger within seven days or they threaten euthanasia. Agnes faces an agonizing decision. How far will she go to protect the tiger? And what about the doctor? What desperate measures will she take to catch him in the act and prove she’s not really bonkers?

If you like humorous mystery-adventure, and a bit of historical fiction, you’ll love the Mrs. Odboddy series. Her latest adventure, Desperate Doings, is a hoot at a hootenanny!  

Amazon Sale Site:



Elaine Faber is an active member of Sisters in Crime, Northern California Publishers and Authors, and Cat Writers Association. Elaine lives in northern CA, with her tolerant husband, a house cat, and two feral cats that come night and morning looking for a hand-out! A portion of the proceeds from book sales goes toward cat rescue organizations.


Elaine.Faber@mindcandymysteries   email   Website    Black Cat’s Legacy    Black Cat and the Lethal Lawyer    Black Cat and the Accidental Angel    Mrs. Odboddy–Hometown Patriot    Mrs. Odboddy Undercover Courier   Mrs. Odboddy And Then There was a Tiger     Mrs. Odboddy’s Desperate Doings


Elaine will give away an e-copy of Mrs. Oddboddy’s Desperate Doings to one lucky commenter!  To enter, leave your name and email address in our comments section.  Winner will be chosen at random.  Contest ends Midnight, June 25th.







Friday, June 10, 2022


 Ma-Row!  Here are my June cozy reviews!






Bookstore owner Tricia Miles tries to open a new chapter in life, but murder mars the pages in the latest entry to Lorna Barrett's New York Times bestselling Booktown series.

Tricia Miles and her sister, Angelica, are the co-presidents of the Stoneham Chamber of Commerce. Things are changing in the booktown, and some merchants would say not for the better. They grumble that too many non-book-related stores are moving into the village, taking up the most visible storefronts on Main Street, diluting the “Booktown” moniker. Of course, the members with other businesses, like the latest, The Bee’s Knees, are fine with other businesses moving in. No matter what side of the argument they're on, all the business owners agree on one thing: Tricia and Angelica are to blame. 
Still, it's a pretty typical day in the life of a small-town Chamber of Commerce until one of the disgruntled bookstore owners is killed—Eli Meier from The Inner Light Bookstore, the most vocal of the Chamber complainers. He sold religious and other spiritual books, but also stocked books on wild conspiracy theories and sold incense, crystals, etc. Eli had never been a member of the Chamber until Angelica recently convinced him to join. He hit on her and she, having good taste, turned him down. He hounded (but not stalked) her, and some might think that was a motive for murder. 
Stoneham's new police chief is an old friend of Tricia's, but that doesn't mean he's going to go easy on her sister. One might even say that he's going to throw the book at her.

We enjoy this quirky, delightful series that never fails to bring a twist or a surprise.  Fans new and old alike will enjoy seeing Tricia get her sister out of hot water!  Five Paws!






Moonshine shop owner Hattie Hayes is ready to lend a hand when a mystery starts brewing at a train convention in Chattanooga, TN, in this charming cozy mystery series.

Now that her moonshine shop is up and running, Hattie Hayes can focus her efforts on expanding her fledgling business to events in the area, like the Chattanooga Choo Choo Model Train Convention, which is running full steam ahead at the convention center down the block. Hattie is all aboard, seizing this perfect opportunity to promote her Southern homebrew to the folks who have come to the city for the annual event.
But when an attendee dies after drinking some of Hattie’s moonshine, she’ll need to prove her innocence. Between tight-lipped train hobbyists and competitors for a coveted convention prize, Hattie has a wide array of suspects to choose from, and she’ll need to use all the tricks up her sleeve to make sure her moonshine business can survive a murderer and stay on track.
Charming is defintiely the right word to describe this series.  who can resist a heroine named Hattie Hayes! four paws


A fantastic new cozy mystery series with a vintage flair from USA Today bestselling and Agatha Award–winning author Ellen Byron.

Twenty-eight-year-old widow Ricki James leaves Los Angeles to start a new life in New Orleans after her showboating actor husband perishes doing a stupid internet stunt. The Big Easy is where she was born and adopted by the NICU nurse who cared for her after Ricki’s teen mother disappeared from the hospital.
Ricki’s dream comes true when she joins the quirky staff of Bon Vee Culinary House Museum, the spectacular former Garden District home of late bon vivant Genevieve “Vee” Charbonnet, the city’s legendary restauranteur. Ricki is excited about turning her avocation – collecting vintage cookbooks – into a vocation by launching the museum’s gift shop, Miss Vee’s Vintage Cookbooks and Kitchenware. Then she discovers that a box of donated vintage cookbooks contains the body of a cantankerous Bon Vee employee who was fired after being exposed as a book thief.
The skills Ricki has developed ferreting out hidden vintage treasures come in handy for investigations. But both her business and Bon Vee could wind up as deadstock when Ricki’s past as curator of a billionaire’s first edition collection comes back to haunt her.
Will Miss Vee’s Vintage Cookbooks and Kitchenware be a success … or a recipe for disaster?
We vote for a success for Miss Vee's!  and for Ricki James!  Entertaining mystery.  four and a half paws

When a celebrity chef is found dead, Samantha Barnes, the "Cape Cod Foodie", finds her search for the world's best blueberry buckle turning into a search for a killer

The Fourth of July is coming, and for professional food lover Samantha Barnes, it’s all about the picnic. Okay, and the fireworks. And the parade. But mostly the picnic. What could be better than a DIY clambake followed by the best blueberry buckle in the world? Sam has finally found the perfect recipe in the kitchen of Clara Foster, famed cookbook author and retired restaurateur, and she’s thrilled when Clara agrees to a buckle baking lesson. 
But when Clara dies in a house fire blamed on carelessness in the kitchen, Sam doesn’t believe it. Unfortunately, her doubts set in motion an investigation pointing to the new owner of Clara’s legendary restaurant—and a cousin of Sam’s harbormaster boyfriend.  So, in between researching the Cape’s best lobster rolls and planning her clambake, Sam needs to find Clara's killer before the fireworks really start....
Food and mysteries are two of our favorite things!  Amy Pershing has created a memorable heroine in Samantha Barnes, and this third entry in the series does not disappoint. Hopefully there will be more!
Four and a half paws.

Domestic Diva Mystery
Krista Davis
Kensington/Hardcover/June 1, 2022

A delightful new story from a New York Times bestselling author perfect for fans of Joanne Fluke’s Hannah Swensen Mystery series! In this page-turning new book, entertaining guru Sophie Winston is faced with a midsummer nightmare when a celebration in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, is the appetizer for murder…
Old Town’s midsummer festivities are getting a tasty addition this year. To coincide with a public performance of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Bobbie Sue Bodoin, the Queen of Cheesecake, has hired Sophie to organize a dinner with a dessert buffet on the waterfront. Bobbie Sue’s homegrown company is thriving, and since her baking dish overfloweth, she wants to reward her employees.
Bobbie Sue has only one menu demand: no cheesecake! But her specialty isn’t the only thing missing from the evening—Tate, Bobbie Sue’s husband, is too, much to her annoyance. Next morning, however, Tate’s dead body is discovered. Bobbie Sue insists she didn’t kick her spouse to the curb, and begs for Sophie’s help finding the real killer. Digging in, Sophie discovers an assortment of Old Town locals who all had reason to want a piece of Tate. Can she gather together the crumbs the killer left behind in time to prevent a second helping of murder?
we are SO glad that Kensington picked up this series!  We love Sophie and the entire cast of nutty characters that inhabit Old Town!  15th in the series, but can be read as a standalone.  Five Paws!!!!1

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

ROCCO interviews author Amy Pershing!

 MA-Row!  Today my guest is author Amy Pershing!

(Photo credit: William Schwartz 2020)

Amy Pershing, who spent every summer of her childhood on Cape Cod, was an editor, a restaurant reviewer and a journalist before writing the Cape Cod Foodie mysteries, including A Side of Murder -- which Elizabeth Gilbert called “the freshest, funniest mystery I have ever read” -- and An Eggnog to Die For  -- which Kirkus Reviews gave a starred review, saying, "A delightful sleuth, a complex mystery, and lovingly described cuisine: a winner for both foodies and mystery mavens." The third book in the series, Murder Is No Picnic, also received a starred review from Kirkus, which wrote: “A clever, empathetic and totally believable heroine sets this fine cozy above the competition.

  1. Tell us a little about your background

I’m only recently a fiction writer, but I’ve pretty much always written for a living, first as a book editor, then as a journalist in Rome, then as restaurant reviewer in New York, then as a financial journalist in New York, and finally as the head of employee communications for a major Wall Street firm.  It was a great way to hone my craft, but I’ve got to say, nothing, but nothing, beats writing fiction!

Also, I spent every summer of my childhood on Cape Cod.  It was magical.  We kicked off our shoes the minute we hit the sandy soil of our little cottage by the bay and we did not put them back on until September.  So I always hoped I could someday share Cape Cod in a book and, as a mystery addict, I really hoped it would be in a mystery.  Thus, the Cape Cod Foodie series is a dream come true for me.

  1. Tell us a bit about your latest book

MURDER IS NO PICNIC is the latest in the Cape Cod Foodie mysteries series featuring Sam Barnes, a disgraced but resilient ex-chef and the world’s most reluctant YouTube star. While Sam tries to balance her new job as the local paper’s “Cape Cod Foodie” with her complicated love life, a posse of just-slightly-odd friends, a falling-down house and a ginormous dog, she also discovers a new talent – a propensity for falling over dead bodies … and for solving crime.

In MURDER IS NO PICNIC, the Fourth of July is coming, and for Sam, it’s all about the picnic. Okay, and the fireworks. And the parade. But mostly the picnic. What could be better than a DIY clambake followed by the best blueberry buckle in the world? Sam has finally found the perfect recipe in the kitchen of Clara Foster, famed cookbook author and retired restaurateur, and she’s thrilled when Clara agrees to a buckle baking lesson. 
But when Clara dies in a house fire blamed on carelessness in the kitchen, Sam doesn’t believe it. Unfortunately, her doubts set in motion an investigation pointing to the new owner of Clara’s legendary restaurant—and a cousin of Sam’s harbormaster boyfriend.  So, in between researching the Cape’s best lobster rolls and planning her clambake, Sam needs to find Clara’s killer before the fireworks really start….

  1. How do you construct your plots? Do you outline or do you write “by the seat of your pants”?

Because I write twisty mysteries that require clues strategically scattered about and all loose ends tied up, I always start with a detailed outline of about 30 pages before I even start the real writing. The outline process is no fun at all, but the writing – that is pure joy.

  1. Which do you consider more important, plot or character?

Definitely character, particularly the character of Sam. Sam is everything I’m not. Tall (really tall, like, over-six-feet-tall kind of tall), brave (wait until you see her take on the guy who kicks her dog), funny and snarky (I am boringly polite), and a terrific cook (I’m good, but I’m not chef-level good). On the other hand, and this is where we’re soul sisters, she believes in the primary importance of food, friends and family. Cooking for and/or sharing a meal with people you love is, in my opinion, one of life’s great gifts.

  1. What is a typical workday for you and how many hours a day (or week) do you devote to writing?

I write every weekday and (depending on what deadline I’m under!) sometimes on the weekends as well. I usually wake up in the early hours of the morning and simply allow my mind to float over what I might be writing that day. Then I’m at my desk by 6 a.m. and writing (or editing or rewriting) until noon. At which point my brain shuts down entirely!

  1. If you could take only three books with you for a year-long writing retreat in a gorgeous setting with no library, which three would you take?

Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan; The Habit of Being: The Letters of Flannery O’Connor; and Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose (592 pages!)

  1. What’s one thing your readers would be surprised to find out about you?

I’m really only a so-so cook, at least in my own estimation (others have been more complimentary). But I love reading about food (I read cookbooks, for Pete’s sake!), and researching food and cooking food (so-so is just fine by He Who Must Be Fed) and, most of all, eating food. Especially with friends!

Also, I studied Classical Archaeology in college. Go figure.

  1. Where can we learn more about you and your books?

I worked my buns off on my author website (, so I humbly suggest you start there. You will find all sorts of fun stuff about me and my books as well as suggestions for other Cape Cod books to read, recipes to try and how to sign up for my newsletter!

ROCCO’s Fast Five:

  • What’s something that’s always in your fridge?

 A chunk of real parmesan cheese (parmigiano reggiano) to grate over everything

  • What is your favorite movie quote

“I like you very much. Just as you are.” Mark Darcy to Bridget Jones in Bridget Jones’s Diary

  • What food do you wish was calorie free


  • What book was your favorite growing up?

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

  • What is something you are really bad at?

Heights. I never seem to remember that I hate them. I once climbed to the top of Giotto’s tower in Florence, walked over to the railing, looked down,and then promptly lay down flat on the floor and crawled on my belly back to the stairway

Thanks for a great interview, Amy!

Berkley will giveaway a copy of MURDER IS NO PICNIC to one lucky commenter!  To enter, just leave a comment with your name and e-mail address!  US entries only please.  Contest ends midnight, June 10!