Friday, June 28, 2024

Rocco and Chazz review One of You by Lorie Lewis Ham

 Rocco here! Today Chazz and I review a new book by Lorie Lewis Ham, ONE OF YOU.

With her life on the California Coast behind her, Roxi Carlucci is beginning to feel at home in the Tower District—the cultural oasis of Fresno, CA—where she now lives with her cousin P.I. Stephen Carlucci, her pet rat Merlin, a Pit Bull named Watson, and a black cat named Dan. She has a new entertainment podcast, works as a part-time P.I., and is helping local bookstore owner Clark Halliwell put on the first-ever Tower Halloween Mysteryfest! The brutal summer heat is gone and has been replaced by the dense tule fog—perfect for Halloween!

She just wishes everyone would stop calling her the “Jessica Fletcher” of the Tower District simply because she found a dead body when she first arrived. But when one of the Mysteryfest authors is found dead, she fears she jinxed herself! The Carlucci’s are hired to find the killer before they strike again. Will Mysteryfest turn into a 
murder fest? How is the local gossip website back, and what does it know about the death of Roxi’s parents?

Rocco: I found this to be a very entertaining book, as I did the first in this series.  Roxi is a hoot and of course, who can resist a black cat named Dan?  Love the California theme with the entertainment tie in.  jthe Halloween killer theme was also good. I cant wait to see what that gossip website knows about Roxi's parents! can't wait where Roxi goes from here!

Chazz:  I also enjoyed the book. Ms. Ham has created a memorable sleuth in Roxi, and the California entertainment background I found to be very interesting.  I mean, who has a podcast anand also works as a part time PI with her cousin.  I thought the action at the Halloween Mysteryfest was very well thought out and it did remind me of episodes of Murder She Wrote.. I'm curious to see where that gossip website goes too!  

A four paw winner!

One of You
A Tower District Mystery Book 2
Mystery Rat B ooks
Amazon; e-book and PB
June 4, 2024
Four Paws

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Rocco and Chazz's June and July Cozy Berkley Reviews!


Here are our reviews on the Berkley cozy offerings for June/July!

First up:


The Fairy Tale Cupcakes crew helps two professional football players in knead when the athletes are suspected of murder and their dream of opening a bakery is crushed, from New York Times bestselling author Jenn McKinlay.

Professional football players Keogh Graham and Tyler Matthews want to open a Fairy Tale Cupcakes franchise. They’re spending the off-season in Scottsdale working in Mel’s bakery, learning about the business and how to bake show-stopping cupcakes. The popular athletes bring a boom of customers to the store as football fans flock to see the friends mixing batter and piping icing.

Everyone’s excited the athletes are pursuing their dream of owning a bakery—except for those who fear the players will ditch football for fondant and retire early from professional sports. The angry naysayers include their team owner and Keogh's sports agent, along with some very vocal fans.

When the owner of their team, the Arizona Scorpions, is found dead on the floor of their new bakery following an argument with Keogh, the pros become prime suspects. As the investigation heats up, Mel and the rest of the cupcake bakery crew must step up and prove their franchise owners are innocent before it’s game-over for the new bakers.

Rocco's Review:  Jenn McKinlay works in our home state of Arizona with pride in this latest instalment of the cupcake mysteries!   As usual, Mel and the crew deliver with an intriguing mystery and lots of twisty turns!  Definite must summer read! Four and a half paws!


Librarian Charlie Harris and his ever-intuitive feline friend Diesel must catch a killer in a deadly game of cat and mouse where no one is who they seem to be...

At last, Charlie and Helen Louise’s wedding is only a month away. They’re busy preparing for the big day, and the last thing Charlie needs is a new mystery to solve. Enter Tara Martin, a shy, peculiar woman who has recently started working part-time at Helen Louise’s bistro and helping Charlie in the archive. Tara isn’t exactly friendly and she has an angry outburst at the library that leaves Charlie baffled. And then she abruptly leaves a catered housewarming party Charlie’s son Sean is throwing to celebrate his new home in the middle of her work shift. Before ducking out of the party, Tara looked terrified and Charlie wonders if she’s deliberately trying to escape notice. Is she hiding from someone?

When Tara is viciously attacked and lands in the hospital, Charlie knows his instincts were correct: Tara was in trouble and someone was after her. With the help of his much beloved cat, Diesel, Charlie digs deeper, and discovers shocking glimpses into Tara’s past that they could never have predicted. Will they catch the villain before Charlie’s own happily ever after with Helen Louise is ruined?

Chazz's Review:  Firstoff, i have to say this is one of my favorite series! I love Charlie, and I love Diesel!  and the supporting characters aren't bad either!  the cover art is always outstanding, and this one is a particularly good likeness of Diesel!

As usual, Charlie's instincts are on point and he does what he and Diesel do best - sniff out clues!  I liked the way Ms. James interspersed the mystery with Charlie's upcoming nuptuals. Do they get hitched????? Read the book! Five paws!!!!!

Booktown Mystery
Lorna Barrett
HC; 7/16/24
five paws

When a famous children's author is murdered at the library, Tricia Miles has to find the killer before it's too late in the latest entry to Lorna Barrett's New York Times bestselling Booktown series.

Tricia Miles is ready to close the book on all her amateur sluething—she's tired of finding dead bodies and being accused of murder. But even the best laid plans often go awry.

Stoneham is all abuzz when Lauren Barker, a famous children's book author, arrives for an event at the local library. Lauren is a Stoneham native, and her new book strikes some members of the town as controversial. But when Lauren is found strangled to death after an altercation at the event, the plot twist throws Tricia right back into the middle of things.

Who could possibly have wanted Lauren dead? Was it Dan Reed, who had to be thrown out of the signing for spouting conspiracy theories and causing a disturbance? Stella Kraft, Lauren’s high school teacher, who thought of the author as a protégé—something Lauren violently disputed? Or the mystery man who spoke to Lauren just before she was found dead? With the suspect count climbing higher and more information about Lauren's past coming to light, will Tricia be able to give this story a happily ever after?

Rocco's Review:  Booktown mysteries are always a treat - we love the delightfully quirky characters Ms. Barrett has created, and in spite of her misgivings, Tricia Miles always proves to be a worthy sleuth.  In this instalment she's swearing off detecting - until a murder at the local library sucks her in!  Lots of twisty turns in this one; fans of this series will not be disappointed. And may I say I for one am glad that Tricia didn't give up sleuthing!  Five Paws

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Chazz and Rocco review SAME DIFFERENCE by E.J.Copperman

 Rocco here! Chazz and I are delighted to give our reviews on E. J. Copperman's latest in his Fran and Ken Stein mystery series, SAME DIFFERENCE!

PLOT:  Taking a break from their usual business of helping adoptees find their birth parents, New York private investigators—and super-sized, ever-so-slightly-paranormal siblings—Fran and Ken Stein accept a job to find a missing young woman.

Nineteen-year-old college student Eliza Hennessey is trans—and she has a rocky relationship with her father, their new client. Brian's convinced his daughter's vanished, rather than run away, but Fran and Ken aren't so sure she wants to be found. The PI duo investigate, and soon Fran is butting heads with her irritating sort-of-ex-boyfriend Mank at the NYPD, who has what seems to be a similar case on his desk. But not even Fran could guess how tangled their investigations are going to get—or how deep they'll need to dive into murder and mayhem to solve the case!


Rocco:  This latest instalment of EJ's newest series has it all: suspense and only the witty kind of humor EJ can bring to his books.  One has to appreciate the unique characters EJ has created, particularly Fran and Ken (any relation to another famous Victor????)  As a Sci-Fi fan meowself, I especially enjoy this series. even if you haven't read the first, you will enjoy this one.  Five paws.

Chazz:  I havent done much reading over the years, but now that I'm part of the LoTempio family, t hat has all changed! This book was my first introduction to E.J. Copperman and I have to say I'm hooked. I love books with twisty plots and this one is a doozy! You'll want to solve it right along with Fran and Ken.  The only thing that might improve it - maybe add a cat?  Five paws.

JUNE 4, 2024

Available now at Amazon, Barnes and NOble, and other retail outlets! 

Purchase Link:

Thursday, June 6, 2024

ROCCO And Chazz interview author Mary Kennedy! (with a giveaway!!!!!!)

 Rocco here with my assistant Chazz!

Today we are interviewing author and good friend of our human, Mary Kennedy!

Mary has enjoyed a successful career as a writer, having published the Talk Radio Mysteries and the Dream Club Mysteries for Berkeley.  She has a new Dream Club Mystery debuting on June 7th!

(Note the cool cat! Kind of looks like Chazz!)

ROCCO:  Welcome Mary!

Chazz:     Yes, welcome!

ROCCO:  We are thrilled to host you today.  Please tell us a little about your background,Mary!

MK:   I've always been a writer. My first job out of college was as a radio copywriter for a rock radio station in Nashville. It was a wild and wacky station like the TV show, WKRP. From there, I became a television news writer. I'm also a licensed clinical psychologist which makes for an interesting mix.

Chazz:  That sounds interesting! Tell us a bit about your latest book!

MK: My latest book is Premonition of Murder, book 3 in the Dream Club Mysteries. A "dream club" in Savannah finds clues that help the police solve crimes.

ROCCO: A dream club sounds like something I would enjoy Heh Heh. Or maybe Chazz, since he is always napping.  

Chazz:  ZZZ--what was that?  Mary, how do you construct your plots? Do you outline or do you write “by the seat of your pants”? 

MK: I write a really detailed synopsis "for my eyes only." It's pretty stream of consciousness and is much more involved than the one I write for the proposal.

Chazz:  Which do you consider more important, plot or character? 

MK:  The setting is really important to me. The Talk Radio Mysteries could only take place in a radio station. And the Dream Club Mysteries were inspired by Savannah, a fascinating city with a lot of supernatural elements.

ROCCO:  What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a writer and what inspires you and keeps you motivated? 

MK:  Well, I keep the VISA bill on the fridge and that's tremendously motivating!

ROCCO:  Sure is.  I should tell the human to put her QVC bill up on our fridge.

Chazz:  Do you have an “How I got my agent” story you want to share? 

MK:  I sold 7 books to a major New York publisher on my own, and finally figured I needed someone to guide my career. I started out writing YA for Scholastic and Penguin and now am writing adult mysteries for Penguin-Random House.

ROCCO:  Please tell us what are you working on now and what are your future writing plans?

MK:  I'm writing book 5 in the Talk Radio Mysteries, Death of a Shady Shrink. Dr. Maggie, a radio talk show shrink (think Frasier), is still rocking it at WYME-Radio in a south Florida town. And she solves a murder (or two) in every book!

Chazz: Cool! I love Frasier!!!!!!

ROCCO:  What advice do you have to offer to an aspiring author?

MK:    Don't quit your day job!

ROCCO: What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?  

MK:  I had a bit part in a Burt Reynolds movie even though I had a 104 temperature. It was crazy, bt hey, it was Burt Reynolds!

Chazz:  Who's Burt Reynolds?

ROCCO (rolls eyes)   Mary, where can our readers learn more about you and your books?

MK:  They can find out all the latest on my website and my Facebook page.

Chazz: oh ho, we're not done yet!  Now Mary answers ROCCO and Chazz's Fast Five!

  • What did you do when you found out your first book was published? I bought a very jazzy car. A black MG with red upholstery
  • If you weren’t a writer, what would you be? I would be desperately unhappy and probably complaining to all my friends.
  • What’s your favorite way to spend a rainy day? Reading, of course! Curled up with a couple of cats!  (ROCCO: Excellent!) 
  • What’s your preference for grocery shopping:  In store or online
  • What is your favorite movie quote "Don't let the bastards get you down." It sounds classier in Latin. It was actually my father's favorite quote.

Thank you for a wonderful interview, Mary!  AND........

Mary will give away a $15 Amazon Gift Card to one lucky commenter! Just leave your name and email address in our comments section!  Chazz will pick the winner! Contest closes at midnight, June 16th!