Book Review: Whammy by Ted Akin

The trouble with small towns is that nothing of note ever happens. That has pretty much been the status quo for quite some time in Lily Grove, Texas, where the only two things keeping the town moving are farming and the oil field. But when an accidental death shakes up the oil patch, Klive Anderson tries to balance keeping some form of normalcy in his day-to-day life, while also trying to uncover exactly what the hell happened. You know, just in case the same thing could happen to him. Meanwhile, Stacey Karlisle has her own issues to worry about. Being the neighborhood entrepreneur keeps the day moving, but after a while, going through the motions starts to wear one down.

Whammy follows the two as they both try to navigate the rare ripple in their little pond in their own very different ways. Part mystery, part comic book adventure, take a drive out to the country and find out how to handle yourself when exciting things happen in your normally sleepy little hometown.

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My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy from the author. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Whammy is quite unique. It was a slow start, and I could have done without all of the history of the town, especially since it wasn’t important to the story. Once I got through that, though, I enjoyed it.

The relationship between Klive and Stacey is an interesting one. They’re roommates and friends, but there’s a lot that they don’t know about each other. Their lives in the small town of Lily Grove have been quite boring until all of a sudden, Klive happens across a mystery. Stacey inadvertently gets involved in the mystery and her life changes forever.

I like Ted Akin’s writing style and look forward to reading more of his off the wall writing.

About the Author

Ted Akin is a wandering, wayward Texan telling stories from Kosciusko to Key West. Given the opportunity, he’ll go on an adventure and make a story out of it. Given equal opportunity, he will waste an afternoon in a recliner or hammock.

Book Review & Giveaway: Miranda and the D-Day Caper by Shelly Frome


On a sparkling spring morning in the Blue Ridge, small-town realtor Miranda Davis approached the tailgate market, intent on dealing with her whimsical cousin Skip’s unexpected arrival from New York. It turns out that Skip was on the run and, in his panic, grabbed his beloved tabby Duffy, recalling that Miranda had a recent part in solving a case down in Carolina. His predicament stemmed from intercepting code messages like “Countdown to D-Day,” playfully broadcasting the messages on his radio show over the nation-wide network, and subsequently forced to flee.

At first, Miranda tried to limit her old childhood companion’s conundrum to the sudden abduction of Duffy the cat. But the forces that be were hell-bent on keeping Skip under wraps by any means after he now stumbled close to the site of their master plan. Miranda’s subsequent efforts to decipher the conspiracy and somehow intervene placed both herself and her old playmate on a collision course with a white-nationalist perpetrator and the continuing machinations of the right-wing enterprise, with the lives of all those gathered for a diversity celebration in nearby Asheville and a crucial  senatorial vote on homeland security hanging in the balance.

You met Miranda Davis in Shelly Frome’s ‘Moon Games’ now she has a new mystery to solve!

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BarnesandNoble
Indiebound

 Miranda and the D-Day Caper by Shelly Frome

Guest Book Review by Sage Nor

I have totally fallen in love with this series by Shelly Frome and I think this may be the best installment yet! ‘Miranda and the D-Day Caper’ was fun, surprising, heartfelt and exciting. I couldn’t put this book down and I think that if you read it, you’ll feel the same way.

The book begins just shortly after Miranda Davis, full-time realtor and part-time amateur sleuth, has solved her first case and is looking forward to moving on with her life. Miranda isn’t really interested in being a detective, but she’s a natural at the work and the cases just keep finding her.

This time, the case comes from her eccentric cousin and former playmate, Skip, who shows up looking a bit worse for the wear after having traveled across the country non-stop to arrive in her town. When Miranda asks Skip what happened, he tells her a tale of radio signals, armed henchmen and a conspiracy that dates all the way back to World War II. Of course, Miranda doesn’t want to investigate at first but she gets pulled in by promising to help her cousin find his missing cat.  Before she knows it, everything in her world gets turned on its head once again.

 I absolutely enjoyed this book and Frome’s writing. He has a mastery of these characters that weaves its way through the story and leaves you wanting more. Miranda is so clever, funny and interesting as a character. I can’t wait to see what she decides to get up to next. Anyone who agrees to help track down a helpless kitten is a solid person in my book. As far as the mystery in the story, I won’t spoil it but let’s just say you won’t be disappointed by the ending. I certainly wasn’t! I give it 5 stars!

Praise for Shelly Frome

“This is a great mystery that had me guessing at what was really happening. I was sucked in and held tight until the reveal. A couple great twists and turns had me thrown off balance and guessing the whole time.” (Moon Games by Shelly From)-JBrounder Reviews

“It is full of action, adventure, mystery and suspense. It is not one that I could easily predict. The twists and turns kept on the edge of my seat. I never knew what would happen next.” (Moon Games by Shelly Frome)-AmyBooksy, Locks, Hooks, and Books

“The cover of this book shows what looks like a beautiful and peaceful place to live, but looks can be deceiving. Lies, bribery, and deceit are running rampant in this little town.  Twists and turns are around every corner. Well written mystery”(Secluded Village Murders by Shelly Frome)- Lisa’s Writopia

“An entertaining story that has enough quirky characters, intrigue, suspense, humor, and drama that easily draws the reader into Emily’s amateur sleuth adventure. This cozy mystery is full of devious plot twists and turns that will easily keep you guessing. The Secluded Village Murders is an intriguing whodunit tale that cozy mystery fans will want to add to their reading list.” (Secluded Village Murders by Shelly Frome)- Kathleen Higgins-Anderson, Jersey Girl Book Reviews

About the Author

Shelly Frome is a member of Mystery Writers of America, a professor of dramatic arts emeritus at the University of Connecticut, a former professional actor, a writer of crime novels, cozy mystery novels, and books on theater and film. He is also a features writer for Gannett Media’s Black Mountain News. His fiction includes Sun Dance for Andy Horn, Lilac Moon, Twilight of the Drifter, Tinseltown Riff,  Murder Run, Moon Games and The Secluded Village Murders.

Among his works of non-fiction are The Actors Studio and texts on the art and craft of screenwriting and writing for the stage. Miranda and the D-Day Caper is his latest foray into the world of crime and the amateur sleuth. He lives in Black Mountain, North Carolina.

Website: http://www.shellyfrome.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shellyfrome
Twitter: https://twitter.com/shellyFrome

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Book Review & Giveaway: The Nightjar’s Promise by Barbara Casey

Book Title: The Nightjar’s Promise (Book 4 of The F.I.G. Mysteries) by Barbara Casey
Category: YA Fiction (Ages 13-17), 130 pages
Genre: Mystery, Fantasy
Publisher: Gauthier Publications (Hungry Goat Press)
Release date: April, 2020
Content Rating: PG. There are some themes that deal with the Jewish Holocaust and some frightening scenes appropriate for young adult and adult readers.

Jennifer Torres, one of the three FIGs (Females of Intellectual Genius) who is a genius in both music and art, is the last to leave the closed rehearsal for her upcoming performance over Thanksgiving break at Carnegie Hall when she hears something in the darkened Hall. Recognizing the tilt of the woman’s head and the slight limp of the man as they hurry out an exit door, she realizes it is her parents who were supposedly killed in a terrible car accident when she was 15 years old. Devastated and feeling betrayed, she sends a text to Carolina and the other two FIGs—THURGOOD. It is the code word they all agreed to use if ever one of them got into trouble or something happened that was too difficult to handle. They would all meet back at Carolina’s bungalow at Wood Rose Orphanage and Academy for Young Women to figure it out.

As soon as they receive the text, because of their genius, Dara starts thinking of words in ancient Hebrew, German, and Yiddish, while Mackenzie’s visions of unique math formulae keep bringing up the date October 11, 1943. That is the date during World War II when the Nazis—the Kunstschutz—looted the paintings of targeted wealthy Jewish families and hid them away under Hitler’s orders. And as Carolina waits for the FIGs to return to Wood Rose, she hears warnings from Lyuba, her gypsy mother, to watch for the nightjar, the ancient name for the whip-poor-will.

As they search for “The Nightjar’s Promise” and the truth surrounding it, Carolina and the FIGs come face to face with evil that threatens to destroy not only their genius, but their very lives.

Buy the Book:
Amazon.com ~ Add to Goodreads

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.  I’ve read several books by Barbara Casey including the first 3 books in this series. The first 2 books, The Wish Rider and The Cadence of Gypsies, are my favorites by the author so far.

The girls have graduated from high school and they’ve all gone their separate ways. All three girls flourish in the different areas they’re gifted in. Even though they’re apart, they talk on the phone with their mentor Carolina every evening. This helps them feel more grounded and not so alone.

Even though this is the fourth book in the series, it definitely stands on its own. There was so much backstory, in fact, that it took a while to get to the current story.

Jennifer sees her parents! She went to the orphanage because her parents were killed in a car accident, but she is positive that it was them. She reaches out to the FIGs and, of course, they’re all going to help her figure out what is going on.

It’s obvious that the author did a lot of research for this book, and I found the history interesting. Along with the history is mystery and even a little danger.

I liked The Nightjar’s Promise but not as much as the first 2 books. I’m going to miss the FIGs!

About the Author

Originally from Carrollton, Illinois, author/agent/publisher Barbara Casey attended the University of North Carolina, N.C. State University, and N.C. Wesleyan College where she received a BA degree, summa cum laude, with a double major in English and history. In 1978 she left her position as Director of Public Relations and Vice President of Development at North Carolina Wesleyan College to write full time and develop her own manuscript evaluation and editorial service. In 1995 she established the Barbara Casey Agency and since that time has represented authors from the United States, Great Britain, Canada, and Japan. In 2014, she became a partner with Strategic Media Books, an independent nonfiction publisher of true crime, where she oversees acquisitions, day-to-day operations, and book production.

Ms. Casey has written over a dozen award-winning books of fiction and nonfiction for both young adults and adults. The awards include the National Association of University Women Literary Award, the Sir Walter Raleigh Literary Award, the Independent Publisher Book Award, the Dana Award for Outstanding Novel, the IP Best Book for Regional Fiction, among others. Two of her nonfiction books have been optioned for major films, one of which is under contract.

Her award-winning articles, short stories, and poetry for adults have appeared in both national and international publications including the North Carolina Christian Advocate Magazine, The New East Magazine, the Raleigh (N.C.) News and Observer, the Rocky Mount (N.C.) Sunday Telegram, Dog Fancy, ByLine, The Christian Record, Skirt! Magazine, and True Story. A thirty-minute television special which Ms. Casey wrote and coordinated was broadcast on WRAL, Channel 5, in Raleigh, North Carolina. She also received special recognition for her editorial work on the English translations of Albanian children’s stories. Her award-winning science fiction short stories for adults are featured in The Cosmic Unicorn and CrossTime science fiction anthologies. Ms. Casey’s essays and other works appear in The Chrysalis Reader, the international literary journal of the Swedenborg Foundation, 221 One-Minute Monologues from Literature (Smith and Kraus Publishers), and A Cup of Comfort (Adams Media Corporation).

Ms. Casey is a former director of BookFest of the Palm Beaches, Florida, where she served as guest author and panelist. She has served as judge for the Pathfinder Literary Awards in Palm Beach and Martin Counties, Florida, and was the Florida Regional Advisor for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators from 1991 through 2003. In 2018 Ms. Casey received the prestigious Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award and Top Professional Award for her extensive experience and notable accomplishments in the field of publishing and other areas. She makes her home on the top of a mountain in northwest Georgia with her husband and three cats who adopted her, Homer, Reese, and Earl Gray – Reese’s best friend.

Connect with the author:  Website~ Goodreads ~ Facebook

Giveaway

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/518e728448/?

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Book Review: Bars & Boxcars by Trixie Silvertale

A robbery on the rails. A gang in hiding. Can this psychic sleuth blow the whistle on a dangerous crew?


Mitzy Moon struggles to put snooping on the back burner and help launch the Duncan Restorative Justice Foundation. But her good-girl routine leaves the station after a deputy crashes the Grand Opening with a search warrant. And she’s full-steam ahead on the case when she discovers her father’s railroad is the target for a heist.

Never one to play it safe, Mitzy blatantly ignores the warnings of her entitled feline and risks everything. She even cons her interfering Ghost-ma into helping her with an alarming undercover plan. And now she promises just a few more shifts at the seedy roadhouse and she’ll have the crooks stopped in their tracks.

Can Mitzy pull off the double cross of a lifetime, or will more than her investigation be derailed?

Bars and Boxcars is the sixth book in the hilarious paranormal cozy mystery series, Mitzy Moon Mysteries. If you like snarky heroines, supernatural intrigue, and a dash of romance, then you’ll love Trixie Silvertale’s twisty whodunits.

Buy Bars and Boxcars to climb aboard a mystery today! 

My Review

I read the first five books in this series, and I really enjoyed them, so I was happy to read this book when it was available.

Mitzy Moon finally has a family since she inherited her grandmother’s bookstore. She’s gotten to know Grams in her ghostly form, and I was happy to see more of her father in this book. All of the main characters are unique, flawed, and loveable. Mitzy is clumsy, smart, and hilarious. Grams is a force of nature. Jacob, Mitzy’s father, went to prison for a robbery when he was younger, but now he’s trying to give back to the community as well as getting to know his daughter.

Mitzy always attracts trouble. She has some psychic gifts that can often get her out of trouble, but they also get her into trouble in the first place. Bars & Boxcars is no different. When her father’s trains are being robbed by a professional gang, Mitzy decides to look into it. The problem is, she gets more than she bargained for.

I always like the Mitzy Moon stories. They’re funny, suspenseful, and there’s always a little romance, especially between her and the sheriff. I’m looking forward to number seven!

About the Author

Trixie Silvertale grew up reading an endless supply of Lillian Jackson Braun, Hardy Boys, and Nancy Drew novels. She loves the amateur sleuths in cozy mysteries and is obsessed with all things paranormal. Those two passions unite in her Mitzy Moon Mysteries, and she’s thrilled to write them and share them with you.

When she’s not consumed by writing, she bakes to fuel her creative engine and tends to her herb garden.

Website: http://www.trixiesilvertale.com

Book Review & Giveaway: Dirty Old Town by Gabriel Valjan

Genre: Crime Fiction, Mystery, Procedural, Historical Fiction
Published by: Level Best Books
Publication Date: January 14th 2020
Number of Pages: 162
ISBN: 1087857325 (ISBN13: 9781087857329)
Series: A Shane Cleary Mystery
Purchase Links:Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

“Robert B. Parker would stand and cheer, and George V. Higgins would join the ovation. This is a terrific book–tough, smart, spare, and authentic. Gabriel Valjan is a true talent–impressive and skilled–providing knock-out prose, a fine-tuned sense of place and sleekly wry style.”– Hank Phillippi Ryan, nationally bestselling author of The Murder List

Shane Cleary, a PI in a city where the cops want him dead, is tough, honest and broke. When he’s asked to look into a case of blackmail, the money is too good for him to refuse, even though the client is a snake and his wife is the woman who stomped on Shane’s heart years before. When a fellow vet and Boston cop with a secret asks Shane to find a missing person, the paying gig and the favor for a friend lead Shane to an arsonist, mobsters, a shady sports agent, and Boston’s deadliest hitman, the Barbarian. With both criminals and cops out to get him, the pressure is on for Shane to put all the pieces together before time runs out.

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Dirty Old Town is a PI novel set in the 1970s. I liked the references to music and TV shows of the period because that’s when I was growing up.

Shane is a PI who is scraping by to make ends meet and accepts a job from an old “friend” because he needs the money. He knows he shouldn’t take the job, especially since an old flame is married to his client. There are a lot of twists and turns, some that I didn’t see coming.

Gabriel Valjan novels aren’t ones that I can sit down and read in one sitting. I thought that a PI novel might be different but it’s not. Because of his writing style, I have to slow down to read his stories to get everything out of them (not necessarily a bad thing).

If you’re a fan of hard-boiled PI novels, you’ll want to check out Dirty Old Town.

Excerpt

The phone rang. Not that I heard it at first, but Delilah, who was lying next to me, kicked me in the ribs. Good thing she did because a call, no matter what the hour, meant business, and my cat had a better sense of finances than I did. Rent was overdue on the apartment, and we were living out of my office in downtown Boston to avoid my landlord in the South End. The phone trilled.

Again, and again, it rang.

I staggered through the darkness to the desk and picked up the receiver. Out of spite I didn’t say a word. I’d let the caller who’d ruined my sleep start the conversation.

“Mr. Shane Cleary?” a gruff voice asked.

“Maybe.”

The obnoxious noise in my ear indicated the phone had been handed to someone else. The crusty voice was playing operator for the real boss.

“Shane, old pal. It’s BB.”

Dread as ancient as the schoolyard blues spread through me. Those familiar initials also made me think of monogrammed towels and cufflinks. I checked the clock.

“Brayton Braddock. Remember me?”

“It’s two in the morning, Bray. What do you want?”

Calling him Bray was intended as a jab, to remind him his name was one syllable away from the sound of a jackass. BB was what he’d called himself when we were kids, because he thought it was cool. It wasn’t. 

He thought it made him one of the guys. It didn’t, but that didn’t stop him. Money creates delusions. Old money guarantees them.

“I need your help.”

“At this hour?”

“Don’t be like that.”

“What’s this about, Bray?”

Delilah meowed at my feet and did figure eights around my legs. My gal was telling me I was dealing with a snake, and she preferred I didn’t take the assignment, no matter how much it paid us. But how could I not listen to Brayton Braddock III? I needed the money. Delilah and I were both on a first-name basis with Charlie the Tuna, given the number of cans of Starkist around the office. Anyone who told you poverty was noble is a damn fool.

“I’d rather talk about this in person, Shane.”

I fumbled for pen and paper.

“When and where?”

“Beacon Hill. My driver is on his way.”

“But—”

I heard the click. I could’ve walked from my office to the Hill. I turned on the desk light and answered the worried eyes and mew. “Looks like we both might have some high-end kibble in our future, Dee.”

She understood what I’d said. Her body bumped the side of my leg. She issued plaintive yelps of disapproval. The one opinion I wanted, from the female I trusted most, and she couldn’t speak human.

“Tell me more about this situation you have.”

“Quite simple, really. Someone in my company is blackmailing me.”

“And which company is that?”

“Immaterial at the moment. Please do take a seat.”

I declined his attempt at schmooze. This wasn’t social. This was business.

“If you know who it is,” I said, “and you want something done about it, I’d recommend the chauffeur without reservation, or is it that you’re not a hundred percent sure?”

I approached Bray and leaned down to talk right into his face. I did it out of spite. One of the lessons I’d learned is that the wealthy are an eccentric and paranoid crowd. Intimacy and germs rank high on their list of phobias.

“I’m confident I’ve got the right man.” Brayton swallowed some of his expensive liquor.

“Then go to the police and set up a sting.”

“I’d like to have you handle the matter for me.”

“I’m not muscle, Brayton. Let’s be clear about that. You mean to say a man of your position doesn’t have any friends on the force to do your dirty work?”

“Like you have any friends there?”

I threw a hand onto each of the armrests and stared into his eyes. Any talk about the case that bounced me off the police force and into the poorhouse soured my disposition. I wanted the worm to squirm.

“Watch it, Bray. Old bones ought to stay buried. I can walk right out that door.”

“That was uncalled for, and I’m sorry,” he said. “This is a clean job.”

Unexpected. The man apologized for the foul. I had thought the word “apology” had been crossed out in his family dictionary. I backed off and let him breathe and savor his brandy.

I needed the job. The money. I didn’t trust Bray as a kid, nor the man the society pages said saved New England with his business deals and largesse.

I didn’t say I’d accept the job. I wanted Braddock to simmer and knew how to spike his temperature.

I let Bray Braddock cook. If he could afford to drink centennial grape juice then he could sustain my contempt. I gulped his cognac to show what a plebe I was, and handed the glass back to Cat with a wink. She walked to the bar and poured herself another splash, while I questioned my future employer. “Has this blackmailer made any demands? Asked for a sum?”

“None,” Braddock answered.

“But he knows details about your acquisition?” I asked.

“He relayed a communication.”

Braddock yelled out to his butler, who appeared faster than recruits I’d known in Basic Training. The man streamed into the room, gave Braddock two envelopes, and exited with an impressive gait. Braddock handed me one of the envelopes.

I opened it. I fished out a thick wad of paperwork. Photostats. Looking them over, I saw names and figures and dates. Accounting.

“Xeroxes,” Braddock said. “They arrived in the mail.”

“Copies? What, carbon copies aren’t good enough for you?”

“We’re beyond the days of the hand-cranked mimeograph machine, Shane. My partners and I have spared no expense to implement the latest technology in our offices.”

I examined pages. “Explain to me in layman’s terms what I’m looking at, the abridged version, or I’ll be drinking more of your brandy.”

The magisterial hand pointed to the decanter. “Help yourself.”

“No thanks.”

“Those copies are from a ledger for the proposed deal. Keep them. Knowledgeable eyes can connect names there to certain companies, to certain men, which in turn lead to friends in high places, and I think you can infer the rest. Nothing illegal, mind you, but you know how things get, if they find their way into the papers. Yellow journalism has never died out.”

I pocketed the copies. “It didn’t die out, on account of your people using it to underwrite the Spanish-American War. If what you have here is fair-and-square business, then your problem is public relations—a black eye the barbershops on Madison Ave can pretty up in the morning. I don’t do PR, Mr. Braddock. What is it you think I can do for you?”

“Ascertain the identity of the blackmailer.”

“Then you aren’t certain of…never mind. And what do I do when I ascertain that identity?”

“Nothing. I’ll do the rest.”

“Coming from you, that worries me, seeing how your people have treated the peasants, historically speaking.”

Brayton didn’t say a word to that.

“And that other envelope in your lap?” I asked.

The balding halo on the top of his head revealed itself when he looked down at the envelope. Those sickly lips parted when he faced me. I knew I would hate the answer. Cat stood behind him. She glanced at me then at the figure of a dog chasing a rabbit on the carpet.

“Envelope contains the name of a lead, an address, and a generous advance. Cash.”

Brayton tossed it my way. The envelope, fat as a fish, hit me. I caught it.

About the Author

Gabriel is the author of two series, Roma and Company Files, with Winter Goose Publishing. Dirty Old Town is the first in the Shane Cleary series for Level Best Books. His short stories have appeared online, in journals, and in several anthologies. He has been a finalist for the Fish Prize, shortlisted for the Bridport Prize, and received an Honorable Mention for the Nero Wolfe Black Orchid Novella Contest in 2018. You can find him on Twitter (@GValjan) and Instagram (gabrielvaljan). He lurks the hallways at crime fiction conferences, such as Bouchercon, Malice Domestic, and New England Crime Bake. Gabriel is a lifetime member of Sisters in Crime.

Catch Up With Gabriel Valjan On:
GabrielValjan.comGoodreadsBookBubInstagramTwitter, & Facebook!

Giveaway

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Gabriel Valjan. There will be one (1) winner. The winner will receive an Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on March 1, 2020 and runs through May 2, 2020. Void where prohibited.

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Tour Participants

03/03 Review @ Book Reviews From an Avid Reader
03/04 Showcase @ Eclectic Moods
03/05 Interview @ Mythical Books
03/07 Interview @ A Blue Million Books
03/08 Showcase @ Just 4 My Books
03/20 Review/showcase @ Our Town Book Reviews
03/23 Guest post @ Nesies Place
03/25 Interview @ Quiet Fury Books
03/26 Interview @ Just Books
04/03 Showcase @ Lauras Interests
04/05 Showcase @ EienCafe
04/09 Review/showcase @ CMash Reads
04/15 Review @ Bound 4 Escape
04/18 Review @ Diane Reviews Books
04/20 Guest post @ The Book Divas Reads
04/20 Showcase @ Im Into Books
04/24 Interview @ Jersey Girl Book Reviews
04/28 Interview @ Blog Talk Radio
04/28 Review @ Just Reviews
04/30 Showcase @ Teatime and Books

Book Review: Charms & Firearms by Trixie Silvertale

Mitzy Moon plans to take a break from snooping and learn to ski. And after receiving a mysterious gift from her travel companion she feels light as a feather. But her heart goes stiff as a board when she faceplants into a corpse.

Racing back to the bookshop to consult her otherworldly helpers, Mitzy is horrified to discover her meddling Ghost-ma is missing. Her spoiled feline seems to ignore her pleas and her alchemist attorney isn’t answering either. She can’t decide if she’s lost her powers or her mind…

Can Mitzy solve a murder without her extra sensory perceptions, or will one misstep put her in the killer’s crosshairs?

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

I read the first four books in this series, and I really enjoyed them, so I was happy to read this book when it was available.

Mitzy Moon seems to attract trouble. She has some psychic gifts, though, that she’s slowly learning to use. They can often get her out of trouble, and I’m curious what else she’ll be finding out she can do.

Mitzy finally has a family since she inherited her grandmother’s bookstore. She’s getting to know Grams in her ghostly form and is finally getting to know her father. The more Mitzy Moon books I read, the more I enjoy the characters. Mitzy is clumsy, smart, and hilarious. Grams is a force of nature and has learned to move things, so she’s now able to communicate via writing with Silas. Silas is Mitzy’s lawyer and mentor who is helping her learn about her gifts.

The one unlikeable character who has been in all of the books so far is Rory Bombay. Mitzy is attracted to him but Grams doesn’t trust him at all. I’m with Grams; I never liked him even when he was giving Mitzy gifts and pouring on the charm. Is it finally time for her to learn her lesson? And then there’s the hot sheriff. He and Mitzy would make the perfect couple…

When Mitzy literally stumbles across a body in the woods near a ski lodge, she’s warned by the sheriff to let the professionals look into it. She hasn’t done so thus far, so I’m sure he knows that won’t stop her snooping. Mitzy has her hands full between having her gifts locked, being locked in a basement, and running into a ghost that’s not Grams. Will she and/or the sheriff find out who the murderer is?

These books are quick and fun reads. Each book builds on the last ones and they’ve become must-reads for me. I definitely recommend Charms & Firearms, as well as the other books in the series. I can’t wait for the next Mitzy Moon mystery!

About the Author

Trixie Silvertale grew up reading an endless supply of Lillian Jackson Braun, Hardy Boys, and Nancy Drew novels. She loves the amateur sleuths in cozy mysteries and is obsessed with all things paranormal. Those two passions unite in her Mitzy Moon Mysteries, and she’s thrilled to write them and share them with you.

When she’s not consumed by writing, she bakes to fuel her creative engine and tends to her herb garden.

Website: http://www.trixiesilvertale.com

Book Review: The Man Who was Death by Pat Herbert

Dave Allison is a man with a secret, several secrets, none of them pleasant.

The year is 1968. The Reverend Paltoquet takes on the handsome Dave as his gardener to tend the graveyard as well as the vicarage gardens, and very soon he has the female population in a tizzy, not least among them the vicar’s usually imperturbable housekeeper, Mrs Harper. To outward appearances, he has everything going for him, but there is a dark side to his character. He has the ability to see people’s auras, and whenever he sees a black one around a person’s head, he knows that person will die.

Four years prior to working for the vicar of St Stephen’s in the borough of Wandsworth, he was employed as gardener to Lord and Lady Mountjoy at Mountjoy Court in a small Kent village. Following the demise of the lord of the manor in suspicious circumstances and the equally suspicious death of Lady Mountjoy’s lover, Paul Brierley, Dave is forced to leave and pick up any odd jobs he can to survive.

So, with his new family, he sets up home in Tooting and is soon working in and around the area, and this is when he comes to the attention of Bernard Paltoquet who is looking to replace his old gardener who is well past retirement age.

Dave is popular everywhere he goes, especially with the women, but he is a married man now with a little boy on whom he dotes. But back into his life comes Lady Mountjoy and with her his sordid past rears its ugly head.

Dr Robbie MacTavish, Bernard’s close friend, falls for the charms of Lady Mountjoy when she appears on the scene, unaware that she is a cold-blooded killer.

Slowly the story of Dave and Lady Mountjoy unravels, culminating in both getting their just desserts.

Titles in the Reverend Paltoquet Mystery Series are:

The Bockhampton Road Murders
Haunted Christmas
The Possession of November Jones
The Witches of Wandsworth
So Long at the Fair
The Man Who Was Death
The Dark Side of the Mirror 

Amazon.UK * Amazon.com

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free copy from the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

This is the sixth book in the Reverend Paltoquet series. I’ve read them all and enjoy them. They have a bit of a dark side and a touch of paranormal along with some quirky regular characters. The other characters in The Man Who Was Death are rather pitiful.

The regulars: Bernie (Reverend Paltoquet) can be a bit selfish, but he usually realizes that and tries to change and be more Christian-like. Robbie is a good doctor and believes himself to be a ladies’ man. My favorite recurring character is Mrs. Aitch. She seems cantankerous, but those close to her know that she’s got a big heart. I love that she speaks her mind no matter the consequences.

The other characters in The Man Who Was Death include Lord Mountjoy, his wife, his housekeeper, and his gardener. Theirs is a tragic story but it was hard for me to feel sorry the Mountjoys. They not only ruin their lives but the lives of the housekeeper and gardener as well. The gardener, Jed, is the one to pity the most. He is a good man, but death is always nearby. He loses his parents at a young age, and that’s just the beginning of his grief. What makes it worse is that he can see a black aura around someone if they’re going to die.

The ending was quite a surprise although it was the right ending for this book. I definitely recommend the Reverend Paltoquet books. They do stand alone but I enjoy them even more because I feel like I know the main characters well.

Book Review & Giveaway: The Nutcracker Conspiracy by Lauren Carr

“Lauren Carr definitely has a winner here! In her new Thorny Rose series, Kill and Run steps up several levels into an exciting category all its own. It’s thriller, cold case, mystery suspense, and police procedural, all rolled into one exciting novel. Set amidst the political drama that comes with Washington DC and the Pentagon, a current multiple murder becomes a search years in the past. With a young, hot lieutenant assigned to NCIS, and his beautiful new wife, you have all the makings of a bestseller.” – Reviewer: Merry Citarella, Mystery Suspense Reviews

Book Title:  The Nutcracker Conspiracy (A Thorny Rose Mystery #4) by Lauren Carr
Category:  Adult Fiction (18 +),  388 pages
Genre:  Mystery
Publisher:  Acorn Book Services
Release date:   January 30, 2020

Content Rating:  PG-13 (Lauren Carr’s books are murder mysteries, so there are murders involved. Occasionally, a murder will happen on stage. There is sexual content, but always behind closed doors. Some mild swearing (a hell or a damn few and far between). No F-bombs!

Book Description

Three years ago, the nation gasped in horror when the President of the United States barely escaped an assassination attempt that left two dead—the vice president’s wife and the attempted assassin.  Even after numerous investigations proved otherwise, conspiracy theorists argue that the assassin was acting on orders from the CIA, FBI, and every federal agency within a hundred miles of the capital.

Aspiring Author Dean Conway is the last person Lieutenant Commander Murphy Thornton wants to spend his Saturday afternoon when they end up at the same wedding reception table. While their wives tend to bridesmaid duties, Murphy is trapped listening to Dean’s latest work-in-project—completing the manuscript of an investigative journalist who’d disappeared months earlier.

“She was number twelve,” Dean says.

“Twelve?” Murphy asks.

“Twelve witnesses connected to or investigating The Nutcracker shooting have died either in an accident or suicide.”

Two days later, Dean dies suddenly―but not before sending a text message to Murphy:

 “13”

Buy the Book:
Pre-Order Your Copy Today!
Scheduled release date is Jan 30, 2020!
Amazon.com 

BookBub ~ Add to Goodreads

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

I have read several of Lauren Carr’s books, and I always enjoy them, but this is my favorite so far. I like her humor, and I usually smile or giggle several times when reading one of her books, but The Nutcracker Conspiracy made me actually laugh out loud several times. While there was humor, there was plenty of mystery and drama with several twists.

The book starts with an assassination attempt of the president gone wrong. According to the Nutcracker Conspiracy, several people wanted the president dead so the vice president could take over and the FBI, CIA, and other government agencies were in on it. But the vice president’s wife is the one who ends up dead. When 12 other people end up dead, several supposedly in accidents, it looks like maybe the Nutcracker Conspiracy is true…or is there more to it? Murphy ends up investigating the deaths and what a ride!

I definitely recommend The Nutcracker Conspiracy. It does stand alone but I got more out of it having read previous books in the this series and other series in which the characters cross over.

About the Author

Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, Chris Matheson Cold Case, and Thorny Rose Mysteries—over twenty-five titles across three fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!

Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr’s seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, crime fiction, police procedurals, romance, and humor.

​A popular speaker, Lauren is also the owner of Acorn Book Service, the umbrella under which falls iRead Book Tours. She lives with her husband and two spoiled rotten German Shepherds on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Connect with the author: Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook  ~  Instagram

Giveaway

Prize: ​ $50 Amazon Gift Card courtesy of Lauren Carr, author of THE NUTCRACKER CONSPIRACY  (ends March 6)

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/518e728427/?

Book Review: Rough Way to the High Way by Kelly Mack McCoy

Pastor turned long-haul trucker, Mack, struggles with grief and perceived failures as a minister while he is confronted with a mysterious hitchhiker, smugglers, and a determined killer. After an unbearable tragedy strikes his life, he sells everything he owns and buys a new Peterbilt truck, returning to the trade he learned decades earlier.

Hoping for some windshield therapy and peace of mind behind the wheel of his new rig, Mack gets neither after God nudges him to pick up a hitchhiker near the Jordan State Prison outside Mack’s childhood home of Pampa, Texas.

When his world is ripped apart, he seeks to run away from it all, going as far as to cut off communication with all but a handful of people. But he is pursued by God, who will not let him go. Unbeknownst to Mack, God is equipping His servant with tools to handle events his past education and experience could never have prepared him for.

The story unfolds as the hitchhiker enters Mack’s Peterbilt. The man reminds Mack of his father, a hard living, hard drinking oilfield roughneck who died in prison. God begins to do a work in Mack’s heart while Mack seeks to minister to his new passenger. But Mack soon rues the day he let the hitchhiker into his truck.

His old life in ruins now, Mack learns he has angered a new enemy who threatens to destroy his life on the road as well. Mack suspects he is being followed and is in the sights of a killer who plots a revenge no one could have seen coming.

God works His mysterious way in Mack’s life steamroller-style all the way to an ending that will leave the reader thinking about it long after reading The End at the bottom of the last page.

Rough Way to the High Way is the first of a series of novels about Mack’s adventures on the road as lives are transformed through his new ministry. The first life to be transformed as Rough Way to the High Way develops appears to be that of the hitchhiker. But God is working in Mack’s life all along, preparing him for a new ministry that will transform lives across the country.

Amazon

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free copy from the author through Book Sirens. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Mack has decided he needs some “windshield time” after he loses his wife. He’s told it was suicide, but he’s convinced it was murder. The former pastor still lets God guide him through life, which is more than evident throughout his story. No matter what curve ball is thrown at him, Mack is able to handle it through faith and determination. He’s able to analyze events and is often one stop ahead of the authorities. It’s a good thing he’s working with them.

I enjoyed the names that Mack gives various people he comes across: Officer Pipe Cleaner, G-man, Officer Smiley, Mr. Tire Man, etc. I also liked the author’s writing style. It was fast reading with constant action. The one thing that irritated me was that everyone called him “driver.”

If you’re looking for a book that is good for your soul, look no further. This is a good first novel by the author, and I look forward to reading more of his work.

About the Author

Kelly Mack McCoy is a semi (pun intended) retired truck driver turned author. He spent most of his career behind the wheel of an eighteen-wheeler traveling extensively through forty-eight states gathering a lifetime of material for his books. Rough Way to the High Way is his first novel and the first in a series of novels about the adventures of trucker turned pastor turned trucker Mack McClain.

Book Review: Hidden by Pat Herbert

The year is 1935. Art connoisseur-cum-private investigator Felix Underwood is asked to find out what happened to Reggie Soper, a young solicitor who disappeared without trace 15 years previously.

Determined to help Charlotte Soper find her missing father, his investigations take him from the comfort of his Bond Street art emporium to the wilds of Yorkshire where he finds his presence among the village locals not entirely welcome.

Undaunted by the wall of silence surrounding him, he continues his search, finding a friend and help meet in Mavis, the landlady of the inn where he lodges. Together, they uncover a nightmare; the full horror of which nothing has prepared them for.

Amazon

My Review

I have read several of Pat Herbert’s books but this one is my favorite so far.

Poor Reggie Soper has a run of bad luck once he meets Charlie Feathers, scoundrel, liar, and cheater. Reggie has every reason to dislike the man but has no idea how bad of a person Charlie truly is. I was horrified at how far things progressed because of Charlie.

It’s a shame that Elsa doesn’t have more faith in her husband, especially since she knows how he feels about his daughter. Elsa is one of those characters you can’t help but dislike. She could have prevented the horrific events that would take place.

Years later, when Reggie’s daughter Charlotte begins looking for him, it’s amazing how quickly things come together after she hires Felix Underwood. Given the darkness that reigned throughout the book, I was more than satisfied with the ending. This is definitely a book I recommend.

About the Author

Pat Herbert lives in London, England and works as an administrator and receptionist at a private health clinic. She worked previously as PA to the Managing Director of Thomson Books before they were taken over by Penguin. This is her 17th novel. In her novels, Pat likes to include all the hallmarks of British suspense thrillers including unpredictable characters, dark deeds, misdirection and misunderstandings, and at times, a touch of the mysterious.