Book Review: Swimming Alone by Nina Mansfield

The Sea Side Strangler is on the loose in Beach Point, where fifteen-year-old Cathy Banks is spending the summer with her aunt (who happens to be mystery writer Roberta McCabe). Although thrilled to be away from her psychotic, divorcing parents, with no cell phone or internet access, Cathy is positive that her summer is going to be wretched. Just when she begins to make friends, and even finds a crush to drool over, her new friend Lauren vanishes. When a body surfaces in Beach Point Bay, Cathy is forced to face the question: has the Sea Side Strangler struck again? 

Amazon

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.

Poor Cathy is planning on having a rough summer even though she’s staying in a beach town with her aunt. Her parents are going through a divorce, she has no cell phone, and her aunt has no internet access or even a TV! It was hard for me to believe that Cathy’s parents would send her there without a phone when they were surely feeling guilty. Fortunately, Cathy finds a part-time job and makes some quick friends. But one of her friends soon disappears, and Cathy is forced to face the real possibility that a serial killer has snatched her.

Cathy is brave! There’s a serial killer on the loose who kills girls who look like her, but she still goes out on her own to find her friend Lauren.

Swimming Alone is a mystery with a tad of suspense that young adults who like mysteries will enjoy. It even has a surprise ending.

About the Author

Nina Mansfield is a Greenwich, Connecticut based author, playwright, blogger, teacher and mother. Her debut young adult mystery novel, SWIMMING ALONE, was published by Fire & Ice YA in 2015.

Nina has written numerous plays, which have been produced throughout United States and internationally. Her plays are published by Smith & Kraus, One Act Play Depot, Original Works Publishing and YouthPLAYS. Her short mystery fiction has appeared in ELLERY QUEEN MYSTERY MAGAZINE and MYSTERICAL-E.

Nina is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, the Short Mystery Fiction Society, the Dramatists Guild and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She is a graduate of Vanderbilt University and NYU.

In addition to writing, Nina enjoys reading, seeing theater, practicing yoga, traveling, cooking and spending time with her husband and daughter.

Website http://www.ninamansfield.com
Twitter NinaJMansfield

New Release

Summonsed to the sleepy village of Hingemont, Imogen slowly unravels the secrets that led to the untimely death of her grandmother. Relationships are strained and mysteries abound as suspicion falls on some innocent and incredulous locals. A missing key, an illicit affair, an angry child and an irascible old lady pepper these pages with possibilities as the villagers close ranks to support and protect those that ‘belong’. Set in present-day England’s rural East Midlands, the story winds as slowly as the country lanes dictate and it is only when the Snail finally reveals its secret that the mystery is solved.

About the Author:

Janet Ollerenshaw is a retired English & Music teacher and mother of seven children. She has lived in Hertfordshire for most of her life and has been involved with Scouting, animals and arts and crafts alongside her teaching career.  She writes for pleasure and enjoys word-craft, so her writing can be prosaic at times as she feels the experience of reading should be more than just a good story, rather like a fine wine, which touches senses other than simply taste and satisfaction and which lasts the test of time.

Janet has a Masters in Educational Research from Cambridge and studied with the Open University for her first Degree in Humanities with Music and English Language. She does seasonal work as an exam marker for Edexcel and for the Cambridge International Exam board.  Janet previously published the “Turning” series of novels entitled “Inside Out”, “Upside Down” and “Back to Front”.

Excerpt

 “For a while she pondered who had called her. It had been so unexpected that she had only briefly registered a woman’s voice, the words ‘murder’, ‘hysterics’ and ‘blood’ and was relying on her phone’s records for further details about the caller. There would be time to investigate that once the immediate issues were dealt with.

Whilst Charlie sat rocking back and forth on the headstone, she walked carefully round the churchyard, keeping him in her sight at all times. That meant that she couldn’t go to the far side of the church and so did not see the tyre tracks in the mud by the main, gated entrance to the small car park. Neither did she see the discarded purse where it lay amongst the brambles in the hedgerow but on returning to her position near Charlie’s headstone, what she did see was an extraordinary procession advancing towards her. From her left approached a figure in a motorised wheelchair and from her right, a walking stick wielding lady accompanied by a small boy. As they drew nearer and turned in through the lych-gate, all three were shouting and gesticulating wildly; the two ladies appeared to be arguing vociferously, about what she had no idea, and the small boy was excitedly gabbling about witches and school teachers.”

Secret of the Snail is available in paperback and can be ordered from Amazon at:

This novel is also available to download as an e-book from Amazon at:

Press/Media Contact Details:

Janet Ollerenshaw’s Literary Agent: 

Darin Jewell, Managing Director, The Inspira Group Literary Agency, 5 Bradley Road, Enfield, England EN3 6ES

Tel. UK +208 292 5163
E-mail: darin@theinspiragroup.com

Book Review: Into the Void by Christina O’Reilly

How easy is it for a man to simply disappear?

When rural banker Richard Harper is reported missing, DSS John (Archie) Baldrick and DC Ben Travers are drawn into the tangled details of the man’s life. Would Harper really have chosen to leave his seriously ill wife, and abandon his pregnant girlfriend? Or is there a real threat behind the abusive emails he’d been receiving from desperate clients in the wake of the Global Financial Crisis?

On the home front, Archie’s marriage is rocky and his two teenage daughters are giving him all sorts of trouble. The frail but beautiful Helena Harper and her magnificent house offer an oasis of calm as Archie struggles to discover who is responsible for her husband’s disappearance. Has he really been abducted, tortured or killed? Or is Richard Harper himself behind everything that has happened?

Archie and Travers ultimately face a race against time as the case descends into a bewildering morass of obsession, violence and murder.

Longlisted for the 2019 Michael Gifkins Memorial Prize for an Unpublished Novel

Finalist in the 2020 Ngaio Marsh Awards for Best First Novel

Purchase Links

US – https://www.amazon.com/Into-Void-Christina-OReilly-ebook/dp/B08529J3DY

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Into-Void-Christina-OReilly-ebook/dp/B08529J3DY

Or readers can email Christina via her website www.christinaoreilly.com or her Facebook page Christina O’Reilly – Author for a paperback copy.

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.

Archie and Travers are working on a missing person case. Richard Harper went on a business trip and never returned. Has he been murdered or kidnapped or did he decide he wanted to start a new life?

There are several suspects in this case including Richard since he could have disappeared on purpose. The number of leads and suspects and twists made this story interesting. Unfortunately, I wasn’t too surprised once the disappearance was solved.

Archie’s family life is troublesome, and I felt sorry for him. He’s a patient man, and I was impressed at how he was able to keep his cool with his wife and his girls. I hope there will be more books with Archie in the future. This is the type of book that could be made into a series not only because there are always crimes to solve, but his ongoing family problems keep him interesting.

About the Author

Christina is an author and proofreader living in the Waikato region of New Zealand. Several of her short stories have been published in anthologies, most recently in Fresh Ink: A Collection of Voices from Aotearoa New Zealand 2019. Into the Void is her first crime novel and was longlisted for the Michael Gifkins Memorial Prize in 2019. It is also a finalist in the 2020 Ngaio Marsh Awards for Best First Novel.

Social Media Links – https://www.facebook.com/Christina-OReilly-Author-102419694721372/?modal=admin_todo_tour

Book Review: The Right Hand Rule by R.M. Clark

Amy, Amanda, Marshall, and Ziggy expect their middle school to be empty on Saturday morning so they can get ready for the regional science fair. They don’t expect a botched experiment to attract a horde of time-displaced ancient Mayans when their unusual science advisor, Frederick Froth, goes missing.

The four must use their unique science skills and work together as they grapple with a Mayan god, the Dark Rift, and the principles of science to rescue Mr. Froth.

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.

Four of the school’s brightest students have been chosen to go to the regional science fair. When they arrive at the school on Saturday to work on their projects, Mr. Froth, the science teacher, is nowhere to be found. He has set up an experiment for them in which they will have to apply all of the skills that they learned from their projects to find him.

The experiment seems to be going well until it doesn’t. The students not only need to use their skills, but they need to learn to work together as a group. That’s not so easy when Amy is not as cooperative as they’d like.

The characters are likeable, even Amy eventually. Ziggy, Amanda, and Marshall work hard to figure out the clues left by Mr. Froth. When things go wrong, they have to depend on the scientific method they learned from Mr. Froth to get the desired conclusion.

Middle grade readers who are interested in science will particularly like The Right Hand Rule. There is scientific information included within the story, as well as information about the Mayans (Mr. Froth’s current interest). And it has an ending that is a surprise!

About the Author

R. M. Clark is a computer scientist for the Dept. of Navy by day and children’s book writer by night. He lives in Massachusetts with his wife and two sons. He is currently at work on his latest middle grade novel. Visit his author site: http://www.rmclarkauthor.com

Book Review: The Dance by Mike Faricy

The Dance is a Novella in the highly entertaining Dev Haskell series. Dev, along with his golden retriever, Morton, are hired by a woman to investigate her former daughter-in-law, but all is not as it seems. Turns out there are trust fund issues and Dev begins to learn a lot more than he ever expected.

Goodreads

Amazon

My Review

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

Dev Haskell is a P.I. who is currently down on his luck. He’s a womanizer but he behaves himself in The Dance. In fact, he does something so sweet that it brought tears to my eyes.

Dev also gets a case that his client (a woman he can’t stand) wants solved in three days. He does solve it but not quite with the results his client was hoping for. I love this guy!

This novella is short but still has a good story. There are a few unanswered questions, though, that I would have liked answered.

About the Author

I was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, I still live there as well as in Dublin, Ireland. I’ve been a soldier, freelance journalist, tended bar, sold designer cakes, owned a painting and decorating company along with a number of other schemes and scams. If that doesn’t offend you I also play bagpipes with the Brian Boru Irish Pipe Band. All my books stand alone, read them in whatever order you wish. They are filled with the sort of oddballs we are all curious about, but wisely, prefer to keep at a distance. None of my characters will be saving the world from terrorism, international banking conspiracies or coups to take over the government. Rather, they inhabit a world just below the surface of polite society, characters with one foot on either side of the law. The circumstances they find themselves in are usually due to bad decisions, but bad decisions lead to interesting stories. They serve not so much as an example but as a warning to us all. Thanks for taking the time, happy reading.

Audiobook Review: Wombat & Jones: The Great Banana Mystery by Arran Francis

Wombat and Jones are excited to attend the famous Boris Beaker’s banana bread baking class and like many other friends in town they can’t wait to get to work on making scrumptious banana bread. However, there’s just one problem — before class gets underway, Boris discovers that all of the bananas have gone missing!

Boris Beaker and his disappointed students know there is no chance they can make banana bread without this key ingredient, but Wombat isn’t willing to give up that easily. Putting her investigative skills to the test, she gets help from her trusty sidekick — Furlock Jones — and together they attempt to solve The Great Banana Mystery.

Written by author Arran Francis, creator of multiple series for BBC’s CBeebies Radio, Wombat & Jones: The Great Banana Mystery is a funny tale about friendship, problem-solving, and teamwork. Simple mistakes and jumping to conclusions can happen after all, but Wombat & Jones try their best to put it right and learn from them. 

Where to get it:

https://www.wombatandjones.org/thegreatbananamystery

It can be streamed or borrowed from libraries too.

My Review

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

What a cute story! It’s written for children, but adults will enjoy listening to it as well. It’s pretty short but lots of fun.

When bananas and a monkey go missing at the same time, Wombat and Jones know that they can hunt down the missing bananas…and maybe the missing monkey who is the prime suspect. Wombat and Jones go on an amusing adventure as they search for the missing bananas. The baking class can’t make banana bread without them!

As soon as I began listening to this story, I recognized the narrator as one of my favorites from another series. That made it even better.

Wombat & Jones: The Great Banana Mystery would be a fun activity for children during these long summer months.

About the Author

Arran Francis is the creator of multiple series for BBC’s CBeebies Radio and has worked as an audiobook producer on behalf of MacMillan Audio, Audible and Harper Collins. He launched Wombat and Jones Audio in 2019 with the aim of writing children’s novels to be released exclusively in audiobook format.

The audiobooks for the Daisy May’s Daydream Parade and Wombat & Jones series were released last summer with further books in the series and standalone titles being scheduled for publication in 2020.

Social Media Links

www.facebook.com/wombatandjones

www.twitter.com/wombatandjones

www.instagram.com/wombatandjones

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Book Review & Giveaway: Murphy Murphy and the Case of Serious Crisis by Keith Hirshland

Murphy Murphy and the Case of Serious Crisis by Keith Hirshland

Publisher:  Beacon Publishing Group (May 1, 2020)
Category: Mystery, Humor

ISBN: 978-1949472124
Available in Print and ebook, 308 pages

Murphy Murphy comes from a long line of male Murphys. All were named Murphy and all were cops. This Murphy heads the Department of Redundancy Department and his superior officer, Captain David “Dud” Hill has found him a case. The Captain’s niece is in a rock ‘n roll band called Serious Crisis, and it seems items belonging to members of the band have started to disappear.

Were these items stolen? Were they simply lost? As Murphy Murphy works the case, he must chase down the clues all the while dealing with grammatical anomalies that drive him crazy.  As Murphy gets closer to the answers he seeks, one more “thing” goes missing; the Captain’s niece. Suddenly, in an instant, the stakes in the case of Serious Crisis become a lot more dire.

Part Jasper Fforde, part Michael Connelly; Murphy Murphy and the Case of Serious Crisis combines humor, mystery, and grammar goofs as the detective pursues clues and suspects from coast to coast. It’s an entertaining and educational read for all ages.

Amazon
Barnes&Noble
IndieBound

Guest Review by Nora S.

“Yes,” Murphy said, not skipping a beat. “Some examples of redundancy would be ‘foreign imports’, or ‘pair of twins’, or ‘round in shape’, or,” he paused half a beat and made sure Turrell was paying attention, ‘serious crisis’”. Turrell was indeed paying attention and gave the detective a warm, broad, smile. “Now why don’t you tell me what was stolen from you and when.”

Murphy Murphy is a simple man. He likes the music of Mozart and a good cup of Darjeeling tea. He hates redundancies in any form, particularly in patterns of speech. He is a detective, and a good one, luckily for the characters in this book.
See, there is this band called Serious Crisis and they have had some items go missing lately. Little things at first, like a lighter or a corkscrew. Both of those things were absurdly expensive but not nearly as worrying as when the disappearances begin escalating and suddenly it’s people that are going missing.

This is where Murphy Murphy comes in. Since one of the band members is the niece of Murphy’s Captain, Murphy is given the case and told to solve it quickly.
However, when things begin to heat up, Murphy finds that his own life might be in danger as well as the lives of those around him.

Readers will love everything about ‘Murphy Murphy and the Case of the Serious Crisis,’ particularly the unanticipated twists of the mystery and the romance between Murphy Murphy and Charlie Carlucci, the bartender at the club where Serious Crisis often performs. I, for one, thought the writing between those two was really witty and cute. Just when you think you have everything figured out in this case, you will find out that you were wrong and there are even more shocking surprises waiting ahead. This book gets 5 stars.

Awards and Recognition for Keith Hirshland

Book Talk Radio Club Memoir of the Year (Cover Me Boys I’m Going In)

New Apple Awards Solo Medalist True Crime Category (Big Flies)

Shelf Abound Award Winner Indie Book Competition (Big Flies)

About the Author

Keith Hirshland is an Emmy Award–winning sports television producer with more than three decades of experience producing live and pre-recorded programs that aired on ESPN and ESPN2. Among the first forty people to be hired by the Golf Channel in 1994, Hirshland was in the middle of the action when that network debuted in 1995. He provided his talents for Golf Channel, as its live tournament producer, for two decades.

Cover Me BoysI’m Going In: Tales of the Tube from a Broadcast Brat is a memoir about his experiences in the television industry. Published by Beacon Publishing Group, Cover Me Boys was recognized as the Book Talk Radio Club Memoir of the Year. Hirshland’s second book, and first work of fiction, Big Flies, was published in 2016 and is the recipient of the New Apple Awards “Solo Medalist” in the True Crime Category. Hirshland followed that success with his third book, The Flower Girl Murder. In 2020 Beacon Publishing Group will release Murphy Murphy and the Case of Serious Crisis, Hirshland’s third mystery novel. All four books are available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other bookstores.

Keith Hirshland lives in Colorado with his wife and two dogs.

Website:  https://www.keithhirshland.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/khhauthor
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KeithHirshlandAuthor/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/khhauthor/?hl=en

Giveaway

This giveaway is for 3 print copies and  is open to the U.S. only.. There will be 3 winners. This giveaway ends August 1, 2020,midnight pacific time. Entries are accepted via Rafflecopter only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway Continue reading

Book Review: Bang by Mike Faricy

A delicious mix of hard-boiled P.I. story, endearing revelation, and a thriller that’ll have you re-checking the locks on your doors. And, of course, in inevitable Dev fashion, Dev’s services aid a luscious beauty who repays his kindness.

Bang gives us a peek at the young Devlin Haskell, before he got to be “that rascal, Dev Haskell”. Truth to tell, we learn that at thirteen he was already a rascal, and exactly how it could have been so much worse! We also meet some creepy characters who’ll find their full expression and come back to haunt our dreams in The Corridor Man series.

Dev Haskell is juggling a shoestring P.I. operation and a long string of Miss Right Nows when his junior high school nightmare walks into his office. It seems the neighborhood bullies have grown up, served their prison time, and resurfaced under the cloak of newfound respectability with bigger threats than taking Dev’s lunch money.

Goodreads

My Review

I chose to read this novella after receiving a free e-copy from the author. You can get a free copy as well at Goodreads! All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Dev Haskell is one of those P.I.s you can’t help but like. He’s a womanizer but he’s smart and he has contacts for just about anything…whether they’re willing to help him or not. When a bully from his past needs his help to find someone, those old feelings come up but he realizes he’s an adult now and won’t let be bullied anymore. Good for him! He does agree to look for the old friend, but does he really want to find him?

This novella is short but still has a good story. The best part is that it introduced me to a new author and a new character and I’m definitely going to have to find some time to read the novels about Dev Haskell!

About the Author

I was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, I still live there as well as in Dublin, Ireland. I’ve been a soldier, freelance journalist, tended bar, sold designer cakes, owned a painting and decorating company along with a number of other schemes and scams. If that doesn’t offend you I also play bagpipes with the Brian Boru Irish Pipe Band. All my books stand alone, read them in whatever order you wish. They are filled with the sort of oddballs we are all curious about, but wisely, prefer to keep at a distance. None of my characters will be saving the world from terrorism, international banking conspiracies or coups to take over the government. Rather, they inhabit a world just below the surface of polite society, characters with one foot on either side of the law. The circumstances they find themselves in are usually due to bad decisions, but bad decisions lead to interesting stories. They serve not so much as an example but as a warning to us all. Thanks for taking the time, happy reading.

Book Review: Fire Sign by M.A. Petterson

A beautiful forensic engineer hiding a tragic past reluctantly teams up with a troubled cop to stop a serial arsonist targeting churches.

Dr. Anja Toussaint believes that her own dreadful youth foretells who the arsonist is and the shocking motive behind the fires. But Detective Gil Dolan stubbornly sets his sights on a white supremacist previously convicted of arson and just released from prison.

Unfortunately, when Anja blocks his efforts the arrogant cop sets his own plan into motion that leads them both into a fiery trap.

* Please note: Fire Sign is a novella and about one quarter the length of regular novel.

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.

Dr. Anja Toussaint is a forensic engineer who, along with Detective Gil Dolan, is investigating fires that are being set in churches. She’s convinced she knows why they’re being set and is determined to find the arsonist.

Fire Sign is a good story with an exciting ending. I like the two main characters even though they rub each other the wrong way. The only thing that disappointed me was that it could have been longer; the case was solved super fast.

Book Review: Swords & Fallen Lords by Trixie Silvertale

A murder in plain sight. A suspect clear as knight. Can this psychic sleuth unhorse the true villain?
Mitzy Moon is no fan of the Renaissance Faire. But her interest is suddenly piqued when a jousting exhibition turns deadly. Following a clue from her magicked mood ring, she’s ready to take up the sword and fight for the realm.

Refusing to heed the handsome sheriff’s warnings, Mitzy dons a wench’s wardrobe and dives into the case. But she’ll need the help of her meddling Ghost-ma and spoiled feline to root out the canker. With doxies, scoundrels, and panderers aplenty, it won’t be easy to ferret out the truth!

Can Mitzy serve up the knave on a pike, or will she find herself on the wrong end of the lance?

Swords and Fallen Lords is the seventh 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 caper.

Buy Swords and Fallen Lords to plunder a whodunit today! 

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 six 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 her father and Grams (in her ghostly form). All of the main characters are unique, flawed, and loveable. Mitzy is clumsy, smart, and hilarious. Grams is a force of nature. Erick, the sheriff may be the closest to perfect any person can get, but that may be because he’s seen through Mitzy’s eyes.

When Mitzy’s first official date with Erick ends in murder, they are both on the case. He’s gotten to the point that he knows she’s going to investigate murders on her own, so she’s now his CI. Mitzy is developing her psychic gifts, and they can often be useful, but she has a hard time explaining where she gets the information from her visions.

I always like the Mitzy Moon stories. They’re laugh out loud funny and suspenseful. I was happy to see Mitzy and the sheriff starting to date…finally! I’m looking forward to number eight!

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