Sunday, November 27, 2016

Guest Post: Author Kate Carlisle talks DECK THE HALLWAYS & Recipe

DECK THE HALLWAYS is my twentieth book, but the first one that's set at Christmas—and I had an absolute blast writing it! Lighthouse Cove is the perfect setting for an idyllic Christmas.

 Imagine how it would feel like stepping back in time, to see those beautiful old homes decked out for Christmas. As DECK THE HALLWAYS begins, contractor Shannon Hammer is ready to take the lead on the largest project ever for the Holiday Homebuilders: they're going to convert a Victorian mansion into apartments for deserving families.

The only fly in the ointment is the irascible banker overseeing the project, a man so obnoxious that he has enemies all over town, including Shannon's dad. Dad came in closer and shoved Potter in the chest. The banker stumbled backward. “One more word against Shannon and I’ll make you sorry you were ever born.” He was as angry as I’d ever seen him and I felt a frisson of fear as I worried about his heart. “Oh, I’m so scared,” Potter whined sarcastically.

 But in typical coward style, he said it while backing toward the door. “You should be scared,” Dad said through clenched teeth. He was still carrying his sharp, new ax and he raised it up to make his point. “If I hear you talking trash about my daughter again, I’ll kill you with my bare hands.” Not long after this scene, Shannon has the bad luck to find another dead body—Potter's.

 The very man her dad threatened in front of dozens of volunteers. She planned for every contingency. . . except murder, her own father a prime suspect. Like many of us, Shannon is busier than ever during the holidays. (Though one hopes that most of us don't have to clear our father's name or track down a killer.)

 Here's a great potluck recipe for a busy person on the go. California Christmas Potatoes – aka California Thanksgiving Potatoes, if you use orange and yellow bell pepper instead of the red (The full recipe is written out at the end of the blog.)

 The ingredients:
 Preheat the oven to 350.

Peel the potatoes and cut into ½-inch chunks. Boil for 8-10 minutes, until tender. While the potatoes are boiling, cut the vegetables. From the bell pepper, cut five slices and set aside, then dice the rest of the pepper.

 From the poblano pepper, use kitchen shears to cut out ten leaves. Set the rest aside for another use. From the olives, set aside fifteen slices to use as the center of the flowers. Dice the rest of the olives, slice the green onions, and mince the cilantro. Mix together the sour cream, taco seasoning, and shredded cheese. Drain the potatoes. Stir together all ingredients except the vegetables set aside to make the flowers.
 Place the mixture in a greased 13x9-inch casserole dish. Form flowers on top. Bake until bubbly and golden brown, about 30 minutes. Enjoy! California Christmas

 Potatoes Ingredients:

6 large baking potatoes
 1 red bell pepper 1 poblano pepper
 16 oz sour cream
 8 oz shredded cheese (Cheddar, Jack, or a combination)
1 packet of taco seasoning
1 small can of sliced olives 4 green onions
 ½ Cup cilantro

 Preheat the oven to 350.
 Peel the potatoes and cut into ½-inch chunks. Boil for 8-10 minutes, until tender.
While the potatoes are boiling, cut the vegetables. From the bell pepper, cut five slices and set aside, then dice the rest of the pepper.
 From the poblano pepper, use kitchen shears to cut out ten leaves. Set the rest aside for another use. From the olives, set aside fifteen slices to use as the center of the flowers.
Dice the rest of the olives, slice the green onions, and mince the cilantro. Mix together the sour cream, taco seasoning, and shredded cheese. Drain the potatoes.





 Stir together all ingredients except the vegetables set aside to make the flowers. Place the mixture in a greased 13x9-inch casserole dish. Form flowers on top. Bake until bubbly and golden brown, about 30 minutes.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Guest Post: Author Ali Brandon :It's No Mystery Why I Write Mysteries

 Diane A.S. Stuckart/Ali Brandon
 Author of TWICE TOLD TAIL: Black Cat Bookshop Mystery #6
You can find Her and Hamlet at:
http://alibrandon.com/
http://www.dianestuckart.com/
https://www.facebook.com/BlackAndMysteriousPanterAndCats/?fref=ts




 IT'S NO MYSTERY WHY I WRITE MYSTERIES

 By the time one has lived a decent number of years on this earth, one’s brain tends to experience the occasional bout of data overload. It’s at that point that—to continue the computer analogy—a person has to de-frag and re-sort her memories, deleting the superfluous in the process.

 But, while that delete function is happening, that’s also when odd memories tend to pop up from the mental ether. We’ve all experienced this. Snippets of random conversations, flashbacks of forgotten vacation spots, recollections of childhood adventures…experiences, good and bad, that we’ve long since consigned to our brain’s recycle bin and haven’t thought of in decades.

 But we all know that in computer terms, recycled doesn’t mean permanently gone. Sometimes while doing a mental search for a pertinent memory, you run across one of these cast-off memories, instead. That’s how I recently came to recall the YA book that I realized helped cement my interest in the mystery genre.
 I’ll digress for a minute to explain that I didn’t begin my career as a mystery writer. Rather, I got my start in the publishing business in the 1980s writing historical romances, penning five books with settings ranging from the Regency era to the Old West. I’d followed the adage of writing what I knew, with what I knew being the historical romantic sagas that I’d spent my high school and college years reading.

 But I always claimed that the reason I transitioned to the mystery genre was because my romances were filled with action/adventure.
 Moreover, they featured dead bodies, hidden treasure, and secret identities all mixed in with the requisite sex scenes. But that’s not the only reason I leaned toward mystery writing.

 As I dig back through the mental archives, I see that many of the books I read during grade school and junior high were mystery novels of some sort. (Though, full confession here, I’m probably the only mystery writer you know who has never read Nancy Drew.)

 I cut my teeth on Encyclopedia Brown’s practically unsolvable puzzles, along with the Bobbsey Twins books, the modern editions of which usually featured a mystery of sorts along with the adventure. Once I hit sixth grade or so, I graduated to the Trixie Belden stories, followed by Phyllis A. Whitney’s young adult mysteries. Most avid readers from my era will recall all these series. But, going back to where we started in this blog post, I bet I can stump you with the vintage title that’s been floating about in my recycles.

 Show of hands -- how many of you remember The Timber Trail Riders series…and, specifically, the book entitled, The Mystery of the Hollywood Horse? Not too many of you, I see. I’m not surprised, since I can’t even recall how I came to own that book. But I remember it as a great pre-teen mystery read. There were no dead bodies, of course, but the storyline included the puzzling disappearance of a valuable equine along with a fun look at the movie-making biz.

 Here’s the plot rundown: Our teenaged protagonist, Peggy—a proficient young horsewoman who belongs to the Timber Trail Riders Club—is staying for the summer in California with her aunt and uncle. She helps coach a teenaged actress who is playing a young Alexander the Great in a film about that famous conqueror, and who needs help with the dangerous riding sequences.

 Not only does Peggy end up riding stunt double (guess back in the 60s, they didn’t worry much about child labor laws and insurance risk), she finds the missing horse, Cinder, who is one of the movie’s major stars. On top of that, she even manages a summertime romance. 

Sound like any cozy mysteries you’ve recently picked up? I don’t recall if I ever read a second book in the Timber Trail Riders series, but I do know that The Mystery of the Hollywood Horse stayed on my personal library shelf until I went off to college. And it still remains in my memory banks as a fun read that crystalized my interest in the mystery genre. The children’s classics are all well and good, but sometimes it’s the off-the-beaten-path books that have the greatest influence on we readers and writers.

 Now, excuse me while I go online to find myself another copy of that book! 

 BIO: ALI BRANDON is the New York Times bestselling author of the Black Cat Bookshop Mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime. This popular cozy series features Hamlet the cat and his transplanted-Texan caretaker, Darla Pettistone. Together, the pair work and sleuth out of Darla’s Brooklyn-based independent bookstore.

 Whenever a murderer is on the prowl, Hamlet and Darla are ready to pounce—and they always manage to collar the killer!

 The sixth book in the series, TWICE TOLD TAIL, hits the shelves on November 

A native Texan with a degree in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma, Ali now lives in South Florida with her hubby, four dogs, and four very spoiled cats. She’s a member of Mystery Writers of America, a former board member of the MWA Florida Chapter, and a member of the Cat Writers’ Association.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Book Review/Giveaway: Better Late Than Never by Jenn McKinlay

 Title: Better Late than Never
 Series: Book 7 A Library Lovers Mystery
 Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
 Format: Hardcover
 Source: Received for review from Publisher
 Rating: 5 out of 5
 Reviewed by: Tina

 Lindsey Norris, the director of Briar Creek Public Library still has not rid herself of her bittinsky ways. The library is having a book amnesty day much to librarian, Mrs.Cole aka "The lemon's" dismay. Lindsay discovers that someone has returned a book twenty years over due, "The Catcher in the Rye" that was checked out my a murdered high school teacher, Candice Whitley.

 Of coarse because of the returned library book, Lindsey investigates to try to find out who returned the book. Was it the killer? Or some random person. All the while there are home invasions and Emma the police chief needs to make that her number one prority. Candice was a well liked teacher and friend and who wanted her dead in this cold case will remain a mystery until Lindsey can find the murderer.

 Lindsey  still has mixed feelings about her relationship with boat captain, Mike"Sully"Sullivan, not wanting to jinx anything and British theater actor, Robbie Vine is still trying to win Lindsey's heart, but don't worry readers it ends well for this fun love triangle.

 The Crafternoon girls of the library are a close-knit group of friends that I am growing to love.Robbie Vine, the British actor brings life to the story but is a thorn in everyone's side. The killer turned out to be someone unexpected but not totally. It was fun trying to figure it out. Better Late than Never had it all, a library, books, great friendships and wouldn't be complete with out Lindsey getting in harms way to solve a murder.

 FTC Disclosure: Thank you to the publisher and/or author or Net Galley for providing us with a copy of this book for review.This did not influence our thoughts in any way. All the opinions of the book are our own.

 Giveaway

 Comment with your email below to win a copy of Better late than Never by Jenn Mckinlay in the comments. If you do not leave your email here on the blog or email acozygirlreads@gmail.com you will be disqualified from winning.

 If you don't want to leave your email here or not able to enter on this blog. Please send an email to acozygirlreads@gmail.com" Better Late than never" giveaway in the subject line.

 Giveaway is open to US Residents only

 The giveaway closes Nov 26 2:00 PM EST Entries will not be counted after Nov 26 2:00 PM EST. The winner will be announced on the blog and Facebook Page and notified by email (don't forget to check your SPAM FOLDER)

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Book Review/Giveaway: Death at First Sight by Lena Gregory

Title: Death At First Sight
 Series: Book 1 A Bay Island Psychic Mystery
 Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
 Format: Paperback
 Source: Received for review from Publisher
 Rating: 3 out of 5
 Reviewed by: Marlene

Book Review

 Cas Donavan has had a rough year but deciding to move back to her small town home of Bay Island from new York seems to be the best option for her. Once she arrives she opens up her little shop Mystical Musings for the tourists as well as the locals. Believing she has an intuition to help guide people but not full blown psychic, she left her psychiatric practice behind for something more practical.

 She will soon find out how much impact her position in the community and the advice she gives can take a role in so many lives. Along with her childhood friend, Stephanie and a new friend, a very flamboyant, Bee they are in the midst of putting together a fashion show to showcase Bee's design's. But when one of the board members for the theatre is found dead and all fingers are pointing at Cass, it will take her and the support of her friends to get her out of this lime light and get the show back on.

 While Cass is trying to clear her name she comes up against the police chief, who she thought was a friend due to the history he had with her father but his hell bent she done it. She'll question herself rigorously since she can come up with plenty of suspects including - one of her own friends, a client's abusive husband and a southern stranger that will make her swoon and question her own sensibilities.

 In the end the real killer will astonish her and leave her in her own state of peril. I found the story very likable and the characters very favorable. The story line and plot twists were entertaining. As or characters, I really enjoyed Bee's outragesness and personality.

 FTC Disclosure: Thank you to the publisher and/or author or Net Galley for providing us with a copy of this book for review.This did not influence our thoughts in any way. All the opinions of the book are our own.

 Giveaway

 Comment with your email below to win a paperback copy of Death at First Sight by Lena Gregory in the comments. If you do not leave your email here on the blog or email acozygirlreads@gmail.com you will be disqualified from winning.

 If you don't want to leave your email here or not able to enter on this blog. Please send an email to acozygirlreads@gmail.com" Death at First Sight giveaway in the subject line.

 Giveaway is open to US Residents  only

 The giveaway closes Nov 21 6:00 PM EST  Entries will not be counted after
6:00 PM  EST Nov 21 6:00 PM EST. The winner will be announced on the blog and Facebook Page and notified by email (don't forget to check your SPAM FOLDER)

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Book Review/Giveaway: A likely Story By Jenn McKinlay

 Title: A likely Story
 Series: Book 6 A Library Lovers Mystery
 Author: Jenn McKinlay
 Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
 Format: paperback
 Source: Received for review from Publisher
 Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
 Reviewed by:Tina

Book Review

 I love libraries, I love being in one, I love sitting to observe and people watch, I go there to get away, a library is like a sancuary to me. I love to read and write there and just enjoy the quiet. That's why i'm such a big fan of Jenn Mckinlay's A library lovers Mysteries. A likely story has to be the best of the series so far.

 Lindsey Norris is the library director of the Briar Creek Public Library in Connecticut. Lindsey has heart and compassion for everyone that's one of the things I enjoy about her. Stewart Rosen is a library patron, along with his brother, Peter who Stewart takes care of they are strange, hermits and they live on an island

 Lindsey takes a water taxi driven by her ex-boyfriend, Mike "Sully" Sullivan to the island to deliver library books to him, Stewart is not there at the dock to meet Lindsey as usual and her and Mike wonder were he is, they venture into their cluttered home to discover they are hoarder. In the kitchen discover Stewart'
s brother, Peter dead and Stewart is missing.

 Could there be problems between the brothers? Could Stewart have killed him? Lindsey comes up with a plan to try to find Stewart by luring him to the library after hours but something goes wrong and all goes to hell in a hand basket. The banter and friendship between Lindsey and co-worker, children's librarian Beth had me in stitches this time around.

 Even, Librarian Mrs Cole and her sourly "Lemon" disposition is sweetening up, what a surprise. The killer was a total surprise, I was wondering who could have possibly wanted Peter dead. Lindsey is a determined woman who always wants to find the truth, just what's not to love about her. Her relationship with Sully is the icing on the cake. I can't wait to read and review the next book in the series, Better Late than Never, Friday November,25 .

 FTC Disclosure: Thank you to the publisher and/or author or Net Galley for providing us with a copy of this book for review.This did not influence our thoughts in any way. All the opinions of the book are our own.

 Giveaway

 Comment with your email below to win a paperback copy of A likely Story by Jenn Mckinlay in the comments.

 If you do not leave your email here on the blog or email acozygirlreads@gmail.com you will be disqualified from winning.

 If you don't want to leave your email here or not able to enter on this blog. Please send an email to acozygirlreads@gmail.com and enter "A likely Story" giveaway in the subject line.

 Giveaway is open to US Residents only

 The giveaway closes Nov 20th 6:00 PM EST Entries will not be counted after 6:00 PM EST Nov 20 . The winner will be announced on the blog and Facebook Page and notified by email (don't forget to check your SPAM FOLDER)

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Book Review/Giveaway: Patroit's Passing by Summer Prescott

Title: Patroit's Passing
 Author : Summer Prescott
 Series: Book 1 A Hawg Heaven Cozy Culinary Mystery
 Publisher: Summer Prescott Books Prescott Books Publishing
 Format: e-book
 Source: Received for review from Author
 Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
 Reviewed by:Tina

 This was such a touching story, that tugged on my heart strings and they will tug on yours too. Rosalyn Channing's husband,Will was killed while on a mission in and along with thirteen year old son, Ryan they have to start life all over again. They head to Rosalyn's home town of North Carolina. On the way they discover a abandoned diner that is for sale.

 Rosalyn soon dreams of buying the diner, her and her supportive mother check it out. Rosalyn opens the diner, renovates and re-names it Hawg Heaven in honor of her late husband. Soon there's a murder in the back field of a young woman and the murder weapon is found in the diner's dumpsters. In this new home town that Rosalyn and Ryan moved to while working in the diner she comes across some tough looking men giving her trouble.

 With an impossible sheriff, Rosalyn gets help from an unlikely source who happens to be a suspect in the woman's death and with her employees having a connection to the murdered young woman Rosalyn remains true to herself till the end.

 I liked Rosalyn from the start, despite the pain and despair she's going through, she remained strong and spunky and dosen't take peoples bull&*!%, that's that I love about her. Tasty food descriptions made this the perfect culinary mystery. With a unique premise that was very refreshing to read. I look forward to reading and reviewing the next book in the series.

 FTC Disclosure: Thank you to the publisher and/or author or Net Galley for providing us with a copy of this book for review.This did not influence our thoughts in any way. All the opinions of the book are our own.

 Giveaway

 Comment with your email below to win kindle e-book copy of Patroit's Passing by Summer Prescott in the comments.

 If you do not leave your email here on the blog or email acozygirlreads@gmail.com you will be disqualified from winning.

 If you don't want to leave your email here or not able to enter on this blog. Please send an email to acozygirlreads@gmail.com and enter "Patroit's Passing" giveaway in the subject line.

 Giveaway is open to kindle readers only

 The giveaway closes Nov 14
12:00 AM EST Entries will not be counted after 12:00 Am EST Nov 14 12:00 AM. The winner will be announced on the blog and Facebook Page and notified by email (don't forget to check your SPAM FOLDER)

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Book Review/Giveaway: A Killer Kebab by Susannah Hardy

Title: A Killer Kebab
 Author : Susannah Hardy
 Series: Book 3 A Greek to Me Mystery
 Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
 Format: Paperback
 Source: Received for review from Publisher
 Rating: 5 out of 5
 Reviewed by:Tina

  Book Review 

 The kitchen is Gerogie Nicolopatos domain and weather she's searching out recipes, or finding the mystery of a Thousand Island dressing recipe or finding stolen fund from a old family trust or being torn between ailing friends and her mother. She is chef at her Greek ex-mother in law's Greek Restaurant, The Bonaparte House in New York.

 Georgie is in the process of getting The Bonaparte House renovated. Among the destruction and demolishion in the restaurants restroom, Georgie happens upon a dead body, covered in blood with a metal stick that looks to be a spit from the restaurant's kitchen jammed into the dead man's head.

 The man is Jim MacNamara, Georgie's divorce lawyer.A ladies man carrying on a extra marital affair with a certain construction worker's wife and he's into dirty dealings that Georgie has now found herself in the middle of and finding who was out for blood.

 A feisty, no-nonsense protagonist that I loved.A perfect restaurant setting and plot. Full of exciting and suspenseful subplots. A killer Kebab will have you screaming Opa! Lots of characters with secret's to keep. A thrilling read, a tearful end and plot twist's I didn't expect.

 FTC Disclosure: Thank you to the publisher and/or author or Net Galley for providing us with a copy of this book for review.This did not influence our thoughts in any way. All the opinions of the book are our own.

 Giveaway 

 Comment with your email below to win a copy of A Killer Kebab by Susannah Hardy in the comments.
 If you do not leave your email here on the blog or email acozygirlreads@gmail.com you will be disqualified from winning.
 If you don't want to leave your email here or not able to enter on this blog.
Please send an email to acozygirlreads@gmail.com and enter A Killer Kebab giveaway in the subject line.
 Giveaway is open to US Residents only

 The giveaway closes Nov 6 12:00 AM EST Entries will not be counted after 12:00 Am EST Nov 6 12:00 AM. The winner will be announced on the blog and Facebook Page and notified by email (don't forget to check your SPAM FOLDER)

LEGAL

All reviews are copyrighted by Tina Diamond and Marlene Patterson. Tina Diamond's reviews also appear at Amazon.com and Goodreads.com.

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