Sunday, June 17, 2018

Tail of the Dragon - Review & Giveaway

Review


TAIL OF THE DRAGON by Connie di Marco
The Third Zodiac Mystery

Office drama is one thing, but people are getting death threats at Meyers, Dade, & Schultz, LLP!

Julia Bonatti gets more than she bargained for when she agrees to help out her former boss by filling in as his secretary for a week. From his astrological chart she knew things at the office were bad, but she never dreamt they were this bad! Her first day on the job one of the lawyers is found murdered in his office. Now Julia's using her skills to discover what exactly is going on and if more people are in danger. Will the stars align to help Julia solve the murder or will she wind up another victim?

Connie di Marco pens a great traditional mystery. A sense of danger permeates the book along with a lot of subterfuge which masks the killer. There are so many suspects, so many motives, and lots of suspicious activities that muddy the waters. So many characters are guilty of so many things, but what impact, if any, does it have on the murder? Yet the author brings everything together to in a remarkable conclusion.

I love the astrological details found in the Zodiac series. I was close when I had an idea as to why Julia kept seeing dragons...I was wrong, but I was close! This series always makes me want to learn more and study my own astrological chart in depth. But the beauty of these books is that you don't need to know anything, or even care about astrology, to enjoy a deftly plotted, sitting on the edge of your seat mystery. Wonderfully drawn characters enrich the story as does the ongoing drama of the loss of Julia's fiance. Indeed that death colors the series and in TAIL OF THE DRAGON we find ourselves one step closer to closure.

TAIL OF THE DRAGON is an edgy mystery that combines astrology and murder to create an engrossing, pulse pounding tale.

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Tail of the Dragon (A Zodiac Mystery) by Connie di Marco

About the Book

 
Cozy Mystery 3rd in Series  
Midnight Ink (August 8, 2018) Paperback: 336 pages 
San Francisco astrologer Julia Bonatti never thought murder would be part of her practice, but when her former boss and current client asks for help she agrees to go undercover at his law firm. Three people have received death threats and the only common denominator between them is a case long settled--the infamous Bank of San Francisco fire. Julia’s astrological expertise provides clues but no one wants to listen. Before she can solve the mystery, two people are dead and her own life is in danger. Julia must unmask the killer before he, or she, takes another life.

About the Author



 Connie di Marco is the author of the Zodiac Mysteries from Midnight Ink, featuring San Francisco astrologer, Julia Bonatti. Tail of the Dragon, third in the series, will be released on August 8, 2018.
Writing as Connie Archer, she is also the national bestselling author of the Soup Lover’s Mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime. Some of her favorite recipes can be found in The Cozy Cookbook and The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook. Connie is a member of International Thriller Writers, Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime.








Author Links:
Website: http://www.conniedimarco.com/  
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/zodiacmysteries/  
Twitter: @askzodia  
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14751339.Connie_Di_Marco  
Author Central: amazon.com/author/conniedimarco

Purchase Links: Amazon B&N Indie Bound Goodreads Mysterious Galaxy BookBub


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Friday, June 15, 2018

The Spook in the Stacks Interview & Giveaway

I'm so pleased to welcome Eva Gates back to Cozy Up With Kathy. Eva writes the Lighthouse Library Mystery series. THE SPOOK IN THE STACKS is the fourth book in the series and was released earlier this week.



Kathy: THE SPOOK IN THE STACKS is set during Halloween. Is this a favorite holiday of yours? Do you do anything special to celebrate?

EG: As I no longer have children living at home, Halloween is a nothing day for me. I live in the country, and I don’t expect any children to call, so I don’t even buy candy to hand out. When my children were young, I did enjoying helping them with their costumes and taking them out trick-or-treating, but it was never anything more than that for us.

It does provide good fodder for a story, however.


Kathy: Was there a specific inspiration for this story?


EG: THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW by Washington Irving. In every book in the Lighthouse Library series, the novel the Bodie Island Lighthouse Library Classic Novel Reading Club is reading is reflected in the book. For Halloween I didn’t want a horror novel, per se. Or even anything genuinely supernatural. Many of my readers like to read the book the club is reading, and thus I wanted the mood of the real book to match the mood of mine. Part of the plot of Sleepy Hollow is carried into THE SPOOK IN THE STACKS. As is some of BRACEBRIDGE HALL, also by Washington Irving, which I actually wouldn’t recommend to any but the keenest Irving lover. It’s long and very dense and (frankly) pretty boring. The total opposite to Sleepy Hollow.


Kathy: Strange things are happening at the lighthouse including haunted horses materializing on the marsh. Lucy wonders if the lighthouse could be haunted. Do you believe in spirits? Have you ever had a ghostly encounter?

EG: No and no. But I find the suggestion of the supernatural fun to write about. And in the book, a ghostly horse APPEARS TO BE materializing on the marsh. And only Lucy sees it. The questions is, what is it?


Kathy: People are talking about THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW and the library is hosting a lecture on ghostly legends. I love reading about the haunted and mysterious history of places, especially local stories. Do you enjoy researching ghostly legends as well? Do you have a favorite?



EG: In this series, because it’s set in a real place – the Bodie Island Lighthouse near Nags Head – I’ve done the opposite of researching ghostly legends. I’ve deliberately not even read up on supposedly paranormal stuff around this area. All the stories and legends in my series are totally made up. I should also point out that anything supposedly supernatural in this series is peripheral to the story, only there to add color, and treated humorously. No need to cower under the covers with all the lights on!


Kathy: When it comes to writing I understand there are 2 general camps-plotters, who diligently plot their stories, and pansters, who fly by the seat of their pants. Are you a plotter, a panster, or do you fall somewhere in between?

EG: I’m a plotter. I like to get the hard part out of the way first and then I can enjoy the writing. Having said that, I’m never stuck to my outline. If I come up with another way of doing things, or see a better path, then I’m happy to deviate from the outline.


Kathy: Are you able to share any future plans for Lucy Richardson?

EG: Lucy, and me, will just take life as it comes. Although I can tell you that wedding bells are in the air for Lucy’s favorite cousin Josie in Something Read, Something Dead, coming Spring 2019.


Kathy: Will you share any other upcoming books?

EG: Happy to. The fourth Sherlock Holmes Bookshop book (written by me as Vicki Delany) is coming in November, and it’s titled A SCANDAL IN SCARLET, and the next Lighthouse Library book in the spring. There will be a new Year Round Christmas book, (also by Vicki Delany) but not until fall 2019.

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Thursday, June 14, 2018

Chicken Pot Pie with Larissa Reinhart - A Guest Post and Giveaway

I'm pleased to welcome Larissa Reinhart back to Cozy Up With Kathy. Larissa writes the Finley Goodhard Crime Capers. THE CUPID CAPER is the first book in the series and was released earlier this year. 


Thanks so much for having me on today, Kathy. For those who read my amateur sleuth books, they know my heroines aren’t cooks. However, they do like to eat. A lot. (Some maybe too much.) And they do have family or friends who cook for them.

For my ex-con artist trying to do right, Finley Goodhart in THE CUPID CAPER, the chef is her ex-partner and ex-boyfriend, Lex Leopold. Clever Lex knows the way to a girl’s heart is through her stomach. That’s actually how my husband caught me. I think we were ten years into our marriage before I took an interest in cooking.

However, unlike my husband, Lex is British and a charming con artist — brilliant and brilliantly frustrating, as Finley would say. And although he could make her a Michelin-star worthy meal, Lex knows Finley is a small town, Southern girl. She didn’t grow up eating sushi, coq au vin, or chateaubriand. He keeps it simple and Southern, food Finley's mother might have made at one time.

One of my family favorite’s is chicken pot pie. I often make this after roasting a chicken and use the leftover chicken. But you can make it with any leftover cooked chicken. It’s simple because I use puff pastry for the crust for a lighter feel. And because I don’t use canned soup and fresh ingredients it has more of a savory, homemade taste.

I can see Lex making this for Finley. The British love their savory pies. (Probably where we got this recipe from!)


Chicken Pot Pie (serves 6)

1 package of thawed puff pastry sheets
1/3 c butter

2 cups diced carrots (about 4 carrots)
1.5 cups chopped onion (about 3 onions)
3 cups sliced mushrooms (8 ounce package)

1/3 cup flour

3 1/4 c chicken broth/stock

1 T Dijon mustard
1 t dried thyme
1/2 t ground black pepper

3 c cubed cooked chicken

1 c thawed frozen peas

1 T dried parsley or 3 chopped fresh parsley

Heat the oven to 400F. Choose your casserole dish (2 quarts round or I use a lasagna pan) and roll one pastry sheet into a size slightly larger than the bottom. Press it into the casserole dish, prick it with a fork, cover in aluminum foil, and bake it for 25 minutes. 

  
Remove the foil. Place on a baking sheet. (It’ll bubble over!)
While it’s baking, Unfold the remaining pastry sheet. Cut it crosswise into 6 equal strips for a lattice. Or cut it to size for a top crust. Cut holes in the top crust (you can get fancy or I just make slits).


Over medium heat, melt the butter in a large skillet. Add the carrots, onions, and mushrooms and cook for about 5 minutes or until they are tender. Be sure to stir. Add the flour. Cook and stir for about three minutes or until it’s golden brown. Slowly stir in the broth. Cook and stir until the mixture boils and thickens.

Stir in the mustard, thyme, black peeper, chicken, peas, and parsley. Turn off the heat.

Spoon the chicken mixture into the casserole dish (don’t forget to remove the foil!). Weave your lattice strips or place your top pastry over it. Trim the excess.

Bake for 45 minutes or until the filling is bubbling and the pastry is golden brown.

Enjoy!

Thanks so much. I’ll have to put this in the next Finley Goodhart book. :)


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Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading Once Upon a Spine by Kate Carlisle. This book is the eleventh on the Bibliophile Mystery series.

Brooklyn Wainwright is a nervous wreck. Her future in-laws are coming to visit and she's in a panic wondering if they'll like her. Her anxiety level is increased as they will also be meeting her parents. How will Derek's British family react to Brooklyn's new agey mother? Easing her tension is the love she has not only for Derek, but their neighborhood with all the lovely shops and shopkeepers. Heck, the bookstore owners even let her touch their display only copy of a rare edition of Alice in Wonderland. But all is not as lovely as it seems. As Brooklyn goes out for an early cup of coffee she discovers the door to the local market open and inside finds the store trashed, the shop owner lying on the floor, and a body under a huge shelving unit. Is it an accident or has Brooklyn stumbled upon a murder once more?

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Stuck - A Character Guest Post & Giveaway


I'm pleased to welcome Baxley Powell to Cozy Up With Kathy today. You can find Baxley on the pages of the Dreamwalker Mystery series by Maggie Toussaint. Confound It is the fifth book in the series and was released June 1st.


Stuck
By Dreamwalker and crime consultant Baxley Powell

My name’s Baxley Powell, and I’m stuck. Some folks get stuck in dead end jobs. Not me. I love my new job of Dreamwalking to solve crimes. After many years of denying my extra senses existed, I now experience them in the fullest and get to help people. It’s so rewarding!

Some might think I’m stuck because its unusual to have stark white hair at 28. The color change happened a few months back as I used those long-denied psychic gifts. Other than seeing a stranger in the mirror, I’ve come to terms with my crazy hair.

So it’s not the job, my hair, or even my extended family. There’s this guy, you see. Sam Mayes. He’s made it clear he’s interested in a relationship, only I can’t date him. I’m a married woman, regardless of the fact the military declared my husband dead. I snooped around the afterlife and my husband is not there. If he isn’t dead, he must be alive.

My Other World mentor Rose made things a lot worse. She engineered intimacy between me and Mayes. It was awesome, over-the-top, and stunning in a life-changing way. Nothing I ever experienced felt like that. We merged physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Yowsa!

Mayes glowed afterward. I may have glowed too. I don’t know because there were no mirrors in the observation room at work. Soon as I pulled myself together, I took a dreamwalk to give Rose a piece of my mind. She had no right taking over my body like that.

Rose grinned and told me to suck it up. No apology, no remorse from her about putting me in an embarrassing, awkward position.

To make matters worse, my BFF, Charlotte, finally has her first boyfriend. Duncan is perfect for her. Both of them wear their hearts on their sleeves, so I’m immersed in romantic pheromones at every turn.

Meanwhile, Mayes looks at me like I hung the moon, and he’s so hopeful I’ll fall into his arms again.

I can’t.

I won’t.

My marriage vows mean something to me, even if the two of us together blew my mind.

Being stuck totally sucks.

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Confound It (A Dreamwalker Mystery) by Maggie Toussaint

About the Book

 
Paranormal Cozy Mystery 
5th in Series  
Camel Press (June 1, 2018) Paperback: 248 pages 
While hosting out-of-town guests at her Georgia home, Dreamwalker Baxley Powell is called upon to help investigate a suspicious fire. One of her guests, close friend and fellow dreamwalker Deputy Sam Mayes, accompanies her to the scene. A meth cook is dead, and when Baxley visits her beyond the Veil of Life, she determines that the woman was murdered. Baxley pities Mandy Patterson, a single mother with aspirations for her teenage son Doodle. Unconcerned about the death of a criminal, the authorities pursue the drug-supply chain angle. Baxley worries about Doodle and vows to find out who killed his mother. As the case grows more baffling, Baxley struggles against her attraction to Sam. Although her husband is missing and declared dead, she does not feel free to love again until she is sure of his fate. Two suspects have the strongest motive, but Baxley has reason to believe they are pawns in a deeper game. And unless she can stop them, the world will never be the same.

About the Author


Southern author Maggie Toussaint writes mystery, suspense, and dystopian fiction. Her work won the Silver Falchion Award for best mystery, the Readers’ Choice Award, and the EPIC Award. She’s published seventeen novels as well as several short stories and novellas. The next book in her paranormal mystery series, Dadgummit, releases August 2017. Maggie serves on the national board for Mystery Writers of America, is President of Southeast Mystery Writers of America, and is Co-VP of Low Country Sisters In Crime. 


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