Sunday, May 24, 2020

Killing Time - A Review, Excerpt, & Giveaway


KILLING TIME by Suzanne Trauth
The Sixth Dodie O'Dell Mystery

Vampires have descended upon Etonville! OK, one vampire. OK, it's a newcomer playing Dracula in the Etonville Little Theater's latest production. But this suave yet spooky actor has the town atwitter, apprehensive about vampires even if they are getting a bit tired of the Windjammer's garlic infused specials. As if a vampire wasn't enough, the Grim Reaper shows up. Seeing the Grim Reaper at the town's Halloween party is one thing, but when some teens find him dead in the cemetery, it's another. To ease Lola's mind and protect the production, Dodie agrees to do a little snooping into the leading player's background. But will digging into Dracula's past prevent Dodie from having a future?

KILLING TIME is about identity: keeping it, changing it, and losing it. Are you willing to give up the intrinsic parts of who you are? What part must you keep, no matter the cost? There is no doubt that Dodie loves Bill and is happy to be engaged. But, is she delaying the wedding plans out of a fear of losing herself? Her life will obviously change, but how much of a change is she willing to make? And Dodie isn't the only character facing these concerns.

I love the Dodie O'Dell Mystery series and this sixth entry is a great addition. The wacky citizens of Etonville never fail to make me laugh and the trials and tribulations of the Etonville Little Theater bring back happy memories of my time in the theatre.

KILLING TIME looks at identity while providing a complex mystery.  Deep characterizations combined with fun and laughs make this a book you won't want to miss.


Killing Time (A Dodie O'Dell Mystery) by Suzanne Trauth

About Killing Time

Cozy Mystery 6th in Series  
Publisher: Lyrical Press (June 2, 2020)  
Number of Pages: 215 Digital
With Halloween just around the corner, Dodie O’Dell is making preparations to transform the Windjammer Restaurant on the Jersey Shore into a haunted house, while the Etonville Little Theater is staging Dracula. But casting the titular Transylvanian is proving challenging. The amateur actors in the company are not shy about chewing the scenery, but who among them can convincingly sink their fangs into a victim's neck? When a mysterious newcomer with a transfixing Eastern European accent lands the part, rumors that he might be an actual vampire start to take flight—not unlike the bat who's recently been spotted in the town park.
But everyone’s blood really runs cold when a stranger is found in the cemetery with a real stake in his heart. Dodie decides to put her Halloween theme menu on the back burner and stick her neck out to bring the killer into the light of day. She'd better keep her wits about her, though—or Dodie may be the next one to go down for the Count . . .
“It sure looks haunted,” Edna murmured to no one in particular, to the cast of Dracula in general. They were grouped around her on the sidewalk that ran past the old Hanratty place that Carlos and Bella had rented. I’d never been inside though once I’d driven by it when I first moved to Etonville on my way out of town. The house stood on half an acre of scruffy lawn with patches of dried dirt, surrounded by a few straggly trees—minus leaves at this time of the year—and no neighbors. The nearest houses were on a side street some distance away. The three-story building looked as if it might collapse at any moment, its outer walls covered with weathered, gray shakes, the steps to the front door supported by concrete building blocks. There was no handrail. Light leaked out of windows on the first floor. Curtains covering small, circular panes on the third story—an attic room?—quivered. Was someone up there watching us? I shivered. A turret rose upward from the right side of the structure, giving the house a smidge of outdated dignity. A drain pipe dangled loosely from the gutter.
“Let’s go.” Penny corralled actors and nudged everyone forward to the front door. There were six company members, Renfield saying he’d be along later, plus Penny, Lola, Pauli, and me. Strength in numbers.
We crept across the porch cautiously, aware of the creaking beneath us as the flooring shifted with each individual’s footsteps. Penny put out a hand to knock on the door. Before she could hit knuckles to wood, it flew open. “Welcome everyone!” Bella stood in the doorway, a silhouette backlit by muted foyer lighting.
Behind her Carlos stood silently, observing the group huddled in his entryway, like deer caught in headlights.
Lola took the lead, moving graciously into the house. “Thank you. So nice of you to invite us to your home.”
I’m not sure what the members of the Etonville Little Theatre were expecting. Given the exterior and location of the Hanratty homestead, I anticipated something out of a late-night classic horror film.

About Suzanne Trauth

Suzanne Trauth, Harvard Studio, Montclair, NJ. 06/27/2014 Photo by Steve Hockstein/

Suzanne Trauth is a novelist, playwright, screenwriter, and a former theatre professor at a university. She is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, the Dramatists Guild, and League of Professional Theatre Women. When she is not writing, Suzanne coaches actors and serves as a celebrant performing wedding ceremonies. She lives in Woodland Park, New Jersey.

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Friday, May 22, 2020

Hostage to Fortune - A Guest Post, Recipe, Review, & Giveaway

I'm so happy to welcome Kirsten Weiss back to Cozy Up With Kathy. Kirsten writes the Tea and Tarot Mystery series. HOSTAGE TO FORTUNE is the second book in the series and was released yesterday!

Empress Tarot Tea

A cozy mystery about a Tea and Tarot room would be incomplete without recipes at the back. And the nice thing about tea recipes is, they’re so easy! And even if you’re not into the Tarot side of the story, there’s something a little magical about mixing herbs.

In Hostage to Fortune, my fictional tearoom owners and amateur sleuths, Abigail and Hyperion, decide to up their marketing game and create some Tarot teas. This tea was named after The Empress Tarot card. The Empress card is about (among other things), the soft power of allowing things to happen, and she’s associated with the planet (and goddess) Venus. So, I chose herbs for this tea that are also associated with relaxation (and thyme is associated with Venus as well).

Here’s the recipe, a nice twist on traditional chamomile tea.


1-2 parts dried lavender blossoms
4 parts dried chamomile blossoms
4 parts lemon thyme

Directions. Boil water and add water and herbs to cup. Steep 3-5 minutes. Parts should be small for just one cup–say 1/8 - 1.4 tsp lavender to 1/2 a tsp of the other two.

Note: lavender can have an assertive flavor, and not everyone is going to love it. But it is very relaxing. That said, a little goes a long way, so you may want to experiment with reducing the amount of lavender to taste.



The Second Tea and Tarot Cozy Mystery 

Abigail Beanblossom is more than happy to help her friend and former boss, Razzzor, who believes his wines are being counterfeited. When their first stakeout reveals a dead body, Abby is worried, but her partner, Hyperion, is ready to sink his teeth into another investigation. Stalkers, romantic entanglements, and wine prove a deadly combination, but will they prove lethal for Abby?

There's adventure, excitement, and danger, along with a good dose of humor and tea in HOSTAGE TO FORTUNE. Plenty of action scenes keep the story moving with lots of surprises to keep readers, as well as Abby, on their toes. We also see depth in the characters, joking aside, they care for each other and go to bat for each other, risking it all.

In Tarot, the Hanged Man represents being caught in a negative cycle. You can escape it, but you have to do the work. There are several negative cycles in which several of our characters find themselves in this second Tea and Tarot Mystery. We see unresolved relationships, bad relationships, addictive behavior, and more! Who will be able to escape it?

As both a tea and Tarot aficionado I'm thrilled that Abby is making Tarot themed teas, and even more excited that the author is sharing them. Interest in these subjects make the book even more appealing and compelling. But, even if you don't know anything about Tarot and don't like tea, you will still be captivated by the fun characters and the engaging mystery.

HOSTAGE TO FORTUNE incorporates wine, tea, Tarot, and fun in a delightful mystery.


Hostage to Fortune: A Tea and Tarot Cozy Mystery by Kirsten Weiss

About Hostage to Fortune

Cozy Mystery 2nd in Series  
Publisher: misterio press (May 21, 2020) 
Number of Pages: 250 
Abigail and Hyperion uncork a murder…
Tea and Tarot room owner Abigail Beanblossom is used to running interference for her socially-awkward former boss, tech billionaire Razzzor. So when he invites her on a stakeout to investigate the sale of counterfeit wine from his latest venture – an upscale winery – she barrels on in. But the two stumble across the corpse of a wine merchant, and new wine in old bottles is now the least of their problems.
Good thing amateur detectives Abigail and her partner, tarot reader Hyperion Night, have a nose for murder. Their investigation takes them from elegant wine cellars to chic tea parties on the California coast. But just as the investigation starts to get its legs, Abigail discovers there’s more than wine at the bottom of this crime…
Hostage to Fortune is book 2 in the Tea and Tarot cozy mystery series. Start reading this hilariously cozy caper today!
Tearoom recipes in the back of the book.

About Kirsten Weiss

Kirsten Weiss has never met a dessert she didn’t like, and her guilty pleasures are watching Ghost Whisperer re-runs and drinking red wine. The latter gives her heartburn, but she drinks it anyway.
Now based in Colorado Springs, CO, she writes genre-blending cozy mystery, supernatural and steampunk suspense, mixing her experiences and imagination to create vivid worlds of fun and enchantment.
If you like funny cozy mysteries, check out her Pie Town, Tea and Tarot, Paranormal Museum and Wits’ End books. If you’re looking for some magic with your mystery, give the Witches of Doyle, Riga Hayworth and Rocky Bridges books a try. And if you like steampunk, the Sensibility Grey series might be for you.

Kirsten sends out original short stories of mystery and magic to her mailing list. If you’d like to get them delivered straight to your inbox, make sure to sign up for her newsletter at
Feel free to follow her on Twitter @KirstenWeiss, on Tumblr at kweiss01, on Pinterest at KirstenWeiss, or on Bookbub, get in touch on Facebook, post a picture of this book to Instagram and tag her @kirstenweissauthor, or send her an email. She’ll answer you personally…which may be a good or a bad thing, depending on your perspective.

Author Links:
Twitter: @KirstenWeiss  
Instagram: @KirstenWeissAuthor  

Book Series: Sensibility Grey Steampunk Suspense, Tea and Tarot cozy mysteries, the Pie Town cozy mysteries, the Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum cozy mysteries, the Doyle Witch and Doyle Cozy mystery novels, the Riga Hayworth paranormal mysteries.
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Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading Hostage to Fortune by Kirsten Weiss. This book is the second in the Tea and Tarot Mystery series and will be released this Thursday!

Abigail Beanblossom is more than happy to help her friend and former boss, Razzzor, who believes his wines are being counterfeited. When their first stakeout reveals a dead body, Abby is worried, but her partner, Hyperion, is ready to sink his teeth into another investigation. Stalkers, romantic entanglements, and wine prove a deadly combination, but will they prove lethal for Abby?

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

A Fatal Finale - A Review


A FATAL FINALE by Kathleen Marple Kalb
The First Ella Shane Mystery

Ella Shane is an opera diva, although not quite your stereotypical one. From a humble background, this mezzo soprano has made a career of opera's trouser roles and has created her own opera company which travels the country. Another tour finds yet another difficult soprano in the role of Juliet. But when she dies on stage, it's not an act. Ella, who didn't care for the new girl, feels badly that she didn't try harder to get to know her. When the young singer's cousin, an English duke, appears, Ella realizes she never knew her at all. She and the Duke decide to look into the young woman's life and tragic death only to find a lot more than they bargained for!

Ella Shane is a wonderful protagonist. She's worked hard to be where she is and doesn't mind standing apart from the crowd. Ella has a deep sense of responsibility and respectability, but also a sense of adventure and fun. I love her inherited parrot and the rest of her unusual household and entourage.

Admittedly, A FATAL FINALE starts off slowly. While there is a dead body early on, it isn't treated as a murder. The story itself was interesting and I loved seeing how Ella and her company lived and worked. Gradually the story evolves into questioning who the victim really was in life and finding there was much more to her death than a tragic accident. By the end, I was rapidly turning pages to see what would happen next and I adored the finale, which left me both satisfied yet eagerly anticipating Ella's next story.

A FATAL FINALE is an intriguing mystery that captures the work ethic as well as the flamboyancy of a Gilded Age opera company.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

The House that Vanity Built - A Review and Giveaway


The Second Misty Dawn Mystery

When two young women come to Misty Dawn's door, the psychic knows there's more going on than a lost engagement ring. Amy, a wholesome girl new to town, is engaged to the rich son from a beauty product empire, but her companion has a more worldly edge. Although Misty reassures her the ring is merely misplaced, she knows something much darker is at play. When Amy calls the next day, devastated that her fiance has died, Misty knows she has to help the naive young woman. What she finds are lots of secrets behind a rich barricade.

All that glitters is not gold and beauty products can hide a multitude of sins. Such is the case in the second Misty Dawn Mystery. Once a decadent playboy, Doctor Conroy has little faith that his son can take over the business, but would he actually kill him, now that there's an heir on the way? If a reaction to bee venom is the cause of death, could the beekeeper be guilty, especially if you take into account his past with Amy? A hired henchman and the doctor's deceased wife and mistress make Misty's investigation even more challenging... and dangerous.

I really like the themes at play in THE HOUSE THAT VANITY BUILT and the title really does say it all. Greed, glory, self involvement, and vanity can destroy everything. I love how Misty plays the old lady card and love her interactions with Wilson. I also appreciate that Wilson may be going down a dangerous path. It's concerning, but realistic. Not everything can go well, temptation may be too great. The options are ominous and captivating leaving me eager to see what happens next.

THE HOUSE THAT VANITY BUILT is a compelling mystery. While there is no doubt that this second Misty Dawn Mystery is a cozy, it has a darker edge to it, and I really like that.


The House That Vanity Built (A Misty Dawn Mystery) by Nancy Cole Silverman

About The House That Vanity Built

Book 2 of the Misty Dawn Trilogy 

Paranormal Cozy Mystery 2nd in Series  
Publisher: Henery Press (May 12, 2020) 
Hardcover: 242 pages 
Misty Dawn, a former Hollywood psychic to the stars, knows the dark and sometimes glamorous streets of Los Angeles are full of secrets, broken promises, and dashed hopes. When a young woman comes to her door because she’s lost her engagement ring and is afraid to tell her fiancé (the son of one of the world’s biggest cosmetics empires), Misty senses it’s no accident. Together Misty Dawn and her psychic charge, Wilson Thorne, must not only sneak behind the walls of the Conroy Estate (aka The House That Vanity Built), but go beyond the veil where the luminaries have laid plans to seek revenge. Murder, lust, and a quest for a fountain of youth are hidden inside a family’s secret, one that threatens to upend the young woman’s life, and quite possibly, Misty’s as well.

About Nancy Cole Silverman

Nancy Cole Silverman spent nearly twenty-five in Los Angeles Talk Radio, beginning her career on the talent side as one for the first female voices on the air, and later on the business side, where she retired as one of two female general managers in the nation’s second-largest radio market. After a successful career in the radio industry, Silverman turned to writing fiction. Her crime-focused novels and short stories have attracted readers throughout America. Her Carol Childs Mysteries series (Henery Press) feature a single-mom whose "day job" as a reporter at a busy Los Angeles radio station often leads to long nights as a crime-solver. Her most recent series with Misty Dawn is centered on an aging Hollywood Psychic to the Stars, who supplements her day to day activities as a consultant to LAPD and the FBI. Silverman lives in Los Angeles with her husband and a thoroughly pampered standard poodle.

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Twitter: @NancyColeSilve1

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Friday, May 15, 2020

Rolling Thunder - A Review


The Second "Hammerhead" Jed Mystery

As a former professional wrestler and new private investigator with one murder case behind him, Jed "Hammerhead" Ounstead has seen a lot. But nothing could have prepared him for the world of women's flat-track roller derby. An old wrestling acquaintance has entered the roller derby scene and calls on Jed when her team's coach goes missing. Jed will have to keep his wits and his wrestling moves sharp as he navigates the various venues of Vancouver in search of the missing man.

A. J. Devlin hooked me from his first sentence and never let me go. This second "Hammerhead" Jed mystery leads Jed to some interesting places and the discovery of a new art form that completely captivates Declan. It's Declan who brings the most outrageous situations to life, providing plenty of "oh no he didn't!?!" thoughts to readers. But it's not all grins and giggles, there are action packed fight scenes, romantic entanglements, and serious moments too.

Jed is growing as a person and as a character. His horizons are broadening, he takes his mistakes to heart and tries to learn from them, and he genuinely wants to help people. The general decency of the guy makes you root for him, both inside and outside of the ring.
ROLLING THUNDER is a top notch, laugh out loud, action packed adventure mystery. Filled with laughter inducing escapades there is enough heart to actually make you care about the characters...and crave a banana milkshake.


If you missed it, be sure to check out my latest interview with author, A.J. Devlin.


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Thursday, May 14, 2020

A Deadly Inside Scoop - A Review & Giveaway


The First Ice Cream Parlor Mystery

Bronwyn Crewse is excited to reopen her family's ice cream parlor. Now that she's in charge, she's bringing the shop back to its roots, selling only handmade ice cream and showcasing the natural beauty of Chagrin Falls. An unexpected early snowfall puts a damper on her first day of business which is capped off by finding a dead body! Things get worse when she learns that the dead man had bad history with her family and her father starts acting suspicious. Worried that her father will be arrested for a murder he didn't commit, Win decides to take matters into her own hands and starts to investigate. Will she be able to solve the murder while bringing the family business back to its former glory? Or will the trail of the killer grow colder than her Ghoulish Blueberry ice cream eaten on a winter's eve in Ohio?

I absolutely loved A DEADLY INSIDE SCOOP! Family is at the center and is the heart of this new mystery series. I love the seeing the close connections and interactions between family, friends, and neighbors. Abby Collete has a gift of imbuing the pages with life. You can feel the excitement Bronwyn feels as as opening day arrives. The characters jump from the pages and the descriptions make me feel as if I'm in Chagrin Falls with them.

One of my favorite things about the first Ice Cream Parlor Mystery is the realism. Win's reactions, from discovering a dead body, getting caught snooping, and being confronted by a killer are completely believable. I also love that fact that while a possible romantic interest is introduced, Win isn't the least bit interested in it.

A DEADLY INSIDE SCOOP is a winner! Laugh out loud scenes mix with heartfelt moments to create a charming funny mystery.


A Deadly Inside Scoop (An Ice Cream Parlor Mystery) by Abby Collette

About A Deadly Inside Scoop

Cozy Mystery 1st in Series  
Publisher: Berkley (May 12, 2020)  
Paperback: 384 pages 
This book kicks off a charming cozy mystery series set in an ice cream shop—with a fabulous cast of quirky characters.
Recent MBA grad Bronwyn Crewse has just taken over her family's ice cream shop in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, and she's going back to basics. Win is renovating Crewse Creamery to restore its former glory, and filling the menu with delicious, homemade ice cream flavors—many from her grandmother’s original recipes. But unexpected construction delays mean she misses the summer season, and the shop has a literal cold opening: the day she opens her doors an early first snow descends on the village and keeps the customers away.
To make matters worse, that evening, Win finds a body in the snow, and it turns out the dead man was a grifter with an old feud with the Crewse family. Soon, Win’s father is implicated in his death. It's not easy to juggle a new-to-her business while solving a crime, but Win is determined to do it. With the help of her quirky best friends and her tight-knit family, she'll catch the ice cold killer before she has a meltdown...

About Abby Collette

Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author Abby Collette loves a good mystery. Born and raised in Cleveland, it’s even a mystery to her why she has yet to move to a warmer place. Author of the two Southern cozy mystery series Logan Dickerson Mysteries featuring a second-generation archaeologist and a nonagenarian who is always digging up trouble, and the Romaine Wilder Mysteries, set in East Texas, it pairs a medical examiner and her feisty auntie who owns a funeral home and is always ready to solve a whodunnit. Abby spends her time writing, facilitating writing workshops at local libraries and spending time with her grandchildren, each of which are her favorite.

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