Friday, January 19, 2018

Olmec Obituary - Review

Review





OLMEC OBITUARY by L.J.M. Owen
The First Dr. Pimms, Intermillennial Sleuth Mystery

The sudden death of Dr. Elizabeth Pimms' father forces her to give up her dream job, working on an archaeological dig with her boyfriend, and return home to Australia to work as a librarian in order to support her family. When a former classmate offers her a chance to join an archeology team in town Elizabeth can't resist, even if she has to volunteer her time on weekends while still performing her library duties. As her research unfolds, Elizabeth finds serious flaws with the original findings and the hypotheses surrounding the dig itself. Will Elizabeth discover the true story behind the skeletons? And will she come to terms with her family?

OLMEC OBITUARY is a fascinating start to a new series. This traditional mystery introduces readers to Dr. Elizabeth Pimms, an intelligent, capable, determined, yet ultimately flawed, woman. Elizabeth has a compelling backstory, hinted at and slowly revealed thought the book.

Two distinct stories comprise the first Dr. Pimms mystery. There is the modern day mystery of Dr. Pimms set in Australia and the story of Ix and her family in ancient Olmec, what is now central Mexico. The book weaves the modern day story of Dr. Pimms and her investigation with the ancient story of the people behind  the remains that she is called upon to investigate.

I admit to being a closet archeologist wannabe and am fascinated by the details revealed here. Those less academically inclined however, may find the minutia of true archaeological work and the historical details a bit daunting. Those who love history and dream of going on archaeological digs, if only via armchair, will find the information compelling.

Ultimately, OLMEC OBITUARY is a book of sacrifices, exploring family loyalty and the ties that bind. It looks at how our beliefs can skew our vision and how the past can shape our present and our future.

I enjoyed this first Dr. Pimms, Intermillennial Sleuth mystery, and appreciated not only the historical detail, but details about the various people living in Australia and how their cultures and traditions impact their life. I look forward to learning more as the series continues.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading Mayan Mendacity by L.J.M. Owen. This book is the second in the Dr. Pimms, Intermillennial Sleuth Mystery series.

Dr. Pimms is back! Eagerly awaiting the return of her boyfriend, she gets a devastating surprise. Not one to dwell in her sorrows Elizabeth decides to work on the archaeological remains brought to her. This time she has a Mayan mystery to uncover.


Monday, January 15, 2018

Deadly Fashion - Review

Review





DEADLY FASHION by Kate Parker
The Third Deadly Mystery

Olivia Denis is thrilled to meet her idol, Mimi Mareau while on assignment for the Daily Premier. While interviewing the French fashion designer about the upcoming opening of her London salon she finds a dead body in the basement. Although they deny knowing the man, all four women of Maison Mareau seem to know more than they are letting on. When the man turns out to be a Jewish German communist working to get Jews out of Nazi Germany, Olivia is called upon to discover who sold him out. While Olivia navigates the worlds of fashion and politics, war looms ever closer. Will she discover a French assassin behind the murder or is the killer closer to home? 

Kate Parker writes with such verisimilitude as I read I feel I exist in that world. Characters colored by snobbery, racism, and fear provide a terrifying parallel to the world today. Yet there are people from all walks of life who work together to make the world a better place, in the pages of this book, in history, and in the present.

DEADLY FASHION is an impeccably plotted mystery filled with, not only historical details, but the atmosphere and attitude of the people on the precipice of World War II.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Pre-Meditated Murder - Review & Giveaway

Review


PRE-MEDITATED MURDER by Tracy Weber
The Fifth Downward Dog Mystery

Kate Davidson, a former commitment-phobe, is finally ready to settle down and is thrilled when she thinks that Michael's fancy special evening out is a prelude to a marriage proposal. Unable to hide her disappointment when he didn't propose Michael admits the truth; he couldn't marry her as he was already married!!!! Michael says he only married Gabriella so that she could get a green card, but she won't grant him a divorce unless he pays her off-with money he doesn't have. When Michael decides to meet Gabriella in person, he's accompanied not only by Kate and Bella, but Renee, Sam, the twins, and the two puppies. What could go wrong with this support group by his side? A lot. Now Michael's suspected of Gabriella's murder, and although Kate was ready to kill him herself, she'll do her utmost to prove his innocence. 

PRE-MEDITATED MURDER is a compelling read. Expectations of love are challenged and explored in this multilayered mystery. Fundamental beliefs in people are put to the test and certainties become doubts. Will love survive?

This fifth Downward Dog mystery tackles difficult subjects of domestic abuse, immigration, and more. However, the book isn't weighed down by these weighty subjects, not does it become a pulpit. Rather it engulfs these topics into Kate's world, and they play important roles in the mystery itself.

Bella's charm, humor from new mom Renee, and a cast of characters from Michael's past combine to make a murder mystery that will forever change Kate and her future.


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Friday, January 12, 2018

Kappy King and the Puppy Kaper - An Interview


I'm happy to welcome Amy Lillard to the blog today. Amy writes the Amish Mystery series. Kappy King and the Puppy Kaper is the first book in the series.


Kathy: Your new series is set inside an Amish community. Why do you think outsiders are so interested in the Amish? And why set your series amongst them?

AL: Our world moves so fast these days. I feel most people appreciate the slower pace of the Amish world. It’s somehow comforting to know that someone out there has not let the world take them over and push them to an impossible speed. Most of us would like to slow down a bit, but we simply don’t know how. The Amish show us it can be done.


Kathy: Kappy King and the Puppy Kaper deals with the murder of an Amish dog breeder. Breeding can be quite controversial. How did you decide upon this topic for your mystery?

AL: Unfortunately, it can be a touchy subject which did play a factor in my deciding to use it. I have many Amish friends and one is a dog breeder. I have been to his home and his barn is nicer than a lot of houses. The dogs live in there with the horses that he breeds as well. It’s the furthest thing from a puppy mill that you could imagine. I wanted to show this side. Yes, there are some Amish puppy mills, there are also plenty that aren’t. Just like in the “English” world.


Kathy: Amish women are known for their baking. Is Kathryn “Kappy” King a baker as well as a seamstress? Are you?

AL: Kappy is a little bit of an odd duck. She bakes because she likes the food she’s cooking. But since she lives alone, it’s not like she has to bake for a big family. Me? I love to bake and cook. But I’m on a diet ninety percent of the time so I don’t bake as much as my heart wants to.


Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

AL: I love the light-hearted suspense. There is too much drama and tragedy in the world. Cozies allow me to make an unfortunate situation and give it a lighter voice. I love the flippancy and silliness that can come with a cozy.


Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

AL: I do. I also write Amish romance and contemporary romances as well. And I’ve been known to pen a historical romance from time to time.


Kathy: Tell us about your series.

AL: I would describe it as Amish Shirley and ex-Amish Laverne solving crimes in their fictional community of Blue Sky Pennsylvania, nestled in beautiful Kishacoquillas Valley. Though most would say it’s a light-hearted cozy mystery series where unlikely characters team up to solve crimes and keep their community safe.

Kappy is my first mystery series. I do have two other Amish series that are romances and a couple of mysteries that belong in a compilation series.


Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?

AL: I love them all for very different reasons. But if I have to choose, then Edie. Edie doesn’t want to be a part of the Amish world, but she doesn’t fit in with the English. She wears garish clothes because she was never taught how to dress English. She’s a little bored being back in Blue Sky, but she has a big heart and knows that she has to remain there for her brother, Jimmy. Deep down I think she wants to return, but she doesn’t know how. Essentially she is trapped between both worlds, yet a part of neither.


Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for your series?

AL: The Valley itself was my inspiration. I went there last year and fell in love. The Valley is gorgeous, like a postcard. And interesting since there are three different types of Amish there—Renno, Nebraska, and Byler. Each drives a different color buggy! I can’t say I’ve ever been to an Amish community quite like the one in Kish Valley.


Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

AL: Wow! Good question. I don’t know. It was and always has been the end result of writing for me. Stories are great, but sharing them is the most fun of all.


Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?

AL: Stephen King, JK Rowling, Harper Lee, and William Shakespeare. That should be interesting. LOL


Kathy: What are you currently reading?

AL: I am currently reading First Star I see Tonight by Susan Elizabeth Phillips and My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman. I usually have two books going at once—one on my Kindle and one from Audible. If I’m reading paper another one gets tossed in the mix. I can only do this if I’m reading two (or three) very different stories so I don’t get them confused.


Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?

AL: I do a lot of what my mother calls ‘piddling.’ LOL She’s a great piddler too. I like to craft, scrapbook, work in my house, refinish furniture, and whatever else strikes my fancy. When I’m not piddling, my family loves to watch movies together and we are big Kansas City Chiefs fans.


Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.

AL: Minced garlic, stewed tomatoes, coffee, and self-rising flour


Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new series?

AL: Right now I’m working on book three in the Kappy King series. My Amish romance series set in my home state of Mississippi starts in February. (Yes, there are Amish in Mississippi). I have another book in that series to write, then who knows where I’ll go from there.


Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being an author?

AL: I’m one of those authors who believes that stories already exist and authors merely write them down. For me it’s fun to discover who these characters are and the stories they want me to share. It’s definitely an adventure, every day.

**********************************************************************

Kappy King and the Puppy Kaper (An Amish Mystery) by Amy Lillard



Cozy Mystery 1st in Series Setting - Pennsylvania  
Zebra (December 26, 2017)  
An Imprint of Kensington Books Paperback: 352 pages 
Content to be unmarried and plain-spoken, Kathryn “Kappy” King is an odd-woman-out in the Amish community of Blue Sky, Pennsylvania. But she’s skilled at making the special kapps local women need to cover their hair. And she might be the only one who can unearth the danger hiding in this peaceful valley . . .
When Kappy's neighbor, Ruth Peachey, turns up dead in her yard, everyone in Blue Sky believes it’s a tragic accident. Until the Englisch police find the gentle dog breeder was deliberately struck down—and arrest her mentally-challenged son, Jimmy, for the crime . . .
Jimmy’s sister, Edie, returns to Blue Sky clear his name, yet no one will speak to a shunned former Amish woman, much less give her information. Determined to help, Kappy starts digging for the truth among her seemingly-innocent neighbors. But suddenly a series of suspicious “accidents” threatens Edie and the Peachey farm—property Edie is determined to protect for her brother’s future.
Now, as danger looms large in the small community, Kappy must bait a trap for a killer snapping hard at her heels. And Edie must decide whether to make a home once more in the town she thought she’d left behind . . .

 
Amy Lillard is the award-winning author of more than twenty novels, including the Wells Landing series, The Quilting Circle novels, the Sugarcreek Amish Mysteries and the Kappy King Mysteries. Born and raised in Mississippi, she now lives with her husband and son in Oklahoma. Please visit her online at www.AmyWritesRomance.com.
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Thursday, January 11, 2018

The Body in the Casket - Review

Review


THE BODY IN THE CASKET by Katherine Hall Page
The Twenty-Fourth Faith Fairchild Mystery

Faith Fairchild gets an offer she can't refuse, catering a weekend birthday party for the famous theatrical producer Max Dane with a state of the art kitchen and an unlimited budget. The surprise is not the theme, heaven and hell, which was the title of Dane's last Broadway show, but the fact that Max believes that one of the invited guests plans to kill him. Will Faith pull off this catered affair without anyone being murdered?

THE BODY IN THE CASKET is reminiscent of the manor house mysteries of the past. We have a palatial estate in an elite secluded area filled with suspects. Page builds intrigue and suspense as we learn about the various guests as they receive their invitations and as they arrive and interact with each other. As characters develop and motives build so does the oncoming storm which leads to the penultimate showdown.

A secondary story revolving around Pix's daughter moving back home and the new gentleman friend of Pix's mother flush out the book.

I enjoyed the entire concept of this novel; what murder mystery fan wouldn't want to be invited to an extravagant weekend party wherein the host believes he'll be killed? The theme of heaven and hell for the party is symbolic, not only of the play, but the characters themselves and the way Faith's menu incorporates that theme is just plain fun. THE BODY IN THE CASKET is an entertaining read featuring an engaging heroine and delicious recipes.


Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading DEADLY FASHION by Kate Parker. This book is the third in the Deadly series.

Olivia Denis is thrilled to meet her idol, Mimi Mareau while on assignment for the Daily Premier. While interviewing the French fashion designer about the upcoming opening of her London salon she finds a dead body in the basement. Although they deny knowing the man, all four women of Maison Mareau seem to know more than they are letting on. When the man turns out to be a Jewish German communist working to get Jews out of Nazi Germany, Olivia is called upon to discover who sold him out. While Olivia navigates the worlds of fashion and politics, war looms ever closer. Will she discover a French assassin behind the murder or is the killer closer to home?