Friday, June 22, 2018

Once Upon a Spine - Review

Review


ONCE UPON A SPINE by Kate Carlisle
The Eleventh Bibliophile Mystery

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'S ADVENTURES 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? 

Kate Carlisle creates such wonderful ambiance in her bibliophile series. Vivid descriptions allow me to visualize myself exploring the Courtyard and all its charming shops, spending time trying on hats I can't afford at Kitty's hat shop, trying to make healthy food choices at The Rabbit Hole (though more likely making choices at Sweetie Pies), and spending lots of money at Brothers Bookshop.

One of my favorites parts of each bibliophile mystery is learning about the classic book it features. Like Brooklyn, I am a huge fan of Lewis Carroll and all things Alice and was excited to see that ALICE'S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND was the book featured in ONCE UPON A SPINE. While I was thrilled to learn new facts, I was unfamiliar with the Suppressed ALICE, I was disappointed that more attention wasn't given to the book. That being said, more details about it wouldn't have moved the plot along so weren't really necessary, but the book nerd in me still wanted more.

The mix of characters in ONCE UPON A SPINE is brilliant. The meeting of Brooklyn and Derek's parents is a delight and it's wonderful to see the trio of couples so compatible, especially compared to the romantic relationships between the other characters in the book.

ONCE UPON A SPINE is a fine entry in the Bibliophile Mystery series that celebrates relationships while providing an engaging well plotted mystery.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading Murder Made to Order by Lena Gregory. This book is the second in the All-Day Breakfast Café Mystery series and was released yesterday!

Gia Morelli left New York for Florida and a new start in life. Now she's debating that decision. While she's made some good friends, Gia is still uncomfortable, OK down right scared, of the critters that also live in her world. But worse than the critters are some of the people. The town council is demanding that Gia close her All Day Breakfast Café saying that the property was never zoned commercial. Wondering if that's a sign she should just return to New York, Gia stumbles upon the body of the council's president. Now she's embroiled in another murder. Did the councilwoman's murder have something to do with the zoning laws? Could the Captain be involved? What's really going on between him and Hunt? Are Maybelle's threats serious, or is she just blowing smoke? Gia will have to dig deep to save her café and perhaps her own life.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

A Poison by Punctuation Interview & Giveaway


I'm pleased to welcome Kellye Kaye to Cozy Up With Kathy today. Kellye writes the Chalkboard Outlines Mystery series. Poison by Punctuation is the second book in the series.


Kathy: Emma Lovett is a high school teacher. Have you ever wanted to be a teacher? What grade would be your preference? 

KK: Haha I am actually a high school teacher by initial career choice. I taught high school English and Drama for almost 20 years, and then when we moved to California in 2011, I had the amazing opportunity to be a stay-at-home parent and now a writer! High school was ALWAYS my preference. I never taught middle school, and since I’ve now been volunteering in all grades during my sons’ elementary school careers, it’s become obvious to me that high school was the right choice!


Kathy: Your second Chalkboard Outlines mystery in entitled Poison by Punctuation. Are a stickler for proper grammar and punctuation?  

KK: Depends on the situation. If you are giving me a written document, then I will say heck yeah—everyone has the ability to proofread their work or ask someone who knows the rules to help. There’s no excuse, especially when one can duck their head into any public library and use a computer or a style book for free. If it’s just a note, then no. If it’s a text, then no. If you’re SPEAKING to me, the answer is no there as well, although I do have a few pet peeves. Ending a sentence with ‘at’ is a big one. Mispronouncing the word ‘nuclear’ is another one, although I guess that’s more elocution than grammar. Oh, yeah, speaking of elocution pet peeves—WHY DOES EVERYONE ON TELEVISION OR IN FILM OR IN PUBLIC USE THE WORD ‘PATRONIZE’ incorrectly? Seriously, I think that is something a director should look up! You paytronize an establishment. You do not paytronize a person by speaking in a condescending way to them—that’s paaaatronize with a short ‘a’ sound. It drives me bonkers! I should start a movement. Or at least make a bumper sticker.
Sheesh. I do laugh every time I see that Tshirt—“I am silently correcting your grammar.”—though. I can’t help it.


Kathy: Speaking of punctuation, what are your thoughts about the Oxford Comma? Fair warning I am staunchly in the Oxford Comma or die camp! 

KK: Bumper sticker #2: OXFORD COMMA OR DIE! I’ve always felt strongly about the oxford comma, to the point where I’ve gotten into arguments with my magazine editors because they, (along with the Chicago stylebook, I guess?) have now done away with it. I lost the argument, but I tried . . .  I love that deadly koala joke though, right? He eats shoots and leaves, or assassin koala eats, shoots, and leaves. I love it.


Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

KK: Cozies are more about character rapport than murder, and so am I. They always have a happy ending, and those are necessary for my emotional welfare. Plus, who doesn’t love anything made famous by Angela Lansbury, I ask you!?!


Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

KK: My debut Young Adult Paranormal—Down in the Belly of the Whale—was released by Aionios Books on May 5. I have a non-fiction sort of memoir/self-help book called The A or B Principle-Unraveling the Chaos of Chronic Illness through Choice, that hasn’t been published yet. I’m looking for an agent.


Kathy: Tell us about your series.


KK: Emma Lovett flees the South because of a philandering husband, and embarks on a new career teaching high school English in the Mountain West. She meets a sophisticated colleague named Leslie Parker, and their love for the language unites them. Then, Emma finds a body, and the ladies discover another mutual love—solving murders.


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

KK: Emma and Leslie are both closest to my heart. I mean, all my teacher or writer characters are combinations of me and all the other teachers and writers I know, but these two. . . these two seem to have the most fun and experience the most intense emotions of all the characters in the series.


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

KK: I just thought high school and all of its quirky characters was the perfect backdrop for someone to kill someone. I mean, right?!? 😊


Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

KK: I just love stories so much, I love reading them and I have so many stories in my head. SO MANY. I’d just like to share mine with some other people too.

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

KK: I need more than 4—okay? Please? William Shakespeare. Kurt Vonnegut, Ray Bradbury, John Steinbeck, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Harlan Coben, Liane Moriarity, Louise Penny, Lee Child, Jonathan Kellerman


Kathy: What are you currently reading?

KK: Fredrik Backman My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry. He’s the writer of A Man Called Ove—one of my favorites! This one is good so far, too.


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

KK: Haha besides reading and writing, you mean? I love anything to do with the arts and live performances of the arts—plays, musicals, concerts (our last concert was Metallica, our last musical was . . . oh, shoot, I’m not sure . . . maybe Guys and Dolls? I also like ballroom dancing and karaoke. And watching my little boys play baseball, basketball and soccer.


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

KK: Simple Mills almond crackers, Larabars, chocolate of any kind, fuji apples


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

KK: I’m currently working on #3 in the Chalkboard Outlines series, and I’m working on a first draft of the first book in a YA series called The Meld.


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

KK: I just love the stories, and the characters, so much. They feel so real to me. I have to be a writer, or my head might explode! 😊

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

Poison by Punctuation (Chalkboard Outlines) by Kelley Kaye

About the Book

 
Cozy Mystery 2nd in Series 
Red Adept Publishing, LLC (April 24, 2018)  
Print Length: 243 pages 

High school teacher Emma Lovett is finally recovering from her first year of teaching when she discovers another dead body. As if that wasn’t bad enough, this time, someone has killed a student, Kisten Hollis.
Emma and her best friend, Leslie, are desperate to solve this murder. But suspects abound. The perpetrator could be a teacher, an administrator, a member of Kisten’s zealous church community, or even another student.
Emma must juggle her teaching responsibilities, her new romance with handsome Hunter Wells, and interest from a hunky second suitor, all while searching for evidence to bring a killer to justice before someone else dies.

About the Author


“Kelley Kaye” taught High School English and Drama since 1992 in California, then Colorado and now Cali again, but her love for storytelling dates back to creating captions in her high school yearbook. Maybe back to the tales she created for her Barbie and Ken—whatever the case, the love’s been around a long time. She’s married to an amazing man who cooks for her, and they have two funny and wonderful sons.

Website - http://www.kelleykaybowles.com/  
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/authorkelleykaye/  
Blog - http://www.kelleykaybowles.com/kelley-s-blog2.html  
Twitter - https://twitter.com/kelkay1202  
BookBub - https://www.bookbub.com/authors/kelley-kaye  
Amazon - https://www.amazon.com/Kelley-Kay-Bowles/e/B00JJ9T7AC  
GoodReads - https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1380492.Kelley_Kay_Bowles  

Purchase Links Amazon B&N Kobo Google Play BookBub

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Monday, June 18, 2018

A Murder Gone Missing Interview

I'm happy to welcome Lida Sideris to the blog today. Lida writes the Southern California Mystery series. MURDER GONE MISSING is the second book in the series.


Kathy: Corrie Locke is a newly minted lawyer who is taking a break from doing any PI work. Would you rather be a lawyer or a private investigator?

LS: Her breaks from PI work never last long, by the way. :) If I had a late, great PI dad who taught me the ropes (like Corrie), and if my gene for caution was a recessive one, (again, like Corrie), I’d go for the PI work, for sure. She's helping to catch bad guys/gals doing bad things to good people. Who can resist that type of public service? Since I don’t know the ropes and my genes land on the more sedate side, being a non-profit lawyer (these days) works fine for me.


Kathy: Corrie has her dad's cache of illegal weaponry. Do you have an interest in weapons? What's your favorite?

LS: I don't have any interest in weapons and don't own any (does a glass nail file count?), but I am fascinated by the Japanese throwing star or shuriken, which is Corrie's illegal weapon of choice. It's a weapon of distraction, not destruction.


Kathy: In  MURDER GONE MISSING Corrie works to clear her friend Michael who is suspected of killing his bully of a boss. Have you ever stuck your neck out for a friend?

LS: Not to the extent of helping them to avoid arrest until the real culprit is captured, but when my friends or family need help, I'm there. Mostly within legal boundaries, of course.


Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

LS: Like many mystery writers, I started out by reading Nancy Drew books (the tweed covered editions from the thirties and forties). I loved them! And loved that Nancy was a young woman of action with many accomplishments. She was persistent and got the job done. She was also smart, talented, and brave. And was courteous and dressed very nicely. The perfect heroine. Even Nancy's lawyer dad went to her for help. She was no damsel in distress and I found that highly appealing.


Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

LS: I started out by writing historical fiction. But I never got past a few chapters. That's because I realized a light-hearted mystery was what I really wanted to write.


Kathy: Tell us about your series.

LS: Corrie Locke is a newly minted lawyer in my Southern California Mystery series who spent most of her adolescence trailing her late, great PI father. She eventually helped him crack a few high-profile cases. After he was out of the picture, everyone assumed she'd inherited his sleuthing genes. But did she?


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

LS: That's like asking if I have a favorite child. :) But really, they are all my favorites. If they stop being a fave, I just won't bring them back for the next book.


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

LS: I don't think I have any one inspiration. I started out writing to carve an escape hatch from my day job (I run a legal non-profit that provides assistance to those who don't know where to turn). My days can be grueling, so I make sure my writing is fun. You can say that listening and trying to figure out distressing situations inspire me to write a positive and light-weight read.


Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

LS: It was a long, I mean LONG time dream. My objective was to reach The End with my first draft. The next objective was to polish it 'til it shined, which meant I didn't want to feel any embarrassment when someone else read it. When I got to that stage, publication was the next objective.


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

LS: That's tough because there are a lot more than four I'd like to invite. For starters: Margaret Mitchell (GONE WITH THE WIND) so I could find out if she truly planned a sequel and does Scarlett win back Rhett? Next, Harriet Beecher Stowe (UNCLE TOM'S CABIN) for making such a powerful case against slavery during a time when most did not express their opinions, let alone write such weighty content. And finally, I'd include two modern day authors: Janet Evanovich and Alexander McCall Smith, because I'm a fan of each.


Kathy: What are you currently reading?

LS: Unfortunately, I don't have the time I'd like to read, but next on my list is to read CATNAPPED by Elaine Veits.


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

LS: Certainly - I volunteer with rescue dog organizations (and love hanging around with my own two wonderful canine friends), and I enjoy feel-good films from the thirties and forties.


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

LS: Colorful eggs (from our own little flock of hens), homemade yogurt, jam (raspberry or apricot) to have with my yogurt, and chocolate chips because I love to bake cookies.


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

LS: Yes, I'm currently working on Number Three in the Southern California Mystery series, which continues the misadventures of Corrie Locke and her pals.


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

LS: All the wonderful people I've had the pleasure to meet - readers, other writers, librarians, booksellers, conference and blog tour hosts -- just to name a few. Such a supportive group out there. They are fantastic!

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

Murder Gone Missing: A Southern California Mystery by Lida Sideris

About the Book

 
Cozy Mystery/Soft Boiled Mystery 2nd in Series  
Level Best Books (April 10, 2018) Paperback: 262 pages
Newly minted lawyer Corrie Locke has taken a vow of abstinence. From PI work, that is. Until her best friend Michael finds his bully of a boss stabbed in the back after confronting him earlier that day. Michael panics, accidentally tampering with the crime scene...which could lead the cops to Michael instead of the real culprit. He turns to Corrie to track down the killer. She doesn't need much coaxing. Her late great PI dad taught her the ropes...and left her his cache of illegal weaponry.
They return to the scene of the crime, but the body's missing. Racing against time, Corrie dredges a prestigious Los Angeles college in pursuit of clues. All she finds are false leads. Armed with attitude and romantic feelings toward Michael, Corrie dives into a school of suspects to find the slippery fugitive. Will she clear Michael's name before he's arrested for murder?

About the Author


Lida Sideris is an author, lawyer and all around book enthusiast. She was one of two national recipients of the Helen McCloy Mystery Writers of America scholarship for her first novel, MURDER AND OTHER UNNATURAL DISASTERS. MURDER GONE MISSING is the second book in the Corrie Locke series. Like her heroine, Lida worked as an entertainment attorney in a movie studio. Unlike her heroine, she keeps her distance from homicides. To learn more about Lida, please visit her website: www.LidaSideris.com

Author Links:
WEBSITE: http://www.lidasideris.com/  
BLOG: http://www.lidasideris.com/blog/
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/lidasideris  
TWITTER: @lidasideris  
GoodReads:http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26139837-murder-and-other-unnatural-disasters?from_search=true&search_version=service  

Purchase Links AMAZON B&N

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.

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

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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