Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading Murder on Millionaires' Row by Erin Lindsey. This book was released earlier this month.

In Gilded Age Manhattan Rose Gallagher is a clever girl with a good head on her shoulders. Working as a maid on Fifth Avenue, she doesn't forget her roots in the rough neighborhood of Five Points. When her boss goes missing, a boss whom she deeply admires, she knows she can't trust the police to pursue the matter. Despite being warned, Rose takes matters into her own hands and begins to investigate. What she discovers is more than she ever bargained for. A whole new world of ghosts, portals, and luck has opened up and Rose Gallagher's life is forever changed.

Monday, October 29, 2018

A Drop Dead Ornaments Interview & Giveaway

I'm happy to welcome Lois Winston back to the blog today. Lois writes the Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series. Drop Dead Ornaments is the seventh book in the series and was released last week.

Kathy: In Drop Dead Ornaments the high school seniors have chosen to raise money for the county food bank as a community service project. Do you help out or donate to your food bank?

LW: I spearheaded and edited Bake, Love, Write: 105 Authors Share Dessert Recipes and Advice on Love and Writing. A percentage of the profits were donated to our county food bank.

Kathy: Why are food banks so important?

LW: Many of our citizens live on limited, fixed incomes or below the poverty level. Making ends meet often means skipping meals and not meeting nutritional needs, which can lead to health issues. Food banks are a way of insuring our most vulnerable citizens have more healthful diets.

Kathy: I love Christmas ornaments. Do you make your own, like Anastasia?

LW: Absolutely! After all, like Anastasia, I’m also a crafts designer. However, my tree does include purchased ornaments that were gifts from other people.

Kathy: Do you have a favorite ornament?

LW: I have several. They were ornaments my sons made in grade school. The sentimental value of these ornaments far outweighs the rudimentary workmanship.

Kathy: Was there a specific inspiration for this story?

LW: There was, but divulging it would give away a major plot point.

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

LW: Anastasia and I are joined at the hip. I’ll continue putting her in the middle of murder and mayhem as long as readers want to read about her. Right now I’m mulling over plots for the next book in the series. I have several ideas, but I haven’t settled on one yet.

Kathy: Will you share any other upcoming books?

LW: I also write the Empty Nest Mystery Series, featuring Gracie and Blake Elliott. Gracie is a wannabe romance author turned amateur sleuth. Her husband Blake invariably winds up getting pulled into murder investigations as he tries to keep Gracie out of trouble. The series is a modern version of the old Thin Man movies with William Powell and Myrna Loy. There have been two books in the series so far, Definitely Dead and Literally Dead. At some point in the near future I’ll be working on another book in that series. Looks like I’ve got a busy year ahead of me!

Drop Dead Ornaments

An Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery, Book 7

Anastasia Pollack’s son Alex is dating Sophie Lambert, the new kid in town. For their community service project, the high school seniors have chosen to raise money for the county food bank. Anastasia taps her craft industry contacts to donate materials for the students to make Christmas ornaments they’ll sell at the town’s annual Holiday Crafts Fair.

At the fair Anastasia meets Sophie’s father, Shane Lambert, who strikes her as a man with secrets. She also notices a woman eavesdropping on their conversation. Later that evening when the woman turns up dead, Sophie’s father is arrested for her murder.

Alex and Sophie beg Anastasia to find the real killer, but Anastasia has had her fill of dead bodies. She’s also not convinced of Shane’s innocence. Besides, she’s promised younger son Nick she’ll stop risking her life. But how can she say no to Alex?


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Bio: USA Today bestselling and award-winning author Lois Winston writes mystery, romance, romantic suspense, chick lit, women’s fiction, children’s chapter books, and nonfiction under her own name and her Emma Carlyle pen name. Kirkus Reviews dubbed her critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series, “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum.” In addition, Lois is a former literary agent and an award-winning craft and needlework designer who often draws much of her source material for both her characters and plots from her experiences in the crafts industry.



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Sunday, October 28, 2018

The Vampire Knitting Club - A Review & Giveaway


The First Vampire Knitting Club Mystery

Having left her toad of a boyfriend Lucy Swift doesn't know quite what she wants out of life, but knows that her grandmother will be a good sounding board while providing respite from the world. But when she arrives in Oxford Lucy finds Cardinal Woolsey's Knitting shop closed and is told her grandmother died peacefully in her sleep. Things don't add up however. Not only could she swear she saw her Gran walking around town, but Lucy found her Gran's broken glasses and blood on the floor of the shop. Can she trust the good looking pale man who says he's part of Gran's knitting club, or the man who wants to buy all the shops on the street vowing he'll keep them as is, or  Gran's grumpy shop assistant whom she never liked? With a little kitten to help Lucy will try to make sense of her Gran's apparent death as well as her own life.

What a fun book! I loved this fast paced entry to the Vampire Knitting Club mysteries. Lucy Swift is a heroine with a good head on her shoulders, rightfully suspicious, and not gullible. Even when faced with the unbelievable, she is calm and able to come up with a plan, multiple plans if need be. The other characters are equally interesting from the goth teenager, the good doctor, and the various neighbors and shop keepers. I freely admit that I love Nyx. 

THE VAMPIRE KNITTING CLUB is a classic fish out of water and coming into one's own story. A young woman who can't knit unexpectedly inherits a knitting shop. And discovers that vampires are real...and they can knit! And she learns about family she never knew she had as well as her own powers. All this encapsulated in a unique mystery with plenty of suspects and motives. It's a youthful book, upbeat and funny, with a hint of romance to come and an adorable kitten.

THE VAMPIRE KNITTING CLUB makes me want to dig out my own knitting needles, even though I'm about as proficient as Lucy! I look forward to spending more time with these characters and watch Lucy's journey to become the woman she's truly meant to be.


The Vampire Knitting Club

by Nancy Warren

on Tour October 15 - November 16, 2018


At a crossroads between a cringe-worthy past (Todd the Toad) and an uncertain future (she's not exactly homeless, but it's close), Lucy Swift travels to Oxford to visit her grandmother. With Gran's undying love to count on and Cardinal Woolsey's, Gran's knitting shop, to keep her busy, Lucy can catch her breath and figure out what she's going to do.
Except it turns out that Gran is the undying. Or at least, the undead. But there's a death certificate. And a will, leaving the knitting shop to Lucy. And a lot of people going in and out who never use the door—including Gran, who is just as loving as ever, and prone to knitting sweaters at warp speed, late at night. What exactly is going on?
When Lucy discovers that Gran did not die peacefully in her sleep, but was murdered, she has to bring the killer to justice without tipping off the law that there's no body in the grave. Between a hot 800-year-old vampire and a dishy detective inspector, both of whom always seem to be there for her, Lucy finds her life getting more complicated than a triple cable cardigan. The only one who seems to know what's going on is her cat ... or is it ... her familiar?

First in a new series of paranormal cozy mysteries!


Book Details:

Genre: Paranormal Cozy Mystery
Published by: Ambleside Publishing
Publication Date: September 2018
Number of Pages: 250
ISBN:13 9781981498970
ASIN: B07HDBQ7BB Series: The Vampire
Knitting Club #1
Purchase Links: Amazon Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

Cardinal Woolsey’s knitting shop has appeared on postcards celebrating the quaint views of Oxford, of which there are many. But when a visitor has tired of writing ‘wish you were here’ on the back of pictures of the various colleges, the dreaming spires, and the dome of the Radcliffe Camera, a cozy little shop painted blue, brimming with baskets of wool and hand-knit goods, can be so much more inviting.
My grandmother Agnes Bartlett owned the knitting shop and I was on my way to visit after spending a very hot month at a dig site in Egypt visiting my archeologist parents.
Gran was always ready to wrap her warm arms around me and tell me everything was going to be all right. I needed comforting after discovering my boyfriend of two years Todd had stuck his salami in someone else’s sandwich. I referred to him now as my ex-boyfriend The Toad. I was thinking about Gran’s wisdom, her hugs and her home made gingersnaps, when I started to feel as though cold, wet fingers were walking down the back of my neck.
My wheeled suitcase clanked and rattled behind me along the cobblestones of Harrington Street as I looked around, wondering what had caused the heebie-jeebies.
The October day was chilly and crisp and, in the mid-afternoon, the street was busy with shoppers, tourists and students. Church bells chimed three o’clock. When I glanced ahead, I saw my beloved Gran. She wore a black skirt, sensible shoes and one of her hand-knit cardigans, this one in orange and blue. She was walking with a glamorous woman in her sixties whom I didn’t recognize. I thought Gran looked confused and my hackles immediately rose. The glamor puss was holding an umbrella over Gran’s head, even though the day was dry and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.
I waved and called, “Gran!” moving faster so my suitcase began to bounce.
I was sure they saw me, but as I sped toward them, they veered down a side street. What on earth? I lifted my case and began to run; though my case was so heavy it was more of a grunting stagger.
“Gran!” I yelled again. I stopped at the bottom of the road where I’d last seen them. There was no one there. A dry, shriveled leaf tumbled toward me and from a window ledge a small, black cat regarded me with what looked like pity. Otherwise, the street was empty.
“Agnes Bartlett!” I yelled at the top of my lungs.
I stood, panting. The side street was lined with a mixture of half-timbered cottages and Victorian row houses, all clearly residential. Gran hadn’t popped into a shop and would soon emerge. She was visiting in one of those homes, presumably. I wondered if it belonged to her friend.
Well, there was no point standing there. I’d go to Cardinal Woolsey’s and wait for Gran there. Her assistant, Rosemary, would be running the shop and I could let myself into the upstairs flat and unpack while I waited for my grandmother to return.
I retraced my steps, but when I reached the entrance to the quaint shop and tried the door, it didn’t open. I tried again, pushing harder, before my other senses kicked in and I realized that no lights were on inside.
A printed sign hung on the windowed front door. It said, “Cardinal Woolsey’s is closed until further notice.” At the bottom was a phone number.
Closed until further notice?
Gran never closed the shop outside her regular closing days. And if she had, where was her assistant?
I stood on the sidewalk that feeling came again, like cold fingers on the nape of my neck.
Excerpt from The Vampire Knitting Club by Nancy Warren. Copyright © 2018 by Nancy Warren. Reproduced with permission from Nancy Warren. All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

Nancy Warren is the USA Today bestselling author of more than 60 novels including the Toni Diamond cozy mystery series.
She shares her time between Victoria, British Columbia, and Bath in the UK.

Catch Up With Nancy Warren On:, Goodreads, Twitter, & Facebook!


Tour Participants:

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This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Nancy Warren. There will be one (1) winner of one (1) Gift Card. The giveaway begins on October 15, 2018 and runs through November 17, 2018. Void where prohibited.
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Friday, October 26, 2018

Killed on Blueberry Hill - A Review


The Third Berry Basket Mystery

The heat is on, literally, as Oriole Point celebrates the Blueberry Blow Out Festival. Tempers are flaring as the summer temperatures increase. Marlee Jacob is aghast at her fiancé's behavior as the feud between Zeller Orchards and Blueberry Hill Farm turns violent. But Ryan's behavior toward Porter is just one warning sign, his behavior toward her is worrying as well. When Porter dies, everyone assumes that his death was due to his careless disregard to his diabetes. But was it actually murder? And could Ryan actually be guilty?

The third Berry Basket Mystery is a labyrinth filled with subtle clues scattered amid the red herrings and suspicious behavior of multiple suspects. Sharon Farrow proves to be a master at manipulating emotions, spiking my anger at the various behaviors of some of the characters and annoyance towards others. I wanted to smack quite a few of them. Natasha's return to the scene brought a breath of fresh air and some much needed comic relief from all of the drama. This vivacious "shark shooter" is a hoot. She's funny and over the top, yet with down to earth common sense and a heart of gold.

This character driven mystery has a theme of familial loyalty, love, and hate. How far will family, particularly mothers, go to protect their children? How much faith and trust should people have in the ones they love? And how long will it take for the scales to come off their eyes?

KILLED ON BLUEBERRY HILL is a fun read with plenty of emotional twists and turns as it reflects on family dynamics, love, and loyalty.

Recipes included.

KILLED ON BLUEBERRY HILL will be released Tuesday, October 30, 2018.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading Killed on Blueberry Hill by Sharon Farrow. This book is the third in the Berry Basket Mystery series and will be released next week.

The heat is on, literally, as Oriole Point celebrates the Blueberry Blow Out Festival. Tempers are flaring as the summer temperatures increase. Marlee Jacob is aghast at her fiance's behavior as the feud between Zeller Orchards and Blueberry Hill Farm turns violent. But Ryan's behavior toward Porter is just one warning sign, his behavior toward her is worrying as well. When Porter dies, everyone assumes that his death was due to his careless disregard to his diabetes. But was it actually murder? And could Ryan actually be guilty?

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Murder in the Museum - An Interview & Giveaway

I'm pleased to welcome Karen Shughart to Cozy Up With Kathy today. Karen writes the Edmund DeCleryk Mystery series. Murder in the Museum is the first book in the series and was released earlier this year.

Kathy: In Murder at the Museum a current murder seems to be tied to a historical document. Do you enjoy historical research?

KS: I loved doing the historical research, although I must admit that because this is a work of fiction, I changed some names and fudged a little with the facts.

Kathy: Events take place around the local museum and historical society in Lighthouse Cove, NY. What is it about lighthouses that attract us?

KS: Great question! I recently read a book about women who were lighthouse keepers, going back to the 1700s, and it was fascinating because it was a challenging existence and there were many hardships. I think there’s a mystique about lighthouses- they both beckon and warn, and for me they represent solitude and perhaps piercing loneliness. From a lighthouse vantage point, one can look out and view a vast sea and wonder what lies beyond.

Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

KS: I love their gentleness and quirkiness. Cozies have no gratuitous language, adult scenes or graphic violence; are often set in charming villages; the sleuth is typically a kind person with ties to family and/or community. If you like to cook, as I do, there are often recipes included at the end.

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

KS: I’ve written two books of non-fiction plus, as a former journalist, lots of features, news articles and columns. But for now, I’m sticking with Cozies.

Kathy: Tell us about your series.

KS: Murder in the Museum is the first in a series of Edmund DeCleryk mysteries that take place in a small village along the southern shore of Lake Ontario. Each murder will have a link to something historical; the War of 1812 will feature prominently in book two, Murder in the Cemetery.

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

KS: I think we authors like, admire or feel sympathy for all our characters; after all, they exist in our heads so are part of us. I guess I’d have to say that Ed and Annie are equally my favorites; Ed, because he is thoughtful, kind and respectful, and Annie because she is strong and independent and a good counterpart to her investigator husband.

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

KS: Living in a breathtakingly beautiful village on the southern shore of Lake Ontario is completely my inspiration. There are defined seasons, each as beautiful as the other, and there are lots of wonderful, kind, creative people. I’m not sure I could have written the book if I lived in a major metropolitan area. We don’t have smog or traffic jams here!

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

KS: I had committed to writing the book, and the plot literally came out of a dream I had one night. After completing it, I decided that I’d worked so hard (and my beta readers loved it!) that I owed it to myself to find a publisher. Cozy Cat has been an excellent fit.

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

KS: Louise Penny, because I think she’s a masterful storyteller; Ernest Hemingway because of the simplicity of his writing and complexity of his character; Robert Parker because I fell in love with Jesse Stone and Spenser; and Jesmyn Ward. I recently read Sing, Unburied, Sing and was blown away.

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

KS: I don’t always read Cozies and just finished Death of a Jewish American Princess, a fascinating true crime story about a man in Arizona, who after killing his wife, was acquitted because of prosecutorial errors and glitches in the law. The outcome resulted in changes in trial law there. Next on the list is The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared, and then, maybe simultaneously, Robert Parker’s Colorblind. I miss Robert Parker.

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

KS: I’m a photography buff and for awhile struggled with whether to concentrate on writing or photography. Writing won out, but I still love to take pictures. I also love to cook, and my husband and I both like to entertain. I walk and/or exercise almost every day, and gardening is always a pleasure.

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

KS: Lots of fruits and vegetables, nuts, fish (in the freezer) and Siracha.

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

KS: Current series. I’m writing Murder in the Cemetery, with it’s link to the War of 1812; the next book will link the murder to the Civil War and Underground Railroad; after that the murders will be linked to Prohibition and World Wars I and II. Then I may start another series!

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

KS: Being an author of mysteries was something I always wanted to do, but for many years life got in the way. For me being an author doesn’t feel like work, it’s both meditative and stimulating. We live in troubled times, and with my books I can create a world I would want to live in. Seeing my books in print is a happy outcome.


Murder in the Museum: An Edmund DeCleryk Mystery by Karen Shughart

About the Book

Cozy Mystery 1st in Series  
Cozy Cat Press (February 13, 2018) 
Paperback: 266 pages 
Early one gray November morning, retired Lighthouse Cove, NY police chief, Edmund DeCleryk, finds Emily Bradford's body on the beach at the base of the bluff where the local museum and historical society stands. At the same time, a break-in has been reported at the museum, and Emily's coat and purse are found hanging on a peg in the museum's gift shop where she worked. Was her death the result of a burglary gone bad or something more sinister?
When the police chief is called out of town for a family emergency, he hires Ed, now working as a criminal consultant, to assist deputy police chief, Carrie Ramos, with the murder investigation. After several leads don't pan out, the chief, now back in Lighthouse Cove, decides to close the case. Confident that with more time the murder can be solved, Ed is determined to continue investigating on his own, with encouragement from his wife, Annie the museum's executive director.
One morning while in the basement of the museum, the couple discovers a copy of a map dated 1785, and Ed's instincts tell him it may be connected to Emily's death. On a hunch, he and Annie travel to Toronto, Canada, where he learns of the original map and a manuscript written in 1847 that were unearthed during an archaeological dig. The manuscript contains information about a ship that capsized during a fierce storm on Lake Ontario -- in 1785. Now Ed has clues as to why the murder occurred, but he still doesn't know who committed the crime. Or does he?

About the Author

Karen Shughart received a B.A. in Comprehensive Literature from the University of Pittsburgh and completed graduate courses in English at Shippensburg University. She is the author of two non-fiction books and has worked as an editor, publicist, photographer, journalist, teacher and non-profit executive. A Murder in the Museum: An Edmund DeCleryk Mystery is her first work of fiction. Before moving to a small village on the shores of Lake Ontario in upstate New York, she and her husband resided in south central Pennsylvania, near Harrisburg, PA. For more information, visit her website:

Author Links:  

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Purchase Link - Amazon

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