Friday, November 29, 2019

Murder in the Moonshine - A Review


The Third Rita Calabrese Culinary Mystery

All is quiet in Acorn Hollow, New York, too quiet for the editor of the Morris County Gazette. Much to Rita Calabrese's chagrin, two new columns are being added to the paper, Ask a Dude, and Teen Talk which is written by a high school student with an attitude. A request from her sister to drum up interest on her latest real estate challenge proves to be the inspiration Rita needs. Not only will she pen fascinating copy about the history of the house, not difficult since the house was once a speakeasy visited by FDR, but she'll organize a jazz themed party for the whole town. But when a known drug dealer is found murdered before the big event's staged raid, Rita has a serious piece of investigative journalism to pursue.

Disgruntled that her popularity is being usurped by a know it all teen and an unknown man, Rita is on a mission. First off to figure out the identity of the mysterious Dude, and then get her byline back in the spotlight. I love Rita's confidence, but in her third mystery she also shows a little vulnerability. Her inability to connect with her daughter as well as an overwhelming need to protect her family, blood relation or not, makes her more real. But this attitude, which can appear a bit overbearing, leads me to a bone of contention with the well meaning matriarch. I understand her concern over her family leaving the nest and moving away, but she needs to stop bashing Buffalo! I hereby cordially invite Rita over and I will gladly show her the amazing architecture, the vast history, and incredible art to be found in Buffalo, not to mention the fabulous food. Rita, we're not all snow and closed steel mills and you should see what we've done to our grain silos!

While I love Buffalo, New York I would like to visit the crossroads and see this amazing, albeit dilapidated, old home. Vivid descriptions and intricately woven lore makes it tangible and I especially love that some of the history surrounding it is true.

Infused with Italian flair, MURDER IN THE MOONSHINE takes history, modern societal issues, and family values and melds them into a captivating, mouthwatering mystery.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Currently Reading...

I just finished reading Murder in the Moonshine by Maureen Klovers. This book is the third in the Rita Calabrese Culinary Mystery series and was released earlier this month.

All is quiet in Acorn Hollow, New York, too quiet for the editor of the Morris County Gazette. Much to Rita Calabrese's chagrin, two new columns are being added to the paper, Ask a Dude, and Teen Talk which is written by a high school student with an attitude. A request from her sister to drum up interest on her latest real estate challenge proves to be the inspiration Rita needs. Not only will she pen fascinating copy about the history of the house, not difficult since the house was once a speakeasy visited by FDR, but she'll organize a jazz themed party for the whole town. But when a known drug dealer is found murdered before the big event's staged raid, Rita has a serious piece of investigative journalism to pursue.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Paw of the Jungle - A Spotlight & Giveaway

I'm happy to shine a spotlight on Paw of the Jungle by Diane Kelly. This book is the eighth book in the Paw Enforcement Mystery series and today is its release day!

Jacket Copy:

Police officer Megan Luz and her K-9 partner in crime, Brigit, are on all fours as they try to solve their latest Lone Star mystery.


The weather is beautiful, work is slow, and her canine colleague could use a walk. What better day for Megan to take Brigit to the Fort Worth Zoo, where they can let loose and witness the law and order of nature unfold? But what begins as a fun field trip turns serious when a pair of rare hyacinth macaws named Fabiana and Fernando goes missing. Is the new custodian, a gentle soul who happens to be an ex-convict, to blame? Or is something far more sinister afoot?


The birds are worth thousands of dollars, and the list of people on the premises who might have stolen them is long. Soon other animals start disappearing. . .and Megan and Brigit have their hands and paws full of suspects. But when a rare black rhino is taken from the zoo, presumably for its black-market-friendly horn, time is of the essence. Can Megan and Brigit find out who’s behind the mystery—before they too become prey?


Author Bio:

Diane Kelly is a former state assistant attorney general and tax adviser who spent much of her career fighting, or inadvertently working for, white-collar criminals. She is also a proud graduate of the Mansfield, Texas Citizens Police Academy. The first book in Diane's IRS Special Agent Tara Holloway series, Death, Taxes, and a French Manicure, received a Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award. Book #2, Death, Taxes, and a Skinny No-Whip Latte, won a Reviewers Choice award. Diane has combined her fascination with law enforcement and her love of animals in her K-9 cop Paw Enforcement series.

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For a chance to win a copy of Paw of the Jungle simply leave a comment on this blog post telling us your favorite animal to visit at the zoo. Leave your comment, along with an e-mail address, no later than 11:59 Eastern Wednesday, November 27, 2019 in order to be eligible.

Reflections on a Small-Town Life - A Turkey Basted to Death Guest Post & Giveaway

I'm happy to welcome Jolie Tucker to Cozy Up With Kathy today. You can find Jolie on the pages of the Cast Iron Skillet Mystery series by Jodie Rath. Turkey Basted to Death is a novella, making it the second and a half book in the series. It was released on November 15, 2019.

Reflections on s Small-Town Life

Hi all, I’m Jolie Tucker, and I live in Leavensport, Ohio—born and raised here. I’ve grown up with a crew of interesting friends that still live here too. My best friend, Ava Martinez, and I co-own a restaurant called Cast Iron Creations. She runs the front of the house, and I stay in the kitchen and cook and test out new recipes. Most of the recipes come from my Grandma Opal, and they were passed down from generations in our family.

I’m finding the longer I live, the more things from my past I need to deal with. A few years back, I would not have felt this way. Last year, a new detective came to work in the village—he’s ten years older than me—and, well, yeah, a lot of things have changed in my life since then. I’ve always struggled to trust people in general, but especially men. When Mick Meiser showed up, that all changed . . . until he lied about a huge situation in his life.

Recently, I started some therapy sessions to get to the core of my trust issues. These sessions have helped me remember some things from my past while helping me understand who I am and why I’m the way I am. I’m finding that I’m more involved in the politics of our village life lately, too. Urban sprawl has been an issue that popped up recently—and I will soon learn more about gentrification as well.

I’ve always felt that even though I come from a small town, the villagers and myself are all open-minded and tolerant people. With time, I’m learning that I need to broaden my horizons in understanding how society works and find better ways to communicate effectively when issues arise.

This Thanksgiving is going to be a wild ride! Ava’s family is back from Santo Domingo, and the entire village is gathering at the community center to celebrate the holiday together. Ava and I are in charge of most of the catering for a holiday. I’ve been warned that things will not go as planned, and I have a horrible feeling in my stomach. The last year has brought more crime to our little village, and I’m hoping I don’t find myself smack in the middle of another murder investigation!

Welcome to Leavensport, OH, where DEATH takes a DELICIOUS turn!


Turkey Basted to Death (The Cast Iron Skillet Mystery Series) by Jodi Rath

About Turkey Basted to Death

Cozy Mystery 2.5 in the Series - A Holiday Book 
MYS ED LLC (November 15, 2019) Number of Pages 133 pages
Thanksgiving is here, and Jolie Tucker has had quite the year! She is ready to sit back and relax with family and friends. But this is Leavensport, OH—so get ready for intense therapy sessions, dysfunctional family holiday gatherings, uninvited guests, and an inner-city teen advocate found DEAD—stabbed in the ear with the turkey baster!
Welcome to Leavensport, OH, where DEATH takes a DELICIOUS turn!

About the Author

Moving into her second decade working in education, Jodi Rath has decided to begin a life of crime in her The Cast Iron Skillet Mystery Series. Her passion for both mysteries and education led her to combine the two to create her business MYS ED, where she splits her time between working as an adjunct for Ohio teachers and creating mischief in her fictional writing. She currently resides in a small, cozy village in Ohio with her husband and her seven cats.

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Sunday, November 24, 2019

Hazards in Hampshire - An Interview & Giveaway

I'm pleased to welcome Emma Dakin to Cozy Up With Kathy today. Emma writes the British Book Tour Mystery series. Hazards in Hampshire is the first book in the series and was released last month.

Kathy: Claire Barclay moves to a quaint English village in Hazards in Hampshire? Have you ever thought to do the same?

ED: Oh yes! I’d love to do that. I travelled to Yorkshire last year where my third book in this series is set and wished I could stay longer. Next year, I’m looking at staying for a month just outside Edinburgh where the fourth book may be set. I currently live in a village in British Columbia’s west coast.

Kathy: What makes such a location the perfect setting for murder?

ED: A small village (or a hotel, or an island, or any somewhat isolated environment) allows the reader to concentrate on a cast of characters who relate to one another.

Kathy: Mrs. Paulson was the president of the local Mystery Books Club. Have you ever belonged to a book club?

ED: I was surprised to discover that I had not. I spent the last week with a friend who does belong to a mystery book club, so I am going to talk to my local librarian and see if I can join one here—or start one.

Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

ED: I read almost anything in the house when I was young. My parents had Books of Knowledge which I considered the forerunner of Google; I read the dictionary going from one word to another. My father read Burgess Bedtime Stories to all the children in the family, and I loved stories. When I was a teenager, I discovered Agatha Christie and searched out similar titles from then on.

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

ED: Yes, under the name Marion Crook, I have written about ten young adult and middle-grade novels as well as ten non-fiction some for teens and some for adults.

Kathy: Tell us about your series.

ED: Claire Barclay thought she was going to retire to a life of guiding tourists to the sites of mystery novels and enjoy her inheritance. Finally, she was back in England, settled into her new semi-detached cottage and ready to live a less-hectic, less globe-trotting life. It’s her driving curiosity that doesn’t allow that. If murders happen, she wants to know why. The tourists she takes from America, are intrepid older women who have well-developed personalities and opinions. The English tourists give a different flavor to the conversations, and Claire finds herself learning how to form friendships which help her solve the murders. She has a love interest, a tentative one, with Detective Inspector Mark Evans. It’s a wonder either has time for a relationship. We’ll see how it goes.

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

ED: Aside from Claire, I’m fond of her sister, Deirdre. Deirdre is well-educated in law, opinionated, kind, flamboyant, and I am never quite sure what she’s going to say.

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

ED: Yes indeed. At Bouchercon Mystery Writers Conference in New Orleans. I joined a woman sitting alone in the bar having her lunch. She gave me permission to join her as there were few vacant tables. We chatted. When I asked her what she did, she said she took guests on a tour of the sites of British Mystery authors. I stared at her. “Can I use that as a plot?” I asked. “Sure,” she said. That was Kathy Ackley. She definitely inspired me.

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

ED: I have already published over thirty books. It’s an obsession.

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

ED: Only four? Well, Carola Dunn, Kerry Greenwood, Sara Rosett and Alan Fry.

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

ED: I picked up about ten novels at the Bouchercon Conference in Dallas and I read Felix Francis “Crisis” on the plane home.

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

ED: I outrigger canoe on the Pacific west coast with a group of six women—rain, shine, sleet and all, except high winds. I line dance with ladies and I play the violin in a classical chamber group. I also play fiddle with ad hoc groups.

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

ED: Milk, cheese, chocolate, scotch

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

ED: Yes, I would like Claire to take tourists to Edinburgh. I have been there many times and, while I believe my mother’s family came from Yorkshire, I know my father’s came from Scotland, the Outer Hebrides, in fact. I have been there. It’s beautiful but a long way out in the sea.

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

ED: Writing. Truly, just sitting in front of the computer and diving into another world.


Hazards in Hampshire (A British Book Tour Mystery) by Emma Dakin

About Hazards in Hampshire

Cozy Mystery 1st in Series 
Camel Press (October 15, 2019)  
Paperback: Number of Pages 190 
Moving to a quiet English village should have been tranquil, but Claire Barclay learns that even an invitation to tea can be deadly. Who killed Mrs. Paulson, the president of the local Mystery Books Club? Was the motive for murder located in the archives of the book club? The members of the books club might have reason to want Mrs. Paulson’s out of the way. She had lived in the village all her life, been involved in many organizations and societies and knew many secrets of the villagers. Was one secret too dangerous for her to keep? She had been wealthy and left her money to a member of the club. Could the legatee have been impatient for her inheritance? Who cared enough to want her dead? Claire, an expert in solving problems in her job as a tour guide, decides to delve into the archives and into the lives of the villagers—and find out.

About Emma Dakin

This is Emma Dakin’s first series, set in Britain the homeland of Emma’s grandparents. Emma channels her mother’s inherited English culture along with the attitudes and sayings of the modern Brits. She travels widely in England and at one point this May while travelling through the Yorkshire Moors she had all the tourists in a tour bus looking for a good place to hide a body. As Marion Crook, she has published many novels of adventure and mystery for young adult and middle grade readers as well as non-fiction for adults and young adults and non-fiction on social issues. Firmly in the cozy mystery genre now, and committed to absorbing the culture and changing world of Britain, she plans to enjoy the research and the writing of cozies.

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