Sunday, August 1, 2021

Much Ado About Nauticaling - A Review & Giveaway

 Review


MUCH ADO ABOUT NAUTICALING by Gabby Allan
The First Whit and Whiskers Mystery

Whitney Dagner has happily left the corporate world behind on mainland California and joined her brother, Nick, and grandparents to run the family business, Nautically Yours, on Santa Catalina Island. When Whit and Nick find the island's man of the year dead in the water, Whit is stunned, but even more perplexed when her brother is brought in for further questioning. Nick barely knew the man...or did he? Although Nick pulled a disappearing act, Jules' wife sure isn't acting like a grieving widow and there are plenty of other people who make better suspects than her brother. With the help of her roommate and her ex-boyfriend Whit vows to get to the bottom of the situation.

Humor suffuses the first Whit and Whiskers Mystery making it a light-hearted fun read. I really like Whitney and wanted to smack her brother on her behalf! Whit is practical, self deprecating, loyal, and a good cat momma. Felix is a complete hunk while Maribel makes the perfect best friend/compatriot. Nick is the annoying little brother who is always getting into trouble, now grown up and in bigger trouble than ever! I absolutely adore Goldy and can picture the sun worshiper tooling around in her high heels giving out sage advice, as long as it doesn't take too much time away from her sun bathing.

The mystery is intriguing with plenty of interesting suspects, including Nick! I like how Whitney went about trying to solve the murder, with plenty of self doubt and no expertise. This made it much more believable and made her that much more likable.

MUCH ADO ABOUT NAUTICALING is a breezy island mystery with great characters and a wonderful setting.

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

 Much Ado about Nauticaling (A Whit and Whiskers Mystery) by Gabby Allan

About Much Ado about Nauticaling

Much Ado about Nauticaling (A Whit and Whiskers Mystery)
Cozy Mystery 1st in Series
Publisher: Kensington (July 27, 2021)
Paperback: 256 pages

Whitney Dagner is your tour guide to a Pacific paradise that’s to die for—only to find it’s a place people are also willing to kill for—in Gabby Allan’s Much Ado About Nauticaling, first in the Whit and Whiskers Mystery series.

After far too many years in the Los Angeles corporate world, Whitney Dagner has come home to Santa Catalina Island off the California coast to help her brother Nick run Nautically Yours, the family tourism business. Between gift shop shifts selling all manner of T-shirts and tchotchkes and keeping her feline Whiskers in fine fettle, she pilots the Sea Bounder, a glass bottom boat showing tourists the underwater sights of aquatic plants, marine life—and a murder victim?

The self-proclaimed “Master of the Island,” Jules Tisdale was a wealthy man with business interests throughout Catalina who was about to be honored as Person of the Year before someone strangled him with his own tie and tossed his body into the water. That someone appears to be Nick, who had a raw deal from Jules and no alibi the night of his murder. To clear her brother’s name, Whit will have to investigate Jules’ shady associates and not exactly grief-stricken family members—with the unwelcome help of Felix Ramirez, police diver and Whit’s ex-boyfriend who’s looking to rekindle their relationship.

About Gabby Allan

After writing plays for her friends to act out as a kid, bad poetry in high school, and her high school Alma Mater song, GABBY ALLAN finally found her true passion—cozy mysteries. Being able to share her world with readers, one laugh at a time, and touch people’s hearts with her down-to-earth characters makes for the best job ever. This California girl now lives with her husband, daughter, and two insane dogs in Central Pennsylvania where she is hard at work on her next novel.

Author Links:  

Website - http://www.gabbyallan.com  

Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/GabbyAllanAuthor  

Purchase Links - Amazon - B&N - Kobo - Google Play - IndieBound

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

The author is graciously gifting a copy of the book to one reader. Simply comment on this post telling us what most interests you about this mystery. Leave your comment no later than 11:59 Monday, August 2, 2021 along with an e-mail address. Sorry US addresses only. 

Friday, July 30, 2021

With Neighbors Like These - A Review, Excerpt, & Givewaway

 Review


WITH NEIGHBORS LIKE THESE by Linda Lovely
The First HOA Mystery 

Residents are taking sides over the fate of island deer and Kylee Kane's mother is in the midst of the conflict. When one of the more vocal residents is found murdered and left in front of his house with a stuffed deer head, the thought is a save the deer resident must be guilty. Convinced by her old friend Ted to join his Home Owners Association management team as a security consultant, retired Coast Guard Investigator Kylee isn't so sure. The HOA comes under even more fire when more issues occur with residents in other communities managed by the HOA. Will Kylee get to the bottom of these attacks? 

I have never wanted to live in a community governed by a Home Owner's Association and the first HOA Mystery has not changed my mind. Rules, power trips, and people with nothing better to do are not my idea of quality living, but they do make for quality mystery reading! It's a great premise and Kylee makes a credible competent protagonist. Her background as a Coast Guard Investigator provides both knowledge and the ability to grasp situations and read people. Yet she has her own foibles and insecurities as well. I really like Ted, the onetime annoying little kid who morphed into the savvy hunk. I really enjoy Kylee's mom as well, a feisty woman who knows her own mind and won't let cancer get her down.

WITH NEIGHBORS LIKE THESE is told from two points of view, that of Kylee and the killer. There is no confusion as to who's telling the story as not only is the character tone vastly different, a new POV brings a new chapter. It's fascinating to watch the two characters view and move the plot along. I generally don't care for multiple POVs, but this one was handled impeccably and doing so added much more depth to the story. The intertwining stories, one of which slowly revealed both the motive and identity of the killer, kept me intrigued and turning the pages. What I didn't like was the author's choice to write in the present tense. I found it disconcerting and it just sounded wrong as I read. It wasn't until I was more than halfway through the book that I no longer really noticed it and was able to fully immerse myself in the story. There was also one error that was quite glaring for me, the use of the term multiple personality disorder. That condition has been known as Dissociative Identity Disorder for decades.

Action, suspense, a touch of humor and a spark of romance highlight the first HOA Mystery. WITH NEIGHBORS LIKE THESE is a gripping start to a new series.

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

With Neighbors Like These

by Linda Lovely

July 12 - August 6, 2021 Tour

Synopsis:




MANAGING AN HOA IS MURDER…

He championed shooting deer inside the HOA’s nature sanctuary. Now his corpse is posed curbside, cradling a trophy deer head. The theatrical murder panics residents, and Ted Welch asks Kylee Kane, retired Coast Guard investigator, to help his HOA management firm calm fears. Kylee agrees. Her own mother is getting death threats over her crusade to protect the deer.

HOA=DOA TERROR REIGNS…

When a belligerent owner in another HOA is murdered, terror reigns. The Sheriff’s Department blames Ted for letting HOA feuds spiral into homicide. Kylee discovers links between the victims and suspects a recently-pardoned general is next. Authorities and the arrogant general dismiss her warning. Can she foil the third act in the crafty killer’s death-as-theater game or will she be the next corpse on display?

Praise for With Neighbors Like These:

"Linda Lovely delivers another twisty mystery with the perfect mix of wry humor and quirky characters. Anyone looking for a fun, fast page-turner, here it is!"
--Tami Hoag, #1 New York Times bestselling author

“HOA communities seem deceptively safe, but the mix of gossip and politics in rule-bound groups can be a fertile breeding ground for murder. For the gutsy Kylee Kane, a fact-finding gig in South Carolina’s Lowcountry turns increasingly complex and dangerous. With Neighbors Like These offers a distinctive setting, a tenacious female sleuth and captivating suspense.”
--Katherine Ramsland, bestselling author of How to Catch a Killer

"Low Country murder, intrigue, and even a little romance abound in With Neighbors Like These. Kylee Kane is a welcome addition to the genre, and author Linda Lovely knows how to stir the pot with crackling dialogue and a tidy little mystery. Highly recommended!"
--Richard Helms, Derringer and Thriller Awards winning author of Brittle Karma

Book Details:

Genre:Traditional Mystery
Published by: Level Best Books
Publication Date: July 13th 2021
Number of Pages: 326
ISBN: 9781953789457
Series: HOA Mystery Series, Book 1
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

ONE

Kylee Kane
Friday, September 25, 6:30 p.m.

“Mom, are we eating at the kitchen table?”

Silence.

Not again.

I look outside. Mom’s standing by the mailbox, tugging on the blue stocking cap that keeps her nearly-bald head warm.

Crap. I said I’d get the mail. She’s a stubborn old cuss. While her skin now looks like wrinkle-mapped parchment, those cagey blue eyes still flash.

Mom stops midway to the house to read something. A postcard? She looks up. Her expression is one I rarely see. Fear? Distress? Definitely bad news.

Ted’s Mustang pulls into the drive, and Mom stuffs whatever worried her into a pocket. Ted jumps out, and Mom’s thin arms embrace him.

Thirty years ago, Ted was my kid brother’s pimpled, bratty best friend, a snot-nosed pest. Last year, when we met up again in the Lowcountry, I couldn’t believe it. These days he could model for GQ. A lot happens when decades pass between sightings.

I open the front door. Mom’s slightly out of breath as Ted helps her up the stairs. While her cancer’s in retreat, chemo has taken a toll.

Ted glances my way and grins.

“Hi, Kylee. See you’re still having trouble getting your mother to behave. Bet you long for those Coast Guard days when you could give orders and know they’d be obeyed.”

“Yep, some days I’m sorry I retired,” I answer.

Mom waves her hand like she’s shooing flies. “Let’s talk about something interesting. Ted, what do you hear from your son?”

“Grant’s great, sends lots of love. Says your care package made life worth living last week. Freshman year’s tough at the Citadel.”

At six-feet, Ted towers over my five-foot-two mother. Though he’s forty-seven, three years my junior, only a hint of silver threads his thick black hair. His hazel eyes seem to change color with his mood or maybe it’s just the light. Tonight, they’re green.

Ted looks worried as he studies Mom. He was eight when his own mother died. After that Mom included him in all our family activities. He loves Mom as much as I do.

During our kitchen table dinner, he regales us with tales of HOA intrigue to lift Mom’s spirits. Since his management company has more than a dozen homeowner associations as clients, his supply of stories seems endless.

“Once upon a time, there were three neighbors,” he begins. “RulesALot is convinced his neighbor, DoggyDo, is harboring three mutts, one more than the two-pet-per-household limit. Since he can’t see over his hedge to prove it, RulesALot launches a spy drone. A pilot he’s not. His drone crashes in ToplessTina’s backyard, who’s suing him as a Peeping Tom. Of course, there’s only one question on every male owner’s mind: Did the drone snap photos of Tina’s tatas before it nosedived?”

Ted’s eyebrows wiggle up and down, and Mom laughs. “Your HOA stories are certainly entertaining.”

“Believe me, the stories are a lot funnier if you’re not expected to wade into the middle of the skirmishes. Never dreamed HOAs would be tougher to manage than U.S. embassies on hostile soil.”

Mom fiddles with her napkin. “Speaking of neighborhood feuds, I have a confession. I figured you’d be scolding me by now, Ted, since you manage our HOA …”

Ted and I look at each other. Uh oh.

“What did you do?” Ted asks.

“I told the moron Hullis Island directors I’ll sue if they don’t let us vote on what happens to our deer. Emailed copies to all 1,123 owners.”

I reach across the table and squeeze Mom’s hand. Though I agree with her, she needs to focus on regaining strength, not leading a crusade. “Oh, Mom, kicking over a hornets’ nest isn’t part of your cancer recovery regimen.”

Mom’s eyes narrow. “Hey, everyone else bitched and nothing happened. Figured a lawsuit threat might make their little sphincters tighten, and they’d pay attention.”

Mom switches to a fake, shaky geezer voice. “I’m a little old lady, their nightmare plaintiff. Who’s going to go off on some sick, elderly lady?”

Ted’s eyebrows lift. “Exactly what did your email say?”

“Told ’em their plan to shoot our almost-tame deer with no vote on who, what, when, or how was plain wrong. Hullis Island is a nature sanctuary. They can’t unilaterally declare an open hunting season without an island vote to change our covenants.”

Ted shakes his head. “Myrt, I told the board the same thing, though a bit more diplomatically. The directors sided with Cliff, the board president, and his expert, some lawyer drinking buddy, who found a no-vote loophole after they’d tipped a few.”

He shrugs. “Welch HOA Management offers advice, but we’re hired help. Clients call the shots.”

“What loophole?” I butt in. “Don’t the covenants require a vote on any change to the island’s status as a nature sanctuary?”

Ted nods. “Cliff’s citing a provision that allows killing protected animals if they pose a threat to human life.”

I roll my eyes. “What? They say zombie deer are preparing to ambush humans? That exception allows trapping rabid raccoons or aggressive alligators, not shooting starving deer.”

“I cornered Barb Darrin, a director I thought had sense,” Mom says. “Her justification? Deer carry ticks, a health hazard, and they can crash into golf carts.”

Mom sighs. “Everyone agrees the herd’s out of control. Doesn’t give these arrogant SOBs the right to sanction a Wild West killing spree. Sure as shoot, some bozo will mistake a human or a big dog for a deer and fire away. You won’t be able to throw a rock without hitting some guy in camo with a high-powered rifle.”

Ted taps his spoon against his coffee mug. “Myrt, what aren’t you telling us?”

“Well…” She shrugs. “Seems one wannabe deer killer has no qualms about threatening old ladies.” She pulls the crumpled card from the pocket of her baggy sweater. “Found this love note in my mailbox.”

Good grief. That’s what she stuffed in her pocket.

Ted snatches what looks like some movie-maker’s idea of a ransom note. Black-and-white newsprint cut and pasted on a postcard.

“What a nice closing line.” Ted reads, “‘It’s time us hunters declare open season on diseased deer and busybody bitches like Myrtle Kane.’” He turns the card over to look at the front. “Did this come in an envelope?”

“No, just lying in the box.”

“Mom! This is dangerous. Either I’m moving back in with you or you’re coming to live with me.”

“Nonsense,” she scoffs. “It’s pure bluster. Took a year to convince you I’m healthy enough to live alone. Anyway, I get seasick just thinking about sleeping on your boat. No-sir-ee, you can’t dynamite me out of this house.”

Ted raises his palm in a hold-it gesture. “Myrt, do you think Dan Finley pasted this up?”

She shakes her head. “While I’m convinced he’s our Grass Slayer, it’s not his MO to cut up newsprint and issue threats. More his style to use that big commercial sprayer of his to ruin the Quaids’ lawn tonight.”

I frown. “The Quaids who live cattycorner? What does Finley have against them?”

“They’re one of the couples leading the ‘Save Bambi’ drive.”

“But why would Finley do something tonight?”

“The Quaids are in Savannah for their son’s wedding,” Mom answers.

Ted sets down his mug. “You may be right about Finley seizing the opportunity.”

Mom chimes in. “The deer have cost him big bucks. The poor starving creatures devour plants like I eat chocolates. Plants he’s guaranteed. His nursery and landscaping business is hurting. He blames folks like the Quaids, who put out buckets of corn to keep the deer alive.”

“Last week, herbicide messages were left on the lawns of two other deer lovers who were out of town,” Ted adds. “Dead yellow grass shows up quite nicely against a field of green Bermuda blades.”

“What kind of messages?” I ask.

Mom shrugs. “One lawn read, ‘Up yours!’ He was more artistic on the other lawn, drew a fist with an extended middle finger.”

I laugh in spite of my worries that Finley might be Mom’s new enemy.

Mom purses her lips. “Sure, it sounds like juvenile hijinks, but the anger’s palpable. Folks who golfed or played bridge together no longer speak. That’s why I’m adamant we need a vote. Then, win or lose, everyone has a say, and we can move on. It’s called democracy.”

“Speaking of democracy, I propose a kitchen vote,” Ted says. “All in favor of Kylee and me staking out the Quaids’ yard tonight raise your hands. That overgrown lot across the street offers a view of their place. Maybe we can catch Dan Finley at work.”

While I’m skeptical a one-night stakeout will succeed, that vacant lot also offers a perfect view of Mom’s mailbox. And I’m all for hanging around to catch anyone delivering hate mail.

Ted and I raise our hands. Mom harrumphs.

“Just what will you do if Dan Finley does drop by?” she asks.

“Video him doing the evil deed.” Ted smiles. “My new phone takes excellent photos in low light.”

Mom grumbles, but won’t argue with our kitchen table vote, a Kane family tradition.

“Just when do you intend to sneak off in the woods?”

Ted glances at his watch. “Say an hour? I doubt Finley would chance a drive-by while folks are still drifting home from dinner at the club.”

“Good. I’ll change into some old clothes and sneakers I left here before I was evicted.”

Ted looks ready for a Southern Living picture shoot in his tan chinos, button-down shirt, and polished loafers. “You sacrificing your HOA meeting duds for this outing?”

His hazel eyes twinkle. “Nope,” Ted answers. “I was a Boy Scout. Your dad, our scoutmaster, taught us well. I have running clothes in the trunk.”

***

Excerpt from With Neighbors Like These by Linda Lovely. Copyright 2021 by Linda Lovely. Reproduced with permission from Linda Lovely. All rights reserved.

 

 

Author Bio:


A journalism major in college, Linda Lovely has spent most of her career working in PR and advertising—an early introduction to penning fiction. With Neighbors Like These is Lovely’s ninth mystery/suspense novel. Whether she’s writing cozy mysteries, historical suspense or contemporary thrillers, her novels share one common element—smart, independent heroines. Humor and romance also sneak into every manuscript. Her work has earned nominations for a number of prestigious awards, ranging from RWA’s Golden Heart for Romantic Suspense to Killer Nashville’s Silver Falchion for Best Cozy Mystery. A long-time member of Sisters in Crime and former chapter president, Lovely also belongs to International Thriller Writers and Mystery Writers of America. For many years, she helped organize the Writers’ Police Academy. She lives on a lake in Upstate South Carolina with her husband, and enjoys swimming, tennis, gardening, long walks, and, of course, reading.

Catch Up With Our Author:
www.LindaLovely.com
Goodreads
BookBub: @LindaLovely
Twitter: @LovelyAuthor
Facebook: @LindaLovelyAuthor

Follow Linda's Instagram # - #LindaLovely

 

 

Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!

 

 

Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Linda Lovely. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card (U.S. ONLY). The giveaway runs July 12 through August 8, 2021. Void where prohibited.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

 

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Currently Reading...

I just finished reading With Neighbors Like These by Linda Lovely. This book is the first in the HOA Mystery series and was released earlier this month.

Residents are taking sides over the fate of island deer and Kylee Kane's mother is in the midst of the conflict. When one of the more vocal residents is found murdered and left in front of his house with a stuffed deer head, the thought is a save the deer resident must be guilty. Convinced by her old friend Ted to join his Home Owners Association management team as a security consultant, retired Coast Guard Investigator Kylee isn't so sure. The HOA comes under even more fire when more issues occur with residents in other communities managed by the HOA. Will Kylee get to the bottom of these attacks?


Tuesday, July 27, 2021

With Neighbors Like These - An Interview, Excerpt, & Giveaway

I'm pleased to welcome Linda Lovely to Cozy Up With Kathy today. Linda writes the HOA Mystery series. WITH NEIGHBORS LIKE THESE is the first book in the series and was released earlier this month.


Kathy: I've never wanted to live where a HOA existed for various reasons...several found in WITH NEIGHBORS LIKE THESE. Have you ever belonged to one?

LL: I’ve lived in four HOAs. I’ve been secretary, vice president and president of an HOA, and I’ve joined a lawsuit against one. A homeowner association’s potential for good or harm depends largely on the personalities, ethics and agendas of the individuals who serve as directors.
 

Kathy: My blood boils when I read about hunters invading nature sanctuaries, a trait I share with Kylee's mother. Was there a specific reason to add this topic to your first HOA Mystery?

LL: How to handle deer overpopulation has been a source of controversy in communities for decades. It was a good fit for my plot as I needed to portray the type of feud that sparks passion. However, this particular feud wasn’t inspired by my knowledge of any particular incident.
 

Kathy: WITH NEIGHBORS LIKE THESE is categorized as a traditional mystery while your Brie Hooker Mystery series is considered a cozy. While these subgenres are quite similar, there are distinct differences. Why make your latest series traditional?

LL The line between cozies and traditional mysteries is often blurred. The villain’s motive in WITH NEIGHBORS LIKE THESE touches on a few topics that might make some cozy mystery readers uncomfortable. However, in this series, I am still making an effort to avoid excessive swearing and gore, and I’m leaving the bedroom door closed for romantic scenes.


Kathy: What first drew you to mysteries?

LL: I started reading mysteries and adventures in grade school. I love trying to solve puzzles, rooting for heroines and heroes, and knowing (in the types of crime fiction I prefer) that smart, determined good guys will triumph no matter the odds. Mysteries and thrillers are an antidote to discouraging news headlines and reinforce my optimism that good will win out.


Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

LL: This is my ninth book. All fall within the broad crime fiction category but there’s quite a bit of diversity. My new, traditional HOA Mysteries feature a retired Coast Guard heroine who serves as a security consultant for an HOA management firm. This recently retired heroine has a lot in common with the heroine in my Marley Clark Mysteries. Marley’s a fifty-year-old Army veteran.
My cozy Brie Hooker Series features a vegan chef who lives on a goat farm with her cantankerous, carnivore aunt. My Smart Women, Dumb Luck novels are steamier romantic thrillers. And, finally, there’s LIES: Secrets Can Kill, a standalone romantic suspense set in 1938.


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

LL: My favorite heroine is Catherine (Cat) Reedy in my historical suspense novel set in 1938. While I love all my heroines, Cat is especially dear to me because my mother and her stories of life for young women in the late thirties inspired her.
 

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

LL: I did mention I’ve lived in four HOAs, didn’t I?
 

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

LL: With publication, I always hope I entertain at least a few readers in the same way my favorite authors have entertained me.

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

LL: I’d go for variety within the broad crime fiction category, inviting an author who makes me laugh, a mystery or thriller writer, someone who pens books in a historical era I find fascinating, and a romantic suspense author. (I have lots of candidates in each category!)


Kathy: What are you currently reading?


LL:  WINTER WITNESS by fellow Level Best Books author Tina deBellegarde.


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

LL: Swimming, tennis, gardening, long walks with my husband, and, of course, reading.

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

LL: Cheese (multiple kinds), chocolate (in some form), lemonade, and in-season fruit.


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

LL: Yes, I have a three-book contract with Level Best Books for my HOA Mystery Series.

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

LL: Commiserating and sharing laughs with the many author friends I’ve made and hearing from readers who have enjoyed one of my books.

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

With Neighbors Like These

by Linda Lovely

July 12 - August 6, 2021 Tour

Synopsis:


MANAGING AN HOA IS MURDER…

He championed shooting deer inside the HOA’s nature sanctuary. Now his corpse is posed curbside, cradling a trophy deer head. The theatrical murder panics residents, and Ted Welch asks Kylee Kane, retired Coast Guard investigator, to help his HOA management firm calm fears. Kylee agrees. Her own mother is getting death threats over her crusade to protect the deer.

HOA=DOA TERROR REIGNS…

When a belligerent owner in another HOA is murdered, terror reigns. The Sheriff’s Department blames Ted for letting HOA feuds spiral into homicide. Kylee discovers links between the victims and suspects a recently-pardoned general is next. Authorities and the arrogant general dismiss her warning. Can she foil the third act in the crafty killer’s death-as-theater game or will she be the next corpse on display?

Praise for With Neighbors Like These:

"Linda Lovely delivers another twisty mystery with the perfect mix of wry humor and quirky characters. Anyone looking for a fun, fast page-turner, here it is!"
--Tami Hoag, #1 New York Times bestselling author

“HOA communities seem deceptively safe, but the mix of gossip and politics in rule-bound groups can be a fertile breeding ground for murder. For the gutsy Kylee Kane, a fact-finding gig in South Carolina’s Lowcountry turns increasingly complex and dangerous. With Neighbors Like These offers a distinctive setting, a tenacious female sleuth and captivating suspense.”
--Katherine Ramsland, bestselling author of How to Catch a Killer

"Low Country murder, intrigue, and even a little romance abound in With Neighbors Like These. Kylee Kane is a welcome addition to the genre, and author Linda Lovely knows how to stir the pot with crackling dialogue and a tidy little mystery. Highly recommended!"
--Richard Helms, Derringer and Thriller Awards winning author of Brittle Karma

Book Details:

Genre:Traditional Mystery
Published by: Level Best Books
Publication Date: July 13th 2021
Number of Pages: 326
ISBN: 9781953789457
Series: HOA Mystery Series, Book 1
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

ONE

Kylee Kane
Friday, September 25, 6:30 p.m.

“Mom, are we eating at the kitchen table?”

Silence.

Not again.

I look outside. Mom’s standing by the mailbox, tugging on the blue stocking cap that keeps her nearly-bald head warm.

Crap. I said I’d get the mail. She’s a stubborn old cuss. While her skin now looks like wrinkle-mapped parchment, those cagey blue eyes still flash.

Mom stops midway to the house to read something. A postcard? She looks up. Her expression is one I rarely see. Fear? Distress? Definitely bad news.

Ted’s Mustang pulls into the drive, and Mom stuffs whatever worried her into a pocket. Ted jumps out, and Mom’s thin arms embrace him.

Thirty years ago, Ted was my kid brother’s pimpled, bratty best friend, a snot-nosed pest. Last year, when we met up again in the Lowcountry, I couldn’t believe it. These days he could model for GQ. A lot happens when decades pass between sightings.

I open the front door. Mom’s slightly out of breath as Ted helps her up the stairs. While her cancer’s in retreat, chemo has taken a toll.

Ted glances my way and grins.

“Hi, Kylee. See you’re still having trouble getting your mother to behave. Bet you long for those Coast Guard days when you could give orders and know they’d be obeyed.”

“Yep, some days I’m sorry I retired,” I answer.

Mom waves her hand like she’s shooing flies. “Let’s talk about something interesting. Ted, what do you hear from your son?”

“Grant’s great, sends lots of love. Says your care package made life worth living last week. Freshman year’s tough at the Citadel.”

At six-feet, Ted towers over my five-foot-two mother. Though he’s forty-seven, three years my junior, only a hint of silver threads his thick black hair. His hazel eyes seem to change color with his mood or maybe it’s just the light. Tonight, they’re green.

Ted looks worried as he studies Mom. He was eight when his own mother died. After that Mom included him in all our family activities. He loves Mom as much as I do.

During our kitchen table dinner, he regales us with tales of HOA intrigue to lift Mom’s spirits. Since his management company has more than a dozen homeowner associations as clients, his supply of stories seems endless.

“Once upon a time, there were three neighbors,” he begins. “RulesALot is convinced his neighbor, DoggyDo, is harboring three mutts, one more than the two-pet-per-household limit. Since he can’t see over his hedge to prove it, RulesALot launches a spy drone. A pilot he’s not. His drone crashes in ToplessTina’s backyard, who’s suing him as a Peeping Tom. Of course, there’s only one question on every male owner’s mind: Did the drone snap photos of Tina’s tatas before it nosedived?”

Ted’s eyebrows wiggle up and down, and Mom laughs. “Your HOA stories are certainly entertaining.”

“Believe me, the stories are a lot funnier if you’re not expected to wade into the middle of the skirmishes. Never dreamed HOAs would be tougher to manage than U.S. embassies on hostile soil.”

Mom fiddles with her napkin. “Speaking of neighborhood feuds, I have a confession. I figured you’d be scolding me by now, Ted, since you manage our HOA …”

Ted and I look at each other. Uh oh.

“What did you do?” Ted asks.

“I told the moron Hullis Island directors I’ll sue if they don’t let us vote on what happens to our deer. Emailed copies to all 1,123 owners.”

I reach across the table and squeeze Mom’s hand. Though I agree with her, she needs to focus on regaining strength, not leading a crusade. “Oh, Mom, kicking over a hornets’ nest isn’t part of your cancer recovery regimen.”

Mom’s eyes narrow. “Hey, everyone else bitched and nothing happened. Figured a lawsuit threat might make their little sphincters tighten, and they’d pay attention.”

Mom switches to a fake, shaky geezer voice. “I’m a little old lady, their nightmare plaintiff. Who’s going to go off on some sick, elderly lady?”

Ted’s eyebrows lift. “Exactly what did your email say?”

“Told ’em their plan to shoot our almost-tame deer with no vote on who, what, when, or how was plain wrong. Hullis Island is a nature sanctuary. They can’t unilaterally declare an open hunting season without an island vote to change our covenants.”

Ted shakes his head. “Myrt, I told the board the same thing, though a bit more diplomatically. The directors sided with Cliff, the board president, and his expert, some lawyer drinking buddy, who found a no-vote loophole after they’d tipped a few.”

He shrugs. “Welch HOA Management offers advice, but we’re hired help. Clients call the shots.”

“What loophole?” I butt in. “Don’t the covenants require a vote on any change to the island’s status as a nature sanctuary?”

Ted nods. “Cliff’s citing a provision that allows killing protected animals if they pose a threat to human life.”

I roll my eyes. “What? They say zombie deer are preparing to ambush humans? That exception allows trapping rabid raccoons or aggressive alligators, not shooting starving deer.”

“I cornered Barb Darrin, a director I thought had sense,” Mom says. “Her justification? Deer carry ticks, a health hazard, and they can crash into golf carts.”

Mom sighs. “Everyone agrees the herd’s out of control. Doesn’t give these arrogant SOBs the right to sanction a Wild West killing spree. Sure as shoot, some bozo will mistake a human or a big dog for a deer and fire away. You won’t be able to throw a rock without hitting some guy in camo with a high-powered rifle.”

Ted taps his spoon against his coffee mug. “Myrt, what aren’t you telling us?”

“Well…” She shrugs. “Seems one wannabe deer killer has no qualms about threatening old ladies.” She pulls the crumpled card from the pocket of her baggy sweater. “Found this love note in my mailbox.”

Good grief. That’s what she stuffed in her pocket.

Ted snatches what looks like some movie-maker’s idea of a ransom note. Black-and-white newsprint cut and pasted on a postcard.

“What a nice closing line.” Ted reads, “‘It’s time us hunters declare open season on diseased deer and busybody bitches like Myrtle Kane.’” He turns the card over to look at the front. “Did this come in an envelope?”

“No, just lying in the box.”

“Mom! This is dangerous. Either I’m moving back in with you or you’re coming to live with me.”

“Nonsense,” she scoffs. “It’s pure bluster. Took a year to convince you I’m healthy enough to live alone. Anyway, I get seasick just thinking about sleeping on your boat. No-sir-ee, you can’t dynamite me out of this house.”

Ted raises his palm in a hold-it gesture. “Myrt, do you think Dan Finley pasted this up?”

She shakes her head. “While I’m convinced he’s our Grass Slayer, it’s not his MO to cut up newsprint and issue threats. More his style to use that big commercial sprayer of his to ruin the Quaids’ lawn tonight.”

I frown. “The Quaids who live cattycorner? What does Finley have against them?”

“They’re one of the couples leading the ‘Save Bambi’ drive.”

“But why would Finley do something tonight?”

“The Quaids are in Savannah for their son’s wedding,” Mom answers.

Ted sets down his mug. “You may be right about Finley seizing the opportunity.”

Mom chimes in. “The deer have cost him big bucks. The poor starving creatures devour plants like I eat chocolates. Plants he’s guaranteed. His nursery and landscaping business is hurting. He blames folks like the Quaids, who put out buckets of corn to keep the deer alive.”

“Last week, herbicide messages were left on the lawns of two other deer lovers who were out of town,” Ted adds. “Dead yellow grass shows up quite nicely against a field of green Bermuda blades.”

“What kind of messages?” I ask.

Mom shrugs. “One lawn read, ‘Up yours!’ He was more artistic on the other lawn, drew a fist with an extended middle finger.”

I laugh in spite of my worries that Finley might be Mom’s new enemy.

Mom purses her lips. “Sure, it sounds like juvenile hijinks, but the anger’s palpable. Folks who golfed or played bridge together no longer speak. That’s why I’m adamant we need a vote. Then, win or lose, everyone has a say, and we can move on. It’s called democracy.”

“Speaking of democracy, I propose a kitchen vote,” Ted says. “All in favor of Kylee and me staking out the Quaids’ yard tonight raise your hands. That overgrown lot across the street offers a view of their place. Maybe we can catch Dan Finley at work.”

While I’m skeptical a one-night stakeout will succeed, that vacant lot also offers a perfect view of Mom’s mailbox. And I’m all for hanging around to catch anyone delivering hate mail.

Ted and I raise our hands. Mom harrumphs.

“Just what will you do if Dan Finley does drop by?” she asks.

“Video him doing the evil deed.” Ted smiles. “My new phone takes excellent photos in low light.”

Mom grumbles, but won’t argue with our kitchen table vote, a Kane family tradition.

“Just when do you intend to sneak off in the woods?”

Ted glances at his watch. “Say an hour? I doubt Finley would chance a drive-by while folks are still drifting home from dinner at the club.”

“Good. I’ll change into some old clothes and sneakers I left here before I was evicted.”

Ted looks ready for a Southern Living picture shoot in his tan chinos, button-down shirt, and polished loafers. “You sacrificing your HOA meeting duds for this outing?”

His hazel eyes twinkle. “Nope,” Ted answers. “I was a Boy Scout. Your dad, our scoutmaster, taught us well. I have running clothes in the trunk.”

***

Excerpt from With Neighbors Like These by Linda Lovely. Copyright 2021 by Linda Lovely. Reproduced with permission from Linda Lovely. All rights reserved.

 

Author Bio:


A journalism major in college, Linda Lovely has spent most of her career working in PR and advertising—an early introduction to penning fiction. With Neighbors Like These is Lovely’s ninth mystery/suspense novel. Whether she’s writing cozy mysteries, historical suspense or contemporary thrillers, her novels share one common element—smart, independent heroines. Humor and romance also sneak into every manuscript. Her work has earned nominations for a number of prestigious awards, ranging from RWA’s Golden Heart for Romantic Suspense to Killer Nashville’s Silver Falchion for Best Cozy Mystery. A long-time member of Sisters in Crime and former chapter president, Lovely also belongs to International Thriller Writers and Mystery Writers of America. For many years, she helped organize the Writers’ Police Academy. She lives on a lake in Upstate South Carolina with her husband, and enjoys swimming, tennis, gardening, long walks, and, of course, reading. 

 

Catch Up With Our Author:
www.LindaLovely.com
Goodreads
BookBub: @LindaLovely
Twitter: @LovelyAuthor
Facebook: @LindaLovelyAuthor

Follow Linda's Instagram # - #LindaLovely

Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!

 

 

Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Linda Lovely. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card (U.S. ONLY). The giveaway runs July 12 through August 8, 2021. Void where prohibited.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

 

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Murder at the Lakeside Library - An Interview & Giveaway

I'm pleased to welcome Holly Danvers to Cozy Up With Kathy today. Holly writes the Lakeside Library Mystery series. IN MURDER AT THE LAKESIDE LIBRARY is the first book in the series and was released earlier this month.


Kathy: IN MURDER AT THE LAKESIDE LIBRARY we meet recent widow Rain Wilmot who has returned to her family home in Wisconsin. Have you ever returned home after a loss of some kind?

HD: No, not specifically, but I always felt like going home would be comforting after any kind of life stress or loss. I do remember visiting my aunt’s house on the coast of Maine when life felt overwhelming. And it brought me much comfort, as I spent many days on the cliff walk leading to the beach there as a child.   

 

Kathy: Instead of her corporate job, Rain will be helping her mother run the library. Have you ever worked in a library, or wanted to?

HD: No, not specifically, but I always felt like going home would be comforting after any kind of life I haven’t worked at a library, but as a child, it was a coming-of-age day when I signed up for my first library card. We didn’t have a lot of money growing up, so it was exciting because I vividly remember the ability to choose any book I wanted, including Nancy Drew mysteries, which were my favorites. The ability to take the books home with me was quite a treat!

Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

HD: I’m very curious by nature and asked a lot of “why” questions, even from a young age. I’m also fascinated by the human condition and why we do the things we do. To be honest, I love any kind of mystery, not just the cozy ones!

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

HD: I published two Christian fiction books with a publisher who went out of business. Sadly, both books are now out of print.


Kathy: Tell us about your series.

HD: This Lakeside Library series pairs two of my favorite things: libraries and lakes set in northern WI. The series follows Rain, who is recently widowed, and returns to her family’s generational log cabin in Lofty Pines on Pine Lake. Instead of having time to work through the grieving process, she finds a body on the property which leads her to discover a lot more than she bargained for regarding her family. I also write the Handcrafted Mystery series under the pseudoname Holly Quinn.

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

HD: Oh, no! That’s like choosing one of your children over the other, haha! I’m not sure I can make that choice. 😊


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

HD: Nothing specific really, just time spent at my husband’s generational cottage on a lake in the Northwoods of Wisconsin made me want to choose a waterfront for the setting. However, Lofty Pines and Pine Lake don’t really exist. Only in my mind…The library part stems from my love of books. Our previous home was a log cabin in the woods, so I’ve had that rare experience that I can share on the page too.

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

HD: After working on the Handcrafted Mystery series, my agent and I discussed future series ideas.

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

HD: The creator of the bible because that is the most interesting, intricate, specific, written work! No human could possibly author that masterpiece. Even if you don’t believe, it’s hard to disregard the writing.

Henry David Thoreau because as you’ll see from my own writing, nature is a huge part of setting for me in my work. I want readers to taste, smell, hear, and experience, the settings of my books.

Agatha Christie because she paved the way for all women mystery writers, including me.

Stephen King, not for his books, (I’ve actually never read them) but for his book “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft” so I could pick his brain.


Kathy: What are you currently reading?

HD: Currently, I’m reading my own work as I have a new project in the works that I can’t yet discuss. Unfortunately, that’s keeping me from reading for pleasure at the moment.


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

HD: So, last Christmas I received a Bob Ross painting kit. I’ve now painted over 20 oil paintings. It’s what I do to relax between book work, and I absolutely love it. I also love to play in my flower and vegetable gardens when time permits, and spending time with my husband out on the lake!

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

HD: Coffee pods, green tea, mason jar salads made ahead of time, eggs. (I’m attempting a healthy diet, but it’s not really taken hold yet.) 😊


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

HD: LONG OVERDUE AT THE LAKESIDE LIBRARY will release Feb 8, 2022, and is already up for pre-order! I also have another project I can’t yet discuss…shhh! Haha!


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

HD: The ability to use the creative side of my curious brain. And the early morning sunrises, as I do my best work early in the morning when most are still sleeping. It’s the quiet I seek, just like I did as a child when opening the library doors. 

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

 Murder at the Lakeside Library: A Lakeside Library Mysteryby Holly Danver

About Murder at the Lakeside Library

Murder at the Lakeside Library: A Lakeside Library Mystery
Cozy Mystery 1st in Series
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books (July 13, 2021)
Hardcover: 336 pages

In this series debut perfect for fans of Jenn McKinlay and Miranda James, Rain Wilmot must discover the killer, before the book closes on her life. 

Rain Wilmot has just returned to her family's waterfront log cabin in Lofty Pines, Wisconsin after the untimely death of her husband. The cabin is peaceful compared to Rain's corporate job and comes with an informal library that Rain's mother, Willow, used to run. But as Rain prepares for the re-opening of the library, all hopes for a peaceful life are shattered when she discovers the body of Thornton Hughes, a real estate buyer, on the premises.

The community of Lofty Pines starts pointing fingers at Willow, since she has been unusually absent from the library this summer. A fishy rumor surfaces when Rain learns that Willow had been spending a lot of time with Thornton. The town even thought they were having an affair.

While theories swirl about Thornton's death, Rain takes it upon herself to solve the case to exonerate her mother. As more clues surface, Rain will have to piece together the mystery. But if she isn't careful, she may be the next to end up dead in the water in Murder at the Lakeside Library, the first in Holly Danvers' new Lakeside Library mysteries.

About Holly Danvers

Holly Danvers grew up devouring every mystery novel on the shelf of her local library. She lives in the Midwest with her husband and 3 chickens, where she's already plotting her next novel.

Author Links: 

Website - www.authorhollydanvers.com  

GoodReads - https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/20823355.Holly_Danvers 

Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/HollyDanversBooks/  

Purchase Links - Amazon - B&N - Kobo - IndieBound  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, July 23, 2021

Murder at Sea Captain's Inn - A Review & Giveaway

Review


MURDER AT SEA CAPTAIN'S INN by Melissa Bourbon
The Second Book Magic Mystery

While the idea of turning their family home into an inn was a dream, the reality is much more challenging. More details than she believed possible and an exacting, grumpy guest are leaving Pippin Lane Hawthorne frazzled, especially as she doesn't have her twin by her side. Not only did Grey step away from the inn to start his own restoration business, he seems to be flouting the family curse. The inn's opening night party doesn't do much to relax Pippin either. A sinister looking man and an apparent break in make her wonder if someone is looking for her late father's secrets. Does it have anything to do with the archeologists and scholars in town studying the Lost Colony of Roanoke?

Secrets, subterfuge, and sinister characters fill the second Book Magic Mystery. Lots of suspicious behavior had my eyebrows raised for most of the book, wondering just what was going on. I also began to have doubts about several main characters. Just who was trustworthy? I was upset for Pippin who seems to be losing her twin, in more than one way. I love the addition of Colette, a wise French cheesemonger who believes in the paranormal, offers wine, and makes a mean charcuterie board. I wish she was my friend and neighbor! 

MURDER AT SEA CAPTAIN'S INN provides an intriguing multilayered mystery. The Lost Colony, the Lane family curse, family relationships, and mysterious connections converge creating an intensely captivating story. Readers' minds must be alert and nimble, sorting through the clues divined by literary classics and those craftily left by the author.

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

 Murder at Sea Captain's Inn (A Book Magic Mystery) by Melissa Bourbon

About Murder at Sea Captain's Inn

Murder at Sea Captain's Inn (A Book Magic Mystery)
Cozy Mystery 2nd in Series
Publisher: Lake House Press (July 20, 2021)
Approx 300 pages

Generation after generation of Lane women die in childbirth, while the sea claims the men. Pippin Lane Hawthorne’s grand opening of Sea Captain’s Inn is tainted when a scholar studying the Lost Colony of Roanoke is brutally murdered. Like the black crow that hangs around the old house, could the untimely death be a harbinger of dark things to come? When her twin brother, Grey, begins bucking the curse by risking his life in the waters of the Outer Banks, Pippin lives in terror that he’ll be the next Lane male to be swallowed by the sea. Now she must use her gift of bibliomancy to save her brother, solve the murder, and end a two thousand year old pact.

About Melissa Bourbon

Melissa Bourbon is the national bestselling author of more than twenty-five mystery books, including the Book Magic mysteries, the Lola Cruz Mysteries, A Magical Dressmaking Mystery series, and the Bread Shop Mysteries, written as Winnie Archer. She is a former middle school English teacher who gave up the classroom in order to live in her imagination full time. Melissa lives in North Carolina with her educator husband, Carlos. She is beyond fortunate to be living the life of her dreams. Learn more about Melissa at her website, www.melissabourbon.com, on Facebook @MelissaBourbon/Winnie ArcherBooks, and on Instagram @bookishly_cozy.

Author Links: 

Website: http://melissabourbon.com  

Book Warriors Online Book Club: https://www.facebook.com/groups/BookWarriors  

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bookishly_cozy/  

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5423119.Melissa_Bourbon  

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmyAuh_IzHHYkzWzuZg9OVA  

Purchase Link - Amazon  

a Rafflecopter giveaway