Friday, April 30, 2021

A Fatal First Night - A Review


A FATAL FIRST NIGHT by Kathleen Marple Kalb
The Second Ella Shane Mystery 

Ella Shane and her cousin Tommy are riding high as opening night of their opera company's new production goes off without a hitch. With thunderous applause still resonating Ella welcomes the usual stage door Lotharios, as well as her family and friends. The highs of a successful opening quickly die, however, when shouts lead everyone to the dressing room of the basso playing Richard III. Bloody knife in hand and a dead body at his feet his guilt seems obvious. But is it too obvious?  

Although a historical novel, the second Ella Shane Mystery tackles current issues as it confronts racism as well as murder. In fact, A FATAL FIRST NIGHT is all about acceptance. How do you create a circle of friends and family? Do you take people as they are or do you want to change them? What will you do to fit in? What will you do to stop others from joining in?

Ella Shane is nobody's fool. She may be an opera diva, but she was raised on the harsh streets of New York City and is not afraid to speak her mind and stand up for her friends. She's also willing and physically able to muck in and can handle herself in a fight. She's loyal and loving and has made a family of friends and opera company employees. I adore Gil and hope that he and Ella are able to overcome their situational differences and arrive at a mutually satisfying arrangement. In the meantime I enjoy their unusual chaperones as they maintain propriety while their romance blossoms. 

A FATAL FIRST NIGHT is not a fast paced rush to find a killer. This historical mystery takes a meandering route in solving the murder. Ella Shane's first priority is her work and continuing the run of her company's new opera. With details of another sensational murder and the surprising visit of Gil, the murder and subsequent arrest of the show's basso take a backseat. This is a more realistic approach. Ella's quiet investigatory techniques are more believable than charging in where no amateur sleuths belong. Readers are able to become more immersed in historical details and develop better connections with the characters.

With murder and intrigue both onstage and off, A FATAL FIRST NIGHT proves a delightfully rich character driven historical mystery. Engaging characters, simmering romance, and an exhilarating climax make for a satisfying and enjoyable read.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading Death Gone A-Rye by Winnie Archer. This book is the sixth in the Bread Shop Mystery series and was released yesterday!

As her mentor is creating Vincent van Dough Focaccia, Ivy Culpepper gets involved in another murder investigation. The school board president is murdered just before Santa Sofia's Sheriff, and Ivy's best friend, is about to leave on her honeymoon. Em leaves her new captain in charge of the case with Ivy as her eyes and ears in Santa Sofia. As Ivy begins looking for information about the victim she soon discovers the murdered woman was almost universally despised. Almost everyone who knew her had a motive to kill her, so who actually did it? Will Ivy be able to help find a killer or would she be better off staying in Yeast of Eden's kitchen?

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Dead in the Water - A Book Blast!

Dead In The Water

by Jeannette de Beauvoir

April 27, 2021 Book Blast


Book Details:

Family Can Be Murder

Sydney Riley's stretch of planned relaxation between festivals is doomed from the start. Her parents, ensconced at the Race Point Inn, expect her to play tour guide. Wealthy adventurer Guy Husband has reappeared, seeking to regain her friend Mirela's affections. And the body of a kidnapped businessman has been discovered under MacMillan Wharf!

Sydney is literally at sea (by far not her favorite place!) balancing these expectations with her supersized curiosity. Is the murder the work of a regional gang led by the infamous "Codfather" or the result of a feud within an influential Provincetown family? What's Guy Husband's connection, and why is it suddenly so important that her boyfriend Ali come for a visit—especially while her mother is in town?

Master of crime Jeannette de Beauvoir brings her unique blend of irony and intrigue to this humorous—and sometimes horrendous—convergence of family and fatality.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery
Published by: HomePort Press
Publication Date: May 1st 2021
Number of Pages: 309
ISBN: 9781734053371
Series:Sydney Riley Series, Book #8 | Each is a stand alone Mystery
Purchase Links: Amazon | Goodreads

Read an excerpt from Dead In The Water:

Chapter One

It was, I told myself, all my worst nightmares come true. All at once.

I may live at Land’s End, out at the tip of Cape Cod where the land curls into itself and for centuries foghorns warned of early death and disaster; I may have, yes, been out on boats on the Atlantic waters, laughably close to shore; but no, I’d never gotten used to any of it. I like floors that don’t move under my feet. I like knowing I could conceivably make it back to land on my own steam should something go wrong. (Well the last bit is a fantasy: without a wetsuit, the cold would get me before the fatigue did. But the point still stands.)

I was having this plethora of cheerful thoughts for two reasons. I had allowed myself to be persuaded to go on a whale watch. And the person standing beside me on the deck was my mother.

Like all stories that involve me and my mother, this one started with guilt. I’d had, safe to say, a rough year. I’d broken my arm (and been nearly killed) at an extremely memorable film festival here in Provincetown in the spring, and then during Women’s Week that October had met up with another murderer—seriously, it’s as if my friend Julie Agassi, the head of the town’s police detective squad, is right, and I go looking for these things.

I don’t, but people are starting to wonder.

Meanwhile, my mother was busily beating her you-never-call-you-never-write drum and I just couldn’t face seeing her for the holidays. My life was already complicated enough, and there’s no one like my mother for complicating things further. She’s in a class by herself. Other contenders have tried valiantly to keep up, before falling, one by one, by the wayside. Not even death or divorce can complicate my life the way my mother manages to. She perseveres.

On the other hand, circumstances had over the past year given her a run for her money. My boyfriend Ali—who after several years my mother continued to refer to as that man—and I had become sudden and accidental godparents to a little girl named Lily when our friend Mirela adopted her sister’s unwanted baby. And the godparents thing—which I’d always assumed to be a sort of ceremonial role one trotted out at Christmas and birthdays—had become very real when Mirela was arrested, incarcerated, and investigated as to her parenting suitability last October, and suddenly we were in loco parentis. I took the baby to Ali’s Boston apartment and we holed up there for over a month. Mirela had joined us for the last week of it and I can honestly say I’ve never been more relieved to see anyone in my life.

I was trying, but motherhood was clearly not my gig. Maybe there’s something to that DNA thing, after all.

What with one thing and another, it was this January before I was thinking straight. I’d gone back to my life in P’town and my work—I’m the wedding and events planner for the Race Point Inn, one of the town’s nicer establishments, though I do say it myself—and really believed I was finally feeling back to what passes for normal again when my mother began her barrage of guilt-laden demands. Had I forgotten I had parents? I could travel to Boston, but not to New Hampshire?

It hadn’t helped that, because there was absolutely nothing on the inn’s events calendar for February, Ali and I decided to be the tourists for once; we’d taken off for Italy. Okay, let’s see, the short dark days of February… and a choice between snowy New Hampshire and the charms of Venice. You tell me.

Which was why I’d run out of excuses by the time my mother started taking about being on her deathbed in March. (She wasn’t.) And that my father had forgotten what I looked like in April. (He hadn’t.)

I couldn’t afford any more time off—Glenn, the inn’s owner, had already been more than generous as it was—and there was only one thing to do. I had a quick shot of Jameson’s for courage and actually called my mother, risking giving her a heart attack (the last time I’d called was roughly two administrations ago), and invited her and my father to come to Provincetown.

Which was why I now found myself on the deck of the Dolphin IV, looking for whales and listening to my mother read from the guide book. “The largest living mammal is the blue whale,” she reported.

“I know,” I acknowledged.

“The humpback whale doesn’t actually chew its food,” she said. “It filters it through baleens.”

“I know,” I replied.

She glanced at me, suspicious. “How do you know all this?”

“Ma, I live in Provincetown.” It’s just possible one or two of the year-round residents—there aren’t that many of us, the number is under three thousand—don’t know about whales, but the possibility is pretty remote. Tourism is our only real industry. Tourists stop us in the street to ask us questions.

We know about whales.

She sniffed. “You don’t have to take an attitude about it, Sydney Riley,” she said. Oh, good: we were in full complete-name reprimand mode. “You know I don’t like it when you take an attitude with me.”

“I wasn’t taking an attitude. I was stating a fact.” I could feel the slow boil of adolescent-level resentment—and attitude, yes—building. I am in my late thirties, and I can still feel about fifteen when I’m having a conversation with my mother. Breathe, Riley, I counseled myself. Just breathe. Deeply. Don’t let her get to you.

She looked around her. “Are we going to see sharks?”

I sighed. Everyone these days wants to see sharks. For a long time, the dreaded story of Jaws was just that—a story, something to watch at the drive-in movie theatre in Wellfleet (yeah, we still have one of those) and shiver deliciously at the creepy music and scream when the shark tries to eat the boat. But conservation efforts over the past eight or ten years had caused a spectacular swelling of the seal population around the Cape—we’d already seen a herd of them sunning themselves on the beach today when we’d passed Long Point—and a few years later, the Great White sharks realized where their meals had all gone, and followed suit.

That changed things rather a lot. A tourist was attacked at a Truro beach and bled out. Signs were posted everywhere. Half-eaten seal corpses washed up. The famous annual Swim for Life, which once went clear across the harbor, changed its trajectory. And everybody downloaded the Great White Shark Conservancy’s shark-location app, Sharktivity.

The reality is both scary and not-scary. We’d all been surprised to learn sharks are quite comfortable in three or four feet of water, so merely splashing in the shallows was out. But in reality sharks attack humans only when they mistake them for seals, and usually only bite once, as our taste is apparently offensive to them. People who die from a shark attack bleed out; they’re not eaten alive.

“We might,” I said to my mother now. “There are a number of kinds of sharks here—”

The naturalist’s voice came over the loudspeaker, saving me. “Ah, so the captain tells me we’ve got a female and her calf just up ahead, at about two o’clock off the bow of the boat.”

“What does that mean, two o’clock?”

He had already told us. My mother had been asking what they put in the hot dogs in the galley at the time and hadn’t stopped to listen to him. “If the front of the boat is twelve o’clock, then two o’clock is just off—there!” I exclaimed, carried away despite myself. “There! Ma, see?”


The whale surfaced gracefully, water running off her back, bright and sparkling in the sunlight, and just as gracefully went back under. A smaller back followed suit. The denizens of the deep, here to feed for the summer, willing to show off for the boatloads of visitors who populated the whale-watch fleet every year to catch a glimpse of another life, a mysterious life echoing with otherworldly calls and harkening back to times when the oceans were filled with giants.

Before we hunted them to the brink of extinction, that is.

“This is an individual we know,” the naturalist was saying. “Her name is Perseid. Unlike some other whales, humpbacks don’t travel in pods. Instead, they exist in loose and temporary groups that shift, with individuals moving from group to group, sometimes swimming on their own. These assemblages have been referred to as fluid fission/fusion groups. The only exception to this fluidity is the cow and calf pair. This calf was born eight months ago, and while right now you’re seeing her next to Perseid, she’s going to start straying farther and farther away as the summer progresses.”

Now that my mother was quieter—even she was silent in the face of something this big, this extraordinary—I recognized the naturalist’s voice. It was Kai Bennett, who worked at the Center for Coastal Studies in town; he was a regular at the Race Point Inn’s bar scene during the winter, when we ran a trivia game and he aced all the biology questions. “And we have another one that just went right under us… haven’t yet seen who this one is,” said Kai.

The newcomer spouted right off the port side of the boat and the light wind swept a spray of fine droplets over the passengers, who exclaimed and laughed.

“I wish they’d jump more out of the water,” my mother complained. “You have to look so fast. and they blend right in.”

My mother is going to bring a list of complaints with her to give to Saint Peter when she assaults the pearly gates of heaven. I swear she is.

Kai’s voice on the loudspeaker overran my mother’s. “Ocean conservation starts with connection. We believe that, as we build personal relationships with the ocean and its wildlife, we become more invested stewards of the marine environment. Whales, as individuals, have compelling stories to tell: where will this humpback migrate this winter to give birth? Did the whale with scars from a propeller incident survive another year? What happened to the entangled whale I saw in the news?”

“Look!” yelled a passenger. “I just saw a blow over there! Look! I know I did! I’m sure of it!”

Kai continued, “For science, unique identifiable markings on a whale's flukes—that’s the tail, folks—and on the dorsal fin allow us to non-invasively track whale movements and stories over time. By focusing on whales, we bring attention to the marine ecosystem as a whole and the challenges we face as a global community.”

“He sounds like a nice young man,” my mother remarked. “He sounds American.”

Don’t take the bait, I told myself. Don’t take the bait.

I took the bait.

“Ali is American,” I said. “He was born in Boston.”

“But his parents weren’t,” she said, with something like relish. “I just wish you could find a nice—”

I cut her off. “Ali is a nice American man,” I said.

“But why would his parents even come to America?” my mother asked, for possibly the four-thousandth time. “Everyone should just stay home. Where they belong.”

Breathe, Riley. Just breathe. “I think they would have liked to stay home,” I said, trying to keep my voice steady. “There was just the minor inconvenience of a civil war. Makes it difficult to enjoy your morning coffee when there’s a bomb explosion next door. Seriously, Ma, don’t you hate it when that happens?”

“You’re taking a tone with me,” my mother said. “Don’t take a tone with me.”

Kai saved me yet again. “That’s a good question,” his voice said over the loudspeaker. “For those of you who didn’t hear, this gentleman just asked how we know these whales by name. Of course, these are just names we give to them—they have their own communication systems and ways of identifying themselves and each other! So as I said, these are whales that return to the marine sanctuary every summer. Many of them are females, who can be counted on to bring their new calves up to Stellwagen Bank because they can feast on nutritious sand lance—that’s a tiny fish humpbacks just love—and teach their offspring to hunt. Together with Allied Whale in Bar Harbor at the College of the Atlantic, the Center for Coastal Studies Humpback Whale Research Group runs a study of return rates of whales based on decades of sighting data. So, in other words, we get to see the same whales, year after year. The first one ever named was a female we called Salt.” He didn’t say what I knew: that Allied Whale and the Center for Coastal Studies didn’t always play well together. For one thing, they had totally different names for the same whales. I managed to keep that fact to myself.

“Your father will wish he came along,” my mother said.

My father, to the best of my knowledge, was sitting out by the pool at the Race Point Inn, reading a newspaper and drinking a Bloody Mary. My mother was the dogged tourist in the family: when we’d gone on family vacations together, she was the one who found all the museums and statues and sights-of-interest to visit. She practically memorized guide books. My father, bemused, went along with most of it, though his idea of vacation was more centered around doing as little as possible for as much time as possible. Retirement didn’t seem to have changed that in any significant way.

“You’re here until Sunday,” I pointed out. “You can take him out.”

She sniffed. “He doesn’t know anything about whales,” she said.

“Then that’s the point. He’ll learn.” Okay, come on, give me a little credit: I was really trying here.

“Maybe,” she said darkly. “What are those other boats out there?”

I looked. “Some of them are just private boats. And a lot of the fishing charters come out here,” I said. “And when there are whales spotted, they come and look, too. Gives the customers an extra thrill.” I knew from Kai and a couple of the other naturalists that the whale-watch people weren’t thrilled with the extra attention: the private boats in particular didn’t always maintain safe distances from the whales. Once a whale was spotted and one or two of the Dolphin Fleet stopped to look, anyone within sight followed their lead. It could get quite crowded on a summer day.

And dangerous. There had been collisions in the past—boats on boats and, once that I knew of, a boat hitting a whale. Some days it was enough to despair of the human race.

Kai was talking. “Well, folks, this is a real treat! The whale that just blew on our port side is Piano, who’s a Stellwagen regular easy to identify for some unfortunate reasons, because she has both vessel propeller strike and entanglement scars. This whale is a survivor, however, and has been a regular on Stellwagen for years!” Amazing, I thought cynically, she even gave us the time of day after all that.

“I didn’t see the scars,” said my mother.

We waited around for a little while and then felt the engines start up again and the deck vibrate. I didn’t like the feeling. I knew exactly how irrational my fear was, and knowing did nothing to alleviate it. I’d had some bad experiences out on the water in the past, and that vibration brought them all back. I’d tried getting over it by occasionally renting a small sailboat with my friend Thea, but—well, again, I always thought I’d be able to swim to shore from the sailboat if anything went wrong. Not out here.

And then there was the whole not-letting-my-mother-know side to things. If she did, she’d never let me hear the end of it.
At least when we were talking about whales we weren’t talking about her ongoing matrimonial hopes for me, the matrimonial successes of (it seemed) all her friends’ offspring, and the bitter disappointment she was feeling around my approaching middle age without a husband in tow. That seemed to be where all our conversations began… and ended.
And I wasn’t approaching middle age. Forty is the new thirty, and all that sort of thing.

“The captain says we have another pair coming up, folks, off to the port side now… I’m just checking them out… it’s a whale called Milkweed and her new calf! Mom is traveling below the surface right now, but you can see the calf rolling around here…” There was a pause and a murmur and then his voice came back. “No, that’s not abnormal. The baby’s learning everything it needs to know about buoyancy and swimming, and you can be sure Mom’s always close by. We’re going to slowly head back toward Cape Cod now…” And, a moment later, “Looks like Milkweed and the baby are staying with us! Folks, as you’re seeing here, whales can be just as curious about us as we are about them! What Milkweed is doing now—see her, on the starboard side, at three o’clock—we call it spyhopping.”

“Why on earth would they be curious about us?” wondered my mother.

“That,” I said, looking at her and knowing she’d never get the sarcasm, “is a really good question.”

Just breathe, Riley. Just breathe.


Excerpt from Dead In The Water by Jeannette de Beauvoir. Copyright 2021 by Jeannette de Beauvoir. Reproduced with permission from Jeannette de Beauvoir. All rights reserved.


Author Bio:

Jeannette de Beauvoir

Jeannette de Beauvoir didn’t set out to murder anyone—some things are just meant to be!

Her mother introduced her to the Golden Age of mystery fiction when she was far too young to be reading it, and she’s kept following those authors and many like them ever since. She wrote historical and literary fiction and poetry for years before someone asked her what she read—and she realized mystery was where her heart was. Now working on the Sydney Riley Provincetown mystery series, she bumps off a resident or visitor to her hometown on a regular basis.

Catch Up With Our Author:
BookBub: @JeannettedeBeauvoir
Instagram: @jeannettedebeauvoir
Twitter: @JeannetteDeB
Facebook: @JeannettedeBeauvoir


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Sunday, April 25, 2021

Death and a Crocodile - A Review


By Lisa E. Betz

Life is difficult in Ancient Rome, even for respectable young women such as Livia Aemilia. Her father has decided she must marry an aristocrat instead of the handsome family friend she admires. When her brother breaks the news that their father has been murdered, the two soon realize that this was not a robbery gone bad, but murder. Their scheming uncle accuses Curio of patricide and Livia knows she must search for the real killer. If she doesn't succeed she may not only lose her brother, but be married off to someone worse than an inscrutable senator. With her plucky slave and her new faith Livia will search for answers. But will she be stopped before she can reveal the truth?

A mystery set in 47AD? And the heroine belonged to a new cult?! I was thrilled, wondering which god or goddess she would be involved with, Minerva, Diana, or, perhaps a god with whom I was unfamiliar. And then I learned it was the cult of Jesus. And I got worried. In general, I am not a fan of Christian fiction and this book, as it turned out, was Christian fiction...very early Christian fiction. Although there were times the book got a little preachy (what I dislike about the genre), the preaching didn't overwhelm the story or the wonderful characters.

As for the characters, I love Livia. Not content to leave things to others, she can run a household as well get into a disguise and tail suspects. She's smart, loving, and fair. I also like her spunky slave, Roxana and Roxana's equally spunky cat, Nemesis. Roxana comes from the 'wrong part of town", however, unless the wrong part is Greek, I have a slight problem. Her cat is named for the goddess of vengeance...however, Nemesis is a Greek god, not a Roman one. My favorite character, however, is Avitus. Cunning, smart, and real, there's much more to this man than meets the eye.

Ancient family dynamics are a hot bed of lies, deceit, and violence, and all are evidenced in DEATH AND A CROCODILE. As family members, and their slaves, make strategic moves, it's hard not to believe that everyone is guilty. And, for the most part, that assumption is correct. It's a matter of what exactly they're guilty of that adds to the mystery.

DEATH AND A CROCODILE is a complex mystery set with all the familial drama, strategic maneuvering, and backbiting one would expect in Ancient Rome. Engaging and enjoyable characters inhabit the pages here and I hope to see them again. The book appears to reach a conclusive end, but I would love for this to be the first book in a series.

Friday, April 23, 2021

Therapy with Tabitha - A Monkey Bread Business Guest Post & Giveaway

I'm pleased to welcome Tabitha to Cozy Up With Kathy. You can find Tabitha on the pages of The Cast Iron Skillet Mystery series by Jodi Rath. Monkey Bread Business is the sixth book in the series and was released last week.

Therapy with Tabitha

I’ve always been active, even as a child. My dad was in law enforcement, so my passion for joining the FBI came naturally. My younger cousin wanted to follow in my footsteps and recently completed her training to get her official shield. I couldn’t be prouder! On my mom’s side, she was a counselor, and I’ve always been interested in how the mind works with criminals. So, I combined the two to become a forensic psychologist, which has opened up more opportunities for me in the field.

The last year, I’ve been placed in an undercover op in Leavensport, Ohio, based on some chatter about multiple mafia groups using this unseeingly quiet, pleasant village for racketeering. The group I’m working with seems to think this dates back several decades to the twenties with prohibition.

While I genuinely came into Leavensport to be undercover, part of that was to help some of the town residents with actual therapy. While some may think this is a conflict of interest, I understand the necessity of the ethics therapist has toward their patients. The therapy was a part-time gig to help the residents of Leavensport, while on the side, I was digging into the mafia scandal.

It just so happened that I got a patient who ended up helping with the case in an odd turn of the hand. To find out just how, you’ll have to read The Cast Iron Skillet Mystery Series to see how it all unfolds.

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


 Monkey Bread Business (The Cast Iron Skillet Mystery Series) by Jodi Rath

About Monkey Bread Business

Monkey Bread Business (The Cast Iron Skillet Mystery Series)
Cozy Mystery 6th in Series
Publisher: MYS ED LLC; 1st edition (April 16, 2021)
Digital 222 Pages

Nature breeds new life with the sign of Spring in the air in Leavensport, Ohio, and Jolie and Ava find their new families’ lives turned upside down! With properties in Leavensport beginning to sell, Nina Sanchez opened a bakery after purchasing the lot next to M&M’s Italian restaurant. She is new to town and swears to Ava and Jolie she has no connection to the Dominican Republic Sanchez mafia family. Yet, Ava is skeptical, and this sends Jolie and Ava off on yet another investigation looking at how organized crime connects to their little village and the politics that surround it.

Meanwhile, Nina Sanchez is not thrilled to feel obliged to cross-sell and become a full-fledged member of Leavensport, especially not with Jolie and Ava investigating her history. She has no choice when her son discovers a murdered homeless woman on the street on his way to deliver bread to the local shelter—it looks a lot like a mob hit and the reveal of who the homeless woman is will send all of Leavensport on alert making Jolie question the future of her town.

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

About Jodi Rath


Moving into her second decade working in education, Jodi Rath has decided to begin a life of crime in her 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 nine cats.  

Author Links: 



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Twitter @jodirath  




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Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading A Fatal First Night by Kathleen Marple Kalb. This book is the second in the Ella Shane Mystery series and will be released next week.

Ella Shane and her cousin Tommy are riding high as opening night of their opera company's new production goes off without a hitch. With thunderous applause still resonating Ella welcomes the usual stage door Lotharios, as well as her family and friends. The highs of a successful opening quickly die, however, when shouts lead everyone to the dressing room of the basso playing Richard III. Bloody knife in hand and a dead body at his feet his guilt seems obvious. But is it too obvious? 



Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Lady Rosamund and the Horned God - A Review & Giveaway


The Second Rosie and McBrae Regency Mystery

After the death of her husband Lady Rosamund has retreated from London and her domineering mother to stay with her father in Westmoreland. The quiet idyll of the countryside gets to be a bit much, especially as Rosamund isn't truly mourning her late husband, so her father accepts an offer to attend a country manor house party. A party filled with playwrights and other people with alleged loose morals may be just what Rosie needs. Thinking of McBrae entirely too much, Lady Rosamund begins to see him everywhere...however, he truly is at the party, disguised as a footman. Although he's there to help solve the mystery of some petty thefts, the duo soon find themselves with a murder to investigate. A thoroughly nasty libertine houseguest is found dead. Everyone is quick to call it an accident, but will doing so allow a killer to go free?

LADY ROSAMUND AND THE HORNED GOD is a story about justice. Filled with moral implications, Lady Rosamund faces several sobering questions. Is it better to let a killer go free than allow an innocent be hanged? Should all criminals be condemned? Do some crimes have merit? Are some people better off dead? Is the aristocracy morally superior?

It's fascinating to see how Lady Rosamund is changing. She's not only becoming more liberal, her feelings for McBrae are starting to rise to the surface. Rosie is a fantastic protagonist. She's a study in opposites; allegedly worldly, but honestly naive, aristocratic, yet beginning to open her mind to the reality that the lower classes are people too, she's strong, but vulnerable. She's smart, loyal, and capable. She also has a very real fear that threatens her. As much as I love Lady Rosamund, I love McBrae even more. I especially love how we bear witness to his thoughts and feelings even though the book is told from Lady Rosamund's point of view, as highlights from his diary start each chapter. 

LADY ROSAMUND AND THE HORNED GOD is a perplexing, morally complicated historical mystery that's also intelligent, humorous, and simply a darned good read. The more I read, the more invested I become in the lives of these characters. I can't wait to meet up with them again and see what happens next!


 Lady Rosamund And The Horned God - A Rosie and McBrae Mystery by Barbara Monajem

About Lady Rosamund And The Horned God

Lady Rosamund And The Horned God - A Rosie and McBrae Regency Mystery
Historical Cozy Mystery 2nd in Series
Publisher - Level Best Books Number of Pages – ~300 Pages

Widowed Lady Rosamund spends the first months of her mourning in the Lake District, where it’s safe and peaceful, and murders are exceedingly rare. Luckily, she is rescued from this tedium by a house party comprised of playwrights, poets, and actors—an immoral set of persons with whom no respectable lady should associate. Even so, she hardly expected to wake in the wee hours to find one of the guests lying dead.

As if that wasn’t troublesome enough, Gilroy McBrae is at the same party, masquerading as a footman to investigate a series of thefts. Was the sudden death an accident—or murder? Almost everyone had reason to loathe their unpleasant fellow guest. Rosie must set aside her confused emotions about McBrae and work with him to find the culprit before an innocent person is accused of the crime.

About Barbara Monajem

Winner of the Holt Medallion, Maggie, Daphne du Maurier, Reviewer’s Choice and Epic awards, Barbara Monajem wrote her first story at eight years old about apple tree gnomes. She published a middle-grade fantasy when her children were young. When they grew up, she turned to writing for adults, first the Bayou Gavotte paranormal mysteries and then Regency romances with intrepid heroines and long-suffering heroes (or vice versa). Some of her Regencies have magic in them and some don’t (except for the magic of love, which is in every story she writes).

Barbara loves to cook, especially soups, and is an avid reader. There are only two items on her bucket list: to make asparagus pudding and succeed at knitting socks. She’ll manage the first but doubts she’ll ever accomplish the second. This is not a bid for immortality but merely the dismal truth. She lives near Atlanta, Georgia with an ever-shifting population of relatives, friends, and feline strays.

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Sunday, April 18, 2021

Shrimply Dead - A Spotlight & Giveaway

 Shrimply Dead (A Seafood Caper Mystery) by Maggie Toussaint

About Shrimply Dead

Shrimply Dead (A Seafood Caper Mystery)
Cozy Mystery 3rd in Series
Publisher: Muddle House Publishing (April 12, 2021)
Number of Pages 237 PAGES

When veterinarian and amateur naturalist Jasmine Garr is shot in her yard, residents of Shell Island press caterer River Holloway into investigating the homicide. River dons her amateur sleuth cap and sets out to discover who killed her former catering customer. 

Between Jasmine’s estranged cousin, a rival veterinarian, a wild animal trapper, the chicken lady, and a real estate broker, River has plenty of suspects to consider. As she peels back the layers of Jasmine’s life, dangerous secrets come to light.

Jasmine’s orphaned kitty, Iris, along with River’s cat Major, and her husband Pete help River sift through the evidence. At the same time, River recently expanded her catering business. She must service her regular catering clients, plus provide fresh baked goods for Pete’s ice cream shop.

The killer follows River’s every move relishing the thought of another victim. Time is running out. Will River solve the murder before she becomes a cold dish?

About Maggie Toussaint

Southern author Maggie Toussaint writes cozy and paranormal mysteries, romantic suspense, and dystopian fiction, with more than twenty fiction novels published. A multi-year finalist for Georgia Author of the Year, she’s won Silver Falchions, the Readers’ Choice, and the EPIC Awards. She’s past president of Mystery Writers of America-Southeast chapter and an officer of LowCountry Sisters In Crime. She lives in coastal Georgia, where secrets, heritage, and ancient oaks cast long shadows. Visit her at

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Friday, April 16, 2021

A Changing Light - A Review


A CHANGING LIGHT by Edith Maxwell
The Seventh Quaker Midwife Mystery
It's Spring Opening and carriage makers from all over the world are gathering in Amesbury, Massachusetts. Rose Carroll Dodge has more on her mind than carriages, however. The midwife is now expecting a baby herself. But as new life is preparing to enter the world, Rose's mentor and good friend is preparing to leave it. While Orpha has led a good long life, a Canadian visitor's life is cut short. The carriage maker was found shot in the back. Was another carriage maker to blame? What about his wife, who seems to find business more important than the loss of her husband? Is the green eyed Brazilian to blame, or is the murderer closer to home? Rose can't help but sink her teeth into another mystery, but will doing so put her and her unborn child at risk? 
I love the smart and capable Rose Carroll Dodge. A CHANGING LIGHT proves both her intelligence and her ability to ferret out the truth. I absolutely love Dr. Chatigny (a spin-off mystery series, perchance?) and the manner in which she and Rose work together to stop the killer is brilliant and oh so satisfying. Although the novel takes place in the 1890s, I find it wonderful how the women are free thinking, and acting, and are able to take care of themselves. 

As much as I love the characters and setting, I also enjoyed the mystery. Plenty of red herrings led me to question the motive for murder as well as the suspects. I appreciate how Rose works with Kevin, now Acting Police Chief, and delight in his acceptance of her and the fact he values her thoughts and opinions.

Joy, grief, and murder combine to make A CHANGING LIGHT an intriguing and heartfelt mystery. I loved my time with Rose and only wish it was longer.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading Death and a Crocodile by Lisa E. Betz. I believe it's a stand alone, but may be the start of a series.

Life is difficult in Ancient Rome, even for respectable young women such as Livia Aemilia. Her father has decided she must marry an aristocrat instead of the handsome family friend she admires. When her brother breaks the news that their father has been murdered, the two soon realize that this was not a robbery gone bad, but murder. Their scheming uncle accuses Curio of patricide and Livia knows she must search for the real killer. If she doesn't succeed she may not only lose her brother, but be married off to someone worse than an inscrutable senator. With her plucky slave and her new faith Livia will search for answers. But will she be stopped before she can reveal the truth?

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Fatal Fried Rice - A Spotlight

Today I'd like to shine a spotlight on a book on my TBR pile. I somehow missed the release of Fatal Fried Rice by Vivien Chien. This book is the seventh book in the Noodle Shop Mystery series and was released last month. Due to other commitments I won't be able to review it until the end of May, but wanted to give it a shout out now!

 From the back cover:

Lana Lee runs her family’s Chinese restaurant in Cleveland’s Asia Village like nobody’s business. When it comes to actual cooking, however, she’s known to be about a step up from boiling rice. So Lana decides to go to culinary school on the sly―and prove that she has what it takes in the kitchen after all. But when course instructor Margo Chan turns up dead after class, Lana suddenly finds herself on the case, frying pan in hand.

Since she was the one who discovered the body, Lana must do double duty in finding the killer and clearing her name. Now, with or without the help of her boyfriend Detective Adam Trudeau, Lana launches her own investigation into Margo’s life and mysterious death. Doing so leads her on a wild goose chase to and from the culinary school―and all the way back to the Ho-Lee noodle shop, where the guilty party may be closer than Lana thinks.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Samantha & the Hot Man - A Paws for Alarm Guest Post, Review, & Giveaway

I'm pleased to welcome Samantha Armstrong to Cozy Up With Kathy today. You can find Samantha on the pages of the Canine Confections Mystery series by Amy Hueston. PAWS FOR ALARM is the second book in the series and was released last month.

Character Guest Post
by Samantha Armstrong
Author of Canine Confections series is Amy Hueston

Hi, everyone. I’m Samantha from Palm Beach. I run Canine Confections, a dog bakery on Worth Avenue. Can we talk for a minute? I want to get your opinion about something.

See, I moved to Palm Beach a couple of months ago because after I found my boyfriend getting snuggly with my best friend, I got out of town…fast. The last thing I wanted was to run into either one of them at the local Starbucks and pretend everything was groovy. But I don’t want you thinking I’m a pushover and ran off like a scared rabbit. That’s not it at all. It’s just that staying in my little hometown hadn’t been my big dream. My big dream was to move someplace else, even if it was another small town, to see what it would be like. Not just move to another town, but to open a dog bakery in my new town. So when Peter cheated on me it was the perfect opportunity to skedaddle.

Well, guess what? He showed up at my dog bakery. Yes, you heard correctly. I found him sitting in Canine Confections one morning, as if I didn’t have enough to worry about with the overturned chairs and tables in the café. Just because he has that whole long blond beach hair thing going on, I was supposed to drop everything and fall into his arms like nothing had happened.

My question to you is... what would you have done if you were in my place? Would you have welcomed him, acted cold, yelled… what?

Thanks in advance for your help. I feel better just knowing I have someone to talk to about all this…



PAWS FOR ALARM by Amy Hueston
The Second Canine Confections Mystery
Samantha Armstrong is desperate for Canine Confections, her dog bakery, to succeed. It's not so much a matter of pride, but failure means her aunt will lose her home. Business hasn't had a chance to recover from the dead body found in the shop on opening day, and now there's a dead body in the shop two doors down! Unwilling to wait for the police to find the murderer Samantha takes matters into her own hands. Things are complicated by a thief stealing small items from shops on the street and the reappearance of her cheating ex-boyfriend. Will Samantha be able to solve the murder before her business goes bust?

A series with great promise, the second Canine Confections Mystery suffers from some growing pains. Samantha and her fellow shop owners and store managers are young. Unfortunately, they act immature in this second Canine Confections mystery. There's too much cattiness, especially in a dog centered mystery. The friends act more like high schoolers than entrepreneurs; too much day drinking with an inability to hold their liquor, too much wondering who's the better friend with jealousy abounding, and then there's Peter. Samantha knows her ex is a louse, yet she's ready to be taken in by him again. Sadly, this behavior, though sad, is realistic for many women.

I did enjoy the mystery itself and I loved how the culprit was eventually caught. I was caught off guard and ready to complain before I realized the grand scheme. Samantha's relationship with her aunt is special and a grounding factor in the series. My favorite parts of the book are the details of the estate and the high end shops in Palm Beach. I appreciate how Samantha navigates the world of the ultra rich knowing she, and her aunt, could lose it all. I love Sweet Pea and look forward to seeing interactions with the new resident on the estate.

PAWS FOR ALARM provides an interesting mystery with lots of character drama in the toney shops of Palm Beach.

 Paws for Alarm (A Canine Confections Mystery) by Amy Hueston

About Paws for Alarm

Paws for Alarm (A Canine Confections Mystery)
Cozy Mystery 2nd in Series
Publisher: Donelson Press (March 22, 2021)
Digital - Number of Pages - 196

When Samantha relaxes into her new role as a dog mom, finds a circle of friends in her new hometown, and sees her new dog bakery Canine Confections barking up business, she’s thrilled that things are going so well … until she hears a bloodcurdling scream from the pastry shop two doors down and runs over to find a dead body on the floor.

Suddenly Samantha finds herself in a race against time to find not only the thief who is stealing from the upscale shops, but a murderer, too. Samantha’s Lab-Mix Sweet Pea wags her tail through all of the clues, suspects and shenanigans. Both Samantha and Sweet Pea are aided in their amateur investigation by the other shopkeepers on the elegant Worth Avenue, and Samantha finds the suspect list growing at every turn.

To make matters worse, Samantha’s old boyfriend arrives in town, and mysterious people start showing up at the Sophisticated Pet and New Age stores nearby. Samantha soon finds that things are not what they seem, and she must figure out what’s going on—or become the next dead body on a bakery floor.

Includes an original recipe from the world-famous Three Dog Bakery!

About Amy Hueston

Amy Hueston writes mini-mysteries for Woman’s World magazine when she isn’t writing mystery and suspense novels. The first 3 books in her Canine Confections mystery series have an abundance of dogs and pastries, two of her favorite things, and will be available in 2021. Amy is also a professional singer who has performed nationally and internationally. A sought-after singer in South Florida, Amy draws on these experiences when writing.

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