Sunday, August 14, 2022

Seven-Year Witch - A Spotlight

I'd like to shine a light on a book on my TBR pile. Seven-Year Witch by Angela M. Sanders is the second book in the Witch Way Librarian Mystery series. I absolutely adored the first one, Bait and Witch (you can read my review here) so I'm not sure how I got behind.



Finding your feet in a new job isn’t always easy. That goes double for Josie Way, who’s settling in as Wilfred, Oregon’s, new librarian—and has just discovered she’s a witch. But will her fledgling powers be enough to save her from a spell of murder?
While Josie develops her witchcraft with the help of letters left by her grandmother, there are other changes happening in her new hometown. A retreat center is being built at the old mill site, and rumor has it that the location is cursed. That piques Josie’s interest almost as much as Sam Wilfred, handsome FBI agent and descendant of the town’s founder . . .
When Sam’s soon-to-be ex-wife, Fiona, goes missing at the same time that a bloodied weapon is found, Josie enlists her witchy insight, and her cat familiar, to clear Sam’s name. But then the mill project’s architect is found dead, and it’s clear that someone has been drawing up a vicious plan. Now Josie will have to divine her way out of fatal mischief, before this deadly trouble turns double . . .

Friday, August 12, 2022

A Dark and Stormy Tea - A Review & Giveaway


The Twenty-Fourth Tea Shop Mystery 

Charleston, South Carolina is known for its spookiness and haunted locales, but when the fog rises it's a real human being who commences to killing. After a break of seven years it seems that Fogheel Jack is back. Walking to her shop one foggy evening Tea Shop Owner Theodosia Browning sees a strange tableau, and soon realizes she's seen Fogheel Jack himself-and his latest victim, the daughter of a friend. Theo's inquisitive nature leads her to investigate, and lands her squarely in a killer's sights.   

Theodosia Browning has gone rogue! She deliberately questions a suspect, despite being directly told by police not to do so. Then she inserts herself in an active crime scene in order to snoop, again after being directly old to stay back. As a former police officer, I have great difficulty accepting this blatant disregard for police authority. Her actions could totally screw up an investigation. If I was Pete, her boyfriend and a detective, I'd be more apt to arrest her than date her!

Her actions do, however, move the story forward, adding plenty of thrills and keeping a heightened sense of urgency. Delightful descriptions of the tea shop and its events balance the fast paced action. Indeed, I enjoy my time at the Indigo Tea Shop just as much as reading the more high octane bits of the mystery. I can easily picture myself sipping one of Drayton's special brews and nibbling some Killer Cranberry scones and cashew chicken salad tea sandwiches, perhaps even donning a costume as I attend a themed tea.

A DARK AND STORMY TEA is an atmospheric thriller in a cozy world. Its heart racing thrills and scary chills are balanced by the comfort of good friends and food giving readers the best of both worlds.


A Dark and Stormy Tea (A Tea Shop Mystery) by Laura Childs

About A Dark and Stormy Tea

A Dark and Stormy Tea (A Tea Shop Mystery)
Cozy Mystery 24th in Series
Berkley (August 9, 2022)
Hardcover: ‎ 320 pages

A possible serial killer on the loose sends tea maven Theodosia Browning into a whirlwind of investigation in this latest installment of the New York Times bestselling series.

It was a dark and stormy night, but that was the least of Theodosia Browning's troubles. As she approaches St. Philips Graveyard, Theodosia sees two figures locked in a strange embrace. Wiping rain from her eyes, Theodosia realizes she has just witnessed a brutal murder and sees a dark-hooded figure slip away into the fog.

In the throes of alerting police, Theodosia recognizes the victim—it is the daughter of her friend, Lois, who owns the Antiquarian Bookshop next door to her own Indigo Tea Shop.

Even though this appears to be the work of a serial killer who is stalking the back alleys of Charleston, Lois begs Theodosia for help. Against the advice of her boyfriend, Detective Pete Riley, and the sage words of Drayton, her tea sommelier, amateur-sleuth Theodosia launches her own shadow investigation. And quickly discovers that suspects abound with the dead girl’s boyfriend, nefarious real estate developer, private-security man, bumbling reporter, and her own neighbor who is writing a true-crime book and searching for a big ending.


About Laura Childs

Laura Childs is the New York Times bestselling author of the Tea Shop Mysteries, Scrapbook Mysteries, and Cackleberry Club Mysteries. In her previous life she was CEO/Creative Director of her own marketing firm and authored several screenplays. She is married to a professor of Chinese art history, loves to travel, rides horses, enjoys fundraising for various non-profits, and has two Chinese Shar-Pei dogs.

Laura specializes in cozy mysteries that have the pace of a thriller (a thrillzy!) Her three series are:

The Tea Shop Mysteries – set in the historic district of Charleston and featuring Theodosia Browning, owner of the Indigo Tea Shop. Theodosia is a savvy entrepreneur, and pet mom to service dog Earl Grey. She’s also an intelligent, focused amateur sleuth who doesn’t rely on coincidences or inept police work to solve crimes. This charming series is highly atmospheric and rife with the history and mystery that is Charleston.

The Scrapbooking Mysteries – a slightly edgier series that take place in New Orleans. The main character, Carmela, owns Memory Mine scrapbooking shop in the French Quarter and is forever getting into trouble with her friend, Ava, who owns the Juju Voodoo shop. New Orleans’ spooky above-ground cemeteries, jazz clubs, bayous, and Mardi Gras madness make their presence known here!

The Cackleberry Club Mysteries – set in Kindred, a fictional town in the Midwest. In a rehabbed Spur station, Suzanne, Toni, and Petra, three semi-desperate, forty-plus women have launched the Cackleberry Club. Eggs are the morning specialty here and this cozy cafe even offers a book nook and yarn shop. Business is good but murder could lead to the cafe’s undoing! This series offers recipes, knitting, cake decorating, and a dash of spirituality.

Laura’s Links: WebsiteFacebook

Purchase Links AmazonB&NKoboIndieBound

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Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading A Dark and Stormy Tea by Laura Childs. This book is the twenty-fourth in the Tea Shop Mystery series and was released yesterday.

Charleston, South Carolina is known for its spookiness and haunted locales, but when the fog rises it's a real human being who commences to killing. After a break of seven years Fogheel Jack is back. Walking to her shop one foggy evening Tea Shop Owner Theodosia Browning sees a strange tableau, and soon realizes she's seen Fogheel Jack himself-and his latest victim, the daughter of a friend. Theo's inquisitive nature leads her to investigate, and lands her squarely in a killer's sights. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Murder Backstage - An Excerpt & Giveaway

I'm happy to share an excerpt from Murder Backstage by Nupur Tustin. This book is the fourth in the Joseph Haydn Mystery series and was released last month.


There’s an upstairs-downstairs dynamic in the Joseph Haydn Mysteries that I’m sure you’ll enjoy. Palace maids Rosalie and Greta are privy to gossip and have their own sources of information. Although, Haydn has a flair for putting together disparate bits of information, he would be severely limited in his investigation were it not for the clues Rosalie and Greta bring him. Here the maids receive a visit from their friend, Steffi:

Steffi, the Archbishop of Salzburg’s temporary maid in Vienna, shrugged out of her cape and shook her blond curls. “I wish His Grace would make up his mind whether he means to go or stay,” she complained.

She gave Rosalie her cape to hang up and seated herself at the capacious table in the Esterházy servants’ hall. “Count Kohary’s establishment is in need of a permanent kitchen maid, and the position would be mine if only I can confirm I can start in the next few days.”

“I thought His Grace meant to stay until he’d brought his musician to heel.” Greta placed a chilled glass of lemonade and a plate of Zitronenkeks—lemon cookies—before her friend. Their morning chores were done, and it had been a pleasant, if unexpected surprise, to see Steffi at the door.

“Has the man been found?” Rosalie carefully draped Steffi’s cape on one of the hooks by the door and returned to the table.

“Found and lost,” Steffi sighed, biting hungrily into a buttery cookie.

“You’re speaking in riddles, Steffi,” Greta admonished her. She helped herself to a cookie—the sweet treats with a thin layer of icing were her favorite. But fond as she was of Steffi, Greta couldn’t help reflecting that her friend had always been one to make much ado over nothing. “What exactly has happened?”

Most likely nothing much, she thought to herself.

“Well,” Steffi began, wiping the crumbs from her mouth, “he came on Saturday morning, his tail between his legs, begging to be taken back. Said he’d return to Salzburg as soon as His Grace ordered it.”

“And what did His Grace say?” Rosalie leaned forward, resting her elbows on the vast table. “That he wouldn’t?”

“Oh no, His Grace was quite willing to take him back.” Steffi took a sip of her chilled lemonade. “But the man—can you believe his temerity?—demanded His Grace pay him for all those months for which his salary had been withheld.”

“Good heavens!” Greta gasped. “I hope His Grace tossed him out with a flea in his ear.”

“Oh, he put his foot down, of course. Even so, we all thought the matter settled. That Herr Mozart—that is his name—would return to Salzburg and that His Grace would follow suit. If I’d known that wasn’t to be the case, I wouldn’t have applied for the position at Count Kohary’s.” Steffi pushed out her pretty red lips into a pout.

“And now he has gotten himself arrested.” Steffi’s emerald-green eyes flashed with anger. “And His Grace—well, I have no notion what His Grace means to do.”

“Arrested!” Rosalie’s violet eyes widened and collided with Greta’s.

“Didn’t I say it was him?” Greta folded her arms and jutted her chin out. She turned to Steffi. “He’s been arrested for murder, has he not? This—what did you say his name was?”

“Mozart,” Steffi replied. “Leopold Mozart.” She frowned. “But how did you two find out about that?” 


 Murder Backstage: A Joseph Haydn Mystery by Nupur Tustin

About Murder Backstage

Murder Backstage: A Joseph Haydn Mystery
Historical Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Setting - In Vienna’s Burgtheater in the eighteenth century.
Foiled Plots Press (July 6, 2022)
Print length: ‎ 348 pages

When murder propels him backstage, Haydn is forced to confront a deadly killer. . .

When the Burgtheater’s impresario unexpectedly meets his maker, Joseph Haydn is relieved to learn no one expects him to look into the matter. The impresario was murdered—and the Salzburger believed to be the killer is already behind bars.

But the impresario’s untimely death is not without consequences. Haydn’s employer insists he take over the dead man’s duties. Handling the tedious technical details of putting on an opera is bad enough. Confronting the suspicious behavior backstage is even worse.

Is an innocent man being sent to the gallows? Haydn is plagued by the question when his brother Michael confirms his worst fears. The Salzburger arrested for the murder is none other than Leopold Mozart—father of the well-known child prodigy currently in Vienna.

Now, egged on by Michael—a close friend of the Mozarts—Haydn must prove Leopold innocent. Or risk his brother’s ire forever!

Praise for the Joseph Haydn Mysteries: “Tustin orchestrates a concerto of intrigue and deception . . .” – Anna Lee Huber, Lady Darby Mysteries

“A standout in the genre of historical mysteries . . .” – Midwest Book Reviews

About Nupur Tustin

A former journalist, Nupur Tustin misuses a Ph.D. in Communication and an M.A. in English to orchestrate mayhem in Joseph Haydn’s Austria and to paint intrigue in her Celine Skye Psychic Mysteries about a psychic who takes on the outrageous and still unsolved Gardner Museum theft! In addition to being a storyteller and avid mystery fan, Nupur is a wife and homeschooling Mom who’s recently become a Christian.

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Sunday, August 7, 2022

A Dish to Die For - A Review


A DISH TO DIE FOR by Lucy Burdette
The Twelfth Key West Food Critic Mystery 

Known for trying to appease everybody, Haley Snow is working on boundaries. Her resolve to say no is challenged by her father-in-law's visit and the dead body she and Ziggy uncovered. Literally uncovered, when a trip to the beach to relax turned anything but. Vowing to keep out of the investigation, Haley's interest can't help but be piqued when she starts to hear about the victim-a man actively opposing the wishes of almost everyone in Key West. Will Hayley be able to keep her distance from the murder or will she once again be drawn in?

A DISH TO DIE FOR looks at the role women have played and continue to play in Key West. A vintage cookbook published by the Woman's Club in 1949 sheds light on the role of women as well as the food of the time, both having aspects today's women may find slightly appalling.

I enjoyed getting to know Nathan's father and seeing how the various relationships in the series react and adapt. The mystery kept me captivated while descriptions of food had me salivating. I can picture Hayley on her scooter and enjoy visiting the Florida Keys from my nicely air conditioned home up North.

An additional benefit of reading the Key West Food Critic Mystery series is getting to know Key West, from the Little White House to the Woman's Club to Mallory Square and beyond. This twelfth mystery actually takes us beyond, off the rock, seeing communities a little farther off the tourist path that is Key West. Showing the problems as well as the beauty, we get a glimpse into the lives of "regular people". We also get a look at the grittier, less appealing side of the Keys.

A DISH TO DIE FOR is a delectable mystery made more compelling by its subtle commentary on important issues facing the world today.

Friday, August 5, 2022

Shifting and Shenanigans - An Interview, Review, & Giveaway

I'm happy to welcome Elizabeth Pantley back to Cozy Up With Kathy today. Elizabeth writes the Destiny Falls Mystery & Magic series and now the Magical Mystery Book Club series. SHIFTING AND SHENANIGANS, the first book in the new series, was released last month.

Kathy: You start a new series with SHIFTING AND SHENANIGANS. What made you decide to take a break from Destiny Falls and come to the Snapdragon Inn?

EP: I was reading a cozy mystery that I truly enjoyed. The setting and the people were so great – I was thinking how fun it would be to just hop inside that book for a while. And it hit me! What a great idea for a cozy mystery series! Once I starting pondering the possibilities for such a series I had to get it started!

Kathy: Was there a specific inspiration for this story?

EP: The opening scene in the mystery book part was the first to come to me. What if the book club was reading an intense scene and suddenly, they were no longer reading – they were inside the book! Once that part was settled the story slowly unfolded in my mind and took some very interesting turns.

Kathy: In the Magical Mystery Book Club series the characters find themselves inhabiting cozy mystery books. If you could visit a fictional world, in any genre, what novel would you choose?

EP: Well, right now I’d dive into the second book in this series because it’s set on a cruise ship! I love to cruise, but since Covid began I haven’t been on a ship. I took a trip vicariously through the book club and had a grand adventure on a Hawaiian cruise!

Kathy: Have you ever been part of a book club? Was it similar to the one found in your series, in that a very diverse group get together and bond over books?

EP: I’ve twice been a member in a book club, and both were great fun. We didn’t fall into any books, nor did we get absorbed into any enchanted settings … but we had so much fun! The best book clubs, I think, are half book club and half social club. Good food, drinks, and neighborhood gossip all make the experience something to look forward to every week.

Kathy: Paige and Glo have a unique niece/aunt relationship. Have you ever had a familial relationship that was a true friendship?

EP: My family is very close, and we do cross the lines between family and friends. All four of my children are adults now, and I count them as four of my best friends. They invite me to do crazy things like hike up a mountain, climb a wall in an indoor climbing gym, or plant a full-out garden in my yard. The blend between family and friend is a true blessing.

Kathy: I adore Frank. I don't really have a question, well, too many that may be revealed as the series continues. I just want to say he's great.

EP: Thanks! I love Frank, too! He’s a fun character with a lot of spunk and way too much confidence. He has a very interesting background which we’ll learn more about in future books.

Kathy: Do you have a favorite character in this series?

EP: I love them all, so don’t tell – but I happen to have a soft spot for Zell. She’s eighty and proud of it. She has zero filters, loves life to the fullest, and is up for just about anything. I want to be Zell when I’m eighty!

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

EP: I have an unlimited number of ideas! Since the book club can enter any cozy mystery book in their vast library, the locations are endless! I can explore various themes I’ve never written about. I love to write books with a touch of the paranormal in a real-life setting. Something that’s so believable you can imagine it happening. Actually, I’m now writing book three and … I don’t even believe this one since it’s so different! … but they are going back to the Wild West, the land of the authentic cowboy!


Kathy: Will you share any other upcoming books?

EP: You can expect many more new books in the Magical Mystery Book Club!

Readers can sign up for my mailing list to get notices and be part of my monthly contests:



The First Magical Mystery Book Club

Thirty and recently divorced, Paige Erickson is ready for a new start. Nothing could have prepared her for the adventure that awaits her when she and her eccentric Aunt Glo inherit the Snapdragon Inn. Though the fun loving pair spent many happy summers there, they were never allowed in the basement; now it's time. A treasure trove of books awaits them along with a book club they've been tasked to start. But these are no ordinary books and this will be no ordinary book club. The group is transported inside a book-and the only way out is to solve the murder! 

Do you ever wish you were a part of a cozy mystery? That's just what gets to happen to Paige, her Aunt Glo, and their newfound friends. I love how what they encounter is due to the fictional author's writing-be it the Disney plus Hallmark settings (lots of adjectives) or its author's errors. I like Paige and Glo-though they can be a bit silly. And I like getting to know all of the book club members. I hope we get to learn more of Frank's origins. What's interesting to note is while these characters are meaty, the characters they meet inside the book are rather one dimensional. I was captivated by the book club's story, but didn't find myself as invested in the mystery they had to solve. 

The First Magical Mystery Book Club Mystery is a totally unique book that turns a cozy mystery on its head and spins it around. If you think cozies are all the same, here's an author that totally breaks the mold, while still honoring the genre. Creative surprises abound while family and friendship remains constant.

SHIFTING AND SHENANIGANS brings a unique twist to the cozy mystery genre. A story within a story with a paranormal slant, I was enchanted by the setting and admittedly envious of the adventure. I can't even imagine what the author has in store for book club members, but I can't wait to find out.


 Shifting and Shenanigans: The Magical Mystery Book Club by Elizabeth Pantley

About Shifting and Shenanigans

Shifting and Shenanigans: The Magical Mystery Book Club
Paranormal Cozy Mystery - 1st in Series
Setting - A magical off-shoot of Colorado
Independently Published (July 15, 2022)
Print length: ‎ 210 pages

Paige and her adventurous Aunt Glo inherit a country inn from eccentric GeeGee. They pack up and hit the road, arriving at the charming place they both loved since childhood. Finally! They can get into the secret room in the basement that GeeGee kept locked! They discover it’s a wonderful library filled to the brim with mystery books. But more than the room was a secret – it’s a magical place that houses enchanted books. Paige and Glo find themselves smack-dab in the middle of a murder mystery, along with a motley group of book club friends. The club will need to work together to solve the case in order to get out of the book and back to their home.

About Elizabeth Pantley


Elizabeth Pantley says that writing the Destiny Falls Mystery and Magic book series is the most fun she’s ever had at work. Fans of the series say her joy is evident through the stories she tells. Elizabeth is also the internationally bestselling author of The No-Cry Sleep Solution and twelve other books for parents. Her books have been published in over twenty languages. She lives in the Pacific Northwest, the beautiful inspiration for the enchanted Destiny Falls world.  

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Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading A Dish to Die For by Lucy Burdette. This book is the twelfth book in the Key West Food Critic Mystery series and will be released next week.

Known for trying to appease everybody, Haley Snow is working on boundaries. Her resolve to say no is challenged by her father-in-law's visit and the dead body she and Ziggy uncovered. Literally uncovered, when a trip to the beach to relax turned anything but. Vowing to keep out of the investigation, Haley's interest can't help but be piqued when she starts to hear about the victim-a man actively opposing the wishing of almost everyone in Key West. Will Hayley be able to keep her distance from the murder or will she once again be drawn in?

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Mint Chocolate Murder - A Review


The Second Ice Cream Shop Mystery
Autumn may have arrived in Penniman, Connecticut, but the Udderly Delicious Ice Cream Shop is still doing brisk business. Riley Rhodes, shop manager, is also joining forces with caterer Bitsy Bittman to provide ice cream for the Fall Arts Festival at Moy Mull Castle. Maud Monaco, the former super model who owns the castle, has brought controversial photographer Adam Blasco in as the featured artist. His edgy photography is not everyone's cup of tea and neither is the man himself. Missing his own presentation the second day, the errant artist is eventually found dead, in the locked dungeon. Was it an accident or murder? 
A pretentious artist whose predilections are even more heinous is ripe to be murdered and we have a unique method in the second Ice Cream Shop Mystery. We also have a great setting within the charming Penniman environs. Moy Mull Castle and its grounds provide atmosphere and history too. What better place for a murder victim to be found than a dungeon? Rather fitting as well.
I enjoyed meeting the new characters and getting to know those from the previous book better. I commiserated with Caroline over Sprinkles behavior, laughing at the exit of the cat therapist while picturing my own Calumet doing something similar. Sigh. 
MINT CHOCOLATE MURDER serves up a delicious mystery sprinkled with colorful characters, funny moments, and mouthwatering ice cream.

Sunday, July 31, 2022

I Scream, You Scream - Literary Musings

There's nothing like sitting outside on a warm summer's day eating an ice cream cone. Mind you, it must be a warm day, not hot, or the ice cream will drip all over your hand before you can lick it all up! What flavor would you get? Strawberry? Sea Salt Caramel? Or something more adventurous? Maple Bacon or Wasabi Ginger? Whatever your choice one thing would make this idyllic scene even better; reading a cozy mystery as you enjoy your frozen treat. 

While any mystery, indeed, almost any book, would make for a delightful ice cream companion you might entertain reading a mystery featuring an ice cream shop! I highly recommend the Ice Cream Shop Mystery series by Meri Allen and the Ice Cream Parlor Mystery series by Abby Collette. Years ago I enjoyed the Mystery a la Mode Series by Wendy Lyn Watson and I'm sure you can find many more delightful mysteries serving up ice cream.

A DEADLY INSIDE SCOOP starts off the Ice Cream Parlor Mystery mysteries. Set in picturesque Chagrin Falls, Ohio Bronwyn Crewse reopens her family's ice cream parlor. This book is followed by A GAME OF CONES and A KILLER SUNDAE. Click on the titles to read my reviews.
More recently I discovered the Ice Cream Shop Mystery series. Udderly is a town fixture in Penniman, Connecticut. THE ROCKY ROAD TO RUIN is the first book in the series. The second, MINT CHOCOLATE MURDER was released last week. Be sure to check out the blog Tuesday for my review.
Have you read any mysteries featuring ice cream? What's your favorite flavor? Inquiring minds want to know!

Friday, July 29, 2022

An Eyre of Mystery - A Review


The First Literati Novel

When Gia accepted a position as a library archivist in North Carolina, she never realized just how involved the work would be. Without warning she finds herself thrust into the novel Jane Eyre. In fact, she has taken over the role of Jane. Not everything is as it should be, however. Characters are behaving differently and Mr. Rochester is in jail for the murder of his wife! With a brief message from her supervisor, Gia learns that she must solve Bertha's murder in order to put the book to rights, otherwise Jane Eyre will be lost forever-and so will Gia. 

Have you ever dreamed of inhabiting the books you read? I have and in the Literati series Gia gets her chance, however unexpected. The author takes concept of going into classics of literature one step further. Dark forces want to rid the world of these classics, the books themselves are changing, and it's up to a select few to save them. What a wonderful and exciting idea and it's realized beautifully.

Although a tad confusing at first, like Gia, readers are thrust into a new world with no explanation, things soon get sorted and the mission is revealed. I enjoyed the mystery, seeing the changes to the original, and seeing how modern day Gia as Jane tries to fix things. 

One of the things I liked best was witnessing the unpleasant commonplace realities of the past. The past isn't idyllic, even in the pages of a novel. Bad smells permeate the air, be it the waste from horses on the street or a person's breath! While we often read to escape reality, the best books encapsulate reality even in fantasy.

Mystery, a dash of romance, and an otherworldly threat make AN EYRE OF MYSTERY a great start to a unique new series.


 An Eyre of Mystery by G. Leeson

About An Eyre of Mystery

An Eyre of Mystery
Fantasy Portal/Mystery
Grace Abraham Publishing (July 12, 2022)
Print length: ‎ 177 pages

Classic literature is at risk of disappearing from the world…

When Gia accepts a job as a library archivist at a manor house in North Carolina, she has no idea what she’s in for. On day one, she finds herself outside her comfort zone when she accidentally travels through a magical portal to the world of Jane Eyre. She finds Edward Rochester imprisoned as he awaits his death sentence for killing his wife. But Gia has read the book, and she knows Edward is innocent of murder.

Soon, she realizes that there are sinister mystical forces working to rewrite the narrative, hoping to destroy the manuscript altogether. To restore order and reset the book to its original state, Gia must discover who actually killed Bertha Rochester and framed her husband for the crime.

But few of the people she meets are who they claim to be and they all have secrets...including Edward.

About G. Leeson


Gayle [G. Leeson, for this book] has taken a real leap of faith with An Eyre of Mystery and the world of Literatia. She decided to explore what would happen if a reader--or in this case, an archivist--actually got lost in a great book. But when she travels through the portal into the world Jane Eyre, she finds it to be a topsy-turvy mess. Edward Rochester is facing a death sentence, and Gia has been tasked with finding out who really killed his wife so that Edward can go free, the book will reset to its original form, and Gia may return home. If you'd like to get a sample of the book, please check out this extended sneak peek (first five chapters) at  

Author Links: 

Gayle Leeson: 


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Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Currently Reading..

I just finished reading An Eyre of Mystery by G. Leeson.  This book is the first in the Literatia series and was released two weeks ago.

When Gia accepted a position as a library archivist in North Carolina, she never realized just how involved the work would be. Without warning she finds herself thrust into the novel Jane Eyre. In fact, she has taken over the role of Jane. Not everything is as it should be, however. Characters are behaving differently and Mr. Rochester is in jail for the murder of his wife. With a brief message from her supervisor, Gia learns that she must solve Bertha's murder in order to put the book to rights, otherwise Jane Eyre will be lost forever-and so will Gia.

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

The Rocky Road to Ruin - A Review


The First Ice Cream Shop Mystery 

Riley Rhodes has returned to her hometown of Penniman, Connecticut for the funeral of her friend Caroline’s mother. The funeral has barely finished when Carolyn and her brother Mike start butting heads. While Carolyn wants to keep the family farm and ice cream shop Mike is eager to sell it to developers, and sell it quick. On her morning jog the next day Riley follows a kitten only to find Mike's dead body. Now Riley will help Caroline run Udderly as she also tries to scoop up a killer!

THE ROCKY ROAD TO RUIN will have you craving quality ice cream as you devour every page. I absolutely loved this series debut. Likable characters, shifty characters, and characters you want to be guilty inhabit the charming town of Penniman. Descriptions of the surroundings and scrumptious ice cream flavors, along with recipes in the back of the book, add flavor and small town appeal.

The first Ice Cream Shop Mystery is intricately plotted with lots of surprises. Remember, appearances can be deceiving. Snippets of backstory were gradually added in, and like the seeds in the sunflower ice cream, made a huge difference. There's still a lot to learn and I look forward to uncovering more as the series progresses.

A unique storyline, engaging characters, charismatic cats, and mouth watering descriptions of ice cream make THE ROCKY ROAD TO RUIN a lip smacking good read. Grab a cone or a cup of frozen goodness and settle in for a fun mystery.

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Meet Joann Keder - An Interview

I'm pleased to welcome Joann Keder to Cozy Up With Kathy today. Joann writes the Piney Falls Mystery series, The Charming Mystery series, and more!

Kathy: In your Piney Falls Mystery series a woman vacationing in Piney Falls finds herself embroiled in a century-old mystery with connections to a modern day cult. What makes cults so intriguing for outsiders to read about?

JK: I think we all have a curiosity about what makes others tick- we want to find some common ground. When it comes to cults, that can be difficult. It becomes more of an oddity and the more we learn about cults, the more we want to understand why. Maybe it's also a case of wanting to assure ourselves that the reason those people "fell" for it isn't a shortcoming we ourselves have. Of course, we can never put ourselves in others' shoes, but that is the basic mentality in my thinking.

Kathy: I love reading about old unsolved mysteries. Is that something you enjoy as well? Do you have a favorite to ponder? A Ripperologist, perhaps?

JK: Yes, I do! I'm with you on Jack the Ripper. I've also been especially curious about the events surrounding Marilyn Monroe's death, as well as the many other famous people who died or were assassinated during the 60s. So many layers!

Kathy: Your Charming Mystery series takes place in Oregon and features a reluctant paranormal investigator. Have you ever been on any paranormal investigations yourself?

JK: I had some actual experiences in a house we used to live in. Over the years, we had many unexplained events. My daughter's bedroom was in the basement and she had horrible nightmares. She said there was a man and a girl who stood at the foot of her bed each night. She said she slept so much better after she moved out. When she went off to college and my sister came to visit, she had the same dream and ended up sleeping upstairs on the couch. As the years went on, the experiences ramped up. Doors slamming, cupboards slamming, footsteps, etc.

I'll never forget the time I was lying on the living room floor. (I did that frequently because it felt peaceful. We had skylights in our living room, and I loved watching the clouds float by.) It was a Saturday morning, and I could hear kids playing outside, but I heard something else. There were noises I couldn't account for, and eventually I realized it was a radio playing music from the 1920s. It sounded as if it were coming from her bedroom. When I worked up the courage to go down and check, it was gone.

A paranormal investigator DID come to our home. He said our daughter's bedroom was a portal of some kind. We moved not long after and I've always wondered if the next owners had the same issues?

Kathy: Do you believe in ghosts? Have you ever had a paranormal experience?

JK: Piggybacking on the first answer, I'll mention that, growing up, we lived next door to a mortuary. I always thought people were in my bedroom. Once we started having issues with our home, I realized it very well could have been otherworldly visitors. I don't pretend to have the answers, but I do believe we continue to have connections to those we've lost, as well as others who want to be heard.

Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

JK: I didn't really know what I was writing. The old adage, "write what you know" gave me some direction. I spent most of my life living in small towns and trying to navigate very complex, out-of-the-ordinary relationships. Those two are both cozy mystery-centric. I'm proud of the fact that not only do my characters evolve, but so do the relationships within their circle. They all create families outside of their families of origin.

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

JK: Yes! I write literary/women's fiction. I have a series based in Iowa called, "Pepperville Stories." It covers different decades in two small Iowa towns. The next book in that series will be released this fall! It's called, "Secrets and Sunflowers." I think it's some of my best work.

Kathy: Tell us about your series. 

JK: Piney Falls Mysteries

This series takes place in the fictional Oregon coast town of Piney Falls. It follows Lanie, a serious Chicago businesswoman who is visiting on vacation. After she uncovers a century-old mystery, the place kind of grows on her and she decides to stick around! As she finds mysteries, she also finds new branches of her family. There are currently five books in that series with a Christmas crossover coming in October. This book will take place in Piney Falls, but will also include a character from the Charming Mysteries series!

Charming Mysteries

This series also takes place on the Oregon coast, this time in the fictional town of Charming. Retiree, Gemini Reed and her sidekick, paranormal investigator Feather Jones, make an unstoppable team as they solve not only the mysteries in modern Charming, but also right the wrongs of those who lived there long ago. This series currently has three books with the fourth coming in October. (The crossover) The new book will be called, "Cranberries and Chaos," so please watch for it!

Pepperville Stories

This series takes place in fictional towns in Iowa--Pepperville and Sandy Salts. Each story encompasses a different decade. In The Something That Happened in Pepperville, (1990s) we learn about Jenna Thompson, an outcast who thrives on routine, and the young man she finds living in a tree. They set off a series of events that will change Pepperville forever. Franniebell and Purple Wonder (1970s) tells the story of Georgina Hardwick, a young woman who has everything. Her life changes dramatically when she learns she is pregnant. The Story of Keilah (2000) is the story of Georgina's daughter. Keilah must face some hard truths about her past in order to move forward, leading her to some dramatic discoveries. COMING SOON- The sequel to The Story of Keilah, Secrets and Sunflowers, takes place in most recent times and follows Keilah and her close friends as they each try to solve a mystery.

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

JK: November Bean for sure. She is unafraid to be weird. I wish I could say the same for me. As I age, I care less about what people say about me, but I'm still conscious that I'm not like others. November celebrates her uniqueness and never spends a moment worrying about the stares.

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

JK: It depends on the day. I look back at the Pepperville books and can see the evolution of my own life. But when it comes to the cozy mysteries, I've just decided to let the characters tell me where they're going. It works out really well, believe it or not.

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

JK: I've always been a writer. As a young child, I used to write stories and give them away to family members for Christmas. During a recent move, I found a short assignment from the sixth grade about what I wanted to be when I grew up. I said I was going to be a writer.

I let insecurities, both those forced upon me and the ones I created for myself, dictate my life choices. I wasn't smart enough, good enough, etc. It wasn't until I was getting my master's degree in creative writing, at age 40, that I thought maybe, just maybe, I could write a book.

Out of that came The Something That Happened in Pepperville. A publisher picked it up and it was published two weeks before we moved halfway across the country. My whole world came crashing down at that point.

It was 2008 and I couldn't find a job. I struggled to make friends and all of those feelings of worthlessness just took over. I spent time just sitting in my closet, unsure of a time it would be safe to emerge. That went on for years.

One day in 2015, my husband was out in the woods hiking when he had a massive heart attack. He had to be life flighted in and was hooked up to machines for several days. I was sitting by his bed, listening to the machines keeping him alive when I had a revelation: If I wasn't going to be a writer now, then when? There were no guarantees I wouldn't be in the same condition that he was next day. Right then and there, I decided I needed to roll right on past those negative thoughts and get busy writing. During my husband's recovery, I wrote The Story of Keilah. I knew I had to publish and I had to keep going. Currently, I'm working on books thirteen and fourteen.

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

JK: Stephen King, George Eliot, Maya Angelou and Emily Dickinson. Wouldn't that crew be a gas?

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

JK: I'm reading "The Weaver's Legacy," by Olive Collins. Fantastic!

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

JK: Writing is really my number one interest (after family) but I do enjoy an easy (emphasis on easy!) hike.

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

JK: Blueberries are a must, chia seeds, pasta sauce and nut butter.

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

JK: I don't foresee an end to any of them. As long as I'm breathing, I'll be putting out new books.

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

JK: When I finally made my peace with this profession, I realized it truly is what I was meant do to. There is something soothing to the soul about using what you were given exactly as it was intended to be used.



Lanie Anders has a perfectly-ordered life. From her half-foam morning latte to her high-powered executive job - she controls every outcome. But when her house burns to the ground in mysterious circumstances, her life is thrown into confusion.

Searching for some kind of purpose, she stumbles across a century-old mystery and flees to Piney Falls, Oregon, an oceanside hamlet with a curious past. But something isn’t quite right in the picturesque town. Her neighbor speaks in riddles, the death rate is alarmingly high and the impossibly handsome town baker is hiding something.

With each clue she unearths in the present and the past, she becomes more convinced that the townspeople are in imminent danger.

Will Lanie be able to solve both mysteries without putting her own life in jeopardy?


USA TODAY bestselling author,  Joann Keder spent most of her years in the Midwest, growing up and raising a family on the Great Plains of Nebraska. She worked for sixteen years as a piano teacher before returning to school to receive a master's degree in creative writing. A mid-life move to the Pacific Northwest led her to re-examine her priorities. She now creates stories about life and relationships in small towns while her ever-patient husband encourages her on.

Awards: Page Turner Finalist, Literary Titan Silver Medal, New Apple Award for Humor



Friday, July 22, 2022

The Sign of the Calico Quartz - An Interiew & Giveaway

I'm happy to welcome Jan Drexler to Cozy Up With Kathy today. Jan writes the Sweetbriar Inn Mystery series. THE SIGN OF THE CALICO QUARTZ is the first book in the series.

Kathy: In THE SIGN OF THE CALICO QUARTZ Emma Blackwood comes to the Black Hills of South Dakota to work at her aunt's B&B. Have you ever wanted to own or work at a B&B?

JD: Several years ago, as we were planning to sell our house in town and move into the Black Hills, we considered buying a place that we could use as a B&B. We did just enough research to tell us that we aren’t cut out to be B&B hosts (my husband and I both tend toward the introvert end of the social scale,) but the research was intriguing. I created the Sweetbrier Inn as my dream B&B and the setting for my cozies was born. 


Kathy: Emma's favorite pastime is solving literary mysteries. Before you started writing them, was this a favorite of yours as well?

JD: I read a mystery whenever I can get my hands on one! My favorite mystery writers are Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers, but I also enjoy quite a few contemporary authors. I love the satisfaction of solving the puzzle just before the sleuth does. 


Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

JD: Some of the first “chapter books” I ever read were mysteries. When I was young, I was usually reading The Bobbsey Twins or The Boxcar Children. Later I read volumes of Agatha Christie’s stories, and I was hooked.

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

JD: My first published books were historical romances, based on my ancestor’s Amish backgrounds. I like to call them “historical romance with Amish characters.” I’ve also published an historical romance set in Deadwood, South Dakota during the Gold Rush days, and I’m working on a follow-up to that story that takes place on a ranch in South Dakota.

Kathy: Tell us about your series.

JD: The Sweetbrier Inn is an upscale Bed and Breakfast located in the Black Hills of South Dakota, where mysteries abound, friendships are strong, and the scenery is breathtaking. Emma Blackwood has turned amateur sleuth as she solves puzzling murders with the help of her friend Becky Graves, handsome Deputy Cal Cooper, Aunt Rose (with an intriguing background of her own,) and her furry companions, Thatcher the corgi and Tim the cat. They'll make you feel at home in Paragon, the small town nestled in the midst of the Hills which is populated with its own quirky characters.

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

JD: I think my favorite character is Emma. She has a lot of qualities I wish I had – she’s much braver than I am! – and her powers of observation are stellar. She’s also confident in her own abilities even though she is still influenced by an unfortunate relationship in her past. But even though she’s quite self-sufficient, Becky’s friendship breaks through her protective shell. The main thing about Emma, though, is her sense of right and wrong. Like Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple, Emma won’t rest until evil is conquered and the bad guy or girl is behind bars.

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

JD: There was a secondary character in a movie I watched several years ago, and she caught my imagination. She was a gentle, cultured woman in her sixties who was also a trained assassin. I started thinking – if she had a family, what would they think of her? Rose and Emma grew out of those “what if’s.”

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

JD: Publishing has been my goal since I started writing. My first thirteen books were traditionally published, but in 2020 I was ready for a change (weren’t we all?) So I ventured into the self-publishing world with my cozy mystery series.

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

JD: I think of some of my favorite authors – Christie, Sayers, JRR Tolkien, C.S. Lewis – but I’m afraid that I’d just cower in my chair nibbling celery at a dinner party with them, LOL!

Instead, I’d invite some of the authors who have been so helpful and influential to my career. I’d hate to limit the list to four, but I’d start with Ruth Logan Herne, Mary Connealy, Erica Vetsch, and Debby Giusti. I’d need a bigger table for the rest of my author friends.

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

JD: My aunt loaned me her copies of the Guideposts mystery series, The Mysteries of Lancaster County. I’m alternating the books in that series with the original Nancy Drew books. Would you believe I never read Nancy Drew before? I’m also doing an Agatha Christie reading challenge this year. The next book on the list to read is “At Bertram’s Hotel.”

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

JD: I have some varied interests that take up my non-writing time. I’m addicted to counted cross stitch and spend an hour or two stitching to relax in the evenings. I also love to hike in the Black Hills. My husband and I try to log in a hike at least once a week. Gardening is another passion. I have a large vegetable garden that takes up my time during the summer and fall. Between those hobbies and reading, I keep busy!

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

JD: Chocolate. Do we need anything else? I also have a weakness for tea, pickled beets, and fresh veggies from the garden.

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

JD: I’m planning to release the second book in this series at the end of the summer. That story is called “The Case of the Artist’s Mistake.” I have plans for at least one more book set at the Sweetbrier Inn, maybe more. But I’m also developing a time jumping mystery series set in a lighthouse in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

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

JD: I used to get in trouble for daydreaming when I was in school. Now I have an excuse to spend hours in my imaginary world.


 The Sign of the Calico Quartz (The Sweetbrier Inn Mysteries) by Jan Drexler

About The Sign of the Calico Quartz

1st in Series
Setting - South Dakota
Swift Wings Press (May 20, 2022)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 276 pages
Digital Swift Wings Press (May 25, 2022) Print length: ‎ 242 pages

Emma Blackwood’s favorite pastime is solving literary murder mysteries…until the body in her living room makes everything a little too real.

When Emma comes to the Black Hills to work at her Aunt Rose’s B&B, the Sweetbrier Inn, she is hoping for a quiet break from the corporate treadmill. But she hadn’t expected murder and intrigue to mar this peaceful setting.

As she wades through too many clues to identify the murderer, she soon finds that the culprit isn’t stopping at only one homicide and may even have placed Emma herself on the list of targets. With the help of her friend Becky, and a deputy sheriff who grudgingly lets them join in on the investigation, Emma tracks down the killer. But will it be in time to save the next victim?

About Jan Drexler

Jan Drexler lives in the Black Hills of South Dakota with her husband, where she enjoys hiking and spending time with her expanding family. She is the author of several historical romance novels, including the award-winning Mattie’s Pledge, and is pleased to be starting a new adventure with a cozy mystery series, The Sweetbrier Inn Mysteries. You can find out more about Jan on her website:

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