Sunday, January 30, 2022

Ice Cold Murder - An Interview & Giveaway

I'm pleased to welcome Michele Pariza Wacek to Cozy Up With Kathy. Michele writes the Charlie Kingsley Mystery series. Ice Cold Murder is the second book in the series and was released last week.

Kathy: In Ice Cold Murder Charlie Kingsley accompanies her friend Claire to the reading of her grandma's will. Have you ever been to the reading of a will? 

MPW: I have not. I’ve just seen them on TV and in movies.

Kathy: Charlie and Claire are required to stay at her grandmother's house, which is reputed to be haunted. Do you believe in ghosts? Have you ever been to a haunted location? 

MPW: I have! In fact, I even created a short fiction podcast on my blog called The Adventures of Riley Longhill, Ghost Hunter, so I of course needed to visit a bunch of locations as part of my research.

Kathy: A storm leaves the pair, along with Claire's estranged family, stranded and without power. Have you had to deal with power outages? What was the most difficult thing about it? 

MPW: Growing up in Wisconsin and now living in Arizona, I’m fairly used to outages. If it happens during a workday, not being able to access the internet and my laptop running out of battery become issues. At night, it’s more of a habit. We’re so used to turning on a light to read or watching TV, so we have to actively think about what we can do without electricity. (Although it’s probably good to be unplugged every once in a while).

Kathy: Charlie enjoys her teas, as do I. My favorite is lapsang souchong. Do you have a favorite tea? 

MPW: I do—I love lavender teas as well as Chai.

Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries? 

MPW: My mother loved them (although they weren’t called “cozies” back when she was reading them). I was such a huge reader growing up, I was always picking up books to read. Hands down, mysteries are my favorite. Even when I read other genres, such as fantasy or romance, I still want a mystery in there.

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres? 

MPW: Everything I write seems to turn into some form of mystery. Right now, I switch between psychological thrillers and cozy mysteries. (I know … opposite sides of the mystery spectrum.) 


Kathy: Tell us about your series. 

MPW: The Charlie Kingsley Mysteries series is a spin-off from my Secrets of Redemption series, which is more psychological suspense. When we first meet Aunt Charlie, in the Secrets of Redemption series, she’s dead (no, this isn’t a paranormal book, although she does “talk” to her niece Becca in her dreams). In contrast, The Charlie Kingsley Mysteries is a funny, twisty, cozy mystery series that takes place in the 1990s.

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

MPW: Charlie. No question. She’s been the main driver of both series, quite honestly.

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

MPW: Well, the first book in the original series, It Began With a Lie, was supposed to be a standalone. It turned into a five-book series, and now I’m writing a spin-off series. Charlie is the main inspiration. Every time I think I’m taking a break and moving to a different project, she pops up again.

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work? 

MPW: I taught myself to read when I was three years old because I wanted to write stories so badly. I got a little derailed over the years, starting my own copywriting company in 1998. It was my mother getting sick and dying from cancer that made me realize life is too short to not be writing and publishing fiction, as well.

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

MPW: Agatha Christie, Jane Austin, the Bronte sisters.

Kathy: What are you currently reading?  

MPW: The Wrong Family by Tarryn Fisher.

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

MPW: I love to hike and walk, especially with my husband and dog, and take hot baths or do hot Pilates (yes, I like to sweat). And I of course love reading.

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

MPW: Coffee and cream (non-negotiable) and my ingredients for my morning smoothie.

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

MPW: I’m currently working on Book 3 in this series, Murder Next Door, which is set to be released in April. Book 4, Murder in the Woods, is tentatively scheduled for an August release. In between those two books, I have a Charlie Kingsley story in a cozy mystery anthology called Mysteries, Midsummer Sun, and Murders set to be released in June and a psychological suspense book called The Taking set to be released in July.

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

MPW: It’s what I always wanted to do and be. I feel so grateful and honored that God has blessed me with my dream.


 Ice Cold Murder (Charlie Kingsley Mysteries) by Michele Pariza Wacek

About Ice Cold Murder

Ice Cold Murder (Charlie Kingsley Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery 2nd in Series
Love-Based Publishing (January 25, 2022)
Number of Pages ~250 


When Charlie agrees to accompany her friend Claire to her late grandmother's reading of the will, she assumes she is simply there for moral support.

She doesn't expect things to get so ... strange.

It’s odd enough that it takes place over a weekend, but that’s just the beginning ...

They also need to stay in Claire's grandma's supposedly haunted house with Claire's estranged family.

Things get even worse when a huge storm snows them in. No electricity, no phone, and no way out.

Throw a dead body into the mix, and there’s no question it’s now the world’s worst family gathering. Ever.

At least Charlie brought lots of tea, which she's going to need as she races to solve this closed-circle mystery before her friend’s dysfunctional family get-together results in anyone else being murdered.

Meet Charlie. Better known as “Aunt Charlie” from the award-winning Secrets of Redemption series. She's back, making teas and solving cases in this funny, twisty, cozy mystery series set in the 1990s in Redemption, Wisconsin.


About Michele Pariza Wacek

When Michele was 3 years old, she taught herself to read because she wanted to write stories so badly. It took some time (and some detours) but she does spend much of her time writing stories now. Mystery stories to be exact, ranging from psychological thrillers to cozies, with a dash of romance and supernatural thrown into the mix. If that wasn't enough, she also hosts a virtual book club you can check out and join (for free!) at

Michele holds a double major in English and Communications from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Currently, she lives in the mountains of Prescott, Arizona with her husband Paul and southern squirrel hunter Cassie.

Author Links: 

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Purchase Link - Amazon

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Friday, January 28, 2022

Live, Local, and Dead - An Interview & Review

I'm pleased to welcome Nikki Knight to Cozy Up With Kathy today. You may also know her as Kathleen Kalb. As Nikki she writes the Vermont Radio Mystery series. LIVE, LOCAL, AND DEAD is the first book in the series and will be released February 8, 2022.

Kathy: The Vermont Radio Mystery series is quite different from your Ella Shane Mystery series. Why did you decide to add a modern day series to your repertoire?

NK: I’ve been working on a Vermont radio mystery story off and on for at least seven years. A much earlier version of this story – think Stephanie Plum meets Northern Exposure -- was the first manuscript I queried. After my agent signed me and found a home for Ella at Kensington, I was drawn back to the Vermont story. This time, though, I was a much more mature writer – and person, because of a family health crisis.

Kathy: While your new series is marketed as a cozy, I consider it a traditional mystery. What are your thoughts?

NK: Crooked Lane considers it a cozy, and I defer to them. But I also absolutely respect readers who have their own views. As you know, “cozy” covers a very wide spectrum of mysteries these days. My big influences as a mystery writer are Elizabeth Peters, Joan Hess and Dorothy Sayers, and I’ll leave it to the publishers to decide my exact spot on the shelf. Call it whatever you like, I just hope people will read and enjoy it.

Kathy: Location plays an important part in mysteries, why chose Vermont for your new series?

NK: I love Vermont. I worked in Springfield for several years, and I just loved the place and the people. Vermont is unique – it’s a very small state, and folks move in a network of connections that doesn’t exist in most of the rest of the world anymore. Plus, it’s gorgeous. There’s this stark, honest beauty about the place. And I say that as someone who really doesn’t like snow and cold!

Kathy: Was there a specific inspiration for this series?

NK: Absolutely. My first on-air news job was at WCFR Radio in Springfield – I was the whole news department! The station was the heart of the town, and we were public property, in a good way. When I started writing my first mystery, I knew it would take place at a tiny local station. Then, years later, I came up with the character of Jaye Jordan, who ends up as a struggling single mom when her husband survives cancer but their marriage doesn’t. And there was only one place for her: WSV Radio.

Kathy: When it comes to writing I understand there are 2 general camps-plotters, who diligently plot their stories, and pansters, who fly by the seat of their pants. Are you a plotter, a panster, or do you fall somewhere in between?

NK: I call myself a semi-pantser, which sounds like something out of my eleven-year-old son’s favorite book series. But it’s true. I get the beginning, end, and a few key scenes first…then come up with a synopsis, and later an outline, as a roadmap for the story.

Kathy: Authors are required to do a lot of their own marketing, especially for a new release. What's your favorite part of marketing your work? What do you dislike about marketing?

NK: Hands-down favorite: talking about my work. Once I get warmed up, I’ll bend your ear all day about the place, the story – and especially the characters, most of whom are real, and beloved, to me! The hardest part of marketing? My shyness. In real life, I’m painfully shy, and pretty much terrified of everyone. So I have to overcome that every time I make a pitch or do an event. Irony alert: I swore I’d get past it in the run-up to my debut…and thanks to Covid, I STILL haven’t been in a room full of readers!

Kathy: Will you share any other upcoming books?

NK: The third Ella Shane, A FATAL OVERTURE, is due on March 29th from Kensington…and I’m happy to tell you it’s the best story yet. (And the cover is pretty sweet too!) The next Ella, and the next Vermont story are both sitting on my computer…and I’m working on a few more ideas, but it’s too early to say where they might go.



LIVE, LOCAL, AND DEAD by Nikki Knight
The First Vermont Radio Mystery

After a fairly amicable divorce, Jaye Jordan moved to Vermont with her tween daughter and bought a small radio station, the first one she ever worked for. Getting rid of a syndicated hate mongering talk show in favor of an evening of love songs has two militia styled townsfolk protesting her station. Relieving one of the men of his musket, Jaye beheads a snowman with one shot. When the snowman starts crumbling it reveals a surprise, the dead body of none other than Edwin Anger, the hate mongering talk show host himself. Jaye soon finds herself confronted by fans of the show as well as feelings for her former crush, who happens to be the current governor. Will this radio jock and mom be able to spin her love songs live to the Vermont locals, or will she wind up dead?

Although the publisher is marketing LIVE, LOCAL, AND DEAD as a cozy, I consider it a traditional mystery. The atmosphere is a bit darker, the sarcasm heavier, and the sex more active. The first portion of the novel is a bit laden down with radio details and technical jargon. It's obvious that the author knows what she's talking about, but the information doesn't really drive the plot. About halfway through the author hit her stride and I found myself turning the pages quicker, eager to see what happened next.

Jaye is a mother determined to raise her daughter and run her radio station. Unlike other mystery protagonists, she doesn't actively sleuth. In fact, she doesn't even inactively sleuth. I liked her friends and family and I love Charlemagne. I appreciate the little details too, like the governor's fun ties and love of Champ (I'm a fan too). While I never found a sense of neighborhood, I did find a sense of community. In the end people who didn't know each other well, with different belief systems, still came together in support.

LIVE, LOCAL, AND DEAD brings real world issues to a mystery embroiled in today's political climate.

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading Honey Roasted by Cleo Coyle. This book is the nineteenth in the Coffeehouse Mystery series and will be released February 1, 2022. 

The swarm of bees descending upon the Village Blend is like something our of a horror film. The truly scary thing is Clare and Matt's discovery of the bees actual home. Their hives have been destroyed and their keeper, a good friend of Madame's, is sprawled on the balcony below. Not believing the police's assumption that this was a suicide attempt, Clare decides to figure out what she can while entrusted with the bees care. Will she be able to sort out the mystery of the bees as well as her issues with her fiance?

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Spirits and Sourdough - A Spotlight

Today I'd like to shine a spotlight on a book on my virtual TBR pile. I am sadly sooo far behind in this series, but I've loved every book I've read in it. Spirits and Sourdough by Bailey Cates is the tenth book in the Magical Bakery Mystery series and was released January 4, 2022. 


Hedgewitch Katie Lightfoot works at the Honeybee Bakery in Savannah, and she's always up for investigating her adopted home's rich supernatural history. That's why she's taking a ghost tour for the very first time. But when the psychic tour guide tells Katie that she's being followed by the ghost of a recently murdered woman, Katie realizes she met the victim earlier that day, just before she died. She knows she must bring the killer to justice.

And this murder isn't the only mystery Katie needs to solve. Her new husband, Declan McCarthy, is missing the guardian spirit who always watched over him, and she's concerned that Deck's life could be at risk if they can't find him. Under pressure from the living and the dead, Katie will have to use all of her magical skills to start an investigation from scratch and avoid half-baked alibis, because this baker kneads to find a killer.

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Murder at Mallowan Hall - A Review


MURDER AT MALLOWAN HALL by Colleen Cambridge
The First Phyllida Bright Mystery 
Phyllida Bright runs an orderly household. Having served as a nurse on the front lines of the Great War not much can shock the housekeeper. Still, she is taken aback when she discovers a dead body in the library. A dead body in Agatha Christie's library. Surprised that Agatha Christie is not going to investigate the murder herself, Phyllida decides that she will take matters into her own hands, summoning her inner Hercule Poirot to find a killer.

A dead body in a library is a classic mystery stereotype. A dead body in Agatha Christie's library is genius! Agatha, like most sensible mystery writers, shows no inclination to solve the murder, after all she pens fiction. That leaves the snooping then to her more than capable housekeeper. I love Phyllida Bright! She's not your average amateur sleuth. She's wryly observant, has a keen sensibility, and holds many, many secrets. I am so intrigued about her past, I hope that we slowly get to learn more about her. The rest of the household staff is also endearing, even the fussbudgety Mr. Dobble. I love the possibility of romance with not one, but two possible suitors. One is brusque and annoying, the other cultured and complimentary. What I love even more is that she is fully capable of taking care of herself!

The mystery is complex, a veritable labyrinth filled with red herrings and guests acting guiltily. Phyllida's approach to solving the crime is smart, fun, and a joy to read. 

At times funny, at times touching, MURDER AT MALLOWAN HALL is a smart creative start to a new series. I can't wait to see what happens next.

Friday, January 21, 2022

The Parting Glass - A Review


THE PARTING GLASS by Lissa Marie Redmond
The Fifth Cold Case Homicide Mystery 

Lauren Riley is not one to sit still and relax, so when the cold case homicide detective is placed on medical leave she quickly renews her private investigator’s license. Lauren’s interest is eventually piqued when a wealthy woman asks her to go to Ireland to find a painting. Remembering the headlines when the Picasso was originally stolen Lauren accepts the case, figuring it for an easy job. After all, it’s practically a vacation with her partner, Shane, along to assist. However, nothing is ever easy for Lauren. Soon the search for a missing painting turns into a murder investigation. Off duty, with no authority, and way out of their jurisdiction, Lauren and Shane leave the murder to the locals, however, the Buffalo pair find themselves embroiled in the case. Will they find the painting or a killer?  

As much as I love Buffalo, I enjoyed seeing Lauren and Shane out of their element, exploring a bit of Ireland. I appreciate their witty banter and how their different styles not only complement each other, but bring out the best in one another. The vivid descriptions of this small Irish town made me feel as if I was driving down those winding roads with them, steeped in a sea of green, eager to have a pint, although I'm partial to lager, not Guinness.

THE PARTING GLASS is a unique mystery that constantly evolves, tricking readers as well as Lauren. What should be simple isn't and nothing is ever cut and dry. A variety of interesting characters inhabit the pages. Some capture the warmth of Irish hospitality, some are more distant, while others are unscrupulous and greedy blackguards. All prove to be an integral component of the story.

THE PARTING GLASS is a riveting mystery filled with emotional pitfalls. Friendships and family are tested, and not all are able to be saved.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading Live, Local, and Dead by Nikki Knight. This is the first book in the Vermont Radio Mystery series and will be released next month.

After a fairly amicable divorce, Jaye Jordan moved to Vermont with her tween daughter and bought a small radio station, the first one she ever worked for. Getting rid of a syndicated hate mongering talk show in favor of an evening of love songs has two militia styled townsfolk protesting her station. Relieving one of the men of his musket, Jaye beheads a snowman with one shot. When the snowman starts crumbling it reveals a surprise, the dead body of none other than Edwin Anger, the hate mongering talk show host himself. Jaye soon finds herself confronted by fans of the show as well as feelings for her former crush, who happens to be the current governor. Will this radio jock and mom be able to spin her love songs live to the Vermont locals, or will she wind up dead?

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Daunting Darkness & Freaky Familiars - An Interview & Giveaway

I'm happy to welcome Lily Luchesi to Cozy Up With Kathy today. Lily writes the Paige Pappillon Mystery series.

Kathy: When Paige Papillon was unable to make it through the police academy, she decided to become a private detective. If you had the choice would you rather be a police officer or a private detective

LL: Neither! I’d be the quirky best friend who helps the PI if anything.

Kathy: When you decided to write mysteries, what made you decide to give them a paranormal bent?

LL: I’ve been fascinated with the occult since I was a little girl. Vampires, ghosts, magic, legends, all of it. Most of my writing is paranormal, and it adds a little something extra to an already high-stakes genre.

Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

LL: My mom! She gave me her Nancy Drews when I was little (much like Paige’s mom did for her in the books). And from there I went on to read the Baby-Sitters Club mysteries, Sherlock Holmes, and others.

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

LL: Yes! I write urban fantasy (still with a slight mystery bent), horror, and YA fantasy. Under the pen name of Samantha Calcott, I write romance for adults.

Kathy: Tell us about your series. 

LL: Paige Papillon Paranormal Mysteries follows the titular character as she discovers the paranormal world is real, and it sometimes needs her help. There used to be a place called the Paranormal Investigative Division, but since it shut down, paranormals had no one local to assist them.
Speaking of the PID… That is from my first series, The Paranormal Detectives. This is more for an older audience due to violence and language. If you read Paige’s books, there’s a “fictional” series called The Angel Files. The Paranormal Detectives Series is basically TAF in real life.
And finally, The Coven Series. Suitable for ages 12+, it’s a great YA fantasy alternative if you’ve been soured on certain series/authors recently. It follows a teenage witch as she attends her local Coven school and fends off various magical evildoers, all while finding her family, love, and discovering hidden powers.

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

LL: Vera, because she’s the one who is hiding the most secrets, and writing her while keeping them is so much fun!

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

LL: Not at all. I knew I wanted to write paranormal cozies one day, but the inspiration for this series technically began when I had a dream about book 5. And then everything else came to me naturally.

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

LL: I’d been querying my books since I was 16! When I was 21, I received a contract for The Paranormal Detectives Series. Ever since I was 8 I wanted to be an author; it was my dream. And I knew that, come Hell or high water, I was going to make that dream come true.

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

LL: Stephen King, Charlotte Bronte, Darren Shan, and Edgar Allan Poe.

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

LL: I’m reading some books for work (I’m a full-time editor for other authors), but I can’t discuss those. For pleasure, I just finished Later by Stephen King (another great paranormal mystery!), and I am about to begin Demian by Herman Hesse.

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

LL: Cooking, reading (of course), getting tattoos, going to concerts, watching anime, and comic books.

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

LL: Chicago-style giardiniera, kimchi ramen, coffee, and pasta.

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

LL: I will have book 3 for Paige out in March, with 4 and 5 to follow this summer! February 1st, I am also releasing a limited collection of short horror stories for Women in Horror Month.

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

LL: Reader reactions. When I get a review or email from a reader about how much they loved the book, it feels like everything is right in the world, just for a little while.


 Daunting Darkness & Freaky Familiars (Paige Papillon Paranormal Mysteries) by Lily Luchesi

About Daunting Darkness

Daunting Darkness (Paige Papillon Paranormal Mysteries)
Paranormal Cozy Mystery 1st in Series
Partners in Crime Book Services (January 7, 2022)
Print length: ‎ 289 pages

Following your dreams can become a nightmare.

Paige Papillon has always loved mysteries. So much so, she enlists in the Police Academy to one day become a detective.

But when she washes out of training, her Sergeant inspires her to go another route: become a private investigator.

After a few boring cases, she receives an envelope full of cash and mysterious clues that lead to the discovery of a cover up of paranormal proportions.

Worse, the Sergeant's wife is at the center of it. Can Paige solve the mystery and stay alive, or will she become a midnight snack for a monster?


About Freaky Familiars

Freaky Familiars (Paige Papillon Paranormal Mysteries)
Paranormal Cozy Mystery 2nd in Series
Publisher: ‎ Partners in Crime Book Services (January 7, 2022)
Print Length ~140 Pages

No time for a catnap for this paranormal detective!

Now aware that things that go bump in the night exist, private investigator Paige Papillon has expanded her business to include clients of all species.

Assisted by a former detective and his mystery writer wife with a checkered past, she begins to settle into her new job as Chicago's premier paranormal PI.

But when her best friend's cat goes missing, Paige realizes how much she still doesn't know about the supernatural world. It's a race against the clock to save a shapeshifter and prevent a witch's familiar from being sold to the highest bidder.

About Lily Luchesi

Lily Luchesi is the USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of the Paranormal Detectives Series.

Her young adult Coven Series has successfully topped Amazon's Hot New Releases list consecutively.

She is also the co-owner of Partners in Crime Book Services, where she offers a myriad of services alongside her business partner Annie Smith, including editing.

She was born in Chicago, Illinois, where many of her stories are set. Ever since she was a toddler, her mother noticed her tendency for being interested in all things "dark". At two she became infatuated with vampires and ghosts, and that infatuation turned into a lifestyle. She is also an out member of the LGBT+ community. When she's not writing, she's going to rock concerts, getting tattooed, watching the CW, or reading comics. And drinking copious amounts of coffee.

She also writes contemporary books for adults as Samantha Calcott.

You can also keep up with Lily via her newsletter … and receive a free e-book as well!

Author Links: 

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Purchase Links - Daunting Darkness - Amazon Freaky Familiars - Amazon

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Monday, January 17, 2022

The Cape May Cozy Mystery Series - A Book Blast!

The Cape May Cozy Mysteries by Jane Gorman

Check out this fun series from Jane Gorman!

Scones and Scofflaws: Cape May Cozy Mysteries with a Twist
Cozy Mystery 1st in Series
Setting - Cape May, New Jersey
Blue Eagle Press (December 19, 2020)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 278 pages

When a gorgeous man dressed as Bridgette Bardot buys her a Scofflaw and asks her out on a date, Anna McGregor begins to suspect her murder investigation has taken a wrong turn. Her previous work as a medical anthropologist exposed her to a variety of unexpected situations, but none quite like this.

“The story does a great job of setting up the mystery and then anthropologist turned B&B hostess, Anna McGregor leads us through a merry chase and I thought I had it partially figured out but then herring. I would suggest you skip to the back of the book to find the scofflaw recipe and make one to enjoy while you armchair sleuth your way through this charming and cozy mystery.” — Tracy’s Tidbits

It all seemed so simple: fix up the Cape May Victorian mansion she’d inherited from Great Aunt Louise and re-open it as the exceptional B&B it used to be. Everything’s going great, until her very first guest turns up dead at the breakfast table, crumbs from Anna’s blueberry scones scattered on the lace tablecloth.

As the town’s gossip mill goes into overdrive, Anna leaps into the fray to save her reputation, her business and Great Aunt Louise’s legacy.

With help from a handsome handyman eager to solve all of Anna’s problems and a young police officer new to murder investigations, Anna does her best to convince the town — and her future guests — that while her scones may be killer, someone else was responsible for this murder.

Purchase Links - Amazon - B&N - Alibris - IndieBound - Kobo - Books2Read


Boats, Bodies and the Bee's Knees: Cape May Cozy Mysteries with a Twist
Cozy Mystery 2nd in Series
Blue Eagle Press (April 9, 2021)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 270 pages

When her friend’s uncle is accused of murder, Anna McGregor dives into the boating life to prove his innocence. She soon learns that while lounging on a luxury yacht might be fun, matching wits with a killer can be deadly.

Life has finally settled down for Anna. The Cape May B & B she inherited from her Great Aunt Louise is fully booked and Anna is looking forward to a successful summer. Her peace is shattered when a body washes up in Spicer Creek and the police focus their investigation on her friend’s uncle. Determined to find the truth, Anna turns to skills she developed in her previous career in medical anthropology. Once again, Anna teams up with her best friend Sammy, her young cousin Eoin and the local librarian to use their knowledge of the town and its people to solve this crime. But the disappearance of two local teenagers reminds Anna this is the wrong time for free fishing trips or relaxing on a yacht enjoying a Bee’s Knees cocktail. She needs to find the missing teenagers and identify the killer before anyone else gets hurt.  

Purchase Link - Amazon - B&N - Alibris - IndieBound - Kobo - Books2Read



Killers and Kir Royale: Cape May Cozy Mysteries with a Twist
Cozy Mystery 3rd in Series
Blue Eagle Press (December 17, 2021)
Print Length 241

When a love of wine becomes lethal, local B&B owner Anna McGregor discovers she’s the town’s connoisseur at defending the innocent and unmasking murderers. But if she goes after the killer, will the people she cares about most get crushed in the process?

Anna loves the new life she’s built for herself in Cape May, a town known for its historic beauty, picturesque beaches, developing wine culture and … murder? Thanks to some previous successes – and a close relationship with a local patrolman – Anna finds herself pressured into accepting the task of proving a new friend’s innocence in a tragic death at a local winery. Her investigation reveals an embarrassment of suspects, not to mention one too many potential victims. As always, Anna relies on help from her friends to find the truth. This time, though, offering help means breaking the rules. Now she must not only catch a killer but also save the reputation of one of her closest friends, all while getting ready to send her young cousin, Eoin, back to Ireland, trying to solve the riddle of her love life, and figuring out her future as a medical anthropologist.  

Purchase Links - Amazon - B&N - Alibris - Kobo - Books2Read -

About Jane Gorman

Formerly an anthropologist, then a diplomat, then a park ranger, Jane Gorman now writes murder mysteries. Building on her knowledge of Philadelphia (her home for many years) and her varied experiences, her Adam Kaminski mystery series features a Philly cop who manages to solve complicated murders in far-flung locales, both in the U.S. and overseas. Her Cape May cozy mysteries paint a light-hearted, fun picture of the Cape May life of a former anthropologist who just happens to be good at solving murders - and trying out new cocktails!

Author Links Website Facebook Twitter BookBub GoodReads  

Sunday, January 16, 2022

A Tale of Two Cookies - A Spotlight

Today I'd like to shine a spotlight on a book on my TBR pile. I really enjoyed the first book in the series, but sadly, got behind. A Tale of Two Cookies by Eve Calder is the third book in the Cookie House Mystery series.


Pastry chef Kate McGuire is loving life on the laid-back island of Coral Cay, Florida. As junior partner in a bakery renowned for luscious desserts—especially her cookies—life is pretty sweet. So when an old friend arrives and announces a spur-of-the-moment beach wedding, that’s just the icing on the wedding cake.

But the groom vanishes right as a television crew descends on the town to film a hot, new realty show. Is there a connection? Is her friend Desiree somehow involved? Or did groom Judson simply get cold feet? The bride and groom were paired better than warm cookies and cold milk, so Kate doesn’t buy it.

As the show’s cast runs amok on the island and the investigation into Judson’s disappearance heats up, Kate and her pal Maxi, along with town dog Oliver, will brave the rambunctious world of reality TV and a wedding weekend gone awry, in an all-out effort to find the missing groom.

Friday, January 14, 2022

A Cream of Passion - A Review


A CREAM OF PASSION by Nancy Warren
The Seventh Great Witches Baking Show Mystery 

The bakers are back, but things are different this week. Poppy Wilkinson and Florence are excited to have dinner with the town's Italian grocer. But excitement turns to horror as the pair find the man dead in his apartment. Could this expert forager really have mistaken death caps for chanterelles? Poppy certainly doesn't think so, and neither do the police. In addition to searching for the truth about her birth parents, she'll try to sniff out the truth about Luca's murder while perfecting her bakes.  

While the seventh Great Witches Baking Show Mystery spends more time outside the tent at Broomewode Hall, there's still plenty of nerve-racking action and baking. Poppy continues researching her birth family and she does make some progress, although she is unexpectedly thwarted. Poppy and I are both doubly curious as to why a particular person is deliberately working against her. The primary focus in A CREAM OF PASSION, however, is the murder.

While looking into Luca's death, Poppy also learns about his life-a life that not many people knew details about. She also learns more about the village and its inhabitants, from her gruff new boss to people in the choir, giving readers lots of red herrings. I also gleaned more information about Florence that wasn't surprising, but disappointing. I'm not a Florence fan. The mystery was thought provoking with great suspects and several surprises.

A CREAM OF PASSION is a delectable mystery combining witchcraft, baking, and a good old fashioned poisoning.

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Currently Reading...

I just finished reading A Cream of Passion by Nancy Warren. This book is the seventh in the Great Witches Baking Show Mystery series.

The bakers are back, but things are different this week. Poppy Wilkinson and Florence are excited to have dinner with the town's Italian grocer. But excitement turns to horror as the pair find the man dead in his apartment. Could this expert forager really have mistaken death caps for chanterelles? Poppy certainly doesn't think so, and neither do the police. In addition to searching for the truth about her birth parents, she'll try to sniff out the truth about Luca's murder while perfecting her bakes.

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Beaches, Bungalows, & Burglars - A Spotlight

Today I'd like to shine a spotlight on Beaches, Bungalows, & Burglars by Tonya Kappes. This book is the first in the Campert and Criminals Cozy Mystery series. I enjoy several of Tonya's series, but haven't started this one...yet.


Hi. I'm Mae West. No. Not the actress.

If you would've told me year ago that I was going to be broke and penniless after my husband took everyone to the cleaners after he pulled off one of the biggest Ponzi schemes, leaving me a run down campground, a set of camper keys, before he escaped prison and when the FBI came to the campground to see if I helped him escape, then the no good you know what floated up to the top of the lake in that campground making me the number one suspect, I'd said you were lying.


Sunday, January 9, 2022

Beauty and the Deceased - A Spotlight

Today I'd like to shine a spotlight on a book on my TBR pile. Beauty and the Deceased by Debra Sennefelder is the fourth book in the Resale Boutique Mystery series.


Kelly Quinn’s Long Island consignment shop offers high style at secondhand prices—but when a body is found on the beach, she needs to start hunting for a wolf in sheep’s clothing . . .
Kelly is thrilled when she gets a visit from a cousin she hasn’t seen in years. Becky’s cosmetics company is taking off, and she just might have laid the foundation for a big-money buyout. It’s a time to celebrate—but Kelly is heartbroken when a killer puts an end to their happy reunion during a mysterious midnight meeting near the shore.
Despite multiple warnings to steer clear, Kelly starts shadowing a variety of suspects both inside and outside the beauty business—when she isn’t busy filling the racks of the Lucky Cove Resale Boutique with lots of new inventory from a local shopaholic. Gossip and accusations are flying, but there’s no glossing over this ugly crime, and she’s going to make sure the culprit faces justice…

Friday, January 7, 2022

Enter a Wizard, Stage Left - A Guest Post, Review, & Giveaway

I'm pleased to welcome Connie Di Marco to Cozy Up With Kathy today. Connie writes the Zodiac Mystery series. ENTER A WIZARD, STAGE LEFT is a novella prequel to the series.

Theater Settings
By Connie Di Marco

ENTER A WIZARD, STAGE LEFT, is a novella (in ebook format) set before the beginning of the Zodiac Mysteries. Writing this was a unique experience for me, because I’ve never thought about nor attempted a novella. I’ve only written full-length mysteries.

The title of the novella is a reference to stage directions and came about because this mystery is set at a theater, the newly renovated Theatre Mars where a first production of Agatha Christie’s Appointment with Death is about to open.

It made sense to set this mystery at a theater, because it was important to feature Gloria Bonatti, Julia’s grandmother. Gloria was a seamstress most of her life and before she retired, the owner of a small dress shop in San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood. Gloria’s been sought out and hired to create costumes for this 1930’s drama. That’s unusual for her because she only rarely takes on alterations for close friends and neighbors. But Gloria, now in her seventies, loves the wardrobe of that time period and has happily thrown herself into the project.

Now, to backtrack a bit. I cut my teeth on all those wonderful Golden Age classics by authors like Christie, but also authors such as Josephine Tey, Ngaio Marsh and Marjorie Allingham, all of whom have written mysteries set at theaters. I’ll add Dorothy Sayers to that list. I’ve loved her mysteries but sadly, I don’t recall a theater mystery written by Sayers. I think I must have been unconsciously channeling my memories of those wonderful books, and didn’t realize till I finished my story, put it aside for a few weeks and went back to read it again.

Of course, even though my story is quite different, I have to admit, I “lifted” the plot of APPOINTMENT WITH DEATH to suit my purposes and for that I am eternally grateful to Dame Agatha. And grateful to her for all her wonderful stories featuring Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot! But when I returned to read and edit ENTER A WIZARD, STAGE LEFT, I very modestly felt my little novella was a true nod to all those Golden Age classics. I hope everyone enjoys this story and is very careful which theater invitations they accept in the future.

Happy reading! And stay tuned for the next full-length Zodiac mystery, SERPENT'S DOOM, to be released in April 2022!



A Prequel to the Zodiac Mystery Series 

Julia Bonatti is holed up at her Grandmother Gloria's house grieving the sudden and tragic death of her fiancé. In order to bring Julia back to the land of the living, Gloria asks her for help delivering costumes to the theatre. Gloria, a retired seamstress, is in charge of costumes for the new production of Agatha Christie's Appointment with Death. Staying for the dress rehearsal Julia is impressed by the performance, but worried about actions off the set. With nasty diva demeaning everyone and an affair between castmates, this play is courting trouble.

With an undergraduate degree in theatre I love reading mysteries with a theatrical backdrop. Add a hint of astrology and you've got me hooked. The bonus is seeing what Julia was like just after her fiancé's death and witnessing her motivation to learn astrology. I loved seeing what Gloria was like at this time, not to mention Kuan. Plus we get to see how a little family member came into the fold.

While this prequel gives insight into the character of Julia Bonatti ENTER A WIZARD, STAGE LEFT also provides readers with a tautly written mystery. Great characters, veiled clues, and an adrenaline fueled search create a dynamic and enthralling read.


 Enter a Wizard, Stage Left (A Zodiac Mystery) by Connie di Marco

About Enter a Wizard, Stage Left

Enter a Wizard, Stage Left (A Zodiac Mystery)
Traditional Mystery Prequel Novella
Suspense Publishing (October 26, 2021)
Print length ‏ : ‎ 111 pages

Julia Bonatti wasn’t always a crime-solving San Francisco astrologer. She was a young woman, engaged to the love of her life, preparing for a teaching career when tragedy struck. Her fiancé was killed in a hit and run accident. As Julia struggles with her loss and attempts to find meaning in her life again, she takes refuge with her grandmother Gloria. But there’s little time for grief or rest because Gloria, a retired seamstress, needs Julia’s help. Gloria’s been hired to create costumes for a production of Agatha Christie’s Appointment with Death at the newly opened Theatre Mars in San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood.

Theatre Mars is a stunning jewel, the cast is supremely talented and the script is brilliant. What could go wrong? Julia gets the first hint of trouble when her new friend, the owner of The Mystic Eye bookshop, warns that all might not go well. Opening night will take place during the dark of the moon, the last three days before the new moon, a time that bodes disaster for any new project. The dire prediction comes true when the lead actress is murdered before the final curtain, echoing the play itself. Julia discovers a vital clue to the murder, but a clue that puts Gloria’s life in grave danger. Can Julia rescue her grandmother before it’s too late? And will a black cat play a leading role?

About Connie di Marco

With the Zodiac Mysteries, featuring Julia Bonatti, a crime-solving San Francisco astrologer, Connie di Marco has combined her fascination with astrology and her love of writing mysteries. Writing as Connie Archer, she’s the national bestselling author of the Soup Lover’s Mysteries from Berkley Prime Crime. You can find her excerpts and recipes in The Cozy Cookbook and The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook. She is a member of International Thriller Writers, Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters in Crime. She lives in Los Angeles but dreams constantly of the San Francisco fog.

Author Links:
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