Friday, April 29, 2022

Al Dente's Inferno - A Review


AL DENTE'S INFERNO by Stephanie Cole
The First Tuscan Cooking School Mystery
After successfully setting up a cooking school in the Berkshires and ending a regrettable relationship, Nell Valenti is thrilled to start her next venture, starting a farm to table cooking school in Tuscany at the home of her culinary hero. She arrives to discover a dilapidated villa with a derelict chef who seems more interested in bocce than braciole! Not only that, the villa's residents a have invited local dignitaries to a special dinner the following night to garner interest in the future school that will be filmed as part of a documentary. Worse, the director happens to be the best forgotten ex she left in the Berkshires! Surprisingly, the evening in question unfolds beautifully...until a chef goes missing and a dead body is found. Now it's up to Nell to find a killer and save the future school - and herself!
Cooking in Tuscany? What's not to love? The concept of creating a cooking school in such a wonderful locale is a great one, but making it a dilapidated villa with eccentric characters is brilliant! Nuns who love Billy Joel!?! A moss filled common room? I love how Nell begins to find herself as she whips the villa into shape. 
The first Tuscan Cooking School Mystery provides a complex mystery, made more intriguing by the varied relationships between the characters.
AL DENTE'S INFERNO is a wonderful escape into Tuscany. Eccentric characters, wonderful food, and a good dose of humor make a delightful start to a new series.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading Crime of the Ancient Marinara by Stephanie Cole. This book is the second in the Tuscan Cooking School Mystery series.

Nell Valenti has whipped a ramshackle Tuscan estate into shape and the newly minted Villa Orlandini Cooking School is ready to host its first students. Five intrepid Americans are eager to learn Chef Orlandini's marinara tricks, including the secret prima marinara recipe that made him famous. Despite minor issues and personality clashes, field trips to a vineyard, a hunt for truffles, and a lesson on mushroom foraging keep the workshop on track. Until someone decides to commit murder. Will Nell be able to piece together the solution? Or will this murder signal the end of the Villa Orlandini Cooking School for good?

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Death on the Set - An Interview & Giveaway

I'm happy to welcome Rose Kerr to Cozy Up With Kathy today. Rose writes the Brenna Flynn Mystery series. Death of the Set is the first book in the series and was released last month.

Kathy: In Death on the Set Brenna Flynn is hired as a production assistant on a reality cooking show. I admit to enjoying several cooking shows, most notably the Great British Bake Off. Are you a fan of cooking shows? Do you have a favorite?

RK: I watched a lot of cooking shows when I was researching for Death on the Set. The ones I watched the most included: Chopped, Hell’s Kitchen, Master Chef. I still watch Chopped and Master Chef and I’ve started watching a lot of the baking shows. Great British Baking Show, The Great Canadian Baking Show, Cupcake Wars, and all the themed baking shows are favorites. Thank goodness for PVR!

Kathy: Previously, Brenna was a high school guidance counselor. Did you ever want to be a counselor? Or work with high school students?

RK: I’ve never been a high school guidance counselor, but I have worked with adults who were returning to school to change careers. Part of my job was to help students research different college or university programs that would fit their needs. That was one of the most rewarding jobs I had.

Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

RK: I enjoy the characters, the settings, and the puzzle of solving the mystery. The first cozy I read was by Carolyn Hart, the Death on Demand series. I really enjoyed the setting in the series and the characters were intriguing.

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres? 

RK: No, I stay with cozies.


Kathy: Tell us about your series. 

RK: My main character, Brenna Flynn is a former high school counselor who can’t find work in her field. She takes on temp jobs in each book in the series and has to solve a mystery in each book. At this time, the Brenna Flynn Mysteries is the only series available.

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

RK: Brenna Flynn, my main character is my favorite. She’s learning she’s much more resilient than she previously thought she was.

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

RK: I was watching a cooking show one evening and said, “One day, that chef is going to get himself knocked off.” Our son was watching with me and he said, “Mom, there’s your story.” I just had to figure out how to make it all work.


Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work? 

RK: Becoming a published author is something I wanted for a long time. I’m glad it’s happened.

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

RK: Agatha Christie, Sue Grafton Robert B. Parker, and Dan Brown.

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

RK: I’m reading Agatha Christie’s Appointment with Death.

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

RK: I enjoy walking along the lake and taking photos of nature, traveling, antiquing, and reading.

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

RK: Pasta, extra virgin olive oil, tomatoes, chocolate.

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

RK: I have book 2 in the Brenna Flynn mystery series to my editor and am currently writing book 3. I'm hoping the series will continue.

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

RK: Creating the characters and their world. It’s so much fun to develop the characters and to build the world.


 Death on the Set (A Brenna Flynn Mystery) by Rose Kerr

About Death on the Set 

Death on the Set (A Brenna Flynn Mystery)
Cozy Mystery 1st in Series
Setting - Michigan
TouchPoint Press (March 29, 2022)
Number of Pages: 274

Former high school guidance counselor turns amateur sleuth to save herself from murder charge on reality show.

Brenna Flynn, returns home to Bayview City after the sudden death of her husband. Unable to find work in her field, she signs up with a temp agency to find employment. Sent on an interview for a cooking reality show, she aces it and gets the job of a production assistant.

On her second day at work, Brenna discovers a body in the studio. She soon learns she's the police's primary suspect. Determined to clear her name, she uses some skills she's honed as a guidance counselor to learn more about the victim. Drawing people out comes naturally to Brenna, and she becomes a confidante to cast and crew on the show.

The stakes are raised with threatening notes, poisonings, and blackmail. Can Brenna uncover who the killer is before someone else dies?

About Rose Kerr

Rose Kerr grew up in a small community in Nova Scotia. A graduate of Acadia University’s Bachelor of Arts Degree, Recreation and Physical Education, Rose worked for several organizations: Nova Scotia Figure Skating Association, Synchro Swim Nova Scotia, Northern Options for Women, and Contact North|Contact Nord. She traveled from Newfoundland to British Columbia and most provinces in between for work.

Rose and her husband settled in a small town, on the shores of Lake Superior in Northern Ontario to raise their family. A strong believer in lifelong learning, Rose took creative writing courses and began writing mysteries. More recently, Rose, her husband, and their dog Jake have moved to Southern Ontario. When she isn’t writing, Rose and her husband enjoy exploring the new region.

Rose is a member of Sisters in Crime, the Guppy Online Chapter of Sisters in Crime, and Crime Writers of Canada. For more info visit

Author Links:  





Twitter: @rkerrwriter  


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

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Monday, April 25, 2022

Claws for Suspicion - A Spotlight

Today I'd like to shine a spotlight on Claws for Suspicion by Deborah Blake. This book is the third in the Catskills Pet Rescue Mystery series and will be released May 3, 2022.


When someone from her past comes to town to cause trouble, Kari Stuart and her sassy kitten Queenie will have to work hard to protect the Serenity Sanctuary in this new Catskills Pet Rescue Mystery.

Kari Stuart is finally starting to relax into her role as the new owner of the Serenity Sanctuary and is looking forward to the various fun autumn activities in the beautiful Catskills town of Lakeview, like the annual Oktoberfest celebration. It’s time for friends and quality bonding with handsome vet Angus McCoy. Until the unexpected arrival of her unpleasant ex-husband, Charlie Smith.

He comes bearing a shocking revelation—the paperwork on their divorce never went through, and they are still married. Worse yet, he thinks this entitles him to half of her lottery winnings—although he’ll happily take partial ownership of the sanctuary instead. Kari isn’t sure if he’s telling the truth, or if it’s just another one of Charlie’s lies.

But things go from bad to worse when an unexpected death makes Kari the main suspect in a murder investigation. Will she and Queenie be able to find the real killer and keep the home they’ve built at the sanctuary safe, or is their string of luck finally tapped out? 

Buy Links:
Amazon |Amazon Print |Penguin|Nook |Kobo |Apple 

Author Links:










Deborah Blake is the author of the Baba Yaga Series from Berkley (Wickedly Dangerous, Wickedly Wonderful, Wickedly Powerful), as well as the Broken Rider Series, and the Veiled Magic series. The Catskills Pet Rescue books are her first cozy mysteries. She has also published thirteen books on modern witchcraft with Llewellyn Worldwide, along with a tarot and an oracle deck. She lives in a 130-year-old farmhouse in rural upstate New York with various cats who supervise all her activities, both magical and mundane.

Sunday, April 24, 2022

One April After the War: Louisville to Cumberland - A Review


By G. S. Boarman
M. Warner Annals Book I

In April of 1870 Secret Service agents Argent and Merritt have finished up a counterfeit case and agree to escort a woman from Kentucky to the White House on behalf of President Grant. Instead of an elderly lady they find an unusual young woman. A young woman who does not want to go. 

ONE APRIL AFTER THE WAR: LOUISVILLE TO CUMBERLAND is a work of historical fiction that also works as a morality tale. Issues such as race, gender, and human rights all come into play. Mary is not the "normal" woman to be found in Kentucky in 1870. She is grief stricken. She has strong beliefs. She has some idiosyncrasies. There is some moral ambiguity here. People continually are doing things in her best interest. But is it in her best interest, or is it just making things easier for those doing it? That goes for not only the secret service men, but Mr. Howard and Miss Carrie, people who actually love her too.

I love the historical detail, and the fact that the days match this year's April days is a fascinating feature. I enjoyed recognizing facts, such as Roebling's suspension bridge, and places, such as Athens, Ohio, and seeing things though M's eyes. The relationship between M, Merritt, and Argent is fascinating, at once a job, perhaps something more. But in her eyes, is it growing friendship, or certainty that she is a prisoner?

Although I knew the book wouldn't finish the story, it says Louisville to Cumberland on the cover after all, I didn't anticipate the book ending on a cliff hanger! I am now desperate to see what happens next, even though I know Book II will not answer all of my questions as there is also a Book III!

Part travel journal, part morality tale, part mystery, ONE APRIL AFTER THE WAR: LOUISVILLE TO CUMBERLAND brings readers on a post Civil War adventure encouraging a thoughtful glimpse into 1870s America.

Friday, April 22, 2022

Serpent's Doom - A Review


SERPENT'S DOOM by Connie di Marco
The Fourth Zodiac Mystery 

Sometimes astrologer Julia Benotti gets too invested with her clients. Such is the case with young Frankie Chan. The 11 year old with a big attitude and a missing mother is not the only one either, there's the abused wife and the worried mother, but it's Frankie who galvanizes her to act. As Julia tries to help him she soon discovers that things are connected in ways she never would have believed.

Pulse pounding drama and suspense await you in Connie di Marco's latest Zodiac Mystery. She creatively melds together several storylines into one jaw dropping mystery. The astrological aspects flow seamlessly into this tautly written novel and I enjoyed every minute of it.

I really like Julia, although I wanted to yell at her a few times-Tell someone where you're going! For heaven's sake, read his journals! I love the slow burn on Michael's story. His death is going to be so much more than a tragic accident and while I can't wait to learn more, I love the slow manner in which his story is unfolding. Julia has great friends who really get involved and I love the addition of Rupert to the Mystic Eye crew.

SERPENT'S DOOM is an exciting mystery melding cultures, astrological aspects, friendships, and betrayals.

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading Serpent's Doom by Connie di Marco. This book is the fourth in the Zodiac Mystery series and will be released April 26, 2022. 

Sometimes astrologer Julia Benotti gets too invested with her clients. Such is the case with young Frankie Chan. The 11 year old with a big attitude and a missing mother is not the only one either, there's the abused wife and the worried mother, but it's Frankie who galvanizes her to act. As Julia tries to help him she soon discovers that things are connected in ways she never would have believed.

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Dead Man's Leap - An Interview

I'm pleased to welcome Tina DeBellegarde to Cozy Up With Kathy today. Tina writes the Batavia-on-Hudson Mystery series. Dead Man's Leap is the second book in the series and was released earlier this month.

Kathy: Winter Witness is the first book in your Batavia-on-Hudson Mystery series. In it a young widow finds herself in the turmoil created when beloved nun is murdered. While I doubt you've been in the center of a murder investigation, have you ever found yourself embroiled in a situation you never intended?

TD: No murder, that’s true, but I have found myself in the middle of a community quarrel over a quarry that reopened in our hamlet. The quarry had been closed for many years and in the interim a residential community developed around the abandoned quarry. One day, with no warning, it started work again and the noise and dust were untenable. Some of my neighbors were outraged, others were just too old or ill to be motivated to do anything. My husband and I found ourselves at the helm of this quandary. We researched the ordinances, the zoning and wetland maps. We attended town meetings to represent the residents’ interests. We drafted rebuttals to quarry permit revision requests and gathered signatures on a petition. All of this happened the year we arrived in our quiet little community. It was not what we intended when we decided to move to a quiet Catskill Mountain village. No murder, but definitely community unrest.

Kathy: Setting plays such an important part in mystery novels. Why did you choose a Catskill Mountain town for your series?

TD: When I thought about writing a novel before I put pen to paper, I daydreamed about writing an amateur sleuth, but the setting wasn’t clear for me. Once we purchased our summer/vacation/future retirement home up here in the Catskills, I started taking walks like Bianca does in my books. Not only were the surroundings beautiful, but I realized just how many ways one could stage a murder in this area. There were waterfalls and deadly cliffs, abandoned quarries and resorts, winding roads with speeding pickups, isolated trails in the woods. The possibilities were endless. When you add that to the sense of community and interesting neighbors, I realized I had found my setting and immediately created the fictitious Batavia-on-Hudson based on all my favorite spots in various towns in this area with a little imagination sprinkled in.

Kathy: You write full length novels, short stories, and even flash fiction. Do you have a preference? Do you find one form easier to write than another?

TD: I think the length, the number of characters, and the complexity of sub-arcs in long fiction has its challenges. Short fiction, on the other hand, has the necessity of weighing every word. This is especially true of flash fiction. In my novel, I weigh my words too, but it’s different. As my editor says, you can luxuriate in the writing of a scene in a novel. In short fiction, there is no luxuriating. Every word packs a punch.

I would have to say that flash fiction is the hardest. I have to accomplish so much in so few words, sometimes only one hundred words. The reader has to come away with some sense of satisfaction, there has to be some evolution. It is daunting. But when I accomplish it, I am particularly proud of myself. 

Short stories are the easiest for me. They come to me most naturally. Almost all my pieces are mysteriously about the same length, as if I have some sort of internal rhythm for that structure.

Kathy: What first drew you to mysteries?

TD: I always loved puzzles and I read some Encyclopedia Brown and Nancy Drew as a child. I loved Columbo. But it was when I encountered Martha Grimes that I realized that I had found the type of book that speaks to me as a writer and reader. A character-driven story set I a small village community with themes that speak to me, and of course, a wonderful puzzle to solve.

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

TD: At the moment, I have two stand alones on the back burner that would be considered literary fiction. I have also started a memoir-in-flash. All these projects are percolating but I am only seriously writing my series at this time.

Kathy: Tell us about your series.

TD: The books in the Batavia-on-Hudson series are traditional mysteries. Some reviewers consider them cozies, or not-so-cozy cozies. There are two books so far, Winter Witness and the newly released Dead Man’s Leap, and they are centered around a village with an ensemble cast of characters. Bianca St. Denis is my protagonist and she finds herself to be unexpectedly good at sleuthing and helps the handsome Sheriff Mike Riley. She usually finds herself at the right place, at the right time to shed some light on the case. Or as the sheriff would say, she’s at the wrong place at the wrong time.

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

TD: Besides my main characters, Bianca and Mike, I love writing Eugene Wilkins. He owns Stella’s Diner, the heart of the town, where everyone passes through at least once a day. Neighbors gather, gossip, and drink lots of coffee while jazz plays quietly in the background. Eugene is a widower. He and Bianca, a young widow herself, share their grief but are also friends who sleuth well together.

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

TD: My husband and I are almost twenty years apart and I have often wondered how life would change if he were gone. I made Bianca a widow because I wanted her to be more vulnerable and I wanted her to face some challenges, and if I am truthful, I wanted to work out some of my own concerns on that front. I also always wanted to write an amateur sleuth and I love strong, smart female leads. So, I made my own.

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

TD: As solitary a pursuit as writing is, the idea of writing and never being read seems like such a shame. The goal of being published for many of us is about validation. The validation gives us the courage to continue writing.

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

TD: Anne Tyler – to pick her brain about character development

Martha Grimes – to discuss the village mystery

Haruki Murakami – to understand what makes this man tick and to get a glimpse into his imagination

Agatha Christie – obviously…

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

I usually read a couple of books at a time – a mystery and something else. I am reading The Killer Sermon, the first book in Kevin Kluesner’s Cole Huebsch series and it looks like it will be a great new series. I’m also reading an Advanced Review Copy of The Widow, The Priest and the Octopus Hunter: Discovering a Lost Way of Life in a Secluded Japanese Island by Amy Chavez. It is due out in May and I am writing a review for the website. It’s a lovely portrait of evolving life and the aging inhabitants of Shiraishi Island in Japan.

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

TD: On our hobby farm, my husband and I keep bees and grow shiitake mushrooms. We also keep an enormous garden – way too much for two people. I love to bake and make jam – they are so relaxing. I use to teach some cooking classes and would like to get back to that as well. I am learning Japanese so I can make the most of my visits to my son in Kyoto. I love Japanese literature and writing reviews for these books.

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

TD: Garlic, oil, cheese and dark chocolate.

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

TD: Yes! Book 3 of the Batavia-on-Hudson series– Autumn Dispatches is in the works. It has Bianca traveling to Kyoto, Japan. Read Dead Man’s Leap to learn why.

My standalones are on hold for now.

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

TD: The fact that reading and writing is something I actually have to do. Sorry, don’t have time to vacuum, I have to finish this book… you get the idea.



Rushing waters...dead bodies...secrets...

As Bianca St. Denis and her neighbors scour their attics for donations to the charity rummage sale, they unearth secrets as well as prized possessions. Leonard Marshall's historic inn hosts the sale each year, but it is his basement that houses the key to his past. When an enigmatic antiques dealer arrives in town, he upends Leonard's carefully reconstructed life with an impossible choice that harkens back to the past.

Meanwhile, when a storm forces the villagers of Batavia-on-Hudson to seek shelter, the river rises and so do tempers. Close quarters fuel simmering disputes, and Sheriff Mike Riley has his work cut out for him. When the floods wash up a corpse, Bianca once again finds herself teaming up with Sheriff Riley to solve a mystery. Are they investigating an accidental drowning or something more nefarious?

Dead Man's Leap explores the burden of secrets, the relief of renunciation, and the danger of believing we can outpace our past. 


To find out more, check out the following links!
BookBub – @tinadebellegarde
Instagram – @tdb_writes
Twitter – @tdbwrites
Facebook – @tinadebellegardeauthor