Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Murder of Pearl - A Review


MURDER OF PEARL by Nellie H. Steele
The First Pearl Party Mystery
Sisters Kelly and Jodi Silverman have scored an amazing gig for their Pearl Party business. A client is celebrating her mom, Pearl's, birthday and has invited the sisters to spend the weekend at a grand estate thinking it perfect to have a pearl party for Pearl. Taking orders from rich women with lots of disposable income, the profits from this one weekend will certainly bolster their business. One look at the estate, however, gives Kelly a bad feeling and a desire to leave immediately. After shucking a few oysters and showing the pearls to the disinterested guests, everyone sits down to dinner, where Pearl tells everyone how much she despises them. Shortly thereafter, Pearl is murdered with one of Kelly's shucking knives. With a storm trapping everyone in the mansion and preventing the police from arriving Kelly and Jodi will try to determine which guest is guilty while proving their own innocence.

The concept of MURDER OF PEARL is great. Protagonists trapped in a spooky house with a bunch of strangers while a storm rages outside and then someone is killed. Super. I've always thought it would be great to have a party based business as sleuths in a cozy mystery. After all the seller is in homes of various people, getting new people to kill and be suspects easily. I've enjoyed the first books in two other series by this author so I was expecting a wonderful read. Sadly, I was wrong. 

There were too many characters and even with the character listing at the front of the book it was hard to remember who was who along with their relationship to each other. You don't need 16 primary suspects! Then there were the servants. Who knows how many were there? The butler suggested moving the body (seriously?) and a maid brought food. We know nothing about them other than the fact that they appeared fine with the murder and police being unable to come. They could have been suspects, but were completely disregarded. One problem that compounded every other issue was that everyone was unlikable (aside from the servants who were given no personality at all) including the protagonists. Kelly and Jodi aren't even antiheros, they're just grousing, self absorbed nitwits.

The actions of everybody were ridiculous. You just eat a big meal, a woman is murdered, and after going to your room you decide to go to the kitchen to get snacks?!? Seriously? And just how big was that bag of popcorn? They were eating it for ages.

Perhaps the author was crossing genres and was writing MURDER OF PEARL as a farce. Unfortunately, it doesn't work as a written piece, although it could possibly work on film. The over the top behaviors just don't translate into the written word, merely coming off as ridiculous. There is a fine mystery here if you can overlook the personalities of the characters and when you ignore the nonsensical behaviors.

An amazing mansion and a complex mystery fail to save MURDER OF PEARL. Full of promise, the first Pearl Party Mystery fails to deliver.

Sunday, January 29, 2023

Canter With A Killer - An Interview & Giveaway

I'm pleased to welcome Amber Camp to Cozy Up With Kathy today. Amber writes the Horse Rescue Mystery series. Canter With A Killer is the first book in the series and was released last year.

Kathy: In Canter with a Killer we meet Mallory Martin who runs a horse rescue in Arkansas. Why choose a horse rescue instead of a different animal rescue? 

AC: Horse rescue has always been a passion of mine. I love traditional cozies that take place in a bookstore or bakery, but I don't know a thing about how those businesses run. "Write what you know," they say, so I chose something I know quite a bit about. We don't have an official rescue, but we do have several rescued horses and I've worked in and around rescues nearly my whole life.

Kathy: I have always loved horses, although I didn't take lessons until I was in my 30s. I rode Hunter/Jumper. Do you ride? What style? 

AC: How exciting! I've always thought Hunter/Jumpers were so elegant. I'm not riding at the moment for medical reasons, but when I do, I ride western. I primarily trail ride but my daughter and I are hoping to compete in local shows sometime in the near future.

Kathy: I owned an Off-Track Thoroughbred named Harley. Although I don't see myself owning another horse, if I did, it would certainly be an OTTB. In the meantime I do support an OTTB adoption group that gives retired racehorses another chance to be winners. Do you have a favorite breed of horse? 

AC: I don't have a favorite. I love everything equine. We currently have twelve and one of my daughter's horses is an OTTB mare, Mira. She is the sweetest horse and we have all fallen in love with Thoroughbreds as well.

Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries? 

AC: My late mother introduced me to cozies as a young adult. I have pretty eclectic reading tastes and I read everything from horror to romance. I call cozies my 'comfort genre' because I can come back to it like you would a comfort food or a soft blanket. They're warm and happy and you never have to worry about how they're going to end.

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres? 

AC: I do. I've played around with urban fantasy and romance. Currently I'm plotting a thriller, a paranormal cozy mystery, and a dark fantasy romance. I don't know that I'm going to try publishing any of those, but I enjoy writing them.

Kathy: Tell us about your series.  

AC: The Horse Rescue Mystery series follows Mallory and her volunteers-turned-employees Tanner and Ashley as they try to navigate the complicated work of horse rescue and occasionally help solve a murder or two.

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

AC: Biscuit. Hands down. He was inspired by a donkey that my aunt and uncle had when I was growing up, and he will always have a special place in my heart.

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

AC: Several of the horses were inspired by horses throughout my life, but other than that, there wasn’t a specific inspiration. I’ve taken a lot of liberties with the geography in my book as well. Hillspring is loosely based on several towns in Northwest Arkansas, and I changed the natural features to suit my story.

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

AC: I've wanted to be an author my entire life. It's my oldest dream, but I didn't get serious about it until I lost my job in 2020 due to Covid cutbacks. I figured that was as good a time as any to pursue my bucket list.

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

AC: What a great question! I would love to spend a dinner party getting to know Nora Roberts, Charles De Lint, Ellery Adams, and Neil Gaiman. 


Kathy: What are you currently reading? 

AC: I’m reading Beach Read by Emily Henry, Buried in a Good Book by Tamara Berry, Verity by Collen Hoover, A Wicked Yarn by Emmie Caldwell, and The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley.


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

AC: I love hiking, kayaking, making jewelry, painting, and taking long drives on country roads. 


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

AC: I HAVE to have bagels, cream cheese, popcorn, and I have an unhealthy addiction to Monster energy drinks.


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

AC: Book two in the Horse Rescue Mystery series is tentatively due out in Fall of this year. I have seven sequel ideas, two are pretty well plotted. I sincerely hope that I am fortunate enough to write this series for a long time.

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

AC: All of it! Seriously, I love every step of the process, from first draft to final copy. I’ve written all my life, so getting to do any of this is just a dream come true.


 Canter with a Killer (A Horse Rescue Mystery) by Amber Camp

About Canter with A Killer

Canter with a Killer (A Horse Rescue Mystery)
Cozy Mystery 1st in Series
Setting - Arkansas
Crooked Lane Books (October 11, 2022)
Hardcover: ‎ 304 pages

Perfect for fans of Amanda Flower and Mollie Cox Bryan, Amber Camp’s debut novel will have you galloping through the pages, as a horse rescue owner races to find a killer and clear her name.

Mallory Martin left her marriage and her unfulfilling job to move back to her hometown of Hillspring, Arkansas, and start a horse rescue. It’s everything she’s been missing, with paddocks of happy horses and one very quirky donkey. But when her cantankerous neighbor and longtime critic, Albert Cunningham, is found murdered in his fancy show barn, Mallory becomes suspect number one. Since Sheriff Grady Sullivan is ignoring all good sense and focusing only on Mallory, she decides to take matters into her own hands.

Aided by her best friend, Lanie, and rescue volunteer Tanner, Mallory races headlong into the investigation in search of the real killer. But horses and murder aren’t the only thing on her mind when she meets Albert’s handsome son, Braydon. Sparks fly, and soon she’s got a new boyfriend. But there’s a case to be solved, and she redoubles her efforts to learn the truth.

The suspects mount quickly. There’s Albert’s girlfriend, Kathleen, who was on the farm when he was murdered; organic farmer Heather Rogers, who accused Albert of contaminating her creek; and Philip Atwood, who’d been trying for a right-of-way across Albert’s farm. None of the evidence is holding up though, and Mallory learns that she'll need to take the reins on this investigation if she's going to clear her own name.

About Amber Camp

Amber has lived in Northwest Arkansas for twenty+ years, working as an RN at a rural hospital in the area. She has a menagerie of animals that includes dogs, cats, horses, chickens, and what has been described as the Mule from Hell, which may or may not be a slight exaggeration. Writing has always been a focus in Amber's life, something she describes as "food for my soul." An avid reader since grade school, she enjoys multiple genres and is always looking for new authors to add to her favorites. Amber is a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America.

Social media links: 

Website https://www.ambercampauthor.com 

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100078078663492&mibextid=LQQJ4d  

Twitter https://twitter.com/ambercatcamp 

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

Purchase Links: Amazon>> Barnes & Noble>> Books-a-Million>> Bookshop.org>> Hudson Booksellers>> Target>> Walmart>> Penguin Random House>> Apple Books>> Google Play>> Audible>> 

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Friday, January 27, 2023

Against the Currant - A Spotlight

Today I'd like to shine a spotlight on a new release I just discovered that is making its way to my TBR file. Against the Currant by Olivia Matthews is the first book in the Spice Isle Mystery series and was released this week.

Little Caribbean, Brooklyn, New York: Lyndsay Murray is opening Spice Isle Bakery with her family, and it’s everything she’s ever wanted. The West Indian bakery is her way to give back to the community she loves, stay connected to her Grenadian roots, and work side-by-side with her family. The only thing getting a rise out of Lyndsay is Claudio Fabrizi, a disgruntled fellow bakery owner who does not want any competition.

On opening day, he comes into the bakery threatening to shut them down. Fed up, Lyndsay takes him to task in front of what seems to be the whole neighborhood. So when Claudio turns up dead a day later—murdered—Lyndsay is unfortunately the prime suspect. To get the scent of suspicion off her and her bakery, Lyndsay has to prove she’s innocent—under the watchful eyes of her overprotective brother, anxious parents, and meddlesome extended family—what could go wrong?

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Currently Reading...

I just started reading Catch Your Death by Lissa Marie Redmond. This book is the sixth in the Cold Case Investigation Mystery series.

A wintry weekend at a high end resort in the Southern Tier should be a relaxing respite for cold case detectives Lauren Riley and Shane Reese. Except for the fact that it's a soft opening as well as a mini high school reunion for Shane. A reunion of people who haven't been together since the murder of their classmate seventeen years ago. And the fact that Lauren is fairly certain one of the guests is a killer.

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Gone but not for Garden - A Spotlight

Today I'd like to shine a spotlight on a new release. Gone but not for Garden by Kate Collins is the fourth book in the Goddess of Greene St. Mystery series and it is being released today! I have to admit I got behind in this series, but I hope to catch up soon!


Athena Spencer works with her big Greek-American family (whom she also anonymously blogs about) at their garden center near Lake Michigan. She’s also gained a reputation for crime-solving—and that’s what brings flower-shop owner and fellow sleuth Abby Knight Salvare to her door . . .
Abby has come from Indiana to this Lake Michigan town to help her cousin, Jillian, who was emceeing a local fashion show and now stands accused of murdering one of the models. Some of Sequoia’s most prominent citizens were there on the catwalk, so there’s increasing pressure to have the next event be a perp walk.
The clueless Jillian is in jail after ignoring orders not to leave town, and she isn’t happy—orange is
not her color. Along with her handsome PI partner, Case, Athena starts making inquiries, while tiptoeing around the wives of the town’s mayor and police chief. In the meantime, the two detectives are becoming fast friends. After all, in addition to homicide, Abby and Athena share an interest in horticulture—though right now the only thing they’re growing is their list of suspects . . .

Sunday, January 22, 2023

A Study in Chocolate - A Guest Post & Giveaway

I'm pleased to welcome Camille Marchetti to Cozy Up With Kathy today. You can find Camille on the pages of the Bean to Bar Mystery series by Amber Royer. A Study in Chocolate is the fifth book in the series and was released this past week.

Hi Everyone! I’m Felicity’s mom, Camille Marchetti. Felicity is the protagonist of the Bean to Bar Mysteries. The fifth book, A Study in Chocolate, just came out – and I finally get time on the page. Can you believe it has taken five books for my daughter to share page space with me – or to let me do one of those posts? Who knows her better than I do, after all?

I know sometimes I get carried away, and tend to take over projects – but trust me, I’m not about to get involved with Felicity’s murder-solving hobby. For one thing, getting involved in matters best left to the police is dangerous, and I keep telling Felicity this needs to stop. For another, puzzles have never been my thing. I can organize and work through real-world problems with sheer determination, coffee and staying power. But you can’t do that with a puzzle. The solution stays just as elusive.

Felicity gets her out-of-the-box thinking style from her father. That’s not always a good thing. Felicity had a thriving physical therapy practice in Seattle, but after her husband died, she made the rash decision to quit her practice and become a craft chocolate maker. I miss my late son-in-law too, but opening a small business is risky, and it is hardly a reasonable response after all the time Felicity spent in school. At the same time, her shop seems to be doing well – is in fact expanding. I can be ambivalent about everything she threw away, and at the same time proud of what she’s accomplishing. It’s my right, as a mother.

I just can’t understand how my daughter keeps winding up involved in solving murders. My husband Rob says she’s an amateur sleuth, so with the energy she’s putting out in the universe, mysterious things are going to just keep happening. I told him that is ridiculous. There’s no such thing as a real-life amateur sleuth. That’s just something for the Hardy Boys or Veronica Mars.

This time, Felicity has gotten involved in the death of an art collector who just recently moved to Galveston, Texas, and bought a historic home not far away from Greetings and Felicitations, my daughter’s shop. Apparently, a book mysteriously showed up on the bookcase where she sells travel books. It was a rare edition of a Sherlock Holmes novel, and somehow – I’m not clear on the details – it was a challenge for Felicity to solve the art guy’s murder before it happened. She failed at doing that – and now she’s convinced that someone else is going to die, just to keep her motivated.

I had to bite my tongue to keep from telling her that this is her own fault, for not letting the police handle those other cases. But how can you criticize, when she seriously believes someone’s life is at stake? I hope she’ll be careful, and that she’ll stay close to her business partner, who used to be a bodyguard, or to her ex, who’s a cop. Although, that could lead to all different kinds of trouble.

Anyway, don’t forget the moms out there of all your favorite protagonists. We’re over here, biting our nails, hoping everything comes out right in the end!


 A Study in Chocolate (Bean to Bar Mysteries) by Amber Royer

About A Study in Chocolate 

A Study in Chocolate (Bean to Bar Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery 5th in Series
Golden Tip Press (January 17, 2023)
Print length: ‎ 289 pages

Felicity Koerber’s bean to bar chocolate shop on Galveston’s historic Strand is expanding, as it has become a gathering spot for the community, despite having been the scene of multiple murders. Artists she met while doing a chocolate sculpture are now working out of the shop. So when Felicity is invited to tea by an eccentric art collector, she’s intrigued, especially when she gets asked to pose for a portrait done with chocolate on chocolate. Only, where there is a murder the next day at the same historic house where the tea was held, one of Felicity’s artist friends becomes the main suspect.

When the killer threatens that, unless Felicity unravels the murder, one of her two love interests will be the next victim, she finds herself unwittingly at the center of a puzzle, with a Sherlock Holmes obsessed murderer who wants to be the next Moriarty – and wants to cast Felicity as Sherlock.

Felicity starts finding unexpected connects between her friends and acquaintances, and has to deal with the idea that someone who knows her is a murderer. At the same time, she has to keep her business running, despite construction dust and unruly customers – and an unexpected order for thousands of truffles.

Satchmo the retired police dog turned therapy dog returns to help her sniff out a few clues, and the kidnapping of Ruffles, the quirky artist’s cat, helps lead Felicity into the puzzle. Can Felicity solve it in time to protect the people she cares about from becoming additional victims?

About Amber Royer


Amber Royer writes the CHOCOVERSE comic telenovela-style foodie-inspired space opera series, and the BEAN TO BAR MYSTERIES. She is also the author of STORY LIKE A JOURNALIST: A WORKBOOK FOR NOVELISTS, which boils down her writing knowledge into an actionable plan involving over 100 worksheets to build a comprehensive story plan for your novel. She blogs about creative writing techniques and all things chocolate at www.amberroyer.com. She also teaches creative writing and is an author coach. If you are very nice to her, she might make you cupcakes. Chocolate cupcakes, of course.  

Author Links: 

Website: http://www.amberroyer.com  

Blog: http://amberroyer.com/blog/ 

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

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Amber.Royer.Author/  

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoA_29HV2nPmRnox9LPVanw  

Twitter: https://twitter.com/amber_royer  

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Amber-Royer/e/B00PFV4CGM  

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8144619.Amber_Royer  

Purchase Links - Amazon - B&N - Kobo -  

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Friday, January 20, 2023

Snuffed Out - An Interview, Review, & Giveaway

I'm pleased to welcome Valona Jones to Cozy Up With Kathy today. Valona writes the Magic Candle Shop Mystery series. SNUFFED OUT is the first book in the series and was released last week.

Kathy: Tabby and Sage Winslow own The Book and Candle Shop in Savannah. I love candles, jar candles, pillar candles, candles of all sorts and scents. Do you love candles as well? 

VJ: Yes! I absolutely adore candles. I love the instant ambiance that comes from lighting a candle. For me the flame represents home and hearth and heart. My favorite scents are those of citrus blends and also the scents of forest and sea.

Kathy: Tabby and Sage are fraternal twins. Why make your protagonists twins instead of friends or another kind of relation? 

VJ: How interesting that you asked this question because there is some background to this… You see in the first draft of the story a few things weren’t sticking together well enough for my longtime critique partner, Polly Iyer. In those first 80 pages or so, the sisters (who were close in age but not twins) often used telepathy to communicate. Their paranormal talent kept them tightly bonded. They were each other’s best friend. One day Polly said to me, and I’m paraphrasing here, that these girls were closer than mere sisters. I wouldn’t have to explain so many things if they were also twins. As soon as she said it, story lightning flashed in my head. That was the key I needed to propel the story forward naturally. After all, people already know that twins are closer than regular siblings. I’m so lucky my critique partner is a genius.

Kathy: I love mysteries that include a paranormal touch. Why decide to make your series a paranormal one? 

VJ: Because of my fascination with candles, I know that certain scents are deemed by some to have qualities that enhance relaxation, relieve stress, and more. Did you hear how many mealy-mouthed words I had to use to explain that in today’s world? So, I wanted to start with the premise that in The Book and Candle Shop the candles definitely have that helping touch. They label them “aromatherapy candles” and don’t push them more than any other products, but word gets around, you know? If order for all the moving pieces to connect, paranormal was the only way to go.

Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries? 

VJ: My first introduction to the genre came through the television show, “Murder She Wrote.” Every week I eagerly watched actress Angela Lansbury figure out whodunnit when the next person in Cabot Cove died. The show and the story genre truly held my attention. I loved that an every-woman could flex her “smarts” and keep poking around until she found answers. Further, the story device of an amateur sleuth who used her connections and insider information truly appealed to me. I love the way the lead character puzzles over the case the same way a hobbyist assembles a jigsaw puzzle. Thus, an amateur sleuth keeps collecting information and piecing it together until the villain is revealed. It is a perfect fit for my skillset.

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres? 

VJ: Yes! Under the name of Maggie Toussaint, I’ve published romance, romantic suspense, cozy mystery, and paranormal cozy mystery books. Many readers hounded me to write a mystery about a scientist because that was my background and you’re supposed to write what you know. So I thought about my scientist story for a long while before I jumped into it. Writing as Rigel Carson, I penned a three-book science fiction trilogy about a scientist on a Georgia barrier island with all manner of trouble raining down on him.

Kathy: Tell us about your series.

VJ: The series name for SNUFFED OUT, is A Magic Candle Shop Mystery. This Savannah, Georgia, establishment is owned and operated by a family of psychics, though that’s not their name for themselves. They call themselves energetics, and they can take or give energy at will.

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

VJ: I love Tabby Winslow to the stars and back. She thinks she’s doing a good job of fitting into a normal world and passing for normal, but people can sense her power. They’re either attracted or repelled by it. Meanwhile, Tabby and her sister make classic business mistakes to put their shop in jeopardy. Tabby rises to the occasion every time.

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

VJ: Oddly, the pandemic is to blame! I live in a rural area, and we were concerned that supply lines would foul up (and they did), and there would be real shortages. I decided to make our own cloth facemasks and then give them away to as many locally who needed them. When we couldn’t get rubbing alcohol and hand sanitizer was as precious as gold, I learned how to make hand sanitizer using White Lightning, aloe and essential oils, bottled it and gave it away to family and friends. Same for foaming soap. I considered making candles too. I read lots of material about it, and would’ve done it too, but I already have a stock of candles that I keep on hand as hurricane supplies. I moved on to other projects, but the idea of making candles kept bugging me. So I decided to write about a candle maker. True confession time…most of my candle making experience is from Scouts, where we poured wax over ice cubes in quart-sized milk cartons. But in any event, I have a love for doing crafts and making things, so writing about a candle maker is a very good fit for me.

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work? 

VJ: Coming from a career in science, I had worked for years under the threat of the phrase “publish or perish,” and in fact, I had coauthored half a dozen scientific articles by the time we moved. For me fiction publishing is much harder than nonfiction publishing. But back in the day I had that cocky jaunt to my step and a young person’s invincibility about everything. How hard could it be? Pretty darn hard, that’s what. People may take up this career with dreams of fame and fortune, but it takes so long to “make it,” that many wash out.

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

VJ: This will either be the most interesting dinner party in the world or all the guests will walk out on me. I adore Fannie Flagg’s “Fried Green Tomatoes At The Whistle Stop Cafe.” It was the first humorous fiction novel I’d ever read. I would love to sit down with Shirley MacLaine (“Out on a Limb” and “Dancing in the Light”) talk about anything and everything. And I’d drag Pat Conroy into the mix. His “Prince of Tides” is my all-time favorite books because I am also the child of a shrimper. That leaves one open place at the table. Who will it be? As a young adult and then for decades afterward, I was drawn to evangelist Billy Graham. His words riveted me to my seat and opened my ears. He’s written book after book about his faith, but the book I still have my eye on is his autobiography “Just As I Am.”

Kathy: What are you currently reading? 

VJ: I have two new ebooks om my Kindle;. One is “Sleep No More” by Jayne Ann Krentz. The other is book 18 in my friend Nancy J Cohen’s Bad Hair Day Mysteries, “Star Tangled Murder”. I also do a lot of rereading fav authors when I’m in writing mode.

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

VJ: I enjoy so many things! Reading is a big one for me, as are yoga and singing. I enjoy several reality TV shows, such as The Voice, Survivor, The Curse of Oak Island, and the veterinarian shows on National Geographic. I’m not big into gardening but every year I plant more flowers in a memorial garden for my late sister Carol. It’s right outside my office window.

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

VJ: Duke’s Mayonnaise, frozen shrimp, grits, and iced tea. That’s a meal right there.

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

VJ: Yes, I intend for the series to keep going as long as the publisher wishes me to write them. When interest wanes at some future point, I’ll already know what themes, settings, and topics I’d like to explore next.

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

VJ: Hanging out with other authors, readers, and fans. Talking shop with all of them. Getting to be an introvert again when I return home.



SNUFFED OUT by Valona Jones
The First Magic Candle Shop Mystery
Like their mother and aunt before them, twins Tabby and Sage Winslow run The Book and Candle Shop in Savannah, Georgia. When long-time customer and old monied termagant Blithe McAdam makes a scene in the shop castigating the twins and their products life gets a lot more complicated. Though Blithe leaves with a full refund and free product, shop clerk Gerard sends her off with a parting threat, a comment caught on more than one bystander’s video that soon goes viral. When Blithe winds up dead, detectives come knocking and soon set their sights on Gerard as the killer. Tabby will have to dig deep, dealing with her relationship with her sister, her good friend Quig, and her own powers as she sets out to prove Gerard’s innocence and discover just who killed Blithe McAdam.
The first Magic Candle Shop Mystery started slowly for me, but by the end I was rapidly turning pages, anxious to see what happened. A seemingly straightforward murder mystery changed as surprises popped up making the whodunnit a lot more complicated. Things got very interesting as details from a small clue left earlier on played out, a clue I caught onto right away, though it took our protagonists time to catch on.

As for the characters, I admit that Tabby has issues, but I liked her from the start. However, I greatly dislike Sage. I found her self-centered, rude, childish, and vengeful. An all around nasty person. I do like Auntie O and her friend from Florida as well as Quig and Gerard.

There were some unanswered questions at the end of the book, or rather unexplained actions. Just why did the waitress do what she did? And I was a bit surprised at one conclusion. It was completely acceptable, but a bit surprising. I also think the big bad they think they vanquished is still out there which makes for exciting opportunities ahead!

Secrets, relationships, and murder make SNUFFED OUT a compelling start to a new series.

Snuffed Out (Magic Candle Shop Mystery) by Valona Jones

About Snuffed Out

Snuffed Out (Magic Candle Shop Mystery)
Paranormal Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Savannah, GA
Crooked Lane Books (January 10, 2023)
Hardcover 304 Pages

Twin sisters Tabby and Sage co-own a candle shop, but will it all go up in flames in Valona Jones’ series debut, perfect for fans of Amanda Flower and Bailey Cates.

30-year-old fraternal twins Tabby and Sage Winslow own The Book and Candle Shop in Savannah. Sage is hot-headed and impulsive while Tabby is calm and collected, making them the perfect partnership. When one of their customers is found murdered, from a blow to the head, that partnership is put to the test.

Blithe McAdam had been seen in a heated argument with shop clerk Gerard, which immediately makes him suspect number one. The twins are convinced of Gerard’s innocence and start digging into Blithe’s past. But no one is cooperating. The neighbor who found the body isn’t talking, medical examiner Quig won’t give any details about the autopsy, and nasty rumors begin surfacing about the drowning of Blithe’s father years earlier—evidence that could seal Gerard’s fate.

Tabby and Sage dig desperately for the truth. But it’s not only their friend who’s in peril. With the clock ticking, the twins find themselves in the grip of an unseen and deadly energy that has seeped into their midst—and in the sights of a ruthless killer.

About Valona Jones

Valona Jones writes paranormal cozy mysteries set in Southern locales. Her work blends mystery and the unexplained, along with a sprinkle of romance. A former scientist, she’s drawn to the study of personal energy. She sharpened her people-watching skills as a lifelong introvert and thankfully had a bank vault full of personal observations when she began to write fiction. Her forthcoming release, Snuffed Out, A Magic Candle Shop Mystery, is slated for January 10, 2023, release. She’s a member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime. She lives in coastal Georgia, where time and tide wait for no one. Visit her at https://valonajones.com

Author Links:
Website: https://valonajones.com  

Facebook: https://facebook.com/valonajonesauthor  

BookBub https://www.bookbub.com/authors/valona-jones  

GoodReads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/22140872.Valona_Jones

Purchase Links - Amazon Kindle - Amazon Hardcover - Nook - B&N Hardcover - Kobo -

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