On caregivers, faith, family, and writing…

Posts tagged ‘Cozy Mystery’

The Marquesa’s Necklace (The Oak Grove Mysteries, Book 1) by P.J.MacLayne – A #MysteryExchange Post

At the suggestion of Kris Bock at The Southwest Armchair Traveler, several authors are participating in a Mystery Exchange Blog Hop. Today I am welcoming P.J. MacLayne here at Life After Caregiving, and she is hosting me on her blog, Mountain Musings. Ms. MacLayne has written a cozy mystery series called The Oak Grove Mysteries. Today we’re highlighting Book 1, The Marquesa’s Necklace. I just finished reading it on Monday, and I loved it. I’ll post a review of it soon, but for now, I’ll let the author speak for herself. Welcome, P.J.

MarquesasNecklaceCover

From the author:

When I started writing the book that became The Marquesa’s Necklace, it wasn’t supposed to be a cozy mystery. It was meant to be a paranormal romance, with a ghost at the romantic lead. In fact, the original title was The Ghost Who Loved Me.

Well, Harmony, the main character, wasn’t having it. And I’m glad I listened to her. I’m still listening to what she has to say as I write the fourth book in the series.

Book Blurb

Harmony Duprie enjoyed her well-ordered life in the quiet little town of Oak Grove—until her arrest for drug trafficking. Cleared of all charges, she wants nothing more than to return to the uneventful lifestyle of a historical researcher she once savored.

But when her beloved old car “George” is stolen and explodes into a ball of flames, it sets off a series of events that throws her plans into turmoil. Toss in a police detective that may or may not be interested in her, an attractive but mysterious stranger on her trail, and an ex-boyfriend doing time, and Harmony’s life freefalls into a downward spiral of chaos.

Now she has to use her research skills to figure out who is behind the sinister incidents plaguing her, and why. And she better take it seriously, like her life depends upon finding the right answers.

Because it might.

Excerpt:

By the time Janine and Sarah arrived in the morning, Luke, Joe and I had already wrestled the easy chair out to the curb. Joe was straightening up the kitchen while Luke and I restored order to the explosion of books and put them back on the shelves. Being an ex-librarian, I’m picky in how my books go, so the job was taking longer than Luke liked. When they knocked, Joe, who had self-appointed himself as my bodyguard, rushed to be the one to open it. I didn’t know what he had planned if it was an intruder—would an intruder knock? —but since he was a retired Marine, I wasn’t going to argue. Sarah and Janine stood there with their mouths hanging open, shocked by the scene. Janine gathered her wits and said, “What can we do to help?”

Joe answered for me. “One of you can tackle the bathroom. The other can haul a load of clothes to the basement and wash them.” The defiled lingerie already sat in the garbage can next to the garage.

An hour or so later Detective Thomason arrived. I was on my hands and knees scrubbing the kitchen floor in the spots the mop didn’t reach, when we heard a knock on the door. Joe just glared at me when I started to get up, so I let him do the honors, and returned to my cleaning.

“What do you want?” Joe said, rather gruffly and I figured I better check it out for myself.

Detective Thomason held a vase with a bouquet of supermarket flowers. He was wearing jeans and a T-shirt instead of a suit. Tight jeans, I might add, and the shirt did him favors that his suits never could. I thanked him and put the flowers in the middle of the kitchen table. Luke steered him towards the bedroom to figure out how to get the shredded mattress out of the apartment without knocking everything else over again. The bouquet proved to be a beacon of peace in the midst of the chaos that ruled for the rest of the day, and earned him back the name of Fred. He still didn’t rank being Freddie in my mind—not yet, anyhow.

I spent the night with Janine. I had to stay somewhere else because Luke, Joe, and I decided we would clean the carpet in the apartment before I replaced my furniture. The soil from the African Violets was ground into the rug. And there had been more foot-traffic through my place than normal for the past year.

The violets were wilted, but would survive. The footprints on the Grateful Dead tapestry vanished with a good beating and repeated vacuuming. Several of my books had their spines broken or their pages torn, but none of my first edition books were hurt. I had to go shopping for a new mattress, but Luke and Joe were going to give me an old loveseat they didn’t want anymore. Nothing seemed to have been taken. I got off lucky. Again

A not-so-tiny voice in the back of my brain told me I’d better start worrying about my luck running out.

The Marquesa’s Necklace is currently on sale for 99¢

Buy Links:

Amazon

Barnes and Nobles

iTunes

Inktera

Kobo

Author Bio:

pjmaclayne head shotBorn and raised among the rolling hills of western Pennsylvania, P.J. MacLayne still finds inspiration for her books in that landscape. She is a computer geek by day and a writer by night who currently lives in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains. When she’s not in front of a computer screen, she might be found exploring the back roads of the nearby national forests and parks. In addition to the Free Wolves’ stories, she is also the author of the Oak Grove series.

P.J. MacLayne can be reached on:

Facebook 

Twitter

Google +

Amazon 

Blog:

BookBub

Blessings,

Linda

Advertisements

Book Review: The Chocolate Labradoodle Caper (Damien Dickens Mysteries Book 3) by Phyllis Entis

Cover

Genre: Cozy Mystery

About the book:

A dodgy travel business
A journalist in danger
Tainted chocolates
Hotel/casino magnate Derek Turpin is flexing his muscles in Atlantic City. Even the cops are not immune to his influence. Can Damien and Millie thwart his unsavory plans?

My review:

The ChocolateLabradoodle Caper was my first venture into the world of Damien and Millie Dickens, but it won’t be my last. I very much enjoyed meeting the wide variety of characters created by Phyllis Entis and following their adventures. Dick and Millie, partners both in marriage and a detective agency, attempt to find out who tried to murder their journalist friend. In the process, they endanger their lives and their marriage and take the reader on a wild ride from the U.S. to Canada and back again. I want to go back and read the first two Damien Dickens Mysteries, and I look forward to future offerings from Entis.

About the author:

Phyllis EntisPhyllis Entis is the author of the Damien Dickens Mysteries series, which includes The Green Pearl Caper, The White Russian Caper and The Chocolate Labradoodle Caper. Her debut novel, The Green Pearl Caper, was a Library Journal SELF-e Selection. Phyllis is a free-lance writer and retired food safety microbiologist with degrees from McGill University and the University of Toronto. In 2007, ASM Press published her non-fiction book, Food Safety: Old Habits, New Perspectives.

Phyllis lives in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California with her husband and their Australian Cobberdog, Shalom. When she’s not writing, Phyllis usually can be found walking around town, browsing in the local library, or enjoying her garden.

Buy the book on AMAZON 

Where to find the author:

Amazon author’s page 

Facebook 

Twitter 

Website 

Blessings,

Linda

Book Review: A Kink in the Road (A Deadline Cozy Mystery Book 7) by Sonia Parin

Cover

About the book:

Humorous Cozy Mystery. Clean read: no graphic violence, sex, or strong language but lots of fun characters and quirky dialogue.

Eve’s new inn is about to open, with or without a name. As a new local business owner, Eve thinks it would be a splendid idea to attend a local town meeting. Little does she know she’s been excluded from them for a good reason. She’s been labeled a troublemaker. Now there is a new resident in Rock-Maine Island and she’s been warned to stay away from him.

One look at William Hunter the Third is enough to convince Eve she wants nothing to do with the man. Despite everyone’s efforts to keep Eve away from him, the inevitable happens and he lands on her doorstep.

To make matters worse, the billionaire brings along an entourage which includes his ex-wives, his friends and… a killer.

There have already been two deaths at the house she’s turned into an inn. Another death makes it three. Thinking disasters come in threes, she hopes this will complete the cycle. But what if she’s on a treadmill and doomed to play host to murder and mayhem? The town will surely rise up against her…

My review:

A Kink in the Road is a fun read about a young woman named Eve who finds herself in a small town with a large, possibly haunted, house on her hands. She decides to convert it into an inn where she can entertain guests and show off her culinary talents. Since there wouldn’t be much of a plot if things went smoothly, several days before she’s ready to open, an inconvenient storm strands a group of weekend visitors. Their wealthy host has a home of his own in town, but he isn’t prepared for overnight guests, so he and his friends end up in Eve’s inn. The situation turns out to be the perfect recipe for murder and mayhem that kept me guessing and laughing at the same time. This is the 7th in the Deadline Cozy Mystery Series. I look forward to going back and catching up on what I’ve missed.

About the author:

Head ShotI write humorous Contemporary and Paranormal Cozy Mysteries with fun dialogue and quirky characters. When I’m not reading or writing or consuming vast amounts of chocolate and caffeine, I tend to watch favorite movies or reruns of favorite TV shows. I love creating engaging promotional blurbs for my books. You can find these posted on Twitter and Facebook.

Buy the book on Amazon

 

 

Blessings,

Linda

Book Review: Peete and Repeat (A Frannie Shoemaker Campground Mystery) by Karen Musser Nortman

Cover Peete and Repeat

About the book:

A biking and camping trip to southeastern Minnesota turns into double trouble for Frannie Shoemaker and her friends as she deals with a canoeing mishap and a couple of bodies. Strange happenings in the campground, the nearby nature learning center, and an old power plant complicate the suspect pool and Frannie tries to stay out of it–really–but what can she do? After all, she is only curious, but sometimes it isn’t just cats who have trouble with that!

My review:

This may be my favorite Frannie Shoemaker Campground Mystery so far. It’s hard to decide because they are all entertaining while being very different. In Peete and Repeat, the Shoemakers and friends meet identical twins and unintentionally, as usual, become involved in a love/hate triangle and a double homicide. To complicate matters, Frannie injures herself and somehow manages to become the target of a rather inept ring of drug traffickers.

As usual, Karen Musser Nortman manages to create the relaxed atmosphere of a camping vacation while still building the tension of whatever crime in progress Frannie has stumbled into. Each book introduces new characters, whether it’s grandchildren or more of the Shoemakers’ camping friends – and all of them, even the annoying ones, are multi-faceted and likeable.

Peete and Repeat is the last in the Camping Can Be Murder Boxed Set. I need to check and see what predicaments Frannie gets herself into next.

About the author:

Head Shot Karen Musser NortmanKaren Musser Nortman, after previous incarnations as a secondary social studies teacher (22 years) and a test developer (18 years), returned to her childhood dream of writing a novel. Bats and Bones, a cozy mystery, came out of numerous ’round the campfire’ discussions, making up answers to questions raised by the peephole glimpses one gets into the lives of fellow campers. Where did those people disappear to for the last two days? What kinds of bones are in this fire pit? Why is that woman wearing heels to the shower house?

Karen and her husband Butch originally tent camped when their children were young and switched to a travel trailer when sleeping on the ground lost its romantic adventure. They take frequent weekend jaunts with friends to parks in Iowa and surrounding states, plus occasional longer trips. Entertainment on these trips has ranged from geocaching and hiking/biking to barbecue contests, balloon fests, and buck skinners’ rendezvous. Frannie and Larry will no doubt check out some of these options on their future adventures.

Karen has three children and eight grandchildren. She also loves reading, gardening, and knitting, and can recite the 99 counties of Iowa in alphabetical order.

Visit her website at www.karenmussernortman.com
Buy the book on Amazon 

Or buy it with two other Frannie Shoemaker Campground Mysteries in the Camping Can Be Murder Boxed Set HERE 

Blessings,

Linda

Book Review: The Blue Coyote (A Frannie Shoemaker Campground Mystery) by Karen Musser Nortman

Cover The Blue Coyote

About the book:

Frannie and Larry Shoemaker love taking their grandchildren, Sabet and Joe, camping with them. But at Bluffs State Park, Frannie finds herself worrying more than usual about their safety, and when another young girl disappears from the campground in broad daylight, her fears increase. The fun of a bike ride, a flea market, marshmallow guns, and a storyteller are quickly overshadowed. Accusations against Larry and her add to the cloud over their heads. Frannie begins to puzzle out the mystery: Are the itinerant road workers as much of a threat as Frannie thinks? What about the lone woman camper who also disappears? Or is the girl’s deadbeat dad behind it all?

My review:

After reading The Blue Coyote, another Frannie Shoemaker Campground Mystery and the second in the Camping Can Be Murder Boxed Set, I feel like I know the Shoemakers, their grandchildren, and their friends personally. That’s why I was so incensed when Larry became the prime suspect in a campground kidnapping. Frannie was even more infuriated, though, as the authorities seemed to focus on her husband while the missing child and her own grandchildren remained in danger and the real culprit remained at large. In spite of many warnings to stay out of it, she put on her amateur sleuth hat and went to work.

Even for the reader who is not a regular cozy mystery fan, Frannie’s adventures are lively and exciting enough for an enjoyable weekend in the recliner or maybe even in a camp chair around the fire pit. Karen Nortman’s descriptions of the camping experience and the surrounding countryside are realistic enough to make the reader want to pack the RV and hit the open road – as long as there are no villains waiting at the campground. An added bonus is the vivid description of the sumptuous meals she and her friends share around the campfire and the recipes and camping tips at the end of each book. As for me, two Frannie Shoemaker stories were enough to make me a fan, and I can’t wait to begin reading the next one.

About the author:

Head Shot Karen Musser NortmanKaren Musser Nortman, after previous incarnations as a secondary social studies teacher (22 years) and a test developer (18 years), returned to her childhood dream of writing a novel. Bats and Bones, a cozy mystery, came out of numerous ’round the campfire’ discussions, making up answers to questions raised by the peephole glimpses one gets into the lives of fellow campers. Where did those people disappear to for the last two days? What kinds of bones are in this fire pit? Why is that woman wearing heels to the shower house?

Karen and her husband Butch originally tent camped when their children were young and switched to a travel trailer when sleeping on the ground lost its romantic adventure. They take frequent weekend jaunts with friends to parks in Iowa and surrounding states, plus occasional longer trips. Entertainment on these trips has ranged from geocaching and hiking/biking to barbecue contests, balloon fests, and buck skinners’ rendezvous. Frannie and Larry will no doubt check out some of these options on their future adventures.

Karen has three children and eight grandchildren. She also loves reading, gardening, and knitting, and can recite the 99 counties of Iowa in alphabetical order.

Visit her website at www.karenmussernortman.com
Buy the book on Amazon 

Or buy it with two other Frannie Shoemaker Campground Mysteries in the Camping Can Be Murder Boxed Set HERE 

Blessings,

Linda

Book Review: Bats and Bones (A Frannie Shoemaker Campground Mystery) by Karen Musser Nortman

Cover Bats and Bones

About the book:

Camping can be murder. Oh, sure, on the one hand there’s the stunning scenery, socializing with old friends and new acquaintances, amazing food cooked outside, and so on. But what if a dead body turns up on one of your hikes-for-fun-and fitness?

Frannie and Larry Shoemaker, retired baby boomers, are looking forward to a relaxing Fourth of July weekend with friends in beautiful Bat Cave State Park. They begin the weekend with a wonderful meal and some laughs over the antics of nearby novice campers. But when someone kills the campground host and Frannie’s group discovers the body, their favorite getaway becomes a quasi-prison, and the eccentricities often seen in a campground are viewed as suspicious behavior. A severe weather threat and the possibility that the murderer could be either a campground resident or an intruder from the outside compounds the danger. Frannie, while naturally curious, is warned off by her retired-cop husband, but still stumbles on information making her a target of the killer. At the same time, Frannie is working through the recent loss of her mother and an uncomfortable relationship with one of her own camping group.

My review:

I have been a mystery lover since I first discovered Agatha Christie in the Weekly Reader Book Club at school. After finishing the exploits of Mrs. Marple and Hercule Poirot, I moved on to tougher detectives like Parker’s Jesse Stone, Patterson’s Alex Cross, or Baldacci’s team of King and Maxwell. But after reading Bats and Bones by Karen Musser Nortman, I may become a cozy mystery fan all over again.

The first book in the Frannie Shoemaker Campground Mysteries Series immediately drew me in. My husband and I fell in love with the RV lifestyle shortly after we retired, and we have met many campers like the Shoemakers and their friends who are easy-going, fun-loving, gregarious, and all around nice people. The scenarios in Bats and Bones were reminiscent of many of our camping trips – minus the dead bodies, of course.

Karen Nortman’s writing style captures the laid back atmosphere of the campground while still building the tension as the plot thickens and Frannie becomes involved in spite of her best efforts to heed the warnings of her husband Larry and local law enforcement. Nortman’s characters are well developed and likeable – except for the bad guys. She offers a reading experience that’s fun, engaging, and flinch free, and I look forward to reading the rest of the series.

About the author:

Head Shot Karen Musser NortmanKaren Musser Nortman, after previous incarnations as a secondary social studies teacher (22 years) and a test developer (18 years), returned to her childhood dream of writing a novel. Bats and Bones, a cozy mystery, came out of numerous ’round the campfire’ discussions, making up answers to questions raised by the peephole glimpses one gets into the lives of fellow campers. Where did those people disappear to for the last two days? What kinds of bones are in this fire pit? Why is that woman wearing heels to the shower house?

Karen and her husband Butch originally tent camped when their children were young and switched to a travel trailer when sleeping on the ground lost its romantic adventure. They take frequent weekend jaunts with friends to parks in Iowa and surrounding states, plus occasional longer trips. Entertainment on these trips has ranged from geocaching and hiking/biking to barbecue contests, balloon fests, and buck skinners’ rendezvous. Frannie and Larry will no doubt check out some of these options on their future adventures.

Karen has three children and eight grandchildren. She also loves reading, gardening, and knitting, and can recite the 99 counties of Iowa in alphabetical order.

Visit her website at www.karenmussernortman.com
Buy the Bats and Bones HERE 

Or buy it with two other Frannie Shoemaker Campground Mysteries in the Camping Can Be Murder Boxed Set HERE 

Blessings,

Linda

%d bloggers like this: