A Day in the Life of Carleigh Warner by Amy M. Reade

The Ghosts of Peppernell ManorMy day usually starts in one of two ways:
a) I wake up my daughter, Lucy, in which case she’s grumpy and the day is off to a slow start, or
b) Lucy wakes me up, in which case I’m tired but happy and the day is off and running. Just like Lucy.

After I take her to preschool in Charleston, I usually head straight back to the manor where we’re living right now. It’s called Peppernell Manor and I’ve been hired to restore it to the way it might have looked during the days before the Civil War. The house is beautiful, but it’s been neglected and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to work on it.

I have a detailed plan for the restoration and I work hard on the floors, the ceilings, the walls, and the trim. You name it, I work on it. It can be a dirty, grimy job, but I love what I do and the reward is seeing an old home get a new lease on life.

So my days are planned and predicable, right?


Something’s not right at Peppernell Manor. The family is divided over its future: Cora-Camille, the Peppernell matriarch, has hinted that she plans to change her will to leave the management of the property to the state of South Carolina. Other members of the family think the property should be administered by a for-profit investment group (the family will stand to make more money that way). I try not to get involved, but emotions run high and sometimes I wonder if Cora-Camille is safe in her own home.

I wonder if Lucy and I are safe here, too. There have been some frightening incidents since we arrived, and I don’t know who’s behind them. I don’t want to leave the restoration of Peppernell Manor unfinished, but protecting Lucy is my top priority.

Cora-Camille’s granddaughter, Evie, is one of my best friends. I love Evie dearly, but on top of everything else that’s going on, she wants me to start dating again. I’ve been anti-men since my divorce (my ex-husband left me for a stripper – that still stings), so Evie is a bit more enthusiastic about my love life than I am. But we’ll see. . .

Add to all of that the house manager who talks to ghosts, and you can see why my days don’t always go exactly as planned.

Did I mention it is hurricane season?

You can read more about Carleigh in The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor, published by Kensington.

Outside of Charleston, South Carolina, beyond hanging curtains of Spanish moss, at the end of a shaded tunnel of overarching oaks, stands the antebellum mansion of Peppernell Manor in all its faded grandeur. At the request of her friend Evie Peppernell, recently divorced Carleigh Warner and her young daughter Lucy have come to the plantation house to refurbish the interior. But the tall white columns and black shutters hide a dark history of slavery, violence, and greed. The ghost of a former slave is said to haunt the home, and Carleigh is told she disapproves of her restoration efforts. And beneath the polite hospitality of the Peppernell family lie simmering resentments and poisonous secrets that culminate in murder—and place Carleigh and her child in grave danger. . .

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on May 5 for the chance to win a kindle copy of The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor. The e-book giveaway is open to everyone. Winner will be notified within 48 hours after giveaway closes and you will have three days to respond after being contacted or another winner will be selected. Make sure to check your SPAM folder.

About the author
Amy M. Reade grew up in northern New York. After graduating from college and law school, she practiced law in New AmyRYork City before moving to southern New Jersey, where she lives now with her husband, three children, dog, and two cats. She writes full time and is also the author of Secrets of Hallstead House, a novel of romantic suspense set in the Thousand Islands region of New York. She is currently working on her third and fourth novels, set in Hawaii and Cape May, New Jersey, respectively. She loves cooking, reading, and traveling, and is entranced by the beauty and charm of the South.

Amy can be found online at website, her blog, on Twitter or on Facebook

A Day in the Life of Allie McMurphy by Nancy Coco

Oh Say Can You FudgeHi, my name is Allie McMurphy. I’m the owner operator of the Historic McMurphy Inn and Fudge Shop on Mackinac Island Michigan. The McMurphy has been in my family for over one hundred years and I’m the next generation to run it. I love my job as fudge maker and inn keeper, but recently I’ve sort of branched out into amateur sleuthing. It all started with finding Joe Jessop toes up in the McMurphy’s second floor utility room. With his murder under my roof, I discovered I’m pretty good at following clues and figuring out who is behind the crimes.

Of course I have help from my trusty bichon-poodle mix, Marshmallow—Mal for short. My puppy gets me into and out of all kinds of trouble. Today is no different. We were out for a walk when Mal ran off. I chased after her only to discover a shed was on fire. I got Mal out of harm’s way and called 9-1-1 just before the shed exploded. It seems that the owners were storing lawnmowers and edge clippers and cans of gasoline to fuel them. I managed to turn and tuck Mal under me to shield her with my body from the flying debris. We are safe for the moment.

This explosion is just one in a string of arsons that have been occurring on the island this year. Mal and I have managed to be at the scene of the last few and that means the police are looking at us and the arsonist/killer has to know we are steps behind him. It’s not looking good for our safety.

Arsons aren’t the only troubles on my plate. It’s July on Mackinac and I’m on the Star Spangled Fourth committee. More specifically I’m in charge of the fireworks, which were lost in the most dramatic of the arsonists events. For the first time in over one hundred and fifty years Mackinac Island’s Star Spangled Fourth fireworks celebration might not happen. It seems it will take all my wits, Mal’s ability to find clues and my friends and family’s help to catch the killer and see that the Fourth of July celebration goes off without a hitch.

You can read more about Allie in Oh Say Can You Fudge, the third book in the “Candy-Coated” mystery series, published by Kensington. The first two books in the series are All Fudged Up and To Fudge or Not to Fudge.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on May 4 for the chance to win a copy of Oh Say Can You Fudge. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Winner will be notified within 48 hours after giveaway closes and you will have three days to respond after being contacted or another winner will be selected. Make sure to check your SPAM folder.

About the author
OH SAY CAN YOU FUDGE is the third book in Kensington’s Candy Coated Mystery series by Nancy Coco also known as Nancy J Parra. Inspired by the gentile Victorian feel of Mackinac Island, Nancy asked the people at The Island Bookstore if anyone had ever written a mystery series set on Mackinac Island. The answer was no. Nancy went to work with a poll of Island visitors and locals. If an amateur sleuth lived on Mackinac Island, what would she do for a living? The overwhelming answer was run a Fudge Shop, of course. Mackinac Island is known for its world famous fudge. The rest is history. Nancy’s alter ego, Nancy J Parra has an MA in Popular Fiction and a day doesn’t go by when she isn’t working on a new story or walking her own bichonpoo known affectionately on line as Little Dog. Visit Nancy at www.nancyjparra.com.


Weekly Roundup* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

April 27-May 3, 2015 on dru’s book musings
Apr 27: Allie McMurphy from “Oh Say Can You Fudge” by Nancy Coco
Apr 28: Carleigh Warner from “The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor” by Amy M. Meade
Apr 29: Chris Durand from “Musseled Out” by Barbara Ross
Apr 30: Lucy Binger from “The Postman Always Purls Twice” by Anne Canadeo
May 1: Hollis Morgan from “The Return of the Fallen Angels Book Club” by R. Franklin James
May 2: Carol Rossi from “Broken Window” by Dorothy H. Hayes
May 3: Helen Binney from “A Draw of Death” by Gin Jones

Week of April 20-April 26, 2015
– Madison Night from “With Vics You Get Eggroll” by Diane Vallere
– Liz Talbot from “Lowcountry Boneyard” by Susan M. Boyer
– Sophie Medina from “Ghost Image” by Ellen Crosby
– Dani Greene from “A Sticky Situation” by Jessie Crockett
– Wallace Prescott from “A Fright to the Death” by Dawn Eastman
– Kathy Briscow from “Fascinating Rhythm” by Anne Louise Bannon
– Author Showcase with John Sandford

Recent contest winners
“Shadow of a Spout” by Amanda Cooper – D. Steele
“Bridges Burned” by Annette Dashofy – L. Hochwarter
“Five-Alarm Fudge” by Christine DeSmet – J. Holmes
“Dead Girl Blues” by Joyce and Jim Lavene – V. Gass
“The Masque of a Murderer” by Susanna Calkins – P. Marks

Follow dru’s book musing on Facebook.

Author Showcase ~ Gathering Prey by John Sandford

Gathering Prey
They call them Travelers. They move from city to city, panhandling, committing no crimes—they just like to stay on the move. And now somebody is killing them.

Lucas Davenport’s adopted daughter, Letty, is home from college when she gets a phone call from a woman Traveler she’d befriended in San Francisco. The woman thinks somebody’s killing her friends, she’s afraid she knows who it is, and now her male companion has gone missing. She’s hiding out in North Dakota, and she doesn’t know what to do.

Letty tells Lucas she’s going to get her, and, though he suspects Letty’s getting played, he volunteers to go with her. When he hears the woman’s story, though, he begins to think there’s something in it. Little does he know. In the days to come, he will embark upon an odyssey through a subculture unlike any he has ever seen, a trip that will not only put the two of them in danger—but just may change the course of his life.

Release: April 2015
Series: Prey #26
Genre: Thriller
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on April 29 for the chance to win a copy of Gathering Prey. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Winner will be notified within 48 hours after giveaway closes and you will have three days to respond after being contacted or another winner will be selected. Make sure to check your SPAM folder.

Meet the author
John Sandford is the pseudonym for the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist John Camp. Born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, he received a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Iowa. He has been a reporter at The Miami Herald and the St. Paul Pioneer-Press, where he won the Pulitzer Prize for a series of stories about a Midwestern farm family. He is the author of twenty-five Prey novels; four Kidd novels; The Night Crew; Dead Watch; eight Virgil Flowers novels, most recently Deadline; and a Young Adult novel, Uncaged, co-written with his wife, Michele Cook. They live in Santa Fe, New Mexico. For more information go to www.johnsandford.org.

My Musing ~ Musseled Out by Barbara Ross

Musseled OutMusseled Out by Barbara Ross is the third book in the “Maine Clambake” mystery series. Publisher: Kensington, April 2015

The busy summer tourist season is winding down in Busman’s Harbor, Maine, but Julia Snowden senses trouble simmering for the Snowden Family Clambake Company. Shifty David Thwing–the “Mussel King” of upscale seafood restaurants–is sniffing around town for a new location. But serving iffy clams turns out to be the least of his troubles.

When Thwing is found sleeping with the fishes beneath a local lobsterman’s boat, the police quickly finger Julia’s brother-in-law Sonny as the one who cooked up the crime. Sure, everyone knows Sonny despised the Mussel King. . .but Julia believes he’s innocent. Proving it won’t be easy, though. It seems there’s a lot more than murder on the menu, and Julia needs to act fast.

I love this book. Julia is on the case when her brother-in-law is implicated in a murder and in the pursuit of justice, Julia learns more about her family, her friends and herself.

I love how the author uses the narrative to let me visually see the town and the people of Busman’s Harbor from Gus’ restaurant, from Morrow Island, the multi-use police building, the fresh salty air and just walking the streets in the small town. I so want to visit this coastal town. The author did a great job in serving up multiple mysteries that grabbed my attention and kept it going until the last page was turned. This fast-paced drama had me caught up in all the action and it was fun watching it all come together, especially with that surprising twist that I did not see coming. Boasting an eclectic cast of characters, good conversation and a small town feel, this is my favorite book in the series. I really like the direction this story is taking and I’m looking forward to more exciting new adventures with Julia and her friends in this delightfully charming series.

Thank you, Barbara, for the appearance of my name in the acknowledgment section.

My Musing ~ Manhattan in Miniature by Margaret Grace

Manhattan in MiniatureManhattan in Miniature by Margaret Grace is the 8th book in the “Miniature” mystery series. Publisher: Perseverance Press, April 2015

Perhaps Manhattan, like Christmas, is best seen through the eyes of a child. Gerry Porter provides both magical experiences for granddaughter Maddie when a SuperKrafts manager takes them to New York City for a huge crafts fair. They get to work on both making miniatures and solving crimes, the detecting duo’s favorite pastimes. All this, plus Rockefeller Center and Radio City, too! But a crafty murderer wants to make sure they don’t make it safely home again to California.

I loved it. It was fun watching Maddie take in Manhattan with her grandma and Bebe by her side giving her the experience of a lifetime. I love how they both became involved in two mysteries and with keen observations were able to help in solving the crimes. The author did a great job in the telling of this story, placing me right in the middle of all the non-stop action. There were one tense moment when I was feeling the emotions that Gerry was feeling in trying to reach Maddie, but it all worked out well in the end. This is by far, my favorite book in this delightfully entertaining series. I can’t wait to see what awaits Gerry, Maddie and friends in their next miniature adventures.

My Musing ~ The Return of the Fallen Angels Book Club by R. Franklin James

The Return of the Fallen Book ClubThe Return of the Fallen Angels Book Club by R. Franklin James is the third book in the “Hollis Morgan” mystery series. Publisher: Camel Press, May 2015

Hollis Morgan is a survivor. She married young to flee an unloving family and ended up in prison, paying the price for her charming husband’s embezzlement. After finally obtaining a California judicial pardon, Hollis has climbed the ladder from paralegal to probate attorney at a respected law firm in the Bay Area. Unfortunately her first two cases are trials by fire. One involves a vicious family dispute over a disinheritance of family members who seem ready to stop at nothing to get their share. The other is the murder of her former parole officer, Jeffrey Wallace, whose will and family trust she is retained to file with the court. Too many people have motives and family mourners are few, so she resists processing the estate.

Without Jeffrey, Hollis’ successful reentry into society would never have been possible. It was he who introduced her to the Fallen Angels–his other white-collar ex-parolees seeking a second chance. The book club they formed was a comfort and a distraction, until two murders forced them back under the scrutiny of the law. The group disbanded during the ensuing investigation. Now, realizing their debt to Jeffrey, they come together once more, determined to uncover the truth.

Although Hollis has met a great guy–a police detective who knows about her past yet accepts her unconditionally–she is afraid to trust again. Naturally he doesn’t want to see her put her life in danger for the sake of a case, but he also knows she won’t stop until Jeffrey’s murderer is discovered. As both cases heat up, Hollis finds that probate law can bring out the worst in people and sometimes expose a killer.

This was very enjoyable. I like the way the story flowed easing me into a drama that quickly accelerated as time was running out and the need to know what was behind the murder was top of mind. I like the premise of an attorney and friends who are white collar ex-cons getting together to help the police solve their friend’s murder and of course there’s more going on that is uncovered as the story progresses. The author’s use of the plot twists that appeared gave me pause and made the telling of this story much more rewarding, especially the widow’s reason for why she did what she did. I like the way the author portrays Hollis a strong and determined protagonist; guarded yet shows a vulnerable side which keeps her grounded. This fast-paced, action-filled drama propels you to the end in this exciting mystery that leaves you wanting more. This was a great read and I hope there are more exciting challenges to come with Hollis and her friends.