Triple Time With 2017 Anticipation by Holstine, Love, and Zgorski

While most bloggers are discussing their favorite books of 2016 – and certainly we are not immune to doing that as well – we, Kristopher, Lesa, and Dru Ann have decided to focus our attention on the future. Our most recent Triple Post below will share with our followers some of the books we are most looking forward to in the coming months. By traveling to each of our three blogs, readers will discover nine new titles to add to their ever-growing to-be-read mountains.

Not wanting to lose sight of the holiday season, we have also each included a seasonally-themed book from the past that we think readers might enjoy delving into as the hustle and bustle of the month ahead begins.

But most of all, we just want to thank you for reading our blogs and hope that the books we have suggested over the past year have helped to add enjoyment to your day-to-day lives. If you have suggestions for Triple Post themes for 2017, do let us know.


I met the author at the BOLO Soiree in New Orleans at 2016 Bouchercon.  We chatted briefing and when Jill told me the premise of her book, I knew then, that I was eager to read the first book in her “Riley Ellison”  debut series from Prospect Park Books coming April 11, 2017.

The Good Byline by Jill Orr


Meet Riley Ellison, a smart, quirky, young library assistant who’s become known in her hometown of Tuttle Corner, Virginia, as Riley Bless-Her-Heart. Ever since her beloved granddaddy died and her longtime boyfriend broke up with her, Riley has been withdrawing from life. In an effort to rejoin the living, she signs up for an online dating service and tries to reconnect with her childhood best friend, Jordan James, a reporter at the Tuttle Times. But when she learns that Jordan committed suicide, Riley is shaken to the core.

Riley agrees to write Jordan’s obituary as a way to learn more about why a young woman with so much to live for would suddenly opt out. Jordan’s co-worker, a paranoid reporter with a penchant for conspiracy theories, convinces Riley that Jordan’s death was no suicide. He leads her down a dangerous path toward organized crime, secret lovers, and suspicious taco trucks.

Riley’s serpentine hunt for the truth eventually intersects with her emerging love life, and she makes a discovery that puts everything Riley holds dear—her job, the people she loves, and even her life—in danger. Will writing this obituary be the death of her?

Just to whet your appetite for more, one of the books on Kristopher’s list is . . .

In Farleigh Field by Rhys Bowen (March 1, 2017)


Rhys Bowen has been entertaining readers with historical stories for quite some time – both with her cozy Her Royal Spyness series and the more serious, but also rather cozy Molly Murphy mysteries. Now she is writing a historical thriller set during World War Two. Set in an ancestral home in England, In Farleigh Field sounds like a blend of Downton Abbey and The Bletchley Circle.

and on Lesa’s list is. . .

Desert Vengeance by Betty Webb

Do you know Lena Jones, the hard-nosed Scottsdale, Arizona private investigator? In the course of Betty Webb’s series, we’ve learned bits and pieces about Lena, who only vaguely remembers her childhood before she ended up in the foster system. It was a system that provided more nightmares for the young girl, as we learn in the ninth book in the series, Desert Vengeance.

Lena is waiting at the prison when one of her foster fathers, Brian Wycoff, is released from prison. He raped her when she was only nine, and he served twenty-five years for the abuse of other children in his care. Now, the former policewoman turned private investigator is stalking the man, reminding him and his wife of their actions. But, Wycoff’s wife is murdered. And, when Wycoff himself ends up dead, Lena tops the suspect list. When another woman is arrested, Lena agrees to investigate on her behalf. It’s a case that will test Lena’s beliefs, and take her one step closer to understanding her own story. Desert Vengeance is scheduled for a February release.

And the holiday-themed book I chose to share with my readers is. . . Rituals of the Season by Margaret Maron. This is one of my favorite book in this charmingly terrific series where Deborah Knott finally marries the man of her dreams.


Judge Deborah Knott has a severe case of anxiety in the final days before her late December nuptials to Deputy Sheriff Dwight Bryant. Her calendar is booked solid with receptions and parties, last-minute details, and family obligations. There is absolutely no way she can fit a homicide case into her schedule.

Nevertheless, when a friend and colleague is shot on the icy drive home and Dwight becomes the lead detective on the case, Deborah is immediately involved. Issues of ethics and confidentiality suddenly face her . . . right on the next pillow.

Renovations to the house where the newlyweds will live are shockingly behind schedule—and, as the clock ticks down, Deborah has serious doubts her rowdy brothers will finish the new construction in time. Meanwhile, her sisters-in-law are giving her etiquette advice, her maid of honor is so pregnant she may deliver during the ceremony, and somehow, Deborah must find a way to connect with her way young stepson-to-be.

And as if things are not already hectic enough, two law students turn up and demand that she help them stop the execution of an innocent woman—one who is scheduled to die in less than a month.

Now Deborah is in danger of losing sight of what really matters—the big, brown-eyed man who’s about to say “I do.” But just when she thinks she’s finally got order in the court and in her life, fate has one more pulse-pounding surprise in store . . .

Thanks again for stopping by my blog today. Please visit the other two blogs, BOLO Book and Lesa’s Book Critiques, to see what other books we are anticipating in 2017.


weekly update
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Week of Dec. 11, 2016 ~ New Releases
duncan dunn lynn mcpherson oust smith vallere

Congratulations to our winners!
Never Trust a Skinny Cupcake Baker by D.E. Haggerty – Patty Allen
Bring Your Own Baker by D.E. Haggerty – Patty Allen
A Very Private High School by Mar Preston – Donna G.
A Very Private High School by Mar Preston – Pauline B.
Plaid and Plagiarism by Molly MacRae – Dianne B.
Crime and Catnip by T.C. LoTempio – Ida U.

Last week on dru’s book musings
Dead, Bath and Beyond by Lorraine Bartlett
Plaid and Plagiarism by Molly MacRae
Prose and Cons by Amanda Flower
Crime and Catnip by T.C. LoTempio
Egg Drop Dead by Laura Childs
Stone Cold Blooded by Catherine Dilts


My Musing ~ Footprints to Murder by Marcia Talley

Footprints to Murder by Marcia Talley is the 15th book in the “Hannah Ives” mystery series. Publisher: Severn House Publishers, December 2016

footprints-to-murderWhen a man is murdered in the woods and the main suspect appears to be a giant ape, Hannah steps in to solve the mystery. Does Bigfoot really exist?

Hannah is delighted to reconnect with her former roommate, Susan Lockley, owner of Scarborough Fairs, at a college reunion, and agrees to step in when Susan’s assistant drops out of managing the Sasquatch Sesquicentennial in Granite Falls, Oregon. But when Martin Radcliffe, a professional debunker, is found murdered, surrounded by gigantic footprints, the culprit appears, or was meant to appear, obvious: Bigfoot.

Fantasy or fact? As the conference disintegrates into a chaos of finger pointing, mistrust and fear, it falls to Hannah to restore order. Working closely with Jake, a retired policeman and his K-9, Harley, Hannah hastens to stave off the vigilantes and solve the crime before Bigfoot, if he exists, comes one step closer to extinction.

This is my first Hannah book and I wondered why it took me so long to start this series. This well-written light drama pulled me in immediately keeping me engaged in all that was happening. When Hannah becomes embroiled in another murder mystery, she has to pick through truths and untruths in order to solve this puzzling whodunit where suspects are aplenty. I like the way the narrative lent itself to the telling of this tale as the path the players took kept the story moving at a good pace with some twists and turns that was staged perfectly and led to the killer’s identity and capture. I enjoyed this book and I look forward to reading more of Hannah’s adventures.

FTC Full Disclosure – I received a digital ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley.

My Musing ~ Pot Luck by Kendel Lynn

Pot Luck by Kendel Lynn is the fourth book in the “Elliott Lisbon” humorous mystery serious. Publisher: Henery Press, December 13, 2016

pot-luckGOING FOR THE GOLD. . .

It’s time for the Irish Spring at the Ballantyne Foundation, and charity director/PI-in-training Elliott Lisbon kicks off the annual Pot of Gold Cook-Off in shamrock style. Twenty chefs compete for the corned beef and cabbage crown but only one can win the title. The odds improve when one chef goes missing. . .until Elli finds the Ballantyne’s own Chef Carmichael standing over the body with a knife.

With pug puppies, Colonel Mustard and Mrs. White, by her side, Elli searches both sides of coastal living for a clue to the killer. From million dollar condos to a run-down trailer park, the evidence pits her against sexy Nick Ransom, and the case gets hotter than a handful of peppercorns. But despite a confession and cooperative suspect, she knows something about the case smells funny—and it has nothing to do with the cook-off.

The luck of the Irish is nowhere in sight, but if Elli can’t crack this one open, Chef’s goose will get cooked for good.

This is one of those series that I love revisiting when a new book comes around. When a friend is murder and the primary suspect claims to have committed the crime and you don’t believe him, what else are you to do but investigate to find the true killer and of course add investigative hours towards your PI license? And that is where this engaging story began and kept me entertained as the author did a great job in setting the stage for a well written mystery complete with several suspects, a handsome lieutenant and two precocious little pugs. The narrative kept me in tuned with all that was happening from trailer parks, to golf courses, to the Big House and a few surprising twists that resulted in the apprehension of the perpetrator. I like that all the main characters played a pivotal roles that enhanced the telling of this tale. Elli is one of my favorite characters and I love her strong sense of being, her spunkiness and her determination to do what needs to be done. Boasting an eclectic cast of characters, clever and enticing dialogue and the perfect backdrop of the Ballantyne estate and Sea Pine Island, this is one of the best books in this delightfully captivating series.

FTC Full Disclosure – I received an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) book from the author.

My Musing ~ Forgotten City by Carrie Smith

Forgotten City by Carrie Smith is the second book in the “Claire Codella” mystery series. Publisher: Crooked Lane Books, December 13, 2016

forgotten-cityNYPD Detective Claire Codella is chomping at the bit for a new case. Lieutenant McGowan is determined to keep her out of the news, but she’s about to be back in the public eye in a big way.

Broadway legend Lucy Merchant has tragically succumbed to early onset Alzheimer’s. At age fifty-six, she’s tucked away in the dementia care unit of the ultra-exclusive Manhattan care facility Park Manor. When she falls asleep and doesn’t wake up, her billionaire husband is ready for the funeral, but her daughter demands an investigation.

Only three months back on the job after cancer treatment, Codella finds herself at the center of a high profile case nearly everyone–especially her lieutenant–wants to shut down. But the forensic evidence raises alarming questions and Codella needs answers. To find them, she will have to crack the defenses of slippery administrators, frightened caregivers, and unobliging family members, all while unlocking some of her own dark memories.

Forgotten City, Carrie Smith’s gripping follow-up to Silent City, pits the unrelenting detective against a cast of diverse New Yorkers driven by their desires and ambitions and haunted by their pasts. But can she piece together the truth before the murderer kills again?

This is the second book in the series and I loved it. This is a well-written drama and I like the ease in which it flowed from chapter to chapter. The action was non-stop and the narrative pulled me in immediately, quickly becoming a page turner. The multi-plot mystery was executed in a way to keep me intrigued as to what was happening with this eclectic cast of characters. From the initial death, to hint of murder to the husband’s reaction to caretaker’s angst and to the others who all played a pivotal role in the conclusion to this story. I love Claire’s spunk and determination to face the world and her superior, who is a jerk. The author did a great job in casting culpability towards those involved in the homicide and it was those sneaky little surprising twists that ratcheted this riveting tale up a notch or two. In addition to a great cast, the dialogue was engaging and of course it has the perfect backdrop of New York City. I thought the first book in the series was great, but this one outshines it by a mile. I’m so happy that there is a third book on the horizon and I can’t wait to read the next book in this terrific series.

FTC Full Disclosure – I received an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) from the author.

My Musing ~ The Reek of Red Herrings by Catriona McPherson

The Reek of Red Herrings by Catriona McPherson is the fifth book in the “Dandy Gilver” historical mystery series. Publisher: Minotaur Books, December 13, 2016.  Note: Overall, there are 11 books in the “Dandy Gilver” series published in the U.K.

The Reek of Red HerringsOn the rain-drenched, wave-lashed, wind-battered Banffshire coast, tiny fishing villages perch on ledges that would make a seagull think twice, and crumbly mansions cling to crumblier cliff tops while, out in the bay, the herring drifters brave the storms to catch their silver darlings. It’s nowhere for a child of gentle Northamptonshire to spend Christmas.

But when odd things start to turn up in barrels of fish―with a strong whiff of murder most foul―that’s exactly where Dandy Gilver finds herself. Enlisted to investigate, she and her trusty cohort, Alec Osborne, are soon swept up in the fisherfolks’ wedding season as well as the mystery. Between age-old traditions and brand-new horrors, Dandy must think the unthinkable to solve her grisliest case yet.

I love how this book was set-up to keep me engaged in all facets of this intriguing drama. The multi-plot storyline led me on various deadly encounters within the narrative that was visually descriptive. At times I stumbled over the language, but it added to my understanding of what was going on and by the end, it felt comfortable. The mystery was well-planned with twists and turns that captured the essence of the participants and each move taken by Dandy and Alec took us closer to our quarry. Catriona writes with great aplomb bringing a vivid interpretation of 1920s Scotland that enriched the presentation of this solid whodunit. This was an enjoyable read with a satisfying outcome.

FTC Full Disclosure – I received an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) from the author.

A Day in the Life of Lorina Dimple by Catherine Dilts

stone-cold-bloodedI might be a minor player in this tale, but I can tell you a thing or two about the goings on in Golden Springs, Colorado. After all, I’m the one who realized there was a leprechaun running around Old Man Day’s survivalist compound. You can just disregard those other theories. What I saw was no alien from outer space. No sir.

On that particular day, I should have been tending to my Western Outfitters and Outfits store. Instead, I took the morning off to go shooting with a tall, lean cowboy by the name of Delano Addison. I’ll admit neither of us is exactly a spring chicken, but I’m still a pretty hot chick. Besides, age never stopped romance from blooming.

Delano works for the Rock of Ages rock shop, up the hill from Golden Springs. He was giving a couple newbies instructions in gun safety. You see, the shop’s owner, Morgan Iverson, and local newspaper editor Kurt Willard, both had run-ins with a bad guy not long ago.

Morgan had finally hit the target. No bull’s eye, mind you, but the gal was improving her aim. She no sooner opens her mouth to let us know how well she did, when an explosion rocks the ranch. Like to scare that poor old pregnant donkey into a miscarriage. There was ammo going off, and more explosions, until I thought maybe terrorists had invaded.

Then there was a silence that was just about worse than the racket.

We raced to the ranch uphill. The local police department, all two of them, warned us to stay clear of the place. The booby trap at the gate probably wasn’t the only mischief devised by the reclusive Eustace Day. I gotta admire a man who plans for any eventuality.

While we were waiting outside the gate to Day’s ranch, Morgan noticed something rustling around in the tall weeds. When I saw it, I knew right away the critter was a leprechaun. He’d lost every stitch of clothing. Probably blown off in one of the explosions. I hushed Morgan when she commented that he was naked. No need to embarrass the little fella.

Now here’s the real tragedy. Morgan was just getting ready to snap a photo when a hawk swooped down. The both of us screamed, and the leprechaun let out a shriek that’d break your heart. There goes any chance of finding a pot of gold. And we don’t even have a picture to prove we saw him.

Who’s going to believe us now?

Stone Cold Blooded is the third book in the Rock Shop Mystery series, released by Encircle Publishing in October 2016.

When Colorado rock shop owner Morgan Iverson’s reclusive neighbor is blown to bits, the police believe he stumbled into his own trap. His granddaughter claims he was murdered, and asks Morgan and newspaperman Kurt Willard to find his killer.

Everything goes wrong as Morgan’s budding romance with Kurt is threatened by the unexpected appearance of his Hollywood ex-wife, her new boy band lookalike employee vanishes, and Kurt’s opponent in a heated campaign for city council accuses him of attempted murder.

Even the rock shop’s two mascot donkeys keep her on edge. Adelaide’s long pregnancy makes Morgan worry she’ll never drop the foal. When alien hunters invade, searching for creatures near the rock shop, Morgan is happy to escape to a big mineral and fossil show in Denver. Until her hopes for success there turn to disaster.

A feud between Morgan’s uncle and her dead neighbor could provide clues to his demise, but memories of the events decades ago don’t add up. In book three of the Rock Shop Mystery series, a Triceratops brow horn may hold the key to solving a prospector’s Stone Cold Blooded death.

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About the author
Catherine Dilts is the author of the Rock Shop Mystery series, while her short stories appear regularly in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine. With a day job as an environmental regulatory technician, Catherine’s stories often have environmental or factory-based themes. Her novels reflect her love of the Colorado mountains. You can learn more about Catherine at and on Goodreads.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of Stone Cold Blooded. US entries only, please. The giveaway ends December 12, 2016. Good luck everyone!

A Day in the Life with Suzanne Dietz by Laura Childs

egg-drop-deadWhen autumn lingers and the oaks and maples are still brazenly showing fall foliage, it’s a fine time to take a drive in the country and pick up some wheels of Cheddar cheese at Mike Mullen’s dairy farm. That sounds easy enough, right? But a couple of days ago, it all blew up into a huge crisis. Walking into Mike’s barn, I was greeted by the urgent, upturned faces of four dozen cows that hadn’t been milked. Thinking something must have happened to Mike, I hurried back to his cheese workshop where all the magic happens. But when I went in, there was poor Mike, laying on the floor, blood spattered all over the place, and his clothes ripped to shreds as if he was some sort of desert island castaway.

And, yes, he was dead.

I’m no scaredy cat, so I stayed as calm as possible and called Sheriff Doogie. And then I called my fiancé Sam, who happens to be the town doctor. They came rip-roaring in, took a look at the scene of the crime, and sort of scratched their heads. They couldn’t imagine who would commit a terrible crime on such a mild-mannered farmer.

Well, the upshot of the whole thing is that now I’m embroiled in the murder investigation. And of course I’ve got the Cackleberry Club to run as well. Besides Sam, the Cackleberry Club, along with my partners Toni and Petra, are the loves of my life. We’re a homey little restaurant that makes everything from scratch (especially all manner of egg dishes!) and stages a ton of events such as our Knitter’s Tea and Friday night pizza party.

But back to the murder. I’ve got a few suspects on my short list. A shunned neighbor boy who may or may not be a witness. A strange, taciturn man who’s transporting horses to Canada. Mike’s unhappy wife Claudia. And a pushy corporate vendor who’s forever bulling his way into the Cackleberry Club.

Somehow, I manage to keep my good humor and my romance with Sam sizzling, all the while dealing with Junior’s broken leg, a wild chase through the woods, prowlers in my backyard, and stolen horses. Sound like my plate is full? It surely is. So please please stop by the Cackleberry Club and let us fill your plate, too. Or as least share a few of our delicious recipes. Because Egg Drop Dead is outrageous and downright fun. It’s a new kind of thriller-cozy (a thrillzy!) that’s liberally sprinkled with humor and packed with twists and turns you’ll never see coming!

Bonus recipe! Warm up your winter days with Egg Drop Dead Soup

Egg Drop Dead Soup

egg-drop-soup2 cups Chicken Broth
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 eggs, beaten
2 small green onions, chopped finely
Salt and pepper to taste

In a saucepan, bring chicken broth, ground ginger, and soy sauce to a simmer. Slowly stream in the beaten eggs while stirring the soup in one direction. Add chopped green onions. Add salt and pepper to taste. Yields 4 servings.

Egg Drop Dead is the seventh book in the Cackleberry Club mystery series, published by Penguin Random House, December 2016.

In Laura Childs’s New York Times bestselling mystery series, Suzanne, Petra, and Toni—co-owners of the Cackleberry Club café—are back to track down another bad egg. . .

Maintaining good personal relationships with their suppliers is one of the secrets of the Cackleberry Club café’s success, so Suzanne doesn’t mind going out to Mike Mullen’s dairy farm to pick up some wheels of cheese. She’s looking forward to a nice visit with the mild-mannered farmer before heading back to their hectic kitchen.

But when she arrives, Mike’s nowhere to be found. The moaning of his cows leads her to look in the barn, where she discovers a bloodcurdling sight—the farmer’s dead body. Apparently not everyone was as fond of Mike Mullen as the Cackleberry Club.

Churning with grief and outrage, Suzanne, Petra, and Toni vow to find the farmer’s murderer—but as they get closer to the truth, the desperate killer gets whipped into a frenzy and plans to put the squeeze on them. . .


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About the author
Gerry SLaura Childs is the USA Today, Publishers Weekly, and New York Times bestselling author of the Tea Shop Mysteries, Scrapbooking Mysteries, and Cackleberry Club Mysteries. In her previous life she was CEO of her own marketing firm, authored several screenplays, and produced two reality TV shows. She is married to Dr. Bob, a professor of Chinese art history, enjoys travel, and has two Chinese Shar-Pei dogs. Visit Laura at

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of Egg Drop Dead. US entries only, please. The giveaway ends December 11, 2016. Good luck everyone!

A Day in the Life with Nick Charles by T.C. LoTempio

crime-and-catnipMy name is Nick Charles, and I’m the handsome half of the Nick and Nora mysteries! Like my idol, Midnight Louie, I’m short, dark and handsome. . .and furry! In case you’ve haven’t guessed. . .I’m a cat! But not just any cat – I’m one who solves mysteries!

I used to belong to a PI who’s since gone MIA, and it appears I’ve inherited my former master’s flair for detection. I love helping my human, Nora Charles, solve mysteries. She’s an ex-crime reporter who came back here to Cruz, California to run her late mother’s sandwich shop. Of course, mysteries are also in her blood! I’ve helped her out many a time (ahem) by my ability to spell out clues with Scrabble tiles! I’ve also saved her life a time or two, as well.

In addition to Nora, I’m also fond of her bestie, Chantal. Chantal’s a psychic who runs a New Age shop, and she makes jewelry on the side. Her latest brainstorm is pet collars – and guess who’s drafted as her model (I should say unwilling model, meow!) I must confess, though, I’m a ham at heart, so I just suck it up when she slips those collars on me ‘cause I just love being in her video on You Tube!!!!!!

As for Nora’s love life, well, right now she’s got two suitors. FBI agent Daniel Corleone and her ex-college sweetie, Detective Leroy Samms. She seems torn between the two, but come on! We all know who’s numero uno in her heart, don’t’ we, merow!!!!!

Well, looks like it’s lunchtime. Time for me to leave my favorite spot in front of the fridge and check out today’s special! She’s making a Brad Pitt hero today – hope there’s some ham left over for me, merow! After all, a cat’s gotta eat. . .

Brad Pitt All-American Hero

6 slices bologna
6 slices cheddar cheese
6 slices Virginia Ham
Long Hero Roll
2 tablespoons mayo
Hot peppers
Shredded lettuce
4 slices tomatoes
Oil and Vinegar

Slice long roll, spread liberally with mayo. Cover with a layer of Virginia Ham, then a layer of bologna, then cheddar cheese. Garnish with hot peppers, tomato, and shredded lettuce. Sprinkle with Oil and vinegar.

Crime and Catnip is the third book in the Nick and Nora mystery series, published by Penguin Random House, December 2016.

Nick and Nora aren’t just pussyfooting around this time as they deal with a missing person’s case and murder.

While catering a gala for the Cruz Museum, Nora Charles agrees to look into the disappearance of director Violet Crenshaw’s niece, a case previously undertaken by her frisky feline friend Nick’s former owner, a private eye whose whereabouts are also currently unknown.

As Nora and her curious cat Nick pull at the string of clues, they begin to unravel a twisted tale of coded messages, theft, false identities, murder, and international espionage. Nora dares to hope that the labyrinth of leads will not only help them locate the missing young woman, but also solve the disappearance of the detective. That’s if Nora can stay alive long enough to find him. . .

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About the author
While Toni LoTempio does not commit – or solve – murders in real life, she has no trouble doing it on paper. Her lifelong love of mysteries began early on when she was introduced to her first Nancy Drew mystery at age 10 – The Secret in the Old Attic. She (and ROCCO, albeit he’s uncredited) pen the Nick and Nora mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime – and in Spring 2017, the new CAT RESCUE mysteries from Crooked Lane! She, Rocco and company make their home in Clifton, New Jersey, just twenty minutes from the Big Apple – New York. Catch up with them at and

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of Crime and Catnip. US entries only, please. The giveaway ends December 10, 2016 at 11:59 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

A Morning at Charming Books with Grandma Daisy Waverly by Amanda Flower

prose-and-consViolet, my beloved granddaughter, is here to stay. It does a grandmother good to know it. It did take a little bit of trickery on my part. You see, I fooled Violet into moving back to Cascade Springs, our little village just outside of Niagara Falls, New York. I had to trick her. It was the only way to get her to come back. After a difficult senior year of high school and before the ink was dry on high school diploma, Violet fled the village and was gone for twelve long years. To make her to return, all it took was for me to tell her I was dying.

Okay, I wasn’t actually dying. I fibbed, but it worked and that’s what matters. I got her to come back the village and was finally able to tell her about her magical destiny as the next Caretaker of Charming Books, the magical bookshop that has been in our family for generations. Believe you me, she was a little miffed that I had lied to her about the dying part and also a little bit disbelieving when I told her about her magical heritage. It is a lot to absorb, and Violet is not one for surprises.

But now, that’s all water under the bridge, and she is here to stay. This knowledge allowed me to enjoy the beautiful autumn morning as I walked from my little house to Charming Books. The air was crisp and scent of fallen leaves and pumpkin spice everything was heavy. I do love autumn so. I skipped up the bookshop’s front steps and pushed open the door. As I did so, I went from the serene fall scene to bedlam.

“Faulkner! Faulkner! Give that back!” Violet ran around the bookshop, shaking her fist at the bird. “I’ll sic all the magic of the birch tree on you! I’m the Caretaker now. Don’t you forget it!”

Faulkner, shop crow, flew above her head holding a small book in his talons. When he zoomed passed me, I saw that it was a weathered copy of Walden.

Violet loves Walden so. She is writing about it in her dissertation. I could tell that she had been working on her paper. Her laptop was in the middle of the coffee table, and papers, files, books, and pens covered the remainder of the table, the couch, and the floor. She’d clean it all up before the bookshop opened at ten. She always did.

Violet raced after the bird. Her strawberry-blond hair flew behind her like a red-gold banner. “When I get my hands on you, crow, you will be sorry!”

Faulkner cawed, and it sounded a lot like a cackle. Unfortunately, the crow’s laughter was short lived because Emerson, Violet’s tuxedo cat, leapt from the top of one of tall bookcase with a primal yowl. The crow cried out in fear and dropped the book from his talons before flying to the safety of the birch tree that grew in the middle of our shop.

Emerson sat on the book where it landed at the base of the tree, glaring up at the bird.

“That’s quite a guard cat you have there,” I quipped.

Violet dropped into a chair. Her hair half covered her pretty face.

“Do you need tea, my dear?” I asked.

She nodded. “Yes, tea. I need tea. And a cupcake. Maybe a dozen cupcakes.”

I laughed. “You’re going to need a lot more than a dozen cupcakes to get through today. The Cascade Springs Food and Wine Festival starts tomorrow not to mention the Poe-try Reading that we have planned.” I smiled. “And I don’t need to remind you that Chief David Rainwater will be at the Red Inkers meeting tonight, do I?”

She groaned and slid to the floor in a heap. Her hair completely covered her face from view.

Faulkner and I chuckled. It was so good to have her home.


Buy a mystery and help feed a community! Purchase any edition of Prose and Cons book, between now and Tuesday, December 20, 2016, and Amanda will donate one dollar for every book sold to a food pantry, The Landing, located in Akron, Ohio. The Learned Owl is also making a $1 donation to the Landing for every copy the bookstore sells and is selling PERSONALIZED AND SIGNED copies on the novel. They can ship anywhere.

Learned Owl | Amazon | B&N | Books-A-Million | CBD

Prose and Cons is the second book in the Magical Bookshop mystery series, published by Penguin Random House, December 2016.

Magic, books, and cats collide in a village near Niagara Falls in the latest mystery from the author of Crime and Poetry. . .

In Cascade Springs, New York, Violet Waverly and her grandma, Daisy, are the proprietors of Charming Books, where the power of the written word is positively enchanting. . .

October in Cascade Springs means tourists are pouring in for the annual Food and Wine Festival, and Daisy hopes to draw those crowds to the store. She asks Violet and the local writing group, the Red Inkers, to give a reading of the works of Edgar Allan Poe in the shop’s back garden to entertain the revelers. Everyone eagerly agrees.

Yet their enthusiasm is soon extinguished when Violet discovers one of the writers dead during the event. After the shop magically tells Violet she’ll need to rely on Poe’s works to solve the murder, she enlists the help of her trusty tuxedo cat, Emerson, and the shop’s crow, Faulkner. But they must act fast before someone else’s heart beats nevermore. . .

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About the author
Amanda Flower, a national bestselling and Agatha Award winning mystery author. She also writes mysteries as USA Today bestselling author Isabella Alan. In addition to being an author, Amanda is librarian in Northeast Ohio. Follow Amanda on Social Media at: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

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