Monthly Archives: September 2012

A Charming Potion by Tonya Kappes

A Charming Potion by Tonya Kappes is a short story based on the “Magical Cures” mystery series. September 2012

What happens when June Heal goes against spiritualist rules and makes a LOVE POTION on the most sacred night of a spiritualist’s life, Halloween? Someone gets the potion that wasn’t supposed to. But who? There isn’t any amount of Ding Dongs that is going to help her fix this mess.

It’s the most magical time of the year in Whispering Falls and Tonya delights us with this charmingly bewitching short story where love is in the air with surprising outcome for June Heal.

Murder of the Cat’s Meow by Denise Swanson

Murder of the Cat’s Meow by Denise Swanson is the 15th book in the “Scumble River” mystery series. Publisher: Obsidian, October 2012

When ex–Vegas showgirl and local business owner Bunny Reid starts an online dating service called Cupid’s Cat’s Meow, out-of-town visitors flock to her bowling alley for the speed dating and cat show events that she hosts to bring in extra cash. Bunny’s scheme sounds harmless enough, but school psychologist Skye Denison knows all too well that an influx of strangers in Scumble River always spells trouble….

Meanwhile, Skye is convinced that her house is haunted and is afraid her fiancé, police chief Wally Boyd, won’t move in until the ghost moves out. But ghost-hunting takes a back seat when Skye is called to the bowling alley, where a riled up contestant is choking a cat show judge for insulting his feline. Skye breaks up the scuffle, but the next morning the judge’s dead body is found, strangled with a cat toy. Now Skye must solve this purrplexing mystery—and show a devious killer that her sleuthing skills are the cat’s meow.

This was a fun book. Skye and her friends are back and I couldn’t be any happier. First Skye has to deal with a murder, then plans for her upcoming wedding and finally a way to de-haunt her house of Mrs. Griggs. I enjoyed the way the mystery played out keeping me in suspense especially when the killer was revealed. I especially love how Skye and Wally continue to work together to tackle police investigations. Boasting a great cast of characters, great dialogue and friendly interaction, this was the best book yet in the pleasantly appealing series and I can’t wait for the next chapters in the lives of Skye and her friends.

Death In Four Courses by Lucy Burdette

Death In Four Courses by Lucy Burdette is the second book in the “Key West Food Critic” mystery series. Publisher: Obsidian, September 2012

As the new food critic for Key Zest magazine, Hayley Snow went from being a culinary groupie to one of Florida’s cutting-edge tastemakers. But as always, when life serves Haley a dream come true, it comes paired with a most exquisite murder.

The annual Key West literary conference is drawing the biggest names in food writing from all over the country, and Haley is there to catch a few fresh morsels of insider gossip. Superstar restaurant critic Jonah Barrows has already ruffled a few foodie feathers with his recent tell-all memoir, and as keynote speaker, he promises more of the same jaw-dropping honesty.

But when Hayley discovers Jonah’s body in a nearby dipping pool, the cocktail-hour buzz takes a sour turn, and Hayley finds herself at the center of attention—especially with the police. Now it’s up to her to catch the killer before she comes to her own bitter finish.

What a great time I had reading this delightful whodunit with a mystery that had me turning the pages quickly as the story moved forward in this well-written drama. Hayley is a fun character and I love her joyous spirit as she goes about her day critiquing food and seeing justice served on a platter. The appearance of her mother hunting down clues with her is a welcome bonus that I also enjoyed. I can’t wait for the next book in this wonderful series.

Wall to Wall Dead by Jennie Bentley

Wall to Wall Dead by Jennie Bentley is the sixth book in the “Do-It-Yourself” mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime, September 2012

Avery Baker never thought she’d leave Manhattan, until she inherited her aunt’s old Maine cottage and found her true calling—home renovation. But when Avery goes to work restoring a condominium, she discovers it’s another condo owner who’s been condemned.

Avery and her partner, Derek, are fixing up a cute little condo in homey Waterfield, Maine, hoping for a quick turnaround and some extra money. It seems like a simple project—and Avery is looking forward to using her big-city experience with small spaces.

But they didn’t expect to have their every move watched by the resident busybody in the condo, Hilda Shaw, who loves snooping on everyone’s comings and goings. When the busybody becomes a dead body, Avery suspects foul play. Soon she’s doing some snooping of her own—and it seems everyone in the complex has a secret. Could one of them be worth killing for? Avery needs to work fast, before someone decides to fix her…for good.

When their new nosy neighbor is found dead, the cops deemed it an accident, but not our Avery who sense something sinister, especially when she uncovers the dirty deed that Mrs Shaw was doing. Who wanted her dead? When another of the neighbor dies, the stakes are higher and a killer must be stopped before another life is lost.

This was a great read that I enjoyed immensely. This fast-paced, non-stop action whodunit kept me on my toes as I followed the moves that Avery made in unraveling a crime in her neighborhood. The author did a good job with the mystery that had me closely paying attention to the directions the clues were leading in exposing the killer. Avery is a great character and I love how she inserts herself in a case. With Derek by her side, they make an awesome crime-fighting duo. This was the best story yet in this fantastically appealing series and I can’t wait to see what’s next for our happy couple.

Author Showcase ~ Seconds Away and Shelter by Harlan Coben

About Seconds Away
When tragedy strikes close to home, Mickey Bolitar and his loyal new friends—sharp-witted Ema and the adorkably charming Spoon—find themselves at the center of a terrifying mystery involving the shooting of their friend Rachel. Now, not only does Mickey have to continue his quest to uncover the truth about the Abeona Shelter, the Butcher of Lodz and the mysterious death of his father, he needs to figure out who shot Rachel—no matter what it takes.

Mickey has always been ready to sacrifice everything to help the people he loves. But with danger just seconds away, how can he protect them when he’s not even sure who—or what—he’s protecting them from?

Watch the trailer!

About Shelter
The stunning young adult debut from international bestseller Harlan Coben is now in paperback!

Mickey Bolitar’s year can’t get much worse. After witnessing his father’s death and sending his mom to rehab, he’s forced to live with his estranged uncle Myron and switch high schools. Fortunately, he’s met a great girl, Ashley, and it seems like things might finally be improving. But then Ashley vanishes. Mickey follows Ashley’s trail into a seedy underworld that reveals that Ashley isn’t who she claimed to be. And neither was Mickey’s father. Soon Mickey learns about a conspiracy so shocking that it leaves him questioning everything about the life he thought he knew.

Watch the trailer!

Series: Mickey Bolitar
Publisher: Penguin

** Thanks to Penguin, I have copies of both SECONDS AWAY and SHELTER to give away to two (2) lucky winners. Contest open to US residents only. Contest ends October 3. Leave a comment to be included in the giveaway. The book will be shipped directly from the publisher. **

About the author
Harlan Coben is the #1 New York Times Bestselling author of numerous adult novels, and the winner of the Edgar Award, Shamus Award, and Anthony Award – the first author to receive all three. His books are published in forty languages with over 47 million copies in print worldwide – and have been #1 Bestsellers in over a dozen countries. He lives in New Jersey.

Find out more:

On The Go With Zoe Hunter by Sara Rosett

A typical day? That’s a tough one.

See, I don’t have a set schedule, and I love it.

I tried the nine-to-five office routine, but it was like the death of a thousand cuts—paper cuts, that is. But still, I couldn’t take it.

I guess you’d say my days are fluid. I’m a “Jill of All Trades.” I do it all: freelance copy-editing, property management, virtual assistant, even dog walking. I like the variety. Sure, it’s a little insecure, but I’m not exactly what you’d call cautious. I don’t look before I leap. No, I’m more likely to charge over the edge of the cliff and worry about the consequences later.

Normally, I love surprises and the unknown. This situation with my ex, Jack, is the exception. Ah, Jack—that was probably my most impulsive move ever—getting married on the spur of the moment. It was crazy, but it felt so right…

Anyway, right now everything is getting a little too crazy, even for me. Jack has disappeared, there’s a ton of money missing from the banking account of the small business he owned with a partner, and the investigators think I know what happened.

I’m not sure what Jack was involved in, but I’ve been dragged into it, too. Normally, I’m up for new experiences, but being investigated by the FBI was never on my bucket list, so I’ve been poking around. It seems Jack left out a few key details about himself. I’m counting on his cousin in Vegas to have some answers. After that, who knows? I’ll follow the trail until I figure out what’s going on, so I can get back to my “normal” crazy life.

You can read about Zoe’s search for answers that takes her from Las Vegas to Italy in Elusive (Book #1 in the “On The Run” series). It’s available in ebook format from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple, and Smashwords.

** Sara is giving away two (2) digital copies of ELUSIVE for either the Kindle or the Nook. Contest ends September 30. Leave a comment to be included in the giveaway. The e-book will be sent directly from the author. **

Meet the author
A native Texan, Sara is the author of the “Ellie Avery” mystery series and the “On The Run” travel thrillers. As a military spouse, Sara has moved around the country (frequently!) and traveled internationally, which inspired her latest travel thrillers. Publishers Weekly called Sara’s books, “satisfying,” “well-executed,” and “sparkling.”

Sara loves all things bookish, considers dark chocolate a daily requirement, and is on a quest for the best bruschetta. Connect with Sara at You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Goodreads.

Spend The Day With Lovie Valentine by Peggy Webb

I love to wake up wearing my favorite tee shirt which says The Queen of Everything. It starts my day off right – that and a breakfast that includes plenty of fat and sugar. I don’t trust a woman who won’t eat fat and sugar. Usually I have three slices of bacon, two eggs scrambled with plenty of cheese and butter, and two buttered biscuits slathered with strawberry/fig jam. Homemade. Aunt Ruby Nell’s growing figs down on the farm and lately has been trying to find her Domestic Diva. We’re all crossing our fingers that she won’t set her caftan on fire. Nobody but Ruby Nell Valentine would make jam wearing a caftan suited to the queen of a country nobody ever heard of.

After breakfast, I call Callie. If a day went by without talking to my cousin, best friend and partner in crime, I guess I’d have to eat six doughnuts to get over it. Today she’s seeking love advice from the expert. That would be me, the woman with more men trying to find my National Treasure than Elvis has fleas. That’s Callie’s favorite hound dog, in case you were thinking of somebody in a white sequined jumpsuit. And National Treasure is what I had tattooed on my hips when Callie and I were chasing the Memphis mambo murderer up on Beale Street. A great place to go if you like pork barbecue and blues.

Since nobody’s been stabbed, shot at, covered with peanut butter and hung out for the birds, I get out my baking pans and start making cakes for the Christmas charity benefit at the mall. I’m the best cook and caterer in Mississippi, and let me tell you, these people in Tupelo keep me hopping. I always keep plenty of leftovers for personal emergencies. Just last week when I was trying to decide whether to let Rocky Malone find my National Treasure, it took half a chocolate pound cake and a dozen chocolate chip cookies before I could make a decision. Of course, Callie ate some of it, but I reckon she’s destined to be skinny no matter how much chocolate she eats.

After the baking’s done, I drive out to Hair.Net so I can be front and center with all the Mooreville gossip swirling around Callie’s beauty shop. Plus, I have to help Elvis take care of my tender-hearted cousin. Listen, if you think a 190-pound bombshell and a basset hound can’t keep this Valentine family straight, just hop in your car and drop by the beauty shop. I’ll keep the Prohibition Punch chilled for you.

You can read more about Lovie in Elvis and the Blue Christmas Corpse, the fifth book in the “Southern Cousins” mystery series. The first book in the series is Elvis and The Dearly Departed.

Meet the author
This best-selling author has almost 70 books to her credit. She lives in a cottage in Mississippi and loves gardening, playing piano and singing in church choir. Her dogs inspired Elvis, the basset hound who thinks he’s the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll in her popular comedic Southern Cousins Mystery Series. She writes literary fiction under the pen name Anna Michaels. She has acted in several stage roles at her local community theater and won many writing awards, including a Romantic Times Pioneer Award for creating the sub-genre of romantic comedy. Several of her romances have been optioned for film.

Follow the author on her websites:, and on Facebook (Peggy Webb and Anna Michaels).

Books are available at retail and online booksellers.

A Day in the Life Of Simon Alastair by Christopher Lord

I own a bookstore, Pip’s Pages, in the small town of Dickens Junction, Oregon (just outside Astoria, near the mouth of the Columbia River). Dickens Junction was founded more than fifty years ago by my grandfather, Ebenezer Dickens Junior, to honor the life and works of Charles Dickens, his favorite author. My parents died when I was a child, and so my grandparents, Ebbie and Melanie, raised me. After graduating from college I returned to Dickens Junction to carry on the traditions my grandfather started so many years ago. I’ve lived in and around Dickens Junction and Astoria most of my life (I’m forty-five).

I love living in a small town. I know almost everyone, and spend much of my time at the bookstore. Because of my inheritance I don’t need to make a living, so I stock only books I’ve actually read; that way I can assure customers that I stand behind books I recommend.

Because Dickens Junction has Dickens-related celebrations throughout the year, I’m always busy planning one event or another. Right now, because it’s getting close to the holidays, I’m working with other Junxonians getting ready to put on the annual Christmas Carol tableaux in Dickens Square, home to Pip’s Pages and other local Dickens Junction businesses. This year I’m playing Scrooge in the tableau that shows Scrooge being visited by the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come.

This morning I woke up and went downstairs where my housekeeper and personal chef Bethany Cruse was making another one of her excellent breakfasts. Because I’m so busy with civic responsibilities in Dickens Junction I don’t have time to cook or clean for myself and, while I’m handy around the kitchen, I haven’t been to culinary school like Bethany. Today’s breakfast was shirred eggs with tomato/habañero confit, homemade savory scones with rosemary garlic butter from Dingley Dell Dairy, and Free Trade coffee. I’ll have to workout a few extra minutes with my trainer and bookstore assistant Brock Spurlock sometime later today (Brock is also Bethany’s boyfriend). While I was eating, my tortie Devon Rex, Miss Tox, came and curled up in my lap and went to sleep, her usual activity.

Now that I’m at the bookstore I’m doing paperwork in the back office and waiting on customers in the front. I’ve given Brock the afternoon off to help set up the backdrops and props for the tableaux tonight. I’ll check to make sure that I have every Dickens novel and story collection shelved correctly (in order of completion, not alphabetically), and to further make sure that the Nancy Drew shelves are in numerical order. I dashed next door to get a coffee drink from Lirriper’s Lattes, and when I got back a very peculiar man (well dressed, but not my type) has just asked me for a copy of Atlas Shrugged. By no means one of my favorite books (I read it when I was young and impressionable, but I’ve outgrown Ayn Rand’s shallow philosophy and wooden characters), I stock it because I have read it. He was a most peculiar man, and I felt like washing my hands when he left the store. He said very unsettling things, but I don’t have time to think about it now.

And just now, a few minutes after the stranger left, another stranger entered the store. This one, however, is handsome, a few years younger than I, and entirely used to attracting the attention of both men and women wherever he goes. Zach Benjamin (that’s his name) says he’s in town doing research for a travel magazine, and wants to have a drink with me after I’m done posing for the tableaux. I’m not seeing anyone, so I don’t know what harm can come from it.

Sorry, I have to go now. It’s time to put on my Ebenezer Scrooge nightshirt. Thanks for stopping by the store.

(This is the opening day of the action in Christopher Lord’s new novel, The Christmas Carol Murders. See more at (

You can read more about Simon in The Christmas Carol Murders, the first book in the new “Dickens Junction” mystery series.

Meet the author
Christopher Lord was born in Astoria, Oregon. He now lives in Portland with his partner of twenty years and their Devon Rex, Miss Corey, the inspiration for Simon’s Miss Tox. He is hard at work on future books in the Dickens Junction mystery series.

A Day With Jane Wheel by Sharon Fiffer

“What in the world do you need at a rummage sale?” asked Nellie, shouting into the phone.

“Not about need, Mom,” I answered, holding my so-called smart phone inches away from my ear as I sat in the car checking over my list. “Besides, this isn’t any old rummage sale. This is St. Nick’s! I found that antique Persian rug of mine here. And some Dansk dishes. I also found those cool Pyrex bowls and a sewing kit with a gold charm bracelet in the bottom and…”

“Yeah, yeah,” said Nellie. “Other people’s junk, I know.”

I put the phone on speaker and set it on the dash. It was a perfect Saturday…as sunny and bright as you could hope for and, even better than the weather was the parking spot I had scored in St. Nick’s parking lot.

“What time does the thing start?” demanded Nellie.

“Eight,” I said, opening my notebook and taking a sip of my coffee.

“It’s six-thirty in the morning, Jane. Maybe you ought to buy a watch there, one that still tells time.”

“I got here early for the parking spot. I am closest to the door of the auditorium where the heavy stuff is–you know the furniture, the kitchen stuff, the books, the sports equipment. The treasure room is in the other building, but…”

“Okay, okay, I get it. You got a good parking place. When you get done with all that junk, I want you to get down here to the tavern.”

“Yeah, okay. Anything wrong?

I admit I was only half-listening, because, after all, something was always wrong in Nellie’s world and I still had homework to do before the doors opened. A new client had asked me to scout vintage fishing lures and since those cool little works of art were new for me, I needed to memorize the pictures of the kind of lures and baits he collected.

“Yeah, something’s wrong. Carp hasn’t been in here for three days. You know the last time he missed three days of propping his elbows on this bar? Never that’s when. I want to go over there and knock on his door, but your dad says that’s invading his privacy, but shoot, all of these guys invade my privacy every damn day when they come in here and order food and beer and want the ball game tuned up louder so I say we better go find out if Carp’s still breathing.”

When I heard the name Carp—the nickname of an old-timer I had known all my life—I laughed since I was at that moment looking at pictures of L & S fishing lures which, coincidentally, was a bait company started in Kankakee. I love it when one thing leads to another and another and I started thinking about some of the spots I might just find some of these lures if I went down to Kankakee today, so I tuned back in to my mother’s voice.

“Why are you so worried about Carp again?”

“Holy Mother of…. Were you listening? Put down your pictures of junk and your cup of coffee and your pencil and paper and listen to me. I want you to come down here and find Carp because he’s missing. And you want to know the last time he missed coming in on a Friday for a bowl of my vegetable soup? Never that’s when. Something’s fishy,” shouted Nellie, finally coming up for air.

I laughed out loud.

“Oh yeah, that’s funny alright. An old man goes missing, might be dead in his bed, and you sit there laughing and thinking about buying more junk.”

I heard something in Nellie’s voice. Something I never associated with my mother. Concern? Worry? Compassion?


“Carp looked like hell last week and his hand shook like a leaf when he tried to drink his coffee. I asked him what was wrong, and he told me something bad was coming. He was scared, Jane.”

“Okay,” I said, closing the book with the colored photos of the fishing lures.

“Okay what?” asked Nellie.

“I’ll be there. I’ll come now if you want,” I said, my voice almost breaking when I thought of the twelve long months between today and next year’s sale.

“Nah, you got that good parking space. Just come when you’re done. And see if they got one of those great big colanders. Big one. Mine’s bent all to hell.”

“You sure? I could …”

“”If Carp’s dead, he won’t get deader. Get me that colander then get down here.”

I got of the car to take my place in the line that was already to forming to get in when the doors opened. I was still shaking my head.

Imagine that? Nellie wanting something.

You can read more about Jane in LUCKY STUFF, the eighth book in the “Jane Wheel” mystery series. The first book in the series is Killer Stuff.

Meet the author
Sharon Fiffer is the author of eight Jane Wheel mysteries, the most recent being Lucky Stuff, due out September 18. Visit Sharon at, on Facebook and on Twitter.

Jane Wheel is a Chicago area PPI, a picker and private investigator, who uses her eye for treasure hunting at estate sales, rummage sales, garage sales and flea markets as a tool in assisting her partner, Tim Lowry in their antique business and her other partner, former police detective, Bruce Oh, in their investigative/consulting business. Jane’s parents, Don and Nellie, own and operate the neighborhood tavern, the E Z Way Inn in Kankakee, Illinois and Nellie, a flinty character with a heart of…mostly flint…drags Jane in and out of trouble by both assisting her and resisting her in both of her professions.

Books are available at retail and online booksellers.