Daily Archives: June 11, 2017

Cover Reveal ~ Murder, Curlers & Canes by Arlene McFarlane

It is my pleasure to reveal the cover for the second book in the “Valentine Beaumont” mystery series from ParadiseDeer Publishing, coming June 15, 2017.

Title: Murder, Curlers & Canes
Series: Valentine Beaumont #2
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publisher: ParadiseDeer Publishing
Website: Arlene McFarlane

Valentine Beaumont is back in her second hair-raising mystery, this time, trying to find out who had it in for an elderly nun. Only trouble is there are others standing in her way: hot but tough Detective Romero, sexy new stylist Jock de Marco, and some zany locals who all have a theory on the nun’s death.

Making things worse: the dead nun’s secret that haunts Valentine, another murder, car chases, death threats, mysterious clues, an interfering mother, and a crazy staff.

Between brushing off Jock’s advances and splitting hairs with handsome Detective Romero, Valentine struggles to comb through the crime, utilizing her tools of the trade in some outrageous situations. Question is, will she succeed?

About the author
Arlene McFarlane is the author of the Murder, Curlers series. Previously an aesthetician, hairstylist, and owner of a full-service salon, Arlene now writes full time. When she’s not making up stories, or being a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, cat-mom, or makeover artist, you’ll find her making music on the piano.

Arlene is a member of Romance Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Toronto Romance Writers, SOWG, and the Golden Network. She’s won and placed in over 30 contests, including twice in the Golden Heart and twice in the Daphne du Maurier.

Arlene lives with her family in Canada.

My Musing ~ The Clock Strikes Nun by Alice Loweecey

The Clock Strikes Nun by Alice Loweecey is the fourth book in the “Giulia Driscoll” humorous mystery series. Publisher: Henery Press, May 2017

When terrified Elaine Patrick knocks on Driscoll Investigations’ door and insists her house is haunted, Giulia Driscoll’s first response is “we don’t handle ghosts.” When Elaine’s housekeeper and crackpot filthy rich cousin descend on Giulia and demand she find out who’s trying to steal sweet, fragile Elaine’s family business out from under her, that’s a different story. They want DI to provide Tarot readings, ghost hunting sessions, and even an exorcism.

Ghost hunting? There are apps for that. Tarot readings? Experts in the skill are right across the street. Exorcisms? Having a priest for a brother-in-law comes in handy. Giulia plunges into a crash course in all things supernatural, convinced everything happening to Elaine is stagecraft.

Except when it isn’t. Giulia’s about to discover a new dimension to sleuthing, if she can survive attempted murder long enough to see through the web of lies around her client.

Love, love, love this book. When a client comes to her office speaking of hauntings and such, there’s nothing else to do but seek help from your friendly business associate and your brother-in-law priest and what happens after that is a delightfully entertaining jaunt through the world of ghosts, readings and mayhem, oh my!

This was a fun book to read and quickly became a page turner as I had to know what happens next. The author did a great job in setting this mystery, which was nicely done, with a bevy of suspects and it was fun watching how it all played out with clues sprinkled throughout the story. There were some tense moments where the author’s description of a few scenes had me clutching my heart as our heroine faced a perilous situation, but nothing knocks her down. And that twist at the end when all was revealed, I did not see that coming. Great job! The main characters were accounted for and present and all played pivotal roles that enhanced the telling of this tale. The secondary characters were eccentrically entertaining and added to the mystique in this wonderfully engaging tome. Bonus to me was seeing the homage to my favorite monster and other sci-fi mentions. This is by far, the best book in this most endearing series and I can’t wait to see what exciting adventures awaits Giulia and her friends.

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My Musing ~ The Bell Tolls by R. Franklin James

The Bell Tolls by R. Franklin James is the fifth book in the “Hollis Morgan” mystery series. Publisher: Camel Press, June 2017

Hollis Morgan has survived imprisonment, received a pardon, and persevered to finally become a probate attorney. Tough as she is, her newest case will further test her mettle. She discovers her client, Matthias Bell, is a deceased blackmailer whose last wish was to return the damaging documents letting his victims off the hook. It falls to Hollis to give them the good news. But it becomes apparent that Bell was murdered, and the victims of “Bell’s tolls” are now suspects. Hollis’ white-collar criminal past has left her with keen survival instincts. A gifted liar, she knows a liar when she sees one. A lot of people in this case are lying, and one is a killer.

On top of that, she’s also representing a dying stripper, a wealthy widow whose estranged daughter spurns her attempts at reconciliation, but whose husband sees the potential inheritance as mending all wounds.

Clients aside, Hollis is defensive and wary. Her mother, who hasn’t spoken to her for years, needs a kidney, and Hollis is a match, but neither are ready to put away the past. With Hollis’ fiancé and emotional support off on an undercover mission for Homeland Security, she must count on her own survival instincts. She is swept along on an emotional roller coaster as her absent love and her family’s coldness take their own toll. Work is her salvation. The specter of a killer keeps her focused. Hollis has always had to rely on her wits, but now she finds that others who don’t have her well-being in mind are relying on them as well.

Book 5 in the Hollis Morgan Mystery series, which began with The Fallen Angels Book Club.

Hollis goes above and beyond her duties when she finds herself yet involved in another murder investigation. And this is where her skills of detection shines as she pursues a killer who wants to remain hidden.

I love the writing style and the ease in how this multi-plot drama moves the story forward where every scene is an important element in the telling of this tale. The author did a great job in staging this mystery where the suspect list was small, but it was the clues that helped narrow down the field and boy, what an industrious group of suspects. The narrative was done with great aplomb and kept me engaged in all that was happening with this great cast of characters who played pivotal roles that led to the apprehension of the killer, which was a nice little twist. The subplot is what really drove this story for me, especially the heartbreak that Hollis faced and helping her estranged mother. After it was all said and done, the author pulled a good one with a surprising twist that I did not see coming and I can’t wait to how this will play out. This was the best book in the series thus far and I look forward to the next book in this entertaining series.

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My Musing ~ Bad Housekeeping by Maia Chance

Bad Housekeeping by Maia Chance is the first book in the NEW “Agnes and Effie” mystery series. Publisher: Crooked Lane Books, June 13, 2017

When 28-year-old Agnes Blythe, the contented bifocals-wearing half of an academic power couple, is jilted by her professor boyfriend for the town Pilates instructor, her future is suddenly less than certain. So when her glamorous, eccentric Great Aunt Effie arrives in town and offers a job helping to salvage the condemned Stagecoach Inn, what does Agnes have to lose? But work at the inn has barely begun when the unlikely duo find the body of manipulative Kathleen Todd, with whom Agnes and Effie both have recently had words. Words strong enough to land them at the top of the suspect list.

The pair have clearly been framed, but no one else seems interested in finding the real murderer and Agnes and Effie’s sleuthing expertise is not exactly slick. Nevertheless, they’re soon investigating a suspect list with laundry dirtier than a middle school soccer team’s and navigating threats, car chases, shotgun blasts, and awkward strolls down memory lane.

In Bad Housekeeping, the first novel in the Agnes and Effie cozy mystery series by Maia Chance, danger mounts, deadlines loom, ancient knob-and-tube wiring is explored, and the ladies learn a thing or two about the awful, wonderful mistake that is going back home.

Agnes and Effie are on the case when they become prime suspects after quarreling with the deceased. The fun begins as they set out to clear the name and the town of Naneda will never be the same.

The was a fast-paced and light-hearted whodunit that kept me entertained from beginning to end. The mystery was nicely done with a slew of suspects and it was fun watching this animated duo ferret out a killer with the situation that they found themselves ensconced in. Every scene had me chuckling at their efforts and the author did a good job in visually describing these interactions which enhanced the telling of this tale.  I especially like the portrayal of Agnes who like me in times of stress goes for what comforts her and made her seem more real to me as a character. With a lovable cast of characters, engaging dialogue and a small-town atmosphere, this was very enjoyable and I can’t wait to read the next book in this delightfully charming series which is a welcomed addition to the cozy genre.

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