Tag Archives: detective

Crystal Clear Confusion:  A Fiona Quinn Quick Mystery by C.S. McDonald (Book Review)

CYSTRAL CLEAR CONFUSION by C.S. McDonald

Yikes! Fiona’s been having a recurring nightmare and it’s driving her to distraction—so much so that she’s allowed her kooky neighbor, Astrid Dingle, to search for the answer through her crystal ball. What could be the cause of the dream, and what lengths will Fiona go to get to the crux of it all? You’ll be chasing dreams with Fiona, Detective Landry and Astrid in this fun quick mystery!  ​

 
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 I received a complimentary copy of this book from iRead Book Tours. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
 
 
Crystal Clear Confusion:  A Fiona Quinn Quick Mystery by C.S. McDonald literally had a nightmarish start. Poor Fiona was getting chased through the halls of Westwood Elementary School by a ferocious lion. All I can say is, thank goodness, it was only a terrible dream. 


Astrid, the wannabe clairvoyant, wanted to help Fiona interpret her dream — it was her first step in her new career path. Through their session, I learned the names of two phobias: cynophobia – fear of dogs, and ophidiophobia – fear of snakes. It’s always awesome to learn new facts, no matter what your age is. 


While the story didn’t hold my interest as much as C.S. McDonald’s other works, it did have its comedic moments. Like the rest in the series, it’s a family-friendly read. 


Whether you’re an educator or not, this story creates an opportunity to explore dream interpretation and examine phobias. I bet everyone will learn a new fact or two. 🙂

 
Heart Rating System:
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Meet the Author:
For twenty-six years C.S. McDonald’s life whirled around a song and a dance. Classically trained at Pittsburgh Ballet Theater School, The Pittsburgh Dance Alloy, and many others, she became a professional dancer and choreographer. During that time, she choreographed many musicals and an opera for the Pittsburgh Savoyards. In 2011 she retired from her dance career to write. Under her real name, Cindy McDonald, she writes murder-suspense and romantic suspense novels. In 2014 she added the pen name, C.S. McDonald, to write children’s books for her grandchildren. In 2016 she added the Fiona Quinn Mysteries to that expansion. She decided to write the cozy mystery series that everyone, including teens and tweens, can read and enjoy. Presently, the Fiona Quinn Mysteries nine books with a tenth slated for 2021. The books are also available on audio, narrated by Maren Swenson Waxenberg. Cindy’s newest venture is The Owl’s Nest Mysteries. Once again, she has set her cozy mystery in Pittsburgh. The female protagonist, Alexa Owl, is much different from Fiona Quinn. The Owl’s Next Mysteries has a little grit, a little time travel, a little romance, and a whole lot of cozy! Ms. McDonald resides on her Thoroughbred farm known as Fly by Night Stables near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with her husband, Bill, and her poorly behaved Cocker Spaniel, Allister.
 
 
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Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook
 
 

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Harriet’s Heist: A Fiona Quinn Quick Mystery by C.S. McDonald (Book Review)

Harriet's Heist (A Fiona Quinn Quick Mystery) by C.S. McDonald

Fiona Quinn arrives at her parent’s home in Daytona, Florida for a short visit only to be informed that their usually quiet retirement community has been besieged with robberies—cash, jewelry, and more. Her mom told all the neighbors Fiona is a wiz at catching bad guys.

Yikes!

Can Fiona crack the case? Hopefully, but what’s an amateur sleuth supposed to do when her Maltese, Harriet, shows up decked out in the stolen goods?

Double yikes!

Join Fiona, her parents, Harriet, and some pretty crazy old ladies for a real jewel of a quick mystery!

 
 
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I received a complimentary copy of this book from iRead Book Tours. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
 
 
Okay, robbery is not a laughable crime; however, C.S. McDonald brought cuteness to a serious situation. She also brought a hearty amount of comedic moments thanks to the Sea Wash Retirement Village residents.

For example: Imagine your granny, dressed all in black, grease on her face, hiding out to catch a thief in the wee hours of the morning. Now, imagine multiple grannies doing the same. That’s what happened.

Don’t worry, the brave women of Sea Wash Retirement Village will not be serving time.

As for who stole the puppies, well, it’ll be difficult to be mad at the person. CUTENESS overload!

As for who burglarized the village, the culprit is not cute. Greed was all the motive they needed.

On a side note, C.S. McDonald had me craving a lemon meringue pie, something fierce. Next time I go to the store, I’ll be buying one. Unless I can convince my mom to make one as Nancy did for Fiona.

 
 
Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: 
❤❤
 
 
 
 
 
Meet the Author:
For twenty-six years C.S. McDonald’s life whirled around a song and a dance. Classically trained at Pittsburgh Ballet Theater School, The Pittsburgh Dance Alloy, and many others, she became a professional dancer and choreographer. During that time, she choreographed many musicals and an opera for the Pittsburgh Savoyards. In 2011 she retired from her dance career to write. Under her real name, Cindy McDonald, she writes murder-suspense and romantic suspense novels. In 2014 she added the pen name, C.S. McDonald, to write children’s books for her grandchildren. In 2016 she added the Fiona Quinn Mysteries to that expansion. She decided to write the cozy mystery series that everyone, including teens and tweens, can read and enjoy. Presently, the Fiona Quinn Mysteries nine books with a tenth slated for 2021. The books are also available on audio, narrated by Maren Swenson Waxenberg. Cindy’s newest venture is The Owl’s Nest Mysteries. Once again, she has set her cozy mystery in Pittsburgh. The female protagonist, Alexa Owl, is much different from Fiona Quinn. The Owl’s Next Mysteries has a little grit, a little time travel, a little romance, and a whole lot of cozy! Ms. McDonald resides on her Thoroughbred farm known as Fly by Night Stables near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with her husband, Bill, and her poorly behaved Cocker Spaniel, Allister.
 
 
Connect with the author:  
Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook
 
 

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Mambo and Murder:  A Fiona Quinn Mystery #6 by C.S. McDonald (Book Review)

 

Three ballroom dancers had been murdered over forty-years ago. Wow, that’s one old cold case. What’s more, the murderer thought to have been killed during a police chase has resurfaced in Pittsburgh. Yikes! How can that be?Worse, ballroom dancing simply isn’t Detective Nathan Landry’s forte. After weeks of practice, Nathan still has two left-feet. Can Fiona step in to guide Nathan through this dancing debacle or will it take forty-years for the detective to find his footing? Double yikes!Join Fiona and Detective Landry in this high-stepping whodunit!

 

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I received a complimentary copy of this book from iRead Book Tours. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
 
 
Right out of the gate (Prologue), we had a crime on our hands! While Nathan was investigating the burglary, secrets buried long ago came forth. Did Vincent Di Volante really die 40+ years ago in a fiery car wreck? If not, who did?
 
If these two questions were enough to wet your whistle, Fiona and the people in the neighborhood have been getting mail postmarked back in the 70s. I know mail runs slow, but that gives a new definition to “snail mail.”

I think it’s worth noting, Mambo and Murder: A Fiona Quinn Mystery (book #6 in the series) by C.S. McDonald is NOT just adults. Since there are no curse words or suggestive scenes, it’s perfectly acceptable for teens and young adults to read it. As a family who loves playing clue, this book is right up our alley, and I’m thrilled to share it with my teen. 

Oh, and BTW, I love the cover! 
 

 
Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: 

 
 
 
 
Meet the Author: 
For twenty-six years C.S. McDonald’s life whirled around a song and a dance. Classically trained at Pittsburgh Ballet Theater School, The Pittsburgh Dance Alloy, and many others, she became a professional dancer and choreographer. During that time, she choreographed many musicals and an opera for the Pittsburgh Savoyards. In 2011 she retired from her dance career to write. Under her real name, Cindy McDonald, she writes murder-suspense and romantic suspense novels. In 2014 she added the pen name, C.S. McDonald, to write children’s books for her grandchildren. In 2016 she added the Fiona Quinn Mysteries to that expansion. She decided to write the cozy mystery series that everyone, including teens and tweens, can read and enjoy. Presently, the Fiona Quinn Mysteries nine books with a tenth slated for 2021. The books are also available on audio, narrated by Maren Swenson Waxenberg. Cindy’s newest venture is The Owl’s Nest Mysteries. Once again, she has set her cozy mystery in Pittsburgh. The female protagonist, Alexa Owl, is much different from Fiona Quinn. The Owl’s Next Mysteries has a little grit, a little time travel, a little romance, and a whole lot of cozy! Ms. McDonald resides on her Thoroughbred farm known as Fly by Night Stables near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with her husband, Bill, and her poorly behaved Cocker Spaniel, Allister.
 
 
Connect with the author:  
Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook
 
 
 
 

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Three May Keep a Secret: A Sherlock Holmes Adventure by Richard T. Ryan (Book Spotlight)

 
THREE MAY KEEP A SECRET: A Sherlock Holmes Adventure by Richard T. Ryan

 
When a meeting with a client goes disastrously wrong, Sherlock Holmes soon finds himself involved in a case of murder with two dead bodies and too few clues.

From some clear pieces of glass and a raven’s feather, the Great Detective must divine exactly who the client was and what prompted him to seek assistance at 221B. Fortunately, Holmes has a number of experts upon whom he can rely as well as his own vast store of esoteric knowledge.

Treading a twisted path, Holmes soon finds himself matching wits with an unseen criminal, who appears to be the equal of the late Professor Moriarty. At the same time, he is tasked with sparing the monarchy any possible embarrassment that may stem from the investigation.

It’s a deadly game of cat-and-mouse that finds Holmes and Watson attending underground auctions, using rare and priceless artifacts as bait and holding a late night vigil in anticipation of deterring a theft, all the while trying to understand how a priceless antiquity fits into their investigation.

 

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Meet the Author:
Author Richard T. Ryan
 
A lifelong Sherlockian, Richard Ryan is the author of “The Vatican Cameos: A Sherlock Holmes Adventure,” “The Stone of Destiny,” “The Druid of Death” and “The Merchant of Menace,” and “Through a Glass Starkly,” all from MX Publishing. “Three May Keep a Secret” is his sixth Holmes pastiche, and he is currently at work on his seventh.

He has also written “B Is for Baker Street (My First Sherlock Holmes Book),” an alphabet book he penned for his grandchildren.

Among his other credits are “The Official Sherlock Holmes Trivia Book,” a book on Agatha Christie trivia and the well-received murder mystery “Deadly Relations” that has been produced twice off-Broadway.

He pursued his graduate studies at the University of Notre Dame, where he majored in medieval literature. To this day, he remains a die-hard fan of the Fighting Irish.

 

 

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Gingersnap Snatcher by Vicky Weber (Book Review and Author Interview)

Picture

Abuela made cookies to eat after school.

The gingersnap kind, just the thought made us drool!

We rushed home excited. We opened the door…

…The cookies were missing-just crumbs on the floor!

Can you help the kids crack the case of the Gingersnap Snatcher?

 
 
 
 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from iRead Book Tours. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
 
 

Oh my goodness gracious, I loved everything about Gingersnap Snatcher. 

First, the story was adorable and funny. As an owner of a kitty, I cracked up over the image of Mr. Wiggles, created by Svitlana Liuta, with a mouthful of cookies, and one is his paw. Oh, and the Christmas tree scene is totally relatable. My kitty is either in the tree or lying on the couch, staring at the twinkling lights. 

I think toddlers will love looking at all the bright and bold pictures, while elementary school-age children will love trying to solve the mystery alongside the three siblings. I can practically hear the giggles when they discover who the cookie thief was.

 After the revelation, stick around; Vicky Weber included bonus material.

1.) “Gingersnap Snatcher” song. To be honest, we (my daughter and I) could not find the right rhythm and beat to make it flow effortlessly. Instead, we sang, “Who stole the cookies from the cookie jar?”

2.) A way for you to get Abuela’s gingersnap recipe. Most kids love helping out in the cookie-making process, and they also love eating their creations. If you haven’t made these from scratch yet, now’s the time!

I can’t wait to make these with my youngest!  

 

Heart Rating System:
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Score: 
 

Amazon Purchase Link

 
 
 
 
 
Vicky Weber is a musician and an elementary educator with a love for children’s literature. As a Puerto Rican author of Taíno descent, she strives to create picture books that are fun, engaging, and educational. All her current titles are based on her background in music education or her heritage. While she has taught a variety of grade levels, primary level education is where her passion lies. It has long been a dream of hers to teach children through the magic of books and she hopes you love reading her works as much as she loved writing them.

 

 

Do you write every day?

(Vicky) I don’t but I think that’s healthy. With any job, trying to do big projects every single day is a quick way to burn yourself out. I write whenever I can but I also try to spend as much time with my family as I can.

 

As a mom and business owner, how do you find the time to write?

(Vicky) Great question. I’ll be honest, it’s not easy. My baby girl is almost five months old, so I try to soak up every snuggle and every laugh because I know that time goes by quickly. Really, it’s all about balance and creativity. Sometimes, I write using the notes app on my phone. Sometimes, I use talk-to-text and send story ideas to my husband. And sometimes, writing doesn’t happen until after my daughter’s bedtime. Every day is a new adventure…both in writing and in parenthood.

 

You have published 6 books with another on the way. Do you have a favorite?

(Vicky) (I actually have more than that!) Rhythm Rescue was my first idea for a story, but it wasn’t the first book I published because I was nervous. Scared, even. I didn’t know if other people would like it and the book was so close to my heart. I feared rejection. But I pushed through, got it published, and now, it is my bestselling title. I frequently get emails and pictures of teachers using it with their music classes or parents reading it to their children. If I had to choose a favorite book, it would be that one.

 

What’s your favorite song/instrument/book?

(Vicky) To be quite honest, my collection of books for my music classroom is quite large because I strongly believe that music and literacy go hand-in-hand. There are so many that I love! One that I always start the school year with is Giraffe’s Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae. It is a great way to facilitate a conversation about respecting one another as we create, and we discuss how some things will be easier than others but to never give up. Throughout the year, when students get frustrated, I remind them of the end of the book: “We all can dance…when we find the music that we love.”

 

What does a typical morning look like for you?

(Vicky) Oh, nothing special. I get my daughter ready for the day and then I sit down with my coffee and breakfast. I check my planner (I have to keep one or I’ll have NO idea what day it is!) and then I get to work. I network, market, write, research, answer other author’s questions…it takes up more of the day than you’d think! But I love it.

 
 
connect with the author:  
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Disclaimer: All questions and answers were constructed by the author and/or their representative. 
 
 

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