Tag Archives: women sleuths

Review of “Dead, White, and Blue: The Juniper Junction Holiday Mystery Series Book 2” – Amy M. Reade

Summer is getting hotter in Juniper Junction, Colorado.

There’s a firebug on the loose, the townspeople are nervous, and Lilly Carlsen, single mom to two teenagers, has even more to worry about. She’s in charge of the Independence Day celebration, her mother’s mental health is declining, and her son is getting ready to leave for college.

But things are about to get even hotter: when a bistro owner dies at the celebration and Lilly’s best friend is charged with murder, events start hitting close to home. It’s up to Lilly to help clear her friend’s name while at the same time dealing her mom’s worsening forgetfulness as well as a coming-of-age issue under her own roof.

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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

 

Dead, White, and Blue was jam-packed with relatable scenarios and characters. I’ve touched on a few of them below. 

 

1.) Secretive children: The older your children become the less you are aware of what they are doing. They say they are going one place but actually end up in another. And underage drinking….. it happens everyday and children should be punished for it. I respect how Lilly handled the situation. You just can’t let things like that slide.

 

2.) Dementia: According to alz.org, it affects your memory, communication and language, ability to pay attention and focus, reasoning and judgment, and visual perception. Amy addressed all the symptoms. Plus, she gave realistic reactions and thoughts regarding Dementia. In fact, Tighe delivered the most powerful response when him and his mom, Lilly, were discussing Bev (Dementia sufferer). Below is a condensed version of that conversation.

 

Lilly regarding Bev, her mother: “She’s strong and healthy, with the exception of her mind.” 

Tighe: “That’s the worst part, don’t you think? Her body will keep living while her mind dies.”

 

I can’t fathom anyone not be affected by his words…….

 

 

3.) Wrongfully accused of a crime: The news is littered with cases of people arrested for crimes they didn’t commit. The accused swears they are innocent. Friends and family stand firm the accused couldn’t have done it. But, the police arrest them anyways. Sometimes the accused is guilty BUT everyday we discover innocent people are behind bars and guilty of nothing. In Dead, White, and Blue, Noley is accused of using cyanide to murder Cerise and Lilly vows to clear Noley’s name. Again, I can’t personally relate to this predicament but I know others can. Cases like these are always in the news, and most times the innocent don’t walk away free.

 

 

Now onto my thoughts regarding the two investigations: the arsonist and the real murderer.

Murder mystery: I figured out who the murderer was but I was only partly right on the why.

Firebug mystery: The arsonist’s identity escaped me. I knew certain people were too obvious of a choice and was pleased to see I was right about their innocence. As for who actually started the fires and why, I will say the perp’s reasoning for setting the fires was totally plausible. Actually, I’m pretty sure if I do an Internet search I’d find a news report on such a similar situation.

 

If reading a good mystery wasn’t enough for you, Amy included THREE recipes in the back of the book. I can’t wait to try Noley’s Blueberry Studmuffins. Simple ingredients. Simple directions. Sounds perfect and I bet they will taste heavenly too! 

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤

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Amy M. Reade is a cook, chauffeur, household CEO, doctor, laundress, maid, psychiatrist, warden, seer, teacher, and pet whisperer. In other words, a wife, mother, community volunteer, and recovering attorney.

She’s also a writer. She is the author of Trudy’s Diary, A Libraries of the World Mystery (Book One: Library of Congress), The Worst Noel (Book One in the Juniper Junction Holiday Mystery series), The Malice Series (The House on Candlewick Lane, Highland Peril, and Murder in Thistlecross), and three standalone books, Secrets of Hallstead House, The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor, and House of the Hanging Jade. She lives in southern New Jersey, but loves to travel. Her favorite places to visit are Scotland and Hawaii and when she can’t travel she loves to read books set in far-flung locations.

Her days are split between writing and marketing her books, but uppermost in her mind is the adage that the best way to market a book is to write another great book.

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Author Showcase – Kelley Kaye (Death by Diploma: Chalkboard Outlines Book 1)

Emma Lovett leaves her philandering husband and crosses the country to begin her teaching career at a high school in Pinewood, Colorado.There, she meets Leslie Parker, a fellow teacher given to quoting Shakespeare to fit all situations, and the two become fast friends.

Arriving at work early one morning, Emma discovers the body of the school custodian, a man who reminds her of her late father. When the police struggle to find the killer, the ladies decide to help solve the murder. Their efforts lead them to a myriad of suspects: the schizophrenic librarian, the crude football coach, the mysterious social studies teacher, and even Emma’s new love interest.

As Emma Lovett discovers the perils of teaching high school, she and Leslie learn more than they ever wanted to know about the reasons people kill.

 

 

 

 

You shall not know by what strange accident I chanced on this letter.

—The Merchant of Venice V.I.278–9

 

Prologue Wednesday, August 26
 

Dearest Mickey,

Please, please write me back. Oh, I’m so worried these letters aren’t finding their way to you. Our love deserves a chance to flourish. I know you think so too. You might want to give me one of your favorite quotes: “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened,” but you don’t really feel that way. I don’t believe we’re over, not yet.

Never forget how much I love you—let the colors remind you. Your Airborne Raquel Welch is thinking of you.

Love, Marlena
 
 

Melvin McManus ran his fingers over the letter again. The paper was worn until almost transparent, and the care with which he folded it and inserted it back into its envelope made it seem as though he held a priceless jewel. He picked up his silver flask and stared at it. His left hand started to raise the flask to his lips, but then he flung it against the wall of the narrow room. He stood.

Melvin closed the small hidden doorway and routed the pipe maze to get to the basement. He stumbled through the basement door and lurched up the stairs, his bulky form weaving as if he weren’t sure of finding the next step. Covering his mouth to muffle a hacking cough, Melvin stopped and listened. He really shouldn’t be there after midnight—his shift only went from three to ten. But sometimes the work took much longer than that, because he hoped the care he took with the building might help the students stop taking this important time in their lives for granted. Many of them did take it for granted, though, and might end up like Melvin, navigating the world without any education or any real options. Those students didn’t make any kind of connection between now and later.

He opened the door at the top of the stairs and continued through the gymnasium and into the hallway. The brown tile on the commons floor gleamed, and he thought of Adam and when he’d found the poor kid splayed out on the now-shiny floor. Melvin had been thrown out into the world so young, he’d never had to deal with schoolyard bullies as Adam had. Poor kid. Melvin ran a hand through his sparse gray hair, pondering.

As Melvin paced through the commons, steadying himself briefly against some lockers and again on a wall painted with a fierce-looking blue cat, he stopped to look at the sign above the main office: “Wildcats: Producing Proud and Productive Future Citizens.” He’d seen that sign many times, but tonight, it made him long to become, finally, the future citizen he wished to be. He didn’t know how much longer he could stand the waiting, even with his helpful hideout in the basement. He knew he was close, though—close to achieving his goal. Edward had said as much last week, and the closer Melvin got, the less he drank and the better he felt. He allowed the moment of anticipation to swell, forgot about the Wildcats sign, and almost ran back to the basement for the letters.

He sighed, an explosive whoosh that flattened his belly and whispered his nose hairs. Almost there, almost there. He looked at his hands, dirty and greasy from work but still strong. He thought of those hands in his younger years, how she’d kissed each of his fingertips as if they were precious. He remembered what those hands had felt like when they held her, and the dirt fell away like magic.

A muffled thump startled him out of his reverie. Crap. Melvin knew he was a little tipsy, not done with his work, and in the wrong part of the building to boot. He walked nonchalantly in the other direction, but he heard the thump again, followed by a tinkling noise like breaking glass. Damn. Maybe he should look. It could be a cat or other animal, and he’d hate to trap one in the school for the whole night.

He peeked through the windows of the main office and looked at the front desk, where the computer monitor flashed and he saw someone sitting. Melvin checked his watch: half past midnight. Oh, he hoped it wasn’t who he thought, but he had to check. After unlocking the doors, he curved around the front counter to approach the left desk and stiffened when he saw who it was.

“Oh, I can see you didn’t listen!” he exclaimed. “We have to make this stop. That’s it; I don’t care what happens. I’m gonna…”

Melvin heard a whoosh followed by a crack, and he felt his body fall as it slammed hard onto the shiny brown tiles.

 

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Ready for book 2 in the Chalkboard Outlines’ series?

Good, then click HERE! 

 

Save time and purchase both today with one link.

 Click On Me!

 

 

Kelley Bowles Gusich writes young adult novels under the pen name Kelley Kay Bowles and cozy mysteries under Kelley Kaye. Her debut novel, cozy mystery Death by Diploma, was released by Red Adept Publishing on February 2016, and is first in her Chalkboard Outlines® series. Book 2, Poison by Punctuation, was released April 2018 and is available now.

Kelley’s new young adult novel, Down in the Belly of the Whale, was released May 5th, 2018 and is now available. Look for it in Kindle, paper, hardcover, and audio book–with Kelley, the author, as narrator! (She used to teach drama and direct plays. She’s a ham.)

Kelley taught high school English and drama for twenty years in Colorado and California, but a 1994 diagnosis of multiple sclerosis has (circuitously and finally) brought her to the life of writer and mother, both occupations she adores and dreamed about way back when she was making up stories revolving around her Barbie and Ken dolls. 

Kelley has two wonderful and funny sons and an amazing husband who cooks for her. She lives in Southern California.

You can learn more about Kelley and contact her through her website and blog at www.kelleykaybowles.com. She wants to hear from you, so don’t be shy about emailing her at kelkay1202(at)yahoo.com, and follow her on social media @KelKay1202. #HarpersPower

Kelley remains ever grateful to her readers for sharing their reviews, comments, and insights!

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Review of “Waves of Murder: A Fiona Quinn Mystery: Fiona Quinn Mysteries, Book 3” – C.S. McDonald

School’s out for the summer!

Kindergarten teacher Fiona Quinn is looking forward to spending some quality time in her yard and with her boyfriend, Detective Nathan Landry. However, Fiona’s plans get squelched when her mother volunteers her to edit a manuscript for famous romance author Wyla Parkes.

What’s so bad about that? The author insists Fiona must work on the manuscript at her beach cottage on Presque Isle – three hours away from her yard and Nathan. Spending six weeks in an adorable cottage on a private beach doesn’t really seem all that bad until people start turning up dead – beginning with the author! Fiona’s summer of sun and sand is instantly transformed into a murder investigation. Can Fiona and Nathan crack the case or will the murderer getaway on a wave of deceit?

Join Fiona and the gang for a hot whodunit on the sandy beaches of Presque Isle, Pennsylvania!

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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

You ever meet a character and just know they are shady and guilty of something? Well, that’s exactly what I experienced in Waves of Murder.

There were three murders and I was only surprised by one revelation. This revelation (keeping things vague on purpose) wrapped up all three murders into a nice little package.

I do love stories that have a complete ending!

Now even though this book dealt in death, C.S. McDonald added a fair amount of humor to keep the story light and flowing at a nice pace. What else did she add that fans might adore? Chocolate….. many, many, many mentions of chocolate. I can definitely tell C.S. has a sweet tooth.

 

Now onto the big questions….

Would I recommend this book to others? Yes!

Would I recommend having a stash of chocolate nearby incase C.S. McDonald’s mentioning of candy bars activates your own sweet tooth? ABSOLUTELY! Just be sure and not smear any chocolate on the pages because you won’t want to miss a single moment of Waves of Murder.

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤

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For twenty-six years C.S. McDonald’s life whirled around a song and a dance. She was 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, 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. Now she adds the Fiona Quinn Mysteries to that expansion. She decided to write the cozy mystery series for her young granddaughters.

Ms. McDonald resides on her Thoroughbred farm known as Fly by Night Stables near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with her husband, Bill, and her Cocker Spaniel, Allister.

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Murder On Pointe, book one: Amazon Purchase Link

Merry Murder, book two: Amazon Purchase Link

Waves of Murder, book three: Amazon Purchase Link

Tastes Like Murder, book four: Amazon Purchase Link

Good Luck to Murder, book five: Amazon Purchase Link

Mambo and Murder, book six: Amazon Purchase Link

 

Short stories

Banking on a Murder: Amazon Purchase Link

Harriet’s Heist: Amazon Purchase Link

 

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Review of “Trudy’s Diary: A Libraries of the World Mystery, Book One)” – Amy M. Reade

Daisy Carruthers moved to Washington, DC, from New York City following an emotionally draining murder investigation, little knowing she would soon be involved in two more. But when her boss and her best friend come under suspicion for killing two adulterous lovers, Daisy has no choice but to help when they ask. 

And when she comes across a diary and an old dime novel with suspiciously similar stories and unknown origins, she knows all the mysteries are somehow connected.

Can she figure out the identity of the killer–or killers–before it’s too late?

 

(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique)

 

Trudy’s Diary was actually a multi-layered mystery novel. Daisy was investigating two murder mysteries in present day and the disappearance of Trudy from the 1800’s. As I was reading Trudy’s secret thoughts, I wondered how her story played into the events of the present. I didn’t see the connection. However, when all the pieces clicked into place, I was impressed on how Amy connected all the dots.

Whether I was stepping into the past or attempting to unmask today’s killer, I was thoroughly engrossed with the happenings in Trudy’s Diary.

You don’t have to be a history enthusiast to read this story. You just have to like mystery novels with a touch of love and romance.

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤

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Amy M. Reade is a cook, chauffeur, household CEO, doctor, laundress, maid, psychiatrist, warden, seer, teacher, and pet whisperer. In other words, a wife, mother, community volunteer, and recovering attorney.

She’s also a writer. She is the author of Trudy’s Diary, A Libraries of the World Mystery (Book One: Library of Congress), The Worst Noel (Book One in the Juniper Junction Holiday Mystery series), The Malice Series (The House on Candlewick Lane, Highland Peril, and Murder in Thistlecross), and three standalone books, Secrets of Hallstead House, The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor, and House of the Hanging Jade. She lives in southern New Jersey, but loves to travel. Her favorite places to visit are Scotland and Hawaii and when she can’t travel she loves to read books set in far-flung locations.

Her days are split between writing and marketing her books, but uppermost in her mind is the adage that the best way to market a book is to write another great book.

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Review of “Murder On Pointe: A Fiona Quinn Cozy Mysteries, Book 1” – C.S. McDonald

Fiona can’t wait to attend the performance of Coppelia at the Benedum Center in Pittsburgh. Her old friend, Silja Ramsay, is dancing the principal role. They have dinner after the show, but when they return Pittsburgh Ballet Theater is down one dancer! Ballerina, Alexis Cartwright, has been found dead in the dressing room. Is this murder a result of hot tempers among the cast members? Or is it a random act of violence? Will there be more murders? Homicide Detective, Nathan Landry, isn’t taking any chances. After finding out Fiona has a strong background in ballet he recruits her to go undercover among the cast of Coppelia. Can Fiona help catch a killer, or will she be the next victim?

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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

Murder On Pointe: A Fiona Quinn Mystery definitely had A LOT of mystery to keep this lady sleuth engaged in the story.

C.S. McDonald (the author) gave us multiple murders to investigate, many suspects to choose from, and a few surprise twists that will make you happy you kept on reading, even when you think you’ve got it all figured out.

Yeah, I was 95% sure I knew how the story would wrap up and then a certain double-digit chapter happened. (Yes, I am being vague so no one flips ahead to check out his or her hutches.) Darn you C.S. McDonald, you pulled a fast one on me because I never saw that certain someone as a suspect. (Yup, I’m being vague on purpose – again.)

Ladies and gents, I encourage you to read Murder On Pointe: A Fiona Quinn Mystery. I wonder if you’ll be able to solve every single case. I’m thinking C.S. might just stump a few readers like myself.

Happy sleuthing!!

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤

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Audiobook – Unabridged Link (US)

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Audiobook – Unabridged Link (UK)

 

 

For twenty-six years C.S. McDonald’s life whirled around a song and a dance. She was 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, 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. Now she adds the Fiona Quinn Mysteries to that expansion. She decided to write the cozy mystery series for her young granddaughters.

Ms. McDonald resides on her Thoroughbred farm known as Fly by Night Stables near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with her husband, Bill, and her Cocker Spaniel, Allister.

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Website Link

Amazon Author Page

Murder On Pointe, book one: Amazon Purchase Link

Merry Murder, book two: Amazon Purchase Link

Waves of Murder, book three: Amazon Purchase Link

Tastes Like Murder, book four: Amazon Purchase Link

Good Luck to Murder, book five: Amazon Purchase Link

Mambo and Murder, book six: Amazon Purchase Link

Short stories

Banking on a Murder: Amazon Purchase Link

Harriet’s Heist: Amazon Purchase Link

 

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