Thursday, February 18, 2021

One Poison Pie by Lynn Cahoon – Book Review

My book review for One Poison Pie by Lynn Cahoon was meant to go up on 12 February but a long series of computer issues and glitches prevented me from posting on my tour date.

This post is part of a blog tour with Lori Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours.

 

Book: One Poison Pie

(Book 1 in The Kitchen Witch Mystery Series)

Author: Lynn Cahoon

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Publisher: Kensington

Number of pages: 272 pages

Publication date: 26 January 2021

ISBN-10: 1496730313
ISBN-13: 978-1496730312
Digital ASIN: B087YNC1B6

 

Synopsis:

In the first in New York Times bestselling author Lynn Cahoon’s Kitchen Witch series, Mia Malone is starting over in Magic Springs, Idaho—where murder is on the menu . . .

What’s a kitchen witch to do when her almost-fiancé leaves her suddenly single and unemployed? For Mia Malone, the answer’s simple: move to her grandmother’s quirky Idaho hometown, where magic is an open secret and witches and warlocks are (mostly) welcome. With a new gourmet dinner delivery business—and a touch of magic in her recipes—Mia’s hopes are high. Even when her ex’s little sister, Christina, arrives looking for a place to stay, Mia takes it in stride.

But her first catering job takes a distasteful turn when her client’s body is found, stabbed and stuffed under the head table. Mia’s shocked to learn that she’s a suspect—and even more so when she realizes she’s next on a killer’s list. With Christina, along with Mia’s meddling grandma, in the mix, she’ll have to find out which of the town’s eccentric residents has an appetite for murder…before this fresh start comes to a sticky end. 


Nadaness In Motion's Book Review



“Lady, you have no idea what you’ve gotten yourself in to. There’s no way you can pull this off. I’m going to make sure of that.”

For a while, I’ve been hearing about cozy mystery author Lynn Cahoon so when I saw that One Poison Pie was going to be a book tour, I hopped on.

My first read for her is also the first in the Kitchen Witch Mystery Series.

I’m not sure how the title One Poison Pie relates to the story. In fact, I think it’s rather misleading but maybe I didn’t get it. After all, most cozy mystery novels tend to have punned titles.

The novel opens with Mia Malone, a kitchen witch, who just moved from the big city (and a breakup) to her small hometown. She managed to snag an old school that she’s hoping to turn into a home-food-delivery and kitchen school business.

Being a kitchen witch is completely different from the general witches. Mia introduces the idea early on:

“They didn’t wear black, pointy hats or fly around the moon. Mia’s magic was more about the colors, the food, the process of making a house a home.”

That said, kitchen witches are connected to a goddess. And Mia’s connection is through a rag doll named Gloria.

Honestly I was curious about the whole kitchen witch thing but even after I finished the novel I was still confused about it and it felt a bit creepy. It gave the story a magical/paranormal feel but I think I needed more clarity.

In One Poison Pie, Mia has enough problems as it is with the school as she hopes to get her business off the ground before it strangles her in debt. But before she can even begin to do that, her bidding rival threatens her several times.

In addition, she has an upcoming birthday-catering gig to attend to. Only problem is, her one and only client, who is hated by the entire town, ends up dead a day before her birthday!

“I swear, we’re all going to die of heart failure one day because there won’t be anyone under sixty to drive the ambulance.”

Mia doesn’t originally plan to see how her client ends up dead but she’s also the prime suspect because the victim, Adele Simpson, was stabbed with a knife.



In addition to the kitchen business and the dead client, Mia takes in Christina, her ex-boyfriend’s sister to live with her. She’s a rebellious-looking but kind-at-heart teenager. Mia suspects that her ex is using his sister to get to Mia’s cookbook.

One Poison Pie is fully of quirky and fun characters. I especially loved Mia’s grandmother Alice, aka Grans, and Mia’s potential new love Trent, who also has magical roots. There’s Trent’s brother Levi, along with Christina, who you can’t help but love, among others.

“A rumor can swirl through a small town faster than a forest fire could burn an acre.”

Although Mia’s isn’t directly investigating Adele’s murder, she picks up rumors and tidbits. Adele was also Grans’ best friend, which means she too wants to know what happened.

I really like that the mystery was tough to solve and the murder was unexpected.

One Poison Pie is narrated in the third person perspective of Mia. So it’s easy to get into her head and we get to enjoy her sarcastic and humorous side.

“Helen patted Grans, looking more like she was dusting off her back than offering a gesture of real condolence.”

Overall I think One Poison Pie is a good start to the series. I’d love to see what the other books will bring for Mia, Trent, and Grans.

Overall rating for One Poison Pie by Lynn Cahoon: 4 stars.

Note: I got a free copy of One Poison Pie by Lynn Cahoon as part of a blog tour with Great Escapes with Dolly Cas. This in no way affected my review.

About the Author:

Lynn Cahoon is the author of the NYT and USA Today best-selling Tourist Trap cozy mystery series. She also pens the Cat Latimer series, the Farm to Fork series, and the Kitchen Witch series.

Small town setting, big time fun with a bit of murder to keep it interesting. Romance novels are published under the pen name, Lynn Collins. She lives in a small river town like Mark Twain with her husband and three fur kids.

Connect with Lynn Cahoon via Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook, Amazon, and her Website.

Purchase Links – Amazon – B&N – Kobo – Google Play 


Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Egg Shooters by Laura Childs - Book Review & Tour

Today, I'm excited to be re-featuring cozy mystery author Laura Childs on my blog as part of a blog tour for her new book Egg Shooters.

 

Book: Egg Shooters
(Book 9 in the Cackleberry Club Mystery)

Author: Laura Childs
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Berkley
Publication date: 26 January 2021
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 0425281744
ISBN-13: 978-0425281741
Kindle ASIN: B085BVYLKY

 


Synopsis:

A murder in the local hospital is raising everyone's temperature in the latest book in the New York Times bestselling Cackleberry Club series.

Suzanne Dietz co-owner of the Cackleberry Club Café is visiting her fiancée, Dr. Sam Hazelet when a masked gunman bursts into the emergency room. He shoots two people and would probably have done more damage had Suzanne not brained him with a thermos full of chili. Still, the gunman manages to escape.

Now the ladies of the Cackleberry Club are determined to find the killer before he finds them.

 

Book Review of Egg Shooters

"Whoever this maniac is, he's been leading us on a merry chase. And he seems to be enjoying it enormously."

Egg Shooters by Laura Childs is the ninth book in The Cackleberry Club Mystery Series. And WOW! What a ride!

I've always wanted to read Laura Childs' books and got to interview her in 2019 for her then-new-book Broken Bone China. Then in 2020, I got a glimpse of her writing – and stunning teas and desserts in Lavender Blue Murder.

Since then, I've been curious about The Cackleberry Club books. And what a read! I loved the mystery, characters, settings, and let's not get to the mouth-watering delicacies Petra can make!

Egg Shooters opens with action from the first chapter. Suzanne Dietz, co-owner of The Cackleberry Club Café is visiting her fiancé, an ER doctor, and bringing him some late lunch. While she's talking to the receptionist, a gunman comes in, shoots a security guard, the receptionist, and is hit on the head with Suzanne's thermos of hot chili.

"What's our own Nancy Drew gonna do about these robberies? You're the one with the head for crime solving. You've got the sharpest instincts in town, though Doogie would die a slow death if he ever heard me say that."

Suzanne is a lot of things but curious and creative top the list. Especially when it comes to defending herself and others.

So the book opens with a murder, a theft, and luckily the receptionist lives. But at the same time, truck hijacking is plaguing the small town of Kindred.

After the shootout, Suzanne's curiosity is piqued, and of course, a few townsfolk ask her to investigate. They know that her skills top the Sheriff Doogie's and deep down the Sheriff knows he could use a helping hand. But never admits it.

The Cackleberry Club is comprised of three co-owners: Suzanne, Toni, and Petra. Each has their quirks but Toni is by far the funniest!

"Petra was the social conscience of the Cackleberry Club, while Toni served as court jester, and Suzanne was CEO, marketing guru, and chief problem solver."

The mystery in Egg Shooters kept me glued to the book. I couldn't put it down. Not to mention Petra's mouth-watering dishes.

If there's ever a café or restaurant like The Cackleberry Club, I'm saving to go there.

I loved how the characters are both strong and deep in their own way, even Toni. I also liked how this cozy mystery shows the characters – in a way – trying to work with the police. Well – sort of.

Toni offers a ton of humor in Egg Shooters, from hilarious comments, her endless to-and-fro with her no-good-soon-to-be-divorced-absolute-kid-brained husband, to her antics and energy. Here's how she describes a new character who walks into their café.

"Who's the Daddy Warbucks type sitting over there with our diddly-squat-do-nothing mayor?"

The book also offers a number of recipes at the end of the book. Courtesy of the chef extraordinaire Petra.

I also learnt a new word: Sesquicentennial – don't ask me how to pronounce it because I failed but it means someone's or something 150th birthday – in this case it was their town's celebration. (That was worth mentioning!)

Overall I loved the Cackleberry Club, Suzanne, Toni, and Petra along with the supporting characters. I just fell in love with this series and can't wait to read more books in it.

Overall rating for Egg Shooters by Laura Childs: 5 stars

 

Don't forget to check out my exclusive interview with Laura Childs and my 4-star book review of Lavender Blue Murder.

 

About the Author:

Laura Childs is the New York Times bestselling author of the Tea Shop MysteriesScrapbook Mysteries, and Cackleberry Club Mysteries. In her previous life she was CEO/Creative Director of her own marketing firm and authored several screenplays. She is married to a professor of Chinese art history, loves to travel, rides horses, enjoys fundraising for various non-profits, and has two Chinese Shar-Pei dogs.

 

Laura specializes in cozy mysteries that have the pace of a thriller (a thrillzy!) Her three series are:

The Cackleberry Club Mysteries – set in Kindred, a fictional town in the Midwest. In a rehabbed Spur station, Suzanne, Toni, and Petra, three semi-desperate, forty-plus women have launched the Cackleberry Club. Eggs are the morning specialty here and this cozy cafe even offers a book nook and yarn shop. Business is good but murder could lead to the cafe’s undoing! This series offers recipes, knitting, cake decorating, and a dash of spirituality.

 

The Tea Shop Mysteries – set in the historic district of Charleston and featuring Theodosia Browning, owner of the Indigo Tea Shop. Theodosia is a savvy entrepreneur, and pet mom to service dog Earl Grey. She’s also an intelligent, focused amateur sleuth who doesn’t rely on coincidences or inept police work to solve crimes. This charming series is highly atmospheric and rife with the history and mystery that is Charleston.

 

The Scrapbooking Mysteries – a slightly edgier series that take place in New Orleans. The main character, Carmela, owns Memory Mine scrapbooking shop in the French Quarter and is forever getting into trouble with her friend, Ava, who owns the Juju Voodoo shop. New Orleans’ spooky above-ground cemeteries, jazz clubs, bayous, and Mardi Gras madness make their presence known here!

Connect with Laura Childs via her Website and Facebook.

Purchase Links: Amazon   B&N  Kobo   Google Play  IndieBound

 

Keep up with the rest of the blog tour, including book reviews, spotlights, interviews, and guest posts via Escape with Dolly Cas.



Friday, January 22, 2021

Blood and Bone by Paula Dombrowiak - Book Excerpt

The first excerpt featuring in 2021 goes to author Paula Dombrowiak and adult romance novel Blood and Bone!

I'd originally planned to post this in late December but I think having it in the start of a new year is a better idea.

 

Book: Blood and Bone

Author: Paula Dombrowiak

Publication Date: 30 October 2020

Number of pages: 329 pages

ASIN: B08DJ82T7S

 

So let me tell you a bit about the book through the Synopsis:

 

Love is complicated, messy, and sometimes painful but oh so worth it. A heartbreaking journey through love, friendship, family, and fame.

Music brought them together, addiction tore them apart, loyalty saved them. It was always Jack and Mia, everyone else was just collateral damage.

Jack O'Donnell's life was teetering on the edge. Forced, as a teenager, to make a decision that would change his life forever, he left his hometown to pursue a music career with collaborator Mia Stone.

Living in a van by the beach was not the glamorous Los Angeles lifestyle they had envisioned but sparked the most creative time of their lives. Making it big was all they ever wanted but when it happened, friendships were tested, hearts were broken, and lives were changed forever.

Erin Langford is a seasoned journalist tasked with writing a feature on Jack O'Donnell. Being at the right place at the right moment puts Erin in a unique position to get the story, but at what cost? 

Having preconceived notions about Jack's rock star image, she learns there is more to a story than just the headlines. The two embark on a journey through Jack's past where he recounts the rise and fall of his band Mogo and the irreplaceable bond between himself and collaborator Mia Stone. The feature she thought she was going to write, turns into so much more.

Blood and Bone is an evocative story told in alternating time periods, from the early '90s to the present day about deep bonds between flawed people whose only outlet of self-expression is through their music.


 

Excerpt from Paula Dombrowiak's Blood and Bone

Chapter 22 – Food Police

 

“Who ate my fucking yogurt!” Cash bellowed through the tour bus.

“Nobody ate your special yogurt, freak.” Jack kicked his feet up on the table.

“Get your feet off the table.” Wade smacked him and his boots landed with a hollow thud against the bus’s floorboards.

“All I want is to just enjoy my yogurt and I can’t because you assholes keep eating my shit.” Cash slammed the tiny refrigerator door closed.

“I kind of agree with him.” Wade crossed his arms. “There was a full jar of pickles in there last week and all I’m saying is that the jar is practically empty now.” He gave them all a skeptical look.

“More important,” Mia interjected, “is why I have to step over dirty underwear on the way to my room?” She gave all of them a disgusted look because no one could tell whose underwear it was anyway and none of them would admit to being the culprit.



“Why does she get the big bedroom, again?” Wade asked, hooking his thumb in the direction of the master suite which was only slightly bigger than their bunks but it had its own bathroom.

Mia gave Wade an incredulous look. “Do I really have to answer that?”

Wade shrugged.

“Can I just make a general statement?” Jack stood up. “Flush.” He made a pointed look at all of them. “All I’m gonna say.” He held his hands up and then sat back down.

“Why are you so worried about it anyway when you’re using Mia’s bathroom.” Cash said to him annoyed. “You practically moved in there anyway.”

“Don’t be jealous.” Jack said to him flippantly.

“Don’t be an asshole.” Cash said back to him.

“As if I haven’t heard that one before.” Jack rolled his eyes and put his boots back on the table. Wade eyed him and he moved them off the table again with a loud sigh.

“This is supposed to be fun.” He got up and moved around the bus. “Instead, I’m living with my grandmother and the food police.” He looked pointedly at Wade and Cash.

“I just ask for a little common courtesy and you call me the food police?” Wade said.

“I think you’re the grandmother and I’m the food police.” Cash corrected Wade.

“Whatever.” Wade shook his head. “The fact is, those,” he pointed on the floor beside the bunk, “are not my underwear.”

“Well, they’re not mine!” Cash said immediately and they both looked at Jack.

“Babies, the two of you.” Jack shook his head and walked over to the underwear. Using a pencil to scoop them up he inspected them. With a broad smile, he said, “Could be mine.” He shrugged. “I was probably in a rush last night.” He raised his eyebrows toward Mia.

“Pig, much?” Mia scrunched up her nose at him.

The bus stopped and the driver opened the door to tell them they had arrived. The Radio City Music Hall lights blared at them as Jack looked out the bus window.



Grab your copy of Blood and Bone by Paula Dombrowiak via Apple, Amazon, B&N, Kobo, or Smashwords.

 

About the Author:

Paula Dombrowiak is the author of Blood and Bone, her first adult romance novel. She grew up in Evanston, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, right on beautiful Lake Michigan but now lives in Phoenix, Arizona.

Paula is a music junkie to the core and loves discovering new bands, just as much as she loves writing. So why not combine the two? That was how Blood and Bone was born. 

Her favorite music genres are Classic Rock, Grunge, and Alternative. She also loves to read and mostly enjoys YA, Fantasy, Romance, and some Non-Fiction.

Her wardrobe consists of band T-shirts and leggings that are perpetually covered in pet hair. Animals are her homies, and she don't eat her homies.

Music is what inspires her storytelling.

 

Connect with author Paula Dombrowiak via her Website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, and Smashwords.

 

 


Thursday, January 14, 2021

Nadaness In Motion's Top Books of 2020



It's that time of the year again. 2020 has been a stressful year for many.

I was able to beat my original plan of 24 books to expand to 30 then to 36 and finally 40 books. 

I was hoping to read more and write more this year, but 2020 had other plans for me. My freelance writing career took a leap and my reading progress varied and slowed but still I finished over 36 books, with about 3 or 4 more open.

 

So here's my list of the best books I read in 2020, not arranged in any order whatsoever!

 

Trending Topic #Murder by Sarah E. Burr

It's one of those rare occasions where you find the sleuth working in field related to you.

That and I've been going over the idea of making the main character of my cozy mystery novel a social media guru. Then comes Sarah E. Burr and her fashion blogger Coco to serve me a 5-star read.

"Stacy Lockner was killed with an eighty-thousand-dollar teapot."

This is the first book in the Trending Topic series and I can't wait to see what Sarah will do in the coming books.

 

What We Bury by Carolyn Arnold

What We Bury by Carolyn Arnold is the 10th book in the Detective Madison Knight Mystery series and my first read in that series. I loved it.

It's fast-paced, exciting, and kind of like reading a CSI novel.

Madison is hell-bent on bringing a killer to justice. She vows "to protect and serve the city of Stiles meant something to her down to her marrow."

 

Amari and the Night- Brothers by B.B. Alston

I read Amari and the Night Brothers in December but boy did I fall in love with it!

The main character is a black girl, something you don't see often. She's smart, she's flawed, she's funny, she's beautiful; she's amazing.

The author literally throws a ton of trouble in her way but she acts as herself and she flourishes.

"What if I told you that living among us are all the things we've come to pass off as myth? Dwarves and sphinxes, mermaids and oddities you could see with your own eyes and still not believe – these and countless more dwell in our towns and walk our streets. One might be your neighbour or even your favourite teacher."

Amari and the Night Brothers is by all means a 10-star read.

 

The Body Lexicon by Kathy Steinemann

This is book is just WOW. And I'm not saying that because I wrote the foreword. But because it is.

I read another book in this series The Writer's Lexicon in 2018 and loved it.

Here's a quick quote from The Writer's Lexicon:

“A groaning heart paints a different picture than a cartwheeling one. In each case, a single word tells how the protagonist is feeling.” (From examples on replacing “pounding”)

The Body Lexicon offers synonyms, word variations, ideas, writing prompts, colors, and everything you can thing of related to each part of the body.

Currently writing my book review of The Body Lexicon so stay tuned and keep checking my book reviews page.

 

The Beast and the Bethany by Jack Meggitt-Phillips

This middle grade story is literally about three mean characters. And it's surprisingly awesome, hilarious, and a must-read.

"For the first time in his life, Ebenezer was sad that he didn't have a family of his own. It would have saved so much time and energy if he could have just fed one of his children to the beast."

It also includes several fun illustrations, in case you're not visualizing enough.

An absolute 5-star read.

 

The Case of the Broken Doll by Alison Golden

I started the Detective Graham Mystery series one night when I was overwhelmed. Little did I know that I'd fly through three books!

Plus author Alison Golden was doing a one-free-book-a-week to help people stay busy during the early days of the COVID-19 lockdown.

The Case of the Broken Doll was my third read in the series and I couldn't put it down. Unlike the rest, this was more of a cold case from Detective Graham but it was just WOW.

"People don't just vanish into thin air, Marcus. I know the world is a strange and mysterious place, but I'm still a big fan of cause-and-effect when it comes to explaining what people do and why."

Amazing writing, plot, mystery; amazing everything!

A 10-star read.

 

How My Blog Got 1 Million Visits in 7 Months by Patric Morgan

I don't remember where or how I downloaded this short e-book but it was definitely a book I wish I'd read two years ago, when I first started my freelance writing and blogging career.

I've gathered much info in that time but still enjoyed reading How My Blog Got 1 Million Visits in 7 Months. It offers lots of actionable tips and ideas plus Stewart gives examples from his own writing and blog.

I believe it's available for free via the writer's website.

Note: This is a non-fiction read.


Past Deeds by Carolyn Arnold

I'd almost forgotten I'd read this book in 2020. It's been a long year I thought I read it sometime in 2019 but great that it was last year so I can include on this list.

Past Deeds by Carolyn Arnold is a mystery thriller but from the Brandon Fisher series.

Like the Madison Knight book, it's fast paced and both books share a mystery or punned-book-title.

"Humans were much like wild animals, feeding of the carcass of misfortune, sucking it bone dry for their own advantages, whatever those may be."

The Brandon Fisher books are a lot like the TV series Criminal Minds and less about the forensic details in CSI and Madison Knight.

That said, this is a must-read. If I had to pick between Brandon Fisher and Madison Knight, I'd go for Brandon Fisher.

 

Death at the Café by Alison Golden

Another Alison Golden read and another series I started in 2020 was the Reverend Annabelle Dixon Mystery Series.

Death at the Café is the first book in the series, introducing Reverend Annabelle, whose curiosity turns her into a sleuth.

"Where are we going?"

"Baker Street."

"Home of Sherlock Holmes," Mary added, joviality returning to her voice.

"Perhaps he can help us with this confounding turn of events!"

Another 5-star read.

 

On Borrowed Crime by Kate Young

Kate Young is a new author for me. I was expecting a cozy mystery but I got a cozy bordering on thriller and I love every second of it!

When the sleuths are bookworms from a book club, count me in.

Young kept me guessing the whole time and when I finished I was breathless!

"Digging into these types of cases shines a great big spotlight on the one holding the shovel. Those responsible won't like it."

Young has a lot to live up to when she writes other books in this series and I look forward to reading them.

 


It seems I've read way too many mysteries in 2020. But who can blame me when there are so many amazing authors out there and of course blog tours and ARC copies? :D

But I've been enjoying reading mysteries and thrillers lately. I've also been postponing working on my first cozy mystery novel. I have a completed first draft but lots of work that needs to be done.

 

As for what I'm planning to read in 2021, I've compiled a list. It's by no means comprehensive and I still have some leftovers from my 2020 list but new year means new books to read.

What were your favorite books from 2020?

Let me know in the comments below.